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Thursday, Aug 14

PES 2015 release date November 13, demo available September 17, and several feature announcements

8 comments Matt Newbould - 12:28pm (PST) Like Share

Like an Ed Woodward transfer deal, PES 2015 will be here eventually

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Fans of the Pro Evolution Soccer franchise can start to get excited as Konami has confirmed a full content list for PES 2015, along with release dates for both the full game and a demo. PES 2015 will be drop November 13, rather than the traditional release month of September, in what seems a rather odd move. This not only seats the game firmly in the ultra competitive release month of November, but also means giving their competitors almost a two month head start with FIFA 15 planned for September.

To make up for the somewhat delayed full release, there is a playable demo planned for September 17 which not coincidentally a full week before the release of FIFA 15. That should help draw some attention away but it will be hard to compete with the full release of a rival game all the same. 

PES 2015 brings a host of additions, changes and improvements to the series with its latest edition. A pledge of “a return to core PES values of total control, utterly responsive controls and unrestricted gameplay” has been emphasised heavily. A string of other changes, including the potentially controversial introduction of micro-transactions, are also planned. Let's go into a lightning round.

  • After missing in last years version the Stadium Editor makes a return for PES 2015, along with a new batch of licensed stadia. Players will also find that they're allowed to bring their own stadium to life by customizing the pitch patterns, sideline colors, seat colors and goal net design.
  • For the first time in the series, second tiers have been added to the existing league structures in England, Spain, Italy and France, giving players the option of taking on a wider range of challenges. A number of real life managers will also be making their debut in the series, though so far only in the European and Latin American regions.

  • A whole new cooperative game mode has also been introduced. Role Control allows three players to work together by dividing the pitch into three broad areas with each player responsible for either Defence, Midfield or Attack. 
  • There are a welcome number of improvements to both the Master League and Become A Legend modes. New cut-scenes and National Super Cups have been brought into the Master League mode, plus a revised structure for player growth, transfers, managers and auto-match settings. Training modes have been enhanced for Become A Legend, allowing for specific match simulations along with new recruitment and transfer systems. 
  • The online modes have been bolstered with a new Quick Match mode to speed up the process of matchmaking for those players who just want to get into a game. Dedicated 11vs11 lobbies will also be available for anyone seeking a full 22 player online experience. In an effort to combat cheating a “courtesy system” has been introduced, unfortunately not much is known about just how this new system will work.  

When PES 2015 does finally arrive on November 13 it be releasing on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC. The demo will also be available across all release platforms and will be available from September 17, though there are no indications of its limitations as of yet.

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Crytek's Arena of Fate brings Little Red Riding Hood to Gamescom in latest trailer

0 comments Rory Young - 7:14am (PST) Like Share

Faster games, but do they deliver the same depth?

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Arena of Fate, Crytek's curently-in-development MOBA, tries very hard to put a spin of its own on the genre. Today's Gamescom tutorial trailer featuring Little Red Riding Hood goes out of its way to show off the core features of the game in just a few short minutes. By the end though, most should see  exactly what Crytek is trying to do here. Arena of Fate is trying to be a better League of Legends than League of Legends

Multiple times throughout the trailer it's noted that games in Arena of Fate are capped at 20 minutes. It's a prevalent theme and one of the early design principles of League of Legends to keep games shorter. 20 minutes is definitely a step beyond League, whose games typically range in average from 30-40 (or Dota's which can often go much longer). Time up to the player is battling is also an important factor for more casual gamers, so it's no surprise the trailer starts off by stating that the action starts as soon as the game does.

If Arena of Fate can deliver the experience it details in this trailer, then it absolutely has a good footing to start to build an audience. However, those aspects of gameplay also come at a cost. With only 20-minutes to play, there's only maybe two phases to the game, early and then late. That gives little room for comebacks, and even less for complex strategy. Basically, play to win early and then you'll win the whole game.

Arena of Fate is currently in an invite-only closed beta, though interested gamers can apply for that via the game's official website. It's a PC-only title, naturally, and free-to-play as well. All Crytek wants is for people to try it, and really I can't think of a good reason not to. Hopefully the MOBA will be available to a wider audience soon.

Categories: PC Games

Watch Mega Audino evolve in today's Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire official trailer

18 comments Rory Young - 4:43am (PST) Like Share

When does Mega Slobro get his own trailer?

