Friday, June 26, 2015

Friday Spotlight: Soma

PC - Playstation 4
Developer: Frictional Games
Publisher: Frictional Games
Release Date: September 22nd, 2015

Frictional Games is no stranger to the survival horror genre, as their title Amnesia: Dark Descent became one of the biggest survival horror games of late. Soma looks to be a similar experience in a completely different environment.

Taking place in an underwater lab, little is known besides the fact that you will encounter a multitude of monstrosities that you must avoid to escape the research facility, using noisy distractions and peeking around corners to snake your way around danger. Unlike Dark Descent, the character you play will be fully voiced and interact with other entities along the way, including a disassembled robot with a sarcastic sense of humor.

Needless to say the gameplay shown thus far is terrifying all its own. The isolation of being underwater with the sounds of heavy machinery only amplify the wariness as you turn a corner. The enemies you face look to be part machine part alien, and the mystery that surrounds them is intriguiging to say the least.

Expect plenty of reaction videos on Youtube this September.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Batman: Arkham Knight PC Pulled

Cross platform problems can occur, and for Batman: Arkham Knight that issue has arisen on the PC in droves. So much so that WB Games has pulled the game from PC purchase until the issues are fixed.

WB Games Community Admin Yorick detailed the apology in a post on their forums: [1] 

"We want to apologize to those of you who are experiencing performance issues with Batman: Arkham Knight on PC. We take these issues very seriously and have therefore decided to suspend future game sales of the PC version while we work to address these issues to satisfy our quality standards.  We greatly value our customers and know that while there are a significant amount of players who are enjoying the game on PC, we want to do whatever we can to make the experience better for PC players overall."
It is a bold move to take a game completely off the market, but if the issues have made the game unplayable, they are taking the right step in assuring others experience the game as intended. Hopefully they will resolve this issue in a timely manner so PC players are not left in the dark too long.

[1] - WB Games Forums - Support for PC -

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The New IPs of E3 2015

After a whirlwind of the past few days glued to the monitor for each showcase, E3's biggest presentations have come and gone. We have had our fair share of surprises, confusion, and Jason Derulo; that said, as I dig through the piles of news stories and features I realized that this was one of the better E3s to come around in a while. The big names made their expected debut with the amped up anticipation of Star Wars: Battlefront, Star Fox, and Fallout 4. However, it was the new titles that really grabbed my attention. Here are the big names announced that could soon become franchises we will be looking for sequels for in future E3s:

Last Guardian 
Developer: Team Ico
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Release Date: 2016

Technically, this is a new IP, though not a name that is unheard of in any way. Becoming the inside joke for the past few E3s, nobody expected to see the Last Guardian even get mentioned after being trapped in developer hell since around 2007, let alone become the opening trailer in Sony's "Make-A-Wish" presentation that fulfilled so many dreams. The long wait was well worth it.

Without a single legible word, we see the little boy summon the iconic creature we have come to associate with the title. Their relationship is immediately established as it bows its head in a submissive, loving manner for the boy to command. The loving companionship is reminiscent of a boy and his dog, and the beautifully crafted world looks like one of mystery and wonder as the boy issues commands for the creature to assist in platforming or puzzles. It was a trailer filled with curiosity and I sat in awe at the potential this game can hold.

For Honor
Developer: Ubisoft
Publisher: Ubisoft
Release Date: TBD

I feel like a good medieval sword fighting game is something that has been missing from gaming libraries. For Honor looks to change all of that, as one of the more gritty, violent titles of E3. Two warriors duking it out over the expanse of a battlefield is often seen in movies, rarely portrayed in gaming. Knights, Vikings, and Samurai take the battlefield in all out war. Four on four multiplayer showcased two teams trying to dominate the battlefield through controlling key zones amidst AI controlled soldiers, similar to Dynasty Warriors without the flashy one move clearing abilities.

