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Role-Playing Games

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Heart Forth, Alicia is really coming along

Get outta my dreams
Nov 30
// Jordan Devore
The latest Kickstarter update for Heart Forth, Alicia is a lot to get through. There's been a delay -- from Q1 2016 to the second half of the year -- but rather than just give a basic explanation for the change of plans, the ...
Xenoblade photo

Video Review: Xenoblade Chronicles X

X gon' give it to ya
Nov 30
// Myles Cox
Xenoblade Chronicles X is certainly one of those games that you probably have to see to believe, rather than simply just taking some stranger's word for it. The written review just doesn't do it enough justice in my humble o...
South Park photo
South Park

Obsidian's team had full access to the South Park archives for The Stick of Truth

Did You Know Gaming
Nov 30
// Chris Carter
South Park: The Stick of Truth was a pretty ambitious project -- so much so that I didn't think it would ever actually come out. But when it did, it blew my expectations away, and Obsidian had another hit on its hands. ...

Review: Xenoblade Chronicles X

Nov 30 // Chris Carter
Xenoblade Chronicles X (Wii U)Developer: Monolith SoftPublisher: NintendoReleased: April 29, 2015 (Japan), December 4, 2015 (EU, US)MSRP: $59.99 X's timeline starts in 2054 AD, when a mysterious alien race assaults the Earth and decimates the human race as we know it. Arks deploy across the universe, and the only known survivor is the White Whale, which crash lands on the distant planet Mira. Cue a quest to kickstart mankind's new home, and you have your basic gist of what's going on. To be clear, the story is not related to the original Xenoblade in any way. You do not need to have played the other game to have an idea of what's going on, and by JRPG standards, X's story is rather clear and concise. The player goes through the experience as a silent protagonist, with a minor amount of dialogue choices (more like moods) in tow. There is no branching narrative here -- instead, you'll follow a linear storyline, with the ability to take control of any party member as your primary avatar, including the one you create. Where X really shines isn't by way of its serviceable, yet sometimes drawn-out story; it's the ability to create your own adventures. Through the use of a lone base (New LA) and a formidable, yet vulnerable organization called BLADE, you'll slowly learn more about Mira, the creatures that inhabit it, and the dangers involved beyond the alien race trying to wipe out your species. The giant, sprawling maps (of which there are five, all accessible at the start) are a dream come true for exploration enthusiasts, with secrets at every turn and points of interest every minute or so. While the visuals aren't anything to gawk at on a grand scale, the draw distance is absolutely incredible, to the point where I'm in awe Monolith was able to squeeze these textures into a Wii U title. Walking around in X is wondrous, and spotting giant screens-high enemies and world bosses (Indigens and Tyrants, respectively) is something you need to do yourself to truly grasp the game's scale. [embed]322015:61313:0[/embed] Players will start off with a male or female avatar of their choosing, and it's off to the races, with a rather quick tutorial session. From there, the game completely ceases to hold your hand, which is going to be a massive point of contention for some. Point blank, X is not a game you can casually pick up and play -- you need to immerse yourself in it. This not only goes for leveling up your character, but unlocking the requirements for story missions. Xenoblade Chronicles X is a tough and unforgiving game if you have no affinity toward the JRPG genre. Sure, there are a few modern conveniences peppered in, like fast travel, a detailed world map (accessible at all times on the GamePad screen), and the ability to save anywhere, but you will need to master nearly every facet of X to progress past the first few chapters. Hell, you'll need to actually read the manual to pick up on a few major things, old-school style, and I ended up taking paper notes just like I did in the NES days. It's going to be a polarizing thing for sure, but personally, I'm stoked to play something like this again. Learning all the game's ins and outs was a joy. It's particularly satisfying to take everything in and feel like you've accomplished something. The battle system is just as unforgiving as a lot of other aspects of X. It's based on an auto-attack system that presents you with a few skills at the start (such as power attacks or debuffs), but after a few hours the learning curve really ramps up. Players will have to juggle between ranged and melee attacks and abilities, both of which have their own styles, pros, and cons. By way of an MMO hotbar with icons and cooldowns, you'll have to micromanage all of the tools available to you, learn what abilities combo with others, and divine the right time to use them. Combat is also nuanced in practice, as enemies often have appendages that can be broken for strategic value. On paper it sounds like basic stuff, but once I earned the dodge and block abilities, timing became absolutely key to surviving a boss battle. Additionally, mastering other facets like the Soul Voice system (a harmless QTE that pops up occasionally, allowing you to heal your party), and knowledge of passive skill synergy will help. If all of that sounds scary, maybe Xenoblade Chronicles X isn't the game for you. Don't worry about the controls though. They work great, mostly thanks to the GamePad. As mentioned previously, it's constantly available as a map and fast travel datapad of sorts. If you're so inclined you can also use the Wii U Pro Controller, which works fine as well. In terms of length, X hits that sweet spot a lot of games in the genre tend to provide -- 50 hours or so for the story, and double that to do everything. What sets this JRPG apart from most of the competition however, is its ability to grab the player's attention throughout, and not just during specific juicy story sections. I would often spend hours at a time just aimlessly wandering around, finding mining locations to raise my income, and hunting down Tyrants. Every zone has a distinct feel to it, and in all, I've probably spent 10 hours in each individual area. Skells (mechs) have been a huge part of the game's marketing scheme, and it's important to know that you won't get them until roughly 20 to 30 hours into the core story (this is assuming you only do a light amount of exploring on top of that). After unlocking the opportunity to even obtain the license to pilot one, you'll have to complete a lengthy multi-tier optional questline. When I had first heard that figure based on player's experiences with the Japanese version I was turned off, but actually playing X, I quickly forgot about them, and when Skells did arrive, they felt like a cherry on top, opening up brand new exploration options via flight. Xenoblade does come with an online component, and just to be clear, I wasn't able to fully test it out. In addition to multiplayer squad support, there's also a system where you can recruit or interact with potential party members in an asynchronous manner, the latter of which I personally did have access to during my review period. It's a nice little bonus, as adding in a member from a vast online pool of players (even pre-launch) can help you fulfill a need in your party makeup that may be missing. Otherwise, this can be played completely offline, without any fear of missing out of an essential part of the game. This is one of the more interesting reviews I've done as of late because I know Xenoblade Chronicles X will be divisive. But it truly feels like an MMO world I've been living in for several weeks now. The more grimdark theme isn't quite as charming as the original Xenoblade, but everything else makes up for it. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Xenoblade review photo
I'm really feeling it
When Xenoblade Chronicles was announced for localization on the Wii, my heart skipped a beat. While there are plenty of JRPGs to go around, the more the merrier, and I wouldn't pass up the chance to experience another Monolith Soft game. I didn't quite have the same reaction to Xenoblade Chronicles X at first, but it really grew on me over time.

