Friday, Aug 29
Taking bets on which characters sells out first
During a special Super Smash Bros. focused Nintendo Direct in Japan today, early details on the first wave of Amiibo collectible interactive figures were revealed. Localized information on the figures was then soon confirmed by Nintendo of America, meaning fans will be able to pickup their Amiibos this holiday season. In fact, fans can actually preorder their figures now and with a selection of 12 at a price of $12.99 apiece, it's probably best to start saving as soon as possible.
In case you misread, let me just say again that an Amiibo will cost $12.99 apiece. This means that an Amiibo will run at least $3 more expensive than a Skylander or a Disney Infinity figure. Considering Amiibo functionality in terms of interactivity with the Wii U is yet unclear, the price is a tad surprising. Still, if the figure quality is that much higher than competitive gaming figures, then the price can certainly be justified.
Before we ramble on too much about price and value, let's get back to those 12 figures and just which characters will be available:
- Donkey Kong
- Wii Fit Trainer
Nintendo promises that more are on their way, but it's unclear whether they mean Super Smash Bros. figures in particular or just in general. Other titles confirmed for Amiibo figures down the line include Mario Kart 8, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, Mario Party 10 and Yoshi's Woolly World.
As for the in-game functionality that I mentioned was still unclear earlier, Nintendo also says that details regarding that will be forthcoming soon. Obviously fans shouldn't expect Skylander or Disney Infinity levels of interactivity, since Amiibo isn't a standalone game, but hopefully Nintendo has some fun ideas in mind.
Pre-orders for Amiibo figures including all 12 of those listed above start today at the usual retailer suspects. Note that all 12 figures are for Super Smash Bros. Wii U -- not 3DS. Sure, they're the same characters, but the 3DS version of the game will not feature Amiibo functionality, or so I'm lead to believe. Each figure will cost $12.99 in the USA, $13.99 in Canada, and Europe I don't believe has a confirmed price point as of yet. All figures will be available starting this holiday season.
Shulk > Bowser, Link and Marth, you heard it here first
I have a secret that I have to admit. I never played Xenoblade Chronicles on the Wii. Despite supporting Operation Rainfall and the localization of Xenoblade Chronicles as well as other JRPGs, its release slipped through my periphery. By the time I rediscovered the title it had already sold out in large part and GameStop was busy charging twice the price for new copies. Luckily, it seems that a majority of other Operation Rainfall supporters had their money where their mouths were.
Not only is the sequel Xenoblade Chronicles X being developed for Wii U (and being pushed as a headlining title no less), but today during a Japanese Nintendo Direct Shulk was confirmed for the upcoming Super Smash Bros. Wii U and 3DS roster. Shulk, a very standard JRPG looking fellow, wields a particularly JRPG looking sword and even his Smash skill summons a party of fellows in order to pull off an epic RPG combo attack. One might even think Shulk comes from turn-based origins.
Shulk's selling point, however, is his sword -- the Monado. With the Monado Shulk is able to buff himself in four different ways, though each buff also comes with a debuff. Jump, Speed, Shield, Buster and Smash will, respectively, increase jumping power at the cost of defense, increase speed at the cost of attack strength, increase defense at the cost of movement speed, increase attacks at the cost of launching ability, and increase launch power at the cost of overall attack strength.
Shulk also claims to read the future, though it will take a particularly strong Super Smash Bros. player to be able to persuade anyone that's a game feature.
Also announced today was a special deal for fans who purchase both Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U. After registering each title with Club Nintendo, players will unlock a special edition "Premium Sound Selection" soundtrack for the games. The digital album will feature "music taken from and inspired by the games." Just hit me with that Donkey Kong Rap and I'm all yours, Nintendo.
Super Smash Bros. 3DS will launch on October 3, which is just a bit more than a month away! Wii U-only fans will have to wait a bit longer, with the console version of the title still only tentatively planned for the holiday season. Everybody, please take a moment to tell Nintendo that we don't want any delays here. We're quickly approaching a dangerous time here. If Nintendo doesn't dedicate to a release date soon.. well, enough said.
Click here to see more images
Thursday, Aug 28
Net Articles Summary
- MSI Z97 XPOWER AC Review - Overclockers Club
- Western Digital My Cloud EX2 Review - Techware Labs
- Dune HD Connect Review - NikKTech
- Z97 & Z87 Motherboard Charts: 42 Models tested - Update Gigabyte Z97X-UD3H - ocaholic
- Shogun Bros Ensense Review - pcGameware.co.uk
The upcoming PAX trailer for Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal was recently released, though it did come a bit earlier than Sanzaru Games expected it. Leaked earlier today, the trailer shows off a few CG cutscenes from the new title, then goes straight into the fast and furious gameplay that the Sonic series is known for -- oh, and a fan-favorite character makes an appearance at the end. Shadow is back.
