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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)

Spelunky

Developer: Mossmouth, Bill Software

Publisher: Mossmouth

Available for: PS3 (Aug 2013), PS Vita (Aug 2013), Xbox 360 (2012), PC (2009), Steam (2013)

Reviewed: PS3 and PS Vita version

Spelunky is a game that takes you deep into a deep magical cave filled with treasure and wonders. But don’t let that fairytale premise get to you. If you underestimate this gem of a game from developer Mossmouth, this tough and sometimes controller-hurling platformer will bury you alive.

Randomly generated levels are the backbone mechanic of Spelunky. The genius of it is even though they are all random, every component of the levels seem to work together like clockwork. Unfortunately, they are all working together towards the goal of killing you. They will achieve that goal many times. True story: I died 90 times before I even got a glimpse of the next main area.

Dying in the game can’t be more hardcore. Finger twitched on the jump button while traversing some spikes because of that sneaky spider? It’s all over. When you bite the dust, you start from the beginning of the game (unless you unlock a shortcut), all the money you’ve been saving up for items, including the items you already have, go poof! All gone.

The game will not reward you with tangible power-ups or anything of the like. You use the knowledge you gained to help you on your next foray into the caverns. The aforementioned spikes for example, you will soon learn that walking through them is harmless and will take care that your finger does not stray to the jump button or it’s gonna be spelunker-kebab time. It’s essentially learning from your mistakes and observing how things work so your next try will be more successful but you can’t just memorize everything because of the levels are all random. Genius.

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Rescuing a damsel in distress gives you one more life point for the next level.

You always start with four bombs and four ropes. These help you traverse the levels to suit your needs. Bombs are useful to blast a path to a goal — be it an item/treasure or the exit to the level. The rope enables you to get to hard to reach places or avoid falling to your death. Other items or more of your basic items can be found from crates and pots but the more unique items, like gripping gloves that enables you to climb walls, are sold via a shopkeeper who appears randomly within the levels. There are also other trinkets like stones and bones that you can use in a number of ways like triggering a trap or throwing to kill an enemy when your trusty whip can’t do the job (square button).

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The game’s main trapping is the Adventure mode. This can be played single-player or multiplayer co-op. The PS Vita shines with multiplayer because each player have their own screen and can go wherever they want in the level as opposed to having to stay on the same screen when played on a TV or monitor using multiple controllers. I haven’t tried multiplayer yet so I can’t say anything about it in this review.

Purchasing Spelunky on PSN entitles you to both the PS3 and PS Vita versions (Cross-Buy). The two versions are compatible to play together for multiplayer. I forgot to mention that the multiplayer modes in Spelunky are local only. No online for a game like this is a missed opportunity in my opinion but being able to play this on the go on my PS Vita is a really good trade-off for lack of online.

Spelunky has been available for the PC and from the Xbox Live Marketplace for quite some time now but the PSN version, specifically the PS Vita one is the version to get if you have the system. With how the game plays, you would want to play as much of it as possible to get good at it. And believe me, getting good at it feels awesome.

The Good Stuff:

Challenging gameplay — Game will keep you on your toes all the time. Dying is a learning experience.

Awesome risk-reward system — Trying things out and learning how to tackle various situations is very satisfying. You start every do-over with more knowledge to go further.

Randomly generated levels keeps the game fresh everytime — You can’t just memorize the game so you will have to rely on your experience and skill.

Playing it on anywhere on the PS Vita — Spelunky anywhere. Hellz Yeah.

Cross-Buy and Cross-Play — Buying Spelunky on PSN gets you both PS3 and Vita versions and they can play together. Aww…

The Bad Smelly Pit:

No Online Multiplayer — This is a missed opportunity. You would think being a game that has been out for years now (original PC version was released 2009) and has co-op, they would’ve added online for the 2013 versions. But nooooooooo.

No Big Bosses — I’m not sure if this game needs them, but I love fighting big bosses. So yeah. lol

Things That Could Swing Either Way:

High Difficulty — I love challenging games but believe it or not there are people who don’t! OH MY!

In Closing:

Spelunky‘s challenging gameplay is geared towards the classic core gamer. Try it out if you think you are up to the challenge. Countless hours of fun (and dying) awaits you.

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So let’s get this straight: the first two Ys games have been chopped up, ported, remade (or re-remade, in this case) more times than I’d care to count over its twenty-four years of existence. What has Chronicles going for it, then? Absolutely nothing, to be blunt. Chronicles won’t impress the uninitiated, quell the fears of people who’ve dabbled with and hated the series, nor give hardened vets anything substantial to chew on. Taken at face value, however, it is a wonderful package: a well-done re-issue of one of the first and greatest action-RPGs.

