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Tokyo School Life photo
Tokyo School Life

A couple of age-gated visual novels are on sale on Steam

Up to 40% off...the price
Nov 25
// Steven Hansen
You know, those weird ass god damn Clannad eyes got me thinking; I'm not sure about what, but I'll get back to you if I figure it out. Anyways, a couple more visual novels are on Steam and these ones at a more reasonable pric...
First Assault Online photo
First Assault Online

Ghost in the Shell shooter hits Steam next month

Team-based FPS
Nov 24
// Steven Hansen
The wonderfully named Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - First Assault Online -- GITS:SAC-FAO for short -- is coming to Steam some time in December. It will also be available through publisher Nexon's launcher. GITS:SA...
Austrania photo

Xbox 360 shmup Strania - The Stella Machina sups on Steam

From Ikaruga co-developers
Nov 24
// Steven Hansen
Who wants to read a Destructoid review from 2011? Strania - The Stella Machina has come to Steam today apropos of nothing (the product page notes it's developer G.rev's "long-awaited debut on Steam," by whom I do not know). ...

Explore and conquer the galaxy in Stellaris

Nov 24 // Steven Hansen
Stellaris (PC)Developer: Paradox Development Studio Publisher: Paradox Interactive Release: TBA So, conquest in space, again, with Stellaris. The Beyond Earth comparison isn't just based on the sci-fi theme, as director Henrik Fåhraeus explained to me last week, Stellaris, "is a grand strategy game masquerading as a 4X game." In that sense it's a departure from past Paradox successes and the upcoming, WWII-set Hearts of Iron IV. He explained in a blog post earlier this year, "The early game is thus characterized by exploration and discovering the wonders of the galaxy," until reaching the mid-game wherein, "there is not much left to colonize and your easy expansion grinds to a halt. At this point, the map stabilizes into the Stellaris equivalent of the world map in Europa Universalis." You begin as one planet directed by a set of cultural guidelines (shown off to us last week was an Individualist Xenophobic empire, which made for a good first encounter with another large empire during which the only dialogue option was, "Alien scum!") that has just discovered faster than light travel. You'll choose between slower , free-moving warp travel; hyperspace across straight lines; and wormhole travels, which requires wormhole stations to be built. [embed]322210:61231:0[/embed] As opposed to pre-canned societies, there are over 100 alien portraits that can be aligned with a variety of traits, so "you will never meet the same aliens again;" or, at least, those bug-eyed purple asshole from your third game might be an inquisitive, pacifist sect next time you encounter that alien art. There are a few other parameters to set, like how many large empires will populate the galaxy you're exploring, but there are also quick start and preset options that reflect Paradox's attempt to widen its appeal, "without compromising our level of depth and complexity." There is an in-game adviser, for example, full voiced to help guide burgeoning emperors (or democratically-elected fish-faced idiots, whatever). In fact, Stellaris is Paradox's first project with a dedicated audio director. Coupled with all the space-faring in a full-figured galaxy and it could prove a little more inviting than playing on a giant map if the grand scope of spaaace isn't too alienating itself. Other simplifications include ditching tech trees for a system, "more like a collectible card game where you draw three cards and pick one." Research into Physics, Society, and Engineering is dictated by your scientists' traits and immediate options are weighted to be most convenient to you at any given time, though sometimes rare research opportunities pop up ("space amoeba weapons" were mentioned). Game progression goes something like this. Start on your home planet, represented by squares arranged 4x4 wherein you can place population unites (and strive for adjacency bonuses, like XCOM's base-builder). Send your science ship around to survey the galaxy, including addressing strange anomalies. In the demoed instance, we were drawn to a distress signal much like our own. There was a 10% failure rate, which just means missing out on the anomaly, though there is potential for catastrophic failure. In this case, the crew of the discovered ship was dead by brain parasite and a trait of our surveying scientist is the only thing that saved our crew from succumbing. Instances like these are neatly thrown into a Situation Log and you can research them from there. Then you'll want to send out ships for colonization and build construction ships to take advantage of resources (habitable planets are rare and meant to be cherished). There's a detailed ship builder, but you can auto-build for the best, too. "I don't want the flow in this game to be too micromanagey," Fåhraeus said. Other systems will start looping back around later. The population of a colonized planet or even your native planet can splinter off into factions of warring ideology, leaving you to choose if you want to say, quash the insurrection with force or give rein to a splintered, population-supported political spin off group. Eventually you will make it to the aforementioned mid-game, where it's "more like Europa Universalis" and you're butting up against large, rival empires. If one scouts you, it has the option to research you before you research it, and make first contact. There are other, smaller civilizations you'll discover, too, some pre-industrial, some post-technology.  To counter past Paradox games' anti-climactic endings when "you reach a point where you know you won," and are just trudging along to victory, late game crises are introduced, revolving around things like dangerous technological advancements or sentient robot worker uprisings -- things that threaten the whole galaxy. And there's maneuvering to do there, too, like letting the killbots off your biggest threat while allying elsewhere, bolstering yourself for the impending man-vs-bot slaughter. Also, you can "uplift" alien wildlife and, say, create a planet of space-faring, extremely loyal dolphins to go space crusade in your name, amen. Stellaris is "coming soon."
Stellaris preview photo
In space no one can hear you scheme
Earlier this year, Paradox offered an alternative for the many disappointed by EA's botched SimCity two years earlier by publishing Colossal Order's excellent city-building-simulator Cities: Skylines. Now Paradox's internal s...

