It's become exceedingly easy in recent years to point the finger at any four player cooperative game in Japan and call it a Monster Hunter clone. I'm not particularly fond of this way of thinking. Despite my love of Monster Hunter (200+ hours in MH4), I think many of the various hunting action games have unique, interesting qualities that separate them from one another.
Perhaps that's why I had been so jazzed to check out Final Fantasy Explorers, Square Enix's first attempt to dabble in the hunting action genre. With a stable of classic monsters, jobs, and giant bosses in its long history, Final Fantasy seems like the perfect franchise to get a spinoff in the genre.
I'd never played Bladestorm, the historical action/strategy title that seems to be a bit of a cult classic within the Dynasty Warriors type. It's still a bit odd that Koei Tecmo is reviving the 2007 PS3 and 360 game and that ...
Maybe it shouldn't come as much of a surprise, but the beings hanging out in the Tokyo Game Show showing of Bloodborne weren't exactly enamored by my presence. That's putting it lightly. Cautiously trekking through the village that the demo thrust me into, I quickly found out that none of them wanted to be my friend, and all of them just wanted me dead.
Some of them succeeded in their mission.
Able to select from a few different characters for the demo, I toggled between a fairly well-balanced build and one that favored agility. Rolling, blocking, and backward jumping to my heart's content, I disposed of these neighborhood crime watch suspicious suspects with relative ease. That is until they decided that group efforts would be more effective. Turns out these freaks of the night know a thing or two about efficiency and teamwork.
It's tough to get a real feel for a title like Bloodborne from a 20-minute demo without time to flesh out a unique character. I mean, it was Souls-esque with more fluid feeling controls in a setting that actually sets itself apart from the Souls series. That's grand; I'm all in. Given that it was my proper introduction to the game (I just kept missing it at other shows), what a fine first impression. But, a cheery visit and maybe a useless housewarming gift would've been a bit more inviting than death ad nauseam. I guess that's just how From Software rolls.
I adored Final Fantasy Type-0 when it first released on the PSP in Japan a few years back. It took me a whopping 75 hours to clear the game my first time, and while it undoubtedly had its fair share of problems (weird RTS sections, poor group leveling system, camera), I felt that the positives heavily outweighed the negatives. It's not secret that it's my personal favorite Final Fantasy of the last generation.
In what turned out to be a pleasant surprise, Final Fantasy Type-0 HD appeared on the TGS show floor in completely playable fashion, so I rushed over first thing to give it a look.
Say what you will about Ubisoft, but they've got a knack for trying something a little different for their DLC offerings. After the incredibly successful launch of Watch Dogs back in May, it seemed like they've been biding their time with the release of some smaller DLC packs to one of their best-selling new titles. With so much content packed in Watch Dogs, I was curious to see how a single-player campaign DLC can stack up.
But now, it seems Ubisoft felt that four months was enough for players to explore the city of Chicago as Aiden Pearce. With a new playable character, a new set of tools, and new missions to dive into; players can see the streets of Chicago through a fresh perspective, and can even bring a friend along for the ride.
When I entered BioWare's offices and had a chance to speak to the game's Executive Producer and Studio GM, I had one goal in mind -- to find out how Dragon Age: Inquisitionwas going to be more like Origins, and less like Dragon Age II.
You'd expect a lot of Molyneuxian backpedaling when confronted with the idea that the last game was a letdown in many eyes, but the responses I received were genuine, with a real concern for learning from past mistakes, and a confident assurance of the game Inquisition could really become.
There's a new game coming out based on everybody's favorite television show, Adventure Time! You know what that means right? Go on and grab your friends, because we're going to some very distant la---actually, you might want to rethink going on this adventure.
Adventure Time Game Wizard's biggest strength is in its content creator. Using the iPad camera, you can scan in any level you've drawn out on a piece of graph paper, or you can draw directly in-game. From there, you can choose a themed backdrop based on the show including the Snow Kingdom, Candy Kingdom, and others.
There's a set of simple shapes and outlines you can draw, each corresponding to a type of platform. Want a lava pit? Just make two vertical shafts with zig zags in between. Need a moving platform? Just sketch out a striped rectangle.
There are a good number of platform types you can draw and combine to create your own levels, and Game Wizard offers an intuitive guide for all the shapes you can use. They never get more complicated than what you can trace on graph paper, and even when I didn't draw perfect lines, the scanner was always capable of translating past those errors.
Confession time: I'm pretty out of the loop when it comes to the indie game scene. I love me some Nidhogg, Samurai Gunn, and Crawl, but it's not uncommon for me to have only heard about these games just before release or later. With that track record, you won't be surprised to hear that I knew nothing about Titan Souls before sitting down with it at PAX.
I am so glad that I did, though. Between the music, art, and the brilliantly challenging combat, Titan Souls is far and away one of my most anticipated releases.
After checking out The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth at PAX Prime, I spent a decent chunk of time with another upcoming Nicalis project, Castle in the Darkness. It's a challenging platform-adventure PC game that feels all too appropriate given the company's prior involvement with 1001 Spikes.
Admittedly, words like "challenging" and "difficult" get thrown around often -- too often -- when describing games that aren't afraid to test players. But good lord, Castle in the Darkness was tough. I must have died 50 times during my playthrough, and that's being conservative.
