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By Jessica Brister On 5 Dec, 2014 At 09:25 PM | Categorized As Featured, PC Games, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments
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When SimCity was “rebooted” in 2013, it had major launch issues that gave Maxis and EA a bit of a black eye.  However, a year and a half later, after making some major corrections, the new SimCity might now finally be a smart and extremely fun purchase.

SimCity (2013) is a city creation simulation game developed by Maxis and published by Electronic Arts.  It is considered to be an MMO (massively multiplayer online game) because it has a large work-together online component of city building, which is a new game play aspect for the franchise.  It was originally released in March of 2013 for Windows and eventually for Mac as well.  Though there was a decade between the release of SimCity 4 and this newest version, there were a lot of very critical reviews when it first came out.  Despite having a lot of cool new elements, the online multiplayer component was panned because it forced players to be “always online” and had a lot of bugs and connectivity issues.  It got so bad that it pretty much rendered the game as unplayable because players could not connect to the online servers and therefore could not play the game.  Eventually, these issues were fixed, including a desperately needed offline single player mode.  On November 14, EA released SimCity: The Complete Edition, which includes the base game, all of the city sets, and the expansion pack, Cities of Tomorrow.  People who passed up game because of the original bad reviews might want to give the game a chance now that there have been some updates.

For the purposes of this review, only the single player mode will be focused on, since this was one of the game play elements that turned people off from the game initially.  However, for those who are interested in online game play, the multiplayer functionality has been much improved from when the game was originally launched.

The new SimCity is very different from previous SimCity games.  Players who are used to older versions may be very surprised to see how much the game has changed.  The game focuses more on regions and collaborations than having players try to build large utopian megacities.  In fact, if a player tries to build a megacity without any outside help from other cities in the region (either from other players online or another city that the player controls), it can get very difficult very quickly.  The individual cities are not that large, but working as a region, there’s actually a lot to it.  Unlike previous SimCity games, each cities absolutely must specialize in something, instead of trying to have it all.  A city can specialize in anything from mining to tourism to technology, which is very different from previous SimCity games.

Cities are smaller in the new SimCity, which forces the player to specialize in an industry.

Cities are smaller in the new SimCity, which forces the player to specialize in an industry.

The game engine has changed a lot from previous SimCity games.  It focuses on the happiness of individual Sim people that players can actually see on the screen, instead of hypothetical ones that are delineated by graphical arrows on screen.  If there is a fire, it can actually be seen in the city, and players can see fire trucks going to it and responding to it.  Everything affects everything else.  Traffic issues in a city can mess with education, fire, and crime because the services and citizens can’t get to where they need to be.  If there is not a good education program, it will affect crime in the city and whether or not the people will want to recycle or not.  A player must also worry about ground pollution and running out of water and resources, which is quite different from previous versions.  One must play slowly and strategically in order to be successful.  Even the design of the roads and the placement of utilities and services can affect how things go in the city.

Regions are very important, whether a person is playing single or multiplayer.

Regions are very important, whether a person is playing single or multiplayer.

The Cities of Tomorrow expansion that comes with the Complete Edition adds a futuristic element to the game play.  Citizens can live in massive towers, travel on monorail-type systems, and visit cool-looking parks.  It’s not a bad expansion, and it’s value really shines when it comes with the base game and other city sets in the Complete Edition.

Obviously, the graphics are a big step up from previous SimCity games.  The game looks pretty slick, and it’s cool to be able to see the individual people in the city.  For this review, the game was played on a laptop with an integrated graphics card only, so everything was unfortunately set on low.  Despite this, it’s been very enjoyable and very pretty to play.

Just like with any SimCity game, the new one is quite addicting.  It’s one of those games that a person can get lost in for days and weeks.  The learning curve was, unfortunately, very steep, especially for players who have played older versions of the game and expect the game to play a certain way.  It can take many practice cities before it really clicks with how the game should be played.  Maxis could have done a much better job with tutorials and their game manual as well.  Sometimes Google and YouTube ended up being the best bet to figure out how the game mechanics actually worked.  Overall, it was still quite enjoyable and was a blast to play.  Obviously, when the game first came out, many people were not having a lot of fun, considering they could barely play the game.  However, with the bugs fixed and single player mode in operation, this game has improved quite a bit.

