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No GravatarFlinthook by Tribute Games is a ridiculously addictive, even more ridiculously difficult action/platformer/roguelike in space pirate ships! Armed with your plasma pistol, hookshot and chronobelt you’ll be blasting away enemies and platforming through insane trap-filled rooms, battling waves of crazy enemies and taking out countless randomly-generated ships in search of four particularly notorious foes.

Title: Flinthook
Developed By: Tribute Games
Available For: PS4 (reviewed), Xbox One, Win/Mac/Linux (Steam)

My first taste of Flinthook was seeing @flinthook tweet a few gifs and screenshots on Twitter. When I saw the one above I was hooked and immediately added it to the list of games I had to try. Just look at that incredible animation, the crazy bullet-hell-ish dodging, smooth hook shot work and use of slowing down time! I’m so glad my gut was right – Flinthook is a BLAST!

After a brief training level, you’re given your first bounty and thrown into the meat of Flinthook – working to find and defeat your first boss. To find Bad Billy Bullseye you must first feed your compass three ghost gems, with one being found aboard each of Bad Billy Bullseye’s ships. Each “level” presents you with three ship options, each with random modifiers that can be good or bad. Higher difficulty ships have lots of modifiers (one may have fog on the ship, lots of shops, lots of treasure rooms and tougher enemy rooms) and lower difficulty ones may have as low as one. Right off the bat you’re introduced to the risk/reward balance that a good roguelike has – treasure rooms are often extra dangerous but can give you boosts for your current run or loads of gold to buy boosts or health, or one ship may be a higher difficulty overall but have better modifiers than the rest. If you can survive long enough to find the boss you’ll head to their ship and take them on in an epic battle! The game has four main bosses, each with a wild fight and the later bosses require more gems to find. Should you die, you’ll lose your progress toward your current boss and have to find all of their gems once again.

Like any good roguelike, you’re going to die a lot, and that’s not a bad thing. Each time you die you’ll gain experience and work toward purchasing permanent upgrades. You can upgrade and unlock all sorts of things, such as increasing the amount of experience you get each run, adding to your max HP, unlocking additional sub weapons or adding to your total number of perk points. Each time you level up you’ll earn a booster pack that has a random card (or cards) that can be equipped, and these can modify your game in all sorts of ways. You can make your pistol more powerful, shoot further and/or change the way it fires, add additional HP, make it so you find extra gold and pretty much anything else you can think of. As you unlock more of them you can really line up some cool combos – you can make it so you get lots of extra gold from everything and then set it so your pistol does extra damage depending on how much gold you have, you can equip loads of experience boosters for grinding, or you can equip loads of perks for your chronobelt to make it last longer and slow time even more if you love the slo-mo. The tricky bit is that there are dozens and dozens of potential upgrades to equip and you’ll never be able to equip more than 13 at a time (and most take more than one perk point!), so you must choose wisely.

When I was developing games I heard a quote about the importance of fun and movement in games. I can’t remember who said it or even what game it was but the gist of it was this – the developer(s) had made a movement system that was so fun that it was a blast just jumping and running around. With such a fun movement system, it was clear the game itself would be fun when placed on top of it. I feel like that sums up the main feeling I have about Flinthook: the movement in the game is just so fun and solid that it eradicates any flaws the game may have had otherwise.

In addition to the fantastic movement system, one of the things that stuck out to me the moment I started Flinthook was the terrific music. I’ve played video games for over 30 years and can count the number of game soundtracks I would buy on both hands, but Flinthook’s music is so terrific it competes with games like Final Fantasy! It’s full of adventure, it’s inspiring and it’s action-packed! From the second I hit the title screen I was amped up and ready to go. The sound effects are great too, and the art is gorgeous.


