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I love classic style turn based RPGs. There is something about them that just takes me back to an older era and lets me enjoy myself without worrying about all new combat mechanics ( for the most part), and one company that makes this style of game still is KEMCO. I noted in my review of their game Revenant Saga that KEMCO had begun to move out of their paint by numbers approach to making RPGs. While the games they made are great, they had a problem of being formulaic and not deviating much. They were fun to play and lose yourself in for hours but eventually they all became the same. Revenant Saga brought some refreshing change and now Antiquia Lost pushes them further in that new direction.

Antiquia Lost follows a bit of the typical KEMCO formula but plays with it so much, that it becomes new. The game eschews the 3D battle screens KEMCO has been using lately, in favor of a classic 16 bit style battle screen. Its a nice touch and helps the general feeling of the game :making . I must also note that the visuals are surprisingly excellent on Switch, with the art looking sharper than in previous games. I must say though, that I am not happy about the miscrotransactions being in the console versions, as it feels like a step back from KEMCO’s work with consoles. Still they can be ignored, but locking some staples behind a paywall doesn’t feel right.

Antiquia Lost introduces new play mechanics as well, but keeps them grounded in their previous games and they don’t feel overwhelming. I do like that the way the characters interact is different, and using a different character is much more involved this time. The story of the game also immediately deviates from KEMCO’s normal pattern and I must commend them for that. Right away we are given an experience that uses what KEMCO utilized before, but doesn’t stay firmly in the past. Instead, Antiquia Lost takes what was done and uses those ideas to chart a new path, and it is a most excellent journey. It doesn’t overwhelm you and it is familiar enough while still being a fresh experience. Even with the flaw of microtransactions, I recommend it.

 

 

Disclaimer: A review key was provided by KEMCO

By Jonathan Balofsky On 23 Nov, 2017 At 03:27 PM | Categorized As News, PC Games, PlayStation, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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The following was sent out

 

 

It has been 3 months since the launch of Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice and today we are happy to be sharing the final development diary in our 30 video series. In the diary we discuss how the Hellblade Independent AAA approach has turned from experiment into proven model, detailing key numbers from Hellblade’s launch:

  • Over 75k pre-orders across PC and PS4 before launch.
  • 250K units sold in the first week at $29.99.
  • Over $13m in revenue generated in 3 months.
  • 500k units sold in 3 months, which puts the project beyond breakeven and into profit. Our prediction was to be at this point in 6 months from release.
  • Development took 3 years and with an average team size of 20.
  • Game sold as digital-only.
  • About half the sales were on PC.

Some words from Tameem Antoniades, Co-founder and Chief Creative Ninja, on the success of Hellblade:

“The escalating stakes in the AAA retail publishing model has killed off countless independent studios like us, many smaller publishers, and is now straining even the largest of publishers.  This isn’t survival of the fittest but a routing of the creative base upon which this industry was built.

The future isn’t written and we don’t believe that the writing is on the wall.  AAA will always exist but we need strong alternatives as well.

Three years ago we announced our intention to find a way to do our best work outside of the AAA retail model and have openly documented the journey in our thirty development diaries.

The final step is to share our commercial model and digital sales data for the benefit of other developers.  The more data we have for alternative business models, the more developers can take informed commercial and creative risks.  For the benefit of our beloved medium, we’d like to encourage other developers to share their own data as well wherever possible.

Thank you to everyone who has supported us and made Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice a commercial and creative success.”

Hellblade Development Diary 30 can be seen here:https://youtu.be/sDvATt2VBxU

This is excellent news, and a great sign for the future of mid level game development. Have you bought the game yet?

 

Source: PR Email

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Two things have stood out as key ingredients for a wonderful time in childhood, Comics and Lego. Both are tools of imagination and open the mind up to new possibilities we would not have considered before. This is why, despite many criticizing the Lego Adaptation Games, I love them immensely. They are a great take on the various media they adapt and often serve as a gateway series. The criticisms the games get often end up missing the point of the games. They are not meant to be pure adaptations, but celebrations that merge different methods to tell a tribute story.

