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Found 71 results

  1. Frog Fractions will not teach you how to fraction. Developed in 2012 by Jim Crawford, Frog Fractions began its life as an in-joke between himself and his friends. That joke evolved into an indie release that has been hailed as a mix between the best and worst game ever made. It's highly recommended that you play the game before you listen. It should only take about an hour to complete depending on how quick you are at discovering its tricks. You can play it for free on Twinbeard's website. Can a free indie comedy game stand as one of the best games period based on its originality alone? 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: Dance Dance Revolution Extreme 'Epic Steps' by Tonalysis (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03699) You can follow Marcus on Twitter @MarcusStewart7 where you can find his thoughts on Dragon Ball Super, wrestling, and video games! He also writes at Marcus Writes About Games, Extra Life (hey, that's here!), and hosts Carving Gaming Rushmores. You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is 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
  2. Frog Fractions will not teach you how to fraction. Developed in 2012 by Jim Crawford, Frog Fractions began its life as an in-joke between himself and his friends. That joke evolved into an indie release that has been hailed as a mix between the best and worst game ever made. It's highly recommended that you play the game before you listen. It should only take about an hour to complete depending on how quick you are at discovering its tricks. You can play it for free on Twinbeard's website. Can a free indie comedy game stand as one of the best games period based on its originality alone? 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: Dance Dance Revolution Extreme 'Epic Steps' by Tonalysis (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03699) You can follow Marcus on Twitter @MarcusStewart7 where you can find his thoughts on Dragon Ball Super, wrestling, and video games! He also writes at Marcus Writes About Games, Extra Life (hey, that's here!), and hosts Carving Gaming Rushmores. You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is 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
  3. The Stanley Parable originated as a mod for Half-Life 2 made by Davey Wreden. The mod proved to be relatively popular for its unique sense of humor and the way it played with gaming interactivity in novel ways. As a result, it became a fully fledged title that released at the tail end of 2013 with revamped graphics and additional content. Falling into that adventure game sub-genre of games that are sometimes derisively called "walking simulators," The Stanley Parable focuses on exploring interactivity in a digital medium by posing an iconic choice to the player: If you enter a room with two doors and someone tells you to go through the door on the left, but you are fully capable of going through the door on the right, which do you choose? With humor, minimalist design, and some brilliant voice work by Kevan Brighting, is The Stanley Parable one of the best games period? Outro music: Lunar Pool 'Looser Tool' by Harmsing (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03704) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is 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
  4. The Stanley Parable originated as a mod for Half-Life 2 made by Davey Wreden. The mod proved to be relatively popular for its unique sense of humor and the way it played with gaming interactivity in novel ways. As a result, it became a fully fledged title that released at the tail end of 2013 with revamped graphics and additional content. Falling into that adventure game sub-genre of games that are sometimes derisively called "walking simulators," The Stanley Parable focuses on exploring interactivity in a digital medium by posing an iconic choice to the player: If you enter a room with two doors and someone tells you to go through the door on the left, but you are fully capable of going through the door on the right, which do you choose? With humor, minimalist design, and some brilliant voice work by Kevan Brighting, is The Stanley Parable one of the best games period? Outro music: Lunar Pool 'Looser Tool' by Harmsing (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03704) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is 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
  5. You might not remember much about Kursk, an adventure game announced two years ago. Jujubee, the studio developing it, has been largely silent about the project after the reveal generated a considerable amount of criticism for its focus on the tragic sinking of the titular submarine in 2000, which resulted in the loss of all 118 sailors. The studio responded to those criticizing Kursk with the following statement: We would like to clarify a few things about our upcoming game "KURSK", because we see that there are some concerns. We are fully aware that this tragedy was a very painful topic for the Russian society and we can assure you that the game will be made with all the respect. There are many movies and books about current, very often painful events and we feel that games are now also a form of art and that the time has come for our industry to talk about serious and real topics. "KURSK" will be a game for the mature audience that can appreciate a deep storyline and our main goal is to do it right, without offending anyone. We hope that the final game will put all concerns to rest and that players will realize how much bravery it takes to live and work on a submarine. Many critics remained unconvinced, however, which may explain why the studio has been silent for two years. But now they're back with more information on their secretive project. Their announcement dubs Kursk the first "adventure-documentary game" in the history of video games. The claim that Kursk will be the first game ever to focus on a historical event is inaccurate, but Jujubee does seem to be aiming for historical accuracy with some embellishments. The additional details about Kursk's storyline reveal that it focuses on a character who didn't exist. Kursk will put players into the shoes of a fictional spy tasked with obtaining information on the Shkval supercavitating torpedoes, real torpedoes that the governments of the world had taken a keen interest in around the time of the incident. Players will be able to explore the submarine, Moscow, and the town of Vidyayevo, all locations which played pivotal roles in the lead up to the tragedy. Jujubee has implemented a variety of mechanics throughout the game to help bolster its narrative and help it stand out from what it sees as more conventional, repetitive games. Kursk's expected length sits at about ten hours. Michał Stępień, CEO at