Neoseeker : News

Wednesday, Nov 19

Creators of Monkey Island hit Kickstarter with a new project called 'Thimbleweed Park'

11 comments Andy Lau - 5:57pm (PST) Like Share

Bringing back some classic LucasArts point-and-click

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Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick, best known for Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion, have created a Kickstarter page for their latest adventure game, Thimbleweed Park.  Gilbert and Winnick are hoping to capture the nostalgic feeling of old LucasArts point-and-click adventures.

That means '80s era graphics and a classic user interface. Thimbleweed Park centers around the story of two detectives investigating a dead body found outside of a town. The player will switch between five characters as they explore the dark, satirical and bizzare world within the game. Gilbert promises to deliver multiple meaningful endings.

The funding goal for the project is set to $375,000 within the next 28 days. Backing options range from $5 to $10,000 with copies of the game starting at $20. The duo are hoping Thimbleweed Park will be ready by July 2016. As the first day of funding wraps up, the project has already attracted over 5000 backers and raised nearly $190,000.

Categories: PC Games

Guild Wars 2 PVP overhauls are on the way, expect better matchmaking and map selection this winter

10 comments Lydia Sung - 5:55pm (PST) Like Share

With luck, the changes will encourage more PVP action

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Big changes are coming to Guild Wars 2 PVP next month, starting December 2. ArenaNet recently released a rather long announcement highlighting upcoming changes, from the updated Dishonor system to improved ranked arenas. The basic idea here is to promote "more high-level competitive play."

An overhaul to matchmaking is one of the major highlights. Rather than looking only at a player's rating, the new system should take into account "a number of parameters" in addition to rating. This encompasses factors like group size, team comp, accumulated dishonor, and more. ArenaNet plans to elaborate on this soon.

The way players enter matches should also be better soon, doing away with rosters in favor of simply joining a party, confirming before a match, and then diving straight in. No longer will AFK players be a problem when queuing. Soon, PVPers will have more control of the maps they play on as well.

PVP will also be restructed to fall into three areas: Practice in hot-join, "Play" in unranked arenas, and "Compete" in ranked arenas. All competitive play will soon be combined into Ranked Arena, which players can join with a party size between one and five. The new matchmaking should ensure the resulting match-ups are as fair as possible. To avoid hurting your ladder standing, there will be an Unranked Arena too; the new matchmaking algorithm will affect all aspects of PVP.

Further into winter, ArenaNet will be holding a test season. The top 120 players by the end of the season will be gifted a Mini Llama, while the top 20 get a piece of Glorious Hero's armor. The top five players get two pieces of the same armor.

Be sure to check out the full blog post for more details, and keep an eye out for more PVP updates in the near future.

Categories: PC Games

Buy the first Destiny expansion or Season Pass, get the flashy EV-30 Tumbler Sparrow as a bonus

8 comments Lydia Sung - 1:23pm (PST) Like Share

A little something for spending more money

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One can never own too many Sparrows in Destiny. Bungie and Activision want to reward Destiny fans who have spent money (or planning to) on the game's upcoming add-on Expansion I: The Dark Below with a complementary EV-30 Tumbler Sparrow.

Painted an incredibly bright purple and sporting orange flames, this vehicle allows its rider to perform a number of impressive trick maneuvers, maybe providing some brief moments of amusement on those long rides across the Martian wasteland. Those colors, though.

So how does one acquire this Tumbler Sparrow? Pick up the Destiny Expansion Pass or the first expansion, The Dark Below, by January 15, 2015. If you already own the Season Pass, then the vehicle should already be available in-game via the Postmaster. For those who buy The Dark Below separately, access to the Sparrow will be unlocked December 9, 2014.

Fortunately, this particular bonus isn't a platform exclusive.


Humble Jumbo Bundle 3 adds Half Minute Hero, GRID and KickBeat

1 comments Andy Lau - 11:16am (PST) Like Share

Beat the average for the three new additions

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All titles for the Humble Jumbo Bundle 3 have now been announced. The original GRID, Half Minute Hero and KickBeat Seam Edition are now included under the "Beat The Average" category of Humble's latest oferring. Other games in the pack range from adventure titles like Tesla Effect to last year's hit Saints Row IV.

