Review: Mary Skelter: Nightmares (PC)

Mary Skelter Nightmares PC

GhostLight’s wonderful port of Mary Skelter: Nightmares brings the game to PC in a flawless translation of the Vita version and yes, it’s absolutely worth a buy.  Seeing and playing it on a larger screen reveals sharper enemy and background art, but you won’t be fiddling with anything other than resolution and window size settings if you really need to. In fact, the rather low system requirements makes this one of the more accessible modern dungeon crawlers out there. Even if you’re not into the anime art style and overall offbeat tone here, the game excels on the gameplay front in capturing the spirit of the classic Wizardry games.

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Nope, this isn’t your Granny’s version of Snow White or any of the other gals from those old fairy tales. These girls can take care of themselves pretty well.

That’s not to say at all that the game is an entry level experience. There’s a decent enough difficulty curve and a combination of expansive maps, deadly traps and powerful bosses that will keep you on your toes. The main story involves a living tower-like dungeon called Jail looming over a city in Tokyo it has buried underground and the attempts of a squad of lovely anime ladies and one guy tasked with climbing that tower with intent on defeating the Marchen (monsters) and Nightmares (bosses) that inhabit it. The team’s main purpose is to enter the Jail’s oddball dungeons and defeat the Nightmares, which will grow the tower and allow it to reach the planet’s surface, allowing the citizens of the underground Liberated Zone their true freedom. There’s a bit more (well, a good deal more) to the story, but letting it unfold while playing is the best means of experiencing it.

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Torchlight Frontiers: An Eyebrow is Raised – Hopefully, a Banner Will Follow

This one came as a surprise because I thought the Torchlight games were dead and gone. But it seems Perfect World Entertainment, Arc, developer Ectra Inc. (which includes some of the team behind a few classic ARPGs including the Torchlight and Diablo games) are going to be dropping an all-new online centered experience in 2019. Here’s the promo trailer for Torchlight Frontiers (which isn’t gameplay, sadly):

(Thanks, Play Torchlight!)

Here’s the official word so far:

Introducing the next iteration of the award-winning Torchlight series: Torchlight Frontiers!

Set in the same beloved universe as Torchlight I and II, this shared-world action-RPG brings back many of the franchise’s signature features and mechanics that captured the hearts of ARPG fans around the world. Led by former Runic Games and Blizzard North co-founder, Max Schaefer, the team developing Torchlight Frontiers is comprised of veteran developers who were responsible for the games that defined the ARPG genre, including the original Diablo and Torchlight franchises.

Torchlight Frontiers combines the heart of the beloved Torchlight series with a shared, persistent and dynamically generated world. In true Torchlight style, players will team up with friends and devoted pets to hack and slash their way through a vibrant world, discover ancient ruins of lost civilizations and brave dungeons filled with riches and dangerous creatures. Additional details about Torchlight Frontiers will be revealed at a later date.

The good news is the pedigree along with Perfect World’s generally solid track record in the MMO scene. The shared, persistent world business means this will likely be an online only game with solo play as an option similar to what’s found in Neverwinter (a game I’m currently playing and enjoying). I’ll gather this will also be free to play with paid content, but we’ll see where that all goes. I like the art style in the trailer, although I’m hoping the game goes for a look closer to Torchlight II and/or won’t require a super-powerful PC to run. The console plans mean it should look similar across the board, which is a good thing in my book.

Torchlight Frontiers will be available on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 at some point in 2019, but we’ll need to definitely get some hands-on time with a build at some point to see what’s what. Fingers crossed (and yes, cross-platform play would be keen, Sony).

-GW

Earth Defense Force 5 US Trailer #1: A Bit of Wait Gain

(La la la, PlayStation!)

 

EDF_5 boxIt’s about time,  but there’s still no concrete release date for North America. To be fair, Sony has opened up pre-orders for the game’s standard digital and deluxe digital editions. But that 12/31/2018 release date is a bit questionable (games usually pop up on Tuesdays and I don’t think a New Year’s Day release date would be a thing). FYI, with no official launch date decided, pre-orders have to include a tentative date so potential buyers have a general idea of when a product will arrive as a download or at retail.  I hope this game rolls in before the end of the year, as it’s a bit crazy-cakes that a worldwide release wasn’t in the cards from day one.

That said, I’m also surprised I didn’t snap up the import version at this point, but that was a mix of finances not being where they needed to be and not wanting to go to the hassle of creating a Japanese PSN account to get DLC. Well, that and I thought the game would have been out already,  Ah well. I have plenty of games to wade through in the backlog, so at the end of the day, holding out for this one in English means I’m going to be going in totally cold and enjoying every minute.

