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Cornerstone trailer photo
Cornerstone trailer

Zelda meets vikings and crafting in Cornerstone: The Song of Tyrim

Coming to PC this April
Feb 12
// Jed Whitaker
Vikings, and puzzles, and crafting, oh my! Cornerstone: The Song of Tyrim will be hitting PC this April and it's about a young hero named Tyrim searching out long-lost viking men. Sounds like a Joe Parlock fantasy, at l...
Quantum Break photo
Quantum Break

Just kidding, these are the REAL Quantum Break PC requirements

Tricked ya!
Feb 12
// Brett Makedonski
Show of hands: Who thought when Remedy revealed the PC requirements for Quantum Break yesterday, that those were the real requirements? Fools. All of you. How could you be so gullible? This is what you'll actually need to run Quantum Break on Windows 10:
IGF & GDC voting photo
IGF & GDC voting

Let's help pick the 2016 IGF Audience Award winner

Last year's went to This War of Mine
Feb 12
// Jordan Devore
Audience voting has begun for the 2016 Independent Games Festival Awards (vote here) and the 2016 Game Developers Choice Awards (and here). If you'd like to have a say in who claims the Audience Awards at next month's ceremon...

Review: Sorcery! Parts 1 & 2

Feb 12 // Josh Tolentino
Sorcery! Parts 1 & 2 (PC [reviewed], iOS, Android)Developer: inkle StudiosPublisher: inkle StudiosReleased: February 3, 2016MSRP: $9.99 In some ways, that question is already answered, as the two parts of Sorcery! featured in this review have been available on iOS (as Sorcery! and Sorcery! 2) since 2013. The PC version is identical in terms of content, so folks who've already gotten their hands on the mobile versions won't find much of a reason to own this one. That said, though, people who are new to the series may be surprised to learn that there's just as much "game" as there is "book" in this gamebook adaptation. This is partially down to the strength of the source material. The original Sorcery! mixed in elements and statistics from pen-and-paper role-playing games, deepening interaction beyond the usual "turn to page [x] to see the result." Inkle rebuilds and tweaks these preexisting systems to bring them more in line with the interactions best suited to video games. [embed]339893:62207:0[/embed] For example, rather than simulate a sword fight by having players roll dice, each unique combat encounter in Sorcery! involves players dragging their character back and forth across the screen to determine the power of their attack, while reading the descriptive text for clues as to which actions to take for maximum effect. The result is a system that feels interactive and properly "game-like" without undermining the fundamental importance of the text to finding success. This also holds true for magic. Most encounters give players the opportunity to "Use Magic!" or "Cast a Spell," prompting them to trade some stamina to cast one of forty-eight available spells. Which spells can be cast at any given time depends on the arrangement of stars, represented by letters etched into the heavens. Arranging three-letter combinations makes for a spell. HOT casts a fireball, ZAP sends out a lightning bolt, and JIG causes an enemy to dance, provided one has picked up a bamboo flute somewhere along their journey.  And what a journey it is. Sorcery! players step into the shoes of an unnamed magician, on a quest to take the Crown of Kings -- a powerful artifact -- back from the villain who stole it, the Archmage of Mampang. The game covers the first two "books" of a four-part series, from the beginning area of the Shamutanti Hills to a second chapter set in the dangerous metropolis of Khare, Cityport of Traps.  Part 1 is a fairly straightforward, old-school adventure, featuring an art style that evokes the quaintly ugly aesthetic of '80s-era fantasy rulebooks. The encounters, mostly taken from the book, feel appealingly grounded and at times risk feeling decidedly mundane to readers more used to the large-scale epics of contemporary video game fantasy.  Part 2, however, is where the game expands, moving beyond what was possible with the original book (the sheer density of available choices would make for a very unwieldy read in physical format), and drives home the power and diversity available when setting up decision-making in text-based games.  Also pleasantly retro is the fact that Sorcery! can be kind of a bastard when it comes to screwing players over. Unexpected traps, sudden deaths, and "Your journey has ended"-type endings are common, though a convenient and punishment-free "rewind" system allows players to walk back any wrong choices they make. In a more forgiving game, this would cheapen the experience of living with consequences. However, given how unfair the adventure can be at times, and in light of the way choices are nested and written without an obvious good or bad path in most cases, I found the rewind to be a fairly balanced way to avoid frustration. Sorcery!'s shortcomings, such as they are, tend to be more technically-rooted. Though it's been reasonably well-adapted for PC, the interface still feels optimized for touch, with large elements that look fine on a phone or tablet screen but are a tad oversized to players using a mouse. The game, or rather the story, is also technically incomplete. The third part of the adventure, Sorcery! 3 is available on mobile platforms (and is reportedly quite a bit more expansive than either of the previous parts), but the fourth and final chapter isn't due to be released until later in 2016, and neither has been announced for PC. Thankfully, cloud saves are cross-platform compatible, so impatient players may consider continuing on their devices if they like this one. Ultimately, quibbles like this are quite minor and easy to overlook in light of the quality of the adventure itself.  By wrapping classical adventure writing in a thoroughly modern play experience, inkle has turned Sorcery! into a great testament to the power and place of text in gaming's canon. [This review is based on a digital retail build of the game provided by the publisher.] Arslan: The Warriors of Legend (PC, PS3, PS4 [reviewed], Xbox One)Developer: Omega ForcePublisher: Koei TecmoReleased: February 9, 2016MSRP: $59.99
Cast a Spell! photo
Use Magic!
For nerds of a certain age, gamebooks hold as much childhood influence as the most memorable classic video games. Gamebooks helped pioneer player-driven narrative; the design lessons learned from the likes of Choose Your Own ...