Flinthook
is a very difficult game, so difficult in fact that I was only able to defeat one of the game’s four bosses so far, not including all of the secrets and additional things the game includes! To get a solid feel for what the game had in store, later on, I watched some YouTube videos, and it’s incredible just how much more there is to the game! Not only do the levels and bosses get ridiculously harder (the final boss requires 12 ghost gems!), there are all sorts of secrets you can uncover by pulling off crazy things like not getting hurt on an entire ship.

Despite the difficulty the game’s brilliant grappling system, addictive leveling, a slew of secrets, amazing music and incredibly deep customization system kept me coming back, and I’ll definitely be playing much, much more of Flinthook in the future as well!

Note: I received a copy of the game from the developer in exchange for an honest review.

By Wade Hinkle On 29 Sep, 2016 At 10:39 AM | Categorized As PC Games | With 0 Comments

No Gravatarprojectnimbus_screenshotKiss Ltd and Gamecrafter Team has released a new update for their game that is in Early Access on Steam, Project Nimbus today.

Project Nimbus is a mech action game set in a post apocalyptic world. Players control ‘BattleFrames’ – humanoid battles suits armed with an arsenal of weapons.

The latest Prokect Nimbus update, codenamed ‘Hurana’ brings Mission 19, also known as Sekai No Zange, along with some gameplay enhancements and bug fixes. The developer did not go into details as to what the enhancements and bug fixes actually took care of.

Project Nimbus is available now in Early Access on Steam for the PC and priced for $14.99.

 

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Run-and-Gun games are a classic staple of gaming. From Contra to Metal Slug, the games have been a crucial part of gaming and one of the most influential genres. So when Blasting Agent: Ultimate Edition was announced for Wii U, I became excited at the chance to play a new game like that for Wii U. But was it any good? Well, that is a matter of debate….but I would argue that it very much is a good game.

The game plays very similarly to other Run-And-Gun games but it also goes back to a classic pixelated art style. This art style helps the game stand out with a unique look which can draw in more players. The music is okay and while not the best, it does do its part to help capture that retro feel for the game. The music and art combined work great to create that classic feel and the audio effects and visual effects beyond are a step above other Retraux games in this style.

The gameplay in this is fantastic and insane in many ways. The bosses are over the top, the levels are well made to create a sense of intensity and a feeling that everything will continue to be topped as you progress. Some of these bosses have to be seen to be believed. The game is no cakewalk but once you beat it, you can unlock a hard mode which takes things to the next level of intensity. The game takes the right influences from retro games and the right ideas from modern games. It is a fun Run-and-Gun game that is very much worth your time to check out and play. It is not very expensive and can give you quite a bit of enjoyment. So all in all, I must recommend this game and suggest you do try it out.

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No GravatarKoei Tecmo has released a new gameplay video showing off how Guts will look in the upcoming Berserk Musou. The character looks true to his origins and the game is extremely graphic and bloody. Fans of the series will definitely appreciate the work being done in this video game.

You can check out the video here. Note, it is very bloody and graphic so watch at your own risk.

 

By Jonathan Balofsky On 15 Jul, 2016 At 06:15 PM | Categorized As News, PlayStation, Playstation Vita, Portable/Mobile Gaming, ROG News | With 0 Comments

No GravatarKoei Tecmo has announced that their upcoming game based on the Manga and Anime series Berserk, will launch this fall in the western markets, which should be reassuring to those worried it would be a long wait.

 

Here is some information from their new website

 

 

Slash and Smash Action!

In this work, the action of cutting through hundreds of enemies, fundamental to the Warriors series, is fused together with the dark and gruesome atmosphere of the world of “Berserk“, making various heretofore unseen acts possible, such as using a giant man-sized sword to cut enemies in half, as well as smash or send them flying with the “Cleaving” and “Smashing” attacks.
Revel in the astounding destructive power capable of cutting through multiple enemies with one blow!

Extensive and Profound Story!

