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Tuesday, Sep 30



No place for hobbits in Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor's launch trailer, Nemesis System lives

1 comments Rory Young - 4:54pm (PST) Like Share

Thousands of different looking orcs and all of them ugly as sin

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Today's the day, Middle-earth fans. The untold story fit between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings that Tolkien never wrote and probably would make him roll in his grave if h knew about is now available. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor launches today on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One and early buzz is that this game is good. So let Tolkien spin and start enslaving some orcs today, or at least check out this story-based launch trail to see what you're missing out on.

While the story for Shadow of Mordor certainly looks compelling in and of itself, what seems most exciting about the game is its Nemesis System. A way to create an assortment of dynamic AI characters with strengths and weaknesses that change the way how not just every level is played, but how each person will play through that level.

Martin Tremblay, President, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment released the following prepared statement highlighting the Nemesis System:

"Monolith’s goal with the Nemesis System is to push the action genre forward with a unique gameplay mechanic that allows the player to experience Middle-earth in a way that is deeply personal. The team and technology powering the Nemesis System helped us develop an emotional investment between each player and their enemies, which creates a truly memorable gaming experience unlike anything that’s been done before."

I think this may be my favorite Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor trailer yet. I'm surprised they saved it until the end. It covers a broad swathe of the story, teasing what must be a dozen central characters who look just outstanding to meet -- whether with a handshake or a blade. Even Gollum appears briefly, which was a surprise to me. Oh, what grand adventures we'll have with the undead, vengeance seeking Talion.

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is now available on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, with the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of the game delayed into November.

 
 

Pokémon Trading Card Game Online launches today in App Store, play for free with PC/Mac users

5 comments Max Navarro - 4:19pm (PST) Like Share

Pokémon won't pop up in the real world, but this is pretty close

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Alright, Pokémon fans, Game Freak is finally offering an opportunity for the hardest of the hardcore Pokémon masters out there. The online version of the Pokémon Trading Card Game, already playable on both Windows and Mac computers, is currently available across the world for the Apple iPad and iPad Mini. Of course, you can't just whip the tablet out and play locally as if you have the cards in your hand. An internet connection is required, but you will be playing with trainers from all over.

Pokémon Trading Card Game Online offers the chance for anyone to play with anyone around the globe, especially now with the App Store release. By bringing the traditional card game feel and mixing it with Pokémon and quirky attacks, Game Freak is attempting to provide players with a linked, universal card game for kids and adults alike. And hey, who knows? Maybe this app will lead to the training of the next great Pokémon Card Master.

Again, this is a free-to-play download, exclusively for the iPad and iPad Mini. The Pokémon Company's newest app was released on the App Store yesterday, September 29, in Australia, Canada, France, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, so players in those regions may have a head start against the North Americans, who are just getting their first opportunities to pick up the app today.

Categories: Mobile Games
 
 

The Witcher 3 art featuring Triss and Emhyr var Emreis released, wallpapers for Geralt and Yennefer

1 comments Rory Young - 2:39pm (PST) Like Share

He just looks like a stereotypical villain to throw us off, right?

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No, there's unfortunately no news to share regarding The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. That game's still planned to be released in 2015 and that won't be changing. CD Projekt understands that their fanbase is very, very excited about the game though, so they've released some new art to sate our hunger. Two full body pieces feature single characters, each dressed for success and beautifully detailed, are available featuring Triss and Emhyr var Emreis. Accompany the art are two great new wallpapers.

Introducing Emhyr var Emreis, the ruler of an empire towards the south of the Continent. His empire is named Nilfgaard and Emhyr var Emreis is currently taking it to war against the northern kingdoms of the Continent. According to early details it's him that sends Geralt to find the "ashen-haired girl," which is the quest that's we've seen Geralt pursuing in early Witcher 3 demos and gameplay videos. Also known as The White Flame Dancing on the Grave of His Enemies, Geralt better keep a third eye on Emhyr var Emreis. Everyone knows aristocrats who have paintings where they're holding a glass of wine are evil to the core.

