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Found 56 results

  1. Members of PlayStation Plus will be receiving a treasure trove of great games this month. Each of the currently active consoles connected with the service will be receiving two games each, and they're all incredibly solid and fun ones. The headliners for the month are definitely the PlayStation 4 titles. users will have the chance to snag the existential horror game SOMA as well as team racing title Onrush. SOMA comes courtesy of Frictional Games, the studio behind Penumbra and Amnesia: The Dark Descent. It weaves a strange and unique tale about sentience, robotics, and the nature of being, forcing players to grapple with questions that might threaten to keep them up all night. It's a horror game, certainly, but the horror largely eschews jump scares and instead builds its dread slowly, in a way that sticks with you long after the credits roll. Oh, and it is all at the bottom of the ocean, just in case you were looking for more water in your games. Meanwhile, Onrush stands as a unique racing game that doesn't determine winners by who comes in first place. Instead, racers are divided into teams and win the various modes by performing enough stunts (Overdrive), passing enough checkpoints (Countdown), staying within a certain area on the race track (Lockdown), or a battle mode where each player has three lives (Switch). Onrush was developed by members of the same team that worked on the Motorstorm series. PlayStation 3 players will gain access to Steredenn: Classic, a sidescrolling roguelike and Steins;Gate, an adventure game/visual novel involving time travel that has spawned manga and anime adaptations in the years since it released. Steredenn: Classic, if you've never heard of it, is similar to games like classic spaceship shooters like R-Type, but with a more modern style and roguelike elements that make each playthrough unique. Without spoiling anything about Steins;Gate... it's good, definitely check it out for some compelling drama and branching storylines. Finally, the PlayStation Vita is getting some love! This month, PlayStation Plus members can download Iconoclasts, a sidescrolling metroidvania released this year (crazy, a game released on Vita in 2018!). Users can also grab Papers, Please, the highly acclaimed indie game from Lucas Pope, the developer who recently released Return of the Obra Dinn. Both games are truly quality indie games and it warms the cockles of my cold heart to see them available to a lot of people on the Vita. 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. Members of PlayStation Plus will be receiving a treasure trove of great games this month. Each of the currently active consoles connected with the service will be receiving two games each, and they're all incredibly solid and fun ones. The headliners for the month are definitely the PlayStation 4 titles. users will have the chance to snag the existential horror game SOMA as well as team racing title Onrush. SOMA comes courtesy of Frictional Games, the studio behind Penumbra and Amnesia: The Dark Descent. It weaves a strange and unique tale about sentience, robotics, and the nature of being, forcing players to grapple with questions that might threaten to keep them up all night. It's a horror game, certainly, but the horror largely eschews jump scares and instead builds its dread slowly, in a way that sticks with you long after the credits roll. Oh, and it is all at the bottom of the ocean, just in case you were looking for more water in your games. Meanwhile, Onrush stands as a unique racing game that doesn't determine winners by who comes in first place. Instead, racers are divided into teams and win the various modes by performing enough stunts (Overdrive), passing enough checkpoints (Countdown), staying within a certain area on the race track (Lockdown), or a battle mode where each player has three lives (Switch). Onrush was developed by members of the same team that worked on the Motorstorm series. PlayStation 3 players will gain access to Steredenn: Classic, a sidescrolling roguelike and Steins;Gate, an adventure game/visual novel involving time travel that has spawned manga and anime adaptations in the years since it released. Steredenn: Classic, if you've never heard of it, is similar to games like classic spaceship shooters like R-Type, but with a more modern style and roguelike elements that make each playthrough unique. Without spoiling anything about Steins;Gate... it's good, definitely check it out for some compelling drama and branching storylines. Finally, the PlayStation Vita is getting some love! This month, PlayStation Plus members can download Iconoclasts, a sidescrolling metroidvania released this year (crazy, a game released on Vita in 2018!). Users can also grab Papers, Please, the highly acclaimed indie game from Lucas Pope, the developer who recently released Return of the Obra Dinn. Both games are truly quality indie games and it warms the cockles of my cold heart to see them available to a lot of people on the Vita. 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. Over the next few days, PlayStation Now subscribers will start seeing the ability to download PlayStation 4 compatible games onto their PS4 systems. This move will allow players to choose between streaming titles via a stable internet connection or playing them locally, though Sony is careful to point out that the system will have to "check-in" every few days to verify the PS Now subscription for games downloaded through the service. This could be a gamechanger for the service that has typically been flamed for having too much lag when used with less than ideal internet service providers. The only catch is that players can only download games that can be run locally by the PS4. That means that any PlayStation 2 classic or PlayStation 3 game that hasn't been remastered for PS4 cannot be downloaded and played locally. Every downloadable PS Now game will "support" DLC, microtransactions, and add-ons. "Support" in this case meaning that players will be able to buy all of those things for games they have downloaded. Games that have been downloaded will continue to support multiplayer without PlayStation Plus, just like their streaming counterparts. In kind of a weird decision, if you have been making use of cloud saves via PS Now and want to transfer those saves to a downloaded version of the same game, you will need a PlayStation Plus membership to enable that transition. Essentially, players will need to move the save file from their PS Now cloud saves to their PS Plus cloud saves and from there download the files to their PlayStation 4. It seems a bit of a convoluted way to go about the transfer, but maybe it's due to technological limitations and not simply a scheme to grab up some more Plus subscribers. Overall, this is a very interesting move that could further the cause of subscription gaming by opening up that model to downloaded games. However, it also seems a bit like trying to have cake and eat it too with the enabling of microtransactions and DLC on top of the PS Now subscription and a PS Plus subscription necessary to transfer saves. 