GameLuster http://gameluster.com You Know You Do Mon, 21 Aug 2017 01:44:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 Emmaline Rambles: The Sims – Bustin’ Out http://gameluster.com/emmaline-rambles-the-sims-bustin-out/ http://gameluster.com/emmaline-rambles-the-sims-bustin-out/#respond Mon, 21 Aug 2017 01:44:04 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=18583 The Sims Bustin’ Out has good reviews, but I’ll have you know that the Gamecube version is difficult. Really difficult. Hear me out: the graphics and socializing goals all make the game harder than it should be (unless I’m just bad at video games).

Since the The Sims Bustin’ Out was made during the Gamecube, PS2 and Xbox generation the graphics are bound to be a bit under expectation these days. Even with this in consideration, though, it may still be a problem when you can’t tell the difference between a pinball machine and a toilet. I played the Gamecube version for the home console port, but have also played the GBA version. The graphics on that are much better. I recommend getting the Gameboy Advance version if you already have bad vision, because the graphics in the Gamecube version are so unfocused that you can’t even tell what certain facial features are.

Socializing is the worst. In real life, of course, but also in The Sims: Bustin’ Out. Complimenting someone can seem too nice to other sims, making them jealous. You have to please everyone. Then there are socialization options such as Spank Booty or Admire Body, but getting to use these options requires a friendship level – about 50 or more points – with a sim. Even entertaining a sim can offend them and cause your points to go down, entering the negatives. Social activity is complicated and even when you think you’re doing right you might get punished.

The main goal of the game is to be promoted and to do this you have to keep gaining friends and building skills. It’s hard to make even one friend because you also have to be in the mood to talk to them. In the GBA version socializing is simpler because you can appeal to the character you’re talking with. For example, there are specific categories to talk about like food, creativity, and careers.

The social goals are hard. Once you get higher up on the career ladder, you must have up to four or more friends. One of the goals might be to throw an amazing art party – there are about 500,000 articles that show up on Google pertaining to this goal. A lot of the goals are accomplished by chance and take days.

In one of the houses you live in, you have to control three people who don’t even own a shower. Money is hard to make when you accidentally sell $17,000 worth of someone else’s furniture and now owe them money. The goals are also hard because you have to switch between careers. I learned this the hard way by trying to get a different sim from mine promoted, and discovered that goals only get completed when your sim accomplishes them, no matter the career.

The GBA version has much easier goals because they require completing mini-games rather than climbing a career ladder. You can easily accomplish a set of goals by just performing well on a mini-game once.

The Sims Bustin’ Out for Gamecube is hard. Each version has different goals and people, so playing both should be fun, but the Gamecube version is too difficult. You can “woohoo” in the GameCube version only, though – that could render my entire argument null.

In short: if you plan on revisiting The Sims: Bustin’ Out, purchase the GBA version. You’ll thank me later.

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School vs. Games: Some advice for student gamers http://gameluster.com/school-vs-games-some-advice-for-student-gamers/ http://gameluster.com/school-vs-games-some-advice-for-student-gamers/#respond Sun, 20 Aug 2017 04:53:55 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=18580 As new school years start, writer Emmaline shares her thoughts on balancing work and play for the gamer in class.

The school year has just begun, tough and time consuming as ever. As usual, there’s a lack of time to play video games and the stress that comes with school makes you want to play games even more.

Let’s say you take your first couple of days to relax and get settled in by playing some games. Then next week hits and you have 5 assignments that are due by Friday; you’re already drowning in schoolwork. How will you prevail?

1. Balance. Use video games as your relaxation time, your prize for doing your work.
2. Prioritize school. Even though you could possibly gain knowledge from your games, stop procrastinating and put schoolwork first.
3. There are weekends. This is the time to play and chill.
4. Utilize school time. The more you work at school, the less you have to do at your house.
5. Use video games in school. Got a paper assignment for writing about anything? Write about video games so you get the best of both worlds.
6. Use video games to your advantage. Learn from your video games to create new ideas or get influenced for Art or perhaps even Band. Don’t forget about making money by playing games (Twitch streaming, professional gaming, writing for game websites…).
7. Save games for the end of the day. This makes them even more fun and worthwhile – especially if there’s a game that was just released that you haven’t gotten a chance to fiddle with.
8. Play stress-relieving games. Games can make you stressed if you’re trying hard to beat a level. Play quick, jump-in-and-go games.
9. Distract yourself with a simulation game. Make a virtual character that actually does their work – it may make you feel accomplished in some way.
10. In contrast to #8, you could play stress-provoking games to enhance your desire to do work. Who would want to play such a difficult game when you could do less difficult work (and work that actually has a due date)?

In reality, we have lots of time to play video games. This will especially be true when we retire and get fat. If we get our degrees now, we can buy as many systems and games as we want to later.

Managing your stress is important for your mental and physical health. In doing this, you will be able to stop procrastinating and reward yourself with the fun and comfort of video games. If you’re dedicating time to video games, make a career out of it – start making a portfolio of game-related works. This is productive even if you aren’t completing school work.

So game on – and remember, all work and no play…you know the rest.

PS4 image courtesy of playstation.com

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We Happy Few Releasing in April 2018 http://gameluster.com/we-happy-few-releasing-in-april-2018/ http://gameluster.com/we-happy-few-releasing-in-april-2018/#respond Sun, 20 Aug 2017 04:02:26 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=18559 We Happy Few has been on many people’s watch list, so good news that Compulsion Games has announced an official release date.

Compulsion has partnered with Gearbox Publishing to release We Happy Few on April 13, 2018. The game will be priced at $60 digitally and physically for Xbox One, PC, and Playstation 4.

We Happy Few features a single-player campaign with three different playable characters who have their own unique benefits and dark backstories. It is a survival game that, in its current state, has several vital statistics to manage, like sleeping when your character maxes out on stamina.

You can see the new trailer below:

Pre-ordering We Happy Few at selected retailers brings a 15 percent discount and the Jolly Brolly Parasol in-game weapon. If you pre-order through the Microsoft Store, Steam, GOG, or Humble Store, you’ll get access to the alpha version when you reserve the game. Pre-orders will come to the Windows 10 Store this fall and those who pre-order through the PlayStation Store will get an exclusive theme. If you already own We Happy Few through Early Access or the Preview Program, you will receive the final game for no additional costs.

A collector’s edition has also been announced that does not include a copy of the game (you read that right). This edition instead features a bunch of game-inspired items, including a replica Bobby mask, the game’s soundtrack on vinyl, a Joy alarm clock, a “You Look Smashing” Lamp, and more. This edition will cost you $150. A deluxe edition comes with a DLC season pass.

For more information you can check out our preview for We Happy Few.

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NBA Live 18 Demo Available, Full Game Coming September 15 http://gameluster.com/nba-live-18-demo-available-full-game-coming-september-15/ http://gameluster.com/nba-live-18-demo-available-full-game-coming-september-15/#respond Thu, 17 Aug 2017 02:22:46 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=18532 An NBA Live 18 demo is now accessible on Xbox One and Playstation 4. The full game releases on September 15.

The demo features The Rise, prologue of the game’s story mode called The One. This new career mode centers on player choice and characterization. Live events, rewards and characters are included that can be carried into the full game. The demo also allows players to play a game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors. WNBA teams and players will be available.

The cover athlete will be Houston Rockets’ superstar James Harden.

“When I heard about working with EA Sports and being the cover athlete of NBA LIVE 18, I was pretty excited for the opportunity,” Harden said. “It is all about creating your own identity and making your mark on the league, and I can definitely relate to that. If anybody knows about creativity it’s me.”

The NBA LIVE 18 demo is available to all players with Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus, and pre-ordering will give players 33 percent off the full price ($59.99) at participating retailers.

 

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Sonic Mania Review http://gameluster.com/sonic-mania-review/ http://gameluster.com/sonic-mania-review/#respond Wed, 16 Aug 2017 19:58:55 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=18541 It’s been a long while since Sonic the Hedgehog received manic praise. The once-equal rival of Nintendo’s iconic red plumber has been an empty husk arguably since Sonic Adventure 2 in 2001. Almost every classic and modern Sonic game since has been mediocre at best, with Sonic Generations providing the only glimmer of hope for the desperate franchise.

Enter Sonic Mania, the brainchild of indie developers experienced in making Sonic fan games. Sega reached out to developer Christian Whitehead and studios Headcannon and PagodaWest Games, asking them to develop an official Sonic game inspired by the Genesis era. Spoiler alert: It was one of the best franchise decisions Sega has made in years.

Sonic Mania remains faithful to the feeling of Genesis-era Sonic games while making it feel fresh and new. A lot of ideas and designs are taken from the ‘90s games, but they’re bolstered by small additions that change the way you traverse each level. The 12 zones are a mix of reimagined old zones (like Green Hill Zone and Chemical Plant Zone) and brand new ones. Each zone is split into two acts, each act ending in a boss battle. In the story mode, Mania Mode, you may play as Sonic, Tails, Sonic and Tails together, or Knuckles.

Each zone, even the new ones, feel like they would fit in a Genesis Sonic game, and the attention to detail in how the animations work is impressive, especially in the newer mechanics. For example, in the Chemical Plant Zone sticky platforms slide along the walls and ceilings for Sonic to cling to and ride on. The animations surrounding his attachment to the platform and the dismount all feel novel while fitting into the retro 16-bit style of the game, and the same goes for the other two characters. The new levels, such as Studiopolis Zone, are incredible to look at, and they made me feel something I haven’t felt in years: joy while exploring a never-before-seen stage in a Sonic game.

And these stages are far larger than their Genesis counterparts. They remind me a bit of GalaxyTrail’s 2014 release Freedom Planet in terms of how much you can explore the levels. There are many paths to the goal, and each character has access to different parts of the stage based on their traversal abilities. Tails can fly around, while Knuckles can glide and climb walls. It pays to explore each level to figure out the optimal path to the goal for both the Time Attack and Competition modes, where the fastest players can benefit.

Sonic games have always had that fundamental idea at their core: move as fast as possible. The way Sonic moves has always made it satisfying to roll around at the speed of sound, and the lyrics of previous soundtracks hammer the idea home. However, this core idea always ran into roadblocks in level designs that require slow, precise platforming. Sonic Mania at times alleviates the problem, with most zones having sections that allow Sonic to move incredibly fast while still making the player feel like every input matters. But in an attempt to remain faithful — almost too faithful — Sonic Mania still has many points where the action has to suddenly stop so the player can maneuver around tricky obstacles. These slow points don’t make up the majority of each level, and it usually isn’t too long until you’re back in the action.

Where the game really shines, however, is in the boss battles. Each fight requires a completely different approach, and like the stages, there’s a good mix of old and new to the enemies. Some bosses are fought in typical arenas whereas other bosses are fought while running at high speeds. Almost all of the boss battles are fun and inventive, although a handful of them do feel a bit unfair at times. The old-school continue system can feel a bit archaic as well; if you run out of lives, you have to start at the beginning of Act 1 of the zone. If you spend your time getting to the boss of Act 2 but end up dying a lot, it can be a chore to start again from the beginning of the zone.

As mentioned previously, there are other modes to play the game in. Mania Mode is the standard way to play the game, where you choose your character and play through each zone in order. Time Attack is, as expected, where you can play any act and try to complete it as fast as possible. Your fastest time is recorded on an online leaderboard. It’s a good way to practice each act to get an advantage in the third mode, Competition, which allows you and a friend to choose your own character and race to the end of an act.

Those two other game modes offer a lot after your first romp through the story mode, and you can always go through Mania Mode again with a different character. Additionally, the game follows the footsteps of its predecessors with the addition of two kinds of special stages. Both types aren’t that exciting, though. The first one is similar to the special stages in Sonic CD, and the goal is to catch a UFO carrying a chaos emerald. The second kind of special stages are essentially the blue orb special stages from Sonic the Hedgehog 3. When you complete these stages, you earn medals that are used to unlock secrets in the Extra menu.

The soundtrack is phenomenal, which is expected considering composer Masato Nakamura’s stellar music in the Genesis era. The soundtrack of Sonic Mania, composed by Tee Lopes, features remixes of iconic tracks as well as new music, and every act has its own unique background music. Lopes masterfully crafted a soundtrack that not only pays homage to Nakamura’s original work on the games from the ‘90s but goes beyond to make something truly exceptional. Additionally, EDM band Hyper Potions contributed the song Friends to the animated intro that makes the ‘90s-style animation all the more compelling.

The game was reviewed on the Nintendo Switch, and the performance was strong. While undocked, the game runs at 720p with a smooth 60 frames per second, and when docked, the game retains the 60 frames while upscaling to 1080p. Two-player competition mode is a snap to play because of the Switch’s two Joy-Cons. The menus even have touch-screen functionality, a small detail that I find impressive nonetheless. However, while the game is running, there is a significant delay when trying to bring up the Switch’s Home Screen and when trying to put the console to sleep, which can be irritating at times.

At the end of the day, Sonic Mania goes beyond what anyone might expect from a Sonic game. Sonic Mania isn’t just “good for a Sonic game.” It’s actually a good game. Although some may argue that the presentation relies too much on nostalgia, it’s hard to deny how irresistibly charming the aesthetic and feel of the game is. Sonic Mania features some of the best level designs ever seen in a Sonic game, and the boss battles are even better. If what you want is more classic, fast-paced action with the blue hedgehog from the ‘90s, Sonic Mania should more than satisfy that craving.

Sonic Mania is out for the Playstation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. It’s set to arrive on PC on August 29 after a last-minute delay.

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In Defense: Assassin’s Creed Unity http://gameluster.com/in-defense-assassins-creed-unity/ http://gameluster.com/in-defense-assassins-creed-unity/#respond Tue, 15 Aug 2017 02:52:53 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=18501 The Assassin’s Creed franchise gets a hard time these days. What was once a beloved game series has become a running joke. What real reason do people have for their problems with this mostly enjoyable franchise? Yearly fatigue? Many buy Call of Duty every year, so that can’t be the case. Is it Assassin’s Creed Unity? Wait, that can’t be right. What justification do people have to hate this particular installment and by extension the entire franchise? Unity was never a bad game.

Assassin’s Creed Unity held a whole lot of promise when it was first revealed in early 2014, and it excited us when the first proper gameplay was shown from the final build. Unity was the first Assassin’s Creed game to arrive for current-generation systems exclusively. It had a lot to prove, and Ubisoft was trying to pull it off. The game focused heavily on crowd physics and its attempt to recreate most of the French Revolution time period within a huge gaming landscape. Despite the franchise shining in the previous year with Black Flag, Unity attempted to truly show what it could do.

Attention to detail excited people, with the bustling Paris streets feeling alive. But after seeing what Ubisoft was promising, what could they possibly do to curb people’s expectations? A massive adventure was promised, and many dreamed of this incredible game and what paths it could take them down. But high expectations are often the biggest problem a game may have. We let our minds get away from us and expect a flawless project to greet us. This is possibly Unity’s and Ubisoft’s biggest sin.

Glitches galore is what we received upon release in one of the worst cases of an unpolished game from a AAA developer to date. It was deemed by many to be unplayable. All the promise and potential was forgotten and the jokes were all that remained. Despite this I can’t help but feel people made a mistake. Do glitches decide a game? Sure it could have used more time in the developer’s oven, and a finer coat of paint would have helped, but people failed to see what Unity was really offering.

Despite numerous frame rate drops, instances of getting stuck on walls or ledges that don’t exist, and moments where the game froze for minutes at a time — all of which are infuriating — Unity is not actually a bad game. This is an example where we need to look beyond the flaws in presentation and look at the game for what it offers. For an Assassin’s Creed fan, this game offered everything one could want, even refining many of the core mechanics for key assassinations.

If you like a franchise you should not let the small problems change your perspective. In the grand scheme of Unity’s accomplishments, considering world design and realizing the French Revolution within its game world, the glitches are minimal. Nearly every game that releases these days is flawed in some way, so why should we claim that a game is bad because of such minuscule problems? The technical flaws do not destroy the technical achievements or undermine the core gaming experience. They may be annoying, which is undeniable, but if you look behind the problems, the game’s design can shine. Unity has more than enough of this to be an incredible game.

With a story that embodies so many wonderful themes — love and loss, loyalty, making tough decisions — there was always something to grab your interest. People simply looked at Unity’s flaws and backed away, but the narrative alone was more than enough to pull those who are willing through the chaotic experience. The story of love and revenge that sat at the forefront of the experience was extremely engrossing. It was this strength that more than made up for the shortcomings.

Looking beyond the glitches, there was still one point that has been barely addressed: how this game evolved. While many missions followed the tried-and-tested formula of following a target or a set path, others were open-ended, such as the previously mentioned assassination missions. In all these instances there was a sense of freedom which put the power in your hands. Developing a methodical approach to completing a goal, even with the game working against you at times, is still a great experience, and the level of fun ushered through most moments truly overshadows all technical problems.

You should not hate a game simply because of a lack of refinement or technical issues. Dishonored 2 suffers from some technical problems, and I never hear anyone complain about it. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim could be considered broken, yet people love it and it is a quality game. Assassin’s Creed Unity is similar. Yes, technical problems hinder the experience, but you work around the problems and find the quality experience that is waiting to be enjoyed. Don’t hate a game because of how it looks. It does not matter whether people’s faces vanish, the game freezes, or you fall off invisible ledges. If you are willing to keep playing despite these problems, the good elements will shine.

I consider Unity to be one of the best Assassin’s Creed games to date because I overlooked its problems and just played it. Unity is an allegory for perseverance. Even the most technically glitch-ridden game can be a diamond in the rough, and Unity is just like all those other games that suffered from similar problems. The only reason people spread hate is because it is a well-established franchise.

Perhaps we should take a step back and appreciate Unity for what it accomplishes rather than criticize it for its shortcomings. Next time you see a game that seems broken, just keep playing because there might be something incredible hidden beneath the technical difficulties.

Sometimes you need to look beyond what everyone else says and play the game for yourself. I am betting many of you who picked on Assassin’s Creed Unity did not even play it and just went with the trend. Maybe if you play it, you’ll find yourself pleasantly surprised.

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Ys Seven coming to PC on August 30 http://gameluster.com/ys-seven-coming-to-pc-on-august-30/ http://gameluster.com/ys-seven-coming-to-pc-on-august-30/#respond Fri, 11 Aug 2017 04:44:13 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=18508 Ys Seven is set for a PC release on August 30 for $24.99, €24.99, and £19.99 via Steam, GOG, and The Humble Store. You can pick it up at ten percent off due to a launch-week discount. The 2009 PSP hit is the first fully 3D entry in the Ys series.

Unlike the previous games, Ys Seven grants players the ability to switch between three characters any time during battle. All features of a modern PC release are also included like plug-and-play controller support, 60fps, full HD, real-time action and achievements on certain platforms like Steamworks. Here’s an example:

I’ve played some of the previous titles and as a hardcore RPG fan the features are just bonuses as the epic story and action-packed gameplay are enough to get players excited and jump in. Newcomers and veterans will appreciate the grind in this Japanese action RPG.

Ys Seven is developed by Nihon Falcom and published by XSEED Games.

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Telltale Really Wants Their Tales From the Borderlands Characters In Borderlands 3 http://gameluster.com/telltale-really-wants-their-tales-from-the-borderlands-characters-in-borderlands-3/ http://gameluster.com/telltale-really-wants-their-tales-from-the-borderlands-characters-in-borderlands-3/#respond Fri, 11 Aug 2017 04:26:23 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=18488 Telltale Games does a great job taking well established worlds and brands and building new stories around them. This is no more apparent than with Tales from the Borderlands. Telltale took Gearbox’s world and many of their beloved characters and fleshed them out. The hope coming from the developers behind Tales from the Borderlands is that Gearbox might use their characters in a future installment in the main series.

In an oral history of the series in the Campo Santo Quarterly, various members of the team behind the Borderlands spin-off discussed how main protagonists Rhys and Fiona were designed to be reused in the main series.

“The hope was, with Fiona, with Rhys, we wanted to essentially hand back to Gearbox fully-fleshed out, heroic characters that they could then use in Borderlands 3 and beyond,” said Tales from the Borderlands producer Adam Sarasohn.

While the development team were aware of this plan, the voice actress behind Fiona, Laura Bailey, was unaware of Telltale’s idea.

“[I had] no idea,” Bailey said. “I would have been more nervous had I known it could lead to potential future games as well.”

It remains to be seen whether Gearbox might include Rhys and Fiona in Borderlands 3 or a future game, but Telltale is certainly hoping.

As for Tales from the Borderlands, unlike some of Telltale’s other projects that go on to spawn a second season, this looks to be the end of the road. Writer Nick Herman explained sales “weren’t great” by the end of its run, and that “internally it was perceived as a failure.”

Despite Telltale’s thoughts on the series, Anthony Burch, one of the writers behind Borderlands 2, The Pre-Sequel, and later episodes of Telltales series, said “I really hope they show up [in Borderlands 3] in some way.”

Hopefully Gearbox has a similar mindset and we will see Rhys and Fiona pop up somewhere in Borderlands 3.

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Thimbleweed Park Headed To Nintendo Switch In September http://gameluster.com/thimbleweed-park-headed-to-nintendo-switch-in-september/ http://gameluster.com/thimbleweed-park-headed-to-nintendo-switch-in-september/#respond Thu, 10 Aug 2017 23:52:56 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=18482 Around a month ago developer Ron Gilbert showed off his latest game Thimbleweed Park running on the Nintendo Switch. While this was not an official announcement many took it as a sign that Gilbert was bringing the game to Nintendo’s console.

As of now we have a much firmer release window for the upcoming game. Gilbert confirmed Thimbleweed Park is coming sometime this September. He failed to elaborate further and provide a concrete date but we can expect that a release date will be announced soon. According to a press release, the game can be played with the Joy-Con controllers and via the touch screen.

Gilbert also provided a trailer for the game which you can check out below:

Thimbleweed Park has been out for the PC and Xbox One since March, and a Playstation 4 version is arriving on August 22.

Gilbert is best known for his work on iconic ’90s point-and-click adventure games The Secret of Monkey Island and Day of the Tentacle.

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Fallout 4: Game of the Year Edition Announced http://gameluster.com/fallout-4-game-of-the-year-edition-announced/ http://gameluster.com/fallout-4-game-of-the-year-edition-announced/#respond Thu, 10 Aug 2017 23:48:01 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=18491 Fallout 4 has been out since the end of 2015 so we all know what time it is – time for Bethesda to bring us the inevitable Game of the Year edition.

If you still haven’t taken the time to adventure through post-apocalyptic Boston, or just have the base game, then you may want to pick up the new edition when it launches on September 26th. The GOTY edition comes with all the latest updates, graphical improvements, mod support, and additional content ever released for the game.

This will include two full campaigns taking you out of the Commonwealth with Far Harbor and Nuka World and a smaller campaign with Automatron. Building your own vault in Vault-Tec Workshop, further world building with Wasteland Workshop, and using the Contraptions Workshop are add-on features also included. This is on top of the main campaign from Fallout 4 that has over one-hundred hours of content.

To celebrate the Game of the Year Edition, Bethesda will be releasing a limited number of the Pip-Boy Collector’s edition across North America. If you want one you better be quick – and prepared to pay $99.99.

 

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Tacoma Review http://gameluster.com/tacoma-review/ http://gameluster.com/tacoma-review/#respond Tue, 08 Aug 2017 23:08:55 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=18454 Fullbright’s followup to 2013’s Gone Home is similarly focused on narrative, but it presents it in an innovative way that thinks outside the audio-log and written-note box. This novel approach to narration has players see holographic re-enactments of events in 3D space, a leap above hearing audio log entries or reading journals. Despite this unique take on narrative, Tacoma is mostly uninteresting. It has a simple structure to explore and a routine storyline. There are some interesting twists at the end but these do not make the game more rewarding.

You play as Amitjyati Ferrier, a subcontractor for Venturis Technologies, as she is sent on a mission to recover an AI from the abandoned Tacoma space station. While there, you equip AR hardware called ARdware. It is a holographic desktop – a menu in front of you in the air. From this you may view your characters’ ID, credentials for your mission, a map of the Tacoma station, and emails and messages from the crew members. This also plays back the holographic recordings of the crew members.

The Tacoma space station uses an AR recording system that captures the crew’s actions. Players experience re-enactments of happenings on the Tacoma space station through these holographic recordings that depict the crew members as they moved around and spoke with one another. These sequences are easily played and replayed. For some scenes two or more conversations are happening at once, so to hear the full story you’ll need to play the recording a few times from different points.

Tacoma also has emails you read and, like Gone Home, items you can pick up and examine, but the crux of the game’s narrative pockets are these holographic re-enactments. They do what audio logs and journal entries don’t – let the player see events as they transpired. (An appropriate comparison is if System Shock 2 or Bioshock only used the ghost-like character segments to tell the story.)

There were six crew members on the Tacoma and, through the AR re-enactments, you experience their dialogue, relationships and personal lives. The problem is that Tacoma’s oxygen tanks ruptured and external communications lost due to a collision with debris. The crew has a limited amount of time to live and their peril as they face this crisis is the crux of the story.

There is a Data Access Point in each of the four decks that you insert a device into so that you can recover a fragment of the onboard AI. Each recovery process takes a chunk of time. These are the moments you should explore each deck, playback the AR recordings, read messages, and pick up and examine objects. Once the AI retrieval for any given deck is complete, you may proceed on to the next. Once you reach the final deck you extract the AI “wet ware” along with the final data piece and may then leave the station.

The story is mostly uninteresting. The meat of the game is watching the AR recordings, but these are not very compelling. One lengthy recording is only of a crew member playing a guitar. Others involve standard melodrama. There are some intriguing twists near the end, but for the most part there’s nothing extraordinary: it’s an oxygen loss with communications down in a space station, and otherwise there’s standard romantic relationship stories or the dad with a kid back home and so forth. Even the twists at the end are not especially mind-blowing or unique, and they weren’t rewarding but came as surprises plopped down out of nowhere.

The gameplay is shallow and simple. You move around the Tacoma station and there are no puzzles or substantial interactions with the environment. The Tacoma station is small and very simple to navigate. Each deck is neatly divided and you proceed from one to the next in step-by-step sequence. There is no great sense of exploration or discovery; it is very much a guided experience.

Tacoma has a novel concept and a story with some interesting twists late in the game, but the design is simple and the story bland. Whether you pay full price for it depends on how interested you are in narrative-only games and how much you enjoyed Gone Home. I check out on both those counts, but still found Tacoma underwhelming. As an enthusiast for first-person narrative-driven games I recommend Tacoma as a novelty, but I can’t recommend it to anyone looking for a new game to play. You will likely be unsatisfied.

Final review score is out of 10.

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Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds Has a Release Date http://gameluster.com/horizon-zero-dawn-the-frozen-wilds-has-a-release-date/ http://gameluster.com/horizon-zero-dawn-the-frozen-wilds-has-a-release-date/#respond Tue, 08 Aug 2017 03:55:25 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=18447 At E3 Sony unveiled that Horizon Zero Dawn would receive additional content with The Frozen Wilds. Much like Sony’s other E3 announcements the content was left undated, although developer Guerrilla Games has now revealed a release date for the DLC.

The Frozen Wilds is set for a November 7 launch, only a couple months away. The content will be available on the Playstation Store for $19.99 without Playstation Plus. Subscribers however will be able to get the content for $14.99.

The Frozen Wilds puts us back into the shoes of protagonist Aloy and is set in the icy territories to the north. The DLC features a new story to play through, a huge new area to explore, new mysteries to solve, and new machines to hunt. Those who pre-order the expansion will get an exclusive Horizon avatar for their Playstation account.

Horizon Zero Dawn is available on the Playstation 4, and you should hear more about The Frozen Wilds as we get closer to launch. It’s unclear whether Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds will bring more than a fresh story, but we will have to wait and see what Guerilla Games brings forward.

Still not sure if you want to play Horizon Zero Dawn? You can read our review on the game here.

Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds launches November 7th.

 

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Why Soulcalibur Should Come Back, and on the Switch http://gameluster.com/why-soulcalibur-should-come-back-and-on-the-switch/ http://gameluster.com/why-soulcalibur-should-come-back-and-on-the-switch/#comments Mon, 07 Aug 2017 06:32:58 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=18410 The latest Soulcalibur, Soulcalibur: Unbreakable Soul, was released in 2014. 2018 is approaching, Soulcalibur has been dormant, and the Switch booms with popularity. Only two Soulcalibur titles have been released on Nintendo platforms, which means the Switch could help with Soulcalibur’s comeback by offering a rare appearance of the franchise on a Nintendo system. In other words: where’s my Soulcalibur Switch title?

The release of Soulcalibur II was successful mainly due to Namco and Nintendo teaming up. A Soulcalibur release with Link as a playable character would surely sell tons, as Soulcalibur II did. Breath of the Wild has been extremely successful in sales and use of any Zelda characters by Namco would make for the best remastered version of Soulcalibur. 

On another note, it took about four years for Namco to release Soulcalibur II after Soulcalibur, which makes 2018 ripe timing for a new Soulcalibur. Soulcalibur being released on the Switch would be magical because there have only been two Soulcalibur games released on Nintendo devices.  

There are many benefits to a Soulcalibur Switch title. For instance, as a Switch title it could also be a mobile fighting game, and having one of these with an in-depth story, rather than a Super Smash Bros., would be appreciated. Super Smash Bros. is amazing, but it is primarily for multiplayer and Soulcalibur is perfect for single and multiplayer. Transitioning on the Switch is easy (the console’s name refers to switching between a handheld and a bigger screen), which means Soulcalibur will serve for both single-play and party-play.

Though Soulcalibur evokes nostalgia, it’s a fit game franchise to bring to a new system. These past few days I have been playing Soulcalibur II and it brought back memories of unlocking subchapter two just to obtain Lizardman, who, turned out, had a really bad fighting technique. I hope Nintendo will consider this one of a kind weapon-based fighting game for their platform in the near future. Gamers need a new Soulcalibur, and Nintendo needs more of this franchise on their systems.

