Articles tagged with runic games

EGX 2017 Impressions:
Sony, Sega and (Ubi)Soft
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.

Full gallery (2)
0 comments / permalink

Posted by Ben at 14:14
Max Schaefer, CEO of Runic Games and co-creator of Diablo, has been talking to Eurogamer about Torchlight 2's DRM, and the outrage at how Diablo 3 has approached things.

Torchlight 2, the boxed copy at least, will only have access to patching and matchmaking by logging in to the users account.

With regards to Diablo III's always connected to the net DRM Schaefer was somewhat sympathetic. For Blizzard to include the real world money auction house they needed to be full on with the security.

"To do that you have to have some of these pretty onerous restrictions. I kind of understand where they're going you have to have those things to have a truly secure economy.

For what it's worth, given that I'm not likely to make use of the auction house on Diablo III I'd like to be able to play it offline. And as I don't want to encourage that kind of DRM, no matter what the reason, I might have to give Diablo 3 a miss. Torchlight is a certain buy though
0 comments / permalink

Posted by Mark at 16:53
So for what it's worth, since the core of the game remains unchanged from its PC release, it's not really worth reviewing the game on merit again, so we'll defer to Ben's review, and do a 'First Play' of today's xBox Live Arcade port- so in keeping with First Play tradition, this is a quick overview of the demo.

As it is, the Diabloesque dungeon crawler seems to have been the sort of game to stick resolutely to the PC's mouse and keyboard, so obviously the big question is if the controls work on a joypad- which, for the most part, they do.

Firstly, in the absence of a mouse pointer, the player is directly controlled with the left stick (now with analogue speed) and attacks exclusively in the direction they're facing with a tap of X. Items can be picked up by pressing A when nearby, but not selected ahead of time from afar, so it can be difficult to see dropped items. Also, the exact area you need to be stood in to pick up loot and interact with objects isn't very well defined and as such often the wrong object will be activated.

A more streamlined HUD sees the health and mana spheres moved to the top corners, and their respective potions are permanently bound to the bumpers. The minimap gets moved to the bottom right corner, and can still be expanded to the entire screen.

Spells and other items, however, are limited to four quick slots (down from the original's ten) which isn't that big a deal considering that the potions have their own slots, and realistically you won't be using that many spells, so this is an improvement over the tab-switching of the PC version.

One slightly weak change is the inventory screen- it now takes up the entire screen and pauses the game, rather than just half and letting you play on, and despite a handy little icon telling you if the item you have selected is better or worse than you already have equipped, the two little windows that give you all the details on both items is immediately absent, hidden behind an extra option. Although, the one-button 'Identify' feature is a timesaver.

Fundamentally, the aforementioned 'core' of Torchlight is very much still there- all the same quests, stats, characters, world, tactics and strategies have made it to xBox 360 intact, at least as far as the demo is concerned, all tied into what is largely a well-streamlined interface.
0 comments / permalink

Posted by Ben at 17:39
I didn't really mind the first Torchlight game being single player only, but still the news that the sequel (due May) will have between 4-8 player multi-player co-op has got me excited.

Personally I think more than 4 will clutter the game too much, but if Runic do decide to go for 8 then I guess it's nice for those that want it.

Runic are also considering throwing some 'player V player' combat into Torchlight 2. My fingers are aching just at the thought

0 comments / permalink

Posted by Duane at 05:04
There's a lot of love for Torchlight around these parts, so you can safely assume we're all glad that the potential audience for the dungeon crawler is set to get bigger at the end of February when the game is released on XBLA.

Obviously, because of the differences between the PC and 360, Runic Games have had to make one or two changes, but you can see the game running on the console below.

Show/hide video

0 comments / permalink

Posted by Mark at 12:03
Ben loved it at the time, and now it's getting a second one- Runic Games have today announced a sequel to Torchlight, and they've even done a website about it and everything.

The modding, fishing and retirement features are going to be making a comeback, alongside a new, fourth character class, randomised dungeons, and enhanced overworld and online co-operative modes.

The game is expected to hit download services next spring, with no retail release announced as yet.
1 comment / permalink