Steam

Grand Theft Auto V is this week’s game.

That’s it. Thanks for coming!

Here are this week’s vidyas:

 

Hot Wheels Worlds Best Driver (Wii U/3DS Retail)

We Sing: 80s (Wii U Retail)

Cut the Rope (3DS eShop)

Rage of the Gladiators (3DS eShop)

Star Wars Pinball (3DS eShop)

AiRace Speed (3DS eShop)

 

Grand Theft Auto V (PS3 Retail/PSN)

Hot Wheels World’s Best Driver (PS3 Retail/PSN)

Capcom Fighting Evolution (PS2 Classic)

Saints Row 4 – GATV Pack (PS3 DLC)

Saints Row 4 – Wild West Pack Pack (PS3 DLC)

Real Boxing (PS Vita PSN)

 

Grand Theft Auto V (Retail)

Hot Wheels World’s Best Driver (Retail)

Saints Row 4 – GATV Pack (DLC)

Saints Row 4 – Wild West Pack (DLC)

 

Foul Play (PC Steam)

Borderlands 2 – Ultimate Vault Hunter Upgrade Pack 2 (PC Steam)

Ironclad Tactics (PC/Mac)

Takedown: Red Sabre (PC/Mac)

Urban Trial Freestyle (PC Steam)

Saints Row 4 – GATV Pack (PC Steam DLC)

Saints Row 4 – Wild West Pack (PC Steam DLC)

Rayman Legends is finally out this week, though you might want to steer out of the way of the PS Vita version of the game as we heard it’s missing some content (until they patch it). Diablo 3 makes its way to consoles as promised, and you can get jiggle with it with Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate *mmphh*, and a new adventure awaits you with the Strawhats in One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2.

Here are this week’s vidyas:

 

Rayman Legends (Wii U Retail)

eShop Releases (TBA)

 

Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate (PS3 Retail/PSN)

Diablo 3 (PS3 Retail/PSN)

Rayman Legends (PS3/Vita Retail/PSN)

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (PS3 PSN)

Castle of Illusions (PS3 PSN)

Chaos Code (PS3 PSN)

Hunter’s Trophy 2: America (PS3 PSN)

Kickbeat (PS3/Vita PSN)

One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2 (PS3 PSN)

Stella Deus: The Gate of Eternity (PS2 Classic)

Borderlands 2 – Costume Packs (PS3 DLC)

Borderlands 2 – Ultimate Vault Hunter Upgrade Pack 2 (PS3 DLC)

Grid 2 – Destruction Derby (PS3 DLC)

Metro: Last Light – Tower Pack (PS3 DLC)

Saints Row 4 – Dubstep Gun (Remix) Pack (PS3 DLC)

 

Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate (Retail)

Diablo 3 (Retail)

Rayman Legends (Retail)

Castle of Illusion (XBLA)

Freefall Racers (XBLA)

Borderlands 2 – Costume Packs (DLC)

Borderlands 2 – Ultimate Vault Hunter Upgrade Pack 2 (DLC)

Grid 2 – Destruction Derby (DLC)

Metro: Last Light – Tower Pack (DLC)

Saints Row 4 – Dubstep Gun (Remix) Pack (DLC)

Minecraft – Mass Effect Mash-up (DLC)

 

Borderlands 2 – Costume Packs (PC Steam)

Borderlands 2 – Ultimate Vault Hunter Upgrade Pack 2 (PC Steam)

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (PC Steam)

Castle of Illusion Castle of Illusion (PC Steam)

Grid 2 – Destruction Derby (PC Steam)

Huntsman: The Orphanage (PC/Mac)

Metro: Last Light – Tower Pack (PC Steam)

Outlast (PC Steam)

Rayman Legends (PC)

Saints Row 4 – Dubstep Gun (Remix) Pack (PC Steam)

Total War: Rome 2 (PC Steam)

Total War: Rome 2 – Greek States Culture Pack (PC Steam)

Anyone excited about Madden NFL 25?

Anyone?

*crickets* *tumbleweed*

Okay!

Here are this week’s vidyas:

 

Wario Land 3 (3DS eShop Virtual Console)

 

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (PS3 Retail)

Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F (PS3 Retail/PSN)

Killer is Dead (PS3 Retail)

Lost Planet 3 (PS3 Retail)

Madden NFL 25 (PS3 Retail)

Crimson Sea 2 (PS2 Classic PSN)

Floating Cloud God Saves the Pilgrims in HD (PS3/Vita PSN)

The HD Adventures of the Rotating Octopus Character (PS3 PSN)

Spelunky (PS3/Vita PSN-CrossBuy)

Sweet Fuse: At Your Side (PS3/Vita/PSP PSN)

 

Killer is Dead (Retail)

Lost Planet 3 (Retail)