 

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Why We Need the Wi-Fi Plaza in All Upcoming Pokémon Games http://gameluster.com/why-we-need-the-wi-fi-plaza-in-all-upcoming-pokemon-games/ http://gameluster.com/why-we-need-the-wi-fi-plaza-in-all-upcoming-pokemon-games/#respond Mon, 07 Aug 2017 06:05:48 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=18419 The Wi-Fi Plaza in Pokemon Platinum is self-explanatory: a party plaza that requires Wi-Fi to use. My first time I played Pokémon Platinum I didn’t even know there was a hidden plaza in the Pokémon centers. Once I visited the plaza, every day I chatted with other people around the world. The Wi-Fi Plaza is so old that I remember trying to put my city as my country because I didn’t know the difference. The Wi-Fi Plaza is not only nostalgic for me but for many Pokémon players. On an added note, the Festival Plaza in Sun and Moon is not as creative to me, for it lacks tap toys, surveys, and Pokémon floats.

The Charizard floats hardly tease the amount of coolness in the Wi-Fi plaza. Hanging out with other Pokémon lovers, seeing their favorite types of food or games, and learning what kind of trainer they want to be is addicting. The simplicity of getting to know somebody in the Wi-Fi Plaza and adding them to your friends list is incredible.

The Festival Plaza in Pokémon Sun and Moon is fun, but friend codes are required and people stay permanently, which means space to meet and keep people in the plaza is limited. Interacting with trainers is much easier in the Wi-Fi Plaza due to friend codes not being needed.

Swalot Plop and Mime Jr. Top were the best mini-games followed by the plaza surveys and tap toys. I think the creativity was stronger in this plaza due to the sound effects from the tap toys and the departure of Pokémon floats. It’s cool how you can earn prizes in the Festival Plaza in Sun and Moon, but there’s less interaction with people.

The surveys and tap toys allowed people online at that moment to talk to each other and interact. This isn’t to say that the Global Trade Station or other recent implementations haven’t been valuable, but the Wi-Fi Plaza could easily be recreated to provide nostalgia and unification for Pokémon lovers.

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Editor’s Corner: Quake Singleplayer http://gameluster.com/editors-corner-quake-singleplayer/ http://gameluster.com/editors-corner-quake-singleplayer/#respond Sun, 06 Aug 2017 00:41:02 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=18424 The Quake Champions beta continues and reminds us that Quake’s all about mastering multiplayer arenas. The pure Quake experience is one-versus-one as each strafe and rocket jumps around an arena, picking up armor, weapons and ammo with impeccable timing, predicting the opponent’s every move, and scoring the frag when the moment comes. This is what Quake is to most people and I don’t want to challenge it. I love that part of Quake, I aspire to master it, and I respect highly those professional Quake players who can dominate a match. But my speed is more the single-player map: the creepy, surreal castle full of monsters that you, a lone soldier, must blaze through.

As much as I may become obsessed with Quake multiplayer at any given moment — and they strike at odd times — I always return to what Quake is to me: a powerful, raw charge through a monster-infested labyrinth — an action-driven boiled-down version of the dungeon-crawling RPG formula. I experiment with mods, I sometimes try a speed run, but the crème de la crème Quake experience for me is the 100% kill-run through a vanilla single-player map.

So when did I first light upon this experience? I started playing Quake in 1996. It was the shareware version. New to games, I was fascinated by the world I had discovered of scary monsters and wondered who this poor guy was who had to fight them all alone. Soon I played through the full retail version and with it each successive year have appreciated more the design of the maps and the mood of the soundtrack. Designer Sandy Petersen’s Episode 4 maps, also called “The Elder World,” are my favorites, and Trent Reznor’s companion ambient tunes are delicious.

I also played the mission packs, Scourge of Armagon and Dissolution of Eternity. The new monsters, weapons, music and levels in these charmed me, especially the mischievous little gremlins who’d steal your weapons.

Quake II I experienced some years later, playing the demo on an old laptop. After I found the game used and played it in full, sans rockin’ Sonic Mayhem music as my Dell Inspiron refused to play the CD tracks, I continued to love it over the years as well. Since then on newer PCs the music has blessedly played and I have been able to experience slaughtering Strogg to gnarly metal rhythms. It makes Quake II quite different – my ears bleed. Recent titles have continued the tradition of killing monsters while blasting metal music, like id’s own DOOM reboot. If you haven’t partaken of this tradition, do so at once. You haven’t lived until you’ve leaped and shot to head-banging material.

But I digress – I did not set out to write about Quake’s music here, though the music is an important part of the single-player experience. Not many pro players like music while mastering an arena, but music goes well with killing ogres and fiends in a creepy castle or cyborgs on an alien planet.

So what are Quakers like me who prefer SP to do? Bethesda and id are not likely to reveal a Quake single-player reboot anytime soon with Quake Champions cranking. Who can blame them? I’d wager most Quake fans just want one-on-one deathmatch. And when Raven Software revisited a single-player Quake campaign in Quake 4, they used the less surreal and safer world of Stroggos from Quake II. Quake 4 was great for the Quake II lover in me, but the adventurer of gloomy castles who raised nailgun against countless knights, scrags, and shamblers was bummed. He’s still bummed. Bethesda has delighted me with solid Wolfenstein and DOOM single-player reboots, but my Quake single-player reboot fantasy remains unfulfilled.

My point? Quake has single-player too, and it needs a reboot. A new title could make a fine atmospheric monster-killing game, a moody antithesis to DOOM’s heavy metal.

Strafe jumping and arena mastering are great, but only so many gamers will get good at it. Many will never match up against the veterans. Quake single-player offers a chance to escape competition and battle only with AI-controlled monsters. There are Quake fans who enjoy the single-player and DOOM and Wolfenstein have single-player anew – Quake needs a refresher.

Let me see those monsters in new graphics! Let me hear a new Trent Reznor score! Let me wield ax and gun both while journeying through surreal lands! And, please, let me play a new Quake without the context of humiliation at the feet of pros.

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RiME Finally Has a Release Date for Nintendo Switch http://gameluster.com/rime-finally-has-a-release-date-for-nintendo-switch/ http://gameluster.com/rime-finally-has-a-release-date-for-nintendo-switch/#respond Sat, 05 Aug 2017 00:27:56 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=18398 Tequila Works’ RiME has been available for Playstation 4 and Xbox One users, but Switch owners have been left in the cold. Now that changes as Tequila Works has revealed that RiME will be headed to Nintendo’s console on November 14 for North America and November 17 for Europe and Australia.

RiME‘s pricing will match other systems, at least digitally, costing $29.99 / €34.99 / £29.99. Retail purchase will set you back a bit more with costs of $39.99 / €44.99 / £39.99, but this physical copy does come with a download code for the soundtrack.

Tequila Works has outsourced the Switch release of RiME to Australian studio Tantalus. They previously worked on The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD for the Wii U and did a decent job.

Raúl Rubio Munárriz, CEO and creative director of Tequila Works, said in a press release, “As big fans of Nintendo, we truly appreciate our fans’ patience as Tantalus and Tequila Works continue working on RiME on Nintendo Switch; we are all committed to making sure all players get the high-quality experience they deserve.”

Hopefully this is a sign that RiME will receive a decent port for the Switch.

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Splatoon 2 Review http://gameluster.com/splatoon-2-review/ http://gameluster.com/splatoon-2-review/#respond Sat, 05 Aug 2017 00:17:06 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=18365 Back in 2015 Nintendo brought a brand new game titled Splatoon to the world. It was a weird game where you blended shooter mechanics with squid transformations to fight for territory or a key item. For how weird it was Splatoon was welcomed by Wii U owners everywhere as a unique take on the shooter genre. This was Nintendo’s interpretation of a shooter: bright and colorful but interestingly deep. Now in 2017, Nintendo brings a sequel to the Switch that attempts to gain even more mass appeal.

If asked to explain Splatoon, you could say at its core it’s a competitive shooter. You play as an Inkling, a species capable of transforming between squid and kid. In kid form they use a range of weapons to shoot ink across the ground and walls of a battlefield. Squid form allows them to travel through their colored ink, whether on the ground or up walls. Splatoon 2 has you use the abilities of your Inkling to compete in a range of game modes.

Splatoon 2 offers many game modes. The biggest mode is Turf War. In this, players fight with their teams to control the most ground by round’s end. The team that covers the most ground in their color after three minutes wins. This mode has no rankings, emphasizing pure fun over competition.

As for other key modes there are a handful for those seeking competitive play in Ranked Battles. Splat Zone is a somewhat condensed and technical version of Turf Wars. Here some sections of the battlefield become available and teams must fight to gain control by maintaining their color’s dominance.

Tower Control has you fighting for control of a moving platform that you escort into enemy territory. The opposing team fights to splat those riding the tower to stop its movement and get on board. A mode called Rainmaker is Splatoon’s version of capture the flag. Teams fight to gain control of the Rainmaker, a weapon that needs to be taken to the enemy’s base to win. Teams need to work together to be able to achieve victory in this mode as the Rainmaker slows the carrier. Although it is a powerful weapon the Rainmaker is unwieldy and hard to use.

There is a decent variety of modes available that are just as chaotic as they are fun. The above modes are from the original Splatoon and offer the same value. No changes have been made for the sake of veteran players.

Splatoon 2 does include a new addition: Salmon Run, a horde mode. In this you are tasked with collecting Power Eggs while fighting off enemy waves. You take this on with three other players and must work together to best bosses and win the round. The mode brings some chaotic fun that is unique for the Splatoon experience, although it runs on a roster and, disappointingly, is only available when Nintendo decides it to be. Hopefully Nintendo makes Salmon Run permanently available with a future update.

Most of Splatoon 2 is online, thus the question: What is there for players who can’t play online? The answer is: not much. Splatoon 2 does allow Switch owners to play with one another where they can access a small selection of modes. If you don’t know anyone with the game the feature is pointless, but if you have friends then you can easily get into Salmon Run and play together.

It’s disappointing that Splatoon 2 has no option for split-screen multiplayer. The original game had local options which, though not good, were present. Splatoon 2 has potential to allow for some great split-screen action but fails to realize it. There are things that can be said for screen cheating, but having a split-screen option and the ability to play core modes with friends on the couch would have been welcome. Its omission hurts for those who play with their family and don’t always have the option for online multiplayer.

As for other offline options there is a single-player story mode. Those who played the original Splatoon will be familiar with its premise from the start. Once again we are going to war with the Octarians (an enemy race of the Inklings) in almost the same plot as in Splatoon. The Octarians have again stolen the Inklings’ Great Zapfish, for whatever reason. The story itself is bare bones with little explanation. We are given our mission by original Splatoon character Marie where she enlists you to get the Zapfish and also find her missing cousin Callie.

The single player fails in creating a story or building upon Splatoon lore. Luckily for the four to five hours the campaign lasts it is entertaining.

In this war with the Octarians you break into their bases and enter the varying levels scattered throughout each section. With each level Splatoon 2 shines. Each one adds a mismatch of different mechanics that help you to progress or at times add tension. In one level you need to shoot sponges to have them grow allowing you to reach higher platforms while enemy ink can shrink them. In another you use ink grind rails to get through the stage. You need to dodge hazards and even use items such as a turret to paint walls, allowing your character in squid form to cross to another rail.

Each level brings with it a unique mechanic, and later levels even blend the mechanics to build some fun challenges. It was also great seeing a decent weapon variety sown into the campaign as different missions give you different weapons to use. In some cases this can leave you with a disadvantage as you attempt to learn them, but it’s a nice way to introduce different weapons and allow us to learn which one we prefer.

It’s surprising but Splatoon 2 does well with its single player. Whether it is meant as a teaching tool or is a rehash of the original game, it was pretty satisfying. But even with the quality of Splatoon 2’s single player, does it warrant a purchase by itself for those without the ability to play online? No, but there is a definite purpose to it for those who can access the online parts of the game.

To be a little more positive, it is nice to report that Nintendo has not failed Splatoon 2’s launch. There is no shortage of content: plenty of different modes and stages are available from the start. With more content incoming, Splatoon 2 has the potential for a long lifetime.

Outside of local multiplayer omissions, Splatoon 2 creates a fine sequel. One could ask if Splatoon 2 really needed to exist as much of the content is exactly the same as the original. But if you have never played Splatoon this sequel is a great game. Splatoon 2 is for two very different consumers: veterans who will play the same game with prettier graphics and newcomers who are in for a treat with all the excitement Splatoon can bring.

Splatoon 2 should have taken more risks and introduced more new content rather just be a near carbon copy of the Wii U original. Nintendo should have worked until 2018 at the earliest to provide a proper sequel to provide both veterans and newcomers a fun and fulfilling experience. At the least this new title is a welcome distraction.

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August Xbox Games With Gold Revealed http://gameluster.com/august-xbox-games-with-gold-revealed/ http://gameluster.com/august-xbox-games-with-gold-revealed/#respond Sat, 29 Jul 2017 02:16:41 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=18333 As we draw closer to August Microsoft has revealed the games that will be available for Xbox Live subscribers. With this month comes decent offers: a Platinum Games favorite, a much loved game from Steam Early Access, an offer from Volition, and some Trials action.

Starting August 1 Xbox One owners will be able to get Slime Rancher. This will be the games’ debut on the console after receiving some great feedback from its time on Steam Early Access. Slime Rancher will run until the end of the month.

On the Xbox 360 players will be able to download Platinum Games much loved action title Bayonetta. This game will run until August 15.

In the latter half of the month, Xbox One owners will be getting Trials Fusion. This is the basic version of the game with none of its additional content. It will arrive on August 16 and run until September 15.

Volition’s turn at the Red Faction franchise will be available with Red Faction: Armageddon on Xbox 360. Opinions are mixed on this game but common consensus says that the game is still destructive fun. Red Faction: Armageddon will be available from August 16 until the end of the month.

Remember that Xbox One owners can get all the Xbox 360 offerings.

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Rayman Legends: Definitive Edition Coming to Nintendo Switch September 12, Demo Coming “Later this Summer” http://gameluster.com/rayman-legends-definitive-edition-coming-to-nintendo-switch-september-12-demo-coming-later-this-summer/ http://gameluster.com/rayman-legends-definitive-edition-coming-to-nintendo-switch-september-12-demo-coming-later-this-summer/#respond Sat, 29 Jul 2017 02:11:01 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=18336 Earlier this week Rayman Legends: Definitive Edition for the Nintendo Switch was spotted on the Switch eShop’s coming soon section. With this listing came a potential release date of September 12. Ubisoft UK has now confirmed that Rayman Legends is indeed heading to the Nintendo Switch on September 12.

Those in the UK who spotted this listing earlier in the week also found a demo available to download. Those who managed to pick up the demo will still have it although the demo was clearly released at the wrong time. Alongside the release date announcement Ubisoft confirmed that a demo is coming “later this summer”, but the previously released demo was pulled from the Nintendo eShop.

Those who have played the demo have offered some insight into why the original demo might have been pulled. According to players the game runs perfectly when playing in Handheld mode, but issues arise when docked. The game suffers from sound and gameplay stutters which is a game breaker in general, although it’s much more notable in the available musical level Castle Rock.

The level relies heavily on platforming to the beat, but the stutters push Rayman behind the beat. So in one moment you are supposed to be running ahead of a fire breathing dragon but the game stutters and you end up stuck behind him.

It is possible the demo was supposed to be out but Ubisoft became aware of the technical problems and will now fix them. It’s also possible that they accidentally released the demo with the premature eShop listing.

The takeaway is that Rayman Legends: Definitive Edition has finally been given a release date, September 12. We will also keep an eye out for the demo returning to the Nintendo eShop and let you know when that resurfaces.

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Five Things I Want In Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon http://gameluster.com/five-things-i-want-in-pokemon-ultra-sun-and-ultra-moon/ http://gameluster.com/five-things-i-want-in-pokemon-ultra-sun-and-ultra-moon/#respond Sat, 29 Jul 2017 00:52:46 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=18320 Pokemon Sun and Moon introduced players to the Alola region, a beautiful series of islands inspired by real world Hawaii. With Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon Game Freak is bringing us back to Alola to explore an alternate version of the region and story found in the original. It is exciting to see the potential that Game Freak could bring forward with an alternate timeline and universe. With that in mind, I have decided to write about the five things I want to see in Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon.

Victory Road

I loved Pokemon Sun and Moon. The narrative was beautiful and the Pokemon were quite enjoyable, but the game did have numerous flaws and frustrations. Among these is the omission of the classic Victory Road, a huge cave in which the game offered one final challenge upon beating all the regions’ Gyms. In here you and your team were tested on your strength and your skill before you could take on the Pokemon League.

I know why Sun and Moon omitted this. The Pokemon League didn’t exist prior to you taking on the seven Trials of the Alola Region. But as a gauntlet before the final challenge Victory Road is significant. In Sun and Moon, there is no Victory Road, just a mountain pass.

This pass, Mt. Lanakila, has zero charm and enjoyment. It’s bad when the best thing about this path was the chance to battle my rival and pseudo rival. Otherwise I was disappointed with the lack of challenge. It was just a generic mountain path that was there so you could reach the Pokemon League. I almost wish Game Freak had replicated Red and Blue’s Mt. Moon or Rock Tunnel so at least there would have been some form of the final challenge I crave on the closure to my journey. So if Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon are set in an alternate universe, could the Pokemon League exist? If it does then Victory Road will have been built to challenge trainers and prove themselves. Otherwise, we’re stuck with Mt. Lanakila.

Kanto

I mean it Game Freak – stop teasing Kanto. If there is another thing I hate about Pokemon Sun and Moon it is the references to the Kanto region. Let us go there! In Sun and Moon‘s defense, they were anniversary games with a lot of connections to Red and Blue. But only ever teasing Kanto got annoying. The character Lillie mentioned she was headed to Kanto, the player-character came from Kanto, yet we couldn’t go back there and nobody would shut up about it.

Just let me go to Kanto! I want to know if that building in Vermillion has finally been finished.

Alolan Forms

Alolan Forms are awesome. That is all I need to say – could we get more please? It was great getting to see new interpretations of Pokemon that we had known for such a long time. I loved seeing Persian re-imagined, a key member on my team. So if we are in an alternate reality could we see some new designs, perhaps even some different Pokemon?

I would like to see Game Freak get creative with these different Pokemon and expand beyond the first generation. The Pokemon regions Johto, Hoenn and Sinnoh are in a similar climate to Kanto so let’s see Pokemon from these regions with some much needed changes. Ultra Sun and Moon could make a lot of Pokemon exciting again as they redesign the way we know them.

New Pokemon?

The chances that Game Freak will bring us new Pokemon in Ultra Sun and Moon are low, but the minimal footage shown demonstrates notable changes in the Alola region so it’s plausible that some new Pokemon exist.

Within an alternate timeline some Pokemon from Sun and Moon may not exist and could be replaced with something brand new. I still don’t think Game Freak would have such insight or want to consider such heavy concepts. If Game Freak tries, there could be some serious changes which would be cool for the new games’ take on Alola. But I accept it’s more likely that the regions’ Pokemon distribution will be the only thing that is different.

Trials, Gyms, and captain battles

The Pokemon Trials were a nice change for the series, removing the classic Gyms in favour of small challenges. Whether you liked them or not I don’t think you could deny the brilliance of the change and how daunting Totem Pokemon, a specially trained boss Pokemon that was stronger than others of its type, could be. But in looking back over Sun and Moon during a recent playthrough, I realized how dull some of these Trials were. Where is the challenge beyond the Totem Pokemon?

When I looked back I remembered the first Trial we had to complete and, while it is not special, it was the fact we had to battle the captain before the Trial which made it better. With the first Trial you were given the chance to understand the trainer. They were something to overcome rather than a guide pushing you to the Totem Pokemon. The Trial captains that followed were all one-note characters. They appeared across your journey but you were never forced to battle them. I did not even know there was an option to battle them until recently.

For this reason I want Ultra Sun and Moon to feature pseudo Gyms as a before-or-after challenge to the Trials. This would force players to prove their skills not only against the challenging Totem Pokemon but also against the captains. It would add more reason to these characters’ existence beyond just telling you how to complete their challenge.

There you have it – the five things I want to see from Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. Will any of them happen? I am not holding my breath, but with the minimal knowledge we have on the upcoming games who knows what Game Freak could have in store. We should just be excited for whatever gets brought to the table and meanwhile have fun providing our theories.

 

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Pokémon Go: How it Became a Big Hit http://gameluster.com/pokemon-go-how-it-became-a-big-hit/ http://gameluster.com/pokemon-go-how-it-became-a-big-hit/#respond Thu, 27 Jul 2017 13:41:29 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=18342 It’s Pokémon Go’s anniversary year and its developers are celebrating it by holding the Pokémon Go Fest in Chicago, an international event where players can unlock perks by catching that’s right, Pokémons. Unlocking them word has it that you can participate here by working with the players at Grand Park during three Challenge Windows that are going to happen throughout the day. But rather than go through the details of the event, let’s take a look of how this game became a big hit. For starters, it can be considered a breakthrough game since it takes smartphone use to different level. While games such as Sports Interaction (with the use of its app) enables you to place bets on your phone or tablet and enjoy mobile bonuses, Pokémon Go allows you to catch Pokémons in the world that we live in, again with the use of your smartphone. But there’s more to Pokémon Go than this. Read on and find out for yourself how it became a global phenomenon.

 

Pokémon Go explained further

Pokémon Go is the first smartphone game release from the Pokémon Company, which is a breakthrough, considering the fact that the media franchise released its first video game in 1996 and eventually it became a multi-million seller. Pokémon Go was developed by Niantic Inc, the same entity that was behind Google’s experimental location-based augmented reality (AR) game: Ingress.

How is it played?

With the use of a your smartphone camera as well as GPS signal, the game gives the feel of catching Pokémons in the streets of the actual world. When walking around, players (called trainers in the game) are greeted with bits of grass that signal the presence of a Pokémon. If you walk closer, you will trigger their appearance and tapping them on the screen will then initiate a Pokébattle. With the optional AR feature turned on, you can feel like a real Pokémon trainer. For instance, a Caterpie (a Pokémon that looks like a green caterpillar) may peek from a grass just outside your doorstep.

 

 

What makes it standout?

Unlike other games that are only played at the comforts of your home, Pokémon Go encourages players like you to go outside and treat neighborhoods like shared safari parks that house Pokémons. This is one of the reasons why it is separated from ordinary games out on the market. This, coupled by the power of nostalgia that this 90’s-based game carries generates the hype.

 

In addition to this, the core mechanic of the game is just notable as well. For instance, battling wild Pokémon for capture includes quick mini-games where you need to use your fingers to flick Pokéballs on-screen at the position or location of the Pokémon, afterwards, you can see colored rings and you need pay attention to it. A green ring may mean that a Pokémon can be caught easily, a yellow one may mean that it is moderately difficult to catch it, and so on. Without further explanation, the smaller a ring becomes, the more focused a throw can be.

 

Also, while it was mentioned earlier that encourages players to go out, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is locked into this premise because some Pokémons can be found under your bed, in your closet, and other parts of your house. Nonetheless, the real fun can be achieved if you head out of the streets to find out different kinds of Pokémons that are lying in parks or at different historic places, and so on. Some news suggests that traveling beyond your own street is the secret to finding as well as catching rare Pokémons and it is also one of the fastest as well as easiest ways to access Pokéstops, a Pokémart-proxy that is utilized in the game. It offers items like Pokéballs as well as Health Potions for trainers. Pokestops are usually found at museums, parks, and even public art centers.

 

Furthermore, the game is quite challenging as well and it is not a walk in the park. It can be frustrating at times, but you need to be patient because you simply need to improve your strategy to make the most of it. Also, when playing you may notice that gone are the tense turn-based battle sequences of its predecessor. On the other hand, the commitment of a full-on Pokémon battle can be a bit inconvenient, but in the end it can be satisfying as it can be, especially if you’re a hardcore gamer.

 

What are the common issues?

Like other games out there, there are a couple of technical problems that you can experience when playing. This is nothing to fuss about since it has somewhat become the norm for standard connected games. But for the sake of knowing them, there are instances where Pokémon Go crashes, it’s not responsive to areas that have poor cell wireless Internet connection, and it may take its toll on batteries, making a portable charger a must. To add, other issues include an opaque interface, poorly explained game mechanics, and annoying battle sequences, just to name a few.

 

Summing up

In simple terms, Pokémon Go is a respectable game, which is bound to get better as soon as its developers manages to iron out issues such as improving group battles and making combats more interesting. But the it’s a big plus that it managed to seamlessly encourage countless individuals to go outside, explore the neighborhood, and even visit historical places to play the game and at the same time meet fellow trainers. It is safe to say that it drastically changed the concept of location-based play to effectively and efficiently reach new audience.

 

Simply put, it’s not just another mobile game or another Pokémon game, it is an entirely separate entity, a cutting-edge entertainment tool for the modern gamer that gives a glimpse of the future of location-based augmented reality (AR) games so if you haven’t played it, give it a try. Who knows, you’re probably just depriving yourself of a good game that is calm as well hectic at the same time. It is important to note also that the level of enjoyment that it offers is just off the charts.

 

How about you? Do you have fun and/or discouraging Pokémon Go game experiences that you want to share? Do you have ideas on how its developers can change its overall gaming experience? Give us a shout at our comments page. Who knows? Your thoughts may even reach them.

 

 

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Video Game Spotlight: Flip Wars http://gameluster.com/video-game-spotlight-flip-wars/ Wed, 19 Jul 2017 04:14:22 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=18292 The Nintendo Switch does not lack for multiplayer games. With Arms, Mario Kart 8, and Super Bomberman R in its library there are plenty of games for families and friends to play together. Yet more always comes to Nintendo’s console for you to sink your teeth into as the release of Flip Wars demonstrates.

Flips Wars is a competitive multiplayer game published by Nintendo and developed by Over Fence Co., Ltd. At first look, Flip Wars seems a shallow experience as there are not many modes and stages. But looks are misleading.

When I started up Flip Wars I was playing alone. Flip Wars can work for a lone player with its clever, challenging A.I., and the single-player mode allows you to learn the basics. But the game is built for human competition.

Flip Wars is a competitive tile-flipping game. Four players enter the game board and slam down on tiles to claim a portion of the board in their color. Players can flip panels to pick up power-ups that make them faster, give them a higher panel-flip radius, or change their flip style. Depending on the map there are additional items that change up the game such as a button which claims a greater portion of the board in your color or a laser that will flip panels based on which angle it’s facing.

The game get chaotic as you fight for items and try to control the board. Panels can be flipped continuously so players keep fighting to maintain control. You gain a temporary advantage by strategically aiming your attacks to knock your opponents off the board. This gives you extra time to claim more on the board but is also extremely difficult.

With more control of the board you can move faster – as long as you are on your spaces you move quickly but moving onto an unclaimed space gives you a serious speed drop. If you move slow players can more easily flip you off the board so you have to plan your movements accordingly. All the while there is a timer counting down.

At launch Flip Wars contains three game modes: Panel Battle, Knock Out, and Life Battle.

In Panel Battle you and three other players compete to have the most panels in your color when the timer runs out. This mode may sound simple but is chaotic fun.

In Knock Out players work strategically to flip panels and knock their opponents off the board. At the end of the game the winner is determined by which player has the most knock outs. This game mode is where even more strategy has to be considered. To win you need to watch enemy movements and even adopt fake-out tactics to trick your opponents into making a move so you can quickly remove them.

Life Battle is ultimately the same as Knock Out but exchanges the timer for lives. The last man standing is the winner so you better adopt the appropriate strategies.

At first glance Flip Wars may seem shallow but as you dive deeper there is plenty of strategy and fun. If you own a Nintendo Switch and have gaming friends this is a must-play game. With online battles and local battles you will find some fun in Flip Wars – check it out in the Nintendo eShop.*

*The game is not available in North America until August 10.

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Kingdom Hearts III Coming 2018, Toy Story World Revealed http://gameluster.com/kingdom-hearts-iii-coming-2018-toy-story-world-revealed/ Mon, 17 Jul 2017 23:37:38 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=18299 Square Enix caused concern when they suggested Kingdom Hearts III would be up to three years off. The shortage of news since implied this suggestion was true, but during the D23 Expo Square Enix put it to rest.

Kingdom Hearts III is coming in 2018.

The trailers for the game showed off the Hercules world but more importantly revealed a brand new world: Toy Story, with Woody, Buzz Lightyear and all.

Kingdom Hearts Director Tetsuya Nomura discussed the addition of Toy Story:

At long last, we are excited to open up the KINGDOM HEARTS universe to include the world of Disney•Pixar’s Toy Story. I’m sure fans have been anticipating the inclusion of this world for many years. The narrative will be an original story exclusive to KINGDOM HEARTS III, and the gameplay will feel characteristic of the Toy Story style and aesthetic. Please stay tuned for more details to be revealed soon.

Don’t hold your breath, but it looks like Kingdom Hearts III may finally arrive on the Playstation 4 and Xbox One in 2018. You can see the new trailers below:

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Cars 3: Driven to Win Review http://gameluster.com/cars-3-driven-to-win-review/ Sat, 08 Jul 2017 15:59:57 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=18271 A movie tie-in game is a dime a dozen and rarely more than a quick cash-in. Developers tasked with making a movie tie-in nonetheless have an opportunity to make an interesting game. Avalanche Software has done this with Cars 3: Driven to Win to middling success.

Most movie-based games retell the movie’s plot taking only minor creative liberties, but Cars 3: Driven to Win takes place after the movie’s conclusion. The game’s plot is simple: racecar Lightning McQueen wants to prove that he’s still “got it” and work his way towards racing Jackson Storm. The story never develops beyond this premise, but this isn’t an issue as it gets you into the world of Cars with a simple introduction including a race with legends of the Cars world.

You only need to play as Lightning McQueen for the opening race to set up the story. The rest of the game is played through whichever character you wish to be. Even in minor moments of “plot” development where a key opponent outright states that they challenge Lightning you still choose who you want to play as. It’s nice to freely choose your preferred character, though it ultimately does not matter.

Cars 3 features twenty playable characters, most of whom are unlocked as you progress through the game. These include fan favorite characters like Lightning McQueen (of course), Mater, Mack, Sally, and even Guido with other Cars 3 specific characters or fellow racers from the greater Cars world. This is where we hit a roadblock with Cars 3: there is no difference between characters. This makes the game feel shallow as you would think that characters should offer personal qualities that make them ideal for different scenarios versus other characters

It’s understandable why Avalanche Software chose to develop the game this way: players won’t fight over which character is statistically better and it keeps the game balanced. But it does devalue characters like Lightning McQueen with the racing legends who look like they are no better than a forklift like Guido. Each car having unique statistics is a racing basic which would have added a lot more to this game.

