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Found 30 results

  1. "A foot in the middle, a foot in the middle, a foot in the middle a foot in the middle a foot in the middleafootinthemiddleafootinthemiddleafootinthemiddleafoo-" Can you hear it? The call of Cthulhu scratching at your mind's door? Cyanide Studio's adaptation of Chaosium's tabletop RPG releases next week and the launch trailer shows some of the harrowing sights and sounds players can expect to encounter on the island of Darkwater. Following unexplained and uninvestigated happenings on the New England island that culminated in the death of Sarah Hawkins, P.I. Edward Pierce begins to dig for the truth. Pierce, a tortured alcoholic with PTSD, quickly finds himself wrapped up in a horrific plot and a world rapidly unraveling. The waking world begins to invert itself and reality itself starts to blend with dreams of horror. With distrustful locals and an eldritch entity rumbling from its slumber, players will have to do everything they can to maintain their sanity. Call of Cthulhu releases on October 30 for 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. "A foot in the middle, a foot in the middle, a foot in the middle a foot in the middle a foot in the middleafootinthemiddleafootinthemiddleafootinthemiddleafoo-" Can you hear it? The call of Cthulhu scratching at your mind's door? Cyanide Studio's adaptation of Chaosium's tabletop RPG releases next week and the launch trailer shows some of the harrowing sights and sounds players can expect to encounter on the island of Darkwater. Following unexplained and uninvestigated happenings on the New England island that culminated in the death of Sarah Hawkins, P.I. Edward Pierce begins to dig for the truth. Pierce, a tortured alcoholic with PTSD, quickly finds himself wrapped up in a horrific plot and a world rapidly unraveling. The waking world begins to invert itself and reality itself starts to blend with dreams of horror. With distrustful locals and an eldritch entity rumbling from its slumber, players will have to do everything they can to maintain their sanity. Call of Cthulhu releases on October 30 for 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. The Space Hulk tabletop game has entertained Warhammer 40,000 fans for decades. The Space Marine vs Genestealer conflict spilled into the world of video games in the early 90’s, spawning numerous titles ranging from real-time strategy to first-person shooters. Space Hulk: Tactics isn’t the first turn-based strategy entry, but its new card system and two narrative-focused campaigns seperate it from the pack. The two distinct story campaigns center on the Blood Angels chapter of the Terminator Space Marines and the alien Genestealers. This marks the first time the ferocious monsters have been playable in a Space Hulk campaign. Like the board game, players guide a squad through the narrow corridors of the Space Hulk vessels. Marines must fulfil objectives such as escaping or eliminating a target. Genestealers need to slaughter their armored foes before they complete their mission. Outside of these narratives, players can battle in skirmishes against the AI or face other players in competitive multiplayer. I played match against a developer using the Blood Angels while he chose the Genestealers. My objective was to reach a room in order to scorch it with a flamethrower. Only one of my units could perform this task so I had to escort him to the point safely. Players position units or attack adversaries by spending Action Points. Characters have a limited amount of these points, so it’s important to plan ahead for obstacles such as locked doors or surprise enemy spawns. Units fill a specific roles such as Medics, Librarians (psychic-powered mystics), or Assaults, and can use staple genre abilities such as overwatch in addition to their class abilities. Genestealers, whose ranks include powerful Broodlords and nimble Reaperfexes, are placed at spawn points and swarm their prey in waves. Since the opponent can’t see where Genestealers get positioned, savvy players can set up surprise ambushes. Genestealers can even place decoys to throw off the other player. A new card system offers another strategic twist. Equipping units with cards bestows powerful abilities and bonuses. For example, a card may award more points for killing certain enemy types or deal extra melee damage. Tactics features over 80 cards to collect, each one playing a substantial role in combat and tactical decision-making. Cards can also be destroyed in exchange for extra action points for Marines or to summon new units for Genestealers. I like the strategy and flexibility of gaining more actions by sacrificing an ability I may not need in the moment. A first-person option is one of the game’s coolest features. Hitting a button causes the view to shift from a standard top-down angle to witnessing the action from the character’s perspective. Not only does this look neat, but it helps with lining up attacks more accurately or to better identify environmental elements. When playing competitively players can control four chapters (basically factions) of Space Marines: Blood Angels, Space Wolves, Ultramarines, and Dark Angels. Squad customization allows for units to be modified by body part with various armor types and color schemes. With plenty of options at their disposal, players can create squads that suit their visual fancy. I also got a brief look at the mission editor. Players can craft their own levels to share with others online. The intuitive controls make it a cinch to construct corridors and place elements such as auto-turrets and other traps. Visual variations of each tile means stages can take on the gothic look of imperial ships or the metallic hodgepodge of orc vessels, among others. Players can assign multiple objectives to their missions, with Terminators and Genestealers having their own dedicated tasks. Admittedly, I’m not much of a Warhammer 40K fan. However, strategy games make my soul smile, and Space Hulk: Tactics strikes many of the right notes for the genre. I had a good time playing and could see myself getting into the experience despite having no affinity for the intricate lore. Look for the game on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One when it launches on October 9. 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!
  4. The Space Hulk tabletop game has entertained Warhammer 40,000 fans for decades. The Space Marine vs Genestealer conflict spilled into the world of video games in the early 90’s, spawning numerous titles ranging from real-time strategy to first-person shooters. Space Hulk: Tactics isn’t the first turn-based strategy entry, but its new card system and two narrative-focused campaigns seperate it from the pack. The two distinct story campaigns center on the Blood Angels chapter of the Terminator Space Marines and the alien Genestealers. This marks the first time the ferocious monsters have been playable in a Space Hulk campaign. Like the board game, players guide a squad through the narrow corridors of the Space Hulk vessels. Marines must fulfil objectives such as escaping or eliminating a target. Genestealers need to slaughter their armored foes before they complete their mission. Outside of these narratives, players can battle in skirmishes against the AI or face other players in competitive multiplayer. I played match against a developer using the Blood Angels while he chose the Genestealers. My objective was to reach a room in order to scorch it with a flamethrower. Only one of my units could perform this task so I had to escort him to the point safely. Players position units or attack adversaries by spending Action Points. Characters have a limited amount of these points, so it’s important to plan ahead for obstacles such as locked doors or surprise enemy spawns. Units fill a specific roles such as Medics, Librarians (psychic-powered mystics), or Assaults, and can use staple genre abilities such as overwatch in addition to their class abilities. Genestealers, whose ranks include powerful Broodlords and nimble Reaperfexes, are placed at spawn points and swarm their prey in waves. Since the opponent can’t see where Genestealers get positioned, savvy players can set up surprise ambushes. Genestealers can even place decoys to throw off the other player. A new card system offers another strategic twist. Equipping units with cards bestows powerful abilities and bonuses. For example, a card may award more points for killing certain enemy types or deal extra melee damage. Tactics features over 80 cards to collect, each one playing a substantial role in combat and tactical decision-making. Cards can also be destroyed in exchange for extra action points for Marines or to summon new units for Genestealers. I like the strategy and flexibility of gaining more actions by sacrificing an ability I may not need in the moment. A first-person option is one of the game’s coolest features. Hitting a button causes the view to shift from a standard top-down angle to witnessing the action from the character’s perspective. Not only does this look neat, but it helps with lining up attacks more accurately or to better identify environmental elements. When playing competitively players can control four chapters (basically factions) of Space Marines: Blood Angels, Space Wolves, Ultramarines, and Dark Angels. Squad customization allows for units to be modified by body part with various armor types and color schemes. With plenty of options at their disposal, players can create squads that suit their visual fancy. I also got a brief look at the mission editor. Players can craft their own levels to share with others online. The intuitive controls make it a cinch to construct corridors and place elements such as auto-turrets and other traps. Visual variations of each tile means stages can take on the gothic look of imperial ships or the metallic hodgepodge of orc vessels, among others. Players can assign multiple objectives to their missions, with Terminators and Genestealers having their own dedicated tasks. Admittedly, I’m not much of a Warhammer 40K fan. However, strategy games make my soul smile, and Space Hulk: Tactics strikes many of the right notes for the genre. I had a good time playing and could see myself getting into the experience despite having no affinity for the intricate lore. Look for the game on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One when it launches on October 9. 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
