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WWE 2K16 photo
WWE 2K16

2K details Digital Deluxe Editions, Season Pass, and add-ons for WWE 2K16

Get ready to rumble
Oct 08
// Vikki Blake
2K has detailed the contents of WWE 2K16's Digital Deluxe Editions, Season Pass, and DLC add-ons... no, wait, I mean "individual content packages." The Digital Deluxe Editions will cost $90 on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, and ...
Battlecry photo

Bethesda: 'We have concerns about the Battlecry game'

The publisher is still 'evaluating'
Oct 08
// Vikki Blake
Bethesda has "concerns" about upcoming free-to-play game Battlecry. The good news? Developer BattleCry Studios is busy with "multiple projects." The bad news? Bethesda isn't convinced it hits its quality threshold... yet...
Brad Muir photo
Brad Muir

Massive Chalice lead Brad Muir has gone and joined Valve

He's also performing some research
Oct 08
// Joe Parlock
At the end of September, Massive Chalice project lead Brad Muir left Double Fine. We knew he was headed to Seattle (thanks to this tweet from Tim Schafer), but we didn’t know where he’d go once he got there. Well...
Aurion photo

African-developed Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan looking for funds on Kickstarter

Developers are from Cameroon
Oct 08
// Joe Parlock
Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan is an incredibly interesting game. It’s billed as an “African-fantasy action-RPG,” putting a lot of emphasis on combos and combat while also having a setting based on African...