Ys Chronicles

The plot remains the same: strapping young lad Adol Christin ventures forth in the land of Esteria to discover the books of Ys, containing the history of a vanished kingdom called Ys, which (spoilers!) he actually gets to explore in the second game. What makes Ys special is its brisk, simplistic, yet elegant combat model. Run into enemies, rinse and repeat: the “bump system” doesn’t get any simpler than that.

Ys Chronicles (1)Another thing that defines Ys is its wonderful soundtrack, composed by industry legend Yuzo Koshiro. As expected, Chronicles’ OST is nothing short of incredible. Falcom has thoughtfully included the option to play through the game with either the original PC-88 chiptunes, fully-redone tracks from the (original) 2001 Windows version this game is based off, or wonderfully-arranged tracks first found on Chronicles’ PSP release (which, um, was a remake of an older PC version of the same remake. Confused yet?).

The spritework in Ys is crisp, colorful, and—most importantly—faithful to the source material. I’m really impressed by the spritework—everyone from tiny NPCs down to the humungous bosses is detailed intricately, and everything scales up pretty well even blown up full-screen on my 24″ monitor. The hand-painted backdrops look marvelous as well, and for once the faint polygonal and particle effects enhance rather than detract from the experience (see: Ducktales Remastered, which I’ll have a review on later this week).

Again, I realize this series isn’t for everyone, and anyone who remotely enjoys Ys has already played one of the billion I&II ports out there. But hell, anything Ys-related is worth a look (or two) in my book, and this new Steam version seems to be the easiest entry point for anyone interested in looking into the long-running series.

Ys Chronicles (1)

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No AAA release this week, which is fine for me as I would like to finish some of my currents before I add new ones into the pot. Cloudberry Kingdom‘s frantic random level gameplay sounds like a good side-game distraction from my backlog grinding.

Skulls of the Shogun gets a PC release this week, coming out of Xbox Live Arcade’s exclusivity thing. It’s a good game that is worth checking out

Here are this week’s vidyas:

*No New Retail Releases. eShop content TBA*

Terraria: Collector’s Edition (PS3 Retail)

Cloudberry Kingdom (PS3 PSN)

The Last Bounty Hunter (PS3 PSN)

Narco Terror (PS3 PSN)

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 – Vengeance (PS3 DLC)

PixelJunk Monsters: Ultimate HD (Vita PSN)

Puzzle By Nikoli V Slitherlink (Vita PSN)

 

Terraria: Collector’s Edition (Retail)

Cloudberry Kingdom (XBLA)

Narco Terror (XBLA)

 

Awesomenauts – Gnabot (PC/Mac) [Download]

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 – Vengeance (PC) [Steam]

CastleStorm (PC) [Steam]

Cities in Motion 2 – Trekking Trolleys (PC/Mac) [Download]

Cities in Motion 2 – Wending Waterbuses (PC/Mac) [Download]

Cloudberry Kingdom (PC) [Download]

Farm Frenzy 4 (PC) [Download]

Realms of Arkania: Blade of Destiny (PC/Mac) [Steam]

Rise of the Triad (PC) [Steam]

Skulls of the Shogun (PC) [Steam]

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Fire up yer PCs, fellow distinguished members of the master race — it’s time to partake in our semi-annual tradition of dumping hundreds of dollars on games we’ll probably never end up playing! Yes indeed, Gaben and company have opened the floodgates, and from today ’till the 22nd you too can obtain hours upon hours of quality PC video gaming products for modest prices.

Today’s helpings include BioShock Infinite for $29.99 (don’t buy this), Endless Space for $10.19, Defiance for $13.59, Left 4 Dead 2 for $4.99, Mars for $13.39, Scribblenauts Unlimited for $4.99, Hotline Miami for $2.49, Call of Juarez Gunslinger for $10.04, Toki Tori 2 for $9.89 and Don’t Starve for $11.99. Shorter, eight-hour long are also in as part of the sale, and if you’re lucky you may just make it in time to snag Dragon Age Ultimate Edition, Grid 2, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Legendary Edition, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

And if that wan’t bad enough Valve’s also throwing in Steam Trading Cards into the mix for this year’s summer sale, allowing OCD players to craft a Summer Sale badge after collecting all the new cards unique to the sale. That’s just pure evil.

Anyway, what are ye all waiting for? Let’s cop some games, brehs*!

* – Only applies to PC gamers. Console dirtpersons can sit this one out.

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I don’t know about you guys, but I’m buying Metal Gear Solid: The Legacy Collection and I will win. Fifty dollars for a many Metal Gears… I love me some of that!

This week also sees the release of Civilization V: Brave New World and I know a few people who want this game really bad.

