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SMITE god reveal trailers for Nox and Orbital Strike Rama

by: Nathan - - 0 Comments

SMITE got a new patch this week, which brought to the game Nox, the goddess of the night and the "Orbital Strike" skin for Rama. 

The Nox reveal trailer can be seen below and features her lore as well as a rundown of all of her abilities in action along with some useful tips for using her in Conquest mode. You can also check out the trailer for "Orbital Strike" Rama which shows off his new skin along with all of the special FX added to his abilities. 

If you are unfamiliar with SMITE, it's a third person MOBA which is free to play and is currently available on PC and will be coming to Xbox One as well in the future. As someone that played a crapload of Super Monday Night Combat, the one thing that attracted me to SMITE was the fact that you controlled all of the action. WASD controls in a third person perspective is what I absolutely love about this game and I would rather control my characters than point and click their way around the battlefield like other MOBA's do. 


Assassin's Creed Unity slips into... WWII?

by: Chapel - - 0 Comments

This is an interesting trailer, to say the least. Entitled "Time Anomaly" it shows the Assassin's Creed Unity character go through an Animus malfunction and get catapulted into what appears to be WWII era Paris.


Surely there can't be that much content set during whatever this is, as I imagine the game would need some extensive time dedicated to making it work. But... maybe. I dunno, man. I'm all mixed up.

Maybe this will get the WWII out of the way so we can focus on the next Assassin's Creed finally being set in Feudal Japan, which is clearly the best setting possible for the game. Ninja's Creed? Come on, everyone wants that game.

Anyway, here's the trailer so you can watch it for yourself. It definitely leaves lots of room for theorizing.

Steam Halloween Sale is live!

by: Rob - - 0 Comments

I'm a sucker for Steam sales, and the 2014 Halloween event just went live earlier today. I rarely buy a game to play straightaway anymore, as I am constantly working through a backlog of previous purchases sitting in my Steam and Origin accounts. Well the time is ripe to add to that backlog!

Up to 80% on some quality titles including many from the horror genre to get your spooky on for the weekend.  The sale runs through November 3rd, 10am Pacific Time. Some personal highlights:

Final amiibo designs look different than the prototype [#whyisthisnews]

by: Jeremy - - 0 Comments

Personally I find it a little ridiculous that some gaming sites and blogs are complaining about the alterations made to the finalized Nintendo amiibo figures that are being released. The figures, which will be hitting stores next month, do look slightly different than the examples shown at industry trade shows earlier this year. Some of the plaint schemes and colors have been slightly altered and a few of the details have been lost as they have moved to final production.

Let's be honest: this is just business 101. How can you compare an individual item that was prepared to be a proof of concept to something that is mass produced by the hundreds of thousands to millions. Of course it is going to change, these figures aren’t going to be as intricately put together as those that have been crafted individually. The final products are put together via machines and via mass production, not single-handedly painted and modeled by dedicated artists and their trained hands. If they were, we would be seeing a much higher price point on them than ~$15.

I don’t think that the final versions that have been shown don't look that bad at all. Yes, I will agree they look a little bit less quality than the examples shown before, but that is just how things go in the real world.

Nintendo Airstream 2014: Captain Toad Treasure Tracker

by: Sean Colleli - - 0 Comments

When Nintendo announced Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker at E3, it felt like an afterthought to me. Granted, the Captain Toad puzzle levels were an ingenious way to break up the much faster, time-based gameplay in Super Mario 3D World. But an entire game based on them? I was pretty skeptical. Getting the game in my hands, however, made things fall into place. It’s clear that Nintendo only scratched the surface of these spatial puzzles in 3D World, and a full game can develop the idea into something deep enough to rival some of the biggest names in the genre today.

In Treasure Tracker, you take control of a solitary Toad explorer and guide him through relatively small floating stages packed with moving walls, obstacles and enemies. However, Captain Toad is a lot more fragile than his 3D World brother. This Toad can’t jump on bad guys and must run away or outmaneuver them; it’s been quite a while since I’ve been scared by a simple Goomba! His sprinting speed is barely faster than his normal walking pace, and like all classic Mario characters, he dies in only a couple of hits. Inside the levels he can grab stacks of coins for an extra life (or solitary 1-ups themselves), red super mushrooms to get bigger and gain an extra hit point, and special gems that are hidden ingeniously in secret rooms and passages.

