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Amongst the myriad of pick-up-and-play games on mobile platforms, it’s hard to stand out these days.  Virtually every genre is utterly swamped with games, especially indie releases.  And no genre is more stuffed to overflowing than the physics-based genre, primarily owing to the success of games like Angry Birds.  In a content-rich environment such as this one, it’s hard to stand out.  But what better way to do so than with Cthulhu?

Lunarsea (ah, the double entendre!) is a free physics based game on iOS and Android where you play as the great lord Cthulhu himself, who decided to steal the moon.  Doing so has angered the puny human population though, so oddly enough, Cthulhu is fleeing their wrath with a hastily muttered “wgah’nagl bug.”  Unfortunately for our poor angry Elder God, the only getaway vehicle he could locate was an ancient wooden sailing vessel, so he tosses the moon in his pocket, hops aboard, and makes good his escape.

Okay, perhaps a little suspension of disbelief might be required.  The story is short and endearingly odd, but how is the gameplay?  Well, it’s very straightforward.  The moon affects ocean levels, and well, you have it, so you can tap the screen to release it anywhere in the air to raise and lower the waves, as well as to block missile attacks from those filthy humans that just won’t leave you alone.  In addition, there are left and right buttons to move your vessel across the screen to prepare for obstacles, which are frequent and appear rapidly.  The lunar gameplay makes Lunarsea unique and interesting, as the combination of waves and gravity make for a remarkably organic combination.  Timing is everything in this game as you are raising and lowering the waves to get over sharp mountains, dodge missiles, and collect coins and health.

Yes, Cthulhu needs money.  That’s probably on a sign being held by a vagrant trying to wash a windshield somewhere, and if it isn’t, it should be.  In this case, coins buy much-needed upgrades to your skills, such as health, boat speed, and invulnerability length.  And you will need them.  The difficulty curve in Lunarsea ramps up fast.  By level  5, you’ll be swearing at your phone and getting frustrated as those pesky humans manage to fire torpedoes, regular missiles, and even laser-guided missiles at your creaky old vessel.

Fortunately, Live In the Game thought ahead on this one.  Frequent deaths don’t lose all the coins you’ve collected.  It would be nice if you saw a running tally of those as you played, but each time you die, and die you will, your updated bankroll appears and you’re able to buy upgrades.  In addition, there are goals as well, such as blowing up ten missiles or traveling a thousand meters.  The completion of each goal earns you additional bonus coins, allowing you to buy even more upgrades so that eventually, even those of us unskilled at physics games can still manage to move forward at an ungainly crawl.  Many of the goals are also cumulative between games just like coins, giving you the chance to complete them, as you are unlikely to in a single game.

 

There are a couple of sticking points in Lunarsea though.  The list of active goals you are trying to achieve scrolls down from the top of the screen every single time you die.  After you raise the goal cap, this actually intrudes on the gameplay itself, distracting you at the beginning of each level and constantly reminding you that you’re failing to complete them.   The challenge of the game itself can be daunting at times as well and may lead to frustration for the more casual player.  And the jaunty nautical music that seemed novel and enjoyable at first (controllable with a slider, thankfully) can become quickly repetitive as there is only the one song that repeats ad nauseam on every level.

As a minimalist game, however, even after an hour, your phone is unlikely to heat up significantly.  Lunarsea is definitely not a resource hog on Android, which is a plus in these days where you can literally watch your battery life drain away like a swirling toilet flush while you game.   There’s also an Endless Mode to just relax and play if the stages are frustrating you.  It’s still hard, but it’s definitely fun too.   The install on Google Play warns of in-app purchases and ads, but neither were to be seen for this review of the current build of the game.  Overall, Live In The Game has created a clever little game that’s fun to play in small doses when you have a few spare moments.  I mean really, how can you go wrong with a free-to-play game that combines H.P. Lovecraft, Baby Driver, Despicable Me, and Pirates of the Caribbean?  You can’t, and don’t try to say that you can!  Go and give it a try if you enjoy physics games and a challenge, or ever wanted to just… steal the moon!

Download Lunarsea free for Android here.

Download Lunarsea free for iOS here.

This review covers the Android version of Lunarsea by Live In The Game.

By Terrence T. Watson On 13 Aug, 2017 At 09:07 PM | Categorized As Featured, PlayStation, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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[Marvel Heroes Omega is the latest MMORPG to hit the PlayStation 4 by Gazillion]

Marvel Heroes Omega has been out on the PC for the longest time underneath the titular name. “Marvel Heroes 2016/2017.” So gamers from all around the world were excited to try their hand at the vastly popular MMORPG from Gazillion. However, It was not until recently that Gazillion had decided to take the next step with Marvel Heroes and eventually port this game on the PlayStation 4 platform. Even then Marvel Heroes Omega is proving to be a worthy contender for one of the most popular MMORPG’s to play on the PS4 to date.