Putting aside this concern Cars 3: Driven To Win is an inoffensive entry into the Cars franchise. It does not take risks trying to change what the movie and the franchise is about but instead is a simple racing game with all the Cars bells and whistles.

Cars 3: Driven To Win, at its core, is exactly what you expect: a “by the numbers” racing game where you aim for supremacy over your opponents. You race across multiple courses inspired by areas seen in the film with creative liberties taken to create them for the game. Each track features multiple paths with ways to get ahead and build up your turbo meter through drifting or performing tricks. Commonly there are points where the game rewards you for performing a specific action such as a drift with bonus points for your turbo.

There are different modes to add variety, though each mode utilizes the same tracks. Take, for instance, “battle race.” In this mode you play out a basic race with weapons laid throughout the track. This mode is a lot more enjoyable than standard races because of the level of randomness. You never know when you are going to get hit and be sent from a great lead to a great trail behind the crowd.

The third game mode is “best lap challenge”. In this mode you race through a course alone on a time trial for five laps to attempt to beat the best lap time. There are plenty of opportunities to build up your turbo meter to shave off critical time by boosting through critical junctions. You need to learn when to use your boost to beat the best time.

There is also “takedown mode.” In this you choose from the courses that you are likely familiar with and collect weapons to take down waves of enemy cars. The goal is to take down the waves until you hit a point goal and achieve victory.

Finally there is the “stunt showcase.” This is a simple mode where you face other characters and utilize jump ramps and floating balloons to get the most points. This mode was by far the least enjoyable as you have no chance to win if you don’t lead the pack right from the beginning.

Each game mode has achievements. Take for instance doing the series iconic backwards driving (a popular ability of Maters from the first film) for a full lap, or driving on two wheels across a key section. Many of these achievements are unlocked without even trying as you get them for completing rote tasks, but the rewards you earn are appealing.

Some of these rewards come from the story progression tasks which are unlocked after completing so many objectives. There are also additional characters which are mostly characters from the Cars 3 movie. The most enjoyable unlockables comes from some of the reward-specific courses which provide you with tracks from the Cars 2 game.

Cars 3 is not the best of its kind. Each of the game modes have been done better in other racing games. Still, playing a driving game based within the Cars universe does have some charm. Cars 3: Driven to Win is never special but is a harmless movie tie-in game that is great for an occasional jaunt into the Cars universe. There is nothing that screams “play this game” but that is okay as Cars 3 gives fans of the franchise exactly what they should want without going over the top.

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Outstanding: StarCraft Remastered Coming this Summer http://gameluster.com/outstanding-starcraft-remastered-coming-this-summer/ Fri, 30 Jun 2017 22:15:49 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=18235 Blizzard is releasing a remastered version of their classic RTS StarCraft on August 14 for PC and Mac.

StarCraft: Remastered will feature new matchmaking with ladders and leaderboards, player profiles that track ones’ statistics,  widescreen support for up to 4K resolutions, “higher fidelity” audio, and other updates and modern conveniences.

Despite these tweaks, the original game will remain. Playing StarCraft: Remastered will be like “putting on your glasses,” says Blizzard Classic Games team head Rob Bridenbecker. “You put on your glasses and everything crisps up, but it’s still the same game.” In game, with the click of a button, players may switch between the remastered and original versions – putting on and taking off their glasses.

The remastered game is available for pre-purchase in the Blizzard online store for 14.99 USD. It will require the StarCraft Anthology, for free in the Blizzard store, a Blizzard account, the Blizzard desktop app, and an internet connection to play.

Those who preorder the game will get three new building skins: one for the Char Hive (a Zerg structure), one for the Korhal Command Center (a Terran structure), and one for the Aiur Nexus (a Protoss structure). They will also receive goodies in StarCraft II, like new portraits.

Since its release in 1998, StarCraft has remained a definitive RTS game and a pillar of e-sports. StarCraft II was released in 2010 and has had two expansions follow, Heart of the Swarm and Legacy of the Void.

If you’ve never played the original, get it for free from the Blizzard online store to atone for your sin.

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The LEGO Ninjago Movie Video Game Comes this September http://gameluster.com/the-lego-ninjago-movie-video-game-comes-this-september/ Fri, 30 Jun 2017 17:55:24 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=18211 2017 is another big year for LEGO products. Not only are there two major LEGO movies this year, but there have also been several LEGO games either released or coming soon, from the LEGO City Undercover re-release to the upcoming LEGO Marvel Superheroes 2.

Warner Bros. has announced a game tie-in for the next LEGO film: The LEGO Ninjago Movie Video Game (a mouthful, isn’t it?). It comes out September 22 in the United States and October 6 in the United Kingdom.

The game will be available on the Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch.

Expect the game to feature all the classic LEGO quirkiness and gameplay with slight twists for the sake of “Ninja” gameplay. There will be eight worlds to explore at launch.

Watch the trailer below and get excited for more LEGO gaming goodness.

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In Defense of: Beyond Two Souls http://gameluster.com/in-defense-of-beyond-two-souls/ Fri, 30 Jun 2017 17:16:19 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=18214 Beyond: Two Souls has received its fair share of criticism since it launched on the Playstation 3 back in 2013. Most critics express concerns with the narratives direction, alongside the pointless quick time events. It is hard to argue against the frustrations with the quick-time events when compared to Heavy Rain’s consequential system. In Beyond: Two Souls you can do entire scenes in this game and mess up every event with no consequence.

For a game like Beyond: Two Souls I feel like the game elements don’t matter. This should be considered an interactive story that is meant to grab the player’s attention. With this point considered, there is a very different approach for with the gameplay itself. It is only meant to matter in the context of our connection with the character, and the game utilizes these simple points as a means to add impact.

Do you want Jodie to be safe? Well then don’t mess up any quick time events. She won’t die but she won’t be hurt either (unless scripted). But ultimately this is a game meant to tell a unique story that can only be properly explored through game length and through minimal gameplay. What matters is that if you ignore the often incriminating issues, Beyond: Two Souls is a deep game with a well-constructed and meaningful narrative which is what I feel many players missed.

The biggest complaint directed at this game is the way that Quantic Dream and David Cage decided to approach it. Rather than focusing on a typically linear narrative direction, Quantic Dream decided to offer a non-linear narrative. As such, players would explore Beyond’s story through random scenes of Jodie’s life. One minute you would be playing as child Jodie and the next you could be on the run from law enforcement in adulthood.

It’s hard to deny that this particular choice for a narrative can confuse players. When you quickly jump from moment to moment it can be hard to see where they are going as you spend half the game wondering how you got to each point and how the points tie together. Yet after looking back upon completing the game, if you are willing, you can see the brilliance of its design. Sure you can now play a linear game with the Playstation 4 version but it does not have the same impact when compared.

The choice in this direction is the key reason why Beyond: Two Souls manages to be meaningful, as we explore the many episodes that make up Jodie’s life. Like a great non-sequential TV show, you get to follow random moments and feel the impact for the characters involved, be it good or bad, and then at the conclusion see the payoff from your decisions.

More important is understanding the importance of why Quantic Dream’s choice in direction ultimately helped the flow of the game, a big part of which is the importance of how everything ties together. Every moment is purposefully placed, so playing as Jodie during her army days then going back to her childhood often have some connection. It’s never directly obvious when compared to the previous scene but it ties to what is coming.

Jodie’s childhood often holds hints toward an important element of an incoming chapter. If you pay attention you can understand a key point and by extension you will be able to make a choice that is better for that particular moment. Take for example a moment with Nathan Dawkins toward the end of the game. A previous child scene actually provides information that can provide closure.

Sure, there are things that can be said about being able to carry information from the game’s first hour and see it used within the last, but it might not have the same impact or can be lost within the rest of the story.

This is easily one of the biggest reasons why a non-linear narrative was actually an effective choice. Even still there is a greater reason, much of which comes down to how Beyond: Two Souls manages to build its narrative through this element. Most say that you decide whether you wish to keep playing something in the first hour of gameplay and while there are some great points in Jodie’s childhood, there is not really anything that would encourage you to keep playing.

Perhaps if you were to look at Beyond: Two Souls as more of an “interactive” story you can find some enjoyment. Beyond: Two Souls manages to tell an incredible and comprehensive story that does manage to impact the player where it counts. The little stories sown throughout this narrative manage to give a decent idea of the lives that Jodie manages to touch, while divulging insight into her destructive life.

From being on the run from armed forces to helping with a tribal curse to a truly heartfelt moment where she is homeless, this game has so much to offer. In fact whenever I think back to Beyond: Two Souls I regularly consider how this game made me feel. I cared and was emotionally affected by the hardships that Jodie faced. There was so much here that holds such a long-lasting impact, especially with how the game managed to explore some pretty heavy topics through this one girl. Perhaps this is just me but I was emotionally invested in every moment.

For me the homeless sequence still stands as the most memorable moment in the game. When I look back I remember just how well constructed this one point was, how it made me care for the characters. All of this was well handled through some of the miniscule options and the way you get to explore your homeless companions’ pasts, even getting to feel like you made a difference in at least one person’s life.

There are many moments that stand out and help convey the story and make you care, which is what is important. Across the varying moments within this non-linear narrative, you get to feel for the character, whether it is with child Jodie or adult Jodie, and by extension her bond with Aiden. There is an indisputable brilliance within the confines of the game when you consider the build of its story and varying segments rather than its gameplay. This is a clear story game that waits to see who is willing to listen and feel for all the characters involved.

It is impossible to forgive Beyond: Two Souls for its truly apparent shortcomings, much of which come from the direction of the “gameplay.” At the same time Beyond: Two Souls does actually succeed in the medium that it most represents. As a narrative within an interactive property you can feel for the characters, whether it is through insignificant choices like stealing or not being able to buy something while poor.

Within the entire foundation of Beyond: Two Souls’ design, it thrives when you decide to look beyond the thrown-in gameplay tropes and instead enjoy it as a moving narrative. Seeing the non-linear experience sets you free to explore varying moments in a single character’s life that collectively manages to tell an astounding story. When you choose to consider the way you view a piece of interactive entertainment, Beyond: Two Souls is simply a different brand.

When you want to listen and feel, Beyond: Two Souls really does go beyond the two souls that act as the centre of this game.

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Crash is Back With a Bang http://gameluster.com/crash-bandicoot-is-back-with-a-bang/ Fri, 30 Jun 2017 16:44:10 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=18217 I first began playing console games in the late ’90s. As a young boy who was new to games, I couldn’t have asked for a better series to start me off than Crash Bandicoot. Now here I am nineteen years since the release of Crash Bandicoot: Warped and, ladies and gentlemen, Crash is back.

The release of Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy marks a great day for fans of the series. Activision and Vicarious Visions have done an outstanding job recreating the original experience with updated visuals. The three remasters feel absolutely brilliant. The intense pressure of running away from giant boulders or massive polar bears has not changed a bit. The games still feel as challenging as they did when they first graced the market back in the mid-to-late ’90s.

I am very much enjoying reliving some of my favourite childhood experiences. Cortex Strikes Back, the second Crash game, has always been one of my favourite games and it runs brilliantly on the new engine. For newcomers to the Crash series, you may find the original Crash Bandicoot game a little bit tedious because of the limited move set. It is more enjoyable for seasoned veterans of the series who appreciate the nostalgia.

I haven’t completed all three games yet and am working on quickly getting through them to write a full review. For now, however, I can say that Crash Bandicoot is back and better than ever.

 

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Video Game Spotlight: Emily Wants to Play http://gameluster.com/video-game-spotlight-emily-wants-to-play/ Wed, 28 Jun 2017 22:17:06 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=18200 It seems like every game that is meant to be horror lately has taken some inspiration from Five Nights at Freddy’s. It’s completely understandable. The original game was a cultural phenomenon that relied heavily on its dark themes and tense gameplay. It’s hard to say that the game is actually scary, but the tense feeling that was born from the knowledge of the almost inevitability of your demise is what made this game special.

Following this, multiple developers have taken inspiration from Freddy and twisted the formula to create their own experiences. You can look at Tattletail or the source of today’s discussion, Emily Wants to Play. While these types of games certainly have some evident inspiration, each game is still its own entity. It can be argued that some of these are better than the source of inspiration. Emily Wants to Play is a much better game that builds more on tension and not actually being given the time or chances to learn what needs to be done.

I discovered Emily Wants to Play while I was searching a Playstation Store sale. These are great to find games you have been wanting to play at cheaper prices, but also games that you have never heard of. Sure, if you follow the popular YouTube gaming scene, it is likely you would have heard of this game through the many popular YouTubers who offered annoying paint-by-numbers plays of this game. But for those like myself who don’t follow this area, Emily Wants to Play is a surprise discovery that is not very likely to be known about by many horror game fans or general game players for that matter.

Emily Wants to Play thrives off its minimalist narrative and spooky setting, essentially being asked that classic horror movie motif, “Do you want to play a game?” The key point being that you are not so much asked as you are being told. While most games let players move and interact with the environment to play the game, Emily Wants to Play tells you that you are playing. As such, Emily gives you five real-world minutes to study the house (which makes up the game’s setting) and find information as well as a key item before the games begin.

The best part of this moment is that tense feeling of uncertainty. You are immediately presented with a closed door and a blink-in blink-out doll, although this is not entirely clear. As you wander the house freely you discover some dark and disturbing words suggesting Emily is rather broken and unstable. This just adds to that unknowing sense of what is going to happen. As dolls run about in these opening minutes and you discover the house layout, you remain uncertain of what Emily has in store and whether you will survive the night.

This is the best kind of horror game. You are not restricted to a single room trying to keep yourself alive. You are free to wander and face a learning curve that makes survival difficult. There are no immediate instructions that tell you how to play Emily’s game, and it is likely her doll army will kill you twenty times over before learning the secrets of each one’s personal game. These lead to a moment of revelation when you finally figure things out and discover the secrets that are indirectly left for you to uncover.

Because of this, Emily Wants to Play manages to become a much creepier game that draws you in through its minimalist approach as well as its lack of instruction. Until you finally figure out the secrets behind each doll’s child-like game you are left unsettled, dreading that moment when you hear the doll and it inevitably kills you. This approach of limiting instructions and narrative makes this game have a much greater impact than if you were to play most other horror games. It is that random factor that builds the tension and atmosphere that is wholly captivating.

So what is the point of this? Well, I wanted to take the chance to explore a game that has been largely overlooked and that more people should play. Emily Wants to Play is a cheap budget game available digitally across many of the biggest platforms, Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC, even iOS and Android. While you can certainly just watch a playthrough of the game on YouTube I feel that you would be soiling the experience of getting the chance to play a great game.

Emily Wants to Play is best experienced on your own, as you deal with the dark narrative and the tricky gameplay. On another note Emily Wants to Play is surprisingly satisfying to play. As a simple horror game it is far more enjoyable through its basic concept and twisting of old ideas. What makes things even better, is the fact that the game went so far under the radar. This makes Emily Wants to Play a true gem in its discovery. I now suggest you find this game. It’s short but wholly satisfying and worth playing. Give this forgotten, or at least little known, gem a go. You will not regret it.

Let the games begin. They will be the games to die for. Literally.

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The Evolution of the Gaming World http://gameluster.com/the-evolution-of-the-gaming-world/ Sun, 25 Jun 2017 19:36:58 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=18194 With the release of the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy only a meager five days away, I believe there has never been a better time to look back and analyse how gaming has evolved over time. Long gone are the days when Crash Bandicoot, Spyro and even the fabled Super Mario were the main attractions for gamers. The days of excellent story telling and compelling gameplay are also beginning to dwindle. The era of Massive Multiplayer Online games and games that don’t even have campaigns anymore, is what has come to replace the old greats. As a twenty-one year old man, who has been playing games on nearly every platform since I was five, I am extremely disappointed in the path that games have started to go down. However, the release of an old great in Crash, has lead me to look deep into my collection of games, to find a select few games from the current generation of gaming, that give me hope that the days of old are not completely gone.

 

Game 1: Firewatch.

Firewatch is a game that I only recently completed, but it showed me personally how storytelling in games is not dead. The first night I started playing this game, I turned it on at ten o’clock, intending to play for a couple of hours, see if it took my fancy and then continue with it in the morning. Low and behold I looked at the clock four and half hours later, to realise it was 2:30am and it was probably about time I got some sleep. The reason I’m telling you this story, is that this was the first time I have lost track of time, because a story was so consuming and intriguing since the release of The Last of Us four years ago. The games graphics are cartoony and are not really anything to write home about. The frame rate constantly dips while you’re playing and there is basically no face to face encounters with other characters throughout the game. I did not care in the slightest. Even with the cartoony graphics, the game has some absolutely stunning visuals and is just an extremely enjoyable game to lose yourself in for a few hours. When I finished it all I could do was smile, knowing that even inbetween all the clutter of exclusively online games such as Star Wars Battlefront and MMOs such as Destiny, there was still room in this day and age for some classic stroytelling goodness.

 

Game 2: Horizon Zero Dawn.

Horizon Zero Dawn is a completely different game to Firewatch but it is another brilliantly put together game. The combat in this game is phenomenal. Even when you have all of the best gear in the game, you will always be aware that any mistake in combat could lead to you being mauled by a giant mechanic dinosaur. The fact that this game is set on Earth was also something that I really liked. They took some new ideas and implemented them into a familiar landscape that really lets you relate to the places that you are exploring. Horizon Zero Dawn does not care about multiplayer aspects. Guerrila Games focused all of their attention on making a truly original story and it is safe to say that they did not dissapoint in the slightest. Aloy is a really interesting character and the game does an excellent job of revealing things about her past, and where the future of the world is headed intermitently. This allowed the game to remain extremely gripping throughout it’s 15-20 hour campaign. The game also offers a lot of side missions and other activities to take part in after you finish the main campaign. It is a game that, in the end has well over 100 hours of truly intriguing gameplay.  It is one of those games that you can sit and play for hours on end and never find yourself with nothing to do.

 

Game 3: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.

It can be extremely hard to find words to describe the absolute masterpiece that is The Witcher 3. It was truly one of the most enjoyable games I have ever had the pleasure of playing through. The game is also absolutely huge. There is approximately 50 hours of gameplay in the campaign alone and that’s only if you don’t get side tracked by all of the side quests that appear along your journey with Geralt. The Witcher 3 is also a difficult game to play, it doesn’t just allow you to run to whatever area you want from the start of the game. There is a levelling system and monsters are genuinely hard to kill. Some monsters are even physically impossible to kill if you are too low a level, which, I found so refreshing. Theres nothing like running through an area you’ve never been to before in the game, and seeing a monster with a red skull over its head and then literally having to turn and sprint in any direction just to save yourself from a gruesome death. The story is outstanding and even being 50 hours long, it never outstayed its welcome. I was gripped by it from start to finish and have played through it multiple times, because there are plenty of different possible ending scenarios. I truly cared about the characters in the game. When characters die in the game I was actually upset about the fact they had died. It was a feeling, that again, I had not experienced since The Last of Us four years ago. Since the release of the Xbox One and the PS4, this is definitely the game that stands out, as it was perfectly able to balance the wishes of the new generation of gamers, by having phenomenal graphics, and the old souls of gaming like myself, by having a truly immersive storyline.

 

None of this is to say that multiplayer games are bad. I love playing multiplayer games with my friends. I spent days of gameplay online on Call of Duty World at War and Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2. I loved the endless repetitive game modes of Team Deathmatch and Domination, to name just a couple.  Even small online games such as Roblox, have given me and a few of my very best friends hours and hours of online fun together.  I personally would just like to see more of a storyline experience to go along with the multiplayer aspects of games released these days.

I would also like to give an honurary mention to The Last of Us. I wanted to keep this article to do with games that were released in the era of the Xbox One and the PS4, but I can’t write an article about games that give me hope for the future of gaming without at least mentioning the masterpiece that was The Last of Us. Unsuprisingly the creator of The Last of Us, Naughty Dog, also produced the Crash Bandicoot game series.

 

Gaming is something that brings thousands of people together, through online immersive experiences. I am completely for this aspect of gaming, and I think the evolution of online gaming has been incredible throughout the last decade. My hope is that along with this online experience, we as gamers can still find games where we can stop for a moment and appreciate the beauty of a well told story, and lose ourselves in moments that you can’t experience doing anything else. So here’s to all of the great stroytellers out there, keep producing wonderful memories for all of the generations of kids still to come.

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New Skyrim For Nintendo Switch Trailer Shows Off Exclusive Features http://gameluster.com/new-skyrim-for-nintendo-switch-trailer-shows-off-exclusive-features/ Sun, 25 Jun 2017 11:41:04 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=18014 Bethesda did not have much to show during their E3 Press Conference for Nintendo fans, but they did take the time to briefly show off Skyrim for the Nintendo Switch. What was seen shows that Skyrim is more then a generic port as the game will utilize some key functionality to offer a slightly more unique experience on Nintendo’s system.

In a trailer, Bethesda demonstrated how amiibo is utilized within Skyrim, in the example shown they used the archer Link figure, this popped a chest into the world which provided the player with a Breath of the Wild Link costume for their character.

Another feature that was shown off, was the usage of motion controls. Players will be able to swing the Joy-Con’s as a means of swinging the sword within the game. It was also shown, that you can fire a bow using a similar means. This demonstrated a deeper amount of interactivity within the game. These changes are not likely to make a difference to the core game but their presence does show that Bethesda are trying to advance the game, even in small ways for the Switch release.

Bethesda is still keeping quiet on a release date with the former ‘fall’ release window staying in tact. You can check out the new trailer below for a look at the game.

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Nintendo Announced amiibos Aplenty at E3 http://gameluster.com/nintendo-announced-amiibos-aplenty-at-e3/ Mon, 19 Jun 2017 01:50:36 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=18102 Do you care about amiibos?

Nintendo’s revealed quite a few of them at E3 for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, and Fire Emblem Warriors.

The new Breath of the Wild amiibos depict the four champions Mipha the Zora, Daruk the Goron, Revali the Rito, and Urbosa the Gerudo. Each amiibo is finely detailed and features the characters with their signature weapon. These will likely offer the same bonuses as all previous amiibos for the game, but this has not been officially announced.

Super Mario Odyssey‘s amiibos feature Mario, Bowser and Peach all in their wedding outfits that tie in with Bowser’s plan in the game. In terms of functionality each amiibo will unlock new costumes within the main game. How else they may help the player is currently undisclosed.

 

The two amiibos to tie in with Fire Emblem Warriors depict characters from Fire Emblem Awakening. These are fan-favorite character Chrom armed with the heroic blade of legend and a young Tiki.

Nintendo has made no announcement on how these amiibos will function within Fire Emblem Warriors but they might take a similar approach as Hyrule Warriors. In that game amiibos were used to unlock weapons or resources necessary for upgrading your characters.

These new amiibos will launch alongside Fire Emblem Warriors later this year. You can see a close up look at the figures below.

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Mr. Shifty Review http://gameluster.com/mr-shifty-review/ Mon, 19 Jun 2017 00:56:09 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=18163 Judging a game can be challenging. On one hand you might reflect on how much fun the game was by discussing the mechanics and how they create a fun and cohesive experience. On the other hand you must decide if a game is worth purchasing when faced with frustrating problems that dampen the experience. Sometimes these problems aren’t worth mentioning because they’re inconsequential but other times these problems can significantly drag down the experience. How much should nitpicking out problems determine our ultimate view of the game if it has a lot of fun and has great ideas?

This is precisely the conflict with reviewing Mr. Shifty, Team Shifty’s over-head-perspective beat ‘em up. On paper Mr.Shifty is brimming with potential and from the moment the game began it was easy to tell that Mr. Shifty was going to be a frustratingly good time, akin to playing a classic platformer.

Mr. Shifty’s frustrating qualities are part of the overall charm of the game. In many ways it feels like going back in time to a gaming past where one mistake meant the end. Mr. Shifty is killed with a single shot and on the journey you will face conflict with a plethora of enemies ready to put you down if you don’t think quickly. You will die a lot.

The key mechanic in Mr. Shifty is teleportation. You must master this skill to reach the goal and best all the enemies and won’t stand a chance without using it.

You must be able to jump into a room, swiftly beat up an enemy, and teleport back out, dodging any foes who might notice your presence. Often you must teleport as this is the only certain way to avoid enemy attacks and to progress. Teleporting opens the door to many strategies, each as fun as the next. It’s ingenious how well this mechanic works and how it can be utilized to deal with deadly obstacles, level progression and, of course, enemies.

Part of Mr. Shifty‘s charm is that it starts off simple. You are given some basic enemies to defeat as you learn how to harness your teleportation skills in order to quickly dodge bullets and take out foes with a swift punch or two. As the game progresses more challenging enemies are added to the mix. While the early foes were slow to react, these new enemies shoot on sight forcing you to think more quickly and to teleport to safety.

At the same time smaller mechanics are added that teach you handy skills for quickly dispatching foes. Everything in the early game works cohesively so you learn your skills and limits but at the same time learn how to handle the tougher late-game situations. For example, if you see a pressure mine the game will teach you that you can pick it up but must dispose of it. You can throw it at a wall or enemy and cause a reaction. This will be useful knowledge as you delve deeper into the game. It is impressive how the game teaches you techniques without explicitly telling you them.

With your knowledge of the mechanics in tow, Mr. Shifty becomes a stunningly fast-paced experience. It is always satisfying getting through an intense combat situation using all the tools available to you. Resourcefulness and ingenuity are key. Most rooms you enter have weapons obtainable through minor destruction or that are just laying around. You might be able to find a staff, among other weapons, which can be used to swiftly defeat foes with a simple swing. In one fell swoop you could pick up a shield on the ground, throw it away quickly as you cross the room, and pick up a stick on the ground to use as a weapon. The game requires fluidity.

As noted earlier, you will die a lot. In some instances there are things you don’t see coming and in others there is a mechanic you must use with perfect timing but mistime by a hair. In addition the new enemy types (that are frequently added) can interrupt your flow. It is almost certain that you will die on a first encounter because of how their attack styles constantly change. The challenge born from this consistent evolution is satisfying in the long run.

When all is said and done it is easy to recommend Mr. Shifty, but there is a set back: the game’s technical issues.

In most games noting technical shortcomings is being nitpicky but in Mr. Shifty they are a major concern. Throughout this game you need to be quick and precise but are hampered by frequent framerate drops. These often mess up your precision and may leave you dead from a random enemy shot.

This is not the only frustrating downside. Throughout the game you are going floor to floor in a huge tower. Each floor classifies as a stage wherein you meet with a plethora of enemy forces each more challenging than the last. The problem is that Mr. Shifty has no save system beyond a checkpoint after each completed stage and it crashes a fair bit along the way. This issue becomes even more frustrating when you are close to the end of a stage and the game randomly crashes. Being forced to restart the game is particularly aggravating on the more difficult, later levels which you can easily spend half-an-hour or more playing.

Mr. Shifty is a game that mechanically works well. Its core ideas are handled with precision and are fun to use. It was hard not to have fun with the fast-paced action and quick-thinking of Mr. Shifty and, as such, it’s a game that can be recommended. If only the game had been ironed out and had the technical problems squashed Mr. Shifty would be a near-perfect experience, but they hold the game back.

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Yoshi Coming to Nintendo Switch in 2018 http://gameluster.com/yoshi-coming-to-nintendo-switch-in-2018/ Thu, 15 Jun 2017 02:51:59 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=18082 Nintendo had surprises for all their fans at E3, including those of their star dinosaur. Yoshi, like Kirby, Metroid, and Pokemon, is coming to the Switch.

The tentatively titled Yoshi keeps the wool art style from 2015’s Yoshi’s Wooly World on Yoshi’s character model but the gameworld is made of cardboard and paper.

The gameplay will add an extra dimension to the traditional 2D platformer design. The game features the ability to flip the world. Doing so reveals a new setup for the area that Yoshi can explore with 3D movement. Think Super Paper Mario. This ability is used in puzzle solving as it allows Yoshi to progress down otherwise impassable routes and discover secret areas. Each stage will have items to find as well. The game will also feature two-player cooperative play.

Yoshi will arrive in 2018. Check out the trailer below.

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Fire Emblem Warriors Arrives This Autumn http://gameluster.com/fire-emblem-warriors-arrives-this-autumn/ Thu, 15 Jun 2017 00:47:00 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=18074 Fire Emblem Warriors has been known about since the game was announced back during the Switch’s reveal show but Nintendo has finally highlighted more of the story of this new, cross-over effort with Koei Tecmo.

The story in Fire Emblem Warriors centers around twin protagonists Lian and Zion as they set off to take down an evil dragon who is threatening their land. In doing so they will come across many iconic faces from throughout the Fire Emblem franchise who will assist them on their journey.

The game has been confirmed to include only English audio and voice acting, to the dismay of those hoping to change on-the-fly between that and Japanese.

Nintendo has confirmed that Fire Emblem Warriors will be headed to the Nintendo Switch and Nintendo 3DS this autumn. Get ready to enter the battlefield with the new trailer below:

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Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Confirmed for 2017 Release http://gameluster.com/xenoblade-chronicles-2-confirmed-for-2017-release/ Thu, 15 Jun 2017 00:23:27 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=18086 It was doubtful Monolith Soft would bring Xenoblade Chronicles 2 to the Switch in 2017 given the history of the franchise’s releases, the scale of the games, and how long it took to bring Xenoblade Chronicles X out.

Lo and behold, Nintendo has silenced the doubters by confirming that Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is headed to the Nintendo Switch during the holiday season of 2017.

The much anticipated sequel of the Wii classic promises players “an endless ocean of clouds” accessible for exploration. It will also feature the “last remnants of civilization” living “on the backs of colossal beasts called Titans”.

The story will follow Rex and his new friend Pyra, a mysterious being known as a blade, who will grant him extraordinary powers.

You can see more on what Xenoblade Chronicles 2 has in store in the trailer below.

(And here’s to the game not being pushed back to 2018.)

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New Pokemon RPG Announced for Nintendo Switch, No Specifics Revealed http://gameluster.com/new-pokemon-rpg-announced-for-nintendo-switch-no-specifics-revealed/ Wed, 14 Jun 2017 23:34:48 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=18071 Pokken Tournament DX was revealed last week for Nintendo Switch and, while this news may have been anticlimactic to those expecting more from the “Pokemon Direct”, fans of the Pokemon franchise can rest assured there is a standard Pokemon title coming to the Switch.

