News articles search results by Rory Young
At the end of the most recent and ever-present Nuclear Throne livestream by Vlambeer a special announcement was made in celebration of a full year of development. Starting on January first, Vlambeer will begin gifting a free copy of Nuclear Throne to all of those who have purchased Early Access to the game. Yes, that includes anyone who goes out of their way to buy the game between now and January 1.
Vlambeer wanted to reward their awesome community, a community that helped turn Nuclear Throne from small project meant to be finished in early 2014 into game they're still planning on working on well into 2015. Vlambeer wants more players, more feedback, and a larger community that's continues to be as awesome as it already is. Their solution was to allow their already awesome community to decide who else should be a part of the magic.
To compound to value of the gift, it was reiterated that Vlambeer has no plans to drop the price or discount Nuclear Throne until the game at least reaches full launch. The gift to current owners is a middle-of-the-road solution that likely holds far greater value to the small development team.
Nuclear Throne owners rejoice, and non-Nuclear Throne owners maybe consider picking up the game over the next week. There's no discount, but it's kind of like buying two copies of the game. Cheers to Vlambeer for doing such a cool thing, and happy holidays to all Nuclear Throne fans.
If you're not down with the SWERY then you ain't no friend of mine
Another three games are being added to the Games With Gold library in January -- two on Xbox 360 and one on Xbox One. The big game of the month will indeed be The Witcher II: Assassins of Kings, just in time for those who have yet to play it to jump in in preparation for The Witcher III's launch later in May. Beyond The Witcher 2, big game hunters may be a bit disappointed in January. Still, Xbox One players may discover a diamond in the rough.
- Dark Dreams Don't Die (D4)
- MX vs. ATV Alive
- The Witcher II: Assassins of Kings
Note that MX vs. ATV Alive will be available from January 1 through January 15, then The Witcher II from January 16 through January 31.
The diamond is of course Dark Dreams Don't Die, though it's better known by the shorthand D4. This is of course the latest creation of Hidetaka Suehiro, also known as SWERY. Some folk may recall his previous large release in the west, Deadly Premonition, which is the definition of a gaming cult classic. D4 follows in Deadly Premonition's footsteps, though it's likely a better overall game in addition to the general craziness as expected from a SWERY title. Pick it up and play it, because you won't regret it.
As for MX vs. ATV Alive, well, I'm sure there's an audience out there who will be very excited for it. The rest of us will just have to smile and nod and go back to our 100+ hour run of The Witcher II.
On there way out at the end of December will be Worms: Battlegrounds on Xbox One and SSX on Xbox 360, so pick them up while you've still got the chance.
Outfitting a Total War: Attila general's household with weaponry and a wife in 'Army Management' spotlight
Attila decides who marries who! No one else!
Total War: Attila is doing some very interesting things with army management. Well, it's interesting if you love the sort of strategy that Total War games deliver, otherwise the menus and +/- statistics might be a bit mind numbing. The perfect way to test that out is to watch The Creative Assembly's latest spotlight trailer which delves into some of the many features they're adding for army management in Total War: Attila. Spoiler: arranged marriages.
The bulk of the trailer details some of the ways players will be able to customize their army generals. This includes the addition of two new features in general customization: households and wives. Households feature three customizable options, each providing the general with boons which help in very specific ways. Apparel, items and companions are each options of different types of boons which alter personality and combat in different ways. Wives provide an extra trait to a general, though these may be positive or negative. The player will need to play proper matchmaker to ensure their general is fighting fit. Err, okay, it's a bit weird to think about that out of context.
With the new feature additions a new UI has been developed for generals which also include Status Effects, which collate all of the general's boons and flaws. There's also the general's skill tree right there as well. Basically, everything a general needs is right in front of the player for them to make important decisions with.
Generally speaking I'm both a fan of adding depth and complexity to strategy games, but never in the form of lists of numbers adding and subtracting from statistics. If it can't be animated or conveyed in a dynamic or attention grabbing way, then I have trouble believing it's necessary in a strategy game. It's just complexity for the sake of complexity and feels rather self-serving versus creating consumable content for players to enjoy in. I doubt any other Total War players would say there just wasn't enough depth to the statistics in the game, so I find this direction a bit odd for The Creative Assembly.
