We will build your DREAMWEB!
July 26th, 2011
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Catherine “Love Is Over” Deluxe Edition by Atlus
The HD Edition will include updates to the game's visuals--shown in the gallery of screenshots below--as well as a Japanese voice acting track, gamepad support, and a new, harder difficulty level.
Originally released for the Dreamcast in 2000 and ported to PlayStation 2 in 2002, Grandia II will be making its debut on PC with this new port. In April, GungHo released a survey polling fans on their interest in PC ports of classic titles by developer GameArts, including titles in the Grandia and Lunar series. In May, after an "overwhelming" response to the survey, the company announced Grandia II would be ported to PC.
Grandia II HD Edition is expected to launch in 2015.
Asked about the possibility in an upcoming issue of Edge (via GamesRadar), Hello Games' Sean Murray had a coy response: "I don't know what I'm allowed to say."
That might suggest there is something to announce that he simply can't acknowledge yet. Whatever the case, he did offer a bit more in the way of Hello's thinking about VR.
"It's something we're thinking about," he said. "Morpheus, Oculus... There's nothing more cool and sci-fi than VR and a big procedural universe. I think that, for the people who want to just explore, and even for the space combat and things like that, it would be a good fit. Let's put it that way."
Like the Oculus Rift and Sony's Project Morpheus, No Man's Sky doesn't yet have an exact release date. The Rift is due out in early 2016 for an unspecified price, while Sony hasn't decided a release date for Morpheus and says it's too early to talk about a price.
No Man's Sky is an ambitious open-world game for PC and PS4 where you can explore a vast galaxy filled with procedurally generated planets. Following its original reveal, it remained unclear exactly what No Man's Sky actually had players doing, but that's come into focus in recent months.
Given the tremendous amount of interest in the game, it would seem like the kind of killer app for Morpheus that Sony no doubt desires. But whether that happens remains to be seen; we know Hello has already turned down outside investments in order to stay true to its vision for No Man's Sky.
This all comes back to Ouya's Free the Games Fund. Announced two years ago this month, this initiative saw Ouya create a $1 million developer fund that matched funds raised on Kickstarter if developers agreed to make their games exclusive to Ouya for a period of at least six months. Though there were some initial problems, the program appeared to work.
But when Razer completed its acquisition of Ouya in early June (it was only announced on Monday, however), some developers stopped receiving payments. The anonymous developers who spoke to Vice and Kotaku say they are owed as much as $30,000.
Under the terms of the original Free the Games Fund, developers would be paid 50 percent of the money when they had a playable beta running, 25 percent when the game was released, and the remaining 25 percent when the exclusivity period ended.
But earlier this year, the anonymous developers said, Ouya asked them to sign another contract with a new section that specifically mentioned "Termination Upon Bankruptcy or Insolvency." Knowing the company was in dire financial straights, Ouya representatives reached out to developers to inform them they would not be paid. They also apparently let them know that Razer might be able to pitch in, though nothing at the time was confirmed.
A Razer spokesperson told Vice that Ouya's Free the Games fund was not included with the company's acquisition. Specific terms for the deal have not been disclosed, though we do know that Razer only purchased Ouya's software assets, not the console or controller. The spokesperson went on to say that developers are encouraged to reach out so their games can be published on Razer's own Android platform, but the company did not say if it has any plans to fulfill the promised payments.
GameSpot has contacted Razer in an attempt to get more details on this situation.
Former Ouya CEO Julie Uhrman has not commented on the matter. Instead, she's kept busy on Twitter thanking developers for their support over the years.
Ouya raised more than $8.5 million in backing through a Kickstarter campaign in 2012, and launched in 2013. Following initial buzz, it failed to catch on in a major way.
Mojang today detailed the process of obtaining the Windows 10 Edition beta, and it's quite simple. Once it's released, all you'll need to do is log into your account on Mojang's website, click the Redeem button, sign into your Microsoft account, and claim your free copy.
The Windows 10 Edition beta is set to launch tomorrow, July 29, the same day Windows 10 itself launches. The new operating system--which Windows 7 and 8 users can upgrade to for free--is required for playing this version of the game. Those who don't own Minecraft on PC or Mac can buy the Windows 10 Edition at the discounted price of $10 during the beta. As with the original beta of the existing PC/Mac version, buying in during beta entitles you to all future updates.