No game specifics have been announced but The Pokemon Company’s president has confirmed that a new RPG entry in the series will be headed to the platform. The only real information we know is that Game Freak is handling the game and it will likely arrive sometime in the next year.

There is still reason to speculate on the franchise’s “Stars” installment, the complementary third game to Sun and Moon, but it remains to be confirmed whether this is in development or only a rumor.

Pokemon for Switch will mark the franchise’s first time coming off dedicated handhelds and onto a standard console for a main-series game.

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Rocket League Driving Its Way to Nintendo Switch this Holiday Season http://gameluster.com/rocket-league-driving-its-way-to-nintendo-switch-this-holiday-season/ Wed, 14 Jun 2017 03:35:18 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=18107 Psyonix’s Rocket League has become a cultural phenomenon since it arrived on the Playstation 4 and PC in 2015, and now the smash hit game is coming to the Nintendo Switch.

Rocket League was announced for Nintendo’s system during the E3 Spotlight where the developers revealed how Rocket League will work on the system.

The Switch version of Rocket League will have all the content from the other versions of the game, while also including Nintendo exclusive items such as Mario’s hat to dress your car with and even exclusive cars.

The game will have local wireless multiplayer so Switch owners can play together. The game will also have the ability for cross-platform play allowing Switch owners to play online with Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC players.

Rocket League is set to launch “this holiday.” Specifics have not been revealed.

You can check out a trailer for the game below:

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Kirby Coming to Nintendo Switch in 2018 http://gameluster.com/kirby-coming-to-nintendo-switch-in-2018/ Wed, 14 Jun 2017 03:14:23 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=18079 Kirby is presently the king of Nintendo’s systems.

Only a couple months ago Nintendo made a big deal about announcing multiple Kirby releases for the Nintendo 3DS. Now it’s the Nintendo Switch’s turn for some love from the pink puffball.

Kirby will debut on the Nintendo Switch in an old-school, side-scrolling co-operative platformer like Kirby’s Return to Dreamland on the Wii.

From what was shown in the trailer this game will bring back many of Kirby’s classic abilities. There will also be new ones, including the ability to charm foes and have them work with you. With this ability in use either the computer or another player can take on the role of the charmed enemies and play alongside Kirby.

Very little was shown and the emphasis was placed on the co-operative feature. The game is tentatively titled Kirby and planned for release in 2018.

Here’s the trailer:

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Metroid: Samus Returns Announced for Nintendo 3DS http://gameluster.com/metroid-samus-returns-announced-for-nintendo-3ds/ Wed, 14 Jun 2017 02:35:39 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=18094 Nintendo is going big with Metroid at this year’s E3. Metroid Prime 4 was revealed, and now they have announced the Game Boy classic Metroid II: Return of Samus is getting remade for the Nintendo 3DS as Metroid: Samus Returns. The game will bring with it enhanced 3D visuals but at its core will remain the same classic game that fans loved back in 1991.

The game is being developed by MercurySteam and is set for release on September 15 this year. This will be the first time that Metroid has gone back to its roots since Metroid: Zero Mission for the Game Boy Advance, the remake of the original Metroid.

Alongside this announcement came news that the game will feature amiibo support, although their exact function within the game is unclear. 

The first of these is Samus in a pose that harkens back to the original box art for the Game Boy version. There will also be a squishy amiibo of the Metroid creature itself.

Check out the amiibos and a trailer for Metroid: Samus Returns below.

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Super Mario Odyssey Gameplay Shown, Release Date Announced http://gameluster.com/super-mario-odyssey-gameplay-shown-release-date-announced/ Wed, 14 Jun 2017 00:56:15 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=18077 Super Mario Odyssey could be Nintendo’s biggest game for 2017. Fans are excited to see where Nintendo is going with their lead plumber, and Super Mario Odyssey shouldn’t disappoint.

Nintendo’s E3 presentation provided a bigger emphasis on Mario’s hat “Cappy” showing more on how this sentient hat ties into the gameplay. Mario’s hat will act as much more then a simple platforming mechanic. As the trailer demonstrates, Mario will be able to throw his hat and take control of different lifeforms.

This ability will likely be used in puzzle solving. Mario inhabited different bodies and used them in different ways, including creating a stack of Goombas, taking control of a frog and even a human. The hat clearly is taking center stage as a core piece of the games’ story and gameplay.

Super Mario Odyssey also has an official release date: October 27.

Now do yourself a favor and check out the trailer below (it has a rather catchy song).

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Metroid Prime 4 Announced for Nintendo Switch http://gameluster.com/metroid-prime-4-announced-for-nintendo-switch/ Wed, 14 Jun 2017 00:21:13 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=18067 The last proper Metroid Prime title was released in 2007 but another is on the way almost a decade later. Metroid Prime 4 was officially announced by Nintendo at their press conference.

According to series producer Kensuke Tanabe, “Metroid Prime 4 returns to the First-Person Adventure roots of the original Metroid Prime game.” Further, its storyline will “tie together the events of the Metroid Prime universe” while taking it in new directions. Prime 4 is in development for the Switch.

Beyond these facts, fans may speculate.

Experiencing what Nintendo did with Zelda: Breath of the Wild, an open-world Metroid Prime would be delicious. Of course, Metroid has been open-ended from the start, but not Breath of the Wild open. Prime’s gameplay systems – power-ups, scans and log entries, non-linear exploration, puzzles, and different environs requiring different suits – would complement well an open structure like the one in the latest Zelda or in titles like Fallout 4.

But this is just speculation – fans must wait and see.

For now, you can see this:

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Undertale is Coming to the Playstation 4 and PS Vita http://gameluster.com/undertale-is-coming-to-the-playstation-4-and-ps-vita/ Tue, 13 Jun 2017 03:39:24 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=18047 Undertale has become a cultural phenomenon with its classic look, clever gameplay systems, interesting humor, and deep meaning. Originally released on the PC, more people may now get excited about and understand the games’ appeal with the reveal that Undertale is being brought to the Playstation 4 and PS Vita. The game is set to arrive this summer with physical and special editions.

The physical edition includes a twenty-four page illustrated booklet and the collector’s edition adds the soundtrack, some annotated sheet music, and a musical locket.

The PS4 port of Undertale will include with it Japanese localization allowing all dialouge to be in Japanese or English.

Undertale was universally loved by critics and consumers and this release on the Playstation 4 and PS Vita will be the games’ console debut. Finally, non-PC users will be able to experience Undertale either on the TV or on the go.

You can watch the trailer below.

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Shadow of the Colossus Coming to the Playstation 4 http://gameluster.com/shadow-of-the-colossus-coming-to-the-playstation-4/ Tue, 13 Jun 2017 03:17:03 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=18042 In a surprising reveal during Sony’s E3 press conference, a Shadow of the Colossus remake was announced for the Playstation 4, planned for release in 2018. From what was shown it looks to be the same classic game revived in new graphics.

Not much has been shared on the game but the trailer does show off the games’ iconic set-pieces. Featuring the daunting Colossus beings and all the game’s foreboding world, this is a remake for the fans and those that missed the classic gem the first time around.

Shadow of the Colossus has managed to achieve a huge cult following over the last several years. The game is widely regarded as one of the Playstation 2’s best and a game that everybody must play. It was re-released in an HD pack with Ico for the PS3. Now, more people are going to have the opportunity to experience it on the PS4.

You can check out the trailer below. Prepare for some excitement and some serious nostalgia.

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Beyond Good and Evil 2 Revealed http://gameluster.com/beyond-good-and-evil-2-announced/ Tue, 13 Jun 2017 01:29:43 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=18033 Beyond Good and Evil 2 has officially been revealed.

It’s been a long time coming, but Ubisoft’s cinematic trailer finally confirmed that the game is coming. No actual gameplay has been shown yet.

You’ll first notice the grimy setting, colorful characters, and plentiful cursing. This latter is in stark contrast to the first game. The environment opens up as the characters soar across a cityscape and then blast off into space.

A sequel to Ubisoft’s 2003 classic has long been anticipated and teased. Announced in 2008, Beyond Good and Evil 2 would join the ranks of Duke Nukem Forever and Half-Life 2: Episode 3 as games that “may never come.”

Just last year at E3, Ubisoft confirmed that celebrated Rayman creator Michel Ancel was working on the title, but no information on the game itself was given. Fast forward to E3 2017, and that has changed.

Ubisoft has not revealed any specific gameplay details but hinted at open-world design and online play. Read up more on the game including its “Space Monkey” gameplay testing program at the official site.

Warning – strong language:

 

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Mario and Rabbids Kingdom Battle Announced for Nintendo Switch http://gameluster.com/mario-and-rabbids-kingdom-battle-announced-for-nintendo-switch/ Mon, 12 Jun 2017 23:09:08 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=18023 Mario and Rabbids Kingdom Battle has to have been one of the worst kept secrets in gaming, but it was still an exciting way for Ubisoft to kickoff their E3 press conference. Starting with a simple animation including the Rabbids and a Mario coin block, Ubisoft then welcomed Shigeru Miyamoto to the stage to discuss the game.

Mario and Rabbids Kingdom Battle has reportedly been in development for the past three years. Ubisoft approached Nintendo about the idea to blend the colorful and clever world of Mario with the zaniness of the Rabbids. When approched about the game, Miyamoto stated that the one thing they did not want was for Ubisoft to craft another platformer with Rabbids thrown in.

Instead Ubisoft was tasked with crafting a unique game that blends the two worlds together. The Rabbids have randomly shown up in the Mushroom Kingdom and, though some are Mario’s allies, most are his antagonists.

Mario and Rabbids Kingdom Battle is a turn-based strategy adventure featuring exploration. In this game combat takes place in open areas wherein each turn Mario and his companions can move about a set field and attempt to defeat their foes. There is plenty of room for strategy. Characters are able to launch each other to get an angle on foes and can use pipes to get behind enemies.

There are lots of weapons and items, one of the most important a blaster that each character wields. There will be many attack options open to the player. Each character will even have their own special skill to utilize in battles.

Mario and Rabbids Kingdom Battle will feature eight characters including Mario, Luigi, Peach, Yoshi, and four Rabbids dressed like the Mario characters.

Mario and Rabbids Kingdom Battle arrives on August 29. Check out the trailer below.

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Bethesda E3 Conference Quick Report http://gameluster.com/bethesda-e3-conference-quick-report/ Mon, 12 Jun 2017 06:12:08 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=18018 Bethesda’s E3 conference has come and gone and though there was no Elder Scrolls VI what we got wasn’t bad.

For starters, Bethesda revealed that both DOOM and Fallout 4 will be receiving VR treatment with DOOM VFR and Fallout 4 VR. (It’s no mystery what the stands for.)

Dishonored 2 will be receiving some DLC, perhaps standalone, called Death of the Outsider. The cinematic trailer shows that players will likely play as Meagan Foster, the captain of the Dreadful Wale in Dishonored 2, or a combination of her and Daud, who was also in the trailer.

The Evil Within 2 was also revealed with a psychedelic trailer.

The grand finale was a lengthy trailer for Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus. The trailer, which had live-action, cinematic, and in-game segments, revealed that B. J. Blazkowicz is back, is recovering from surgery, and has some kind of power suit that shields him. It will have an American setting where the US is under Nazi control and B. J. is once again joining up with a resistance group. Check out the trailer below.

E3 continues tomorrow with “The PC Gaming Show” and Ubisoft’s and Sony’s press conferences. Tuesday morning is Nintendo’s.

Warning: Strong content in trailer below.

 

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Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon Announced for Nintendo 3DS http://gameluster.com/pokemon-ultra-sun-and-ultra-moon-announced-for-nintendo-3ds/ Sun, 11 Jun 2017 23:56:11 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17996 Despite rumors that the next major Pokemon installment would release on the Switch, The Pokemon Company has revealed the next major Pokemon games to be coming to the 3DS. These are Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, arriving on November 17 worldwide.

The reveal was made subtly, being at the end of the Pokken Tounament DX commercial. The reveal also only showed minor details, many of which looked familiar to the main Sun and Moon games.

The Pokemon Company has shared that Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon will take place on an alternate story line from the original games with new features and new Pokemon to find. It even brings a new look for the box: legendary Pokemon Solgeleo and Lunala.

It is not clear where Nintendo plans to go with this, but the “Ultra” titling suggests the games will have a connection with the Ultra Beasts from the main games. It is possible we have a Black 2 and White 2 situation but time will tell when The Pokemon Company reveals more on this game closer to launch.

What will be different? What path will the story lead down? Hopefully this game explores different territory and mixes things up from the originals.

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Pokemon Gold and Silver are headed to the 3DS Virtual Console http://gameluster.com/pokemon-gold-and-silver-are-headed-to-the-3ds-virtual-console/ Sun, 11 Jun 2017 23:16:08 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17991 In 2016 Nintendo surprised everyone when they revealed the games that started a legend would be headed to the 3DS Virtual Console. Pokemon Red, Blue and Yellow were massive hits and inspired demand for the Gold and Silver versions to be released on the service also.

After more than a year, The Pokemon Company has finally unveiled the news that Pokemon Gold and Silver will be headed to the 3DS Virtual Console later this year.

Both games will arrive on Virtual Console September 22. Pokemon Gold and Silver originally made their debut in Japan in 1999 and in North America and Europe in 2000 and 2001, respectively. The games were sequels to Red and Blue and took place three years later, continuing the story with the main villains and introduced players to the Johto region.

Unlike the release of Red and Blue where Yellow came with them, the third game in this trilogy, Pokemon Crystal, will not be made available. It remains up in the air if The Pokemon Company plans to bring Crystal to the Virtual Console in the future or not, but for now Gold and Silver will allow more players to continue their classic Pokemon journey.

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Pokken Tournament DX Coming to the Nintendo Switch http://gameluster.com/pokken-tournament-dx-coming-to-the-nintendo-switch/ Sun, 11 Jun 2017 23:03:38 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17986 During the latest Pokemon Direct, The Pokemon Company unveiled that Wii U/ Arcade fighting game Pokken Tournament is headed to the Nintendo Switch. The game will come out as Pokken Tournament DX offering players a definitive experience like the current Arcade version.

Pokken Tournament DX boosts the playable Pokemon roster from sixteen to twenty-one, adding in Darkrai, Croagunk, Scizor, Empoleon and Sun and Moon’s Decidueye as new fighters.

The game will offer players the chance to play on-the-go, even allowing players to use a single Joy-Con to play with others while in “tabletop mode”. The definitive game will likely be played in-the-dock (meaning that the Switch is setup like a traditional console) although it is unclear at this time how the game will perform both on and off the dock.

Pokken Tournament DX is set to hit the Nintendo Switch September 22.

Are you excited to jump into some Pokken Tournament action? Do you wish Nintendo and The Pokemon Company had brought us a proper Pokemon game for the Switch? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Nintendo E3 2017 Wishlist http://gameluster.com/nintendo-e3-2017-wishlist/ Mon, 05 Jun 2017 05:34:53 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17898 It’s that time of year again.

E3 is approaching. What new games will be announced? What games will finally be given solid release dates? These are the questions on every gamer’s lips.

I am most excited about Nintendo. With companies like Sony or Ubisoft it is easy to predict what is coming, but Nintendo keeps you guessing and has many surprises up their sleeve, good or bad. Last year they focused on Breath of the Wild and in previous years made many surprising announcements. Who saw Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival coming? Not me!

So I made a wishlist of the surprises I want to see from Nintendo at E3 this year.

Pikmin for Nintendo Switch

Let’s start with the announcement I most want to see: Pikmin for the Nintendo Switch. This year Nintendo will be bringing Hey! Pikmin to the Nintendo 3DS and, while this game looks fun, it will not be the typical Pikmin experience. Hey! Pikmin has some solid ideas but also a different focus from main Pikmin titles. There is room for a new Pikmin in the traditional design.

The ideal new Pikmin would be a pseudo open-world adventure that beautifully blends exploration with strategy, planning with unit management, and have all the other charm of the series. Some time ago Nintendo did confirm a new Pikmin was in development, but I am convinced Hey! Pikmin was not it. Pikmin may not be the biggest franchise, and it certainly wouldn’t “win E3″, but it is an announcement that would please fans. Come on, Nintendo – take us on another wonderful Pikmin adventure! Or just remake the first three games for the Switch – I’ll take that!

Arms amiibos

In the recent Nintendo Direct Nintendo emphasized Arms heavily, yet no amiibo announcements were made. I thought it was just short of required that amiibos get made for every big Nintendo release. Splatoon 2 is getting more amiibos, Hey! Pikmin is getting a (really adorable) amiibo, and Arms should follow suit.

Speaking as someone whose bedroom is buried in amiibos, it is disappointing that no amiibos were announced for Arms. It does not matter how pointless these figures really are, amiibos are still money makers because people want more collectibles on their shelves. I don’t think amiibos are going to happen for Arms, but the game does come out just after E3, so Nintendo could still announce them. I really want amiibos of Spring Man and Ribbon Girl.

Pokemon Diamond and Pearl remakes

Yes, I think most people could have seen this coming. I mean, isn’t it time for some Pokemon Diamond and Pearl remakes? Many Pokemon fans predict these remakes are coming, even by the end of this year. I’m joining the bandwagon.

The chances of this announcement are low as neither Nintendo nor the Pokemon Company typically announce Pokemon games at E3. But this is a wishlist and the series is the biggest it has been in years.

Super Mario Odyssey’s release date

This is an obvious entry. I want to see more of Super Mario Odyssey!

We need a release date. For Nintendo Switch owners this is the biggest game in the near future for the console, and we all really want to know when we can expect to play it. “Holiday 2017” does not cut it.

I don’t remember the last time I was this excited for a Mario game. Sure, Super Mario 3D World looked fun when it was announced and Super Mario Maker was interesting, but Super Mario Odyssey is in the league of the next “real” Mario game following the Galaxy titles. It’s unclear how many games the Switch will see by the end of the year, so it is important Nintendo keeps up interest with an Odyssey release date and some gameplay footage. If they show fans a release date this could be their next Breath of the Wild in terms of hype.

Nintendo has confirmed a small showing of this game. Hopefully the release date comes with that.

Fully 3D Donkey Kong on Switch

I feel like a broken record with Donkey Kong. Nearly every time I make a wishlist for E3 or an upcoming Nintendo announcement I always list another 3D Donkey Kong game.

Donkey Kong was more or less my childhood. I spent many hours playing Donkey Kong 64 and loved every minute. The worlds, the music, and the characters were great.

For years I have hoped that Nintendo would bring Donkey Kong back to the full 3D design and despite enjoying Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze I can’t deny that I was disappointed with another side-scrolling installment. Maybe this is the year Nintendo brings Donkey Kong back to mostly unexplored territory by announcing a fully 3D adventure in the vein of Donkey Kong 64.

“Honorable mentions”

Stardew Valley’s release date and physical copy

I love Stardew Valley and cannot wait to be able to play the game wherever I go. Hopefully E3 will bring word of the official release date for the Switch version and, by extension, bring us a physical copy similar to the Playstation 4 and Xbox One releases.

Some big third party reveals

Compared to the Wii U Nintendo seems to be handling themselves pretty well with the Nintendo Switch. Just with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Breath of the Wild the system is successful, but Nintendo still needs third party releases. There are already some promises in the pipeline, but at E3 Nintendo needs specific announcements for upcoming games, like new ones from Ubisoft or Bethesda. The Switch will need to provide a solid library in the long run. Nintendo could announce a game like South Park: The Fractured But Whole for their system, showing they are planning a future for the Switch beyond their own style of game.

Virtual Console

Hey, Nintendo, where is the one big feature that should have been on the Switch from the start?

The Virtual Console is a massive collection that offers access to classic gems, yet, on the Switch, it is missing. At E3 Nintendo should share news on the service and, by extension, on some great deals for debut titles. One of these announcements could be for a Gamecube service.

Here’s hoping that Nintendo will have an exciting showing at E3 this year. I hope at least one or two of the things I’ve listed here happen.

Nintendo has much potential with the Switch. Maybe the masters of surprise will strike again and give some exciting reveals.

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Sonic Mania Release Date Confirmed http://gameluster.com/sonic-mania-release-date-confirmed/ Wed, 31 May 2017 23:48:34 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17960 The classic Sonic throwback Sonic Mania will release August 15 this year for the PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Switch. Digital versions and the physical Collector’s Edition are available to preorder. The Collector’s Edition includes a twelve-inch Sonic statue, a Sega cartridge with a gold ring on it, and a metallic collector’s card with a download key for the game.

Sonic Mania recaptures the style of the classic Genesis-era Sonic the Hedgehog side-scrollers, with Zones and Acts, bosses, a reminiscent soundtrack, and Tails and Knuckles as playable characters. The game will run at 60 frames per second with “pixel perfect” graphics and will include new levels and “reimagined” old ones. Each character will have a new special ability that will change the gameplay in classic acts.

Sonic Mania won’t be the only classic-platformer throwback to release this summer. Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy, a remake of the first three Crash Bandicoot games, launches June 30, though this one has a complete visual revamp instead of Sonic Mania’s faithful look. Yooka-Laylee, a spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie, launched in April to solid success. May’s Strafe also attempted to recapture a classic game style, 90s first-person shooters, though its success as a throwback is questionable.

These throwbacks are welcome and fun, but sometimes they fall flat if they don’t offer enough that’s fresh. Let’s hope Sonic Mania stays fizzy.

Sonic Mania is developed by Christian Whitehead, Headcannon, and PagodaWest Games in association with Sega of America.

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Not “Quake”-like, but Still Fun – Strafe Reviewed http://gameluster.com/not-quake-like-but-still-fun-strafe-reviewed/ Wed, 31 May 2017 00:31:06 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17945 If you go into Pixel Titans’ Strafe expecting a first-person shooter straight out of 1996, you can’t be blamed. The game was advertised as a throwback to the days when low-poly 3D models and 320×200 resolution were bleeding edge. For the PC and Mac, the game was even priced at $19.96. The official website touted guns, gibs, and secrets. Everything suggested Quake.

Turns out, the game isn’t built like Quake or any other classic first-person shooter at all. You wonder why the developers marketed it as such. I was a little peeved by how misled I had been. I had expected the game to play like Quake with randomly generated levels.

Strafe, no throwback first-person shooter, is a roguelike first-person shooter. There is no saving or loading and you start the game over with each death. There is no difficulty setting – the game is very hard as is, with enemies hoarding around you, and your armor, health, and ammo depleting quickly without any regular pickups to replenish it. There is a choice for one weapon to start each game with and the option to pick up secondary guns or upgrades while playing. None of these traits are old-school FPS.

There are some old-school first-person shooter elements in Strafe: bunny hopping, strafe jumping, an exorbitant amount of blood and gore, and a great computer-y soundtrack. But these parts of the game are superficial. Strafe is no more a throwback to Quake as Spelunky was a throwback to Super Mario Bros. The game’s advertising has been shamelessly misleading.

Knowing what kind of a game Strafe is, though, you may enjoy it. I never got tired of blowing the heads off of the little grunt creatures and the pain of “permadeath” bears with it the pleasure of progressing ever further on each try. Maybe the next time you’ll make it one stage more. Maybe you’ll last more than one second on stage 1-3. Maybe you’ll build a teleporter. Each run offers a chance to progress and with randomly generated levels also offers different paths to jump, shoot, and be killed down. The entry areas to each level remain the same and the architecture is simple, so take the random generation for what you will. In the least, it helps stay the monotony.

As noted, Strafe is very difficult. Even after dozens of runs you may not develop a working strategy. I approached the levels by killing each enemy and pacing myself, but this strategy crashes down in the long run if you burn through too much ammo and get into too many close encounters. Speed-running and bunny-hopping your way through each level may destroy you in the long-run, too, as you’re ignoring any upgrades and are more likely to screw up. Killing each enemy or speed-running yielded success or failure equally in my experience, so there is no surefire strategy for Strafe.

In each run, you may choose to use weapon upgrade stations to give your gun a new firing mode. This upgrade may be better or worse and while the upgrade station’s cute little droid is upgrading your weapon enemies pile around you while you have nothing but your fists to defend yourself with. I usually avoided upgrading my weapon because even if I had cleared an area of all enemies and could afford the time without my gun, the resulting upgrade may not be an improvement.

You may also collect scrap – you are a scrapper, for crying out loud – and use this scrap to make ammo or armor at special recycling stations. Armor is vital, but so is ammo, and each goes quick. The lower-priced ammo and armor refills amount to very little, so you’ll be smart to save up for the bigger armor or ammo refills. Strafe is tight about pickups for health, armor, and ammo. There are food stations on the walls, one per level, that provide some health, and there are wooden and metal crates to shoot for some pickups, but collecting scrap to use at the recycling stations is vital for success.

Too bad scrap is hard to see. Most of the time I only heard the pickup noise associated with scrap without ever seeing it on the ground. I can identify scrap now, but only with much scrutiny. It would help if such a crucial pickup were more pronounced.

While struggling to find scrap and grappling with the game’s difficulty, you will enjoy a very nice soundtrack. No joke, Strafe’s music is computer-y, techno-bliss. Parts of it harken back to games like Doom or Terminal Velocity. The soundtrack kept me hypnotized and immersed in the experience more than any other part of the game.

The other part of Strafe that is both blissful and throwback is the amount of blood. I mean, it sprays. I surveyed corridors painted in red and covered in gibs and, while the computer-y music played, I felt, if just for a fleeting moment, to be bathing in the aura of old-school shooters. Not that Doom or Quake had this much blood, but blood and gibs were a part of those games – a part Strafe highlights to a ridiculously gleeful level.

The key point with Strafe is that only in its music and gibs can it harken back to old-school shooters, and then, only superficially. Strafe’s core gameplay can never throwback to games like Quake.

So why was it advertised as a throwback shooter? One wonders why the developers chose to market this game the way they did without ever mentioning, “Hey, this is a roguelike. Don’t let us make you expect Doom or Quake, because it’s not that!” Not getting at all what I expected from this game is a huge mark against it. If you’ve been sold orange juice but were told it was milk, it wouldn’t matter how good the orange juice was – you wanted milk!

So Strafe is good, but it’s not what we were led to believe it was. If you’re interested in a difficult roguelike first-person shooter, and enjoy game-y soundtracks and lots of blood and gibs, I can recommend it to you. But if you want a 1996-style Quake throwback, stay away. You won’t get that here. Part of me is still itching for that authentic throwback FPS and is disappointed by the kind of game Strafe actually is, fun though it may be.

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“PSYCHOSHOCK” – Prey Reviewed http://gameluster.com/psychoshock-prey-reviewed/ Sun, 28 May 2017 07:31:47 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17926 The DNA of Arkane’s Prey is System Shock 2. You can sense it as soon as you pick up a wrench, break the glass and step into Talos I. “Psychoshock” would be a more appropriate title for this game –it is the name of one of the game’s psionic abilities – but whatever the name, it is clear Arkane wanted to create a successor to Looking Glass’ and Irrational’s classic, and they succeeded.

Even if you’ve never played System Shock 2, you may appreciate Prey if you’ve enjoyed Arkane’s other series Dishonored or the Shock spiritual successor of a decade ago, Bioshock. If you’ve never played any of those or similar titles but are interested in a game that gives you tools and powers to play with as you explore an open-ended environment, Prey is for you. The storyline, characters and environment aesthetics are not as intriguing as those in the game’s spiritual predecessors, and there are a few technical issues, but the gameplay and certain parts of the fiction make for a great game.

Prey’s setting is “Talos I” in the year 2032. Talos I is a space station owned and once-operated by the company “TranStar.” Exploring the station is half the fun. You’ll likely steer from the main quest in order to explore each of Talos’ decks on your own. But you won’t lark about freely, as the game’s alien enemies, the Typhon, haunt Talos’ halls. They were being studied on Talos I but have broken from containment, and you’ll be hiding from them, combating them, and, more often than not, killed by them throughout the game.

To fight the Typhon and explore Talos I, you – or “Yu”, as the main character is the TranStar executive named Morgan Yu – will use “neuromods.” These are like the cybernetic modules in System Shock 2 or Adam in Bioshock. The greater story behind neuromods is that TranStar had been developing them as consumer products that give people skills and abilities immediately – someone who has never taken a math course can become a mathematician, and so on. In the game, neuromods unlock passive and active abilities under “Scientist”, “Engineer”, and “Security” categories. They also unlock psionic powers – Typhon-based powers branched under “Energy”, “Morph”, and “Telepathy.” You may upgrade the three former skill sets without consequence (beyond spending neuromods), but choosing to unlock psionic powers makes you more Typhon. If you become too Typhon, Talos I’s turrets will see you as a threat and fire on you. Using turrets against the Typhon is a valuable tactic, so having them turn on you would be a loss. (Ingenuity could help you if the turrets start shooting at you, though. A “Hack” skill can turn turrets back on your side, even if you are still read by them as a Typhon.)

Choose which skills you upgrade carefully as neuromods go fast and are hard to come by. You usually pick them up at key locations during the main storyline. On the flipside, if you’re extremely cautious in spending them – like I was – then you’ll have a pile of them left over by game’s end (I had around 14 in the late stages). But early, you want to upgrade carefully. You may not be able to unlock a higher “Repair” ability if you focus on Hack, etc.

Other upgrades include “suit chipsets” for the TranStar suit you are wearing and “scope chipsets” for the psychoscope, a piece of technology you pick up early in the game that allows you to scan the Typhon. Suit chipsets include buffs like increasing your speed while sneaking or increasing the suit’s resistance to hazardous environments. Scope chipsets include decreasing time spent scanning Typhon or increasing the damage dealt with psionic powers.

Another upgrade you get early on is the “zero-gravity propulsion system.” This allows you to travel outside of the space station and through the internal, low-gravity “Gravity Utility Tunnel System”, or “G.U.T.S.” This transportation option allows you to get from between a few of Talos’ areas and is required to get to the game’s Arboretum deck for the first time.

Traveling in low-gravity is annoying, but doing so outside of the station provides scenic views of space. Traveling through the G.U.T.S. low-grav tunnels reminded me of traveling through cyberspace in System Shock (perhaps the developers intended this as a throwback), but even with this nostalgic flashback I was aggravated while floating about in low-gravity. I’m glad that low-grav travel is minimal in the game as, like swimming in water, floating about and spinning to get correct headings just isn’t fun in a first-person game. If you’re like me you’ll feel like a stooge banging into every wall and obstacle and getting annihilated by every enemy while in zero-gravity. (I was never that good at Descent.)

