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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 05:56 PM | Categorized As News, News, NINTENDO, PlayStation, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Bluehole, the publisher of Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds have revealed some interesting news.  They will be working on a new IP that will be developed for the Nintendo Switch and PS4. This game will be targeted for the Asian market.

Bluehole noted that this is being done due to the massive success of PUBG.

Hopefully we will see this new IP soon.

 

Source

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 15 Nov, 2017 At 10:09 AM | Categorized As News, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Next week’s Neo Geo game for Nintendo Switch has now been revealed. The arcade sports action game Soccer Brawl will be coming to the eShop on 11./23

 

“Soccer Brawl is a soccer game released by SNK in 1992. Sparks fly as teams representing 8 different countries battle for the championship. Stages in the near future, teams feature 7 robot players instead of the normal 11 players, allowing the defense to also go on the attack and for a variety of arrangements.

This game is a direct predecessor to other action soccer games such as Mario Strikers and is a welcome addition!

 

Source: Nintendo eShop

By Ramon Rivera On 15 Nov, 2017 At 06:57 AM | Categorized As Featured, Nintendo Switch, Reviews, Reviews | With 0 Comments

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Let me tell you this, when I first started playing Ittle Dew I thought “great another Zelda clone” but boy was I wrong. At first glance the cartoonish characters give the impression that it will be a parody game, that doesn’t take itself seriously and all is fun and games and in a certain way it is. But as you plow through the game, you find yourself in a deep game with some really fun moments and challenging puzzles,not to mention a lot to do in game, which ultimately for me its all in the replay value.

At the beginning of our adventure we find our heroes on a raft on the middle of the sea, no food, no potions, and everything looks dire until they find themselves ashore in a new island (wink wink). When our dynamic duo enters the island, they find the island caretaker, Passel, who tells you that there is nothing to see on the island and that they have to leave it. Then he blurts out about the 8 raft pieces, and noting his mistake, he disappears and thus your adventure begins. Now the game play is what you would expect from a top down Zelda-esque adventure.  You explore each of the dungeons and find the item, beat the boss, etc. However, one of the things Ittle Dew 2 really shines is the freedom you have to explore!  Normally in Zelda, you beat each of the dungeons in order because the item recieved in dungeon #1 will help to get to #2 and so forth.  In Ittle Dew 2, the formula gets changed so that you can beat the dungeons in the order that you want (except for dungeon 8 since you need all items obtained in other dungeons to be able to beat it).

Now the areas that you can explore in the game are varied.  They range from the pillow forest, an art gallery, candy beach (yep, with candy canes), so there is a lot of variety and things to see. The enemies that you find in the over world are funny and fun to beat.  Some range from muscular platypus to muscle builder cactus, and some impossible to beat as Slayer Jenny (haven’t been able to so just run when you see her). The bosses are fun to beat and needless to say they beat the crap out of me until I got the hang of it the first time (yep its part of the inside jokes and everything) as you progress to the game and beat the dungeons you find yourself with them again (albeit in more powerful forms).  They are just challenging enough to keep you in your toes.

Now for the completionist like me, there is a lot A LOT to do on Ittle Dew 2.  In your map, you can see all doors that you have entered and 100% completed dungeons appear with a crown on top.  Besides all of this, there is also optional dungeons in which you can get more powerful versions of your current items.  There are also challenge dungeons that you unlock with Secret Shards.  These are really a test of your mettle and your adventurer skills IMO.  It adds even more value to an already amazing game.

After you have explored everything the island has to offer, there is also the Dream World, which is a set of optional dungeons that are the ultimate test for your adventurer skills.  This is a bonus to the normal story.

Bottom Line, Ittle Dew 2 is a pleasant surprise on the Nintendo Switch, with tons of secrets, challenging puzzles, different outfits and fun areas to explore, and with optional dungeons to please your adventure hunger. Ittle Dew 2 shows how to get inspiration from a popular game franchise, and turn it into something special and unique, with charm and its own identity. Seriously, it is more than recommended if you own a Switch.  You owe it to yourself to play this legendary raft adventure.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 14 Nov, 2017 At 11:58 PM | Categorized As ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Josh Fairhurst of Limited Run Games and Mighty Rabbit Studios has detailed some interesting things about how Limited Run Games came to be.

 

According to Fairhurst, Limited Run Games grew out of a situation where Mighty Rabbit Studios had a very limited budget and had to make a choice between an ESRB rating or a physical release for one of their games. They chose to do the limited release since an ESRB rating would have cost too much and would have closed the studio due to lack of finances.

From that one gamble that was made, a new business was formed for short physical runs of games leading to LRG as a business.  Fairhurst has been vocal about ESRB ratings hurting developers due to the cost for certification. This raises an interesting point. Is the ESRB actually holding back game development in some ways now? Fairhurst raised interesting points and how trying to deal with it led to a new business venture, but for many smaller companies the certification expenses can be a nasty financial surprise. Maybe a reexamination is needed, or smaller developers and studios might struggle more.

You can see Fairhurs’s tweet thread below

 

Update: Faorhurst has provided more context for his tweets and a correction for us.