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. Over the next few days, PlayStation Now subscribers will start seeing the ability to download PlayStation 4 compatible games onto their PS4 systems. This move will allow players to choose between streaming titles via a stable internet connection or playing them locally, though Sony is careful to point out that the system will have to "check-in" every few days to verify the PS Now subscription for games downloaded through the service. This could be a gamechanger for the service that has typically been flamed for having too much lag when used with less than ideal internet service providers. The only catch is that players can only download games that can be run locally by the PS4. That means that any PlayStation 2 classic or PlayStation 3 game that hasn't been remastered for PS4 cannot be downloaded and played locally. Every downloadable PS Now game will "support" DLC, microtransactions, and add-ons. "Support" in this case meaning that players will be able to buy all of those things for games they have downloaded. Games that have been downloaded will continue to support multiplayer without PlayStation Plus, just like their streaming counterparts. In kind of a weird decision, if you have been making use of cloud saves via PS Now and want to transfer those saves to a downloaded version of the same game, you will need a PlayStation Plus membership to enable that transition. Essentially, players will need to move the save file from their PS Now cloud saves to their PS Plus cloud saves and from there download the files to their PlayStation 4. It seems a bit of a convoluted way to go about the transfer, but maybe it's due to technological limitations and not simply a scheme to grab up some more Plus subscribers. Overall, this is a very interesting move that could further the cause of subscription gaming by opening up that model to downloaded games. However, it also seems a bit like trying to have cake and eat it too with the enabling of microtransactions and DLC on top of the PS Now subscription and a PS Plus subscription necessary to transfer saves. 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. Free games are going way for PlayStation 3 and Vita owners. Games for both systems will appear on a monthly basis as part of PlayStation Plus until March 8, 2019. After that time, the games already gained through PS+ will continue to be available so long as the user subscribes to PlayStation's online service, bot no new games will appear each month. After the cut off date, all PS+ titles will consist of PlayStation 4 games. No other aspects of the service are slated for obsolescence. The free games available for March include the following: PS4 Bloodborne Ratchet & Clank PS3 Legend of Kay Mighty No. 9 Vita Claire: Extended Cut Bombing Busters It will be interesting to see if PlayStation will up the number of PS+ titles offered for PlayStation 4 owners to compensate for the drastic reduction in monthly games for their subscribers. View full article
  6. Free games are going way for PlayStation 3 and Vita owners. Games for both systems will appear on a monthly basis as part of PlayStation Plus until March 8, 2019. After that time, the games already gained through PS+ will continue to be available so long as the user subscribes to PlayStation's online service, bot no new games will appear each month. After the cut off date, all PS+ titles will consist of PlayStation 4 games. No other aspects of the service are slated for obsolescence. The free games available for March include the following: PS4 Bloodborne Ratchet & Clank PS3 Legend of Kay Mighty No. 9 Vita Claire: Extended Cut Bombing Busters It will be interesting to see if PlayStation will up the number of PS+ titles offered for PlayStation 4 owners to compensate for the drastic reduction in monthly games for their subscribers.
  7. There's a lot of weird, experimental things happening in VR these days *cough* VRChat *cough*. One game on the horizon seems like it might be attempting to find more conventional success - with a bit of a twist. Playful Corp has been hard at work on Star Child, a game exclusive to PlayStation VR, following the release of Super Lucky's Tale for Xbox One and PC. Star Child offers up a narrative focused platformer with a cinematic edge. It follows a woman named Spectra on a mission of utmost importance that crashes her on a hostile planet, uncovering a threat to the entire universe. Interestingly enough for a game dedicated to VR, Star Child isn't a first-person game. Instead, it embraces the perspective offered by side-scrolling platformers. How exactly that will translate into a unique virtual reality experience remains to be seen, but Playful Corp has teased that their use of virtual reality will shine a new light on the familiar genre and interact with Spectra's evolving abilities in novel ways. Paul Bettner, the CEO and founder of Playful Corp, explained in a recent blog post how the developer has approached their project: With Star Child, we were drawn to the elegant simplicity of the side-scrolling platformer genre, which can convey an incredible amount of narrative through non-traditional means. There’s a subtle power to telling a story through continuously changing environments and cinematic visuals, as well as character animations, especially the way players can move Spectra forward and learn to master their surroundings through gameplay. Enhanced by the magic of virtual reality, these elements take on a new dimension as Spectra’s powers grow and she pushes deeper into a strange, immersive world full of dark secrets. Inspired by countless science fiction adventure classics across games, books and movies, Star Child is at its heart both a mystery and journey of self-discovery. Star Child launches some time this year for the PlayStation 4's VR setup. View full article
  8. There's a lot of weird, experimental things happening in VR these days *cough* VRChat *cough*. One game on the horizon seems like it might be attempting to find more conventional success - with a bit of a twist. Playful Corp has been hard at work on Star Child, a game exclusive to PlayStation VR, following the release of Super Lucky's Tale for Xbox One and PC. Star Child offers up a narrative focused platformer with a cinematic edge. It follows a woman named Spectra on a mission of utmost importance that crashes her on a hostile planet, uncovering a threat to the entire universe. Interestingly enough for a game dedicated to VR, Star Child isn't a first-person game. Instead, it embraces the perspective offered by side-scrolling platformers. How exactly that will translate into a unique virtual reality experience remains to be seen, but Playful Corp has teased that their use of virtual reality will shine a new light on the familiar genre and interact with Spectra's evolving abilities in novel ways. Paul Bettner, the CEO and founder of Playful Corp, explained in a recent blog post how the developer has approached their project: With Star Child, we were drawn to the elegant simplicity of the side-scrolling platformer genre, which can convey an incredible amount of narrative through non-traditional means. There’s a subtle power to telling a story through continuously changing environments and cinematic visuals, as well as character animations, especially the way players can move Spectra forward and learn to master their surroundings through gameplay. Enhanced by the magic of virtual reality, these elements take on a new dimension as Spectra’s powers grow and she pushes deeper into a strange, immersive world full of dark secrets. Inspired by countless science fiction adventure classics across games, books and movies, Star Child is at its heart both a mystery and journey of self-discovery. Star Child launches some time this year for the PlayStation 4's VR setup.
