Pathfinder
Adventures
Nov 17
Posted by Mark at 16:28

Asmodee Games has been making its name porting board games to the digital format, and one of their more recent is an adaptation of the RPG card game Pathfinder.

You start by selecting a handful of characters and building decks for them given certain restrictions. Then, after a short visual novel-style cutscene, you drop each of them into one of a choice of locations. Each of these locations has their own deck of cards, featuring a mix of monsters to defeat, weapons to collect and allies to recruit- and one location's will contain the Big Bad for this scenario.

Each turn you pick the top card from the location's deck, and then you react to it by rolling dice and picking cards from your Hand to make your dice rolls more likely to succeed.

Hands tend to be in the region of five or six cards and represent both your toolset and your health. Weapons, by example, allow you to add an extra die to your combat roll- if you roll a number higher than that on the card you drew from the Location deck, you defeat the monster, and if it's lower, you take damage to the value of the difference between the dice roll and the card. Or, in other words, discard that number of cards from your hand.

At the end of each turn you draw cards from your Deck to fill your hand and if you cannot hold a full hand you die, this means you die with cards left which can feel unfair, especially if one of your characters has a larger hand, which can make up about a third of the deck.

Play cycles through each of the characters in turn until the location they're in can be 'closed', either by working all the way through the location deck or fulfilling some other criteria specific to that place.

If you encounter the Big Bad, it is fought in the same way as all the other monsters- although when defeated, it will attempt to run away. If it is encountered prematurely, locations can also be temporarily closed if a character is already there at the time- this means it they can only escape to open locations, giving you an idea of where it's hiding.

This, coupled with the 'Blessings' deck, which acts as a de facto time limit, adds elements of strategy to your character and location choices- fewer characters mean that you can focus and use time more efficiently, but more means you're better able to corner the Big Bad sooner.

There is a lot you can do with your deck to improve your chances, with more powerful cards having more powerful effects and more tweaks that help to mitigate the fiddlier effects of the enemies you will face, although it's this stage where the game starts to fall apart.

The PC version of Pathfinder Adventures is, if you like, an adaptation of an adaptation- the game swapped cardboard for pixels once already, being released on mobile before being ported to Windows. The mobile version is Free-To-Play, while the PC version is a paid game, with paid DLC expansions.

While the microtransactions are happily left behind, there has been no meaningful change to the gameplay in transit- outside of the campaign scenarios, Pathfinder Adventures is very much a currency-based affair, which means grinding and loot boxes.

Playing through a normal scenario will see your deck both gain and lose cards, and the end of each scenario will see you having to rebalance your deck, removing cards of a type which you have too many of, and replacing cards lost of types that you have too few of. You draw these from a 'stash' of cards, shared between your characters- although this itself comes with limitations. The stash can only hold twenty cards, and all the rest must be thrown away and exchanged for currency- as such it's difficult to build a decent selection of cards, limiting the scope for experimentation.

The game is decidedly stingy when it comes to handing out currency, and even though cards which fall out of the loot box go into a seperate stash which doesn't need to be regularly emptied, once they're in your deck they're up to be lost, something that can really start to grate when the dice decide that they're not on your side.

There are also other problems that have arisen from the conversion from one platform to the other, notably that we had trouble getting the game to run at a decent frame rate on a few PCs unless the resolution and a lot of the graphical effects were turned down, and some aspects of the touch-based UI translate badly to mouse control- something that is pleasingly tactile on mobile becomes admin with a mouse.

There's a solid game at the base of this, but it's perhaps not entirely compatible with videogame business models, at least not without serious rebalancing. The paper version might well be a better choice.
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The Norwood
Suite
Oct 02
Posted by Ben at 15:23

I have to admit to an ignorance of who Cosmo D is, I never encountered Off-Peak, a free, and seemingly memorable game Cosmo D put out a year or so back. Hearing the synopsis for The Norwood Suite, your night in a strange remote hotel, full of odd-ball characters; I was expecting Twin Peaks, what I got was a fever dream Jazzpunk

I guess the comparisons with Jazzpunk are inevitable but truth is The Norwood Suite is its own thing. Jazzpunk was thick with gags and laughs, The Norwood Suite, while not lacking in humour, itís just odd. Itís not wacky, thereís a coherence to everything, it just looks a bit off kilter. The plot is fairly simple, you arrive at the hotel with the intention of getting in to the DJ set in the basement, to do this you have to help the various guests with their problems. A lot of the conversations are fairly normal too, believable even, certainly my reservations that the game might be a bit of a hack job were laid to rest by the interactions being so well handled. The more I played the more I looked past the garish visuals and odd models and started to be reminded more of Flower, Sun, and Rain (the Suda51 adventure game).