  5. The mountain of battle royale games continues to rise with Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds dueling at the summit. For developers beginning the climb, reaching the top feels nigh impossible. However, Fear the Wolves by Vostok Games aims to establish a cozy, nuclear-powered base camp near the top instead. Fear the Wolves comes from the minds behind the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. franchise. That series’ harsh survival elements and bleak setting bleeds into their new battle royale. 100-person bouts take place in the infamous Chernobyl nuclear zone. Gameplay also takes a decidedly hardcore approach. Speaking with Oleg Ruslan, a key mind behind the project, he describes it as, “less arcadey stuff, no cartoonish things. More realistic, more hardcore–a grim reality that sucks.” Unlike other battle royale games, Fear the Wolves gives players a lot more to worry about than the 99 other combatants. Chernobyl contains irradiated areas that harm players who lack protective equipment. On top of that are Anomalies, danger zones on the map that further challenge the player. “Some of them are invisible, some of them are pretty interesting to really understand and explore how you deal with them.” says Ruslan. “For example, a type of Anomaly which hurts you if you're standing but if you're running you're fine. You need to try and find a way out of it, and [these are] little puzzles that the players will need to solve.” In another twist, a dynamic day and night cycle along with changing weather conditions directly affect gameplay. Ruslan explains “ For example, in strong wind you can not shoot very accurately. Your bullet physics [are] affected or in dense fog you cannot see other players very well.” If the elements weren’t enough to deal with, mutated animals such as vicious wolf packs stalk players throughout the match. Ruslan states this adds another layer of unpredictability to matches. Players who run into these beasts without the proper weapons will become a gruesome meal long before any human does the job. With added dangers, however, come new ways to emerge victorious. In addition to winning matches by being the last person standing, players can instead opt to hop aboard an escape helicopter. The lucky soul who manages to climb aboard this single-seat aircraft automatically wins the match–regardless of the number of players left. The helicopter only appears during the final leg of the round and gives new meaning to the phrase, “get to the chopper!” It also struck me as one of Fear the Wolve’s most intriguing features. “That's our little touch that will make it a little different experience, we think.” says Oleg. “Instead of people sitting in the bush [and] waiting for someone else to snipe and just win the match, here it's a possibility to actually just avoid the company. Anyone can be elusive and just jump on that helicopter and escape the map and win. So this definitely gives more room for tactics and possibility for winning the game.” Vostok Games also want to incorporate streaming features into Fear the Wolves. Twitch and Mixer users viewing matches in progress will be able to vote in real-time which in-game mechanics occur such as the weather effects. This appears to be a work-in-progress, with Oleg stating that the team has plans to expand on audience integration in the future. At the moment, Fear the Wolves will feature solo, survival, and squad play. An unannounced fourth mode will, in Oleg’s words, be “fresh to the genre”. All in all, the game has a lot going on between modes and gameplay, and I asked how the team decides when its doing too much and to scale back. Oleg told me that while the studio has plenty of ideas, they’re currently focused on how players react to what’s already present. Everything Vostok Games does must be “in line” with the community’s preferences. Speaking of community, Vostok wants Fear the Wolves to find its own, hardcore niche in the deepening pool of battle royale titles. It’d be nice to supplant Fortnite and PUBG as top dog, of course, but Oleg believes merely copying the competition would be insane as that would require crafting a product that’s twice their quality–a tall order for any team. “It makes sense to be different, and offer the market something different, and see if people have [a] response.” explains Ruslan. “...We would go crazy headbanging against the wall fighting against guys like Fortnite.” We won’t have to wait too long to see how Fear the Wolves fares. The game enters Steam Early Access this month and the full PC release is scheduled for later this year. Vostok Games plans to launch the console version in 2019. So far, the game offers a slew of unique ideas and a hardcore appeal. I’m keen to see if Fear the Wolves can take off like its opportune escape helicopter. 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!
  6. The mountain of battle royale games continues to rise with Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds dueling at the summit. For developers beginning the climb, reaching the top feels nigh impossible. However, Fear the Wolves by Vostok Games aims to establish a cozy, nuclear-powered base camp near the top instead. Fear the Wolves comes from the minds behind the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. franchise. That series’ harsh survival elements and bleak setting bleeds into their new battle royale. 100-person bouts take place in the infamous Chernobyl nuclear zone. Gameplay also takes a decidedly hardcore approach. Speaking with Oleg Ruslan, a key mind behind the project, he describes it as, “less arcadey stuff, no cartoonish things. More realistic, more hardcore–a grim reality that sucks.” Unlike other battle royale games, Fear the Wolves gives players a lot more to worry about than the 99 other combatants. Chernobyl contains irradiated areas that harm players who lack protective equipment. On top of that are Anomalies, danger zones on the map that further challenge the player. “Some of them are invisible, some of them are pretty interesting to really understand and explore how you deal with them.” says Ruslan. “For example, a type of Anomaly which hurts you if you're standing but if you're running you're fine. You need to try and find a way out of it, and [these are] little puzzles that the players will need to solve.” In another twist, a dynamic day and night cycle along with changing weather conditions directly affect gameplay. Ruslan explains “ For example, in strong wind you can not shoot very accurately. Your bullet physics [are] affected or in dense fog you cannot see other players very well.” If the elements weren’t enough to deal with, mutated animals such as vicious wolf packs stalk players throughout the match. Ruslan states this adds another layer of unpredictability to matches. Players who run into these beasts without the proper weapons will become a gruesome meal long before any human does the job. With added dangers, however, come new ways to emerge victorious. In addition to winning matches by being the last person standing, players can instead opt to hop aboard an escape helicopter. The lucky soul who manages to climb aboard this single-seat aircraft automatically wins the match–regardless of the number of players left. The helicopter only appears during the final leg of the round and gives new meaning to the phrase, “get to the chopper!” It also struck me as one of Fear the Wolve’s most intriguing features. “That's our little touch that will make it a little different experience, we think.” says Oleg. “Instead of people sitting in the bush [and] waiting for someone else to snipe and just win the match, here it's a possibility to actually just avoid the company. Anyone can be elusive and just jump on that helicopter and escape the map and win. So this definitely gives more room for tactics and possibility for winning the game.” Vostok Games also want to incorporate streaming features into Fear the Wolves. Twitch and Mixer users viewing matches in progress will be able to vote in real-time which in-game mechanics occur such as the weather effects. This appears to be a work-in-progress, with Oleg stating that the team has plans to expand on audience integration in the future. At the moment, Fear the Wolves will feature solo, survival, and squad play. An unannounced fourth mode will, in Oleg’s words, be “fresh to the genre”. All in all, the game has a lot going on between modes and gameplay, and I asked how the team decides when its doing too much and to scale back. Oleg told me that while the studio has plenty of ideas, they’re currently focused on how players react to what’s already present. Everything Vostok Games does must be “in line” with the community’s preferences. Speaking of community, Vostok wants Fear the Wolves to find its own, hardcore niche in the deepening pool of battle royale titles. It’d be nice to supplant Fortnite and PUBG as top dog, of course, but Oleg believes merely copying the competition would be insane as that would require crafting a product that’s twice their quality–a tall order for any team. “It makes sense to be different, and offer the market something different, and see if people have [a] response.” explains Ruslan. “...We would go crazy headbanging against the wall fighting against guys like Fortnite.” We won’t have to wait too long to see how Fear the Wolves fares. The game enters Steam Early Access this month and the full PC release is scheduled for later this year. Vostok Games plans to launch the console version in 2019. So far, the game offers a slew of unique ideas and a hardcore appeal. I’m keen to see if Fear the Wolves can take off like its opportune escape helicopter. 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