The Art of Battle system showcased in the gameplay trailer gives you control of your weapon withthe right stick, choosing which side to attack or block. It makes one vs one fights a game of rock, paper, scissors; reading your attackers direction to defend and countering in kind. It looks intriguing, like a MOBA mixed with an action RPG, and the ability to pit Vikings against Samurai will make for a history buffs dream come true.

Horizon Zero Dawn
Developer: Guerilla Games
Publisher: Sony
Release Date: 2016

Out of all the new IPs showcased, Horizon instantly grabbed my attention with one of the greatest things you could center a game around; cybernetic dinosaurs.

We witness a brave hunter using stealth to approach a small group of robotic dinosaurs, silently taking out smaller ones in an Assassin's Creed esque manner. Gathering materials from the frantic deer like robots, she is soon set upon by a larger hulking monstrosity raining rockets as she moves away. We see use of weak points, varying gadgets, and even a grapple hook device that ties the beast down for one finishing blow.

Lot of potential surrounding this title, but the ambiance and world alone were an eye catcher. 

Developer: Armature Studio (w/ Keiji Inafune)
Publisher: Microsoft
Release Date: Spring 2016

Megaman's creator teamed up with Armature for this all new Xbox Exclusive title involving a girl and her cybernetic dog in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. The girl, far from helpless, soon defends herself from a swarm of an army of robots, before her faithful companion overloads itself to defeat the remaining enemies, with only a core left behind.

Similar to Last Guardian, lot of companionship vibe from this one, and a uncanny similarity to Alex and Dog from Half-Life 2. Primarily it looks to revolve around using the core to inhabit different shells for the companion. We went from a dog to a hulking robot, and the title screen showcasing other variants. This could all be used for a combination of platforming, puzzle solving, and combat. Now to see if you have to overcome eight robot masters...

Sea of Thieves
Developer: Rare
Publisher: Microsoft
Release Date: TBD

The return of Rare, one of the most iconic developers to ever grace the Nintendo 64, and they are crafting an open world pirate game.

The trailer showcased a massive world with multiple players in a MMO manner with names floating above the player's head. The cartoonish look screams Rare, and a promise of adventure and plunder is showcased; From ships waging war on the seas, to mutiny and making a player walk the plank, and combat as skeletons chase down a person that opens a chest. Still a lot of questions surrounding the game, but with Rare at the helm it will be one to watch for sure.

Developer: Coldwood Interactive
Publisher: EA
Release Date: TBD

If any game at E3 was the epitome of adorable it was this one.

Following in the footsteps of Limbo or Ori and the Blind Forest, Unravel looks to be a puzzle platformer with personality. You navigate a stunningly realistic 2D terrain, swinging from rope or creating bridges and pathways to reach your goal. It looks simple yet challenging, the world looks stunningly detailed, and the overall cuteness of Yarny warrants this one to be on your radar.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Hyrule Warriors to Arrive on 3DS

Leaked yesterday, Hyrule Warriors will be arriving on the 3DS.

The Wii-U title looks similar to Smash brothers in the thick outlined characters and toned down look for its ability to perform on the 3DS. There also appears to be a lot less going on outside of the immediate battle.

Added to the roster will be Tera and The King from Wind Waker, both look equally diverse in their moveset and can be transferred to the Wii-U if you own Hyrule Warriors already.

Expect more information at E3 next week.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Zelda Short Film Goes Viral

A short film by youtube user Callegos-Y showcases the extremes Link will go to for Rupees.

A humorous short film that only uses Steam's Source FIlmmaker, Sony Vegas, and Gimp is an impressive feat indeed.

New Destiny Expansion at a Higher Price

Destiny's last two expansions were purchased with a season pass and staggered over the past year, offering one additional raid, a couple of new strikes, new modes, etc.

The latest leak has confirmed that Destiny is planning to release a full expansion in September [1], but at a steeper price point than the previous two. At $40, the most we know that will be included is new subclasses, a new raid featuring Oryx the father of Crota from the Dark Below DLC raid, and of course new strikes, PvP, etc.

