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Gillian Pemberton

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  1. While there are whisperings of new DLC content coming soon for Mario Kart, there is practically nothing in the way of actual details of how one of the world's favorite games will be updated. If you're like me, you've unlocked all of Mario Kart 8's content (twice), alienated all of your friends, and gone back and played other Mario Kart versions just for a break. It's time for something new. That's where All-Start Fruit Racing comes in. The colorful, exciting take on the kart racing genre has cool characters, unique power-ups and weapons system, and local and online multiplayer. It's currently available for PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. The previously available Steam Early Access version has also transitioned to the full release. From PQube: "Go bananas for a jaw-dropping, lightning-fast kart racer for all ages and abilities... All-Star Fruit Racing propels players into vibrant worlds filled with incredible action: Drift through looping bends, soar over monumental jumps and defy gravity itself around tubular tracks in an explosively colorful racer bursting with championships, modes and awe-inspiring sights." All-Star Fruit Racing comes with a variety of modes, unique worlds, and kart customization options. Career Mode Pick your favorite character and battle for the first-place trophy in a full series of challenging competitions. You'll need speed and skill to win the all-important winner's prizes and bragging rights. Unlock new characters, championships and kart parts along the way. Other Modes So, you've conquered the career mode. The journey has just begun. Create Custom Championships and select between three different difficulty settings and speeds to fine-tune your challenge, or try the other modesincluding Dragster races, Hill Climbs, Elimination races, Time Attacks, and even modifier-filled modes that rewrite the rulebook. Change in Seasons Burn rubber in 21 incredible courses spread across five stunning worlds: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and Special Islands. Speed up volcanoes, around the twisting bodies of giant snakes and between kart-crushing snowballs on some of the craziest racing tracks ever imagined. Use the Juicer Bruise your foes (and their egos) by unleashing devastating fruit-based moves with the innovative Juicer power-up system. Collect different types of fruit as you race to fill up The Juicer's liquid tanks, then custom-combine your juice tanks' power to let loose a combo power-up. Will you let loose a volley of different power-ups, or save all of your fruit power until your unique Mega-Juice move's ready to help you reach first place? Multiplayer Action Don't race alone: Share the All-Star Fruit Racing fun with everyone in two, three, and four-player split-screen action. Online Play Race against others from across the globe in eight-player online showdowns; available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC editions of All-Star Fruit Racing. Online Matchmaking for Nintendo Switch coming soon! Customize Your Kart Unlock new parts as you play to help you redesign, rebuild, and choose the colors for your dream ride. It's not just about winning - it's about winning with style. The All-Star Fruit Racing Garage has more than 32,000 combinations for ultimate kart customization. Watch the launch trailer:
  2. Darksiders III, the next game in the Darksiders hack and slash adventure series, has a release date! According to THQ Nordic and developer Gunfire Games, it will be available for PS4, Xbox One, and PC on November 27th. From THQ Nordic: "Players return to an apocalyptic planet Earth and take on the role of FURY in her quest to hunt down and dispose of the Seven Deadly Sins. The Charred Council calls upon FURY to battle from the heights of heaven down through the depths of hell in a quest to restore the balance between good and evil and prove that she is the fiercest of the FOUR HORSEMEN. FURY is a mage, her form evolving throughout gameplay and with it, her powers and weaponry. The expansive Darksiders III game world is presented as an open-ended, living, free-form planet Earth, dilapidated by war and decay, and overrun by nature. FURY will traverse back and forth between environments, battling other-worldly creatures and unlocking puzzles while advancing the Darksiders story." The publisher is offering all kind of bonus loot for players that pre-order the game. Depending on whether you choose physical or digital, retailer or digital console store, and game edition, players have an array of bonus options including a discount, 24-hour early access, DLCs, and Fury Exclusive Armor DLC — a completely original skin replacing Fury’s base armor set. All players who pre-order Darksiders III at participating retailers will receive the game plus the FURY Exclusive Armor DLC, which will also be available on launch day, November 27. See pre-order options HERE . The Darksiders series has a dedicated fan base and those players who want even more can purchase either the Collector's Edition or the Apocalypse Edition, which include the game and exclusive digital and physical collectibles. Darksiders III Collector’s Edition ($149.99) Premium Box Fury Figurine about 29cm - 11" high Original Steelbook Artbook Soundtrack Darksiders III Game Exclusive Armor DLC; completely original skin replacing Fury’s base armor set (purely aesthetic, no gameplay impact) Darksiders III Apocalypse Edition ($399.99) Premium Box ~117cm - 46" Wall Scroll - Fabric print with hanger 77 x 100 - 30" x 40" 4 Figurines: Fury (~29cm 11” high), Vulgrim, War, Death (each about 25cm 10"high) Heavy weight amulet 5cm - 2" with necklace Original Steelbook Artbook Soundtrack Darksiders III Game Exclusive Armor DLC; completely original skin replacing Fury’s base armor set (purely aesthetic, no gameplay impact) The first game in the Darksiders series released in January of 2010 and was inspired by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Players control the "War" Horseman and used various handheld weapons to defeat his adversaries, with a revolver and a boomerang appearing later in the game. War is a member of "The Charred Council", which is essentially The Four Horseman, tasked with the difficult feat of brokering the end of the long, bloody war between the kingdoms of Heaven and Hell. When humanity appears on Earth, things become more complicated for the Kingdoms and The Charred Council, and a series of events finds War on present-day Earth, enmeshed in a fierce quest to gain revenge for a stark betrayal. Darksiders III is set to continue this epic series with new characters, a new story, and all of the upgrades that modern gaming has to offer.
  3. Monster Hunter fans rejoice! Earlier this year, Capcom announced that the latest game in the Monster Hunter universe would be coming to PC via Steam in the Fall of 2018. However, they recently revealed that the game would be released early, on August 9th. Monster Hunter: World originally released on January 26, 2018, to much fanfare, and in the following months, set itself apart as the best selling game in Capcom's history, which is an impressive feat. The modern take on the Monster Hunter franchise sold over 8 million copies throughout the world, and the PC release is set to increase that number. In this entry, players take on larger than life monsters in a variety of vast, living, breathing ecosystems either solo or with up to three other hunters via online co-op, complete with drop-in functionality, a first for the series. From Capcom: "In Monster Hunter: World, follow the journey of the elder dragons as they begin their once a decade migration across the sea to a land known as the New World in an event referred to by inhabitants as the Elder Crossing. As part of the Guild’s Research Commission, players must embark on a grand journey to this massive, mysterious land and uncover the secrets behind this phenomenon. As hunters set out on their quests, the Commission’s sights are set on Zorah Magdaros, a colossal elder dragon that rises from the earth like a volcano." The Monster Hunter: World PC edition is currently available for pre-order on Steam . The PC game will contain the original release, and updates and improvements that have been made to other versions of the game will be gradually applied to the PC version. Players who grab the game before the release will receive some pretty cool pre-order bonus content: Origin Set The Origin Set armor is a nostalgic must-have for series fans. This full armor set (head, chest, arms, waist, and legs) comes with enough defense to carry you through the early quests, and also features plenty of skills useful for gathering. Fair Wind Charm The Fair Wind charm carries a skill that increases your attack power, and one that adds a chance of reducing the damage you take. The charm also has a nice visual impact, as equipping it will add a glowing aura effect to your left arm! Unfortunately, despite this big release and the excitement surrounding it, Nintendo Switch players are disappointed that there are no plans to bring Monster Hunter: World to the popular hybrid console. However, there is a consolation prize in the form of Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate, the follow-up to Monster Hunter Generations. Generation and Generations Ultimate are considered "classic" Monster Hunter games, marketed towards long-time fans of the game with an understanding of the game, play style, and lore. This is a direct contrast to Monster Hunter: World, which turned the franchise on its head with much more modern gaming and seamless multiplayer features, bringing in a whole new legion of fans who may or may not have played any of the previous games. Watch the new Monster Hunter: World trailer:
  4. On July 10, Outright Games released Hotel Transylvania 3: Monsters Overboard, based on Sony Pictures Animation’s film Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation. The new game is now available on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. It's a lighthearted family game, perfect for families and kids of all ages, especially fans of the popular Hotel Transylvania movie and game franchise. “We are pleased to release Hotel Transylvania 3: Monsters Overboard today and think fans will love continuing the story of Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, which hits theaters this week as well,” says Terry Malham, CEO of Outright Games. “This new game is a great way to keep the summer fun going all year long.” Unlike many games that release in conjunction with or following a movie, Monsters Overboard doesn't follow the story of the movie, though it can be seen as a follow-up and continuation of the main story. But, like Summer Vacation, it's a "fish out of water" tale for the Hotel Transylvania cast. When a huge, mysterious storm strikes, Dracula, Mavis, and the rest are washed up the Lost Islands. Like the name, if you're trapped there then you're, well, lost . The Islands are populated with strange, but loveable creatures called Impa, who aren't there to hurt you, but rather, are willing to help! Players must form a team of Impas and accompany them on dangerous missions to save missing monsters Frankenstein, Murray the mummy, and Wayne the werewolf. Along the way, discover new Impa varieties like Frankenimpa, Wolfimpa, and more. You'll need their help and skills to fight frightening enemies, discover hidden treasure, and hopefully save the day. Suitable for children that are fans of the Hotel Transylvania franchise, Monsters Overboard isn't likely to be particularly challenging or gritty. But, backed by a first-class game studio and of course, Sony Pictures Entertainment, it's sure to be a fun, entertaining, and well-produced game. "Hotel Transylvania 3: Monsters Overboard is the perfect companion to Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation,” says Jamie Stevens, EVP Worldwide Consumer Products at Sony Pictures Entertainment. “We are excited for fans to dive into a new monster adventure, explore Drac’s extraordinary world and make new friends along the way!” From Outright Games: Have fun with Drac’s Pack Enter the spooky fun world of Hotel Transylvania and meet all your favorite Frankenhomies from Johnny, Frank and Dennis, to sea captain Ericka from the new film. With stunning visuals and humor faithful to the franchise, you’ll laugh your way through your very own monster adventure. Meet a lovable new team of friends The Impa are at your command! These curious little creatures will follow where you lead and do what you ask. And when you combine the abilities of the bat-like Vampa, digging Wolfimpa, super-strong Frankenimpa and others, you can solve the toughest puzzles and beat fearsome enemies. There’s more to explore Perfect your Impa strategies and go deeper into the mysterious Lost Islands to discover hidden treasures, secret boss battles and new shortcuts. The ghoulish fun doesn’t stop! Watch the official trailer:
  5. 2K announced today that the upcoming WWE 2K19 wrestling game will include none other than Olympic medalist, feature film actress, UFC® Hall of Famer, and current WWE® Superstar, “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey®. Ronda has shocked wrestling fans as of late with a surprise Royal Rumble® 2018 appearance and blockbuster WrestleMania® 34 debut match, so it makes sense that one of the most recognizable women in the WWE universe is included in their upcoming flagship game. “From an Olympic tatami to the UFC Octagon to the WWE ring, Ronda is a one-of-a-kind athlete and incredible ambassador for career and life empowerment,” said Chris Snyder, Vice President of Marketing at 2K. “Her discipline, determination, and attitude toward accomplishing her goals and silencing her critics make her the perfect embodiment of WWE 2K19’s ‘Never Say Never’ global marketing campaign. We are thrilled to welcome Ronda to the WWE 2K family and can’t wait to see what’s in store for her in the years to come.” Ronda Rousey is not the first person in the WWE ring to carry the "Rowdy" name, which comes with a long history. Rowdy Roddy Piper is one of the most famous names in wrestling history and Ronda takes to the ring in Roddy Piper inspired signature gear, in real life and in the game. She's proud of her connection to the "Rowdy" legacy: “As a WWE Superstar, having support from the Piper family means everything to me,” said Ronda Rousey. “It’s an honor to be part of WWE 2K19 and have my name mentioned alongside so many important Superstars in WWE history, including Rey Mysterio, Kurt Angle®, Ultimate Warrior®, Sting™ and Goldberg™.” It seems that the Piper family is happy to have Ronda in their ranks, as well: “Anybody can call themselves ‘Rowdy’, but it takes a special, talented and dedicated individual to live up to the ‘Rowdy’ name,” said Colt Toombs, son of “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. “My dad saw it in Ronda, and so do we. She is truly ‘Rowdy to the core,’ and that mindset really comes through in the trailer for WWE 2K19.” Rousey and former WWE Champion Rey Mysterio will be available as bonus content for players that pre-order the game at participating retailers. WWE 2K19 is currently scheduled for worldwide release on October 9, 2018, with Early Access players receiving their copies and in-game bonuses beginning four days early on October 5, 2018. WWE 2K19 will be available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. The WWE 2K19 Deluxe Edition includes Early Access, Season Pass digital content, and pre-order bonus digital content (playable Rey Mysterio “Royal Rumble 2018” character and playable Ronda Rousey “WrestleMania 34/Roddy Piper-inspired” character). The Collector's Edition includes Deluxe Edition content plus premium packaging, exclusive physical collectibles, and Limited Edition WWE SuperCard content. Last night's WWE Monday Night Raw featured 2K’s global pre-order trailer for WWE 2K19, marking Ronda's impressive entrance and rise in the WWE, with the popular video game being a major development in her career. Watch the trailer:
  6. Any time is a good time to be terrified. Thanks to SODESCO, Team Junkfish's acclaimed first-person survival horror game, Monstrum , will be available on soon on PS4 and Xbox One — it's been on PC since 2015, with regular updates. At this point, it's developed into a successful game with a following of loyal fans, and that trend won't be slowing anytime soon. While longtime players and fans are likely to buy the newest versions of the game, the jump to consoles will bring in all new players. Since its release, Monstum has sold more than 100,000 copies and earned a 90% review percentage on Steam, which is no small feat. It sets itself apart as a procedurally generated game, meaning that each game is different than the last. Players may be able to master certain strategies as they play, but the will never be able to conquer it in the same way as a game that remains constant. This provides a unique challenge for gamers looking for something fresh and exciting every time they pick up the controller. Players are trapped on an extremely creepy abandoned freighter that they must escape, but its as if the ship itself is a shapeshifter, changing with each playthrough. From SODESCO: "Monstrum is procedurally generated, so in each playthrough, players will face new fears and will have to invent new tactics. The goal of the game is to escape an abandoned cargo ship, infested by one of three daunting monsters called the Brute, the Fiend, and the Hunter. Each monster has its own behavior and requires a distinct approach. This, combined with the fact that the arena is different every time, makes Monstrum a unique experience with every playthrough." Game features: Survive a different environment and monster each time you play. Use whatever you can find to outwit the monsters and escape the ship. Stay alive or start all over again. Good luck. Start running. Hide, distract and run, but be careful not to fall into the numerous traps. Players will have to think quickly and use all of the tools available if they wish to survive their harrowing escape. Unfortunately, it is impossible to get out with just your wits, so you may have to venture further in to the ship to find the supplies necessary. Sometimes you can distract the monster at hand with a tool or item or hide in hopes that they slide by. But, no matter how carefully you plan, the monster is bound to get the better of you, eventually. So you start again, on a different ship with a different map. Even when the monster isn't nearby, the frightening atmosphere will follow you everywhere, distracting you until you lose focus and fall into one of the ship's many traps. Monstrum already looks fantastic on PC, but it's certain that every aspect of the game will be optimized for its upcoming console release. It's currently available on Steam and can be used with Oculus Rift VR technology. Console release coming soon! Watch the gameplay trailer:
  7. 2D platformers like The Lost Vikings were the stars of the Super Nintendo era. While several games have attempted to replicate the challenging, yet humorous and entertaining gameplay experience, none have quite lived up to the task — until Grave Danger. With quirky characters and a hero's quest as the backdrop, Grave Danger's charming modern graphics and mechanics bring a popular retro game genre back to the forefront. The colorful worlds, thoughtful puzzling adventure, and uniquely talented playable characters are highlights, but desirable features like drop-in co-op play add another layer to the game. It's necessary for each character to perform to their particular strengths in order to be successful and it's absolutely possible for a single player to switch between them and complete the game. However, up to two additional players can join at any time and control their favorite. This type of casual co-op plays exceptionally well on consoles, especially the Nintendo Switch, which is designed to be portable and play well in a social setting. Though Grave Danger has been around for a little while, it's current edition, which released in late June of this year, should perform well on the indie-friendly Switch. From Spotted Shark Studio: "Players will enjoy an action-packed adventure game about an unlikely group of heroes. Switch between Dante the cowboy, Elliot the wizard, and Malice the reaper; use their different abilities to solve puzzles and make their way out of trouble. Will you be able to guide them to victory? Enjoy single player or co-op in order to solve puzzles! Enlist your friends to control all three characters locally, utilizing them to their maximum potential. If you can't play with a friend or want the completely single player experience, that's fine too; the game will be completely playable in either mode." Game Features: Ultimate Edition with 10 new levels! Mind-challenging puzzles! Beautifully crafted worlds. Local Co-op, have a friend join in at any time! Switch between three unique and quirky characters. Challenge yourself with time-trial and perfect level runs. "Grave Dangers gameplay is about utilizing each character's unique abilities to solve puzzles. The player will switch between these characters and master their movements and attacks, guiding our heroes further into the story. Manage your party and keep everyone alive. Nobody likes a dead teammate. Don't leave your heroes unattended in a dangerous spot or they might get beat up! Teamwork is essential in Grave Danger. Each character must pull their weight and traverse the world to safety. Dante the cowboy is capable of climbing vertical walls. Malice the reaper can float horizontally across chasms and through narrow and dangerous areas. Elliot the wizard has magical elevation and can jump again once in mid-air." Grave Danger is available for PC, PS4, and Nintendo Switch. Watch the trailer:
  8. As a heat wave grips the United States and much of the entire world, people are flocking to pools and water parks, hoping to find some relief from the oppressively high temperatures. Here in the South, where we're used to hot temps and soggy humidity, we're better prepared for the heat. Everyone knows that powerful air conditioning is a must during the Summer months. So, even though it's way too hot to go outside, my house is comfortably cool, and I'm happy to stay inside and play video games all day. Steam may not have been able to predict the heat wave that has everyone sitting inside, even on July 4th, but they know that Summer means hot days and kids home from school. So, it's time for their much-anticipated Summer Sale. Steam often has excellent sales with huge discounts throughout the year, but this one knocks the prices down on a ton of games, from indie titles to some of the biggest games and franchises available. If you've been waiting for the price to drop to purchase a particular game, now is your chance. Hurry up, the sale ends on July 5! Here's just a sample of the games discounted in Steam's 'Intergalactic Summer Sale Finale': Rocket League The weirdly popular 'soccer with cars' physics-based competition game is 50% off, and at $9.99, it's a steal! I was skeptical about it at first, but it's a lot of fast-paced fun! "A futuristic Sports-Action game, Rocket League®, equips players with booster-rigged vehicles that can be crashed into balls for incredible goals or epic saves across multiple, highly-detailed arenas. Now with a full single-player experience." Player Unkown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) It only seems like everyone is playing Fortnite. PUBG is still going strong with its 100 player Batte Royale format. It's discounted 33% and is only $19.99. "PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS is a battle royale shooter that pits 100 players against each other in a struggle for survival. Gather supplies and outwit your opponents to become the last person standing." The Forest As a fan of survival and horror games, The Forest is at the top of my 'need to play' list. I haven't gotten to it, yet, but I'm anxious to dig into this gritty experience. It's 33% off for the duration of the sale. "As the lone survivor of a passenger jet crash, you find yourself in a mysterious forest battling to stay alive against a society of cannibalistic mutants. Build, explore, survive in this terrifying first person survival horror simulator." Stellaris Explore space and employ the best strategy as you establish your space empire. 60% off! "Explore a vast galaxy full of wonder! Paradox Development Studio, makers of the Crusader Kings and Europa Universalis series presents Stellaris, an evolution of the grand strategy genre with space exploration at its core." DRAGON BALL FighterZ DRAGON BALL FighterZ has quickly risen to the top as one of the most successful fighting games. I didn't understand what all the fuss was about — then I played the game. At just $35.99, now is the time to grab what is arguably one of the best games of the year. "DRAGON BALL FighterZ is born from what makes the DRAGON BALL series so loved and famous: endless spectacular fights with its all-powerful fighters." There's a lot more on sale, including some of the biggest game franchises like Total War, Tomb Raider, Elder Scrolls, Civilization, Rainbow Six, Assassin's Creed, Fallout, Final Fantasy, and much more!
  9. Square Enix and DONTNOD Entertainment have just shared some exciting news — Life Is Strange 2, the third game in the Life Is Stange series is due out this fall, on September 27th. Though we have very little info about the game, it appears to be a follow-up to the events of Life Is Strange, and will be comprised of a full five episodes. It's been a long time since I visited with these characters and experienced the heartbreak and brilliantly compelling story of the original game. This just shot straight to the top of my list of fall games. Watch the release date reveal: Life Is Strange 2 follows Life Is Strange and the three-episode prequel, Life Is Strange: Before the Storm. Life Is Strange is an episodic style adventure game that allows players to reverse time through the game. It's primarily a game based on choice, so often, those mechanics are used to see how your choices affect the outcome. When faced with an important dilemma, you can play the choices, rewind time, and go back and change your decision. Then, you choose the one you want. Still, your ultimate choice in each situation has a huge impact on the outcome of the game and even life and death. In a few instances, time travel is needed to solve a few puzzles and progress through the game. Some players choose to do a single play-through with no rewinds until absolutely necessary. However, even if a player chooses to rewind and explore every option, there is still replay value as your outcome will change with different choices. At the very beginning, I was unsure as to whether I would enjoy the time travel mechanic. I like the idea of simply having to make a choice and accepting the consequences. But, as I played through the game, I absolutely loved it and the unique ways in which it could be used. In so many instances, knowing the outcomes made the choice more meaningful and impactful. While the choice mechanic could be seen as gimmicky, whether you liked it or not, it never detracted from the fact that this is a brilliant game. The characters and storyline are beyond exceptional and I can think of very few other games that have been so emotional, engaging, and stunningly executed. If you haven't played it yet, Life Is Strange is currently heavily discounted on Steam. The complete season (episodes 1-5) is only $4.99 and episode one is always free to play. It's available for PC, PS4, and Xbox One. The second game in the Life Is Strange series, Before The Storm, is a prequel to the original game. It consists of three episodes and is set three years before the original game. Play as Chloe Price and explore the origins of Chloe and Rachel's friendship, an integral part of Life Is Strange. Before the Storm does not use the time travel mechanic. Life Is Strange: Before The Storm is currently on sale for $8.49 until July 5th.
  10. I can see that. Fortunately, the second game wasn't really necessary, since it just tell's Chloe and Rachel's story. I think the next game will be back to the mechanics, story, and characters of the original game.
