Mercenary Kings is a Kickstarter success story that has finally made its way into the consumer’s hands. Combining elements from games like Monster Hunter and Metal Slug, Kings attempts to capture player’s hearts with its retro look and lighthearted feel.
Also you can make a gun that is a cat and goes "mew!" when you fire it.
[We'll be reviewing The Elder Scrolls Online over an extended period of time. For more details, check out our new Reviews in Progress program.]
In many ways ZeniMax is fighting an uphill battle with Elder Scrolls Online. In an era increasingly filled with free-to-play MMOs, subscription-based games are a tougher sell. Then you have the fact that Bethesda isn't involved in any capacity, and that this is ZeniMax's first ever MMO.
Yes, there are many things going against The Elder Scrolls Online, but based on my time with the live environment, it's still a serviceable game -- provided you're highly accustomed to the genre.
I still remember the first time I ever laid eyes on a Dynasty Warriors game. It was a cold winter afternoon in 2000, and for whatever reason, one lone copy of Dynasty Warriors 2 was calling my name at a local Blockbuster. I picked it up and subsequently played for days on end -- I was hooked.
Now here we are fourteen years later with Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends (also branded the Complete Edition on the PS4 and Vita), with a brand new Lu Bu storyline, among other features. Like DW8 proper, fans will definitely want to pursue this one.
We truly live in a magnificent era when it comes to portables. Games we would have never imagined seeing the light of day are localized, and indies are thriving with the combination of the eShop and low development costs of the 3DS.
The latest developer to take a bite of the apple is Agatsuma Entertainment, who is finally bringing over a piece of the Umihara Kawase series -- which has been going strong since its debut on the Super Nintendo in 1994.
While the price point may be undeniably steep, I'm really glad that this game was localized.
Originality is a pretty hard thing to come by, and ideas don't just materialize out of thin air. They're a patchwork of experiences lifted from our surroundings, filtered, and diffused back out into the world.
Many of us hide the stitching of our subliminal thievery, as we pull together material and create pastiches that are uniquely our own. Some openly celebrate their influences. And others are brazen enough to poach thoughts wholesale, copying intricate formulas to churn out imitation products.
Toukiden: The Age of Demons falls in that last category. Just about the furthest thing in the world from an original game, it pilfers liberally from the Monster Hunter series, and does little to obscure that fact. And that's okay. Despite the game's derivative nature, it manages to provide a reasonably decent, if somewhat drab, facsimile of its paragon.
After the classic that was Diablo II, expectations for a follow-up were at an all-time high. Although it could never really meet those expectations, Diablo IIIwas a fine hack and slash, and I ended up replaying it time and time again with every possible class.
But it wasn't perfect of course, since loot was designed around the ill-fated and ill-designed Auction House, putting a damper on long-term gear goals. Diablo III: Reaper of Souls may not reinvent the wheel, but it eliminates many of the problems from DIII proper.
And most importantly, the Auction House is gone all around!
BioShock Infinite had an interesting run, with player reception all over the board. Some loved it, some hated it, others reveled in its celebration of violence, some disapproved. It's probably going to be a long time before we get to debate the merits of another BioShock game again though, considering the fact that Irrational Games has dissolved, and is handing over the franchise to 2K.
So that leaves Burial at Sea Episode Two as Irrational's last hurrah, and I'm pleased to say it's a vast improvement upon the foundation that was built in Episode One.
[Be warned: there are minor spoilers involving Episode One below.]
The Deception franchise is a series I wish more people were aware of. Although the concept of a character that can't physically defend themselves isn't typically a popular go-to mechanic, this survival horror-like idea is turned on its head with the existence of deadly traps.
There's something soothing about setting up a ridiculously elaborate Goldbergian machine and unleashing it upon your foes that's insanely satisfying, and Deception IV is no exception. In fact, it may be the best and bloodiest entry yet.
Nippon Ichi Software is one hell of a developer. One day they could be lighting the world on fire with one of the most celebrated games in a genre (Disgaea), and the next, they could be milking a franchise into oblivion (Disgaea Infinite). Strategy RPGs are their forte, but they've made 2D platformers, action-RPGs, and a whole lot more.
The Witch and the Hundred Knight is their latest, and it's basically an amalgamation of everything they've learned so far -- which is both good and bad.
In many ways, I'm very glad that Final Fantasy: Tactics had such a big influence on my tastes. It's an incredibly well made game and put me on a path towards playing more games of its ilk like Phantom Brave or the more recent Expeditions: Conquistador. Now, it's brought me to Blackguards.