To give The Norwood Suite some context, rather than just bang on about how odd it can be, itís actually a fairly straight forward 3D adventure game. Before I even got inside the hotel I met a couple in the carpark, we talked a while, then they asked me to get them a 6-pack of energy drink. To get it for them I had to solve maybe 3 or 4 other tasks, certainly because of the order I was picking stuff up in it was towards the end of the game I got it for them. Thereís not too many out and out puzzles, itís mainly hunting for objects, which usually have some indication that theyíre important, but there are a couple of moments that require some brain power



The look and sound of The Norwood Suite are certainly itís own. All conversations take place next to a music source, the game focuses on music for its story, and the soundtrack is available on Bandcamp. The game world has a look; bright, garish, neon colours, characters made entirely of clashes. Objects exist in the world in places they shouldn't, statue heads inside drawers, that sort of thing. Itís a bit of a mixed blessing, one one hand the game has its own feel, yes everyone who reviews it is going to scrabble around for the same couple of games to liken it to, but that really says more about how we review things, it bears repeating, The Norwood Suite is definitely its own thing

The flip side is that it set me on edge. Not in a horror sense, thereís nothing especially creepy going on, more that itís hard to look at, a bit too much for the senses. Itís that feeling when youíre still hours away from the end of a night thatís taken a turn, like you've been in a club too long and the air is making you nauseous. Donít take that to mean I didn't enjoy The Norwood Suite, but itís probably more accurate to say I ďenjoyedĒ it.

As clichťd as it is, I've got to finish this review by saying The Norwood Suite isn't for everyone. The tone, look and feel to the game is enough to put some off, I liked it, but itís painfully easy to see how many wouldn't. Itís a shame its not funnier, at least that would give people a bit of a hook to latch on to. The gameplay is fine, nothing to write home about, but it works, it gets you to explore the hotel and experience the characters. If you go in knowing what to expect, if youíre the kind of person who likes an experience as much as a game, The Norwood Suite is worth a look

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Sep
25
Posted by Mark at 17:57
Away from the first parties, the Rezzed (or 'Indie', if you'd rather) zone felt an awful lot bigger than it had been in previous years, particularly as larger companies have started muscling in, and groups of developers have started to band together to create showier booths.


There was a notable number of Switches dotted about on indie dev booths- certainly more this year alone than I remember seeing Wii Us in all the years it was going, and that's not including the demo units on Nintendo's own indie booth, featuring Flat Heroes, which is a multiplayer precision platformer which expects you to move around and avoid bullets, rather than reach a goal, Dandara, a retro-styled cross between a Metroidvania and Gravity Rush where the player traverses the world by bouncing from wall to floor to ceiling rather than walking like a normal person, Dimension Drive, a port of a PC shmup where you shift between two sides of the screen, Super Meat Boy Forever and Rogue Trooper Redux.

Being a 2000AD property, Rogue Trooper comes from the dubiously indie Rebellion, whose latest, Strange Brigade made a showing in a faux-Aztec booth with its own zeppelin.

While there's clearly a lot of very straight lines to be drawn between Rebellion's Sniper Elite franchise and this, it's also clearly the direct opposite. Short, linear corridor areas lead to slightly more open and chaotic combat arenas, filled with loads of easily-dispatched enemies and one big enemy that needs to be defeated to progress.

In order to help this process along there's various boobytraps you can trigger by shooting nearby orbs, and every kill you get charges up a meter which you can exchange for what is best described as a Shoryuken. Multiplayer communication is evidently key as a light puzzle element managed to elude the pair of us playing and could probably have been avoided. I'm blaming the noise inherent in expo halls.