Win one of 10 copies!
Tribute Games is bringing the awesome Ninja Senki DX to PC, PS4, and PS Vita this February the 23 (as previously reported). The game will run you $4.99 (a bargain, I assure you), or you could you win it here for free! The awe...

FNF photo

Friday Night Fights - Be My Lover

Ride with the Vantoid Community!
Feb 12
// Mike Martin
"Looking back on all the time we spent togetherYou oughta know by nowIf you want to be my lover, want to be my loverGo ahead and take your time, boy you gotta feel secureBefore I make you mine, baby, you have to be sureYou want to be my loverWant to be my lover, want to be my lover"
Flash Sale photo
Flash Sale

PlayStation's new Flash Sale is for lovers

Just like Ohio
Feb 12
// Brett Makedonski
It's time for Sony to throw another PlayStation Flash Sale, an event that challenges the very notion of the word "flash." This sale lines up with Valentine's Day, a holiday for romanticism, conversation hearts, and cheap vide...
EDF 4.1 DLC photo

Earth Defense Force 4.1's second mission pack is free right now

'Some new, some classic, all EXTREME!'
Feb 12
// Jordan Devore
Lord knows I don't need a good reason to get back into Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair right now (too busy!), but I'm getting one anyway in the form of 23 extra missions. The game's second major DLC release...

Review: Atelier Escha & Logy Plus: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky

Feb 12 // Laura Kate Dale
Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky (PS3, Vita [reviewed])Developer: Gust Co. LtdPublisher: Koei TecmoReleased: March 11, 2014 (PS3) / January 19, 2016 (Vita)MSRP: $39.99 (Vita) Atelier Escha & Logy Plus as an RPG centers around two alchemists on a strict deadline to prevent the destruction of their world. Built around an in-game calendar, each mission you take on will require a certain number of your limited days to complete. Longer tasks might yield better rewards, but they carry the inherent risk of running out of time to complete larger objectives as they arise. Ranging from resource collection to battle-heavy dungeons, there's a decent variety of mission types to pick from. The most interesting aspect of this system ends up being how it impacts the party you take into missions and how willing you are to take chances as a player. If you're low on health or resources, you have to weigh the risks of pushing on and failing the mission against the multiple days it might use up to return to town, gather resources, and rest up. This risk management becomes a key part of gameplay, and kept me much more engaged in my performance than I expected. [embed]340946:62241:0[/embed] Giving the player the choice of two playable characters from the start, one male and one female, Escha & Logy's plot follows a very similar narrative structure to Tales of Xillia. While both protagonists work together, spend most of the plot together, and go on largely the same journey, some sections are altered depending on who you play as. The variations in plot are spread pretty far apart, but having the option to have a slightly different adventure on a second playthrough is appealing. Playing as Escha will give players a more alchemy focused, lighthearted view of events as they transpire, while playing as Logy is a more traditional, combat-heavy experience that will feel more familiar to RPG fans not versed in the Atelier's core alchemy mechanics. So, there is one big problem with getting invested in the story of Escha and Logy. While the main plot is well-written and engaging, the opening hours of you're adventure are cripplingly unrepresentative of the rest of the game. Excited for a grand, world-spanning adventure? Better be ready for several hours discussing financial outcomes of investments, business plans, government spending patterns, and uses for awarded stipends. Seriously, the opening hours play out like a Galactic Senate hearing in the Star Wars prequels. A fascinating story follows, but you're going to have to put a few tedious hours in to get to it. Bear that in mind. Where previous Atelier entries have done a poor job of explaining the mechanics behind alchemy and encouraged experimentation early on, Escha and Logy does a much better job of getting players to look at recipes and describing the ways in which they can be modified. While there's still a lot of experimentation in the system, that experimentation is acknowledged early on and not left as a big, daunting barrier that could halt late-game progression. The combat is fairly standard turn-based fighting, but the prep work put into alchemy before missions adds a nice amount of variety to the number of ways a fight can be tackled. Ultimately, Atelier Escha & Logy Plus is probably the best entry point this series has had. Sure, the first few hours are excruciating and I wouldn't blame anyone for not wanting to have to push through that, but the story of personal growth, trust, and ambition that lies behind it was well worth experiencing. The combat is a bit predictable to start, but once you get yourself stuck into the more accessible alchemy system, you'll never go into two fights with the same toolset available, which is refreshing. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Atelier Vita photo
A good entry for newbies
Atelier has always been one of those niche series of RPGs that gets harder to jump into with every entry. Featuring complex and often convoluted alchemy mechanics that have grown tough to break into over the years, the games ...

