PC

Fantasy Strike goes portable on Nintendo Switch this Summer

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Lead designer for Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, David Sirlin, is bringing Fantasy Strike to the Nintendo Switch in the Summer. The game is already available on Steam early access and will also launch on the Playstation 4.

Fantasy Strike Comes to Nintendo Switch This Summer

EMERYVILLE, CA – March 20th, 2018Fantasy Strike, the upcoming fighting game from Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix lead designer David Sirlin, will come to Nintendo Switch this summer, simultaneously launching alongside the previously-announced PC and PlayStation 4 versions.
 
“Fantasy Strike is the perfect fighting game for Switch,” said Sirlin. “The Switch is a take-anywhere console, so fighting games would be great on it if not for how notoriously difficult they are to control. Usually, playing a fighting game on a JoyCon would be tough, but Fantasy Strike is designed specifically for that. Detach the JoyCons, give one to a friend, and you can play a deep, strategic fighting game anywhere.”
 
Currently in Steam Early Access, Fantasy Strike has been rapidly deploying new features, modes, and increasing production values. In their most recent patch, Sirlin Games added professional voice acting and facial animation for all 10 characters as well as a brand new Team Battle mode. In a Team Battle, players choose 3 characters each and play a variety of different matchups, which is great as a tournament format as well as for casual play.
 
Sirlin Games has also boosted its networking technology over the last few months, combining GGPO (the best-in-class networking tech that allows there to be no input delay) with its own networking tech that now allows for smooth connections even across continents.
 
Fantasy Strike entered Steam Early Access in September of 2017. The game is currently available for $19.99 USD in English, French, Spanish, Italian, Brazilian Portuguese, Norwegian, Hungarian, Turkish, Japanese, with additional language support planned for the final release.
To learn more about Fantasy Strike, visit the game’s Steam page.

Hand of Fate 2 Out Now on Playstation 4 and PC - Reunite with The Dealer

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Hand of Fate 2 Available Now for PlayStation 4, PC

BRISBANE, QUEENSLAND - Nov. 7, 2017 - Hand of Fate 2, the anticipated follow-up to Defiant Development's action RPG downloaded by millions, is out now for PlayStation 4 across North America and Oceania as well as Steam for PC, Mac, and Linux. An Xbox One version with Xbox One X compatibility and 4K Ultra HD support and a European PlayStation 4 release are also in the cards and coming soon. 

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Taking place after the events of the original Hand of Fate, the sequel reunites players with the Dealer, who has returned from the void. Now seeking vengeance, this enigmatic agent trains a new player to master the Game of Life and Death, which fuses Dungeons & Dragons-style trials constructed from collectible cards with gripping hack-and-slash combat encounters.
 
After building a deck of item and equipment cards, Hand of Fate 2 players square off against the Dealer and his deck of challenges. Shuffling all these together, the Dealer lays out a dungeon floor to explore where each card presents players with new trials to overcome, including combat encounters that bring enemy cards to life in real-time action sequences.

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An assortment of enhancements to the original Hand of Fate debut in the sequel including companion characters that offer help in battle alongside tabletop bonuses and their own side-quests, an overworld map, more tabletop mini-games to enjoy, and other exciting surprises that elevate the Hand of Fate experience to new heights in conjunction with more refined combat and a thrilling new narrative.
 
"When developing the original Hand of Fate, we set out to create a tabletop game that comes to life. While that project was widely praised and an incredible success for us, we felt there was room for improvement," said Morgan Jaffit, Director, Defiant Development. "We've spent the past two years working to one-up ourselves, and the results have paid off. I'm proud to say this is the best game I've ever worked on and am ecstatic it's finally ready to be shared with the world."
 
Hand of Fate isavailable via PlayStation 4 and Steam for $29.99 USD / €24.99 / $29.99 AUD and supports English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, Hungarian, Ukrainian, Japanese, Korean, and Simplified Chinese language options.

For more information on Hand of Fate 2 and Defiant Development, visit their official
website
, check out game's Steam page, like it on Facebook, or follow the studio on Twitter.

The Final Take

An offering from Hush Interactive which describes itself as dark footage, first-person horror. This is right up my street as you may have already figured out from my previous horror themed reviews. At 54p in the Steam Sale (price correct as of 24.8.16) it would be a crime not to give it a whirl.

From the title screen the found footage style is apparent from the interference and scan lines making you want to fiddle with the tracking on the VCR. This takes me back to many a time trying to get my old copy of Return of the Jedi working and also invokes films such as Paranormal Activity. Xbox controller or keyboard can be used to play through the game.

Eerie noises and sound affects echo out from the loading screen, this is a good start!