In this game, in addition to the well-known and popular “Golden Age Arc”, you will also be able to join Guts and his newest companions on his journey of revenge through “The Hawk of the Millennium Arc”.
Additionally, the extensive story includes an impressive amount of artwork, including footage from the actual animation movie trilogy and new, original scenes portraying more detailed interactions between the members of the Band of the Hawk and other characters.

Diverse Character Selection!

In addition to the main hero of the story, Guts, you can choose to play as any of a number of characters from all the different parts of the story. Every one of these characters possesses a distinctive set of skills and characteristics to ensure the variety of gameplay is consistent with the world of “Berserk“.

Furthermore, to deepen immersion into the story, the same familiar cast of voice actors from the movie trilogy and the new animation series were invited to take part in this project.

? Story

The Golden Age Arc

This story is set in a time of chaos, in a land where the Midland Kingdom and the Chuder Empire have been locked in a widespread war for over one hundred years.

During one battle, a lone mercenary, Guts, attracts the attention of the mercenaries of the Band of the Hawk, and is ambushed by some of them on the road.

After losing in a duel to the leader of the Hawks, Griffith, Guts is forced to join their band, where he acquires many new comrades, including a woman named Casca, a Unit Commander in the band.

With Guts fighting as the Raiders Captain, the Band of the Hawk continues to come off victorious in all of their battles, and finally earns recognition from the King of Midland himself.

Fighting now under the Midland banner, the Band raids a castle occupied by a legendary swordsman and rumored immortal named Nosferatu Zodd. Zodd defeats both Guts and Griffith, but in the last moment he notices the Crimson Behelit that Griffith wears around his neck, and leaves without killing them.

The Band of the Hawk continues to gain fame on the battlefield, and in the end, using only 5000 men fighting with their backs to the river, manages to capture the impregnable Fortress of Doldrey. This victory brings the end to the war between Midland and Chuder.

Though Guts is praised as a hero, he chooses to leave the Band. He believes that only in doing so will he become worthy of being a friend to Griffith. The shock of Guts’ leaving forces Griffith’s hand, and he spends the night in the Princess’s chambers. As a result, the King of Midland, furious, throws Griffith in the dungeon and gives orders to hunt down the Band of the Hawk as traitors of the state.

A year later, Guts, having learned of the troubles of the Band of the Hawk, rushes back to help the outlawed remnants of the Hawks rescue Griffith. However, they are too late. All the torture had left Griffith in a condition that allows for no hope of recovery. And it is this despair that activates the Crimson Behelit…

To fulfil his own ambition, Griffith chooses to be reborn as “Femto”, one of the Five Angels…

and offers in exchange the lives of his devoted comrades and followers, the lives of the entire Band of the Hawk…

The Band of the Hawk, sacrificed for the sake of Griffith ambition, is slaughtered by the monsters called Apostles, with only two of those present there left alive – Guts who has lost his left arm and right eye, and Casca who suffered a mental breakdown and became as helpless as a child.

In order to avenge his companions, Guts decides to wage a war against all of the Apostles and Griffith. He sets out on a solitary road of revenge, dressed in black armor with a giant sword Dragon Slayer on his back…

? Characters

Guts

Guts is a wandering mercenary, who, after being defeated by Griffith, joins the Band of the Hawk. In that band, he earns the status of Captain of the Hawks’ Raiders. After the war ends, he leaves the Band of the Hawk to find his own dream and to become the equal of Griffith.

Griffith

The leader of the Band of the Hawk, a band of mercenaries feared as the Grim Reapers of the Battlefield. He is a young man of striking handsomeness and possesses a charisma that enchants people around him. His dream is to acquire his own kingdom.

You can check out the English website here

By Jonathan Balofsky On 23 Jun, 2016 At 06:22 AM | Categorized As News, PlayStation, Playstation Vita, Portable/Mobile Gaming, ROG News | With 0 Comments

No GravatarKoei Tecmo has released the first real trailer for their upcoming video game adaptation of Berserk. The game looks intense and I am excited for it.  The game is coming to PS4, PS3 and PS Vita. Check out the trailer below.