Jujubee, expressed his belief that Kursk would be a complex, nuanced story that would leave people better educated about the event and honor those who lost their lives saying: We think that the time has come to tell true stories. It’s fascinating how much our industry has evolved over the last dozen or so years. Games are becoming more and more complex, they offer an incredible audiovisual experience and let us immerse ourselves in virtual reality, but we should expect something more from them. As developers, we realize how much time users spend with our products, but we often fail to remember the responsibility connected to it. We can make games something more than just exciting entertainment. Games can become a tool not unlike books or films. They can help us develop, educate us, broaden our horizons, and provoke discussions that go far beyond the world of video games. We believe that KURSK will be precisely that kind of creation. It’s a game that brings the Russian submarine crew’s tragic story to the fore while maintaining all the advantages of sandbox gameplay. We’d like players not only to feel an integral part of the world we’re creating, but also to be inspired by the facts of this fascinating, if not dramatic story. The game will look at the story of the Kursk in a very comprehensive way. We aim for realism and as much immersion as possible. The player will not only have the opportunity to feel like a member of a submarine crew, but they will also be able to influence the story through their choices, including moral ones. The decisions they make will have a significant impact on the ending of the game, and there’ll be several of them Following the release of Kursk later this year, Jujubee has announced two expansions for the game. The first will be titled Kengir and will detail the events of the Kengir labor camp uprising in 1954 and the escape of one of the prisoners held there. The choice of subject matter for the DLC shows that Jujubee will not be shying away from potentially touchy topics going forward. The second DLC brings VR support in 4K and beyond. Kursk has no set release date, but it will be releasing on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC sometime in 2018. View full article
  6. Jack Gardner

    Kursk Resurfaces for Release This Year

    You might not remember much about Kursk, an adventure game announced two years ago. Jujubee, the studio developing it, has been largely silent about the project after the reveal generated a considerable amount of criticism for its focus on the tragic sinking of the titular submarine in 2000, which resulted in the loss of all 118 sailors. The studio responded to those criticizing Kursk with the following statement: We would like to clarify a few things about our upcoming game "KURSK", because we see that there are some concerns. We are fully aware that this tragedy was a very painful topic for the Russian society and we can assure you that the game will be made with all the respect. There are many movies and books about current, very often painful events and we feel that games are now also a form of art and that the time has come for our industry to talk about serious and real topics. "KURSK" will be a game for the mature audience that can appreciate a deep storyline and our main goal is to do it right, without offending anyone. We hope that the final game will put all concerns to rest and that players will realize how much bravery it takes to live and work on a submarine. Many critics remained unconvinced, however, which may explain why the studio has been silent for two years. But now they're back with more information on their secretive project. Their announcement dubs Kursk the first "adventure-documentary game" in the history of video games. The claim that Kursk will be the first game ever to focus on a historical event is inaccurate, but Jujubee does seem to be aiming for historical accuracy with some embellishments. The additional details about Kursk's storyline reveal that it focuses on a character who didn't exist. Kursk will put players into the shoes of a fictional spy tasked with obtaining information on the Shkval supercavitating torpedoes, real torpedoes that the governments of the world had taken a keen interest in around the time of the incident. Players will be able to explore the submarine, Moscow, and the town of Vidyayevo, all locations which played pivotal roles in the lead up to the tragedy. Jujubee has implemented a variety of mechanics throughout the game to help bolster its narrative and help it stand out from what it sees as more conventional, repetitive games. Kursk's expected length sits at about ten hours. Michał Stępień, CEO at Jujubee, expressed his belief that Kursk would be a complex, nuanced story that would leave people better educated about the event and honor those who lost their lives saying: We think that the time has come to tell true stories. It’s fascinating how much our industry has evolved over the last dozen or so years. Games are becoming more and more complex, they offer an incredible audiovisual experience and let us immerse ourselves in virtual reality, but we should expect something more from them. As developers, we realize how much time users spend with our products, but we often fail to remember the responsibility connected to it. We can make games something more than just exciting entertainment. Games can become a tool not unlike books or films. They can help us develop, educate us, broaden our horizons, and provoke discussions that go far beyond the world of video games. We believe that KURSK will be precisely that kind of creation. It’s a game that brings the Russian submarine crew’s tragic story to the fore while maintaining all the advantages of sandbox gameplay. We’d like players not only to feel an integral part of the world we’re creating, but also to be inspired by the facts of this fascinating, if not dramatic story. The game will look at the story of the Kursk in a very comprehensive way. We aim for realism and as much immersion as possible. The player will not only have the opportunity to feel like a member of a submarine crew, but they will also be able to influence the story through their choices, including moral ones. The decisions they make will have a significant impact on the ending of the game, and there’ll be several of them Following the release of Kursk later this year, Jujubee has announced two expansions for the game. The first will be titled Kengir and will detail the events of the Kengir labor camp uprising in 1954 and the escape of one of the prisoners held there. The choice of subject matter for the DLC shows that Jujubee will not be shying away from potentially touchy topics going forward. The second DLC brings VR support in 4K and beyond. Kursk has no set release date, but it will be releasing on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC sometime in 2018.
