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Found 21 results

  1. The latest arcade flight sim with narrative aspirations from Project Aces, Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown exists as a bit of an odd duck. The last couple attempts to bring the series into the modern day after its PlayStation 2 heyday fell flat and failed to gain much traction. This left Ace Combat in something of a limbo, only receiving support for the PSN exclusive and microtransaction-heavy Ace Combat Infinity. Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown seeks to bring the series back to its roots by setting itself up as a canonical sequel to Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War, one of the most successful Ace Combat games to date. Despite that positioning, Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown doesn’t require players to be familiar with its predecessor or the history of the fictional world of Strangereal. There are certainly nods to events and characters that veteran fans will recognize, but for the most part, these moments aren’t necessary to enjoy the larger story. That story details a war between the countries of Osea and Erusea stemming from economic and political contention regarding a space elevator constructed using Osean funds on Erusean soil after Osea devastated Erusea in a previous war. Into this situation are thrown all manner of crazy twists and plot threads including: Prisoners forced to pilot aircraft in the war, the assassination of a former head of state, the future of unmanned drone warfare in the skies, and a survival behind enemy lines narrative. If all of that sounds interesting, it should! Unfortunately, it never comes together into one cohesive entity and then just ends. One of the biggest problems is the complete lack of a protagonist. This was somewhat solved in Ace Combat 5 by allowing the player to participate in radio conversations with pilots in their squadron. Allowing for a little bit of character development that wasn’t just, “Golly gee, [player] is really the best pilot!” And that’s a huge problem in Ace Combat 7 because the player is framed for the assassination of the former president of Osea and sent to an island to fly junk planes as a distraction for the enemy. He just happens to be such a good pilot that eventually everyone seems to forget that they all think he assassinated a former president for no apparent reason. Ace Combat 7 squanders the unique opportunity it has with the concept of prisoner pilots by very quickly hand waving away that aspect. A bunch of criminals flying airplanes sounds like it should be a great mix for the series, but it never has a tangible effect on the gameplay outside of one mission where players are denied the ability to repair and reload weapons mid-mission. Limiting the choice of planes, putting players against hopeless odds, heck, maybe having the planes the prisoners are flying literally start falling apart mid-mission – there are so many interesting ways that Ace Combat 7 could have handled the disposable prisoner-soldier aspect. Eventually, the war progresses and leaves Osea overly dependent on the squadron of prisoners – until a late-game twist cuts the squadron off from those higher up in the chain of command. This could have been a great opportunity to put the game into the player’s hands: Will the prisoner-pilots stay loyal to Osea of maybe they join the losing Erusean forces. Ace Combat 5 had several missions that diverged based on player choice and gameplay decisions. Instead, it becomes a story about survival behind enemy lines; admittedly still cool, but it doesn’t do much to revitalize the story. Many of these interesting narrative beats ultimately fail because of the disconnect between them and the main focus of the story: Unmanned drones. Ace Combat 7 really wants to be a story about the dangers of drone warfare. All of its cutscenes and several of its missions deal directly with that theme and threat. It’s the only one that actually feels tangible in the gameplay itself. The threat of coming up against an AI-controlled aircraft that can outmaneuver a human pilot feels more real than anything else the flight sim presents players. It’s unfortunate that the game that the game doesn’t then focus itself entirely on that danger, flooding the player’s airspace with mass produced drones or recurring encounters against a squadron of AI aircraft that learn from the player’s maneuvers. If prisoner-pilots and being lost behind enemy lines weren’t going to help build the story around the threat of drone warfare, they should have been cut or reworked to include them. Instead, we have a bunch of half-baked ideas that lack full function or resonance. Something odd must have been going on behind the scenes of Ace Combat 7’s development to have led to the narrative being a hot mess. The game just ends with everyone realizing that the disagreement over the space elevator was based on a misunderstanding. The campaign stands at 20 missions long, shorter than Ace Combat 5 by 7-12 missions depending on how one counts them. It’s possible that many of these lingering questions or half-formed ideas will be expanded upon in future DLC that will be supporting the title, but not enough is known about the eventual DLC to say for sure. We do know that it will touch on story content, but we can only judge based on what’s there now and it’s not a terribly satisfying narrative package. On top of that, there’s no arcade mode like previous entries in the series possessed, which featured a series of flight scenarios designed to challenge players. The only thing that makes sense is that due to budget or time constraints much of the single-player content had to be axed out of the core game. Or, to be a bit cynical, it’s possible that it was cut out to serve as DLC later down the road. Ace Combat 7’s story might be a mess, but the visual design for the aircraft, skies, and even the detailed models of structures and vehicles on the ground absolutely nail what the series has always been about. For all of the craziness of its Metal Gear-like flying drone carriers, the realism and attention to detail instantly convey that this is Ace Combat. It’s so beautiful, I often wanted