The game consists of four chapters, each admittedly quite short, but this is a bargain basement priced game and sometimes it is nice to complete a game in one sitting rather than battling with it for weeks!

Chapter 1 - The Interview. Starting out with a voice recording, it hints at many a horror film. The character hears about a job at an old nursing home and wanting to make her father proud, she sets out.

Moving from this introduction screen, we are now exploring the new place of work through a distorted 80's camcorder. The game looks like you are playing a found footage film; shaky and poor quality. While this makes it difficult to see what is happening, the very fact you cant see what is happening, is indeed what makes the game scary.

Similar to Outlast, you view the game through a video camera, the only light being that of your  mobile phone. Walking around the environment you can find notes and recordings for additional fluff and story. The entire game has that camcorder grain like you are watching a VHS recording. Seems unusual that the character has a modern phone, but an old VCR camcorder. Maybe I'm overthinking things as this certainly doesn't detract from the game itself.

The game has some spooky concepts. Entering a ward in the hospital it is slightly unnerving to find the beds filled with inanimate mannequins. This is escalated when you start seeing apparitions!

The sounds are weird, almost verging on a low rhythmic chant at times.

No form of map does make it a bit unnerving and certainly more realistic. This was a good touch. So many branching corridors indicates there is lots to explore.

Random notes on the door are freaky and give some context to the exploration.

Interacting with one door, uncovered a puzzle which needed to be solved before the door unlocked and allowed me to proceed. I wasn't expecting any puzzles within the game, so this was a nice little touch to break up wandering around in the dark holding my breath! I was looking forward to more puzzles as the game progressed, however, this was the only one.

You can run in the game, however, the character puts down her light while doing this making it more difficult to see what is happening. Do you want speed or light... that is the question?!

What really adds to the atmosphere of the game however, are the audio recordings that you stumble across where you hear about events that have transpired and gives your exploration in this first chapter some context.  

After running from a freaky shadow figure (who is naturally crawling along the floor in homage to The Ring), we get to Chapter Two: Down Memory Lane. The second chapter is played though the eyes of another character.

What is a nice touch here is that the character doesn't initially see through their own eyes, but instead through the camcorder viewfinder. This does leave a lot of eerie dark space around the screen. The character can switch between camcorder and flashlight.... without giving too much away, different things can be seen using different pieces of technology. A great touch!

This second level has a very quiet music, the main sound being a repetitive noise, not at all unsettling! (At least that is what I am telling myself!!) As it gets louder, you know that soon death will be your friend! I think if I were to reply, I would do so with headphones as feel this would make the game more atmospheric.

In terms of graphics, the rooms are very 'samey'. This makes it confusing in terms of remembering where you need to go and where you have already been. This adds another level of frustration.

Chapter Three: Deep Below returns to the character we met in Chapter One. Some of the voice acting is not the greatest, however, this can be forgiven given due to the cost of the game. Chapter 2 was a nice concept, but not as good; try and get through it. The female character is more unsettling, and strangely, more enjoyable to play. Some backtracking involved once you've found certain triggers to unlock escape routes, but not excessively so. As soon as getting back into the swing of things with this character, the chapter ended, making this the shortest chapter in the game.

Chapter Four: A Dark Past. The same character. Not quite sure why this couldn't have been merged with Chapter Three. Chapter Four has the same goal of collecting things as chapter two. Not quite so interesting the second time around, especially as I can now see everything again being able to use phone (light) and camcorder at the same time. Finding photos in series of very similar rooms, is neither fun nor scary.

In summary, the game cost me 54p for 30 minutes of entertainment and I can't grumble at that. It is a good hint at what Hush Interactive may be able to produce in the future, however, focussing more on the scares and less on the running around and collecting things and this game would have scored higher in my opinion. It started with a good concept, but it ran out of steam becoming a bit too samey near the end. My final thoughts after completing the end of the game was it was boring in comparison to the promise the first half showed.

The Final Take is available on Steam and currently on offer for 54p. (Normal price £1.59).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You Deserve - A Review

This is the first game by TGA Company who have been lucky enough to get the game through the Steam Greenlight process. You Deserve is a first person horror game where you play as Amy Cooper, a teenager who's found herself stuck and lost within  an unknown world. 

After watching the trailer for this game, the Blast Process team were very excited to play thisas we are big fans of the horror genre. We went into this game knowing nothing about it bar what we had seen in the trailer, and this alone had made us excited to try out something new.

Have you ever felt lost? Have you ever been to sleep and not known if you've woke up? The game begins by setting an air of mystery. Waking up, standing above a chair with rope on the floors leads me to think I was previously tied there. The character believes they are asleep, but everything feels so real.