 

By Jonathan Balofsky On 29 Jan, 2016 At 02:54 PM | Categorized As News, News, NINTENDO, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Bayonetta 2’s reprint is now available on Amazon.com for preorder. For those with Amazon Prime, the game will only cost 24 dollars instead of 30. The game is a standalone re-release and does not include Bayonetta 1 although it is likely Nintendo may discount that game on the eshop soon.

 

Given the high demand for Bayonetta 2 after the character’s announcement as a DLC character in Super Smash Bros for Wii U and for 3DS, it is likely this will sell fast. In the one hour since I last checked, the game had jumped over 50 spots in the Amazon sales rankings and seems to still be climbing.

 

You can order the game here.

No GravatarHave you ever watched a Bond film and thought “that’s what I want to do”? Well, you might change your mind after you play Alpha Protocol. Not because the game is specifically bad, but because you’ll get a feel of what being a spy in the field is actually like.

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Alpha Protocol is an action role-playing stealth game. What a mouthful, but accurate. It was released in 2010, and for a four year old game it feels…older. That’s not a bad thing, mind you.  Most gamers would say their favorites are from a generation of consoles that are no longer distributed, but those games are chosen quite often out of nostalgia. On the one hand those games were the best of their time, but on the other hand they fall short compared to some modern innovations. The point here is that Alpha Protocol feels like one of those games. Something you loved for what it was back when you played it the first time, but over the years it has lost its edge.

To start, Alpha Protocol is truly a spy story. You are Michael Thorton, a new recruit in the Alpha Protocol program, and your job is to serve your country and stop the bad guys. Sounds simple enough given this is the idea behind more than few games. However, you are a spy. Your job is to get things done with minimal exposure. Whether you kill everyone in your way or just leave them with a tortuous headache, no one should know you’re there. Stealth is a great game mechanic, and Alpha Protocol does a great job of using it. Except for the bugs.

Let me talk about those for a moment because most of the issues I had with this game stem from bugged stealth mechanics. There were times when I would be crouched behind a wall, completely out of sight and fully buffed in sound dampening, and taking a few steps alerted a guard more than ten feet away. This would then alert every guard on the map. And if I should come out of cover and actually be seen, one guard would be enough to expose my location to every guard who would then proceed to start shooting. It’s easy enough to rid yourself of guards and turn off an alarm, but in a minute I’ll tell you why this was such a problem.

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This game is good. It’s hard to call it great, and at times it isn’t all that fun, but it’s good. Agent Thorton is betrayed on his first assignment for Alpha Protocol and is set on a path to make things right. Here is where my favorite aspect of the game comes in. Choice. As Thorton you get to choose what happens. How you interact with others can determine how they respond to you and your actions. Gaining friendship has advantages, but so does rivalry. Who you get on your side can change the outcome; deciding who to ally with and who to piss off, that’s the trick. This game requires you to pay attention. Between gathered intelligence, dossier information, and other tidbits you collect along the way there is an abundance of knowledge. Knowing where you’re going, why you’re going there, and who you’re facing will make things far easier. The game doesn’t do all the thinking for you. The missions you choose to do, and the order you choose to do them in, also has impact.

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That’s all great, but how do you actually play? It’s simple enough. There is combat, stealth, hacking, and collecting. In combat you can put points into different weapons: shotguns, SMGs, assault rifles, pistols, and hands. There are also gadgets; from grenades, to flash bangs, to health kits, you can carry a minimal set into missions and use them for different situations. Stealth, while not a requirement in mission, is a good way to get all that you want. Hacking is dealt with in three ways: computers, keypads, and safes. Hacking a computer requires finding a series of non-moving letters and numbers amongst a stream of flashing figures. A keypad is simply hacked by matching numbers is ascending order to their circuit. A safe is a lock picking screen where you move pins into position and click them in place. Collecting is just what it sounds like. Make sure you explore every room because information, money, and security systems may be hiding anywhere (which is useful when you are lacking cash to buy that armor you want). You will spend the majority of the game working on these skills, getting used to being in cover and sneaking into position, only to reach “boss” fights and the final mission.