[ Marvel Heroes Omega features actual comic book style art for its Story Mode cut scenes, This is just an example of such. ]

Marvel Heroes Omega for the PlayStation 4 focuses on the the story of The Marvel Universe’s heroes compromising of its various popular faces such as Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and some former villains such as Deadpool to combat the forces of Doctor Doom, A.I.M, The Kingpin, and various other Marvel Comics villains. However the main antagonist for the Campaign itself is none other than Doctor Doom, but other villains also make their appearances along the way such as The Mandarin, and M.O.D.O.K over the collective sum of nine chapters overall each with their sub chapters to boot. So if you do not like playing per se’ Deadpool a certain way? You’ll have a different way to play him based on your talents. Now, these talents are unlocked on levels 32, 38, 44, 50 and 56 for the final talent tree. Each talent has three different choices overall, also once you hit level 60 you will be able to access your ultimate ability by pressing L1+R1 at the same time. The ultimate abilities are different for each character, so making wise choices is vital. There is also a Synergy system which adds certain stat passives at level 25 and 50 respectively for each hero. If you gear them around your heroes stats to make them stronger. I.E: Synergize Deadpool with a hero who also uses gun powers like Star Lord for extra damage to your base abilities.

[ The real draw in for Marvel Heroes Omega to me is the Talent system! It offers a lot of customization.]

Marvel Heroes Omega’s story mode is a lot of fun and adds so much to the atmosphere of the game. There are also other modes that make this games fun factor on point. After completing the story mode, the game offers operations which you can repeatedly do for extra bonuses overall for your character. This mode also has the Bounty Hunter system which rewards players for the bare number of kills accumulated, this ranges from usually 100 kills to 350 kills. Now, this is also good because after you kill the boss it allows you to open extra treasure chests at the end of the level based on your collective amount of kills.

The Base MHO game allows you to play on an open map with several people. The patrols allow you to pretty much play at your leisure rather than being stuck on a linear path. There are also trials to increase the difficulty of your game thus giving you greater rewards ranging from Heroic Trial, Super Heroic Trial, then Cosmic Trial. Now each trial has you pretty much facing off against two waves of 26 enemies under the clock. With each successive difficulty, you complete you unlock better gear.  The difficulty determines what style of gear you receive.

Personal Likes:

[Marvel Heroes Omega features a wide range of heroes to choose from.]

My Personal Likes are listed below

– Marvel Heroes Omega’s Hero Selection
It has a decent selection to choose from overall.

– Marvel Heroes Omega’s Storyline
Each chapter is introduced with actual marvel style drawings.

– Each Hero has their own voice actors from their studios
Like Deadpool has his voice, Wolverine has his, Etc.

– Each Hero has Multiple Costumes to choose from.
For example, Spider Man has his Iron Spider Costume.

Personal Dislikes:

[Personally, I think you should not have to pay cash for more storage. That should have been in game costs.]

My Personal Dislikes are listed below

– The time it takes to release the content for this game.
While the presentation is top notch PC has way more stuff.

– A number of Eternity Splinters you need to grind.
For some heroes, they are as low as 250 for others 775

– The amount of storage you get for a fresh character.
40 Spaces is a little disheartening for a fresh playthrough.

– The lack of the Unique Equipment System for this build. As of 6/3, The lack of the unique system is a letdown.

[Marvel Heroes Omega does a lot of things right but until they do everything right? Gazillion will have their work cut out for them.]

The gameplay to me is probably better than what I thought it would be on the PS4, as far as I am personally concerned. Marvel Heroes Omega translates pretty well from the conversion from being a PC original title to an actual PS4 title. Honestly, I’d like to see more titles done in this fashion because the Diablo formula works pretty well with this particular game. Granted it took them redesigned cut scenes and a few extra chapters to polish the title as a whole but once that was done it went pretty smoothly if I do say so myself. ~ Samurai.

By Tiffany Marshall On 28 May, 2015 At 01:00 PM | Categorized As Featured, International News, PC Games, ROG News, Videos | With 0 Comments

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This morning it was announced via social media that WildStar will be going free-to-play.

My opinion on this is it’s about time! I think the subscription models for MMOs is becoming outdated and a lot of people are more hesitant for shelling out that kind of money, especially for a game that’s new and people don’t know a whole lot about. I think if your game is good enough, you can survive as a free-to-play game and get people to pay for other things.

I first saw WildStar at PAX East a couple years ago and I was intrigued. I love MMOs. They manage to engulf my life when I start playing. What would an MMO be without that?! 😉 I decided to jump in and bought the game while there. Hey, why not? I was caught up in the craze of PAX.

