Sonic goes back to his roots next Spring

by: Russell - - 0 Comments

When you take a franchise from my childhood and make a new game in the classic style, I'm pretty much the epitome of the "Shut up and take my money" meme, of course unless it's a free game, but I digress.  It's why I promptly download and play any new Mega Man fan game when it comes out such as Mega Man Unlimited and Mega Man Rock Force.  Now it's Sega's turn as Sonic will return in a new 2D game next Spring.

But wait a minute.  Didn't they already do that with Sonic the Hedgehog 4?  Well, yes, and it was pretty good (at least Episode 1, haven't played Episode 2 yet).  However, that still had a modern look to it.  That being said, welcome to Sonic Mania, a brand new 2D Sonic the Hedgehog game coming out in Spring 2017 for the PS4, Xbox One, and PC.  Sonic Mania looks to contain new zones, old zones remastered, and some new mechanics such as the drop dash, where you'll go right into a spin dash when you hit the ground.  On top of that, the graphics resemble the original 16-bit graphics from the Sega Genesis with some slight improvements.  If the music ends up being 16-bit as well that'll just complete the package.

Live action trailer shows Mafia III might make as good a film as game

by: Rob - - 0 Comments

It's funny how some games can tell a story so intimately. It's a medium that forces you to engage to progress and certain games (The Last of Us, the Uncharted series) can so delicately strike a chord. It's pretty odd, then, that so many game to movie translations fall so terribly flat. Mafia III has released a live action trailer that actually suggests a film version might just be able to buck that trend. Maybe it's because the game itself pulls so heavily from mob movie influences, but it stays true to the era, adds a bit of noir, and is a solid attempt at promoting the game. 

Of course there is no Mafia III movie coming, but there is the game releasing October 7th for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. 

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What We're Playing This Weekend: Trials on Tatooine Neverwinter Edition

by: Randy - - 0 Comments

Sebastian Anthony may have created the first GPS-augmented reality game 12 years ago and boy, in light of Pokemon GO's success, he sure wishes he would've patented the idea. The Xbox One S(lim) makes its debut in less than two weeks on August 2. And while Pokemon GO isn't the data hog some suppose it to be, it does have more in-game buyers than the rest of the mobile gaming market combined.

What are you playing this weekend?

Sean Colleli, Staff Writer, @scolleli
I'll probably play more Super Mario 3D World with my girlfriend, as I soldier on into the remixed levels. This game is like a mean-spirited Inception—it just keeps getting deeper and more sadistic. I also picked up ADR1FT during the Steam sale, so I'll also be doing some floating/suffocating. Considering the general shared premise, so far it's a lot better and more interesting than Gravity.

Chapel Collins, Staff Writer, @ChapelCollins
This weekend, I would like to continue my Mass Effect trilogy run as well as my Medieval II: Total War campaign. But the weather gods are currently using my neighborhood as a punching bag. After getting hit with a microburst a few days ago, which plucked upwards of a dozen trees and took down the power for 24 hours, recently we were hit yet again. I'm typing this in the dark (and heat) from my iPhone. First world problems of the highest degree, but dang it, having internet is a basic human right.

Jeremy Duff, Senior Staff Writer, @Duff3c
Gotta catch'em all! I will give you one guess as to what I will be playing this weekend—with my daughter, of course. We have become a Pokemon-obsessed family, with nightly trips to our local parks and Pokestop hotspots. When we aren't out catching Pokemon GO, I will be creating death machines in Kerbal Space Program. I thought the purpose of this game was to send these little guys into the final frontier; but it seems that all I ever do is send them to a fiery death.

Charles Husemann, Editor-in-Chief, @chusemann
This weekend I'll be digging into the Trials on Tatooine on the Vive. I haven't heard great things about it, but there's no way that I'm passing up the chance to wield a lightsaber in VR. I'll also probably dig a bit more into Raw Data, as it's one of the better VR games out there. I'll also be playing MechWarrior Online because that's what I do.

Randy Kalista, Staff Writer, @randykalista
The wife and kiddo are out of town for a few days. I've got Pizza Hut hot wings on the way and a smattering of a bunch of games I'm playing off the shelf. I throw Red Dead Redemption back in the deck at some point each year. Six years on, though, and it still owns a very comfortable spot in my Top 5 of All Time. Probably in my Top 2. I'm also heading into Neverwinter on PS4. I'm just feeling nostalgic for the golden age of MMOs, I guess. Let's see how this half-orc ranger handles himself, shooting from the fringes of society. I won't look up walkthroughs for it, but I'll probably tackle a boss or two in Furi. Just depends on how dextrous my fingers are feeling. And as an antidote to all that ass kicking, I've still made a promise to get through Gone Home and/or The Witness. I love exploration, but maybe not at the exclusion of all action—so we'll see, Gone Home. And I love mysteries, but not at the price of puzzles for the sake of puzzles—so we'll see, The Witness. And sure, Pokemon GO. I'll jog between PokeStops in my town, hopefully snagging that Snorlax that's been evading me since launch day.