Overall, this game is a much safer purchase now that the bugs are corrected and connectivity issues are fixed.  Plus, the game is quite a bit cheaper now than when it was previously released.  For those people who decided not to get this SimCity because of the horror stories, this might be the time to get it.  The game play is a bit different from previous SimCity games, but it is a change that–for the most part-is for the better.

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Fans of the Borderlands franchise rejoiced when Gearbox announced that a new game would come out for the series.  Set between the original game and Borderlands 2, Borderlands: The Pre Sequel (a made-up word that’s a play on prequel and sequel) would be the fix fans of the game needed while patiently waiting for Gearbox to start working on Borderlands 3.  So did it live up to what fans were expecting?  For the most part, yes.  However, despite being the best new game that I’ve played this year, it still does not compare to its predecessors.  But that’s okay.  It’s still a blast to play.

Overview

Borderlands: The Pre Sequel is a first-person shooter that supports both single player or online cooperative (up to four players).  It was developed primarily by 2K Australia instead of Gearbox, who is the original developer of the series, and was published by 2K Games.  However, Gearbox did work with 2K Australia during development.  Much to the dismay of many fans, it was released only for PC, PS3, and XBox 360 on October 14.  Gearbox stated that this was because there is much more of a demand of the game for the last generation of consoles versus the current generation (Source: Gamasutra.com).

The Pre Sequel is a nice addition to the Borderlands franchise.

The Pre Sequel is a nice addition to the Borderlands franchise.

Story

Taking place between Borderlands 1 and 2, the player gets to see Handsome Jack (or just “Jack” at this point) go from hero to the  much-hated (or much-beloved, depending on who you talk to) villain of Borderlands 2.  At this point, he’s just an employee of Hyperion, a corporate conglomerate with its eye making tons of money from Pandora (a wild, wild west type planet with a lot of resources; hence, “Borderlands”).  However, after the company’s Helios space station is attacked by a group called the Lost Legion, Jack must become the hero and save Helios and Pandora’s moon, Elpis.  In order to do this, he commissions the help of a group of colorful characters to go to the moon and gain back control.  It certainly was interesting to see Jack as the hero instead of the villain.

I will have to say that the set of playable characters you get to choose from this time are absolutely awesome.  I actually had a hard time choosing which one I wanted to play first.  They are all pretty cool characters, and it doesn’t seem like you can go wrong with any of them.  There’s Athena, the Gladiator.  Her special skill involves a Captain America-like shield that players can either use to block attacks or swing to kill an enemy.  Wilhelm is the Enforcer.  He’s the character that I’ve played the lease but has a cool little drone that flies around and helps you kill bad guys.  Nisha is the Lawbringer, and she is the character that I have played the most.  Her skill involves an auto-lock firing sequence that is actually quite powerful.  Then there’s Claptrap.  He is by far the most fun character to play, especially when playing in a group.  His special skill basically is a malware program that could be one of many different skills, some good and some not so good.  If you are playing with others, the program can actually affect your friends as well.  It sounds annoying, but it’s actually hilariously delightful.  Sure, your teammates might moan and groan if they get affected, but at the end of the day, everyone’s laughing.  The Jack Doppelganger is a DLC-added character as well.  I have yet to play as this character, but will update what I think of him in another article.

The Pre Sequel has a group of really fun characters to play.  It was hard to choose which to play first.

The Pre Sequel has a group of really fun characters to play. It was hard to choose which to play first.

One of the things that makes the Borderlands franchise so special is the fact that the setting and characters are so memorable, especially some of the non-playable characters.  Although some favorites from the first two games make appearances (my personal favorite happens to be Torgue), the new characters on and around Elpis don’t seem to be as memorable in the Pre Sequel.  Sure, there is still wacky humor and some interesting satire, but it’s not quite up to the same level as Borderlands 1 or 2.  The feel of the game is even a bit different, since it’s on a moon instead of on Pandora.  The whole Firefly-like space western vibe that the other two games had going on is lost a bit with the change in setting.  However, I did enjoy the futuristic electronic soundtrack.  It felt a bit Tron Legacy like in sound, but to me, that made it enjoyable (also, speaking of Tron Legacy: there are two characters on Elpis that look like Daft Punk, and I thought it was quite amusing).