The wastelander's guide to building settlements in Fallout 4

Nov 28 // Nic Rowen
Creating your character to be a wasteland real estate mogul  Before you lay down the foundations of your personal empire, you need to get yourself right first. If you want to be serious about your settlements, you'll need a few perks to make it work, including a hefty investment in charisma. This could be tricky if you've already been playing for 50 hours with an anti-social radioactive super soldier and just now want to start rebuilding the Commonwealth, but not un-doable (remember, you can get a charisma-boosting bobblehead at the insane asylum and invest perk points into S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats if you really need to get that number up, among other less savory methods that I'll discuss later). You can also just roll up a new character specifically made to dive into the building and crafting aspect of the game. You'll need six Charisma to get two levels of the Local Leader perk and at least level two of the Cap Collector perk. These will let you make supply lines (ESSENTIAL) and awesome stores in your settlements. You'll probably also want to go deep on Intelligence -- the Gun Nut and Science! perks are practically necessary if you want to build the best versions of generators and defense turrets and Scrapper is a little too good to ignore (it will let you turn all those junky laser pistols and pipe rifles you normally throw in the dumpster into useful copper, gears, and circuitry). I know, it sucks that the way crafting in Fallout 4 works basically pigeonholes you into a certain build. There is still plenty of room for creativity even after those stat demands though and the joy of raising a civilization out of the ashes of history does take the sting out a bit. The basics you probably already know If you want your settlement to grow, you'll need a few things: water, food, beds, and a radio beacon. Each settler you bring in needs one unit of food and water per day and they get whiny if they don't have a nice downy pillow to rest their head on at night, so you'll want to get those things sorted first. Plant a few crops (easily done by raiding other farms for their crops and it quickly becomes self-perpetuating when you can just harvest your own fields for planting supplies), install two or three water pumps, and flop down a few beds. No need to go crazy, it takes a settlement time to grow and you can always add more as needed (and later crafting options can make old ones obsolete so no need to waste scrap on something you won't need). A radio beacon draws a steady flow of new settlers to your homestead. You'll need a power source to run it so build a generator (which will come in handy for other things, anyway). Remember, you can turn a radio beacon off when you think you have enough settlers in one place. In some of the smaller areas like the Red Rocket station near the beginning of the game, you may want to put a cap on the number of people you take in. You'll probably want to defend your patch once you have it all set up. Turrets are the go-to option for this (and why you need Science! and Gun Nut so badly so you have access to the upgraded versions). Each turret, trap, or manned guard tower adds a few points to the defense rating of a settlement. Try to keep that number the same or slightly higher than the sum of both the food and water points to discourage attacks. When an attack does occur, you will be notified on your Pip-Boy and can help your settlers defend their home. Raids on your property can be unpredictable. In my time responding to would-be home invaders, I've seen everything from realistic flanking attacks from Super Mutants pouring over the hills, to packs of feral Ghouls somehow spawning deep inside the walls of a fortified base. Your best bet is to spread out your defenses to cover likely avenues of attack while also covering populated areas where your settlers are likely to take a stand. Building things! You could just work with what each settlement already has, but what is the fun in that? Leave your personal mark on the wasteland with a proud series of ramshackle apartments, abodes, and disturbingly militaristic forts. The tools for building things in Fallout 4 are honestly pretty terrible. Objects float about in weird ways, mechanics are never explained unless you go digging through the help topics in the menu (and even then it's hit or miss), and the way walls and attachments snap (or fail to snap) together will give you no end of grief. But don't let that stop you! With a little patience and a few pointers, you can make some reasonably cool-looking digs for your wastelanders. If someone could make this monstrosity of wires and pressure pads work, you can probably get a few fences to stand up straight. First thing first, lay down a foundation and a floor. Uneven terrain tends to mess with the building tools so you'll want to keep things as level as possible to make things easier on yourself. Try to build up! Many of the settlement areas have limited usable ground space. Small areas strewn with debris and hills do not make for nice buildings, but you can avoid that problem by building vertically. Don't be afraid to slap down ladders and staircases and build on top of what is already there. Not only is it space efficient, but a rad tower fort on top of the local Red Rocket station looks much cooler than a bunch of square boxes crammed together on the parking lot. Set up supply lines from a central hub to make life easier. Trying to cart around tin cans and microscopes between settlements and keeping track of which place has what is a suckers game. With the Local Leader perk you can assign a settler to run supplies between locations and everyone can share from the same pool of salvage (but not hard items like guns or armor). Make a supply chain by assigning one runner from settlement A to take goods to settlement B, and one from B to take goods to C, and so on. That way you can just toss all your junk in any workbench in the line and use all of it anywhere. Provisioners seem to be immortal like Companions, so don't worry about them dying on the road the first time they run afoul of some Mole Rats. Fences can really help with invasions by funneling attackers into kill zones as well as give your settlement a homey, lived-in look (murder and comfort together at last!). Sadly, when you start putting