Technology has clearly improved in the world of Sonic the Hedgehog. The trailer gives us a few story details by showing off Lyric's, a new main antagonist, attack on Amy during a video call with Sonic. Unlike the Wii U version of Sonic Boom, where Amy is actually a playable character, Sonic and co. must immediately jump into action to save their pink friend from the evil robotic snake that looks, oddly enough, like a kremling.
Of course, gameplay is pretty much what people expect from Sonic. Characters run fast, jump fast, and talk fast. Everything is fast. This game has a few nifty elements that players haven't seen before, including the ability to shoot through levels using a slingshot. Shattered Crystal is proving to be large on exploration of individual levels. It's not necessarily a first for the Sonic series, but it is nice to see the games expand to include more than just running quickly.
For those who aren't necessarily fans of the blue hedgehog himself, Shadow will be making an appearance in the title. Rumors circulated a few weeks ago that Shadow, as well as Metal Sonic, a previously confirmed character, would be present in one or both of the Sonic Boom titles, which now looks to be true. Oddly enough though, Shadow has a new voice actor. Coming from someone who spent his entire childhood playing Sonic Adventure 2 this might take some time to get used to, but it is nice to see that Sonic fans are getting some love with the two fan-favorite characters.
Sanzaru Games' Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal will be available for the Nintendo 3DS on November 11 in North America. Hopefully, an official announcement regarding whether or not Shadow is playable will be made soon, but for now, enjoy checking him out in CG style below.
Lords of the Fallen PAX trailer sends chills up the spine, explores a beautiful world filled with darkness
Harkyn proves to be humanity's last hope and defense
Lords of the Fallen will be arriving soon and giving hardcore RPG fans everywhere an experience so challenging we'll begin wondering if we're secretly masochists. A new trailer was released for the game today, declaring its presence at PAX, and it gives us a pretty close look at how beautiful this nightmarish world actually is. Who doesn't want to die in an exotic and scenic fantasy world?
Harkyn, the protagonist of Lords of the Fallen, is sent on what can only be considered a life-threatening mission to confront the armies of an ancient god. On the bright side, at least he's not in prison anymore, because that's where Harkyn was before he was given this amazing opportunity at redemption. So whether he lives or dies, the guy's more or less off the hook for whatever his crimes were.
We're going to go with dies, though, because this game is really about as relaxing as Dark Souls. Remember, also, that anyone in the Americas can pre-order for a free upgrade to the limited edition.
Lords of the Fallen will be out for PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 come October 28.
Well I suppose they didn’t promise two new games each month
Another month is almost over and that means it’s time for the September Games with Gold announcement. Microsoft is rather tenuously keeping up the promise of two games per month for Xbox Live Gold members. The current tactic appears to be to carrying one game from each months offering into the next month. That attains the goal of two games per month being offered on Xbox One while at the same time extending each game to a two month spell.
The full September Games with Gold roster:
- Crimson Dragon
- Super Time Force
- Halo: Reach
This month it’s the turn of Crimson Dragon, added to the service last month, to be carried over for Games with Gold on Xbox One. Super Time Force is the new addition to the platform and if recent form continues then it will likely be around for October too. It's a disappointing reality that it may just be one new game per month on Games with Gold for Xbox One in the future. Still, it is still well worth picking up Super Time Force for any subscribers in the mood for some side-scrolling fun time manipulating fun.
Xbox 360 Gold subscribers, unlike their Xbox One counterparts, will have two new games available to download in September. As per usual the availability of these games will be split across the month. Monaco: What’s Yours Is Mine will be available to download from September 1 until September 15, where it then hands off to Halo: Reach until the end of the month. It is surely no coincidence that Halo: Reach, the last Halo game developed by Bungie, happens to be included in the service just as their previous game, Destiny, is set to launch in September.
Joining a match late no longer penalizes, plus more changes
Titanfall Update 6 details have dropped, revealing an upcoming Featured mode named "Pilot Skirmish," plus the permanent addition of "Marked For Death," due to popular demand. Community pressure wins again! A rare new Burn Card will be joining the deck soon as well, along with other much-needed changes, like tweaks to how losses are counted when joining a match late.
So the Pilot Skirmish mode will boast an 8v8 player count, but it also gets rid of AI and Titans. Yeah, you read that correctly; Respawn is adding a team deathmatch mode featuring pilots only. Now because this the number of supported players differs from any other Titanfall mode, Pilot Skirmish will not be available through Variety Pack.