Insurgency comes with three spare Steam keys to share, and doing so will unlock Full Mojo Rampage. There are still another six days left to pick up the Humble Jumbo Bundle 3. As of 11:00 AM PST today, the average price for a bundle is $6.26 USD. Humble's charity partners for this pack are Save the Children and charity: water.

Pay What You Want

  • Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure
  • Always Sometimes Monsters
  • Insurgency (+3 extra copies to share)
  • Full Mojo Rampage (unlock by sharing Insurgency)

Beat The Average

  • GRID 2
  • Blackguards
  • Eurotruck Simulator 2
  • GRID
  • Half Minute Hero: Super Mega Hero Neo Climax Ultimate Boy
  • KickBeat Steam Edition

Pay $12 Or More

  • Saints Row IV

Note that the Humble store is offering a "Game of the Century" upgrade to Saints Row IV for $6.65 USD. The upgrade includes every DLC pack released for the game.

Categories: Console Games

Tuesday, Nov 18

Blizzard apologizes for World of Warcraft's rough Warlords of Draenor launch, offers 5-day recompense

11 comments Rory Young - 9:14pm (PST) Like Share

Oh Blizzard, it's really impossible to stay angry at you for that long

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World of Warcraft's launch of the Warlords of Draenor expansion has had its speed bumps. Not only have more people returned to World of Warcraft than even Blizzard's already gross expectations could have covered, but the MMO has been under a DDOS attack from overseas constantly since day one. Blizard, however, is unwilling to make any excuses. Today Executive Producer J. Allen Brack took the the official World of Warcraft forums to make an apology and offer amends.

Brack, speaking for his coworkers at Blizzard, want it to be known that the condition of World of Warcraft's servers and the expanded queues are unacceptable in their eyes. They're working very hard to ensure everything is up to their standards ASAP, and note that drastic improvements have already been made. On top of the apology, Blizzard is granting every player from the Americas, Oceania and Europe five days of free subscription time -- Warlords of Draenor purchased or not.

"I also hope you'll accept my apology and keep your faith in us. The support voiced by many of you as we worked through the challenges was immensely appreciated. We're extremely grateful to be part of such a passionate community. We love World of Warcraft, and we're very proud of this expansion, so stumbling out of the gates like this was very disappointing for all of us.

On behalf of the World of Warcraft development team, as well as everyone at Blizzard, thank you all again for your patience and understanding."

As it stands, queues continue to be an issue on several of the more populated World of Warcraft servers. However, Blizzard has implemented phasing technology which should even the burden of the mass amounts of players between servers a tad more comfortably. Hopefully this will allow for all players, Goblin-sized or Tauren-big, to fit through the log-in servers and play to their hearts content. There's orcs to fell, after all.

World of Warcraft's Warlords of Draenor expansion was released on November 13 late last week and, when players are able to log-in, has received solid critical praise.

Categories: PC Games

Dota 2's Foreseer's Contract update unveiled, the Oracle appears as well as Phantom Assassin's arcana

0 comments Rory Young - 8:47pm (PST) Like Share

This is what we gave up Diretide for, Dota 2 players

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It's the patch that apparently prevented Valve from working on Diretide this year in Dota 2. Introducing the Foreseer's Contract, which introduces an all new hero to play, an all new arcana, sets for five heroes, a courier, and a fun Charm of the Defender item/meta game. That's not all though, because Foreseer's Contract also adds updated creep models, heroic effigies for Compendium owners, and additional Compendium rewards like an emoticon and the level-showing gems. 

Unlike most Dota 2 patches, however, there doesn't seem to be a huge balance update accompanying Foreseer's Contract. There are plenty of small changes meant to fix bugs related to audio, the UI and some custom items though. No balance changes, however. Maybe we'll expect those further down the line.