rings around all your settlements they also become material hogs, gobbling up steel and wood like nobody's business. I recommend you pick up an issue of Picket Fences from Beantown Brewery so you can make, well, picket fences. They don't consume steel when crafting them and they look more charming than rusty chain link (granted, they look slightly less so when splattered with Super Mutant blood). Light up the night How you provide power to your settlements is poorly explained in-game but essential for making a great homestead, so be prepared to mess with it. Basically, you have two kinds of powered devices at your disposal. Active devices like laser turrets and water purifiers that require units of power to run (meaning your generator has to be able to match their power draw to keep everything working), and passive devices like lights and traps that can run off the ambient grid. Active devices need a line running directly into them, while passive devices need either a nearby connected pylon or wall socket to work. Power pylons can be used to run line from a generator to far-away devices or a conduit. The maximum length of a wire is fixed, but can be cut short by obstacles, hanging on the ground, and so on. I recommend you build your generators in elevated positions to get the most out of your copper. Pylons give off a radius of electrical power that can be used to run lights, traps, and other things. Plugging a conduit into the wall of a building supposedly provides power to the entire shack, but my experience with them has been mixed. Mostly, they seem to work just like pylons (but are slightly cheaper to make and more compact to string up between nearby buildings). Making complex grids for my settlements has been hands down the single most frustrating and rewarding part of building things in Fallout 4. It's a very fussy system (I can't tell you how many times I broke everything trying to slightly adjust one little wall tile or light bulb) but once you get used to it, you can really make your settlements pop. Capitalism Ho! Shops are wonderful. While having to invest into two ranks of Local Leader and Cap Collector to make the biggest shops (which really is the only way to go) is a drag, what you get out of having a few shops spread among your networked settlements can be well worth it. There are six kinds of shops you can make for your settlements with four tiers of value. Each type of shop will boost your settlement's happiness and pull in caps, but a few stand out as handier to have in your personal base of operations than others. Weapon shops can be a reliable source of ammo without having to make a trip to Diamond City, trade goods shops can help cut down on the time it takes to scavenge for parts, clinics can help you cheaply cure addiction and radiation poisoning at your convenience, and bars are great for ingredients for cheap healing items. Armor and clothing shops are fun too and you'll probably want one of each in your network at some point just for variety, but they're not as overtly useful. You can build the first two tiers of shop with just the second level of the Local Leader perk. They're fine and will do the trick if you want to be a skinflint about it. But if you invest all the way to the third tier of shop by getting two levels of Cap Collector, your market stalls will start to carry surprisingly great gear. What's better is once you have tier-three stores, you'll occasionally run into special vendors in the wasteland that you can invite to work at your locations who will turn them into unique fourth-tier stores that carry special gear. Shops will generate an income you can draw from on their own -- just check your workbench from time to time and you'll notice you have a handful of caps you can pull out. But don't get the wrong idea: shops accrue money slowly, so you won't be diving into a vault of caps like Scrooge McDuck anytime soon. The value of having a nice network of shops is the convenience of being able to talk to a merchant on demand rather than wander around looking for a traveling trader or making a special trip. It lets you make more money off of explorations (you can trade found gear for caps more easily) and enables you to restock and refuel faster to get you back out in the wastes. Advanced DIY tips There are plenty of mechanics involved in the settlement system that the game doesn't go out of its way to tell you. I'll try and shed some light on them here. Did you know the maximum population of your settlements is tied to your Charisma stat? Ten people by default plus one extra per point of Charisma. For most people, this either means a 16 settler max, or up to 20 if you went whole-hog on Charisma. I'm told wearing Charisma-boosting gear can let you break that cap but I haven't noticed it in my game. Spread out your beds. For the longest time my settlers in Sanctuary were complaining about “the bed situation” despite having plenty of cots to rest on. At first I assumed it was a bug (this is a Fallout game), but I stumbled on some other people online having the same problem. Apparently, putting too many beds in one area causes makes your tired and poor wastelanders cranky (maybe they'd like it back in the wilds with the Deathclaws where I found them). I haven't found exact numbers, and testing for it is difficult, but it seems like four beds to one room or hut is the sweet spot. Water purifiers are a godsend and you should put them in any settlement that isn't landlocked. A single industrial water purifier will produce 40 units of water, far more than you'll ever need for a settlement on its own. Plus, extra water goes into your workbench as an aid item. You can pull out a bunch for cheap healing, or sell them all to a trader who wanders into your settlement for a stack of caps. Equip gear on your settlers for protection and convenience. Instead of scrapping or selling every spare gun you pick up, try placing it in a settler's inventory and have them equip it (use the triangle or Y button on the console controllers) and a single piece of ammunition for it (it will last them forever, thanks to Lex for the tip!). I know this might be really obvious, but I keep hearing from people who missed it! Not only will they be able to help next time a Super Mutant wanders into the neighborhood, but you can coordinate their outfits to help you keep track of what jobs people are doing. Or just give them