  9. Naughty Dog has always been a company that took risks, and there's certainly an argument to be made that Crash Bandicoot was one of the biggest risks that the company ever took. The project set out to overcome the main problems that plagued early 3D game design, create what they hoped might become an unofficial PlayStation mascot, and took a chance on Sony's new platform, the original PlayStation. The remastered Crash Bandicoot trilogy has become the best selling game of the year so far, so that begs the question: Is Crash Bandicoot one of the best games period? Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: Crash Bandicoot 'All for Wampa' by Rexy (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR02414) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday View full article
  10. Naughty Dog has always been a company that took risks, and there's certainly an argument to be made that Crash Bandicoot was one of the biggest risks that the company ever took. The project set out to overcome the main problems that plagued early 3D game design, create what they hoped might become an unofficial PlayStation mascot, and took a chance on Sony's new platform, the original PlayStation. The remastered Crash Bandicoot trilogy has become the best selling game of the year so far, so that begs the question: Is Crash Bandicoot one of the best games period? Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: Crash Bandicoot 'All for Wampa' by Rexy (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR02414) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday
  11. Destiny 2 has been just gathering hype around it after it was announced earlier this year. Since then, there have been trailers that focus on what fans have found missing from the original game, story. The newest trailer revealed at Sony's E3 2017 conference took a more somber tone than it's predecessors, but with a title like “Our Darkest Hour, ” it's not hard to see why. The focus is around Dominus Ghaul, who seems to think that he's the only one who deserves the Traveler's Light. Exclusive content will be had for PlayStation gamers including an exclusive strike called "Lake of Shadows," gear, a ship called "City Apex," a weapon called "Borealis," and a PVP map titled "Retribution." The game got a new release date moving up two days to September 6 with its release on PC set for October 24. Early Access starts July 18. Catch up on everything you need to know about Destiny 2 here and let us know in the comments how you feel about the game's impending release? Will it fulfill the needs that the previous game had? View full article
  12. Destiny 2 has been just gathering hype around it after it was announced earlier this year. Since then, there have been trailers that focus on what fans have found missing from the original game, story. The newest trailer revealed at Sony's E3 2017 conference took a more somber tone than it's predecessors, but with a title like “Our Darkest Hour, ” it's not hard to see why. The focus is around Dominus Ghaul, who seems to think that he's the only one who deserves the Traveler's Light. Exclusive content will be had for PlayStation gamers including an exclusive strike called "Lake of Shadows," gear, a ship called "City Apex," a weapon called "Borealis," and a PVP map titled "Retribution." The game got a new release date moving up two days to September 6 with its release on PC set for October 24. Early Access starts July 18. Catch up on everything you need to know about Destiny 2 here and let us know in the comments how you feel about the game's impending release? Will it fulfill the needs that the previous game had?
  13. We haven't talked much about sports games on the show. This week, Daniel Jones brings the digital baseball series MLB The Show up to the plate. It's sadly an Honorable Mention episode because Jack and Jeremy vanished at the merest hint of physical activity. With schedules being what they are, sometimes coordinating a full episode of The Best Games Period can be difficult. When we can't have a proper discussion, we will be breaking off to do these shorter mini-casts, Honorable Mentions, to talk about fringe games that we might not otherwise be able to talk about on a full episode. Outro music: Super Spike V'Ball 'Copacabana Beach' by Leandro Abreu (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR02858) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday
  14. We haven't talked much about sports games on the show. This week, Daniel Jones brings the digital baseball series MLB The Show up to the plate. It's sadly an Honorable Mention episode because Jack and Jeremy vanished at the merest hint of physical activity. With schedules being what they are, sometimes coordinating a full episode of The Best Games Period can be difficult. When we can't have a proper discussion, we will be breaking off to do these shorter mini-casts, Honorable Mentions, to talk about fringe games that we might not otherwise be able to talk about on a full episode. Outro music: Super Spike V'Ball 'Copacabana Beach' by Leandro Abreu (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR02858) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday View full article
  15. Jack Gardner

    Review: Nioh

    The rocky road to Team Ninja’s release of Nioh meant that a lot of factors were working against the action RPG when it hit store shelves in February. It had originally been announced back in 2004 by Koei as a straight RPG adaptation of Oni, an unfinished script by famed Japanese film legend Akira Kurosawa. Over the years, it was ripped apart and stitched back together by various development teams trying desperately to make it work. Nioh became a Dynasty Warriors-esque large-scale war game after the merger of Tecmo and Koei. The multiple development teams slowly scrapped almost all of the Akira Kurosawa’s story beats from the title. It wasn’t until Team Ninja fully took control of the project in 2012 that Nioh became recognizably similar to the game that released in 2017. Team Ninja had a very simple elevator pitch for their vision of Nioh: What if you combined a fanciful retelling of Japan’s Sengoku jidai with Dark Souls? Nioh weaves the heavily altered story of William Adams, a sailor for the Dutch East India Company who became the first Western samurai, a top advisor to Japan’s Shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu, and became known as Miura Anjin. Those three facts are about all that remain in Nioh of the real William’s life story. Nioh takes the framework of William’s journey to Japan in the 1600s at the end of one hundred years of civil war and brings it into a more fanciful setting full of spirits and monsters. William begins his tale in England, where a mysterious figure named Edward Kelley imprisons his guardian spirit. The pursuit of this creepy sorcerer takes William to the