Here's the specific big content additions coming with Foreseer's Contract

  • Oracle Added to the Game - Oracle has come to let you seize the fates of both friend and foe. Weave your power into a harmful bolt that stops your enemies and removes helpful auras. Or render an ally resistant to harmful magics. Combine either approach with your double-edged purifying flames, and you'll have all you need to aid or destroy. Still in danger? Delay an ally's doom with a false promise, and give them the time needed to see their destiny to its fullest. As Oracle, the future is always in your hands.
    • Fortune's End - Channel power into a bolt of scouring energy that stops and removes buffs from enemies.
    • Fate's Edict - Briefly render a target immune to magic damage, while boosting all damage from other sources and removing their ability to attack.
    • Purifying Flames - Instantly burn a friend or foe, then heal them slowly over time.
    • False Promise - Grant an ally invisibility while moving and attacking. Any damage or healing they receive will be delayed until the spell ends.
  • Phantom Assassin Arcana, Nemesis Assassin - Features an evolving weapon that changes colors as Phantom Assassin fulfills "contracts," a special effect for Coup de Grace, kills marked on the map with a "Paradox Memorial," an animated chat emoticon, a custom portrait, custom spell effects, altered voice and more. It also costs $35, though it's on sale for $28 until December 7. Ouch.
  • Aresenal of the Defender's Vision Sets - New sets created by Dota Cinema for Centaur Warrunner, Clockwerk, Timbersaw, Venomancer, and Necrophos. Also, an Antipode Courier.
  • Charm of the Defender's Vision - A purchasable item that allows players to gamble on who will win or lose matches. Selecting three correct victories turns the charm into a Treasure of the Defender's Vision. Two incorrect predictions turns the charm into a Charming Celebration item with only only three uses. Good luck!
  • New Creep Models
  • Heroic Effigies - Allows Compendium owners to carve their own effigy of their favorite hero, along with the weapon said hero has equipped, which is then shown in their team's base during games.
  • Compendium Gems - These gems can be slotted into an item to show off the Compendium level the player achieved.
  • Compendium Emoticon  

That's all for the Foreseer's Contract, or at least it's all for now. According to the post this is only Day 2 of the event, the first having been a comic teaser for today's reveal. Day 3 is said to feature details about a special Nemesis Assassin Event coming in the Foreseer's Contract Update. Sounds like there may be some bounty hunting incoming, without involving Bounty Hunter. Expect an update tomorrow with more details.

Check out more information about Dota 2's upcoming Foreseer's Contract update at the official website.

Categories: PC Games

Neoseeker's Holiday Gift Guide 2014: Nintendo 3DS

24 comments Rory Young - 7:29pm (PST) Like Share (1)

What games would your typical everyday 3DS owner want? All of them

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There's truly no greater gift for a gamer than a Nintendo 3DS. It's the one-size-fits-all platform, offering excellent experiences for gamers of all shapes, colors and genre preference. Take it with you on the go or dive into bed and play by LED light, the 3DS is the Swiss army knife of video games. That's also what makes it so hard to choose a 3DS game for a 3DS owner -- there's such variety! This holiday gift guide will try to provide a wide look at titles for the 3DS, but keep in mind that there's really no bad choice here.

Lucky for us 3DS owners, we've escaped another year without having to upgrade our hardware. The 2DS debuted over a year ago, a smart option for new 3DS investors, but old hat 3DS players can hold strong until 2015. The New 3DS, a backwards compatible handheld with more power, has been released in Japan but has not reached western shores. That's likely for the best, as there aren't many games that use the new hardware. Don't worry about that for now though, but do expect a potential upgrade come 2015. If you're the sort of person that loves to buy new hardware as it launches then maybe skip buying a brand new 3DS this holiday season. Just wait for the New 3DS in 2015.

As for notes about software, please be aware that the 3DS big flagship holiday release, Pokemon Omega Ruby and Pokemon Alpha Sapphire, won't be available until November 21 (Nov. 28 in Europe). Otherwise, the rest of 2014 only has a few smaller releases, including nostalgic mini-game compilation Ultimate NES Remix (Dec. 5) and the 3DS ultimate adventure collection, Phoenix Wright Trilogy (Dec. 9). In 2014, however, the spring holds the release of big titles like The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, Story of Seasons, and Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate.

It's as good a time as ever to be a Nintendo 3DS owner. There's such a wonderful and affordable back-log of games to play and as you're about to see a horde of new titles from 2014 worth picking up as well. Have a happy 3DS holiday, everyone.

