Jun
10
Posted by Mark at 10:57
They've done a new IP!

It's a multiplayer third-person adventure title, where up to four players investigate various exotic locations as an Egyptian witch queen has resurrected all sorts of monsters.

It's explained slightly better in this 1930s-style trailer:

Show/hide video


It's due 'soon' on PC, XBone and PS4, and we'll be seeing gameplay footage during E3.
0 comments / permalink

Jun
05
Posted by Mark at 16:11
Fallout Shelter was a mistake.

The eagle-eyed folk at Gaming Bolt have uncovered a job listing at Bethesda Softworks' Montreal studio, for a 'Game Performance Manager' to- quote- "join the team that is pushing the bleeding-edge AAA freemium game development."

The entirety of the listing focuses on monetization, revenue and data mining, suggesting that the business model is going to be getting a much greater focus in their future titles.

While it's likely that this hire specifically is going to be for either Fallout Shelter or their more recent CCG The Elder Scrolls: Legends, the listing also calling for the ability to "manage multiple complex projects with diverse groups" suggests that microtransactions will be infecting the main series games sooner, rather than later.

There may be more on this at Bethesda's E3 show this weekend.
0 comments / permalink

May
30
Posted by Mark at 14:53
Well, we asked if you wanted us to cover the ratings for Dave's Go 8 Bit DLC spinoff show, and the people spoke. Which means we get to be the bearers of bad news!

The show's first episode didn't make the top ten programmes shown on Dave for the week of 15-21 May. The tenth most popular show for the week- Live At The Apollo, immediately before Go 8 Bit, clocked up 227,000 viewers.

Additionally, the main show itself only pulled in 378,000- low considering the first series only dropped below half a million once and while the other programmes on the list saw lower viewership than normal, the following day's Taskmaster hits its usual ratings of 830,000.

It's not all doom and gloom, however- 11PM seems to be the time Britain switches its TV off for the night, so the bar is lower and given that the show seems to have been made on a budget which may run into the thousands of pence, the show may not be considered to have failed- the superficially pricier Unspun With Matt Forde also never troubled the top ten, and that's got not only another series on the way, but it got a bonus emergency one in the run-up to the election.

DLC's lack of topicality means it can be re-run in the day- as shown by it getting a repeat on Saturday mornings, in the slot Videogame Nation used to occupy on Challenge, meaning while it may not be the headline success Taskmaster or Red Dwarf are, it may still be adding enough value to Dave's schedules to be worthwhile.
0 comments / permalink


 
 
Akiba's Beat

May 16
Posted by Mark at 13:45

Following on from the provocatively-titled Akiba's Trip, Akiba's Beat brings us back to Japan's nerd-Vegas Akihabara, where, on a random Sunday, some massive speakers have appeared on the side of the train station. Nobody, mind you, seems to have noticed, save for Asahi Tachinaba- protagonist and inevitable NEET- and one other person who seems far too happy about the matter.

It's in front of the speakers where he meets Saki Hoshino, another one who is able to see the speakers, and her familiar Pinkun, the most annoying thing in the world. She explains that the speakers are the manifestation of the delusion of someone nearby- specifically, the overexcited man from earlier, who is pining for the earlier days of Akihabara, when it was a hub for audiophiles to pick up equipment, rather than the videogames and anime place it is now.


When the source of a Delusion is found, a door to their Delusionscape appears- a dungeon, if you like, to the overworld of Akihabara- and at the end of the Delusionscape is a boss which must be defeated in order to snap the individual (or "Deluser") out of their Delusion, and return Akihabara to its proper state.

With that Delusion cleared up, the day comes to an end, and everybody goes back home. The next day, however, is Sunday again, and there's another Delusion on the other side of town. Asahi and Saki team up again to get to the bottom of the appearances of the Delusions, and see if that's got anything to do with the days repeating.

The design of the Delusionscapes are closer to those found in dungeon crawlers- boxes full of enemies connected by corridors- and don't really offer a great deal to explore or even experience, something which is made all the more obvious by them being simply platforms floating in space, making the limited scope of the dungeons very clear.

Combat is action-focused, with the players' party transporting to a closed arena to fight an arbitrary number of monsters. Standard attacks clock up Skill Points which are spent on more powerful Skills, unlocked by levelling up and triggered by a flick of an analogue stick and tapping the Skill button. A limited number of Action Points also limit you to four actions before having to step out of the way for a short period. While it's hardly going to give Souls or any 'proper' fighting games any sleepless nights, it does make it a little bit more involved than just bash-bash-bash.

Blows that land fill the Imagine Meter, which can be deployed when complete for a short period of hightened attack power- a song can be selected to replace the background music, and hits made in time with the music during the verse increase the damage done when the chorus comes around.

There's also missed potential in the game not supporting multiplayer, as the Action Points could lead to some fun couch co-op teamwork situations, especially as more Skills unlock.

The questlines which take you from Delusionscape to Delusionscape are less interesting, however. These tend to involve little more than running from one end of Akihabara to the other to hear a small amount of dialogue, before running back to hear a bit more, then somewhere else for a tiny bit more, before the game relents and lets you access the next Delusionscape- this is exacerbated by the time loop narrative meaning that often the same thing has to be cycled through a few times in order to unlock the associated Delusionscape.