I played it a bit here and there and it was okay, but it was hard to justify paying a subscription for it. Now that that’s finally being taken away, I may just jump back in again.

The Free-to-Play won’t be available until the fall, but you can sign up for the beta here.

What do you think? Will you play? What do you think of the subscription model for MMOs?

Source: WildStar’s Facebook

By otakuman5000 On 13 Apr, 2011 At 02:23 PM | Categorized As Editorials, PC Games, PlayStation, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 2 Comments

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The latest AAA RPG is out today, filled with all the bloody combat, gray morality, and sexy women, or men, that you could want. That’s a no-brainer for a day one purchase, right?

Here’s another question: Do you go ahead and put down $60 + tax of your hard-earned money on it, knowing that there is already DLC on PSN/XBLA, and that all this content will probably be available next year with the core game as the “Game of the Year Edition”? Do you pay $60 for a game that by all accounts plays like it’s still in beta-testing in hopes that the designers will release patches to make it run correctly in the next few weeks?

One of the defining features of the seventh generation of consoles has been Internet access as a standard feature. While online capability for game systems has existed since the early 1980’s, this is the first time we’ve had the infrastructure that enables everyone to be online, in the form of Xbox Live, PSN, the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, or Steam. On the plus side, it has made gaming a truly social pastime. We can get onto Xbox Live, join a party with our friends, and rock it in everything from CoD: Black Ops to Bomberman. It has also brought us downloadable budget games that would otherwise have never been green-lighted by the platform holders or would have never been made due to the costs of publishing. The Internet has given us more freedom than ever before in our entertainment choices. And that’s a good thing.

Unfortunately, not everything is quite so rosy. Online-capable consoles have brought the ills of post-release patching, DLC, and DRM into our living rooms. Through the Internet, a publisher now has the uncontested power to control how much access you have to the games you buy, whether or not you have that access in the first place, and how you share your gaming experiences with your friends and family. Much of this access is determined by how much something can be “monetized” by the provider. Because consoles are now Internet-enabled, publishers looking to meet key deadlines like Christmas can also push a game out the door before it has been thoroughly tested or even completed, with the idea that any problems that crop up or even missing game modes can be addressed by the release of an online patch after the game goes to retail.  The Internet has given content providers more power and control than at any point in the past.

Let’s take a look at some of the buzzwords of contemporary gaming.

DRM

A well-known anti-piracy campaign from Britain in the 1980's

Digital Rights Management (DRM) is not a new concept. This concept was codified in the Digital Millenium Copyright Act of 1996, at a time when the “information superhighway” was being rolled out for the general public. Prior to 1996, it was simply known as copy protection, exemplified with famous slogans like “Don’t Copy That Floppy (disk)” and “Home Taping is Killing Music.”

Game production is increasingly expensive, and it’s understandable that the publisher and developers want a return on their investment. When a game fails to perform at retail, designers are laid off, a promising franchise dies, and in the worst-case scenario, the development studio may get shut down completely. Another result is that publishers are encouraged to stick with sequels to proven franchises like Call of Duty or Assassin’s Creed instead of introducing new properties. Publishers will often lay the blame for underperforming games on piracy, and more and more frequently, on the secondhand video game market. While it has always been commonplace for gamers to sell, buy, loan, and rent games, it is only within the past two years that publishers have raised the alarm over the used game market. Nevertheless, in the eyes of a publisher, every pirated or secondhand copy is a lost sale, and they seem particularly galled by used game sales, since the money that changes hands on a used sale is strictly between the seller and the buyer.

In order to counteract piracy and the used game market, publishers have long tried different methods. In the 1980s, it was common for publishers to implement copy protection that required the user to type in a piece of information from the game’s manual or packaging, the information being printed on paper that would show up as solid black on the Xerox machines of that time. As technology advanced, so did copy protection. Today, DRM often includes giving a limited number of installs of a game and requiring the game to periodically validate itself online with the publisher’s main server. While PC games have sported DRM, such as the notorious SecuROM, for years, these practices have now spread to consoles as well. Specifically for consoles, publishers have tried offering DLC with new copies as a positive incentive. EA and THQ have also experimented with a more punitive form of DRM, the online pass, where the buyer of a used copy of a game is required to pay an additional fee if he or she wishes to play a game online.