Nintendo 3DS - For Adventurous Hearts

Pokemon Omega Ruby / Pokemon Alpha Sapphire (Available starting November 21)

If the only reason to buy a Nintendo 3DS was the annual or bi-annual release of a Pokemon game, then it would be worth it. Pokemon Omega Ruby and Pokemon Alpha Sapphire, the two versions of a modernized Pokemon remake, add features like flying, hideouts and a good amount of new Mega Evolutions. If you don't know about Mega Evolutions, think about a normal Pokemon... only Mega. Mega Pokemon. It's self-explanatory. Hoenn, the region of the new games, is a cult favorite and is certain to be hugely popular no matter what. Pokemon is bigger than its own games, anymore -- it's a cultural event for handheld gamers.

  • Who it's for: Collectors, pet lovers, Pokemon battlers, on-the-go gamers, all-ages, traders, the very best like no one ever was, happy people that love to feed cute animals cupcakes
  • Also consider: Pokemon X, Pokemon Y, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Fire Emblem: Awakening

Super Smash Bros. 3DS

It was only a matter of time before Super Smash Bros. came to handheld devices. Luckily a perfect storm came together where a Super Smash Bros. for Wii U alone might not be profitable enough and the 3DS' online functionality reached a point where it is reliable enough for Wi-Fi fighting. Thus became Super Smash Bros. 3DS. With a huge roster and controls that any gamer, young or old, can have fun with, this is the 3DS fighting game to get. Did I mention it has online matches? That's just the bee's knees.

  • Who it's for: Fanfic writers, those looking for a good Sonic game, competitive brawlers, eSports, online gamers, those who can't play more complicated fighting games
  • Also consider: Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition, Mario Kart 7, Mario Party: Island Tour

Azure Striker Gunvolt

Keiji Inafune isn't making Mega Man anymore, but he is hard at work making intense side-scrolling shooters. Azure Striker Gunvolt mixes that Mega Man side-scrolling with more plot-heavy Japanese shooters,  along with gameplay bordering on SHMUP action. Did I mention that it comes from the developers of the Mega Man Zero franchise? That should be enough to persuade most retro shooter fans to join in the fun.

  • Who it's for: Mega Man fans, those unwilling to wait for Mighty No. 9, 
  • Also consider: Shovel Knight, Cave Story, Mutant Mudds

Shantae and the Pirate's Curse

I've always seen Shantae as a mix between the classic Aladdin 2D side-scroller, Mega Man, and Donkey Kong Country, but really there's any of a dozen games Shantae takes inspiration from. Despite the number of influences, this 2D side-scroller is a beast of its own, featuring genie Shantae as she fights and adventures through level after level of action. Co-opting several gameplay features from developer Wayforward's Mighty Switch Force, this may be Shantae's best game yet.

  • Who it's for: Assassin's Creed fans angry at the lack of pirates this year, fans of shooter/platformer hybrids, fans of Kickstarter darlings, 
  • Also consider: Shovel KnightCastlevania: Lord of Shadows - Mirror of Fate, Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, Mighty Switch Force

Nintendo 3DS - For Clever Minds

Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney

Let's just go over this step by step. Professor Layton? He's in there. Phoenix Wright? He's in there too. Their supporting casts? Included. Are they facing off in a non-canon dramatic story? Yes. Are both their franchise's specific puzzles and adventure game modes included in the game? Yes! Then why are we even sitting here. This is a meeting of two of the best franchises on the 3DS in what might be the best game from either franchise. It's that good.

  • Who it's for: EVERYONE! Seriously, Professor Layton AND Phoenix Wright? Go, go now!
  • Also consider: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies, Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy

Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy

Yes, a second Professor Layton title on our holiday guide. That's only because there wasn't a third Professor Layton game released in 2014, because it would absolutely be on this list as well. Unfortunately, Azran Legacy is the last in the series and so it won't be on our gift list ever again. That means that if you want some of the most warm, fun and brilliantly put together puzzle games on the 3DS, this is your last chance.

  • Who it's for: Gentlemen, sudoku addicts, Disney and Pixar fans, Miyazaki fans, puzzle nerds, probably best if Luke just sits this one out
  • Also consider: Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask, Virtue's Last Reward, Ghost Trick

Bravely Default

In a world where traditional fantasy RPGs are a near-extinct genre, Bravely Default proves that these types of games can't just be made -- but rather thrive. Aping and to a degree parodying Final Fantasy games, Bravely Default itself becomes the new franchise to watch if you want fantasy RPGs with turn-based combat and jobs. It does fall victim to the genre's own tropes, but if you hunger for that type of game then there's really no other option.