Here are this week’s vidyas:

*No New Retail Releases. eShop content TBA*

 

Metal Gear Solid: The Legacy Collection (PS3 Retail)

NCAA Football 14 (PS3 Retail/PSN)

Binary Domain (PS3 PSN)

Castle Shikigami 2 (PS2 Classic)

Dynasty Tactics 2 (PS2 Classic)

History: Legends of War: Patton (PS3/Vita PSN)

Lego Legends of Chima: Laval’s Journey (PS3 PSN)

Aabs Animals (Vita PSN)

Coconut Dodge Revitalised (Vita PSN)

Total Recoil (Vita PSN)

Dark (Retail)
NCAA Football 14 (Retail)
*XBLM Releases TBA*

Civilization V: Brave New World (PC/Mac)

Shadow Warrior Classic Redux (PC) [Steam]

Toki Tori 2+ (PC/Mac) [Steam]

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As a gamer, one of my greatest fears is to be physically incapacitated to play games. When I read about Special Effect’s campaign to release Team Fortress 2 items from GamesIndustry.biz where 99% of the profits from the in-game items will go to helping people with disabilities play video games again, I immediately felt compelled to share this bit of news to everyone. All you have to do is make a Steam account if you don’t have one and then go here and vote up the collection and each individual item so that they can be released in-game and be purchased by supporters.

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These in-game item were designed and created by artists who go by the handles Psyke, Svdl, Twilight Sparkle and Void. I know there are more ways to get involved such as directly donating to them but campaigns like this can reach a wider audience and get the word out to people about their cause so I don’t see any reason NOT to vote this up and buy these items if not for yourself, for a friend who still plays Team Fortress 2. You can get a warm and fuzzy and wear it too.

Case and point: I’ve never heard of Special Effect until now. Thanks to being on Steam, they got covered by journalists.

Special Effect is a charity based in Charlbury, England. They have been around since 2007, enabling disabled gamers to enjoy the games they love to play. You can learn more about them on their website or even donate to their cause. They are developing technology to allow people even with the most severe physical disabilities such as using eye control among others.

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My new favorite character after SiMo, the coffee-making sniper droid.

Last week marked the release of the first DLC for Sanctum 2, a hybrid FPSxTower Defense game by Coffee Stain Studio. This DLC introduces the ballista-touting-rogue-insurgent-shorty-of-a-rebel named Tsygan and controlling her is a blast!  Her main weapon (Ballista) can deal the most amount of damage among all weapons when fully charged or deal damage over time (DOT) with pulsing bolts which release shock waves damaging all creep around the target it impales. That ain’t even the kicker, the final round in Tsygan’s weapon deals MASSIVE amounts of damage. We’re looking at a hit modifier of at least 200%. I don’t have a definite number because I don’t really bother to do math while killing things. This last shot modifier apparently also affects the DOT of her Ballista’s secondary fire (DOT pulse bolts) and the SMG’s poison darts so Tsygan is pretty much THE badass DPS machine right now. Hitting weak spots takes some adjustment because the Ballista fires at an arc so you need to adjust your aim depending on the distance of the target to some extent; nothing a little muscle memory can’t solve. The new secondary weapon, Gatling Laser, is also pretty bad-ass. It has high rate-of-fire, long range, and even deals damage over time on everything it hits. The secondary fire (right mouse button) of the Gatling Laser charges up the weapon and deals are-of-effect (AOE) damage around your character. It can be used as crowd control or concentrated fire on a single target making it my new favorite secondary weapon as well, with the SMG in a close second.

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The the number of “+” signs? That’s the number of times mutators evolved the blasted creep.

The new creep introduced in this DLC can be a real pain, especially when you are trying to complete the five (5) feats of strength or when you neglect their presence in the battlefield. Mutators are the worst. They basically shoot gunk at other creep to increase their health and if left alone will eventually evolve normal creep to epic boss levels. Healers aren’t that bad because they expose themselves in the air unlike the mutators who stay in the rear which makes them difficult to kill but likewise can be a big threat if you don’t kill them off immediately.

The four (4) new maps bring all sorts of new challenges with its layout but mostly because of the Mutators and Healers thrown into the mix. They are also a massive pain when you attempt to finish them with the five (5) feats of strength (each feat basically makes the game harder). I haven’t gotten around finishing the feats of strength with the original content but I have made some attempts on finishing the new maps with the feats only to repeatedly fail so hard at them even with Tsygan’s bad-ass DPS abilities. 

