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Monday, Dec 15

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 announced, more Naruto on Sasuke action

6 comments Rory Young - 12:11pm (PST) Like Share

Still a better romance than Twilight

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Oh Naruto, your passionate rivalry with Sasuke will battle eternally. It's a good thing CyberConnect 2 and Bandai Namco will be there right by your side delivering fighting game sequel after sequel to chronicle every second of their journey together. Luckily, despite their... exuberant release schedule, CyberConnect2 really does push the brand. Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4, newly announced, will be no different.

Bandai Namco describes Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4's updated look as "beyond anime-quality." Considering these past years were spent trying to bring the franchise up to the visual quality of the anime, it seems like CyberConnect 2 is looking to go out on their own. If they can replicate the intensity they've shown in the two screenshots provided with today's announcement, then they certainly have proven they're capable of it.

Beyond that detail, nothing more was revealed about the latest iteration of the series. No other new systems or mechanics were announced. What was confirmed to be returning includes one-on-one multiplayer modes for both online and offline. That's it! Otherwise, I'd say it's safe to expect a huge story mode and a ridiculously large roster of everyone's favorite Naruto Shippuden characters.

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 is planned for release on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. It's planned for 2015, which likely implies a summer or later launch. Expect more information on the game (and hopefully new feature announcements) within the next few months. Until then, take in these two beautiful screenshots and cross your fingers.



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Double dose of Devil May Cry coming to PS4/XB1, DmC and Devil May Cry 4 both remastered in 2015

29 comments Rory Young - 10:29am (PST) Like Share

In other words, don't expect a Devil May Cry sequel any time soon

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The industry knows exactly what gamers are begging for now that we've celebrated a year with both the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One -- more remastered old games. Yeah, you love it, don't you. Today's now powered up games come courtesy of Capcom, who will be remastering both DmC: Devil May Cry and Devil May Cry 4 for both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Everyone should know what a remaster means in this day and age, but let's recap for all of the holiday console buyers who might not be familiar. Expect DmC: Devil May Cry to run at 1080p and 60fps on both consoles, include the Vergil's Downfall campaign DLC, as well as include new game modes and some fancy costumes. Capcom loves their costumes. 

"New to DmC Devil May Cry: Definitive Edition, players will be able to play as Dante's twin brother himself in Vergil's Bloody Palace Mode. For an extra depth of challenge, players will be able to try out the added Gods Must Die difficulty level and Must Style Mode as well as Hardcore Mode, which has been designed to play more like the classic Devil May Cry series."

Details regarding the Devil May Cry 4 remaster are a bit less specific, as it will be released later in the year and obviously Capcom wants to get the word out on DmC: Devil May Cry first.

The only question I really have is rather general -- did these games need to be remastered and rereleased? Will Capcom really put in the effort to make both games look like modern console releases? Or is this just a capitalization on the brand, since they aren't willing to take on the risk of developing another title? It's a strange thing to believe a couple of remastered releases may decide the fate of the Devil May Cry franchise. Still, Capcom's doing right by both new and old fans by putting out both games.

DmC: Devil May Cry is planned for release on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One starting March 17 for $40. Devil May Cry 4's remaster will be released later this year.

 
 

Friday, Dec 12



Nintendo: amiibo sales nearly equal to Super Smash Bros. for Wii U's 710,000 units

18 comments Leo Chan - 11:28am (PST) Like Share

Guess amiibos really are that hard to keep in stock

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Super Smash Bros. for Wii U would prove to the third best-selling title in the U.S. last month by the NPD Group's reckoning, bested only by Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and Grand Theft Auto V's fine return to the charts. Nintendo confirms that Super Smash Bros. for Wii U scored nearly 710,000 units in sales during its first 10 days on the market.

What's more, Nintendo is also claiming that sales for its amiibo NFC-enabled figurines are "approximately equal to sales" of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U "so far." According to the console giant, the top three amiibos from the wave one release are:

  1. Link
  2. Mario
  3. Pikachu

You'll note that none of these are the amiibos which several retailers, including GameStop, have reason to believe will be discontinued after selling through their initial stock: Marth, Wii Fit Trainer, and Villager. For its part, Nintendo has only offered questionable reassurance that the hard-to-find amiibos may yet return to markets like the U.S., Canada and Latin America "at a later stage."