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-GW

Review: Conan Exiles (PS4)

Conan Exiles

Survival games come in a few flavors these days and Funcom’s mostly solid Conan Exiles ($49.99) has that interestingly coppery taste of blood, a bit of crunch from a handful of insects and a grassy finish, all wrapped in a hide of some sort that’s been smoked thoroughly. Or something like that. The game is a rough and tumble chunk of violent fun, complex crafting (that *really* needs streamlining), endless exploration and thankfully, offline play when those too packed servers are busy.

As with ARK: Survival Evolved, the massive open world sandbox element tosses you into things nearly naked and needing to gather resources quickly or die trying. Conan pops up at the beginning to free your user-created crucified character and wish you well before you’re left to your own devices. The game prompts you onward with small to large milestones and some fast level gains for small to large accomplishments. Drinking water, finding space for and creating that first shelter, crafting your first basic armor, figuring out the ridiculously complex cooking system and more all help you get a feel for the game right away. Or at least, you’ll realize that this is a game where you’ll need to pay constant attention to even the smallest thing lest you want to punt that Dual Shock 4 through your TV.

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Moss Coming to PS4 as a Physical Edition in June

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Moss2DBlackNormally, if someone said “Hey! Look at that mouse!” I’d be up on a chair with a shoe ready to throw at the first thing that moved because I’d not want some rodent running up my pant leg followed by a ticked off cat like something out of a a Tom and Jerry cartoon. In the case of Polyarc’s lovely action/platform/puzzle game Moss, however, I’m all “D’awwww! SO CUTE!” and then some.

The critically acclaimed and formerly digital only PSN release is getting a retail version next month and it’s looking like one of those PS VR enabled games that’s going to be worth grabbing for your physical library.  Take a peek at the trailer below of Quill’s big virtual adventure and see for yourself, (squeak, squeak):

 

 

Yep, SOLD. June 12 is when this scampers into stores, so go do that pre-order thing or just pop on in to pick up your copy. Save the cheese, though. The person selling you the game might be lactose intolerant or might rather want a pricey Camembert and not the Velveeta chunk you were planning on bringing.

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-GW

TERA: Corsairs’ Stronghold Update Adds Pirates & Booty Galore (Arr!)

 

Okay, the game that got me to stop playing so much Diablo III is getting another big update. TERA isn’t quite perfect, but it’s often really gorgeous to look at and does do excellently at keeping me occupied in that theme park on steroids manner a good MMO does. The newest update is Corsairs’ Stronghold, a 20 vs 20 battleground map where you’ll need to fight with or against other players to secure or destroy an Archstone. I see that this map can be soloed, but I’m gathering that will be pretty darn tough to do if you’re trying to face off against 20 AI players (or even live ones) all by yourself.

Yes, a review is in process for this game, but I’m in the midst of figuring out the story content, which is tricky because the game allows you to play freely enough that you can miss a chunk of the plot by merely doing side missions and other diversions.  The nice thing is the game is free to play across all the systems it’s on, with the exception of those pesky keys required to unlock strongboxes. I didn’t realize this because in the beta. keys were rewarded for certain milestones. I haven’t spent a dime on the game at all, but at Level 65, I kind of have something like 1000 strongboxes (eep!) and am thinking hard about paying to unlock a few. My poor wallet is snapping at me every time I dawdle over that buy button on the store page, though.

 

 

So, we shall see what happens, I suppose. But know that my wallet has a mighty growl that can curl paint off a wall. In the meantime, did you know I’ve posted way too many videos about this game on my under-watched YouTube channel? I don’t do commentary at all, so fear not – you don’t have to hear my warbling and waxing poetic. Just pop by, watch a few and subscribe if you like what you see.

-GW

By Crom! Conan Exiles Out Now on Consoles

Conan Exiles

Or: By Crom, I think I’ll never see daylight again. Yes, Funcom has gotten it’s popular M-rated MMO/survival/crafting game Conan Exiles out today on PS4 and Xbox One along with a nice update for PC users. I’m going into this totally blind other than checking out a few official gameplay videos and trailers over the past year from the PC version. My money says death will come quickly for my poor character, but I’m going to try and survive as long as possible (well, as least until I can build a decent shelter). Granted, I’ll need to make it through the character creation system, as I’m still thinking up what sort of character I’m going to make. I like that the tips PDF I got notes that choosing Crom as a starting deity makes the character agnostic, but you also get NO benefit bonuses from choosing him (as it should be).

 

 

While I don’t plan to do any PVP stuff (as I want to enjoy the story and gameplay without pulling all my remaining hair out because my avatar keeps getting killed by belt-notchers out to grab scalps wherever they can), I may pop onto a server and check out how long I’ll last there. I really want to focus on the lore and seeing how well any story content is structured, as Funcom says it’s not an empty sandbox you’ll be playing in. That means I’ll be searching high and low for lore to the point where I’ll very likely get keelhauled by an enemy because I’m busy reading some digitally dusty tome I’ve located. As well.