  7. If you were watching the Wizards of the Coast Dungeons and Dragons livestream during Extra Life 2017 you might have noticed that they did a live on-shot of an adventure dubbed The Lost Kenku run by Shawn Wood. The adventure proved to be pretty popular, bringing in both donations and requests after the fact to publish the adventure notes. To that end, Wood went on to write and illustrate a full version of the flexible adventure to benefit Extra Life, much like The Tortle Package supplement that they released for the Tomb of Annihilation Adventure. The adventure sends players on a quest to find a Kenku thief (Kenku are strange, magpie-like bird people). It introduces the village of Weirding, a strange community nestled in the jungles of Chult. The village holds many secrets and perhaps one of those holds the key to finding that blasted Kenku. You can watch the adventure being played in one session by the Dungeons and Dragons team during their Extra Life stream saved on YouTube. The adventure opens with a note from the author that touches on balance and how it can be tweaked for higher or lower level characters, but it ends with the following, "A special thanks to the wonderful donors of the Extra Life Charity and the Dungeons and Dragons Team. Together we can manage to do a little bit of good in this mind-flayer-run world." If you're interested in spicing up your tabletop gaming, you can find The Lost Kenku on dmsguild.com. Unfortunately, it's not clear if it will make its way onto DnD Beyond, Wizards of the Coast's digital Dungeons and Dragons compendium and gameplay tool. View full article
  8. If you were watching the Wizards of the Coast Dungeons and Dragons livestream during Extra Life 2017 you might have noticed that they did a live on-shot of an adventure dubbed The Lost Kenku run by Shawn Wood. The adventure proved to be pretty popular, bringing in both donations and requests after the fact to publish the adventure notes. To that end, Wood went on to write and illustrate a full version of the flexible adventure to benefit Extra Life, much like The Tortle Package supplement that they released for the Tomb of Annihilation Adventure. The adventure sends players on a quest to find a Kenku thief (Kenku are strange, magpie-like bird people). It introduces the village of Weirding, a strange community nestled in the jungles of Chult. The village holds many secrets and perhaps one of those holds the key to finding that blasted Kenku. You can watch the adventure being played in one session by the Dungeons and Dragons team during their Extra Life stream saved on YouTube. The adventure opens with a note from the author that touches on balance and how it can be tweaked for higher or lower level characters, but it ends with the following, "A special thanks to the wonderful donors of the Extra Life Charity and the Dungeons and Dragons Team. Together we can manage to do a little bit of good in this mind-flayer-run world." If you're interested in spicing up your tabletop gaming, you can find The Lost Kenku on dmsguild.com. Unfortunately, it's not clear if it will make its way onto DnD Beyond, Wizards of the Coast's digital Dungeons and Dragons compendium and gameplay tool.
  9. Sharpwood isn't a particularly welcoming place for a newcomer. The temperatures routinely fall below freezing, the people are hard, and opportunities seem hard to come by. People are friendly to those they know and suspicious or dismissive of those they don't. Sharpwood is also a place of tradition - and not all of those traditions are good ones, especially not when economic pressures are slowly twisting people into untenable positions. Into this place walks Lilly Reed, Sharpwood's new sheriff. She's tasked with maintaining the peace in a town that doesn't trust her with officers under her command who don't respect her. Reed has a job to do cleaning up the various smugglers and gangs while contending with populists who don't take too kindly to outsiders. As if all of that wasn't enough, a stranger named Warren Nash appears around the same time as Reed that could prove to be the savior of the town or its downfall. Players will step into Lilly Reed's shoes to deal with the various problems plaguing Sharpwood. One part adventure game with an emphasis on tough decisions and one part management sim, Reed will have to balance the officers she sends out on calls with their prejudices, personalities, skills, and equipment. Each case will have pivotal moments for Reed and the player and those moments will have consequences down the line, sometimes consequences of the life or death variety. This Is the Police 2 will be released later this year for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. View full article
  10. Sharpwood isn't a particularly welcoming place for a newcomer. The temperatures routinely fall below freezing, the people are hard, and opportunities seem hard to come by. People are friendly to those they know and suspicious or dismissive of those they don't. Sharpwood is also a place of tradition - and not all of those traditions are good ones, especially not when economic pressures are slowly twisting people into untenable positions. Into this place walks Lilly Reed, Sharpwood's new sheriff. She's tasked with maintaining the peace in a town that doesn't trust her with officers under her command who don't respect her. Reed has a job to do cleaning up the various smugglers and gangs while contending with populists who don't take too kindly to outsiders. As if all of that wasn't enough, a stranger named Warren Nash appears around the same time as Reed that could prove to be the savior of the town or its downfall. Players will step into Lilly Reed's shoes to deal with the various problems plaguing Sharpwood. One part adventure game with an emphasis on tough decisions and one part management sim, Reed will have to balance the officers she sends out on calls with their prejudices, personalities, skills, and equipment. Each case will have pivotal moments for Reed and the player and those moments will have consequences down the line, sometimes consequences of the life or death variety. This Is the Police 2 will be released later this year for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