The tutorial sections are nicely displayed on the walls in game as you go past something that you might need to know.

There is light atmospheric noise in the background, but the lack of music gives the game an eerie feel. This is nice to see as often a sound track can detract from the horror. The lack of music makes this feel all the more real.

From the start there are spooky moments such as a red handprint mysteriously appearing on a painting.

This starts as a puzzle game with needing to find hidden objects to proceed to the next area. The developers have paced the game well with not too much backtracking involved.

Early into the game we are given evidence of an unhappy child who has been bullied at school in the form of letters from parents to the headmasters, and psychological reports. This immediately suggests that it may have been the player that was doing the bullying. This is a bold move as this is a subject not often discussed within games.

The save points within the game are good. A visual indicator used for showing the save areas is nicely done in an unobtrusive way. The game saves automatically without the need for interaction bar walking through the display of shimmering particles.

It isn't long into the game play before the first spooky happening occurs. You wouldn't think that a loan teddy sitting on the floor would be described as creepy, but this game certainly makes it appear as such.

Many weird things happen at an early stage in the game. It draws you in and makes you want to find out more and keep playing.

The animations and textures are very good and make great use of the unity engine. The game makes you aware that you are not alone without fully showing you what or who is sharing the space in which you are exploring.

The puzzles are interesting without being too obscure. Unexpected jump scares are well timed, enough to keep you interested but not too much to make them stale.

The speed the character moves has a nice suspenseful walk, however, can run when needed with no penalty, such as a stamina bar, when you want to quickly investigate branching paths.

The lighting is very well done with atmospheric shadows being cast around the environment.

The first puzzle I experienced some difficulty with involved trying to move boxes in a slowly flooding room. Unfortunately the game didn't give a clear indication about what to do here, however, with some careful investigation of the room we managed to find the required item and progressed with the game after a mere 3 deaths!

Each new location that is entered continues to have a creepy feel. From early in the game the locations are varied with the same level of detail being given to each.

This game actually gave me goose-pimples!

As we continue we see more puzzles that make you think. This pairs well with the scary moments to give a nice balance to the game.

Moving from the school environment we next found ourselves outside. The character is allowed access to move around a vast area which is unlike many games which tie you in to moving a specific route. Walking down dark paths at night is certain to make you jump though!

The scariness of the game certainly intensifies as the game progresses.

The level design is great, everything within a level leading back to each other to close the gaps.

To sum up the game; great graphics, a good level of challenge mixed with free exploration of a new environment, atmospheric sound design all leading to a captivating first offering from TGA Company.

 

You Deserve is out now on Steam for £5.94 on offer until August 26th, be sure to check it out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spooky's Jump Scare Mansion - Review

Warning: This game displays warning message about being scary...

For as long as you remember, legends have been told about the derelict mansion on the mountain. Being a history buff you decide to explore and find out what secrets the mansion holds. . 


The game boots up with Old SNES game music and intro options screen which is a nice touch. It begins with meeting the character of Spooky, who presumably owns the mansion you will play as! The game portrays as a cartoony ‘Doom’ with brick walls and long corridors. The challenge to get through all one thousand rooms begins. 
 
Standard FPS controls are used ‘WASD’ keys and mouse. 
The rooms are randomly generated allowing for multiple different game plays. The first rooms are empty to raise suspense, while the music adds to this; with rumbles in the background and the sound of creaky doors. 
The rooms are mainly the same few corridor shapes. The music certainly makes you feel unnerved. Moving into room 13 and the music changes, the suspense continues. Choices are made by the player as some rooms have multiple doors to exit through. Empty rooms with loan chairs in the corner feel rather ‘Blair Witch’. In addition, a combination of weird pictures and large windows add to the eerie feel. 
Colours change in the room indicating something is about to happen…. Room 25 and still the suspense is growing. 

 


 Room 26 and a pumpkin sprang out from the wall. Looking ridiculously cute, the scary noise and speed at which it moves made me jump! This effect is repeated in a number of rooms, and although I’ve already experienced this ‘jump’ reaction, I continue to be surprised (and squeal like a girl!). The music adding to the suspense and making you feel like something awful is going to happen. 

Another note is found in Room 50 indicating the person who left it feels trapped in a never ending maze of similar rooms. Feeling very thirsty and running out of ink with which to leave these notes... a sense of trepidation overcomes me!! 
Interacting with a cross allows the user to save the game. This makes every 50th room a safe house where you can take a quick breather in which to compose yourself before setting out again.  


Entering a lift, we go down to the next level where the music gets even more spooky. A variety of side rooms are viewed…. some look rather like cells. 
Health and stamina bars in the top corner of the screen are a constant reminder that I am more than likely to meet something… Room 59 leads me into a maze of paths to follow. One wrong step and I will plunge into a bottomless pit!
The messages continue though the game, sounding like the writer is slowly becoming more insane.


