It is clear from watching the new Far Cry 5 trailer that the game is taking the Far Cry franchise in a very different direction. While previous entries focus on violent battle, this entry seems to have taken a much more serene path.
Gone are the battles to free areas of the map, the skull piercing archery, and the “animals eating people’s faces”. Far Cry 5, with its move to Montana, looks to be almost a walking simulator, similar in mood and tone to Firewatch.
Just kidding, y’all. Check the trailer. This thing looks nuts. And there are totally animals eating people's faces.
Far Cry 5 will be released on March 27, 2018 for PS4, Xbox One, and Windows PC.
Marvel Puzzle Quest on console is not exactly breaking news. While the game began as a free-to-play title on iOS and later, Android, the console port was released in October of 2015. What is breaking news is that the game is finally on sale. After two years of of saying “I’m not paying $14.99 for Marvel Puzzle Quest”, I was delighted to find the game on sale for $1.49 this week.
Marvel Puzzle Quest is basically a match-three game that uses Marvel heroes as the hook to keep you playing. Players select three heroes from their stable and enter a round against various enemies. Every round you play gains XP for your dudes, making them stronger. Matching gems gathers power points for your dudes, which allows them to unleash powerful attacks (or defenses and healing). At the end of a round, you are sometimes gifted with a comic book cover, which will strengthen your existing powers, or in some rare cases, unlock more heroes.
I spent at least a hundred hours playing the free-to-play version on my iPad. I’m one of those freaks that are immune to free-to-play cash-grab tactics. I will just sit there and grind happily away to get rewards, and if I run out of energy or crystals or whatever, I just shut the game down and do something else for a while. I initially played M.P.Q. for about a year, then I took about a year off before getting sucked back in when I spotted that an old friend on Facebook was playing. By the time I tapped out of the game for good, I had built up an insane stable of powerful heroes, completed all of the story missions multiple times, and had in-game cash (or crystals or whatever) coming out my ears.
I’ve been tempted by the console port ever since it released. While I am happy to work around free-to-play restrictions, I did feel that the game would greatly benefit from simply removing some of the barriers to progression. After playing the console version last night for a couple of hours, I’m happy to report that some of the dumber mechanics from the free-to-play version are gone. Your dudes heal fully between matches, instead of grinding down health until you have to pay to heal them or stop playing. There are no artificial limits to the amount of characters you can have. You no longer have to dole out XP to each character (it just gets slapped on everybody after any round they play in). The overall effect is that the game is far more open and relaxing. It is also extremely easy, since you can replay all the single player content as much as you want. You can quickly grind your heroes to a place where they can dominate anything the game throws at them. If you are looking for a challenge, this might not be the game for you. But if you are looking to chill and zone out, this game is the jam.
The UI is kind of a hysterical mess. This is definitely a free-to-play game that has been slapped onto a console. All sorts of little quirks are in place. Every time one of my heroes gains enough gems to use a power, the game locks me out of taking another move until I acknowledge the little tool tip that they have popped up to alert me. The screen is full of strange empty areas, and the fonts look a bit off in most cases. The sound effects are minimal and kind of beep-y.
That said, the core gameplay is exactly what I want. Marvel Puzzle Quest is still kind of awesome, despite all of the porting weirdness. I need a game that I can sit down and play for 10 or 15 minutes in front of my kids that won’t have exploding heads or f-bombs exploding left and right. The relaxing nature of Marvel Puzzle Quest is just what the doctor ordered when I want to turn my brain off for a few minutes. With the free-to-play irritations removed, I can see myself returning to play this over and over, until the end of time. And did I mention that it’s a buck fifty? It's a buck fifty, folks.
Well, this sounds pretty fun.
Pixelated Milk, a Polish development studio, announce that their tactics-based RPG game Regalia will be coming to all three major consoles (PS4, Xbox One and Switch) in early 2018. The game sports Disgaea-inspired tactical combat, and an unusual story line revolving around the player trying to get the royal family out of debt after things in their kingdom have gone financially awry. I’m a long-time fan of tactical RPGs, going all the way back to Vandal Hearts on the PS1. Games in the genre, if done right, can cause hours of my life to just bleed away.