  • Who it's for: RPG traditionalists, story-mongers, roleplayers, those with 100+ hours free on their schedule
  • Also consider: Tales of the Abyss, The Keep, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team

Inazuma Eleven

It's sad, but Inazuma Eleven may be the best true RPG to launch on 3DS this year. No hate to Bravely Default, but Inazuma Eleven is true to those fundamental RPG storytelling and gameplay mechanics in ways modern games just can't manager. That's in large part because it is a classic RPG, re-released for the 3DS this year. Okay, so it's a bit odd that it's a soccer RPG, but trust me as soon as you're into the action and recruiting new club members it feels perfectly at home for RPG fans.

  • Who it's for: RPG fans, sports fans, growing-up story fans, fans of The Goonies, hooligans
  • Also consider: Mario Golf: World Tour, Inazuma Eleven Go: Shadow, Mario Tennis Open

Nintendo 3DS - For Creative Hands

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call

Final Fantasy music is beautiful. You'd be hard-pressed to find a franchise that consistently delivers the best soundtracks in gaming with every release in the series. It's an absolutely brilliant decision by Square Enix to create a rhythm game franchise and kickstarting it with Final Fantasy themes. In the future they might do other soundtracks, but for now it's just Final Fantasy. And with Curtain Call there's more Final Fantasy music to play through than before, so how can that be bad?

  • Who it's for: Orchestras, Zidane, music fans, rhythm game addicts, fans of Final Fantasy, those who used to be fans of Final Fantasy until Final Fantasy XIII made them cry forever
  • Also consider: Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, Elite Beat Agents, Rhythm Heaven, HarmoKnight

Pokemon Art Academy

Learning to draw is tough. Having a game that helps you learn to draw is awesome, but sometimes even that isn't good enough to keep a player's attention. However, if you add in Pokemon and tutorials to draw and paint said Pokemon, then it becomes a whole lot interesting. Plus, who among us hasn't drawn their favorite Pokemon in the corner of their notebooks while they're bored before? Those people, I'm certain, do not exist.

  • Who it's for: Artists, aspiring artists, doodlers, folk who pretend to have artistic talent but don't like me, Pokemon nuts
  • Also consider: Art Academy: Lessons for Everyone!

Fantasy Life

Where Animal Crossing: New Leaf owned the social gaming and simulation category last year, Fantasy Life is following in its footsteps in 2014. Harvest Moon and not-Harvest Moon (it's complicated) aren't where they need to be, so Fantasy Life is stepping in. Best of all, it's from Level-5, that studio behind Professor Layton, Ni no Kuni and Inazuma Eleven, which means it's got style in droves. It has its issues, for sure, but you could do worse if you're a slice-of-life/simulation fan. It's just a bit more fantasy-themed than modern life.

  • Who it's for: Escapists, roleplayers, Animal Crossing fans, casual players, all ages, crafting fans
  • Also consider: Havest Moon: A New Beginning, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Disney Magical World, Rune Factory 4

Color Zen

There's just something relaxing and rewarding about connecting colors and shapes. It's like coloring inside the lines, or playing operation without making the annoying buzzer go off. Mix in some chill music while you connect those shapes and colors, as well as a level difficulty curve that feels clever rather than burdensome, and Color Zen is one of those surprise downloadable titles that makes you so quickly understand why the 3DS is such a perfect device for certain experiences.

  • Who it's for: Color lovers, puzzle lovers, folks who love relaxing games
  • Also consider: Pushmo, Picross e4

Unfortunately for bundle hunters, it doesn't look like Nintendo is going out of their way to offer anything new this holiday season. Folk will have to look out for older bundles for The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Super Mario 3DS Land or assorted others. Keep in mind these are likely to be rare and potentially pricier than stand-alone handhelds.