Square-Enix Collective, the Japanese firm's indie label, had a large showing- much of this was repeats from last year, including what seemed to be the same demo of Forgotton Anne and the already released Black: The Fall. All are on PC, but some are getting released on one console or the other.

Games that are already out are slightly less disappointing in the indie section, so it's worth giving them the time of day. Goetia- out since April- is a point and click where you control the ghost of a dead girl from the Victorian era, it's mostly straightforward, but the ability to posess items suggests it could go a bit Ghost Trick later on.

The same developer, Sushee, also had Fear Effect: Sedna on the show floor, which is simply an isometric shooter, but in controlling two characters you can pause the game and draw a track for them to both follow for pincer movements, a bit like in the first Rainbox Six, before returning to a more traditional control system.

Batallion 1944-released in May- seems to be the publisher's attempt at getting in on the CoD/Battlefield market and everything that entails. Superficially, though, it resembles PS1-era Medal Of Honor. Deadbeat Heroes is a scrolling fighter from Lionhead and Rockstar alumni and influenced by comics from the sixties and seventies. Clearly early in development, as evidenced by some limited and as a result annoying barks, its relies on normal people acquiring superpowers (or special moves, if you like) infrequently.

The last notable game from Collective was Octahedron, a neon-soaked disco platformer where you traverse levels by creating platforms underneath your feet, like that New Super Mario Bros. U mode but with one player. It features some nifty tricks like platforms that appear and disappear based on how far across the screen you are.

No Truce With The Furies- which is begging to be mis-spelled- is a 'dark noir' Planescape Torment-'em-up with a wordy narrative focus and a strong oil-painting aesthetic.

Yoku's Island Express is a surprisingly compelling pinball platformer on PC and Switch about a dung beetle who's got a job delivering the post, and has to do this by rattling around pinball-like worlds collecting fruit because videogames.

Skye, which is getting a name change you were able to vote on on Twitter to avoid confusion with thatgamecompany's Sky, is a relaxing game where you control a flying snake and solve the problems of people living on floating islands- that's coming to XBone and PS4.

Still beating the pair of them for 'quirkiest premise', though, is the iOS-focused Astrologaster, replicating the real life 16th-century tribulations of medical astrologer (again, 16th-century) Simon Forman. This involves using astrology to give advice to his patients- good advice will see them come back for more and continue their story, while bad advice will not. This is all wrapped up in a pop-up-book interface which suits the tablet platform brilliantly.

Students of The National Film And Television School also showcased their works, the most notable being Jonathan Nielssen's Falling Sky, a spectacularly ambitious one-man attempt at being David Cage, but less pretentious. A short demo sees you visit home after repeatedly phoning up and getting no answer, because Mum's gone missing. You pick up your little brother and drive him to a diner, and the demo ends.

The Grand Mission, by William Blake, is a comedic game about managing a steampunk spaceship, involving very carefully deploying workers to different parts of the ship (engine rooms, weaponry and so forth) in order to re-open space tea trade routes- like a slower, Victoriana Lovers In A Dangerous Spacetime.

Gracie Drake has created the most obviously 'gamey' game in the selection in Supremely Excellent Goblins, which is a dungeon crawler in the vein of the Zeldalikes that made up the Game Boy Advance library.

My Last Son, by Sam Rowett, is Ben-bait of the highest order, being an adventure game based on the five stages of grief. That'll probably get some attention from him on its own at some point.

There's more on all the NFTS games, including four we've not covered, here.

Back in commercial indie games, Attack Of The Earthlings pitches itself as "reverse XCOM"- not that you start with a load of permadead soldiers which come back to life, but that you begin as one alien infiltrating a spaceship and, by eating the human crew, birth more aliens and evolve them into different forms (or 'classes', if you're being traditional).

Much like Fear Effect above, this features a 'group attack' where you line up a move for each character in turn for them all to be executed simultaneously.

Oil was one of the few games showcased for Apple TV, and played using the remote. It's a two-player party game which is fundamentally competitive Minesweeper. One player places oil in a grid (while the other charitably looks the other way and isn't peeking, promise) and then they both take it in turns to dig the oil up, with the winner being the one getting the most.