Developed after a successful $90,000 Kickstarted campaign, the game has been available on Steam and GOG since early 2017. Recent reviews show a “Very Positive” rating on Steam. Regalia sports a varied cast of colorful characters, and there is a level of social relationship-building at play between them, ala Fire Emblem. There also seems to be financial management element to the game, while the player tries to rebuild the financial stability of the kingdom they rule.
For a Kickstarted based indie RPG, this all seems pretty ambitious. I haven’t had a chance to check this out on Steam yet, but this game seems like an awesome fit for Switch. I look forward to taking a look at it when it releases, and will post any further news as it develops.
Zen Studios announced that its newest two-pack of original tables launches today—and to celebrate 10 years of video game pinball excellence, it’s absolutely free to Pinball FX3 players for one week from December 12 – 19, 2017.
Known as Carnivals and Legends, the pack joins other fun tables in the Pinball FX3 library - playable on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Steam, Windows 10 and—newly available as of today—Nintendo Switch.
The first video pinball table to ever feature dynamic weather effects, “Son of Zeus” takes us back in time in a whole other way—through ancient mythology! Determined to reach the top of Mount Olympus, Hercules confronts the likes of a fully animated giant snake and an active volcano that transforms into Cronos, the mighty Titan. The voice of Hera ruthlessly challenges the man-god, as he also faces threats from such iconic mythological antagonists as the Hydra, the Cerberus and Medusa—who can turn a player’s ball to stone!
The tables are available - FREE - from December 12 thru December 19th!
Injustice 2, NetherRealm Studios’ popular DC Entertainment-based fighting game, is entering a free trial weekend today on consoles. Players will be able to try Chapters 1-3 of the Story, and have a go at the complete multiplayer component. All of the base characters will be available, except Brainiac. Why not Brainiac? I guess NetherRealm figures ‘why buy the cow, when you get that sweet Brainiac milk for free?’ Gotta hold something back to get people to buy the game. So...let them have everyone, but not...let's say Brainiac. Sure, that's the ticket.
Injustice 2 will be on sale for the duration of the trial, which ends Dec. 18th (if you can't handle it, and you just have to try Brainiac). The game seems pretty cool, and was a hit with Gamingnexus when we reviewed it, and our John Yan confirmed that today when he reviewed the PC port. I’m thinking that I will dip in and check it out a bit this weekend. I didn’t play a ton of the first one, but the loot system has me intrigued. NetherRealm has also kept up a pretty dope lineup of DLC characters, including Red Hood, Sub-Zero, Starfire, Black Manta, Raiden, Hellboy and The Atom. It’s been a few years since I’ve engaged fully with a fighting game, and maybe this is the one to pull me back in. Now, if only I could play with Brainiac…
THQ is re-releasing their hack-n-slash hit Titan Quest for all current consoles in 2018. Those, like myself, who are titanic fans, will remember the lush backgrounds, excellent fighting powers, thousands of equipment pieces, and a story that is as wondrous as the enemies you'll fight. Hopefully the merge to consoles bring to the table the fluency, and options that the PC version did 11 years ago. Stay tuned for more news soon!
Rainbow Six Siege has been slowly growing over the past two years and they recently just celebrated a milestone by having over 100,000 concurrent players at one time.
Needless to say the future for Siege is looking bright. Speaking of the future Ubisoft has announced that a new set of operators will be coming to Rainbow Six Siege come 2018 from locations around the world including the US, UK, Russia, France, Italy and Morocco.
These operators will be part of Season 3 and a new Season Pass has come along with it. The Season Pass will cost $29.99 and includes the following content.
Additionally, anyone who owns the Year 2 pass will receive an additional 600 Rainbow Six credits.
Heisters rejoice, Starbreeze Studios and Overkill have announced that Payday 2 is coming to the Nintendo Switch on February 27th. This means it would make a great late-Valentines Day gift for the robbery-minded special someone in your life. I know my brother will be pretty excited as he's played this game to death on Steam and he's looking forward to the portable version.