Madden NFL 25 (Retail)

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 – Apocalypse (DLC)

 

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow Ultimate Edition (PC Steam)

The Chaos Engine (PC/Mac Steam)

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (PC)

Game Dev Tycoon (PC/Mac Steam)

Guardians of Middle-earth (PC Steam)

Guardians of Middle-earth DLC Bundles (PC Steam DLC)

Lost Planet 3 (PC Steam)

Memoria (PC/Mac Steam)

Pixeljunk Monsers Ultimate Edition (PC Steam)

Shelter (PC/Mac Steam)

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In my opinion, there’s currently no other video game in existence similar to the premise and essence of Evoland, an indie adventure RPG by Shiro Games. As the name suggests, the game is a history book of the sorts, showcasing the evolution of the RPG genre. The game starts as humble, pixelated and in “black-and-white”, but as you progress, you unlock more features to enhance the game’s various aspects such as graphics and music and gameplay methods. In effect, the game “evolves” before your very eyes.

evo2

The controls are simple really: just the direction buttons and an “action” button. Before I wrote this review, the game only uses a keyboard, which is a big letdown. If you’re going to maximize the cash-in on nostalgia, aside from using 8 to 64-bit graphics, the next thing you may want is a controller to complete a more legitimate experience. Thankfully, as I write this review controllers are now supported.

evo3     evo5

Unfortunately, what starts off as a seemingly innovative and unique gameplay immediately falls downhill in terms of implementation. The evolutionary “upgrades” come in so fast in a blink of an eye, you can’t get to fully immerse yourself with the nostalgic elements that the game sells itself upon in the 1st place. To make matters worse, the game is terribly short (clocked in at around 4 hours to completion). It would have been better if the entire thing is separated into acts/chapters with each succeeding act getting eventual evolutionary gimmicks. There is also no New Game+, and there is very little incentive to restart or complete the game to 100%, except for completists and achievement whores. On my 1st run of the game I already reached 86% completion, and that’s a lot. There are virtually no perks, nothing to look forward to. Nada. Zilch. Zip. Achievements mean little to me and I got other games to play, so after the end credits finished rolling, I uninstalled it.

evo4     evo7

There is a fine line between being a homage from being a ripoff. Evoland irritatingly blurs that distinction. So much that you can’t get yourself to take it seriously (if at all). The game not only suffers from poor execution, but is also arid-dry on creativity. Everything from character names, to design and color are basically copycats of the original copyrighted material with cheap “modifications” such as extra letters on names, hairstyle changes, added/removed accessories, bra stitching pattern, you name it. Some characters were even so unflattering, they kept their names from the original people they were based on, it’s so corny to the point that they look like they’re out of ideas.

evo8     evo9

The gameplay gives you the opportunity to try each variation within the RPG genre: you get to play both turn-based and active time battle systems, then later on when the game evolves into an ARPG, it becomes a less-polished Diablo 3. Although experiencing all these different types of gameplays within a single game isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it was ill-conceived: gameplays change depending on the area. One cave is a Zelda-type dungeon, then as you exit to the world map it reeks of Final Fantasy (encounters and battle systems) while another cave feels like Diablo 3. It’s all over the place with no coordination or consistency.

Due to these inconsistencies, items and equipment are virtually almost moot, because you don’t get to utilize them in all areas. For instance, the Diablo 3 dungeon has health orbs and equipment, but no item usages. The Zelda dungeon has heart drops, but no items and equipment. Nothing is ironed out or planned, and you have to force yourself to adjust from one gameplay type to another within seconds of leaving/entering an area.

evo6

Setting all the complaints aside, Evoland is good for a few things. For one, they successfully capture the atmosphere of each era of video game in the timeline. The Final Fantasy 7 era comes to mind, where the end-game heavily borrows most of its ambiance. The feeling when playing, brought about by a cunning mix of graphics and music brings about a sensible experience.

For all its worth, Evoland looked good on paper but just not as nice as it shows itself to be. It’s a video game primordial soup, but that’s all there is to it. For its price of $10, it’s not worth it to me. Best wait for it to go on sale on Steam or wait for someone to gift it to you. Such a shame because I had high expectations since the trailer came out and the finished product just didn’t cut it. Should they make a sequel to this game, I hope they consider feedback from players. This game as it is needs a lot of work, and I’m having a hard time recommending it to anyone, even to a casual gamer.

5 2094

Indie games these days are now gaining popularity and the attention of mainstream gamers. Some moved on to become monster hits such as the Torchlight series and Castle Crashers while some won at the Spike Video Game Awards (Minecraft & Journey).

Here’s an Indie unique in its own right: it’s of the survival horror genre, packed with a clever balance of strategy, action, shooter and RPG elements with an engaging story co-written by best-selling Canadian author Bryan Perro. This is Sang-Froid (pronounced sang-fwa): Tales of Werewolves.