  7. We haven't heard an awful lot more about the upcoming action-RPG Vampyr since last year's E3, but Dontnod Entertainment has been hard at work on the bloodsucking adventure. The game casts players as Jonathan Reid, a mild-mannered London doctor who becomes afflicted by a vampiric curse that urges him to kill and feed. As London descends into the middle of a deadly plague, Reid must navigate the consequences of his actions as he weighs the value of each life he encounters. The folks at Dontnod and their publisher, Focus Home Interactive, have put together an upcoming webseries exploring the development process of Vampyr. The glimpse behind the scenes will be called "Dontnod Presents Vampyr" and will consist of four episodes with each one focusing on a different aspect of the game-making process. Each part will be five minutes of insight as explained by the people working on the subject matter highlighted along with new gameplay footage. The first episode, titled Episode I: Making Monsters will go live on January 18. It will dive into how the studio arrived at the core ideas behind Vampyr. Why is Jonathan Reid a doctor? What makes him special as a protagonist? Why is his story interesting? The episode will attempt to answer those questions while also explaining how those questions translate into compelling narrative and gameplay opportunities for players. Each week after the January 18 launch of the series will see a new episode released. The full roster of episodes is as follows: Episode I: Making Monsters Episode II: Architects of the Obscure Episode III: Human After All Episode IV: Stories From the Dark There's no hard release date for the game quite yet, but Vampyr will release sometime this spring for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. Be sure to check out the webseries for more interesting tidbits about Vampyr's development! View full article
  8. We haven't heard an awful lot more about the upcoming action-RPG Vampyr since last year's E3, but Dontnod Entertainment has been hard at work on the bloodsucking adventure. The game casts players as Jonathan Reid, a mild-mannered London doctor who becomes afflicted by a vampiric curse that urges him to kill and feed. As London descends into the middle of a deadly plague, Reid must navigate the consequences of his actions as he weighs the value of each life he encounters. The folks at Dontnod and their publisher, Focus Home Interactive, have put together an upcoming webseries exploring the development process of Vampyr. The glimpse behind the scenes will be called "Dontnod Presents Vampyr" and will consist of four episodes with each one focusing on a different aspect of the game-making process. Each part will be five minutes of insight as explained by the people working on the subject matter highlighted along with new gameplay footage. The first episode, titled Episode I: Making Monsters will go live on January 18. It will dive into how the studio arrived at the core ideas behind Vampyr. Why is Jonathan Reid a doctor? What makes him special as a protagonist? Why is his story interesting? The episode will attempt to answer those questions while also explaining how those questions translate into compelling narrative and gameplay opportunities for players. Each week after the January 18 launch of the series will see a new episode released. The full roster of episodes is as follows: Episode I: Making Monsters Episode II: Architects of the Obscure Episode III: Human After All Episode IV: Stories From the Dark There's no hard release date for the game quite yet, but Vampyr will release sometime this spring for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. Be sure to check out the webseries for more interesting tidbits about Vampyr's development!
  9. For as long as there’s been a Cthulhu mythos, there have been authors, filmmakers and game developers attempting to harness that shadowy void for their own twisted tales. Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu tabletop role-play game allowed players to create their own Lovecraftian fantasies in the vein of Dungeons & Dragons and became the defacto “official” Cthulhu game adaptation. Of course, that didn’t stop video game developers from attempting the same, like Headfirst Productions’ Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth, or Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened. Now, though, fans of the tabletop incarnation may have their chance to transition their love to the television with Cyanide Studios’ Call of Cthulhu, an adaptation of Chaosium’s work. Publisher Focus Home Interactive (makers of Vampyr, The Surge and the Styx series) and developer Cyanide Studios gave a hands-off demo of Call of Cthulhu to media at E3 this year. The first difference most players will notice between Chaosium’s game and Cyanide’s is that it’s not a pure RPG. Call of Cthulhu is a first-person narrative adventure game, similar to Amnesia: Dark Descent, SOMA or Layers of Fear, but with plenty of RPG elements to keep those kinds of players busy with growing their character. Players walk in the shoes of Edward Pierce, a private investigator and former war veteran in 1920s Boston. Pierce is tasked with determining the truth behind the tragic death of Sarah Hawkins, a famous artist who had recently moved with her husband and family to the mysterious Darkwater Island. The demo starts off with Pierce arriving on Darkwater Island and investigating along the way to the Hawkins’ mansion perched atop a large hill. The developers stressed that a keen eye for clues will dramatically impact how well you fare, both in conversations with other characters and while exploring. Pierce spies a series of gravestones for the Hawkins family, noting that all but one have flowers lying at their base. Once Pierce makes it up to the fire-damaged mansion, he’s confronted by the family groundskeeper, still tending to the property and scaring off visitors. It’s here that players are given the chance to use a dialogue wheel to advance the conversation and their investigation. You’ll have a traditional slew of options, including hostility, lies or cooperation, but as the developer puts it, “knowledge is a weapon,” and in more ways than one. Our previous research at the gravestones lets us convince the groundskeeper that we’re on his side and have the family’s best interests at heart, allowing us to continue exploring the grounds in peace. Later on, we’re able to explore the mansion’s interior. Each room has been scarred by the blaze, leaving tattered furniture strewn about and soot hanging in the air. Pierce is able to find clues, like the outline of a victim’s body or a clock, and corroborate them against the evidence already compiled by the police. Again, knowledge proves vital, as Pierce is able to put together that the clock doesn’t match the time that the fire supposedly began. After our investigation, the demo jumped ahead a few chapters to experience what the more visceral side of Lovecraftian horror felt like. Pierce found himself browsing through a room housing antiques and some storage containers, like drawers and closets. At the far end of the room sat a full-length mirror. When Pierce approaches, an otherworldly creature with unnaturally long limbs and a razor-filled mouth emerges from the glass, sniffing him out. Much like Alien: Isolation or Amnesia, Pierce is woefully outclassed by the sheer might of this predator. True to Lovecraftian lore, if you stare too long at the creature, you’ll do irreparable damage to your psyche. However, Cyanide Studios has put an additional twist on traditional horror gameplay with the addition of phobias. Make use of the nearby closets to hide one too many times and Pierce will develop a fear of tight spaces, forcing players to think on their toes. It’s unclear how many of these phobias will be in the final game, but it makes sense to think of them as gameplay modifiers for commonly occurring elements, like closets, darkness or perhaps water. A sanity gauge (think Eternal Darkness) keeps track of your overall mental stability, and considering the horrors that lie in wait, it might be too tempting to stare into that dark void. Call of Cthulhu certainly looks enticing, but it remains to be seen if the experience will translate to meaningful role-playing and survival horror loop. While the mystery solving seems comprehensive enough, running away from Lovecraft’s finest over and over again might get old, especially if the mechanics never push beyond your typical “run and hide” strategies. Here’s hoping we get to see some different creatures than rent-a-Slenderman, and that the writing holds up throughout. Call of Cthulhu is scheduled for release on PC, PS4 and Xbox One later this year. View full article