DLC

DLC, or downloadable content, is a more controversial issue, since unlike with DRM, there are potential benefits to both the publisher and the end user. DLC takes different forms depending on the game and genre. For FPS’s, it usually comes in the form of map packs for the multiplayer modes. Fighting games usually relegate it to extra characters or costumes for existing characters which do not impact the actual game. In RPGs, it can take the form of side quests as well as optional weapons or armor. Sometimes the DLC is fairly superficial, but other times, it is quite extensive, as with Fallout 3’s Broken Steel pack, which allowed continued play after the core game’s rather abrupt ending and upped the level cap from 20 to 30. In addition, there are many free-to-play (FTP) games whose revenue largely comes from DLC, known as microtransactions. This model has long been popular in South Korea and China. In the United States and Japan, it has been adopted by a number of MMORPGs who are not able to compete with the popularity of World of Warcraft as subscription games. It is also the revenue model of choice for the new breed of “social” games made for platforms like Flash, Facebook, iOS, and Android.

Publishers are increasingly offering controversial “day one” DLC as bonuses for purchases of new copies or for preorders, and while that is seen as a more positive incentive to buy new than an online pass, there are protests that gamers are having content intentionally withheld from the game for the purposes of milking it. The issue is even thornier when it is discovered that the DLC is nothing more than a code that unlocks content already printed on the data layer of the disc itself, which is considered to be the property of the purchaser under the First Sale Doctrine of the Copyright Act of 1976.

Publishers claim that DLC is a way to add value for customers, particularly buyers of new copies, and certainly it is a way for them to receive additional revenue from a copy of a game that in the past would have been completely lost to them once it was sold. From gamers, the opinions are mixed. While there are those who decry DLC as “nickel-and-diming,” there are those who enjoy the ability to continue the story of a favorite game beyond the main quest. There is also the question of paying real money for virtual goods, as some “free-to-play” games can cost money beyond a one-time $50-60 purchase for a retail game.  In one extreme case, parents have reported getting bills totalling hundreds of dollars for microtransactions from Smurf Village, a popular iOS FTP farming sim, a controversy that both Apple and the publisher, Capcom, have worked to address.  In this case there is the issue of the ethics of marketing seemingly cheap, tempting DLC to kids, who are more impulsive than adults on average,  as well as parental supervision and control of their kids’ online activities.

Bugs

As anyone who’s played a Lionhead, Bethesda or BioWare RPG lately can attest, bugs in retail games are becoming more and more noticeable. Bugs can range from graphical errors like broken textures, missing limbs, and floating items, to features of the game that don’t work correctly. In some cases, a bug can cause the game to freeze up, requiring a press of the power button to reset the game and losing all the progress you’ve made.

Bugs in Fallout: New Vegas

Now, there is no such thing as “perfect” code. Every piece of software has at least some degree of imperfection. In this day and age, a game has billions and billions of lines of code, and it is impossible to nail down every imperfection. It’s also been argued that the HD generation games are more complex than ever in terms of graphics and gameplay.  The argument goes that in an open-world environment like Fallout, it’s impossible to account for every possible variable a gamer can throw at a game’s graphics or physics engine.

However, some games have been buggy and even unfinished, almost to the point of feeling like a $60 beta test. A glitch in the system because a programmer didn’t anticipate a gamer doing such-and-such is one thing, but what about random freezes, screen tearing, floating limbs? If these things are encountered routinely by customers, shouldn’t the game’s testing team have caught them? It’s also not like working on a PC environment, where a game has to run on a variety of different hardware and software configurations. A 360 is a 360 is a 360, or that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

With consoles routinely Internet-capable, a lot of developers seem to be relying heavily on post-release patching to try to fix problems that come up after release, especially when the publisher is setting an absolute deadline for the game to be released, come hell or high water. However, patches are not always timely. Furthermore, there’s also the question of what happens to a game once all the servers are shut off.

The extreme version of these bugs actually comes in the form of hardware errors, like the 360’s RROD and E74 errors and the infamous “ApocalyPS3” that happened on March 1 of last year.  These oversights on the part of the platform holders result in inconvenience and expenses for customers, and millions of dollars in expenses for the platform holders to placate their customer base and avoid tarnishing the image of the console for potential new customers.

So, are bugs the inevitable price of the kind of complex graphics and game mechanics today’s gamers demand? Is it right for publishers to expect consumers to spend more money on games that seem unfinished?

The Wallet Vote

Ultimately, the design choices listed above are dictated by what the market will bear. While angry gamers may protest online passes or DLC vocally on Internet forums, they are preaching to the choir. Unless an unpopular DRM scheme can be proven to negatively impact the sales of a game that uses it, as happened with Spore, publishers will assume their customers are OK with it. As long as people are willing to pay $15 for multiplayer map packs, publishers will keep releasing them… and perhaps test the waters with incremental price increases. It is up to everyone to vote with their wallets as to what they do or don’t want from their games.

And if we are okay with online passes and day-one DLC, those things have gotten their foot in the door. What will we be asked to do next?