Beyond the new Featured Game Mode and the availability of Marked For Death, Update 6 also adds a colorblind mode to make life easier for affected pilots, a new "ultra-rare" Burn Card "Roll the Dice," the ability to buy individual cards from Black Market Daily Deals, and the Burn Card Auto Fill option that ensures pilots will never go into a match with empty card slots again.
Another positive change coming soon is how late-game joining works. Basically, you won't be penalized for it anymore:
Joining late is no longer penalized. If you join a match that is more than half way over and your team is not winning, a loss will not be counted on your record. If the match is a win for your team, we’ll count it as one. We’ve also added a warning message noting you will receive a loss on your record by leaving a match in progress.
A number of gameplay/balance changes and bug fixes are also rolling out with Update 6. Lopsided matches should see a reduction (thank goodness for that) afterwards, while Titan damage is being tweaked to better reflect each of their unique play styles. Check out the details below:
IMPROVEMENTS AND OPTIMIZATIONS
FX Optimizations - Optimizing effects processing and moving more effects rendering work onto additional CPU cores is a good thing. So we did that.
Matchmaking - Faster searching, improved team balancing, increasing the likelihood of being in full games, and drastically lowering the chance of having lopsided (e.g. 6v3) matches.
- The score is now shown in the center of the screen at the end of each Last Titan Standing round.
- New HUD Icons for team Titan counts and players using Burn Cards have been added. Last Titan Standing now shows the number of Pilots left alive on each team.
- New voiceover for Round Won and Round Lost events as well as noting whether the gap between the teams’ scores is increasing or decreasing.
- Titans no longer show up on the minimap when they dash.
- Atlas and Stryder melee damage values have been switched to mirror their original design intent. The Titan melee damage order is now: Stryder, Atlas, Ogre from least to most. This is also consistent with the hierarchy of damage for the Big Punch mod.
- To stem the influx of Burn Cards at higher levels, the Bonus XP-to-Credits conversion rate for max level players has been adjusted.
- As part of the pan-galactic stimulus package, credits for selling rare Burn Cards have been increased from 200 to 400.
BUG FIXES (All Platforms)
- For the Black Market we slightly reduced the chance to get rare cards in the Standard Pack, and increased the number of rare cards in the Premium Pack from 4 to 5.
- The Auto-Titan vortex effect should no longer orient incorrectly.
- Fixed the shotgun, vortex fireback, and arc cannon bypassing Titan shields when used against a Pilot doing a friendly rodeo.
- The map Export no longer contains areas where you can shoot through covered windows.
- Grenades should now be better at predicting their movement at high frame rates.
- Fixed a rare crash bug on Demeter in Campaign mode.
BUG FIXES (Xbox One)
- Fixed issue where a user couldn't sign in to Titanfall if there is a second account on the system which has access to Titanfall DLC content which the first user doesn't.
- Fixed incorrect leave game dialog behavior when in a party.
- Connecting a SmartGlass device to the X1 while Titanfall is running should no longer cause a crash.
- You should no longer be able to get behind walls when rodeoing a Titan that is ejecting on Relic.
- Titan OS no longer says that you are being attacked by an Enemy Pilot when you are inside an enemy Dome Shield.
BUG FIXES (PC)
- Fixed incorrect leave game dialog behavior when in a party.
Coming Soon in a Future Update
Although Respawn gave no solid release window for the update, we expect it will come within the next few weeks. The newest map pack, IMC Rising, is also expected soon.
Wednesday, Aug 27
Net Articles Summary
Gauntlet, the reboot of the classic cooperative top-down dungeon crawler, has unfortunately suffered a delay. Previously planned for an early September release on PC, the new date has been pushed to September 23. Considering Gauntlet is a digital title and exclusive to PC, a month is a lot of time for developers Arrowhead Games to polish and add content. Let's hope they make the most of it.
As for the cause of the delay, publisher Warner Bros. cited the standard excuses. Arrowhead needed the time to "fine-tune details" and to create a "more robust multiplayer experience." In industry terms, this usually means something was broken or otherwise decided unnecessary, so the extra time will be spent fixing it. That doesn't mean they won't keep working on polish and additional content as well, however.
As a sort of recompense, I suppose, those who pre-ordered Gauntlet will acquire a special in-game armor. It's called The Spawn of Kerthull and is supposed to be, "a special Wizard's Robe made from dead imps, who are children of the greater demon Kerthull." A little grotesque, but what Gauntlet fan would ever turn away free loot?
Pick up the Gauntlet reboot starting on September 23 for PC, though it will also be optimized for SteamOS play for those who have set-up their own Steam Boxes. In the mean time, a Gauntlet tournament will be held at PAX featuring a number of industry names and faces. Check the stream out on the official PAX Prime Twitch channel which should be running all weekend long.