 
 

Thursday, Dec 11



November NPD Number Crunch: Xbox One outsells PS4 for the first time since last December

3 comments Leo Chan - 6:01pm (PST) Like Share (2)

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare tops charts, while GTAV returns to the top ten

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Despite November witnessing the official launch of several major gaming titles across all platforms, the NPD Group earlier today confirms that industry sales in the U.S. still ended up falling 11 percent year-over-year to $2.41 billion USD. What's more, November 2014 marked the first time since the launch of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles that hardware sales actually fell ($1.10 billion compared to $1.31 billion in November 2013). On the plus side, monthly software sales didn't suffer from a similarly drastic drop for a change, sliding just one percent year-over-year to $1.09 billion.

Now the part you're probably more interested in: did the Xbox One manage to beat the PS4 in sales last month like Microsoft boasted? While NPD's monthly report card failed to provide unit sales numbers as usual, Microsoft already announced that the Xbox One managed to reclaim the crown for best-selling console hardware in both the U.S. and U.K. during November. The Xbox One will ring in a fine anniversary for the last time it outsold the PS4, assuming the console can keep the momentum through this December. MIcrosoft also confirms that Xbox One software outsold those for the PS4 in November, making for a record-setting month for the number of Xbox Live users.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare perhaps predictably topped the industry charts on the software front for November, though interestingly the best-selling platform for Activision's latest CoD entry would prove to be the Xbox 360. Grand Theft Auto V also makes a triumphant return to the NPD software top ten thanks to the high-definition re-release of Rockstar's record-setting game on PS4 and Xbox One, with the PS4 version selling the best.

Nintendo also made a fine showing for itself with no less than three titles on the NPD software top ten. You'll never ever guess what their bestselling game in November was (honest!), but you may be interested to learn that Pokemon Alpha Sapphire was the better selling Generation VI game, outpacing even Ubisoft's Far Cry 4. Guess you can't have too much water in Hoenn after all. Speaking of Ubisoft, Assassin's Creed: Unity still managed to land in ninth place in spite of its technical woes.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection meanwhile barely squeezed into the charts, highlighting another platform exclusive title which managed to make NPD's software top ten.

 

November 2014 Top Ten Software Sales
  Game Publisher Platform Release
1. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Activision PS4 / Xbox One / PS3 / Xbox 360 / PC 11/2014
2. Grand Theft Auto V Rockstar PS4 / Xbox One / PS3 / Xbox 360 11/2014
3. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U Nintendo Wii U 11/2014
4. Madden NFL 15 Electronic Arts PS4 / PS3 / Xbox One / Xbox 360 08/2014
5. Pokémon Alpha Sapphire Nintendo 3DS 11/2014
6. Far Cry 4 Ubisoft PS4 / Xbox One / PS3 / Xbox 360 / PC 11/2014
7. Pokémon Omega Ruby Nintendo 3DS 11/2014
8. NBA 2K15 2K Games PS4 / Xbox One / PS3 / Xbox 360 / PC 10/2014
9. Assassin's Creed: Unity Ubisoft PS4 / Xbox One / PC 11/2014
10. Halo: The Master Chief Collection Microsoft Game Studios Xbox One 11/2014

 

 
 

Wednesday, Dec 10



Minecraft skin packs for Xbox keep coming, Festive Mash-Up Pack to add 36 winter outfits on Dec. 10

8 comments Rory Young - 12:43pm (PST) Like Share

Are they trying to make some sort of weird Satan/Santa joke?

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Well Microsoft owns Minecraft now and that means it's time to pay the skin tax again. Today Microsoft announced a new skin pack for Minecraft on both Xbox One and Xbox 360. The Festive Mash-Up Pack will launch with 36 winter-themed skins, available starting December 10 for $2.99.

Let's take a look at what sort of skins are included in this pack, based off of the screenshots. There's a Santa a costume, a reindeer outfit, a bunch of elves with different sorts of striped leggings, and... SATAN?! What is Satan doing in a holiday-themed skin pack? I guess there's an angel there too, but man this Minecraft holiday is starting to look a little terrifying. Sure, elves and Santa and the like are fine on their own, but add Satan into the mix and suddenly it looks like you've stumbled into Beelzebub's office Christmas party. Don't drink the punch.