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Back in a bit with a review which will probably be in at least two parts. See you then.

-GW

TERA Online Headed to PS4/Xbox One April 3

After dabbling in a few too many online games on the PS4 for about a year plus, I’ve narrowed down my focus to the upcoming free TERA Online, developer Bluehole Inc. and publisher En Masse‘s successful PC MMO that’s finally headed to consoles on April 3, 2018. I had the great fortune to try the game on three occasions when it was in beta over the past few months and while the test phase was sometimes a bit wonky, as things were tweaked and polished based on user feedback, the experience became a great deal more enjoyable to the point it was hard to put down.

Key to the overall experience is the game’s real-time combat system that’s quite responsive using the PS4 controller and allows for plenty of creative offensive and defensive moves. Given the ferociousness of the enemies here, you’ll need to have fast reflexes as well as sufficient healing and buffs at the ready. The game won’t hesitate to hit back hard with creatures that just won’t quit until you’ve beaten them or vice versa, and if the beta is any indication, both solo and group players should feel quite at home.

Yours truly ended up recording way too many videos during the betas on my YouTube channel (go sign up and feel free to send me a friend request on PSN – my handle there is GeeLW), but my body is ready for the full game when it lands on PSN shortly. Those of you interested in playing TERA on consoles can go all in for free or snap up one of a fewFounder’s Pack options that will give you some cool gear, in game money and other fun stuff along with the ability to start playing a week early.

Alrighty, then. Guess I’ll (hopefully) see some of you online at some point. I’ll likely be soloing this for the most part (I’m liking that Mystic class a lot, but the Archer is solid as well), but I’ll certainly need assistance with the 5-player boss maps.

-GW

EDF 5 + Starship Troopers = My Eyes Bouncing ‘Round The Room

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While I still have NO idea who’s publishing Earth Defense Force 5 in the west and any news seems to be being kept way too quiet (grrr!), this trailer really set my “I need this NOW!” timer off. The funny thing is, I had NO interest in any other Starship Troopers films after Paul Verhoeven’s (it’s a great and intentionally ironic parody some still don’t fully grasp, by the way) and  even dismissed last year’s Starship Troopers: Red Planet (or Traitor of Mars) as looking too much like a game for my snooty cinematic tastes. Well, look who’s a crow-chomping clown who wants to see, er, find out more about this one?

Thanks, EDF! Now, about that US release date and publisher? Those giant bug-sized beans need to be spilled, and fast.

-GW

Holiday Gift Guide 1: Let’s Get Physical!

It’s been quite interesting living in an all-too digital world and seeing how gifting has changed for many folks who go that route with nearly every purchase. Me? I like giving and receiving actual product for the most part unless it’s a case where the only way to get something is via a code voucher of some sort. That said, I feel kind of bad for kids raised in this era where some parents or other tech-savvy adults seem to hate on the very idea of handing a kid something nicely wrapped that’s NOT another gift card that devalues over time if not used up for a place they’ll never visit in person. So, in the interest of getting you out of the house and offline for oh, maybe an hour or two, I’m tossing a few suggestions your way (which are also available in digital form if you like).

Lego Worlds PS4_NALEGO Worlds (PC/PS4/Xbox One/Switch)- Ever-busy developer TT Games pulls out all the stops in this great sandbox game that’s packed with content and a ton of freedom once you get past the tutorial and early story missions. This is one of those great family games that’s so much fun to play you’ll want to sneak in some time alone once that kid is asleep.

On the other hand, you’d very likely want to play this with your kid or at least have a second controller handy as the game supports up to 2 players in either online or offline modes. Hours will zip by when this is on, but at least you won’t need to worry about stepping on loose LEGO pieces or having the family pet making them disappear after they smack part of what you’ve built under the sofa.

 

Crash Bandicoot PS4_NACrash Bandicoot N. Sane Game & Sock Bundle Pack (PS4)- Can’t decide on getting games or socks for the holidays? Got a relative who auto-buys you socks because he or she has zero clue about games? Why not get BOTH with this bundle of completely remastered PS1 classics that include the first three games in the series lovingly reworked by Vicarious Visions with tons of new HD specific features?

Between the redone visuals, the ability to play as Coco Bandicoot in all three games and a bunch of great stuff only those true masters of unlocking will get to see (yes, the games are as challenging as ever)l you get SOCKS you’ll probably actually wear at some point. But don’t try and stuff those stockings on the box with the game, as that would make for weird gift to receive and probably stretch out one of those socks in the process.

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