Destiny's Taken King expansion alienates casual fans more than Year One did

Oct 07 // Chris Carter
People often note that "I haven't given Destiny a chance" when I talk about its shortcomings, and I kind of die on the inside hearing that. I have every Year One Exotic, every piece of raid gear (both armor and weapons, including primaries) for all three classes, and I've completed all of the Year One Moments of Triumph. As of this week, I'm working on my third Exotic sword and fourth Oryx clear. Let me explain my situation a bit. I have a group of MMO friends that I move from game to game with. When we settle on a title, we go in, and surgically crush its PvE content into oblivion. Sometimes we splinter off and try different games, but after each expansion, people usually move back to Destiny for a while. Destiny isn't an MMO by any stretch of the imagination, but other dungeon crawlers like Diablo fall into our purview too, so it's fair game. Yes, it is fun to play with friends, despite its many, many shortcomings. But thankfully, The Taken King, along with the drip feed of Year One quality-of-life updates, has made Destiny much more enjoyable. But I say that with the perspective of a hardcore raider. A lot of my casual friends are not having a good time. Let's look at why. End-game content still doesn't have matchmaking After taking an impromptu Twitter poll earlier this week, I saw that many players still hadn't partaken in a lot of endgame activities, mostly because they couldn't find anyone to play with. Raids, Nightfalls, and all of the post-game quests do not have any matchmaking capabilities. Instead, they're left to try their luck on sites like or reddit Fireteams. As an outgoing person, I'm completely okay with filling out a team member or two using these tools, but most people want an in-game solution. Bungie could address this in a ton of different ways. Yes, endgame content is by definition tough, so matchmaking may be hard to do, but what about actually making the game Open up the Tower to more players, and have the lounge area actually do something. Make it a hangout for players "looking for groups," complete with billboards and a full-on LFG system built in. Players could look at terminals, post what activities they want to do along with their Light level and class, and it could automatch accordingly. This would alleviate the issue of matchmaking in one fell swoop. Raids are still the only way to max out your character Certain players don't want to raid because they aren't comfortable, and I don't blame them. Bungie doesn't make anything clear for newer players in terms of what to expect from raids, or how to acclimate to the pressures of a six-man group. Many of those issues could be solved by a training session of raid mechanics, on top of a "Sherpa" system that could be built into the Tower groups idea. Because in the end, players will need to best King's Fall to get the good stuff -- the post-level-300 items, which will be necessary for the presumed Hard Mode version. Some 310 Exotics can be picked up here and there from bonkers questlines (more on that later), but for the most part, players will find themselves stuck teetering below 300 without going to face Oryx. I definitely think, as a raider myself, that raid gear should be special, but many multiplayer games out there have equivalent gear that can be earned with enough tokens. Right now, the vendor gear only goes up to 280. It could stand for an increase. The new Light system that takes weapons into account encourages dishonesty With Year One, players had a Light level that was indicative of the armor they wore. It was simple to understand after a few hours of max-level play, and you only needed to manage four pieces of gear to maintain it. Now, Destiny has three more equipment slots with Light on them (Ghosts, class items, and Artifacts) and weapons also play into your Light ranking. Things can get real confusing real fast, but I'm noticing a trend where players "fake" their Light and switch back to their weapons of choice. For instance, some people might have a Light 280 shotgun, but a particular mission almost exclusively calls for sniping. Since players only have a 220 sniper and would "look bad," they equip the shotgun, pass for 280 Light, and switch back once the mission starts. Now, the old way wasn't perfect either -- armor was limited in that you could only wear pieces that had higher Light ratings on them. This has been alleviated by the ascension mechanic, which lets you rank up gear of your choice by sacrificing other items to it. But tying that same principle to weapons has had mixed results. Since Light influences how much damage you do and how much you take, even just a few points can make a mission that much tougher. By limiting players who may not be comfortable with certain loadouts, Bungie is forcing people to use specific pieces of gear, and that changes the entire way the game is played. It's the same problem, amplified. All the new system has done is made the game more elitist by adopting a Gearscore mentality. Having played MMOs since Ultima Online, I'm used to it, but many people are turned off by it. Allowing more flexibility with the weapon side of things would help. Some of these new quests are off-the-wall hardcore Now, this is actually my favorite aspect of The Taken King. There is so much more end-game content now, with hidden tidbits like the Black Spindle quest or the aforementioned Exotic sword questline. But all of those come with a price -- extreme amounts of grinding or crazy-high difficulty ceilings, both of which aren't viable options for casual fans. Take the Exotic sword mission. After completing a bunch of busywork, players will eventually come to an impasse -- the grinding step. Here, they'll have to down over 500 enemies with abilities in line with the element of their sword of choice, and attain 10 special resources, hidden within drops of Helium Filaments, Spinmetal, or Relic Iron. Oh, 10 resources, that's not bad, right? Well, it really is. For this particular quest, you'll have to acquire resources within resources, which are said to drop at a roughly 5% rate. For my first sword, it took me over two hours straight of grinding, and I knew the routes from playing so much of Year One. For my second sword, it took five hours. Then you have to do a Strike that requires everyone to be roughly 300 Light (20 more than raid-ready). If my group wasn't so hardcore, I wouldn't even go for the third. Bungie has claimed in the past that it doesn't want to make players grind, but it has introduced such a boring task here that so many people won't do it out of principle. Which is weird, because the Exotic sword is an essential item for a number of reasons and completely changes the way you approach most content (I highly recommend getting one for the Court of Oryx -- to quote a great 20th century philosopher, "it is... so choice"). The Black Spindle isn't easy for casual players to get, either -- the quest nearly requires a full three-person fireteam of raid-ready team members. And forget doing the Court of Oryx's third tier by yourself, or even with a public group. Destiny is still growing as a game, and it's not quite there yet It's clear that Bungie still doesn't know what to do with Destiny. On one hand, the developers claim "they don't want to revisit legacy content," but many of the old Strikes have been re-done with a Taken flair. To go ever further, these select Strikes have been hand-picked for a zombification of sorts, while others are eliminated entirely lest you play the useless, no-incentive legacy playlist. Bungie also notes that it wants to be welcoming to new players, but gates most of its meaningful content behind a lack of matchmaking services and grindy, exclusive questlines. The game is much better than it was, but it has a ways to go. In some ways, the entire Destiny experience feels like a beta test for the sequel, which is reportedly going to drop next year.
Thoughts on Destiny photo
There's more dependency on groups now
Destiny has noticeably improved since The Taken King dropped. This is partly because there's a lot more to do than just grind the awful Prison of Elders activity from the last bad expansion, but additionally, the game has gotten much more hardcore. It's great news for me and my group of comrades, but I've been seeing a lot of people cut back on their playtime lately.