Sidequests which pop up in between milestones in the main quests don't fare any better, being the same but without the relief of a Delusionscape, or at least no new ones of their own.


The Akihabara of Akiba's Beat is an incredibly small number of anonymous, built up streets, lacking in any meaningful landmarks beyond two large empty spaces, one of which makes up nearly half the overworld. The area is too small to be Grand Theft Auto's Liberty City, and each area- seperated by loading screens- isn't differentiated enough to be The World Ends With You's Shibuya. It might be faithful to the real location, but in practice it just means you spend all your time getting very lost and abusing fast travel to get from place to place- this makes it even more like an exercise in admin than an adventure.

(Acquire also weren't able to licence the shops and adverts in the town, which you probably won't notice unless you're really invested, with only one name really relating to a company you'd have heard of in the West)

The plot, which takes you from Delusionscape to Delusionscape, also takes in the many subcultures Akihabara has played host to from its current love for idol singers, to less recent maid cafes and gothic lolita fashion trends, spending some time with each individual Deluser and showcasing what gives each of the subcultures its appeal- while still being able to take a friendly pop at them, even if it does tend to think it's a lot funnier than it is.

As such, each different Delusionscape brings its own thing to the table- not only does each one have a new setting, the change in art style reflecting the current Delusion, but also adds a new mechanic, even if these are things as simple as 'dead ends' and 'doors'. The wider game is also good at adding new things as you go along, introducing sidequests and later a trading card system to boost your stats. Even if those things aren't as original as they could be, there's always something new around the corner.

Ultimately a lot of Akiba's Beat is going to pass straight by a lot of people- what you're going to get out of this really relates to how into your otakudom you are, and even then how much you want to go around an off-brand version of Akihabara. If you do, it's certainly a perfectly enjoyable game, and you'll get a lot out of the setting, but it's a tougher sell to anybody who's not into the virtual tourism.

GALLERY:
Full gallery (8)
0 comments / permalink

Apr
27
Posted by Mark at 17:11
Japanese media being Japanese media, the Fate series has its suite of promotional webcasts where the people responsible bombard fans with information on what's coming up in the franchise's future.

In this case, Marvelous have announced that there's going to be a sequel to Fate/EXTELLA, the Warriorsalike spinoff that I liked enough to give seven out of ten to.

Rice Digital watched the NicoNico stream to find this out, although the fact that the game exists is pretty much the size of it at this stage.

The first game was released on PlayStations both 4 and Vita and is being ported to Switch- it's probably safe to suggest that the sequel will be at least coming to the Sony console.
0 comments / permalink


 
 
The Inner World

Apr 03
Posted by Mark at 15:23

Ahead of the imminent sequel- subtitled The Last Wind Monk- Headup Games have brought Studio Fizbin's The Inner World to console.

There has been a disaster in Asposia, a physics-defying world existing on the inside of a sphere, as the Wind Fountains, Asposia's sole form of ventilation, have stopped blowing, and creatures known as the Basylians have emerged from them, turning the Asposians to stone.

The remaining Asposians have all looked to Conroy- the Wind Monk in charge of one of the fountains- for guidance, which happens to be puritanical and austere. When his endearingly naive apprentice Robert manages to lose the pendant which reminds Conroy of what he cryptically claims is the happiest day of his life, he goes looking for it- meeting local criminal Laura, who helps him discover that Conroy's rule is not as benevolent as it seems.

Taking control of both Robert and Laura at different points in the story, their hand-drawn adventure sees them collecting arbitrary items and hoping that they'll be useful later, in that way that point-and-click adventures are. As they go along, they visit a range of exotic locations and meet plenty of interesting individuals.

The writing that drives the characters carries all the water it needs to, although many of them fall into the trap of being character traits waiting to be fleshed out and on occasion lines will often jar with one another- a character would say something, then immediately say something else that implies they didn't know the thing they said last. There are, however, smiles to be raised if few or no laughs.


The point-and-click game contains its entire control system in its name- you point at a thing and you click it. Historically, this was achieved with a mouse- something that isn't present on PlayStation 4. Instead, you control your character directly with the left thumbstick, cycle through hotspots with L1 and R1 until you find the one that you want, then a menu gives you the options you have for interacting.

There is an easy criticism of the genre in that eventually it boils down to systematically applying every item in your inventory to every part of the scenery or every character until the game relents and lets you progress, and The Inner World's control system serves only to formalise this process, and as such it's all too easy to allow autopilot to set in.

Revealing all the hotspots in a scene may be a necessary evil, maybe as a last resort for a player who just can't work out the solution to the puzzle, but this system takes away not only the immediacy of interacting by forcing you to cycle through all the options you don't want to get to the one you do, but also the joy of working out solutions- or finding interesting 'wrong' answers yourself- by having to go through a better answer before you get to the one you wanted.

It also makes the direct character control almost entirely redundant- some hotspots only make themselves known if you're near them, but this is implemented inconsistently and the cycle will rarely start anywhere near the hotspot you want.