Total War: Attila is scheduled for release February 17, 2015 and is exclusive to Windows-based PCs.
Minecraft: Story Mode is Telltale's next episodic series, mixing 'new characters with familiar themes'
They don't outright call it an adventure game, but what else would it be?
Minecraft wouldn't have been at the top of my list for properties Telltale Games would want to turn into an episodic series, but nevertheless that is exactly what has happened. Today Mojang and Telltale Games announced Minecraft: Story Mode, a narrative-driven episodic series based on... well, Minecraft.
Everyone is hopefully as confused as me at that idea, considering Minecraft has only a minimal amount of story. Telltale Games seems to have a plan in mind, however. They've reached out to the increasingly large Minecraft community, or at least specific members of said community, to make Minecraft: Story Mode "as Minecrafty as possible." Telltale notes that it won't be creating an "official" story for Steve, nor explaining the world of Minecraft in detail. It's... rather unclear what Telltale's plans are.
The best hint is perhaps this small portion of the official statement provided by Telltale Games in its announcement:
"Telltale's game series will mix new characters with familiar themes, in an entirely original Minecraft experience, inspired by the Minecraft community and the game that continues to inspire a generation."
Minecraft: Story Mode is a stand-alone release from adventure game creators Telltale Games. It'll be released episodically, just like the rest of Telltale's games, starting in 2015. It'll be coming to PlayStation consoles, Xbox consoles, PC, Mac, iOS and Android-based devices. While it's never outright called an adventure game, it is called a narrative-driven experience based on player choice. I'm pretty sure that means adventure game.
Tank, mage and rogue archetypes for monsters; what is this, an RPG?
Those unfamiliar with Evolve by now must have been living beneath a Turtle Rock. Or maybe they're just not into shooters. Either way, there's plenty of new information available today as Turtle Rock Studios is getting prepared for their big upcoming open beta. Hell, they're getting ready for release, because Evolve will be launching on February 10 after all. Today they've put together a post detailing their upcoming Xbox One open beta, the offline accessibility of Evolve, and the final playable monster -- the Wraith.
Yes, Evolve's third playable monster has been unveiled. It's odd to think of it this way, but Evolve will now feature a tank, mage and rogue as its monsters. The Wraith will fit that third archetype, the rogue assassin. Here's Turtle Rock's summary of what players can expect from the Wraith:
"The third playable Monster character is a small, terrifying, stealthy assassin that is quick in her movements and has two exceptionally long blades to deal damage up close. Despite having the least amount of health and armor among Evolve’s Monsters, Wraith’s quick, warping movements allow her to dart around during battle to avoid taking damage."
Her abilities match the name, including a cloaking dash, a decoy ability which launches a distracting clone, an abduction ability which carries a hunter away from the fight, and finally an assassination finale in the supernova. After watching the gameplay video below, however, it seems to be a similar case of: if you let the monster get to level 3 without doing much damage, you're going to have a bad time.
As for offline accessibility in Evolve, well, it's as simple as everything is available offline. According to Turtle Rock Studios for players without an online connection, there are AI constructs in place to run all potential player-controlled characters. That means the entire game is playable solo, so long as everyone's comfortable playing against the computer.
Finally, for Xbox One gamers, Turtle Rock confirmed that Evolve's final open beta will be starting on January 17. It's an Xbox One exclusive beta, just like the previous one, and will be designed to test out the Evacuation campaign. That's a mode that changes game-type, location and strategy based off of the previous match's results coming together into a five-match campaign. Oh, and perhaps the best news of all, all hunter and monster unlocks in the beta will carry over once the final version of the game is released -- as long as it's being played on Xbox One.
Evolve launches on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One starting February 10, 2015.
A labyrinth of shifting walls and monstrous creatures? Probably my worst nightmare
PlayStation 4 gamers got a look at Bloodborne's Chalice Dungeons during the PlayStation Experience keynote a bit back. Something along the lines of replayable dungeons was mentioned and many of those looking forward to Bloodborne cheered and were otherwise still a bit confused. Today Sony and From Software released a bit more information on just what these Chalice Dungeons are and why they're worth looking forward to.