Blackguards is fantasy, its tactics, and it's difficult without being unfair. Boy am I glad I played FF:T.
Fifteen years ago, The Powerpuff Girls was my jam. I used to watch it (along with Dexter's Laboratory) just about every day after coming home from school, but before firing up a videogame. A couple weeks ago, when The Powerpuff Girls: Defenders of Townsville was announced, I approached it with a level of caution appropriate for a beloved childhood franchise resurrected with a new look. That is to say, I was prepared for the worst.
Previously, developer Radiangames was mostly known for a handful of decent, but perhaps uninspired Xbox Live Indie Games. Licensed titles are often sub-par, and especially those that are timed to release in the same window as the source material. Despite all of that, Defenders of Townsville ends up as a unique, genuinely entertaining metroidvania.
There once was a time when "match three" puzzle games were a rare commodity, but after the rip-roaring success of Bejeweled and Puzzle Quest, it feels like there's a new match title released every month. The craze kind of came to a head with Candy Crush, which is probably the most popular (and hated) of its kind on the market.
But quietly back in 2005, Pokemon Trozei made its own mark on the DS and created quite the fanbase. Now just shy of a decade later Trozei is back on the 3DS, attempting to break through this crowded space.
First things first: if you haven't seen The LEGO Movie, you should probably go do that right now. It's awesome, and your face will love it.
Back yet? OK, good.
For those of you who have seen it, this is your predictable licensed tie-in. Well, predictable in that it exists, not that it behaves predictably as a tie-in. Though, if you've played any of Traveler's Tales LEGO games, there is a certain amount of predictability here anyway.
Not that most of that is a bad thing in this case...
I can't quite put my finger on what I disliked most -- perhaps it was the droll art style, the cookie-cutter city sandbox, or the sentient wooden plank that Sucker Punch named "Cole Macgrath." Thankfully, the New Orleans-like setting of the sequel spiced things up a bit, and the decision to go with an even sillier vampiric setup made Festival of Blood more enjoyable.
inFamous: Second Son takes everything that the series has done right, puts it in a blender, and delivers what is easily the strongest entry yet.
On paper, the thought of participating in an eight-player Dragon Ball Z battle sounds like the stuff of fanboy dreams. Blasting Kamehamehas across the chasms of Namek while fighting alongside your favorite Saiyans could be as exhilarating virtually as it was to watch years ago on TV.
Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z attempts to recreate this in all its chaotic glory. More than a simple one-versus-one fighter, the game is jam packed with characters -- from practically the entirety of the franchise -- that can be pitted in teams of four against each other in any dream combination possible.
Unfortunately in reality, having four Krillins trying to dismantle the likes of Androids 16 through 19 together is not even half as entertaining as the thought is ridiculous.
Vlambeer's air combat game, Luftrausers, has finally been cleared for take-off, following a wait that seemed far longer than anybody expected it would. It's been worth holding out for, and fans of high speed, challenging shoot-em-ups have something pretty special on their hands.
I really didn't know what to expect from Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z.
On one hand, it has the Ninja Gaiden name (which, admittedly, doesn't have much sway these days) and Keiji Inafune attached. But on the other, you have Spark Unlimited and the so-so grindhouse setup that kind of fell flat with a series of dull trailers.
The end result is a game that attempts to try a lot of different concepts, and only succeeds at a select few.
Ever since I randomly picked up a conspicuous looking Metal Gear NES catridge in 1990, I've been enjoying Snake's adventures. I've collected every Metal Gear game released in the US, and while I'm busy waiting for the next entry, I'm keeping up with the encyclopedic amount of data that fills the series' lore -- which is a task all on its own.
And wait we shall, as Phantom Pain is still completely up in the air regarding its release date, leaving Kojima and crew to satiate our needs with Ground Zeroes. But even as a fan, there are a few shortcomings that make me hesitant to call Zeroes a "must have" franchise entry, despite how fun it might be.
Flying is great. Fighting while flying is pretty great, too, but for some reason, dogfighting in good ol' atmosphere hasn't caught on as quickly as dogfighting in space. Despite the resurgence of space games brought on by the rise of crowdfunding and indie development, "sky-shooters" outside the niche simulation market remain in somewhat short supply.
Strike Vector is the kind of game that aims to scratch that itch, and several more besides. Heck, the fact that it says "Brutal Aerial FPS" right on the figurative box is an apt descriptor for what developer Ragequit Corporation is attempting to do.