Suddenly, a monster appears in the room, it begins to follow me. I run, however, need to be careful to maintain my stamina. Although I am constrained to follow the paths so as not to fall to my death, the creature is not! He slowly floats across any gaps in order to catch up with me. Closed doors do not stop it, he continues. The green slime on the floor slows me down when trying to escape, thus allowing the creature to close the gap.   
As long as you get away from the spooky entity, you will get your health back slowly, however, let it touch you and a few hits will finish you off.

 


Music changes as I enter room 70, continued freaky pictures adorn the room. The rooms are all similar in their design, but as they are small and short it isn’t boring. There is always the threat that something is following you. Computer found in room which gives details about the various specimens housed in the building. It reads as though the building is some form of experiment, using the creatures to examine how the test subjects cope. Guess I am the latest subject.  
One of the specimens shows as an ‘error’. This invokes a feeling of unease as you do not know what to expect. The computers have established I am being tested and the creatures have been placed there to see how I fare. 
Room 89 portrays as a lab with a brain in a glass jar. Seems harmless enough… for now.
Green patches on the floor now become more frequent. This combined with ramped up music gives the feeling of imminent threat. 
Lurking in a room, while I wrote this review, a spectre crept up and savagely killed me!
 


To sum up, Spooky’s Jump Scare Mansion is a fantastic horror experience, even more so due to the fact the game is completely free and can be downloaded from Steam. This will be a game I am sure to revisit, hopefully getting past room 100. Turns out ‘safe rooms’ aren’t that safe after all!

 

The Secret Monster Society - Review

Have you ever wondered where your dreams come from and why you dream the specific things you dream of…? This game begins by introducing the player to a world where monsters create dreams.

 

Playing as the overly happy Blythe Dalrich, hand drawn graphics introduce you to the world of the Secret Monster Society. It is a point and click adventure in the style of the old Lucas Arts Games. The game is fully voice acted with Blythe thinking out loud every step of the way. These thoughts are also displayed as on screen text.

As in old school point and click games, the mouse is used to interact with items and to move around the environment. Items can be easily dragged from inventory to where they are to be used.

From the start, the game tries to be funny, however, quickly becomes a little grating. Jokes and puzzles have been done before, using soap to create an impression of a key to open a locked chest for example.

 

After travelling to school via the toilet, Blythe begins to interact with a range of other characters which is more engaging than the inanimate objects from the introduction. Many of the objects in the environment have eyes (clocks, books, mirrors etc) which would probably appeal to a young audience.

The imagined world of monsters does have a little bit of a whiff of ‘Monsters Inc’ but some of the lore is pretty unique. Early in the game you get the manual for entering dreams, hinting at what is to come.

Human dreams and regulations.

Once inside human dreams, protocol 8972 must be followed. Fight all or any nightmare creatures they encounter, maintain the link between mind and heart and wash hands upon exiting a dream. During an emergency, all persons must escape to the nearest exit point. Anyone under the age of 234 will be banished to the swamp of perpetual hope.  

 

When interacting with other characters, the player is given a choice of possible questions / replies to use via on screen text, thus giving the player ownership of the direction the game will go in.

Blythe has a history of exaggerating experiences, so friends don’t believe him when he explains he saw lights falling from the sky during the introduction of the game. Adults think he is wasting their time and wont indulge this train of thought.

This game has a slow pace and wasn’t a gripping play. Didn’t feel the desire to find out what is going on and was more a forced play.

A wide range of environments are encountered and the graphics for each of these are the same high standard.

From the start of the game there is a fair amount of backtracking to complete additional requests from characters he meets. This is exaggerated due to the slow movement speed of the character. A quicker pace in these early sections would have made the game more enjoyable and it would have felt like you were achieving more.

Music is a little repetitive but does change depending on location so never too long is spent with the same tune.

The voice acted characters are a nice touch for an indie game and did help bring the characters to life.

To sum up, if you have a craving for a point and click adventure definitely give it a look, however, unfortunately it doesn’t quite hit the highs of ‘Monkey Island’. As an introduction to the genre for a younger audience, the vibrant colours and fun characters would certainly appeal and spark curiosity and imagination.

 

The Secret Monster Society: Chapter One is available on steam for £4.95 

This review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Foody fun with Video Game Bread

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There's a game currently in design which is accumulating crazy levels of support over every media outlet going, it's been a while in the making and what is you might ask this eagerly anticipated story?Making a sandwich. Realistically mind you - that's why it's taking so long, on various posts the creator have stated they want it to be as realistic as they can make it from the way it falls to the ground and every other aspect of simply making sandwiches. Intrigued, I stopped by to ask a few questions.