In more technical terms than were previously offered, it can now be said that Chalice Dungeons are indeed procedurally generated content. Bloodborne players will be able to acquire items named "Holy Chalices" which can then be used to open a portal to a new Chalice Dungeon. As each portal opens, the structure of the dungeon shifts, adding or removing new traps, enemies, twists and turns. Of course, the rewards for completing said dungeon will change as well.
These dungeons, once summoned, can be played alone or with the help of other hunters cooperatively. More details on how Bloodborne's multiplayer will work are needed, but it's clear From Software is changing up the standard Souls formula of semi-confusing rules for multiplayer. There's also a feature mentioned by which players can share their dungeons, uploading them for others to try out. These shared dungeons can be shared with friends, or players can peruse dungeons uploaded by other players. Will these dungeons require Holy Chalices to unlock? It's unclear.
Finally, From Software shared several screenshots and details regarding what kind of... things can be found within the halls of a Chalice Dungeon. The setting of each dungeon can take on different themes, including subterranean ruins, swamps and gothic halls. Pale white monsters lurk the halls, including "ritual masters" who perform "ancient ceremonies." Then of course there's the fire-covered "ancient guard dog" boss. It's unclear whether the dog is meant to be the boss of all bosses within the Chalice Dungeon, but I wouldn't be surprised if other terrifying monsters just as large awaited within those shifting walls.
Bloodborne's planned for release exclusively on the PlayStation 4 starting March 24 in North America, March 25 in Europe. It's a bit later than we were hoping for a few months ago, but odds are Bloodborne's going to be worth the wait.
Click here to see more images
This is not the Final Fantasy you were looking for
Square Enix in recent years has shifted more and more of its development power towards mobile devices, the new leading game platform in its home country of Japan. They still prioritized large-scale development for their console title, including the upcoming Final Fantasy XV. This past week, however, it seems the balance has shifted once more. Square Enix has revealed Mevius Final Fantasy, a mobile-exclusive RPG the developer claims is of "similar quality to a numbered Final Fantasy" title.
Fully unveiled in this month's issue of the Japanese magazine Famitsu, Mevius Final Fantasy currently has no announced plans to be released in the west. Still, it's unlikely that western fans won't be interested in the details of the game's development. It's also unlikely that Square Enix won't eventually bring the title overseas, should it prove successful.
Mevius Final Fantasy only has a few official details at this point. The theme is "Warriors of Light," a throw-back theme to the original Final Fantasy as well as several sequels since. It's latest been used in both the MMO Final Fantasy XIV as well as satirically being referenced in Bravely Default. Square Enix is perhaps using this theme to give it more credence as a true Final Fantasy title.
Again, Square Enix insists the mobile game will be of a similar quality to a numbered Final Fantasy game. This includes a development team Square Enix says has an "exceptional" number of people involved -- for a smartphone game. As a result Square Enix expects the game to be on par with its console predecessors and nowhere near inferior due to its smartphone origins.
As for the world, story and RPG features, well, there's a lot left to be discussed. Square Enix has noted that map movement will be limited, which should immediately throw up red flags with RPG players. Square Enix can say this is a big RPG all it wants, but we can all understand that when they say it's a smartphone game they mean it will limit the amount of content players can access via resources and microtransactions. At least they provided this quote which stirs all of those old Final Fantasy feelings:
"This country is the land of Paramatia, a place bereft of any hope. Its people wander in melancholy, their hearts untouched by the Light of Hope."
Expect more information on Mevius Final Fantasy in the months to come.
Grand Theft Auto V's online 'Heists' planned for early 2015, trailer teases some of over 20 missions
I can finally live out my Keanu Reeves in Point Break roleplaying fantasy
Grand Theft Auto Online's all about that "easy money" in more ways than one, but Rockstar's newly announced plans to release "Heists" in early 2015 are perhaps more so. Yes, Rockstar has once again brought up Grand Theft Auto V's most wanted feature for its mostly popular online mode. A specific release date has yet to be revealed, but Rockstar wants everyone to know Heists are still in development and are coming soon. Seriously, they've got a trailer to prove it.
Heists are structured missions where you and a group of your buddies pull off robberies for big moolah. Well, big moolah for the ones that make it out alive. Anyone should be able to tell you that even robbing a gas station in Grand Theft Auto Online can result in serious and dramatic consequences. Nevertheless, nothing could be more exciting than a co-op robbery experience with car chases, gunfights and almost certain betrayal from your teammates. It's something Rockstar wants done right, too, which may be why it's taking so long.