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Remember when I said how bugged the stealth system was? Here is where that becomes important. Boss fights, including most of the final mission, are tough. Add in the fact that stealth becomes useless and they get tougher. Here, fight a helicopter that can shoot you through cover, never loses target lock, and you have to fire one RPG at a time at it and those RPGs are scattered across the map. On top of that, here are five men who are going to shoot you, chase you, and know where you are because the helicopter never loses target lock. And if one enemy knows where you are, they all do. It’s infuriating.

I will say that I had fun with this game. The story pulls you in, and you feel like a true spy when things go right. The stealth is fantastic, when it works. The characters are ranging, and often have unexpected stories. I plan to try it again, make some different choices and see what happens, but I do like where my initial instincts lead. And that’s good. This isn’t a game that says “here, make a choice” and then gives you a cookie cutter ending. Who you decide to be will change the path, and that’s nice to see.

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There are other things I could cover. How bad targeting is, how wonky movement can be, how bad pathing is for NPCs, how many boss fights I won because of glitches…

If I were to recommend this game it would be lightly. If you like stealth games and spy stories try it out. If you don’t, skip it. Alpha Protocol requires dedication. It asks you to sit down, pay attention, and accept that things will not always go the way you want. You may do a bit of reloading, but know that the only save option is auto saves.

With all that said, you can always use brute force, and then stealth doesn’t matter so much. It will take more time, you’ll face more enemies, and you may lose out on some of the finer points, but at least you’ll know why all the guards are after you.

By Inactive or EX ROG Staffer On 29 Jan, 2014 At 11:18 PM | Categorized As Movie News, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments
Hercules title

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Hercules title

I had a hankering for a good action filled movie when I went to see Hercules in 3D at my local theater, and in that area the movie delivered. Now Hercules is just one of those countless movies everyone forgets about that airs in that time period between movies released during winter break and the famous “Summer Blockbuster” time period, but I definitely think everyone who just wants a straightforward violent movie should go see it.

Hercules

Now imagine him shirtless for more or less half the movie and you’ve got an idea of what you’re paying to see.

The movie is based on Greek mythology and focuses on the story of the demi-god Hercules. The tale begins with the husband of Hercules’ mom killing a king and taking his kingdom. Overcome by grief of how she couldn’t change her bloodthirsty husband who came to be known as the “slayer of kings” she begs the goddess Hera for help. Hera appears before her and says she’ll help her but she’ll have to sex up Zeus, her husband and the king of Gods. Yeah it sounds weird but she says (in a more theatrical way) my husband can’t contain his horniness for you so I’ll let him have at you, but in return you will bear a son who will end your husband’s reign, let his name be Hercules. So after the most unintentionally comical sex scene I’ve ever witnessed and the even more hilarious reaction King Amphitryon had to Alcmene committing adultery with an invisible man; the stage is set as Amphitryon renames Hercules as Alcides to compliment his brother’s name Iphicles.

In terms of accuracy to the origin, if you know of how Hercules came to be born you would know it isn’t accurate from the get go. If you came for a lesson or a reenactment of Greek mythology you will be greatly dissapointed. However I believe the film does a good job at adapting the idea the general public has of Hercules and giving it life. Hercules has everything you would expect out of a great hero, might, courage, strength, and a thirst for justice. The film also involves a love interest, Hebe, whom is to be wed to his younger brother. The bond between Hercules and Hebe is actually well done, and it’s the first time in a long time I’ve seen a film execute a love subplot quite well, which adds more intensity to the film and its climax. The movie also involves the bond that forms between Sotiris (a commander) and Hercules as they try to survive together. I would go into further detail but I fear it might spoil the movie too much. It’s not a masterpiece by any means, as Iphicles is a character I believe is quite unexplored; doing so would have pushed this film past being a really great action movie. Iphicles is a tragic character that tries to live up to his brother but can’t, and doesn’t feel the same love from those he loves, including his mother. I feel the end of the movie hasn’t done justice for this overly villainized character that had great storytelling potential.