shores of Japan where evil spirits and demons have run amok, feeding off the death caused by the war. William’s becomes embroiled in the war himself after finding that the sorcerer has allied himself with the enemies of Tokugawa Ieyasu. Soon the conflict threatens to spin out of control as the sorcerer wields ever more powerful magic granted by his consumption of guardian spirits and crystalized spirit stones called Amrita. William, however, has his own array of abilities to combat threats both magical and mundane. One of Nioh’s draws is the ability to play with a wide selection of fighting styles. Players can choose from katana, axe, dual wielding swords, spears, and kusarigama (a sickle with a weighted chain). Each weapon has its own unique style and move set that becomes even deeper with the addition of stances. Any given weapon has three separate stances, high, mid, and low. High stance has slower, more powerful attacks, middle has a good mix between power and agility, and low stance tends to have the fastest attack and dodge speeds. Each of these stances alters the move sets and combos of their given weapon in addition to their differing benefits. On top of that, Nioh allows players to put points into ninjutsu and onmyo to gain ninja and spellcasting abilities. The robust combat system presents a definite learning curve. Those just beginning Nioh will doubtlessly struggle with when to switch stances and the make use of the various abilities at their disposal. However, the true mechanic that every Nioh player will absolutely need to master comes down to one thing: Ki. In Dark Souls, players must manage a stamina gauge that depletes as various attacks are used. Nioh has a Ki meter that serves the same purpose. However, the key difference between the two systems is that timing a follow-up button press after a string of attacks restores some of the player’s lost Ki. This means that those with a good sense of timing and battle rhythm can make more attacks or dodges without becoming exhausted and vulnerable. Some abilities even give attack bonuses for players who can pull off this move. This technique becomes even more necessary when battling the demonic yokai spirits who can create areas that slow Ki regeneration unless the player can purify them with that well-timed button press. Nioh does a number of small, yet significant things when it comes to combat that make it feel like a fresh experience. Adding the active Ki system goes a long way toward creating more engaging combat, but so does extending the effectiveness of status impairments. Typically, status effects in games are more for the rank and file enemies. Nioh allows even the bosses to be affected by the likes of poison, fire, and paralysis. These can help give the winning edge in a particularly challenging boss fight or make an otherwise difficult enemy encounter manageable. Projectile weapons also go a long way toward breathing life into Nioh. Players can equip bows, matchlock rifles, or personal cannons to deal with enemies from afar. These weapons prove to be very effective and benefit from leveling stats that benefit your hand-to-hand combat abilities, so they continue to be effective into the late game. In fact, I was able to take down the final boss of Nioh with a shred of health from cover by making quick use of my fully loaded cannon to land critical headshots. Nioh slips up most when it comes to the level design. One of the things that worked in the favor of the Dark Souls series was the interconnected world that truly felt like a giant puzzle to be solved through exploration. Nioh has a much more linear structure governed by missions. Each mission is its own contained world that leads players toward a boss fight. The quality of these areas varies greatly. Some are perfectly serviceable, a few inch up into “good” territory, but many of them are only interesting on a visual level and only present straight-forward slogs from one combat encounter to another. The worst levels include areas where the player can easily slip off a ledge and fall to what feels like an incredibly cheap death. One boss fight in particular happens to encapsulate both the frustrating level and boss design. A decent slice into the game, the player is tasked with clearing out a flooded temple. Upon reaching the boss, the player becomes locked inside an arena floating on the water to do battle with a giant ooze monster. Except you can’t swim in Nioh, so a trip off the edge of the arena is an instant death. Just don’t fall off, right? Well, the boss is such a large creature, that targeting it means you can’t see anything behind you, so it becomes difficult to tell when you’re in danger of running off the edge. Okay, so don’t target the creature? Well, if you let your attention wander, you might miss the short wind up it does for a move that blasts half the arena with an insta-death energy beam. If you happen to be doing fine against this yokai hell-beast, it actually has two versions of its insta-death move. The first has a warning animation of about a second or two. The second has a split-second jiggle that’s easily missed in the heat of combat. Speaking of those bosses, they represent some of the most irritating encounters I’ve had in video games. Some are relatively easy to overcome while others will leave you dazed with how quickly they destroyed you. Many of the bosses present long, painful bouts of learning when to dodge, what moves will instantly kill you, and what you can or can’t block. On the other hand, a fair number of these encounters feel like truly climactic battles where the odds are stacked against you. Conclusion: When everything goes right in Nioh, it feels wonderfully fluid, responsive, and challenging. The combat shines brightly as something from which future games in the action RPG genre should draw inspiration. While Dark Souls mastered slow, methodical combat and Bloodborne rewarded fast, brutal aggression, Nioh requires players to be fast and precise in order to keep abreast of the chaotic action. However, that’s a delicate balance to maintain and sometimes bosses and level design don’t quite support that balancing act. The visual designs of monsters are routinely interesting to take in and discovering new creatures adds to the fun of progression. The loot system feels unnecessary and clutters up Nioh with useless items. There’s a very solid core to Nioh that deserves expansion. A little more inspiration from similar games (some kind of healing reward for aggression similar to Bloodborne might have been nice), while cutting any needless complications or unfair designs could go a long way toward taking any Nioh successor to even greater acclaim in the future. Nioh is now available for PlayStation 4
  16. Jack Gardner

    Feature: Review: Nioh