Street Fighter V photo
Street Fighter V

Leaked trailer confirms Laura is my new favorite Street Fighter V character

Street Fighter's worst-kept secret
Oct 07
// Alissa McAloon
Just a few days after her accidental reveal, a trailer featuring Street Fighter V newcomer Laura has found its way to the Internet. The trailer was accidentally released a bit ahead of schedule by PlayStation and has since be...
Numenera photo

The branching paths of Torment: Tides of Numenera

A short look at Crisis encounters
Oct 07
// Jordan Devore
It seems like so long ago that inXile brought Torment: Tides of Numenera to Kickstarter. But really, it's only been a couple of years. Much has changed for video game crowdfunding. Much hasn't. Have I been keeping tabs on the...
Horizon Zero Dawn photo
Horizon Zero Dawn

Horizon Zero Dawn is going to be more than just a game

Remember that dino hunter thing from E3?
Oct 07
// Chris Carter
Horizon Hero Dawn came as a surprise to many after it was unveiled earlier this year at E3. Starring a female hero, the game seems to feature a clashing theme of low and high-tech equipment and enemies. Guerilla Games is...
Deals photo

$7 Metro Redux Bundle, $8 Saints Row Ultimate Franchise Pack in Deep Silver Sale

Sure, I'll add more to my backlog
Oct 07
// Dealzon
This week, popular digital retailer Green Man Gaming launched a Deep Silver Sale. The sale was OK, but nothing exciting (else we'd have mentioned it earlier). Things changed today as most of the titles listed below ...
Street Fighter V beta photo
Street Fighter V beta

Street Fighter V testing cross-platform play soon

Second global beta test starts Oct. 22
Oct 07
// Jordan Devore
Later this month, Capcom will beta test cross-platform matches in Street Fighter V. There are a lot of details to sift through, so let's get to it. The game's second global beta test is scheduled to take place from October 22...
Rock Bugs 4 photo
Rock Bugs 4

Are you having issues with Rock Band 4? You're not alone

Issues and some fixes here!
Oct 07
// Jed Whitaker
[Update: A Harmonix spokesperson reach out to us to issue the following statement:  “The Rock Band experience is as important to Harmonix as it is to our players. We are passionate about Rock Band, and we'll suppor...
Promoted blog photo
Promoted blog

Cut from the same cloth: Gamers, geeks, and sport fanatics

Promoted from our community blogs
Oct 07
// SpielerDad
[In which we answer the age old question of who would win in a fight: The New England Patriots or a pack of savage orcs? But seriously, fantasy football is picking up with its ad campaigns, which is funny when juxtaposed agai...
Goosebumps photo

The Goosebumps game sure is gonna make you read a lot

R.L. Fine, I won't R.L. Whine
Oct 07
// Brett Makedonski
Reading? In my video games? I guess that's par for the course in a click-and-point title. And, if you're really twisting my arm, it's probably a big part of reading books, too. At least Goosebumps is thematically c...
Astroneer photo

Reshape planets with a friend in Astroneer

I'm so into this
Oct 07
// Jordan Devore
It's morning still. I feel way too groggy to let out an audible "whoa!" while watching a trailer for a video game, but Astroneer managed to elicit one anyway. Two, actually. It was the player-controlled terrain deformation th...