Aidan Kelly, Staff Writer,
I jumped back into the Witcher 3 recently. I'd like to pick up Blood and Wine and Hearts of Stone over the weekend. I don't intend on finishing them in the same weekend, but it'll be nice to have them ready to play. In between sessions of The Witcher 3, I've been playing Hearts of Iron IV again. As the Irish, I invaded Britain and occupied the island. A friend has been teaching me the intricacies of American football through Madden NFL 15. I'll spend most of my weekend learning the playbook so coach doesn't send me for laps. I hate laps.

Rob Larkin, Staff Writer, @Rob_GN
After nearly two weeks—where I think I held a controller for all of about 30 minutes—I'm looking forward to this weekend. It's Iron Banana week on Destiny so I'll be carrying one, maybe two, characters to rank 5. I'll be back in the Northern Kingdoms in The Witcher 3 for the rest of the time. There's still a lot of hosting going on and trips to Windsor Castle and London planned, so I doubt I'll get much more in beyond those two.

First Impressions: BOXBOXBOY!

by: Russell - - 0 Comments

More often than not, two is better than one.  That goes for video games as well; you have a successful game, why not bring out a sequel.  The catch is that you have to do something with the sequel to make sure it’s not just a copy and paste from the original, but even then more of the same could be a good thing, just as long as it’s not exactly the same.  In the case of BOXBOXBOY!, it kind of falls in that ballpark and after playing for the past week, I’m going to give my first impressions as to why.

If you’ve never played the original BOXBOY, the goal is to just progress through each stage of pits, spikes, and other obstacles by making blocks and getting to the door at the end.  In each stage you have a limit to how many boxes you can make at any one time and when you begin to make a new set of boxes, the first set disappears.  Completing each stage earns you medals you can use to buy things in the shop, plus each stage also has one or two crowns that you can collect to earn more medals.  That’s generally the gist of the game in a nutshell.

So what does BOXBOXBOY bring to the series that the orignal didn’t?  From what I’ve played so far it’s exactly the same as the original with one major exception: you can now have two sets of boxes on screen at once.  This opens up a whole new possibility for stage design.  The way having two sets of boxes works is the first set you create will be green, while the second set will have a light blue color.  When you create a third set, the green set will disappear and the set you’re currently creating will be green, and so on.  You can also hit X to make all blocks disappear from the screen which can come in handy in some stages where you need to create a new platform where a current stack of blocks lie.

The challenges in the new puzzles haven’t been all that difficult but some have made me think a bit.  I’ve had some puzzles where I’ve had to create a line of blocks to place on a conveyor belt in the air, then create a second platform of blocks below that to ride on, but I’ve had to time it to where the top row of blocks goes under a laser beam and blocks it from hitting me.  There are also puzzles where you have to have two switches pressed down to proceed and you have to find creative ways to have them pressed down.  That being said, there is one thing that I wouldn’t have minded getting changed: spending play coins to give hints for whatever part of the puzzle you’re on.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not above getting help on puzzles, I’ve done it at least three times now in the first four worlds.  However, each hint only costs one 3DS play coin.  Even with a max of 300 coins that you can accumulate, that’s three hundred “segments” you can get hints for.  My suggestion would have been to maybe make each hint at least five coins.  Making them only one coin each means you can get through a good portion of the game with very little effort if you wish to do so.

That being said, I’m enjoying BOXBOXBOY thus far and am looking forward to finishing it up.  My only qualm thus far is the same issue I had with the original: the puzzles feel a bit too easy, especially with paying a coin to get a hunt.  On the flip side, the puzzles do feel a bit more complicated than the original game, mainly due to the new mechanics.  I’ve got another week until I write my full review, so time will tell if something else comes along to change this perspective, for better or worse.

Ben Heck dissects and repairs the Nintendo-Sony Play Station

by: Sean Colleli - - 0 Comments

A few years back father and son Terry and Dan Diebold discovered the holy grail of game collecting: The Nintendo-Sony Play Station, the prototype for the Sony-made SNES/CD hybrid console that went down in flames in the early 90s, eventually spawning the Nintendo-Sony rivalry and the entire Playstation family and brand as we know it. The Diebolds acquired this unique piece during a blind company auction, basically as part of a box of miscellaneous junk.