Everyone should be much, much more familiar with Triss, who is an old friend and lover of protagonist Geralt. While Triss has previously been teased in trailers, I believe this is the first time we see her geared up for action in The Witcher 3. It's definitely an interesting look; her outfit screams "magic" at me. It also screams not to mess with this lady. I'm sure we'll be seeing much more of Triss in the future.

Both of the wallpapers are rather beautiful. One features Geralt alone unsheathing his sword, and no I'm not trying to imply anything with that. The other features both Geralt and Yennefer, encountering some manner of beast it seems. Here are the links for the 1920 x 1080 versions of each wallpaper:

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will be available on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One starting February 24 in 2015.

      



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Categories: PC Games
 
 

League of Legends meets NBA with Dunkmaster Darius teaser, uses iconic 'dunking' silhouette

4 comments Lydia Sung - 1:02pm (PST) Like Share

You don't want his dunks

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Riot artists are getting clever with their League of Legends teasers. Some new teaser images released today for the upcoming "Dunkmaster Darius" Legendary skin incorporate some iconic NBA imagery featuring the Hand of Noxus. Who knew Darius had such a lovely profile?

Two images posted to the official League of Legends Facebook page show Darius armed with his new weapon and doing what he does best: dunking. Well, one could argue Vi is the true dunkmaster, but until Rito gives her a Dunkmaster skin too, Darius gets to be the MVP. He's also built more for football than basketball, honestly, but who's going to argue with a guy like that? Uhm, no one.

Expect Dunkmaster Darius sometime in the near future, and be sure to keep that 1820 RP handy for his impending arrival.

 
Categories: PC Games
 
 

Monday, Sep 29



Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor's Season Pass trailer details the $25 pack of odds and ends

1 comments Rory Young - 11:04pm (PST) Like (1) Share

I was really hoping for some joke DLC where you fight the Fellowship

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As far as Season Pass content goes, there isn't a single AAA game these days that doesn't put one together. Usually, however, there's at least one single piece of content that really drives players to invest. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor's Season Pass was revealed over a month ago, but today they wanted to send out a reminder with a new trailer. Here's our reminder that despite the $25 price tag, there still doesn't seem to be that one, big selling point for the DLC.

There's still a lot of random DLC in Shadow of Mordor's Season Pass. Players get a grab bag of story, gameplay, customization and content for their purchase. Here's a rundown of what's currently announced, as part of the Season Pass still has yet to be revealed:

  • Story Missions:
    • Guardians of the Flaming Eye Warband Mission: "Face Sauron's elite Defenders before the Black Gate and earn the Rising Flame rune"
    • Lord of the Hunt Story Mission: "Players will gain new skills and earn unique epic runes as they hunt and tame legendary monsters of Mordor"
    • The Bright Lord Story Mission: "Play as Celebrimbor, the great Elven king of the Second Age, and face Sauron and the might of his forces"
  • Early Access to the Trials of War Challenge Modes:
    • Test of Speed Challenge Mode: "You can demonstrate your efficiency in battle and earn high scores for Talion's speed in defeating your foes"
    • Test of Wisdom Challenge Mode: "You can prove your strategic abilities, through earning points for skill, speed and efficiency"
    • Endless Challenge Mode: "This mode will continually spawn new legions of enemies. The runes you will earn will provide powerful upgrades"
  • Future Content:
    • Runes...
    • Skins...
    • Additional Content

If I get this straight, the Season Pass costs $25 for three story missions, early access to content that will otherwise unlock for everyone, and then random skins and runes? I'm not a gambling man, so I'm not so sure I'd put down almost half the price of the full game without the promise of some really special, meaningful content coming up. Then again, some people just enjoy supporting the products they love no matter the content. This one might be for them

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor launches tomorrow, or in most people's case today, on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, with Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 releases pushed into November.

 
 

Character creation in Dragon Age: Inquisition trailer teases each race, from beards to horns

7 comments Rory Young - 9:07pm (PST) Like Share

How could they not show the dwarven beard options? How!?

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Dwarf, qunari, human or elf, each player will make their very own Inquisitor protagonist at the start of Dragon Age: Inquisition. It was a major feature in Dragon Age: Origins and one of the major limitations, and complaints, from Dragon Age 2. BioWare is bringing character creation back in a big way with Inquisition and while we've seen a variety of Inquisitors showcased in various trailers up to now, today is the first time the process has been shown. 