According to early Heist details revealed in an IGN interview, there will be five unique "strands" involving over 20 missions released with the update. This should total up 20 hours -- 20 hours! -- of gameplay. Of course, Heists are designed to be replayable too, and so dynamic that no one run-through will be like another. Basically, this is an all-new game for players to experience unlike anything else already available in Grand Theft Auto Online.
Some exciting ideas Rockstar is implementing includes rewards for running all of the heists in order with the same group of friends, or running all of the heists in first-person mode. There are also "Elite Bonus Challenges" which are extra requirements for a mission and can award big money too.
Grand Theft Auto Online's Heists sound like an outstanding, larger-than-life feature added to an already larger-than-life game. Grand Theft Auto V continues to remain relevant over a year after its initial release. Expect more information on the release of Heists in the months to come.
This is not the single-player story DLC you're looking for
BioWare's first round of DLC updates for Dragon Age: Inquisition have rolled out and odds are folk are going to be rather underwhelmed. Neither of the two packs are anything to flip out and rush to download over. Still, they're both nice additions to discover exist. The first piece of DLC is a small multiplayer update adding variety to what players will find in each level. The second is a standalone download of the "Deluxe" upgrade for Dragon Age: Inquisition, running in at $9.99.
Dragon Age: Inquisition - Destruction adds a modicum of new content for multiplayer adventurers too discover. It's not a large amount of content, but it should be enough to keep things fresh and to encourage players wandering off to come give it another go. The Destruction pack adds new "paths" to the already existing levels in multiplayer, so players should discover this content dynamically as they play. In addition to these newer areas, players will also stumble upon assorted new animal foes -- attacking both friend and enemy.
BioWare has also made their Deluxe Edition content available to those who missed out at launch. Players used to be able to buy Dragon Age: Inquisition at around $10 over retail pricing and earn all of this content, but those who purchased the standard edition had no opportunity to go back and remedy their mistake. Now that's changed, though the price is still $9.99.
Here's what's included with the Deluxe upgrade DLC:
- Skyhold Throne – Every ruler should sit in a place of high honor, but as the Inquisitor you will have the greatest throne of all, fashioned from an ancient dragon skull.
- Red Hart Halla – Navigate the perilous, living world atop this great-horned beast.
- Bog Unicorn – Once belonging to an evil marauder, this unique mount has returned to inspire fear into those who would oppose you.
- Bring the world of Thedas wherever you go with the digital soundtrack.
- Dragon Age Multiplayer Deluxe Edition chests!
The Deluxe pack also includes the Inquisition armor, a unique set for each class including a weapon of each typing. That also includes a mount in matching armor -- no Inquisitor should go about without riding in style.
Both the Dragon Age: Inquisition - Destruction DLC and the Deluxe upgrade are available for download now. The multiplayer DLC is entirely free (and probably downloads automatically on start-up) and the Deluxe content will cost about $9.99. All platforms, including PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, have the content available.
Click here to see more images
WildStar's teases content forthcoming in 2015, adds Ultimate Protogames dungeon and shrinks Datascape
Carbine working harder than ever to make WildStar a more accessibile experience
Carbine Studios has been hard at work in the past months splitting their time between both new content and optimizations designed to improve WildStar's quality of life. It took sacrificing a monthly content release schedule to do it, but the newly focused content team is finally rolling out early changes. Of course, there are many promises left to deliver on. Today Producer Chad Moore took to the MMO's blog to detail their next big content drop -- the first of 2015.
At the top 2015's content drop list are two new dungeons. The first is a low-level training dungeon named the Protogames Academy, which is designed specifically to train new players in general team mechanics so that they can succeed in later group-based content. The second dungeon returns to the Protogames with Ultimate Protogames, a max-level dungeon that adds to the already substantial challenging content meant for players just reaching end-game.
Basically, the agenda is to smooth out the edges where players would either stop playing or have trouble progressing into the next "tier" of content. This is reflected in many of Carbine's content plans revealed today:
- There are now Veteran versions of all Shiphand Missions, giving max-level solo and group players additional content once they reach level cap.
- We have enhanced the LFG tool, which now includes access to all Shiphand Missions - allowing players to queue up whether they want to play solo or with a group.