Clannad releases photo
Clannad releases

Clannad visual novel on Steam, briefly outsells Call of Duty

Cheap this week, too
Nov 24
// Steven Hansen
Visual novel Clannad released on PC in Japan back in 2004 and since spawned various adaptations, including an anime series. Publisher Sekai Project ran a Kickstarter last year for an official English release that was funded ...
Holiday toys photo
Holiday toys

Christmas Pikachu and other holiday Pokemon merch

From the Pokemon Center
Nov 21
// Steven Hansen
From the people that brought you Intern Pikachu, the Pokémon Center is doing a holiday line of Pokémon products. Deck the halls with Pokéballs of holly. Rudolph the red-nosed Deerling. Uh. Man, I really h...
PS2 emulation photo
PS2 emulation

Sony working on PlayStation 2 emulation for PS4

Could open up a huge, classic library
Nov 20
// Steven Hansen
The PlayStation 4 can play PlayStation 2 games. The same special Battlefront bundle that includes Super Star Wars also includes Star Wars: Racer Revenge, Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter, and Star Wars: Bounty Hunter, not as ports...
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...

Current gen RE6 photo
Current gen RE6

Resident Evil 6 re-release on PS4, Xbox One seems imminent

Korean rating board classification
Nov 19
// Steven Hansen
Want to feel old? Resident Evil 6 (PS3, 360, PC) is three years old. The last mainline Resident Evil received a pretty mixed reception and the only new entry planned for next year's 20th anniversary year is the multiplayer sh...
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...
Yandere Simulator photo
Yandere Simulator

Read erotic manga to up your seduction game in Yandere Simulator

Killing Japanese school girls
Nov 19
// Steven Hansen
It's been a bit since we checked in on Yandere Simulator, the Hitman-like stealth game "about stalking a boy and secretly eliminating any girl who seems interested in him, while maintaining the image of an innocent schoo...
amiibo PSA photo
amiibo PSA

[Update] Amazon-exclusive Chibi-Robo amiibo on sale in 15 minutes

Pray for Mojo
Nov 19
// Steven Hansen
[Update: Just 15 minutes until little Chibi Robo's up for sale.] Two hours is enough time to steal and recycle enough copper to buy the latest Nintendo doll going up for purchase, right? The stand-alone version of the Ch...
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...
Panty lines photo
Panty lines

Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 gets rope tug and buoy hopping

And tan line tech
Nov 19
// Steven Hansen
It's not just volleyball, clapping titties, and virtual reality you're getting with Dead or Alive Xtreme 3. No, no, no. As shown off in this new video, there's also tug-of-war and pool crossing minigames. The latter would be...
Blops Easter egg photo
Blops Easter egg

Call of Duty: Black Ops III Easter egg channels...Silent Hill?