  10. For as long as there’s been a Cthulhu mythos, there have been authors, filmmakers and game developers attempting to harness that shadowy void for their own twisted tales. Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu tabletop role-play game allowed players to create their own Lovecraftian fantasies in the vein of Dungeons & Dragons and became the defacto “official” Cthulhu game adaptation. Of course, that didn’t stop video game developers from attempting the same, like Headfirst Productions’ Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth, or Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened. Now, though, fans of the tabletop incarnation may have their chance to transition their love to the television with Cyanide Studios’ Call of Cthulhu, an adaptation of Chaosium’s work. Publisher Focus Home Interactive (makers of Vampyr, The Surge and the Styx series) and developer Cyanide Studios gave a hands-off demo of Call of Cthulhu to media at E3 this year. The first difference most players will notice between Chaosium’s game and Cyanide’s is that it’s not a pure RPG. Call of Cthulhu is a first-person narrative adventure game, similar to Amnesia: Dark Descent, SOMA or Layers of Fear, but with plenty of RPG elements to keep those kinds of players busy with growing their character. Players walk in the shoes of Edward Pierce, a private investigator and former war veteran in 1920s Boston. Pierce is tasked with determining the truth behind the tragic death of Sarah Hawkins, a famous artist who had recently moved with her husband and family to the mysterious Darkwater Island. The demo starts off with Pierce arriving on Darkwater Island and investigating along the way to the Hawkins’ mansion perched atop a large hill. The developers stressed that a keen eye for clues will dramatically impact how well you fare, both in conversations with other characters and while exploring. Pierce spies a series of gravestones for the Hawkins family, noting that all but one have flowers lying at their base. Once Pierce makes it up to the fire-damaged mansion, he’s confronted by the family groundskeeper, still tending to the property and scaring off visitors. It’s here that players are given the chance to use a dialogue wheel to advance the conversation and their investigation. You’ll have a traditional slew of options, including hostility, lies or cooperation, but as the developer puts it, “knowledge is a weapon,” and in more ways than one. Our previous research at the gravestones lets us convince the groundskeeper that we’re on his side and have the family’s best interests at heart, allowing us to continue exploring the grounds in peace. Later on, we’re able to explore the mansion’s interior. Each room has been scarred by the blaze, leaving tattered furniture strewn about and soot hanging in the air. Pierce is able to find clues, like the outline of a victim’s body or a clock, and corroborate them against the evidence already compiled by the police. Again, knowledge proves vital, as Pierce is able to put together that the clock doesn’t match the time that the fire supposedly began. After our investigation, the demo jumped ahead a few chapters to experience what the more visceral side of Lovecraftian horror felt like. Pierce found himself browsing through a room housing antiques and some storage containers, like drawers and closets. At the far end of the room sat a full-length mirror. When Pierce approaches, an otherworldly creature with unnaturally long limbs and a razor-filled mouth emerges from the glass, sniffing him out. Much like Alien: Isolation or Amnesia, Pierce is woefully outclassed by the sheer might of this predator. True to Lovecraftian lore, if you stare too long at the creature, you’ll do irreparable damage to your psyche. However, Cyanide Studios has put an additional twist on traditional horror gameplay with the addition of phobias. Make use of the nearby closets to hide one too many times and Pierce will develop a fear of tight spaces, forcing players to think on their toes. It’s unclear how many of these phobias will be in the final game, but it makes sense to think of them as gameplay modifiers for commonly occurring elements, like closets, darkness or perhaps water. A sanity gauge (think Eternal Darkness) keeps track of your overall mental stability, and considering the horrors that lie in wait, it might be too tempting to stare into that dark void. Call of Cthulhu certainly looks enticing, but it remains to be seen if the experience will translate to meaningful role-playing and survival horror loop. While the mystery solving seems comprehensive enough, running away from Lovecraft’s finest over and over again might get old, especially if the mechanics never push beyond your typical “run and hide” strategies. Here’s hoping we get to see some different creatures than rent-a-Slenderman, and that the writing holds up throughout. Call of Cthulhu is scheduled for release on PC, PS4 and Xbox One later this year.
  11. 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.
  12. 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
  13. For as long as I’ve known her, my mother has been deathly afraid of rats. Even the faintest squeak of the floor is enough to send her into hysterics, a trait my sibling and I have exploited to no end of our own sadistic joy. As a pediatric nurse, my mother regularly witnesses some of the scariest moments of thousands of people’s lives, but these tiny creatures still instill the darkest possible fear in her. A Plague Tale: Innocence is going to melt her gosh darn brain. The developers at Asobo Studio gave a hands-off demo exclusive to members of the media featuring the same locations from their E3 teaser trailer, showcasing Plague Tale’s dark Inquisition era and roving hordes of rodents. You play as a young, redheaded woman named Amicia, searching through the mucky streets of a 14th century French village for your younger brother Hugo and mother. It’s the middle of the night and the streets are deathly quiet. Amicia happened upon a group of Inquisition soldiers attempting to bust into a residence suspected of harboring criminals or the diseased; I’m not quite sure. What is sure is that these soldiers are definitely bad dudes (they also believe Amicia and her family are a clan of witches), as Amicia eventually comes upon a guarded carriage housing her captive brother. Two soldiers with lanterns are patrolling nearby as a few clusters of rats slink through the grass. Considering Amicia isn’t some hulking swordsman, she has to use her ingenuity and intellect to defeat obstacles. To that end, she’s able to use a sling to whip rocks at both guards, forcing them to drop their lanterns, which smash on impact. In the world of Plague Tale, strong light is able to ward off the rat hordes, as they’re infused with some magical, almost vampiric power that forces them to stick to the shadows; unfortunate for the guards now shrouded in darkness, as nearby rats immediately swarm them, leaping all over their bodies to tear their flesh apart. There’s little time to consider the wails of death, as Amicia grabs her brother and flees into a nearby cathedral. Plague Tale isn’t all rats and rock slinging, though. Amicia is able to order Hugo to slip into small spaces she’s too tall for, allowing him to retrieve light sources or other resources from unreachable locations and other basic puzzles. Amicia determines that they need to reach the back of the cathedral to find their missing mother, but it’s blocked by another large horde of rats guarding an oddly fleshy crack in the wall. After Hugo retrieves a lantern from behind a nearby gate, Amicia is able to disperse the rats by shooting a rock at a large fire pot hanging from the ceiling and knocking it to the ground. To the horror of Amicia and her brother, the resounding crash of metal on stone attracts more rats than she could account for. From every crack, hole and open wound in the stonework comes hundreds and hundreds of pissed off rodents. This is where Plague Tale’s technology shines through. After the demo, I asked how many rats the developers could fit on screen at once. Their answer: Roughly 3,000. The true beauty of these horrifying hordes isn’t just how many of them can be on screen, it’s how they flow like water, ebbing and gliding over architecture in a deliberate, yet chaotic nature. It’s eerily reminiscent of the zombies in World War Z, as they careened down a market street, flooding every inch from top to bottom with their collective rage. And while each rat beefs up the larger group, each one feels like a relatively independent creature when your light source is able to kill off a few stragglers. From there, Amicia proceeded to clutch Hugo close to her as they pushed forward through the avalanche of rats, directing the light towards any clusters that threatened to get too close. The tension continues to mount higher and higher until the pair make it to a gash in the wall, leading to a disturbingly dark and fleshy tunnel. Hugo, hearing the call of their mother, goes running off into the shadows as Amicia warns him that it can’t be her. A Plague Tale: Innocence definitely fits into publisher Focus Home Interactive’s mostly gothic repertoire and the hook of navigating a grim world beset by rodents is welcome. According to the developer, the entire game will take about 10 hours to complete, which begs the question of just how much this game will depend on rats, stealthing past soldiers, or basic puzzle solving with your brother. Plague Tale’s scope might end up getting a little too wide, but as long as the horrors of the rat horde stay fresh, I’ll be more than willing to bite. A Plague Tale: Innocence doesn't have a release date yet, but it is planned to hit PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.