Surprisingly, I haven’t unlocked any of the new perks but I was able to finish all four (4) new maps. It looks like I’ll have to start grinding or playing old maps with feats of strength on to take my level to 20 and beyond (I’m currently level 19) in order to try out the companion bot (pet). I also haven’t gotten around using the new towers namely the Range Spire (increase surrounding tower’s attack range) and Slow Field Dispenser (allows your character to take portable mines to slow down creep on the fly)I’m not really a fan of support towers since I just simply go all DPS with some Kairos (tower which slows creep) to create choke points. It seems like I’ll have to explore more tower placement tactics if I want to accomplish all maps with the feats of strength on though. However, if you just want to finish the game without challenging yourself too much, you need not bother with the new perks of towers.

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Good Points:

  • The new weapons bring in more fun factor with higher damage output.
  • Maps are still well designed and very challenging when attempting to finish with the five (5) feats of strength on.
  • The new creep bring in a new set of challenges.

Bad Points:

  • You can’t acquire all the new feats and towers without grinding which is rather pointless.

Things that can swing either way:

  • I suppose if you hate getting your ass kicked, you will not like Sanctum 2 or any of its DLC.

Sanctum 2 is available on Steam and Xbox 360 for $14.99 and the first DLC: Road to Elysion can be purchased for $3.99. You can also get a season pass for all four (4) planned DLC for $11.99.

Coffee Stain Studio’s tower defense FPS hybrid: Sanctum 2 just released its first expansion pack: Road to Elysion. This first of four planned DLC expansions introduces a new playable character who is deeply tied up with the game’s story line. If you haven’t read my review of the game, delving more into the story line probably means more comic panels. I’m still disappointed about that approach but hey, new playable character, new weapons, and new perks which include a pet robot? There are more reasons to be excited than disappointed with Road to Elysion. I’ll certainly give some impressions as soon as I’ve gone through the expansion.Santcum2RTE_TSYGAN01 Oh yeah, check out their promo video above too, it’s hilarious.

Road to Elysion Features:

• New Playable Character and Weapons – Tsygan, the “Rogue Insurgent”, who also introduces the Gatling Laser and handheld Ballista to the game.
Four New Maps – These maps will introduce new tactics to make things more refreshing for those who played the hell out of Sanctum 2 already.
• Two New Towers – The Range Spire dramatically increases the reach of nearby offensive towers and the Slow Field Dispenser dramatically hinders the speed of enemies to make choke points more effective.
Enchanced Enemies – New support monsters can heal or mutate attacking creep to give you all sorts of new problems and if that isn’t enough, you’ll have to deal with an aerial boss monster this time around.
• Additional Perks – Customize your character even more with six new perks, including one that gives you an in-game pet robot that will fight for you.

The Sanctum 2: Road to Elysion DLC is now available on Steam for $3.99 and on Xbox Live Marketplace for 1200 MS Points. You will need the full version of Sanctum 2 to play the DLC which goes for $14.99 on said platforms. But if you really like Sanctum 2 like me, you’re better off getting the season pass for all four (4) planned DLC at only $11.99.

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From Zen Studios, maker of Star Wars Pinball and Marvel Pinball comes their latest creation, CastleStorm. It’s a hybrid video game mixing elements of puzzles, lane/tower defense and hack-and-slash. Think of it as Angry Birds meets Battlecats, with a touch of Castle Crashers.

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The objective is pretty much straightforward: destroy the enemy castle. Leave none alive. You can accomplish this with three methods of destruction at your disposal: a giant ballista (crossbow), an army and a hero unit. The ballista is used for shooting arrows to impale your foes, or hurl bombs and other projectiles at castles. This is where the physics-based trajectory gameplay of Angry Birds is coming from.

Opponents will be sending ground troops to your own castle, so you must sortie your own army to intercept, or lead the offensive to take down the gate/wall (tower defense), and if things start to get really hairy, deploy your hero unit, to which you will personally take control of, and cut them down to ribbons yourself (hack-and-slash).

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Adding spice to the game is the ability to build/customize your own castle, as well as having multiplayer modes. Currently, there is a survival co-op mode where one player controls the ballista while the other one manages the troops, and a last stand mode where both players control hero units and fight endless waves of invaders.

I haven’t had this much fun in a hybrid game since Sang-Froid: Tales of Werewolves and like it, CastleStorm offers somethig for everybody gameplay-wise. It’s a breath of fresh air. This title is definitely an instabuy, especially with all the gameplay content and the light-hearted humor/simplified story for a low-budgeted price. I definitely recommend it to tactical game aficionados or both hardcore and casual gamers alike.

CastleStorm is out now on Xbox LIVE for 800 MS Points, and it will launch July 29th on Steam for an affordable price of $9.99. If you pre-purchase the game right now, you’ll get it 10% off at $8.99!