a creepy uniform look if you want to make your own apocalypse cult. Each settler assigned to work on crops can sustain enough plants to generate six points of food. This means you only really need three or four full time farmers, which frees up the rest of your population for things like guard duty at watch towers, scavenging for supplies, or manning the tills at your shops. Speaking of guard posts, while they initially seem like a terrible deal (only a measly two defense for a manned post), if you set up multiple posts and assign a person to one of them, he or she will walk between up to three of them like a patrol and provide the defense benefit of each. So one person on guard duty watching three posts can actually provide a decent six defense; better than a level-one turret. Folks assigned to scavenging benches generate a small amount of junk for the workbench on their own. What they gather is fairly inconsequential, but something is better than nothing if you don't have them assigned to anything else. Interestingly enough, they tend to walk around with their weapons drawn, seemingly looking for a fight. Not sure why they do that, but I like to put the best of my spare weapons on them so they can be ready to draw down on any intruders. Build a bell! In the miscellaneous resources menu you can find a bell that will summon settlers to your location. This will save you loads of time when trying to assign jobs or equip folks since they can hide like ninjas when left to their own devices. I didn't find this until embarrassingly late in my game and it would have saved me a lot of time. In a nice little touch, settlers will congregate at a bar after hours if you build one. When the workday is over, everyone just wants a nice slice of grilled brahmin and a drink, I suppose. So maybe spend a little extra time laying out chairs and making your bar area look nice. Hey, you can always cheat I've really enjoyed building up my settlements, tinkering with the crafting tools, and spending entirely too much time equipping all of my little serfs with laser pistols and shotguns, but I'd be lying if I said it hasn't also been a chore. It just takes too long to collect all the knick-knacks and scrap you need to make things. I don't want to have to root around in some raider-infested warehouse looking for power coils and broken light bulbs for hours just to wire up some patio lights in my fifth fully-loaded farm house. Or maybe, like I mentioned earlier, you built your character to tame the wastes with hands made of concrete and a bulletproof hide. You didn't give any thought towards a useless dump stat like Charisma when you started the game. Now you're stuck looking at the unappealing idea of tossing multiple perk points into your stats just to start building decent settlements. So might I recommend cheating? If you're on PC, this is easy. Open up the console command line and go to town. If you are like me and playing on the PS4 (or Xbox One for that matter), you'll have to get a little more creative. There are two super easy exploits you can pull in the console version of Fallout 4 that will make building your settlements much easier. The first is the vendor scam, where you can clean out a vendor's entire stock (including all their junk and tasty shipments of fiber optics and oil) with some tricky re-selling. First, see what ammo a vendor is selling. The near-useless .38 is always a safe bet. Transfer most of that ammo type to a companion or drop it on the ground or you'll lose your own stash of it in the process, but keep 15 or 20 bullets in your inventory just to make the trick work. Next, click on the entire stack of that ammo from the vendor like you were going to buy it all. Hop over to your side of the trade window and sell back a single round of that ammo type from your tray, then sell the rest. If it worked right (it can be hinky and isn't always 100%) you should still have a phantom round left to sell. Mash on that until the vendor owes you a hundred caps or so, then flip back to their tray and “buy” the stack of ammo from them again. Weirdly, it will still count as you selling it and they'll owe you caps. The effect compounds and you can hit this multiple times until they owe you some ridiculous amount like 10k and then clean out their inventory for free. Now I'm delighted every time I bump into Trashcan Carla because I know it's another shipment of fine asbestos coming my way. This may be one of those things that's easier to watch than explain, so check out this video for a demonstration. [embed]323060:61293:0[/embed] When it comes to boosting your special stats, Dogmeat can help you with that. Head back to Sanctuary with him and check out your old house. In Shaun's room you should find a “You're S.P.E.C.I.A.L!” book on the ground that will immediately let you boost a stat of your choice. Once the book is in your inventory, find a nice level place (one of the cleared houses works fine) and get Dogmeat ready. Drop the book on the ground, call Dogmeat to pick it up, and JUST as he goes to snag it, pick it up yourself. The timing can be tricky since Dogmeat will grab stuff from different ranges (and generally act like a fool), but when done correctly, you should have a copy in your inventory while Dogmeat drops one at your feet. Drop them again and pick them up and one will let you boost another stat. You can do this again and again to raise your S.P.E.C.I.A.L points as much as you like. I'd recommend a light touch (completely overpowered characters quickly become boring), but this is a great option if you decide to get into crafting with an already developed character who doesn't have much in the way of Charisma or Intelligence. Exploits like this are going to be something players will have to come to or avoid on their own. Personally, I don't recommend cheating like this right off the bat. It can ruin the experience. But if you're 30 or 40 hours deep into the game and pulling your hair out because you built your character wrong at the start or just can't find enough oil to keep your turrets up and running, it's nice to have a safety net like this available. 
Settlement guide photo
A beacon in the wasteland
Okay, so you've been playing Fallout 4 since launch and you've wandered the wastes, scoured the ruins of Boston, and swam in the glowing sea. You've had a lot of adventures. Now you're thinking about settling down, and checki...