As for the pricing, well, $2.99 is hard to complain about. I still have to reiterate and recall that those first skin packs were huge and only cost $.99 just to make enough cash to pay Microsoft back for the upload/download costs. PC players get these things absolutely free, and many of the skins in these packs are based off of community-made skins freely available online. It's quite a bit gross that Microsoft is now jacking up the price to increase profit margins. Especially for a holiday-themed pack. Stay merry!

Minecraft's Festive Mash-Up Pack will be available December 10 for the price of $2.99. Check out the few screenshots we have available to see a portion of what's included in the 36-skin pack.



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Dragon Quest III arrives on iOS/Android, the mobile Erdrick Trilogy is complete

3 comments Rory Young - 12:07pm (PST) Like Share

Why these games aren't also being released on PC, I'll never understand

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As Square Enix has promised, so has another Dragon Quest mobile port been released. Dragon Quest III is now available on iOS and Android devices, completing the Erdrick Trilogy that included the first three games of the franchise and paving the way for the Zenithian Trilogy to continue. Dragon Quest III will cost players $9.99 to pick up for their device of choice, a similar price as to the other non-3D Dragon Quest mobile releases.

The Erdrick Trilogy comes fully together in Dragon Quest III, as players who are unfamiliar with the original three games will finally see what ties these titles together. It starts by introducing us to our protagonist, a boy who would become a hero:

"On the morning of their sixteenth birthday, the child of Ortega, hero of the land of Aliahan, is charged with a seemingly impossible task by the King himself: to slay the Archfiend Baramos, master of darkness! What trials await our intrepid hero as they set out to take on a quest not even their legendary father was strong enough to complete?"

As with the release of Dragon Quest and Dragon Quest II on mobile devices, there's a lot of heavy criticism for the ports. They're hardly updated in any way, making for awkward controls and a frustrating  UI. Were RPGs design to be played on small cell phone screens? Of course not, so why should we expect ports to play well without significant updates. Nevertheless, for a game almost lost to time this is a great opportunity for new RPG fans to experience a defining title in a longstanding franchise.

Dragon Quest III will be the fifth title from the franchise to be released, which includes the previous two titles in the Erdrick Trilogy (Dragon Quest, Dragon Quest II), the first title in the Zenithian Trilogy (Dragon Quest IV) and a 3D port in Dragon Quest VIII. All of the titles up through Dragon Quest VIII are expected to be ported to mobile eventually -- likely within the next year.

Categories: Mobile Games
 
 

Ubisoft updating Heroes of Might and Magic III in HD, Queen Catherine Ironfist applauds

1 comments Rory Young - 11:40am (PST) Like Share

Lady looked like Ms. Frizzle in the old games, she could use an HD update

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I never made it past Heroes of Might and Magic II, which is something I'll regret to the end of my days. Despite that, I know that the franchise has only grown better after the second game in the series. Yet one title stands above all others when it comes to fan-favorites -- Heroes of Might and Magic III. Ubisoft recognizes this, but more than that they're interested in capitalizing on it. Today Ubisoft announced an HD rerelease of Heroes of Might and Magic III.

The HD Edition of the hugely popular turn-based strategy game is tentatively planned for a January 29 launch on both PC and both iOS and Android tablets. Perhaps bringing the best of the franchise to mobile platforms will reinvigorate the series, or perhaps even the genre, in a way previously unexpected. Or perhaps it means the game will be redesigned in a way that makes us wish it had stayed in the rear-view mirror.

Might & Magic  franchise Creative Director Erwan le Breton offered the following prepared, but sentimental statement:

"Community is at the core of the Might & Magic series, and we wanted to thank their everlasting support by bringing back the epic tale of Queen Catherine Ironfist. We wanted to keep the heart of what made Heroes III one of the most renowned titles of the series, while providing an enhanced visual experience and offering the possibility to also play the game on tablets."

According to these early details, very little will be changed to the core experience of Heroes of Might and Magic III. It will retain its seven campaign scenarios, 48 skirmish maps, local multiplayer and a map editor (though the map editor is PC-only). New to the game will be an online Steam lobby as well as the HD remastering.

Heroes of Might and Magic III - HD Edition will be coming to PC and tablets starting January 29. Perhaps it will define a new generation of strategy titles much like it did when originally released in 1999.