What Escape Dead Island is only becomes more clear today with the release of a new trailer titled, "Unraveled." In the trailer players are introduced to the game's protagonist and his goal of reporting on the zombie infection and the events that led to it, and bringing that news to the world. A grand mystery awaits, it seems. Then again, the other half of the trailer is all about beating zombies to a pulp with a guitar. You know, zombie game stuff.
The question left unanswered is, "Why?" Considering that Escape Dead Island is being made by a developer previously unattached to the franchise, made for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. That's as the next iteration in the main series, Dead Island 2, is being pushed heavily for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Is Escape Dead Island just capitalizing on a brand and an already existing consumer base? One would hope there's more to the game than that.
Narratively, this Escape Dead Island trailer should certainly pique some interest. Combat-wise? Well, melee combat isn't exactly a new thing in zombie action games. It will be interesting to see how the brand balances out with the rather scaled-back visuals and standard action. Lydia, at least, seems rather pleased with her experiences with the game.
Escape Dead Island will be available on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC starting November 18 in North America and November 21 in Europe.
Dragon Age: Inquisition's debut multiplayer trailer teases 12 characters, plenty of treasure hunting
Man, who wouldn't want a multiplayer mode attached to their entirely single-player and narrative driven epic fantasy? I know that's what BioWare must have asked themselves when they revealed Dragon Age: Inquisition's four-player cooperative mode earlier this week. Today EA and BioWare have dropped their outlet exclusive details, luckily, and today's trailer is freely available to everyone.
Featured in the trailer, that wasn't already revealed in yesterday's news, is that the multiplayer mode will feature three classes, Warrior, Rogue and Mage, broken into 12 specific characters. While all of the characters weren't shown, quite a few were teased in passing, including: Reaver, Necromancer, Alchemist, Keeper, Elementalist, Archer, Assassin, Katari and Legionnaire. Odds are these classes won't all be freely available for players to select however. If anything like the Mass Effect 3 multiplayer, they'll each have to be unlocked independently. Don't worry, we'll each get one class at random to start with I'm sure.
Beyond the classes, very little in specific was shown of the multiplayer mode. Four-player co-op, dungeon crawling, earn loot after beating a boss and so on. Some customization was shown including weapon selection, crafting and skill trees, but without some in-depth details I'm not sure what else to say. The highlight of the trailer for me were the bosses teased towards the end. Handsome fellas, those bosses. Odds are Dragon Age: Inquisition players will become well acquainted with them.
Dragon Age: Inquisition will be released November 18 in North America and November 21 in Europe.
Another month, another indie debut on PlayStation 4
Another month, another selection of delectable PlayStation Plus titles being added to each player's growing library. September, as in months previous, will see two games added to each of Sony's platforms -- PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 and PS Vita -- with some crossover between multi-platform titles. Overall, there's likely to be some disappointment with September's line-up, but let's be honest here. We're all going to be playing Destiny anyway, right?
Let's get down to specifics. Here's the full line-up of PlayStation Plus titles coming in September, along with which platforms they'll run on. Keep in mind that all of these games will be made available starting September 2, which also marks when August's games will no longer be available:
- Velocity 2X (PS4, PS Vita)
- Sportsfriends (PS4, PS3)
- PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale (PS3, PS Vita)
- Hoard (PS3)
- Joe Danger (PS Vita)
- TxK (PS Vita)
The Velocity sequel, much like other titles in previous months, will be launching as a PlayStation 4 exclusive. It's easy to say, "Oh, another indie game headlining PlayStation 4 this month," but these games are legitimately launching as free games for PlayStation Plus subscribers. That's a value that's hard to quantify. A game that no other person has played, but you're able to download and play through just for your subscription cost. Then again, if you could care less about Velocity then I guess that doesn't matter.
PlayStation Plus for September will go live on September 2. Make sure to check out the Sony Entertainment Network store before then and download all of August's great games. They'll be gone soon.
- Azure Striker Gunvolt to launch with free download for Mighty Gunvolt 
- Character creation in Dragon Age: Inquisition trailer teases each race, from beards to horns 
- Pokémon Trading Card Game Online launches today in App Store, play for free with PC/Mac users 
- League of Legends meets NBA with Dunkmaster Darius teaser, uses iconic 'dunking' silhouette 
- Free Hyrule Warriors DLC to add Cia, Volga and Wizzro as playable characters, more DLC planned 
- Co-op beat 'em up Viking Squad announced for PlayStation 4, appease the Jarl with plunder 
- Neoseeker is giving away Guild Wars 2 Living Story t-shirts! 
- Resource scarcity and improvising to survive in The Evil Within's 'Every Last Bullet' trailer