Jul
23
Posted by Ben at 06:04
We've always been a fairly thinly disguised Sega fan site so when there's a good looking new Sonic game announced we're always going to post it

Sonic Mania, a new 2D 16 bit inspired Sonic game (shh, don't mention Sonic 4), developed with Christian Whitehead, the man responsible for the excellent Megadrive Sonic ports

Sonic Mania is due int he spring of 2017, presumably on PS4, Xbox One, PC, maybe NX, possibly even 3DS and Dreamcast 2 (and let's face it, ios and Android)

Sonic Mania wasn't the only sonic game announced, there was also a new 3D game announced by the team (Sonic Team) behind Sonic Colours and Sonic Generations. I personally think the quality of Sonic Colours is a bit overstated but Sonic Generations was legitimately great, if uneven

Anyway, both trailers are below and when th 3D sonic game gets a name we'll probably post about it

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Jul
20
Posted by Ben at 14:35
First, let me preface this by saying that I backed Chime Sharp on Kickstarter.

Chime Sharp, or Chime# is out now on steam, out of early access, and in its full complete form

I am slightly disappointed that the Kickstarter ideal of Mono and Mogwai didn't make it in to the game, can't blame the developers for aiming big and having good taste I guess, but still, I'd have liked them in there

Anyway, Chime Sharp is available for the launch price of 7.99, usually 9.99, and is a kind of flat musical Tetris. While we're a little wary of covering games we backed, I will put something up in the next few days
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Jul
20
Posted by Ben at 14:22
Not a bad way to try what is a very good game if you're still unsure about it. Square Enix are releasing Life is Strange: episode 1 - Chrysalis for free, on PS4, Xbox One, PC, PS3, 360, and Mac

Granted it is, of course, a marketing move, they'll lose nothing from doing this but may drum up some extra sales next time the rest of the game is reduced, but still, I'd urge you to try it as it's a really good narrative game.

There's a new trailer below, and Life is Strange: episode 1 - Chrysalis will be free 'indefinitely'

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Jul
20
Posted by Ben at 14:02
Now, I love Dear Esther, I've played it multiple times, and I still love it despite the general taste trend seemingly turning against it. It's a fantastic tale, well told, stunning to look at, and fantastic to listen to, but even I was a bit surprised this was happening.

Dear Esther will be getting a live performance, music, live narration, and gameplay, at the Barbican Milton Court Concert Hall

I'm not sure if the live concert would have happened regardless, but it's being timed to coincide with the PS4 and XBox One Enhanced release of Dear Esther

Tickets are 22.50, available to buy on the 22nd July, with the show on the 14th October
Link
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Jul
19
Posted by Ben at 16:22
I love Berserk, have done for years. I remember joking with a friend that by the time Miura was done writing the Berserk manga I'd be hitting 30. Ha ha, how stupidly optimistic I was back in my pre-30 days.

Anyway, there's been activity in the Berserk world recently, new anime, manga chapters, and now a new Berserk game from Omega Force, the developers behind Dynasty Warriors

I was going to post about this when Koei Tecmo first announced Berserk, but the initial trailers were maybe not the sort of thing I wanted to post on the site. Removed from the context of the manga, or even the old anime, they depicted something that looked exploitative rather than harrowing. There is a marginally better one out now, at least it's got some gameplay, but hopefully Omega Force and Koei Tecmo do a good enough job that I don't have to continue being an apologist for Berserk when it release here later in the year on PS4, Vita and PC
Source: Gematsu

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Jul
19
Posted by Ben at 15:29
Anticipated old-school inspired jrpg I Am Setsuna is available now on Steam and PS4.

Priced at 29.99 I Am Setsuna isn't exactly an impulse buy, but it has been getting good reviews. It's something we'll be keeping our eyes on, if only for the Chrono Trigger comparisons, and there's a trailer below

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xBox One Review:
 
 
10 Second
Ninja X
Jul 18
Posted by Mark at 09:06

The sequel to the lesser-known but still well-recieved 10 Second Ninja gets X appended to its title, which I'm taking to mean is pronounced "Ecks", like the letter. Although not holding onto that suffix for Ten Second Ninja Ten seems like a bit of a missed opportunity.

As previously mentioned, this is another of those precision platformers, but this time the gimmick is that each level must be completed in ten seconds or less. At the end of each level, you are awarded one, two or three stars based on your time, and when you clock up enough of them you unlock more levels (in batches of ten, obviously) and get to do it all over again. In this case, the objective is to destroy a handful of enemies in the time limit, rather than reach the exit.

Something that does stand out is that where Ten Second Ninja Cross has looked backwards for its aesthetics it's looked to Sonic, which isn't something that you see very often outside of games which are also seeking to ape the series' gameplay too- the protagonist is blue, runs around fast and curls up into a ball when he jumps. The enemies (which release blue birds when destroyed) clearly take their design cues from the Eggrobos in Sonic & Knuckles, and the antagonist is even an angry ginger with fantastic facial hair.