Tekken 7 photo
Tekken 7

See Tekken 7's Akuma in action from Japan's location test

Offscreen play
Feb 12
// Chris Carter
Japan is running its location tests for Tekken 7: Fated Retribution right now, and of course, tons of people are recording their experiences. It looks like Akuma and his standard moveset are in, and you can get a look at...
Zelda photo

Zelda looks right at home with an isometric art style

A 'Super Zelda Maker' would be dope
Feb 12
// Chris Carter
Artist Sir Carma has done a great job capturing that classic Zelda feel with this new series of 3D artwork. Based on the unassuming abode of Link at the start of Link to the Past, it has a 3D Dot Heroes feel to it w...
Umbrella Corps photo
Umbrella Corps

Umbrella Corps unveils its Resident Evil 5 themed map

Still due in May
Feb 12
// Chris Carter
Although it was revealed in Umbrella Corps' last trailer, Capcom is now officially sharing details regarding its Resident Evil 5-style Kijuju map. It's the biggest map in the game, and will also sport underground passage...
Inversus photo

Destiny developer is working on a neat new PC/PS4 side project

A multiplayer shooter
Feb 12
// Steven Hansen
Bungie's Ryan Juckett's day job as a gameplay programmer on Destiny hasn't stopped him from working on his own independent game. Inversus is a minimalist 1-4 player shooter coming to PC and PlayStation 4 in spring of this ye...
Super Smash Jokes photo
Super Smash Jokes

If Firewatch's Henry joined the Smash Bros. roster

Feb 12
// Steven Hansen
Hey, those meaty paws could do some serious damage. Maybe a Little Mac-style brawler (also not fleet of foot). Or, hey, just bring back the Ice Climbers move set but texture them like Yellowstone National Park. Anyways, I didn't know the PS4 version of Firewatch was this messed up.