 

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 Jonathan Balofsky On 13 Nov, 2017 At 04:43 PM | Categorized As News, NINTENDO, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Zen Studios has announced that Pinball FX 3 will have a very sweet mode on Switch.

The game is playable vertically with just a single joycon for better balance. This will give players a real arcade feel for the game.

They then further stated that HD rumble support will be included, and that HD is great for playing with friends.

Will you be getting Pinball FX 3 on Switch?

By Jessica Brown On 13 Nov, 2017 At 02:57 PM | Categorized As NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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VITALS:

  • TITLE: RiME
  • DEVELOPER: Tequila Works
  • PUBLISHER: Grey Box & Six Foot
  • GENRE: Adventure/Indie
  • PLATFORM: Nintendo Switch (also on PS4, XB1, & PC)
  • RELEASE DATE: November 14, 2017 (eShop); November 21, 2017 (physical)
  • PRICE: $29.99 eShop; $39.99 physical

RiME is an indie adventure game from developer Tequila Works that was originally released on the PlayStation 4, XBox One, and PC back in May but which has just been released for the Nintendo Switch. While the Switch version of RiME was originally planned to release at the same time as it did on other platforms, the developer ended up delaying the Switch port because they felt like it didn’t meet their quality standards and wanted a bit more time to work on it. Ultimately, they hoped, the game would present a similar play experience on the Switch as players would have gotten on other platforms. I’ll talk about whether or not this paid off later on in the review, but let’s first jump into what the game itself is like.

At its heart, RiME is a beautiful journey that the player embarks upon that is entirely experiential in nature. The game has no dialogue or written notes to find, but rather it focuses completely on the desire to explore the mysterious island the player wakes up on, solving a few puzzles along the way, in the hopes of unraveling the mystery of why you ended up there in the first place. Within the game’s opening moments it is quite apparent that the main character (an unnamed young boy) has washed ashore on a strange island after a major storm, but the circumstances around it are left up for us to interpret. And, while the young boy may initially feel alone on the island (apart from the various wildlife that happens to call it home), he soon meets a fox that seems eager to aid him on his journey as well as finding himself being watched by a figure in a bright red cloak. The game is non-combative in nature, instead forcing the player to rely on their skills at platforming and their drive to explore the island, finding hidden collectibles and figuring out the path forward. The game does provide some clues about what you should do next or how you should interact with certain items, but ultimately most of it is left for you to discover for yourself.

Although the island is quite big and the game does encourage you to explore its various nooks and crannies for secrets, the game ultimately is fairly linear in nature, driving you to make your way towards a large tower that stands high above the island. Most of the time it’s pretty clear what you ultimately need to do next, but it may take you a bit of time to figure out how you need to accomplish it. Yet, because there are no enemies and the game isn’t time-limited, you are entirely at your own pace to uncover the island’s secrets.

Unfortunately, despite the developer’s delay of the game in order to ensure that it met a similar quality standard to that found in the other releases, I personally found that RiME has fallen considerably short of that goal on the Nintendo Switch. This isn’t, in my opinion, a failure of the Nintendo Switch itself but rather I feel that this version of RiME is merely a poorly-optimized port.

One of my major issues with this port is that the framerate leaves a lot to be desired. In the best of situations the game feels like it is sitting at around 30 FPS (which is quite playable, even if not ideal), but there are plenty of instances where the frame rate seems to choke out. In particularly egregious instances, I’d say it dropped close to 15 FPS or less. Given that the Switch version of RiME, while pretty, doesn’t look like it should be that taxing on the console, this feels like a major failure if the goal was to create a functionally-equivalent port. Beyond the issues with poor and inconsistent performance, there are bugs with textures (odd color patterns here and there), an overall sluggish (and sometimes unresponsive) menu, and random glitches that I’d have hoped would have been fixed (such as the game suddenly transitioning from the middle of the night to midday without any reason at times). In addition to all that, the overall visuals, which still quite beautiful in their own way, feel like they are rendered at fairly low settings, giving this port a look closer in aesthetic to a PlayStation 2 game.

Thankfully, the game controls well with the Switch Joy-cons, so I never had any issues controlling the character and making him do what I needed him to do.

What makes the whole thing frustrating is that RiME, by all accounts, is a beautiful experience and a thought-provoking journey that shouldn’t be held back by such glaring issues with optimization and quality control. The game has the potential to not only look good but to handle well too, yet I feel as if Tequila Works really let us down with this port. I should point out that the game does have a rather wonderful musical score and that does make it through to this version of the game, but unfortunately that alone isn’t able to save this experience. While playing RiME, I did genuinely find myself having fun, but it was rather bittersweet. When the game felt like it was behaving itself I would get lost in wanting to explore the island, find new ways to reach different areas, and looking for various items scattered to and fro, but then the game would get bogged down in poor performance or have some jarring glitch that took me away from the experience.

Thankfully, there is always the hope that the team will roll out an update for the game that fixes some of the issues the game currently has, and if they do that I’d have no problem giving the game a solid recommendation.

As it stands now, though, I think I’d feel more comfortable recommending you pick up RiME on the PlayStation 4, XBox One, or PC.

 

……….

 

Disclaimer: A review key was provided by the publisher