  14. For as long as I’ve known her, my mother has been deathly afraid of rats. Even the faintest squeak of the floor is enough to send her into hysterics, a trait my sibling and I have exploited to no end of our own sadistic joy. As a pediatric nurse, my mother regularly witnesses some of the scariest moments of thousands of people’s lives, but these tiny creatures still instill the darkest possible fear in her. A Plague Tale: Innocence is going to melt her gosh darn brain. The developers at Asobo Studio gave a hands-off demo exclusive to members of the media featuring the same locations from their E3 teaser trailer, showcasing Plague Tale’s dark Inquisition era and roving hordes of rodents. You play as a young, redheaded woman named Amicia, searching through the mucky streets of a 14th century French village for your younger brother Hugo and mother. It’s the middle of the night and the streets are deathly quiet. Amicia happened upon a group of Inquisition soldiers attempting to bust into a residence suspected of harboring criminals or the diseased; I’m not quite sure. What is sure is that these soldiers are definitely bad dudes (they also believe Amicia and her family are a clan of witches), as Amicia eventually comes upon a guarded carriage housing her captive brother. Two soldiers with lanterns are patrolling nearby as a few clusters of rats slink through the grass. Considering Amicia isn’t some hulking swordsman, she has to use her ingenuity and intellect to defeat obstacles. To that end, she’s able to use a sling to whip rocks at both guards, forcing them to drop their lanterns, which smash on impact. In the world of Plague Tale, strong light is able to ward off the rat hordes, as they’re infused with some magical, almost vampiric power that forces them to stick to the shadows; unfortunate for the guards now shrouded in darkness, as nearby rats immediately swarm them, leaping all over their bodies to tear their flesh apart. There’s little time to consider the wails of death, as Amicia grabs her brother and flees into a nearby cathedral. Plague Tale isn’t all rats and rock slinging, though. Amicia is able to order Hugo to slip into small spaces she’s too tall for, allowing him to retrieve light sources or other resources from unreachable locations and other basic puzzles. Amicia determines that they need to reach the back of the cathedral to find their missing mother, but it’s blocked by another large horde of rats guarding an oddly fleshy crack in the wall. After Hugo retrieves a lantern from behind a nearby gate, Amicia is able to disperse the rats by shooting a rock at a large fire pot hanging from the ceiling and knocking it to the ground. To the horror of Amicia and her brother, the resounding crash of metal on stone attracts more rats than she could account for. From every crack, hole and open wound in the stonework comes hundreds and hundreds of pissed off rodents. This is where Plague Tale’s technology shines through. After the demo, I asked how many rats the developers could fit on screen at once. Their answer: Roughly 3,000. The true beauty of these horrifying hordes isn’t just how many of them can be on screen, it’s how they flow like water, ebbing and gliding over architecture in a deliberate, yet chaotic nature. It’s eerily reminiscent of the zombies in World War Z, as they careened down a market street, flooding every inch from top to bottom with their collective rage. And while each rat beefs up the larger group, each one feels like a relatively independent creature when your light source is able to kill off a few stragglers. From there, Amicia proceeded to clutch Hugo close to her as they pushed forward through the avalanche of rats, directing the light towards any clusters that threatened to get too close. The tension continues to mount higher and higher until the pair make it to a gash in the wall, leading to a disturbingly dark and fleshy tunnel. Hugo, hearing the call of their mother, goes running off into the shadows as Amicia warns him that it can’t be her. A Plague Tale: Innocence definitely fits into publisher Focus Home Interactive’s mostly gothic repertoire and the hook of navigating a grim world beset by rodents is welcome. According to the developer, the entire game will take about 10 hours to complete, which begs the question of just how much this game will depend on rats, stealthing past soldiers, or basic puzzle solving with your brother. Plague Tale’s scope might end up getting a little too wide, but as long as the horrors of the rat horde stay fresh, I’ll be more than willing to bite. A Plague Tale: Innocence doesn't have a release date yet, but it is planned to hit PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. View full article
  15. From Dontnod, the studio behind Remember Me and Life Is Strange, comes Vampyr, an action-RPG set in the London of 1918. As Jonathan E. Reid, a dedicated physician who suffers from the vampiric affliction, players must grapple or give in to their newfound bloodthirst while both searching for a cure to his disease and the ongoing Spanish flu epidemic. I was able to sit down and see a live demonstration of Vampyr in action. One of the key elements of Vampyr is Reid’s internal conflict of being a doctor sworn to do no harm and the need to feed on living people in order to survive. It is technically possible to complete Vampyr without killing anyone. However, players choosing to go that route won’t have an easy time of it. Cleverly, Dontnod has linked the conflict between peace and feast with character progression. Every life the player feeds on as a vampire heals them, imparts the victim’s final thoughts, and provides experience used to level up the player’s vampiric powers. Dontnod summed this up nicely during their presentation saying, “The more you kill the stronger you are. The question is how far are you willing to go?” As players make their way through the world Dontnod crafted in 1918 London, they will encounter human and otherworldly threats. Vampire hunters, humans who have dedicated themselves over the centuries to the eradication of vampires, are a common sight on the dim streets of London. They know how to spot and fight bloodsuckers and can prove to be a real threat to an unprepared or unsubtle vampire. Also shown in the demo were what Dontnod called “skulls.” These creatures are mutant, half vampire, completely unhinged, and somehow related to the Spanish flu outbreak. Both of these enemy groups require either stealth or combat skills. “The combat system is intended to be brutal and challenging, emphasized on timing and positioning,” the demonstrator stated while maneuvering through an encounter, “Our hero uses the mix of melee and with weapons he learned to use [in World War I].” As players wade into battle, using vampire powers will drain their energy and vitality, making it necessary to feed on enemies to keep their strength up. However, players will have to be careful they don’t put themselves in a vulnerable position when feeding in the middle of a fight as it leaves Dr. Reid vulnerable. However, unlike feasting civilians, feasting in combat doesn’t quite have the same experiential reward, “In terms of XP, citizen's blood will always be more valuable than fighting.” Improvised weapons can be crafted and wielded in addition to ranged weapons and vampire powers. Vampyr takes place in a, “semi-open world with interconnected paths, so you will explore different districts of London seamlessly.” Dontnod explained that players can explore these areas freely and implied that thorough exploration will be necessary to uncover all of the secrets London holds. The city is divided into different districts. As the game progresses, how players have treated the citizens in each district will become more relevant. Each district has its own health indicator based on the number of living, healthy people it holds. Feasting on too many people to boost your vampire powers can cause a district to collapse into chaos. The Spanish flu is also ripping through the population and deciding to use your skills as a doctor can prove very valuable to keeping districts healthy. As a vampire, players will be able to assess if someone is infected and how far along the disease has progressed. Do you help those at death’s door or do you suck their blood for your own benefit? Beyond that moral quandary, interacting with London’s residence seems to be one of the most interesting aspects of Vampyr that I’ve seen. Every NPC walking around London has their own backstory, goals, aspirations, and daily routines. As the game progresses and people start dying, it has an effect on the population. Routines will change, NPCs will leave, and goals will shift. The example shown was of a man named Joe. Joe extorts money from local businesses and has a son in Whitechapel. If the player decides that the extortion racket Joe is running makes him a target for bloodsucking, they can use the Mesmerize ability to place Joe under their control and bring him to a secluded area. After killing Joe, the local newspaper will soon discover his body and the behavior of the people connected to Joe will change. The shops he extorted will sell better items and make more money while the son he had will run away from Whitechapel in fear. “You also could have chosen to feed upon the son or even the merchant instead, and the consequences will be significantly different,” explained the demonstrator. “There are no good or bad choices, only morally ambiguous options; so you create your own experience and now you know how it feels to be a vampire.” As you interact with NPCs you can learn more about their lives and activities, gathering a collection of hints. These hints will eventually reveal dirt on most adults you come across in the game, making the decision to feed easier or harder depending on each player’s moral compass. An interesting wrinkle: While getting to know NPCs, you will need to obtain permission from every resident to cross the threshold of their home, a classic vampire rule. Players will have to make the proper conversational choices to gain entrance. Being a doctor, Jonathan Reid views his vampirism as a disease that can be cured. His main goal throughout Vampyr is to unlock its mysteries and ultimately find a cure. However, his pursuit of a cure might drive him mad with guilt or power before he can find a way to undo his infection. It has been a long time since we’ve had a vampire game that was worth playing. The heavy emphasis on the moral questions a vampire might face could be just the approach needed to catapult Vampyr to set a new standard for the subject matter in games. Vampyr releases sometime in 2017 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. View full article