  11. It has been twenty years since the first Harvest Moon game was released, and to celebrate, Natsume and Rising Star Games released the most immersive game in the Harvest Moon series, while staying true to the legacy of the franchise and its fans. Harvest Moon: Light of Hope features the familiar gameplay and style of previous games, but adds new features, more depth to the story and characters, and a "retro plus" graphics style. The Harvest Moon games are lighthearted and family-friendly games but maintain a strong adult following, especially among fans who have played all or at least some of the many games throughout the years. Players keep coming back for the familiar gameplay that is more casual than challenging. However, they are addictive, playable, and incredibly charming. More than just a farming sim, Harvest Moon titles, including Light of Hope, have a story, goals, and the opportunity to foster and grow relationships with NPCs. The popular franchise has even led to imitators like the much-loved Stardew Valley. The newest game in the series is hoping to keep up with modern gaming by offering new features. Light of is the first Harvest Moon game to include co-op play, via Soleil, the gem sprite, who can be controlled by a secondary player for cooperative farming and adventuring. The Special Edition also features a Season Pass that includes all four DLCs, which are also available for individual purchase. Over the years, many Harvest Moon games have been released on mobile consoles like the Nintendo DS line of systems and they lend themselves particularly well a portable format. They are great games to just pick up and play when you have a few free minutes to spare, though they can be difficult to put down once you get started. Fortunately, though Light of Hope is also available for PS4, it is the first Harvest Moon for the Nintendo Switch, continuing a long tradition of portable games — but this one is expansive enough to warrant home console play, as well. From Rising Star Games: In Harvest Moon: Light of Hope, players begin the game as they set out looking for a fresh start and new surroundings. During their voyage, their ship is hit by a monsoon and goes down. As they drift into a small harbor town, now in a shambles from the storm, it will be up to the player to help rebuild the town and save the lighthouse...but it won't be easy! Nevertheless, with some hard work growing crops, tending livestock, and gathering materials for repairs, players will be able to make new friends, start a family, revive the lighthouse, and save the town! "Harvest Moon: Light of Hope will set itself apart from other Harvest Moon titles with its depth, including a robust story and clear-cut goals," said Hiro Maekawa, President & CEO of Natsume, upon the release of the much-anticipated game. "We set out to create a SNES-style nostalgic game with deep and meaningful characters and events, and we are excited to have our fans play it at E3 and tell us what they think!" Harvest Moon: Light of Hope Special Edition is available for Nintendo Switch and PS4. Watch the trailer:
  12. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is currently in development, but publisher 505 Games is offering higher-level Kickstarter backers a chance to play the game's demo, which was revealed to industry insiders at E3. “E3 is one of the biggest game shows in the world, and it was a valuable experience to show off the newest content in Bloodstained and gather feedback from the industry friends and colleagues we invited to play the demo,” said Koji Igarashi, creator of Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. “Now we’re ready to share the newest content and features with our great community of backers so we can source their input as well, which is immensely helpful to us as we continue on our journey toward launch.” Kickstarter backers at the $60 level and above can access a digital download of the beta demo on Steam for PC. The demo features new content and enemy previews, as well as an introduction to some of the NPCs and a deeper understanding of the story and quests. Players are put on a sailing ship being knocked about in stormy seas before they pass through a village and into a dark castle area. There's a bit to explore, characters to meet, and an introduction to alchemy and crafting via a visit to shopkeeper and exorcist, Dominique. From 505 Games: "This imaginative, side-scrolling game is the latest opus from the renowned Koji Igarashi, godfather of the “Igavania” genre of gothic, exploration-focused action platformers. Initially revealed on Kickstarter with a goal of $500,00 USD, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night went on to become one of the most funded games on the platform, with more than $5.5 million pledged by fans eager for its creation. Set in the late 18th century England, an era when people’s lives changed dramatically with the ushering in of the Industrial Revolution, Bloodstained tells the story of Miriam, an orphan scarred by an alchemist’s demonic curse, which is slowly turning her skin to crystal. As the curse matures, Miriam drifts into a mysterious coma and awakens ten years later as a castle appears, and Hell is resurrected. Now, she must travel to the castle to hunt and kill its summoner, Gebel, battling his demons as she searches for a way to stop the curse." The full edition promises lots of features that players can't wait to get their hands on: - Addictingly tight and satisfying gameplay alongside a rich new story in the gothic dark fantasy style of Koji Igarashi, the celebrated godfather of "Igavania" games. - A game soundtrack by genre and industry veteran Michiru Yamane, performed by a full live orchestra ensemble. - Story cutscenes and NPC interactions fully voice acted by a star-studded cast, including actors like David Hayter, Ray Chase and Erica Lindbeck to name just a few. - A total of three playable characters, two of which have yet to be revealed. - A huge selection of weapons and spells, which you can upgrade, level up, and visually customize. - Beautiful 2.5D graphics: 3D models crafted with a lot of love and care on a 2D game environment. That means lots of cool tricks that "regular" 2D can't do. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is in development for PS4, PS Vita, Nintendo Switch, PC, and Xbox One. Watch the latest trailer:
  13. At the beginning of the month, Bandai Namco announced the DRAGON BALL Fighterz World Tour — a premier fighting game tournament series. The first stop on the tour is this weekend at the CEO Fighting Game Championships in Daytona Beach, Florida. Player registration for the event is closed, but plenty of fans can't wait to see who the best DRAGON BALL FighterZ in the world are as the World Tour shapes up. The DRAGON BALL FighterZ World Tour will feature seven main “Saga Event” stops. The first five are; CEO Fighting Game Championships (USA), VS Fighting (United Kingdom), Ultimate Fighting Arena (France), Thunderstruck (Mexico), Southeast Asia Major (Singapore). The final two tour stops have yet to be announced. No need to travel to watch the best FighterZ players in the world go head to head — fans can catch all the action live on the World Tour’s official Twitch channel. “The passion from fans all around the world continues to make DRAGON BALL FighterZ a huge success and we want to reward their extremely valuable support by creating the first ever worldwide tournament on a DRAGON BALL video game,” said Hervé Hoerdt, Vice President of Marketing and Digital at BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Europe. “With the DRAGON BALL FighterZ - World Tour, the best players across the globe will have the opportunity to compete against each other to determine the strongest of all.” This tour has an interesting format, with players participating at all seven events with the goal of becoming the Grand Champion at the Tour's conclusion. At the designated Saga Events, players compete for the seven Dragon Balls. The more balls that a player wins, the higher their seed at the finals of the tour. In addition, the finals will feature a last chance qualifier system culminating in an eight-man double elimination bracket competition. There are a few caveats, particularly in the event that a single player wins all seven events/Dragon Balls. That player will receive an automatic slot in the "Grand Finals" or championship match in the tour — this means that they are automatically guaranteed at least a second-place finish. Their challenger is the winner of what has become an open bracket event in this particular scenario. The challenger and the player possessing all seven balls compete in a first-to-ten set for the title of Grand Champion. In short, the number of Dragon Balls held by a single person will have an effect on the number of last chance qualifier tournament spots. Each new winner of a regular Saga Event earns a Dragon Ball and a slot to the finals. If the winner has won before, the next unqualified player gets a ticket to the finals. It's hard to know how the actual tournament will play out, but this format guarantees an exciting competition and eventual outcome. It's only a matter of time before we know who the best DRAGON BALL FighterZ in the world are. DRAGON BALL FighterZ is a fighting game based on the DRAGON BALL universe and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment. It's available for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. A Nintendo Switch version is due out this fall.
  14. As Season 4 begins to wind down, the Fortnite updates are coming fast and furious. They may not have the flash and excitement of the Battle Pass and major update announcements, but Epic Games is quietly implementing some major changes into the game. First, and perhaps most importantly, Epic has announced that they are making updates to accommodate different play styles and counterplay. One of the aspects that makes Fortnite unique is its building aspect. However, it's also what limits varying play styles and strategies, especially when a Battle Royale match is down to the last few players. Matches are often won by building a large, elaborate structure and killing off your enemy with a powerful weapon from the safety of your fort. It's a good strategy but can also get boring and repetitive. In an effort to keep players interested with more than just new skins, emotes, and novelty weapons, Epic is changing the game to encourage a wider range of play styles and more opportunities to win a Battle Royale match in different ways. They haven't been too specific about what changes they are making, but it's great to see that they're expanding the game this way. From Epic Games: "Fortnite is constantly evolving. Our goal with any changes is to keep the game fun and interesting, keeping it feeling fresh and new. It’s important to support a variety of late game strategies, that don’t boil down to “just build lol”. We strongly believe that the evolution of Fortnite supports a wide range of play styles and counterplay. Currently, the superiority of shotguns, rockets, and uncapped building are such a dominant play style in the final circle that most other strategies are being drowned out. RECENT & UPCOMING CHANGES We have made a few changes recently -- and will continue to make more -- to give you options to counter other players in combat, especially in the late game. We are exploring changes to weapon balance and resource economy, like e.g. resource caps. MOVING FORWARD So, where does this leave us? You should be able to find Victory Royales through multiple strategies. Shotguns should be strong, but other weapons have room to grow. Not every encounter should have to end in a build-off. We want to empower you to showcase your skill, strategy, and tactics in all variety of ways." New Weapon — Stink Bomb New Limited Time 'Playground' Mode With changes in overall gameplay coming, it's important to have a place to practice new strategies. Last month, Epic announced the 'Playground' mode, which appears to be a precursor to a permanent creative mode that may be added later this year. It replaces the current limited time mode which consists of battling in five teams of twenty. It should arrive sometime today; when I check in a little while ago, it wasn't live, yet. Playground is a custom game mode that allows you to play on a private island with your squad and experiment with new strategy, combat, and building techniques. It's non-competitive and stats won't be recorded, so you can explore and build at will. In the past, creative modes have allowed players to erect some really cool structures, so be prepared to see some amazing creativity. Players can explore the map without fear of being knocked out by a kill shot. You might be able to get your hands on that cool epic weapon you've always wanted or perhaps hone your skills with your favorite weapon. Friendly fire is turned on in Playground mode so you can practice combat with your friends, but you'll respawn when killed. Essentially, you can use your limited time however you like — build a statue to the Fortnite gods, duel with your friends and devise original game modes with your own set of rules, and explore as much as you like. And there will be llamas... lots of llamas!