    The rocky road to Team Ninja’s release of Nioh meant that a lot of factors were working against the action RPG when it hit store shelves in February. It had originally been announced back in 2004 by Koei as a straight RPG adaptation of Oni, an unfinished script by famed Japanese film legend Akira Kurosawa. Over the years, it was ripped apart and stitched back together by various development teams trying desperately to make it work. Nioh became a Dynasty Warriors-esque large-scale war game after the merger of Tecmo and Koei. The multiple development teams slowly scrapped almost all of the Akira Kurosawa’s story beats from the title. It wasn’t until Team Ninja fully took control of the project in 2012 that Nioh became recognizably similar to the game that released in 2017. Team Ninja had a very simple elevator pitch for their vision of Nioh: What if you combined a fanciful retelling of Japan’s Sengoku jidai with Dark Souls? Nioh weaves the heavily altered story of William Adams, a sailor for the Dutch East India Company who became the first Western samurai, a top advisor to Japan’s Shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu, and became known as Miura Anjin. Those three facts are about all that remain in Nioh of the real William’s life story. Nioh takes the framework of William’s journey to Japan in the 1600s at the end of one hundred years of civil war and brings it into a more fanciful setting full of spirits and monsters. William begins his tale in England, where a mysterious figure named Edward Kelley imprisons his guardian spirit. The pursuit of this creepy sorcerer takes William to the shores of Japan where evil spirits and demons have run amok, feeding off the death caused by the war. William’s becomes embroiled in the war himself after finding that the sorcerer has allied himself with the enemies of Tokugawa Ieyasu. Soon the conflict threatens to spin out of control as the sorcerer wields ever more powerful magic granted by his consumption of guardian spirits and crystalized spirit stones called Amrita. William, however, has his own array of abilities to combat threats both magical and mundane. One of Nioh’s draws is the ability to play with a wide selection of fighting styles. Players can choose from katana, axe, dual wielding swords, spears, and kusarigama (a sickle with a weighted chain). Each weapon has its own unique style and move set that becomes even deeper with the addition of stances. Any given weapon has three separate stances, high, mid, and low. High stance has slower, more powerful attacks, middle has a good mix between power and agility, and low stance tends to have the fastest attack and dodge speeds. Each of these stances alters the move sets and combos of their given weapon in addition to their differing benefits. On top of that, Nioh allows players to put points into ninjutsu and onmyo to gain ninja and spellcasting abilities. The robust combat system presents a definite learning curve. Those just beginning Nioh will doubtlessly struggle with when to switch stances and the make use of the various abilities at their disposal. However, the true mechanic that every Nioh player will absolutely need to master comes down to one thing: Ki. In Dark Souls, players must manage a stamina gauge that depletes as various attacks are used. Nioh has a Ki meter that serves the same purpose. However, the key difference between the two systems is that timing a follow-up button press after a string of attacks restores some of the player’s lost Ki. This means that those with a good sense of timing and battle rhythm can make more attacks or dodges without becoming exhausted and vulnerable. Some abilities even give attack bonuses for players who can pull off this move. This technique becomes even more necessary when battling the demonic yokai spirits who can create areas that slow Ki regeneration unless the player can purify them with that well-timed button press. Nioh does a number of small, yet significant things when it comes to combat that make it feel like a fresh experience. Adding the active Ki system goes a long way toward creating more engaging combat, but so does extending the effectiveness of status impairments. Typically, status effects in games are more for the rank and file enemies. Nioh allows even the bosses to be affected by the likes of poison, fire, and paralysis. These can help give the winning edge in a particularly challenging boss fight or make an otherwise difficult enemy encounter manageable. Projectile weapons also go a long way toward breathing life into Nioh. Players can equip bows, matchlock rifles, or personal cannons to deal with enemies from afar. These weapons prove to be very effective and benefit from leveling stats that benefit your hand-to-hand combat abilities, so they continue to be effective into the late game. In fact, I was able to take down the final boss of Nioh with a shred of health from cover by making quick use of my fully loaded cannon to land critical headshots. Nioh slips up most when it comes to the level design. One of the things that worked in the favor of the Dark Souls series was the interconnected world that truly felt like a giant puzzle to be solved through exploration. Nioh has a much more linear structure governed by missions. Each mission is its own contained world that leads players toward a boss fight. The quality of these areas varies greatly. Some are perfectly serviceable, a few inch up into “good” territory, but many of them are only interesting on a visual level and only present straight-forward slogs from one combat encounter to another. The worst levels include areas where the player can easily slip off a ledge and fall to what feels like an incredibly cheap death. One boss fight in particular happens to encapsulate both the frustrating level and boss design. A decent slice into the game, the player is tasked with clearing out a flooded temple. Upon reaching the boss, the player becomes locked inside an arena floating on the water to do battle with a giant ooze monster. Except you can’t swim in Nioh, so a trip off the edge of the arena is an instant death. Just don’t fall off, right? Well, the boss is such a large creature, that targeting it means you can’t see anything behind you, so it becomes difficult to tell when you’re in danger of running off the edge. Okay, so don’t target the creature? Well, if you let your attention wander, you might miss the short wind up it does for a move that blasts half the arena with an insta-death energy beam. If you happen to be doing fine against this yokai hell-beast, it actually has two versions of its insta-death move. The first has a warning animation of about a second or two. The second has a split-second jiggle that’s easily missed in the heat of combat. Speaking of those bosses, they represent some of the most irritating encounters I’ve had in video games. Some are relatively easy to overcome while others will leave you dazed with how quickly they