  16. From Dontnod, the studio behind Remember Me and Life Is Strange, comes Vampyr, an action-RPG set in the London of 1918. As Jonathan E. Reid, a dedicated physician who suffers from the vampiric affliction, players must grapple or give in to their newfound bloodthirst while both searching for a cure to his disease and the ongoing Spanish flu epidemic. I was able to sit down and see a live demonstration of Vampyr in action. One of the key elements of Vampyr is Reid’s internal conflict of being a doctor sworn to do no harm and the need to feed on living people in order to survive. It is technically possible to complete Vampyr without killing anyone. However, players choosing to go that route won’t have an easy time of it. Cleverly, Dontnod has linked the conflict between peace and feast with character progression. Every life the player feeds on as a vampire heals them, imparts the victim’s final thoughts, and provides experience used to level up the player’s vampiric powers. Dontnod summed this up nicely during their presentation saying, “The more you kill the stronger you are. The question is how far are you willing to go?” As players make their way through the world Dontnod crafted in 1918 London, they will encounter human and otherworldly threats. Vampire hunters, humans who have dedicated themselves over the centuries to the eradication of vampires, are a common sight on the dim streets of London. They know how to spot and fight bloodsuckers and can prove to be a real threat to an unprepared or unsubtle vampire. Also shown in the demo were what Dontnod called “skulls.” These creatures are mutant, half vampire, completely unhinged, and somehow related to the Spanish flu outbreak. Both of these enemy groups require either stealth or combat skills. “The combat system is intended to be brutal and challenging, emphasized on timing and positioning,” the demonstrator stated while maneuvering through an encounter, “Our hero uses the mix of melee and with weapons he learned to use [in World War I].” As players wade into battle, using vampire powers will drain their energy and vitality, making it necessary to feed on enemies to keep their strength up. However, players will have to be careful they don’t put themselves in a vulnerable position when feeding in the middle of a fight as it leaves Dr. Reid vulnerable. However, unlike feasting civilians, feasting in combat doesn’t quite have the same experiential reward, “In terms of XP, citizen's blood will always be more valuable than fighting.” Improvised weapons can be crafted and wielded in addition to ranged weapons and vampire powers. Vampyr takes place in a, “semi-open world with interconnected paths, so you will explore different districts of London seamlessly.” Dontnod explained that players can explore these areas freely and implied that thorough exploration will be necessary to uncover all of the secrets London holds. The city is divided into different districts. As the game progresses, how players have treated the citizens in each district will become more relevant. Each district has its own health indicator based on the number of living, healthy people it holds. Feasting on too many people to boost your vampire powers can cause a district to collapse into chaos. The Spanish flu is also ripping through the population and deciding to use your skills as a doctor can prove very valuable to keeping districts healthy. As a vampire, players will be able to assess if someone is infected and how far along the disease has progressed. Do you help those at death’s door or do you suck their blood for your own benefit? Beyond that moral quandary, interacting with London’s residence seems to be one of the most interesting aspects of Vampyr that I’ve seen. Every NPC walking around London has their own backstory, goals, aspirations, and daily routines. As the game progresses and people start dying, it has an effect on the population. Routines will change, NPCs will leave, and goals will shift. The example shown was of a man named Joe. Joe extorts money from local businesses and has a son in Whitechapel. If the player decides that the extortion racket Joe is running makes him a target for bloodsucking, they can use the Mesmerize ability to place Joe under their control and bring him to a secluded area. After killing Joe, the local newspaper will soon discover his body and the behavior of the people connected to Joe will change. The shops he extorted will sell better items and make more money while the son he had will run away from Whitechapel in fear. “You also could have chosen to feed upon the son or even the merchant instead, and the consequences will be significantly different,” explained the demonstrator. “There are no good or bad choices, only morally ambiguous options; so you create your own experience and now you know how it feels to be a vampire.” As you interact with NPCs you can learn more about their lives and activities, gathering a collection of hints. These hints will eventually reveal dirt on most adults you come across in the game, making the decision to feed easier or harder depending on each player’s moral compass. An interesting wrinkle: While getting to know NPCs, you will need to obtain permission from every resident to cross the threshold of their home, a classic vampire rule. Players will have to make the proper conversational choices to gain entrance. Being a doctor, Jonathan Reid views his vampirism as a disease that can be cured. His main goal throughout Vampyr is to unlock its mysteries and ultimately find a cure. However, his pursuit of a cure might drive him mad with guilt or power before he can find a way to undo his infection. It has been a long time since we’ve had a vampire game that was worth playing. The heavy emphasis on the moral questions a vampire might face could be just the approach needed to catapult Vampyr to set a new standard for the subject matter in games. Vampyr releases sometime in 2017 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
  17. Battlefleet Gothic: Armada blasts its way into full PC release tomorrow, but the launch trailer shows off two minutes of spectacular in-game maneuvering that gets up-close and personal with the various tactics used when the Chaos Legion moves in to annihilate the Imperial Navy. As the end is in sight, the Imperials stand resolute, but perhaps some hope remains.... The Space Marines faction make their first appearance in the launch trailer and are one of two additional factions that will be available for free to those who buy before launch or within the first two months of launch. The second faction has yet to be revealed. Battlefleet Gothic: Armada features an expansive single-player campaign that allows players to fill their bag of tricks with unique skills and persistently upgrade their vessels. PvP multiplayer adds to the longevity of the experience, allowing players to battle it out in the cold vacuum of space for tactical supremacy. Most interestingly, Battlefleet Gothic: Armada uses unique AI personalities for each ship commander, meaning that individual ships make choices to fight or flee when things get rough. The game even makes sure to use accurate representations of ships from the Warhammer universe, true to their scale, from fast frigates to colossal warships that are miles long. Battlefleet Gothic: Armada launches tomorrow for PC. View full article
  18. Battlefleet Gothic: Armada blasts its way into full PC release tomorrow, but the launch trailer shows off two minutes of spectacular in-game maneuvering that gets up-close and personal with the various tactics used when the Chaos Legion moves in to annihilate the Imperial Navy. As the end is in sight, the Imperials stand resolute, but perhaps some hope remains.... The Space Marines faction make their first appearance in the launch trailer and are one of two additional factions that will be available for free to those who buy before launch or within the first two months of launch. The second faction has yet to be revealed. Battlefleet Gothic: Armada features an expansive single-player campaign that allows players to fill their bag of tricks with unique skills and persistently upgrade their vessels. PvP multiplayer adds to the longevity of the experience, allowing players to battle it out in the cold vacuum of space for tactical supremacy. Most interestingly, Battlefleet Gothic: Armada uses unique AI personalities for each ship commander, meaning that individual ships make choices to fight or flee when things get rough. The game even makes sure to use accurate representations of ships from the Warhammer universe, true to their scale, from fast frigates to colossal warships that are miles long. Battlefleet Gothic: Armada launches tomorrow for PC.