While you’re upgrading your suit and scope with neuromods and low-grav propulsion, there is a loot system to play with that’s quite fun. Pick up junk or duplicates of key items, like weapons, and process them through recycle stations to yield raw materials. Then use these to fabricate items at a fabrication station. For this you will also need that item’s fabrication plan. I used this process to create many medkits and ammo packs, and you must use it to create a few key quest items.

Prey has a limited arsenal. Its effect depends on how much you want to use guns. You can play Prey more like a shooter, or just sneak while using powers and the wrench (the wrench is very solid). There are weapon upgrade kits, vital if you plan on combating the Typhon head on. To fully upgrade guns you must spend precious neuromods on the “Gunsmith” and “Lab Tech” skills, and then find and use enough of the weapon upgrade kits. Even with fully upgraded weapons, you need some complementary skill or technique as guns alone won’t do the trick. You will not be able to play Prey as a straight first-person shooter except, perhaps, on Easy mode. The difficulty on Normal, even, is steep.

The arsenal includes a silenced 9mm pistol, a shotgun, a stun gun, and a laser gun (the “Q-Beam”). The “GLOO Cannon” shoots hardening gel that freezes Typhons. The small Typhons, called “Mimics”, can be gelled to the point of freezing quickly. The bigger “Phantoms” take more shots to solidify. You’ll want to upgrade your GLOO Cannon as much as the other weapons to effectively fight the aliens. Weapon upgrades for the GLOO Cannon, and others, include range, power, and magazine size.

You will also find EMP grenades and other throwing items like “Typhon Lures.” The latter draws Typhon in the area to one spot. The “Nullwave Transmitter” prevents Typhon from using psionic powers – very handy. All matter of throwing items and weapons in Prey should be used sparingly, as ammo depletes quickly, pickups are few, and any one battle with the Typhon burns a lot of resources.

Undulating, dark, and to varying degrees formless, the Typhon are a nightmare. The Mimics scurry about like spiders and may assume the form of any object. You may stoop to pick up an item only to see it change suddenly into this headcrab-esque creature. Phantoms mutter muffled phrases and pound the floors as they patrol. Several times I was crouched under a desk or table in terror as a Phantom walked by. “Telepaths” and the eerily formless “Weavers” loom creepily. More Typhon types exist, one especially frightening. These are some of the scariest creatures made in gaming.

You may scan the different Typhon forms with the psychoscope to learn more about how to combat them. This is like researching annelid organs in System Shock 2 or taking photos in Bioshock. Scans of any Typhon type yield data on that Typhon’s weaknesses and immunities, such as to “Nullwave” or “Fire”, notes written by player-character Morgan, and new psionic powers you may unlock with neuromods.

You will get the most out of Prey creeping about Talos I, discovering new areas and grappling with new objects and environments. The way the station is designed you may travel from one area of each deck to another and from one deck to another deck without being held within a straight path. As you go, you may learn about the characters and their stories via PDA audio logs, emails, and notes.

You may proceed down the main storyline or veer off to a side quest. You’ll likely step in and out of both as you explore Talos I. I cared more for finding new areas of the space station and soaking in the atmosphere than for progressing down the main plot. The waypoint markers for objectives may annoy as you explore, so turn them off by setting all objectives to ‘inactive’. (As of now there is no HUD option to turn off waypoints.)

The central storyline is built from good parts – the Typhon aliens and the story of the neuromods are fascinating – but, as a whole, the narrative is bland, amounting to a story of aliens and the tragic fall of humans tampering with new technologies. As gamers, we’ve experienced this many times. A specific problem to Prey is the lack of intriguing characters. I will not delve into spoilers here, but there is no condescending Dr. Polito, egomaniacal Shodan, energetic Marie Delacroix, or larger-than-life Andrew Ryan. Your character’s brother, Alex Yu, intrigues slightly as a tired CEO who clings to big dreams about his company and its technological innovations. There are also some amusing backstories between crew members gleaned from PDAs and emails, but on the whole Prey doesn’t offer the memorable narrative or characters of System Shock 2 or Bioshock.

On the technical side, Prey suffers from one consistent flaw: long load times. On a PC with an intel i7, a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060, and 16 gigs of RAM, I typically waited anywhere from thirty to fifty seconds for the game to load a new area or a save file that I hadn’t recently loaded. Quick loads and loads of a save I had last loaded were quick, but all other load times took too long. Thirty seconds isn’t unbearable, true, but the fifty second or more loads are much.

Another technical flaw occurred when transitioning from normal gravity to zero gravity at a couple points. One of these was a transition zone that was horizontal, whereby you traveled into the low-grav area downwards and back to normal gravity upwards. Here I consistently remained in the “airlock” transition between the two zones, only being able to get out into normal gravity after several tries and pressing the “jump” key repeatedly. At another point transitioning into low gravity sent me, briefly, into “game space”, as if I had turned on “noclip” mode.

Aside from gravity transition problems, another technical slight I discovered was that a few of the NPC characters in the last third of the game sounded unusually muffled when they spoke, as if speaking in a small room. This isn’t the case with all of the NPCs, but the vocals of the ones affected stood out.

If, like me, you want more of a fantastic sci-fi setting, Prey’s Talos I may feel too close to home. Aesthetically, the game has a consistent 60s “retro-future” space-station design. Talos I feels like a mix of touring a NASA space center and walking through a cutting edge office building based on a 60s idea of the future. There’s a lot of wood paneling, a lot of white walls, and a lot of tubes. Personally, I wanted more blue. I also wanted a spaceship adrift in uncharted territory. There is plenty of sci-fi in Talos I, don’t misinterpret me, and you will feel a sense of the fantastic, especially on the Arboretum deck at the top of the station. But I’d take an adrift spaceship in uncharted territory over a space station orbiting the moon any day of the week. (One aspect of the setting I did like is its similarity to Shock’s Citadel Station, but I’m more of a Von Braun guy.)

Despite aesthetically not being my perfect cup of tea, a bland storyline and some technical blemishes, Prey has most of what an old-school gamer like me wants in a Shock-like: System Shock 2 style skill upgrade systems and an open-ended environment. Prey solidifies Arkane as the only game studio giving us these “immersive sim” experiences with player choice and open design that work. If you get excited about these traits in a game, or want to roam around a space station with creepy aliens and tools and abilities to use, check out Prey.

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New Entries in Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, and The Crew Franchises Announced by Ubisoft http://gameluster.com/new-entries-in-assassins-creed-far-cry-and-the-crew-franchises-announced-by-ubisoft/ Tue, 23 May 2017 00:52:51 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17905 Ubisoft has revealed plans to release four AAA titles within the next fiscal year, which lasts until March 31, 2018. During their 2017 fiscal year earnings report, Ubisoft announced a new entry in the Assassin’s Creed franchise, Far Cry 5, and The Crew 2. Ubisoft also re-confirmed the release of South Park: The Fractured But Whole in this fiscal year.

Rumors and leaks surrounding the next Assassin’s Creed game have been circling since early 2016. Recently, a supposed off-screen screenshot of the game, which you can see above, was posted on Reddit and was confirmed by “three separate Eurogamer sources.” The screenshot lent credence to rumors that the new entry would be set in Egypt as it has an Egyptian aesthetic and the quest objective in the top left corner says “Follow Shadya to Khenut’s villa.” (Kenut was an Egyptian Queen from 2375-2345 BC.) It also shows travel by boat, which hasn’t been seen in the franchise since 2014’s Assassins’ Creed: Rogue.

Assassin's Creed logo

Alongside the announcement, the Assassin’s Creed UK Twitter account debuted a new piece of art featuring the franchise’s logo with the tagline “A new era begins.” The tweet also stated that more info will be revealed at E3.

Far Cry 5 logo

A logo for Far Cry 5 was revealed on the Ubisoft forums. The blue and red bordering the letters and number suggest a neon, modern, or futuristic aesthetic.

A logo for The Crew 2 was also revealed, and in an email sent to Ubisoft newsletter recipients the tagline “Beyond the road…” was given alongside it. No further details have been released at this stage about the new games, but expect to hear more at Ubisoft’s E3 press conference next month.

The Crew sequel logo

Ubisoft also confirmed that it plans to release four more AAA titles in the 2018-2019 fiscal year. No information was given on what those four major titles might be.

Are you excited by a new Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, or The Crew? Have you planned on picking up The Fractured But Whole? Let us know in the comments below.

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Call of Duty harkens to its roots in “WWII” http://gameluster.com/call-of-duty-harkens-to-its-roots-in-wwii/ Tue, 23 May 2017 00:33:32 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17894 April 26, 2017 will live in infamy as the day that changed the Call of Duty franchise forever.

After Modern Warfare 2, the Call of Duty series has veered left and right with games such as Ghosts, Advanced Warfare, Black Ops 3 and Infinite Warfare. This year, however, Activision is going back to the style of game that made the series great in the first place: World War II-era combat.

On April 26 Call of Duty: World War II was announced. No longer are we to see wall jumping and jet packs dominating multiplayer because CoD: WWII will be all about “boots-on-the-ground” combat. The multiplayer will offer new modes, systems and gameplay innovations across the iconic Western Front of Word War II.

The single player campaign is said to have outstanding visuals and will put players in the very center of a world that was on the brink of tyranny. The return of the fan favorite Nazi Zombie game mode will be welcomed by longtime fans.

Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg said, “More than two and a-half years ago we made the decision to return this franchise to its roots, and Call of Duty: WWII does so in epic fashion. The team at Sledgehammer Games is delivering an authentic, gritty, cinematic experience that honors both the epic scale and the human struggle of the greatest war the world has ever known. This game will let longtime fans experience World War II like never before, and will introduce this historic conflict to a whole new generation of gamers in the process.”

Michael Condrey, Studio Head and Co-Founder of Sledgehammer Games, said, “Call of Duty: WWII has been a journey of inspiration and passion for everyone at Sledgehammer Games. The team is dedicated to delivering on the intense nature of war that focuses on the heroism and sacrifice of soldiers in WWII. Our rich, narrative-driven, action-packed campaign and engaging and innovative multiplayer experience immerse players into the boots of a soldier fighting for freedom in a world on the brink of tyranny. And our co-operative mode delivers a unique storyline that’s an all-new take on Nazi Zombies that we think fans are going to love.”

Call of Duty fans once again have something incredible to look forward to. Call of Duty is a series that once exclusively had been set in World War II, and this year the series returns to its roots after all these years of crazy modern and near-future storylines.

Do you think this change back to the old ways is a good one? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

 

 

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Call of Duty: Black Ops III Zombies Chronicles Announced, Details Revealed http://gameluster.com/call-of-duty-black-ops-iii-zombies-chronicles-announced-details-revealed/ Tue, 09 May 2017 03:35:08 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17866 Call of Duty: Black Ops III continues to have post launch support with Activision and Treyarch announcing a new content expansion titled Zombies Chronicles for PlayStation 4, coming May 16.

Treyarch is calling the content a “love letter to the CoD community” and it contains remastered versions of eight Zombies maps from the Call of Duty Zombie Mode franchise including:

• 3 Call of Duty: World at War Maps: Nacht der Untoten, Verruckt, and Shi No Numa
• 4 Call of Duty: Black Ops Maps: Kino Der Toten, Ascension, Shangri-la, and Moon
• A Call of Duty: Black Ops II Map: Origins

Zombies Chronicles updates the maps for current-gen platforms and features upgrades to bring them up with current Zombies maps in Black Ops III.

From Activision’s official press release:

“The collection adds vibrant current-generation visuals, enhanced lighting, revamped character models and environments, and updated AI and audio systems. Zombies Chronicles also lets players use custom weapons, including current weaponry featured in Black Ops III that wasn’t featured in the original maps.”

Zombies Chronicles will be priced at $29.99 USD, £42.99 GBP, and $44.95 AUD, and will only be available digitally. Players will also receive the following when purchased:

  • 20 Vials of Liquid Divinium
  • 2 All-New Whimsical GobbleGums
  • Exclusive Zombies Pack-A-Punch Weapon Camo

A Black Ops III Zombies Chronicles PS4 Dynamic Theme will also be offered as a pre-order incentive, featuring artwork by a renowned artist. To celebrate the launch of the pack, Treyarch and Activision will be kicking off the “8 Days of the Dead” celebration where Black Ops III players on all platforms and Zombies Chronicles owners on PS4 will receive double-XP rewards and can compete in exclusive community challenges.

There has been no word yet on when Zombies Chronicles will come to other platforms, but Call of Duty maps currently have one-month exclusive access on PlayStation 4, so expect the other platforms to receive the content sometime in June.

Treyarch has also released screenshots of each of the maps and a trailer, all of which you can check out below.

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Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Review http://gameluster.com/mario-kart-8-deluxe-review/ Tue, 09 May 2017 02:12:09 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17818 Forgotten titles from the late Wii U’s library deserve renewed attention. The first to get some is Mario Kart 8 with the Nintendo Switch’s Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. In this re-release, Nintendo has tweaked the design of the Wii U original and crafted the definitive Mario Kart experience.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe offers players new and improved content with the return of Battle Mode to its former glory and the inclusion of most of the content from the Wii U version, DLC included. For those who didn’t pay extra for all of MK8‘s post-launch content, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has much to offer.

The game has forty-eight tracks to race on. Classic tracks have fresh twists that capitalize on the changes made to the core Kart mechanics through the years and the new tracks are fun to race on and remain some of Nintendo’s best Mario Kart content.

The best news for veteran players is that all content is ready to be played from the start. There is no tedious requirement to unlock, for a second time, later cups in order to race on your favorite courses. Newcomers, though, will miss out on the fun of unlocking new content as they progress.

A notable addition in Deluxe is the ability to carry two items, a feature from Double Dash!! that was absent in Mario Kart 8. Picking up and hanging on to two items adds a layer of strategy to the game and increases the odds of random craziness erupting during each race. There are also two-item item blocks, as in Double Dash!!, so there is plenty of chaos as items are thrown constantly that turn big leads into sour defeat.

The most important part of Deluxe is the proper return of Battle Mode. After the awful version in the Wii U original, Nintendo has fixed the one element that held it back by having eight courses specific to Battle available to play on, omitting the use of standard race tracks for Battle. The Battle Mode courses are well designed and allow for the execution of the mode’s core mechanics effectively. The newly created courses, such as “Dragon Shrine” or the Splatoon-themed stage, are some of the best to date, and the older courses included are still enjoyable.

Battle Mode includes five modes for players to enjoy. There are the classics – “Balloon Battle”, “Bob-omb Blast”, “Shine Thief”, and “Coin Runners” – and the new “Renegade Roundup.”

Bob-omb Blast returns from Double Dash!! and tasks players with throwing bob-ombs to hit each other and earn points. Shine Thief also comes back from Double Dash!!, and in it players have to collect the big Shine and stop other players from getting it. One may steal the Shine by getting items and hitting the carrier to free it for another player to grab. This mode ends when the time runs out or a player holds the Shine for a set period of time that carries over even if they lose the Shine.

Coin Runners is a franchise staple. In it, players collect the most coins before the timer runs out. Renagade Roundup, on the other hand, is a new mode that essentially is a game of cops and robbers. Players are put into teams and one side is armed with piranha plants used to catch opponents. The other side must avoid these and free any team members who have been captured. This is a great new addition to the game and is the most fun when you are fleeing your would-be captors.

Though Battle Mode has returned and is the most fun part of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, it isn’t perfect. Some of the modes’ mechanics are inconsistent with the rest of the game. Bom-omb Blast requires you to hold down the throw button to launch the bob-omb further, which is not present when using bob-ombs in the rest of the game. Balloon Battle is dull because it uses points and there is no option for the classic “deathmatch” style that was so fun in the past.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe includes new options that make the game easier to play. These are tailored for younger players so, finally, you can play with your young child or relative without getting frustrated. “Smart steering” keeps players on the tracks and away from walls and “auto-accelerate” eliminates the need to hold the button to drive. It has never been easier to sit and play a game with a younger family member.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is a solid racing game that greatly improves upon the original Wii U version. If you are a Nintendo Switch owner this is another must own game. Come for the solid kart racing and great tracks and stay for the welcome return of Battle Mode. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the definitive Mario Kart experience.

(Check out our review of the Wii U original.)

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Prey Launches http://gameluster.com/prey-launches/ Sat, 06 May 2017 18:43:52 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17836 Prey, the sci-fi role-playing shooter hybrid from Bethesda and Arkane, is now available on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.

As Morgan Yu, players must fight the “Typhon” alien menace haunting TranStar’s Talos I space station using special powers, upgrades, and weapons, from a standard shotgun to the unique “shoots-gel-that-hardens” GLOO Cannon.

Using “Neuromods,” players may upgrade abilities like “Leverage” (concerns picking up objects), “Hacking,” or “Repair.” Health and armor upgrades are also available, as are abilities learned from the Typhon. Weapon upgrade kits may be used to improve the players’ arsenal.

As you explore the ruined space station, read email messages, listen to audio logs, and survey the desolation, uncovering secrets on your identity, TranStar’s experiments, and the alien creatures. Find keycards and passcodes to progress through secure doors, or find other ways around.

From the game’s creative director Raphael Colantonio:

Prey is set in an immersive world [with] shooter and RPG elements. Players can craft their own playstyle based on gameplay choices, while incorporating alien abilities and unique skills.”

Arkane Studios also developed Dishonored and its sequel, two games that are similar to Prey in their open-ended gameplay and special powers. Prey also draws inspiration from the classic System Shock titles.

Though the game shares the same name of Human Heads’ 2006 game, the similarity stops there – Arkane’s Prey is a reimagining of the IP.

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Darksiders III Announced, Story Details Revealed http://gameluster.com/darksiders-iii-announced-story-details-revealed/ Sat, 06 May 2017 03:14:40 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17797 THQ Nordic has officially announced Darksiders III, the next entry in the hack-n-slash action adventure series being developed by Gunfire Games.

Like previous entries in the series, Darksiders III will be an open-world action adventure title with exploration and environmental puzzles. The series’ hack-n-slash combat will continue with new protagonist Fury. The game is set around the same time as Darksiders II, and tasks Fury with destroying the Seven Deadly Sins.

From the official press release:

“Return to an apocalyptic planet Earth in Darksiders III, a hack-n-slash action adventure where players take on the role of FURY in her quest to hunt down and dispose of the Seven Deadly Sins. The Charred Council calls upon Fury to battle from the heights of heaven down through the depths of hell in a quest to restore humanity and prove that she is the most powerful of the Horsemen. As a mage, FURY relies on her whip and magic to restore the balance between good and evil. The expansive, Darksiders III game world is presented as an open-ended, living, free-form planet Earth that is dilapidated by war and decay, and overrun by nature. FURY will move back and forth between environments to uncover secrets while advancing the Darksiders III story.”

See the reveal trailer below:

 

Gunfire Games is a studio made up of former Vigil Games employees who developed the first two Darksiders games. Reinhard Pollice, Director of Business and Product Development at THQ Nordic, stated that,

“The Gunfire team brings an intimate involvement with every aspect of the Darksiders franchise since its inception. There is simply no team better qualified to create Darksiders III.” 

Since their formation in 2014, Gunfire Games has worked on Darksiders II: Deathinitive Edition and the VR game Chronos.

Lars Wingefors, Co-Founder and Group CEO at THQ Nordic AB, said, “After countless rumors, a major catalogue acquisition, and even a corporate re-brand, the team at THQ Nordic is thrilled to finally confirm plans for Darksiders III. As promised, we have taken our time to ensure that this next Darksiders will be everything action-adventure gamers and especially Darksiders loyalists could dream of and more.”

Darksiders III is scheduled for release in 2018 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.

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Party Like It’s 1996 with Strafe http://gameluster.com/party-like-its-1996-with-strafe/ Fri, 05 May 2017 01:08:22 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17814 Strafe is the throwback first-person shooter developed by Pixel Titans and published by Devolver Digital that began on Kickstarter and is coming to PC, Mac, and PS4 on May 9.

Doom, Quake, Duke Nukem 3D, and any given 90s-era FPS are inspiration. Strafe‘s “Bleeding Edge Graphics and Gameplay” – that focus on “speed, gibs, and secrets”- are straight out of 1996 as the game has quick movement, blood and gore, and secret rooms and levels. The game is also rogue-like in that levels change each time you play.

From the official site:

“STRAFE ® is a unique singleplayer 3D action experience where the player can pick up a gun and shoot hordes of things in the face… We give you the levels, you paint them red.”

Sounds great.

In the game, you play as a “scrapper” whose scout ship has joined up with Icarus, a massive spacecraft, as it explores uncharted space. After returning from a scrapping run, Icarus is nowhere to be seen. Still located through the teleporter’s coordinates, you teleport aboard. Having brought a gun “just in case,” you encounter the monsters and the carnage begins.

To see more of Strafe, check out “Strafecon,” a digital convention of streamers playing the game, and watch the launch trailer below.

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Yooka-Laylee Could Be Improved by the Switch Versions’ Launch http://gameluster.com/yooka-laylee-could-be-improved-by-the-switch-versions-launch/ Wed, 03 May 2017 18:07:30 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17803 Yooka-Laylee had been a highly anticipated throwback to the N64 era of platform gaming, but upon launch met much negative criticism. Among the complaints were control issues and annoying sounds and dialogue, and these just the tip of the iceberg. Playtonic has taken these complaints in account and are now improving the game.

In a post on their blog, Playtonic thanked the fans and discussed the reaction to the game and the coming tweaks:

Yooka-Laylee has been in the wild for two whole weeks and we’ve been positively overchuffed by the response from fans and backers around the world! We’ve very much enjoyed reading your feedback, lurking on your livestreams and absorbing your lovely comments, so thanks again for the support! It’s been emotional.

Thanks to you lot, some 20 developers remain off the streets, mostly fed and in a stronger position than ever to continue creating colourful, personality-plump adventures!

But first… we’ve got some spit ‘n’ polish to deploy.

In the days since launch – and as we work with speed towards the Nintendo Switch – the dev team has been frogmarched back down into the development mines to uncover our next big game update, which will add significant improvements and introduce some of the most requested features.

That means stuff like the optional ability to skip dialogue faster, bypass cutscenes or reduce those pesky gibberish voices, which should please the speedrunners among us. We’ll also be adding a sprinkling of design polish throughout the adventure and by popular request, changes to how the camera operates.

You can expect a more detailed breakdown of the game update in the coming weeks, as we continue to tinker around with the coding furnace.”

Playtonic could have ignored the criticisms, but instead is listening to fans’ feedback and wants to improve the game experience.

Playtonic should get the game up to scratch by the time the Switch version launches and everyone can enjoy a polished Yooka-Laylee.

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Night Trap: 25th Anniversary Edition Coming to the Playstation 4 and Xbox One http://gameluster.com/night-trap-25th-anniversary-edition-coming-to-the-playstation-4-and-xbox-one/ Sat, 29 Apr 2017 22:02:09 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17784 In a surprise reveal, developer Screaming Villains has announced Night Trap: 25th Anniversary Edition.

For those who are not so familiar with this game, Night Trap is a “full motion video” game and one of the most controversial games ever released.  It was part of what inspired U.S Congressional hearings on mature video game content. The game released back in 1992 on the Sega CD, and arrived on additional platforms such as the PC and 3DO. Now more people will have the chance to play it and make their own conclusion on the game’s subject matter.

Night Trap follows five teenage girls whom the player must protect from vampires.

Night Trap: 25th Anniversary Edition will arrive on the Playstation 4 and Xbox One in the United States and Europe sometime this spring.

In further news, a physical version of the game is set to be released through Limited Run Games. This will be exclusively available for the Playstation 4 in limited release.

Have you ever played Night Trap? Are you looking forward to giving this game a chance and seeing how it plays, and how controversial the game really is? Let us know in the comment section down below.

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What We’re Looking Forward to in Star Wars Battlefront II http://gameluster.com/what-were-looking-forward-to-in-star-wars-battlefront-ii/ Tue, 25 Apr 2017 02:59:30 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17757 Just over a week ago the lid was lifted on Star Wars Battlefront II, with EA officially revealing it to the world at the Star Wars Celebration in Orlando. Developed by DICE and two additional studios, Battlefront II needs to make up for the shortcomings of the original. The teams are making a more fleshed out, “boots on the ground” Star Wars experience that fans have been craving since the original Battlefront series over 10 years ago. After digging through all the reveals and interviews from that weekend and knowing what little we know, here are some of the things that we’re looking forward to most in Star Wars Battlefront II.

An Actual Campaign

2015’s Star Wars Battlefront was infamous for its lack of a single player campaign. This frustrated fans who thought it a missed opportunity to further explore other characters, unknown or new, from the original trilogy. Ever since Battlefront II was first teased last year, EA has stated that there will be a single player campaign, and that fans should be excited about it. Not only will it be played as the Empire (a side which is often neglected), it will be set in the thirty year gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. The story will be canon, or an official story within the Star Wars universe.

The campaign is being developed by Motive Studios (a newer EA-owned studio formed to create Star Wars games and headed by Jade Raymond, former head of Ubisoft Toronto) and is co-written by Walt Williams, who wrote the critically acclaimed Spec Ops: The Line. In the campaign, players will assume the role of Iden Versio (played by True Blood’s Janina Gavankar), an elite Imperial Commando who leads Inferno Squadron, a group of TIE Fighter/Commando hybrids for the Empire, with skills in sabotage and infiltration. The campaign starts with the destruction of the second Death Star and chronicles Iden and her squads’ missions over the thirty year period.

According to interviews, the story humanises the Empire by introducing characters who have grown up seeing the Empire as a force for good. This will provide a radical perspective on a war rarely seen outside the eyes of the Rebellion or the Sith. The campaign has a new planet called Vardos, an “Imperial Utopia”, where protagonist Iden grew up.

There will be space battles in the campaign and there may be stealth gameplay as well. Beyond that, there aren’t many more details, including how Motive plans to tell a story that spans thirty years. Hopefully we will get new details soon.

Refined Multiplayer

Whilst 2015’s Battlefront was not terrible, it felt lacking. It didn’t ease fans’ frustrations when DLC for the game released that “should’ve been included with the game in first place”. But fear not, DICE has been listening to its fans, and the sequel will be a complete game.

Battlefront II will span all three eras of the Star Wars films, letting you relive some of the biggest battles in Star Wars cinematic history. This includes those with Darth Maul, Yoda, Rey, Kylo Ren, and other, new heroes and returning favourites. Heroes will be tied to era-appropriate maps, so we won’t be able to run around slicing rebels as Darth Maul on Yavin 4. Instead of the “light” feel heroes had in Battlefront, Battlefront II‘s Heroes will also be weightier, meaning more satisfying melee combat.

Battlefront II will offer full classes instead of changeable equipment loadouts, like in the previous entry. Each class will have a shared progression system and will change appearance depending on what map and side you’re playing on. The progression system lets you mould a character as you play to your personal play-style. Vehicles and heroes, and something else that has yet to be revealed, will have their own individual progression systems, letting you add abilities to heroes and upgrade your favourite ships.

The sequel veers from the heavily criticised system in the original where heroes, gadgets and vehicles were acquired by picking up floating holograms. Unless you camped on a hologram spawn spot, or happened to be in the right place at the right time, picking up these power-ups was rare. Heroes and vehicles will now work on a ‘resource-based system’. Whilst there will still be some power ups around the battlefield, players will earn in-match currency for performing well that will let them purchase vehicles and heroes. The developers have stated that they want to see multiple heroes running around matches. However, they will be easier to take down.

Dedicated Space Battles

The space battles in Battlefront’s Death Star DLC were existing vehicle modes taking place outside the Death Star, but in this sequel there will be more to them. It has been confirmed that Burnout series’ creator Criterion will bring space battles to life once again in a Star Wars game. Criterion is no stranger to the world of Star Wars space combat. They developed the Star Wars Battlefront: Rogue One: X-Wing VR Mission which released as free DLC to owners of Star Wars Battlefront on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation VR last year. Since we haven’t had dedicated Star Wars space combat since 2005’s Star Wars Battlefront II, having a studio with Criterion’s pedigree handle the space combat means EA wants it done right.

Offline Co-Op

EA also confirmed that Battlefront II will feature full offline split-screen multiplayer co-op on console versions, but not on PC. In this mode, upgrades can be earned which will transfer to online multiplayer. This a big step-up from the split-screen co-op in the previous Battlefront, which was limited to the ‘Missions’ game mode (essentially just survival on a couple of smaller maps).

For now, this is what we’re looking forward to most in Star Wars Battlefront II. We will no doubt get more details in the coming months, especially with E3 and EA Play (EA’s pre-E3 event) just around the corner.

What are you looking forward to most in Battlefront II? Let us know in the comments below.

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Lego City Undercover Truly Has A Chance To Shine Thanks To The Port http://gameluster.com/lego-city-undercover-truly-has-a-chance-to-shine-thanks-to-the-port/ Fri, 21 Apr 2017 03:15:31 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17697 The Wii U was home to numerous games that will easily be remembered for their incredible quality. Sure the fact that quality games were few and far between may not help this, but looking at the positives, Lego City Undercover was an incredible addition to the systems library. On a system starved of open world games, TT Fusion worked with Nintendo to bring an incredibly fun Lego experience to the system that was the best of its kind. Quirky, destructive, silly, Lego City Undercover was something special.

This is what makes this porting business so appealing, the Wii U barely had the numbers to offer this game the attention it deserved and they purposefully chose the right time to port the game when the Wii U was no longer relevant. So now the game is available on three new platforms, the Playstation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo’s newest system the Nintendo Switch, and surely we can agree it is great to see this game finally able to see the mass appeal it does honestly deserve.

When put into context of games that are already available on the Playstation 4 and Xbox One, Lego City Undercover does not seem all that special. The systems are full of open world games with wacky stories, and games where you get to steal cars and be destructive. Grand Theft Auto has been out for years on these systems, but when compared to Lego City there is a clear gap that can be noticed.

Grand Theft Auto among other open world games of a similar nature are built for the adult gamer to indulge their criminal fantasies. Lego City Undercover on the other hand is built as an opposite force, sure you can be destructive, and I personally would have loved to have seen some form of punishment system for my reckless endangerment of Lego City civilian’s lives, but it is built in the framework that you are the good guy.