Review in Progress: Project X Zone 2

Feb 12 // CJ Andriessen
Project X Zone 2 (3DS)Developer: Monolith Software Inc.Publisher: Bandai NamcoRelease: February 16 (US), February 12 (EU, AUS)MSRP: 39.99 I'm more than a dozen hours into Project X Zone 2 and I'm still amazed how many improvements have been made from the last game. Project X Zone, released in 2013, had the misfortune of coming out after the outstanding Fire Emblem: Awakening. When compared side-by-side, it's not hard to argue that Awakening is the better TRPG while Project X Zone mostly coasts by on its fan service appeal. Here we are with sequels to these titles releasing within a week of each other and, while I haven't played Fates yet, I can honestly say there is more to Project X Zone 2 than just its cast.  The biggest improvement you'll find here is the battle system. Unlike the first game, player and enemy turns are now separated so the enemy only moves after you've made your moves. Something about this small change just seems to make the chapters move at a more breezy pace compared to the first game. Yes, chapters are still interrupted halfway with extended bits of story and exposition, but I have yet to reach a chapter in the game that is aggravatingly long. Combat is still all style and timing as you chain together attacks for maximum damage. Time it right and you can increase your damage output. If you have a solo unit assigned to your team or are adjacent to another team, you can call them into the action and significantly increase your attack power if you land a Cross Hit. Unlike the first game, Cross Hits are noticeably more difficult to properly land this time and there are many attacks that can break them. Just throwing a whole bunch of characters on the screen at the same time isn't a guarantee you'll perform a Cross Hit. Now, you have to know your teams and their attacks well. The big new addition to the combat system is the Charge Bonus. If you don't use one of your attacks in a fight, that attack will be charged for your next fight. A charged attacked does more damage and regains more XP than a standard attack. You seem to be limited to three attacks at a time (plus a special attack if you have enough XP), but there is no limit to how many of those three attacks can be the same one. This means I can use the same individual attack three times in a row and save my other two for a Charge Bonus to use in my next fight. Charge Bonuses are rewarded both when you're attacking and when you're countering, which has also seen improvements this game. When the enemy is on the advance, only a full defense (which negates any damage you may take) uses the group XP. Now, regular defense and counters use the character's individual SP. Speaking of counters, I've found them a hell of a lot more useful in this game than the last. You're able to use more of your attacks this time and when countered, the enemy's shield will already be depleted so all of your attacks will do damage. I've defeated more enemies on the defense than when I was the one attacking.   If you're wondering how the story is, know that it's better than the last time around. Yes, there is still a lot of exposition and, yes, every character has to comment at least once in a story segment and, yes, I am missing pervy Frank West and his camera; but everything is much more focused. I don't know if this is the work of the localization team or the original scenario writers of the game, but gone is the disjointed structure of Project X Zone and here is an easy-to-follow storyline that even people who are totally unfamiliar with the series will be able to understand. As someone as stupid as I am, I appreciate the simplicity.  If you're in Europe and plan on picking this up today, know there is an option for paid DLC in the intermission menu between chapters; however I have no idea what it entails as nothing has been available for me to purchase at this point. I will have more on the DLC as well as the improved maps in the game in the full review next week. [This review in progress is based on a retail version of the game provided by the publisher.]
Project X Zone 2 photo
Another journey through the multi-verse
I just popped an Advil because I'm dealing with some annoying pain right now. It's a pain that starts to sting right in the inside of my elbow as I try to stretch my arm out. I'm not unfamiliar with this pain, in fact we're o...

Overwatch's new beta build is good news for the game's future

Feb 12 // Chris Carter
Loot boxes are all the rage now. Even though they technically existed in select games before it, Mass Effect 3 truly popularized them. Now, even Call of Duty is using the system, and so is Blizzard. What makes them work in Overwatch though is the simplicity of it. They hit you with the nostalgic blue, purple, and orange rarity system and a flashy delivery, granting you icons, emotes, skins, voiceovers, and other cosmetic bonuses. Items you already own will grant you credits instead, and come launch, boxes will be sold piecemeal. The key is that you get as much, if not more XP for simply playing the game rather than winning or losing, encouraging people to enjoy themselves rather than stress about the outcome. If this is how Overwatch is going to operate I'm fine with it, because buying the full game will net you every character and all of the content anyway. As for the game, it still feels pretty incredible (read more about the mechanics here). It's a lot more juiced up than one of its common comparisons, Team Fortress 2, and some characters are even on the Unreal plane of movement. It's a glorious return to the flashy arena shooters of old, and I trust Blizzard to keep it running as long as possible. The 6v6 matchups also strike a good balance, as the maps are tuned to the point where you're almost always fighting. There also don't seem to be many lame "leaving mission area" limitations or invisible walls in stages, if at all. It's Every game I feel like I'm doing something, and I'm constantly discovering new strategies for characters that I've already played before. The quick movement is really what excites me the most, as there aren't enough fast-paced shooters to offset the methodical ADS titles that dominate the market.
Overwatch photo
Really looking forward to this
Overwatch is shaping up. I really enjoyed my time with it back in October, but as of this newest closed beta build, it's clear that the team knows what they're doing. This week, they added in one simple upgrade that made a lot of people happy -- player progression. Now just by playing you'll earn new rewards, separate from any sort of character-centric requirements. It's a great change.