  19. Jack Gardner

    Enigami Teases Upcoming Action-RPG Shiness

    A new action-RPG from the indie studio Enigami is on the way and has several new screenshots to prove it. You can view the full gallery on the Extra Life Facebook page. Players will be able to explore the world of Mahera from its floating cities to its cavernous depths. The French indie RPG centers on the journey of Chado, a young man who is able to commune with a powerful nature spirit called the Shiness and his quest to reunite the fractured lands of Mahera. On this journey, Chado will be helped by four other playable characters: Poky, a master engineer; Kayenne, the psychic warrior; Rosalya, a fire magic user; and Askel, the whip wielding mercenary. With each of these characters, players can use their unique mechanics to traverse the world or participate in dynamic 1v1 combat duels. Shiness: The Lightning Kingdom releases sometime later this year for unannounced platforms and PC.
  20. A new action-RPG from the indie studio Enigami is on the way and has several new screenshots to prove it. You can view the full gallery on the Extra Life Facebook page. Players will be able to explore the world of Mahera from its floating cities to its cavernous depths. The French indie RPG centers on the journey of Chado, a young man who is able to commune with a powerful nature spirit called the Shiness and his quest to reunite the fractured lands of Mahera. On this journey, Chado will be helped by four other playable characters: Poky, a master engineer; Kayenne, the psychic warrior; Rosalya, a fire magic user; and Askel, the whip wielding mercenary. With each of these characters, players can use their unique mechanics to traverse the world or participate in dynamic 1v1 combat duels. Shiness: The Lightning Kingdom releases sometime later this year for unannounced platforms and PC. View full article
  21. The fifth RPG from developer Spiders, The Technomancer is slowly shaping up to be an promising sci-fi adventure to Mars. The trailer shows Zachariah, our protagonist and young technomancer, as he frantically attempts to contact Earth as the secret police charged with reining in rogue technomancers hunt him down. We see a nice variety of locations, from the barren desert-scape of the Mars surface, to the technological underbellies of massive cities. Spiders shows us strange, alien creatures and twisted mutants among these sights. It feels refreshing and new. Throughout the last few years, Spiders has been getting closer and closer to the RPG they wanted to make when the studio was founded. For a long time they lacked the employees, the time, and the money to fully realize their dream game, taking slow, baby steps to achieve their long term goal. Two years ago Spiders released Mars: War Logs for PC, Xbox 360, and PS3. War Logs was the first game set in the universe of that dream game. Though technically flawed and suffering from a painful lack of budget, War Logs had a lot of heart and a thoroughly interesting setting. The Technomancer returns to the world established in Mars: War Logs, expanding it and bringing it into a new generation of technology and two more years of development experience. It is worth noting that The Technomancer is not a prequel or a sequel, though it takes place in the same universe and will have limited nods and crossovers with War Logs. The Mars of The Technomancer is one far in the distant future, long after humanity has successfully colonized the new planet. While the initial colonoization and terraforming efforts proved to be wildly successful, a mysterious cataclysm eventually rocked the planet, turning the land into a near-barren desert-scape. Humanity survived, though many acquired genetic mutations from the new solar radiation that washed the surface of Mars. these mutants are frequently enslaved and treated as sub-human by the remaining citizens of Mars. However, most importantly, the cataclysm resulted in the loss of contact with Earth. Isolated on Mars, the two largest water drilling corporations formed separate nations and began a desperate war for control of limited water supplies. The two nations, Abundance and Aurora, gradually formed vastly different attitudes toward life on Mars. Structured more like a military, Abundance rules its citizens with an iron fist through propaganda and secret police. Aurora formed into a theocracy that venerates a small group of individuals known as technomancers. Technomancers are individuals born with the ability to channel and generate electricity, basically electrical Jedi. Technomancers are rare and must go through training to be formally inducted into their secretive order. The Technomancer begins at the end of Zachariah's training as he formally becomes one of the order and learns the secret that they are all sworn to keep. This secret is part of what makes Zachariah a target for the secret police that hunt him relentlessly as they search for a way to control the dangerous technomancers. On his adventures, Zachariah will make his way through numerous hub cities and locations filled with NPCs with whom players can interact. Over 80 quests are scattered throughout the game, some of which are locked unless players have a certain companion character in their party. There are five total companions, only two of which can accompany Zachariah at any given time. These companions, like the hulking mutant Phobos, will open up new areas to explore and conversation options. They will also react to the alliances the player chooses to forge. There are six factions in the game like the army, mob, or the rebellion. Companions might join or leave the party depending on what factions the player chooses to aid. I was given the opportunity to see the first mission in action. It picks up as Zachariah heads out to finish the final trial to become a technomancer in an old settler's dome that the first colonists lived in when they originally came to Mars. These sites are prized by bandits for the valuables they still contain and this one in particular houses the technomancers' most closely guarded secret. The trial involves protecting the dome from a group of bandits who have come to lay claim to the site. As Zachariah makes his way through the enemy camp, he can switch between three different fighting styles on the fly: the medium-speed staff, the quick and tricky blade and gun, or the lumbering shield and mace style. Each style has a core attack and alternate ability that can each be used in either a quick attack or a longer, more powerful strike. In addition to these, Zachariah has access to a number of technomancer abilities, the most basic of which empowers his weapons with electricity, significantly increasing their power or striking the ground to create an electrical shockwave. Players can also choose to be tricky, relying on stealth to backstab enemies and lay traps to use in battle. As players progress through The Technomancer, they'll find different diagrams and upgrades that can be used for crafting. Every piece of equipment in the game can be improved and modified and those modifications will be reflected not just in the stats, but also in visual changes to the in-game models. Companion equipment can be upgraded as well. As Zachariah finishes off the last of the bandits and enters the dome, it becomes clear that something... alien has made the dome its home. A number of spider-like enemies rush the player and it becomes clear that this was not part of the intended training. Bound By Flame fueled Spider's desire to include large, intimidating monster encounters and they've carried that over to The Technomancer. The first boss encounter, and the conclusion of my time seeing the game in action, revolved around a fight against what they called the Diggernaut, a gigantic, burrowing spider. An intense fight, full of crackling electricity and speedy spiderlings was a good way to give an idea of what else might be in store for players when The Technomancer releases. I've been following Spiders' work since Mars: War Logs and while their games have all had some glaring flaws, I think they also have a lot of heart, originality, and effort behind them. I'm rooting for this to be the game that really takes their studio to the next level and shows what they can do with more resources and a clear vision. Right now, The Technomancer is slated for release in 2016 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
