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By Jonathan Balofsky On 15 Jun, 2017 At 12:46 PM | Categorized As News, News, PC Games, PlayStation, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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Bethesda has released two trailers for The Evil Within 2, to show off the game some more.

Set in Union, a crumbling city built using Lily’s mind as the Core, The Evil Within 2 presents a mix of closed off, claustrophobic environments that are reminiscent of the first game, and new, less linear areas that will give you the opportunity to explore at your own pace. You’ll be able to wander freely and poke through all the dark corners of the world at your leisure, but this is still a survival horror game, and ammo and resources will be scarce. You’ll need to prepare carefully and move cautiously as you discover the secrets of Union and unravel Mobius’ plans from within STEM.

The Evil Within 2 releases worldwide Friday the 13th, October 2017 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

 

 

The horrifying things Sebastian experienced in the first game left him scarred, but rather than run from the source of his nightmares, Sebastian chased after them. He spent three years seeking answers to the questions that plagued him and trying to find the organization who ruined his life. Who is Mobius? What do they want? What is the true purpose of STEM?

But from this darkness comes a chance at redemption.
The Evil Within 2 releases worldwide Friday the 13th, October 2017 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

The game certainly looks good, and will hopefully succeed in the area where the original fell short. That isn’t to say the original is bad, but it definitely had some shortcomings. That said, This game might just be what we are looking for.

 

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The Nintendo GameCube era was a time of experimentation for Nintendo. It was during this time that we got games like F-Zero GX via a collaboration with Sega, Metroid Prime and Eternal Darkness. All of these are classic games still loved by players, but there is one game that Nintendo published for the GameCube that sticks out like a sore thumb.

Geist was developed by n-Space, who were under contract with Nintendo at the time. The game went through a period of development hell and was delayed numerous times, as well as undergoing numerous revisions. What started out as a horror themed sci-fi FPS eventually became a first person horror adventure that was a bit of a disjointed mess. The game had some great ideas, such as possessing characters in order to interact with the world, but it was badly handled and was a deeply unsatisfactory experience. The thing is, some of the great ideas the game had, have been used by other games since in some form or another, including Prey to an extent, and these were handled extremely well.

Geist’s problems can be attributed to the horrible development cycle it had, and if given a new developer with a proven track record for success, the game could be rebooted and given a fresh start. There is new tech available today for game design, people are thinking outside the box, and the game’s ideas can be made into a truly epic sci-fi horror game.

But what developer/studio could revive the IP in a successful way, and that Nintendo could trust? The answer is for Nintendo to look inward, as they have the perfect studio to work on it. Retro Studios works best on games that have a western focus/appeal more to the west, and if they are not working on Metroid or Donley Kong, this would be a perfect new project for them to handle. They have the pedigree for amazing sci-fi games and are masters of intricate game design. Moreover, they have the Nintendo design philosophy down pat and can be trusted to deliver a true polished game. People were skeptical about Metroid Prime at first but it is regarded as one of the best games ever made. Their Donkey Kong games are some of the best platformers ever made and have great attention to detail to the extent that they won people over, when they were upset at the idea of Retro working on that series.

Retro could make Geist their big epic project for the Switch and create a new experience for fans. It could be what the original was supposed to be, but on a bigger scale. Moreover, Nintendo is now more open to these kind of games and given the reception many of these games have, it would be amazing for Nintendo to have one of their own, designed in-house, with a top tier developer behind it. Geist had some amazing ideas that weren’t used properly and Retro Studios is the ideal studio to take this IP and turn it into a success.

 

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Bethesda and Arkane Studios recently released a demo of Prey for players to try. Being super excited for the game, I had to give it a look and I have come away very impressed.

Prey is not like a typical first person shooter, or horror game. When people are told that this game takes influence from Dead Space and System Shock, I feel they are not being given an accurate description. Yes, the game takes some ideas from those games, but it builds on them in such unique and innovative ways, that it makes these ideas its own.

First, let me mention the beautiful visuals. The game is absolutely gorgeous and wonderfully stylized. Every detail is immaculate, and the amount of work put into getting everything right is amazing. The game’s look just pops out at you, and it is done in a way that rarely happens anymore. The music is also great in this demo, and it helps create the perfect atmosphere. Not to mention the sound effects are creepy and awesome at the same time.

