Monday, Mar 2
Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin is about a month away now, and From Software wants everyone to meet The Forlorn, a new NPC invader who has a taste for player blood. In a recent gameplay video, we can see the NPC and his daunting health bar in action.
A player is seen confronting several enemies, when the game informs him that his world has been invaded by a dark spirit, the Forlorn. That's when a large figure wielding a two-handed greatsword pops through the trees, joining the existing mobs in harassing our undoubtedly terrified player character. We can only assume that more hilarious mishaps would happen were the character in the video just your average Dark Souls fan, rather than someone at From Software demoing the content.
The visually-updated Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin will be available for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC for 64 bit OS systems. A last-gen version will also be released for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 -- beyond just the recent game update -- as well as digitally for 32 bit OS PCs.
Friday, Feb 27
Net Articles Summary
It's for everyone, so long as you upgrade your PC to Windows 10
Fables Legends has gone through a transition carried out by many multiplayer-only titles these days. Fables Legends is now a free-to-play title, as in free-to-download and likely more expensive than a normal to get the full experience. Lionhead insists the change is in order to make their game accessible to a larger amount of players. They also insist that they want to ensure all gameplay content is accessible to all players. On paper it appears true, though folk will have to work for it.
Let's first take a look at what's free in the strictest sense of the word. Players will be able to download Fable Legends on both PC and Xbox One for no cost. From there, Lionhead says that all story, including quests added at launch and post, will be free for all players. That's it for completely free. Everything else is either bought with either premium or in-game currency, or strictly premium.
Content can then split into two different categories -- Hero and Villain content. No Heroes will be "free," though there will be a selection of them available on rotation so players can have something to play until they're able to pick one up for themselves. All progress unlocked on a Hero while they freely available will carry over until they're next available, or until they've been unlocked. Heroes will be purchasable with both the in-game currency and the premium currency.
Villain content is still a big ambiguously detailed. I believe Lionhead is saying in their press release that Villains will have access to a quest's wildlife for free and by content I mean minions and traps. If a Villain wants to use content as they please, they'll have to unlock it with either in-game or premium currency. That goes for both creatures and traps.
The only wholly premium content announced so far are outfit customizations for Heroes. Think of them as League of Legends skins. Alternatively, Lionhead says that other customizations, from outfits to different face variations, can be unlocked through in-game currency as well.
Was Fable Legends intended to be a free-to-play game from the very start? It's difficult to tell at this point, though I think going forward it's safe to say that any game claiming to be a multiplayer-focused title is either free-to-play or has some eye-gouging microtransactions. Unless you're Nintendo, that is, and DLC and free-to-play is a strange new future that seems different and uncomfortable.
Fable Legends is planned for release in 2015 for Windows 10 PCs and the Xbox One -- for free. Details on how the in-game currency will be earned will be coming at a later date. Scientists expect it to be just slow enough that you'll be pushed towards buying the premium currency out of frustration. Science.
Thursday, Feb 26
Net Articles Summary
- Thermaltake Toughpower Grand 1200W Platinum Review - HardOCP
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 vs AMD Radeon R9 290X - ocaholic
- Asus GeForce GTX 750 Ti Strix Review - PC Perspective
- Gigabyte GeForce GTX 960 G1 Gaming Review - LegitReviews.com
- Divoom Voombox Review - ThinkComputers
Sony unveils its Spring Fever line-up, eight indie PlayStation 4 titles released across March and April
With many coming to both PlayStation 4 and PS Vita too -- with cross-buy!
Sony just put out details on its upcoming Spring Fever 2015 indie event, a two-month sale which includes the launch of eight indie titles across its PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 and PS Vita platforms. Some of the games will be debuting, some will be exclusives, some will be older titles finally reaching Sony's platforms, but all of them are indie titles which the gaming community has a high level of excitement over. Spring Fever starts March 3 with the launch of Helldivers, then concludes April 27 as Shovel Knight's sale ends.
Each week will see the launch of a different title. That week the game will debut with a 10% discount for PlayStation Plus members. Not that every single title on this list is cross-buy for every platform they're being launched on. Some will be coming to PS Vita at a later date (denoted with an *), but the cross-buy functionality will still apply. Beyond the weekly sales for each of the Spring Fever games, Sony will also be holding different weekly sales for certain game and movie franchises.
Here's Sony's Spring Fever line-up, along with the game's launch date, platforms, and pricing.