To justify the price, Bungie will need to have a new planet, new weapons, new maps, etc. If they plan on adding content like the previous two, a forty dollar price tag would be hard to justify. We can expect more details in the coming weeks.

[1] - Kotaku - Leak: Destiny's New Expansion Is The Taken King, Out September 15th -

Monday, June 8, 2015

Smash Bros Presentation coming June 14th

Nintendo's presentation will be Tuesday, June 16th, but that Sunday will be a separate presentation for Smash Brothers. [1]

Masahiro Sakurai will hots a video presentation at 10:40 AM eastern for some new reveals. Expect coverage on the addition of Lucas, new Miiverse stage, and new costumes featuring Splatoon inspired attire.

Any other upcoming characters could be saved for the official Nintendo presentation, but there could be more information teased or hinted at for furthering the roster.

[1] - Gameinformer - Masahiro Sakurai Is Hosting a Smash Bros. Video Presentation on June 14 -

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Shadow of Mordor Review - One Game to Rule Them All

Score: 9.0 / 10
Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor
Xbox 360 - Xbox One - PS4 - PS3 - PC
Developer: Monolith Productions
Publisher:Warner Brothers Interactive
Release Date: September 30th, 2014

  • Nemesis system is a spectacular random generator that extends playability
  • Combat and platforming are easy to pick up
  • Satisfying kill cams for every captain defeated
  • Multitude of tools to manipulate the battlefield and approach
  • Slew of side content and missions 
  • Xbox 360 and PS3 versions lack the hardware to capture the experience
  • Platforming is not always as precise as it could be
  • End-game makes you absurdly powerful
  • Abrupt and lackluster final encounter

Initially, I met Shadow of Mordor with frustration. Multiple attempts at slaying a warchief were met with disappointment, death, and confusion on what I was doing wrong. I was constantly being swarmed, poisoned, and otherwise staggered to the point of uselessness. Only after taking a step back and truly finding a best method of attack did I realize that Shadow of Mordor is not your average hack and slash game. It is not a game that will allow you to simply lay out groups of orcs and move on to the next target like nothing happened. This was a game of strategy, adaptation, and planning that transitioned from "if" you can kill the majors of Mordor to "how" you can kill them.

 For the last time, you cannot call me Casper

Talion, a ranger captain, works within a Gondorian garrison at The Black Gate which is suddenly attacked by an Orc army led by an elite figure known as the Black Hand. They manage to capture Talion and his family, killing them before his eyes before killing Talion himself in order to combine with an ancient Elf being known as Celembrimbor. Instead, Celembrimbor merges himself with Talion, and both embark together to exact revenge and find out how to break the curse that binds them. The base story is laid out, but much of the backstory dealing with Celembrimbor and Talion's history are discovered in artifacts scattered throughout the game or told through the loading screen upon firing up the title. The story is carried forward with new characters, interaction with a few surprise characters from the franchise, and takes a few twists along the way. Any LotR game has a lot to live up to in terms of story, but the stellar performances and intriguing tie in to the franchise helps the story carry interest as you learn more and more about the Black Hand.

The nemesis system is the core of the gameplay experience, and provides a unique adventure for every player. Throughout your campaign, a slew of captains and warchiefs are scattered throughout the land of Mordor. Warchiefs are the ultimate goal, but to get to them you will need to defeat or control their bodyguards. These captains all have strengths and weaknesses that you can learn by gaining intel from various sources; some fear Caragors, but some are enraged and strengthened by them, making each encounter different than the last. Captains can be "dominated" and moved up to Warchief rank for your own benefit. If a captain escapes or survives, oftentimes you can run into them again and they will bear a scar/burn from their last encounter with you. This element keeps Shadow of Mordor from becoming predictable, as every captain and warchief will be a new challenge to tackle. If you die in battle, that captain will be promoted and remember you the next time you do battle; a subtle but satisfying touch to one of the most interesting game mechanics I have seen in a while.

