, | Game diaries
Bloodborne_GD2_1

The streets of Central Yharnam are empty of friendly faces. Patrols of hounds and savage villagers patrol, attacking any outsider roaming their city. Knocking on door after door I am turned away, mocked for my stupidity at being caught outside on the night of the hunt, or derided as a foreigner there is no refuge offered. The only bit of comfort I find is the voice of a child, asking after her mother and offering me a small music box in return. I descend into the darkness of the sewers below Yharnam to carve my way through crawling corpses and giant rats towards my next foe: Father Gascoigne.

After the jump, how many days since your last confession? Continue reading →

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broked

The Double Fine Adventure documentary is now available for everyone to watch for free. Originally filmed as one of the incentives to Kickstarter backers, the documentary series shows the studio’s development process for Broken Age, the crowd-funded adventure game. The first 10 episodes are available now, and the rest of the series will be released every Tuesday and Thursday until the April 28th launch of Broken Age Act 2.

Over $3 million was raised in the original Kickstarter for Broken Age, and the game had to be split into two acts. According to Double Fine’s Tim Schafer, the game’s increased scope exceeded the projected timeline and led to delays which necessitated the game’s division. The extended development time required the first half of the game’s sales to pay for development of the second half. Purchasers of Act 1 will get Act 2 at no additional charge.

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, | Game reviews
Deus_review

In a typical tableau game, each player builds up a tableau at his end of the table. These games are often dismissively called “multiplayer solitaire”, which conveniently ignores that there’s usually some sort of interaction going on, even if it’s just competing for limited resources or racing to hit a score threshold. But one of the best ways to force interaction — in any kind of game — is to throw players together on a map. This is the approach Deus takes, where you build a tableau at your end of the table, but you also represent each card in the tableau with a little building on a map. Eventually, like it or not, you’ll rub elbows with the other players.

After the jump, this land is your land, this land is my land. Continue reading →

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, | Game diaries
Bloodborne_GD1_1

I awake in a hospital bed. A man I do not know has just given me a transfusion of “Yharnam Blood”. As if that wasn’t enough to disturb me, a pool of blood appears and expands on the floor next to my bed. Some sort of bloody wolf surfaces and begins crawling towards me. As it extends a razor-sharp claw towards me, I am completely incapable of helping myself. Suddenly the beast bursts into flames and its life is snuffed out. My relief is only temporary, however, as a pale arm appears at the foot of the bed. I am horrified as I am surrounded by what appears to be the animated, decaying corpses of small children. They climb all over me, their horrifying faces fill my vision, and darkness takes me.

After the jump, what fresh hell is this? Continue reading →

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There is a version of Halo being made for the Russian market that’s exclusive to the PC platform and free-to-play. Russian publisher Innova Systems revealed the region-specific game to the press yesterday. Halo Online is built on an offshoot of the Halo 3 engine, developed by Saber Interactive, and made with 343 Industries’ assistance. Microsoft is co-distributing. In the official English-language FAQ, 343 Industries says that the game represents a multiplayer-only PC experience tailored for Russian gamers.

Halo Online is a learning opportunity for us as we explore ways to welcome new fans to the “Halo” universe.

See? Microsoft is totally serious about PC gaming.

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The_Crew_SOL

Ubisoft is finally showing a little confidence in The Crew, my favorite game from last year! They’re hoping that the first two hours will wet your whistle sufficiently that you’ll want to buy it.

…a free trial of the action-driving MMO The Crew is available today on PlayStation 4 computer entertainment system, and will be available March 25 on Xbox One… New players will be able to hit the road in this free two-hour trial and keep all of their progress should they decide they want to continue by purchasing the game.

Unfortunately, as with any open-world game and especially MMO, the first two hours are basically a tutorial. In fact, until you get to your first underground hideout in Chicago, you’re in a gimped version of the game world. My advice is to download The Crew, dash as fast as you can through the handful of story mission that open your first hideout, and then just strike out in one direction to see how much you can see before your two hours are up. My advice is to forget New York. Instead, head southwest to New Orleans and then hang a right out into the Southwest and then California. You should be hitting the Pacific just as your two hours are up.