Final Fantasy VI photo
Final Fantasy VI

Final Fantasy VI rated for PC

Probably the ugly mobile port
Nov 28
// Kyle MacGregor
Final Fantasy VI is on its way to PC, a new PEGI rating suggests. While Square Enix has not made any official announcements regarding the matter, the publisher has re-released a number of classic Final Fantasy games on the pl...
Xenoblade Chronicles X photo
Xenoblade Chronicles X

You'll want to watch this Xenoblade Chronicles X map guide video

Haha, this game
Nov 28
// Chris Carter
If you're hyped up for Xenoblade Chronicles X, you'll probably want to take the time to watch this nine minute video regarding the game's map system. It's pretty complicated, and X doesn't actually explain everythin...
Story of Seasons photo
Story of Seasons

Story of Seasons will now launch next month in Europe

On 3DS
Nov 27
// Chris Carter
Story of Seasons launched earlier this year in the US (last year in Japan), but Europe still hasn't seen a release from Marvelous AQL's latest farming simulator. Fortunately, Nintendo of Europe has confirmed that it will be b...
System Shock photo
System Shock

I have high hopes for the System Shock remake

First images appear
Nov 25
// Jordan Devore
Night Dive Studios sure is keeping itself busy with the System Shock property. The company touched up the iconic Looking Glass title earlier this year for an Enhanced Edition release on PC and, as we recently learned, there a...
Xenoblade Chronicles X photo
Xenoblade Chronicles X

Don't worry Europe, you can download the Xenoblade Chronicles X data packs soon

Already available in the US
Nov 25
// Chris Carter
As previously discussed, Xenoblade Chronicles X has data packs that are available prior to launch in the US. You can download them from the eShop, and at the cost of 10GB of HDD space, textures will be enhanced, and load...

Very Quick Tips: Bloodborne: The Old Hunters

Nov 24 // Chris Carter
[embed]322164:61224:0[/embed] General tips (contains light, general spoilers): For a quick rundown of how to access the DLC, check out the video above. To locate the object to fight the optional boss, get to the point where you raise the giant elevator after the first boss fight (the room with the two human hunters). Step on and then step off to raise another platform. Grab that item and return to the main room in the Cathedral near the start of the DLC. Note that this one seems to be paced to fight after the first. If you're struggling with the DLC, try to at least have a Soul Level of 100 before attempting it. As always, it's possible to beat it no matter what your current level is, just keep that in mind. To obtain the Holy Moonlight Sword, talk to the head that appears after the first boss battle. If that doesn't work, equip the rune you obtained after beating him (Rally Bonus) and try again. If that fails, kill the head and take the weapon. For the boss that has multiple enemies, try to focus in on one at a time and quickly take them out. If you wait too long and don't keep track of the ones you've damaged, they will overwhelm you. When they summon the meteor attack, try to sprint around the arena clockwise. If you roll, you might get stunlocked. Alternatively, the Old Hunter's Bone spell is a great thing to trigger and use when the meteor chant is initiated. This one took me a while. After defeating the third boss (the humanoid opponent inside the clock room, pictured above), to get to the final area, you'll need to use the item you get from that fight on the giant window. At first I wasn't positioned correctly and nothing came up, so try to move around a bit if it doesn't trigger.
Bloodborne DLC tips photo
Wake up from the nightmare
When Bloodborne launched, I provided a series of tips for newcomers. They're still very much relevant for the dawn of the Old Hunters DLC pack, which debuts today, but I figured I'd provide a few add-on specific pieces of info. Note that there are light non-specific spoilers involved.

Fallout update notes photo
Fallout update notes

You can nab the first Fallout 4 update on Steam

I thought you'd be bigger
Nov 23
// Jordan Devore
Bethesda has released a beta version of the first Fallout 4 update on PC, and if you were expecting a bunch of sweeping changes and bug fixes, well, give it some time. New Features Number pad keys can now be used for remappi...
Mother photo

Itoi has a good reason for not doing Mother 4

He cares about quality
Nov 23
// Jordan Devore
Mother 4? Not going to happen. Not with Shigesato Itoi, anyway. "Totally impossible." Speaking to Game Watch Impress, as translated by Kotaku, he said, "Among big-time pop stars, if they, you know, put out ten albums, around ...