The Occupation has a go at Proper Topical Politics, centering around the hours leading up to a Government vote on the secretive 'Union Act'- allegedly set in 1980's Britain but feeling very American, you play as a reporter trying to uncover the law's details and get them out to the public. The Union act is hinted to be highly draconian and invites paralells to current real-world laws surrounding protest and surveillance, such as our own Investigatory Powers bill and the US' PATRIOT Act.

Over in the Leftfield Collection, we see the flipside of this is in Off Grid- which concerns itself with a much more fictionalised near-future approach to the matter of big data and mass internet surveillance, and using the inherently insecure network it needs to achieve your goals. (Amusingly, the game's website makes a lot of press quotes about data being your weapon and Edward Snowden, but still has the obligatory EU-mandated "This website uses cookies for some of it's functionality, and to help us make it better. We use a Google Analytics script which sets cookies." message at the bottom)

Just up from that is Semblance, a platformer about deforming platforms by smashing into them, making them the correct shape to collect the tokens you need to progress. Pleasingly odd, and a proper head-scratcher when it starts to add rigid platforms and objects that reset the deformed platforms into the mix.

The two most compelling games of the Collection, though, weren't videogames at all. Mystery Box was a box covered in various buttons and switches, and you had to press the one highlighted on a screen attached to it, but always displayed from an obtuse camera angle. A bit like the bomb in Keep Talking And Nobody Explodes, but nobody explodes. RotoRing, meanwhile was two rings of LEDs- you turn a dial to move the white one to avoid the red ones and reach the one that's not switched on.
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EGX 2017 Impressions:
Microsoft
Sep 24
Posted by Mark at 18:25

Alright, I was wrong- Sunday was heaving.


Microsoft was the other absentee at last year's show, but they were back this year- although notably while Sony had the PS Access lot on stage all show, and Nintendo had not only their usual stage show but also announcers over on their tournament booth, Microsoft had nothing.

Well, they had games, obviously. But no stage, which is increasingly unusual for a show where Twitch rock up with a full arena and even Dissidia (ref. Thursday's article) got a stage to itself.

The three main pillars of their booth were Forza 7- skipped today because they just released a demo, Sea of Thieves- skipped since it's been on closed beta for donkey's, and Middle Earth: Shadow of War- skipped because I don't particularly care, even if it was guarded by a massive fibreglass dragon.


Tucked into a corner of the PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (skipped because it's basically already out) area was Age of Empires: Definitive Edition.

Much like with Total Warhammer II, being a big PC strategy game it's hard to get a feel for it on the show floor, especially as its surprising popularity meant people had to be swept through the booth on a timer. However, it's clear that this is closer to a 'proper' remake than AoE 2 HD was, which just seemed to be the original game running at 1080p.

Also managing to clock up the square footage was Super Lucky's Tale, the cartoon platformer unveiled at E3 which, going off the EGX demo, might not be shit. Admittedly it's not going to make Mario shake in whatever footwear the poor sod his hat's possessed was wearing, but it's an entertaining enough straightfoward platformer.

The demo had you reunite three robot heads with their respective bodies in order to wake up a golem. The first of these was right next to the bodies- a simple tutorial- the next at the top of a small tower, and the third behind a more involved course including enemies and jumping puzzles.

Inside the Golem was another decapitated automaton whose head needed to be carried along a fireball-filled gauntlet, while Lucky himself was being chased by a larger, sentient fireball. Nothing new, but tighter and more focused than last year's Yooka-Laylee.

(Also, quite charmingly the Lucky demo pods all had bright orange controllers with light blue trim, and 'Lucky' laser-etched on them. Clearly an ad for their Design Labs customisation service, but clever nonetheless)

A few smaller games knocking about on their booth included Huntdown, which is doing the retro arcade run-and-gun thing very well, Robocraft Infinity which is combatitive Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts And Bolts, and Away: Journey to the Unexpected which starts with a late-80's-early-90's, Samurai Pizza Cats-era anime opening and hammy Japanese theme tune.

It's a kind of RPG-like game, not dissimilar to Elder Scrolls, but aiming to be a little lighter and have a- quote- 'wacky' sense of humour. So it could be good, or it could be another Citizens of Earth.