A three minute trailer from Dragon Age: Inquisiton goes through a variety of character creation options. All races races are at least briefly shown, though not all gender options are represented. A majority of the time, and the major customization options shown, is invested in humans. Still, female qunari horns, dwarven tattoos and elven... err, chin size customizations are all briefly shown. 

It appears that customization is broken into what must be dozens and dozens of categories and subcategories, each with its own slider. Some details, like ear shape and positioning, include sliders on a 2D plane. Most sliders appear to be simple smaller-to-larger scales though. These types of sliders will work very well with console and PC. I wonder what sort of more in-depth customization could be offered if all players were using a mouse and keyboard.

After watching the trailer, it's no stretch to say that while the character customization process itself looks rather tedious, the resulting product seems excellent. Each player should be able to create their own, unique, rather realistic looking Inquisitor. Certain things like hair, beards and scar textures seem a bit MMO-quality to me, but skin textures, ears, horns, eyes and tattoos all look very good. BioWare done good.

Dragon Age: Inquistion will be coming to PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 starting November 18. What kind of Inquisitor will you be?

 
 

Co-op beat 'em up Viking Squad announced for PlayStation 4, appease the Jarl with plunder

1 comments Rory Young - 6:09pm (PST) Like Share

Who needs knights when you can have vikings instead?

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All anyone has to say to me these days to get me excited are the words "co-op" and "beat 'em up." Introducing Viking Squad, announced just today by Slick Entertainment who've previously made Scrap Metal for the 360, and it just about makes my wildest dreams come true. Featuring a cartoonish aesthetic, but very serious viking themes such as following one's Jarl's orders and plundering, Viking Squad will be coming to PlayStation 4 in 2015.

Obviously Slick Entertainment could list a hundred different beat 'em ups as influences for Viking Squad, but the immediate one that comes to mind has to be Castle Crashers. A western-made, cartoonish fighter with a ton of personality and great art? Hell, it wouldn't surprise me if the Jarl himself turned out to be Castle Crashers' Necromancer. 

Another potential influence that comes to mind is the recently released Dragon's Crown, due to Viking Squad's inclusion of levelling and gear systems. Of course, this could be much less robust than Dragon's Crown ever pulled off. Maybe Slick's going with a simple weapon and pet-type customization system like Castle Crashers was successful with.

An interesting thing that Viking Squad is doing that I haven't seen often in beat 'em ups for a time is a layered combat system. Castle Crashers and Dragon's Crown feature free movement, forcing players to judge on their own when they're on a 2D plane equal to their enemies -- so their attacks can go through. With clearly identifiable 2D planes, Viking Squad will encourage a skill-based combat system where players have no depth perception to blame for their mistakes. Own up!

Story-wise, Viking Squad might want to put out another trailer to help build up some drama. The focus seems to be on a group of vikings who are obeying the commands of their Jarl, their leader. Thus, they set out on mission after mission plundering a variety of different lands, each time bringing back more treasure for their Jarl. Each time, the Jarl seems a little closer to going full last boss.

Pick up Viking Squad exclusively for PlayStation 4 starting in 2015.



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Resource scarcity and improvising to survive in The Evil Within's 'Every Last Bullet' trailer

1 comments Rory Young - 12:06pm (PST) Like Share

Save that last bullet...

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In case anyone wasn't sure about it, The Evil Within is a survival horror game. That doesn't mean it's just a spooky scary, werewolf bar mitzvah with bleeding walls and Satan, though let's not discount those things appearing. It also means other, game-y type things. Today's "Every Last Bullet" trailer helps refamiliarize players with some of those things. Don't worry, they're all designed to encourage soiling one's pants.

First, of course, is resource scarcity. I'm not talking about StarCraft II maps with no Vespene Gas, jerk. I'm talking about limited options to kill monsters. Luckily, players always have at least one unlimited resource -- legs. Well, I suppose no one should be surprised if even these are taken away at some point in the game. Beyond that,  don't expect bullets, traps, guns, and, erm, matches? ... to be available in large quantity. 