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There’s a handful of noteworthy releases this week: The Merc with the Mouth, Deadpool comes out with his own starring multiplatform game, Capcom X Sega X Namco Bandai’s tactical franchise mash-up Project X Zone is unleashed, and the awesome PS Vita remake of Muramasa finally arrives.

Magic 2014: Duels of the Planeswalkers also will be downloadable for your platform of choice with sealed-deck play.

Here’s this week’s vidyas:

Lego Legends of Chima: Laval’s Journey (3DS Retail)

Project X Zone (3DS Retail)

Kokuga (3DS eShop)

Deadpool (PS3 Retail)

Ride to Hell: Retribution (PS3 Retail/PSN)

Hotline Miami (PS3/Vita PSN)

Magic 2014: Duels of the Planeswalkers (PS3 PSN)

Pool Nation (PS3 PSN)

Riding Star (PS2 Classic)

Warship Gunner (PS2 Classic)

Spartacus Legends (PS3 PSN)

Borderlands 2 – Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep (PS3 DLC)

Lego Legends of Chima: Laval’s Journey (Vita Retail)

Muramasa Rebirth (Vita Retail/PSN)

Deadpool (Retail)

Ride to Hell: Retribution (Retail)

Doodle Jump (XBLA)

Magic 2014: Duels of the Planeswalkers (XBLA)

Spartacus Legends (XBLA)

Borderlands 2 – Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep (DLC)

Gears of War: Judgment – Lost Relics Map Pack (DLC)

Borderlands 2 – Tiny Tina’s Assault (PC/Steam DLC)

Company of Heroes 2 (PC)

Deadpool (PC/Steam)

Endless Space – Disharmony (PC/Steam)

Gun Monkeys (PC/Mac/Steam)

Jack Keane 2: The Fire Within (PC/Steam)

Joe Danger (PC/Steam)

Joe Danger 2: The Movie (PC/Steam)

Magic 2014: Duels of the Planeswalkers (PC/Steam)

Ride to Hell: Retribution (PC/Steam)

The Sims 3 – Island Paradise (PC/Mac Retail)

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unepicIt seems like independent games attempting to ape the feel of classic Metroidvania titles are a dime a dozen, but few actually nail the gameplay, pacing and atmosphere required to be a success in the genre. Francisco Téllez de Meneses’ UnEpic is then somewhat of a rarity; despite some serious AI jank and flaws manages to be one of the more impressive entries in the genre. It has been on Steam Greenlight for a while but I’ve only gotten around to checking it out today. Eight buckaroos on Steam gets you “early access” to the game which translates to the full single-player experience and a partially-done multiplayer beta, though I never really play through the multiplayer bits of any story-driven game I touch (The Last of Us and Tomb Raider have equally-awkward multiplayer modes that I could have done without) so I didn’t mind.

UnEpic‘s main narrative does not belie its title—you play as a guy playing D&D with his crew, who gets lost coming back from the bathroom and ends up in a trap-filled castle chock-full of medieval enemies and the like. I like games that don’t shove story down your throat so UnEpic is right down my alley as everything is straightforward and streamlined. I’ve only played through a couple of hours so this is more like a heads-up post: from what I’ve played so far it’s fairly excellent. There’s tons of spaces to explore, combat is really satisfying (and even includes a leveling system where you get to assign points to various perks) and the loot aspect of it is addicting.

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Cons so far include the weird inclusion of some crafting elements into the game; personally I’d rather have the game create sweet loot drops for me instead of awkwardly trying to mix and match items together. Oddly enough I have no problems with crafting mechanics on games that focus on it as their primary gameplay component like the Atelier games (well that just opened me up for public shaming, didn’t it?) but I don’t like how it gets shoehorned on genres that have no business running them. The bosses suffer from a few AI quirks as well, lots of “safe spots” where enemies don’t exactly know how to get to you and they choose to just hang around the screen and do nothing but look menacing.

Apart from the gameplay victories, the rest of the game exudes a certain charm that doesn’t play very well with its rather amateurish art direction. I highly recommend turning on the “UnEnglish” language option in the game settings for some poorly-translated dialogue hilarity. It’s a lot of fun, and if you’ve been burned by recent Castlevania games not quite scratching that exploration itch, you’ll enjoy UnEpic.

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Wizards of the Coast community coordinator Sean Gibbons came out with a video detailing the upcoming Magic 2014: Duels of the Planeswalkers’ new Sealed Campaign mode and Deck Editor feature.

Magic veterans will know what sealed play is all about — you basically get a bunch of booster packs (I dunno if this is the norm now, but back in the day when I played, you get one starter deck and two booster packs) and make a deck out of it. In Magic 2014, you get six booster packs and an additional three packs mid-campaign. You can use the deck you build both in single-player campaign and online sealed play.

