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By Jonathan Balofsky On 15 Nov, 2017 At 10:55 PM | Categorized As Featured, PC Games, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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The first person dungeon crawler genre has fallen by the wayside in recent years. What was once a major genre of PC games that directly led to modern RPGs like The Elder Scrolls and Dragon Age,  hasn’t been used much lately. That is not to say they have been absent, as indie games such as Legend of Grimrock and Heroes of the Monkey Tavern have helped keep the genre alive in peoples’ minds.  But these come off as tributes to the past with modern touches, rather than something that truly adds to the genre.

Enter Hyakki Castle, a game that takes the first person dungeon crawler and transplants it to 18th century Japan. In this game, you will find yourself on a quest to stop an evil sorcerer from destabilizing Japan, and are sent by the Shogun to resolve the matter. It is a simple story but it works well, and helps get you into the game quickly. Hyakki Castle has the character/class select as seen in other dungeon crawlers, but this time you have human, tengu, oni, and nekomata as the species you can be, along with samurai, shinobi, priest and monk as your class options. Selecting the best party is essential due to some of the unique mechanics the game has to offer.

In Hyaaki Castle, you will find yourself journeying through a castle in Edo era Japan and will find monsters at every corner. The enemies are well designed and interestingly enough, use dated visuals that actually help to give the opponents a sense of being truly other. One thing I truly enjoyed was the fact that the game requires you to split your party in two in order to solve puzzles and defeat certain foes. It might sound confusing but it actually works really well and feels like a natural thing. The enemies, based on Japanese folklore, give the game a feeling of horror while still being an RPG. This is not just a reskin of other indie dungeon crawlers, and set in Japan, but instead a game that makes full use of its setting to enhance every detail, both narrative wise and for improving the gameplay.

This isn’t to say the game is perfect though, as while the visuals are used to great effect and enhance the gameplay, the same can not be said of the music. Audio in the game is very minimalistic and this feels like a bit of a wasted opportunity. This could have helped create a more immersive experience but instead it feels lacking.

Control-wise, the game plays beautifully. The different puzzles and combat scenarios all feel easy to get into, with the challenge being from legitimate design and not unfair controls. Considering that the game plays in real time and introduces gameplay mechanics never done before, this is a major achievement. I wasn’t expecting to like Hyaaki Castle as much as I did, as aside from the audio issues I mentioned, the game is amazing. It doesn’t just make due with what is available but makes what is available work to its advantage. Happinet and Asakusa Studios did an amazing job, as ideas like the 2 party system are a great addition to the dungeon crawler RPG genre. It is great to see real innovation and progress, which shows that there is still so much that can be done with first person dungeon crawlers. This is a must play!

 

 

Disclaimer: A review key was provided by Happinet

 

 

By Jonathan Balofsky On 15 Nov, 2017 At 06:51 PM | Categorized As PC Games, ROG News, Uncategorized | With 0 Comments

No GravatarParadox sent out the following

 

Paradox Interactive, a publisher of games that define genres, and Obsidian Entertainment, developers of classic games like Fallout: New Vegas and South Park: The Stick of Truth, today announced that Pillars of Eternity: Definitive Edition is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux PCs. Definitive Edition, the comprehensive version of Obsidian’s award-winning, best-selling cRPG, Pillars of Eternity, includes the original game alongside both of its released expansions, all premium extras, and an all-new bundle of content, called the “Deadfire Pack,” inspired by Obsidian’s upcoming Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire. The new version is available via digital distributors today for a suggested retail price of $39.99.

This complete version provides fans with the full suite of all Pillars of Eternity-related content ever created by Obsidian, providing every piece of the experience in a single, convenient package.
Definitive Edition includes:
The original Pillars of Eternity, winner of multiple awards for its rich story, lush art style, and incredible depth of choice — a modern RPG that calls back the classics like Baldur’s Gate
The complete, expanded world, characters, and content from The White March: Parts I & II, which adds new places to travel, companions to adventure with, and quests to complete – and which expands greatly on the story of Pillars
All premium content originally sold with Pillars of Eternity: Royal Edition, including the original soundtrack, a digital collector’s book, an original novella set in the Pillars universe, and much, much more
The all-new Deadfire Pack DLC, which includes new in-game items to earn and discover, and new portraits from the forthcoming sequel, Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire, releasing in 2018

This is a really great package. Pillars of Eternity is a great game and this new definitive edition will be the best way to experience the game before the sequel comes out.