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Categories: PC Games
 
 

Alien: Isolation caters to the extremes, offering Nighmare and Novice difficulties via free update

2 comments Rory Young - 11:01am (PST) Like Share

Now players can start on Nightmare and then cry themselves to Novice

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The Creative Assembly, while perhaps not creating a game of the year candidate, did do something special. They created a game that gets people talking. Alien: Isolation is divisive among players, for many reasons. Yet it's because of that divide that Alien: Isolation truly becomes a special product to many of its players. To acknowledge and address a facet of this divide in players, The Creative Assembly released a patch today. Nightmare and Novice difficulties are now available.

That's not to imply that those who revel in Alien: Isolation's difficulty are the ones who enjoy it and the ones frustrated by the challenge are those who dislike the title. Rather, I think The Creative Assembly is doing a smart thing here by catering to the ways players are enjoying its game. There are those who get a thrill by the difficulty who will devour Nightmare Mode, but there are those who are entranced by the atmosphere, the tension of the game and don't want the difficulty curve outweighing that experience. In this way, The Creative Assembly is playing to its own strengths.

Alien: Isolation has been available on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 for some time now and is already picking up end-of-year nominations for awards. Yet it may be this latest version of the game, now including Nightmare and Novice difficulty options, that really show's the title's strengths.

 
 

Mojang's card-based strategy game Scrolls is exiting beta, launch details confirm $5 price

6 comments Rory Young - 10:11am (PST) Like Share

How can anyone deny the allure of opening scrolls

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Mojang's strategy card game Scrolls is moving out of beta starting tomorrow, it was announced this morning. Up to this point the game has been in an "open" beta, meaning players could opt in by buying the game. Since then, well, things have changed rather dramatically. The new plan is to launch Scrolls tomorrow for the low price of $5 on PC and Android tablets (an iPad version is on the way). For those not sure what Scrolls is, a free demo will also be available tomorrow.

Wait one second, didn't Scrolls' open beta cost $20 to buy into earlier this year? Indeed it did, but Mojang's perspective seems to have changed quite a bit since then. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that despite a cost up front, Scrolls has many, many microtransactions for players to buy into. All of the content is 100% accessible without paying a premium of course, but that doesn't change that players feel awkward about something the cost of $20 on top of so many potential microtransactions.

As for content included, well, think of Scrolls as one might think of Hearthstone -- or any other card collecting game for that matter. A player gets a lone deck when they start, have the option of playing through five different game modes including challenges and ranked matches, and then can buy card packs with their winnings. I believe there are as many as 180 cards to collect in total, including common, uncommon and rare cards.  The important thing for players should be enjoying the core game, naturally, so download that free demo when it becomes available.

Scrolls will launch tomorrow on PC and Android tablets for the price of  just $5 alongside a free demo.

Categories: PC Games Mobile Games
 
 

Tuesday, Dec 9



Theatrhythm expands past Final Fantasy, Square Enix announces Theatrhythm Dragon Quest

5 comments Rory Young - 10:47pm (PST) Like (2) Share

Dragon Quest it is and what a glorious choice they made

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Square Enix had previously announced that they planned to expand their Theatrhythm franchise past Final Fantasy. The success of the original title and its Curtain Call follow-up must have been persuasive, because less than a year after Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call's release in Japan and just months since its release in the west, Square Enix has announced the next series to be released. I'm excited to announce Theatrhythm Dragon Quest.

Yes, a franchise near as popular as Final Fantasy has been chosen (though perhaps not as popular in the west), with just as astounding a soundtrack to boot. The musical game will likely include a ton of tracks from the main franchise, as well as the Monsters, Mystery Dungeon and Slime spin-off series. Perhaps it will even dabble in the anime series. Still, nothing will compare to those grand, cheerful epics of the big main franchise games that defined JRPGs for years to come.

Theatrhythm Dragon Quest is schedule for release in Japan starting March 26, exclusively on the Nintendo 3DS. Speculating a bit on a western release, Final Fantasy Curtain Call was launched in April in Japan and then September in the west. With a Japanese launch in March, we can cross our fingers for a pre-holiday season launch! That's if we're lucky.

The only question to ask is, after Final Fantasy and now Dragon Quest... what comes next?

 
 
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