There's no word yet on how long this beta will last. Sometime "soon" after its launch this week, an update will add support for multiplayer between the Windows 10 Edition and Pocket Edition. The Windows 10 Edition also offers numerous control types and has a built-in feedback system, but in terms of actual gameplay, it sounds as if it won't differ from what you already know.
Called the Year One Edition, it bundles together all of the assets and packs that were previously available for purchase on the Project Spark store. In addition, it gives players three months of Project Spark Premium--a subscription service that gives you more upload slots, double XP and credits, and the ability to buy DLC on its release date with in-game credits. The bundle also includes access to the next two packs coming to the game in the future. The Year One Edition is available for $50 starting today.
Alongside the announcement of the bundle, Microsoft revealed that the game has been downloaded almost 3 million times. Players have tried out user-created content in the game more than 15 million times.
People who don't want to pay will still get some new content, as well. Microsoft is making five DLC packs free for all players, and they're available for download now. Combined, they include more than 50 props, costumes, and characters.
Finally, players who have logged 150 hours or more, had their content downloaded 10,000 or more times, or paid at least $40 in-game will also receive three months of Spark Premium for free.
Project Spark is designed as a tool to let players make functioning games, but it also has several pre-built levels in it. You can also download and check out the levels and games that other players have created. The base game is free, but there's a ton of DLC including a $5 mission featuring Conker from Conker's Bad Fur Day.
As demonstrated in the video below from Bounty4321, Aqua League is a StarCraft Arcade game that features the basics of Rocket League: There's a rectangular arena with two teams competing to knock a ball into the opposing team's goal. Players can collect boost power-ups scattered around to move more quickly, and it's possible to kill other players, removing them from play for a few seconds.
There are some obvious differences, including the fact that you're playing as one of two Warcraft creatures--Naga or Revenant--in a pool of water. In a nice touch, instead of creating an explosion when you score, a tidal wave shoots out across the map.
StarCraft Arcade previously required you own at least one version of StarCraft II in order to play its games, but as of last year, it's now freely available to everyone. However, Aqua League is said to still be in development and hasn't yet been released, so you won't find it on the Arcade just yet.
"You can avoid [killing] a lot," Howard said. "I can't tell you that you can play the whole game without violence--that's not necessarily a goal of ours--but we want to support different play styles as much as we can."
Howard did not provide any further details about how the game will go about supporting players who would rather keep their weapons holstered.
Non-violent playthroughs are not totally foreign for the Fallout series. There are many accounts of people having completed a "pacifist playthrough" of Fallout 3, in which their killcounts are as low as possible.
Also in the interview, Howard teases that Fallout 4 will have a better emergent questing system than The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. "I can't spoil it, but we're doing a better job than we've ever done," he said.
Another interesting note from the interview is Bethesda Game Studios has never focus-tested its games, and this is not going to change with Fallout 4.
"People ask why we don't and I say, 'I have so many opinions in this studio, I don't need anymore!'" Howard explained. "We really debate everything--and it's a good debate. That's why the games turn out well--it's not me, it's not this guy, it's the collective. Together we figure out what we want."
The Fallout 4 release date is lined up for November 10. For more on Fallout 4, check out some recent stories below.
Black Ops III is the first Call of Duty game to feature an XP progression system in Zombies, and this is the first Mountain Dew/Doritos promotion to focus on that mode. According to publisher Activision, the double XP is exclusively earned by purchasing the snacks.
Along with the promotion, Mountain Dew is bringing back an old flavor and launching a new flavor. In early October, you'll be able to get Game Fuel Citrus Cherry and Game Fuel Berry Lime in addition to the normal Mountain Dew flavors. These drinks will be available for purchase from online retailers all year.
I don't think those new flavors will go too well with the suite of Doritos. With flavors like Jacked Ranch Dipped Hot Wings and Jacked 3D Jalapeno Pepperjack, you'll probably want to stay away from Mountain Dew Citrus Cherry.
This isn't the only crossover promotion with one of Activision's games, either. Destiny currently has a promotion with Red Bull that will get you access to a quest when The Taken King expansion launches in September.
Call of Duty: Black Ops III will be released on November 6 for Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and PC. Recently, Activision announced when you'll be able to try the game out during its beta test.