- We made significant adjustments to the quest experience in our early zones, focusing on things like quest flow, objective counts, and group accessibility.
- We've improved the Dungeon Medal system, providing greater insight into how you are progressing through a dungeon's objectives, and rewarding you every step of the way.
- We’ve added a new currency type called Glory which is earned by completing dungeons and raids. Glory can be exchanged for high-quality gear in the capital cities.
And perhaps most significant of all of the changes:
- We are adjusting the group size requirement for Datascape from 40 to 20 players, allowing more players to experience this awesome raid!
Datascape was the 40-man raid that was the pinacle of WildStar's end-game content. We can assume that of the tens of thousands of players in WildStar, perhaps a scant few hundred have seen the raid at this point. Personally, I blame the insane challenge of jumping from dungeons to raiding in the first place, but apparently Carbine wants more players experiencing this content faster. There will be some disappointment from hardcore raiders at this change, but ultimately it's the better choice for more players.
Check out the full list of changes to WildStar, which Carbine is currently testing out on their Public Test Realm, over at the official website. No release date has yet been announced for 2015's first content drop, but I'm sure Carbine is just as excited as the players are to get this stuff live. Keep on keepin' on, Carbine. WildStar's got a lot of great content that we'd all love more people to experience.
Click here to see more images
Who doesn't want ride on the back of an acid-puking graug?
It feels like, in the midst of the holiday fervor, many have forgotten that Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor exists and is a pretty damn fun game. Luckily, if DLC is your sort of thing, Monolith Productions and Warner Bros. have a special treat for those willing to return to Mordor. Today saw the launch of the "Lord of the Hunt" DLC, a pack of fun new assorted single-player content that should keep players' swords swinging for a while yet.
In context, Lord of the Hunt continues the side-story missions revolving around the dwarven hunter Torvin from the main Shadow of Mordor game. Torvin helped the player conquer the non-orc bestial presence in Mordor, but in this DLC he appears to be joining the fight against Sauron to a larger degree. Sauron has dispatched Beastmaster Warchiefs to "exterminate the monsters of Mordor." Talion, however, sees use in these monsters. Perhaps he'll use them to his advantage. Perhaps he'll use the Beastmasters too.
Here's the official list of content to be added in Lord of the Hunt:
- Story & Lore – Discover more tales from Torvin, the Dwarven Hunter, as you work together to tame the beasts of Mordor and fight Sauron’s minions.
- Nemeses – Face off against the Beastmaster Warchiefs, powerful new Uruks who have the ability to ride monsters and engage in perilous mounted combat.
- Monsters – Ride into battle on the Wretched Graug to vomit toxin at your foes, stalk your enemies on the predatory Caragath and attack from the shadows or raise an all-consuming Ghul Horde.
- Missions & Challenges – New Beast Hunting challenges and collectibles open up new trophies and achievements.
- Epic Runes – Make your Mount unstoppable with five new epic Runes that make you the ultimate hunter.
- Test of the Wild – Test your skills against the Beastmasters and mount your trophies on the leaderboard.
- Character Skin – Lord of the Hunt skin transforms Talion into the ultimate Beastmaster.
Odds are there's not a large quantity of narrative-driven content included in the DLC pack. Instead, there seems to be a good amount of fresh dynamic content added to help freshen up the non-linear gameplay of Shadow of Mordor. More monsters roaming the land, new warchiefs to encounter, and interesting new ways to start fights with everything is much more valuable than another bland side-quest.
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and its DLC is now available on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. The Lord of the Hunt DLC costs $9.99 by itself, but can also be purchased as part of the game's Season Pass for a total of $24.99.
Lord of the Hunt DLC Trailer - Youtube
Oh Naruto, your passionate rivalry with Sasuke will battle eternally. It's a good thing CyberConnect 2 and Bandai Namco will be there right by your side delivering fighting game sequel after sequel to chronicle every second of their journey together. Luckily, despite their... exuberant release schedule, CyberConnect2 really does push the brand. Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4, newly announced, will be no different.
Bandai Namco describes Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4's updated look as "beyond anime-quality." Considering these past years were spent trying to bring the franchise up to the visual quality of the anime, it seems like CyberConnect 2 is looking to go out on their own. If they can replicate the intensity they've shown in the two screenshots provided with today's announcement, then they certainly have proven they're capable of it.