In terms of gameplay, from what was seen in the demo, Prey, while taking some influence from the aforementioned games, really does things like nothing else before it. It has innovative gameplay, unique weapons, and how you interact with the environment and the enemies is inspired. The developers were not mincing words when they said the station Talos 1 was a character in its own right. The weapons and abilities let you do things that you would never have even considered doing before. You need to stop and think about what to do, because the game gives you so many options to procees.This is one of the most well crafted games I have ever seen, and this was just the opening demo.  I cannot wait for the full game, and I must commend Bethesda and Arkane. This was an amazing demo!

By Jonathan Balofsky On 29 Mar, 2017 At 01:36 PM | Categorized As News, News, PC Games, PlayStation, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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Bethesda sent out the following

 

In Prey you’ll need more than just your wits to take on the Typhon aliens that are threatening to destroy mankind. But why stop with the weapons and gadgets you’ll find aboard Talos I? Mankind’s last – and only – hope, Morgan Yu, also has the option of “installing” a wide range of human and alien abilities. Get a look at some of the powers you can use against the deadly Typhon – along with exclusive insights from the team at Arkane Studios in our latest video titled ‘Playing with Powers’

 

Whether you focus on just human powers – allowing you to run faster, jump higher, use firearms better and more – or if you instead branch off into the myriad Typhon abilities, one thing’s certain: Prey offers players a wide range of ways to annihilate aliens. From Superthermal to Psychoshock and beyond, these powers will make all the difference in your mission to fight the aliens and save the world.

 

Be on the lookout tomorrow for a new video featuring fresh insight into Prey’s mind-altering Neruomod Division, and for more examples of how you can combine weapons and powers, be sure to check out yesterday’s ‘Power Combos’ video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Aro7eB53q8.

 

Set to launch worldwide on Friday, May 5, 2017 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC, Prey is the highly-anticipated first-person sci-fi action game from Arkane Studios – creators of the award-winning Dishonored series which includes the 2012 ‘Game of the Year’ and the critically-acclaimed follow-up, Dishonored 2.

 

Prey has been rated M for mature by the ESRB. For more information about the game please visit prey.bethesda.net.

Prey just keeps looking amazing. This might just be the most innovative FPS in a long time. We hope to have a review around launch time.

Source: PR Email.

By Nate VanLindt On 5 Mar, 2017 At 06:12 PM | Categorized As Books, Editorials, Featured | With 0 Comments

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Since the advent of Harry Potter, the popularity of teen and children’s writers has skyrocketed.  As many adults are reading these books as kids are and bookstores have assembled whole sections of their stores for the wide variety of teen material available.  Much of the volume of material available tends towards teen science fiction and fantasy, following in the Potter and Hunger Games trends.  Other writers have branched out into suspense and even horror.  But this isn’t a new genre.  A few spectacular writers broke ground in these genres decades ago.  One of these early few was the esteemed young adult writer John Bellairs. 

Bellairs wrote several books in the mid to late 60s, ranging from religious parody to fantasy.   In the early 1970s, he wrote a dark fantasy novel for adults, but publishers recommended he rewrite the book for young readers and in 1973, The House With a Clock in its Walls was born.  With artwork by the legendary artist Edward Gorey, The House With a Clock in its Walls found immediate success.

Bellairs’ flair for the macabre along with Gorey’s edgy panels drew together a uniquely dark story.   His characters were realistic, flawed, and captivating.  The villains had no issues torturing and killing children, much like the original Grimm’s Fairy Tales and this stark look at the supernatural underbelly of 1950s New England went on to win 5 literary awards between 1973 and 1982.  He went on to win 13 more awards for his other books as well.  But Bellairs wasn’t done.

He went on to write a total of 15 children’s horror novels primarily focusing on three main characters.  Of those 15 books, 12 were stunningly illustrated by Edward Gorey.  Notably, the Dial hardcover library editions of Bellairs’ books feature wraparound dust jacket artwork by Gorey and a unique font, creating a wondrous and foreboding atmosphere before even opening the books themselves.