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Just when you thought it was safe to go exploring in Thedas. You’re going to need a bigger dragon-cart. EA and BioWare have released a new single player campaign DLC for Dragon Age: Inquisition. The Jaws of Hakkon adds a new area to the game and reveals what happened to the last Inquisitor. The DLC may also have a dragon somewhere in it.

Enter an overgrown wilderness filled with Avvar, fiercely independent hunters who settled in the southern mountains of Thedas. Explore their culture to uncover what happened to the last Inquisitor and the dragon he pursued. Find an ancient Tevinter fortress that hides a dangerous secret. In this new adventure, playable within the Dragon Age: Inquisition campaign, you will face powerful foes, gain legendary armor and weapons, and confront an ancient god of war bent on destroying the world.

The Jaws of Hakkon is $14.99 and it is available “first” Xbox One and PC. Presumably, it will be available for PlayStation 4 players at some point in the future.

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stubble_man

Geralt of Rivia may not be a great monster hunter because of his beard, but the folks behind The Witcher 3 will make sure static facial hair isn’t to blame for any failures. The Witcher 3 features beard growth. According to CD Projekt, Geralt’s manly whiskers will show the passage of time.

The beard has several “states” and these states determine its length – the longest is really long but it’s not Gandalf-long.

That’s too bad. Imagine sexy-time with hobo-bearded Geralt. The Witcher 3 will launch on May 19th for the PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

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RCTW_Beauty_Americana

If you saw this trailer for RollerCoaster Tycoon World, you may have had less than charitable thoughts on the game’s appearance. Gamers lamented that the upcoming title from Atari looked suspiciously similar to the 11-year-old RollerCoaster Tycoon 3. Many of the assets in the video appeared to be a direct grab from the older game with no improvements. Developer Area 52 Games says that the trailer is showing a “pre-alpha” version of the game and that it will improve visually when they finish working on the underlying code and concentrate on graphics.

Regarding the current state of game graphics, we have been exploring prototypes for a while and are happy to announce we will be upgrading to the Unity 5 Engine. We hope to be able to share the results of the upgrade by this summer. We hope to take full advantage of the many new environmental, lighting, and shadow improvements as well as many other features in our original Unity 4.6-based engine to create a game that looks great. Our early results are extremely promising. We know that today these words must ring hollow, but trust that we are doing everything we can to make the game look excellent.

Area 52 also vowed that if the game needs more time, they won’t launch until its ready. We won’t find out until release whether or not they’re being sincere, but the developer seems to be doing what they can to assure fans of the franchise that this won’t be a repeat of RollerCoaster Tycoon 4.

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gunz_gunz_gunz

Arma III launched back in 2013 with a lot of guns. The NATO and enemy forces had their own handguns, assault rifles, carbines, sub-machineguns, and sniper rifles. Don’t ask me to name any of them. The weapons felt generic and unmemorable, but apparently what Arma III needs is more of them. At least, that’s what Bohemia Interactive is offering in the upcoming Marksman DLC. Seven spiffy new weapons, focused on augmenting team firepower, are coming in the expansion. Alongside the DLC, the developers are releasing a free update that adds bipods, weapon resting, a new multiplayer mode, and single player scenarios for everyone to use.

Weapon resting means that players will benefit from an accuracy bonus whenever they are near a stable surface, while weapon deployment will enable players to use bipods for a more steady shot. Together with improvements made to the simulation of recoil, and improvements to enemy AI suppression, this should provide a more tactical, intuitive, and rich experience

Bipods and weapon resting are features that have long been requested by the community. Depending on the execution, these changes could do a lot for making small arms fire feel more distinctive. The Marksman DLC for Arma III will be available on April 8th for $15.99, or as part of the Arma III DLC bundle.

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Vietnam_65_review

Bruce: So this game seems fascinating. Completely ahistorical in every way, yet an interesting gaming problem to solve and arguably a practical solution to an almost intractable problem of simulating the nonmilitary tactical aspects of counterinsurgency. I both love and hate the concept. I wonder if the gameplay will make me feel the same way?

Tom: What do you hate about the concept? And I’d like to hear more about why you call it “completely ahistorical in every way”? Other than the fact that helicopters in this game can’t land in rice paddies.

After the jump, roll over, Westmoreland! Continue reading →

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