Beyond that detail, nothing more was revealed about the latest iteration of the series. No other new systems or mechanics were announced. What was confirmed to be returning includes one-on-one multiplayer modes for both online and offline. That's it! Otherwise, I'd say it's safe to expect a huge story mode and a ridiculously large roster of everyone's favorite Naruto Shippuden characters.
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 is planned for release on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. It's planned for 2015, which likely implies a summer or later launch. Expect more information on the game (and hopefully new feature announcements) within the next few months. Until then, take in these two beautiful screenshots and cross your fingers.
Click here to see more images
In other words, don't expect a Devil May Cry sequel any time soon
The industry knows exactly what gamers are begging for now that we've celebrated a year with both the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One -- more remastered old games. Yeah, you love it, don't you. Today's now powered up games come courtesy of Capcom, who will be remastering both DmC: Devil May Cry and Devil May Cry 4 for both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Everyone should know what a remaster means in this day and age, but let's recap for all of the holiday console buyers who might not be familiar. Expect DmC: Devil May Cry to run at 1080p and 60fps on both consoles, include the Vergil's Downfall campaign DLC, as well as include new game modes and some fancy costumes. Capcom loves their costumes.
"New to DmC Devil May Cry: Definitive Edition, players will be able to play as Dante's twin brother himself in Vergil's Bloody Palace Mode. For an extra depth of challenge, players will be able to try out the added Gods Must Die difficulty level and Must Style Mode as well as Hardcore Mode, which has been designed to play more like the classic Devil May Cry series."
Details regarding the Devil May Cry 4 remaster are a bit less specific, as it will be released later in the year and obviously Capcom wants to get the word out on DmC: Devil May Cry first.
The only question I really have is rather general -- did these games need to be remastered and rereleased? Will Capcom really put in the effort to make both games look like modern console releases? Or is this just a capitalization on the brand, since they aren't willing to take on the risk of developing another title? It's a strange thing to believe a couple of remastered releases may decide the fate of the Devil May Cry franchise. Still, Capcom's doing right by both new and old fans by putting out both games.
DmC: Devil May Cry is planned for release on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One starting March 17 for $40. Devil May Cry 4's remaster will be released later this year.
Are they trying to make some sort of weird Satan/Santa joke?
Well Microsoft owns Minecraft now and that means it's time to pay the skin tax again. Today Microsoft announced a new skin pack for Minecraft on both Xbox One and Xbox 360. The Festive Mash-Up Pack will launch with 36 winter-themed skins, available starting December 10 for $2.99.
Let's take a look at what sort of skins are included in this pack, based off of the screenshots. There's a Santa a costume, a reindeer outfit, a bunch of elves with different sorts of striped leggings, and... SATAN?! What is Satan doing in a holiday-themed skin pack? I guess there's an angel there too, but man this Minecraft holiday is starting to look a little terrifying. Sure, elves and Santa and the like are fine on their own, but add Satan into the mix and suddenly it looks like you've stumbled into Beelzebub's office Christmas party. Don't drink the punch.
As for the pricing, well, $2.99 is hard to complain about. I still have to reiterate and recall that those first skin packs were huge and only cost $.99 just to make enough cash to pay Microsoft back for the upload/download costs. PC players get these things absolutely free, and many of the skins in these packs are based off of community-made skins freely available online. It's quite a bit gross that Microsoft is now jacking up the price to increase profit margins. Especially for a holiday-themed pack. Stay merry!
Minecraft's Festive Mash-Up Pack will be available December 10 for the price of $2.99. Check out the few screenshots we have available to see a portion of what's included in the 36-skin pack.
Click here to see more images
Why these games aren't also being released on PC, I'll never understand
As Square Enix has promised, so has another Dragon Quest mobile port been released. Dragon Quest III is now available on iOS and Android devices, completing the Erdrick Trilogy that included the first three games of the franchise and paving the way for the Zenithian Trilogy to continue. Dragon Quest III will cost players $9.99 to pick up for their device of choice, a similar price as to the other non-3D Dragon Quest mobile releases.