There’s an evil side to this wonderful addition to the game, though… you only get two free sealed deck sets and anything beyond that, you pay $2 per slot. Pay real money. Yes folks, this MTG video game gets closer to being a 3rd floor Virra Mall simulator.

Well, at least there are no smelly smackers here. ‘Yung may anghit.

Magic 2014: Duels of the Planeswalkers is set to release 26 June 2013 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Steam, IOS, and Android.

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Not much on the retail side this week, I’m afraid. The one notable game this week is the Capcom arcade brawler Dungeons and Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara (PSN, XBLA, Wii U eShop). I will certainly buy it when the PS Store updates tomorrow.

Here’s the rest of ’em.

Super Luigi U (Wii U/eShop)

Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara (Wii U eShop)

Castlevania: Lament of Innocence (PS2 Classic)

Corvette Evolution GT (PS2 Classic)

Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara (PS3 PSN)

Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard (PS3 PSN)

Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams (PS3 PSN)

Storm (PS3 PSN)

Jak and Daxter Collection (Vita Retail/PSN)

Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two (Vita PSN)

Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara (XBLA)

Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara (PC/Steam)

Fist Puncher (PC/Steam)

Knights of Pen and Paper +1 Edition (PC/Mac/Steam)

Magrunner: Dark Pulse (PC) [Download]

Moto GP 2013 (PC) [Download]

Pro Cycling Manager 2013 (PC) [Download]

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Van Hellsing 2 Box Art

Esteemed indie developer NeocoreGames announced today The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II for PC, bringing players the follow-up to the popular gothic-noir steampunk action-RPG influenced by Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Returning fans will be able to import their characters from the first adventure, while new hunters will have the opportunity to create their own legendary monster-hunter.

“In the first game it all seemed so simple,” said Viktor Juhász, narrative designer at NeocoreGames, “defeat the mad scientist, free the land and ride into the sunset, but sometimes the fall of a villain only opens the way to more sinister foes.”

The incredible adventures continue, and Van Helsing, the famous monster-hunter returns to save the day again with the help of his charming, ghostly companion, Lady Katarina. The gothic metropolis of weird science is on the brink of destruction as chaos rules the streets and a new enemy plots revenge. It’s time to enter the dark side of Borgova and the forbidden wilderness, but beware: you are not the only one behind a mask.

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing, currently available worldwide for $14.99 via Steam on Windows® PC, is a one-of-a-kind action-RPG that pits players in fierce battles against familiar supernatural foes and enables players to partake in a tower-defense mini-game within Van Helsing’s upgradable lair to ward off evil that attempt to overrun the base by way of force.

Our resident weeaboo (who actually speaks pretty good Japanese for real), Daba Myroad made a review for the first game here. But to cut to the chase, he gives it a good rating of 4.5/5. From the looks of it, the first game seems wildly successful to warrant an immediate development of a sequel.

Author’s Note: This is a press release from the Neocore Game’s PR agency. Everything in this post except the last paragraph is a direct copy of their press release.

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Few games out there are notable for concentrating heavily on ancestry on lineage as its main discourse, and one such example is Infinity Blade. 7 Grand Steps by Mousechief is such a game, but unlike Infinity Blade, you’re not supposed to kill stuff. In fact, you’re supposed to raise your bloodline, through the course of history.

2013-05-18_00004Designed to be like a board game, only shaped like a roulette, the title is a purely heavy strategy game with a deep, create-your-own-adventure type of ancient civilization narrative. You start with your own character, then eventually meeting your mate, bear children, rinse and repeat. Make critical life choices in crafting your own heritage. Perhaps you would dabble on masonry? Maybe mathematics?

Luck plays a crucial role in this game, if you believe in it. Such is so in real life. Your character CAN DIE in this game, specifically to be eaten by crocodiles if you remain idle. After all, the strong survive, and much like reality, you can’t possibly live by just doing nothing. You’ll encounter other people during your lifetime obviously, so don’t forget that they have minds of their own. Do nothing and they’ll snatch away progressive life opportunities (inventions, etc), even ambitions. You do start from the Copper Age all the way to the Silver Age after all, so it’s a looong way to go.

gallery_3_3_1255074    2013-05-18_00021

Time is also a BIG factor, especially when finding your life partner. Take too long deciding, and the girl/man of your dreams may end up with someone else. The pressure is on! Your character actually AGES, so if you don’t find a mate in time, you will risk being unable to bear a child, and perishing in this instance effectively ends your bloodline, and in effect your family legacy.