Spooky scary mannequins
Nov 19
// Steven Hansen
People are saying Doctor Whom and that's fine, that's fine -- "Angels," innit, governor? -- but it still reads Silent Hill to me because they're like mannequins (by way of I, Robot), even if Super Mario Boos might be closer....
Watch this wild business photo
Watch this wild business

I watched a Korean musical about an MMO and so can you

Including: the devil, modern day rap
Nov 19
// Steven Hansen
As a prelude to the Blade & Soul World Championship, NC Soft put together a Blade & Soul musical. I suppose it wasn't technically about an MMO since it was the Blade & Soul story, but I'm really not sure about an...
MMO PvP photo

Blade & Soul opens $35,000 world championship to the West

Open to an Evo appearance, too
Nov 19
// Steven Hansen
As announced earlier, Blade & Soul has a firm January 19, 2016 release date for North America and Europe, several years after being promised for release in those territories. Well, NC Soft wants to make it up to you. To s...
Imperial SaGa photo
Imperial SaGa

Sad new PC SaGa videos let you relive the old art

Imperial SaGa nods to series' past
Nov 19
// Steven Hansen
For the 25th anniversary of SaGa, Square announced a new entry for Vita, SaGa 2015. With it, there's Imperial SaGa, a free-to-play PC RPG executive produced by SaGa creator Akitoshi Kawazu and featuring a few other key SaGa ...
Whatever photo

...Whatever: Squall fights in Dissidia Final Fantasy, I guess

Nov 19
// Steven Hansen
Dengeki has straight gameplay, too. The Koei Tecmo-made Dissidia Final Fantasy is chilling arcades in Japan for a while, but could come to PS4 at some point.
Valkyria PS4 details photo
Valkyria PS4 details

Valkyria: Azure Revolution, Valkyria Chronicles Remaster get websites

Plus box art
Nov 19
// Steven Hansen
Two days ago an announcement, yesterday the first screens, and today...web pages. Well, yes, things do get less exciting after their initial release. Gotta slow the pace down to be able to blow you out of the water with the n...

Korean action MMO Blade & Soul a right step for the genre, coming West on January 19

Nov 19 // Steven Hansen
The newest class, Qi Master, was recently announced. It's a Kung Fu Master and Force Master hybrid. [embed]321525:61178:0[/embed] I got time to mess with Blade & Soul recently at NC Soft's autumnal headquarters (possibly my first actual fall, being from San Francisco) and spent a not insignificant amount of time in the not-quite-Black-Desert character creator to create a buxom Kung Fu Master with beautiful hair. The boobs even jiggle in the character creator screen. I named her bushdidnineeleven because the numbers prohibited 420noscope69 and I am nothing if not an embarrassment. I went with Kung Fu Master, though, because of the challenge that was announcing it as the toughest class to use, most reliant on timing and player input. And indeed, once I got to that point, figuring out enemy attack wind-ups and using the counter skill felt pretty damn good rather than letting early chump MMO fodder even get off their potshots. Plus, the Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon influence is obvious in the running and fly/gliding animations (development head Moonyoung Choi cited it specifically when asked about influences, along with a long list of games including Street Fighter and Soul Calibur). And while Blade & Soul does encourage more activity than your typical click click click, it falls into feeling like just another MMO, at least in the early game. While I moving fleet of foot with WASD and beginning encounters with a floating jump kick, it was mostly for my own amusement, as I spent hours (somewhat quickly, but always very casually) leveling up near 20. I can see the twitch reflexes being more useful in hard raids or, obviously, PvP, but this isn't a huge genre shakeup when all's said and done. Just a pretty, high-budget version of the last decade with one twist in the right direction, which will undoubtedly be enough for some, especially with it being free to play anyways.
Blade & Soul launch photo
After three years
It's been a long time coming. Hugely popular Korean MMO Blade & Soul was confirmed for Western release over three years ago and it's finally happening. It went into beta last month and some beta weekends remain: November...