to simply fly and look to at the swirling clouds, missile trails, explosions, and gorgeous chaos going on in missions. Each mission has a recap camera that follows the entire mission from a variety of angles centered on the player’s airplane and I’d often watch that for several minutes after concluding a sortie. The replay feature could be improved by the ability to fast forward through the mission at more than just 2X speed. The soundtrack created by longtime game composer Keiki Kobayashi does its best to replicate the music of Ace Combat, succeeding in some respects while falling short in others. Kobayashi has been composing since 2001 and worked in the music departments of all the Ace Combat games since Ace Combat 4: Shattered Skies. It makes sense that he would be able to nail the ambient background soundscapes of the Ace Combat series for Ace Combat 7. However, Skies Unknown desperately lacks a central theme to rally around. Even at its best, it manages to convey frantic or dramatic energy, but possesses little memorable thrust of its own. It’s good experiential music to fly to but not so much to remember after the fact. The gameplay remains largely true to the Ace Combat formula of loading up a plane with an impossible number of missiles and sending it out to do battle against a variety of air and ground targets. The mission design feels tight with every mission offering a number of exciting and unique challenges. Whether it’s altitude restrictions, flying through canyons, a time limit to do as much damage as possible, getting close enough to identify a wide field of unknown potential targets, or finding smuggling trucks in a dust storm, players should expect the unexpected when gearing up for the next mission. Dealing with a number of flying quirks on missions adds another unique wrinkle to the gameplay. High winds can make flying close to the ground or staying on target difficult. Flying through clouds can help block missiles while also threatening to ice over the engines. Rain can obscure vision in the cockpit view. The most dangerous weather condition of all stands out as lightning which can fry electronics and send a plane into a deadly tailspin. Instead of a lengthy campaign or an arcade mode, Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown boasts an online multiplayer mode with a couple different rule sets, pitting players against one another for intense aerial combat. The mode is… fine. It’s fine. It’s not fantastic due to the lack of gameplay modes and rule sets for players to choose from. This might be some player’s jam and it’s certainly necessary to include in a modern Ace Combat game. However, most people aren’t playing Ace Combat for the multiplayer and there’s not much beyond replaying the campaign for people who value that single-player experience. Conclusion: Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown feels like a game that’s not sure about what it wants to be. It wants to be a gritty war story, but lacks the punch necessary to follow-through on that desire. The gameplay frequently feels disconnected from the story itself. It’s incredibly short, clocking in at only 2/3 the size of its PS2 predecessor. However, despite these narrative shortcomings, its ultimately nails the feel of classic Ace Combat. It’s a blast to play and part of the disappointment in the shortness of the game stems from the desire to play more of it. As a starting point for relaunching consistent Ace Combat releases, Skies Unknown feels like solid bedrock on which to build. For those who love multiplayer or want a unique VR experience (yes, the VR is cool, but you probably shouldn’t buy PSVR just to experience Ace Combat 7), Skies Unknown caters directly to those cravings. It certainly isn’t the perfect Ace Combat game that sets a new standard for the franchise, but Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown stands as an enjoyable entry that fans will appreciate. Maybe just wait for it to go on sale and see how the DLC roll out goes before you buy. Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  2. The latest arcade flight sim with narrative aspirations from Project Aces, Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown exists as a bit of an odd duck. The last couple attempts to bring the series into the modern day after its PlayStation 2 heyday fell flat and failed to gain much traction. This left Ace Combat in something of a limbo, only receiving support for the PSN exclusive and microtransaction-heavy Ace Combat Infinity. Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown seeks to bring the series back to its roots by setting itself up as a canonical sequel to Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War, one of the most successful Ace Combat games to date. Despite that positioning, Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown doesn’t require players to be familiar with its predecessor or the history of the fictional world of Strangereal. There are certainly nods to events and characters that veteran fans will recognize, but for the most part, these moments aren’t necessary to enjoy the larger story. That story details a war between the countries of Osea and Erusea stemming from economic and political contention regarding a space elevator constructed using Osean funds on Erusean soil after Osea devastated Erusea in a previous war. Into this situation are thrown all manner of crazy twists and plot threads including: Prisoners forced to pilot aircraft in the war, the assassination of a former head of state, the future of unmanned drone warfare in the skies, and a survival behind enemy lines narrative. If all of that sounds interesting, it should! Unfortunately, it never comes together into one cohesive entity and then just ends. One of the biggest problems is the complete lack of a protagonist. This was somewhat solved in Ace Combat 5 by allowing the player to participate in radio conversations with pilots in their squadron. Allowing for a little bit of character development that wasn’t just, “Golly gee, [player] is really the best pilot!” And that’s a huge problem in Ace Combat 7 because the player is framed for the assassination of the former president of Osea and sent to an island to fly junk planes