Ubisoft photo

Ubisoft: Xbox One owners spend more than PS4 owners

Explains why they're still on board
Feb 12
// Chris Carter
While just about every publisher who is making a shooter is flocking to the PS4 (the new home of shooters, according to Sony), Ubisoft is staying the course with The Division, which had an extra day of lead time with the beta...
Fallout 4 photo
Fallout 4

Fallout 4 DLC news coming soon, Survival mode is getting overhauled

How about console framerate fixes
Feb 12
// Chris Carter
After Bethesda decided to charge for the Fallout 4 Season Pass mystery box, fans have become understandably antsy -- especially since a lot of story-based bits in the core game were lacking (people are finally coming aro...
Super Mario Maker photo
Super Mario Maker

Super Mario Maker is getting the original Pokemon trio

20th Anniversary rages on
Feb 12
// Chris Carter
I have to say, Nintendo is doing a bang-up job of celebrating Pokémon's 20th anniversary. Hell, there's already been a ton of fanfare (the Mew event, tons of merchandise worldwide, amiibo restocks, a Splatoon Spla...
Theatrhythm Final Fantasy photo
Theatrhythm Final Fantasy

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: All-Star Carnival gets a teaser site

Love that extended party size
Feb 12
// Chris Carter
The arcade version of Theatrhythm has a name -- Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: All-Star Carnival -- and also a new teaser site. It's set to debut in Japan this year, but will also be available at the Japan Amusement Exp...
Fallout 4 photo
Fallout 4

Fallout 4 is looking better on consoles

New patch increases draw distance
Feb 12
// Laura Kate Dale
While Fallout 4 on consoles is certainly not a terrible-looking game, it's undeniable that it is lagging a little behind the visual quality of the PC release. Frame rate and resolution problems still have some catching up to do, but this new patch brings the console draw distances more inline with the PC version running on high.
Microsoft photo

Xbox will make cross buy/cross save 'a platform feature'

It's about time!
Feb 12
// Vikki Blake
Quantum Break’s cross-buy and cross-save functionality will become a Xbox feature, says Xbox boss Phil Spencer. Replying to fans on Twitter, Spencer said that there were plans to make it a platform feature, as it would...
Dying Light photo
Dying Light

You need a spare $10M to buy the Dying Light Spotlight Edition

I'll buy two, you guys
Feb 12
// Vikki Blake
So what does that $10 million get you? You’ll get a speaking role in Dying Light: The Movie, with professional acting lessons provided by Roger Craig Smith (Ezio in Assassin’s Creed, in case you were wondering). ...
Quantum Break photo
Quantum Break

Ice Man arses about in this Quantum Break trailer

Seriously, just run for god sake
Feb 12
// Joe Parlock
Yesterday we heard that former Xbox One exclusive Quantum Break will be getting a simultaneous launch on PC and Xbox One on April 5. What better way to celebrate that than with a live-action trailer that shows sweet FA?...
Watch_Dogs 2 photo
Watch_Dogs 2

Watch Dogs 2 to be released by April 2017

Watch_Daschunds expansion confirmed?
Feb 12
// Joe Parlock
For a game that built up as much pre-launch hype as Watch Dogs, it’s super weird that Ubisoft hasn’t made a bigger deal of the inevitable sequel. We know it’s coming though, and we now know it’ll be co...
Dead Island photo
Dead Island

Good lord, not another Dead Island

I'm afraid so
Feb 12
// Kyle MacGregor
It's impressive how much Deep Silver has milked the Dead Island name over the past five years. You know, considering a trailer, of all things, is the zombie franchise's claim to fame. So it comes as no surprise that the publi...
Hell's Kitchen 2 photo
Hell's Kitchen 2

Overcooked is a cooperative cooking game on LSD

Cook in space and during an earthquake
Feb 11
// Jed Whitaker
While it isn't the Hell's Kitchen game I've always dreamed of, Overcooked has me interested. Looks like you can cook with three other friends in various kitchens while dealing with earthquakes, melting ice, space, ...
Better than Ghosts I hope photo
Better than Ghosts I hope

Infinity Ward is developing this year's Call of Duty game

Shocking news, I know
Feb 11
// Jed Whitaker
Infinity Ward, the developer of the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare series as well as Call of Duty: Ghosts, confirmed it is working on the next game in the Call of Duty series to be released this year, shocking absolutely no one.  Considering the history of the series, it would be surprising if this doesn't end up being a sequel to Ghosts, even if it wasn't that well-reviewed.

Splatoon: Which is better, Pokemon Red or Blue?

The new Splatfest makes you choose
Feb 11
// Kyle MacGregor
Pokémon Red or Pokémon Blue? Splatoon's latest Splatfest is forcing us choose between them. Players will need to pick a side by next Friday, February 19 at 10pm PT, when the shooter's latest special event i...
Homefront beta footage photo
Homefront beta footage

Here's what the closed beta for Homefront: The Revolution looks like

Feb 11
// Chris Carter
After experiencing utter disappointment with the first Homefront I expected nothing less than the same crushing feeling playing the Revolution closed beta (which kicked off today on Xbox One). But to my surpris...

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