A guided tour of Life is Feudal: Your Own's many, many loading points

Nov 23 // Joe Parlock
Our utterly fascinating journey begins when entering a multiplayer server. I chose a heavily populated one (around 60 out of 64 potential players), and was treated to a nice, incredibly lengthy loading screen. But that's alright, the loading screen taking the better part of five damn minutes isn't a problem! Just take a look at those suave jet blacks and those imposing yellows as they come together beautifully in a visual feast slap bang in the middle of the screen. Isn't it just delightful? Note how the relevant information. such as how close the loading is to being complete, is relegated to being dark grey text on the black background. It’s a bold move that screams “I’m absolutely taking form over function, but when your form is as sweet as mine who really cares, eh?” Now I know what you might be thinking: this piece isn’t technically a true loading screen. But don't you worry, we're accepting of all hangups, slowdowns, waiting periods and roadblocks here! Look at this abstract art dancing around the screen. Look at how those blues and whites gently give way to a more rustic and earthy brown. You may have mistaken this for a delicious artisinal blueberry muffin, or maybe a painting by Johan Sebastian Mozart himself. In reality, this is  actually the world popping in incredibly slowly all around you! Unable to move, all you can do is stand and absorb the waves of colour as they cascade over you. You may have already sat through the initial loading screen, but Life is Feudal loves to just spoil you with how much waiting you're allowed to do before having to play the game! With time, those lighter areas might’ve gradually become a tree or a patch of grass, but in those few minutes it was something so much more: it was a discussion of the nature of reality, and the futility of seeking perfection. All I can describe it as is ‘inspiring’. And now we come to the main event, the one I've been most eager to show you. To do literally anything within Life is Feudal, you are rewarded with this low-key progress bar, slowly scrolling from left to right. Want to chop a tree, make an axe, or even just pick up some grass? Don’t be silly, nobody wants to do that, we all just want to gaze longingly at the progress bar in all of its sluggish, beige splendor. Some critics might argue that this bar is a metaphor for the unyielding capitalist society we find ourselves in, where even the smallest and most insignificant of actions requires hard toil. Life may be feudal, but does it really need to be this difficult? Alas, the beige progress bar seems to suggest so. And so here we are at last, the very end of our tour, and the thing that I believe might well be the most exciting statement Life is Feudal's makes. Should you ever find yourself tiring of the artistic genius that is the game’s many loading screens, and should you ever want to to stumble wearily away from the deep philosophical questioning of its progress bars, Life is Feudal will leave you with one parting message: life is nothing but waiting. Our fascinating journey begins when entering a server. I chose a heavily populated one (around 60 out of 64 potential players), and so got to sit through a nice, minutes-long loading screen. Look at those suave jet blacks and imposing yellows coming together beautifully in an absolute visual feast slap bang in the middle of the screen. And look at how the actually relevant information is relegated to being dark grey text on the black background. It’s a bold move that screams “I’m absolutely taking form over function, but when your form is as sweet as mine who really cares, eh?” Now this one isn’t technically a true loading screen. However it will become clear in time why I’ve included this in our tour. Just look at this abstract art dancing around the screen, merging blues, whites and browns. You may have mistaken this for a delicious artisanal muffin, but it’s actually the world popping in incredibly slowly. Over time, those lighter areas might’ve become a tree or a patch of grass, but in those few minutes it was something so much more. A discussion of the nature of reality itself. All I can describe it as is ‘inspiring’. And then we come to the main event. To do anything within Life is Feudal, you are treated to a low-key progress bar, slowly scrolling from left to right. Want to chop a tree, plow a field, or even just pick up some grass? Don’t be silly, nobody wants to do that on this tour, we all just want to gaze longingly at the progress bar in all of its beige splendour. Some critics argue that this bar is a metaphor for the unyielding capitalist society we find ourselves in, where even the smallest and most insignificant of actions requires hard toil. Life may be feudal, but does it really need to be this difficult? Alas, the beige progress bar seems to suggest so. And so here we are at last, the very end of our tour, and the thing that I believe might well be the most exciting statement Life is Feudal makes. Should you ever find yourself tiring of the artistic genius that is the game’s loading screens and wanting to stumble wearily away from the deep philosophical questioning of its progress bars, Life is Feudal will leave you with one parting message. That is right, my most esteemed guests. Even closing the game and ending your presence in their world will give you another wonderful loading screen. Hauntingly similar to the first, yet instead of the welcoming bearded gentlemen bringing you into his world, you are given a dragon-headed longboat to guide you far, far away. I hope you enjoyed your tour of what might be the most poignant, emotive piece of digital art created this decade. Truly, Life is Feudal is an artistic cornerstone, a piece to be held up for generations to come who seek to learn how to most effectively waste a player's time.
Life is Feudal: Your Own photo
This game has to be performance art
Life is Feudal: Your Own finally released on Steam last week after a hefty period in early access. The idea is great: take survival sims like Rust and The Forest, and add a pinch of Mount & Blade to make the ambitious med...

Bloodborne photo

Here's how to access the Bloodborne: The Old Hunters DLC

Step by step
Nov 23
// Chris Carter
Bloodborne, much like its predecessors, is a relatively esoteric game. Even simple things like locating a $20 DLC package can be hidden beneath the surface, so here's a quick rundown of how to enter the Old Hunters add-...