Review: Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax

Oct 07 // Kyle MacGregor
Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax (PS Vita, PS3 [reviewed])Developer: French Bread, Ecole Software, SegaPublisher: SegaReleased: November 13, 2014 (JP), October 6, 2015 (NA, EU)MSRP: $29.99 (PS Vita), $39.99 (PS3) Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax has the appearance of a hardcore fighting game, and it certainly has the pedigree, coming from Melty Blood and Under Night In-Birth team French Bread and Ecole Software, but both looks and lineage can be deceiving. Here, the studios (along with their Sega-employed producers and associates at Kadokawa) aimed to deliver a more accessible experience than their previous work, something less impenetrable to the average person than the Guilty Gears or Street Fighters of the world. It's a noble idea. For as enjoyable and well-made as Arc System Works and Capcom's projects are, they are incredibly complex affairs. The barrier to entry with these games is much higher than, say, Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. series, which is more easily enjoyed by newcomers, despite its potential for high-level play. Fighting Climax tries to occupy a similar space, striving to create a middle ground, an intermediate that can appeal to fighting game enthusiasts of all stripes. In attempting to do so, Fighting Climax strips away many of the genre's more byzantine subtleties, while adding tools to facilitate absorption. There are no elaborate inputs here, not by traditional fighting game standards, anyway. The most difficult commands involve quarter-circle and half-circle movements, which makes executing special moves or "climax arts" relatively straightforward without reducing the gameplay experience to something oversimplified or wading into button-mashing territory. Well, that is aside from the auto-combo feature, which allows players to string together a reasonably powerful series of moves merely by hammering on the light attack button repeatedly. It's a concession to beginners, providing a mechanism to chain together a barrage of attacks, but its use is limited, preventing it from being a substitute for actual skill. Also more simplistic than a typical fighting game are the inputs, which are identical across the entire roster. The 14 main fighters, from Toradora's Taiga and Asuna of Sword Art Online fame to the unlockable Selvaria of Valkyria Chronicles and Virtua Fighter's Akira, all have the same commands for their basics attacks, special moves, impact skills, and supers. This makes picking up a new character easy, but weakens the roster considerably. Since every fighter is essentially cut from the same cloth, Fighting Climax doesn't foster as wide a variety of play styles or combat strategies as do its genre peers. And aesthetically, while every character has unique animations based on the source material, most of them fall into the "waifu" female lead archetype, exacerbating the sense of redundancy and lack of diversity present in the mechanics. There's some depth to be found in the assist system, with 23 support characters to choose between and a wide array of support and offensive moves to augment your fighter's innate abilities. These can be used mid-combo at the cost of meter to lay on some added hurt or topple your opponent, or just in normal situations with a cooldown to disrupt or punish other competitors. While assist characters accent the roster, they highlight a myriad of unique figures in the Dengeki Bunko catalogue that would have made for more compelling choices than several of the leading ladies. While everyone will have their own favorites, I was particularly disappointed to see Spice and Wolf's lupine goddess Holo relegated to a supporting role. The stages are also an odd choice, drawing inspiration from a number of Sega franchises (Sonic the Hedgehog, Shinobi, Virtua Fighter, NiGHTS, and Phantasy Star Online among others), rather than the non-Sega worlds the vast majority of the cast is drawn from. While this makes sense in terms of the scant narrative the title's story modes offer, it's curious move on Sega's part to impose itself to such a degree in a game made primarily for fans of Dengeki Bunko's light novels and their anime adaptations.  There is some fan service to be found in the story modes, though, where players get to see characters from various universes interact with one another in cute little vignettes. Beyond that, Fighting Climax offers a bog-standard suite of features fighting game enthusiasts should be familiar with -- a spartan training mode, versus mode, a trio of challenge modes, plus ranked and unranked online versus. Most of it is handled fairly well, but, while I have no major complaints, nothing is terribly exceptional either. French Bread is a talented maker of fighting games, giving the experience a high floor, but this is not the studio's best work. It's perfectly competent, but feels like a major step down from the outstanding Under Night In-Birth, even if the titles were made for different audiences.  While decent enough, Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax may be too simplistic for most hardcore fighting game fans to enjoy as anything more than an ephemeral lark, but is also perhaps still too complex for those that find the genre intimidating. It feels like another instance of game designers shaving off any sharp corners in an attempt to please as many people as possible. Fighting Climax shows a clear reticence to take risks, and its failure to do so betrays its potential to become truly remarkable or distinctive. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Dengeki Fighting Climax photo
Identity Crisis
Teenagers are in a strange point in their lives. No longer children, but not quite yet adults, adolescents exist in an uncomfortable grey area, a metamorphic state that compels them to forge identities independent of their gu...