Nintendo, rather than bundles, will be offering a couple of special edition 3DS handhelds with fancy colors and artwork on the covers. Here's what Nintendo's got for holiday 2014 in terms of 3DS offers and note again that they do not include a game bundled with them:

  • Nintendo 3DS XL Super Smash Bros. Edition - $199.99 - Coming in either red or blue, these 3DS XL handhelds feature the Super Smash Bros. logo and artwork of the full roster on the cover.
  • Nintendo 3DS XL NES Edition - $199.99 - Themed after that iconic Nintendo Entertainment System controller, the NES edition of the 3DS XL is a glory to behold and a must-have for any retro gamers looking for a new 3DS XL this holiday season.
  • Nintendo 3DS XL Persona Q Edition - $199.99 - A stylized 3DS XL with a blue diamond pattern on the front with art designed to make the handheld appear to be a book -- the LeGrimoire du Coeur to be specific. Does not include Persona Q. Exclusive to GameStop.

As mentioned earlier, Nintendo is likely to release upgraded 3DS hardware in 2015. The standard 3DS and the XL are both excellent gift ideas, but if there's an option to hold off until next year to buy the handheld then try to wait for the New 3DS. It will be backwards compatible!

Thanks to everyone who took the time out to read through Neoseeker's Nintendo 3DS gift guide for 2014. If you seen an omission that absolutely cannot stand, please leave a comment potentially snowballing into a mob which I'll tyrannically censor until overthrown ending with the game finally included in the list.

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Guild Wars 2 'Tangled Path' update goes live, bringing new Black Lion weapons and more Living Story

0 comments Lydia Sung - 11:49am (PST) Like Share

Elder Dragons need to stop meddling

Today marks the arrival of Guild Wars 2: Tangled Paths, the next chapter in the Season 2 Living Store that hopefully addresses the whole issue of dragon eggs. Well, one dragon egg, anyway. In addition to the new story content, today's update brings a new wave of Black Lion weapons, as well as a new outfit to the Gem Store.

The Silverwastes have opened up further, much in the same way Dry Top was unlocked in sections over time. Players can now travel into the tunnels running beneath the wasteland and encounter the dangers that await. Meanwhile, PVE combat continues its slow transformation into WVW, with the addition of siege devourers.

For those interested in collecting another piece of the Carapace armor, the new story unlocks the gloves.

The Pursuit

Players will scour the Silverwastes to seek out the trail of the Zephyrite masters, and search for signs of their vanished leader. A new dragon could make for a powerful ally to either side of this war, and some of Mordremoth’s most deadly minions are also on the trail.

War in the Silverwastes

The fight between Pact forces and the dragon’s armies rages on. Newly discovered underground caverns contain new threats to contend with and dangers to brave. Players will need to coordinate with other forces on the map, call siege devourers to their aid and keep one step ahead of deadly mordrem hunters.

Silverwastes Treasures

Players can continue building their collection of Carapace armour with the addition of Carapace gloves. Once players obtain new gloves, they can begin collecting materials to unlock the upgraded Luminescent gloves. New rewards have also been added to Bandit Crest vendors.

Categories: PC Games

Monday, Nov 17

Dragon Age: Inquisition trailer anticipates tomorrow's release, tour a beautiful and treacherous world

11 comments Lydia Sung - 4:40pm (PST) Like Share


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The wait for Dragon Age: Inquisition is almost over, so why not celebrate with a new trailer? The Dragon Age: Inquisition launch trailer is dubbed "A Wonderful World," and plays alongside a strange cover to the Louis Armstrong song. Well, that aside, it really is a cool trailer.

The video essentially shows off various places within Thedas, along with some of the new characters themselves. Try not to get distracted by all the review quotes; besides, anyone watching the video probably already plans to get the game. Personally, I prefer the cinematic they released prior to this, but I can't really complain.

Dragon Age: Inquisition will be released tomorrow, November 18, for Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PC. Prepare to romance all the things.


Neoseeker's Holiday Gift Guide 2014: Wii U

21 comments Rory Young - 3:17pm (PST) Like (1) Share

Here's our guide to the best games, DLC and bundles to pick up for the Wii U

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2014 is nearing it end and the Wii U has seen its best year yet since launching in 2012. The system has seen its largest game release in Mario Kart 8 and is expecting to perform even stronger with the upcoming launch of Super Smash Bros. Wii U.  Nintendo is slowly building its platform back up to a competitive state, though the early damage may continue to prevent it from reaching the numbers that the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are seeing. 

