FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE Demo: ‘Scuse Me While I Kiss The Sky

This Looks Good, Right

“I can’t believe it’s THAT good, right?”

FFVII REMAKE D

It’s up… and it’s good!

Honestly, I’d deliberately not followed any development news, interviews, screens and trailers of the upcoming FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE because as I’ve said in the past many times, I prefer going into a game as cold as possible for the surprise factor and how that actually helps my sense of wonder continually activate, even if it’s a game that’s been re-imagined or has had multiple versions created over the years. In this case, the approximately 45 minute long Unreal engine-powered demo that dropped on Monday is visually, pretty spectacular stuff and the gameplay is a mix of styles  old and new, with a bigger nod to the new. This bodes quite well for the final version we’ll see on April 10, 2020.

I’ll resister my EXTREMELY middling complaints about the demo here just to get them out of the way first. I didn’t like the variations in destructible objects. Those wooden Shinra boxes you should smash up when you find them go down with a weapon swing by Cloud or a few shots by Barrett, but cardboard boxes, some crate-like objects, and a few metal barriers bounce or just get knocked around with no visible damage? Eh, well. Although, some striped sawhorse barriers hide handy items you can find once knocked away (explore everywhere!). My other minuscule complaint is with the music, which is phenomenal, but I want a choice of the original tunes as well as the new remake versions. As I said, these “complaints” are tiny, but this was only a demo and it does note, the quality isn’t 100% representative of the final game at all.

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TT Isle of Man 2 Hands-On: Lightning, Unbottled

TT2_01

Let the good times roll, indeed.

KT Racing has done quite a lot of work on TT Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge 2 and it’s simultaneously quite a thrill and terrifyingly good so far. Major fixes to bike handling. road surfaces, lighting, weather effects and more all add an even more realistic feel than the first game, and the greatly improved Career Mode and an all-new open world area to practice (or just take relaxing rides) in make this a pretty superior sequel.  Taking a build of the PC version out for a spin, many of the changes were amazing right from the start. Bikes all felt much better and the the ground effects were excellent overall (as in you don’t automatically go flying off your ride of choice at a jump or bump in the road). You can still wreck at high speeds, but it feels is if it’s your own fault for misjudging your speed, deliberately slamming into things, or not paying attention to the road surface.

Overall control is much more responsive as turning the bike is a lot more intuitive. In fact, the new handling model in third person views requires you to pay attention to both the driver’s positioning and the beautifully rendered road ahead of you. In first person, the game has a view where braking lifts the rider up in a realistic manner, as well as a nice optional helmet camera that adds to the immersion factor. The game is easier to get into, but NOT easy, as zen-like concentration and learning each course in the only way to master the tracks here. If your bike is wobbling and weaving from your own handling mistakes, expect to wreck, as the game demands perfection, practice, and patience.

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Survey Says (Ding!): Gothic Remake Is a Go, Won’t Be Ready in 2020

Gothic PT

The people’s choice, indeed.

Well, 43,111 people participated in a little extensive survey THQ was taking and the verdict is in: We’re getting a Gothic remake at some point, just not this year. PC and next-gen consoles are the targets here, so it seems at least the game will have a very similar visual fidelity across anything it’s eventually released on.

If you have Google Drive, you can see and download the results of the survey here in PDF form (it’s a whopping 21 pages):

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1uNuvngHrTZ3AVpNEdoXS-E8rKlwVdhlX/view

Here’s the press release as well, below the jump.

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Let’s Go Gothic For A Bit, Shall We?

GOTHIC demo

Hmmmm. But I give it a thumbs up, with reservations…

 

 

I still have my boxed copies of Gothic and Gothic II here and got the non-Piranha Bytes developed Gothic 3 on a disc with two other games, so this news of a playable teaser got me thrilled the series is in a comeback mode of sorts. THQ released a demo of what their team in Barcelona is working on a few months ago and is very wisely asking for user feedback and whether they should continue with the project. In a nutshell, it’s a big YES from me despite some huge problems from the start, and yes, I have some notes to offer as a fan. Constructive criticism time:

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Pathfinder Finds Its Path With 30 Days Remaining

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Kind of like bowling, isn’t it?

Geez, You take a few days away from things to get a clearer head and all manner of interesting stuff happens. Owlcat Games’ Kickstarter for Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous not only made its target on $300,000 in a single day, the game is still raking in a load of money, with as of this writing, over $860,000 being raised and a few nifty stretch goals added with 30 days to go. Wow. Here’s some rather nice title music from the developer to celebrate and yes, they’re still taking pledges and adding some mice stretch goals.

There was a developer live stream a few days back that I missed, but here it is if you want to check it out:

 

 

So far, the game is looking pretty well-packed with things to do and see, so kudos to the team at Owlcat for all their hard work so far.

-GW

 

Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous Hands-On: You’ll Come Back, But Be Gone For A While

pathfinder WOTR

Prediction: It’s going to make its target and likely much more.

A little Kickstarter action, anyone?

Developer Owlcat Games is hard at work on a follow up to the incredibly deep Pathfinder: Kingmaker, which combined gameplay inspired by classic PC role-playing games such as the Baldur’s Gate, Fallout, Fallout 2 and Arcanum with a huge kingdom building system in a massive game with a pretty loyal following worldwide. It’s not at all a simple game as it sticks closely to the tabletop experience down to complex rules that need to be learned and implemented lest failure be your primary option.

Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous is a more an even more ambitious follow up, but tailored a lot better and not a direct “sequel”, adding in a wealth of changes to the game engine, a load of new classes to play as and packing in a ton of content. Owlcat is clearly in it for the long haul. This is good, however, as the hands-on demo’s Siege at Drezen sequence was pretty thrilling and left me wanting more. Before the demo, game Director Alexander Mishulin spoke and I got a wealth of lore on new classes, Mythic Path characters such as Angel, Lich, Aeon, and Trickster, some of the overall goals in the story line and more brain-filling content. There’s a lot going on here and Mishulin noted the final version will allow for many options and choices for new as well as returning players (which means a ton of replay value, naturally).

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This is going to be as deep as it gets and then some, but it was also noted that the dev team has been listening to feedback from the first game and is tailoring this new experience to be a bit more flexible for new players as a option. that certainly doesn’t mean the game will be easy or “casual”, mind you. The depth outside of the combat will include a number of “pay attention” elements that will have players glued to their PC’s as they dive into what’s looking like an extremely comprehensive solo campaign.

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Rustler: Get Medieval in This Hilarious GTA-Inspired Game

rustler_01

Yep. This needs to be played for this reference alone.

 

First of all, when I went to install the Rustler Alpha demo on Steam, I was greeted with Grand Theft Horse as a title on the game installer, which was magnificent. Indie developer Justus Games knows which side of the bread their butter in on. Second of all, for an alpha, the game is coming together pretty well. It’s just up on Kickstarter now and is there waiting for you to pledge or the drunken sot with the sword in the banner above may come for you. He’ll be right up your alley if you’re not right up his, as it were. That alley will be dark ad have a few rodents in it, most likely.

Gameplay is much the original Grand Theft Auto and GTA 2 isometric top down stuff but rendered in a nicer game engine with some lusher environments. As with the aforementioned games, there’s humor in all the mayhem you cause and yes, the old ultra-violence means it’s not a child’s game for sure. But there’s that nifty cathartic thing going on here that just works because you get immediate results from your attempts at criminal behavior (or, assorted guards and villagers don’t just stand by while you crime away), so expect to fight as you run run or ride a swiped horse away from trouble, or cause more pain for as long as you can. It’s your choice, but the lead’s character’s seemingly perpetually drunken state can cause him to fall off a horse or otherwise be dismounted.

 

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Overpass Hands-On: A Scoop Of (Extremely) Rocky Road, Please

overpass logo

(sings): “Bumpy roads, take me home…”

 

Bigben Games wants to be your racing simulation racing studio of choice (WRC 8 was a pretty excellent sim on PS4 and my favorite console racer last year), and its upcoming off-road title developed by Zordix Racing in Sweden, Overpass (set for release on March 12, 2020 and March 17 for Switch) is certainly shaping up to be a really solid game experience. I got an hour or so of playtime with the PC version and can report that it’s going to fascinate some and frustrate others, but this is actually a really good thing. If you’re more used to arcade-style racers where all you do is floor the accelerator and powerslide to the fastest victory you can manage, well, here comes a game that’s a test of skill where learning the literal ups and downs of the tracks becomes part of the game and speed needs careful mastering and consideration.

 

 

Does anyone remember Spintires? If so, imagine that with faster off-road racers in mind and the needs to both master a track’s hazards and nail in a quick time despite those hazards. Overpass does this somewhat magnificently, with analog triggers and a thrilling use of controller feedback where you’ll feel the road beneath your ride of choice and need to navigate through the environment unless you want more free badly done rolls than you can find at an Olive Garden.

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Project AETHER: First Contact Demo Takes Me Back A Bit

aether

 

 

Designed as a fast-paced twin-stick shooter, Project AETHER puts you in the pilot’s seat of the prototype mecha Aether as you face off against a robotic alien force bent on the destruction of mankind. Aether features a customizable loadout of ranged and melee weapons as well as an EMP Burst system, allowing you to detonate weakened enemies in a devastating chain reaction.

Toronto-based Sleepy Spider Studios is nicely time-warped in the 2000’s, but I like that a lot. Their first game was Legions of Tyrandel, a PC deck-building turn-based strategy game made for two players (although single player challenge maps are available), and now we’re getting Project AETHER: First Contact, which is coming to Steam on February 24. There’s a free demo to try here, and it’s pretty good stuff that blends twin-stick arcade shooting action and some nice visuals in what’s shaping up to be an excellent game.

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Bee Simulator: The Buzz Says It’s A Honey Of A Game

BeeSim_Website_Gallery_Pic2

Bee all that you can, bee…

Bee_logoLife is sweet these days, at least on the gaming front. So, I’m playing Varsav Game Studios’ wonderful Bee Simulator on the PS4 and so far, having a blast with this indie. It’s NOT a “simulator” as in reality doesn’t come into play in the scientific manner, but it sure is a colorful and fun-filled game the entire family can enjoy. Bigben Games deserves kudos for seeing this one through and it definitely deserves to be seen and played as a neat little sleeper.

I’ll have more on this after playing it to completion, but for now, it’s a pretty good contender in terms of indie games that do some things a bit differently.  Go peek at the trailer below – I’m going to go play some more and get a review up soon.

-GW