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It was first leaked on Tuesday that Audino would be recieving the Mega Evolution treatment next in Pokemon Omega Ruby and Pokemon Alpha Sapphire. The announcement came as a result of an official Korean Nintendo site accidentally posting the evolution. The implication was that an official announcement had to be just days away. That's now been confirmed, as Nintendo and Game Freak have released an official trailer showing Audino's Mega Evolution.

The trailer comes as a part of Nintendo's Gamescom presentation, where Junichi Masuda was giving a presentation at the convention. Masuda was a programmer on the original Pokemon games in the mid-90s, and a Nintendo composer all the way back into the late 80s. While the content of his presentation, likely a Q&A for the convention audience wasn't revealed, his surprise trailer has been pushed online to the official Nintendo Youtube channel.

Two fingers to the Key Stone in the Mega Ring bracelet on her wrist and Audino evolves into the adorable Mega Audino, a Normal/Fairy-type Pokemon described as a Healer:

"Mega Audino emits a soothing pulse from its body that reduces hostility in others. This powerful pulse calms any who come in range. Additionally, any creature that happens to come in contact with its second feelers will fall into a deep sleep.

When it Mega Evolves, this Pokémon gains the Fairy type. It has the Healer Ability regardless of what its Ability was prior to Mega Evolving. Its Defense and Sp. Defense are both improved, making it a good supporter in Double Battles and the like."

Pokemon Omega Ruby and Pokemon Alpha Sapphire will be released on Nintendo 3DS starting November 21. When does Mega Slobro get his own trailer?

Categories: Handheld Games

Galactic Civilizations III Early Access Preview: Must colonize all of the planets

1 comments Matt Newbould - 1:28am (PST) Like Share

Just one more colonization, I promise

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While I’ve been engaging on a big push with the majority of my forces against the despicable Drengin Empire, it seems those sneaky Altarians have been lying in wait to trap us on two fronts. The mighty Terran Alliance is in danger of being stretched too thinly across our borders and although I started this empire out firmly on the path of peaceful exploration, somewhere during my time with Galactic Civilizations III I became more Admiral Cain than Admiral Adama.

Galactic Civilizations III is the third entry from Stardock in the Galactic Civilizations series of turn-based space empire games that date back to 2003. The latest iteration is very firmly seated in the realms of empire building that will be familiar to all fans of the 4X genre - employing the gameplay mechanics of Explore, Expand, Exploit, Exterminate. It is the turn based nature of Galactic Civilizations III, however, that separates it from thematically similar games such as Sins of a Solar Empire, which employs more of a real-time strategy model.

Currently there are four playable races in the game. First is the Terran Alliance, the standard human race with a fairly balanced set of bonuses skewed towards productivity, The Drengin Empire are the incredibly warlike and military-focused faction with a series of bonuses aimed towards attacking anything that moves. Any research-obsessed players will want to check out the Altarian Resistance. Finally there’s the Ferengi Iridium Corporation, the clue there is in the name as they are a trade and economy directed race. 

From the get go there are a myriad of customization options for setting up a new game in Galactic Civilizations III, which is great to see. The size and shape of galaxies is customizable, allowing players to create a multitude of different scenarios such as tiny scattered galaxies or even large tightly clustered areas. The composition of the star systems themselves can also be tweaked with the  frequency of stars, planets, anomalies and even resources such as asteroids, black holes and nebulae all being adapted to craft the perfect tailor-made game. 

Galactic Civilizations III places heavy emphasis on the expansion element of 4X gameplay with colonizing as many planets as possible the best route to take. It is this initial exploration that left me with a constant hunger to acquire and colonize the next planet before taking on more and more of the galaxy. As it stands the only real option for expanding an empire is to either grab uninhabited planets early on and colonize them or, as diplomacy is yet to be implemented in the game, the solution to most problems is to wage war.

The actual combat at the moment is very basic, with the promise of 3D rendered battles to come in the final game. However, the combat will still be a hands-off experience and ordering units to engage is about as far as it goes. I would have liked a larger element of control in battles, but until the system is fully fleshed out I’m willing to go along with it. 

The colonizing itself is where Galactic Civilizations III really comes in to its own for me, with the initial taking of a planet leading to a colonization event. These events allow players to choose from one of three preset choices on how to deal with a certain situation on the new planet. That leads me on to a rather nice new feature to the franchise, the ideology system.

