Sega is showing off its new puzzle game Puyopuyo Tetris here at their already super busy TGS 2013 booth. As a fan of both games, I gave this cross-up a spin on the 3DS. Puyopuyo Tetris is also coming to the Vita and PS3 as we...
Here. Knock back an Estus while I tell you about my time with an early closed network beta testing build of Dark Souls II. Oh, wait. I drank them all.
Well, watch your back while you listen in then.
I happily settled in as the very first person to nab a gameplay seat in a test room at Namco Bandai's Tokyo offices yesterday. Seated and ready, I jumped into a build of Dark Souls II's closed network beta test -- an early build of one that the publisher plans to launch fully this October. And, as you can imagine, I died many times. As you know, that's just how this works.
First, you need to watch this trailer for Valiant Hearts: The Great War before reading anything about it.
This isn't your typical war game, as Valiant Hearts is going beyond the disconnected action tropes of "good versus evi...
Yeah, you read that headline right. Trust me, I was having a hard time wrapping my head around it too, but sure enough, a Japanese-style role-playing game from Ubisoft. Even stranger, Child of Light is by writer Jeffrey Yohalem and creative director Pat Plourde, two of the main people behind Far Cry 3.
Child of Light is a 2D action JRPG made on the UbiArt Framework engine, the same engine that's made that last two wonderful-looking Rayman games. The team is looking to make a love letter for JRPG fans, those that fondly remember the golden age of Squaresoft, with influences from Final Fantasy to Grandia.
That's right! The Vita darling is going all HD for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC early 2014. Development started shortly after the Vita release thanks to how the fan base reacted so positively to it after the E3 reveal...
Are you a good person? I like to think I am, but I guess I don't really know. "Good" is a relative term, and the line can become muddled pretty quickly. Everything's circumstantial, and it doesn't take long for self-preservation to kick in when the going gets tough. Maybe I'm not as good of a person as I thought. Maybe sometimes I'm a monster.
Vagabond Dog's first title, Always Sometimes Monsters, aims to analyze this concept in great depth. The role-playing game eschews standard RPG tropes in favor of a position that anyone can sympathize with -- real life. It might not be a situation that everyone's personally experienced, but it's one that's within the realm of reason. As a downtrodden writer on the brink of eviction, you find out that the love of your life is ready to marry someone else, and you set out to do everything in your power to put a stop to it. Damn anyone that gets in your way. Sometimes, you're a monster.
It's obvious that relationships play a large part in Always Sometimes Monsters, and Vagabond Dog gives players the freedom to explore. More interesting than your love interest is the way in which others will react to you and your partner. Straight, white couples might have an easy time; interracial gay couples won't be treated with the same kindness by everyone. Sometimes, they're monsters.
Many of my staff members wander off in the other direction after hearing things like "free-to-play first-person shooter." I get it. But I wanted to see Extraction's debut at PAX this past weekend because Splash Damage were behind it. The folks behind games like Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory and Brink definitely know their stuff, so I worked it out so that seeing Extraction was my very first appointment of the show.
Formerly known as Audiosurf Air, Audiosurf 2 made an appearance at PAX Prime 2013's Indie Megabooth, and the team was really pushing the new wakeboard mode, wearing life vests and adorning the booth with a custom board.
After visiting with the developer and having a go with the wakeboard (on a Björk song, because *swoon*), I can say that a lot of the trepidation that the community expressed after the first trailer showed up was unnecessary. Not everybody will like the wakeboard, but thankfully for those, there is more on offer with Audiosurf 2.
I feel comfortable going out on a limb to venture that PixelJunk Inc. will be the best game about intergalactic soup empires for a long while. I'd have felt fine with that declaration before my hands-on time with the game at PAX Prime 2013 -- the basis is a bit out there, after all. After being given a demo, I'd like to further suggest that PixelJunk Inc. will be a damn fine game regardless of its premise.
PixelJunk Inc. is the next installment in a long line of PixelJunk titles, but it's poised to be the best of the franchise. It's completely centered around the manufacturing and exportation of soup, but it's so much deeper than that. It'd be impossible to shoehorn Inc. into a particular genre of games, because it has serious elements of sandbox, real-time strategy, and tower defense.