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Hyper Sentinel

Sep 23
Posted by Mark at 15:41

A lot of gaming's retro revival has centred around the beginning of the home console era- either the likes of resurrecting IP from the time like Double Dragon or plundering the graphical limitations of early platforms for the sake of visuals like Castle In The Darkness.


While a lot of that has started to push later in time and look to 16-bit consoles for inspiration, Huey Games are going the other way with Hyper Sentinel, a game heavily influenced by the home computer era- and in particular, Uridium.

This isn't an entirely arbitrary choice of game- the father of Huey Games Ltd's founder, Rob Hewson, is none other than Andrew Hewson of Hewson Consultants, publisher of the C64 original.

Both games share the same core- the player controls a ship which flies alongside a larger ship called a Dreadnought. The objective is to shoot away all its defenses, flying back and to until they're all destroyed while avoiding retaliation attacks from both the Dreadnought itself and other enemy craft.

As you'd expect from a game of the era, Uridium is extremely challenging and it's this level of challenge developer Four5Six Pixel is aiming to replicate, upping the enemy count and speed to levels the computers of the era couldn't even dream of- this is also shown at the end of levels, where in 1986 it was enough to slow down and land, 2017 expects you to contend with a huge boss.

And these bosses can start to seriously fill the screen in later levels- a switch from the instadeath of the original to a regenerating health system, which could have been a lazy way of pandering to a modern audience turns these battles into compelling acts of brinksmanship, where you try and do as much damage to the boss as possible without dying, then retreating for a bit to recover.

When I caught up with the development team at EGX, they mentioned that the challenge aspect of the game was a huge draw for its Kickstarter backers, a group of people who have been instrumental in much of the bigger decisions made in development- notably a release on Nintendo Switch which didn't form part of the original Kickstarter campaign was added following community feedback.

The Switch version, getting its first public airing at EGX, is just as featured as its PC version, and the brighty-coloured pixel graphics and fancy effects pop on the screen when played in Handheld mode. The structure of short levels also makes it a great fit for the hybrid platform.

On the subject of Kickstarter, when asked about the future viability of crowdfunding following some fairly major failures and controversies recently, they did point out that it's still good for smaller teams with major followings- Hewson Consultants still have a following on the retro scene today, and a modest target of fifteen grand was very achievable (and exceedable, just breaking the £21k mark) and it's still a good way for indies to make themselves known to bigger publishers.

Its stretch goals went to further enhancements truly differentiating the modern game from its predecessor, including a Survival Mode, where you're simply faced with endless swarms of enemies and expected to keep going for as long as you can, and plenty of side objectives for fulfilling different criteria in each level.

There are also retro graphical modes, including ones which mimick the C64 and, as the developers seemed particularly proud of, ZX Spectrum.

Hyper Sentinel looks to be a very assured game, knowing where to modernise and where to look backwards to its fan-pleasing roots.

Hyper Sentinel is due out early next year on PC, Switch, XBox One and PlayStation 4, with iOS and Android ports to follow.
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EGX 2017 Impressions:
Sony, Sega and (Ubi)Soft
Sep 22
Posted by Mark at 19:54

The Sony booth this year is the home of the Annual Update Games- specifically, FIFA and Call of Duty, with the more interesting games hidden behind them.


Notable also is the amount of space dedicated to Sony's desperate attempts to make Playstation VR a thing, including a massive VR helmet which makes the booth look like a Daft Punk tribute to Planet Of The Apes.


Like Nintendo's booth, it's full of titles that are already out, like expandalone Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, Star Wars licence Battlefront II, inexplicable sequel Knack 2 and microtransaction shitfest Everybody's Golf. Some smaller new titles which were also there included Hob, which is a top-down-ish adventure game where you play as a guy with a massive hand, which he uses to solve puzzles in order to gradually unlock a tower by rotating bits of it.

I've not explained that very well. It does, however, look like what Knack was probably meant to, so there's that.

We saw Monster Hunter Stories on 3DS yesterday and today we say Monster Hunter World on PS4. A more 'curated' demo than its handheld counterpart, this does a much better job of explaining its mechanics and objectives- although this could also be related to the presence of Scoutflies, which effectively point out everything of vague interest to progressing through the mission.