The price of the Wii U's slow start will be apparently on this year's list. Third parties have all but abandoned the Wii U, refusing to port their games to the less powerful and less profitable platform. The exception to this, however, is in downloadable titles. Nintendo is reaching out to independent and small studios to publish their downloadable games in larger quantities than ever before. It help having a system with an online storefront!

Even without third-party support, Nintendo's Wii U continues to be a platform where gamers can have experience they won't find anywhere else. The  Wii U is still the home of Mario, Samus, Link, and Donkey Kong. A new The Legend of Zelda title has been announced for 2015. Super Smash Bros. will be released in less than a week. Amiibo figures will start arriving by the end of the month. Plus, with several great and affordable bundles for the holidays, the Wii U is a great option for families in 2014.

Wii U Exclusives

Mario Kart 8

The Wii U's biggest launch yet is the eighth title in the well known Mario Kart franchise. Mario, Peach and all of the Mushroom Kingdom's friends and enemies have gathered to do what they do best -- race each other in undersized go-karts! Featuring online-play of up to twelve people from around the world, a first for the franchise on console, as well as 4-player local racing Mario Kart 8 is the best social game for the Wii U in 2014.

  • Who it's for: Nintendo faithful, families of all ages, those new to video games, the highly competitive, retro nerds, Italian plumbers
  • Also consider: Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, Need for Speed: Most Wanted U


Bayonetta's back, Nintendo having saved the bespectacled witch from gathering dust on the shelf and fronting Platinum Games the cash to make a sequel. While Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros. Wii U will be garnering much of the family-friendly attention this holiday season, it's Bayonetta 2 that's collecting most of the top rating. Intense, fast-paced action against larger-than-life enemies as heaven and hell battle as they always do. Even for all of it's beautiful visuals, it's Bayonetta's fun characters and surprisingly earnest story that's certain to capture the hearts of Wii U gamers this holiday season.

  • Who it's for: Librarians, Devil May Cry fans, adrenaline junkies, single-player aficionados
  • Also consider: Bayonetta (now also out on Wii U), The Wonderful 101, Hyrule Warriors, Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge

Hyrule Warriors

When Nintendo and Koei Tecmo announced a partnership for Omega Force and Team Ninja to build a hybrid Dynasty Warriors and The Legend of Zelda title, the collective Nintendo fanbase's jaw dropped. Hyrule Warriors lets players select from a number of heroes and fight entire armies almost single-handedly. Never has a game brought players into such a large Hyrulian war of epic scale. After playing, it'll be difficult for players to go back to normal Zelda games without the craziness that Koei Tecmo adds to the experience.

  • Who it's for: Dynasty Warriors fans, action lovers, Zelda lovers, all audiences and all ages, aspiring generals
  • Also consider: Bayonetta, Bayonetta 2, Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

It's not just Mario Kart that Nintendo brought back for a sequel. After Donkey Kong Country Returns found success on the Wii and 3DS, Retro Studios was put to work on a true sequel and not just a remake. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is that game, offering 2D platforming focused on quick movement and lots of fun enemies to battle or avoid. Certainly players will want to collect as many bananas as possible, too, but only Donkey Kong himself believes it's required.

  • Who it's for: Monkies, platformer fans, retro fans, 
  • Also consider: Rayman Legends, New Super Mario Bros. U, Mutant Mudds Deluxe

Upcoming Exclusives

Super Smash Bros. Wii U - November 21

It's almost here. The biggest launch of 2014 for the Wii U. It has been years in the making and if there's one game to buy for Nintendo's console this year -- this is it. Super Smash Bros. Wii U has a huge roster full of Mario's friend and enemies, as well as a good selection of new faces like Mega Man and Pac Man. With fully functional online play and what must be a dozen different modes and mini-games, Super Smash Bros. is the game to play with friends, is the game friends will want to play. This friendly fighting game may be highly competitive, but it's still just as fun for those new to the game as those long-tenured.