as a distraction for the enemy. He just happens to be such a good pilot that eventually everyone seems to forget that they all think he assassinated a former president for no apparent reason. Ace Combat 7 squanders the unique opportunity it has with the concept of prisoner pilots by very quickly hand waving away that aspect. A bunch of criminals flying airplanes sounds like it should be a great mix for the series, but it never has a tangible effect on the gameplay outside of one mission where players are denied the ability to repair and reload weapons mid-mission. Limiting the choice of planes, putting players against hopeless odds, heck, maybe having the planes the prisoners are flying literally start falling apart mid-mission – there are so many interesting ways that Ace Combat 7 could have handled the disposable prisoner-soldier aspect. Eventually, the war progresses and leaves Osea overly dependent on the squadron of prisoners – until a late-game twist cuts the squadron off from those higher up in the chain of command. This could have been a great opportunity to put the game into the player’s hands: Will the prisoner-pilots stay loyal to Osea of maybe they join the losing Erusean forces. Ace Combat 5 had several missions that diverged based on player choice and gameplay decisions. Instead, it becomes a story about survival behind enemy lines; admittedly still cool, but it doesn’t do much to revitalize the story. Many of these interesting narrative beats ultimately fail because of the disconnect between them and the main focus of the story: Unmanned drones. Ace Combat 7 really wants to be a story about the dangers of drone warfare. All of its cutscenes and several of its missions deal directly with that theme and threat. It’s the only one that actually feels tangible in the gameplay itself. The threat of coming up against an AI-controlled aircraft that can outmaneuver a human pilot feels more real than anything else the flight sim presents players. It’s unfortunate that the game that the game doesn’t then focus itself entirely on that danger, flooding the player’s airspace with mass produced drones or recurring encounters against a squadron of AI aircraft that learn from the player’s maneuvers. If prisoner-pilots and being lost behind enemy lines weren’t going to help build the story around the threat of drone warfare, they should have been cut or reworked to include them. Instead, we have a bunch of half-baked ideas that lack full function or resonance. Something odd must have been going on behind the scenes of Ace Combat 7’s development to have led to the narrative being a hot mess. The game just ends with everyone realizing that the disagreement over the space elevator was based on a misunderstanding. The campaign stands at 20 missions long, shorter than Ace Combat 5 by 7-12 missions depending on how one counts them. It’s possible that many of these lingering questions or half-formed ideas will be expanded upon in future DLC that will be supporting the title, but not enough is known about the eventual DLC to say for sure. We do know that it will touch on story content, but we can only judge based on what’s there now and it’s not a terribly satisfying narrative package. On top of that, there’s no arcade mode like previous entries in the series possessed, which featured a series of flight scenarios designed to challenge players. The only thing that makes sense is that due to budget or time constraints much of the single-player content had to be axed out of the core game. Or, to be a bit cynical, it’s possible that it was cut out to serve as DLC later down the road. Ace Combat 7’s story might be a mess, but the visual design for the aircraft, skies, and even the detailed models of structures and vehicles on the ground absolutely nail what the series has always been about. For all of the craziness of its Metal Gear-like flying drone carriers, the realism and attention to detail instantly convey that this is Ace Combat. It’s so beautiful, I often wanted to simply fly and look to at the swirling clouds, missile trails, explosions, and gorgeous chaos going on in missions. Each mission has a recap camera that follows the entire mission from a variety of angles centered on the player’s airplane and I’d often watch that for several minutes after concluding a sortie. The replay feature could be improved by the ability to fast forward through the mission at more than just 2X speed. The soundtrack created by longtime game composer Keiki Kobayashi does its best to replicate the music of Ace Combat, succeeding in some respects while falling short in others. Kobayashi has been composing since 2001 and worked in the music departments of all the Ace Combat games since Ace Combat 4: Shattered Skies. It makes sense that he would be able to nail the ambient background soundscapes of the Ace Combat series for Ace Combat 7. However, Skies Unknown desperately lacks a central theme to rally around. Even at its best, it manages to convey frantic or dramatic energy, but possesses little memorable thrust of its own. It’s good experiential music to fly to but not so much to remember after the fact. The gameplay remains largely true to the Ace Combat formula of loading up a plane with an impossible number of missiles and sending it out to do battle against a variety of air and ground targets. The mission design feels tight with every mission offering a number of exciting and unique challenges. Whether it’s altitude restrictions, flying through canyons, a time limit to do as much damage as possible, getting close enough to identify a wide field of unknown potential targets, or finding smuggling trucks in a dust storm, players should expect the unexpected when gearing up for the next mission. Dealing with a number of flying quirks on missions adds another unique wrinkle to the gameplay. High winds can make flying close to the ground or staying on target difficult. Flying through clouds can help block missiles while also threatening to ice over the engines. Rain can obscure vision in the cockpit view. The most dangerous weather condition of all stands out as lightning which can fry electronics and send a plane into a deadly tailspin. Instead of a lengthy campaign or an arcade