destroyed you. Many of the bosses present long, painful bouts of learning when to dodge, what moves will instantly kill you, and what you can or can’t block. On the other hand, a fair number of these encounters feel like truly climactic battles where the odds are stacked against you. Conclusion: When everything goes right in Nioh, it feels wonderfully fluid, responsive, and challenging. The combat shines brightly as something from which future games in the action RPG genre should draw inspiration. While Dark Souls mastered slow, methodical combat and Bloodborne rewarded fast, brutal aggression, Nioh requires players to be fast and precise in order to keep abreast of the chaotic action. However, that’s a delicate balance to maintain and sometimes bosses and level design don’t quite support that balancing act. The visual designs of monsters are routinely interesting to take in and discovering new creatures adds to the fun of progression. The loot system feels unnecessary and clutters up Nioh with useless items. There’s a very solid core to Nioh that deserves expansion. A little more inspiration from similar games (some kind of healing reward for aggression similar to Bloodborne might have been nice), while cutting any needless complications or unfair designs could go a long way toward taking any Nioh successor to even greater acclaim in the future. Nioh is now available for PlayStation 4 View full article
  17. One of the most critically acclaimed titles of 2013, The Last of Us served as the PlayStation 3's swan song. Pushing the system to its limits, Naughty Dog's foray into a grim, apocalyptic vision of the future became a title that would be talked about for years to come for its presentation, pacing, characters, and gripping story. A film adaptation was announced following the massive success of The Last of Us. At the tail end of 2016, Sony unveiled a sequel. This week we take a look at the infected ruins of America as experienced by Joel and Ellie on their road trip through a world where a human life is as cheap as a bullet. Is The Last of Us one of the best games period? Outro music: The Last of Us 'Sarah' by nckmusic (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR02995) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! A Patreon has been created for those looking to support the show. You can also follow the show on Twitter: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday
  18. One of the most critically acclaimed titles of 2013, The Last of Us served as the PlayStation 3's swan song. Pushing the system to its limits, Naughty Dog's foray into a grim, apocalyptic vision of the future became a title that would be talked about for years to come for its presentation, pacing, characters, and gripping story. A film adaptation was announced following the massive success of The Last of Us. At the tail end of 2016, Sony unveiled a sequel. This week we take a look at the infected ruins of America as experienced by Joel and Ellie on their road trip through a world where a human life is as cheap as a bullet. Is The Last of Us one of the best games period? Outro music: The Last of Us 'Sarah' by nckmusic (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR02995) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! A Patreon has been created for those looking to support the show. You can also follow the show on Twitter: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday View full article
  19. Hi everyone! With the launch of the new PSN Communities we've created an official Extra Life community. The community is simply named "Extra Life" and has no specific game attached. It's just a place for Extra Lifers to meet up and play with people from this amazing community, all across the world. The community is run by myself and the rest of the Extra Life team and the PSN ID that owns the community is ExtraLife4Kids. If it's logged in it's always one of us.
  20. Hi Extra Life forums... I am glad to see we have a forum set up... this is awesome... I am glad there is a Playstation Sub forum too... I have some links here from other forums I would like to share... Here is a thread made in the PlayStation forums we are trying to get going... Extra Life 2016 thread in PS Forums, Click here to be redirected... Also here is a link for David's Thread in the Nebula Forums... click here to be re directed to an Extra Life thread on the Nebula forums by Y2David Please feel free to add more if you know of any and I will add them to the op...
  21. There's a brand new translation out for a game Hideo Kojima wrote and directed all the way back in 1994. Policenauts released for the PC-9821 over two decades ago and was remade for the 3DO in 1995 before migrating to the PlayStation and Sega Saturn in 1996. The Konami title was never released outside of Japan and might have remained unknown to Western audiences if not for the surprise release of an unofficial fan translation released in 2009 in honor of Kojima's 49th birthday. Policenauts tells the story of Jonathan Ingram, one of the five police astronauts who have been assigned to, Beyond Coast, the first functional human space colony. After a disastrous incident that leaves him cryogenically frozen in space for almost a quarter of a century, Ingrambecomes a private investigator on Earth until an encounter with his ex-wife who implores him to travel back to Beyond Coast and unravel the mysteries of her new husband's disappearance. While it's certainly some hardboiled sci-fi, the meat and potatoes of Kojima's work for the better part of two decades, Policenauts seems practically restrained and restful compared to the completely bonkers twists and turns of the Metal Gear Solid franchise. So, if there was already an unofficial translation released seven years ago, what's with the headline? The 2009 translation was for the version of Policenauts that released on the original PlayStation. However, Policenauts on the Sega Saturn has become what many fans of the game consider to be the definitive iteration of the title. It includes additional scenes and extras not seen in the PlayStation version, as well as boasting higher quality pixel art. The newest fan translation from this year covers the Saturn version's extras. You can find both the PS1 and Saturn translations on the Policenaut's community page. For those looking to play the translations, there's some bad news. It's a bit tricky. Luckily, the translators recognized this and include some streamlined instructions and multiple options for those who might be moving into uncharted territory to apply the translation patches. Unlike recent fan-made games that have been cancelled, these translations do not include distribution of Policenauts itself. If you want to experience some early Kojima, or just want to scratch the nostalgia itch for a solid point-and-click experience, consider checking out Policenauts.