 

Source: PR Email

By Jonathan Balofsky On 15 Nov, 2017 At 12:27 PM | Categorized As PC Games, ROG News | With 0 Comments

No GravatarHappinet sent out the following

 

Japanese videogame publisher, Happinet, announced today that its beautifully stylized real-time dungeon RPG game, Hyakki Castle, launched on PC via Steam for western players. The game transports players to a terrifying haunted castle, where players are charged with leading a party to subdue the castle’s miserable lord.
Hyakki Castle, set in the 18th century during the Edo Period of Japan, brings classic Japanese “Fantastical World” folklore and ghost stories to life with an unforgettable Ukiyoe art style as players explore the frightening halls of the castle, battling forbidding demons and terrifying ghosts along the way. Choose between a Samurai or Ninja and venture forth into the enormous castle, filled with clever and cunning traps, to do battle, solve puzzles, defeat bosses, and ultimately defeat the gloomy Lord of the castle.
Featuring a brand-new approach to the traditional real-time dungeon RPG battle system, Hyakki Castle encourages players to split their party with its exclusive 2-party system, a feature not yet seen in real-time dungeon RPGs. Work together to use unique skills and equip up to four actions at the same time to aid in eradicating monsters with distinctive attacks, defenses, projectiles and magic spells while executing pincer attacks, flanking enemies, and more as you uncover the mysteries hidden within the castle’s remote and isolated depths.
“All of us are particularly enthusiastic for the opportunity to add our contribution to the dungeon RPG genre, creating a thrilling, mysterious, and suspenseful experience,” said Masaru Saito, Producer at Happinet. “We’re proud that Hyakki Castle showcases the deep roots of Japan’s rich folklore and hope it delivers an exceptional and gratifying experience to RPG fans around the world.”
To celebrate today’s launch, players can pick up Hyakki Castle on Steam at a 20% discount for $19.99 USD during a limited time launch week sale. As part of their commitment to continue support its community post-launch, Happinet also announced plans to release additional free dungeons within the year. Players are encouraged to visit the Hyakki Castle Steam page and Asakusa Studios game page for additional details.
Game details:
  • 2- Party System: Split your party of up to four players for unparalleled strategy and party options in this unique approach to the real-time dungeon genre

  • Real-time RPG Action: Become a Samurai or a Ninja, create a party, and venture forth to do battle, solve puzzles, defeat bosses, and explore a mysterious castle to defeat its Lord!

  • Classic Japanese Setting: Clash with monsters and supernatural creatures from Japanese folklore

  • Explore a Mysterious Castle: The enormous castle is filled with cunning traps—some of which can only be solved by dividing your party—and tough boss monsters, testing player instincts and judgement

  • Unforgettable Soundtrack: The game features traditional Japanese music and ambient sound creating an environment of mystery, suspense and fear to the gameplay experience

Hyakki Castle is a truly interesting RPG that blends gameplay and ideas in a unique way. We will have a review up shortly.

 

Source: Happinet PR

By Jonathan Balofsky On 14 Nov, 2017 At 10:30 PM | Categorized As Featured, PC Games, Reviews, ROG News, Uncategorized | With 0 Comments

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Shmups are one of the oldest genres in gaming, with classics like Space Invaders becoming a pop culture phenomenon. However, shmups tend to fall into one of three  categories, namely vertical, Horizontal and 3D view ( ala Star Fox and Panzer Dragoon) and innovation is not typically done. That is until now.

Astebreed: Definitive Edition is a shmup like no other that I have encountered before. It has an anime style to it, combined with a story based narrative to give it a unique identity. But what makes it so unique is the shifting perspective. Astebreed shifts between all 3 styles that shmups usually fall into, and does so in a way that helps create a fourth  hybrid style. It sounds like it would be disorienting but no, it actually plays very well and flows naturally. I don’t know how else to put it, but Astebreed: Definitive Edition honestly feels like a successful reinvention of the shoot em up genre with its hybrid gameplay.

The story itself is not much to talk about, as far as I am concerned anyways, but the visuals are very appealing, especially when the perspectives shift constantly. I also like the music of the game, as it helps keep the gameplay immersive and the player invested. The downside though is that some of the visuals can be a bit overwhelming, mostly due to causing me to lose track of the ship at times. This isn’t a major gripe but it did cause some issues for me. Despite that, Astebreed: Definitive Edition does feel like a great product.

If I had anything else to say, it is that Astebreed: Definitive Edition has a unique charm to itself. This release brings the updates from the console version and helps expand the experience for players, which is great. I really did like Astebreed: Definitive Edition and feel this is a game worth getting. I recommend it highly!