Destiny Exotics photo
Destiny Exotics

Destiny begins the quest for Sleeper Simulant today

Wake Up, Guardians
Oct 07
// Josh Tolentino
When it comes to Destiny's vast collection of fancy space guns, exotic weapons are the fanciest of them all. Every exotic weapon has unique qualities and is usually designed to bend or break a rule that governs one of the gam...
Devolver Digital photo
Devolver Digital

Downwell is going to take over my life

One run at a time
Oct 07
// Jordan Devore
I was on board with Downwell (PC, iOS, Android) as soon as I saw this gif. It's a game about descending a narrow well as a little guy with guns on his boots. Gun boots! Shooting slows your descent and, crucially, destroys ene...
Dissidia Final Fantasy photo
Dissidia Final Fantasy

Dissidia Final Fantasy is coming to Japanese arcades in November

I just missed it
Oct 07
// Chris Carter
I won't forget my experience with Japanese arcades anytime soon. While many of them are dead in the west, they're thriving in Japan, and I really miss them. It looks like I also missed the release of Dissidia Final Fanta...
Destiny photo

A Destiny and Backstreet Boys crossover music video is exactly what my morning needed

Oct 07
// Alissa McAloon
I woke up this morning with the very specific goal of writing about something that wasn't Destiny. Then this Backstreet Boys music video happened and changed everything. The Destiny crew Husky Raid uses in-game dances, a...
Deus Ex photo
Deus Ex

Here's a pretty good recap of Deus Ex's story so far

Prepare for the next game
Oct 07
// Chris Carter
For the 15th anniversary of Deus Ex, Eidos Montreal has whipped up a special "story so far" featurette. It provides a brief synopsis of the overarching theme of the series, and should give you a good idea of what to expe...
Resident Evil photo
Resident Evil

Haha, the commentary in this Umbrella Corps video

Resident Evil spin-off
Oct 07
// Jordan Devore
Steven played a little Umbrella Corps at Tokyo Game Show and he was right -- the fast crawl does look ridiculous, and zombies aren't much of a threat in this competitive third-person shooter. With today's footage, Capcom tried its hand at eSports-style commentary. It does not go well.
Genei Ibun Roku X FE photo
Genei Ibun Roku X FE

Oh yeah, Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem exists

New story trailer
Oct 07
// Chris Carter
I don't forget about major releases often, but I totally forgot Genei Ibun Roku X FE (yep, that's the official title) is a thing. Originally known as Shin Megami Tensei x Fire Emblem, which was thought to be a tradi...
Dust: An Elysian Tail photo
Dust: An Elysian Tail

Dust: An Elysian Tail, a fantastic metroidvania, is coming to iOS

'Very soon'
Oct 07
// Chris Carter
Dust: An Elysian Tail, released originally on XBLA in 2012, is one of my favorite metroidvanias in recent memory. The fact that it was developed by one guy, basically, is still insane to me, given how deep the game is mechani...
Dragon Ball Z photo
Dragon Ball Z

Here's what the pre-order bonus for Dragon Ball Z: Extreme Butoden looks like

Super Butoden 2, an SNES game
Oct 07
// Chris Carter
Some of my fondest gaming memories involve late-night fighting sessions with Dragon Ball Z games. The Butoden series was a classic, but I also played plenty of Dragon Ball Z: Legends on the original PlayStation, wh...
Super Mario Maker photo
Super Mario Maker

Someone remade those wonderful e-Reader stages in Super Mario Maker

Oct 07
// Chris Carter
Man, I'm glad my e-Reader still works. For those of you who think I'm speaking gibberish, the e-Reader was an accessory Nintendo developed for the Game Boy Advance, and it was actually one of the first forms of DLC. Players w...
Tekken 7 photo
Tekken 7

More hints drop regarding Tekken 7's console future

We kind of know, but we don't?
Oct 07
// Chris Carter
Every so often Bandai Namco drops hints as to the timeline of Tekken 7 on consoles. I mean, we know it's happening, but we don't have a window or full confirmation yet. Antoher hint dropped at Madrid Games Week, where ma...