Lego Marvel Superheroes 2 continues this tradition of merging different forms of creativity, and gives us a new world to explore that is once again a celebration of all things Marvel Comics. The first thing I must say is that the game is absolutely gorgeous. The visuals are well done and stand out so beautifully, creating a real comic book Lego feeling, which suits the setting perfectly. Lego Marvel Superheroes 2 brings in more characters from both the movies and the comics like Spider-Gwen and even makes some new ones, without giving spoilers, I was surprised to see some unique fusions of other characters.

Lego Marvel Superheroes 2 uses some new abilities, which are tied into the main storyline of the game. This time around, Kang The Conqueror is attacking not just the main universe but several universes and timelines. Taking inspiration from a certain other villain, he is capturing and taking cities  from these locations and merging them into his realm of Chronopolis in order to take over the world. However, this also means many heroes are there to fight back and try and stop him.

Chronopolis is a city of time which gives the player the ability to manipulate time and go to various locations and eras. You can travel to classic locations from the comics, and other media versions of Marvel Comics and this is a real treat for the fans. From going to the Noir universe, to a medieval era, there is something for every Marvel Comics fan here. This is also a great way to introduce younger players to the world of Marvel Comics, and I must say that this would be an excellent game for parents to play with their children. It is a game that will appeal to both generations and players of all kinds.

There is also a four-player competitive super hero battling mode in the game, which enables players to fight each other in battle arenas. This isn’t a main attraction for the game, but it is a great side mode and offers some great replay fun. In general the game has very few flaws, but I do feel that one issue is that the camera feels awkward at times, for me at least. This is not a deal breaker, but the camera, and in fact a few other minor control issues do pop up from time to time, along with an audio issue, but that is a lot more rare. Still, I do know these will be patched soon, and the game is one of the best in terms of design, but this is still something I have to mention.

Overall, I feel Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 is one of the best Lego adaptation games ever done. It is a loving tribute to everything Marvel Comics, while also bringing some new ideas to the games overall. If you are a comic fan, or a parent of a young child, this is a must play. For those who just want a fun game, this is also a good choice to consider.

 

 

…..

 

 

Disclaimer: A review key was provided by the publisher.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 21 Nov, 2017 At 08:57 PM | Categorized As News, News, News, NINTENDO, PC Games, PlayStation, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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Bloodstained: Ritual of The Night will be coming out sometime in 2018. Development seems to be nearing the end, and the developers are now asking for fan input on bonus lines and content they are interested in seeing. This is mainly in terms of Easter Eggs and such and not major changes.

They also noted they are accepting more than one submission, and all they ask is that the submissions be impressive to them.

They sent out the following tweet

Will you submit an idea?

 

We will have a review of Bloodstained: Ritual of The Night when the game launches in 2018 (Disclaimer: This author was a backer of the kickstarter)

 

 

By Jonathan Balofsky On 20 Nov, 2017 At 05:55 PM | Categorized As PC Games, ROG News | With 0 Comments

No GravatarBeamdog sent out the following

Description

Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition Combines all the content of Neverwinter Nights Diamond Edition with all-new enhanced features. Includes 100+ hours of award-winning adventures and the tools to create your own! Play alone, with a friend, or join up to 64 others online! Step into a fantastical world filled with magic, wonder, and adventure at every turn.

Enhanced Features

  • Improved Display: Your portrait, combat bar, inventory, and other UI elements adjust in size based on your chosen resolution including 1080p and 4k.
  • Advanced Graphics Options: Pixel shaders and post-processing effects make for crisper, cleaner visuals. Enable contrast, vibrance, and depth of field options as preferred.
  • Community Endorsed: Original developers have teamed with key members of the Neverwinter Nights community to curate important fan-requested improvements to support players, storytellers, and modders.
  • Backwards Compatibility: Works with save games, modules, and mods from the original Neverwinter Nights. A galaxy of community created content awaits.