Worse, the touch panel on the DualShock 4, which you'd think would be perfect for this sort of game, isn't used at all.

The Inner World is pleasing enough in that way that modern point-and-clicks can be, but the console port can be very easily skipped in favour of the PC version.

GALLERY:
Full gallery (4)
0 comments / permalink

Mar
25
Posted by Mark at 16:26
In a suprising act of openness for the firm, Nintendo's US QA/localisation/marketing team Treehouse have launched a blog, which can be seen here.

Right now, there's only two posts- one from Bill Trinen, and another from Nate, who wrote the English script for Paper Mario.

While this is a welcome- if unusual- development from Nintendo, it still puts them well behind the social media presence of Sony and Microsoft- and considering a number of recent decisions from the company haven't been met with universal praise, this will be an interesting one to watch.


0 comments / permalink


 
 
Switch
or die trying
Mar 12
Posted by Mark at 19:15

Getting a timely name change seemingly to avoid confusion with a certain newly-released console, Switch - or die trying is another in a long line of precision platformers.

In Switch, you play as the letter I, whose friends- the rest of the alphabet- have all stopped talking to him because he's a bit too self-absorbed, so he sets out to perform acrobatic feats in the hope that it will make them all love him again.

The game's core structure doesn't deviate too much from the templates left behind by the likes of Super Meat Boy and its imitators- the player must reach the goal in a number of self-contained levels by making seemingly improbable jumps and navigating assorted obstacles.

The main weapon in I's arsenal is that old platform favourite, his double-jump. Double-jumping allows him to switch (a-ha!) between his lower- and upper-case forms. Oddly, however, the developers have chosen to put this second jump onto a different button to the normal one.

The game opens with the phrase 'Gamepad strongly recommended', and it's not wrong. On keyboard, the dobule-button-double-jump is a feat of finger gymnastics that isn't entirely comfortable, and distracts from the environment-traversal aspects of the game. Using an XBox pad, the default setting of A to jump and RT to switch helps to give fast double-jumping a nice, natural-feeling rhythm.

It's a motion not entirely dissimilar to clicking your fingers, which is another comparison to that Nintendo console I'm sure the developers would be really happy to hear about.

This isn't the only quirk the game brings to the genre- I is also able to shoot at objects to open doors and even transform platforms, although a reliance on hiding moving targets behind a wall you have to keep sliding down and jumping back up means that on occasion this aspect can feel a lot more like luck than skill.

In later levels elements of the environment such as platforms, barriers around targets and even streams of lava are toggled based on I's current case, similar to forgotten XBox Live Indie title Nyan-Tech, bringing the game slightly into puzzle platformer territory.

As well as simply reaching the exit, each level has two extra objectives in a target time and a collectable ink drop. At the end of the level you are awarded the standard one to three stars for doing so, but progression is kept primarily to how many levels have been finished, relieving the frustration of being unable to get that speed star by a few milliseconds.

The precision platformer is an increasingly oversubscribed field, and a very easy thing to get wrong- and while Switch - or die trying is hardly going to go down as a classic in its field, its gets enough right to stand above some of the genre's less accomplished efforts.
0 comments / permalink

Feb
27
Posted by Mark at 15:08
Rayark Games' beautiful-looking VOEZ is making the jump from mobile to the extremely mobile-like Nintendo Switch.

Making the announcement via a trailer, the game is going to come out at launch, seemingly only on download.

Show/hide video


The game, which started on mobile, is a music game which features the standard tapping of inputs in time with the music, although what VOEZ-which we believe is pronounced 'Voice'- does differently is move the inputs about too, as if the beatmap itself was dancing.

The touch-based gameplay, of course, means that the game can only be played in mobile mode- a shame as it would probably look quite good on a big TV.

The game's plot follows a handful of teenagers as they start a band- the VOEZ of the title- and go about their usual anime slice-of-life malarkey, managing to clock up over 100 songs along the way, in reality from a range of independent musicians from around Asia.

The mobile version took the format's standard microtransaction-driven business model, but the trailer features a pricepoint of 2,500 Yen, suggesting that with any luck all the free-to-play bullshit might get lost in transit.

There's not been much in the way of confirmation this is going to leave Japan, but the mobile version seems to be in English, so a localization shouldn't be too hard.
0 comments / permalink


 
 
Switch

Feb 18
Posted by Mark at 20:27

This is more of a 'First-ish' Play, as I'd had time to give this a quick go before streaming it.

Anyway, it's another one of them tough-as-nails precision platformers indie developers are so fond of creating- the gimmick this time around being that you get a double-jump.

As you can see from the occasional excursion into the level selection screens, this is very clearly a preview build, but we do get a decent look at much of the game's second and third worlds.

Show/hide video

0 comments / permalink


Older posts
 
1089 articles

Most frequently used tags
business - 57 appearances
cvg - 50 appearances
eurogamer - 45 appearances
video - 41 appearances
nintendo 3ds - 38 appearances
nintendo - 37 appearances
television - 37 appearances
xbox 360 - 36 appearances
mcv - 34 appearances
loading screen - 32 appearances