  15. Having played many LEGO games over the years, I had developed the opinion that these games were for kids. That didn't mean that I didn't play them and enjoy their charming mix of humor, story, and super simple gameplay and mechanics, but I recognized that these were not the games to grab when I was searching for a challenge. So, when I was given a copy of LEGO Marvel Superheroes for Christmas, I started it up thinking I was in for a relaxing experience. What I discovered instead was a fully-fledged Marvel game, with the signature LEGO humor, but also a visually fantastic adventure with amazing worlds, challenging puzzles, and exciting combat. My hope is that Warner Bros. latest LEGO game title is more of the same. From Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment: “LEGO® Disney•Pixar's The Incredibles brings together all the unforgettable characters, action and humor of the Incredibles films in an imaginative LEGO® world of non-stop adventure,” said Tom Stone, Managing Director, TT Games Publishing. “Players will undertake an epic journey across action-packed levels from both movies as they guide the superpowered Parrs in their quest to fight crime, while surviving family life.” “Players will enjoy the teamwork involved in solving the creative, co-operative challenges in LEGO® Disney•Pixar's The Incredibles,” said Sean William McEvoy, VP, Digital Games & Apps, The LEGO® Group. “Friends and family can use team-up moves and a range of superpowers, from Elastigirl’s transformations to Dash’s lightning-fast speed, unleashing the heroes’ impressive abilities to overcome any tricky situation.” “New threats, new villains and new family drama await players in LEGO® Disney•Pixar's The Incredibles,” said Lisa Anderson, VP, Games, Disney. “Fans will explore their favorite locations from the first film, as they battle Syndrome on Nomansian Island and discover new exotic destinations such as the mysterious New Urbem.” One of the great features of these games is the co-op mode that makes it fairly seamless for other players to jump in and out of a game. Solo play is fun and satisfying, but playing with a friend is extra entertainment. And, it's a great opportunity for parents to play with their kids, as the second player doesn't need to be incredibly skilled. In the Incredibles, co-op play is highlighted, as each member of the family has their own strengths and weaknesses that can benefit players. The Incredible also boasts a "hub world", featuring a series of "Crime Wave" missions with different objectives and Boss Battles with recognizable characters such as The Underminer and Bomb Voyage. Players must stamp out the crime waves to unlock accessories and easter eggs. The Edna "E" Mode allows players to modify their characters' abilities and physical appearance. While the LEGO games don't come with gritty action and thought-provoking storylines, they do offer a moment of respite from a world that can be just a little too ugly at times. A colorful, immersive game that centers on wholesome fun and fighting crime and injustice just might be what we all need right now. LEGO Disney Pixar The Incredibles is available for PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. Watch the official launch trailer:
  16. Like usual, events and updates to Fortnite Battle Royale and Save The World are coming fast and furious. With the release of Season 4, we moved on from space and into the world of superheroes and villains. The Battle Pass available for 950 in-game V-Bucks, or roughly $10 and offers the opportunity to complete challenges and reap the rewards. Rewards are available to Free Pass and Battle Pass members, but of course, some rewards are only for paying players. Rewards include V-Bucks, gliders, and more. Season 4 means map changes brought about by a comet, 100 tiers of new rewards, including new cosmetic items, emotes, and Sprays. The Weekly Challenges reset with the start of Season 4; the weeks have flown by and Week 3 Challenges are now the focus. The Week 3 Challenges are: Deal damage with pistols to opponents (0/500) Search chests in Lonely Lodge (0/7) Search Rubber Duckies (0/10) Follow the Treasure Map found in Salty Springs (0/1)(HARD) Sniper Rifle Eliminations (0/2)(HARD) Eliminate opponents in Tilted Towers (0/3)(HARD) Revive players (0/5) (HARD) This week, Epic Games released the 4.2 update, with patches, improvements, a couple of new weapons, and for Save The World players, the Item Perk Recombobulator. For full update and patch notes, click HERE. Let's start with the highlights of the update: First off, the *new* Epic and Legendary Burst Assault Rifles Can be found in Floor Loot, Treasure Chests, Supply Drops, and Vending Machines. The Epic version does 32 damage while the Legendary does 33 damage. It uses Medium Ammo and has the same damage fall-off ranges of other Assault Rifles. 4.2 also offers a new foraged item — apples, which are scattered around the map. Eating an apple gives 5 health. Bugs have been fixed, standard gamepad configuration is now called 'Old School', and the Suppressed Machine Gun's damage has been increased by 3. In 4.2 Save The World Players get and new weapon, the Quad Launcher, and the addition of the Item Perk Recombobulator, a way for players to customize their items to suit their play style. From Epic Games: "The Perk Recombobulator is unlocked when you complete Plankerton Storm Shield Defense 2. At that point, a sequence of two side-quests will become available that, upon completion, reward you with a large number of brand new resources to use in the Perk Recombobulator. Be sure to complete these quests to get a head-start with your item customization! To access the Perk Recombobulator, visit the item upgrade screen, and navigate to the new ‘Modify Perks’ option." Finally, in addition to the improvements and upgrades included in 4.2, Epic has announced a New Limited Time Mode called the Solo Showdown in Battle Royale. Solo Showdown is unique in that it doesn't change how you play the current Solo Mode. Players who want to compete live in the "ultimate test of survival" must enter the contest by May 21 (the contest is open from May 17-May 20), and your first 50 matches in the Solo Showdown mode will be tracked and how you place will determine your rewards at the end of the event. With countless high-level players out there, it will be a challenge to reach the top 100 needed to earn the big rewards, but anyone who enters and completes 50 matches will earn a Spray. Here are the rewards: 1st Place: 50,000 V-bucks 2nd - 4th Place: 25,000 V-Bucks 5th – 50th Place: 13,500 V-bucks 51st – 100th Place: 7,500 V-bucks Getting started in Fortnite, Battle Royale or Save The World, can be a daunting experience, with such a huge array of game options, weapons, cosmetics, and contests. However, with so many options, there's something for everyone to enjoy. I recommend choosing a mode you like, focusing on it, and building a collection of in-game items that suit your tastes and play style. Stay tuned to GameNader for more Fortnite news.
  17. Way back in 2016, an enormous amount of hype surrounded an upcoming Sci-Fi game, titled No Man's Sky. It promised a game that would delight fans of classic science fiction, as well as players of exploration and survival games. Upon its release, we were to be gifted with a revolutionary open-world gaming experience in the form of the best game of the year. Except it wasn't. Players would travel to distant galaxies, encountering unique lifeforms and planets, as they chose the type of player they wished to be. But, it turned out to be boring, overly complicated, and expensive. Perhaps it was a case of too high expectations, or it may have just been a legitimate failure. Like most flops, the game faded into the background as bigger, newer games were released. We may have forgotten about No Man's Sky, but the developers and a small handful of players didn't. In fact, the game has been continually changing with the major updates Foundation, Pathfinder, and Atlas Rises, along with many smaller patches. Basebuilding, vehicles, and even a new storyline and mission system were added. Players agree that long after its release, the game is finally starting to become the game it should have been. Now, Hello Games has announced the biggest update yet, due out this summer. The upcoming update, called 'NEXT' will not only bring No Man's Sky to Xbox One but will also add multiplayer. The major update is free for existing players and the Xbox One version will include all previous updates. “Multiplayer completely changes the No Man’s Sky experience, it’s emergent, fun and intense in ways we always wanted it to be. I’m so happy this is finally happening,” said Sean Murray, founder, Hello Games. “It is genuinely exciting to be able to fully realize the potential so many people could see in No Man’s Sky. This will be our biggest update yet and we’re pumped to be bringing Xbox players along on the journey with us now too.” Since its release, No Man's Sky has been on a quiet upward trajectory, but the release of 'NEXT' is a rebirth of the game and will hopefully bring new players, drawn in by a promising multiplayer experience: Explore the infinite universe with your friends, or bump into random travelers. As you voyage together, friends will help you stay alive, or prey on others to survive. Build bases from tiny shelters to complex colonies that you create as a team and can be seen by the community. Be a pirate or a wingman in epic space battles with friends and foes. Race exocraft across weird alien terrains, create tracks to share online. I had a lot of hope for No Man's Sky when it first released, and I will admit that I'm excited about it all over again, if cautiously. However, the developer has an uphill battle as they attempt to remake the game into the hit it could have been and overcome the game's negative reputation. I want nothing more than for them to succeed, and for this to be the brilliant game we were all so anxious to play from the beginning. No Man's Sky is currently available on PC and PS4. It will launch on Xbox One on Tuesday, July 24 in North America, and Friday, July 27 in Europe. The 'NEXT' update will launch simultaneously for PC and PS4 players. What do you think? Will you be playing No Man's Sky this time around? We'd love to hear from you!