mode, Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown boasts an online multiplayer mode with a couple different rule sets, pitting players against one another for intense aerial combat. The mode is… fine. It’s fine. It’s not fantastic due to the lack of gameplay modes and rule sets for players to choose from. This might be some player’s jam and it’s certainly necessary to include in a modern Ace Combat game. However, most people aren’t playing Ace Combat for the multiplayer and there’s not much beyond replaying the campaign for people who value that single-player experience. Conclusion: Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown feels like a game that’s not sure about what it wants to be. It wants to be a gritty war story, but lacks the punch necessary to follow-through on that desire. The gameplay frequently feels disconnected from the story itself. It’s incredibly short, clocking in at only 2/3 the size of its PS2 predecessor. However, despite these narrative shortcomings, its ultimately nails the feel of classic Ace Combat. It’s a blast to play and part of the disappointment in the shortness of the game stems from the desire to play more of it. As a starting point for relaunching consistent Ace Combat releases, Skies Unknown feels like solid bedrock on which to build. For those who love multiplayer or want a unique VR experience (yes, the VR is cool, but you probably shouldn’t buy PSVR just to experience Ace Combat 7), Skies Unknown caters directly to those cravings. It certainly isn’t the perfect Ace Combat game that sets a new standard for the franchise, but Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown stands as an enjoyable entry that fans will appreciate. Maybe just wait for it to go on sale and see how the DLC roll out goes before you buy. Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  3. Guitar Hero released in 2005 for the PlayStation 2, quickly becoming a phenomenon that spawned years of plastic guitar shredding. With a slick, novelty controller and a punk art style, the plucky title became a party attraction everyone could enjoy. Should the game that made the whole world feel like all of their air guitar practice sessions were building up to something special be called one of the best games of all-time? 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 Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker 'The Swaggin' Dragon' by ToxicxEternity (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03766) 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 Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  4. Guitar Hero released in 2005 for the PlayStation 2, quickly becoming a phenomenon that spawned years of plastic guitar shredding. With a slick, novelty controller and a punk art style, the plucky title became a party attraction everyone could enjoy. Should the game that made the whole world feel like all of their air guitar practice sessions were building up to something special be called one of the best games of all-time? 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 Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker 'The Swaggin' Dragon' by ToxicxEternity (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03766) 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 Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  5. We're going all the way back to the arcade heydays of video games this week! In 1980, Pac-Man became one of the biggest games of all-time. It consumed billions of quarters, caused the music and film industries to view video games as genuine competition, and paved the way for its strange successor. Ms. Pac-Man technically improved on Pac-Man in almost every respect and offered gamers the first playable woman in gaming history. It also has one of the oddest development origins. While many might put Pac-Man as one of the best games of all-time, can the same be said for Ms. Pac-Man? 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: Shovel Knight 'Shovel Power' by Jorito (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03758) 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 Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  6. We're going all the way back to the arcade heydays of video games this week! In 1980, Pac-Man became one of the biggest games of all-time. It consumed billions of quarters, caused the music and film industries to view video games as genuine competition, and paved the way for its strange successor. Ms. Pac-Man technically improved on Pac-Man in almost every respect and offered gamers the first playable woman in gaming history. It also has one of the oddest development origins. While many might put Pac-Man as one of the best games of all-time, can the same be said for Ms. Pac-Man? 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: Shovel Knight 'Shovel Power' by Jorito (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03758) 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 Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  7. The Mortal Kombat series has been one of the pillars of the fighting game scene since it rose to prominence in the arcades of the early 90s. By 2011, the series had been flagging after a series of mediocre spin-offs and main entries. With the dissolution of Midway, things were grim. However, series creator Ed Boon wasn't ready to be done with quite yet. He managed to create a game that encapsulated the entire series up until that point, bringing together characters and plots that had long become too convoluted for words and unifying them into one package with a modern shine that brought Mortal Kombat into a new era of prosperity and success. 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: Mortal Kombat 3 'Mortal Konfrontation' by The Dual Dragons (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR02279) 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 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. New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday View full article