 Game Play

The game play has not changed too much from Borderlands 2.  Zainy missions, skills trees, Badass Rankings, and tons and tons of weapon choices and loot are still there.  There have been a few new game play elements that were added as well.  Laser guns were added because, you know, it’s the moon and why not?  Besides the usual elemental effects for guns, a freeze one has been added, though it’s probably my least favorite of all of them.  Due to Elpis’ low gravity, players can jump higher and do “Butt Slams” (no, I didn’t make that up), where the players smash down on enemies from above.  Also, since it’s a moon without an atmosphere, non-robotic characters must wear Oz kits in order to breathe.  Oz kits also generate effects for Butt Slams.  I played with one in particular that made farting sounds every time I did a butt slam.  It was quite hilarious.  All of these new elements were pretty good additions.  However, the one thing that I really did not like was the wacky level designs for many of the areas.  Because of the low gravity game play, a lot–and I mean A LOT–of vertical level designs were used.  That might sound fun, but it can be quite frustrating when where to go isn’t exactly clear.  I had to go to YouTube several times to figure out where I needed to be to complete a mission.  Also, there were too many cracks and crevices throughout some of the larger maps.  Those made it very hard to just goof around with friends when there is constant worry about jumping over places.

The cooperative is pretty much the same as Borderlands 2.  It’s four player co-op at its best.  I wish that there were other games like it, but at this point, it’s pretty unique since I can play by myself as much as I want, and then invite a group of people into my game without missing a beat.  One of the things that I love about Borderlands is that it really does encourage goofiness and fun among a team.  You really can’t take the game that seriously with how it presents itself, and that’s a good thing, since I can’t stand when people take online FPS games too seriously.  The game was a bit glitchy at launch and didn’t seem as polished as Borderlands 2.  Still, it wasn’t too bad, and I was able to play both by myself and with friends without any major issues.

The Pre Sequel isn't as polished as Borderlands 2, but it is still a blast to play.

The Pre Sequel isn’t as polished as Borderlands 2, but it is still a blast to play.

 Graphics

The graphics are pretty similar to Borderlands 2.  Obviously, if you are looking for a pretty game to play, choosing the cell-shaded Borderlands franchise and a last-gen game probably isn’t for you.  With the new group of games that have come out, the graphics do show their age a bit, but that’s okay.  You don’t play Borderlands for the graphics.  You play it for the game play and the goofiness.  You play it for the amazingly fun online cooperative.  In a way, the very original style that Borderlands creates with its cell shading is making waves in its own way.  It’s immediately distinguishable from other games, and it also lets the play know that the game doesn’t take itself too seriously.  I maintain that if it had been “pretty,” it wouldn’t have done as well.  Most fans would also argue that they wouldn’t want it any other way.

 Fun

At the end of the day, games are here for our enjoyment.  Borderlands: The Pre Sequel hits high marks under this category.  The zany story and characters are good enough to keep a player’s attention, the game play is a blast (even with a few issues), and the online cooperative is still probably the best in the industry.  It’s one of those games that you can get on with a good group of friends and have a blast and goof around.  The game will keep you laughing, regardless of whether it is something in the story, a silly character, or one of the crazy weapons.  For me though, the best part is the fact that I don’t have to be online to play if I don’t want to.  I don’t have to worry about if a server is working or not.  My game doesn’t become a paperweight if the Internet is out, which is one (of many) things I really don’t like about  Destiny.  Sometimes it’s just okay to play on your own.  However, if you want the awesome team experience, it’s right there for you.

The Pre Sequel is the most fun I've had in gaming all year.

The Pre Sequel is the most fun I’ve had in gaming all year.

 Overall

Unfortunately, the time frame that the Pre Sequel came out was a little too late.  Many people have moved on to a newer console and some have even sold their last-gen console.  I’m not seeing as many people playing, and there is a lot of steep competition from this fall’s slew of next-gen games.  The Pre Sequel probably could have done a lot better if it had game had come out in the summer when there was a dry spell in the industry for new games.  However, the game is definitely worth picking up if you are a fan of the franchise.  It’s actually been the most enjoyable game I’ve played this year.

 

By Jessica Brister On 13 Nov, 2014 At 03:15 AM | Categorized As Editorials, PC Games, ROG News | With 0 Comments
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It’s been a little over two months since Sims 4 debuted.  For some, the game was a bit of a let-down because it was missing a lot of features that were in the Sims 3.  After a couple of patches of free content from EA, there have been some improvements.  However, these patches really haven’t improved the game that much.