  11. King Art Games released an episodic adventure series back in 2013 called The Raven - Legacy of a Master Thief. This year, King Art returns to its mystery to remaster it for modern consoles and give it a new coat of paint for the PC crowd. This new version will simply be called The Raven Remastered. The Raven focuses on unraveling the mystery behind the theft of a ruby from the British Museum in 1964. In its place was found a raven feather, the calling card of a master thief who disappeared without a trace years earlier. The ruby is one of a pair - the second is sent to Cairo for exhibition under the watchful eye of the player character, the bumbling constable Anton Jakob Zellner. Zellner quickly finds himself embroiled in a mystery that he had only ever encountered in his beloved mystery novels, complete with a debonair sleuthing rival in the form of Nicolas Legrand. When The Raven released five years ago, it received praise for its voice acting and narrative, as well as some criticism for its reliance on outdated adventure game mechanics. Perhaps those mechanics have improved with age? The remaster offers improved animations, a revamped lighting system, and new hair rendering all in HD. It also adds French, Spanish and Simplified Chinese support for the first time, which comes in addition to the already available German, Russian, Polish and Italian localizations. The trailer released to announce the upcoming remaster seems to oscillate between appropriately moody lighting showing off the improvements made and some... less visually appealing moments as seen in the thumbnail for the trailer. Can you keep the Eye of the Sphinx safe on its long journey to Cairo when The Raven Remastered releases on March 13 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC? View full article
  12. King Art Games released an episodic adventure series back in 2013 called The Raven - Legacy of a Master Thief. This year, King Art returns to its mystery to remaster it for modern consoles and give it a new coat of paint for the PC crowd. This new version will simply be called The Raven Remastered. The Raven focuses on unraveling the mystery behind the theft of a ruby from the British Museum in 1964. In its place was found a raven feather, the calling card of a master thief who disappeared without a trace years earlier. The ruby is one of a pair - the second is sent to Cairo for exhibition under the watchful eye of the player character, the bumbling constable Anton Jakob Zellner. Zellner quickly finds himself embroiled in a mystery that he had only ever encountered in his beloved mystery novels, complete with a debonair sleuthing rival in the form of Nicolas Legrand. When The Raven released five years ago, it received praise for its voice acting and narrative, as well as some criticism for its reliance on outdated adventure game mechanics. Perhaps those mechanics have improved with age? The remaster offers improved animations, a revamped lighting system, and new hair rendering all in HD. It also adds French, Spanish and Simplified Chinese support for the first time, which comes in addition to the already available German, Russian, Polish and Italian localizations. The trailer released to announce the upcoming remaster seems to oscillate between appropriately moody lighting showing off the improvements made and some... less visually appealing moments as seen in the thumbnail for the trailer. Can you keep the Eye of the Sphinx safe on its long journey to Cairo when The Raven Remastered releases on March 13 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC?
  13. The Harbinger comes. In Omensight, players take on the role of a powerful martial entity that exists outside of time. In a final act of desperation to save their world, the denizens of Urralia have summoned the player, Harbinger, to alter the course of events that led to the planet's destruction. Armed with time manipulation powers and an array of sword abilities, players must judge the leaders of Urralia and discern how best to shape its future. Players will navigate the past of Urralia as seen by the characters who brought it to ruin, choosing whether to aid them or fight against them. By making those choices, Urralia might just have a second chance at life. “When we released Stories: The Path of Destinies in 2016, we were thrilled with the response to its narrative structure,” says Malik Boukhira, Spearhead Game's Creative Director on Omensight. “Players told us how they enjoyed manipulating time to collect all the different endings in the game. With Omensight, our new original title set in a fresh universe, we’re taking this idea one step further. What we like to call the ‘narrative puzzle’ will extend to a range of diverse characters in Omensight, and we can’t wait to see how players navigate the intricacies of these characters’ actions and reactions to solve the mystery of Urralia’s demise.” Omensight has an awful lot of talent flowing into it behind the scenes. Vocal talent from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and We Happy Few will help bring life into the fictional world Spearhead Games aims to forge. That fictional world and the narrative bringing everything together will be crafted by Nadim Boukhira (Stories: The Path of Destinies) and Genese Davis (The Holder’s Dominion) with creative input from Chris Avellone, the writer of Fallout: New Vegas, Torment: Tides of Numenera, and Prey (2017). PAX South this coming weekend will present an opportunity for players to get their hands on the first public build of Omensight that will highlight the overarching story and combat system. View full article
