One Upon Light: Boxed In Braniac Braves Brightness

One Upon Light art


Rising Star Games has a really nice, stylized top-down puzzle game on PS4 now and coming to PC later this month in the form of One Upon Light, the award winning 2014 game from Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD Game Lab). As you can see above and below, the black and white visuals pack quite a punch as The Scientist needs to make his was out of that deadly lab without letting any sunlight touch him. I’d gather there’s a story-based reason for all that crate shifting and light avoiding, or else it’s an “inspired bu a true story” game about every gamer who’s ever spent too long indoors binge-playing that latest RPG or other favorite title. Yeah, that’s a lousy stereotype… but I just know some of you out there just yelled out “That’s the story of my life!” and choked a little on that Mountain Dew you were swigging. Continue reading

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Book Review: Film Noir 101: The 101 Best Film Noir Posters from the 1940s-1950s

Film Noir 101 Fantagraphics
 

Thanks to a colorist probably following instructions to the letter about the use of the color red, Both Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall wear lipstick on the poster to The Big Sleep. The poster for White Heat almost looks like the one for the aforementioned film. Edward G. Robinson’s face is Hulk green in the poster for Scarlet Street. Richard Widmark doesn’t even appear on the poster to Kiss of Death, but in the one for Night and the City he looks as if he’s doing a “jazz hands, down!” pose. You miss these details when poking around online for some classic film posters, but in Fantagraphic’s beautiful Film Noir 101: The 101 Best Film Noir Posters from the 1940s-1950s, all you see is some amazing poster art for arguably some of the best film noirs of the era. Film Historian Mark Fertig has compiled quite a healthy list of films and their respective one-sheets here and the big 10.75″ x 14.25″ hardcover book will thrill film fans while possibly promoting a bit of discussion about some of the choices among others. Continue reading

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing III: Three’s Company For The Long Haul


 

So. The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing III is out and yes, you SHOULD buy and play it if you like action/RPG’s with a sense of humor (and optional gore), loads of random loot drops and probably closure as NeoCore Games finishes up its trilogy. That said… oh, for the days of the retail review disc arriving in the mail! While 20GB may not seem like a huge file to download in this era of “everyone” having a high speed connection, the best I can do around here is roughly 11 to 36 mbps. And that’s WITH connections dropping out from time to time adding more time to the download. 11 hours to download a game (which would be closer to 5 or 6 if the speed is consistent and there aren’t any connection drops) is way too long for me and while I’m not impatient, I have no idea how people put up with this sort of thing with larger game files.

Yeah, yeah, it’s something we’ve “gotten used to” as the digital age has beat retail over the head senselessly as a “superior” option. But for folks like me who fail to see the speed difference when having a disc means you get into those games you want FASTER and with only any day one (or later) patches to download, this digital divide is more “haves” versus “have nots” stuff I see some game companies no longer addressing. Boo. But hell, I won’t take this minor annoyance out on NeoCore games and all their hard work at all. Although it WOULD be cool to see them get their trilogy out on consoles at some point so even MORE people could enjoy it. Eh, we’ll see. In between the ongoing strife here I need to fit my Sunday around getting this game onto a hard drive here, so it’s an early night for this old fart. Back in a bit.

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing III: 2015, Meet 1999? That Works For Me


 

Like a worn pair of favorite jeans you’ve had in your possession for years or a good leather jacket, NeoCore Games‘ throwback action/RPG The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing has been one of those reliable standbys that feels as it’s been around a great deal longer than it actually has. This is actually a good thing, mind you. NeoCore’s click and slash series is up to its third installment which is coming to Steam on May 22nd, so here’s a look at what to expect with that set of tease-packed videos above.

VH3_ComingSoon-1920x1080
 

Diehard players who still have a death grip on their older Windows XP-powered computers will be glad to see as with the other two installments, Van Helsing III will run on their creaky old systems. Neocore doesn’t own them that at all, mind you. But it’s great to see a developer not ditch those players who bought that first game at all and continue to support them with all three parts of the series working on what they currently own. While the ability to use an Xbox 360 controller to play the game was a patched in addition to Van Helsing II, the game is still superior with the standard keyboard/mouse setup.

VHIII_cover
 

The mix of action, horror and humor elements is something that sets the game apart from the more deadly serious to much sillier Diablo-style games on the market, as is NeoCore’s attention to more “realistic” detailed environments. Granted, the mix of steampunk, classic monsters (werewolves, vampires and such) and other fantasy bits keeps things fresh throughout. One thing the game will need to be is extremely optimized and as good as can be at launch. VHII had some pesky launch issues that were resolved over time but probably soured a few gamers who tried it out and found it lacking in some areas. From what I’m seeing so far it seems that the third time’s the charm. We’ll find out in four more days.

Review: Elegy for a Dead World

Elegy For A Dead World CAPlatform: PC/Mac/Linux

Developer: Dejobaan Games

Publisher: Dejobaan Games

# of Players: 1

ESRB Rating: N/A

Official Site

Score: A- (90%)

 

Whether or not you like to write, there’s an excellent chance that you love storytelling in one way or another. Dejobaan Games’ excellent Elegy for a Dead World is a game about writing that’s not just for writers and to some “gamers” out there, isn’t really a videogame in the traditional sense. There are no scores tallied, no bad guys to dispatch, and only three relatively small and short themed planets to explore. But it’s neither the journey nor the destination that’s the selling point here.

elegy_ks_gif The game encourages you to sit down, unhook your brain from its box and let your fingers do the talking as you write anything you wish. Yes, there are numerous writing prompts you can use and there’s great fun in pretending to speak in another voice as some of the prompts suggest. But for some players, the experience of free-styling their way through each world and sharing their stories with others will be the big draw… Continue reading

Dragon Age Inquisition Updates Keep You Twitching and Choosing…

So, the final (but not quite final I’d bet) push is here as Electronic Arts and BioWare even more heavily promote Dragon Age Inquisition, the upcoming BioWare-developed epic RPG set for release November 18. While the game is coming to PS3 and Xbox 360, it’s the PS4, Xbox One and PC versions that are getting the most attention from many fans and pretty much every critic set to review it. Those versions should clearly show the developer making the game they wanted to make from the beginning of this popular franchise, although one can only imagine how future games will look once older hardware becomes less common.