Black Friday comes early photo
Black Friday comes early

Cheap Black Friday games start this Friday on Amazon

Nov 18
// Steven Hansen
Not content with one blackened day in the week, Amazon has an entire "Black Friday deals week." In fact, right now, there are deals leading up to the "Black Friday deals week." They got deals on deals on deals on deals. And y...
Just Cause 4K photo
Just Cause 4K

See Just Cause 3 running on max settings in 4K

You know who else had the initials JC?
Nov 18
// Steven Hansen
After the whole usual pre-release kerfuffle and grumbling about Just Cause 3 running at 1080p on PS4 and 900p on Xbox One, here is some dedicated space for PC players to boast about how much extra P they're getting. PC playe...
Valkyria shots photo
Valkyria shots

First shots of Valkyria: Azure Revolution and the PS4 remaster

New Valkyria series game coming to PS4
Nov 18
// Steven Hansen
I don't know if it was the Valkyria Chronicles Steam release success or Sega just doing its regular couple years of apologizing with good releases before falling into a funk again, but there is a new, anime-as-hell Valkyria C...
Rayman Adventures photo
Rayman Adventures

Next month's Rayman looks great, I'll probably never play it

Coming December 3 to little fanfare
Nov 18
// Steven Hansen
People have said nothing but good things about Rayman Jungle Run and the third mobile Rayman game using the same assets (after Fiesta Run), Rayman Adventures, looks great. And while Jungle Run was limited as an endless runne...
SMT IV: Final photo
SMT IV: Final

Shin Megami Tensei IV: Final gets original SMT IV cast

Including one party member
Nov 17
// Steven Hansen
Atlus is embracing confusing naming conventions with the upcoming Shin Megami Tensei IV: Final, which Atlus has billed as not a direct sequel to SMTIV (you don't have to have played it to play Final) when we last wrote about...
Baby bombs photo
Baby bombs

Turn your baby into a bomb in Fallout 4

Well, all of your babies
Nov 17
// Steven Hansen
As someone who just wants his kids back, I associate with the plight of Fallout 4's player character. As someone who doesn't want to work too hard at it, I admire the ingenuity of Fallout 4 modder Trainwiz and their Atom Bom...
Puzzle & Dragons X photo
Puzzle & Dragons X

X comes after Z as far as new Puzzle & Dragons is concerned

Puzzle & Dragons X coming to 3DS
Nov 17
// Steven Hansen
Puzzle & Dragons X is confirmed for a 2016 3DS release in Japan. The money-printing series' (50 million downloads as of a couple months ago) next dedicated console entry is a follow up to Puzzle & Dragons Z, which was...
Giger? I hardly even know photo
Giger? I hardly even know

Fallout 4 has the smallest Alien Easter egg

And it's not an Alien
Nov 17
// Steven Hansen
First, let me clear something up that also confused the shit out of me. Prometheus 2 is no longer called Alien: Paradise Lost, but instead Alien: Covenant and is coming in 2017 (as the second chapter in a prequel trilogy). Me...
Raiden costume photo
Raiden costume

Raiden joins Metal Gear Solid V as the Skulls come home to roost

Raiden suit costume
Nov 17
// Steven Hansen
The Gray Fox outfit in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is pretty dope, though it's a challenge to get me out of my sexy Black Ocelot. But maybe for FOB missions, wherein I will sacrifice style for results. A recent Fami...

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