Part of that has to do with your limited health -- a few hits is enough to do you in, at least early on -- and your knight's movement, which takes getting used to. He's quick, super quick, and his initial sword attack doesn't extend very far. It was frustrating at first to come to terms with all of this, but I suspect the fast pace will feel great with sufficient practice and muscle memory.
The game's structure is exploration-based in that you'll hit switches and acquire items that will allow you to reach previously inaccessible areas. There's also going to be a ton of bosses, based on what I played. That damn owl from the trailer gave me hell. Expect gear upgrades, too.
Castle in the Darknessis rather clearly inspired by NES classics in the genre, particularly Castlevania, which I don't consider to be a negative. Maybe you do. Either way, I'd suggest getting your hands on it before casting any final judgments. Could be pretty cool at the right price.
When Epic first announced Fortnite, I was on board based on the premise of defending player-made forts from monsters. But that was a couple of years ago. Things change.
My interest had been waning up until recently, when I got to spend two hours with the "action building" game during PAX Prime. Mechanically, it's like a mix of the third-person shooting and trap-laying defense of Orcs Must Die! with the scavenging and construction of Minecraft.
Flick, flick, flick. That’s all you’ll be doing in Skullduggery. Flicking to collect treasure. Flicking to outrun bosses. Flicking to line up stealthy headshots on unsuspecting enemies. You can play the game however you want (usually) -- fast or slow; just know that you’ll be flicking the whole time. And, if the build we saw at PAX Prime is any indication, it’s a flicking good time.
Skullduggery’s a title developed for tablets that borrows liberally from the simple mechanic that Rovio (maybe) popularized. By pulling back and letting go, players launch a skull across the screen. Do this ad nauseum, and you have Skullduggery. However, instead of an interspecies vendetta against pigs, this game’s protagonist has a goal that’s much easier to empathize with: riches.
It's certainly an exciting time to be an independent game developer. With the rise of Kickstarter allowing anyone with the knowledge, the skills, and an idea to find support, we're seeing a larger breadth of games come out that try something a bit different. One such game is Neverending Nightmares, and last year Jonathan Holmes wrote up a nice post about its Kickstarter campaign.
After a few ups and downs, the Kickstarter for this evocative horror title managed to make its funding goal. With release set for September 26, the developers are finally ready to unleash their survival horror game that's far more personal than most would realize. At PAX Prime 2014, I got the chance to check out an updated build and chat with some of the talent behind the game.
It was almost surreal to be playing Persona Q in English for the first time this past week. It came out of nowhere late last year, a fantasy game mixing Persona 3 and Persona 4 characters in a new 3DS game that uses Etrian Odyssey's engine and dungeon play. I didn't believe the game was real after first hearing about it -- it sounded more like fan fiction! Now I'm playing the very first English language build, just ahead of the North American release.
Something about the video I posted on Gun Media and Mighty Rabbit's title Breach & Clear: Deadlinedidn't sit well with me. I kept thinking about it the day we ran the story.
After revisiting it that night, it still didn't hit me as to why Devolver Digital had decided to co-publish this game. I just kept feeling that I was missing something important here. So, the next day I decided to reach out to Mighty Rabbit to see if I could take a look at the game in person.
To my surprise, co-founder Josh Fairhurst was nice enough to set up an appointment for me to meet the team on Labor Day. After arriving at Mighty Rabbit's studio, I was given a hands-off walkthrough of the same gameplay segment recently shown at gamescom.
In the team's own words, Deadline is a "strategic tactical action RPG in a modern day setting, featuring Special Forces weapons, tactics, and equipment vs. horrific monsters."
From what I saw during my time with it, I'd say it could be described as having a combination of elements from Rainbow Six, Left 4 Dead,XCOM: Enemy Unknown, and a pinch of Diablo's loot grinding for good measure.
Destructoid recently caught up with the folks at Gaijin GamesChoice Provisions to check out the studio's next Bit.Trip game completely new project, Tharsis.
The turn-based strategy game follows a team of astronauts on a mission to Mars. Of course, things quickly go awry for our intrepid heroes, because nothing good ever happens in space.
An asteroid strikes the vessel carrying the explorers, which proves to be quite the problem. Fires erupt all over the ship. Objects become unfastened, transforming into deadly projectiles in a gravity-free environment. Other stuff happens too, probably. Oh, and people start dying. This certainly isn't a joyride.
They can't just go home, though. The fate of the planet hangs in the balance. It's pretty much Mars or bust. You see, there's some sort of singularity on the red planet, one that might allow someone to send a message back in time, and so the crew presses ahead, hoping to warn people in the past of impending calamity and avert disaster before it's too late.
It's no secret that gaming conventions are fertile ground for developers to try out their new creations. Back in April, Jonathan Holmes got the chance to check out SoundSelf with Robin Arnott, the creator of the unorthodox horror title Deep Sea, and saw first hand the impression it had on players. Utilizing virtual reality, players are taken for a ride through their own personal odyssey of light and sound.
During the hustle and bustle of PAX Prime, I got the chance to go on a special trip of my own, and it was clear that SoundSelf made quite a name for itself on the show floor. I also got some time to speak with Robin Arnott about his creation and the desire to create an existential experience that brings players to a state of zen and wonder.