The Erdrick Trilogy comes fully together in Dragon Quest III, as players who are unfamiliar with the original three games will finally see what ties these titles together. It starts by introducing us to our protagonist, a boy who would become a hero:
"On the morning of their sixteenth birthday, the child of Ortega, hero of the land of Aliahan, is charged with a seemingly impossible task by the King himself: to slay the Archfiend Baramos, master of darkness! What trials await our intrepid hero as they set out to take on a quest not even their legendary father was strong enough to complete?"
As with the release of Dragon Quest and Dragon Quest II on mobile devices, there's a lot of heavy criticism for the ports. They're hardly updated in any way, making for awkward controls and a frustrating UI. Were RPGs design to be played on small cell phone screens? Of course not, so why should we expect ports to play well without significant updates. Nevertheless, for a game almost lost to time this is a great opportunity for new RPG fans to experience a defining title in a longstanding franchise.
Dragon Quest III will be the fifth title from the franchise to be released, which includes the previous two titles in the Erdrick Trilogy (Dragon Quest, Dragon Quest II), the first title in the Zenithian Trilogy (Dragon Quest IV) and a 3D port in Dragon Quest VIII. All of the titles up through Dragon Quest VIII are expected to be ported to mobile eventually -- likely within the next year.
Lady looked like Ms. Frizzle in the old games, she could use an HD update
I never made it past Heroes of Might and Magic II, which is something I'll regret to the end of my days. Despite that, I know that the franchise has only grown better after the second game in the series. Yet one title stands above all others when it comes to fan-favorites -- Heroes of Might and Magic III. Ubisoft recognizes this, but more than that they're interested in capitalizing on it. Today Ubisoft announced an HD rerelease of Heroes of Might and Magic III.
The HD Edition of the hugely popular turn-based strategy game is tentatively planned for a January 29 launch on both PC and both iOS and Android tablets. Perhaps bringing the best of the franchise to mobile platforms will reinvigorate the series, or perhaps even the genre, in a way previously unexpected. Or perhaps it means the game will be redesigned in a way that makes us wish it had stayed in the rear-view mirror.
Might & Magic franchise Creative Director Erwan le Breton offered the following prepared, but sentimental statement:
"Community is at the core of the Might & Magic series, and we wanted to thank their everlasting support by bringing back the epic tale of Queen Catherine Ironfist. We wanted to keep the heart of what made Heroes III one of the most renowned titles of the series, while providing an enhanced visual experience and offering the possibility to also play the game on tablets."
According to these early details, very little will be changed to the core experience of Heroes of Might and Magic III. It will retain its seven campaign scenarios, 48 skirmish maps, local multiplayer and a map editor (though the map editor is PC-only). New to the game will be an online Steam lobby as well as the HD remastering.
Heroes of Might and Magic III - HD Edition will be coming to PC and tablets starting January 29. Perhaps it will define a new generation of strategy titles much like it did when originally released in 1999.
Click here to see more images
Now players can start on Nightmare and then cry themselves to Novice
The Creative Assembly, while perhaps not creating a game of the year candidate, did do something special. They created a game that gets people talking. Alien: Isolation is divisive among players, for many reasons. Yet it's because of that divide that Alien: Isolation truly becomes a special product to many of its players. To acknowledge and address a facet of this divide in players, The Creative Assembly released a patch today. Nightmare and Novice difficulties are now available.
That's not to imply that those who revel in Alien: Isolation's difficulty are the ones who enjoy it and the ones frustrated by the challenge are those who dislike the title. Rather, I think The Creative Assembly is doing a smart thing here by catering to the ways players are enjoying its game. There are those who get a thrill by the difficulty who will devour Nightmare Mode, but there are those who are entranced by the atmosphere, the tension of the game and don't want the difficulty curve outweighing that experience. In this way, The Creative Assembly is playing to its own strengths.
Alien: Isolation has been available on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 for some time now and is already picking up end-of-year nominations for awards. Yet it may be this latest version of the game, now including Nightmare and Novice difficulty options, that really show's the title's strengths.
How can anyone deny the allure of opening scrolls
Mojang's strategy card game Scrolls is moving out of beta starting tomorrow, it was announced this morning. Up to this point the game has been in an "open" beta, meaning players could opt in by buying the game. Since then, well, things have changed rather dramatically. The new plan is to launch Scrolls tomorrow for the low price of $5 on PC and Android tablets (an iPad version is on the way). For those not sure what Scrolls is, a free demo will also be available tomorrow.
