Aug
21
Posted by Mark at 17:16
Wololo!

Announced during the franchise's Gamescom stream, all we have to go on at the moment is a trailer, which contains precisely zero gameplay:

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Continuing Microsoft's outsourcing of their RTS stable to Sega, this game will be handled by Dawn of War devs Relic Entertainment.

Also there's going to be a "Definitive Edition" of the first AoE. But never mind that- AoE IV!
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Aug
21
Posted by Mark at 15:37
One of the surprise standouts of last year's EGX for me was Forgotton Anne, an amazingly-animated adventure game.

Today, publisher Square-Enix Collective have released a Story Trailer. It's below.

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Tower of Time

Aug 13
Posted by Ben at 15:25

I recorded a First Play gameplay video for Tower of Time last week, and spent most of it speculating, but failing to nail down, why it wasnít resonating with me. I wanted to spend more time with it, try to see if I could better put in to words my thoughts, try to write something actually Ďcriticalí rather than just spout vagaries.

Despite my hours with the game, despite my pages of note, and a video already behind me, Iím still not sure I can precisely quantify why I didnít click with the game. For those that donít know, and given that Tower of Time is an indie game still in Early Access on Steam Iíd wager that would be most people, Tower of Time is a western rpg with a few quirks with the combat. Its isometric viewpoint brings to mind the likes of Diablo and Pillars of Eternity, but its combat reminds me of the original Dragon Age. Rather than encounters taking place where you stand, instead youíre whisked away to one of the battle maps.

This takes a bit of time to trigger as your opponents trudge towards you, before you get a screen with a description of whether this will be a difficult battle, who youíre likely to face, and what theyíre weak/strong too. Thereís a couple of points Iíd make about this; firstly I think it needs to be speeded up, maybe an alert sound and straight to the preamble screen, thereís no need to stop your movement while your opponents trundle over. Add to that when youíre on the screen showing the enemies stats you canít alter your equipment to best suit them, instead you have to withdraw from battle, go to your character screen and set everyone up, then trigger the slow animation again.

Iíve no real complaints about the combat itself, although I do think itís one of the things keeping me at arms length. Tower of Timeís USP is that itís neither entirely dynamic like Diablo, nor to you stop time to set moves like Dragon Age, instead you slow time to a crawl, giving you enough time to drag your team around and set their next move. This means youíre always involved, you canít Ďpauseí the action and ease the pressure on yourself, but equally youíre not getting swarmed with your squad dotted around the battlefield while youíre left with no time to do anything about it.

Iím not sure if this is a problem as such, but I found myself playing almost entirely in slow motion, micromanaging moves and positioning; who attacks who. It sucks the pace out of the game, my own fault I guess, but it did mean combat encounters took an age. Thereís a few little niggles Iíd like ironed out. One is that on quite a few occasions instead of my clicking on an enemy to launch an attack, it would be misread as me wanting to move my character to them. Iíve also found that, while my ranged fighters will pick targets without me having to spell it out to them, when my melee fighters kill an opponent, unless theyíre attacked by someone else, theyíll just stand there, not attacking their nearest opponent, just contributing nothing.

The story is, I think, interesting, your character is actually a general who met a dormant spirit in a newly re-emerged tower as a child. Thereís something off with this spirit, clearly his motivations arenít your best interests, but now youíre tied to him, constantly being called to him. Youíve returned to the tower, and you as a player are put in the unusual position of being in control of a character who takes no active part himself, but is both controlling others, and being controlled. However, and this is where my issues are still a bit nebulous, I just wasnít engaged by it. The characters arenít defined enough, thereís a couple of interesting side stories, but nothing that I can really remember to write here.

Thereís also not enough to do. Tower of Time follows a very defined pattern and it needs more. Youíre basically walking from fight to fight, theyíll be the odd chest, some gold to pick up, and then the occasional story beat. Diablo manages with little story because it has constant battles and meaningful loot, Tower of Timeís pace is too slow and its battles too meaty for that, and thatís fine, but it could really do with some meaningful loot to make the non-battle sections more worthwhile

Still, Tower of Time is pretty well made for a game so early in development (currently on version 0.3.0.8362), and for as much as I played I didnít get close to the end. Not bad considering itís only £11
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Aug
09
Posted by Ben at 16:44
Described as a procedurally generated multi-player co-op dungeon crawler, Looterkings does look fairly unique

You and 3 friends team up as a band of goblins, attempting to reach the elven queen. The levels are procedurally generated so each attempt should be different. Your up against cartoonish fantasy monsters, and you're on the hunt for treasure and gear

Looterkings is currently in Steam Early Access, but it gets its full release in a few days, on the 11th August

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Aug
09
Posted by Ben at 13:08
In a lightning quick surprise (and leaked) announcement and release, Rez Infinite is available now on PC

Priced at £19.99 as standard, Rez Infinite is currently £15.99 as part of the launch sale.

