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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.


Diablo III patch 2.1.0 arrives August 26, first season likely to start a few days after

0 comments Rory Young - 4:50pm (PST) Like Share

Diablo has a strict schedule to keep

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A piece of breaking news popped up in the Diablo III client this morning confirming that Patch 2.1.0 will be arriving sooner than thought. Starting August 26 at 3:00 AM PDT the game servers will be taken down to prepare for the pending patch. The servers will then come back up at 1:00 PM PDT patched and ready to go. Greater Rifts, The Vault, The Cesspools, Leaderboards and ... oh goodness, yes... Seasons are almost here.

Since they're by far the most exciting part of patch 2.1.0 let's start off by saying that a Season will not be starting the day of the patch. Odds are Blizzard doesn't want the added stress of ensuring the Season is running smoothly on top of making sure the rest of the patch's content isn't catching on fire. However, a Diablo community representative confirmed that the season will likely be starting "a few days after."  Explore the new patch and then get Diablo III's first Season started the right way.

The text of the breaking news, from Diablo III's client, reads as follows:

"Breaking News -- We will be performing scheduled maintenance beginning on Tuesday, August 26, at 3:00 a.m. PDT to apply patch 2.1.0 and we expect the service to be available again at approximately 1:00 p.m. PDT. During this time the game will be unavailable to play."

Diablo III and its expansion Reaper of Souls are both currently available on PC and Mac. This patch is a PC/Mac-only update, so console folk will have wait until a later date to find out when they'll be receiving patch 2.1.0. Blizzard hopes that patches between the PC and the console Ultimate Evil editions will eventually be mirrored, but for now PS4 and Xbox One Diablo III players will have to wait a bit longer.

Categories: PC Games

End of season rewards for League of Legends revealed, Victorious Morgana awaits in November

1 comments Rory Young - 2:44pm (PST) Like Share

New Master Tier and Challenger rules to be in effect prior to end of season

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With the League of Legends North American LCS for Season 4 currently underway, Riot Games took the time to reveal what rewards its community can look forward to later this year. The "End of Season" rewards, prizes given out based on ranked ladder placement, will mirror those of years prior. Summoner Icons, Banner Trims as well as the Victorious skin for a pre-selected champion will all be available for those who climb into the top ranks of League of Legends.

First and foremost, Riot wanted to clarify that the all new Master Tier and Challenger changes will be well in place by the time the season is planned to end this November. Master Tier will simply be another level on top of Diamond 1, while Challenger will become the top 200 players of the Master tier -- updated on a 24-hour clock and without immunity. Challenger teams will acquire unique Summoner Icons based on their positioning (top 10, 50 or 200 in solo queue, or top 3, 15 and 50 in team queue) as well as the standard rewards for Gold+ rankings.

What might those more standard tier rewards be? Let's dive right in:

Bronze or Above (everbody who is placed in ranked queues, hooray)

  • Summoner Icon styled after one's league placement

Silver or Above

  • Banner Trim styled after one's league placement
  • Loading Screen Border styled after one's league placement

Gold or Above

  • Season Icon appears in Game Invite and Friend Request notifications
  • Victorious Champion skin

As in previous years, Riot didn't outright name the Victorious skin that would be given to all Gold or higher players. They might as well have, however, as a teaser splash-art all but gives it entirely away -- again, much like previous years. Introducing Victorious Morgana. Note that everyone who gets Gold or higher who will also unlock Morgana if they don't already have her.

Season 4 of League of Legends will officially end in  November, with a specific date to be unveiled in October. Group stages for the 2014 World Championship in League of Legends will begin September 18 and the finals will conclude October 19. Two and a half to three months left to get that rank, everybody. In the mean time, why not take advantage of the upcoming Sugar Rush event? Good luck!

Categories: PC Games

Twitch acquired by Amazon for $970 million, retains independence

11 comments Rory Young - 2:02pm (PST) Like Share (1)

... but independence is a funny word these days, isn't it?