The only question is if they've enough thrust to send their little game soaring.
Pure puzzle games can have a sort of zen effect for some players. Through repetition, players can almost subconsciously solve logic puzzles that would take an untrained person serious thought. When done well, time seems to melt away and all that matters is achieving nirvana through the journey to the solution.
The Japanese puzzles sudoku and nonogram (better known as Picross among gamers) manage to hit that sweet spot for many. Tappingo aims to join those ranks with a new way to recreate pixel images through use of deductive reasoning. It begins with promise, but never manages to reach its full potential.
When you create a new IP from scratch, it's pretty much a given that you'll have to go through a lot of the design phase until you land on an idea that jumps out at you. The developers at Respawn Entertainment had no idea what their new title would be, and the concept art they designed shaped what would eventually become Titanfall.
Thankfully, Titan Books has seen fit to share these designs with us. If you enjoy behind-the-scenes looks at the design aspect of game development, this is prime example of how to showcase it right.
I never got into Magic: The Gathering. Plenty of my friends did, but I couldn't afford countless booster packs or starter decks, and my mom wouldn't drive me to the seedy local comic book store to play against frightening high schoolers.
I loved the concept of trading card games, though. I collected Pokémon cards like any other red-blooded American child of the ‘90s, and even dabbled in Yu-Gi-Oh for a very dark four months. Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft isn't the first videogame to attempt to do the same thing as Magic, but it’s easily one of the best.
Shadowrun Returns was released last year after a successful Kickstarter campaign and seemed to please fans and backers alike. In our review, Fraser Brown commented on how the toolset provided with the game would provide plenty of content in the future, and whilst it has been well supported by modders, most fans were waiting patiently for the big expansion, Dragonfall.
Dragonfall is an expansion in the old-school mold: it has a campaign that's equal to the length of the main Shadowrun story, a whole new setting and characters, and there's some nice refinements to the mechanics and structure. There's still some problems and frustrations but if you put up with them in the original Shadowrun, then Dragonfall will give you even more enjoyment.
The original Yoshi's Island is one of my favorite Mario games of all time. I don't know if it's the numerous and remarkably unique boss battles or the whimsical charm of throwing strategically bounced eggs, but it really resonated with me. I've gone back to it time and time again, and the DS remake was great for when I was on the go in its own way.
Yoshi's New Island for the 3DS seeks to bring back those good times, and the good news is Yoshi fans will mostly enjoy it. The bad news is it's not all that special.
The first-person shooter business knows its audience. Year after year there are military shooters that are stuck in the "newer" era of shooters, offering up realistic experiences and killstreaks galore, which gamers eat up annually.
Lost is the art of the arena or twitch shooter, which are usually just relegated to downloadable titles or the PC platform, and scant see the light of day as a true wide console release. Enter Titanfall -- a game that seeks to shake up the genre with elements of twitch shooters of old, and of course, giant hulking robots.
Titanfall doesn't really break the mold or offer up many things we haven't seen before -- but that doesn't mean it isn't fun to play.
This should sound somewhat familiar: a small band of mercenaries are on a forbidding planet, confronted by a horrific alien force that swarms across the landscape. Well-armed and entrenched, the soldiers have been easily keeping the enemy at bay despite being surrounded when, suddenly, the air becomes thick and acrid. Coughing and sputtering, the squad slowly begins to weaken from poison in the air while the aliens keep coming in force and threaten to overrun them.
That's the experience of playing Infested Planet. No matter how strong your defense or capable your soldiers, death is always just one mutation away.
My experience with the Souls series is one of my favorite memories of my entire gaming career. Playing Demon's Souls for the first time made me feel like a kid again, back when games didn't hold your hand and explain every single facet of the adventure -- leaving everything to your imagination.
Even though Dark Souls was mainly just a refinement of the formula on a technical level, it offered up all-new experiences that felt wholly unique, and raised the bar in many respects. But then something changed -- Hidetaka Miyazaki, the producer and arguably the heart and soul of the franchise left, passing the torch to Tomohiro Shibuya and Yui Tanimura to carry on his legacy.
Once again, Dark Souls II remains relatively unchanged from its predecessors, and still offers up most of the same magic that you fell in love with the first two times around.
Azran Legacy picks up after the events in Miracle Mask, completing the prequel trilogy that began with Professor Layton and the Last Specter. Though it changes up the format slightly, anybody who has played any entry in the series knows what to expect: hunting for hint coins and engaging in unconventional mind puzzles.