These colonization options will loosely fall into one of three categories - Benevolent, Malevolent and Pragmatist - how a player deals with the situation will affect bonuses on that planet along with points towards the larger ideological system and the bonuses it offers later on. Is it conscionable, for instance, to boost the intelligence of colonists at the cost of subjecting them to excruciating pain? It presents a nice tangible sense of a players actions affecting their empire at multiple levels. My only gripe with it really is the current lack of variation in these events. It would be nice to see a wider selection of them in future. 

Once a planet has been brought into the fold, then it is onto the business of not only setting production, etc., but also upgrading the planet's infrastructure. Different buildings and research centers can be placed on hex tiles to boost certain aspects of a planets production. Each planet can be specialized to suit one particular purpose, such as boosting economy, or a more flexible route can be taken to offer as much diversity as possible. 

One thing that impressed me was the ability to scale the amount of micro needed to suit my own needs. Early on in the game I was more than happy to let my various ships get on with their own automated survey or sentry duties, leaving me free to manage more planet-based matters. That’s not to say there isn’t the need for micro at all, this is a 4X game after all but it was nice to be able to find a balance that suited how I was playing at any given time. 

The user interface is clean and intuitive; I rarely found myself unable to find information I needed. Scrolling around the zoomed out galaxy map reminded me a lot of Neptune’s Pride 2, actually. Still, while the ability to zoom in and check out individual solar systems, planets and ships is very satisfying, I’m not quite sure the current graphical aesthetic quite lives up to the games "64-bit only" necessity. 

There are a fair few features not yet available in Galactic Civilizations III in its current beta build -- Diplomacy, Trade, United Planets, and Minor Civilizations. Fully fleshed out diplomacy and victory scenarios will really help along with the combat rendering for those who live for seeing epic space battles. But from what I’ve played it certainly has promise. It’s more than addictive enough. I’m excited to see just what Stardock do next with Galactic Civilizations III before its planned release in spring 2015. It should also be hitting beta on Steam Early Access soon for those who want to check it out first hand. 

Neoseeker was provided with access to the Steam Early Access beta build of Galactic Civilization III from Stardock for the purpose of this preview. Follow Matt Newbould on Twitter at @Nebouldm, or read his news and features day-to-day here on Neoseeker.

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Categories: PC Games

Xbox One to receive media player app and TV streaming, plus eventual DLNA support

2 comments Matt Newbould - 12:22am (PST) Like Share

Xbox fulfilling some early promises to Xbox One owners

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The wait is nearly over for Xbox One users wanting to play their own digital content via the Xbox One console. Among a slew of other news Microsoft has announced at Gamescom, an incoming media player for Xbox One that will offer both USB and DLNA support. 

Since the launch of the Xbox One back in November there has been a fairly notable lack of options for playing personal digital content through the console. Enter the new media player app for Xbox One that will allow users to play content from USB devices and also via DLNA. Previously the only solution has been to use the Windows-based Play To function. The new method is not only more convenient for a wider range of users, but will also support more formats than even the Xbox 360. Though to begin with the early preview version of the media player app will only support USB, with DLNA to follow at a later date. 

Supported file types include, as detailed by Microsoft:

"3gp audio, 3gp video, 3gp2, aac, adts, animated gif, asf, avi divx, avi dv, avi uncompressed, avi xvid, bmp, jpg, gif, h264 avchd, mjpeg, mkv, mov, mp3, mpeg 1 ps, mpeg 2, mpeg 2 hd, mpeg 2 ts, mpeg 4 h264 aac, mpeg 4 sp, png, tiff, wav, wma, wma lossless, wma pro, wma voice, wmv, wmv hd" 

A lot of enhancements are also inbound for the Xbox One’s TV services. Users in the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain will soon be able to access the full features of the Xbox OneGuide via the new Xbox One Digital Tuner. The device launches in October following a preview program starting soon, and retails at £24.99 in the UK and €29.99 for EU regions.

The additions to the TV services don’t just end at the EU-bound TV Tuner as the ability to stream TV from the Xbox One console to a range of devices on not just Windows, but also Android and iOS devices was revealed. This ability isn’t just limited to mimicking the current Xbox One display either, as users will still be able to enjoy games and other activities on their console while streaming TV to other devices simultaneously. A few more minor tweaks also mean it will now be possible to boot directly to TV and a new mini guide will be available at the bottom of the screen for regions with OneGuide availability.