Instead of standard weaponry, why not try and use the traps originally designed to murder you in gruesome ways to take care of of bad guys? Of course, odds are in order to discover these traps you'll have to activate them first. Luckily, extra lives are not one of these scarce resources. Players can just reset and use their newfound trap knowledge to their advantage. Or, like in my case, you can try to use a trap to your advantage, but then stumble into it once more by accident. Third time's a charm!

Finally, stuffed into the end of the trailer, is a short clip showing how players can upgrade their character. It's kind of a Resident Evil-type upgrade system for weapons,  ammo, abilities, what must be inventory capacity, and also something called "Agony Bolts." Curious. It's hard not to laugh at the "shopkeeper" in The Evil Within being a horror nurse giving the player electro-shock therapy. Also, I'm now totally creeped out.

The Evil Within will be coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on October 14 in North America and Europe. Dream about it, won't you?

 
 

Friday, Sep 26



Vane teased by small studio Friend&Foe, channels Journey and Team Ico's classics

6 comments Rory Young - 7:05pm (PST) Like (1) Share

If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say players turn into a bird

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Sometimes all it takes is a single trailer to persuade you that a previously unknown game suddenly deserves your undivided attention. Such is the case with myself and Vane, one of the first games from Tokyo-based and 5-man team Friend&Foe. Touting their experience on projects like The Last Guardian, Bionic Commando and Battlefield 3, Friend&Foe are quite clearly looking to start with a bang, judging from the look of their open-world adventure game.

Yes, Vane is a PC-only open-world adventure game for the time being. Other platforms, it seems, are being considered but for now it's just PC. Details are scant, as the game is only just being shown moving for the first time. Still, here's the description as provided by the official site:

"A child with an odd ability stuck in a strange land. A dangerous natural environment inhabited by a strange civilization. Vane is an open-world adventure game based on mystery and exploration. 

Vane is a single-player game being developed by a few ex-members of The Last Guardian team. The game focuses on unraveling the mysteries of an unknown land via exploration, puzzle-solving and other features yet to be revealed, in an atmospheric and powerful setting. "

They're clearly trying to gain some attention based on their The Last Guardian experience, though from their staff bios it seems only one member was actually a member of The Last Guardian team. Perhaps the others simply decided not to note that experience, though they should if they're going to market themselves as "a few ex-members." Nevertheless, the Team Ico style is apparent in the trailer. Previous experience or not, the inspiration is clear.

According to Friend&Foe's devlog they had a prototype for Vane running in July. Two months isn't exactly enough time to build a full game, so I'd expect that it's still a ways off. Hopefully the team will update their devlog more often so we can follow the game's development. After this trailer, I think quite a few more people will be interested.



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Categories: PC Games
 
 

OlliOlli 2 announced for PS4 and PS Vita, updated visuals and multiplayer -- welcome to Olliwood

1 comments Rory Young - 6:40pm (PST) Like Share

Missed opportunity to write it as Olli^2

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After the surprising success of 2D skating game OlliOlli, it only makes sense that roll7 would quickly begin work on a sequel to the simple title. And when I say simple, I say it with force. OlliOlli takes a really fun concept, skating down hills with only the press of a single button (for the most part) and turned it into a hugely challenging and endlessly fun experience. With OlliOlli 2 roll7 would be insane to change the core experience, so instead they're building on it.

As should be clear from the announcement trailer, OlliOlli 2 will be adding a ton of awesome content as well as a bunch of quality of life features. First, it's getting a huge visual update -- something PlayStation 4 players will appreciate. On top of that there's now a multiplayer mode, a more robust trick move-set, ramps as opposed to simple downhill sliding, and so much more. Well, it's not hard to add a lot of content when the core experience was originally so simple. That's not a bad thing! It's actually kind of amazing.

5 new worlds, 50 new amateur and pro levels, 250 new challenges, ramps, split level routes, the addition of manuals, reverts, revert manuals and grind switching, plus new game mode Combo Rush are all being added. Still, at its heart OlliOlliwill be that same, simple game that's easy for any player to pick up and play for even just a few minutes. Expect it to be even more challenging than the original.

OlliOlli 2: Welcome to Olliwood will be taking players through a variety of movie-themed levels on PlayStation 4 and PS Vita starting in 2015. 



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