  • Who it's for: Punchers, kickers, fighters, lovers, family, friends, all-ages, perfect for small parties
  • Also consider: Mario Kart 8, Wii Party U, Injustice: Gods Among Us

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker - December 5

Everyone's favorite mini-game from Super Mario 3D world has received a promotion. Nintendo has built a full game out of Captain Toad's adventures searching for treasure in complicated 3D puzzle worlds. As Captain Toad, the player will need to guide themselves through tunnels, across bridges and across all sorts of obstacles searching for elusive diamonds, gold and other treasure. Be careful though, because the treasure is often guarded by the typical Mushroom Kingdom villainy, as well as assorted traps, too!

  • Who it's for: Fungus, Indiana Jones, more casually-minded gamers, completionists, adventurers
  • Also consider: Pushmo World, Super Mario 3D World

Downloadable Wii U Games

Shovel Knight

For those excited by Nintendo's dedication to releasing games that have plenty of nostalgia, but miss actually playing those classic games then Shovel Knight is for you. Shovel Knight is a 2D platforming action game with heavy inspiration from Mega Man, Super Ghost and Goblins, and yes even Super Mario Bros. It's built from the ground up in classic, beautiful pixel art and it's an absolute joy to play -- mixing all of the nostalgic gameplay of yore with modern polish and information clarity.

Child of Light

Ubisoft's experiment into smaller projects started with this absolutely beautiful RPG. Child of Light is an inspired fairy tale where the player joins Aurora as she faces a near-death situation and must fight through a mysterious land to rejoin her father, garner her powers, and face her deepest fears. Child of Light is a nice reminder that in the midst of all of these huge AAA games, Ubisoft also puts together titles that are small, touching and meaningful.

1001 Spikes

Where Shovel Knight goes out of its way to create a platformer celebrating all that was fun and exceptional about retro games, 1001 Spikes goes out of its way to remind us of the pain those titles also contained -- pain that was a fun in its own way. This 2D platform is all about conquering obscenely challenging levels through quick reflexes and memorization. Originally named after the number of lives the player had to complete the game, it's now a relief to say that there is no life cap anymore. People ran out of the 1001, so they changed it.

Exclusive DLC

Mario Kart 8 "The Legend of Zelda DLC": Mario Kart 8's first major DLC release adds two three playable characters in Link, Tanooki Mario and Cat Peach. That's just the start of it, however, as the pack's true heart lies in its eight brand new tracks which are split into two different cups -- the Triforce Cup and Yoshi's Egg Cup. For karts have also been added to the pack, which at this point is just icing on the cake.

Hyrule Warriors "Master Quest Pack": Hyrule Warriors' first of four DLC packs adds additional value to the already outstanding Hyrule Warriors core experience. With the Master Quest Pack players can use Epona, Link's favored steed, as a weapon for the hero in a green tunic. There's also five additional story chapters that pain a different picture of the game's ending, as well as additional content to keep the action moving. The next DLC pack, the Twilight Princess Pack, will be released in November.

Finally, to wrap things up, let's go over what Nintendo will be offering in terms of bundles this holiday season. After all, nothing's better than waiting for the holiday to buy a brand new console like the Wii U, since they all come with cheaper prices and bundled-in games or peripherals. Nintendo hasn't let potential Wii U owners down, offering two brand new bundles this year:

  • Super Mario 3D World Wii U Deluxe Set - $299.99 - Includes the standard Wii U Deluxe Set box with the console and the Wii U GamePad. To add value to the box, however, will be two additional games at no charge. Super Mario 3D World and Nintendo Land are both included.
  • Mario Kart 8 Wii U Deluxe Set - $299.99 - Includes the standard Wii U Deluxe Set box which includes both the console and the Wii U GamePad. In addition, both Mario Kart 8 and Nintendo Land will be included at no additional charge.
  • Super Smash Bros. Wii U+ GameCube Controller Bundle - $99.99 - The Wii U's GamePad is quite bulky and the Nintendo Wii's controllers are rather flimsy, so what's a competitive Super Smash Bros. gamer to do? Why not play with the GameCube controller, which Nintendo has created a bundle for. The package includes the game, a controller, and an adapter for up to four GameCube controllers. Yes, your old controllers will work with it too!

Hopefully everyone is able to find great deals on the games and consoles they're looking forward to this holiday season. Look forward to more platform-specific holiday guides throughout the week, followed by a more cost-focused guide to Black Friday sales next week. Cheers, and happy holidays!

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