Changes to the how users interact with friends also means a new Friends section will be available from the home screen. This new section allows users to easily check out friend updates and the like without having to navigate away from the home screen. Messages too will now display in a threaded fashion allowing for embedded media, bringing the Xbox message system into line with most smartphone messaging apps.

The snap function has also been overhauled to provide Xbox One owners with more flexibility in how and where they view additional content. The system has been adapted to make snapping apps a much slicker experience. Snapping a wide range of apps is now possible simply by holding down the Xbox button on the controller for a few seconds before making a selection. This quietly eliminates the need for one of the most useful Kinect commands - “Xbox, snap” in a move that may further indicate the device’s obsolescence.

Most of these features will be introduced within the next few months, but as of yet no firm date has been set by Microsoft. Though over the coming weeks the Xbox One console itself is set to release across 29 more markets. 

Categories: Microsoft Consoles

Alien: Isolation's 'Improvise' cinematic trailer, make smart decisions and still die in the end

5 comments Rory Young - 12:04am (PST) Like Share

Surprise, the xenomorphs always win

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I think The Creative Assembly has done a great job of capturing Alien: Isolation's feeling in their latest cinematic trailer, titled "Improvise." That is to say, that ultimately the alien will catch up with the player and kill them, whether or not they improvise or perform admirably. Yes, the player will continuously be defeated by the Alien, hopefully, and that in itself may be the best reason to pick up Alien: Isolation this October.

For those unfamiliar, Alien: Isolation is a horror game all about avoiding direct confrontation with a single alien that has snuck onto a space craft. It's the same basic premise, where a ship crew is faced with a lone predator hidden aboard, as the first Alien movie -- or so we think. The intimacy of knowing not just that you're being hunted, but who that hunter is -- a single, familiar foe -- is quite the romantic and terrifying proposition. I'm excited to find out more.

I'm not familiar with what character is shown in the cinematic trailer (protagonist Amanda, according to the comments). He intuitiveness is apparent, taking advantage of environmental opportunities to help her situation, just as the video title implies. It will be fun to see both how the various cast of the game dies in unique ways, as well as what sort of environmental opportunities the game will afford the player.

Alien: Isolation will be available on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One and Xbox 360 starting October 7 worldwide. In a perfect world, everyone would be able to play the game in its entirety using the Oculus Rift. The Oculus Rift isn't anywhere near a consumer release, however. ... And now I'm sad.


Wednesday, Aug 13

The Tomorrow Children announced for PlayStation 4, developers of PixelJunk set out for Russia

1 comments Max Navarro - 9:54pm (PST) Like Share

We're the kids of the future whoa-oh

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Q-Games, developer of the popular 2D PixelJunk series, announced their upcoming project yesterday at gamescom, The Tomorrow Children. This 3D game is all about exploration and survival, and was revealed for the Sony PlayStation 4, and now players get to explore a Russian world feared throughout history. Luckily, it all comes in a pretty cute little package, but the graphical style and music are beside the point.

The Tomorrow Children tells the tale of a social experiment gone wrong. In this fictional world, 1960s Russia performed a test to unite human consciousness to create one hive mind for the betterment of society. Due to a tiny mistake in the calculations, however, human beings destroyed the entire world. Slight errors happen, but they usually don't destroy the entire world. Either way, ninety years later, society is being rebuilt. With it comes the player, a projection clone tasked with saving the world by exploring an area known as The Void to save the human race and secure the future.

Gameplay wise, players mine. They mine a lot. Mined materials can be contributed to the fight against the Izverg -- monsters that look like they are straight out of Jurassic Park with a few cyber enhancements.These strange creatures are actually generated by The Void, and seem to be physical manifestations of the story of humanity's past. Metaphorically, your goal is to save new humans from the dark past that haunts them day by day. Yes, the game is deep. No, that's not a mining joke. Characters must cooperate to keep society working and slowly rebuild their world. To do this, they can find tiny Matryoshka dolls curiously left around The Void.

Hopefully Q-Games will release more news regarding the title soon, but for now, the simple trailer from gamescom is available for viewing. The Tomorrow Children is being released exclusively for the Sony PlayStation 4.