Yes, this is another voxel game. Even the most cursory glance at Trove's voxel-heavy landscapes and characters is enough to determine that it owes some heavy debts to Minecraft, and as with Minecraft, exploration and crafting lie at the heart of the experience. Yet these elements also allow Trove to differentiate itself from almost every other massively multiplayer game by making all zones randomly generated, and each can be accessed from level-appropriate portals in the hub world. Deserts give way to motherboardy landscapes straight out of Tron, tundra gives way to open seas where you can fish or steer a ship, and as with Minecraft, almost every bit of it can be harvested and used for crafting. Most of the time, that crafting occurs on player homes on player plots (called "cornerstones") or in a special zone for "clubs" (i.e., Trove's version of guilds), where groups of players can build their own world one voxel at a time.Taking the whirlwind tour of a dragon's lair.
One downside is that plots for the single-player homes aren't particularly large; I was barely able to get a rudimentary re-creation of the Alamo up on mine. Other players have made better work with the limitations, though, usually by going up. My favorite cornerstone was a re-creation of Sauron's tower of Barad-dûr, which shot so far into the sky that I marveled as much at the player's ability not to fall while building it as at the design. Others seem to represent Mega Man levels, as they require a seemingly endless succession of timed leaps to reach the player's health potion refill station or other service boxes. The best thing about cornerstones is that you can move them around to each new randomly generated world you visit as needed, adding both convenience and a way to show off your skills (or patience).
Trove is an apt name for the experience that developer Trion Worlds delivers. On the most basic level, it refers to the little troves of loot waiting at the end of the mini-dungeons that dot the landscape, yes, but it also calls attention to the sheer variety of displays. Collectible helmets and masks ranging from Viking beards and sombreros to baseball caps and kabuki masks seem to number in the hundreds or thousands, offering a wealth of cosmetic customization. Weapons share the same variety, with items like guns and swords running the gamut from fearsome to silly. The beauty of Trove is that many of these items are made by players themselves, making the looting experience far more rewarding than it would have been if Trion were responsible for it alone.
Assuming you've bought another class either with cash or in-game currency, you can switch between classes in an instant.
That variety affects other aspects as well. A common criticism of contemporary MMOGs is that they launch with too few classes or they don't deviate far enough from the old standbys of warrior, wizard, and rogue, but Trove suffers from neither of those problems. Its Steam launch contained no fewer than 11 classes, and since Trove doesn't really have a story, it's not hobbled with a need to stick with lore or even a half-hearted sense of consistency. It's the perfect recipe for a diverse cast. Take the Boomeranger, which pays homage to Link from The Legend of Zelda with its ability to switch between boomerang and sword. Consider the Dracolyte, which can transform into a dragon and burn the voxel landscape. Most of my time was spent with the Pirate Captain, a minion class that can toss out a massive cannon or a puppet that taunts enemies, all while his parrot companion bombards them with a cannon of his own.
Most classes thus feel wonderfully different from each other, although that couldn't have been too hard to achieve, considering that each class only gets three abilities. They're designed well, and they generally allow each class to be a tank, healer, and damage dealer all rolled into one, but this limitation means that gameplay inevitably grows repetitive with time. Some, such as the Pirate Captain, handle this better than others. On my Candy Barbarian, however, the familiar dance of leaping and executing a whirlwind attack to regain health bored me before I'd even reached level 8. That's not really a problem, though; assuming you've bought another class either with cash or in-game currency, you can switch between classes in an instant (although, as in Final Fantasy XIV, you'll have to level it separately)."X" marks the cleared dungeon, or, a bit ironically, the looted treasure.
A variety of enemies walk the open world if you'd like to try your skills on any ol' thing, but most of the action takes place in the many dungeons dotting the countryside. This, even more than crafting, is what Trove is all about. You fight and leap your way through a dungeon, kill the boss (which can be anything from a dragon to some formless blob), and take its loot. All of these dungeons are short, but some are impressive, especially those that require jumping puzzles before engaging a boss or those that require you to use your mining beam to dig your way to the lair.
Admittedly, with some of the more powerful classes (such as the Candy Barbarian), these are almost a joke. Trove may be an MMOG, but virtually all of its content is soloable, and boss kills (and thus personal loot drops and XP) count if you just happened to be in the area of another player doing the killing. Finding a group is usually just a matter of seeing where other players are on the map are riding over to see what they're up to. Indeed, socialization is hardly Trove's strong suit. Half the time, I forgot that the chat window was even there, and while you can join up to five clubs, joining them is often just a case of waiting for somebody to announce open invites in chat. The saving grace? Trove has a wonderful community, and its generosity usually makes up for missing features.
