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Tuesday, Aug 26

Part Pokemon and part Tekken, Pokken Tournament coming to Japanese arcades in 2015

29 comments Rory Young - 3:14pm (PST) Like (1) Share (1)

How do I throw the Pokeball?

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A Pokemon fighting game? Could this be real? To think that somewhere in the world Nintendo, Game Freak and Bandai Namco executives gathered and actually agreed that a Pokemon fighting game had to be made. It's hard to even consider. Yet here we are, with Nintendo and Bandai Namco announcing Pokken Tournament, an arcade fighting game planned to be released in 2015 -- in Japan.

Now featuring a full teaser trailer, as opposed to the brief glimpse players had of Pokken Tournament at the last Nintendo World event, the reality of the situation is rather clear. Machamp and Lucario are going head to head, comboing each other to death on a 3D plane. Nowhere are trainers to be found in-screen and no specific abilities for either Pokemon are especially notable either. While Lucario does appear to be powering up at the end of the match, it'd be a stretch to say he's Mega Evolving or using a skill of any sort.

The question now becomes, "Is this even a Pokemon game?" Sure, Lucario and Machamp are Pokemon, but there's otherwise no features to this trailer distinguishing other notable Pokemon features or mechanics. It looks rather like a cheap Tekken mod with Pokemon skins. Heck, some mods out there probably look better. The idea of a Pokemon fighting game is brilliant, but I think developer Bandai Namco has some work to do to prove this is a worthy response to thousands of fans' requests.

Pokken Tournament is currently announced as a Japan-only arcade game. No other platforms have been revealed, let alone a North American localization. Yes, it's developed by Bandai Namco and not Nintendo. Yes, it's quite clearly built off of their Tekken franchise, sort of like Hyrule Warriors is really more of a Dynasty Warriors than a Zelda title. I'm scared, everyone.


Categories: Console Games

Dragon Age: Inquisition will have 4-player co-op mode, combining dungeon crawler with free-to-play

8 comments Lydia Sung - 2:54pm (PST) Like (1) Share

Taking page out of Mass Effect 3's co-op book

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Looks like Dragon Age won't be a single-player affair anymore, as BioWare today reveals the addition of a four-player co-op mode. Dragon Age: Inquisition follows its sci-fi cousin Mass Effect in this respect, by dropping a free-to-player cooperative mode on the series' third installment. Don't worry, though, because Inquisition probably won't require grinding multiplayer influence to acquire a "perfect" campaign ending. 

So the way co-op in Dragon Age: Inquisition is set up makes it an F2P dungeon crawler, separate from the game's main campaign. This mode will feature its own set of characters, each of a specific class, and a storyline yet to be announced. Every mission should span 20 to 30 minutes, and each of the three multiplayer/co-op campaigns will auto-generate a level made up of smaller segments. Basically, the maps are designed to shift, and more of these campaigns will be released further down the road (presumably at no extra cost).

The loot system is a bit of a gamble. At the end of every quest, players can spend gold they've earned on treasure chests, and these chests will yield random rewards like new equipment, potions, recipes, and even new heroes and skins. Of course, players who would rather not spend the time earning everything they want or need can just throw real money at the game for Platinum, which BIoWare's Scylla Costa described as an "optional time saver."

Sadly, the loot can't be traded. If you end up with a bunch of stuff you can't use, those items can be broken down and made into crafting ingredients that might go toward other items.

Nine heroes will be available at launch, each with their own set of skills and abilities, and the story they're involved in will run parallel to the Inquisitor's. BioWare have yet to really detail any sort of connection between the single- and multiplayer.

See IGN's exclusive reveal video below. Dragon Age: Inquisition comes out November 18 for Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and PC.


New 'Tropes vs Women in Video Games' episode continues with topic of violence against women

21 comments Lydia Sung - 12:01pm (PST) Like Share

Pretty startling once the examples are pointed out

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Anita Sarkeesian is back with another episode of her video series, Tropes vs Women in Video Games, continuing the rather uncomfortable look into violence against women in games. Women as Background Decoration: Part 2 carries on the discussion from the last segment, and delves even further into how women are brutalized in games, bringing up the topic of sexual assault.