The PC version of Rez Infinite supports VR, 4K, and has improved textures over the PS4 version
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Tower of Time
Gameplay Video
Aug 06
Posted by Ben at 16:32

We got sent a code for Tower of Time, the new (first?) game from Event Horizon. A name that's just begging for me to shoe-horn in a reference.

Tower of Time is still in early access, still seemingly very early based on the version number (0.3.0.8362), so bear that in mind with any bugs and some of my thoughts in the video below

In Tower of Time, and what you've missed in the sections preceding this video, you start off as a young boy who finds a hole in the ground. He wanders inside and finds a giant upside down tower. In there he finds a dormant spirit who calls out to him, and continues to do so throughout his life, eventually calling him back to the tower.

You then play almost a watcher roll, as someone invisibly controls your actions so do you control your heroes, soldiers you've sent in to the tower to fight for you. Viewing their progress from the surface above, almost as though (I'm really sorry) you don't need eyes to see.

The gameplay video below shows some of the early sections of the game. I'm going to write a full preview during the week. I want to see more of the game (I already have done), and better put a pin in my thoughts about the game. At the minute it's vague, I'm not connecting with Tower of Time and I can't place why other than meaningless synonyms like "it lacks punch". I don't dislike Towers of Time, I quite like the combat in fact, but I also want to better put in to words what the barrier is

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Aug
04
Posted by Mark at 14:41
Not ones to shy away from a good cash-in, there's three new Persona-based games on the way from Atlus

The first is a sequel to Etrian Odyssey crossover Persona Q- it's just called Persona Q 2, but looks like it might have the subtitle "Take Your Heart", according to its one-page official site. That's hitting 3DS at an unknown point in time.

The other two games, with their own counterpart website are rhythm games, similar to Dancing All Night, this time based on two different games from earlier in the series: Dancing Moon Night, which is based on Persona 3, and Dancing Star Night, based on the more recent Persona 5.

Trailers for both Moon and Star have been released, and they'll be reaching PS4 and PSVita in the Spring.

I reviewed Q back when it came out in 2014 awarding it eight, while nearly a year later Duane was slightly less impressed with DAN, only giving it a seven.
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Behold the Kickmen
First Play
Jul 26
Posted by Ben at 15:08

Dan Marshall, developer of 'Ben There, Dan That', 'Gun Monkeys' , and 'The Swindle', is not a football fan. he did, at some point last year, decide to have a crack at making a football game though, and Behold The Kickmen is the result

Behold The Kickmen isn't really a stickler for the rules of football. It plays a bit like Sensible Soccer, only without enough players, round pitches, a bizarre reading of the offside rule.

There's a VERY SERIOUS story mode, which we don't really go in to in any detail in the video below, but it's fairly funny. Anyone listening to Bob Mortimer's Athletico Mince podcast will be in familiar territory.

Behold The Kickmen, based on what I've played, is fun, quite a lot of fun. Maybe it says more about where I am with football games nowadays, but after a few hours with the game, it had scratched the itch I had, and I've not really wanted to go back. Still, it's cheap, it's available on steam now, and if you like football, or don't but would like to play something resembling football, it might be worth checking out

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Fate/EXTELLA
The Umbral Star
Jul 21
Posted by James at 04:19

We donít usually review ports, but the Switch is so energising for even the most familiar of games, and what could be more familiar than a Warriors-style action game? Indeed, Marvelous has served up a Switch port of Fate/Extella, throwing in all previously released DLC to boot. Itís also landing on PC via Steam within the same week.

First things first: Mark has already reviewed the original PS4 release, so head over here for a detailed rundown regarding the gameís narrative and how it fits in following on from PSP game Fate/Extra.

Done? Okay, well, the gist of how Fate/Extella plays is simple: Think of it like a Fate-flavoured take on Omega Forceís own Warriors games, where it uses its disassociation with that series to do enough to take it beyond its setting within the Fate universe.