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Despite lingering rumors revolving around Google's on-again, off-again acquisition of livestreaming service Twitch, a new contender has entered the ring and taken the prize. Amazon announced their acquisition of Twitch today for the healthy sum of $970 million cash, adjusted for options and other items. Twitch has since confirmed that the deal has been agreed upon. Deals of this magnitude don't happen overnight, however, though the acquisition is expected to close in the second half of 2014.

Almost immediately after word of the acquisition began to spread, Twitch CEO Emmett Shear released a letter in which he confirmed that his company would retain their independence. The letter, which was largely directed towards community members as an expression of thanks, also went out of its way to say that Twitch would largely remain unchanged. Amazon would simply allow them to reach their "long-term vision" faster:

"Today, I’m pleased to announce we’ve been acquired by Amazon. We chose Amazon because they believe in our community, they share our values and long-term vision, and they want to help us get there faster. We’re keeping most everything the same: our office, our employees, our brand, and most importantly our independence. But with Amazon’s support we’ll have the resources to bring you an even better Twitch."

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, meanwhile, seemed more focused on lifting Twitch's acquisition over his head like a trophy. Little indication was given as to why Amazon invested so heavily into the livestreaming service, beyond the acknowledgment that has and will continue to grow at an insane rate:

"Broadcasting and watching gameplay is a global phenomenon and Twitch has built a platform that brings together tens of millions of people who watch billions of minutes of games each month – from The International, to breaking the world record for Mario, to gaming conferences like E3. And, amazingly, Twitch is only three years old. Like Twitch, we obsess over customers and like to think differently, and we look forward to learning from them and helping them move even faster to build new services for the gaming community."

In July alone Twitch measured over 55 million unique views across 15 billion minutes of content, delivered by more than a million broadcasters. The acquisition is unsurprising, given the site's growing popularity and the hunger of large conglomerates like Amazon and Google gaming and video-related tech. It's almost impossible to imagine that Amazon won't profit on the acquisition monetarily over time. 

The question that resounds in the gaming community is whether this purchase will prove better or worse for them. Will anti-streamer decisions like the now-revoked removal of 480p, or the mandatory stream lag that still plagues their service propagate? Will the service retain its gaming-focused identity, its community-focused identity, or will... no.

Let's not speculate at all. What this acquisition means to Twitch as a service and its community members is yet to be defined. What comes next is entirely up to Amazon and Twitch, but the ever-growing community for the streaming service will certainly make their voices heard as well. A lot of very cool things can be done with $970 million. Make it happen, Twitch.

Categories: PC Games

Far Cry 4 antagonist Yuma revealed with close-up art, described as main villain Pagan Min's right hand

0 comments Lydia Sung - 1:08pm (PST) Like Share (1)

That's some righteous hair, too

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A new face joins the Far Cry 4 today, as Ubisoft officially unveils Yuma, a deadly lady with a mind for tactics. She's described as "general of the Royal Army" and Pagan Min's trusted right hand. For those who haven't kept up, Pagan is the main baddie of Far Cry 4.

Her image was released in concept art form via the official Far Cry Twitter, and the woman has both a dangerous stare and crazy dye job. We don't know much about her as a character beyond her role in Pagan's army, however, so stay tuned for all that.

I do wonder if everyone who works for the guy is required to sport an outrageous hairdo.

Let's hope she proves more interesting than the ladies of Far Cry 3, and doesn't wind up in some weird plot involving ritualistic sex I still haven't quite wrapped my mind around.

Pagan already proved himself an interesting character when he was showcased in the Far Cry 4 reveal cinematic, during which the guy brutally stabbed to death one of his own men and then proceeded to laugh it off with the protagonist. You know, before he took a selfie with the terrified hero. In a way, the trailer was really all about him, and Troy Baker blew us away once again with his vocal talents.