Lego City Undercover remaster screenshot 1

Lego City Undercover is essentially Grand Theft Auto but more entailed towards a more child centric audience with the end result of your own illegal activities being towards capturing a master criminal. This means that parents are able to give their child that copy of Grand Theft Auto that they have been nagging for but in a much safer way that they don’t have to be concerned about what their children are seeing or doing. The fact that more kids have access to a Playstation 4 or Xbox One makes Lego City Undercover more likely to be enjoyed by these younger audiences, or at least that is the hope.

From my experience, nothing about the game has been extended and there are no new side activities to do, there is no new world sections and there is definitely no real improvement in load times. Essentially if you happened to play the Wii U version what you see is what you get, except for one element that does make this definitive, multiplayer.

The multiplayer feature is a much loved staple of Lego games, at least in the modern era, as such it was baffling to many that a game in the brand would not include multiplayer. Sure it seemed silly at first but it was handled well in terms of how the game relied on a more personal story through Chase McCain. If an attempt was made to include multiplayer in the Wii U version, it would have felt forced and would have been lacking considering the careful focus the game had with the gamepad being used in tangent with the television.

Lego City Undercover remaster screenshot 2

Fast forward to now and this seems mixed, playing Lego City Undercover as a single player game was part of the charm and the experience. This was a personal story and only really had one character at its core playing the role of protagonist, this is shown further when you enter multiplayer and the second player is a carbon copy just with different coloured clothes. Yet, for all the things that can be said that argue against multiplayers inclusion, it really was a great addition that adds a lot to the game.

Lego City’s huge world can now be explored as a team, whether you are playing to find all hidden items or having fun with rampant destruction. Everything about Lego City Undercover just feels better when you have someone at your side in missions or just messing around in the overworld. It is that ingredient which was easy to understand not having but ultimately creates a better game especially for those who want to play a game together that is fun, charming, and a bit silly.

The Playstation 4 and Xbox One are a new great home for Lego City but for obvious reasons these platforms are not ideal. Lego City Undercover can be looked over for the more mature offerings found on the consoles, Grand Theft Auto, The Witcher and more will overshadow the game despite its obvious fun qualities. This is where the Nintendo Switch acts as a great home console offering two wonderful benefits.

On the Nintendo Switch there is not currently a huge game market full of big open world adventures that will overshadow Lego City Undercover. But more important is the simple nature of the systems design, the fact that you can take the Switch on the go means that Lego City Undercover can be enjoyed at a much greater capacity then on other platforms. There is more fun to be had in playing Lego City Undercover here where you can enjoy another experience out and about. Even still there is value no matter where you play, and it is great to know that more people can now enjoy another game that deserves the attention.

I stand by what I said in my original review, Lego City Undercover is one of the best Lego games in years, and through the Playstation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch it truly shows it. If you are looking for something that is fun and cheesy I implore you give Lego City Undercover a chance! You surely will not regret it.

If you want more from Lego City Undercover you can read my original review here, although some of the information is no longer relevant to the current iteration of the game.

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Hey! Pikmin Is Being Developed By Arzest http://gameluster.com/hey-pikmin-is-being-developed-by-arzest/ Fri, 21 Apr 2017 01:02:39 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17701 Back in 2016 Nintendo unveiled a little game for the 3DS based around the Pikmin franchise, at the time we were given no name but were shown an entirely new direction for the series. During the recent Nintendo Direct Pikmin finally showed its face again this time receiving a release date as well as a proper name in the form of Hey! Pikmin.

But the question remains who was developing this 2D sidescroller edition in the Pikmin franchise? Most suggested that this was Nintendo’s internal teams, but a classification for the game in Australia has instead revealed that the game is being handled by Arzest.

For those unaware, Arzest is an independent developer with a history of work with Nintendo and the 3DS. The company was responsible for the 3DS version of Mario and Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, they also developed Yoshi’s New Island. What is notable however, is that neither game have seen a great response from critics or consumers. Hopefully this is not a bad sign for the upcoming Hey! Pikmin.

This discovery of the developer does give Pikmin fans some room to hope that the next major instalment of the franchise is coming sooner rather then later with Arzest handling the spinoff.

Hey! Pikmin will arrive on July 28th, a new amiibo is also being released for the game available on the same day.

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Star Wars Battlefront II Officially Revealed, Release Date and Story Details Outlined http://gameluster.com/star-wars-battlefront-ii-officially-revealed-release-date-and-story-details-outlined/ Thu, 20 Apr 2017 05:46:46 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17713 EA and Disney have lifted the lid on Star Wars Battlefront II, officially revealing the new shooter at a panel at Star Wars Celebration over the weekend. As with the previous entry, Battlefront II will be developed primarily by DICE, but two more studios are also lending their talent for the sequel: EA’s new Motive studio, headed by former Ubisoft Toronto head Jade Raymond, as well as Criterion, developers of the Burnout series and the Star Wars Battlefront X-Wing VR Experience from last year.

The campaign for Battlefront II will take place in the 30-year period between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, and it will follow protagonist Iden Versio, leader of the elite Imperial unit Inferno Squad. During the campaign players will also get the chance to play as well-known characters such as Luke Skywalker and Kylo Ren. The campaign is being handled by Motive studio, according to EA, and is being developed in close partnership with the story team at Lucasfilm. It was also revealed that the story will be canon within the Star Wars universe.

In a statement at Star Wars Celebration, Motive game director Mark Thompson said “We wanted to create a campaign that told a story we haven’t seen before in Star Wars. It was important for us to tell a new authentic story, one that gives players a brand-new perspective. By putting players in the boots of an elite member of the Imperial forces, we can show them what the battle was like from the other side.”

Battlefront II’s multiplayer will once again be developed by DICE and it will span all three eras of Star Wars films. It will have playable heroes and villains including Rey, Luke, Yoda, Darth Maul, and more that have yet to be confirmed, and game modes will support up to 40 players with maps announced so far including Yavin 4, Mos Eisley, and Starkiller Base. Space battles are also making a return, with Criterion leading development in that area. EA stated that Battlefront II will offer “high stakes dogfights” with land and air vehicles including First Order TIE Fighters, the Millennium Falcon and more.

As well as the standard version of the game, an Elite Trooper Deluxe Edition is available for pre-order. As well as granting 3-days early access to the game, this edition will include four trooper upgrade packs including modifiers and modifications to outfit classes. Any pre-order of the game will also come with The Last Jedi Heroes pack, which includes exclusive Kylo Ren and Rey themed looks based on the characters’ appearances in the upcoming film, as well as modifiers for said characters and the Millennium Falcon.

Star Wars Battlefront II will be released on November 17th for PS4, Xbox One and PC (November 14th for Deluxe edition). Let us know in the comments below if you’ll be picking it up.

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Crowd-funded scroller Damsel has potential http://gameluster.com/crowd-funded-scroller-damsel-has-potential/ Wed, 19 Apr 2017 02:33:35 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17719 In Damsel Productions’ Damsel, you play as Agent Damsel and battle vampires. With fluid gameplay and spunky style, Damsel has potential to be a fun side-scrolling action game.

Agent Damsel receives assignments at the start of each of the game’s 120 plus missions. Each mission has one primary objective and several bonus challenges. Both the main objective and the side challenges include killing vampires, gathering intel, diffusing bombs, and rescuing hostages. The latter two require care, as bombs may be ticking down as soon as the mission begins and shooting towards vampires anywhere near a hostage will likely kill the hostage.

For diffusing or rescuing, a mini game plays that requires you to time a button press as an indicator passes over a sweet spot. This must be done sequentially – missing the third sweet spot will start the sequence over so that you have to time it again with the first until you get all three right. This can be very tense with a bomb timer counting down.

Agent Damsel uses a shotgun that has infinite ammo and, for reloading, has a cool down period. The gameplay is standard side-view action with running, jumping, and upgrades like wall jumping. You may play with either an Xbox controller or mouse and keyboard. For the demo build, you cannot change key inputs. I tried at the game’s startup but the changes were not reflected in game.

Preset graphics options include “Fastest”, “Simple”, and “Beautiful”. I played at “fastest” first – “Beautiful” was a huge improvement and, at least on my PC, caused no performance decrease. The visual style is cartoony veering on Flash game visuals, with environs that are all urban, such as rooftops, back alleys, and warehouses.

The game is planned for release in 2017. It will include both single player and co-op. Check out the developers’ page, download the demo, or invest in its development here.

 

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Fourtex Jugo Review http://gameluster.com/fourtex-jugo-review/ Wed, 19 Apr 2017 00:10:59 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17686 This is the first review I have struggled to write. I sat at my laptop with all of my notes, thinking of the many different ways I could write this review. At first I was going to just go off my notes verbatim for comedic effect, they read like a person who’s being tortured. With notes like “Oh god, they’ve added shapes now?!” and the like. I feel like that would be disingenuous though. It’s pretty evident that this game was made to be the next 2048 or the next Sudoku like game. For people who adore those games and are just craving to get their hands on another math filled grid based Japanese style puzzle game, I will happily recommend this game to you. Here’s the thing, I’m one of those people though. I adore crushingly difficult math puzzles that switch between common core math and certain forms of algebra with entire paragraphs of rules. If they make sense that is.

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I’m going to do my best to breakdown the rules of this game, I have a feeling this may not go well. The most basic explanation I can give you is: You match two of the same number to make the next highest number (Ex. 8+8=9) or you connect two numbers to make Pi, which in this game is 15 (Ex. 8+7=15 or 14+14= 15). Now once you make Pi you need to connect one of the three instances of Pi that are on the screen. Two matching Pi symbols make a white “Nom” and two non match Pi symbols make a black “Nom”.

You connect both White and Black Noms to create what is called a void. A Void is an open hole on your playing field that can be filled with any number, element, or nom. As you are multitasking on all of this, number’s, elements, noms, and voids are all sliding up and down and back and forth as you are connecting everything else. There are claws also that come into play. These claws get hungry too and grab the most necessary thing you need. The entire time that all of this is happening you have to be careful where you connect all these things because the tiles you connect on will Gray out. When all the tiles are Gray, the game is over and it tallies up your score and the stuff on the grid to give you a final score. The entire point of it all is to beat the target score on each level. All of this is just on the tutorial level (except it only uses two instances of Pi and not all three that I mentioned) and after two hours on the tutorial level I finally beat it. After my nine hours of playing this game, I can absolutely decimate the target score for the first level.

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Here’s the thing though, that’s just the tutorial level. When you reach level two, shapes and a third version of Pi is added. I could not beat the second level. I spent SIX HOURS playing level two, over and over and over. I was playing it to review, I wanted to see the rest of what this game had to offer. You can’t stop on the second level. So I decided to “cheat”, there is a mechanic in the game where you can hit “Y’’ on the controller and it shows you the next best move. So I figured to just hit that from the very beginning move and let the level beat itself so I can move on. That’s not what happened though, It ran out of moves. The game lost to itself. A thing who’s only job is to know how to play this game in its best possible way, lost. That means one of two things, either these levels are so random that you can lose before you even started thanks to luck, or this game is such complicated nonsense that even the “best move” mechanic doesn’t really understand what its supposed to be doing.

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If Fourtex Jugo stuck to the mechanics of the first level and maybe added more deadly traps as you progress (which they do among all the other mechanics) I could really get into this. By hour four on the second stage I kept going back and demolishing that first level because it felt nice to beat a stage. This game made me feel like an absolute moron and that leads me to my next thought. I can’t figure out if I’m too much of an idiot to play this game or if this game was just made by an absolute madman.

There is a feature where you can watch people who beat a level, play that level move by move. So I clicked on the guy who has the number one place in the worldwide leader board and followed what they did. I didn’t do nearly as well but I beat stage two by the skin of my teeth. By stage three you are hit with spikes and the omega symbol on top of, Three versions of Pi, three different shapes, Noms’, numbers, elements, voids, claws, graying tiles, everything sliding every which way as you make all of these connections and moves, and don’t forget about that constant pressure of running out of moves at anytime. This game broke my brain not by difficulty but just by the sheer chaos of everything going on. This game is for someone, look at the the leader boards. People are playing this game and love it enough to get the highest scores from all around the world. When I received the key for this game I was downright excited to get my hands dirty and spend at least 15 hours straight full of puzzles and math. For the most part that’s what I got but with a thousand different mechanics screaming for your attention at one time.

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The sound I have a slight issue with as well. For the most part, the soundtrack is one note being held on a keyboard and slowly being let up while another key is being played (that’s the best I could make of it at least) and it is absolutely hypnotizing. I have never zoned out on a game so damn hard in my life, It feels like there is something intentionally going on here to forcibly make you zone out. It’s really weird. Here’s my issue though, as you click on a single tile it holds another note down, then when you connect to tiles to each other it makes a note one octave higher. Sometimes that high note gets stuck though and makes your ears bleed until you restart the level. That needs to be fixed pronto. Weirdly enough I haven’t seen any complaints on the Steam message boards about this, so I may be the only person with this issue. The game has you so zoned out at times that when you connect the wrong tiles the error sound will jolt you right out of your seat.

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The graphics are very minimalist and enjoyable. They do exactly what they’re supposed to do and they are almost necessary. There’s no way I could play this game if the graphics were even the least bit more detailed. When you just have the numbers on screen, its very reminiscent of games like Sudoku and 2048. A bunch of numbers on a sliding grid. Again, if that sounds like your jam then absolutely give this game a look. Who know’s, it might make perfect sense to you and I really am just that dumb. Without trying to sound extremely narcissistic, I’m pretty sure that’s not the case though.

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All in all, I appreciate the effort that went into this game. When I take a look at any indie game I always remind myself that the game I’m playing is somebodies baby. Someone has spent the last two years of their life perfecting the game that is currently in front of me. So I try to be as kind and open minded to every game that comes across my desk. With that said I say these final statements in the kindest way I can, I absolutely loathe this game. It caused all kinds of anxiety issues and strange zoning out effects. I felt like I was on a bad drug trip while trying to solve math and puzzle matching problems. I see the effort Salty Dog Digital put into this game with all of it’s rules and mechanics. Unfortunately it all fails when you almost have a breakdown from being overwhelmed by a thousand different thoughts at every single move.

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Fairy Tale: Three Heroes Indie Review http://gameluster.com/fairy-tale-three-heroes-indie-review/ Sun, 16 Apr 2017 00:43:51 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17664 I was intrigued when someone first described Fairy Tale: Three Heroes to me and I’m going to give you the same description that I was given. Its an RPG/Puzzle game that takes place in a world of Russian fairy tales, it is a game made by a small team of developers called “Cats Who Play” that are located in Moscow. This game is Russian, very very Russian. Its also an absolute blast and one of the most frustrating games I’ve played in recent memory. The biggest issue being localization at times. Also it doesn’t save after completing every main and side quest. I ended up playing the first four quests about three times over and almost gave up right there, remember to save manually after everything.

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Speaking of localization, not only can the English be just a hair off at times but so is the voice acting. When it comes to indie games I try not to bag too much on the voice acting, people do the best they can with what they have and I understand that. In this case though, something has to be said. Its almost in so bad its good territory. Alisha (The archer hero) is voice acted by someone who sounds like Jean Claude Van Dam trying to do a ye’ old English accent and giving up halfway through. Dobrynya (Our tall athletic staff using hero) sounds almost mentally handicapped, and Ilya (The Dwarf Tank hero) sounds like a twelve year old doing his best “angry old man gruff voice”. Luckily there is an option to turn down just the voices but that leads to another issue: Exposition Dump Speech.

While most of the lore and story is drip fed nicely to you, there are a lot of times that characters just randomly dump all kinds of unnecessary exposition on you which forces you to kind of tune out. You get used to ignoring it only to realize that what you’re supposed to be doing in the next level was explained as well and you missed it. Then there are the times where you do pay attention but because the localization is the way it is, you still aren’t quite sure whats expected of you. I spent a lot of the game stumbling blind and doing my best trying to go by the brief descriptions of quests on the map.

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Speaking of quests and the map, boy could this game do with a proper quest User Interface. A tool of some kind that lines up the quests and orders them from main quest to side quest or something of that nature. I do like when I pull up the map and select the quest, a little arrow points you in the proper direction. It works for what its supposed to do and I’ve never had an issue with it glitching out or anything. My only problem with it is every time I finish one simple task within a quest I have to pull the map back up and select the location but sometimes the button that brings up the map just doesn’t work. I don’t know why or what causes this but my god is it annoying. It also seems to happen in quests when time is of the essence.

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Now that I’ve gotten my complaints out of the way, let me just say: I love this game. I’ve had a blast with it so far. In the 9 hours I’ve played it, I’ve already beat it and really enjoyed my time with it for the most part. The graphics pop off the screen with their colorful and bright cell shaded style. At times I was really surprised how good it looked.

The music is bombastic and great, it heightens the fun of every fight and makes the most of the calm moments while wandering around the world and speaking to NPC’s or solving puzzles. The physics are by far my favorite thing about the game. I’m not sure if they are supposed to be crazy but they really add to the game’s charm. Flinging a wolf or a wild boar into a gate just to watch everything smash into a million pieces and fly all over the screen is so much fun. As well as using Dobrynya staff to pole vault him into the air (Which is ridiculously far when its leveled up all the way) only to have him rag-doll and smash his face into everything is hysterical and never got old. I flung him into absolutely everything: Enemies, rocks, fences, NPCS, trees, animals, etc.

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The puzzle elements to the game are a lot of fun as well. Often bringing back memories of a Super Nintendo game called The Lost Vikings that used the same idea, use all three heroes specific abilities to solve puzzles. My favorite level in the game (Which also happens to be the most linear) is a large square map with a road curving its way through the middle. Behind your heroes are the towns people who have had enough of these bandits and have taken up arms to fight them, unfortunately they are nothing but a liability and if they get into a fight, they will lose. So its up to the three heroes to quickly dispatch enemies and take out the traps before the villagers get to it.

Each section of the map that your heroes complete the villagers get more rabid and faster because they want to take out bandits as well and your heroes are doing all the work. It adds a new level of pressure that hasn’t been there at all in the game until this point and is very well done. The level after that had me damn near breaking my keyboard. It involves getting to the bandits who have made it out with the villagers belongings and money before they get to boats. The extremely short “timer” for this level mixed with how badly the directions for what you’re supposed to be doing are rage inducing.

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For the most part I love how the world is broken up. Its essentially a bunch of small open world areas filled with quests, NPC’s, and enemies that all connect to make one larger overarching world. It works extremely well in Three Heroes favour. With a name like Fairy Tale: Three Heroes it makes me hopeful that this may be a series. I really enjoyed the set piece that all these Russian fairy tales allowed me to run around in. There is definitely more they could do with this world and I would be absolutely excited to revisit this world once again.

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New Naruto Game, Legacy Collection Announced http://gameluster.com/new-naruto-game-legacy-collection-announced/ Sat, 15 Apr 2017 07:31:06 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17640 Bandai Namco Entertainment have today announced two new Naruto projects in development: Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker, the latest addition to the popular game series, and Naruto Shippudden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Legacy, a remastered collection of four previously released games.

First up, Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker is being developed by Soleil Ltd. According to Bandai Namco’s official announcement “this new action game enables players to compete online in 4 vs. 4 matches against other teams to become elite ninja masters. In Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Strikerplayers go head-to-head in 4 vs. 4 battles, with all eight ninjas fighting simultaneously. It features beloved Naruto characters and teams from the series, including Naruto, Sasuke, and Team 7. The game brings a brand-new graphic style with vivid colours and a dynamic third-person ninja gameplay style that enables players to take advantage of the arena environment with vertical running and jumping to elevated areas. Players can choose to play co-op with friends and lead teams to victory to be the top ninjas online.” Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker will be available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC (via Steam) in 2017.

Naruto Shippudden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Legacy was also announced alongside Naruto to Boruta. It contains remastered versions of Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm, Naruto Shippudden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2, Naruto Shippudden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 Full Burst, as well as the inclusion of Naruto Shippudden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 – Road to Boruto. Bandai Namco noted in the announcement that this is the first time that the first three games will be available on current generation consoles, and that the collection will include all of the major downloadable content from throughout the series. The retail release of the collection will also include a Steelbook case, art book and a bonus Naruto anime disc. Naruto Shippudden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Legacy will be available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC (via Steam) in the second half of 2017.

Bandai Namco also announced Naruto Shippudden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Trilogy, which will include the first three Ultimate Ninja Storm games digitally for fans who already own Naruto Shippudden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4. It will release at the same time as the Legacy collection on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC (via Steam).

Are you excited to relive the Naruto saga on current consoles again? Or will you be jumping into the series for the first time? Let us know in the comments below.

 

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Headup Games Is Bringing The Binding Of Isaac: Afterbirth+ To Europe and Australia http://gameluster.com/headup-games-is-bringing-the-binding-of-isaac-afterbirth-to-europe-and-australia/ Sat, 15 Apr 2017 07:21:46 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17636 The Binding of Issac: Afterbirth+ recently made its debut on the Nintendo Switch in North America, but those in Europe and Australia were left to wonder when they would be able to pick up a copy. Due to logistical reasons and the way retail releases work, Nicalis was forced to skip the PAL regions for their physical retail release, but this is about to change.

Headup Games has teamed up with Nicalis to bring The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ to the Nintendo Switch in Europe and Australia. Headup Games is likely best known for the recent Typoman (at least among Nintendo fans), but have had a rich history across multiple platforms.

The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ is set to arrive in Europe and Australia somewhere within Q2 of this year, giving it two to three months to arrive. Pricing (in Europe at least) is set for €39.99.

Nicalis president Tyrone Rodriguez has issued a press release that outlines plans for the partnership to continue going forward, he stated:

Nicalis has sought a partner that can take good care of our European fanbase. And with Headup Games, we’ve found it. They’re going to do their best to ensure our games get into the hands of European players.

If this partnership continues it means that European Nintendo Switch owners could look forward to getting the recently announced Cave Story+ in the future. For now. fans can look forward to the impending release of The Binding of Isaac in cartridge form.

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Hopes for This Year’s E3 http://gameluster.com/hopes-for-this-years-e3/ Wed, 12 Apr 2017 00:07:57 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17591 E3 2017 is quickly approaching and though it may seem as if maybe there isn’t as much hype as past years, there is still a ton to look forward to. Therefore, here is what we are on the lookout for this year:

Project Scorpio

Project Scorpio, Microsoft’s new console that has finally started to come to fruition after some years of rumors. With the recent release of the actual tech information over the past couple of weeks, all focus has shifted to actual gameplay and how the system will run. Many hope to see possible new game releases and announcement that coincide with the Scorpio as well as a possible release date for the new system. One can only hope for all this, but the fact of the matter is that Project Scorpio’s announcement is almost a certainty at this year’s E3.

Development Hell Titles

Ah yes, all those games that have been talked about and rumored for years but have very little to no information. Games such as Kingdom Hearts 3, Beyond Good and Evil 2, and even the Final Fantasy 7 Remake are all titles that have one very bad thing in common: they are all in development hell. Now, this doesn’t mean that these games aren’t going to release, but please for THE LOVE OF GOD can we get any type of information this year? A tease, some gameplay, even just a news update can suffice for these. I’m not sure what the whole deal and love that some of these game developers have with having such enormous gaps in updates for their games, but lets just hope it all comes to an end soon.

PlayStation Conference

Every year it seems that we all agree that PlayStation overwhelmingly wins the “conference” wars almost every year with either a huge surprise that no one see’s coming or simply for the fact that they give the people what they want. That also involves other conferences not doing very well, but we won’t dive into that. There should be a plethora of things for PlayStation to dive into as far as presenting more on the PS4 Pro as well as games such as The Last of Us 2 and a brand new Call of Duty Game.

The Event

E3 is just one big video game party to be honest and that in itself is a large reason why E3 is such a success every year. Now with the inclusion of the public for the first time ever, this should only increase the fanfare that we are used to in years past. The games are coming, the systems are on the horizon and yet there seems to be so much more to be intrigued about.

Something you are looking forward to that we didn’t mention? Let us know in the comments and be sure to check out our other articles!

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Darksiders: Warmastered Edition Finally Coming To Wii U On May 23 http://gameluster.com/darksiders-warmastered-edition-finally-coming-to-wii-u-on-may-23/ Sun, 09 Apr 2017 23:24:36 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17621 Darksiders: Warmastered Edition finally made its way to the Playstation 4 and Xbox One last November, but did not come to the Wii U, despite a version for that platform having been announced. After facing multiple delays and several rumors that the game might be scrapped for the system, THQ Nordic has revealed that Darksiders: Warmastered Edition has not been cancelled for the Wii U and has given perspective buyers a release date.

Darksiders: Warmastered Edition will come May 23 worldwide, selling for $19.99 and £14.99.

As part of the announcement THQ Nordic sent out the following statement:

Contrary to a couple of online rumours, Wii U™ version is on its way and by no means cancelled

Darksiders Warmastered Edition is a remaster of the original Darksiders with hellish HD resolution and performance improvements!

About Darksiders

Deceived by the forces of evil into prematurely bringing about the end of the world, War – the first Horseman of the Apocalypse – stands accused of breaking the sacred law by inciting a war between Heaven and Hell. In the slaughter that ensued, the demonic forces defeated the heavenly hosts and laid claim to the Earth.

+ Apocalyptic Power – Unleash the wrath of War, combining brutal attacks and supernatural abilities to decimate all who stand in your way
+ Extreme Arsenal – Wield a devastating arsenal of angelic, demonic and Earthly weapons; and blaze a trail of destruction atop Ruin, War’s fiery phantom steed
+ Epic Quest – Battle across the wastelands and demon-infested dungeons of the decimated Earth in your quest for vengeance and redemption
+ Character Progression – Uncover powerful ancient relics, upgrade your weapons, unlock new abilities, and customize your gameplay style
+ Battle Heaven and Hell – Battle against all who stand in your way – from war-weary angelic forces to Hell’s hideous demon hordes

Darksiders: Warmastered Edition is on its way to the Wii U, but lets hope that there will be no more bumps in the road. Are you planning on playing Darksiders on the Wii U? Let us know in the comment’s below.

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Nerds With Mics: For Nerds By Nerds http://gameluster.com/nerds-with-mics-for-nerds-by-nerds/ Sun, 09 Apr 2017 23:20:28 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17563  The gaming and nerd-media podcast market is drowning in mediocre content and everyone seems to be following the same blueprint, but Nerds With Mics offers a fresh take for Gaming & Pop Culture podcasts.

Nerds With Mics is a weekly podcast that breaks down nerd culture news and discussion topics. It is part of a larger media brand, with a companion website dedicated to bringing news and reviews of everything and anything that could be deemed a part of nerd culture. At the time of this writing they have amassed a large number of followers with 44 audio episodes (available where ever podcasts are “sold”) and 53 episodes on their YouTube channel. Since its start in March of 2016 they have spun off from just three people to seven.

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The three individuals who created Nerds With Mics are Travis, Justin, and Maxwell. Travis brings his knowledge of 80s and 90s pop culture to every discussion. Justin, while not as versed in the old school, does bring his knowledge of current gaming and pop culture media. Maxwell’s knowledge and experiences of studying abroad colors his more serious contributions to the discussion.

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The rest of the team includes Chad, who hosts a Saturday Morning Podcast for Nerds With Mics called The Saturday Morning Replay, Allie, the dedicated Twitch Streamer, Terry and Sam, labelled as “content creators” who produce the best content possible for Nerds With Mics in many formats.

While I’m writing this to promote Nerds With Mics and everyone’s work with the Nerds With Mics brand, I also want to bring more attention to a podcast that deserves all the success it can garner. If you are interested in gaming, film, comics, or anything that is considered a part of nerd culture, this is the podcast for you.

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Quake Champions Beta Begins http://gameluster.com/quake-champions-beta-begins/ Thu, 06 Apr 2017 15:44:44 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17602 The first wave of Quake Champions beta invites has been sent out. If you signed up, and were lucky, you got one. For those who did not, more will be sent out soon.

This comes on the heels of the latest Champion reveals: Anarki, the guy-on-a-skateboard in Quake III, and Slash, the gal-on-roller-blades. 

The duo is back, each with a little more ‘tude.

 

Other Champions have been and will be revealed on Quake Champion’s official site.

Ranger, the classic Quake hero, and who will have more info revealed on May 3, is the crux of Champions’ business model.

Champions will have a free-to-play version in which one can only play as Ranger out of the gate. To play as other Champions, one must earn and spend “favor” – the in-game currency – on either Champions or on “backpacks”, which ultimately allow players to unlock Champions and skins. Spending favor directly will allow one to use a Champion only for a set time period.

Some have noted a downside to this model: there will be a whole lot of Rangers running around.

If you buy Champions, all the characters will be available from the start.

I will purchase the game and mostly play as Ranger. It’s the classic Quake in me (and Sarge hasn’t been revealed yet).

I hope others won’t assume I am on the free-to-play version because of my steady Ranger model. I don’t want to be in the lot of free-to-play Rangers. I am my own, paid-for, Quake veteran Ranger. A classic Ranger skin available only to those who paid for the game is welcome.

Are you in the beta? Please let us (or me) know about it in the comments. (Does it feel like Quake? How’s the rocket launcher? How many arenas are there? Seriously, let me know!)

And check out some gameplay, too:

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Dishonored 2 Getting Free Trial This Week http://gameluster.com/dishonored-2-getting-free-trial-this-week/ Thu, 06 Apr 2017 13:43:46 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17546 Arkane Studios and Bethesda Softworks have revealed that Dishonored 2 will be receiving a free trial on the Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Those who have not tried the Game Awards’ best Action Adventure game of 2016 may now do so for free.

More than a small demo, the trial includes the game’s first three missions and both the game’s playable characters, the Royal Protector Corvo Attano and the Empress Emily Kaldwin. All progress made in the trial may be transferred to the full game for those who choose to continue playing onward.

Dishonored 2‘s trial will be available through the games’ digital store pages. If you have not played Arkane Studios’ hit title, this should be a done deal for you.

Dishonored 2 was released November of last year and is the sequel to 2012’s Dishonored. Both titles are first-person action-adventure games that may be played as a stealth game, an action game, or as some amount of both. Each draws inspiration from classic game series like Thief and Deus Ex. Both were critically and commercially well received.