- Helldivers - March 3 - PS4/PS3/PS Vita - $19.99
- Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number - March 10 - PS4/PS3/PS Vita - $14.99
- Jamestown+ - March 17 - PS4 - $11.99
- Metal Slug 3 - March 24 - PS4/PS3/PS Vita - $14.99
- Axiom Verge - March 31 - PS4* - $19.99
- Bastion - April 7 - PS4* - $14.99
- Titan Souls - April 14 - PS4/PS Vita - $9.99
- Shovel Knight - April 21 - PS4/PS3/PS Vita - $14.99
Helldivers, Hotline Miami 2, Axiom Verge and Titan Souls will each be brand spanking new releases, and Jamestown+ is a rather impressive upgrade over the inital release. They each look like awesome pick-ups for any PlayStation platform owner. Then there's Metal Slug 3, Bastion and Shovel Knight, which, holy cow, are brilliant titles. If only Sony could bundle them all together to buy in one discounted bunch. PlayStation Plus in March and April is going to look like garbage now.
Come March 10, Guild Wars 2 players will finally be getting the first-person POV, alongside a number of other adjustable camera options so many of us have been wanting since 2012. Yes, in about two weeks, we'll be getting adjustable field of view, collision control, position sliders, and a few other options.
The announcement might not seem especially major, what with players waiting to learn more about Heart of Thorns, but the features will be a long-awaited addition to Guild Wars 2. In fact, the first-person perspective was an option in the original Guild Wars, as well as in the Guild Wars 2 beta.
Here is a more detailed rundown of upcoming camera features dropping the second week of March:
Zooming in all the way will allow players to experience a first-person view. First-person mode is available while standing in place, walking, running, jumping, playing PvP and just about anything else. There aren’t any restrictions on where first-person can be used.
Field of View
A much requested feature, the field of view slider is a setting that will allow players to adjust how much can be seen in the game world. Players can use a slider to shrink or enlarge the field of view.
The Position Slider has been split into two different options, horizontal position and vertical position. The horizontal position slider will offset the camera to the left and right. An ‘over-the-shoulder’ view can be created as well to keep the center of the screen clear. The vertical position sets the maximum height the camera can go when the camera is at maximum distance from a character. The actual camera height will adjust the more you zoom in to ensure that your character is always on the screen.
When enabled, this setting will adjust how much stuff (trees, walls, rocks, etc.) needs to be between a player’s character and camera before the camera snaps in.
No matter the race or size, the camera will now focus on a character’s head. This is going to give norn players a relatively taller feeling than their asura-playing friends. This change might affect players who frequent jumping puzzles, so to counteract this, there is an adjust camera to character height toggle. When unchecked, the camera will move to a consistent position above the character’s feet, regardless of how big or small the character is.
360 picks up the Tomb Raider reboot and BioShock Infinite
Games With Gold's March line-up has been delivered right on schedule, with only two days left before February 2015 is just another part of history. Speaking of history, Microsoft is already talking about the anniversary of Games with Gold and how they'll be celebrating. For the once-only event in April, check this, Microsoft will be offering double what they normally offer. That's two games for Xbox One and four games for Xbox 360.
I'll admit, it would probably be a bit more exciting if Sony didn't offer at least six games a month (some cross-platform) standard with PlayStation Plus.
Let's not get ahead of ourselves, though. March is next on the list and Microsoft has three more games for players to add to their libraries. That's one Xbox One game and two Xbox 360 games. This may very well be the best month for the service yet in terms of brand power. We're talking three major series coming to Games With Gold. Let's get to it.
- Rayman Legends
- Tomb Raider
- BioShock Infinite
Note that Tomb Raider will be available between March 1 through 15, then BioShock Infinite will take its place from the 15 through the 31. That also means that Xbox One players only have two days left to pick up #IDARB and 360 players have the two days left to get Sniper Elite V2.
Not much else to say. The pricing for the Xbox 360 games this month are uniform with what Microsoft tends to list as the two titles' retail prices. Rayman Legends, however, is still retailing for probably twice what Microsoft usually spends on a Games With Gold title. Maybe the team really struck gold with Ubisoft on a special deal, or maybe they didn't have an indie title ready and waiting for March.
Expect more information on April's big anniversary Games With Gold event, where there will be twice as many titles available for Gold subscribers to download. In the mean time, enjoy March's offerings.
Batman: Arkham Knight's 'Gotham is Mine' trailer may be cliche, but at least it's Rocksteady's sort of cliche
Everyone should be on the same page with regards to who Batman is and what sort of business he's in. These days creative mediums like comics and games strive to find new stories, new ways to keep Batman on the cutting edge. Marketing, however, does things a bit differently. Their aim is to remind, to rekindle that Batman nostalgia. That may be why today's Batman: Arkham Knight trailer is heavy on the cliche and light on content.