Description

Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition Combines all the content of Neverwinter Nights Diamond Edition with all-new enhanced features. Includes 100+ hours of award-winning adventures and the tools to create your own! Play alone, with a friend, or join up to 64 others online! Step into a fantastical world filled with magic, wonder, and adventure at every turn.

Enhanced Features

  • Improved Display: Your portrait, combat bar, inventory, and other UI elements adjust in size based on your chosen resolution including 1080p and 4k.
  • Advanced Graphics Options: Pixel shaders and post-processing effects make for crisper, cleaner visuals. Enable contrast, vibrance, and depth of field options as preferred.
  • Community Endorsed: Original developers have teamed with key members of the Neverwinter Nights community to curate important fan-requested improvements to support players, storytellers, and modders.
  • Backwards Compatibility: Works with save games, modules, and mods from the original Neverwinter Nights. A galaxy of community created content awaits.

This is excellent news, and we hope to cover this game more in the future. Will you be getting this remaster?

 

Source: Beamdog PR

By Jonathan Balofsky On 20 Nov, 2017 At 01:52 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, Old School Otaku, PC Games, Reviews, ROG News, ROG Retro | With 0 Comments

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RPGs are a beloved genre, but when it comes to video games, most of the best RPGs trace their roots to one series and that is Ultima, the series from Lord British himself, Richard Garriot. There is so much that can be said about the Ultima series that I will need to do this in parts. Today we look at Ultima Underworld, the spinoff that inspired so many games.

In this game, you explored things from a first person perspective, but unlike dungeon crawlers at the time, this one not a single flash screen affair. Rather, the game scrolled in real time which allowed a deeper sense of immersion than anything else at the time. This was more than just a dungeon crawler though, as there was a massive world to explore with multiple sidequests. It eschewed typical expectations for RPGs and instead created a new format and style for itself. The best games are not those that try to be the best or try to be the most unique for the sake of being unique. Rather the best games are the ones that set out to do something different because they are doing what is best for the game.

Ultima Underworld was the first indoor, real-time, 3D first-person game to allow the player to look up and down, and to jump. This would influence not only later RPGs but also first person shooters as well. The games also told a real story rather than the generic plots of many other RPGs, by expanding on the worlds introduced in Ultima and giving us a new part of it to explore. The result was a fully realized world that even the main series borrowed from. Ultima has always been a series of firsts and the  Ultima Underworld games continued that. This is the point where games started relying less on imagination and moved from telling you the details, to showing them. Suddenly what was once the norm in gaming, became obsolete very quickly.

I do not hesitate when I say that Ultima Underworld 1 and 2 influenced the creation of almost all first person open world RPGs that came out after. This includes multiple styles of games such as The Elder Scrolls as well as Bioshock and Deus Ex. In fact, Warren Spector himself worked on this game. In addition, the music for Ultima Underworld: The Sygian Abyss was done by George Sanger, the fat man himself, and one of his frequent collaborators David Govett, and they brought their best to this work. The soundtrack was created as a powerful work with  great combat music and the best feeling of immersion, with moments of dread and excitement being conveyed beautifully.

Ultima Underworld 1 and 2 can still be appreciated today. Even with the older style of visuals and game design, the games hold up surprisingly well, which is a testament to how well they were made. I encourage you all to try these games, and see for yourself why they helped make gaming what it is today. If you do check these games out ( available on GOG.com right here), you might also be interested in knowing there is a third game coming. Underworld Ascendant will see Warren Spector return to the director’s role for the game and once more bring his insight. Now is the perfect time to see why these games matter so much.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 19 Nov, 2017 At 09:52 PM | Categorized As News, PC Games, PlayStation, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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The King of Fighters XIV is not done yet.

SNK’s newest fighting game masterpiece will be bringing in a new DLC character and stage.  The character will be a Saudi Arabia-themed fighter and the stage will be a Masmak fort stage.

This DLC is the result of a contest held by the company Manga Productions in the Middle East to design a character and stage to appear in a fighting game. Over 300 entries were received from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and so on.

This new DLC will be coming soon but no date was given. It is great to see the world of fighting games getting even more international.

 

Source

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 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