Do you plan to give Dishonored 2 a try with this? Do you wish more games had trial versions this substantial available? Let us know in the comments.

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New Rad Rogers Game For Consoles On The Horizon http://gameluster.com/new-rad-rogers-game-for-consoles-on-the-horizon/ Thu, 06 Apr 2017 02:34:18 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17548 Rad Rodgers, a nostalgic platformer reminiscent of classic DOS-era games like Commander Keen, has recently been confirmed for Xbox One and PS4 by THQ Nordic.

On March 31, THQ Nordic announced they had acquired the Rad Rodgers IP.  Slipgate Studios, formerly Interceptor Entertainment and developer of Rad Rodgers, revealed that work on an Xbox One version, in addition to the PC and PS4 versions already in development, has begun. An early portion of the game, Rad Rodgers: World One, is already available on Steam and GOG.

Ending Soon

Rad Rodgers is a little boy obsessed with video games. One night, he falls asleep after a long gaming session and wakes up to find that his old game console has turned itself back on. In a flash, Rad finds he is the protagonist of his very own video game.

“Dusty”, a sentient, potty-mouthed retro game console, is Rad’s sidekick. The two traverse several different worlds. World One takes place in a jungle that has been corrupted. Rad and Dusty must save the jungle’s denizens and bring life back to “The Elder Tree”, another foul-mouthed character.

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There are power-ups and weapons throughout. Two of the guns are “The Bolt Blaster” and “The Phoenix Cannon”. The Bolt Blaster is a serviceable sidearm with unlimited ammo, but is the weakest. The Phoenix Cannon is much more powerful and shoots a large bird whose wings engulf enemies in flames.

Slipgate has promised five other weapon power-ups as well, but are currently keeping them, and other power-ups, under wraps.

The team has announced that hidden “Easter eggs” lay throughout for achievement hunters and perfectionists.

The music is being composed by Andrew Hulshult, whose work you may have heard in the recently released Bombshell and in 2013’s Rise of The Triad remake. He incorporates synthesizers into a retro-inspired midi soundtrack. He has spent three years as the main composer for 3D Realms.

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Rad Rodgers is another case of a successful Kickstarter campaign coming to fruition, and I am beyond excited for it. Jazz Jackrabbit and Commander Keen bring back memories of me spending the summer at my aunt’s house playing around on her computer – I loved those games back in the day. With the amount of talented people leading the development, I am very optimistic for this one.

Check out the trailer:

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Upcoming Mass Effect: Andromeda Changes Detailed by BioWare http://gameluster.com/upcoming-mass-effect-andromeda-changes-detailed-by-bioware/ Wed, 05 Apr 2017 23:23:16 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17559 After a successful launch two weeks ago, BioWare has revealed a list of changes coming in a patch to their newest sci-fi RPG, Mass Effect: Andromeda.

Following an announcement about upcoming patch details last week, BioWare general manager Aaryn Flynn revealed in a post on the game’s official site that the new patch will be made available this Thursday. It will address technical issues, including crashes and performance, and will also feature a number of improvements that the community requested. Highlights include:

  • Allowing players to skip ahead when travelling between planets in the galaxy map
  • Increasing inventory space
  • Improving the appearance of eyes for human and asari characters
  • Decreasing the cost of Remnant decryption keys and making them more accessible at merchants
  • Improving localized voice over lip sync
  • Fixing Ryder’s movements when running in a zig zag pattern
  • Improving matchmaking and latency in multiplayer

The patch includes a host of other changes which can be found in BioWare’s patch notes here.

BioWare also teased more patches to be released over the next two months which will further improve stability, performance, and several other areas of the game. These will include:

  • More options and variety in the character creator
  • Improvements to hair and general appearance for characters
  • Ongoing improvements to cinematic scenes and animations
  • Improvements to male romance options for Scott Ryder
  • Adjustments to conversations with Hainly Abrams

BioWare is also looking at releasing more single-player cosmetic items for free.

For multiplayer, BioWare stated that over the same time frame they are “going to continue to build on the APEX missions that have been running since launch… adding new maps, characters, and weapons.” On Thursday, they will start the first of three new chapters on The Remnant Investigation. 

Are you enjoying your time in Mass Effect: Andromeda so far, or have you not even picked it up? If you’ve played it, do you think these patches will improve the game? Let us know in the comments below.

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Red Dead Redemption 2’s Release Date and Price Leaked http://gameluster.com/red-dead-redemption-2s-release-date-and-price-leaked/ Mon, 03 Apr 2017 02:34:29 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17537 Red Dead Redemption 2, announced by Rockstar games last year, may have had its release date leaked. UK retailer Base is advertising the game with a September 26 release date and a £44.99 price tag. This by no means confirms the release date, but the leak is the only information we have on one of the most anticipated games of 2017.

While Rockstar has not yet commented on the alleged release date, fans may find solace in the fact that last year Rockstar announced Red Dead Redemption 2 would be releasing in the fall of 2017. September 26 obviously fits the bill, and as September 26th is a Tuesday, the day most blockbusters tend to launch on, it is more likely the official release date.

Rockstar would have preferred an official announcement, but if this date is confirmed by them in the future, there’s not much that can be done about it now. All we can hope for is that Red Dead Redemption 2 is even half as good as its predecessor, because, if it is, then we are in for a real treat in the second half of 2017.

Are you all excited for the release of the new Red Dead? Let us know in the comments below.

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CD Projekt RED teases The Witcher 4 http://gameluster.com/cd-projekt-red-tease-the-witcher-4/ Mon, 03 Apr 2017 02:25:41 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17530 CD Projekt RED has been teasing fans recently with a potential Witcher 4.

Adam Kicinski, CEO of the company, made an official statement regarding The Witcher 4 on a Polish TV station.

“It’s too early to talk about it, but it’s not like we’re forgetting about this brand. It wouldn’t be fair towards the fans. We work within this universe for over a dozen years now and I don’t think it’s going to be the end of it.”

The good news we can take from this is that the Witcher series is not over, but The Witcher 4 may be a ways off as of yet.

As a longtime fan of the series, any sort of update excites me. I’m sure this news will excite fans all over the world. The official game designers of the Witcher are currently in the middle of designing another open-world game called Cyberpunk 2077. This could, in turn, mean that we may not get any in depth details about The Witcher 4 until sometime in 2018. Here’s hoping for some outstanding monster killing once again in the not so distant future.

Would you guys and girls all be excited for a new game in the Witcher franchise? Let us know in the comments.

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Lego Worlds Review http://gameluster.com/lego-worlds-review/ Mon, 03 Apr 2017 02:08:15 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17492 Traveler’s Tales, or TT Games as they are better known now, have been creating Lego games for many years. They brought the Lego universe to gaming life with Lego Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Batman, and more. Beyond film and book-based Lego adaptations, there is one obvious Lego game idea: one about construction. Using your imagination to build worlds and create your own adventure, like in Minecraft, is a fundamental Lego idea. With Lego Worlds, gamers can embrace their imagination with the buildings bricks rather than be stuck to an already constructed game world.

In Lego Worlds, you are able to terraform the land to your specifications, add items and objects you find along the way, and create your own adventure. This sounds great, but Lego Worlds, for all it tasks you with, is plagued with game-breaking issues.

Not even five minutes after starting Lego Worlds, the game was already breaking. Among the biggest issues is an uncontrollable camera that made it near impossible to play. Furthermore, many of the games’ tools are not always responsive. One such item is the landscape tool. This does not always allow you to move the reticule and transform the land as required.

The above-mentioned issues only scratch the surface of the game’s problems. Playing the games’ local multiplayer feature is frustrating as it struggles to keep a consistent frame-rate. As soon as another player is added, Lego Worlds becomes a barely-functioning mess.

Lego Worlds review one

If you can deal with these problems, you may give the game a chance. Most of Lego Worlds is about travelling to various locations and finding gold bricks to unlock new items and locations. Gold bricks are collected in multiple ways, the most common doing quests for the residents of each world you visit. These quests include painting a building or finding an item a person wants. The other way to gain gold bricks is by using all the tools at your disposal to explore the world and find the bricks hidden throughout.

On each world you have many tasks to do. Most of them are completing small objectives, but another big part of the game is using your discovery tool to scan various items in the world which you can then use to build your own world. While you can eventually get your own world to play freely on, you are not able to create as you see fit until you have explored most of the games’ pre-made worlds, meaning there’s little point to flex your creative muscles early on. All pre-made worlds are available from the start.

This makes the game feel like No Man’s Sky. You arrive on a new world and then pilfer it for all the resources you need, like gold bricks or weapons and tradeable objects, and then you leave. While each world has a unique flair – there’s a pirate world, a fantasy world, and more – each world’s basic structure feels similar. This makes world’s feel cheap as there is little reason to stick around or return, and many of the locations are quickly forgotten.

Lego Worlds review three

By the time you reach the third world the game already feels like it is throwing you into familiar territory, and Lego Worlds becomes a slog to get through. Many of the objects you find are similar to one another and don’t add anything meaningful, and it is rare that a world is exciting. The biggest standout was a beanstalk found in the fantasy world, but this was an exception to the rule of drab landscapes.

If you pull yourself through the tiresome world exploring bits of Lego Worlds, around ten hours long, there is a reward. The world-building part of the game is well done…when the game is not breaking on you.

Putting aside all complaints, the initial ten hour slog is worth it for the chance to play with Lego as it should be. Forget a giant intergalactic adventure or licensed property, Lego Worlds shines when it embraces the world that is now owned by Minecraft and you are set free to create your own story and world.

Lego Worlds offers a surprisingly decent building system that is easy to manage. You simply access an item known as the build tool and then line up where you want to start building. The rest is as simple as playing with actual Lego bricks as you place one block on top of the other. There is even a good variety of shapes and sizes of Lego blocks, allowing you to create some amazing structures within the world. You could even argue that it outdoes Minecraft in building simplicity.

Lego Worlds review two

It takes a long time to get to the good part and, aside from a rare discovery, exploring the premade worlds is not exciting, but seeing all the hard work you put into the early game really opens Lego Worlds up to the player. The creation portion of the game is what Lego Worlds should have been about all along.

If Lego Worlds was less busy and focused on setting foot on your own plot of land and creating, and did not break every five minutes, it could have been something special. As it stands, though, the slog of Lego Worlds might be too much for some, and the true freedom offered by your discoveries might not be worth some people’s time. If you have ever wanted to build and create a living, breathing Lego World, then there is something here for you, but if you just want to explore multiple bite-sized worlds, then Lego Worlds will not offer you much.

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In Defense of: Beyond Eyes http://gameluster.com/in-defense-of-beyond-eyes/ Mon, 03 Apr 2017 00:38:02 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17487 Slow paced games of a certain nature, have a bad reputation, all too often if somebody hears that a game is slow they ignore it, thus failing to see what it was that it had to offer. There are so many games like this that can be considered slow, especially for the sake of experience, Gone Home, Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture, Dear Esther and much more. The thing with these games is that the slow pace is a part of their expert design, focusing more on narrative and meaning than traditional gameplay.

The sad thing is, while there is certainly an audience for these types of games, many simply just ignore them because of a lack of game mechanics and “slow” progression calling them non-games. Yet I would argue that these types of experiences are ones that mean more because of their design, and they actually affect you.

While Gone Home, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, and even Dear Esther have found a certain fan base, (however minuscule,) there is one particular game that I feel is all too often forgotten and yet it is the most beautiful one of all. A story of friendship, isolation, loneliness, depression, and in the end, a touch of joy. It’s a game that (excuse the joke) goes Beyond Eyes, exploring so much in a wonderfully gripping (and yes) slow paced experience, which to me is a highlight of its genre.

Beyond Eyes review 2

Beyond Eyes told the story of Rae, a young girl who was blinded by a firework that went wrong, this sent Rae into isolation facing the trouble of her new found ailment, and no longer being able to face the world. She was left alone, and spent her days in her garden wallowing in her own self-pity until the day a cat turned up, this cat didn’t care about her problems and became her friend spending its days coming and playing with Rae and helping her have a companion and finally be free again. But as the months wear on her friend stops visiting, causing Rae to venture into what is now the unknown world to seek out her lost friend.

To respect these types of games, the so-called “walking simulator”, you need to respect narrative and be willing to take the time to try to engage with the story. While people have managed to connect with some of the major titles in the genre, Beyond Eyes is one that I feel far too many turn their back on, failing to appreciate the difficulty of the narrative and the struggles of our protagonist, which is an idea that is perfectly simulated in its design and gameplay.

Beyond Eyes review 3

Beyond Eyes is not a game about solving a mystery and uncovering a hidden narrative, fighting through a zombie apocalypse or dead city, or simply interaction. Beyond Eyes is about nothing more than the journey we take to reach the end goal, why ThatGameCompany’s game Journey worked so well was because of the way it stood out, the mysterious world that lay before your eyes, and the rough adventure that Journey took you on to get to the end goal. Beyond Eyes is like Journey just more indirectly, in this game we perceive the world through the eyes of our protagonist only being able to visualize things in such a way that she can feel or imagine, suddenly the world is a harsh place but with strong determination you persevere in order to find your friend.

Beyond Eyes is about its journey, forgetting anything that may be deemed wrong and that breaks typical game conventions, it’s about getting lost in Rae’s lonely world. There is nothing else to it, you need to simply step into this with a mind open to exploration, and tough ideas, and be willing to put aside your individual perception to just enjoy it for how it has been crafted.

Beyond Eyes review 1

Just because Beyond Eyes is not what many would perceive as a game, does not make it worth avoiding, is this why so many called Gone Home, a non-game? No, Beyond Eyes is more than the sum of its parts. It is the developer trying to communicate with the player and invite us into this world to see the character. It is a two way conversation which works to offer players what they need to know and understand while telling its tale.

All too often we try to dismiss games liked Beyond Eyes but the point with these is that they are supposed to tell a story, to teach, to catch you in a moment of emotion and go through the many hardships that one might face. It’s not about gameplay, it is about becoming one with the story and perhaps learning or even owning the experience and cherishing it. So next time you see this game or something similar, why not simply try, and maybe you might just find yourself in something truly special.

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Destiny 2 Release Date & Collector’s Editions Announced http://gameluster.com/destiny-2-release-date-amp-collectors-editions-announced/ Sat, 01 Apr 2017 23:31:26 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17509 After officially revealing Destiny 2 earlier this week, Bungie has announced the release date for their upcoming shooter as well as a host of other new details. Destiny 2 will launch worldwide on September 8th for the PS4, Xbox One and PC, confirming rumours and leaks regarding a PC release for the last few months.

An open beta for Destiny 2 will also be available in the coming months, and anyone who pre-orders will get early access to the beta. The announcement was a part of the reveal trailer which you can check out below:

In the trailer, we learn that the Cabal have invaded the last safe city on Earth, destroying the Tower. Bungie have provided the following story tease for Destiny 2:

“Humanity’s last safe city has fallen to an overwhelming invasion force, led by Ghaul, the imposing commander of the brutal Red Legion. He has stripped the city’s Guardians of their power, and forced the survivors to flee. You will venture to mysterious, unexplored worlds of our solar system to discover an arsenal of weapons and devastating new combat abilities. To defeat the Red Legion and confront Ghaul, you must reunite humanity’s scattered heroes, stand together, and fight back to reclaim our home.”

Bungie will reveal first gameplay from the sequel in a livestream event on May 18th. They also confirmed that the PS4 version will have timed exclusive content for one year, with more details to come soon.

An Expansion Pass will once again be available and it will include access to two major expansions, which will include “brand new story missions, cooperative activities, competitive multiplayer, and a wealth of new weapons, armour, and gear.”

 

Destiny 2 will retail for $59.99 USD/£59.99 GBP/$99.95 AUD when it launches on September 8 and is available for pre-order now. Bungie has also revealed multiple editions of Destiny 2, including the Collector’s Edition, Limited Edition and Digital Deluxe Edition, also currently available for pre-order.

 

The Collector’s Edition will retail for $249.99 USD/£219.99 GBP/$349.95 AUD, and will include:

The contents of the Destiny 2 Collector's Edition.

  • Destiny 2 game in a SteelBook case
  • Destiny 2 Expansion Pass
  • Destiny 2 Customizable Frontier Bag
  • 15” Laptop/Tablet Sleeve with protective pocket slip
  • A Frontier Kit, featuring a Solar panel USB charger with built-in light, paracord, a solar blanket
  • Booklet with secrets into the Cabal Empire
  • A Cabal Schematic
  • Collectible Postcard Images
  • Cabal Military Pawns
  • Legendary Sword DLC
  • Legendary Player Emote DLC
  • Cabal Empire Themed Emblem DLC

The Limited Edition will be available for $99.99 USD/£89.99 GBP/$149.95 AUD and will include:

Here's the Destiny Limited Edition SteelBook cover.

  • Destiny 2 game in a SteelBook case
  • Destiny 2 Expansion Pass
  • Booklet with secrets into the Cabal Empire
  • A Cabal Schematic
  • Collectible Postcard Images
  • Cabal Military Pawns
  • Legendary Sword DLC
  • Legendary Player Emote DLC
  • Cabal Empire Themed Emblem DLC

The Digital Deluxe Edition will be priced the same as the above limited edition, and will include:

  • Destiny 2 base game
  • Destiny 2 Expansion Pass
  • Legendary Sword DLC
  • Legendary Player Emote DLC
  • Cabal Empire Themed Emblem DLC

Now that we have more details, are you guys more excited about Destiny 2? Let us know in the comments below.

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Star Wars The Old Republic Patch Update http://gameluster.com/star-wars-the-old-republic-patch-update/ Fri, 31 Mar 2017 03:50:45 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17501 Star Wars The Old Republic Patch Update

 SWTOR-Deceived

As much as I and many others love Bioware, it always makes us a little leery when updates and patches happen to our favorite MMO. You could see the concern on my face when about a week ago I went to log into my “Old Republic” account and there was a big unmissable overlay blocking my screen, letting me know the servers would be down on the 28th of March for some updating. Sometimes this means nothing much and small bugs and errors are fixed, sometimes they create more problems than they fixed. While trying it out yesterday, it all seems to be fairly okay. Of course it’s not nearly as intensive as the recent 5.0 update that took place in November of last year.

Classes-of-SWTOR-starwars-the-old-republic-37162196-1920-1080

For those who are curious, here is what was currently fixed or updated with the recent patch:

  • Nar Shadda planetary missions will not auto-complete after being given by Galactic Command
  • The amount of dark and light side required for dark 1 and light 1 has been set from 7500 to 3000
  • A pop-up for specific Class Missions would show different XP amounts than what you would actually be rewarded
  • An issue with the mission “Dismantle the Opposition” where killing enemies was not adding to the mission progression
  • In Skurr and Velloc the Dark Relics will no longer despawn when messing with the access panels
  • When taking on Adacin and Zanisk from the entrance, it will no longer stop the mission from functioning
  • An issue where the helmet would not show properly for Body Type 2 female players
  • The player vehicle the “Planetary Interceptor” has been changed to its “Sith-like” original form
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Destiny 2 Officially Revealed http://gameluster.com/destiny-2-officially-revealed/ Tue, 28 Mar 2017 00:12:53 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17477 It’s official. After many hints and leaks, Destiny 2 has been revealed, along with its logo (seen above) that was tweeted by Bungie. While we have known that Bungie has been working on a sequel to Destiny, this is the first official announcement.

It comes after several promotional posters were leaked last week showing the same logo. The posters were allegedly leaked by GameStop Italy and mentioned a September release date along with an impending beta. While Bungie has not officially announced a release date or beta, this reveal gives more legitimacy to those rumors.

Earlier this year, Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg shared an update regarding the development of a Destiny sequel during an investors’ call. He said that “development is going great, and it is indeed on track for release this fall” and that it “will deliver a great cinematic story.”

Bungie also recently discussed features that will and won’t be transferring to Destiny 2 from the original. Hard earned guns and gear will not be making the journey, but custom characters and cosmetic items such as shaders, ships, and ghost shells will.

Even though today’s announcement was very light on details, we may receive more information in the coming months before E3 descends upon us in June.

Are you excited to jump back into the world of Destiny? Or did you never leave? Let us know in the comments below.

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Nintendo Acknowledges Switch’s Joy-Con Sync Issues, Manufacturing Error to Blame http://gameluster.com/nintendo-acknowledges-switchs-joy-con-sync-issues-manufacturing-error-to-blame/ http://gameluster.com/nintendo-acknowledges-switchs-joy-con-sync-issues-manufacturing-error-to-blame/#comments Sun, 26 Mar 2017 19:45:35 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17433 Since previews of and the launch of the Nintendo Switch, media outlets and fans have complained about issues with the system’s Joy-Cons, specifically the left Joy-Con’s tendency to de-sync itself when covered in games like 1-2-Switch.

Nintendo initially addressed these concerns by stating that the number of issues reported were insignificant, and that users should refer to an online consumer support site to help fix these issues. Recommended fixes include keeping the device away from wireless sources, including headsets and other controllers.

However, in a statement provided to IGN, Nintendo has now confirmed that in a small number of units a manufacturing variation caused wireless interference in the left Joy-Con. It states that there is not a design fault with the controllers, and that future units will be unaffected.

The statement reads:

“There is no design issue with the Joy-Con controllers, and no widespread proactive repair or replacement effort is underway. A manufacturing variation has resulted in wireless interference with a small number of the left Joy-Con. Moving forward this will not be an issue, as the manufacturing variation has been addressed and corrected at the factory level… 

“There are other reasons consumers may be experiencing wireless interference. We are asking consumers to contact our customer support team so we can help them determine if a repair is necessary. If it is, consumers can send their controller directly to Nintendo for the adjustment, free of charge, with an anticipated quick return of less than a week. Repair timing may vary by region.  For help with any hardware or software questions, please visit http://support.nintendo.com/.”

Additionally, a report by CNET shows that Nintendo’s fix adds a piece of foam into the controller. In any case, this is good news for Switch owners experiencing issues.

Nintendo also confirmed that they will be doubling Switch production to meet consumer demand, so it is all the more good that future units will be unaffected by this issue.

Have you been affected by the left Joy-Con desync issue? Was this holding you back from purchasing a Switch? Let us know in the comments.

]]> http://gameluster.com/nintendo-acknowledges-switchs-joy-con-sync-issues-manufacturing-error-to-blame/feed/ 3 Xbox Games With Gold Revealed For April http://gameluster.com/xbox-games-with-gold-revealed-for-april/ Sun, 26 Mar 2017 19:06:19 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17454 As another month draws to a close, Microsoft has announced the games that will be coming to the Xbox One and Xbox 360 for next month’s Games with Gold. Among the lineup are some big-name games that will appeal to a variety of people across the two systems.

Xbox One owners will be able to get a hold of system launch title Ryse: Son of Rome. This game did not grab the attention of consumers when it launched back in 2013, and while critics did praise the games’ graphics they were not impressed by most of the gameplay. Ryse: Son of Rome will be available from April 1st to April 30th.

In the latter half of the month, Telltale’s The Walking Dead: Season Two will be made available. This season was praised for improving the storytelling from the original season and continuing the story of Clementine while maintaining the same level of heart and drama. Telltale’s The Walking Dead will be available from April 16th to May 15th.

Xbox 360 players can look forward to Darksiders, a game that has been highly praised for its gameplay. It will be available from April 1st to April 15th. In the second half of the month, players can step into the closing chapter of Ezio Auditore’s journey in Assassin’s Creed Revelations, which will be available from April 16th to April 30th.

Remember that all Xbox 360 games are backwards compatible with the Xbox One.

Don’t forget Layers of Fear and Evolve are currently available on the Xbox One, and Heavy Weapon is avaialble for the Xbox 360. Pick these up before you miss out.

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The Good and The Bad in Shadow of Mordor http://gameluster.com/the-good-and-the-bad-in-shadow-of-mordor/ Sun, 26 Mar 2017 03:27:53 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17408 In 2014, Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment published Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, what I think was a magnificent game. It had been a long time since fans of JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of The Rings had had a chance to experience a game set in Middle-earth. Now with Middle-earth: Shadow of War being announced, I decided to make a list of things I loved and things I felt could have been better in Shadow of Mordor. 

1. Orc Ranking System (a positive): This was one of the most intriguing enemy systems I have encountered in any game. There was no enemy that didn’t matter in Shadow of Mordor. If any orc in the game killed you they would instantly be promoted through the ranks and gain a leadership role. The orc that killed you would also remember you if you encountered it again and would say something along the lines of “Come back for more?” or “I thought I took care of you the last time!” This made the game feel unique from most other, similar games. I hope for this same kind of feature in Shadow of War.

orc-ranks

 

2. Repetition (a negative): Shadow of Mordor felt way too predictable by the time you had reached the halfway point in the game. The first half of the game had you find and kill all five war-chiefs. The second half, lo and behold, consists of you finding another five war-chiefs, but this time you have to take control of their minds. Now, I loved spending all day slaughtering masses of orcs, but there was no compelling point to it all because the story was so repetitive. In Shadow of War, I hope for a more expansive plot line.

Warchief

3. Lack of Distinguishable Areas (a negative): Everywhere you go in Shadow of Mordor feels very similar to the last place you went. It is quite difficult to distinguish one place from the next without the use of the map. Shadow of War needs more distinguishable environments, as in Skyrim. When you walk from the snowy mountains of Winterhold to the lush farmlands of Whiterun, you can see the change in the environment. Shadow of War needs to incorporate this sense of variety.

map

4.Free Run” and Combat Mechanics (positives with one slight negative): While running around Shadow of Mordor I was never bored. The free-run mechanics allow you access to almost any ledge in the game. I never had to spend a lot of time finding a way around a cliff as there was almost always a way to climb up it. It felt like playing Assassins Creed at times, but with a much quicker and stronger character.

The combat was one of the most enjoyable things about Shadow of Mordor. I could run around for hours just fighting orcs without completing any of the main questline and still enjoy myself because the combat was that good. The only annoying part about the combat was that you had to use quicktime events to kill stronger orcs or warchiefs . While quicktime events are enjoyable for awhile, they get very repetitive and ease the challenge of killing the larger enemies.

I hope that Shadow of War keeps the free-run mechanics exactly as they were, but I would like there to a few less quicktime events with regards to the combat system.

LOTRsom

5. Sauron (a negative): Not getting to engage in an epic battle with one of the most well-known villains in all of book, movie and video game lore annoyed me more than anything. I spent the whole game killing all of the war-chiefs in a desperate attempt to square off with the one enemy I had wanted to battle with in a video game ever since I was five years old and picked up my first controller: Sauron. But, I had to find out that there is no battle with him. There is downloadable content that has a fight with him, but you are a different character. This does not carry the same weight fighting him in the main game as your regular character would have.

Please, Warner Bros., I beg you: let me square off with Sauron in Shadow of War.

Sauron

Shadow of War has a lot to live up to, but if Warner Bros. puts the same type of work into it as they put into Shadow of Mordor, I have no doubt it will live up to the expectations. With just a few tweaks, Warner Bros. could potentially turn Shadow of War into one of the finest games of our generation.

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Fire Emblem Echoes Launching With Special Edition http://gameluster.com/fire-emblem-echoes-launching-with-special-edition/ Sun, 26 Mar 2017 02:16:31 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17403 Nintendo recently announced that Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows Of Valentia will be launching alongside a limited edition on May 19th in North America and May 20th in Australia. The Australian and North American limited edition bundle will include the game, a hardcover art book, a sound selection CD, a pin set depicting characters Alm, Celica and Marth as well as a reversible cover sheet that resembles the packaging of the original Famicom game. The UK version of the bundle includes the Alm and Celica amiibo figures on top of everything else. For those not in the UK, the Alm and Celica amiibo figures will be also be coming on launch day.

The limited edition bundle will be available at Gamestop for $59.99 in North America and at EB Games Australia for $99.95. It’s safe to assume that these will sell pretty quickly, so be sure to secure yourself a copy if you are interested.

For what you get with the bundle, the higher price tag is reasonable. I think that the extra money is worth it but I have been prone to buy limited edition bundles for no good reason. I’m interested in the game itself, though, and I’m sure the limited edition items will be great additions to my collection.

Do you guys think the extra money is worth it? Let us know in the comments.

 

 

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Soda Dungeon Review http://gameluster.com/soda-dungeon-review/ Fri, 24 Mar 2017 00:54:04 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17421 Soda Dungeon is the free mobile game now released on Steam you didn’t know you needed. Now, don’t click back just yet. I know how awful that sounds and I, too, have been burned a few times by mobile games on Steam. But publisher Armor Games and Developer Afro-Ninja got their start on Newgrounds back in the day and have consistently pumped out great games. Armor Games holds a lot of water in the indie scene, and Soda Dungeon is another testament to their production of top-quality content for free.

Soda Dungeon started on mobile, released for iOS on October 7th, 2015, and Android on November 12th, 2015. The Steam release came February 7th this year. For a free game it is impressive to see no pay walls, no ads, no annoying timers, and optional purchases that I haven’t had to use yet. While some upgrades for your in-game bar are quite high, it’s more fun to play the game the way it is meant to be played instead of just dropping a wad of cash to upgrade. You may beat the game without spending a dime, but you might be tempted to pony up for developers who have gone out of their way to create a fantastic game for their customers.

screen3

Enough gushing over the developers and producers. What about the game itself?

It plays identical to its counterpart on mobile, but I enjoy it much more on my laptop. It’s one of those perfect time-waster games to distract you while at work or while busy doing other stuff. I call it a “Podcast Game”, one I can play while catching up on my favorite podcasts. The controls are simple because it only uses the mouse. You may also automate the action in the dungeons. It’s been convenient for me to load up my team of adventurers with the best gear I’ve come across and send them into a dungeon while I get up from my desk and do something else. You can play it like a regular dungeon-crawling, turn-based RPG if you wish, but that’s not the point. The main draw of the game is to upgrade your soda shop with bigger and better items and additional services so that you can attract bigger and badder fighters and adventurers to collect more loot to continue to advance your soda shop. It’s a vicious cycle of satisfaction.

There is also a mode called “Arena”. In this, you pick three adventures and equip them with the best possible gear, then pit them against three other adventurers for ten levels to win a specific amount of gold. It’s another enjoyable but low-commitment way to pass the time in Soda Dungeon.