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First of all, what was your inspiration for creating a game about bread? Why making sandwiches?

The idea came on a lark. The original idea for this game was much smaller & limited. It was gonna be a game where you'd play out the life of a sandwich until it's untimely demise.

What has been the easiest and most difficult aspects of creating the game so far?

The easiest part is making all the art. The hardest part is programming, I'm trying to learn how to code so that's the hardest obstacle haha.

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What gaming platform are you planning to release it on when it's complete?

I'm currently aiming for PC, but I'm considering other platforms too.

Have you created any other video games apart from Video Game Bread?

Well. I've worked on a couple of games for game jams, but they're not that great lmao.

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Finally, when do you think it will be released?

That's really hard to say. I'd like for there to be something done some time this year.

With over 30,000 followers on Video Game Bread on Tumblrthe mere idea of this currently unfinished game is taking the indie gamers by storm, after all, who doesn't love a good sandwich?

Over and out, Mel

Transistor Review

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People will undoubtedly remember the Xbox 360 as the machine that got online gaming right. Gamers of tomorrow will talk about Gears of War rodeo runs, late night sessions of Firefight in Halo, and the time their console red ring of death’d just as they were about to get through Modern Warfare on Veteran. It is the console that brought the first person shooter to the consoling masses, stole Sony’s killers apps and for better or worse, achievement points.

For me however, the Xbox 360 will always be the console on which I played Bastion.

Released in 2011 by Supergiant Games, Bastion was an Action Role-Playing Game that featured a solid combat system, unique narration point and a stunning world that formed around the player’s very eyes. Bastion took the best of both Western and Japanese RPGs, put them in a blender and out came a dynamic combat system, an isometric perspective and enough charm to see it win and receive nominations for many coveted awards.

Almost 3 years later, on May 20th 2014 Supergiant Games released their Sophomore effort, Transistor on Sony’s Playstation 4 and Steam. Would this be the arrival of a soon to be revered RPG?

Transistor sees the player take the role of Red, a famous musician from the city of Cloudbank, who has been robbed of her voice by a mysterious organisation known as The Camerata. Armed with the eponymous Transistor, Red must fight her way through the city of Cloudbank, defeating The Camerata’s robotic forces known as The Process, in order to find answers and seek justice.

The game’s narrative is however, somewhat of a fragmented mess. While a large chunk of the game’s story is narrated to the player by The Transistor, this will only reveal the surface of the game’s plot. To understand the game’s story to the fullest it allows you will require scouring the city of Cloudbank for Terminals, viewpoints and using the game’s combat mechanics to their fullest.

While it can be argued that this really encourages exploration of both the game’s world and it’s possibilities of play, it may leave a player in search of more casual experience at a bit of a loss as to what is going on. Though what may frustrated the more dedicated player, is that even after putting in the extra time to discover these scraps of narrative, there are still some questions left unanswered or open to personal interpretation.

This is not to say that the game does not have a story to tell however, and while Red herself is a slant on a stereotypical silent protagonist, the game is certainly heartfelt. The juxtaposition of a silence singer with a talking sword also offers an interesting dynamic, similar to the narrator in Bastion over it’s lead character, The Kid, meaning the game never slows down it’s pace for stories sake.

As you would expect after Bastion, Transistor is a visual delight. The city of Cloudbank feels lived in because of the attention to detail in it’s visual design. Cloudbank is a Cyber-Punk utopia that at times seems to draw inspiration from Blade Runner’s futuristic Los Angeles and even Final Fantasy 7’s Midgar. Though this feeling of beauty comes with a cost. Despite it’s wonderful rendering, the level design feels slightly linear in it’s approach. While the game called out to be explored, there are not many reasons or options available to do so. Most of the more hidden terminals require simply trekking past an exit or just a little further around a corner, which while it scratches the itch for explorations that RPG players crave, it feels like a wasted opportunity.

However, despite these shortcomings, Transistor’s combat system is a thing of beauty. Using ‘Functions’ the player is able to customise their fight style how they see fit. There are multiple melees, ranged and burst attacks, as well as Functions such as ‘Help()’ which allows you to call upon a dog to aid you in combat. While this may seem straightforward enough and one function be equipped to each of the shape buttons on the controller, the real depth begins to surface when the player unlocks the ability to upgrade other functions with functions, but also to have ‘passive’ functions active, which effect all of your arsenal. Suffice to say, that by the time new game plus roles around, Red is somewhat of God with the correct functions in place, which feels rather rewarding.