In many games, we see women victimized in very graphic ways for many reasons, ranging from story to atmosphere. This falls under the concept of women being used as decorations in games, which is the topic of this episode, as well as the last. Sarkeesian also points out that in so many instances of abuse in games are shown as scripted events, where the player can do nothing but observe as a passerby.

Rape is not an easy topic to discuss by any means, but that certainly doesn't make it any less valid. Are there reasons to keep using situations where women are brutalized in a video game? Definitely, but I'd wager they're not very good ones.

Categories: Console Games PC Games

Capcom sues Koei Tecmo over patent infringement in Dynasty & Samurai Warriors expansions

12 comments Leo Chan - 11:24am (PST) Like Share

There's apparently a lot of offending titles on PS2 and PS3

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Japanese news wire Sankei reports that Capcom has taken Koei Tecmo to court over patent infringement, seeking damages of up to 980 million yen ($9.4 million USD).

Capcom is alleging that the publisher of the long-running Dynasty and Samurai Warriors series of titles has infringed on two of its patents, one (filed back in 2002) involving the functionality of unlocking game content in newer games by swapping in the disc for an older release when prompted; the Xtreme Legends releases for Dynasty and Samurai Warriors were cited as examples. Another patent Capcom claims Koei Tecmo has violated concerns the use of force feedback in game controllers as a means of notication to the player when, say, enemies are nearby.

Capcom has apparently done its homework and accuses Koei Tecmo of infringing on these patents across no less than 50 titles on PS2 and PS3 over the years, thus greatly contributing to Koei Tecmo's bottom line at the plaintiff's expense. In addition to the damages mentioned earlier, the company seeks to be awarded 5 to 10 percent of license fees, as well as an injunction of sales on the infringing titles.

Categories: Console Games

Dark Souls 2 awaits once more with release of the Crown of the Old Iron King DLC

1 comments Matt Newbould - 10:59am (PST) Like Share

One down, two to go. How much harder can this get...oh right it’s Dark Souls

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Today is indeed a happy day for any sadists craving a return to the kingdom of Drangleic, and of course those who never left, with the release of the Dark Souls 2: Crown of the Old Iron King DLC. It is the second part of a planned Lost Crown Trilogy following on from the Crown of the Sunken King add-on, released back in July. The latest episode promises a challenge for Dark Souls 2 fans that will "bring players to their knees and yet make them yearn for more."

The trilogy of DLC wraps up in late September with the Crown of the Ivory King, giving players just under a month to get their teeth into, and hands onto,  the Crown of the Old Iron King. As with any good DLC there is an offering new enemies to face and gruesome bosses to dispose of, plus some lovely traps puzzles to get murdered by solve. 

In what seems like an effort to make each piece of DLC feel unique and to differentiate them from one another, The Crown of the Old Iron King features an environment very different from the one experienced by players in Crown of the Sunken King. This time around players are challenged with navigating a land of ash and lava in a quest to tackle Brume Tower. I can’t imagine that being deadly, not at all.

The Crown of the Old Iron King DLC is included in the Dark Souls 2 Season Pass for those who have purchased it, and is also available separately through Steam, PlayStation Network and Xbox LIVE Marketplace from today for $9.99.


Monday, Aug 25

Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD ReMIX gets new screens, see enhanced 'Birth By Sleep' in all its HD glory

6 comments Max Navarro - 10:04pm (PST) Like Share

Stitch enjoys the publicity, really

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High-quality screenshots from Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX were recently released to the public. These specific screenshots are from the Birth by Sleep HD remake that is included in the 2-for-1 ReMIX package.

Even without knowing the story of the Kingdom Hearts series -- and it is a bit difficult to follow for casual fans -- or being unable to read Japanese text, the tale told by these screenshots is evident. Sora, the main character with the spiky, sandy brown hair, is out to help various Disney characters, including Princesses Aurora and Snow White, and Stitch. The little blue guy can usually take care of himself, but even mutant aliens need help sometimes.