Review: Bloodborne: The Old Hunters

Nov 23 // Chris Carter
Bloodborne: The Old Hunters (PS4)Developer: From SoftwarePublisher: Sony Computer EntertainmentReleased: November 24, 2015MSRP: $19.99 (requires core game) Throughout my complete five hour playthrough of The Old Hunters, I couldn't help but think that most of it could have just been in the full game. In fact, a lot of layouts are straight-up reused, not only from an aesthetic standpoint, but in a literal sense. The grand cathedral steps are recreated and only slightly altered, and roughly half of the DLC feels like it could have just been an extension of Yharnam. In some ways that's perfectly fine as it matches up with the rest of the experience, but in others, it's underwhelming. The enemies in particular are new, but a chunk of them aren't as memorable as the foes from other Souls DLCs, in the sense that I didn't really have to alter my tactics to confront them -- a large reason why I love add-ons for previous iterations. The biggest draw of course is the abundance of the titular Hunters, humanoid enemies that operate similarly to the player character. Sure there were a handful of them in the base game, but here, they're front and center, ready to flip some of your own tactics on you. Other enemies aren't as iconic, as there's a decent amount of repeats, from werewolves, to the Cthulu-esque giants, to standard infected townsfolk. The zones are a mixed bag as well. It wasn't until the last stretch of the DLC that I really saw something unique, even if everything up to that point was well designed. Most areas are open, and in the latter half, there's a decent amount of exploration and puzzle solving required. There's also a few mysterious NPCs to deal with, which is a Souls tradition, and I'm happy it was carried over here. [embed]320746:61140:0[/embed] So how are the boss fights? Par for the course, really. While I won't spoil anything, the first major encounter is heavily entwined in the game's lore, and this hulking monstrosity is a sufficient challenge if you're going at it solo. The rest of the boss fights are down down to earth, featuring smaller enemies that mirror the encounters with the aforementioned Hunters. I wasn't blown away by any of them, but I enjoyed the fights all the same, mostly because of the fact that I'm a sucker for smaller scale battles. In all, you're getting roughly five hours worth of content for the core story (about 10 if you do everything), 10 weapons (including a new, good shield), and five bosses. The new "League" update is available to everyone, and augments the overall package quite well. I might sound down on a lot of aspects of The Old Hunters, but ultimately, it will satiate most fans out there. The fact that it was supposed to be two DLCs that were merged into one makes sense, as part of it feels like cut content, and the other half seems like wholly original work. While I'm glad I had an excuse to drop into the world of Yharnam once again, there's a part of me that feels disappointed that this will be the last, and only add-on for Bloodborne. If you're curious as to how to access the DLC, check out the video above. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Bloodborne DLC review photo
All Nightmare Long
While many gamers out there are fighting the good fight against DLC, From Software is certainly making the case for it. Dark Souls had one of the most fantastic add-ons of all time in the form of Artorias of the Abyss, w...

JRPGs photo

PS Vita RPG Ray Gigant heads west next spring

Playable at PlayStation Experience
Nov 21
// Kyle MacGregor
PlayStation Vita dungeon crawler Ray Gigant is coming to North America and Europe next spring. The role-playing game comes from Operation Abyss and Demon Gaze studio Experience, and while it was published by Bandai Namco in ...
Koei Tecmo photo
Koei Tecmo

Atelier Escha & Logy Plus coming to PlayStation Vita in January

With lots of new content
Nov 21
// Kyle MacGregor
Atelier Escha & Logy Plus: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky is coming to PlayStation Vita in North America on January 19 and Europe the very next day, Koei Tecmo has announced. The role-playing game originally came out on PlayS...
Nintendo photo

Story of Seasons hits EU, AUS, NZ in January

Nov 21
// Kyle MacGregor
Story of Seasons, the farming simulation formerly known as Harvest Moon, is sprouting in Europe on January 8 and across Australia and New Zealand the following day, Nintendo just announced. For more on the game please check out our review and recent interview with XSEED's Ken Berry.
Anchors in the Drift photo
Anchors in the Drift

Second Fig crowdfunding campaign Anchors in the Drift failed to meet its goal

Only made about 21 percent
Nov 20
// Darren Nakamura
I was ready to eat crow at the very beginning of the Anchors in the Drift crowdfunding campaign. After wondering aloud if the general public would get behind paying sizable chunks of money for a free-to-play game, it opened s...
Fallout 4 cut weapon photo
Fallout 4 cut weapon

Cut Fallout 4 weapon resurrected by modder

Harpoons thrust into the sky
Nov 20
// Nic Rowen
From the murky brine of cut content and dummied out items, modder xxdeathknight72xx has returned to the surface with a most intriguing treasure. A curious harpoon gun that never made it into the game proper. The harpoon gun ...
SMT X FE photo

Bask in the glory of more Shin Megami Tensei x Fire Emblem weirdness

Love those costumes
Nov 20
// Chris Carter
More Shin Megami Tensei x Fire Emblem (Genei Ibun Roku #FE in Japan) weirdness awaits. This time, admist the peppered-in combat sequences, there's a commercial for soda, lots of fantastic costumes, and even some anime c...