  18. The most recent installment of the AAA franchise, Call of Duty, took us back to the game's roots and put players in the midst of World War II. But, it’s time to move on and Activision has announced the newest installment in the Call of Duty series, Black Ops IIII. We’re not entirely sure why it’s titled Black Ops IIII and not Black Ops IV, but I can assure you that it’s not a typo. Here's everything we know so far: Black Ops 4 is set between Black Ops 2 and Black Ops 3, so it’s a modern game that takes place in the near future. That means modern weapons and advanced, or at least current technology. Speaking of weapons, Black Ops 4 employs an all-new weapons attachment and a modding system that will benefit players that like to pick their favorite weapon and stick with it. Investing the time to master your weapon of choice will be a necessity. There are other, seemingly small game changes that are likely to have a big impact on overall gameplay. Most notably, healing is no longer automatic. Players must use a dedicated button to instigate healing, leaving themselves vulnerable. There will also be a medic class that specializes in healing. The popular Pick 10 system is also returning to the game, to the delight of many players. In addition, Black Ops 4 offers some major changes in the overall experience. First, and perhaps most notably, the single-player campaign has been nixed completely in this installment and the multi-player game has expanded with Battle Royale style competition, titled Blackout. Blackout features the largest map ever in a Call of Duty game, 1,500 times larger than Nuketown. Clearly, the game’s developers are looking to tap into the overwhelmingly popular Battle Royale market. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Call of Duty's Zombies, the game has expanded the on the concept. At launch, there will be three fully realized zombie experiences: IX, Voyage of Despair, and Blood of the Dead. Black Ops 4 Zombies features new systems for creating and completing community challenges, social systems designed to connect players, as well as the popular Easter eggs. Difficulty levels and in-game tutorials have been reintroduced to the zombie universe. Finally, the PC version of Black Ops 4 is being fully optimized for Battle.net, thanks to co-developers Treyarch and Beenox’s collaboration with Blizzard. An uncapped frame rate, 4K resolution and HDR, and easy customization for each player’s hardware, as well as Battle.net’s social systems, security, and server stability are thanks to this partnership. “Black Ops 4 is by far the most ambitious title our team has ever created,” said Dan Bunting, Co-Studio Head, Treyarch. “At its core, Black Ops has always been about challenging convention and boldly taking our gameplay in new directions. With Black Ops 4, we’ve designed an experience for all play styles and skill levels from casual to competitive. It brings a layer of tactical depth that rewards players for mastery, and just feels so good to play.” Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is coming October 12, 2018. Watch the Call Of Duty Black Ops 4 multiplayer reveal trailer:
  19. We’ve covered a few popular virtual reality games here at Gamenader. Dead Ground: Arena and Arizona Sunshine are both excellent games with lots in common. They have different but well-realized virtual reality gameplay, action-packed FPS mechanics, and lots of zombies. These games lend are a perfect fit for the virtual reality gaming landscape, but it turns out there’s more to VR than gruesome violence against the murderous undead. Sea of Memories and Paper Valley are two new VR games coming to the Steam Store in June. There are no zombies, no shooting, and no life or death survival situations. It’s just you, your VR headset, and beautiful, immersive landscapes and puzzles. After all of that murdering, a more casual experience is a welcome respite. Coming June 1st to Steam is Sea of Memories, a visually stunning optical illusion puzzler. Use creative thinking to tackle 100 puzzles with no apparent structure or logic. Move the primary object and find the perfect angle to reveal the puzzle’s solution, discovering increasingly challenging puzzles as the game progresses. Allow yourself to be swept away in the peaceful atmosphere, complete with original soundtrack and sound effects. 100 puzzle levels based on optical illusions. Original soundtrack. Unique graphics and setting. Simple and mechanical control for relaxed gaming. Compatible with HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Windows Mixed Reality. Next up is Paper Valley. At some point, nearly everyone has folded a sheet of paper into the shape of an airplane then thrown it gently, watching it glide through the air. It's a soothing, relaxing experience addition to the world of virtual reality gaming. From VITEI Backroom: “Paper Valley immerses players in a lush green world of mystery, filled with crumbling monuments, and an unspoken narrative inspired by the works of ThatGameCompany. Now both HTC VIVE and Oculus Rift owners on Steam will be able to experience the world of Paper Valley on June 6th... Paper Valley tasks players with bringing this world back to life by using VIVE controllers or Oculus Touch to throw, curl, and glide paper planes into targets. With each successful throw, you add color and life to the world. Skillful throws bring beauty back to the environments and unlock the hidden secrets of the valley, tapping into ancient forces to unveil the truth held within the ruins.” The one-of-a-kind game is the winner of the Famitsu Media Highlight Award at BitSummit in Kyoto, Japan 2017 and features a unique soundtrack, which will also be available on Steam on its own or as part of a bundle. Alex May from VITEI Backroom composed the soundtrack that was influenced by 90’s ambient electronica and artists like The Future Sound of London. It was crafted using all 90’s Japanese hardware synthesizers, sampled and sequenced in Renoise, a tracker style sequencer. Paper Valley will be available for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. Sea of Memories and Paper Valley require a virtual reality headset to play.