At the beginning of the game, the objective is simple: make some soup. To do this, you might need to start building different facilities to streamline the process. As you gather more materials, it becomes simultaneously easier and more difficult. The operation has expanded, and you're now expected to manage the robot crew that's carrying out your tasks. You probably need to do some of the legwork on your own too.
Spencer Hayes and I got some quality time with Techland's Dying Light and we both came away pretty surprised from the experience. The game features a day and night cycle, and the day time stuff we played was pretty average. We knew what to expect, especially after playing games like Dead Island, another open world zombie game from Techland.
But then the night time stuff came up and holy crap the game gets super intense. More importantly, Dying Light becomes way more fun. The zombies transform in runner style zombies like the ones from Left 4 Dead and they become relentless in chasing you down. My heart was seriously racing as I tried to escape the horde, so they've certainly nailed down the horror aspect.
Yetis should be scary, but they're not in the world of The Haven, a newly revealed area in Harmonix Kinect game Fantasia: Music Evolved. We got a few walkthroughs of this new area at PAX Prime this past weekend, and I'm here to tell you that even the yeti roars were cute. They...sang.
I've heard a fair bit about Max: The Curse of Brotherhood this year. This spiritual successor to Max and the Magic Marker sounded great, but it somehow was just off my radar, lost in the shuffle among the new games and consoles we're constantly hearing about.
I'm glad I had a chance to spend some time with Brotherhood at PAX Prime this past weekend. It's now on my radar, and I liked it so much that I am already planning a straight-through play marathon upon its release.
Paradox Interactive is a publishing machine. It's dabbling in just about every genre under the sun, and now, the company is taking on third-person action in the form of War of the Vikings -- a PC title set to arrive sometime in 2014.
It's a bit rough around the edges, but as an action fan, I really appreciated the attention to the tactical nuances that made the games' combat so deep.
Super Time Force, in the state that it's being shown at PAX Prime, is a product that has been refined and shaped by player feedback along all steps of the development process. Capybara Games first showed the game at PAX East 2012, after a mere couple months working on the project. As conventions came and went, the developers used information gleaned from watching people play Super Time Force to perfect it.
Anyone would be hard-pressed to say this method hasn't worked, because Super Time Force is really damn good.
Super Time Force follows a cast of characters that are on a mission to right all the wrongs in the history of time -- both past and future. For instance, the crew embarks on a quest to prevent the extinction of the dinosaurs. They also travel to the future to download Internet plug-ins, because as studio head Nathan Vella told me, "Downloading new plug-ins is pretty much the worst thing ever".
Exactly how they do all this is the game's hook. The team's ability to manipulate time permeates the core experience. The side-scrolling Contra-like shooter expects you to die -- several times over in fact. That's why everything's a one-hit kill. After each death, the player can seamlessly rewind the level as far as they want to re-attempt the bit they just failed. As this happens, you play alongside your former characters up until the point that they die.
"It's the perfect game for fans of 80's anime," 17-Bit's Raj Joshi told me about Galak-Z before I was given a chance to play it. Admittedly, it seemed like a weird statement at the time. At first glance, the Asteroids-esque space shooter looks relatively run-of-the-mill. Upon a bit of inspection, it's easy to tell where Galak-Z draws inspiration from.
As a character named A-Tak, you control a lone, small spaceship in an attempt to escape the alien territory that you're trapped in. A-Tak looks and speaks very much like a typical anime protagonist, but I think you need not worry if that's not your cup of tea; it's hard to imagine that he'll be around too much. Galak-Z seems as if it'll put a fleeting emphasis on narrative, and focus mostly on the action.
The gameplay has a definite learning curve to it, one that probably can't be perfected during a demo. Your ship comes equipped with a thruster, a booster, lasers, and a limited supply of missiles. While the boosters move you forward, there's a separate button that moves the ship in reverse, which can be used in conjunction with the boosters. There's also a juke button that very briefly pops the ship outside of the 2D plane of the world, providing much-needed sanctuary from the attacks of the enemies.