The best thing about cornerstones is that you can move them around to each new randomly generated world you visit as needed.
All in all, this is generally enjoyable stuff, provided you can get in. Trove has been wildly popular on Steam ever since its first appearance on the platform back on July 9--so popular, in fact, that even now, queues often leave me waiting for 30 minutes to an hour before I can get in. I once managed to watch an entire episode of Louie before being able to get back to the business of busting blocks, and that was just last week. It's especially saddening since MMOG developer Trion should be no stranger to this kind of stuff--although similar problems affected the company's release of ArcheAge last year--but it's a testament to Trove's quality that the waits don't seem to affect its popularity. Without fail, every time the queue winds down, I land in a pile of other newly logged-in players, and we rush for the portals to the explore worlds with all the joy of children newly released on the playground.
After many hours of play, that feeling still hasn't entirely faded, but I suspect I'll soon have to step away from Trove for a while to maintain it. Trove is all about the business of exploration, hoarding, and crafting, and in the absence of other MMOG standbys like story quests or PvP, the weight of the requisite repetition starts to nag just a bit past level 10. Trove does its best to fill these gaps with other options, such as leveling different classes, attempting to build a dungeon worthy of inclusion in the game, or simply collecting cosmetic items from boss kills, but for me, it doesn't deliver the kind of MMO addiction that sends me to the computer to sneak in more playtime after everyone else is asleep.Dungeons often look just as cool on the outside as on the inside.
That's the beauty of the free-to-play model, of course. Should I decide to step away for a few days, Trove and its troves are right there waiting for me, just as I left them. It doesn't hurt that Trion's latest MMOG has about as benign a free-to-play model as they get, as you can amass most of the premium coins needed to buy items like new classes or new mounts fairly easily. What's more, Trove allows players to spend real cash to buy in-game gold (along with some performance boosts), but that matters little since there's almost no competition involved.
Is Trove the kind of MMOG that I'd like to spend a part of every day in? No. But it is an MMOG that I'd enjoy visiting every now and then, possibly several times a week. That's enough to make Trove a success, and its speedy updates and randomly generated worlds help make every visit feel different from the last. Now, if they'd just get those queues in line, I'm thinking about making the Alamo 40 stories high, and I don't have time to wait.
The remastering effort here is, without mincing words, an embarrassment. While we’re currently drowning in a glut of remasters, graphical spitshines, and definitive editions--a mild problem in and of itself--nobody can deny that the vast majority of them have been made current-gen worthy. At best, you get The Last of Us or Tomb Raider remasters. At worst, you get this bundle. Yes, both Prototype games run at 1080p. Yes, a few of the textures have been replaced. Yes, a few sounds come from the controller speaker now. But if Prototype didn’t start with a line of text telling you it was released in 2015, the difference between this re-release and its 360/PS3 brethren would be strangely indistinguishable. Draw distances, effects, character models, and most of the textures are are utterly primitive in Prototype. The second game fares much better--in that regard and in others to be addressed--but, bafflingly, runs often at a low frame rate with a constant stutter the busier the screen gets. These are the same games you could play a few years ago, and, really, can play now for the cost of lunch at Wendy’s, if you didn’t sell your previous gen consoles. If you do pick up the Biohazard Bundle, you'll pay full price for the privilege of playing one game graphically crumbling under the weight of time, and another that somehow runs more poorly on better technology.Well, that’s just gross.
Yet, there are those who may never have played either game, and this is the only way they will experience them. For them, the story is marginally brighter. The bad news is that the first Prototype has aged poorly, even as a game. It has a plum set up: A man named Alex Mercer wakes up in a New York City morgue with no memory, but finds out he has a virus that, instead of killing him, has made him into a terrifying bioweapon. He has the ability to manipulate his own flesh into varying shapes and configurations, even allowing him to completely assimilate other human beings and copy their forms. It’s the hellish amalgam of the alien life form from John Carpenter’s The Thing, and the terrifying evolution Tetsuo undergoes in Akira, bolstered further in fun factor by virtue of the game running off Radical Entertainment’s Hulk: Ultimate Destruction. The military seems to know more about things than he does, of course, and while they try to contain the walking biohazard, Alex seeks out any connection to his past to just find out what’s happened to him.