 

Disclaimer: A review key was provided

By Jessica Brown On 14 Nov, 2017 At 05:01 PM | Categorized As Featured, Interviews, PC Games, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Penka Kouneva is an award-winning composer who recently scored the NASA exhibit “Heroes and Legends” at the Kennedy Space Center. She has also provided the soundtrack for The Mummy VR game, worked with composer Steve Jablonsky to score the Prince of Persia: Forgotten Sands soundtrack, and has been involved with various other game and film musical scores. Beyond that, she has put out her own albums such as The Woman Astronaut and the recent Rebirth of Id. Overall, Penka has worked on games, films, and other venues which have grossed over $15 Billion combined.

Penka was extremely courteous and was able to answer some of our questions we had for her.

Q: While critics often rave about visuals, graphic quality, and storytelling in video games, I often feel like they overlook another equally important pillar: audio (music and sound). Do you think music gets overlooked sometimes?

Penka Kouneva: Music works the best when it’s perceived subliminally. While engaged in gameplay or watching a film, music should not be too present or too distracting. There are moments where the music really needs to soar for us to experience an emotional payoff. I believe a great, impactful score that fits the aesthetics of the game will always get noticed – consider Bloodborne, Journey, Uncharted scores.

Q: Over the years I’ve come to realize that a game’s soundtrack (or lack thereof) can make or break a game. In fact, there are a few games I think the soundtrack saves from being mediocre. Is this something that you have observed too?

Penka Kouneva: Yes, the music is a very powerful branding tool for the game. Games use music to set themselves apart from the competition. Music makes gameplay emotional and memorable. In every game I’ve ever played, I vividly remember its music, visual style and how the game made me feel playing it.

Q: When coming up with a musical score for a video game, what helps you find your inspiration to come up with appropriate themes?

Penka Kouneva: Conceptual conversations with the developers about their ideas. The vision of the developers. The characters and environments. The past history of the franchise. Music that my collaborators love. Challenges they have experienced in game development. The storytelling, the visual style, the maps. My job is to create a sonic world which the story will inhabit.

Q: I’ve wondered in the past if it would be harder to create a soundtrack for a game or movie vs. coming up with something completely original (such as a personal album)?

Penka Kouneva: When I compose a soundtrack, I collaborate with another artist – with their vision, their ideas and expectations. My music breathes life into their story. I love it! When I write my passion CDs, I work with my own original stories. Rebirth of Id is my third artist album (after The Woman Astronaut and A Warrior’s Odyssey). I returned to my formative inspirations (classical orchestral music and Minimalism) and blended them with innovative electronic arrangements. The album has a unique structure – four mini-soundtracks, each telling its own story. These artist CDs are my own private laboratory where I experiment with new sounds. They make me a better composer! The result is fantastic – these albums lead to bigger and better scoring jobs. The Woman Astronaut lead to scoring the $30 million NASA exhibit Heroes and Legends at the Kennedy Space Center that will live on for decades…

Q: Do you ever find yourself stuck with “composer’s block?”, and if so, how do you cope with it and overcome it?

Penka Kouneva: Yes, it does happen. I deal with it in three steps: A./ I remove myself from the aggravation – usually the computer – and go for a walk to clear my head. B./ I listen to music to inspire me for this project. Sometimes I listen some of my most favorite music that brings me to tears. And C./ is the most personal approach and takes willpower to do – I do a visualization: I remember a moment in time when I felt elated to be a composer (a concert of my music, or praise, or getting an award). I remember how it felt to be a composer at that happy moment. Then, with renewed passion about composing I return to the project where I got stuck. I keep listening to other music and ideas until some idea feels right and I push forward. I’m always on a deadline so I can’t afford to waste too much time in “writer’s block”.

Q: Have you ever come up with a piece that you personally felt was really great, but just didn’t fit the overall mood or theme of what you needed it for? If so, what do you do with “discarded” pieces?

Penka Kouneva: Oh, yes, very much so. If the music is great but just not fitting with the visual media, I write a new piece for my client that they like and eventually release my own music on my passion CDs.

Q: What can you tell us about any upcoming projects you may be working on?

Penka Kouneva: I’m proud of The Mummy VR game available at the IMAX VR Theaters and some arcades. Check out also a terrific supernatural horror feature Devil’s Whisper which tells the story of the 16-year old Alejandro. It’s a beautifully produced and richly layered film about fighting demonic forces, coming of age, courage and perseverance. (Sony Pictures released it on DVD and VOD in November). Two other features are coming out soon – Paul Salamoff’s Sci-Fi thriller Encounter premiering at the Berlin Film Festival, and the drama feature, Blue. If you visit Orlando, FL don’t miss the Kennedy Space Center and their newest attraction Heroes and Legends which I scored.