Far Cry 4 will be released November 18 for Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and PC.


Riot details League of Legends' Sugar Rush event with dates, full list of returning Legacy skins

3 comments Lydia Sung - 12:31pm (PST) Like Share

Prepare your wallets, that's a lot of skins

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Sugar Rush is upon League of Legends, Summoners, so hide your wallets. 47 Legacy skins will be returning starting August 26 for a limited time, all marked down by 50% for one day each.

Should you choose not to spend any RP on the skins, a number of bundles and the Candy-coated Cupcake Icon will also be available during the Sugar Rush event. Heck, you'll even be rewarded for spending money; the Hextech Hard Candy Icon can be earned by gifting a friend during Sugar Rush. Mystery gifts will have double the normal chances of unlocking a legendary status skin, as well.

August 30 will also mark the start of a Douple IP weekend, which will run until September 1, 11:59 PM Pacific. Let's not forget the RP boost during Sugar Rush:

  • $5.00 – 650 RP
  • $10.00 – 1460 RP (1300 + 80 standard bonus RP + 80 extra bonus RP)
  • $20.00 – 3000 RP (2600 + 200 standard bonus RP + 200 extra bonus RP)
  • $35.00 – 5450 RP (4550 + 450 standard bonus RP + 450 extra bonus RP)
  • $50.00 – 7900 RP (6500 + 700 standard bonus RP + 700 extra bonus RP)
  • $100.00 – 17000 RP (13000 + 2000 standard bonus RP + 2000 extra bonus RP)

Overall, lots of reasons to play. Check out the full roster of Legacy skins to be released during Sugar Rush week:

Caterpillar Kog'Maw 520  8/26/2014
Emerald Taric 520 8/26/2014
Professor Ryze 975 8/26/2014
Shamrock Malphite 520 8/26/2014
Unmasked Kayle 975 8/26/2014
Workshop Shaco 975 8/26/2014
Angler Jax 975 8/27/2014
Kingpin Twitch 520 8/27/2014
Matador Alistar 975 8/27/2014
Molten Rammus 975 8/27/2014
Phantom Karthus 460 8/27/2014
Time Machine Zilean 520 8/27/2014
Butcher Urgot 520 8/28/2014
Crimson Akali 520 8/28/2014
Feral Warwick 975 8/28/2014
Frozen Shen 520 8/28/2014
Nightmare Cho'Gath 520 8/28/2014
Red Baron Corki 1820 8/28/2014
Swamp Master Kennen 520 8/28/2014
Dragon Knight Mordekaiser 520 8/29/2014
Firefighter Tristana 1820 8/29/2014
Highland Tryndamere 520 8/29/2014
Nottingham Ezreal 520 8/29/2014
Noxus Poppy 520 8/29/2014
Red Riding Annie 520 8/29/2014
Scuba Gragas 975 8/29/2014
Alien Invader Heimerdinger 1820 8/30/2014
Muse Sona 975 8/30/2014
Sailor Gangplank 750 8/30/2014
Sasquatch Nunu 520 8/30/2014
Sonoran Kog'Maw 520 8/30/2014
Toxic Dr. Mundo 520 8/30/2014
Vizier Malzahar 520 8/30/2014
Badger Teemo 520 8/31/2014
Hextech Galio 520 8/31/2014
Hextech Sion 520 8/31/2014
Masquerade Evelynn 520 8/31/2014
Mr. Mundoverse 520 8/31/2014
Safari Caitlyn 975 8/31/2014
The Magnificent Twisted Fate 1820 8/31/2014
Annie in Wonderland 1820 9/1/2014
Blacksmith Poppy 975 9/1/2014
Desert Trooper Garen 520 9/1/2014
Leopard Nidalee 520 9/1/2014
Pharaoh Amumu 520 9/1/2014
Spectacular Sivir 975 9/1/2014
Yellow Jacket Shen 520 9/1/2014
Categories: PC Games