Titled "Gotham is Mine" viewers are treated to Scarecrow doing his thing, striking fear into the hostage population of Gotham as he puts his eeeevil plan into action. Of course, a certain person with dubious loyalties has to warn Batman of his pending doom. Saying, "Over my dead body," followed by the reply, "That's the plan," literally killed me. Literally. I'd prefer a dozen, "That wizard came from the moon," lines. Literally.
Luckily I was quickly found myself brought back into the light with the realization that the trailer, despite the ham-fisted, "Batman, Batman, BATMAN!" The realization that Batman is back in the hands of Rocksteady Studios and it looks real good. Really real. The jump in console generations has done the franchise a huge favor and while it make take a bit of getting used to the upped fidelity is glorious. Also, kind of messed up. Two Face's wounds are noticeably weeping.
This all ties into the fact that, if you haven't heard, Batman: Arkham Knight received an M rating in the United States. Basically, it means the game can be filled with Two Face's wounds, Scarecrow's grody decomposing mask, police officers getting attacked by street gangs, and glory be to whatever Rocksteady can fit into the game without accidentally pushing it to the point where Walmart bans it.
Batman's back in Batman: Arkham Knight starting June 2.
Wednesday, Feb 25
Net Articles Summary
The Evil Within: The Assignment is promising to give a bit more insight into Shinji Mikami's horror thriller once the DLC drops March 10. Until then, however, enjoy this new trailer introducing us to detective Juli Kidman's waking nightmare.
The Assignment will be told from Juli's perspective, essentially making Sebastian's partner into the playable protagonist. Supposedly, her version of the story will fill in a few plot holes and unanswered questions in Sebastion's tale, though with The Consequence DLC planned for later this spring, I wouldn't doubt The Assignment will leave a few mysteries of its own. Either way, you can expect new enemies and scenarios to encounter as Juli, rather than the same stuff Sebastian experienced.
Juli's little adventure through her own mental hell will be covered under the Season Pass, alongside the next DLC, The Consequence. If you don't have the Season Pass or don't care enough to shell out the $20 (okay, $19.99 more like) then the individual DLC is $9.99 on PSN, Xbox Live, and PC.
League of Legends is celebrating the arrival of DJ Sona, the MOBA's newest Ultimate tier cosmetic skin. As soon as you log in today, the animated splash features Sona rocking out to her own jams, which Riot produced in collaboration with some pretty major names in the EDM scene. Because Riot can do things like that.
Being an Ultimate skin, DJ Sona will eventually be a hefty 3250 RP, the equivalent of maybe $25 to $30. For now, however, the skin is marked down to 2450 RP and will likely remain that way until next week. That's a 25 percent discount, dropping it below $20.
Be sure to check out the new trailer Riot made just for the skin, too. Then again, if you don't actually enjoy EDM, then this is all moot and consider yourself lucky that you've saved yourself the RP.
Square Enix casts Zaorik on Dragon Quest in the West
If you're holding out for a Dragon Quest love letter from Square Enix to fans outside of Japan, the wait will be over some time this year as the publisher confirms a North American and European release of Dragon Quest Heroes for the PS4. Dragon Quest Heroes is a collaborative title from Square Enix and Koei Tecmo's Omega Force that takes the universe of the classic JRPG franchise and class-changes it into an Dynasty/Samurai Warriors style action RPG.
If that sort of mashup sounds familiar, recall that Nintendo similarly teamed up with Omega Force to create Hyrule Warriors starring your favorite heroes and villains from The Legend of Zelda series. So too will Dragon Quest Heroes feature a cast of playable characters from series entries both new and old in a brand new story that also introduces new main characters.
Like any good Warriors title, the name of the game is to plow through hordes of hapless enemies and big bosses with merciless combos; returning Dragon Quest characters will get to use series signature attacks, all realized in high-definition visuals. Dragon Quest creator and director Yuji Horii and sound composer Koichi Sugiyama also lend their talents to ensure the game still carries the distinct series stamp.
Interestingly, only the PS4 version of Dragon Quest Heroes has so far been confirmed for a localized English release; the game launches tomorrow in Japan for both PS3 and PS4, with the Western release due some time later this year.
Mirroring the release schedule of League of Legends in 2014, Riot Game has revealed their next champion today. Mark him down as the first support release since Braum came out in May of last year. Introducing Bard, the Wandering Caretaker. Yes, his name is Bard and Riot's really gone out of their way to create something unique with him. He's a chime-ringing, world-exploring, mask-faced, spirit-in-man's-clothing, wandering the world until the day Runeterra has found peace.