Here's a quick dev diary from producer Amir Listo to whet your appetite.
Nintendo Switch is a real "rising from the ashes" story. Wii U was practically dead on arrival and Nintendo struggled for years to catch up and try to spark momentum, to no avail. Switch took some of Wii U's ideas and refined them, and now the portable/console hybrid is sitting pretty at 10 million units sold in the hardware's first nine months since its March launch. To put that in perspective, Nintendo sold 13.56 million units of the now-discontinued Wii U in the console's entire, roughly 4-and-a-half-year lifespan.
I think there are a few reasons for this. When Wii U was announced, Nintendo's message was confusing and muddled, to the point that the average public thought it was a weird new controller for the old Wii instead of a brand new console. In contrast, Switch's debut couldn't have been clearer in its purpose and utility. That reveal trailer still gives me chills.
Wii U's hardware was a puzzling hodgepodge, with a powerful GPU bottlenecked by a comparatively ancient PowerPC CPU that made the system perpetually sluggish, and a controller that felt like a confusing, cumbersome half-implemented prototype. Developing for this grabbag of hardware was a chore and thus third party support dried up after the first year. Switch on the other hand is based on the efficient, well-known Nvidia Tegra X1 and its ARM architecture, which are so easy to develop for that Switch has an eminently playable port of Doom.
And this brings me to the third and most important distinction: Switch has games, and Wii U just didn't. To be fair there were hits like Smash Bros, Bayonetta 2 and Mario 3D World, but Nintendo struggled to maintain a consistent release schedule and Wii U's lifespan was plagued by several months-long droughts.
It's a simple concept and publishers repeatedly ignore it to their peril: if you don't have the games no one is going to care about your console, no matter how impressive the tech is. Switch had an amazing first year with Zelda, Mario, and Splatoon, but more importantly it has strong third party support and an already massive catalog of indie titles. That's pretty incredible and it's not even a year old yet.
So congratulations to Nintendo and Switch. It's been a great first nine months and I can't wait to see what 2018 has in store for the platform.
I have not played The Last Guardian. I have, however, been reduced to tears laughing at YouTube videos of people cursing at Trico, the titular giant dog-thing, attempting to get the creature to comply with the simplest commands. That was good enough for me. I decided that I don't need any more frustration in my life, and so I passed on playing the game.
However, when Sony threw The Last Guardian VR Demo into their store yesterday for free, I was intrigued enough to download it and give it a shot. I'm not sure what this demo is for - either a VR demo for the standard game, or a demo for a VR version of the game (less likely) - but I can say that this very brief experience has convinced me to take another look at The Last Guardian.
The demo is seriously only 5-10 minutes long. There isn't much to do beyond teleporting around, tossing some barrels for Trico to eat, and solving a couple of puzzles so easy that I hesitate to even call them "puzzles". However, as short and simple as this demo is, it is one of the most convincing VR experiences I've had. There were at least two moments when I actually gasped and said "Oh my God" out loud. When Trico first appeared and brought his giant head down for an up close look at me, I thought for sure this thing was going to eat me, and I physically took a few steps backwards. And before long, I found myself talking to Trico. I had no expectation that it would answer or respond, of course, but nonetheless this thing was so convincing that I talked to it.
The environments are nicely rendered as well. The demo takes place in what appears to be the ruins of an old castle or fort, and there is a great sense of scale and height. At one point, Trico jumps across a wide space, and I stood for at least a minute and watched pieces of wood that had broken free from where he landed, floating down to the ground below. Each piece of wood followed its own path, some falling straight down, some fluttering in the wind in accordance to their shape. That is attention to detail, folks.
I dug The Last Guardian VR demo. If this game were ported to VR (or better still, if a VR experience were created from the ground up using the same assets and setting), I would absolutely play it. I know that a lot of people complain that some of these smaller VR experiences are little more than "tech demos", but when tech demos are as good as this one, they can keep them coming.