TowerFall originally came out on the OUYA. I’ve played it on that console, and it was certainly a blast, so long as you weren’t the one stuck with the OUYA controller. TowerFall: Ascension brings the good time to a much wider audience, and it’s about damn time.
Matt Thorson, creator of games such as Jumper, An Untitled Story, Give Up, Robot, and co-creator of RunMan: Race Around the World is at the helm once again, so it’s no surprise that TowerFall has been highly sought after by us non-OUYA owners. Ascension has new modes, new maps, and new characters, and makes as strong a point as ever for Mr. Thorson to rename his company from “MattMakesGames” to “MattMakesPhenomenalGames.”
Clementine has been through an awful lot since meeting Lee at the start of The Walking Dead series. She's grown, she's changed, and now, she's with a new group. Episode One sought to be a buffer of sorts between the two seasons, clinging on to some old adages and themes, but now, things are really starting to pick up in Season Two.
In case you were wondering, that's a good thing from a gameplay perspective, but a pretty terrible thing emotionally. Although I'll refrain from spoiling any major plotpoints, note that there will of course be minor story details discussed below, as well as spoilers for Season One and the first episode of Season Two.
It's hard to believe that I've been watching South Park for almost 17 years. I vividly remember sneaking downstairs in the dead of night, quietly turning on Comedy Central to watch Eric Cartman get probed by an alien. I still watch the show to this day.
Although it's had its ups and downs, one thing is for certain -- South Park is still topical. Odds are even if you don't watch it, you've heard about the controversial premise to an episode at least once per season. Or more importantly in this instance, you've heard the tumultuous story about the coveted South Park game, which has taken years to see the light of day.
But it's finally here, and I have to say -- it was worth the wait. Barring a few mechanical issues, it's like watching a long, quality episode of the show.
As a combination of the first-person shooter genre and the modern-day roguelikes, Tower of Guns is being pushed as a “lunchbreak FPS.” After playing, I can say this is a pretty accurate description, except I only have 40 minutes for lunch. Runs can be completed in under an hour, but tend to lean more towards that hour mark. Tower of Guns will also require quick mouse dexterity and your probably-now-rusty circle-strafing and bunny-hopping skills.
It’s addicting, satisfying, and nails its themes better than most games of its ilk. As if we needed another great roguelike, in steps Tower of Guns.
If you told me I’d be playing a brand new Dreamcast game in 2014, back when the system saw its demise in 2002, I’d probably have said you were crazy.
It was at that point that Sega moved on to become a software-only developer in most of the world. But as it turns out, they actually continued to support the system in their home country for an additional five years, primarily with quick and easy ports from arcade games built on the NAOMI board (the Dreamcast’s arcade counterpart). Titles such as Puyo Puyo Fever and Trigger Heart Exelica kept the system relevant, for the arcade aficionado at least. But even Sega eventually left their fabled console past behind.
In Sega’s absence, an indie scene has embraced the all but forgotten console and churned out more than a dozen titles since 2007. The latest, Redux: Dark Matters, is a blast from the past that harkens back to the console’s glory days.
Drunken Robot Pornography has a unique concept to go along with its memorable title. You take control of Reuben Mastumoto, who is having a real bad day. He accidentally made his robot bartender, Tim, self-aware and presumably being slightly freaked out by this, Tim burned down Reuben's bar and stole all the other robot staff members.
Now Reuben has to defend Boston from Tim and the awesome titans he's created from the former bar staff. The premise of Drunken Robot Pornography is absurd but it's the basis of a solid game that blends the massive bosses of a bullet-hell shmup and the tight first-person shooter arenas of something like Quake III.
Let's not beat around the bush here -- with the new Pac-Man Museum compilation, you're getting a bunch of really old games you've most likely played before, a few you probably already own, and Pac-Man Battle Royale. Royale is a bit of a unique release, as it's only been playable outside of Japan at special events and arcades, and has been highly sought out by fans of the genre.
To be blunt, this is the perfect opportunity to wait for a sale just to pick up Royale.
Sidescrolling run-and-gun games are, arguably, a classic that never seem to go out of style. Games like Contra and Gunstar Heroes, with their multiple weapon types, hundreds of attacking enemies, and billions of bullets whizzing past your head are a frantic and fun diversion. Naturally if you're going to make a run-and-gun game, these are the key elements you'll want to have present.
Gunslugs borrows heavily from these tropes, but still manages to come up as a unique and fun shooter with a large emphasis on the silly.