  8. The Mortal Kombat series has been one of the pillars of the fighting game scene since it rose to prominence in the arcades of the early 90s. By 2011, the series had been flagging after a series of mediocre spin-offs and main entries. With the dissolution of Midway, things were grim. However, series creator Ed Boon wasn't ready to be done with quite yet. He managed to create a game that encapsulated the entire series up until that point, bringing together characters and plots that had long become too convoluted for words and unifying them into one package with a modern shine that brought Mortal Kombat into a new era of prosperity and success. 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: Mortal Kombat 3 'Mortal Konfrontation' by The Dual Dragons (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR02279) 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 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. New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday
  9. Sega has had a long-running series of arcade titles in Japan that have players piloting mechs through tense battles. The series, titled Border Break, got its start in 2009 and will finally see a console release later this year as a free-to-play game with microtransactions involving in-game items. Unfortunately, for now it seems that Border Break will be limited to the Japanese market, but an English localization isn't out of the question. Border Break focuses on 10v10 mech battles across a variety of maps. Each mech can be customized for visual flair and new stats. There are four main weapon types for players to learn and specialize in: Assault (for a balance between mobility and firepower), Heavy Fire (for firepower), Raid (for pure firepower at a cost), and Support (for healing and light damage). Battles can be against the computer, casually against other players, or in ranked matches for honor and glory. How microtransactions will affect the game remain to be seen. Given that Border Break seems to offer a great deal of customization for individual mechs, it's not out of the question that certain parts or upgrades could be locked behind a paywall. It might also fall into the camp of cosmetic payments. For now, it's pretty exciting that Sega has decided on a console release. A story mode also makes its debut in the console release. Border Break will tell the tale of a young woman named Hati who desires revenge as she pilots her mech against, among others, Managar, a crack ace. The story details have been left somewhat vague, but we know that Hati will be assisted by a woman named Mikoto and that the cast will be quite expansive beyond those three. The cast will be filled out with characters created by a pool of popular Japanese illustrators. Overall, Border Break looks like a really interesting project that would be awesome to see come to the West, especially if the microtransactions prove to be unobtrusive. We can always use more mech action! Border Break will release sometime later this year. View full article
  10. Sega has had a long-running series of arcade titles in Japan that have players piloting mechs through tense battles. The series, titled Border Break, got its start in 2009 and will finally see a console release later this year as a free-to-play game with microtransactions involving in-game items. Unfortunately, for now it seems that Border Break will be limited to the Japanese market, but an English localization isn't out of the question. Border Break focuses on 10v10 mech battles across a variety of maps. Each mech can be customized for visual flair and new stats. There are four main weapon types for players to learn and specialize in: Assault (for a balance between mobility and firepower), Heavy Fire (for firepower), Raid (for pure firepower at a cost), and Support (for healing and light damage). Battles can be against the computer, casually against other players, or in ranked matches for honor and glory. How microtransactions will affect the game remain to be seen. Given that Border Break seems to offer a great deal of customization for individual mechs, it's not out of the question that certain parts or upgrades could be locked behind a paywall. It might also fall into the camp of cosmetic payments. For now, it's pretty exciting that Sega has decided on a console release. A story mode also makes its debut in the console release. Border Break will tell the tale of a young woman named Hati who desires revenge as she pilots her mech against, among others, Managar, a crack ace. The story details have been left somewhat vague, but we know that Hati will be assisted by a woman named Mikoto and that the cast will be quite expansive beyond those three. The cast will be filled out with characters created by a pool of popular Japanese illustrators. Overall, Border Break looks like a really interesting project that would be awesome to see come to the West, especially if the microtransactions prove to be unobtrusive. We can always use more mech action! Border Break will release sometime later this year.
  11. The Flying Tigers were the most prolific group of air force pilots in the Pacific theater during World War II, undertaking dangerous missions on behalf of both the United States and China during World War II. They became known for their daring tactics and successful sorties against the encroaching Japanese while armed with only 99 P-40 fighters painted with the iconic bared shark teeth. The Tigers were entirely made up of volunteer pilots from a mixture of military and civilian backgrounds. An upcoming game from Ace Maddox, a Swedish indie dev, delves into the story of the Flying Tigers directly. Flying Tigers: Shadows Over China features a single-player campaign that offers a window into the secret operations of the American Volunteer Group, the people who would go on to be known as Tigers. There's also an option for players to fly into combat against one another in competitive dogfighting, crazy rocket-propelled battles, capture the flag, and more. The gameplay takes players into the skies for a fusion of flight-sim and arcade action. For players who enjoy a stylish gameplay twist, Ace Maddox has implemented TrazerTime, a slow-motion combat mechanic, along with variable weather, and a huge roster of aircraft. Players will find themselves running fighter, bomber, gunner, recon, and night missions. Flying Tigers: Shadows Over China releases on January 12th, 2018 for the Xbox One.