In October, ghosts and some Star Wars costumes were added.  This month, swimming pools and swimwear came back.  In December, new career paths will be added.  Although it was a nice gesture, the game play still doesn’t live up to many of the elements that were in Sims 3.

I spent some time with Sims 4 this week to see if I would like it any better with the newest features.  Those ghosts and costumes I could take or leave (I felt the same way for Sims 3).  Being able to have pools felt a bit better while playing.  I found that building lots felt a bit “off” when trying to create a house without a pool, especially since I like to build huge mansions for my Sims.  Players can certainly get more creative with pools by adding angles and depths, but this felt like a feature that should have been in the game at launch, not two months later.

It's great that pools were added, but this feature really should have been included in the initial launch of the game.

It’s great that pools were added, but this feature really should have been included in the initial launch of the game.

The real gem of the game is the Gallery, which is an easy way to add player-created content into your game.  With two months of avid Sim fans building intricate lots and unique Sims, there is a lot to choose from if you are not in the mood to build your own home or are looking for something different.  It is absolutely amazing to see the hard work of other Sims fans, most of whom are much more talented than I am when constructing houses.

So, with two patches out, Sims 4 is still not what the Sims 3 base game was, especially when the base game had a Create-a-Style system that allowed for greater customization, hilly terrain, and career system that didn’t force your Sim to completely disappear from the map.  At the rate EA and Maxis are going, it’s going to take a few years before it really gets up to par with what many Sims fans were expecting.

Don’t forget to take a look at my full Sims 4 review.

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Are you a little bummed that summer is over?  Just because it’s fall doesn’t mean that you can’t go on a quick vacation.  Instead of a traditional one, how about a video game vacation?  Not only can you travel to some really cool places–both real and imagined–but you can do it from the comfort of your own couch!

Join Real Otaku Gamer for more video game vacation destinations!  After reading, make sure you take the survey at the end to vote for your favorite video game place.

Game: Fallout 3

Place: Washington D.C

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About: Ever wonder what D.C. would look like after a nuclear apocalypse?  Well, thanks to the wonders of video games, players don’t have to imagine anymore.  Fallout 3 focuses on the wreckage that occurs after a nuclear holocaust.  People buried themselves away in “vaults” and re-emerged to live among the wreckage.  During the game, players will wander around in the ruins of D.C., fighting mutants and helping others along the way.

Why Visit: There’s something both disturbing and interesting about looking at our nation’s landmarks in a state of disarray.  It may just be humanity’s fascination with “the end” that makes this gaming franchise so popular.  The large sandbox of a map that players get to wander around in also make this place well-worth it.

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Must See Areas:

  • Go disable a large atomic weapon in Megaton.
  • Visit the Capital Wasteland and our nation’s monuments turned to rubble.
  • Take a walk down the Potomac River. Just don’t take a dip because it’s radioactive.
  • Walk around the metro tunnels and fight mutants.

What do you think? Which video game vacation would you prefer? Click here to take the survey and let ROG know where you’d like to go. Be sure to come back next week for another location.

Week 8: Columbia
Week 7: Citadel
Week 6: USG Ishimura
Week 5: Skyrim
Week 4: Pittsburgh
Week 3: Pandora
Week 2: Chicago
Week 1: Rapture

 

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Here’s the moment many of us have been waiting for! The release date for Mortal Kombat X was announced!

When will it be released?

Why, April 14, 2015 is the date we will finally see this game on the Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and PC!

Are you excited for this game? Let us know in the comments!

By Sean Jacobs On 8 Jun, 2014 At 10:33 PM | Categorized As Indie Spotlight, News, PlayStation 3/PlayStation 4, Reviews | With 0 Comments
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The brilliantly deranged minds at KrillBite Studios have collaborated within the shadows of their confines to come up with a freakish survival horror title sure to rattle the players cage. Brought to us in a very new and unique perspective we play as an frightened two year old boy, in first person… Yes, you play as a toddler in first person! Me being a horror story buff I instantly clamored at the chance to play Among The Sleep whichwill be later released on PlayStation 4. On the KrillBite Studios Website you can download Among The Sleep onto your PC, Linux or Mac platforms.