  14. The Harbinger comes. In Omensight, players take on the role of a powerful martial entity that exists outside of time. In a final act of desperation to save their world, the denizens of Urralia have summoned the player, Harbinger, to alter the course of events that led to the planet's destruction. Armed with time manipulation powers and an array of sword abilities, players must judge the leaders of Urralia and discern how best to shape its future. Players will navigate the past of Urralia as seen by the characters who brought it to ruin, choosing whether to aid them or fight against them. By making those choices, Urralia might just have a second chance at life. “When we released Stories: The Path of Destinies in 2016, we were thrilled with the response to its narrative structure,” says Malik Boukhira, Spearhead Game's Creative Director on Omensight. “Players told us how they enjoyed manipulating time to collect all the different endings in the game. With Omensight, our new original title set in a fresh universe, we’re taking this idea one step further. What we like to call the ‘narrative puzzle’ will extend to a range of diverse characters in Omensight, and we can’t wait to see how players navigate the intricacies of these characters’ actions and reactions to solve the mystery of Urralia’s demise.” Omensight has an awful lot of talent flowing into it behind the scenes. Vocal talent from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and We Happy Few will help bring life into the fictional world Spearhead Games aims to forge. That fictional world and the narrative bringing everything together will be crafted by Nadim Boukhira (Stories: The Path of Destinies) and Genese Davis (The Holder’s Dominion) with creative input from Chris Avellone, the writer of Fallout: New Vegas, Torment: Tides of Numenera, and Prey (2017). PAX South this coming weekend will present an opportunity for players to get their hands on the first public build of Omensight that will highlight the overarching story and combat system.
  15. Though Good Old Games has certainly become a contender in the area of digital sales with a focus shifting toward new titles, the team behind the online storefront's curation of older PC games has been quietly chugging along. To that end, the 1996 adventure game Titanic: Adventure Out of Time has released once again! One might be forgiven for thinking of Titanic: Adventure Out of Time as a cheap cash grab that follows the events of James Cameron's Titanic, which released in 1997. Instead of weaving a tale of love and loss on the high seas, Adventure Out of Time focuses on the exploits of a British secret agent on the trail of a mystery that will decide the fate of entire countries, a mystery that turns into a race against time as the ship nears its tragic end. The game reconstructs the interior of the Titanic in intricate, 1996 PC-levels of detail. Players are able to interact with over 25 characters from differing segments of society who respond dynamically to choices made throughout your time aboard the Titanic. There's also an option to simply tour the 3D reconstruction of the vessel to learn more about the actual history of the doomed voyage. Titanic: Adventure Out of Time has long been a sought after gem among adventure game enthusiasts, so having it readily available and updated to run on current platforms is a real boon for the retro community as well as those curious about gaming history itself.
  16. Though Good Old Games has certainly become a contender in the area of digital sales with a focus shifting toward new titles, the team behind the online storefront's curation of older PC games has been quietly chugging along. To that end, the 1996 adventure game Titanic: Adventure Out of Time has released once again! One might be forgiven for thinking of Titanic: Adventure Out of Time as a cheap cash grab that follows the events of James Cameron's Titanic, which released in 1997. Instead of weaving a tale of love and loss on the high seas, Adventure Out of Time focuses on the exploits of a British secret agent on the trail of a mystery that will decide the fate of entire countries, a mystery that turns into a race against time as the ship nears its tragic end. The game reconstructs the interior of the Titanic in intricate, 1996 PC-levels of detail. Players are able to interact with over 25 characters from differing segments of society who respond dynamically to choices made throughout your time aboard the Titanic. There's also an option to simply tour the 3D reconstruction of the vessel to learn more about the actual history of the doomed voyage. Titanic: Adventure Out of Time has long been a sought after gem among adventure game enthusiasts, so having it readily available and updated to run on current platforms is a real boon for the retro community as well as those curious about gaming history itself. View full article
  17. An intriguing indie adventure game has appeared on the horizon. Today, french indie studio Big Bad Wolf revealed The Council, an episodic adventure game set to launch this February. The new entry in the genre offers players the opportunity to make difficult choices that will have "permanent, long-lasting consequences." Aside from being a narrative adventure game in the same vein as Telltale's work, what exactly is The Council? Set in 1793, players become Louis de Richet who journeys to the private island estate of Lord Mortimer after receiving a cryptic invitation. Gentlemen and women from across the world seem to have been invited, as well. George Washington and Napoleon Bonaparte count themselves among Lord Mortimer's guests. Those who operate the levers of power in the world have all assembled for a mysterious purpose... and suddenly a murder interrupts the gathering. Everyone seems to have their own schemes and plots, but the players will have to uncover the mysteries of the island and guests while discovering the true nature of The Council. Big Bad Wolf has developed a new system for navigating conversations that they're promising will be unique. The Social Influence system relies on players to use skill and various resources to come out on top and achieve ideal outcomes. Those resources will be gathered during exploration segments that also provide opportunities for players to learn the weaknesses of the other island guests. Should an encounter be failed, there's no game over screen in The Council. Instead, player choices are permanent and can result in physical disfigurement, mental trauma, or (rarely) boons that will hinder or help players for the rest of the game. As players proceed, they will have opportunities for Richet to hone his skills. Perhaps the diplomatic approach appeals to you? Maybe history or science would make worthy allies? Or could it be that detective skills are what will make the difference? Over 15 skills are available, adding an almost RPG-like dimension to The Council. These skills will allow players to explore the island their own way, uncovering dark secrets as they progress into Lord Mortimer's abode. The Council’s first of five episodes, titled 'The Mad Ones,' arrives on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One in February, 2018.