Just like with the Narrative, there isn’t much explanation on the combat system, and Supergiant treat the gamer like an adult, letting them figure out these things for themselves, which adds a level of personal satisfaction in figuring out how to stack functions to the best effect. You are only limited by Red’s ‘Memory’, which act as her skill points for functions. These functions can be swapped in and out from the game’s numerous save points, meaning experimentation is encouraged as painlessly as possible.

The combat itself can be customised further and either played like it’s predecessor in real time, or strategically with it’s ‘turn’ system, which allows you to plot the course of a turn like a strategy RPG, you can move around the battlefield, deal massive damage and avoid enemies, but as ‘turn’ suggests, you are left powerless until the turn bar refills. The ability to change this on the fly really helps to make Transistor an enjoyable experience, allowing you to change from aggressive to strategic at the press of the ‘R2’ button, without any hassle from menus or settings.

Another winning aspect of Transistor’s combat is that when Red dies, the player is not presented with a game over screen, but simply loses on of the player’s functions for a limited amount of time, meaning the tables can still be turned, but with a less powerful arsenal, resulting in teaching the player caution and patience are the keys to succeeding.

While enemies come in all shapes and sizes, all with unique functions and attack patterns of their own, there is a substantial degree of pallet swapping going on. While it’s perhaps not noticeable first time through, this means the enjoyment of the New Game + can be slightly hindered by a lack of variety in enemies, meaning the end game enemies spawn by the dozen rather than sparingly as they did on the first shot. It is also by mixing and matching these functions in various forms that more of the story is revelled to the player in a similar way to reading Dark Soul’s item descriptions, enriching the experience.

There is also the option at any time to add a ‘limiter’ to the game, which acts similarly to Idols in Bastion. Equipping these limiters can do anything from limiting Red’s memory to making enemies hit twice as hard. Playing with all 10 activated might test your ability to play the game, but rest assured it will mean a lot of retries.

Similar to Bastion’s Proving Grounds, there are also many tests the player can try to unlock music from the game’s excellent score. Away from the game’s main area, player’s can explore the practice test to hone your Functions as well as several to challenge you. The speed test to kill enemies within a time limit, Performance test’s your combat abilities with limited Functions, while Agency sees you face off against something else all together.

Another of the game’s highlights is it’s score. Darren Korb and vocalist Ashley Barrett really make the game. Each number creates an ambience that sets the emotional tone for Transistor beat for beat, With such a rich variety of instrumental and vocal tracks, such as the launch trailer’s ‘All become One’, it will be fantastic to see what Korb achieves next time around. Barrett’s humming to this score creates not only creates a haunting atmosphere, but gives Red an emotional side that a voiceless protagonist would otherwise be lacking. Without speaking a line, Barrett allows Red to say more than words ever could.

Transistor is solid game that asides from a few short comings, supersedes Bastion and many of the game’s spiritual predecessors. It’s innovative battles, beautiful visuals and simply breathtaking score are something any fan of Action RPGs should be clambering to experience.  While more casual players may be put off by it’s seemingly sporadic storytelling, it’s important to know that it doesn’t detract from the fun of the game. While more experienced players may want to know going in, there are a lot of blanks to fill in themselves or on message boards. Overall, clocking in at around 5 hours for a single play-though, Transistor will leave you begging for more and perhaps a little emotionally engaged, which when considering the genre’s past, is perhaps more than we could have hoped for. But it’s a little sad knowing that with a pinch more narrative and a little more exploration to bring the game unto the bar raised by it’s combat, this game would be flawless. It will however leave you excited for the studio’s next title, and until then, I’ll see you in The Country.

Salvaged ramps up production - support at kickstarter

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salvaged logo Salvaged launches on Kickstarter! You can see Dave's article right here surrounding our thoughts on the game, along with our video interview that was filmed at this years Gadget Show Live.

Opposable Games ramps up production on dual-screen IP Salvaged following positive showing at GDC and EGX Rezzed

Monday 7th April 2014, Bristol, UK. Experienced indie development studio Opposable Games today announces that it is stepping up production of its dual-screen original IP Salvaged, following a highly successful showing at GDC and EGX Rezzed in March. The real-time tactical action game for PC is set in a deadly sci-fi universe and features unique dual-screen play, powered by Opposable's proprietary OneTouchConnect technology. Preview builds are now being made available for the first time.

Described by GameZone as “one of the smartest tactical action games we've seen since X-COM” and by Eurogamer as “a cool, multi-screen take on the tactical action genre”, Salvaged is now slated for an Early Access release in June 2014 and a full release in Q4 2014. The game lets players take command of a Remote Interstellar Salvage Crew (RISC) as they explore and fight their way through abandoned space hulks in a procedurally generated, infinite universe. As the RISC Commander, the player directs the action using their tablet or smart phone while experiencing the impact of their orders through the eyes of their squad on the main screen. This unique dual-screen control system is the core of the game experience, combining the flexibility and intuitiveness of a touch screen with the intensity and immediacy of a modern PC title.