 

                                                  “Brought to us in a new and very unique perspective”

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     Among The Sleep begins off with a blank screen with only ambient noise coupled with the soft pitter patter of rain drops rapping against the window pane. You begin to hear the voice of a mother softly whispering to you sleep all the while a gentle, slightly freaky song begins to fade in. Soon afterwards you the protagonist the two year old starts to blink slowly giving us a brief glimpses of the surroundings  which is inside a crib inside a child’s room. As the blinking persists you start to see how your confidant Mr. Teddy is being whisked away by an unseen force to outside the crib down to the floor eventually out your bedroom door, it closes and now your game truly begins.

 

                                                                          “Remember, this is the EARLY ALPHA BUILD”

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     Controls are the basic PC variety you have WASD for your movement then you your mouse for looking around and interacting with the worldly items like toys, furniture, doors etc. Your character being an toddler hasn’t mastered walking so he still crawls around when he needs too. To get into the stand and crawl positions there are two ways to attempt this; Using the CTRL key & the SPACE bar with these two keys you can also climb obstacles in your way. Oh one neat animations in Among The Sleep is when you pause the title by pressing the ESC key your character places his cute little toddler hands over his face to cover his eyes to show game options. While the object interactions when grabbing items within the world is sometimes spotty this early Alpha build plays well enough to get the general idea of where the final build will be.

 

I will not speak anymore on the technical issues like the system freezes every so often because KrillBite Studios is obviously abreast on that issue. Remember, this is the EARLY ALPHA BUILD.

 

                                          “I can already see the silver lining of a potential masterpiece”

 

What really drew me to Among The Sleep is the idea of what KrillBite could think of imaginatively with this genre this is NEW territory. I can’t wait to dig deeper into this title as development progresses. So, far I have enjoyed the dark and freakishly frightening ambiance they have going on it in this average home in suburbia. I always told my wife what scares me the most in horror films/ video games are children & kiddie music. Though, at this point there is only one child the main character the music is definitely there or not. See its the slightly drowned out noise of the house that gets me it gives you the false idea that everything is OK. All I have to do is find mommy though, mommy as you will figure out is hard to find. Among The Sleep aims to be one of the best atmospheric survival horror games released. This early alpha build I can already see the silver lining of a potential masterpiece, lets hope KrillBite Studios delivers when the final build launches to the public on PC, MAC, Linux & PlayStation 4.

 

To get in on the action of building this potential classic, keep a close eye on Among The Sleep for its future releases up to its final launch. If you would like a taste of the action now go to KrillBite Studios Among The Sleep’s website and download the Alpha PC build or whatever available platform of your liking.

 

Stay tuned for upcoming news!

 

 

UPDATE: As of May 29th Among The Sleep has been released (so that means you wont be able to play the Alpha build) it is available on www.SteamPowered.com it is available for $17.99 GO NOW and try out this game it is sure to please all my survival horror fans!

 

STAY TUNED FOR RealOtakuGamer.com’s full review of this final build!

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Two years ago when a couple guys wanted to come back to their 1st love they created at the beginning of their careers, they decided to take it to Kickstarter and hoping that that the fans would help bring what they love back to life. After surpassing their goals by $17,232 Zojoi has cleared the path to recreating the game two generation of gamers loved and now so shall this current generation of gamers. Zojoi, thats right the studio behind the classic point and click adventure, Shadowgate from the days of NES has taken the time to answer a few questions about their upcoming title and the re-imaging of that decades old title of might and magic. These Questions were answered by Karl Roelofs, Design Director at Zojoi

 

 

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What made you guys come back to this classic series; was there an outcry from your faithful supporters?

 

Dave and I always had the desire to bring back the original game and tell the other stories from the world of Shadowgate we have written. When we saw that retro-gaming was being embraced by fans again, we decided that the time was right to re-introduce the franchise. So we reached out via Kickstarter and found that fans of the original game (especially the NES players), as well as new enthusiasts, were excited about what we had planned.

 

 

When designing this updated version what from the past titles did you want to redesign and what did you completely scrap?

 

Well, we definitely did not want to do a port – we had done this about ten times before – so we spent a lot of time looking at each puzzle, deciding whether it was something we wanted to keep. I would say that 95% of the puzzles are either completely new or use the same location but are altered in some way to fit with the storyline better. There are a few puzzles from the original that we completely scrapped since they really didn’t fit into our narrative anymore. We’re pretty happy with the outcome.