Of course, these games aren't just known for their Disney cast inclusions. Alongside a radical real-time battle system, which looks absolutely amazing in HD for the record, Kingdom Hearts tells a powerful and passionate tale regarding Organization XIII, a group of empty replicas of main characters. Oh, and there's a slight appeal in having every bit of action (happy or sad, light or dark) happening in quirky places from every kid's childhood, including Agrabah from Aladdin and other various Disney towns.

Square Enix's Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX will be available in North America on December 2, exclusively for the PlayStation 3. One final thing to note is just how incredible these screenshots really look, and one can only imagine the title in motion. Sora looks like a stud, the fairy godmothers look like a spunky magic trio, and Stitch just looks like Stitch.

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Screenshots from Adventure Time: The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom belie little adventure

6 comments Rory Young - 7:27pm (PST) Like Share

Adventures with Finn and Jake, what could go wrong?

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Another year, another Adventure Time game born from a partnership between Cartoon Network and developers WayForward. While neither of the two previous games have been spectacularly well received, erm, well, why not make a third game? Adventure Time: The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom will be released in November later this year, shipping another action/adventure title full of classic Adventure Time humor for the whole family.

Three princesses from the Nameless Kingdom have been kidnapped and so it's up to Finn, with help from his faithful bro Jake, to rescue them and to discover who the kidnappers really are. With three unique temples and a final dungeon to be explored, as well as mini-adventures featuring the Ice King, Marceline, LSP and more, hopefully everyone feels like they're getting their money's worth.

Don't get me wrong, I respect the folk at Cartoon Network funding smaller development of interesting games like they're making. Still, as a huge Adventure Time, I think it would behoove them to try and find a partnership somewhere that could lead to some great, super high quality games. Imagine Platinum Games making an Adventure Time title like they're doing a Korra game? That would be unbelievable. For now, we're kind of stuck with these rather extravagantly priced action/adventure titles.

Adventure Time: The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom will be released this November for the Nintendo 3DS, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and about time, the PC.

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MotoGP 14 reaches North America November 4, teaser trailer leads the way

5 comments Rory Young - 7:08pm (PST) Like Share

Europe won this race by a mile

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Milestone's MotoGP 14, a complete reworking of the MotoGP series, is finally arriving in North America on November 4 later this year. Other than a sneaky announcement that Bandai Namco would be publishing the title in North America earlier this year, details have been surprisingly mum. It makes sense then that Bandai Namco is kicking off a last-minute advertising campaign starting with today's MotoGP 14 teaser trailer.

The teaser, which I believe is an in-engine cinematic, shows off some of the improvements that Milestone has made over MotoGP 13. MotoGP 14 features an all new sound and graphics engine, which hopefully means we'll see a disgustingly beautiful motorcycle racing game as the series starts its PlayStation 4 and Xbox One run. Still, something does feel a tad lacking from the trailer. I suppose an upgraded engine only does so much when you have sketchy animations.

As far as content goes, MotoGP 14 will retain many if not all of the features from its predecessor. All three classes, Moto3, Moto 2, and MotoGP will be included in the game, as well as all circuits, teams and racers from  the 2014 MotoGP World Championship. Players will create their own racer for career mode, which will be similar to MotoGP 13, or they can dive into 12-person multiplayer matches as well as a half-dozen other various gameplay modes.

MotoGP 14 will be available starting November 4 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC. The game has been out in Europe since June 20 earlier this year.


Age of Empires returns with Age of Empires: Castle Siege, touch-based game for Windows devices

3 comments Matt Newbould - 6:33pm (PST) Like Share

Age of Microtransactions?

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It should be happy times. Age of Empires, one of the most beloved real-time strategy franchises of the past 15 years makes it return with the newly announced Age of Empires: Castle Siege coming from Microsoft Studios and Smoking Gun Interactive. However, the latest installment in the series signals a departure from the series norm, with a new focus on the mobile and tablet market. Including those dreaded microtransactions. 