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New Titanfall map pack 'IMC Rising' coming this fall, welcome to Backwater, Zone 18 and Sandtrap

0 comments Lydia Sung - 8:50pm (PST) Like Share

Now that's an ominous name, isn't it?

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Pilots will be seeing another Titanfall map pack soon, as EA and Respawn revealed at gamescom. Dubbed IMC Rising, the DLC adds three new maps by the names Backwater, Zone 18 and Sandtrap. We don't actually know what they'll look like right now, but there it is.

Just going by the whole IMC Rising title, we might be able to assume more urban environments, or at least more locations set closer to home rather than out in the Frontier where the Militia tend to hold greater influence.

Expect the next map pack to come out sometime in the fall, which could be any time between September and November. The expected release price is a standard $9.99, or less than that for anyone who owns the Season Pass. You can actually still buy the Season Pass for $24.99, of course, assuming you haven't already grabbed most of the existing map packs separately already.


Super Smash Bros. recruits Meta Knight, the Halberd flies once more

20 comments Rory Young - 7:04pm (PST) Like (1) Share

Kirby's armored alter ego returns

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Another Super Smash Bros. veteran has returned to the roster. Kirby's alter ego, his shadow, his black knight, Meta Knight has been confirmed for Super Smash Bros. Wii U and Super Smash Bros. 3DS. Considering Super Smash Bros. 3DS is just a month away from release in Japan, Nintendo must be running out of fighters left to reveal. Kirby, however, can rest easy knowing that he, King Dedede and now Meta Knight will each be returning.

The anti-hero was essentially confirmed yesterday, when Sakurai's picture of the day showed a Mii Fighter in Meta Knight's armor. Considering the fighters mimic the playstyles of other fighters, to an extent at least, it made sense that Meta Knight was just awaiting his official reveal. It will be interesting to see exactly what the Mii Fighter's Meta Knight armor means in terms of gameplay. Maybe it's just a skin for the sword fighter and doesn't carry with it any other gameplay ramifications?

With potentially few roster spots, the question become who is left? There are a number of extremely important champs from Smash history that will cause riots if left off of the list. Ice Climbers? Falco? Dr. Mario? For all that is holy's sake, Ness and Jiggly puff still haven't been confirmed! Nintendo has some explaining to do in these weeks to come. Well, at least we all know Wario will probably wrangle one of the last spots for himself.

Super Smash Bros. 3DS will launch October 3 in North America and Europe, with Super Smash Bros. Wii U to follow that up with a holiday release. That is, if it isn't delayed as Nintendo so loves to do.

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Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain gets an updated cardboard box, Snake's greatest weapon

6 comments Max Navarro - 5:59pm (PST) Like Share

Box forts, anyone?

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Most people have probably heard of Snake by this point, Naked, Solid or otherwise. Gamers know of the cardboard box, too. It looks like the semi-iconic box will be getting an upgrade in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Not unlike Snake's traditional armaments, the standard cardboard box now has an assortment of uses, meaning that no longer is it good only for hiding. The box is now perhaps the greatest armor and weapon of all time.

For the sticklers out there who are dedicated to tradition, don't worry. The features revealed yesterday at gamescom are not necessarily required. Everything will be normal at first glance -- just a plain cardboard box. Sneaking around in it is really what long-time fans have come to know and expect. That won't change.

In addition to the traditional mechanics players can now pop out of the box to snipe any opponents who might not be the most attentive. They can also leap out of the side of the box, escaping pending inspections by approaching guards. That's just one step into the rabbit hole though.

The box now has a few different designs that can be placed on it. Most of them involve women dressed in bikinis. Male guards seem to love the various scantily-clad women, and Big Boss evidently knows how to take advantage of their hormones. After attracting enemy soldiers, the military man will drop his guard and Snake will take down the enemy with close combat skills. There is also a soldier sticker for the box, just in case Big Boss wants to salute his opponents and then shoot from afar.

Oh, boxes. They really have evolved over the years. As a child, I enjoyed imagining they were rocket ships. I never thought I would imagine them as women in a field of beautiful flowers. Growing up really changes a person. Either way, players will eventually get their opportunity to experiment with the box and its new features. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is currently set to sneak on to Sony's PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4, Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Xbox One, and finally PC through Steam, in 2015.

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