  20. Last year was the first time Unicorn Dungeon appeared on my radar, in the form of an itchio devlog by the game's creator, Stand Off Software. It was the title that grabbed my attention first because you don't often see the words "unicorn" and "dungeon" together in the same place. Described as "an absurdist comedy point & click adventure game set in the strange (and often silly) magical land of Artovya", Unicorn Dungeon looks like a silly romp that is heavy on the ridiculous entertainment and light on the actual skill required to play. It's meant to be bizarre, irreverent, and unquestionably odd, and in a world of games that share the same mechanics and similar storylines, it's refreshing to come across something completely different. The best part about embracing creative absurdity is that it removes many of the traditional limitations placed on games, as long as the writer is willing to embrace it — Unicorn Dungeon appears to have not only embraced it, but made the craziness a constant companion. The first chapter in a planned six chapters, there are no limits placed on genre either throughout the series. Unicorn Dungeon may be primarily a point & click adventure, but brings in elements from turned-based dungeon crawlers and future chapters will include an even wider range of gameplay and mechanics. From Stand Off Software: "King Haldrin is dying… Whoever successfully brings a unicorn to the castle will be crowned the next king of Artovya. Only one person has what it takes. And that person is… well, who knows? No one’s done it yet. I just assume someone will at some point. In any case, play Unicorn Dungeon and follow the adventures of Sir Typhil of Creulor, one of many to take up the challenge. Artovya can be quite a silly place what with roving hordes of hillbilly goblins and trolls who are usually too drunk to murder, but this quest is no laughing matter. Finding a unicorn is not a task for the weak. It takes perseverance and determination the likes of which few mortals possess." Throughout their journey, players are sure to encounter weird characters and unexplainably crazy situations. You will have to solve puzzles, rescue a princess from goblins, and defeat the dungeon beasts. It's a unique adventure rife with tropes but peppered with humor inspired by the comedy of Monty Python and Firesign Theater. The visuals aren't particularly stunning, but my hope it is the story and humor that will bring Unicorn Dungeon to life. Unicorn Dungeon sounds delightfully confusing and since this is only the first chapter, I'm hoping it will be an introduction to a new series that is a respite from uninspired, repetitive storytelling. I'm always willing to give new indie titles a shot, especially if they don't take themselves too seriously. If humor is their strong suit, they shouldn't be afraid to lean into it. Somehow, Unicorn Dungeon will have to find a way to exist in the gray area between uniquely creative and too strange to make any sense. At any rate, it's only $4.99 on Steam . Watch the release trailer below:
  21. As someone who enjoys playing video games, I have spent some time researching what actually goes into making a game. What I've discovered is that it takes time, talent, dedication, money, and even a little bit of luck to produce a successful game. Exposing that game to the public and finding an audience that will play, enjoy, and share it with others is a challenge in itself. Indie games don't have the same backing and built-in audience that AAA games enjoy. But, that doesn't mean that many indie games aren't just as enjoyable or even more so than the larger game franchises. They also don't have the heavy weight of expectation placed on games from the big publishers. They do, however, have a different set of challenges. Currently, the indie gaming market is huge and great games are being released all the time. The oversaturation of the market and a wealth of games that appear very similar means that it is hard for indie developers to find an audience for their games. That means relying on creative marketing to get their game noticed. Some publishers and developers are going one step further and allowing consumers a glimpse into the process of creating what they hope is the next big hit. Video game publisher Big Ben Interactive, together with Frogwares, is venturing into new territory with their latest behind the scenes video. In the revealing footage, they're allowing viewers a chance to see part of a game's development process, specifically the work and process that goes into producing a public demo. Frogwares plans to showcase their Lovecraftian adventure, The Sinking City, for the first time to the public at GDC San Franciso and EGX Rezzed London. “We wanted to show our community, and the gaming community in general, a perspective which hasn’t really been shown to the public that much — the process of preparing an event demo of a game that’s still in production,” said Sergey Oganesyan, Frogwares Community Manager. The team started the challenging demo production process back in November and encountered their fair share of difficulties, including an "ethical dilemma", detailed in the video. “It’s tempting to spice up the demo and make it look better than the final product. But this will be short-term gain for long-term loss,” said Wael Amr, the CEO of Frogwares. “We don't want unfulfilled promises haunting us. We want to show as much truth as we can.” From Frogwares: "The Sinking City is an open world, open investigation game set in a Lovecraft universe. The player steps into the shoes of a private investigator who finds himself trapped in the city of Oakmont Massachusetts — a city suffering from unprecedented floods of supernatural origins. The player must uncover the source of whatever has taken possession of the city, and the minds of its inhabitants." The Sinking City is currently in production and will be available in 2018 on PC and consoles. Watch the behind the scenes video, complete with never before seen gameplay footage and a brief look at the actual demo:
  22. There are currently a number of colony building sims available, like Dwarf Fortress, Factorio, and Rimworld, another early access game. However, Oxygen Not Included brings something special to the genre. Klei Entertainment is the game development studio that brought us Don't Starve and its various expansions as well as Don't Starve Together, the online co-op version of Don't Starve, and Don't Starve Pocket, a well-done mobile port. With Oxygen Not Included, they have ventured into the sci-fi colony management genre while maintaining the survival, building, and crafting aspects of their most popular game. The graphics style is similar to that of Don't Starve, and it's that charming and quirky aesthetic and characters that truly bring this particular game to life. Still in early access, at this point in the development process, Oxygen Not Included is entirely playable, with very few bugs, primarily related to audio and visual glitches. From Klei Entertainment: "In the space-colony simulation game Oxygen Not Included you’ll find that scarcities of oxygen, warmth, and sustenance are constant threats to your colony's survival. Guide colonists through the perils of subterranean asteroid living and watch as their population grows until they're not simply surviving, but thriving... Just make sure you don't forget to breathe." At first glance, Oxygen Not Included appears similar to many other space colony development and building sims but also shares some of the mechanics of survival games. A couple of characters are dropped someplace in space, in this instance on an asteroid, and it's your job to guide the characters to excavate the area, begin to build and establish the colony, implement essential systems like power, water, food production, and living space, all while keeping your tiny humans, fed, hydrated, disease free, and relatively happy. It seems simple at first, but while basic survival games focus on procuring necessary items as you wander around and try not to get killed, a colony sim has the survival aspects to overcome, as well as a growing population. Your attention shifts from the well-being of a single protagonist to the colony as a whole. Players keep their humans, called Duplicants or "Dupes" alive, but there is an emphasis on building and maintaining systems. This type of game is great for multitaskers and players with attention to detail, though it suits many gameplay styles. Depending on how you choose to progress, you can focus primarily on a single aspect of the game — whether you play as a builder, an explorer, or even a decorator, you'll be equally satisfied with your options. After you begin your first game and shuffle through a few suitable settings, or in my case, just leave everything on default because I wanted to learn by playing, you'll be asked to choose the first three Dupes that will start your colony. Each Dupe has a set of attributes, some negative and some positive, that will determine the tasks they will excel at and even their viability in the colony. Depending on your play style and what aspects you wish to focus on in, certain dupes may be better suited. Sometimes, it doesn't really matter if you choose three Dupes that appear to be absolutely perfect, they may not be suitable for the particular environment or better suited for others. For instance, in one of my playthroughs, my Dupes were dropped on an asteroid with practically no breathable oxygen and at least one Dupe with "Diver's Lungs" would have been helpful. Having not had much of an issue with oxygen production up to that point, it didn't occur to me as a very useful trait. This type of randomness is one of the game's major strengths, and if you enjoy that aspect, it will certainly keep each playthrough unique. However, you can eliminate much of the game's random nature by choosing a particular "Worldgen Seed" in the Settings dialogue box at the beginning of your game. In addition, you'll be able to shuffle through your Dupes until you reach a combination of attributes you want to start the game with. For me, it is the Dupes that make Oxygen Not Included more enjoyable than other colony building sims. I tend to be an unforgiving taskmaster and with push my characters to the brink of death if it means more efficient systems and production. But, the Dupes are so charming and adorable that I actually want to make them happy. I tend to their needs and even decorate their spaces to please them. Watching them run around, working, operating machinery, and even sleeping is endlessly entertaining. At first, the beginning stages of the game are overwhelming and confusing. There are a lot of controls, overlays, and stats to manage. It's necessary to keep a close eye on the upper left-hand corner of the screen for alerts and helpful hints and mini tutorials. It took me the first hour of the game to just figure out the basics because I made the mistake of attempting to learn every control and aspect of the game in those first moments. In reality, it wasn't necessary — I needed to start with the basics and move forward from there. Just dig. And dig some more. Then, more digging. After the first few cycles, things will start to fall into place. There's no tutorial and players are meant to figure out things for themselves, which some players enjoy and others may find incredibly frustrating. Most of the mechanics are pretty straightforward, but some don't come as easily. I spent a full three hours struggling with running my power generators and other machines because I didn't understand how to connect the wiring. It was actually very simple, but for me, not entirely intuitive. Games like this are meant to be about discovering and developing your own systems and means of survival, so too much guidance would actually water down the experience. If you're a player that absolutely needs a tutorial or just want to research other players' strategies, there are plenty of guides available online. After the initial stages of setting up your colony, the middle game hits a little bit of a snag. There's a steep learning curve and all of a sudden you can't keep up with your colony and everyone dies. Over and over... and over. But, unlike many games that are easy to give up, Oxygen Not Included kept me coming back. I wanted to try different strategies, explore the various biomes, do new research and build new machines. After a while, I stopped caring if everyone in this colony lived or died, because I would use what I learned in my next colony. Is it frustrating? Yes. Is it fun? Absolutely. This stage of the game requires attention to detail in is the time to start learning the finer mechanics of the game's technical management. Later, it is possible to acquire a state of automation where players have the ability to expand, tweak, and refine their colony. Oxygen Not Included strength lies in that it truly offers players the ability to make the game whatever they want it to be. It is more than just a survival game, a colony management sim, or a building sim, it's a balanced combination that allows players to focus on the aspects they enjoy the most. It is difficult and challenging, with ups and downs of periods of relaxation followed by fast-paced life or death scenarios. With so much to offer, Oxygen Included feels, at this point in its development, to be a finished game, though it has the potential to grow into something even better as it moves beyond the early access phase. Oxygen Not Incuded is available on Steam .