  12. The Flying Tigers were the most prolific group of air force pilots in the Pacific theater during World War II, undertaking dangerous missions on behalf of both the United States and China during World War II. They became known for their daring tactics and successful sorties against the encroaching Japanese while armed with only 99 P-40 fighters painted with the iconic bared shark teeth. The Tigers were entirely made up of volunteer pilots from a mixture of military and civilian backgrounds. An upcoming game from Ace Maddox, a Swedish indie dev, delves into the story of the Flying Tigers directly. Flying Tigers: Shadows Over China features a single-player campaign that offers a window into the secret operations of the American Volunteer Group, the people who would go on to be known as Tigers. There's also an option for players to fly into combat against one another in competitive dogfighting, crazy rocket-propelled battles, capture the flag, and more. The gameplay takes players into the skies for a fusion of flight-sim and arcade action. For players who enjoy a stylish gameplay twist, Ace Maddox has implemented TrazerTime, a slow-motion combat mechanic, along with variable weather, and a huge roster of aircraft. Players will find themselves running fighter, bomber, gunner, recon, and night missions. Flying Tigers: Shadows Over China releases on January 12th, 2018 for the Xbox One. View full article
  13. It has been a decade since we last saw an officially numbered entry in the venerable Ace Combat series. Since then, fans of Project Aces' aerial combat games have had to content themselves with Ace Combat: Assault Horizon and Ace Combat: Infinity, the free-to-play PS3 digital title. This year marks the return of a series that delivers some of the craziest dogfights in gaming history. Counter to initial reports that Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown would be a PlayStation 4 exclusive, the title will also be coming to PC and Xbox One. However, those who want to experience Ace Combat 7 in virtual reality will have to play it on PS VR. Those who do own PlayStation's virtual reality headset will be able to access missions unavailable on other platforms. Ace Combat 7 marks the return to what has been dubbed "Strangereal" the surreal world in which the other numbered entries of the series have taken place. This other world mirrors our own, but includes more fantastical devices, such as monolithic, nuclear satellites or colossal super planes. The story picks up some time after the conclusion of Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation. The world has advanced since the Gracemerian Incident, and pilots are slowly being replaced with remote controlled drones and AI fighters. The series looks to be carrying on the tradition of high drama storytelling that earned it the nickname "airborne Metal Gear." I am 100% on board with that. No hard release date has been given, but expect to see Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown later this year for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. View full article
  14. It has been a decade since we last saw an officially numbered entry in the venerable Ace Combat series. Since then, fans of Project Aces' aerial combat games have had to content themselves with Ace Combat: Assault Horizon and Ace Combat: Infinity, the free-to-play PS3 digital title. This year marks the return of a series that delivers some of the craziest dogfights in gaming history. Counter to initial reports that Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown would be a PlayStation 4 exclusive, the title will also be coming to PC and Xbox One. However, those who want to experience Ace Combat 7 in virtual reality will have to play it on PS VR. Those who do own PlayStation's virtual reality headset will be able to access missions unavailable on other platforms. Ace Combat 7 marks the return to what has been dubbed "Strangereal" the surreal world in which the other numbered entries of the series have taken place. This other world mirrors our own, but includes more fantastical devices, such as monolithic, nuclear satellites or colossal super planes. The story picks up some time after the conclusion of Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation. The world has advanced since the Gracemerian Incident, and pilots are slowly being replaced with remote controlled drones and AI fighters. The series looks to be carrying on the tradition of high drama storytelling that earned it the nickname "airborne Metal Gear." I am 100% on board with that. No hard release date has been given, but expect to see Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown later this year for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
  15. Teased way back in the days of 2013, the remake of the 1989 Amiga classic Shadow of the Beast has resurfaced. The Sony-published title puts players in control of Aarbron, a beast on a quest of bloody vengeance on a distant, magical world. However, a number of features have been outlined that weren't known before. The game touts a smooth 60 frames-per-second and the team at Heavy Spectrum is working hard to make sure that the response time allows for the most enjoyable experience. The world of Karamoon features a variety of environments (not just the desert many might remember from the teaser!) and a wide variety of creatures to fight. The remake includes a robust upgrade tree and a variety of artifacts that will allow players to gain the upper hand in combat. Matt Birch, founder of Heavy Spectrum, also talks about the challenges of managing difficulty. There are easier modes that will allow players to explore the combat system and experience the story, but Birch says the true difficulty is Beast mode. Shadow of the Beast hits the PSN for the PlayStation 4 on May 17.
  16. Teased way back in the days of 2013, the remake of the 1989 Amiga classic Shadow of the Beast has resurfaced. The Sony-published title puts players in control of Aarbron, a beast on a quest of bloody vengeance on a distant, magical world. However, a number of features have been outlined that weren't known before. The game touts a smooth 60 frames-per-second and the team at Heavy Spectrum is working hard to make sure that the response time allows for the most enjoyable experience. The world of Karamoon features a variety of environments (not just the desert many might remember from the teaser!) and a wide variety of creatures to fight. The remake includes a robust upgrade tree and a variety of artifacts that will allow players to gain the upper hand in combat. Matt Birch, founder of Heavy Spectrum, also talks about the challenges of managing difficulty. There are easier modes that will allow players to explore the combat system and experience the story, but Birch says the true difficulty is Beast mode. Shadow of the Beast hits the PSN for the PlayStation 4 on May 17. View full article
  17. stodd.ELBoston

    Bit Fest

    until
    Looking for help at Bit Fest: @Stevie1081 has set up this event with Night Shift Brewing to have a table/presence there. We could use up to 2-3 people each night there if you can do it. "Bit Fest in September will be on Thursday and Friday September 10-11th. It's gonna be at the Night Shift Brewery in Everett, MA. It goes from 4PM-11PM each day but we can get in at 3PM to set up. Its a super fun event where they have 30-40 old school arcade games, multiple old school gaming consoles (8 BIT Nintendo, SEGA, Ect, Ect.), retro game vendors t shirt and art vendors. They also will have a food truck set up outside for food and of course they have Night Shift beer."