  18. An intriguing indie adventure game has appeared on the horizon. Today, french indie studio Big Bad Wolf revealed The Council, an episodic adventure game set to launch this February. The new entry in the genre offers players the opportunity to make difficult choices that will have "permanent, long-lasting consequences." Aside from being a narrative adventure game in the same vein as Telltale's work, what exactly is The Council? Set in 1793, players become Louis de Richet who journeys to the private island estate of Lord Mortimer after receiving a cryptic invitation. Gentlemen and women from across the world seem to have been invited, as well. George Washington and Napoleon Bonaparte count themselves among Lord Mortimer's guests. Those who operate the levers of power in the world have all assembled for a mysterious purpose... and suddenly a murder interrupts the gathering. Everyone seems to have their own schemes and plots, but the players will have to uncover the mysteries of the island and guests while discovering the true nature of The Council. Big Bad Wolf has developed a new system for navigating conversations that they're promising will be unique. The Social Influence system relies on players to use skill and various resources to come out on top and achieve ideal outcomes. Those resources will be gathered during exploration segments that also provide opportunities for players to learn the weaknesses of the other island guests. Should an encounter be failed, there's no game over screen in The Council. Instead, player choices are permanent and can result in physical disfigurement, mental trauma, or (rarely) boons that will hinder or help players for the rest of the game. As players proceed, they will have opportunities for Richet to hone his skills. Perhaps the diplomatic approach appeals to you? Maybe history or science would make worthy allies? Or could it be that detective skills are what will make the difference? Over 15 skills are available, adding an almost RPG-like dimension to The Council. These skills will allow players to explore the island their own way, uncovering dark secrets as they progress into Lord Mortimer's abode. The Council’s first of five episodes, titled 'The Mad Ones,' arrives on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One in February, 2018. View full article
  19. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time released in 2003, and it presented a new standard that action-adventure games still strive to achieve to this day. The titular prince and Farah, his sometimes-ally, have a relationship dynamic that felt lively and real, few games prior to 2003 had achieved such a portrayal. The influence of The Sands of Time can be felt in titles like Braid, The Last of Us, and BioShock Infinite. With a legacy that stretches back almost 15 years, is Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time 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 Last Ninja 2: Back with a Vengeance 'Central Park (Metal Mix)' by Commando 64 (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR02273) 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
  20. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time released in 2003, and it presented a new standard that action-adventure games still strive to achieve to this day. The titular prince and Farah, his sometimes-ally, have a relationship dynamic that felt lively and real, few games prior to 2003 had achieved such a portrayal. The influence of The Sands of Time can be felt in titles like Braid, The Last of Us, and BioShock Infinite. With a legacy that stretches back almost 15 years, is Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time 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 Last Ninja 2: Back with a Vengeance 'Central Park (Metal Mix)' by Commando 64 (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR02273) 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
  21. Jack Gardner

    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
  22. Jack Gardner

    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
  23. What if I told you that the developers who reintroduced “hella” back into modern lexicon were tackling a 20th century vampire action epic for their next game? You’d be forgiven for refusing to believe me, but it’s true! Dontnod, the same team behind the 2015 hit narrative adventure Life Is Strange, are taking to the streets of 1918’s vampire-infested London, complete with all the stabbing and bloodsucking that entails. Dontnod gave a media-exclusive hands-off demo of Vampyr at E3 this year, demonstrating their progress since last year's already impressive E3 showing. The demo showcased how expansive their incarnation of London is and how its citizens will play a vital role in determining your fate as well as the city’s. You play as Jonathan Reid, a brooding doctor who quite literally moonlights as a recently-turned vampire. London is currently under siege from all ends, including a deadly flu virus and ravenous undead humans called the “Skal". Reid must work to find solutions to end both threats. Fixated on him, however, are an order of cutthroat vampire hunters nipping at his every step. Our E3 demo began with Reid confronting his superior at his place of work, a London hospital. Reid is attempting to determine what caused a number of grisly deaths, only to stumble upon another vampire speaking with his boss. Reid’s boss is quick to remind them both that the hospital is sacred ground among London’s vampire clans, suggesting the game’s dialogue and action choices will carry consequences far and wide. While searching for clues in the streets and alleys, Reid finds himself chatting with a suspiciously hostile man by the docks. It’s here that Dontnod shows off how his vampiric needs will twist each of London’s several districts and the people who reside