The initial mission offered sees you trying to hunt a monster by first having some footprints drawn to your attention, then a scrape on the ground that the game nicely describes as "skidmarks", then another footprint and another until eventually the Scoutflies form a trail to follow to the monster. This is one of the new features added to make the game more accessible to people less familiar with the series, but it feels that it could turn the game into a box-checking exercise.

There was also Ni No Kuni II, which looks as pretty as you'd expect. The battle system can be a bit chaotic during boss fights, but it seems to work quite nicely in battles against smaller enemies in the world.

Also present was David Cage's new title Detroit: Become Human, which I didn't get the chance to watch today- although I did overhear one of the reps on the booth send one of the professional cosplayers they had manning the booth on their break by calling them over with 'Android, come here" and telling them to go into maintenance mode for thirty minutes.

Sony's recent push into phone-controlled games in the form of Playlink was represented by Frantics, by Affordable Space Adventures dev Knapnok. This is a series of motion-controlled party games, hosted by a slightly posh-talking fox, and controlled using the accelerometers in the phones- four top-of-the-line Sony devices, in the booth's case.

There were three games in my session, one where you have to avoid slipping off an ice platform by tilting the way you want to go, another where you fire yourself out of cannons so some (but not all) of you are on a platform, and another race game where before each race you secretly choose a player to have some modification to their vehicle which may or may not be helpful to them.

There was an interesting twist where, before the third game, the host 'called' one player's phone to give them a secret misison.

It's hard to fault the party games themselves, but the phone apps crashing exposed that each Playlink title needs its own individual app- Frantics ostensibly cannot be played using the app associated with That's You!, which has been out in the wild for some time- and that connecting your phone to your PS4 needs you to enter an IP address, which loses the immediacy of the browser-and-four-digit-code setup of the Jackbox games, and is a far cry from the apps-within-an-app world promised by xBox Smartglass.

Speaking of Far Cry, the Ubisoft booth next door housed the fifth game in the series. The short part of the game available focused around the obligatory Ubisoft Game tower, and charged the player with killing all the cultists around the base of it. A number of ways of achieving this was offered, from flinging in grenades to fighting them in the streets to sniping them from the top of the tower.

This, alongside stablemate Assassin's Creed: Origins which seems to have ditched parkour in favour of putting things really far away from one another and making you travel to them, were the first games to really show any seriously large queues- although Ubi made use of the extra space available to them, running lots of demo units and moving people through quickly.

Most of the booth, though, was some Mario + Rabbids demos sparsely dotted about in an almost empty space dominated by a massive fibreglass Rabbid Kong. (There was also South Park: The Fractured But Whole tucked away in a corner)


Sega, meanwhile, chose to showcase Sonic Forces, which looks like it's as good an extension on the Modern Sonic/Generations format as we're going to see. Three levels were on offer, including one of the mental genre-flip-flopping arrangements Colours perfected, a boss level, and a new 'Avatar' level where you put together disparate elements to create your own Original Character Do Not Steal and play as that. It also doesn't quite work, which I'm assuming is satire.

Last but not least, there was a few PCs running Total War: Warhammer II. Which was Total War: Warhammer II.

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EGX 2017 Impressions:
Mostly Nintendo
Sep 21
Posted by Mark at 17:48

But also Dissidia and Dragonball!


Where last year's EGX was notable for two platform holders basically not showing up, this year's, today at least, feels as if it's the punters that have skipped the show.

This may be a quirk of the show feeling a bit bigger this year- it's probably not so much fewer people as fewer people per square foot, with what seems to be a lot of (very welcome) empty space between demo pods. The event marketing alleges that there's more games than ever before, but that has to be balanced by the appearance of so many games that are already out- Nintendo alone brought ARMS, Splatoon 2, Mario & Rabbids, Samus Returns, Sonic Mania (which also made a significant appearance at Sega's booth), Lego Worlds, and NBA 2K18- and that was just on their main booth. (As if to make up for lost time, Nintendo had three seperate booths this year- their main one, one for indies which we'll cover in the next few days, and a tournament booth in the eSports area)

The upshot of this is that for many games, there's not been a lot in the way of queueing- except for Dissidia Final Fantasy NT, beset by technical issues relating to the game's 3-on-3 network play meaning that for a while at the start of the day nobody was getting to play while people scrabbled under tables fiddling with wires. A functioning single-player mode was eventually deployed. Gameplay centres around using high-powered, spectacular attacks rarely rather than small attacks more frequently, making it feel less like a teamplay beat-'em-up and more like Warriors but without the chaos which makes it make sense.