Review: Renowned Explorers: International Society

Nov 20 // Darren Nakamura
Renowned Explorers: International Society (Linux, Mac, PC [reviewed])Developer: Abbey GamesPublisher: Abbey GamesReleased: September 2, 2015MSRP: $19.99Rig: AMD Phenom II X2 555 @ 3.2 GHz, with 4GB of RAM, ATI Radeon HD 5700, Windows 7 64-bit In Renowned Explorers, the goal is to become a particularly renowned explorer among the group known as the Renowned Explorers. This is achieved by going on expeditions, recovering valuable treasures, making scientific discoveries, and navigating combat situations. Basically, an expedition is separated into two parts: resolving text-based events while traveling between nodes on a map and tactical combat on a modified hex grid. Both sections have elements of procedural generation, so there's always a sense of exploring the semi-unknown, even on an expedition to the same location as a previous run. Area maps are covered in fog of war, with only the nearest nodes visible. Combat arenas will vary the layout of obstacles, choke points, and healing zones. [embed]321138:61123:0[/embed] Indeed, Renowned Explorers is a "roguelite," meant to be played multiple times in order to truly master it. Herein lies one of the biggest hurdles I had to get over in order to enjoy it. For a game meant to be played again and again, it just takes way too long. A single run consists of five expeditions, and each expedition can take 30 to 45 minutes depending on how many encounters there are. It took me days to get through my first run because of the time commitment. This does speed up with experience, because combat becomes much faster after learning the ins and outs of it. Even so, expeditions easily last 20 minutes or more, so it's not the kind of "just one more" experience a roguelite needs to really grab somebody. This is exacerbated by the planning phase that occurs in between expeditions. Here, players spend the resources gathered during the previous expedition to purchase improved gear, recruit followers, and perform research. This is easily the densest part of Renowned Explorers for a new player. Every resource is connected to another in some way, and the game takes a laissez-faire approach; it presents a bevy of options and lets the player sort out what to do with them. Navigating the nooks and crannies of the planning phase can be exhausting at first, which makes the thought of taking on a new expedition right away seem that much more unreasonable. By far, my biggest disappointment starting off was with the combat system. It advertises multiple ways to resolve encounters; an explorer can be aggressive with physical attacks, be devious with insults and threats, or be friendly with encouragement. The three styles have a rock-paper-scissors relationship, so an aggressive approach is advantageous against a friendly enemy for instance. The problem with it is that each form of "attack" draws from the same "hit point" meter, which represents a foe's willingness to keep fighting. You could punch an enemy until he has only a sliver of health remaining, then finish him off by encouraging him to believe in your cause. Fighting and talking don't feel like they function differently. The battle system is hardly different than a simple three-element magic system at first. Only after really digging in did I spot the nuance. Some encounters will provide different rewards depending on how they are resolved. More importantly, it's the asymmetry in the rock-paper-scissors system that makes it interesting. Aggressive attack damage is a function of physical power, where devious and friendly attack damage comes from speech power, so an orator might have a stronger pair of scissors than he has a rock, so to speak. Within the speech powers, there is asymmetry as well. In general, devious skills cause debuffs while friendly skills cause buffs -- on friends and enemies alike. So while the current mood might call for a friendly attack, it is still necessary to weigh the risk of increasing the enemy's attack power in return. The point is: the combat system is deeper than it initially lets on, but it takes some effort for a player to really understand that. That basically describes Renowned Explorers: International Society on the whole. It features a set of deep systems with complex mechanics and relationships, but it places most of the burden on the player to discover it. I'll admit, I disliked it until it all fell into place and revealed itself for what it is. I'm not chomping at the bit to keep playing, but I am curious to delve deeper. Different combinations of explorers can beget different tactics both in and out of battle. That thought alone is enough to keep me from uninstalling it.
Renowned Explorers review photo
A lot to dig into
I'm glad I stuck Renowned Explorers out. For the first couple hours it was kind of a slog. Not exactly bad, but dense, unwieldy, and unexciting. I would finish an expedition and quit, not wanting to get back to it until days ...

Project X Zone 2 photo
Project X Zone 2

Project X Zone 2 pre-order bonuses include a challenge stage

Nov 20
// Chris Carter
Pre-order bonuses, as a rule, are pretty scummy. I get that publishers really need that cash now, but providing in-game incentives, some of which are not sold later (or, even crazier, just included in the game -- weird, ...
Fallout 4 photo
Fallout 4

There's a Fallout 4 patch hitting PC next week

Console patch on the way later
Nov 20
// Laura Kate Dale
It's no secret that Fallout 4 is pretty damn buggy. Bethesda open world RPGs are not known for technical polish, and the development team knows that well. Thankfully, the first patch for the game will be rolling out next week...
First Valkyria trailer photo
First trailer and way more screenshots
So I jumped the gun yesterday when I said Valkyria: Azure Revolution and Valkyria Chronicles Remaster (PS4) news was petering off. Yesterday's plain, boring website is now home to a bunch of new screens, the first footage of...

Fallout 4 photo
Fallout 4

How to make sure you're extra super dead in Fallout 4

That's gotta hurt (locker)
Nov 19
// Brett Makedonski
What do you call a man with no arms and no legs floating in a lake? Bob! What do you call a man with no arms and no legs outside a door? Matt! What do you call a man with no arms and no legs flying across a post-apocalyptic wasteland? I...I don't have a dad joke for that one.
Pretty good photo
Pretty good

No one's talking about Square's new Chrono Trigger inspired PS4/Vita RPG

It looks alright!
Nov 19
// Steven Hansen
I guess a few years ago "new Chrono Trigger-styled RPG from Square" might've carried a bit more weight. Hell, a few years prior still and "new RPG from Square" would've carried a lot more weight. Maybe it's that the former "P...
Dragon Quest Heroes PC photo
Dragon Quest Heroes PC

Dragon Quest Heroes coming to PC December 3

Includes DLC from PS4 edition
Nov 19
// Kyle MacGregor
Dragon Quest Heroes will be coming to Steam on December 3, Square Enix revealed today. For $60, the PC version will come packaged with 11 bonus items and a pair of additional maps that were originally included with the "Slime Collector's Edition" on PlayStation 4. You can find more information about the action RPG in our full review here. Dragon Quest Heroes: Slime Edition [Steam]
Japan Warriors poll photo
Japan Warriors poll

Persona or SMT Warriors? Atlus says 'get in touch with us anytime'

Or Final Fantasy Warriors?
Nov 19
// Steven Hansen
A recent Famitsu poll asked fans what Koei Tecmo Warriors (or Musou) crossover they'd most want to see and Gematsu has the Sokuho@Hokanko translation of the results, as well as responses by those series' respective creators o...

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