Wait one second, didn't Scrolls' open beta cost $20 to buy into earlier this year? Indeed it did, but Mojang's perspective seems to have changed quite a bit since then. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that despite a cost up front, Scrolls has many, many microtransactions for players to buy into. All of the content is 100% accessible without paying a premium of course, but that doesn't change that players feel awkward about something the cost of $20 on top of so many potential microtransactions.
As for content included, well, think of Scrolls as one might think of Hearthstone -- or any other card collecting game for that matter. A player gets a lone deck when they start, have the option of playing through five different game modes including challenges and ranked matches, and then can buy card packs with their winnings. I believe there are as many as 180 cards to collect in total, including common, uncommon and rare cards. The important thing for players should be enjoying the core game, naturally, so download that free demo when it becomes available.
Scrolls will launch tomorrow on PC and Android tablets for the price of just $5 alongside a free demo.
Dragon Quest it is and what a glorious choice they made
Square Enix had previously announced that they planned to expand their Theatrhythm franchise past Final Fantasy. The success of the original title and its Curtain Call follow-up must have been persuasive, because less than a year after Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call's release in Japan and just months since its release in the west, Square Enix has announced the next series to be released. I'm excited to announce Theatrhythm Dragon Quest.
Yes, a franchise near as popular as Final Fantasy has been chosen (though perhaps not as popular in the west), with just as astounding a soundtrack to boot. The musical game will likely include a ton of tracks from the main franchise, as well as the Monsters, Mystery Dungeon and Slime spin-off series. Perhaps it will even dabble in the anime series. Still, nothing will compare to those grand, cheerful epics of the big main franchise games that defined JRPGs for years to come.
Theatrhythm Dragon Quest is schedule for release in Japan starting March 26, exclusively on the Nintendo 3DS. Speculating a bit on a western release, Final Fantasy Curtain Call was launched in April in Japan and then September in the west. With a Japanese launch in March, we can cross our fingers for a pre-holiday season launch! That's if we're lucky.
The only question to ask is, after Final Fantasy and now Dragon Quest... what comes next?
Update: Dragon Age: Inquisition's Patch 2 notes are now available.
Today's Dragon Age: Inquisition patch teaser from BioWare is unfortunately unspecific. Considering Dragon Age: Inquisition is swamped in broken, buggy gameplay, you'd expect them to be quite a bit more open about their plans and progress. Patch 2 is rolling out today on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
What's that; where's the Xbox One patch? According to BioWare the Xbox One patch will be going out as "soon as possible," which in other terms means was delayed. The Xbox One version of Inquisition is by far the most broken version of all the platforms, to the point where it affected my review score of the game. Could it be taking longer because BioWare needs to put more time into it, or because BioWare is putting less priority on the platform?
Regarding the actual patch teaser, they read more like a list of blanket ongoing issues and give no specificity to what's been fixed, how fixed each issue is, or whether there are plans for more fixes for each issue going forward. Full patch notes are expected to go up after the patch is live:
- Stability – Various crashes, freezes, audio/voice glitches, and many stability improvements.
- Gameplay – Conversations, quests, plot states, combat, UI, camera, controls, follower/enemy AI and path finding, exploits, radar, and search.
- Multiplayer – In addition to some of the gameplay improvements listed above, multiplayer fixes also cover areas such as animations, game mode bugs, stat reporting, and stability/crash fixes.
- PC – Numerous control & UI fixes, fixes to some hitching, improved Mantle performance, graphical glitches.
The takeaway is that either everything is fixed or nothing is fixed. Keep in mind that Xbox One players can at least comfortably rely on the fact that nothing has been fixed.
Odds are everyone should be able to start up Dragon Age: Inquisition today and hopefully notice where there was an issue before, there no longer is. Without more specific patch notes, however, it's going to be difficult to hunt each specific issue down. Trust. Trust in the developers who released such a very buggy game in the first place.
Dragon Age: Inquisition is currently available on the PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Oh, I almost forgot, it's also on the Xbox One. I guess these things are pretty easy to forget about. Also, don't worry guys. BioWare made sure to mention that additional content is already being made. DLC? DLC. No note on whether Xbox One players can expect to get that the same time as everyone else.