 

 

What added features and or content have you added?

 

We weren’t constrained by a disk or a cartridge, so we were able to add some of the things that we always wanted to. New to this version of Shadowgate is an in-game map that tracks the locations you have travelled to as well as records the cryptic clues found along the way. We provide 45 in-game and Steam-based achievements that range from experiencing all the deaths in the game to beating the game within a certain amount of turns. We have several side quests and new creature interactions, a full-blown interactive soundtrack by Rich Douglas and three difficult levels that change the puzzles in the game based upon your skill level. Really, there is a ton of new stuff here.

 

 

When designing this game have you placed any Easter eggs of sorts giving a nod to your fans of the past games?

 

Absolutely! We pay homage to several things from original game that didn’t quite make it in this version. Players may get to finally find out what is behind that locked door in the well room and we also give a shout-out to fans of Déjà vu and Ace Harding. Also, should you choose, you can switch from orchestral music to the original 8bit NES music (composed by Hiroyuki Masuno). Additionally, we’ve elevated the role that death plays by scattering a number of hidden deaths throughout the game. These offer several particularly nasty yet humorous ways to meet your end.

 

Who from the original development staff came back to help with this iteration?

 

Dave and I are the only members from the original team (we designed the original game as well as created all the art). We then reached out to a team of folks, many whom we had worked with in the past and they were just as excited to re-imagine this game as we were. Our team is really an awesome group and for the last year and a half has been pouring their hearts and souls into making Shadowgate every bit as memorable as the original.

 

 

How excited was it for you to have the chance to have better orchestrated soundtrack for Shadowgate this time around?

 

We are ecstatic to have Rich Douglas provide not only the soundtrack for Shadowgate but an unbelievable sound design (sound effects, ambience, etc.) Rich took his inspiration from the original soundtrack but went way beyond that, creating both familiar orchestrated themes and brand-new epic compositions. Additionally, the game supports multiple tracks of instrumentation that can be added or removed to enhance the ambiance of a particular room or situation. This really amps up the intensity when you are encountering deadly traps and monsters throughout the castle.

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What do you think is next for your studios?

 

Well, from a Shadowgate perspective, we just made the game available for pre-order at www.shadowgate.com and should have the game out on Windows and Mac this summer. After that, we will release the game on iOS and Android before moving on to doing localization for other languages. We’ll then be looking at other console platforms and since we’ve built the PAC (point and click) engine, making developing other games easier, we plan to re-visit the world of Shadowgate very soon. In fact, we have the story-arc planned for the next two games.

 



 

 

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Hi, Sean Jacobs here I would like to present my interview with Switchblade Monkeys the wonder team behind the upcoming title Secret Ponchos. I would like to apologize for the delay but, I went Clark Kent and transcribed my interview via my handy digital voice recorder. Lets get into this tasty treat why don’t we.

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Me: Hi, Sean Jacobs here from RealOtakuGamer.com can you Please introduce yourself to our readers at realotakugamer.com

Yousuf Mapara: Hi, I’m Yousuf Mapara and I am the Creative Director (and President of Switchblade Monkeys) of Secret Ponchos.

Me: Well, you just answered my second question because I was going to ask you what you’re relation to Secret Ponchos was!

(Shared Laughter)

Me: What inspired Switchblade monkeys to create such a unique game like Secret Ponchos?

Yousuf Mapara: We really wanted to make a game that takes us back to multiplayer fun, That’s just fun to pick up and is not this huuuge learning curve of like 30-40 hours just to be able to have fun. We are all hardcore fighting game kinda fans and so we love that depth but not the (inaudible) Though, the main thing is that we wanted to make a Spaghetti Western game so, that’s where it all started, ya know? its just such a cool genre. Basically our musician and I were sitting playing Soul Calibur and we had um, were playing Ennio Morricone in the background at the same time and all of a sudden everything just magically synced up the music, the epic trumpets and uh ya know the drama from the music and it felt like everything we felt like everything we were doing was just choreographed to the music so, we were like “WOW we really need to make a fighting western game”

Me: Isn’t it weird how things just come together like that?