This is all pretty typical for a Mario game but it’s the levels themselves that make this game stand out. They are Escher-like in their complexity and deviousness; to see the solution you’ll have to rotate the camera around the stage, which is usually a rough square shape or other simple geometric solid. Sections of the level will shift, however, and you often have to move large portions by tapping the GamePad screen; you can also stun enemies this way. It’s not unusual to come upon a series of door sections that will send you back and forth across the level, and it’s up to you to determine the correct positioning to reach the star at the end of the stage. Anyone who played 3D World will at least be familiar with the concept, but it’s been drastically expanded here.

The regular puzzle levels are supplemented with on-rails minecart sections where you shoot turnips at enemies, and of course boss fight levels. The bosses are typically avoided, however, and dispatched by manipulating the environment. In the boss level I played, I had to dodge the fire breath from a giant dragon and the falling lava inside a volcano, hiding behind moving cover panels as I made my way up the level’s structure. Making it to the top not only earned me a star, but dropped a huge stone pillar onto the dragon’s head. The whole thing was done in the expected cute Super Mario style (complete with a giant bandaged welt on the defeated dragon’s noggin) but I’d be lying if I said the experience wasn’t nerve-wracking.

From what I played, Treasure Tracker is a very smartly designed puzzler, with elements reminiscent of Pushmo and even a game with long puzzle heritage, Chuck’s Challenge 3D. Still, the whole time I was playing the demo’s four challenging stages, I couldn’t stop thinking that this game would be even better on the 3DS. I know it sounds strange, but Treasure Tracker plays a lot of the same perspective tricks as the most creative environments in Super Mario 3D Land. I’m definitely looking forward to Treasure Tracker on Wii U, but as a clever puzzle game with short, mind-bending levels, I feel it has an even stronger future as a portable series. If it’s successful, I have no doubt that Captain Toad will have many further adventures on a variety of Nintendo hardware.

As it stands, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is stacking up to be a solid secondary release for Wii U. Thankfully it’s not Nintendo’s flagship holiday title—that honor goes to Smash Bros. But at a budget MSRP of $39.99, I can see Captain Toad as a tempting impulse buy for anyone picking up Smash or finally pulling the trigger on a Wii U console this December. 

News Roundup - 10/29/2014

by: Jeremy - - 0 Comments

60FPS support on YouTube means nicer looking game videos

by: John - - 0 Comments

YouTube has rolled out support for videos at both 720p and 1080p running at 60 frames per second. What does this mean? It means much smoother video replay.

Pulling up this recording of Mario Kart 8, you can see how much smoother it is once you select one of the two higher FPS settings. To be honest, I was surprised at how much better this video looked both on my computer and on my phone. You can see for yourself flipping back and forth between 480p and 720p60. It's a pretty big difference not only in resolution, but smoothness.

I'm sure there will be plenty of gamers out there taking advantage of this feature to show off their skills so bring on the new era of high FPS videos!

Dying Light now next generation only

by: Chuck - - 0 Comments

In a letter to fans today Techland announced that they will not be releasing their upcoming zombie game Dying Light for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.  Techland cites the difficulty of getting the game to run at their standards on last generation hardware as the reason for the change.  This means that the game will only be available for PC, PlayStation 4, and the Xbox One.

I guess this comes as no real surprise given how complex the game was and it seems like Techland just didn't want to invest the effort into a version of the game that didn't meet their vision of the game which is totally understandable.  

Part of me thinks does that there is a spreadsheet somewhere where the cost to finish the game for last generation consoles is in one cell and in another cell is the projected revenue from the copies of the PS3/Xbox 360 versions of the game but that's just the project manager in me.  Either way the game does look really good from what we saw at E3 earlier this year and you'll be able to play the game on January 27, 215.

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Nintendo Airstream 2014: NES Remix Pack

by: Sean Colleli - - 0 Comments

Just for full disclosure, I haven’t played the NES Remix series yet, so maybe I wasn’t the best option to assess the new compilation coming to Wii U this holiday. That said, from where I stand they have a very strong little collection on their hands and the pack is a good place to jump in if you missed it last year.