SS_HighCopperThe purpose of the game is to create a legend… namely YOU. Do so by advancing throughout the wheel, honing your skills and meeting people along the way. Inspired by coin-machines, insert tokens to learn life skills, setting the wheel forward. Insert an ingot to get more tokens, and your character advances. You must ALWAYS have tokens in hand, for if you keep inserting tokens and not replenishing it via the ingot, your character will stay still, and eventually be eaten by the crocodiles as the wheel turns. This is the in-game interpretation of lethargy or slothfulness being a costly mistake.

There is also an administrative ruling gameplay involved. Once you evolve into a more advanced civilization, you will eventually rule the land (if you made the right choices). Manage cities. Engage in politics and legislation. Wage war on other kingdoms. Deal with slaves, servants and peasants. As technology advances, so do discoveries, and all these are crucial in the molding of your fame… or notoriety.

Here’s a quick recap on my personal opinions towards this title:

THE GOOD:

  • A rich storyline spanning hundreds, perhaps thousands of years. You create the story.
  • Simple controls, but has engaging and strategic (even political) gameplay.
  • Music is pleasant to the senses.

THE BAD:

  • The game can get really, really boring.
  • Luck and randomness makes the game a bit frustrating.

THE SO-SO:

  • The game’s length may set off some people. It can get very long.
  • Graphics can either be ordinary or charming. However this is not a game about visuals.
  • The asking price of $15 may be worth it for strategy aficionados, but not casuals.

Part strategy, part simulation and part dating sim, it is no wonder that 7 Grand Steps is a finalist at the 2013 Independent Games Festival. Its appeal may be niche, but it can be fun, not to mention affordable and tells a very compelling story. It’s basically a Choose Your Own Adventure book in video game form.

Head to the official site now and download the demo before buying. Alternatively, it’s also now out on Steam, and currently 10% off as an introductory price. Don’t miss it!

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All those fancy games shown at E3 are still months away; you can’t play ’em yet.

So here are the new games you CAN play this week.

P.S. (pun not intended): If you have a PS3 and only have moolah to buy one game, you know what to do.

 

No New Releases (may change after tonight’s E3 Nintendo Direct)

WiiWare/eShop – TBA

Virtual Console – TBA

DLC – TBA

The Last of Us (PS3 Retail/PSN)

Aliens: Colonial Marines (PS3/PSN)

Contra: Shattered Soldier (PS2 Classic)

Final Fantasy XIII-2 (PS3/PSN)

Pirates: Legend of the Black Buccaneer (PS2 Classic)

Tekken Revolution (PS3 Free to Play)

Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F (PS3 Demo)

Injustice: Gods Among Us – Scorpion (PS3 DLC)

Resident Evil: Revelations Rachel Ooze and Lady Hunk (PS3 DLC)

Flying Hamster HD (PS Vita/PSN)

Zeno Clash 2 (XBLA)

Demos – TBA

Injustice: Gods Among Us – Scorpion (DLC)

Resident Evil: Revelations Rachel Ooze and Lady Hunk (DLC)

Resident Evil: Revelations – Rachel Ooze and Lady Hunk DLC (PC) [Steam]

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A press release from Konami announced that Castlevania: Lords of Shadow will be coming to the PC!

Slated for a summer release, this will be an ‘Ultimate Edition’ of the game — both the Reverie and Resurrection add-on content will be bundled with it. Great way to catch up before Lords of Shadow 2 arrives!

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A number of enhancements are added for high-end machines, including 1080p support and 60 per second locked frame-rate. Achievements via Steam and Cloud saving are also supported. A demo will be playable at E3.

[show_hide title=”Click to view Official Press Release”]

Highest Selling Castlevania Title In Franchise History
Makes Its Way To PC

Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. today announced that the acclaimed Castlevania:  Lords of Shadow will come to PC for the first time this summer. New assets and a playable demo will also be unveiled at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo 2013 (E3). Offering state of the art graphics that deliver an awesome game experience, plus add-on content (Reverie and Resurrection downloadable content) included in the full game, fans can play the new demo at the KONAMI booth (#2401, South Hall).

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow is a dark and vivid new re-imagining of the Castlevania mythology. It is the end of days and ungodly powers isolate the Earth. The World’s alliance with the Heavens has been threatened by a dark and malevolent force – the mysterious Lords of Shadow.  Across this shattered land, the souls of the dead wander unable to find peace, whilst creatures of evil wreak chaos and death upon the living.

Gabriel Belmont is a member of the Brotherhood of Light, an elite group of holy knights who protect and defend the innocent against the supernatural. His beloved wife was brutally murdered by the evil forces of darkness and her soul trapped for eternity. Neither living nor dead, she realizes the horrific truth of what is at stake and guides Gabriel to his destiny – and hopefully salvation for the world.