The game idea was originally conceived in 2012 following the release of Opposable's award-winning dual-screen racing game Clockwork Racers. Driven by the belief that multi-screen gaming can be a powerful and engaging experience, the studio has taken a disciplined and focused approach over the subsequent two years to build a team with the size and experience to tackle development on Salvaged. Running in parallel, it has also used its successful work-for-hire portfolio to fund creation of its cross-platform device connection technology OneTouchConnect.

Late in 2013, Salvaged won out against stiff competition in the IC Tomorrow second screen contest run by the Technology Strategy Board and backed by Sony. This initial injection of funding and support is enabling comprehensive user testing and the integration of face tracking technology to hone the gameplay, ensuring that both screens play an integral role in the player's experience.

Committed to sharing their learning through development and encouraging others to embrace multi-screen games, Opposable have worked closely with a number of developers and have also made OneTouchConnect available via the Unity Asset Store.

Recent feedback from the press and public has shown a strong interest in both the game concept and the technology, as MD Ben Trewhella explains: “The response we received to the game at GDC and Rezzed was overwhelming so we're confident that the time is right to ramp up production. We've believed in the potential of multi-screen gaming for many years but it was really rewarding to see so many of the public so enthusiastic about both the technology and Salvaged itself. We're looking forward to sharing the finished game with our fast-growing fan-base.”

opposable gamesCommitted to sharing their learning through development and encouraging others to embrace multi-screen games, Opposable have worked closely with a number of developers and have also made OneTouchConnect available via the Unity Asset Store.

Recent feedback from the press and public has shown a strong interest in both the game concept and the technology, as MD Ben Trewhella explains: “The response we received to the game at GDC and Rezzed was overwhelming so we're confident that the time is right to ramp up production. We've believed in the potential of multi-screen gaming for many years but it was really rewarding to see so many of the public so enthusiastic about both the technology and Salvaged itself. We're looking forward to sharing the finished game with our fast-growing fan-base.”

To support its new development schedule and to enable more of the team to move their focus away from work-for-hire, Opposable are also announcing today that they're launching a crowd-funding campaign for the game on Kickstarter which will go live on Monday 14th April.

For more information on Salvaged, please visit www.SalvagedGame.com, or follow the game via social media at: Twitter: @SalvagedGame, Facebook: www.facebook.com/SalvagedGame For more information on Opposable Games, please visit www.OpposableGames.com To support the Salvaged Kickstarter campaign, please visit the official campaign page here: salvagedgame.com/pledge

Titanfall Xbox 360 Review

Titanfall

When anyone utters the words ‘makers of Call of Duty’ and ‘giant robots’ in the same sentence, it’s only understandable that people get a little bit excited. Say what you will about Activision’s first person shooter franchise, but with a total of over 120 million units sold, Call of Duty’s reach and influence in the sphere of gaming is hard to deny. So large an influence perhaps, that Respawn Entertainment, the EA funded studio founded by Jason West & Vince Zampella, previously of Infinity Ward, must have felt the pressure of the colossal franchise they helped create, weighing down on them from the get go. The hypothetical question must have one day arisen – How do you take on a colossus? The answer seemed to be to simply bring a Titan. If anyone could do it, then who better than Respawn?

It was under the weight of this expectation that Titanfall, Respawn’s new futuristic FPS title hit the markets. The game’s packaging boasts of the title’s 60+ awards at E3, merely a feather in the cap of a game riding high on the shoulders of an aggressive marketing campaign and promised a next generation experience like no other. But after Titanfall’s March 11th release for the Xbox One & PC, reviews were mixed to say the least. Critics expected the second coming of the modern first person shooter, but instead received a competent game that could never live up to, the carefully orchestrated symphony of hysteria-inducing hype that told of it’s coming.

But a month after the games initial release, when the dust has settled and Titanfall finds itself on Microsoft’s Xbox 360, what then? When those expecting the next generation of gaming, have seen the emperor naked of new clothes, can Titanfall be judged solely on its merits as a console first person shooter?

For starters, let us look at Titanfall’s campaign. After promising a single player-like experience in a multiplayer setting, Respawn hit their first hurdle. By making the game online only, Titanfall polarized potential players from the very beginning. While only 18% of players completed Call of Duty Black Ops’ campaign, it is still a very daunting thought not to have a campaign in a full retail title.