 I found their weakness; hitting them with sharp things!

Shadow of Mordor feels like a love child of Batman: Arkham Asylum and Assassin's Creed in terms of gameplay. With most of the encounters you have the option to approach it stealthily or charge in sword swinging, but both options have a multitude of tools at your disposal. Let us use the example of approaching a captain. I can stealthily take out all archers from afar with a bow, dominate all of the archers in the area and let them fight for me, or poison their drinks and have them fight amongst themselves. A more combat centered approach would involve unleashing wild Caragor beasts from their cage, slashing away at Orcs, countering their attacks and instantly killing them by building up my combo meter. The possibilities are endless and I found myself switching up my approach each time. The battlefield soon becomes a playground with endless tools at your disposal to set off chaos within an encampment. You can still find yourself overwhelmed if the alarm is raised or multiple captains engage you, and I soon learned that running away is a viable option as health is a precious commodity in this game that is restored through herbs or rune perks.

Leveling Talion will unlock abilities for both his armaments and traversal. Talion can go from simply shooting from afar to teleporting instantly to a target, riding Caragors, and killing targets instantly after a few slashes of the sword. In every aspect of combat, stealth, and traversal you can prioritize your favorite approach and open up even more tools to gain the upper hand. Each of Talion's weapons can also equip runes that drop from captains, which can further your strength by assisting in regaining health, focus, or other benefits from enemy kills. With a multitude of customization available at your fingertips, there is no limit to what kind of warrior you could craft.

I can see into your mind...not a lot in here

The world is an open playground, and host to many side excursions. Collectibles are scattered throughout the world, and delve more into the history of the characters you encounter. Special challenges are available for each weapon, with such missions as killing a certain number of Orcs with just stealth within a time limit or using archery to headshot targets from afar. Hunting challenges to kill certain animal types, collecting endeavors for varying plants, or freeing slaves to help your cause are a few of the multitude of icons that will litter your screen. Each side missions is fairly quick, prompting multiple occasions where I chose to walk in lieu of fast travel, knocking out side missions along the way to help gain new abilities.

By the end of the game I went from hunted to hunter in Mordor. I could manipulate every Warchief, interrupt and control every power struggle as Orcs vied for the top spot, and even dominate an entire army to my will. I felt powerful...too powerful, as the Orcs that once frustrated me had become so easy to take on that it felt effortless. Additionally, the final boss that I waited so long to face was nothing more than a button prompt segment. Despite all of that, roaming the open world and spotting a captain to take down acted as a major lure, and I often I found myself throwing aside my primary mission to this new personal vendetta against a captain that was causing trouble for me. Shadow of Mordor is a game that after the credits roll, you feel like you merely scratched the surface of what this game could offer.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Fallout 4 Reveal Imminent

Fallout is one of the biggest franchises out there and today, Bethesda is hyping up E3 even more by teasing everyone with its forthcoming announcement.

On their official website a "Please Stand By" that is ripped straight from Fallout appears with a coundtown to a big reveal tomorrow.

You can have it open in your browser tomorrow here -

Monday, June 1, 2015

X-Com 2 Revealed

The first X-Com was a great game overall; plenty of strategy, challenging enemies, and the overall feel of being a commander. With little surprise, the second installment has been announced.

Not a lot in terms of details is being divulged, but expect plenty of coverage from E3. X-Com 2 will be released this November exclusively for PC.

Corrupted Donkey Kong Theme is Hauntingly Hilarious

Vinesauce has been a leader in corrupted video game videos. Take a game's code, mess it up a little, and you get an oddly entertaining mess of a game. [1]

The main theme is hilariously out of tune, endless bananas are collected, and a spinning record player all make for one of the more entertaining ways to start your week off.

Check out more of their corruptions in the link below.

[1] - Vinesauce -