What’s truly remarkable about Bellairs’ work, however, is how enduring it is and how well it has aged.  Each book comes in at around 150-200 pages, but the length belies the quality of the content.  Evil wizards and sorcerers abound and time travel, human sacrifice, and Armageddon are common themes.  They aren’t simply dark, though.  The characters are well-written, the stories cohesive and self-contained.  For an adult going back to re-read these books, they have managed to stay compelling and powerful and should be a must-read for the kid who loves a scary story in all of us.

John Bellairs died in 1991 at the age of 53, but he left a legacy of fiction for all of us to treasure.  Several movies and shows have been made of his work based on The House With a Clock in its Walls and The Treasure of Alpheus Winterborn, but they are extremely difficult to locate and have low production value.  Eric Kripke, of Supernatural fame, has been rumored to be working on a current movie adaptation of The House With a Clock in its Walls, but the project has yet to have materialized.  Kripke is said to have been inspired by Bellairs’ work as a child.  With any luck, a modern movie of Bellairs’ seminal work will inspire a whole new generation in the years to come. 

For those that are interested, most of John Bellairs’s books are in print (and have been continuously since their release) and available on Amazon or at your local library.  An original set of the Dial hardcover library editions can run upwards of $500.00 on eBay, even for ex-library copies.  A fan tribute website still runs to this day.

 

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By Jonathan Balofsky On 17 Aug, 2016 At 07:44 PM | Categorized As News, News, PC Games, PlayStation, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

No GravatarCapcom has released a new gameplay trailer for Resident Evil 7 biohazard.

 

While Beginning Hour acts as a setup for the main game, this time you’ll see a found footage videotape segment that will appear in the final game. (Your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you, the videotape graphical effects are distinct to these segments and aren’t representative of the rest of the game.)

If you played Beginning Hour, you encountered one of these found footage type segments where you were introduced to the “Sewer Gators” film crew and witnessed their grisly fate. This time, you’ll get a sneak peek at content from a tape labelled “Mia,” and you’ll get to see some other areas of the house that you saw in Beginning Hour and characters within — including Marguerite.

Source: PlayStation Blog

 

You can check out the rather unnerving trailer below.

 

By Jonathan Balofsky On 9 Aug, 2016 At 03:50 AM | Categorized As News, News, PC Games, PlayStation, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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Pete Hines, the Vice President of Bethesda Softworks spoke with Finder.com.au about various subjects and the issue of game sales was discussed. It was revealed that Both The Evil Within and Rage sold well enough to warrant sequels. This doesn’t mean sequels are confirmed though as Hines refused to comment on what Bethesda has planned.

Pete Hines: I can’t talk about the unannounced stuff and what we may or may not do. I get myself in trouble whenever I do that. Even when we were talking about the Morrowind Remaster, if I come out and say, ‘I just don’t think that is going to happen,’ then people freak out. So I won’t confirm or deny stuff we may or may not do, as people jump to the wrong conclusions. But I do think both The Evil Within and Rage did well enough that we could make sequels. Personally I loved Rage and had a tonne of fun playing it, but we have a lot of stuff in the pipeline right now so you will have to wait and see.

With this known, it is exciting to think that we might see sequels to these games in the not so distant future. We will just need to wait and be patient.

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By Jonathan Balofsky On 15 Jul, 2016 At 08:52 PM | Categorized As News, News, News, NINTENDO, PlayStation, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

No GravatarDarksiders

 

As revealed by Hero of Legend on Neogaf here, Gamefly is listing a port of Darksiders 1 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Wii U. Nordic Games had previously confirmed they had another project coming to Wii U and this looks like this is it. Darksiders II was a great game and I am eager to see what this remastering has in store.

Darksiders was originally published by THQ before they went under. the rights were then acquired by Nordic Games.

By Jessica Brister On 22 May, 2014 At 04:09 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, Old School Otaku | With 0 Comments

No GravatarMany people have complained over the years to the fact that movies and games that are taken from books almost never turn out to be as good as the original source.  Happily, there are some gems that are hidden in the crowd of mediocrity.  Parasite Eve is an older Playstation game that was actually the sequel to a popular Japanese horror novel of the same title.  The book and game are tied tightly together, and they demonstrate that one really can have an extremely well done game based from literature.