Q: When you aren’t directly involved in the musical space, what else do you like to get involved with? Do you have any other passions?

Penka Kouneva: I have a family and 11-year-old daughter, and she keeps me busy. I love the outdoors and we hike a lot on the weekends. I am extremely passionate about mentoring the younger generation of composers, so I help a lot of young composers. I love reading (books and articles online), art, and visiting with friends.

Q: I have to ask: Do you play through all of the games that you come up with soundtracks for?

Penka Kouneva: Yes, absolutely. We are a family of big gamers. Right now I am playing COD: WWII and yes, I have played all the games I’ve scored. I wanted to feel how my music works in gameplay. My kid plays mobile games all the time. I pinch myself every day because I’m living my dream. I wish for my readers to follow their dreams!

 

Thank you again for doing this interview.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 14 Nov, 2017 At 05:47 PM | Categorized As News, News, News, NINTENDO, PC Games, PlayStation, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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The future is looking bright for SNK. The company shared their official financial statements today,  and revealed some very good news. SNK has returned to profit in 2017 despite losing 558 million yen FY 2016. This change in fortune can be attributed to SNK moving away from pachinko and back to game development.

CEO Koichi Toyama has decided that SNK would return to their roots as a game developer and rebranded and SNK from SNK Playmore  as part of the return. Their first major effort was The King of Fighters XIV, which has been doing well for the company, especially on the esports scene. Hopefully SNK keeps this up, because they make great games and the industry is better with them in it.

 

Source

By Jonathan Balofsky On 14 Nov, 2017 At 04:46 PM | Categorized As News, News, PC Games, PlayStation, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

No GravatarBlizzard sent out the following

 

At BlizzCon® 2017 earlier this month, Blizzard Entertainment unveiled a ton of updates coming to our games—and starting today, several of these are now live!

  • StarCraft® II is now free-to-play!
  • Heroes of the Storm® welcomes one of the Dragons of the Nexus: Alexstrasza!
  •   Go behind-the-scenes of “Honor and Glory,” the latest Overwatch® animated short.

 

StarCraft II Now Free-to-Play

As we announced at BlizzCon, StarCraft II is free-to-play starting today! Players around the world now have access to the best of what the ultimate real-time strategy game has to offer, including:

  • The full, award-winning Wings of Liberty™ campaign
  • Immediate access to all multiplayer units in Unranked Multiplayer and Custom game modes
  • Free access to the Ranked Multiplayer ladder by completing 10 “First Wins of the Day” in Unranked Multiplayer or Versus AI modes
  • All Co-op Commanders free up to level 5, including the brand new Terran commander combo Mira Han and Matt Horner, who also debut today.
  • Between November 8 and December 8, players who already have Wings of Liberty (as of October 31, 2017) can get a free digital copy of Heart of the Swarm™.

 

Dragons Enter the Nexus in Heroes of the Storm
November 14–December 12

 

The first ever Dragon aspect in the Nexus arrives today in Heroes of the Storm, along with the Dragons of the Nexus Quest, which rewards players with three new portraits!

 

Warcraft®’s Alexstrasza is the first to swoop into the Nexus. She’s a powerful support Hero who can transform into her massive dragon aspect form to rain fire down on her friends and foes alike.

 

Here are some of the rewards Heroes of the Storm players can acquire with the arrival of Alexstrasza and the Dragons of the Nexus event:

  • New Skins: Dark Queen Alexstrasza, Dragon Aspect Alexstrasza
  • Alexstrasza Emoji Packs
  • New Skin Variations for Cho’gall, Varian, Kharazim, Samuro, Kael’Thas, Medivh, Chromie
  • Dragons of the Nexus Quest: Play 5 games to earn the Dragonqueen Alexstrasza Portrait, 10 games to unlock the Dragonstrike Portrait, and achieve 90 takedowns in winning games to receive the Stained Glass Dragon Knight Portrait.

 

Overwatch: “Honor and Glory” Animated Short Director’s Commentary

 

Enjoy an insider’s look for our latest animated short, “Honor and Glory,” featuring director’s commentary by Ben Dai from Blizzard’s animation team.

 

Blizzard is firing on all cylinders right now. After an amazing BlizzCon, the company is going from strength to strength.