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The graphics are every ones’ favorite style: pixel art. True, this is a graphical style that has become overused and tiresome, even after the downright beauty of Fate Tectonics’ visuals. But it’s forgiven here, as the pixel art in Soda Dungeon is fantastic. It was designed by very talented people who clearly cared about their art.

Now, as more than half the indie titles I own on Steam are all beautifully crafted with 8 or 16-bit pixel art, there are only so many times I can comment how gorgeous the style is. For those of you who are still in love with this graphics style , Soda Dungeon has you covered – it may remind you of another pixel-art great, Overture.

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The music and sound in Soda Dungeon is serviceable. There is nothing either breathtaking or grating. I’m sure most people turn it off and put on something else, anyway. There is no voice acting or heavy story lines to follow, and, like I wrote above, this is a perfect podcast game.

Overall Soda Dungeon is a great game to waste time on. From upgrading your soda shop with different types of sodas (which unlock new adventurers for you to hire), to gaining additions such as a wizard and a blacksmith, or adding beds, tables, chairs, soda casks, decorations, kitchens, or a bank vault to your shop, and then seeing all this add to your soda shop’s reputation, which in turn adds more funds and items for you to equip your adventurers with, so they can get you better loot, so you can get more upgrades and add-ons for your soda shop, to everything else in the game’s fun cycle, the gameplay is pure gold. It sounds repetitive – and it is – but that’s not a bad thing. Soda dungeon is a niche game I can’t recommend for everyone but if what I’ve said has intrigued you you should give it a try.

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Arms Trailers Show Off Characters and Weapons http://gameluster.com/new-arms-trailers-shows-off-characters-and-weapons/ Wed, 22 Mar 2017 03:09:14 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17381 Sometime this Spring, Nintendo is set to bring Switch owners a new kind of fighting game: Arms.

Arms will have some interesting and diverse characters and weapons. A new trailer details each characters’ general abilities:

Spring Man is your standard all around character. When dashing he builds up a shockwave which is able to repel attacks. At low health Spring Man will have permanent access to charge attacks, which will allow players to make a comeback even when circumstances are dire.

Ribbon Girl is your agile character, capable of constantly performing mid-air jumps. She is also capable of a quick drop maneuver which can help dodge an opponents’ aerial attack.

Ninjara has the ability to create a smoke screen when he uses his air dash ability. This will allow him to vanish temporarily. Ninjara can warp while guarding to further dodge attacks, and then come in for his own.

Master Mummy – a mummy – is capable of taking hits while not being pushed back. This allows him to push towards opponents with ease. He can also restore his health by guarding – obviously, a perk of being a mummy.

Mechanica is a heavyweight character who has the ability to hover in mid-air thanks to her robotic suit. She is also difficult to stun, similar to Master Mummy, but with less stun resistance.

A weapons trailer was also released:

Toaster looks like a standard boxing glove, but when charged they catch fire and can set opponents on fire. When hit by this, opponents will take a lot of damage and will always get knocked down. This is true even for Master Mummy.

Megaton is a metal ball that is capable of dealing large chunks of damage, but is quite slow. When charged up, it gets bigger, making it hard for opponents to dodge and allowing one to knock back enemy hits with relative ease.

Sparky looks like a yellow boxing glove that, when charged, fills with electricity. This allows you to stun your opponent and go in for further attacks.

Boomerang acts like a standard boomerang. You can throw these around obstacles to hit opponents by guiding them, and can charge these to blow opponents away when they are hit.

Revolver allows players to shoot opponents from a distance with three quick shots, and when charged will stun the opponent. However, the bullets fired from this weapon are easily deflected.

Slapamander is a giant hand ready to be thrown around like a whip with a wide arc. When charged, the Slapamander ignites and will deal more damage.

You can mix all the weapons around. By this, you can find a combination that suits you from a wide variety.

Are you excited to try out these characters and weapons? Are you looking forward to playing Arms? Let us know in the comments.

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Activision returns to its roots with 2017 Call of Duty http://gameluster.com/activision-going-back-to-its-roots-with-2017-instalment-of-call-of-duty/ http://gameluster.com/activision-going-back-to-its-roots-with-2017-instalment-of-call-of-duty/#comments Tue, 21 Mar 2017 02:35:59 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17378 The Call of Duty franchise has been going for fourteen long years, with annual releases since 2007. This year, Activision has excited Call of Duty fans all over the world by announcing that the 2017 installment of the series will take the game “back to its roots.”

Thomas Tippl, the chief operating officer at Activision, was speaking at a conference with investors and said about the lack of success with Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare: “It’s clear that, for a portion of our audience, the space setting just didn’t resonate … We have a passionate, experienced studio deeply committed to this direction, and despite the risks we saw, we believe it is important to consider the passions of our game teams in deciding what content to create.”

Tippl continued, making it clear that Activision does have Call of Duty fans’ best interests at heart: “”In 2017, Activision will take Call of Duty back to its roots and traditional combat will once again take center stage. This is what our dedicated community of Call of Duty players and Sledgehammer Games, which has been developing this year’s title, are the most excited about.”

Call of Duty revolutionized the first person shooter genre of games, but fans of the series are tired of how futuristic it has become. It is refreshing that Activision is willing to admit that the “new and innovative” approach of Infinite Warfare has not been getting the expected support from longstanding fans and that they are willing to go back to what made them successful originally. The Call of Duty community is excited again.

 

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Middle-Earth: Shadow of War Announced, Gameplay Revealed http://gameluster.com/middle-earth-shadow-of-war-announced-gameplay-revealed/ Tue, 21 Mar 2017 02:30:30 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17371 Middle-earth fans rejoice!

Warner Bros. has officially announced a sequel to 2014’s critically acclaimed hit Shadow of Mordor, Middle-earth: Shadow of War. It will be released on August 22 in the US, August 23 in Australia and August 25 in Europe, and will be available on PS4 (including PS4 Pro), Xbox One (including Project Scorpio), Steam and Windows 10 (where it will be an Xbox Play Anywhere title).

Shadow of War is being developed by the team from the original, Monolith Software, and will once again feature an original story set in the Middle-earth universe between the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. From an official press release on the announcement: “In Middle-earth: Shadow of War, players wield a new Ring of Power and confront the deadliest of enemies, including Sauron and his Nazgul, in a monumental battle for Middle-earth.”

The award-winning Nemesis System from the original is also making a comeback, and has been further expanded for the sequel. From the press release:

“This robust personalisation system from the first game is now applied to the entire world where the environments and characters are all shaped by player actions and decisions, creating a personal world unique to every gameplay experience. Shadow of War expands on the Nemesis System with the introduction of Followers who bring about entirely new stories of loyalty, betrayal and revenge. The Nemesis System is also expanded to create a unique personal world through Nemesis Fortresses, which allows players to utilise different strategies to conquer dynamic strongholds and create personalised worlds with their unique Orc army.”

Warner Bros. have also released a 16 minute gameplay reveal trailer, showing Talion and his Orc army taking down one of the aforementioned Nemesis Fortresses. It is revealed in the trailer that Talion will also be able to dominate, ride and fight with drakes (dragons). Talion is shown dominating an enemy drake and using it to firebomb enemy catapult emplacements to ease the pressure on his army. Check it out below:

Let us know what you think in the comments.

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Indie Review: Fate Tectonics http://gameluster.com/indie-review-fate-tectonics/ Sun, 19 Mar 2017 05:32:58 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17316 Every so often you play a game that immediately grabs you, throws you into something strange and wonderful, and never lets go. It has been a long time since I played a game that I’m still thinking about even when I’m not playing it. Lying in bed last night after playing a few hours of Golden Gear Games’ Fate Tectonics, I was still rotating land pieces in my head to fit in the right order and appease the gods. I have not experienced this same sensation since playing Tetris as a child. This is a puzzle game unlike anything I’ve ever played and solidifies my deep love for the indie gaming scene from which it comes.

First, the pixel art. Just the other day I discussed with a friend how tired I was of pixel art, believing it is overused and a gimmick that mediocre indie developers use to trick you into buying their game. Fate Tectonics has revitalized my love for 16-bit style indie games. The amount of hours the developers must have spent making the art for this game are innumerable. Every pixel is beautifully hand-crafted – it’s absolutely perfect.

The music, too, is beautifully done, and is a 16-bit symphonic soundtrack. The music is gentle as you’re world building and becomes hectic as any “god” gets unhappy (more on this below). It fits well, never gets old, and will get stuck in your head.

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Fate Tectonics consists of two major gameplay features: world building and god appeasing. Of the many game modes, I have spent the bulk of my time playing “Serenity”, the most accessible.

Every god has their likes and dislikes and you must find a happy medium for all of them. You start out in Serenity mode by placing down the temple of Penelope, the god of civilization. From there, land masses spring up and you are given land tiles to place down. Your goal with the land tiles is to connect all of the sides to other connecting sides. You’ll have a four by four tile that is sectioned off into four distinct pieces of land (Grass, Water, Mountain, and Trees) and you must find a part of your world where each of those pieces match. Water connects with water, grass connects with grass, and so on.

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On top of all the land connecting, you also have to think about the gods who are floating about your screen. Penelope loves towns, boats, and grassy plains, but Barnacles, the god of the ocean, hates boats and loves the sea. You must balance placing boats to appease Penelope with adding ocean tiles to appease Barnacles. Now, throw in about five more gods you have to appease while quickly trying to match tiles of land together, and you have a cornucopia of puzzle game euphoria.

As you successfully place tile pieces and raise the satisfaction levels of your gods you “level up”. When this happens you are given either the ability to unlock a new temple to add to your world, new land tiles, new land swapping abilities, shrines, or other upgrades. This gives you a “carrot on a stick” to chase, as any similar game does with upgrade trees, and enhances an already addictive game.

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In addition to Serenity, there are three other modes. The first one you’ll be introduced to is “Tutyr”. In this mode, the tutorial god teaches you the information you will need to play the game. I found myself going back to him frequently to make sure I understood the concept for some of the more complex abilities that you unlock.

The “Ragnarosa and Fortuna” mode is for more advanced players and has you attempt gaining Fortuna’s favor while staving off Ragnarosa’s rage as you travel through all the games’ ages. If you can’t get enough of trying to please the gods in Serenity mode but want a bit more of a challenge with an ever-swinging axe always looming over your world, this is the game mode for you.

Finally, there is Custom Mode. The god “Travissty” lets you make your own rules for the kind of game you want to play. It is a great mode that I’ve had fun experimenting in, but I prefer Serenity mode.

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After a few hours Fate Tectonics becomes repetitive, but just like Tetris you find yourself crawling back to it. I had been playing so many indie games that all of the indie scene began to feel stale, but Fate Tectonics brought my interest back at warp speed. I do not think there is a game out there that can please everyone but Fate Tectonics comes close. I recommend it more so than any other indie game I’ve played, even as a world-builder game – I adore Sid Meier’s Civilization but wouldn’t recommend it to many people I know because it would not be for them. But almost anyone can find something to enjoy in Fate Tectonics.

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Resident Evil 7, Biohazard: Review http://gameluster.com/resident-evil-7-biohazard-review/ Sun, 19 Mar 2017 03:25:59 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17279 Resident Evil 7 does a brilliant job of going back to its roots and incorporating all of the features which made Resident Evil such a successful franchise in the first place. This game expertly blends the aspects of horror with an enthralling story. The game does take on a first person view rather than a third person like in the originals, but in my opinion, this makes the game feel that bit scarier as you don’t have the ability to know whats on each side of you at all times. The game goes back to carefully creeping around corners and searching every nook and cranny for collectable items that will aid your experience later in the game. Safe rooms are also nicely integrated into the game for a break in the never ending feeling of sheer dread as you roam around the Baker family home. Gone are the days where Resident Evil was turning into a fast paced action shooter and in its place comes a game that is not perfect but has begun to make the necessary adjustments to get itself back to where it needs to be.

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Set in probably the most terrifying area since the Spencer Mansion, Resident Evil Biohazard instantly catapults you into a world of horrifying mystery with tantalising puzzles that need to be solved as you go along. Nothing in the game feels unneeded, I never went to get an item or completed a puzzle that I felt had no bearing on the actual story. One of the smaller problems for me was the physics of the game. For example one simple cut in a door would make it shatter into a million pieces. This took away from how scary certain parts of the game should have been. This was only a minor problem though and things like this only happened once or twice throughout the whole story. The one thing I think this Resident Evil did superbly well was make the house feel like somewhere that people actually lived rather than just some giant hollowed out maze. The photographs and viewable items scattered all around the house made you feel like you were truly apart of this story that was unfolding in front of your eyes.

Resident Evil

There were sadly not enough enemies in the game for my liking. While the game did have me constantly on the edge of my seat, I knew that the only enemies I would ever encounter would be either the Baker family or these disgusting demonic creatures seemingly made out of a substance which is scattered all around the house. After encountering the creatures a few times, they did lose their scary aspect and by the end of the game I was strolling around shooting them for fun without actually feeling like they were causing me any trouble. The Baker family however, are brilliantly portrayed. Every single encounter with them is different and I was never once locked in battle with any of them without feeling utterly terrified that I was going to die any second. Each time you fought one of the Bakers they would be weak to a certain weapon in your inventory and the game left you to fumble around trying to find the right combination of weapons to fight with, while also scrambling around small congested areas trying to not get your guts ripped out by the crazed Bakers.Resident-Evil-7-Top-700x393

The game was not horribly challenging to get through and never was I in a boss fight or roaming an area that I felt completely out of my depth in. In saying this however, the game does a good job of punishing you if you do get lazy in boss fights. For example while fighting one of the Bakers the chainsaw I was using ran out of power and I failed to realise this until he was half through cutting me into a million tiny pieces. Some of the puzzles in the game while they were always fun to do, felt a bit overly simplistic, particularly the shadow puzzles. One of the Bakers also seemingly just disappears before the end of the game which, did leave me a little bit annoyed. Without ruining any of the storyline, the ending does leave a bit to be desired and does feel slightly lazy but it is not significant enough of a fault to take too much away from my overall enjoyment of the game. As a whole, Capcom has done a good job of creating a game that brings back all of its old features that once made the series great, while also integrating some new ideas to keep the series moving forward. It is a rare occurrence that I sit down to play through the relatively short storylines that survival horror games tend to have and am thoroughly drawn in by the story. Resident Evil 7 kept me constantly on edge and also made me never want to put the controller down as I wanted to find out all there was to know about the mysterious Baker family. Even now after playing through its roughly 8 hour story, I would happily go back and do it all again to get all of the achievements on offer, which I believe is a clear sign of a very good game. My overall experience with this game was thrilling and I can’t wait to sit down and experience it all over again.

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Microsoft Announces the Xbox Live Creators Program http://gameluster.com/microsoft-announces-the-xbox-live-creators-program/ Sun, 19 Mar 2017 02:52:31 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17302 At the recent Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, Microsoft announced the Xbox Live Creators Program. In theory it lets any developer that wants to create an Xbox Live-enabled indie game, to do just that. With the recent fall of Steam Greenlight and the current state that Steam Early Access is in, it concerns me for whats to come. Then again we’ve seen GOG deliver a great platform for indie games. Here’s to hoping Microsoft has studied both of those platforms and paid attention to whats worked and what hasn’t worked thus far.

Independent Games @ Xbox was announced way back in 2013, with the main idea being that anyone with a good pitch would receive two Xbox Development Kits to produce games for both Windows and Xbox. Microsoft has finally gone through with this program and  most companies have already found success with it. As someone who’s deep into the indie gaming pool, I welcome this with open arms. As long as they use real quality control and don’t just open up the flood gates, they are giving a much needed platform for Indie developers to sell their finished products. This could lead to exposure for new and amazing studios, companies that are right now currently floundering in Steams Early Access.

Microsoft has worked hard to make sure that its much easier to integrate Xbox Live with the Xbox Live Creators Software Developers Kits. They are currently boasting about the following features:

  • Integration with Xbox Live Social
  • Use of both GameDVR and Beam Broadcast
  • Xbox Live leader boards and stats
  • Title Storage/Connected Storage
  • Xbox Live Sign-in, profile, and Gamertag
  • And finally a real presence on Xbox Live with activity feeds that feature recently played titles

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So with the proven success of Independent Games @ Xbox, the awesome store front that GOG currently has, Steam finally listening to the consumer by axing Greenlight. With this exciting announcement, there is a lot to be excited for in the world of indie gaming. Every day more and more eyes are on the indie world and the genre is ever growing as people discover experiences they’ve never had in gaming before. I’m not ready to throw up my hands and declare this a touch down because we’ve all seen Microsoft take great ideas and present us with a broken product or what is very obviously a non-consumer friendly product. I’m optimistic and hopeful but very cautious with my excitement at the same time.

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Turok 2 Remaster Released http://gameluster.com/turok-2-remaster-released/ Sat, 18 Mar 2017 21:36:58 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17350 Night Dive Studios’ remastered version of Turok 2: Seeds of Evil has been released on GOG and Steam. The remaster comes with several improvements, such as the ability to save anywhere, new and enhanced visuals, and improved enemy AI.

The game has six worlds, over twenty weapons, and online multiplayer. The game can be played online via Steam, GOG Galaxy, LAN, or direct IP. Split-screen can also be played over network multiplayer. A new game mode, “Last Turok Standing”, has been added.

Bugs have been reported for the game by users on GOG and Steam. These include crashes, graphical errors, framerate drops, and others. For more information, see the game’s community pages at GOG and Steam.

Turok 2 was originally released in 1998 for the Nintendo 64 and PC. It is a first-person shooter starring the dinosaur slayer Turok, with large maps that task players with different objectives to complete and that involve exploration and backtracking. Enemies include standard dinosaurs and mutant dinosaur hybrids. The game met critical and commercial success and was followed up with Turok: Rage Wars and Turok 3: Shadow of Oblivion.

Turok 2 and its predecessor, Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, were both developed by Iguana Entertainment and published by Acclaim Studios. Night Dive Studios released a remaster of Turok: Dinosaur Hunter in 2015, also available on Steam and GOG. 

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2Dark Review http://gameluster.com/2dark-review/ http://gameluster.com/2dark-review/#comments Fri, 17 Mar 2017 02:50:30 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17330 2Dark is a tasteless turd of a game from Gloomywood and Bigben Interactive that shines as an example of how not to design a top-down stealth and shooter hybrid. The gameplay is neither fun nor satisfying, the mechanics are sloppy, the story tasteless, and the atmosphere empty. A poorly designed save system on top of all this makes 2Dark really too bad.

The gameplay consists of moving, sneaking, shooting, and looting. None of these activities is fun in 2Dark. Facing from the top-down view, you move the main character, Detective Smith, and may enable stealthy movement by holding the left trigger button (L2) in the PS4 version of the game. This is where user-friendliness ends, as the rest of the controls in 2Dark will cause you to fumble around needlessly.

The first annoying control scheme is for the inventory. It is displayed, in real-time, at the left-hand of the screen. You may select items while in game by using the directional buttons, and to equip an item, you press the triangle button once it is highlighted. To use weapons, you then press the right trigger (R2) button. There is a dichotomy between left-hand and right-hand items, but the game never explains this clearly. I gleaned the flashlight is a left-hand item and any weapon a right-hand item. Holding down the left or right bumper buttons (L1 and R1) brings up circular menus through which you may select an item for either hand. It was hard to discern which hand was holding what item, though, as the graphics are nondescript. Indeed, it is difficult to discern most if not all details in 2Dark.

One inventory feature is that you can combine items. To reload a gun, you must select ammo from the inventory and combine it with a weapon.  A reload button or an automatic reload would have been preferable. The process of reloading is not the only needless hurdling 2Dark requires.

Using keys is another aspect that forces players to jump hoops. Once you have a key to a locked door, you must equip the key—holding it—in order to unlock the door. This means finding the key in the inventory panel, selecting it, and pressing triangle to equip it—all while enemies may be behind you about to shoot. Having keys as a separate item type to select while holding a gun or having keys automatically unlock doors would have been more convenient.

Inconvenience and annoyance in game mechanics stretches further. There is no indication of aim while firing a weapon, and it is difficult to know, when opening crates, if you have actually looted it or not. No highlights or other indicators come on-screen, and the sounds associated with looting are not distinct. There is no satisfying smash, click, or creak whereby you feel the joy of looting. In 2Dark it’s more a perfunctory “You just looted something…maybe.”

Items that go into your inventory are picked up by touching them. Objects, like the bodies of slain enemies, are picked up and carried by pressing “X”. It would be simpler if all items and objects were picked up by pressing X. I kept pressing X when I did not need to, and often wondered if what I was facing required me to press X to interact with it or if just touching it should work. The game was never clear on this. And automatically picking up items you touch may cause deep frustration. In one level, picking up a type of item sets off an alarm. As I walked through a dark area, the alarm suddenly sounded, and I had had no indication that I had been about to pick up said item. In the darkness I must have brushed up against it.

You rarely receive reasonable indications of what is going on in 2Dark. Not far in the first level, I died suddenly. With annoying death ambiance blaring through my headphones, on-screen text imparted that I had been impaled. “Impaled, you say?” I wanted to ask, as I had seen nothing to be impaled on. But a tiny, indiscernible graphic on screen, that could just as easily have been a grain of rice as a spike, had indeed impaled me. I would have appreciated some forewarning, but 2Dark cautions you as much as a “Road Closed” sign right at the point of construction.

Frequent, sudden deaths, due to impalement or falling down a pit that you cannot see, would have been remedied by a solid save system. 2Dark is too good for such a feature. Though the game menu has a “Load Game” selection, there is no “Save Game” selection. Such a setup is not unprecedented, and it does not make a game bad, but 2Dark handles saving such that there might as well have been a “Save Game” option.

To save the game you have to smoke. This means selecting either your lighter or your cigarette case in the inventory and combining the two. As Detective Smith proceeds to smoke, the game world continues in action. So as the very words “Saving Game” appear on screen, an enemy can chance by you and kill you. There is an option to cancel the save while the game is saving. Perhaps since it takes so long to save some players may give up and prefer losing their progress to waiting for Smith to finish his smoke. As there is only one save file, never choose to save at the wrong time. (But you should never choose to play this game in the first place anyway.)

This hurdle to saving is needless. In games wherein you save by interacting with objects in the game world, like in Resident Evil, there is a method to the madness as limited items, like ink ribbons, are used. In these cases, the intent of the developers is clear: whether you like it or not, ration your saves. But in 2Dark, as both cigarettes and lighter fluid are infinite, there is no rationing, and so no point to selecting inventory items and watching an on-screen animation in order to save.

There also is no auto-save. Occasionally, Detective Smith opines for a smoke, which is your only reminder to save manually. As the game’s instruction screen indicates, smoking is bad for your health, but you better light one every time Smith feels for it, or you will be restarting levels often (and likely quitting the game often, too).

 

So 2Dark’s gameplay and mechanics are below average. As for the story and atmosphere, both are depressing (as the game’s title implies). Darkness in theme can be done well, and when done well it works, however repulsive it may be. It is not done well in 2Dark, thus all the sordid content in the game comes off as tasteless.

The game opens with Detective Smith’s ill-fated camping trip in which his wife is murdered and children kidnapped. Years later, Smith still believes that his children are alive. A newspaper excerpt you may pick up and read reveals that Smith was dismissed from the police department, and so now he operates rogue. His quest, and the premise of each mission, is to track down kidnapped children and free them, and by proxy find the kidnappers who abducted his own children.

How this is handled in each mission feels dirty. Not far into the first mission—an abandoned carnival (yippee)—you learn, from a prompt, that you may use candy to attract children’s attention. When you pick up your first piece of candy, you learn further that candy may be used to speed up children’s movement as they follow you. True, you are the good guy, and true, kids like candy (everyone does, really), but it feels wrong equipping or throwing candy to get kids to follow you. Creepers using candy to lure children is a thing. It is a tasteless mechanic.

There is also the option to get children’s attention by yelling. Doing so over a small radius likely won’t attract enemies’ attention, but also requires you be very close to the children for them to hear. Doing so over a large radius does vice versa (think Olimar’s whistling from Pikmin). This, like candy-luring, feels creepy, as Detective Smith’s “Come on” audible could not sound more predatory. A pleasant “Let’s go” or “Follow me” would have been much better.

Note that in game the imprisoned children wail and sob. Hearing a child crying constantly as you plot a way to sneak by an enemy or pass some other obstacle (like a barred door) is not enjoyable. This point ties in with my earlier one about darkness—done well, a dark ploy such as rescuing sobbing children could work. But while grappling with the clunky mechanics of 2Dark and digesting its unsavory content, hearing a terrible crying noise is only aggravating.

Aggravating more so is some of the dialogue you will read. Some of the enemies say uncomfortable lines on child kidnapping, and the characters you encounter are mostly disgusting. In the abandoned carnival level, you meet a deranged clown who uses kidnapped children in his personal circus acts. Deranged characters like these can appropriately drive a narrative. You meet plenty of deranged people in Bioshock, but its design is of such caliber that it works. Tasteless dark content in a clunky game like 2Dark is always off-putting.

 

Atmospheric ambiance—essential for any game with stealth or a dark story—is either poorly done or absent in 2Dark. The ambient music is not terrible, but neither is it memorable. It also sets in and stops abruptly, causing several odd quiet moments where there is no background sound. What you will hear at almost every second is Detective Smith saying “hm”, which he does whenever he notices something. If nothing else, 2Dark likely sets a record for number of times “hm” is muttered in a game.

The visuals save nothing in 2Dark’s thematic mess. Ugly and blocky, the game is an eyesore, with no nostalgic charm in its style to merit the low quality graphics. Some of the additional visuals in the game are well below average, such as the photo you find early on of Smith and his family in a canoe that has no sense of proportion. There is no style to the game’s graphics or its hand-drawn characters—all is either drab or ugly, like an artistic vacuum.

In 2Dark clunky gameplay and mechanics, a needlessly involving save feature, and tasteless thematic material combine. In other words, it is not a game you want to play or purchase. Do yourself a favor and stay away from this one, lest it abduct your time away and leave you crying like the poor children in game.

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1-2 Switch Review http://gameluster.com/1-2-switch-review/ Fri, 17 Mar 2017 01:15:06 +0000 http://gameluster.com/?p=17071 Wii Sports helped promote the Wii, allowing people to understand the ideas behind the console and encouraging people to play with friends and family. As such, it proved the benefit of a key release that demonstrates the features of a new console. Nintendo may have failed to properly communicate this with the Wii U and Nintendo Land, but they have certainly come back stronger with the key game of their newest console, 1-2 Switch.

Nintendo proves time and again that they understand the nature of games. Their constant focus with their consoles and their games is the fun value and this element is on display at its best with 1-2 Switch. This game is all about the benefits of playing with another person, to face one another without the boundaries and restrictions created by common game practices and, instead, to face each other directly and watch each other’s movements.

Want to feel awkward while playing a game? Well, you may find a way with 1-2 Switch, as it is one of the most awkward experiences that can be played. As you do an activity getting told to “look deep into each other’s eyes” is incredibly uncomfortable. Yet this experience is also part of the game’s appeal – you are given tasks to perform that continually alter the gameplay.

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Despite its obvious focus on being a proof of concept, 1-2 Switch is a fun game to play. However, there is nothing that will make people want to come back past initial play sessions, and the game’s limited accessibility for single players hinders its value. 1-2 Switch is a game that will quickly be forgotten as much greater multiplayer experiences come. But for now, 1-2 Switch has the potential to make people smile with its unique fun and awkward gameplay.

1-2 Switch features twenty eight different activities for players to enjoy, with most of them taking only two minutes maximum to complete. From the highly advertised quick draw and cow milking, to other oddities including safe cracking and runway walking, there is no shortage of game options offering their own sense of fun, even if it is just to put a smile on someone’s face.

Each activity begins with a charming tutorial video. In these you get to see real people performing the actions for the game (and they are clearly having fun). These tutorials explain each games’ concept well and also offer a good laugh. The tutorial actor’s enjoyment is intoxicating, adding to the joy that comes when you start up each game.

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The main function of 1-2 Switch is, similar to Wii Sports and the Wii, to show off how the controls technology can be implemented into different gaming experiences. This is apparent from a selection of these games.

“Ball Count” has the player moving the Joy-Con to simulate balls moving in a box with the controller rumbling whenever they hit the edge. Similarly, in “Sneaky Dice” the controller rumbles to indicate the number that your opponent rolled. These games do a great job at telegraphing these mechanics and how they can be used in different ways.

“HD Rumble” offers more humorous demonstrations that embrace the games quirky nature. “Shave” has two players using the Joy-Cons to win a shaving competition with the controller rumbling to indicate each hair removed being removed. “Soda Shake” has you shaking up a bottle and passing it between players, giving similar rumble feedback.

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1-2 Switch is at its strongest when it embraces its motion controls and players’ imagination. “Sword Fight” tasks players with an imaginary sword fight in which they block each other’s swings by thrusting the controllers in different directions. “Wizard” is reminiscent of the final duel in Harry Potter as players try to force their magic stream towards each other.

The best element of 1-2 Switch is that there is value in playing each game multiple times over, even if it is not the most exciting one. Each game is enjoyable and inspires you to embrace your silly side, whether walking an imaginary runway or having a dance off.

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Just for the simple pleasure of a smile, each game will make you want to play again to see if you can do better. 1-2 Switch will work best at parties with its zany activities that require interpersonal interaction or acting silly.

Multiplayer is the main part of 1-2 Play, but there are two exceptions that, nonetheless, maintain the game’s quirks. “Baby” is one of the more unique games that manages to be any parent’s worst nightmare. In this game you need to cradle the Switch console with the Joy-cons and try to rock a baby to sleep, infuriating crying included. However, for most people who have tried to console a baby in their life this game may feel unnatural without the ability to perform a back rub and gentle hushing.

The other single-player game is “Eating Contest”. This game uses the sensor on the right Joy-Con to track the player’s mouth movements as they emulate eating. This and the baby game can be played alone, but players may still try to outdo each other.

There is satisfaction across all twenty eight games available within this package, and while 1-2 Switch will never reach the popularity of Wii Sports, the amount of smiles that will be born from this farfetched concept cannot be denied. In the long run this game identifies some of the Nintendo Switch’s key ideas to the public, which is great, but there are issues regarding 1-2 Switch‘s long-term appeal. This game feels like something that will be fun for a little while but won’t last longer than a couple of play sessions.

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