Sang Froid Screenshots

The story: it’s a cold winter of December 5, 1858 at snowy Lower Canada. Two brothers Jos & Jack O’Carroll must defend their young sister Josephine from the clutches of the Devil himself, who employs Lycans/Werewolves to do his bidding. Werewolves in this lore are ordinary wolves possessed by corrupted souls of humans, transforming into the familiar anthropomorphic forms we all know. To complicate things, the Maikans, a race of Skinwalkers (shape-shifters who also transform into humanoid wolves) want the “white-skins” (humans) out of their forest, believing that their presence destroys and corrupts the land.

You, the player must choose from one of the O’Carroll brothers and protect your lodge from invasions of these paranormal forces. You have until December 24, Christmas Eve to survive.

Sang Froid Screenshots Sang Froid Screenshots

The game is separated into 2 sections: Dawn and Night. Dawn is where the Strategy part comes to play where you install traps/defenses around the forest perimeter. As you progress, other landmarks will unlock at different parts of the forest, enlarging your area of responsibility and effectively making it difficult.

Luckily you won’t be defending blind. Your sister Josephine has “omens” that allow her to discern the kind and numbers of monsters that will attack, including the number of waves and even their specific pathways! Use this pre-emptive knowledge to your advantage in setting up your defenses!

Sang Froid ScreenshotsThe number and types of traps you can deploy are limited by your AP (action points), as well as your current cash-on-hand. Some traps are free, but all require AP. During this time of the day you may also visit the village of Wolvesvale where you can stock up on consumables and equipment. You may have your armaments blessed (more on this later). Out of money? No problem! Use any remaining unused AP to log down trees. Although any unused AP will be converted to money later anyway, it won’t yield as much as logging. Once you’re done, check your defenses carefully to see if their strategic placements are effective.

Night time is where the Action and Shooting takes place. It’s time to defend! Enemies come in waves & their different types make their vulnerabilities vary. Some are weak against holy/blessed weapons (hence why it’s vital to visit the convent earlier to have them blessed) while some are weak against Silver. Some enemies are vulnerable or even immune to certain traps.

When your traps can’t deal with them, it’s up to you to finish them off the old-fashioned way: cleave them with your axe and/or shoot holes into their skulls! Cleaving, as well as sprinting depletes your stamina, and when you get tired, you’ll lose a lot of attack power and you’ll pause for a breath, leaving enemies an opening to attack. Stamina replenishes by drinking beer so you can continue the slaughtering.

Sang Froid ScreenshotsShooting is in 3rd-person perspective. You may fire only 1 bullet at a time, and after every shot you must reload your musket, which takes time. You can deal extreme damage by doing a headshot, but with a pack of wolves in front of you it may pose a problem. Do take note that some traps require you to shoot /cleave them to activate, so don’t waste ammo!

 

Your performance at night will heavily depend on how well you strategically placed your defenses during the day. If you get a panic attack or feel you’re losing, you may choose to restart at Dawn to renew your defenses, or at night to redo the battle.

At the end of each night, you earn money to spend for traps and experience to level up, which in turn grants you a skill point. Should you fail the night, you will get little experience (if you level up this way you’ll still get a skill point). The game has a very simple skill tree so upgrade/learn the skills that suits your play style! Are you a melee fighter or a good shot? Perhaps you want to augment your traps’ effectiveness or your ability to get money? There are different possibilities for different players.

You may go back in time to replay previews days, but with one caveat: you will lose ALL progress, including skill points, money and experience after that chosen day. It’s logical, since nobody can go back in time after all. The game treats it like whatever you did earlier never happened.

Sang Froid Screenshots

So, summarizing the game as a whole, here are my personal thoughts:

GOOD POINTS:

  • The music is top-caliber, one of the game’s strongest points.
  • Environment graphics are eye-catching, especially the Blood Moon.
  • The skill tree’s simplicity makes it easy for players to mold their characters that suit their play style.
  • The story is in my opinion well-written. Then again, a real novelist did write it.

BAD POINTS:

  • Very little incentive to replay the game after clearing both normal and hard mode.
  • Content is very limited, but it’s only Tome 1, implying a sequel.

SO-SO POINTS:

  • Voice acting is mediocre, to some it’s ok, to some it sucks.
  • The graphic novel presentation may be good or bad, it depends on the player’s taste.
  • The gameplay is a jack-of-all-trades. Multiple genres cater to tastes of different people, so some may complain that its imperfections don’t make it “true shooters” or “true ARPGs”.