Will you be checking out their new content?

 

Source: Blizzard PR

By Jonathan Balofsky On 14 Nov, 2017 At 04:38 PM | Categorized As PC Games, ROG News | With 0 Comments

No GravatarWB games sent out the following

 

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and DC Entertainment today announced that the top-selling and critically acclaimed videogame Injustice 2 is available now for PC via Steam and the Microsoft Store. Originally developed by NetherRealm Studios, Injustice 2 has been adapted for PC by QLOC and will allow PC players to experience the super-powered hit game featuring Justice League characters Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash and Cyborg, as well as other iconic DC characters such as Harley Quinn and Green Arrow.

All DLC currently available for Injustice 2 on consoles (Red Hood, Sub Zero, Starfire, Black Manta, and Raiden) are available now for the PC version through the PC Injustice 2 Ultimate Edition, Injustice 2 Ultimate Pack, or Fighter Pack #1 and Fighter Pack #2. The latest Hellboy DLC, released today for PlayStation 4, Xbox One X, and Xbox One, will be available at a later date.

Developed by the award-winning NetherRealm Studios, Injustice 2 features a massive roster of DC Super Heroes and Super-Villains and allows players to build and power up the ultimate version of their favorite DC characters. Players can fight their way across an epic Story Mode, ever-changing Multiverse and online multiplayer guilds – all while earning rare and valuable gear to fully customize their characters.

For more information about Injustice 2 please visit www.injustice.com. Join the Injustice 2 conversation on Facebook, Twitter, and official forums.

Injustice 2 is one of the best fighting games of this console generation. The PC version will soon be a must play thanks to modding as well. If you haven’t seen our review of the PS4 version, you can read it here.

Source: WB Games PR

By Wade Hinkle On 14 Nov, 2017 At 03:46 AM | Categorized As NINTENDO, PC Games, PlayStation, Uncategorized, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

No GravatarHeadup Games along with German production company btf, began a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for a new game, Trüberbrook.

Described as “Twin Peaks” meets “X-Files”, the atmospheric mystery adventure game takes place in 1967 cold-war Germany. Playing as young American physicist Hans Tannhauser, wins a trip, finds himself in the remote village Trüberbrook, soon realizing the fate of the world is in his hands.

Most games are done through computer animation, but btf built each of the scenes physically, crafting, painting, arranging and put in boxes in between. The models are digitized using a technique called photogrammetry and later retopologized, digitally polished and then blended with animated characters, visual effects and set extensions.

Screenshots


Artwork


 

Kickstarter backers have a variety of rewards to pick from depending on how much is given. An exclusive boxed edition, set pieces from the game, or have a portrait drawn by the character designer and become part of village’s ancestral gallery.

Trüberbrook is scheduled for release in late 2018 in English and German for Windows, Mac, Linux, all through Steam, along with Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, and the Xbox One.

The Trüberbrook Kickstarter campaign went live today and will end on December 14th.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 14 Nov, 2017 At 12:13 AM | Categorized As News, News, News, NINTENDO, PC Games, PlayStation, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

No GravatarBethesda sent out the following

 

Continue the fight to make American Nazi-free again in Wolfenstein II: The Freedom Chronicles. Starring three different heroes, this multipart DLC will give players a chance kick Nazis out of America but from a trio of fresh perspectives. Available as individual DLC packs or all together in the Season Pass, The Freedom Chronicles includes:

 

Episode Zero

Included with pre-order or Season Pass. Available now.

Episode Zero introduces players to Joseph Stallion, Jessica Valiant and Gerald Wilkins as they fight for freedom in the American Territories. Blast your way through Nazis using unique abilities and an arsenal of guns in this opening DLC mission.

 

The Adventures of Gunslinger Joe

December 14

As former professional quarterback Joseph Stallion, smash through Nazi hordes from the ruins of Chicago to the vastness of space!

 

The Diaries of Agent Silent Death

January 30

As ex-OSS agent and assassin Jessica Valiant, infiltrate Nazi bunkers in California and discover the secrets of Operation San Andreas!

 

The Amazing Deeds of Captain Wilkins

March 2018

As the US Army’s renowned hero Captain Gerald Wilkins, embark on a mission to Nazi-controlled Alaska to dismantle Operation Black Sun!

 

The Freedom Chronicles Season Pass is available now for $24.99. Each episode can also be purchased separately.

This is a great detailing of the post launch dlc. Wolfenstein II is an amazing game, and if you haven’t seen our review yet, you can read it here

 

source: Bethesda PR