Aug 26
Posted by Ben at 16:17

Given that there's not going to be a score at the end of this article, and given that I'm essentially reviewing a demo, a review of P.T. might seem a bit pointless. I guess it is, you might as well try it no matter what I go on to say, it's free after all, but it's worth talking about because of what it does right and what it does wrong.

P.T. is pretty much the same section of corridor repeated, a few of the details change but it always feels like once you open the door to the basement you start again. This is the genius of P.T.. You wake up, pull yourself to your feet, then enter in to the unknown. You're given no information, no instruction, just go, look around, go through the door and do it all over again.

P.T. forces you in to the mundane. You are becoming bored and frustrated by seeing the same corridor again... and then something happens that completely undermines that boring safety, and all of a sudden everything at any time could trigger something. Spending time establishing normalcy is well worth it, because then they can subvert it, completely unsettling you. P.T. is absolutely terrifying!

There were moments where I stopped dead in my tracks, very definite that I wasn't going to move, and I certainly wasn't going to investigate the horror that confronted me. The sound design is superb, when P.T. first sparks into noise it's hugely effective, again breaking the normalcy of silence. The sense of wincing dread that purveys P.T. is tremendous, although it's also part of its downfall.

You've probably heard by now P.T. is obtuse. The early puzzle is enough to keep most stuck, again terrifying, and it makes sense if you pick up on the clue. The next puzzle took me an age and made me feel very stupid when it was finally solved. It was here though where P.T. began to lose its effect. By this point I'd spectacularly seen the worst the game had to offer and carried on playing, spending an hour wandering around the literal same hall looking for a way to unlock the door meant I'd become accustomed and immune to the screeches and wails the game was throwing at me.

Itís a shame, but thereís precious few horror games that donít fall foul of the same phenomenon. Itís the reason games canít turn you in to a killing machine, as soon as you get stuck, die, complete a level, get stuck on a wall, whatever, youíre reminded that youíre playing a game. Fortunately P.T. works as a curiosity piece. where trying to work out the puzzles and how (and why) it all fits together is as interesting as the horror element.

Itís great when you work out the Ďwhyí of something, why a piece just falls in to place. Which brings us to the end of the game. Thereís a few different ways to finish P.T.. Thereís only one ending, but thereís plenty of dispute about the way to get it. Iím obviously not going to spoil the ending, but I will say the solution I used was unfulfilling. Iíd seen a guide that made sense, in fact I thought Iíd stumbled on my own solution that made absolute sense. I wanted both of them to be the right answer, they made the pieces fit, the whole thing made sense, of course thatís what youíd have to do. Instead though the solution I used to beat the game was mechanical, something I couldnít possibly have worked out for myself, and something Iíve yet to see a satisfactory explanation for. Put simply, I donít think itís the solution for beating the game, that it was the one that worked for me is something Konami and Kojima Productions need to learn from.

P.T. definitely does its job of getting people excited for a new Silent Hill, something that looked a very long way from happening. As a stand alone experience it mostly works, until you get stuck, but christ when itís in full flow it hits the mark. As a pitch for a full game Iím less sure, I think the down moments might kill it. Still, P.T. is something you absolutely should play if you have a PS4, itís not something youíre going to forget in a hurry
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Aug 22
Posted by Duane at 10:27

Those of you who know what Hyperdimension Neptunia is and have played it before, this is the first of the three currently released PS3 games re-packaged for the Vita. Now obviously, I've had to do a bit of reading up on the original PS3 release just to find out what differences there are between the two, and I'm happy to say that its not just a re-packaging as Compile Heart and Idea Factory have done a bit of work on trying to improve the entire game.


My research suggests that whilst fans of Hyperdimension Neptunia loved the concept behind the game (that being a kind of JRPG recreation of various generations of console wars using different girls to represent the major players) the entire thing was hampered by some bizarre design choices, such as taking particular actions out of the hands of the player whilst in battle and leaving them having to rely upon a rather clumsy AI model. So much like how Persona 3's revamp into Persona 3 Portable introduced the ability to control the entirety of your team, Compile Heart have, seemingly, done much the same with Hyperdimension Neptunia Re:Birth 1. Changes have also, apparently, been made to the narrative, mostly in order to help bring the original tale and the events of its sequels more in line with each other.

Now that we've got those people who are possibly returning addressed, its time to actually discuss the game we have here in front of us, because like some, I'm new to the entire history of the world of Gamindustria.



Its not really fair to go into details on the plot here, not because its something one would want to keep secret as not to spoil the surprise, but purely because its incredibly cliche ridden; JRPG featuring a protagonist who is destined to save the world but suffers from a crippling bout of amnesia, insert bubbly girl who happens to be a healer, a rather serious "adventurer" type etc etc. However, whilst this has all been done before, I don't recall any other game doing so on purpose, pointing a finger at its contemporaries and just having rather a lot of fun with what the player expects of it. IT's kind of refreshing but it does allow the writers to get away with a little too much at times, and whilst it doesn't go all out into modern anime fan-service territory, it does ride kind of close to the cliff edge in that respect.