Beyond the expectedly rhythmic but button mashing combat, Extella is a Warriors game that focuses more on territorial control. Each battlefield is divided into sectors: Claim enough land before your enemy does and you get a stab at battling their Servant commander.

Itís within these higher-level proceedings that the real battles are waged, as you constantly need to ensure that youíre not putting all your eggs in one basket and attacking one sector for too long.

Reclaiming a sector takes time Ė to claim back land you must wipe out a few Aggressors first, who are basically big baddies that happen to also be damage sponges. Meanwhile in faraway sectors youíll often notice that ďPlantsĒ Ė enemies with the capability of spawning more Aggressors Ė constantly try and undo your progress, sending the foes to sectors youíve reclaimed, and those where your own fighters are struggling.



Do you spend a few more minutes reclaiming this one sector or should you drop everything to rush to a sector where a Plant is sending more enemies elsewhere?

Itís in moments like these, when Extella constantly ups the anxiety and throws you into situations where you never feel quite so comfortable taking on cannon fodder, where the game is at its best. Youíll often need to adapt and find an optimal route to travel around the map too, as later stages pile on the pressure by introducing enemy ambushes in some sectors, leaving you with no choice but to waste a few minutes cleaning up before youíre allowed to advance.

Despite placing a large emphasis on territorial control and continuous travel, itís hard not to feel disappointed by Extellaís rather safe and uninspired level designs that reside within each battleground. While thereís a pleasing amount of variety and scale to the backdrops, each sector feels disconnected from surrounding ones.

As a result you almost have to depend on the minimap just to get simple bearings, as scenery and structures are repeated so often that everything quickly looks the same. While the game is still playable like this itís evident that something has been lost. Youíre almost too disconnected from the action that youíre orchestrating, and the battles themselves would certainly come off as more engaging and memorable if each map was designed to feel like an actual place, rather than a series of small, identikit areas.

Still, the way Fate/Extellaís fights flow from a higher level provides enough fun in spite of the gameís shallow combat, and it does a lot to compensate for its shallow combat. Each playable Servant has an ever-expanding combo tree, but new attacks rarely feel like substantial game-changers compared with their level and equipped skills. Specials, while satisfying to use, reveal all their tricks far too quickly. It bears to be repeated: The lower-level proceedings lack depth.



The technical chops behind the Switch port lie somewhere between what Marvelous originally delivered for Vita and what was upgraded for PS4. When the Switch is docked, instead of opting for a significantly higher rendering resolution over the handheld's display, the differences are more subtle: Characters gain cel-shaded outlines and thereís noticeably better edge smoothing (antialiasing). There is, however, a drop in framerate from the game's PS4 cousin to a locked 30 frames per second. While the Switch has no trouble hitting this target consistently, making everything more than playable, it's hard to shake the feeling that the gameís fast-paced combat isnít as deliciously fluid as it could have been.

Meanwhile, Marvelousí inclusion of all DLC (plus one exclusive item) grants access to a few dozen character costumes, each with their own accompanying character portraits. As with the lore-heavy narrative and story, Fate fans will probably find a lot more to appreciate there. The PC version does not include any DLC but itís worth noting itís slightly cheaper to compensate.

Fate/Extella is a game of two halves. On one side it plays a rather satisfying game of territorial control Ė if this is what you like about Warriors-style games youíll probably get a lot out of it, even if youíre not well versed in all things Fate. On the other hand, the combat is shallow, and the gameís ties with the Fate universe are more entrenched than they were with the PSPís Fate/Extra. While Fate/Extella can easily seen as a love letter to Fate fans, itís also more inviting to the uninitiated than you might expect.

GALLERY:
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Jul
20
Posted by Ben at 16:31
When you think of Arc System Works you think of fighting games, beautiful and complicated fighting games, but every now and then they throw out something a bit left-field, and Boost Beast is one of those games

Pitched as a puzzle fighter, it doesn't look unlike Puzzle Fighter (or Zoo Keeper if you ant the better game). It's actually more of a defence game, a genre we've not seen a lot of over the last few years.

Not unlike something like Puzzle Quest, you match blocks to trigger attacks, or in this case warriors (dogs by the look of it) to face off against the on-rushing hordes.

It probably makes more sense if you watch the trailer below. It's out now on the Nintendo Switch store, whatever it's called, priced at £8.99, and it's something I might pick up myself when I get my Switch tomorrow

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