  22. The fifth RPG from developer Spiders, The Technomancer is slowly shaping up to be an promising sci-fi adventure to Mars. The trailer shows Zachariah, our protagonist and young technomancer, as he frantically attempts to contact Earth as the secret police charged with reining in rogue technomancers hunt him down. We see a nice variety of locations, from the barren desert-scape of the Mars surface, to the technological underbellies of massive cities. Spiders shows us strange, alien creatures and twisted mutants among these sights. It feels refreshing and new. Throughout the last few years, Spiders has been getting closer and closer to the RPG they wanted to make when the studio was founded. For a long time they lacked the employees, the time, and the money to fully realize their dream game, taking slow, baby steps to achieve their long term goal. Two years ago Spiders released Mars: War Logs for PC, Xbox 360, and PS3. War Logs was the first game set in the universe of that dream game. Though technically flawed and suffering from a painful lack of budget, War Logs had a lot of heart and a thoroughly interesting setting. The Technomancer returns to the world established in Mars: War Logs, expanding it and bringing it into a new generation of technology and two more years of development experience. It is worth noting that The Technomancer is not a prequel or a sequel, though it takes place in the same universe and will have limited nods and crossovers with War Logs. The Mars of The Technomancer is one far in the distant future, long after humanity has successfully colonized the new planet. While the initial colonoization and terraforming efforts proved to be wildly successful, a mysterious cataclysm eventually rocked the planet, turning the land into a near-barren desert-scape. Humanity survived, though many acquired genetic mutations from the new solar radiation that washed the surface of Mars. these mutants are frequently enslaved and treated as sub-human by the remaining citizens of Mars. However, most importantly, the cataclysm resulted in the loss of contact with Earth. Isolated on Mars, the two largest water drilling corporations formed separate nations and began a desperate war for control of limited water supplies. The two nations, Abundance and Aurora, gradually formed vastly different attitudes toward life on Mars. Structured more like a military, Abundance rules its citizens with an iron fist through propaganda and secret police. Aurora formed into a theocracy that venerates a small group of individuals known as technomancers. Technomancers are individuals born with the ability to channel and generate electricity, basically electrical Jedi. Technomancers are rare and must go through training to be formally inducted into their secretive order. The Technomancer begins at the end of Zachariah's training as he formally becomes one of the order and learns the secret that they are all sworn to keep. This secret is part of what makes Zachariah a target for the secret police that hunt him relentlessly as they search for a way to control the dangerous technomancers. On his adventures, Zachariah will make his way through numerous hub cities and locations filled with NPCs with whom players can interact. Over 80 quests are scattered throughout the game, some of which are locked unless players have a certain companion character in their party. There are five total companions, only two of which can accompany Zachariah at any given time. These companions, like the hulking mutant Phobos, will open up new areas to explore and conversation options. They will also react to the alliances the player chooses to forge. There are six factions in the game like the army, mob, or the rebellion. Companions might join or leave the party depending on what factions the player chooses to aid. I was given the opportunity to see the first mission in action. It picks up as Zachariah heads out to finish the final trial to become a technomancer in an old settler's dome that the first colonists lived in when they originally came to Mars. These sites are prized by bandits for the valuables they still contain and this one in particular houses the technomancers' most closely guarded secret. The trial involves protecting the dome from a group of bandits who have come to lay claim to the site. As Zachariah makes his way through the enemy camp, he can switch between three different fighting styles on the fly: the medium-speed staff, the quick and tricky blade and gun, or the lumbering shield and mace style. Each style has a core attack and alternate ability that can each be used in either a quick attack or a longer, more powerful strike. In addition to these, Zachariah has access to a number of technomancer abilities, the most basic of which empowers his weapons with electricity, significantly increasing their power or striking the ground to create an electrical shockwave. Players can also choose to be tricky, relying on stealth to backstab enemies and lay traps to use in battle. As players progress through The Technomancer, they'll find different diagrams and upgrades that can be used for crafting. Every piece of equipment in the game can be improved and modified and those modifications will be reflected not just in the stats, but also in visual changes to the in-game models. Companion equipment can be upgraded as well. As Zachariah finishes off the last of the bandits and enters the dome, it becomes clear that something... alien has made the dome its home. A number of spider-like enemies rush the player and it becomes clear that this was not part of the intended training. Bound By Flame fueled Spider's desire to include large, intimidating monster encounters and they've carried that over to The Technomancer. The first boss encounter, and the conclusion of my time seeing the game in action, revolved around a fight against what they called the Diggernaut, a gigantic, burrowing spider. An intense fight, full of crackling electricity and speedy spiderlings was a good way to give an idea of what else might be in store for players when The Technomancer releases. I've been following Spiders' work since Mars: War Logs and while their games have all had some glaring flaws, I think they also have a lot of heart, originality, and effort behind them. I'm rooting for this to be the game that really takes their studio to the next level and shows what they can do with more resources and a clear vision. Right now, The Technomancer is slated for release in 2016 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. View full article
  23. Focus Home Interactive and Spiders, the developer behind RPGs Mars: War Logs and Bound By Flame, return to form with The Technomancer. Set on a cyberpunk, dystopian Mars in the grips of a war over precious water resources, players are thrust into the role of the Technomancer, a warrior proficient in both mundane combat and the use of cybernetic magic. Uncertain of their past and pursued by the Secret Police, players will need to stay on the move while unraveling the secrets of their past and abilities. The Technomancer will run through a variety of locations: Cities lost in ice, shanty slums, and technology scavenging tribes gone mad. While the human enemies will pose a considerable threat, so will the other lifeforms of Mars. The Technomancer takes after Dragon Age: Inquisition, offering a real-time combat system backed up by skill trees, equipment, and companions. A conversation system accompanies most scenarios, offering more diplomatically inclined players a chance to flex their people skills. Dialogue can also be had with allies who join the Technomancer, giving glimpses into their backgrounds and building relationships. Spider touts that The Technomancer will have up to five different endings based on the quests that players fulfill and the choices they make. Some choices will determine which companions will join the Technomancer's cause. On top of all that, Spider will be implementing a crafting system that changes the visual appearance of weapons and armor along with their stats. The Technomancer is currently expected to release in 2016 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. View full article
  24. Jack Gardner

    Spiders Reveals The Technomancer

    Focus Home Interactive and Spiders, the developer behind RPGs Mars: War Logs and Bound By Flame, return to form with The Technomancer. Set on a cyberpunk, dystopian Mars in the grips of a war over precious water resources, players are thrust into the role of the Technomancer, a warrior proficient in both mundane combat and the use of cybernetic magic. Uncertain of their past and pursued by the Secret Police, players will need to stay on the move while unraveling the secrets of their past and abilities. The Technomancer will run through a variety of locations: Cities lost in ice, shanty slums, and technology scavenging tribes gone mad. While the human enemies will pose a considerable threat, so will the other lifeforms of Mars. The Technomancer takes after Dragon Age: Inquisition, offering a real-time combat system backed up by skill trees, equipment, and companions. A conversation system accompanies most scenarios, offering more diplomatically inclined players a chance to flex their people skills. Dialogue can also be had with allies who join the Technomancer, giving glimpses into their backgrounds and building relationships. Spider touts that The Technomancer will have up to five different endings based on the quests that players fulfill and the choices they make. Some choices will determine which companions will join the Technomancer's cause. On top of all that, Spider will be implementing a crafting system that changes the visual appearance of weapons and armor along with their stats. The Technomancer is currently expected to release in 2016 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
  25. Though the sweeping real-time strategy title Etherium isn't hitting PC until March 25, the launch trailer slipped out a bit before then. Etherium centers on the conflict between the Vectides, Intar, and Consortium over the scarce resources of the galaxy. Each faction has access to unique abilities and technology that players will have to use to their advantage to defeat opposing forces. Tindalos Interactive has also included a dynamic weather system that will have various effects on units, requiring players to be able to adapt their tactics accordingly. Intrigued gamers can pre-order Etherium prior to its release on Wednesday for a 10% discount off of the $29.99 price tag along with immediate access to the multiplayer beta.
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