 

Sang Froid Screenshots

Sang-Froid: Tales of Werewolves Tome 1 is available for pre-purchase at Steam for $14 but officially releases on April 6, 2013. Pre-purchasing it now gives you immediate access to the Beta. Although the developers are currently fine-tuning the game, it’s an impressive title worthy of gracing your Steam Library. Perhaps the only thing missing in this game is that it needs to be released on consoles. Like many other Beta players out there, I can’t wait for Tome 2!

Helpful links: Official site – http://www.sangfroidgame.com/ Steam store – http://store.steampowered.com/app/227220/?snr=1_7_7_151_150_1 Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/SangFroidEn?ref=ts&fref=ts

Thanks again to Franz Sy for contributing this review to the cause and for the major pimpage on his forum, Super Robot Wars Genesis. If you’d like to contribute to 30lives, hit us up!

This review is based on my playthrough on the PlayStation 3 version. Aside from differences with  controls on the PC version, all three versions play the same. I didn’t play the multiplayer mode because it’s stupid.

I’ve played every Tomb Raider game. From her first outing on the PlayStation (geometrical boobs!), to the awesome co-op goodness that is Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light. Some I finished, some got sidetracked for other new games that came out when I was playing them, and on a few I got stuck on a stupid puzzle and never came back.

So like everyone else, the months that lead up to the release of Crystal Dynamics’ reboot of the beloved relic-hunting heroine hyped me way up.

Tomb Raider lived up to the hype in spades.

In this incarnation, Lara Croft is not a cool and collected archeologist, no money for choppers and jets, no dual pistols that don’t run out of ammo, and no disproportionate breasts.

What you get, is basically a naive scared girl who is struggling to survive in a mysterious and danger-filled island while trying to rescue her shipwrecked crew from an unknown threat. The island, a character by itself (IMHO) is a well crafted assortment of obstacles that provides challenges and the perfect environment for Lara’s story. Lara versus Island.

Lara is late for a dinner of venison.

Playing through the single-player campaign takes you on a journey not just to rescue your wrecked shipmates, it is also the journey of how a frightened 21-year-old girl learns to do whatever it takes to survive and coming to terms with the consequences. Lara reluctantly kills a deer for food, apologizing to it a number of times. Her resolve nearly breaks when she is eventually forced to kill another human being. Lara’s horrified reaction and the way the game presents it is amazing. It’s a nice change from fragging someone and teabagging his corpse right after. Heh.

The game takes about 12-18 hours to wrap up (more if you are a nerdy completionist). You spend most of those hours exploring the island and uncovering its secrets. And like I said, the main mission is to rescue you shipmates. The people who does not want you to do that are the island’s scavenging inhabitants, a savage cult with a sinister agenda.

Her mom made her watch Bambi too many times when she was a child.

Gameplay controls are the standard  third-person action game you would expect from the genre. The game puts more emphasis on traversal than combat but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of opportunities to kick butt.

Tomb Raider’s combat mechanics are mostly cover-based. And I think this game has the best system of all the games I played that has the mechanic. You don’t need to hold a button or even press a button. Covering is automatic — Lara ducks behind crates and the like whenever she goes behind them and enemies are afoot. From cover, you can strategically come up with your plan of attack (or at least before one of the assholes throws a molotov to your face).

Ms. Croft’s arsenal consists of four weapons which you gradually acquire through gameplay. Three of them are your standard gaming guns like the pistol, shotgun, etc but the real ass-kicker here is Lara’s bow. The controls really capture the thrill of cocking an arrow and letting it fly straight to someone’s skull. In fact, I would have to agree with a quote I read from a different review: “I felt dirty whenever I used a firearm”.

Weapons are modified and upgraded with salvage. It is the game’s currency and can be collected by opening crates, looting enemy corpses, or carving up animals. It’s a decent system and well implemented, but it’s hilarious that you can upgrade your rifle by killing rats.

Graphics are great, overall. There are parts where the frame-rate dips but it doesn’t really hinder the gameplay that much. The environment is fantastically rendered though. Traversing the island doesn’t get boring and there are sequences that are just breathtaking. Death sequences are also “breathtaking”, you can see Lara get impaled in the throat with a metal bar in one of them.

The music in this game is awesome, it appropriately changes depending the current mood of the game. It uses one main theme and rearranges itself to suit whatever feeling the game needs to convey. Brilliant.

The voice acting in this game was done very well. I don’t know if they changed the voice actress since the E3 trailer (I hated how Lara sounded like in that), but british-born Camilla Luddington nails it as the voice of the new Croft.

In closing, Tomb Raider is my best gaming experience of 2013 so far and I highly recommend getting it. I consciously avoided comparing it to the Uncharted games which I also love but if you would really have to know:

Tomb Raider is better than Uncharted. It’s awesome tits. Ed. Note: you’re not allowed to use this expression again. Ever.

“Come out little girl. Mr. Drake wants to have a little word with you.”