  22. There's a brand new translation out for a game Hideo Kojima wrote and directed all the way back in 1994. Policenauts released for the PC-9821 over two decades ago and was remade for the 3DO in 1995 before migrating to the PlayStation and Sega Saturn in 1996. The Konami title was never released outside of Japan and might have remained unknown to Western audiences if not for the surprise release of an unofficial fan translation released in 2009 in honor of Kojima's 49th birthday. Policenauts tells the story of Jonathan Ingram, one of the five police astronauts who have been assigned to, Beyond Coast, the first functional human space colony. After a disastrous incident that leaves him cryogenically frozen in space for almost a quarter of a century, Ingrambecomes a private investigator on Earth until an encounter with his ex-wife who implores him to travel back to Beyond Coast and unravel the mysteries of her new husband's disappearance. While it's certainly some hardboiled sci-fi, the meat and potatoes of Kojima's work for the better part of two decades, Policenauts seems practically restrained and restful compared to the completely bonkers twists and turns of the Metal Gear Solid franchise. So, if there was already an unofficial translation released seven years ago, what's with the headline? The 2009 translation was for the version of Policenauts that released on the original PlayStation. However, Policenauts on the Sega Saturn has become what many fans of the game consider to be the definitive iteration of the title. It includes additional scenes and extras not seen in the PlayStation version, as well as boasting higher quality pixel art. The newest fan translation from this year covers the Saturn version's extras. You can find both the PS1 and Saturn translations on the Policenaut's community page. For those looking to play the translations, there's some bad news. It's a bit tricky. Luckily, the translators recognized this and include some streamlined instructions and multiple options for those who might be moving into uncharted territory to apply the translation patches. Unlike recent fan-made games that have been cancelled, these translations do not include distribution of Policenauts itself. If you want to experience some early Kojima, or just want to scratch the nostalgia itch for a solid point-and-click experience, consider checking out Policenauts. View full article
  23. Sony held a press event yesterday to officially reveal both the PlayStation 4 Slim and the PlayStation 4 Pro consoles alongside trailers and gameplay of upcoming titles. The slim was declared the new base PS4 model and will become available on September 15 for $299.99. The Slim packs all the power of the traditional PS4 into a smaller package that Sony claims is almost 30% more energy efficient than the original model. The PS4 Pro launches a bit later this year, November 10, and will sell for $399.99. That extra $100 supposedly buys gamers a better gaming experience, 4K resolution for some games, expanded HDR capabilities, and a higher frame rate. Obviously, Sony wants the PS4 Pro to seem like an attractive option for those looking to buy a PlayStation 4 or upgrade from an older model. Presenters like Andrew House and Mark Cerny could hardly refrain from touting the PlayStation 4 Pro's... pros. For example, the PS4 Pro includes custom variations on AMD's Polaris architecture and houses a GPU that Sony states "is considerably more powerful than the GPU included in the standard PS4." It also comes with a whole terabyte of storage space, a nice upgrade from the original PlayStation 4. The vast majority of the announcements pushed the 4K capabilities of the system when paired with a 4K television. Sony was quick to clarify that those with conventional televisions will still notice a marked performance in games that support PS4 Pro's expanded capabilities. Every gameplay clip and trailer was accompanied by someone heralding 4K as if it was the biggest thing in gaming since the leap from NES to SNES. 4K... 4K. 4K! After an hour or so, I couldn't shake the feeling that PS4 Pro was created to specifically to sell more 4K televisions, specifically Sony 4K televisions. I had never heard the term "conventional television" tossed around more in my life, as if 1080p was already an obsolete resolution. I'd be interested to know if the decision to make the PS4 Pro came from PlayStation or if it was a decree from the larger Sony company in an effort to push more Sony products. The cynic in me suspects that, as one of Sony's few profitable divisions, Sony has turned to PlayStation in a bid to leverage sales in less successful parts of the wider business. Sure, you could play PS4 Pro on a "conventional television," or you could enjoy it on a new Sony 4K TV. Oh, and while you're at it, why not pick up a Sony 4K Blu-ray player, since the PS4 Pro can't play 4K Blu-rays? Wait, what? That last point is one of the most mind-boggling things to me; especially when the Xbox One S, PS4 Pro's direct competitor this coming holiday season, already touts 4K gaming (albeit upscaled) with HDR capabilities and can also play 4K Blu-rays. Sony owns the rights to UHD Blu-ray technology, but their device lacks that capability while their competitor proudly lists it as a feature. In an interview with The Guardian, Andrew House clarified why PS4 Pro won't have a 4K Blu-ray player. "Our feeling is that while physical media continues to be a big part of the games business, we see a trend on video towards streaming," he said. "Certainly with our user base, it's the second biggest use case for people's time on the system so we place more emphasis on that area." To say that the PlayStation 4 Pro has been received poorly is a bit of an understatement. Many people derided the console on social media following its announcement. Even the official Xbox account tweeted out a sly jab that has been retweeted over 7,000 times and liked by over 15,000 people. The thing is, I can't figure out to whom the PlayStation 4 Pro is supposed to appeal. Perhaps a slim subset of people who own a 4K TV and money to spend on an upgrade? Maybe someone who hasn't bought a PS4 yet, owns a 4K TV and is willing to drop an extra $100 on a Pro over a Slim? Either way, it seems like a very small market for now. That market seems like it will only be shrinking as we approach the holidays especially when you consider that Sony also plans to release PS VR on October 13 for the same price as the PS4 Pro, $399.99. Oh, and to get PS VR to work, you will also need a PS4 Camera, which PlayStation quietly redesigned and will be launching September 15 for $59. If you wanted to get into all of the things Sony is offering in the coming months to the highest degree, PS4 Pro, 4K TV, 4K Blu-ray player, PS VR, and a PS4 Camera, it could easily rack up the bill to well over $1,500, which you will recognize as a rather large number. Any way you shake it, the main takeaway from the 2016 PlayStation Meeting speaks clearly: Please buy 4K TVs and maybe a few other things - preferably from Sony. If you missed the announcements and want to watch the full 3-hour stream, you can view it below.