  23. Of all the news and demos that dropped at E3 2018, the premiere of the brand new Cyberpunk 2077 trailer was one of the most hyped moments of the entire conference. From CD Projekt Red, the famed creators of The Witcher Series, comes this open world, narrative-driven role-playing game set in the universe of the classic pen and paper RPG system of Cyberpunk 2020. Cyberpunk 2020 released in 1990 as the second edition to the original Cyberpunk, which was published in 1988 by R. Talsorian Games. Cyberpunk 2020 takes place in the year 2020 after the world has endured a socioeconomic collapse. For some, this storyline and time period may feel just a little too relevant at this point in time, kind of The Handmaid's Tale of role-playing games. The United States is now completely reliant on mega-corporations to survive and maintain some shaky semblance of order. The RPG characters classes are referred to as "roles", but are similar to the character classes of Cyberpunk 2077. Night City, the setting of the original Cyberpunk series of games, is also the setting of Cyberpunk 2077. From CD Projekt Red: "The game follows the story of V — a hired gun on the rise in Night City, the most violent and dangerous metropolis of the corporate-ruled future. A robust character creator will allow players to choose V’s gender, visual appearance, character class, as well as historical background — all of which may influence the shape of the game. With dozens of hours of main story arc quests, and many more of additional activities, there’s always something to see and do in Night City. Players will experience all of it entirely through V’s eyes, with an interactive dialogue system that gives them greater narrative agency." Details surrounding the exciting new open world RPG popped up throughout E3, and a gameplay demo clarified many of the details. During Gamespot's E3 Stage Show, CD Projekt Red's Kyle Rowley explained why the creators chose a first-person perspective to tell Cyberpunk 2077's in-depth narrative story. According to Rowley, the highly detailed nature of the visuals was the reason for the gameplay choice: "We're spending a lot of time on this very detailed cyberpunk world set in Night City," he said. "It's all handcrafted, there's a lot of atmosphere. We really want players to feel this depression and the fact that these mega-corporations are kind of stamping down on people's lives. To really showcase that and immerse the player in that world we decided the first-person perspective was the best way to do it." Cyberpunk 2077 also takes advantage of the popularity of a choice-based narrative, something that CD Projekt Red is known for in their games. In addition to a first-person shooter style experience, players will find themselves immersed in the world of Night City and their choices for their character will affect the way the game unfolds. Every action has a consequence, and because you are not given a choice of character roles at the very beginning of the game, one can hypothesize that this may be affected, as well. At the very least, your choices surrounding your character will influence the game somewhat. Not only is this type of character customization a way to draw in a wide range of players, but it maximizes the game's replay value. Cyberpunk 2077 will be available on Xbox One, PS4, and PC. Watch the Cyberpunk 2077 Official E3 Trailer:
  24. While we were watching and waiting for big games from our favorite franchises to be announced at E3 2018, a few very promising indie titles may have slipped under the radar. One of those games is Afterparty , an upcoming game from Night School Studio, which brought us the simple, but highly acclaimed and brilliantly atmospheric Oxenfree . In Oxenfree, players solved puzzles and made choices that affected their characters, but it looks like Afterparty has expanded on that concept with a bigger world, neon-infused graphics with much greater detail, and a more in-depth experience overall. I'm hoping that it will be a multi-layered experience, building on the atmospheric feel of Oxenfree, but expanding the story and giving the characters a greater range of emotion and humor. Details aside, Afterparty promises players the opportunity to get plastered with Satan. That in itself brings the game to the forefront of completely original storylines and if it's done well and the game is entertaining and playable, it just might be a hit. With a combination of uniqueness, atmosphere, humor, and nuanced themes like friendship and good vs. evil, this will be one to watch. Sean Krankel, co-founder and studio director of Night School Studio, gives a colorful description of the gameplay: “I think it’s fair to say that if any of us turns up in Hell, our first priority will be to GTFO and get sloshed with our best friend. We want to give players real agency in accomplishing those goals,” said Sean. “Players can chat up demons and the deceased using a new dialogue system, challenge them to Satanic bar games, and drink from a huge menu of infernal cocktails, all with game-changing abilities.” Dark but with a sense of humor, Afterparty appears to be driven by the immersive story, and every compelling story must have engaging characters that players can relate to in some way, or at the very least, hope to see succeed. Janina Gavankar (Star Wars: Battlefront II, True Blood) will voice Lola, one of Afterparty’s two playable characters. “Milo is a lost puppy without Lola, and Lola loves him for it. She’s protective to the death, and even after death,” said Janina of her role. “She didn’t even like drinking when she was alive, but how could anything get worse? When in hell, do as the demons do.” Alternatively, players will split their time and also play as Milo. From Night School Studio: As both Milo and Lola, the player will experience a neon-drenched vision of Hell for a wild, bar-hopping night. Exploring an interconnected network of underworld islands via the River Styx, players will be sucked into the lives of a variety of hellions’ storylines, each of which ripples into the next. What happens by the end of the night is completely up to the player. "We wanted to merge a heavily player-driven narrative with outlandish comedy that feels surprising and spontaneous," said Adam Hines, co-founder and lead writer. "So the player not only defines their adventure, but directly creates the outrageous situations that make any great ‘crazy night out’ story worth telling." Watch the E3 Gameplay Demo of Afterparty: Afterparty will release in 2019.
  25. The weekend is upon us which means Steam's free weekend games and weekend deals are active. It's easy to find decent sales and Free to Play periods nearly every weekend but this one in particular features two really cool games. First, we have Killing Floor 2, for which Tripwire Interactive just released their seasonal event, Summer Sideshow: Treacherous Skies. Second, the still in early access Quake Champions is also Free to Play. These are very different games, but if you're a fan of first-person shooters then you're in for a busy weekend. As an added bonus, both games are heavily discounted, and the case of Quake Champions, the price of the Champions Pack is lower. The Killing Floor 2 Summer Sideshow: Treacherous Skies event is actually a sequel to a 2013 map called Steamland, and it definitely has a circus/freak show/steampunk theme. If that sounds like a lot to take in, it is. But, just suspend your disbelief and accept that you'll be fighting circus-themed Zeds and nearly invincible robots on a flying airship as you attempt to reach an island where the Ringmaster's home is located. In addition to this intense event, a few upgrades have been added, including Endless Lockdown, a fan-made community map, a new playable DLC character name Mrs. Foster, a new weapons upgrade system, and several new and powerful weapons. About Killing Floor 2: "Just one month after the events in the original KILLING FLOOR, the specimen clones are everywhere and civilization is in disarray; communications have failed, governments have collapsed, and military forces have been systematically eradicated. The people of Europe know survival and self-preservation too well and lucky survivors have gone into hiding. Not all have given up hope though... A group of civilians and mercenaries have banded together to combat the outbreak and established privately funded operation bases across Europe. Upon tracking specimen clone outbreaks, players will descend into zed-laden hot zones and exterminate them." Killing Floor 2, complete with the Summer Sideshow event, is Free to Play on Steam until Sunday afternoon and both the main game and the Digital Deluxe Edition are 60% off for a limited time. Watch the Killing Floor 2 Summer Sideshow: Treacherous Skies Update Trailer: Once you're done fighting your way through waves of Zeds, try your hand at Quake Champions, the newest Quake game, still in early access. About Quake Champions: "Quake Champions is a return to the frenetic, fast-paced competition that established Quake as the originator of the multiplayer shooter genre more than 20 years ago. Quake Champions delivers the dark mythos of the first Quake combined with the groundbreaking multiplayer mayhem of Quake III Arena with a major modern twist – Champions. These fierce warriors each wield unique attributes and abilities, enabling players to compete in their own distinctive style, while adding an additional layer of strategy to the game." Quake Champions is a return to familiar Quake gameplay, with the added element of collecting "Champions" with different strengths, weaknesses, and skills, which brings an added level of strategy to the game, as well as a "collectors" aspect. Skill will still be rewarded, but the Champions add greater depth and playability. Though the game will eventually be Free to Play full-time, playing during this early access period requires the Champions Pack, unless you were one of the lucky people to receive an early access code while they were available. But, it's free to play for everyone this weekend and the Champions pack contains a host of other desirable items like the full roster of current and future Champions, three Loot Chests, an exclusive Early Access Ranger skin, and the ability to play in custom games. The Champions Pack is 34% off until June 21.
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