There are many movies I go see in 3D that simply don’t use the medium as well as they could, and there doesn’t seem to be much difference between the 2D and 3D versions. This movie however is greatly improved by the use of 3D, things fly in your face, crumble around you, and faceoffs become that much more intense. The CGI in the movie is perfectly balanced with the hand to hand combat, which will make fans of good old fashioned action scenes quite happy. From wardrobe to environment, everything works out in the film’s favor to suck you into the movie viewing experience. The Legend of Hercules is definitely the film you’ve got to go see next time you go to the movies, but only if you’re into larger than life action.

Hey Ice King! Why'd you steal our garbage?!!

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Hey Ice King! Why'd you steal our garbage?!!

Adventure Time is one of those rare gems that captured my heart immediately and I’ve been a fan of the series since the first episode. When I found out a real Adventure Time video game would be released I was joyous. Finally a game that will sum up the awesomeness of the show, not an online game or an app, but a full blown out game. The result was satisfying enough, so let’s get to the nitty gritty of this game.

For a game with an uncommonly long name, it was quite short. Too short. With the enormity of The Land of Ooo in the show, I thought there would be more to explore. This paired with how easy the game is makes me recommend this game only to dedicated Adventure Time fans that will love the game for the characters, oh so Adventure Time like story and dialogue, and every reference to the show. It’s a good game everyone should try out, but if you aren’t a fan the current price of the game won’t make you feel like you got your money’s worth.

Princess Bubblegum's pantyhose was stolen!

What makes this game is how faithful it remains to the original show. The creator Pendleton Ward created the entire story and helped in the process of creating the game, making the story equivalent to that of a regular Adventure Time episode (the light hearted ones, not the ones that make you cry yourself to sleep). Almost every character that has appeared in the show is cleverly incorporated into this game seamlessly and items such as tiger claws and the crystal apple show up as items you can use in the game.

You play the game through Finn who carries Jake in his backpack with him. Both Finn and Jake can attack and throughout the game gain new abilities that you need to progress through the obstacle filled caves and dungeons and move from one place to another in The Land of Ooo. And who can talk about this game without mentioning the similarity to Zelda II: The Adventure of Link? You move from one location to another overhead view style. Not only that but the towns and forest are ridiculously tiny compared to the protagonist and en route you can run into ghost that warp you to a random place where you just kill enemies. And when you reach a location you switch to a regular side scroller. The similarities are definitely there and an awesome bonus for anyone who liked that game.

Jake's growing ability

Visually the game is bright and colorful and definitely feels like you’re stepping into Ooo. The background is layered and looks good when playing in 3D. Coming into spots like the Candy Kingdom and Ice King’s Lair, the original backgrounds are there to excite your inner fanboy or fangirl.

Jake using Ear Shield on Giant Worm

It’s a shame the game is too easy, even the bosses are surprisingly easy, except Ice King who was a bit of a challenge. Once you beat the game you can enjoy the credits that reveal a nice surprise in the end. After beating the game the first time you unlock harder gameplay the next run of the game. This makes up a bit for its initial easiness and makes me pretty content. However, as much as I love this game it has a low replay value. The gameplay doesn’t feel varied enough to hold my interest for a long time but its content will have me come back to play it once in a while.

So if you love Adventure Time as much as I do go get yourself a copy and play it for the ride. I hope to come back to The Land of Ooo soon for the next Adventure Time game. Definitely recommended for novice players and Adventure Time fans you’re trying to get into gaming.