On the subject of Warriors, one of Nintendo's new games was the format's excursion into Fire Emblem- much like Hyrule Warriors before it there's not much to fault in the Warriors-ing, and this iteration brings the ability to switch between characters to the table. While only a pre-set group were playable today, players can not only cycle between the four characters at will, they can also be individually directed to specific areas of the map, using a grid in a nod to its turn-based strategy roots.

There are flaws in this process, at one point all four of my characters levelled up within very quick succession of one another taking me through the a full recreation of the Level Up ceremony from 3DS four times very quickly, but this is obviously an edge case. It's also a lot of fun to see your favourite characters from the 3DS games in Glorious High Definition, so we can probably overlook it for now.

There was also the opportunity to showcase the new side-game in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser's Minions- it's not a lot to write home about, as a crowd of what are traditionally enemies from the Mario series butt heads with another automatically with minimal input from the player. A nice add-on, but unexciting on its own.

Super Mario Odyssey was also present, but that appeared to be the same build Nintendo had already exhibited at Hyper Japan earlier this year- and since there's been big previews of that recently, we'll be stepping over it here.

What is probably one of the last examples of a big third-party 3DS game, Monster Hunter Stories was also available to play. Traditionally where Nintendo have presented specially curated demos of their console games at events like EGX, 3DS games presented tend to be final retail games and that appeared to be true here- which meant the game seemed a little directionless as you were effectively picking up someone else's save file and all the mistakes they made with it and it's hard to get a feel for it. It does, however, feel exactly how you'd expect a traditional JRPG version of Monster Hunter to be.

Floating about independently of publisher booths- or at least, those as obviously branded as the first-party booths was DragonBall FighterZ, which has pulled the clever trick of running its cutscenes at a lower frame-rate than the gameplay, imitating the framerate of the hand-drawn animation of the original TV show.
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Sep
20
Posted by Ben at 15:55
As is the way with things, when we post that a game is being ported it's usually accompanied with a link and me saying I quite liked it. Well, Mantis Burn Racing is getting a Switch release, and I quite liked it when I reviewed the PS4 version

For the uninitiated, Mantis Burn Racing is a top down racing game, infamous for being amongst the first 4K native games on the Playstation 4 Pro, which I'm fairly sure the Switch version isn't boasting.

The Switch version will have 4 player splitscreen in both handheld and tv mode, plus online racing, and will be getting the dlc tracks and cars

Show/hide video

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Sep
19
Posted by Mark at 14:50
And of course, being a Vanillaware game, it looks amazing.

In fact, that's pretty much the only reason I post stuff from it, since the trailers have been very light on the gameplay front, save for a small amount of side-scrolling walking.

Still, the new trailer introduces us to- or at least, shows us- ten more characters we didn't see in the announcement trailer.

Show/hide video


It's out on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita next year.
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Sep
04
Posted by Mark at 14:55
As part of Scotland Loves Anime.

If you fancy subjecting yourself to two of the three CGI Resident Evil films, you'll soon be able to do so on the big screen.

Screening at The Edinburgh Filmhouse as part of the regular Edinburgh leg of the Scotland Loves Anime film festival, 2008's Resident Evil: Degeneration will be shown on the 18th of October at 8:45, and this year's Resident Evil: Vendetta the day after at 8:30.

When Ben reviewed it back in the Loading Screen days, he said
it's not exactly a classic, but it is fun and thatís all you can ask for. Definitely worth a watch
It's screening alongside classic anime films such as Tokyo Godfathers and Venus Wars as well as the more recent critical darlings Your Name and A Silent Voice, so may be worth a look if you're already in town.

As the Glasgow films are yet to be announced, it's not known if the Resi films are going to be shown there as well.
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