The SNES aspect of the machine worked for a time, but eventually failed. What were the Diebolds to do? Well, they contacted Benjamin Heckendorn, better known as Ben Heck. A legend in his own right, Ben Heck is known for his incredible technical skill and the many portable homebrew consoles he's fashioned over the years. If anyone could fix the Play Station, it was him.

Ben proceeds to disassemble this piece of history, painstakingly catalog its various components, compare it to legacy consoles and finally, repair it. He even gets the once-botched CD drive to spin up. It's just a shame an SNES CD game was never developed to play on this console.

If you're a retro enthusiast or electronics hobbyist, I definitely recommend checking out this two-part exploration of obscure gaming history.

First new content coming for Evolve - Stage 2

by: Rob - - 0 Comments

In response to a dwindling player base and some outcry against DLC, Evolve went free-to-play on PC earlier this month. Now under the moniker Evolve -Stage 2 the development isn't over, as the team at Turtle Rock Studios and 2K have announced the latest hunter to be added to the lineup, Electro Griffin. Electro Griffin is a future version of the trapper, Griffin from a fake b-movie backstory. He's full of 80's retro-future action. It's all a little weird and over the top, but over the top can be very fun. For more info on Electro Griffin as well as detailed update notes for the patch 2.02 that introduces him, check out the page on the official site.

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More Walking Dead Season 3 screens from SDCC

by: Sean Colleli - - 0 Comments

San Diego Comic Con is in full swing and Telltale Games has some fresh screenshots from The Walking Dead: Season 3. Clementine continues to grow up in the hellish post-zombie world, this time teaming up with a mysterious new ally named Javier. You can bet that the new season will have plenty of heart-wrenching deaths and touch decisions to make.

I'm actually looking forward to this, while the TV show more or less wore out my patience a while ago with its cheap cliffhangers and vapid character development. Season 3 of Telltale's Walking Dead arrives this fall.

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QuakeCon 2016: the full schedule

by: Sean Colleli - - 0 Comments

QuakeCon 2016 kicks off in less than 2 weeks, on August 4th. Bethesda has the full con schedule below, which includes both the requisite tournaments and some live gameplay demos. The show will kick off with a look at Quake Champions.  Like Doom a few years back, attendees will also be able to view show-exclusive gameplay for Dishonored 2 and the Prey reboot. There will also be a developer panel discussing the making of Doom, and hands-on demos for The Elder Scrolls: Legends and Fallout Shelter on PC. Check the press release below for the full schedule so you can plan your trip accordingly.

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The 4 pillars of No Man's Sky: Trade

by: Sean Colleli - - 0 Comments

We've previously looked at the exploration and combat of No Man's Sky. Part 3 in the 4 pillars trailer series focuses on trading. Director Sean Murray is typically vague about his game, describing it in rather poetic terms, but I think with trading we're starting to see the nuts and bolts of the gameplay.

In this respect it resembles many other survival games, just on a much bigger scale. Harvest resources, both on planets and by drilling asteroids, the trade those resources for upgrades, or craft something innovative on your own. The aspect I like the most is that to trade effectively you need to learn the languages of the various intelligent aliens inhabiting the galaxy. You wouldn't want to start an intergalactic incident just trying to upgrade your heat shields, would you?

No Man's Sky arrives August 9th.

NVIDIA announces a new Titan X based on the Pascal architecture

by: John - - 0 Comments

As the pattern with the past few NVIDIA launches, the green team has announced a new GeForce Titan X utilizing the Pascal architecture seen on the GeForce 10XX series of cards. As you can expect from this $1200 card, it's going to be a beast. Here are the specs:

  • 11 TFLOPS FP32
  • 44 TOPS INT8 (new deep learning inferencing instruction)
  • 12B transistors
  • 3,584 CUDA cores at 1.53GHz (versus 3,072 cores at 1.08GHz in previous TITAN X)
  • Up to 60% faster performance than previous TITAN X
  • High performance engineering for maximum overclocking
  • 12 GB of GDDR5X memory (480 GB/s)

How does it compare to the GeForce GTX 1080? Well, here's the specs for that card:

  • 8.9 TFLOPS
  • 7.2B transistors
  • 2,560 CUDA cores at 1.60GHz
  • 8GB GDDR5X memory (320 GB/s)

If you got the cash and want a seriously fast gaming PC, this is the card to get. We'll have to see how it compares in real world specs to a GTX 1080 once the card gets into reviewer hands.

August 2nd is when you can grab one yourself.