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Thursday, Feb 26

Batman: Arkham Knight's 'Gotham is Mine' trailer may be cliche, but at least it's Rocksteady's sort of cliche

4 comments Rory Young - 2:13am (PST) Like (1) Share

Gee golly, Batman! Gotham's in trouble again!

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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.

Categories: Console Games PC Games

Wednesday, Feb 25

The Evil Within: The Assignment DLC makes Juli Kidman playable, forces us to confront new evils

1 comments Lydia Sung - 6:11pm (PST) Like Share

And it falls under the Season Pass

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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.


DJ Sona debuts in League of Legends for 2450 RP, see her go full electronica in new trailer

3 comments Lydia Sung - 2:44pm (PST) Like Share

Discounted for a limited time

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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.

Categories: PC Games

Dragon Quest Heroes readies full-scale slime invasion in North America and Europe later this year

7 comments Leo Chan - 12:17pm (PST) Like (1) Share (1)

Square Enix casts Zaorik on Dragon Quest in the West

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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.

Categories: Console Games

Chimes ring for League of Legends support players as Bard, the Wandering Caretaker, is revealed

4 comments Rory Young - 5:21am (PST) Like Share


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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

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Categories: PC Games

Street Fighter V sees Guile's mentor, Charlie Nash, back from presumed death and on the roster

0 comments Rory Young - 3:33am (PST) Like Share

Street Fighter V's roster expands to Ryu, Chun-Li, and... Charlie?

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Capcom has decided to throw a wrench in the gears of fans' expected roster announcements for Street Fighter V. The game was revealed with both Ryu and Chun-Li fighting it out, the franchise's two roster staples. Who comes next? Why, it should be Ken of course, seeing as he goes all the way back to the original Street Fighter. Then comes Sagat, Blanka, Dhalsim, E. Honda, Guile, Zangief and the boss crew. Who does Capcom pick? Charlie Nash! Err, what?

The last time Street Fighter fans saw Charlie was in prequel title Street Fighter Alpha. Charlie's exact origins, and his subsequent demise at the hands of M. Bison (or even Guile in one world), differ wildly across mediums -- even in a single game. What's usually true universally true is that Charlie is in the United States Air Force and is a mentor, and sometimes superior officer, to Guile. Prior to the events of Street Fighter II Charlie is killed in the fight against Shadowloo, leading to Guile's participation in the tournament.

Suffice to say that beyond the prequel events of Street Fighter Alpha, Charlie Nash has been assumed dead. That is, until Street Fighter IV. In Street Fighter IV Guile attempts to persuade his superiors to hunt for the missing Charlie,  implying that the man survived. This rumor is spread further when Abel joins the roster, hinting that a man who knows the Sonic Boom technique broke him out of prison.

Now here we are today with Capcom confirming Charlie Nash as Street Fighter V's third roster addition. He's definitely Charlie, but the differences between new Charlie and old Charlie should be obvious. The man has blackened skin, either decomposing or replaced with a different material through some sort of experimentation, covering large parts of his face, arm and torso -- at least given what we can see of him. Large staples, not stitches, tie the two halves of Charlie together. Also, there's some odd sort of gem, button or mechanical piece in the center of Charlie's forehead.

As for Charlie's fighting style? Well, he did train Guile, you know. The man has his own takes on the Sonic Boom, the flip kick and so on. His skills in Street Fighter V are accentuated by either a blue energy or a water-like liquid animation. As for his play-style, he seems like a much more mobile character than Guile. This perhaps implies that he's more of an in-your-face, mix-up oriented fighter as opposed to Guile's distance and zone-control style.

That's bout all that's shown in Charlie's debut trail... oh snap, that's M. Bison teased at the end isn't it. Purple energy? Maniacle laugh? Yup, Bison's back. Looks like we have four characters on the roster now, boys.

Surprise, surprise! There's more to this article than just Charlie Nash's addition to the Street Fighter V roster. Capcom has a second announcement to reveal. Prior to Street Fighter V's launch Capcom will be running an online beta for the game on both PC and PlayStation 4. While the timing for this beta is not yet hammered down, Capcom did say that those who pre-order the game will automatically gain access to the beta. Ugh, pre-orders. A beta is better than launch day DLC at least.

Street Fighter V is planned for both PC and PlayStation 4 and will be launching ... err, who knows? Not even a 2015 release has yet been confirmed.


Tuesday, Feb 24

Another delay for Grand Theft Auto V on PC, now set to launch on April 14 with Heists arriving March 10

12 comments Rory Young - 6:38pm (PST) Like Share

No one really wants to play it anyway, right?

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It's in Rockstar Games' blood to push back the launch of their games until they're 100% happy with the product, or maybe it's just content with the product not setting itself on fire. The result is that a lot of Rockstar games get delayed and Grand Theft Auto V's pending PC release is perhaps the most infuriating modern example. Everyone wants this game, but Rockstar can't get it ready to deliver. Today we celebrate this exercise in futility with another Grand Theft Auto V PC delay.

Yes, another delay. Previously delayed until March 25, Grand Theft Auto V's development has apparently suffered another setback. Today Rockstar Games confirmed that the game will not be launching until April 14. Well, April 14 at least. Let's not lie to ourselves about the possibility of another delay.

In less depressing news, Rockstar has delivered on a different promise. They'd previously announced that the Grand Theft Auto Online "Heists" mode would be arriving prior to the PC launch, back when the PC launch was March 25. Today they've revealed the planned release date for Heists as March 10, which is earlier than both the previous release date and today's delayed release date! That's a win in my book.