Key features of Castlevania:  Lords of Shadow for the PC include:

PC Key Features:
•       New Features: Fans will enjoy the original full game plus add-on content Reverie and Resurrection.  Additional features include enhanced 1080p High Definition Graphics, solid 60 frames per second (recommended spec), and trophy integration through Steam with Cloud saving.
•       New Storyline: Players can immerse themselves into the brand-new Lords of Shadow storyline, meeting classic characters and experiencing tangential side stories.
•       New Weapons and Skills: Overcome obstacles using the Combat Cross multi-function weapon and hone platforming skills in this sprawling adventure. Swing across chasms, climb sheer walls, rappel down cliffs, grip and pull away any and all things that get in the way!
•       New Titan Battles: Take on behemoth enemies that scale to the size of complete world environments and where special attacks and cunning speed are required for advancement.
•       New Exploration: Explore gothic ruins, dark castles, old forest and frozen wastelands. Discover a whole world to investigate with many routes and hidden secret places that contain items to aid Gabriel on his quest. [/show_hide]

Castlevania:  Lords of Shadow is currently available for the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360. Gabriel will be whipping his way to STEAM this summer.

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Double Fine Studio’s new project, Massive Chalice, reaches its funding goal of $725,000 five (5) days into the Kickstarter campagin. While it doesn’t come as a surprise to us, the big question now is what comes next? The campaign for Massive Chalice does not have any specific stretch goals but in a video update on their campaign, Brian Muir (project lead) tells us that the game is in a pre-production stage and while there is an abundance of ideas both from their team and the supporters so they feel that stretch goals will come after they narrow down the best ideas for the core product.

Also, they added new tiers to the Massive Chalice Kickstarter campaign, a low tier which grants an in-game item to boost 1st generation characters and another tier which includes a physical copy (due to public demand). With twenty-two (22) days left for the campaign, we can expect more updates and previews on what we can expect this game to play and look like and perhaps concrete stretch goals.

I am inviting everyone to check out Double Fine Studio’s Massive Chalice here.

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The most normal things in life WILL get fucked up. Gaming is no exception.

hahahahanoCode Avarice, a 2-man Indie developer team and makers of the Indie shooter Paranautical Activity is in a pinch right now with Valve. Indie developers go under Steam Greenlight to get their games up on Steam, and the simple reasoning behind it is they couldn’t get a publisher. Here’s the thing: Code Avarice suddenly got a publisher interested in their game: Adult Swim. Things were going great… until the the devs hopped to Valve to tell them the good news and they got slapped with “hahaha… no”.

Dick move notwithstanding, Grumpy Ca… Valve is not allowing Adult Swim to publish Paranautical Activity on Steam because they “didn’t want to send the message that indies can seek out publishers to bypass Steam Greenlight.”

 

Steam Greenlight has a VERY lengthy process, and here’s how it works:

  1. Devs put up their game on Greenlight for all to see.
  2. People look at said game and vote for it.
  3. If gamers like said game, they vote “yes”.
  4. If said game gets enough yes votes, it goes to the top 10 and will eventually be “Greenlit” (Greenlighted, if you’re not a Grammar Nazi).
  5. Once said game is Greenlit/Greenlighted, Valve will send you all the tools/info you need to make the game compatible on Steam,
  6. Said game eventually goes up to Steam where people can buy it.
  7. ????
  8. PROFIT!

In Paranautical Activity’s case… their game can’t be up on Steam because Valve thinks that getting a publisher is cheating, bypassing all that lengthy Greenlight crap. Therefore, Code Avarice has to do it all over again and deal with all the red… err green tape). If they want their game to be up on Steam, they still have to undergo the voting process.

To small Indie developers, getting a publisher is a BIG DEAL. Why can’t Valve just simply REMOVE Paranautical Activity from Greenlight and give them to Adult Swim to have the goddamn game published in Steam already? Why do you have to be shoehorned? The more interesting question is: why doesn’t Valve want Indie devs to have publishers? Shouldn’t they be happy for them? What have they got to loose?

If Paranautical Activity doesn’t get enough votes, it will be ill-fated to wander in Greenlight limbo. It will never get published, and developers will never get any revenue to pay the bills.

Of course, they can just give Steam a big “screw you” be DRM-free and go solo, but they risk not being able to get your game seen by millions of gamers (aka where the money is), because well, most of them are on Steam. Also we’re not entire sure if they’ll Google it (how do you Google something you don’t even know?). Suddenly I got taken back to that 1987 Patrick Dempsey movie “In The Mood” where I heard that old yet famous quote… life’s a bitch, and then you die.

What do you guys think about it? Let us know your opinions on the comments.

 

Source: PCgamesn.com