Review in Progress: Metal Gear Online

Oct 07 // Chris Carter
Metal Gear Online (PC, PS3, PS4 [reviewed], Xbox 360, Xbox One)Developer: Kojima ProductionsPublisher: KonamiRelease: October 6, 2015 (Consoles), TBA 2016 (PC)Price: $59.99 (PC, PS4, Xbox One) $49.99 (PS3, Xbox 360) After downloading the free add-on (if you own the original game), players will be greeted with a whole new main menu. That's because it's a completely new title, and in no way feels tacked-on to the core Phantom Pain experience. In fact, there's very little in the way of interaction between the campaign and MGO. You'll start off within the character creation module, which takes the shape of your avatar from the core game, and a choice -- players can adopt the scout, enforcer, or infiltrator class (standard, heavy, and light, essentially). Your first character is locked in after your choice, but after a few hours of play you'll unlock two new loadout slots and plenty of cosmetic pieces of gear, including goofy hats. There's also a really cool freeplay mode that allows you to try out your loadout and equipment at will, which has plenty of ground to cover, featuring a diverse jungle location. I wish more games had this feature, as it's incredibly easy to tweak a loadout, go into freeplay, try it out, and tweak it some more. Online play itself provides you with a few options, including automatch (traditional matchmaking), "select" (filter any map or mode), and "create" (complete with a password feature for private games). It's a pretty open-ended system with plenty of choice, but it seems to be P2P-based, so expect online issues depending on the connection on top of any problems Konami has with the servers. For the most part, my time with the game in the past day or so has been rather smooth. You're only getting three gametypes currently, including a ticket-based mode (read: lives), a data theft variant, and capture the point. It's all stuff you've seen before, but the deciding difference is the Metal Gear charm that injects itself throughout MGO. For instance, killing enemies will reduce the opposing team's ticket count, but Fultoning them after using non-lethal force will net you more points. Making lots of noise will also show up on the radar, so it's up to players to use stealth as much as possible to maximize their kills. [embed]314102:60630:0[/embed] After a few hours, I really started to pick up on quite a few new tactics, which is very similar to how Phantom Pain plays out. MGO really is a skill-based game, with plenty of nuances to learn, and an emphasis on stealth prowess. Bounties for more points even show up on players who do well, and I've seen many matches where top people complete entire rounds with no deaths -- hell, without even being seen, really. There's also a lot of little touches, like the "Team Liquid" and "Team Solid" monikers, and the power to change the soundtrack to legacy Metal Gear music.  But there's one major shortcoming that I can see rather clearly right now -- a lack of diverse modes. It's very easy to feel isolated after going back into freeplay mode, and the three gametypes do tend to blend together at times. In short, you're really going to get as much out of MGO as you put in, and the skill of the enemy team definitely plays a factor in terms of how much fun you're going to have -- think of them almost as mini-Metal Gear boss fights. I need some more time, but my initial impressions of Metal Gear Online are positive. It really feels like a Metal Gear Without the complete mess of the Guns of the Patriots Konami login scheme, of course.
Metal Gear Online photo
It's not over yet, Snake
Kojima's departure from Konami has left me all sorts of worried for the future of Metal Gear Solid -- a series that I've enjoyed ever since I laid eyes on the first NES game over 20 years ago. For now though his legacy i...

Fallout 4 photo
Fallout 4

Hey, egghead! Come watch the newest Fallout 4 trait video

Or we'll pants you and give you a swirly
Oct 07
// Brett Makedonski
The latest in the seven-video-long Fallout 4 S.P.E.C.I.A.L. series is for everyone who thinks they're smart. Not street-smart. Like, academia-learned, "I've read a book or a million"-smart. Intelligence is the trait of ...
Rise of the Tomb Raider photo
Rise of the Tomb Raider

Here is what's in Rise of the Tomb Raider's season pass

Well, kind of
Oct 07
// Brett Makedonski
It was just last week that we learned Rise of the Tomb Raider would have a season pass. We likely weren't meant to know quite yet, as it was a "oops, it suddenly showed up on a retailer's website"-type of thing. At the t...