  24. Sony held a press event yesterday to officially reveal both the PlayStation 4 Slim and the PlayStation 4 Pro consoles alongside trailers and gameplay of upcoming titles. The slim was declared the new base PS4 model and will become available on September 15 for $299.99. The Slim packs all the power of the traditional PS4 into a smaller package that Sony claims is almost 30% more energy efficient than the original model. The PS4 Pro launches a bit later this year, November 10, and will sell for $399.99. That extra $100 supposedly buys gamers a better gaming experience, 4K resolution for some games, expanded HDR capabilities, and a higher frame rate. Obviously, Sony wants the PS4 Pro to seem like an attractive option for those looking to buy a PlayStation 4 or upgrade from an older model. Presenters like Andrew House and Mark Cerny could hardly refrain from touting the PlayStation 4 Pro's... pros. For example, the PS4 Pro includes custom variations on AMD's Polaris architecture and houses a GPU that Sony states "is considerably more powerful than the GPU included in the standard PS4." It also comes with a whole terabyte of storage space, a nice upgrade from the original PlayStation 4. The vast majority of the announcements pushed the 4K capabilities of the system when paired with a 4K television. Sony was quick to clarify that those with conventional televisions will still notice a marked performance in games that support PS4 Pro's expanded capabilities. Every gameplay clip and trailer was accompanied by someone heralding 4K as if it was the biggest thing in gaming since the leap from NES to SNES. 4K... 4K. 4K! After an hour or so, I couldn't shake the feeling that PS4 Pro was created to specifically to sell more 4K televisions, specifically Sony 4K televisions. I had never heard the term "conventional television" tossed around more in my life, as if 1080p was already an obsolete resolution. I'd be interested to know if the decision to make the PS4 Pro came from PlayStation or if it was a decree from the larger Sony company in an effort to push more Sony products. The cynic in me suspects that, as one of Sony's few profitable divisions, Sony has turned to PlayStation in a bid to leverage sales in less successful parts of the wider business. Sure, you could play PS4 Pro on a "conventional television," or you could enjoy it on a new Sony 4K TV. Oh, and while you're at it, why not pick up a Sony 4K Blu-ray player, since the PS4 Pro can't play 4K Blu-rays? Wait, what? That last point is one of the most mind-boggling things to me; especially when the Xbox One S, PS4 Pro's direct competitor this coming holiday season, already touts 4K gaming (albeit upscaled) with HDR capabilities and can also play 4K Blu-rays. Sony owns the rights to UHD Blu-ray technology, but their device lacks that capability while their competitor proudly lists it as a feature. In an interview with The Guardian, Andrew House clarified why PS4 Pro won't have a 4K Blu-ray player. "Our feeling is that while physical media continues to be a big part of the games business, we see a trend on video towards streaming," he said. "Certainly with our user base, it's the second biggest use case for people's time on the system so we place more emphasis on that area." To say that the PlayStation 4 Pro has been received poorly is a bit of an understatement. Many people derided the console on social media following its announcement. Even the official Xbox account tweeted out a sly jab that has been retweeted over 7,000 times and liked by over 15,000 people. The thing is, I can't figure out to whom the PlayStation 4 Pro is supposed to appeal. Perhaps a slim subset of people who own a 4K TV and money to spend on an upgrade? Maybe someone who hasn't bought a PS4 yet, owns a 4K TV and is willing to drop an extra $100 on a Pro over a Slim? Either way, it seems like a very small market for now. That market seems like it will only be shrinking as we approach the holidays especially when you consider that Sony also plans to release PS VR on October 13 for the same price as the PS4 Pro, $399.99. Oh, and to get PS VR to work, you will also need a PS4 Camera, which PlayStation quietly redesigned and will be launching September 15 for $59. If you wanted to get into all of the things Sony is offering in the coming months to the highest degree, PS4 Pro, 4K TV, 4K Blu-ray player, PS VR, and a PS4 Camera, it could easily rack up the bill to well over $1,500, which you will recognize as a rather large number. Any way you shake it, the main takeaway from the 2016 PlayStation Meeting speaks clearly: Please buy 4K TVs and maybe a few other things - preferably from Sony. If you missed the announcements and want to watch the full 3-hour stream, you can view it below. View full article
  25. Jack Gardner

    PlayStation Plus Membership Fee Increases

    Starting this September, Sony's PlayStation Plus subscribers will be hit with the first price hike the service has experienced since it's 2010 launch. This change goes into effect on September 22, though people who have already paid will only be effected when their subscriptions renew. The price increase will be based on the tier of service. Yearly subscriptions, previously $49.99, will be $59.99. Three month subscriptions, previously $17.99, will be $24.99. The monthly subscription will remain at $9.99. Sony clarified their reasoning behind the price increase: The new pricing reflects current market conditions while enabling us to continue providing exceptional value to our members. As a member, you will continue to enjoy the benefits and features that enable shared experiences, such as online multiplayer, free games and exclusive discounts. You will also continue to get exclusive benefits such as online game save storage and discounts across the PlayStation digital services. Sony then clarifies that those who do not wish to pay more for PS Plus can cancel at any time. As a reminder, make sure that if you don't wish to renew at a higher price that you turn off the auto-renew setting on your PlayStation account. What do you think? Is the first price hike in over five years warranted for a service that gives out several free games per month on top of other online perks or does this feel like an overreach from Sony?
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