To some, the idea of paying full price for a multiplayer game, in a constantly shifting multiplayer environment and especially with a new IP, is a scary thought. What if months down the line, nobody is playing Titanfall online? Then the game has a sell by date, a prospect that alarms most gamers who primarily vote with their wallets.

These grievances aside, what Titanfall offers in terms of a campaign is an ambitious idea, but on the whole will leave gamers wanting. For all its promises of user’s creating their own story, Titanfall’s campaign is simply Halo 4’s Spartan Ops. Small episodic chunks of story, which consist of nothing more than an in-engine cut scene and audio logs played over combat.

As for length, while the campaign is split into two opposing factions, the surprisingly well armed Frontier Militia, and the seeming evil Interstellar Manufacturing Corporation, both of which offer the perspective of each army and their struggles, not a lot changes. Win or lose, the story plods along to its slow and unsatisfactory conclusion. Though the story the game tells isn’t the most fascinating, its absence in the game’s regular multiplayer modes in noticeable, and even though the writing isn't the best, the contextualization of why these armies is fighting, feels strangely gratifying.

While only two of the game’s six multiplayer modes are playable here (Attrition, the game’s Team Deathmatch & Hardpoint, i.e. three point King of the Hill), experiencing them as part of the campaign is arguably more fun than without it.

In the campaign, the player takes the roll of a pilot, the game’s customisable soldier. Here a player experiences the game’s custom load outs and perks, as you would expect from any modern day shooter. However what Titanfall gets right is that like Halo, the weapon’s the player starts with are perfectly capable tools to play the game. The player is not penalized for their newness like in Call of Duty, or their lack of Premium Membership like in Battlefield 4. Even when fighting the game’s titular Titans, players start off with the right gun’s to make scrap metal of the metal mechs with ease, if they have enough skill to use them.

Where Titanfall’s game play differs from most modern FPS games is that in campaign and multiplayer, the player meets not only enemy players but AI with varying levels of skill, all of which gives XP. These AI make the seemingly limited 6 vs 6 experience feel on par with Battlefield 4’s 64 player Multiplayer. But more than simply filling up the numbers, these bots speed up the generation of the game’s selling point but also its biggest missed opportunity: The Titans.

Titans are mobile suits that offer the player further levels of customization of play, more powerful weapons and a personal robot killing machine to boot. Player’s can either pilot these Titans, or simply allow them to roam around the map, AI controlled killing enemy players for you. While Titan’s can be used strategically, using them guard a base in Hardpoint, or roam around covering your back in Attrition, I often found myself letting my Titan simply roam around scoring kills for me, as in an otherwise fast paced, no-nonsense FPS, Titan’s really slow things down. It’s both a blessing and a curse – the Titan’s speed restrictions stop them from being Battlefield’s Tanks and Choppers and dominating infantry, however it also derails what should be the selling point of the game, Titan vs. Titan action. Why would you ride a slow moving, large target into battle, when you can dispatch a Titan more efficiently with basic Anti-Titan weaponry? Especially when wall-running and the traversing of the environment is encouraged as a pilot?

The game’s Multiplayer options outside of campaign are also a mixed bag. While the game touts six modes, as well as Attrition & Hardpoint, there’s Last Titan Standing (a Titan vs. Titan mode which suffers from the pre-mentioned problems), Capture the Flag & Pilot Hunter (Team Deathmatch without AI kills counting).

The sixth mode is called ‘Variety Pack’ and is essentially a mixture of all other game modes. When you consider that Pilot hunter is simply a variant of Attrition, meaning the game only launched with four game types, Titanfall’s cracks start to show.

While there are certainly fun reasons to play Titanfall, and the game’s introduction of mechanics such as burn cards, cards that can be used for one spawn to deal extra damage or gain more XP, are fun, but they aren't essential to the experience. Despite supposedly being in development since 2010, Titanfall almost feels like a Beta game. With limited unlocks, the prospect that game modes that would have otherwise been on disk being included in downloadable content, as well as a seemingly limited lifespan. While there is the possibility of unlocking Generations, the game’s equivalent of prestige, this offers little but bragging rights, and makes Titanfall a great game that feels half cooked.

All promises aside, all hype deflated, Titanfall is the start of what proves to be a great first person shooter franchise. Despite its short comings, it is a strong basis for Respawn to build off of. The mechanics are there, they just need tweaking. The things it’s borrowed from other games, be it Mirrors Edge’s parkour or Left for Dead’s fighting for survival until extraction, are perhaps the right ones. That when combined with solid shooting and balanced weapons, feel new and exciting. While Titanfall doesn't deliver on its promise of a next gen experience like no other, but it’s certainly a fun, highly playable shooter that shows glimmers of greatness.