From these promising beginnings, however, comes a sinking feeling that despite an impressive, huge, open world, the game is unsure of how best to make use of its setup. And so, much of Alex Mercer’s time is spent being told to go to various places around the city, and kill various people and things until he’s told to run away and get in disguise to escape, thus unlocking another uninspired cutscene where his hacker sister tells him who to kill next, and Mercer growls about his lack of memory.I belieeeve I can fly/I belieeeve I infect the sky….
The powers themselves do give you a nice range of approaches to any problem, from straight-up brawling, to slicing enemies into mozzarella with hideous claws, to hijacking military vehicles and drowning the driver in a fountain of his own blood--but most end up being for show, once the ability to use the tentacle whip unlocks. It’s the game’s most fun weapon, allowing Alex to split enemies in half from across a city street, and it just so happens to be the most useful and versatile one. Despite this, there are still too many sections where the game’s overly twitchy camera and controls work against you, making the simple act of targeting and following a large opponent and attacking only that one enemy a chore. An early set piece, with virus infected animals being set loose in a chemical factory where Mercer is forced to run around the cluttered floor like a madman, stealing rocket launchers off the army to attack, brings back the PTSD of trying to get Sonic to cooperate in any of his 3D games. What’s more, the game's tension doesn't escalate in any meaningful way. You are never enticed to discover Mercer's past, since the game does very little to make you care about him in the first place. The result is a game that feels, ironically, like a prototype: a collection of mechanics that a better game might be able to utilize fully in some later incarnation.
That better game, as it turns out, is Prototype 2.Alex Mercer’s Sense8 audition was, clearly, a miserable failure.
Prototype 2 follows James Heller, a soldier sent into a New York City still recovering from the events of the first game, who holds a major grudge against Alex Mercer for releasing the virus that killed his wife and child. After an ill-fated run-in with Mercer where Heller becomes infected with the same virus that gave Mercer his powers, he is taken in by the evil military scumbags who tried to bring Alex Mercer down the first time, and is exposed to another version of the truth. Hesitantly, he joins forces with Mercer to get to the bottom of why the government is still messing around with this particularly gruesome bioweapon.
Right off the bat, the game fixes Prototype’s biggest problem: Heller is a great protagonist. His motivations aren’t particularly original, but there’s a forcefulness to his characterization makes you feel that need for retribution in spite of the relatively weak script. Even better, Heller’s baleful aggression never comes at the expense of his humor. Probably one of the best moments in either game is that Heller screws up a hot pursuit about halfway through Prototype 2 because he’s watching one of the other infected humans make a grisly, viral biological bomb out of some hapless military chump and had himself a chuckle. That’s the kind of guy Heller is, and he’s a far more affable character than Mercer, certainly worth spending 20 hours with.
You'll pay full price for the privilege of playing one game graphically crumbling under the weight of time, and another that somehow runs more poorly on better technology.
And thank goodness, because otherwise, the game’s wanton disregard for physics, the human body, or human life in general might strike a wrong chord, like it does in Prototype. Instead, every action Heller takes has a clear motive and logic. Many of Heller’s quests involve violence and destruction, but the monotony is broken by a set of new, macabre powers. The once all-powerful tentacle from the first game now has wilder mechanics at play, where grabbing someone with the diseased tendril might cause the infected victim to explode in new tentacles that grab nearby objects in five directions, and crush the victim inside. The new mechanics for Heller’s claw attacks steal liberally from Activision’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and the game is better for it. Countering attacks is easier, and makes the cheap hits of the previous game far less likely, and far more avoidable. Running across rooftops, gliding through the air, and landing feels something close to fluid, which makes escaping when Heller’s been found by the military much more frantic and pulse-raising, albeit still a bit on the loose side. All this takes place in a much more vivid and living New York City, where the NPCs feel less like blank marionettes, and buildings feel hundreds of years old, which makes the sight of them being covered in corrupted viscera and viral runoff even more horrifying.
Prototype 2 certainly offers a stronger experience than Prototype, but it’s still thoroughly outclassed on current gen consoles by Saints Row IV and Infamous: Second Son. At its best, a remaster can be a great reminder of why we loved a game to begin with. Had the Prototype Biohazard Bundle actually been a full upgrade, it would at least show us how far we’ve come. But given even Prototype 2’s mind-boggling technical limitations, this troubled bundle is more of a reminder that mediocrity is still not obsolete.