Billed as bringing "a fast-paced experience to touch-based screens while delivering all the strategy and combat Age of Empires is renowned for," there is a clear aim with Age of Empires: Castle Siege to take advantage of the mobile market. The decision to make the game available only on Windows based PCs, Tablets and Phones will mean the exposure of the game is somewhat limited over releasing on multiple platforms such as Android and iOS.  

There are obvious concerns here about the affect of condensing the core experience of a full-on Age of Empires game down to suit mobile devices, and especially the focus on a touch-based control scheme. It remains to be seen how well the control scheme will be implemented and whether much will be lost in the move away from the exacting control of a keyboard and mouse-based system. None of that means Age of Empires: Castle Siege can’t be fun of course, but I would expect a very different experience to the one this game will evoke memories of. 

Age of Empires: Castle Siege takes on a more cartoonish art style than the original Age of Empires trilogy, and is quite reminiscent of not only the latest game in the series, Age of Empires Online, but also Kingdom Rush which was a big hit on tablet and mobile devices. The hope here is that the essence of Age of Empires survives and there is a promise of still being able to build an empire, defend it and also hit out at those pesky enemies in Age of Empires: Castle Siege

There will be six playable civilizations for Age of Empires: Castle Siege with the Britons, Byzantines, Franks, Kievan Rus, Saracens and the Teutonic Order all playable. Each civilizations comes complete with their own unique units to differentiate them and will hopefully add more gameplay variety. The addition of heroes also sees a slight parallel with Kingdom Rush, the heroes in this instance are based on real historical figures, with the likes of Richard the Lionheart and Charlemagne being deployable.

Once nice touch is the ability to take part in historical battles, from the Fall of Constantinople to the Siege of Marienburg. So far there are only 10 historical battles to play, but if expanded it could be a very nice feature to play around with. 

In-game purchases, or microtransactions, will be a feature for Age of Empires: Castle Siege it seems. Currently the details haven’t been outlined past the idea that they will enable players to "accelerate gameplay." Game saves will be playable across multiple Windows 8 devices, with cross-play against friends also possible. Players can also form alliances with their friends on Xbox Live, though quite what this means isn’t covered. It could signal a referral system for gaining extra unlocks, or possibly just linking up with other owners of the game.

I have a soft spot for the Age of Empires series and long for more games in the franchise, as it introduced me to the realms of real-time strategy and strategy games in general. Unfortunately a mobile targeted game with microtransactions and a focus on Xbox Live friends is not the game I had dreamed of. I’d love to be proven wrong. 

Age of Empires: Castle Siege seems set for a September release on Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8, no pricing information has been revealed as of yet. 

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Categories: PC Games Mobile Games

Gameplay trailer reveals the 2D colossus that is Titan Souls, there's no scenic route

3 comments Rory Young - 6:20pm (PST) Like (1) Share (1)


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To kill a Titan is a task one should never take lightly. Or, you know, you should just kill as many of these pesky Titans as possible in order to absorb their delicious souls. Somewhere in between those two statements lies Titan Souls, an quirky 2D game that spring from the 48-hour Ludum Dare game jam. Apparently 48 hours was just enough to persuade developer Acid Nerve that this game needed to be fully developed. Publisher Devolver Digital agreed.

Now Acid Nerve is ready to share some of that experience with the world. Today marks the release of the first gameplay trailer of Titan Souls in its current form. Press and industry members were able to get a hands-on title at E3, which led to us adding it to our own awards for the convention, but Titan Souls are just meant to be shared. What we have here is a Shadow of the Colossus-style guantlet of boss battles. A game that trims the fat of clutter enemies to focus on the big, extreme, and highly challenging fights that leave their marks on players.

It's almost ingrained into me that the types of experiences Titan Souls is forming its entire game around are the ones I need to look forward to. They're the beast at the end of every Zelda dungeon, the plunge after every roller coaster climb, the thrill that gamers live and love for. In a short, demo burst I found this exhilarating, but a full game? I can't say for certain. What I can say is that each and every boss shown in this trailer will meet their doom at my hand. 'Ware, Titan. I am coming for you.

Titan Souls is planned to launch on PC, PlayStation 4 and PS Vita in early 2015, though fans can try a demo version of the game out at PAX Prime.