Parasite Eve, the novel, by Hideaki Sena is a Japanese horror novel with many science fiction elements.  It was originally published in 1996, but people who couldn’t read in Japanese had to wait to read it until 2005 when it was finally translated into English.  The story is heavily based on science, including biology and genetics.  The book is so technical that it is often confusing to follow, unless the reader has a thorough background in biology.  That’s what makes it such good science fiction, though.  It takes real science and twists it a bit to make a fast-paced story.

Cover Art for Parasite Eve, the novel.

Cover Art for Parasite Eve, the novel.

The story follows Toshiaki Nagishima, a biology and pharmaceutical researcher.  His wife, Kiyomi, has been declared brain dead after a horrible car accident.  However, there is more going on than meets the eye.  The novel presumes that the mitochondria in a human’s cells have been evolving since the days of primordial sludge.  The mitochondria have formed a new life form, called “Eve,” which has now reached a peak in her evolutionary process.  Kiyomi’s body just happens to have the right conditions for Eve to begin to take control.  In fact, Eve is the one responsible for Kiyomi’s car accident in order to be transplanted into others.  Throughout the novel, Eve manipulates the people around her on a cellular level.  Her ultimate goal is to give birth to a child that will be able to chance its genetic code on a whim and there be the perfect life form that will replace humans as the dominate life on earth.

Though the novel sounds scientific and dry, it is actually first and foremost a horror story.  The reader gets suspense, creepy, and downright scary all rolled into one novel.  The science just adds to the realism of the novel.  Since the novel is based in science, the reader gets to wonder: What if this really could happen?  Don’t we have mitochondria in all of our cells?  What if someone’s body was taken over at the cellular level?  These questions and more make up some of the thematic elements of the story.  It allows the reader to question whether we really know everything about the human body.  Are we even in control of our bodies?  It’s a creepy thought and is one of many that this novel brings to the table.

The novel was so popular that it spawned a video game sequel with the same title.  Though the game takes place in the United States, many of the same elements that made the novel so unique appear in the game.  Parasite Eve is an action-based RPG that also falls into the “survival horror” category.  It was released in 1998 on the original Playstation.  In a sea of traditional RPGs, Parasite Eve was unique in its tone and game play.

Parasite_Eve_Coverart

The story follows Aya Brea, an NYPD cop who just wants to spend a quiet evening at the opera.  Unfortunately, everyone at the opera spontaneously combusts, leaving her and an actress named Melissa alive.  After investigating, Aya finds out that Eve is up to her same old tricks again: She is again trying to create the “Ultimate Being” by manipulating people whose bodies have the right conditions for Eve to flourish.  Aya finds out that her mitochondria is evolving as well, which gives her some pretty awesome powers.  It is up to Aya to go up against Eve to save New York City.

Though having RPG elements, such as leveling up and gaining new powers, the player must also dodge attacks during battle (something that was unique for that time period of RPGs).  Aya develops powers and is able to use those as well.  Battles are chosen more through random encounters, although there are spots that if you walk over, you are guaranteed a battle.  Weapons and armor can be upgraded or replaced as the player explores.  The game play gets a creepy vibe with the genetically altered creatures, although the best part of the game could actually be the cut scene graphics which still look great even after all of this time.  The in-game graphics are a little grainy, but there is nothing like those amazing cut-scenes.

The cut-scenes of this game still look good today.

The cut-scenes of this game still look good today.

It’s hard to imagine that an excellent novel could spawn an excellent game.  There have been so many let-downs with novel to movie that sometimes it’s easy to forget that video game developers can get it right.  However, Parasite Eve remains amazing, regardless of being in print or in pixel.

By Jessica Brister On 14 May, 2014 At 10:19 PM | Categorized As Featured, Indie Spotlight, PC Games, PlayStation, Reviews | With 0 Comments

No GravatarSurvival horror isn’t exactly my favorite gaming genre, but I saw that Outlast was for free on PlayStation Plus a couple of months ago.  I can’t say no to free, so I downloaded it and spent some time playing it.  Just for the record, this is the scariest game that I have ever played.  It’s so scary that I had to stop playing for awhile.  It is just downright frightening.  This type of genre is not my favorite, but Outlast was unique enough for me to buckle down and play through it.  Here is what I thought:

Outlast is a survival horror game developed and published by Red Barrels.  The game play is in first-person perspective; however, it cannot be described as a first-person shooter because there is not actual shooting.  The game came out for PC in September 2013 and was released for PlayStation 4  this February.  It uses the Unreal 3.5 Engine.  Outlast is more of an indy-game, but it has so far gotten some good reviews from critics.