there. The man is unwilling to cooperate with Reid’s investigation unless he can help him find his mother’s missing ring. It seems that she’s the only person this miserable grump loves, so in the interest of digging up clues, Reid searches the nearby dock. Unfortunately, the misplaced ring isn’t the only thing we find underneath a tunnel entrance. There’s also a nice pile of dead bodies. Turns out our reluctant informant is a serial killer, and after meeting mother dearest, it’s clear the poor old lady has made peace with her son’s vicious ways by covering up for him. Since you’re a vampire, you’ll need to feed off of at least a few of London’s residents to grow in power so you can defend yourself from the hunters. While the obvious choice might be to take out our murdering friend, it’s actually his mother’s blood that’s much higher in quality, and thus grants more experience points to channel into abilities. Dontnod makes the call to end the woman’s existence and reap the rewards. After assimilating her blood by sleeping the day away, we get a chance to see the results of our handiwork, and it isn’t pretty. Mr. serial killer’s home is trashed, with the man in question brooding in the bedroom about all the revenge he’s going to exact on the city. Dontnod informs us that other effects of our actions will include different market prices for items, more undead in the underground and dark corners of the city, increased crime, and a higher murder rate for NPCs. Dontnod also took some time to show off combat, and how you’ll mix traditional fisticuffs and bladework with vampiric bloodsucking. On a more surface level, it mirror’s Batman: Arkham’s third-person punching and dodging, with a bit of teleportation ala Dishonored’s blink ability. Enemies have health bars above their heads, so you’ll know exactly how close they are to death, but if you’re feeling a little aggressive, you can also magically sap blood straight from their skin to recharge your abilities and health. It’s inventive enough, especially once your blood bar is filled to allow some gory finishing moves. Reid eventually performed a finisher that teleported his form into the body of an enemy, tearing him apart from the inside before teleporting back to watch the ensuing explosion. I just hope it doesn’t feel like a weightless mash-a-thon in the final product. Part of Batman’s thrill was feeling every bone crunch. It only makes sense that actual bloodsuckers have as much force behind their punches, too. Vampyr won’t be the first action game Dontnod tackles (2013’s Remember Me saw to that), but their proclivity for taking risks, along with excellent characters and world-building give the game a solid foundation to move forward on. It remains to be seen if the experience will translate to a full open world with side quests and other minutia to tackle, but this will definitely be one shadow to watch over your shoulder for in the future. Vampyr is available this November for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
  24. What if I told you that the developers who reintroduced “hella” back into modern lexicon were tackling a 20th century vampire action epic for their next game? You’d be forgiven for refusing to believe me, but it’s true! Dontnod, the same team behind the 2015 hit narrative adventure Life Is Strange, are taking to the streets of 1918’s vampire-infested London, complete with all the stabbing and bloodsucking that entails. Dontnod gave a media-exclusive hands-off demo of Vampyr at E3 this year, demonstrating their progress since last year's already impressive E3 showing. The demo showcased how expansive their incarnation of London is and how its citizens will play a vital role in determining your fate as well as the city’s. You play as Jonathan Reid, a brooding doctor who quite literally moonlights as a recently-turned vampire. London is currently under siege from all ends, including a deadly flu virus and ravenous undead humans called the “Skal". Reid must work to find solutions to end both threats. Fixated on him, however, are an order of cutthroat vampire hunters nipping at his every step. Our E3 demo began with Reid confronting his superior at his place of work, a London hospital. Reid is attempting to determine what caused a number of grisly deaths, only to stumble upon another vampire speaking with his boss. Reid’s boss is quick to remind them both that the hospital is sacred ground among London’s vampire clans, suggesting the game’s dialogue and action choices will carry consequences far and wide. While searching for clues in the streets and alleys, Reid finds himself chatting with a suspiciously hostile man by the docks. It’s here that Dontnod shows off how his vampiric needs will twist each of London’s several districts and the people who reside there. The man is unwilling to cooperate with Reid’s investigation unless he can help him find his mother’s missing ring. It seems that she’s the only person this miserable grump loves, so in the interest of digging up clues, Reid searches the nearby dock. Unfortunately, the misplaced ring isn’t the only thing we find underneath a tunnel entrance. There’s also a nice pile of dead bodies. Turns out our reluctant informant is a serial killer, and after meeting mother dearest, it’s clear the poor old lady has made peace with her son’s vicious ways by covering up for him. Since you’re a vampire, you’ll need to feed off of at least a few of London’s residents to grow in power so you can defend yourself from the hunters. While the obvious choice might be to take out our murdering friend, it’s actually his mother’s blood that’s much higher in quality, and thus grants more experience points to channel into abilities. Dontnod makes the call to end the woman’s existence and reap the rewards. After assimilating her blood by sleeping the day away, we get a chance to see the results