In the mean time, however, Bard will be fighting the good fight on Summoner's Rift -- peace will have to wait. As a support role, Bard doesn't have a skill-set designed to dismantle and destroy his opponents. Rather, Bard's skills are designed to enhance his teammates while inhibiting his opponents. Most of the mechanics involved in Bard's kit aren't wholly original, but they're used in such a way that Bard is certain to mix up the meta on the Rift.
- Passive: Traveler’s Call
- Ancient Chimes - Bard’s presence causes sacred chimes to appear on the Fields of Justice. Collecting a chime grants Bard a brief burst of movement speed, experience, and mana.
- Meeps - Bard’s presence attracts small spirits known as meeps to his side. Whenever Bard attacks, a meep throws itself at his target, dealing extra damage before disappearing back to the spirit world. As Bard collects more chimes, the meeps that follow him grow in both number and power.
- Q: Cosmic Binding
- Bard fires out a burst of spirit energy in a line, damaging and slowing the first enemy struck. After Cosmic Binding hits an enemy, the burst of energy continues through, searching for secondary targets. If it hits a wall, it stuns the initial target; if it hits a second enemy, it stuns both targets.
- W: Caretaker’s Shrine
- Bard conjures a health pack that gains power for a few seconds. Allied champions who walk over the pack gain health and a brief burst of movement speed, while enemies can stand on the pack for a moment to destroy it.
- E: Magical Journey
- Bard conjures a portal on a target wall. The portal tunnels through to the far end of the wall, granting one-way passage to all champions, friend and foe, who enter it.
- R: Tempered Fate
- After a brief delay, Bard places all units in a targeted area - friend or foe, including champions, minions, monsters and turrets - in stasis. Frozen units are immune to all damage until the effect wears off.
As should be apparent, Bard's skills aren't wholle unique. His passive takes inspiration from both Thresh's souls and Lulu's Pix; his Q chains like Lux's cage and Veigar's upcoming Baleful Strike change; his W is a mix of Rek'sai's tunnel destruction mechanic a a heal; his E is Rek'Sai's tunnel only one way and with much more utility; finally, his R is a Zonya's which can be used unwillingly on both friend and foe alike. He's just different enough to be interesting, but also similar enough not to break the game.
To be honest, I find Bard's visual and audio design much more interesting than his gameplay. Riot has made no secret that they love to mix in music and beautiful sound-work in any way they can. Bard is another opportunity for Riot to spread its wings. See, Bard doesn't have a traditional voice. He speaks through tones and music. It's a woodwind-based voice, implied to come from him using his "pipe" to communicate. It's a beautiful idea and is certain to bring a serenity to even the most grueling of team-fights.
His animations, which sparkle and glow, only serve to accent his spiritual nature. His entire visual theme could likely be attributed to Studio Ghibli, or particularly the film Princess Mononoke. The mask Bard wears specifically is attributable to one that Mononoke-hime is seen wearing in the film. Bard's Meeps are also similar to Princess Monoke's take on kodama -- Japanese tree spirits. Heck, perhaps it's unfair to say Bard is Princess Mononoke inspired as opposed to Japanese folklore and mythology.
Riot has yet again made a visually striking champion that is certain to be a welcome addition to the League of Legends champion roster. Supports, unlike other roles, are meant to fulfill unique purposes on Summoner's Rift. As a result, you often see Riot experimenting more with their design. Such is the case Bard, much like with Braum and Lulu before him. Hopefully Bard, also like the supports prior to him, finds his place both on the Rift and in summoners' hearts.
Expect Bard to be released with the next week or two. Expect more information on the new League of Legends champion in the days ahead. If you're interested in his alternate skin, it's named "Elderwood Bard" and features the support with two big wooden antlers and a leafy beard. It's darker and more mysterious in nature, just as Bard would likely prefer. It reminds me of The Beast from Over the Garden Wall.
Click here to see more images
- Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power announced for 2015, trailer brings old heroes and new gameplay 
- World of Warcraft subscription time will soon be tradable for gold 
- HTC unveils Vive VR headset, made in partnership with Valve for release late 2015 
- Fable Legends is free-to-play, content like Heroes unlocked with premium and in-game currencies 
- 3D Realms debuts isometric Bombshell gameplay, Shelly Harrison fights the Kyrr to save the President 
- Guild Wars 2 finally getting first-person POV in March, plus other camera options 
- Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin gameplay video introduces the deadly Forlorn invader 
- Unreal Engine 4 goes free for all after opening up to all