There is also an intriguing and optional social feature currently in beta called Dragon Age Keep that looks to immerse fans even more completely into the world of Dragon Age as they learn every bit of lore from previous games and even share their progress in the new adventure as they play. Check it out:

if you’re Twitching for more Dragon Age, fear not. EA and BioWare have you covered this coming Thursday with a live stream of the game’s multiplayer component starting at 10:00AM PST (that’s 1:00PM EST) on the developer’s Twitch channel. This content will include the following:

  • Three Multiplayer Maps: The team will be showing three destinations: Elven Ruins, Orlesian Chateau and Tevinter Ruins.

 

  • Three Multiplayer Characters: The team will be showing character progression on the three unlocked starter characters: Legionnaire, Keeper and Archer.

 

  • Tips & Tricks: The team will be walking viewers through core tips and tricks on how to be successful in Dragon Age multiplayer. They will also touch on Ability Trees, Chests, and Crafting.

 

  • Live Q&A: Producer Scylla Costa and Associate Producer Billy Buskell will be taking questions from viewers live during the stream.

 

Who:                     Dragon Age multiplayer Producers Scylla Costa and Billy Buskell

What:                   Dragon Age multiplayer gameplay feature 3 maps, 3 multiplayer characters, and Q&A.

When:                  Thursday, November 6th at 10:00AM PST / 1:00PM EST

Where:                http://www.twitch.tv/bioware

 

That should tide you over until the game is finally launched on November 18, 2014 for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Microsoft Windows.

Review: Dungeon of the Endless

DotE Banner Platform: PC
Developer: Amplitude Studios
Publisher: Reverb Games
# of Players: 1 (Online 1-4)
Release Date: October 28, 2014
ESRB Rating: N/A
Official Site
Score: A (95%)


 

If you’re one of those people who thinks games have gotten too “casual” these days or you’re just looking for something meaty and stupendously challenging, Dungeon of the Endless would like a word with you before it puts you into a corner and makes you cry for bit. If you haven’t smashed your PC with a sack of hammers, you’ll pick yourself up out of that teary heap, stomp back to your computer and try again with gritted teeth and fresh resolve. Amplitude Studios’ brilliantly designed and gorgeously old-school experience mixes a bunch of genres, takes the developer’s famed 4X gameplay and makes it even more appealing than before. Of course, the game’s masterful design and monstrous difficulty will mean that everyone who plays will suffer load of losses as they attempt to keep their crystal and/or their party in one piece before they can reach that exit. But this one’s a game where you learn from each defeat and each victory deserves a celebration before you move on for more potential pain… Continue reading

Almost at the Exit! Dungeon of the Endless Review Incoming…


 
Hmmm… I’d already have my Dungeon of the Endless review up and running for the exit like mad, but yesterday’s rather dopey PC woes set me back a bit on a few projects. That review is just about done and should go up tomorrow afternoon. Anyway, I’ll skip keeping you in suspense and suggest you just go BUY the game if you haven’t and have been wondering if it’s any good. It is and then some. I’ll be back tomorrow with a few reasons why you need this rogue-like RTS hybrid in your life. Your brain will certainly thank you for the workout, that’s for sure…

Dungeon of the Endless: Deceptive Depth and Plenty of Death Lie in Wait in This Upcoming Hybrid…


 

DotE_BannerCombine the random thrills of a rogue-like RPG experience and a tower defense game and what do you get? Well, a hell of a mess if it’s done wrong, but Amplitude Studios’ Dungeon of the Endless looks to me as if the developer not only nailed this cross-breed about as good as it can get, they’ve pretty much kicked off a new sub-genre for some folks.

Between the beautiful visuals (those sprite graphics with modern lighting look spectacular)and the supremely challenging gameplay in solo or up to four player co-operative modes, this one looks like it’ll be a favorite of those who like thus mega-mix and the very populated little universe Amplitude has created with its other Endless games (Endless Space and Endless Legend). This one’s on PC October 27, but is also Xbox One bound at some point. That short movie-like trailer above should give you a very good idea of what to expect, so keep an eye peeled or just shell out for a pre-order if this one perks you up a bit.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Launch Trailer: Some Humor in Your Boom-Boom-Boomer…


 
Tomorrow is the big day for fans of this non-stop and often hilariously violent first-person shooter/loot-fest franchise, so here you go. I’m actually glad that Gearbox decided to give the old consoles where the series still has its largest user base this new game instead of forcing it onto the PS4 and Xbox One where it wouldn’t sell as well. Yes, they COULD have done it for all four systems, but I think they want to make that next Borderlands LOOK more like it belongs on those more powerful systems than just whip out a slicked-up enhanced version. Good for them, I say. Anyway, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel launches October 14, 2014 in North America and October 17, 2014 everywhere else.