  18. The soundtrack to Vlambeer's retro arcade shooter is on sale and it's something like the Swiss Army knife of soundtracks. I was a bit confused when I read that the Luftrausers soundtrack was available because, for those who don't know, the soundtrack of Luftrausers is made up of numerous tracks that change their combination based on what gear is equipped to your rauser. That means that there are over 100 combinations for different songs that could be included in this bundle. My confusion has dissipated after discovering more about the final product. The Luftrauser's soundtrack holds five original songs and four specific songs used in the game. People who purchase the nine track album will also receive all the individual tracks separated, allowing more musically inclined gamers to remix and play around with them to their heart's content. Note: Kozilek, Luftrauser's composer, says that to remix the tracks "just remove the '.sav' part from the filename." You can download the soundtrack from Kozilek's bandcamp page. What do you think of the Luftrausers game or soundtrack? Do compelling game soundtracks or singles significantly influence your opinion of a game? View full article
  19. The soundtrack to Vlambeer's retro arcade shooter is on sale and it's something like the Swiss Army knife of soundtracks. I was a bit confused when I read that the Luftrausers soundtrack was available because, for those who don't know, the soundtrack of Luftrausers is made up of numerous tracks that change their combination based on what gear is equipped to your rauser. That means that there are over 100 combinations for different songs that could be included in this bundle. My confusion has dissipated after discovering more about the final product. The Luftrauser's soundtrack holds five original songs and four specific songs used in the game. People who purchase the nine track album will also receive all the individual tracks separated, allowing more musically inclined gamers to remix and play around with them to their heart's content. Note: Kozilek, Luftrauser's composer, says that to remix the tracks "just remove the '.sav' part from the filename." You can download the soundtrack from Kozilek's bandcamp page. What do you think of the Luftrausers game or soundtrack? Do compelling game soundtracks or singles significantly influence your opinion of a game?
  20. For those who are unfamiliar with Earth Defense Force (EDF), let me paint a word-picture of what the series is like, at least as I am familiar with it from the previous two game that have released in North America. Imagine a third-person shooter with low-budget graphics, hilarious animation, and a laughable storyline. Combine that mental image with the concepts of infinite ammo, flying saucers, lasers, jet packs, destructible environments, giant robots, hundreds of giant ants, spiders, and other insects. Does that sound awesome? Then EDF 2017 and its direct sequel EDF 2025 might just be for you. The events of the first game aren’t all that important. All you need to know is that aliens dubbed “The Ravagers” descended on Earth, and were defeated by the Earth Defense Force. Thought to be destroyed, the Ravagers suddenly reappear in 2025 stronger than ever, and the EDF must once more step up to stop the global threat. Taking cues from a previous EDF title called Insect Armageddon, 2025 has four playable classes. The Air Raider can call down vehicle drops and functions as a support class, improving and working with other classes. The Ranger class is the most balanced and “normal” of the classes, able to roll out of danger. The third class is the mobile Wing Diver, who comes equipped with a jet pack and laser weapons. Playing as a Wing Diver was perhaps the most fun I had with a class in my hour with EDF 2025. The light weapons she uses are offset by her maneuverability in the air, in which she can fly almost indefinitely. Some of her weapons drain her jet pack energy, forcing an early landing if you aren’t careful, but there is no fall damage in EDF. Finally, the Fencer heavy weapons class can bring four weapons into a level instead of two and can switch between both load outs on the fly. Basically, the Fencer quadra-wields weapons. QUADRA. WIELDS. WEAPONS. Oh, and the Fencer has access to hyper-charged melee weapons like a gravity hammer that can be charged up and releases a gigantic shockwave. The game was designed with splitscreen and online co-op in mind. Up to four people can play together online, while two people can play together locally in splitscreen. Some weapons can only be used in conjunction with other classes in multiplayer. The example I was shown involved the Air Raider and the Fencer. As the fencer, I had a weapon which fired a single, powerful guided-missile, while the Air Raider had a guiding laser which could be used to select the target for the missile. Many features have stayed the same from 2017 to 2025. The goal of each mission is as simple as it ever was: Destroy all the enemies. There have been some slight graphical improvements and the frame rate no longer stutters when faced with hundreds of charging ants, spiders, flying saucers, giant robots, etc. However, the low-grade charm of 2017 remains intact. The multiple difficulty levels ranging from Easy to Inferno return, as well as better weapon rewards for completing higher difficulties. Previous EDF titles consisted of up to sixty missions. When I asked one of the developers about how many missions we could expect to see in 2025, she was unable to give the exact number of missions, but assured me that “the number will be much higher than sixty.” In 2017, buildings would crumble into rubble at the slightest touch of a rocket. While buildings no longer seems as if they are constructed of papier-mâché, they remain destructible. Another new aspect is that enemies can pick up your character and toss them around. While this might seem like it would be frustrating, players will be able to continue firing while grabbed. These attacks feature the use of new (and hilarious) ragdoll animations which also occur anytime your character is hit by an explosion. The Earth Defense Force series holds a special place in my heart. With cheesy graphics, a laughable story, and hilarious scenarios, EDF has always been a great arcade experience to share with friends. By now it appears that 2025 will fill the shoes left by 2017. For every step taken to improve the experience, there is a half-step backward onto a banana peel, which is where Earth Defense Force truly shines. Mark my words, Earth Defense Force 2025 will be a cult classic for many years to come. Earth Defense Force 2025 will release July 4, 2013 in Japan and February 4, 2014 in North America on Xbox 360 and PS3. There are currently no plans for a next-gen release.