of our handiwork, and it isn’t pretty. Mr. serial killer’s home is trashed, with the man in question brooding in the bedroom about all the revenge he’s going to exact on the city. Dontnod informs us that other effects of our actions will include different market prices for items, more undead in the underground and dark corners of the city, increased crime, and a higher murder rate for NPCs. Dontnod also took some time to show off combat, and how you’ll mix traditional fisticuffs and bladework with vampiric bloodsucking. On a more surface level, it mirror’s Batman: Arkham’s third-person punching and dodging, with a bit of teleportation ala Dishonored’s blink ability. Enemies have health bars above their heads, so you’ll know exactly how close they are to death, but if you’re feeling a little aggressive, you can also magically sap blood straight from their skin to recharge your abilities and health. It’s inventive enough, especially once your blood bar is filled to allow some gory finishing moves. Reid eventually performed a finisher that teleported his form into the body of an enemy, tearing him apart from the inside before teleporting back to watch the ensuing explosion. I just hope it doesn’t feel like a weightless mash-a-thon in the final product. Part of Batman’s thrill was feeling every bone crunch. It only makes sense that actual bloodsuckers have as much force behind their punches, too. Vampyr won’t be the first action game Dontnod tackles (2013’s Remember Me saw to that), but their proclivity for taking risks, along with excellent characters and world-building give the game a solid foundation to move forward on. It remains to be seen if the experience will translate to a full open world with side quests and other minutia to tackle, but this will definitely be one shadow to watch over your shoulder for in the future. Vampyr is available this November for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. View full article
  25. People who frequent my work know that I have a soft spot in my heart for small indie games. As I was browsing through the work of S. Jean, the developer of one of my favorite indie RPGs, Star Stealing Prince, and I happened to see that Lauren Shigihara was releasing a game on May 10th. If her name doesn't ring a bell, chances are that you've heard her work. She's the composer behind Plants vs. Zombies and has contributed music and vocals to games like World of Warcraft, Super Meat Boy, To The Moon, Plants vs. Zombies 2, Band Saga, and Cosmic Star Heroine. She's a big deal and finding out that she was making a game solo? Well, that caught my attention, but then I learned about the subject matter and I absolutely had to share it with all of you. Shigihara's game is called Rakuen and it focuses on telling the story of a young boy who's fallen ill and been indefinitely confined to a hospital. His mom reads him stories to lift his spirits. After some time goes by, the boy asks her to take him to the fantasy world from his favorite story so that he can ask the spirit who lives in that world's forests for one wish. In order to gain his wish, the boy will have to complete a series of quests to prove himself worthy by helping the alter-egos of the hospital's residents who live in that world. These problems aren't of the "go out and kill monsters" variety, though. Rakuen is an adventure game where players will have to solve puzzles and figure out solutions to the problems that plague a crazy cast of colorful characters. Those who live in the hospital all have their own unique problems that range from an old man who guards a broken music box to a little girl who never got to say goodbye to one of her friends after her diagnosis. Solving these problems will send players through dungeons with escape puzzles and mysteries in both the environment and in the character interactions. Over time, the boy begins to discover that the hospital holds more secrets than he ever could have guessed and that unraveling them might make the hospital a better place. As you might imagine, Shigihara composed the soundtrack to Rakuen herself, tying its tracks and vocals to the various denizens of her worlds. While the plot might deal with heavy concepts and situations (one plot line involves a woman in a coma whose husband hasn't left her side in months), Shigihara has done her best to alleviate the tone with whimsy and humor. Rakuen isn't so self-serious that it will play like a funeral dirge. There's hope and laughter and charm all over the screenshots and trailers. Ultimately, the game is about making the world a better place. <a data-cke-saved-href="http://laurashigihara.bandcamp.com/album/rakuen-official-soundtrack" href="http://laurashigihara.bandcamp.com/album/rakuen-official-soundtrack">Rakuen Official Soundtrack by Laura Shigihara</a> Shigihara was inspired to create Rakuen by her work to create a song called "Jump." It was written for the album "Play for Japan" which was put together by Akira Yamaoka, a composer known for his work on the Silent Hill series and recent games like Let It Die and Rime. The album benefited the victims of the Tohoku earthquake disaster in 2011. Shigihara recalls creating the song, saying "While I was writing it, I imagined a story about a boy living in the hospital whose mother invents a grand adventure for them to go on (I think in the beginning, they originally braided bedsheets together to climb out the window and into a fantasy world). Later on, I told my friend Emmy (now the concept artist) about it, and we decided to make a little animated music video for it... However, after thinking more about the story, and being inspired by Emmy's concept art, I said, 'this is too much for just a music video, we should totally make a game!'" Rakuen releases later this week for PC via Steam. View full article
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