Review: Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree's Woe and the Blight Below

Oct 07 // Chris Carter
Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree's Woe and the Blight Below (PS3, PS4 [reviewed])Developers: Omega ForcePublisher: Square EnixReleased: October 13, 2015 (US), February 26, 2015 (JP)MSRP: $59.99 Following a very cool opening cinematic, you're greeted with the same iconic designs from Akira Toriyama that we've all come to love over the years -- yes, this might be an Omega Force game, but it's still a Dragon Quest joint. The visual style has translated excellently to this new endeavor, and although I'm sure some will find the realistic regalia meshed with bright goofy enemies jarring at times, it looks even better in action. It's great to see the timeless designs for enemies like the skeletons and slimes still hold up. There's also a lot of detail present, such as the aforementioned skeletons taking off their heads, or golems losing their bricks at times. The writing and story however, are very basic and not indicative of the typical Dragon Quest experience. There's plenty of fun puns (a slime says things like "Goo and help him" a lot) so it is charming, but the dialogue itself never really has any chance to evolve from start to finish. What you see in the first 30 minutes or so is what you get, and it follows the same sort of heroes' "ragtag band" journey schematic throughout. It is a hack and slash game after all, but I expected a bit more. Getting right into the action, players are presented with two control schemes -- one is a standard Warriors setup, and the other literally allows players to mash one-button combos with ease. Given that you can choose between these and a male or female main character to start, new players will relish how easy it is to acclimate. Said combo system takes its cue from Warriors in that specific rotations of light and heavy will lead into new moves (such as a wave-clearing area-of-effect or a vertical launcher), but there's more variance here than meets the eye when it comes to weapon nuance. For instance, swords can parry, staffs impact a wide area, and then there's all sorts of outliers like boomerangs, fisticuffs, whips, axes, bows, deadly fans, and magic. If you're curious, yes some fan favorite characters pop up, ranging from heroes who appeared in Dragon Quest IV through VIII. Players can also block, make use of a fully-featured jump (not just a useless hop), and utilize a rather generous dodge in addition to the classic Musuo power mode after charging up. [embed]312829:60648:0[/embed] Due to the exaggerated nature of the dodge, it makes the proceedings a bit more action-oriented than a lot of games in the past, and leads to a less rigid style of gameplay. Plus, using Musuo mode when combined with Toriyama's designs basically turns you into a Super Saiyan. You can also get more advanced with air dashing, double-jumping, summoning minions (which can go into offensive or defensive mode), party member toggling, and queuing up spells both in combat and in non-action sequences. As for the AI who follows you into battle (there's a real-time party switching element with L2), not enough work was done considering that it's a rather essential element. The AI is mostly involved with the battles at hand, sure, but they tend to loiter far too often, and it can take you out of the game. Maybe it's to actually entice you to switch more often to fire them up, but I wish there were a Gambit system of some sort that allowed you to control their general actions. It's not just the party system that makes Heroes feel like a real RPG though, as the game sports a world map, a pretty deep stat and customization mechanic, skill trees, and shops. You're free to upgrade your armor, magic, and items, and visit the alchemist to create and synthesize new gear. Players can also chat with their party at the bar, use the church to pray and save the game, and eventually get an airship. The sidequests feel right at home and like an authentic Dragon Quest game, and trophies reward players directly -- a system more developers should implement. But while sidequests are generally fun, missions are shorter battles that are often a bit too linear. In other Warriors games you're usually completing multiple objectives on large, sprawling maps with plenty of side areas, but here in Heroes they feel more like arenas that sometimes only span a few screens. Thankfully the bosses are more involved as a result, sometimes featuring flying enemies or multi-foe fights. I won't spoil them here but suffice to say they all have strategies and weak points to discover, and are sufficiently formidable. You'll need to actually switch between party members and think tactically. Alongside of the more bite-sized quest structure though is a complete lack of multiplayer. Yep, that's right -- there's no split-screen or online play of any kind. Whereas it was easy to introduce people into the world of Zelda with some co-op Hyrule Warriors sessions, Heroes is definitely a tougher sell, as the vast majority of Warriors games are shipped with heavy multiplayer elements for a reason. It does have all of the current DLC from Japan bundled in though, which is a plus. Dragon Quest Heroes almost feels like a fully-fledged action RPG, but there are a few things holding it back from greatness. In the end though it still has its charms, alongside of a beautiful art style and a buttery smooth framerate. If you really dig Warriors games and can go at it solo, you'll likely enjoy it.
Dragon Quest review photo
That name though
Close your eyes. Imagine you're stuck on a deserted island for a year -- yes, in this situation, a year is a certainty. If you could only have one game with you for that entire period (and have a working power source, bear wi...

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