The core gameplay is pretty much a dungeon crawler with Tales of... battle sequences where you're free to move around a limited area once you've activiated the switch from exploration to battle mode. Within the battle mode is where Re:Birth 1 gets more interesting as an actual game (rather than a tongue in cheek comment on gaming). Like most games of this ilk, you're limited to a certain team size, here its 3, however, thanks to the games Lily system, you can attach a further team member to each of those that are already in battle, these extra partners can then, when the time is right, unleash an extra attack, helping in battle, whilst the game also encourages the player to strengthen these attacks by improving the relationships between said partners.



This isn't the only way Re:Birth 1 allows you to tweak with the gameplay mechanics, as you progress you will be awarded Plans, these do things like change the item drops or enemies of particular dungeons, couple these with the extra quests you can take on from the main cities' Guilds, and it makes back tracking through previously finished dungeons much more entertaining.

Theres actually a whole lot here to enjoy, however its certainly not for everyone, those looking from the outside will mostly be concerned with the games appearance, both visually (its not a showboat for the Vita's abilities at all) and its reliance upon rather cutesey anime visuals where the entire universe is seemingly female (aside from a few, non-important, exceptions). But the games light-hearted tone, and its knowing nod at some elements of video games culture and the hang-ups of its own genre make it quite an enjoyable experience for those JRPG fans that, whilst spoilt for choice on Sony's handheld, want something a little off-beat.

GALLERY:
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Aug 20
Posted by Ben at 17:52

We've been sent PC review codes for Metro 2033 Redux and Metro Last Light Redux, and while I probably should have spent tonight playing through them properly I instead spent a couple of hours making a comparison video of the original Metro 2033 and the new Metro 2033 Redux

It's only the first 10 minutes or so, but it gives a bit of indication of some of the work that's gone in, making a not-exactly-bad looking game into a fresh new one.

The video is below, both games are captured at 1080p, both on 'very high' settings, Metro 2033 has PhysX and DX11 features turned on, Metro 2033 Redux has DX11 covered on its own seemingly, but I didn't realise PhysX needed to be turned on... sorry about that.

Anyway, enjoy
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Aug
19
Posted by Duane at 14:56
Atlus have sent out mail stating they will be broadcasting a feed of Persona 4 Arena Ultimax's "Golden Arena" mode, something they're stating is the games "RPG element" and the focus of the game in single player.

If you do want to join them to watch, the eventh as already started and is roughly 30 minutes in at Twitch.tv/atlususa


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Aug
19
Posted by Duane at 08:06
Atlus have released another 3 character trailers for Persona 4 Arena Ultimax (due out in the US on 30 September on PS3 and 360 and region free, no EU date has been mentioned yet...). Two of the trailers features Yosogami High School students (from Persona 4) Yu and Yukiko whilst the third trailer features Yosuke, catch them all below.


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Aug
19
Posted by Duane at 07:49
Atari have released a teaser trailer for RollerCoaster tycoon World, which they say will be available for PC next year.

Atari promises that RTC World will be free of micro-transactions, a huge relief after the state of RollerCoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile. The staple idea of building your own theme parks and rollercoasters seems to still be central to the basic idea of RollerCoaster Tycoon World, but this time you will be able to share and exchange blueprints with other players through the games menu's rather than by downloading them from fansites. There will also be support for four player co-op play. Watch the teaser below:


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Aug
18
Posted by Duane at 14:43
SEGA and Sports Interactive have announced that Football Manager 2015 will be heading to PC in November this year, although no actual date seems to have been set. Anyone who pre-orders the game will have access to a "beta" version of the game, as has been the case for the past couple of releases.


SEGA and Sports Interactive have also revealed that they have entered into an agreement with Prozone Sports that aids to benefit both parties by improving the Football Manager database whilst also being used in real-world player recruitment all over the world.
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Aug
18
Posted by Duane at 14:28
NIS America have confirmed that they will be localising three more titles for the European market. The rather busy publisher plans on releasing 2D fighter Arcana Hearts 3: LOVE MAX!!!!! (I think thats enough !'s) on PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita some time this year.


Undead Night In-Birth EXE:Late is another 2D fighter and will be released for PlayStation 3 whilst Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters is a visual novel and will get both a PS3 and PS Vita release. These last two are only pegged as 2015 releases.
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Aug
18
Posted by Duane at 14:16
NIS America released some new screenshots and video footage of Natural Doctrine's online multiplayer portion last week, unfortunately, as has been the case with the past few NISA updates, I've been a little slow on the uptake due to being tied up with my day job.




The video footage (below) shows off a range of co-op and versus multiplayer modes, and the word is that pretty every character you encounter (both friendly and not so friendly) will be available in the games single player too.

Natural Doctrine will be released on Sony systems on September 26th.

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GALLERY:
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Aug
18
Posted by Ben at 13:43
For some reason I thought this was old news, I think because I saw it on a retail site over the weekend.

Anyway, Fantasy Life, the 3DS RPG from Level 5, is getting a retail release on September 26th

In Fantasy Life you pick a job and play that role, for example playing as a miner, then play as a blacksmith, then a warrior, using the materials the miner found, crafted by the blacksmith to forge a weapon for the warrior.

The trailer is below, it looks like quite a charming little game

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