To "reward" players for being patient, everyone who has pre-ordered Grand Theft Auto V for PC will be receiving $200,000 bonus in-game cash for use in Grand Theft Auto Online

Let's just hope this is the last delay. I'm sure Rockstar is hoping the same thing.

Categories: Console Games PC Games

Vita (and Lastation) get some love with Hyperdevotion Noire: Goddess Black Heart releasing today

3 comments Leo Chan - 3:07pm (PST) Like (1) Share

Game of (Moe) War

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Hyperdevotion Noire: Goddess Black Heart, Compile Heart's strategy RPG spin-off of their Hyperdimension Neptunia series, finally hits the North American Gamarket today just in time to fulfil your Noire-colored strategy RPG desires. The European physical retail release meanwhile remains on track for this Friday.

It's finally time for Lastation's CPU (Console Patron Unit) Noire to shine as main character of her own title, designed for the Vita. Set in a parallel universe, Hyperdevotion Noire eschews the JRPG framework of the main Hyperdimension titles in favor of being a strategy RPG complete with recruitable characters lampooning popular game franchises like Street Fighter, Dragon Quest and Metal Gear.

Like any good strategy RPG, Hyperdevotion Noire rewards players for building synergy between units and since this is a Hyperdimension themed game, that means letting your lovely little CPU warriors give each other a little kiss to unleash stat and ability enhancing "Lily Boosts." Not in time for Valentine's Day this time around, but it's always the thought that counts. And Idea Factory is thinking you're up for some $34 USD max of launch day DLC as well, including Ultimate Sets for all characters. Welcome to the 2015 Gamarket.

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Monday, Feb 23

Valve to unveil SteamVR at GDC 2015, final Steam Controller also to be unveiled

28 comments Rory Young - 10:04pm (PST) Like Share

GDC has much Steam it'll come out of your ears

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In a ridiculously small and undetailed press release regarding Valve's upcoming presence at the Game Developers Conference for 2015, a huge announcement was dropped. Valve is planning to unveil their very own virtual reality "hardware system," which we can only assume means head-set. The as-yet unrevealed head-set is named SteamVR, fitting in with Valve's lack of imagination branding things such as with Steam Machines and the Steam Controller.

Speaking of the Steam Controller, Valve also confirmed that the final version of the device will be shown at the event. That's in addition to Steam Machines, new "living room devices," and the above mentioned, "SteamVR hardware system."  Basically, if you're going to GDC 2015 expect to jack into SteamVR and then never escape. You'll become part of Steam, because Steam is now all technology. Steam will become your universe.

Valve's SteamVR will be available for demos at the event, which is almost certainly already booked full of  excited press, developers and publishers via a public registration page on their website. As for what they'll be demoing, it's a mystery. Valve is working hard to get their first-party software, such as Team Fortress 2, working with VR. Maybe they'll have a surprise waiting for patrons. Maybe something folk have never seen before?

Stay focused! Stay focused. Valve, as ever, is planned to have a grand showing at GDC. Especially with Steam DevDays being off for 2015. Remember that last year Valve specifically said DevDays was not happening in 2015 precisely so Valve could dedicate more towards GDC. This includes the unveiling of glnext, the next iteration 2D and 3D vector graphics API OpenGL. Oh, and there's a little rumor going around that the next version of the Source engine may be in the house. Perhaps unofficially.

Stay tuned for more information on Valve's showing at the Game Developers Conference 2015 in the weeks ahead, leading into the convention's start on March 4 and running through March 6. SteamVR, everyone! Do we have a competitor for the 

Categories: PC Games

Axiom Verge, the PlayStation 4-exclusive sci-fi Metroidvania, is confirmed to launch on March 31

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

Now Tom can work on a top-down Super Metroid sequel

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Everyone's all sorts of hyped up over that one PlayStation exclusive, right? No, I'm definitely not talking about The Order: 1866, I'm talking about indie venture Axiom Verge. The sci-fi Metroidvania title built entirely in retro NES-style pixel art has reached near-completion. Considering there's a single developer, Tom Happ, making all of the magic happen, Axiom Verge is certainly a special snowflake worth paying attention to. The PlayStation 4 version of the game is launching on March 31.

To celebrate the announcement of the release date, Tom took to the PlayStation Blog to discuss some of the power-ups players will find when playing through Axiom Verge. These power-ups, much like in Metroid and Master Blaster and so on, will be used both for combat as well as to open new areas of the world to exploration. These power-ups include the Nova, an explosive shot that can hit in multiple different directions, there's a drill which can bore through rocks, and finally there's an "address disrupter" which can "corrupt" every single enemy in the game. This corruption will lead to a different result with each enemy, creating unique puzzle mechanics for players to utilize in order to progress.

Before signing off of his post, Tom also teased one more power-up. I thought of it as Axiom Verge's take on Metroid's morph ball. The player either becomes or remotely controls a small spider-like drone which can laser through certain rocks and crawl through small spaces the protagonist otherwise wouldn't fit. I took it as one final, not so subtle nod from Tom to say that retro Metroid fans will find a lot to love in Axiom Verge.

Axiom Verge will launch on PlayStation 4 starting March 31 for the price of $19.99. There's still a Vita version of the game in the works which will follow-up the PlayStation 4 launch. Then there will also be a PC launch further down the line after Axiom Verge has wrapped up its launch on the two PlayStation platforms. As for Xbox, well, while Axiom Verge was originally planned to be launched on Xbox 360, there are currently no announced plans to bring the game to those platforms -- for now.