Yousuf Mapara: I know, I know it wish there was a cooler version on how the game started but, its stupid but, that’s how it came together.

(Shared laughter)

Me: That’s OK because that is the most organic way to come up with an great idea.

 Me: Were there any other influences drawn from other games pulled into making Secret Ponchos?

Yousuf Mapara: We really wanted to make a game that has this competitive, you pick it up and we want your adrenaline to start pumping, that kind of fun. You pick it up and we want it to feel competitive, fun kind of game… I remember lining up to Street Fighter and getting our quarters and this is the type of game that we wanted to make so you could enjoy. A lot of games recently are awesome experiences but, they have also have became like interactive stories with a lot of cinematic experiences

Me: Yeah, like watching a movie you sometime play.

Yousuf Mapara: …and we wanted to take a step back from that, we have developed plenty of projects like that at AAA studios and we wanted to get to the feeling of  “ah man you got me this time I’m going to go home and practice to get the best of you”

Me: Given the multiplayer nature of Secret Ponchos when it is released will Switchblade Monkey launch some sort of DLC to compliment that element?

Yousuf Mapara: You know uh, so our model for DLC is very interesting we don’t want to be very aggressive with dlc. When you buy Secret Ponchos its a complete experience on its own you don’t need to pay more money or buy stuff to be able to fulfill your experience, with that being said the genre is such an interesting genre for character archetypes that we only scratched the surface with our characters so, we are going to keep expanding on the Secret Ponchos Universe and that’s a better road to DLC. As long as the fans want to see the game universe expanded we will keep have new guys and use DLC to fund new characters.

Me: When I was doing research on you guys on YouTube that’s what I was thinking. I was like  They could be in a good position to be able to spin DLC in a good way if infused correctly. I don’t like the aggressive DLC, I don’t like aggressive salesmanship at all so like, if your company create a great package its going to make us the fans want to buy it.

Yousuf Mapara: Yeah don’t want people to have their defenses up when playing our games as if we are trying to pitch them, if they bought the game its a fun universe, right? we hope people are looking forward to new expansions and new characters and we could use DLC to fund that. When you are really excited for a game, like Diablo and you are really looking forward to the expansion and its a worthwhile purchase that is the type of feel we want to lean towards.

Me: What about this game excites you the most and what can you tell people about secret ponchos that haven’t heard of it?

Yousuf Mapara: The two things we are the most proud of is the art style we really tried to focus on a great art style but, secondly when you look at team shooters and fighting games and there is a lot of them and they are all feeling kind of similar it was really exciting that we have found a new twist a new presentation for a combat game in this genre hey we are a small indie company and just by moving the camera over top we kinda made our own type of combat game and that’s what we are excited about it doesn’t have this superficial feel of a slight change on an existing shooter game it has its own thing and that’s what we are most excited about.

 Me: Thank you again Yousuf and it was a pleasure standing here with you and playing with your staff on multiple matches. I can’t wait for Secret Ponchos and the many ways you will possibly expand its universe.

*Before our scheduled interview Yousuf and I had several conversations one that revealed that Secret Ponchos will be on the Steam for early access. Secret Ponchos was originally slated for PS4 release but, after the outcry of the PC community Switchblade Monkeys have decided to appease the masses and give the Steam community an early shot of the former PlayStation 4 exclusive.

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Here is the Trailer for the game.

 

By Tiffany Marshall On 19 Mar, 2014 At 04:28 PM | Categorized As International News, News, PC Games, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments
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Titanfall has arrived on the scene of gaming.. er.. at least for Xbox One and PC. Unfortunately, Titanfall for Xbox 360 has been delayed again.  This time, the game has been pushed back to April 8th for North America and April 11th for Europe.  Originally Titanfall was delayed til March 25th.

In the blog post, they went on to ensure gamers that are waiting that the Xbox 360 version won’t be any less than the Xbox One and PC versions:

The game will feature the same 6v6 gameplay, maps, modes, weapons and Burn Cards as the Xbox One and PC versions of the game.

I have to say this makes me very curious as to what else may be going on and what problems are occurring that there’s yet another delay with the 360 version coming out nearly a month after Titanfall’s launch on the Xbox One and PC.  What do you think is going on?  Are you waiting on the Xbox 360 version of Titanfall? Let us know in the comments.

Source: Titanfall Blog

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Have 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.

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