The story follows journalist, Miles Upshur, a mild-mannered reporter who unfortunately doesn’t like fighting back.  Upshur has gotten a tip from a person only known as “The Whistleblower” and is going to check out some crazy things going on at Mount Massive Asylum.  At first glance, the asylum looks like it’s not even in use: there are no guards, doors are locked, and everything appears are be abandoned.  After breaking in, Miles comes to the realization that there is some really dangerous and scary things happening in the asylum.  Instead of gathering evidence, escaping becomes his main goal.

What could possibly go wrong in a creepy looking asylum, right?

What could possibly go wrong in a creepy looking asylum, right?

Overall, the story was pretty interesting, but there was something lacking in it, as if Red Barrels could have done a little more with it.  It’s a typical horror plot with some slasher elements.  The game is really, really scary.  Incredibly scary.  I found that there were times where I’d scream and throw down the controller.  Gamers looking for scary will not be disappointed.  However, I was hoping for a little bit more of a story than that I got.  Players get a lot of jump scares but not a lot of meat to the story.  The gore is pretty amped up, though.  In fact, it is a huge aspect of the game: severed heads, bodies everywhere, and pretty much anything that would remind you of a Saw movie.  Squeamish players would probably not like this game, but if this is your type of thing, you’ll probably like this game.  As a game in the horror genre, Outlast is one of the best that I’ve seen.

Outlast is in first person perspective, but this is not a game about fighting for your life like most first person games. Upshur is described as “not being a fighter,” so unless a scripted scene takes place, the player’s options are to run, hide, or die.  This was quite annoying for me at first because I can’t stand games where I can’t fight back.  I’ve always thought that if anyone is pushed far enough, he or she will find something to fight back with, even if it’s just a make-shift melee weapon.  Then again, I will say that not being able to fight back makes the game ten times scarier.  There’s nothing more frightening than running from something trying to kill you that makes your heart pound a bit harder.

Instead of fighting, the player will spend a lot of time hiding in lockers from the inmates in the asylum.

Instead of fighting, the player will spend a lot of time hiding in lockers from the inmates in the asylum.

As a journalist, Upshur gathers evidence by filming his surroundings.  The only light you get to use is from the night vision on the camera, which is very handy since many of the areas are pitch black.  Unfortunately, the night vision is hard to see out of.  This may actually make the game scarier in a way.  You also have to conserve the night vision because it will drain the battery quicker.  You can find more batteries but depending on the difficulty, they can be few and far between.  In true survival horror-style, you have to be a bit stingy with the batteries if you want to use the night vision during the really important times.

Overall, the controls are a bit stiff, and I found it kind of hard to move around the way I am accustomed to in most newer games.  When climbing ladders and scaling ledges, you can’t look down, which was quite annoying.  The game really didn’t feel as polished as other games in first-person perspective that I’ve played.  I was disappointed with this because I might have liked the game a lot better if the controls were a little more fluid.

The graphics were unfortunately the most disappointing part of the game.  Initially, I didn’t notice them as much because many of the areas are really dark.  However, after looking at bit closer, I noticed that a lot of the inmates at the asylum weren’t designed very well.  They didn’t look that great.  I’m not a video game graphics expert, but the characters looked like they were lacking a lot of detail.  If you look at them up close, there isn’t a lot of detail.  This was disappointing for a game that pretty much came out on PC and next-gen console only. Then again, I do understand that this game was a smaller project.  Besides, you probably won’t notice it that much anyhow because it’s always so dark when you play.

There's something off about the way the characters are built.

There’s something off about the way the characters are built.

Though I don’t really like the survival horror genre, the game was pretty interesting to play.  I doubt that I will be playing it again because I don’t like spending my free time feeling scared.  However, if you are looking for a game that will scare you, this is definitely the game.  Overall, most fans of the genre will enjoy it, and  I am now a little curious to see how Outlast will compare to the upcoming The Evil Within, which comes out in August.