Ironically considering this game's genre and what it takes influence from, it is almost completely devoid of inertia. While it's free of many of the load times that Super Meat Boy had on xBox 360, it brings everything to a complete stop at the end of each level while it individually gives you each of your stars, then tells you how long you took, with a bonus pause before all that if you've managed a new best time. Things like the automatic replay and even the limited animation on the loading screen SMB always felt like it was moving even when it was stopped.

Something that brings the game to a much more crashing halt is the game's three-star system as a means of gating progression. To unlock each group of levels you need to get two-thirds of the available stars, and the difficulty of this is pitched just a smidge too high for the first set. Getting your first fifteen stars from the thirty available is easy enough, but squeezing out the other five is a different (and more tedious) question altogether, which is a shame as it's after the first ten levels that the game really starts to get into gear.

After that, the initial single-screen hub world expands into a massive flying ship with other characters and hidden bits. The game's story, which is lightweight and raises the occasional smile, starts to kick in and the levels themselves start to add more interesting challenges, like electrified surfaces and things you can bounce your shurikens off.

Most importantly, by this time you've got enough practice in and you can get those three-star times in the early levels, and new ones come at a quicker pace, with those new elements gradually moving the game's focus away from reaction to puzzles and careful planning, which is a much more rewarding task than that first chapter.

10 Second Ninja The Sound From Family Fortunes has a lot to offer, particularly in a genre that's not seen a lot of love recently- it's just a shame that it's unfortunately hidden it behind a rather poor start.
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Zero Escape
Edition
Jul 12
Posted by James at 14:36

I haven't really been playing all that much, admittedly. Since picking up a 64GB PS Vita memory card I've spent far too much time organising downloads for a bunch of previously deleted games, scavenging for old saves (this was less successful) and shifting whatever content I'd managed to back up over the years from a computer back on to memory card.

Among all the micromanagement I did manage to play something - Zero Time Dilemma weighing 1GB meant it was still on my old 16GB memory card, and thus ready to go. And...it's quite a departure to what came before it, just in ways which don't seem immediately obvious.

It's still a narrative driven experience interspersed with bouts of point and click puzzling, but its differences change how it fundamentally presents its story to the player, right down to each and every scenario. And it's why I shied away from calling it a visual novel in the previous sentence, as I would have done for its predecessors, 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors and Virtue's Last Reward.

Unlike those games' first person narratives, Zero Time Dilemma is presented entirely in third person, with animated cutscenes replacing simple text screens and dialogue-in-textboxes.

This shift in narration is certainly unexpected given the series' visual novel roots. But the problem lies in the execution. 999 only had lines of text and simple sprites to work with, so it practically lived or died solely on the basis of its vivid writing.

Zero Time Dilemma replaces the text narration with animated characters and cutscenes, but it's also clearly been made on a budget. What results is the series' trademark tense and foreboding atmosphere is missing.

Animation appears wooden and stilted, making even something as simple as a talking character appear awkward. It's hard to feel shocked about a character's death when you're presented with a scene of some unconvincing blood (tomato juice?) spilling out beneath them. And the camera angles used - presumably to keep the on-screen graphic violence down to a minimum - don't help the narrative's cause either.

So while Zero Time Dilemma sees a return to 999's horror roots after Virtue's Last Reward diverged from them, it's just less effective at realising its scenarios. No longer is it asking the player to read some prose, listen to some music and picture a gruesome scene with their imagination. Instead it's giving them the whole picture, only it's a flawed one.

In a way the developers were in a catch-22 situation: The game wouldn't have existed without the support of western fans, and the switch in narrative style was likely made to appeal to western tastes. But the lack of budget behind the project has meant the game's original vision hasn't been realised.

While I'm not as engrossed into Zero Time Dilemma as I was 999, or even Virtue's Last Reward, I'm still enjoying it. It's just a shame it isn't as fully formed as its predecessors were - moreso as the game's a love letter to fans - but on the other hand you can't accuse Kotaro Uchikoshi of shying away from trying something new.
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Jul
12
Posted by Ben at 02:02
When I posted about Kerbal Space Program coming to Xbox One and PS4 the other day James, our Nintendo die-hard, mentioned the WiiU version, that it not being on the announcement was a pretty strong hint that it was cancelled.

Well Squad have today announced that the WiiU version is still on the way, due this winter

The PS4 version is out to download on the 12th July (today), with the Xbox version following on the 15th. The WiiU version is pencilled in for "winter", presumably this year but it could slip, there's nothing more concrete than that currently unfortunately
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Jul
09
Posted by Ben at 08:02
Inferno Climber looks a decidedly un-Arc System Works kind of a game. It's 3D, it's an adventure game, it's not a fighting game, but it does look pretty cool.

I'm speculating here but Inferno Climber, just launched on Steam Early Access, is looking to me like something of a chibi Dark Souls, maybe with a bit of Zelda in there

As some have already noted, it looks, aesthetically as though it was maybe conceived for a lower power platform that the PC, perhaps the Vita, either way I quite like the tone, if it's less of a chore to play than Dark Souls (sorry) then all the better.

Inferno Climber is available now through Steam Early Access, and is priced at 14.99

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