  21. For those who are unfamiliar with Earth Defense Force (EDF), let me paint a word-picture of what the series is like, at least as I am familiar with it from the previous two game that have released in North America. Imagine a third-person shooter with low-budget graphics, hilarious animation, and a laughable storyline. Combine that mental image with the concepts of infinite ammo, flying saucers, lasers, jet packs, destructible environments, giant robots, hundreds of giant ants, spiders, and other insects. Does that sound awesome? Then EDF 2017 and its direct sequel EDF 2025 might just be for you. The events of the first game aren’t all that important. All you need to know is that aliens dubbed “The Ravagers” descended on Earth, and were defeated by the Earth Defense Force. Thought to be destroyed, the Ravagers suddenly reappear in 2025 stronger than ever, and the EDF must once more step up to stop the global threat. Taking cues from a previous EDF title called Insect Armageddon, 2025 has four playable classes. The Air Raider can call down vehicle drops and functions as a support class, improving and working with other classes. The Ranger class is the most balanced and “normal” of the classes, able to roll out of danger. The third class is the mobile Wing Diver, who comes equipped with a jet pack and laser weapons. Playing as a Wing Diver was perhaps the most fun I had with a class in my hour with EDF 2025. The light weapons she uses are offset by her maneuverability in the air, in which she can fly almost indefinitely. Some of her weapons drain her jet pack energy, forcing an early landing if you aren’t careful, but there is no fall damage in EDF. Finally, the Fencer heavy weapons class can bring four weapons into a level instead of two and can switch between both load outs on the fly. Basically, the Fencer quadra-wields weapons. QUADRA. WIELDS. WEAPONS. Oh, and the Fencer has access to hyper-charged melee weapons like a gravity hammer that can be charged up and releases a gigantic shockwave. The game was designed with splitscreen and online co-op in mind. Up to four people can play together online, while two people can play together locally in splitscreen. Some weapons can only be used in conjunction with other classes in multiplayer. The example I was shown involved the Air Raider and the Fencer. As the fencer, I had a weapon which fired a single, powerful guided-missile, while the Air Raider had a guiding laser which could be used to select the target for the missile. Many features have stayed the same from 2017 to 2025. The goal of each mission is as simple as it ever was: Destroy all the enemies. There have been some slight graphical improvements and the frame rate no longer stutters when faced with hundreds of charging ants, spiders, flying saucers, giant robots, etc. However, the low-grade charm of 2017 remains intact. The multiple difficulty levels ranging from Easy to Inferno return, as well as better weapon rewards for completing higher difficulties. Previous EDF titles consisted of up to sixty missions. When I asked one of the developers about how many missions we could expect to see in 2025, she was unable to give the exact number of missions, but assured me that “the number will be much higher than sixty.” In 2017, buildings would crumble into rubble at the slightest touch of a rocket. While buildings no longer seems as if they are constructed of papier-mâché, they remain destructible. Another new aspect is that enemies can pick up your character and toss them around. While this might seem like it would be frustrating, players will be able to continue firing while grabbed. These attacks feature the use of new (and hilarious) ragdoll animations which also occur anytime your character is hit by an explosion. The Earth Defense Force series holds a special place in my heart. With cheesy graphics, a laughable story, and hilarious scenarios, EDF has always been a great arcade experience to share with friends. By now it appears that 2025 will fill the shoes left by 2017. For every step taken to improve the experience, there is a half-step backward onto a banana peel, which is where Earth Defense Force truly shines. Mark my words, Earth Defense Force 2025 will be a cult classic for many years to come. Earth Defense Force 2025 will release July 4, 2013 in Japan and February 4, 2014 in North America on Xbox 360 and PS3. There are currently no plans for a next-gen release. View full article
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