The premise is largely unchanged from the original, individual releases: it’s a minigame collection steeped in 8-bit nostalgia, reworking many of the iconic titles for the Nintendo Entertainment System into rapid-fire microgames. The concept is very similar to the long-running WarioWare series, but I found myself warming to NES Remix much faster. WarioWare has always been sprinkled with copious references to Nintendo history, but I personally found it hard to get into because it’s just so bizarre and at times a little crude. With NES Remix, I know these games already; it’s easy for me to get right at home with the mechanics and controls.

Of course it’s not called remix for nothing. If you aren’t familiar with the series, these microgames often mix up the classic NES titles with new challenges, modes, and even crossovers between different games. The game might challenge you to play the first level of Super Mario Bros backwards or in the dark, or you might have to play a classic Donkey Kong board as Link…who can’t jump. Fans have been working this idea for years now, with ROM hacks like Super Mario Crossover or Mushroom Kingdom Fusion, but it’s awesome to see Nintendo finally step up to the plate and put their distinctive stamp on a retro remix collection.

The Remix Pack collects both previous games into one bundle, with a new Championship mode that finally adds the much-requested leaderboards to the first game. I think it’s curious that Nintendo is releasing this game as full retail—it seems perfect to stay in the download-only arena—but then again it could also be a perfect conversation starter too, and might even influence sales of the Wii U this holiday. After all, nostalgia is a powerful force. If your friends, significant other or even parents are visiting for dinner and they see NES Remix Pack on your shelf, who could resist sitting down for a few rounds, and then maybe rushing out to secure it as a stocking stuffer?

Nintendo Airstream 2014: Shantae and the Pirate's Curse

by: Sean Colleli - - 0 Comments

Fans of Wayforward Technologies’ Shantae series are nothing if not patient. After the original cult hit on the Game Boy Color in 2002 (Gil Ruta proudly declares that he owns a rare copy mint in the box), fans had to wait an agonizing eight years for Wayforward to release a sequel on DSiWare. While the wait between games is getting shorter, it’s still puzzling that a retro 2D sidescroller series takes so long between installments; Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse just hit the eShop, four whole years after the previous game.

One could forgive Wayforward for the wait because to be fair, the studio is a master of 2D sidescrollers and evocative, expressive sprite art in particular. The Shantae series has always possessed a mildly bawdy, anime-esque pin-up calendar look, but the flirtatious and playfully provocative art style is instantly memorable. That art style is smoother and more refined than ever in Pirate’s Curse; the half-genie hero and her collection of eccentric enemies and allies look the best they have since the first game, and the stereoscopic 3D plays a big role in that.

Enemies will leap onto the stage from the foreground, boss battles have impressive projectile effects that stand out, and even the character portraits displayed during conversations have subtle depth and contour. It’s amazing that a 2D game can have so much texture, especially when the majority of the graphics are intentionally drawn in an affectionately pixelated, 16-bit design. This is one of the few games you’ll want to keep the 3D slider turned all the way on for the entire playthrough.

Pirate’s Curse is not just pretty graphics however, as I got a distinctly Metroid Fusion vibe during my demo, with a healthy amount of Castlevania’s storytelling thrown in for good measure. The game is far more of an adventure this time, with welcome backtracking enabled by unlockable items and abilities replacing the animal transformation mechanic from previous titles. In my demo, I experienced stout but not unfair challenge, making me wish I had more time with the game.

When the first Shantae arrived on the scene, it stood out because outside of Nintendo’s stalwart offerings, 2D platformers were a relative scarcity. Pirate’s Curse, then, represents the current cream of the crop, as the genre is now bursting with indie mediocrity and pale ripoffs of a handful of decent titles. With Limbo, Meat Boy and The Swapper leading the charge, too many platformers are shallow imitators presenting needlessly unfair difficulty just for the sake of being “old school” hard. Even worse are the pretentious, faux-subversive “press X to ponder the meaninglessness of existence” walking tours. Hopefully, Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse can remind gamers of the genre’s roots: stiff but fair difficulty, gorgeous, lovingly crafted art and most importantly a playful, winking sense of humor.

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