As Always, TT Games Has A LEGO Up On The Competition

 

 

For my money (and most likely yours, if you’re also a fan of their work), London-based TT Games is one of the most reliable game developers working today. Working with their own proprietary engines, their long line of licensed LEGO games has brought millions of players of all ages far too much fun for their money. The great thing about a LEGO game is you know on one level what you’re getting, but where you go with what you get is completely up to you. WB Games bought three of the newest LEGO titles to NYC along with a few folks from TT Games to show press and a bunch of lucky kids what’s headed their way in 2017 and yes, the operative word here was FUN (and lots of it).
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The Elder Scrolls Online Goes Free Temporarily

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Well. As an Elder Scrolls purist, I’ve resisted the lure of paying for this online only experience for a few core reasons. But thanks to Bethsoft and Zenimax Online’s plans to reel more of us in, I’m going to finally put a few days in and see if I like what’s here. This free trial lasts until 11/20 and is open to PC, Mac and PS4 users. Even more tempting: until 11/29, the cost of the full game drops 67% to $9.89, so it seems this plan may work for both companies after all. Still, my backlog is massive and my time is limited, so I don’t expect to do much over this trial period other than create a character and kick a few tires. We shall see. You Xbox One users griping, fear not. Your very own free weekend is coming soon.

Another incentive to play if you’re over 18 and have a valid passport is this awesome contest with some great travel prizes. granted, you don’t have to play in order to enter. But I’m sure that gesture would be appreciated.

-GW

Strike Vector EX: When Console Beats PC, Heads Explode

RageQuit Corporation blasts out a powerful killer PS4 “port” full of needed enhancements, but will it make enough noise to get the attention it deserves?

Usually (okay, most, if not all of the time), a console port of a PC game will be deemed inferior by those nose in the air die-hard PC-ONLY flag-wavers who deem the very idea of a game console and those who use them as something best swept under a rug. Me, I don’t play that crap. I do however, play what I like on anything I like and as long as it runs fine and I’m happy? Well, that’s fine and yep, I’m happy. It’s recently come to my attention that the newly enhanced PlayStation 4 version of the PC game Strike Vector adds content not found in the original and those additions make for a better game overall game experience.

BOOM.

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Yeah, I said it and other than the highly tweakable visuals and adjustable frame rate quality PC gaming offers, it’s actually true here. The PC version was/is an online-only MP focused shooter with transformable and player customized ships zipping around in some VERY solid dogfights spread across some very nicely designed maps. Unfortunately, it’s only been just over 2.5 years since it launched and the player base is very nearly dead. Strike Vector EX on PS4 ($14.99) adds a 15-mission solo campaign, AI bots for those needing to practice on opponents before hopping online, and a few other very welcome changes. Continue reading

Portal Knights Goes BIG So You Can Go Home

Portal_Knights_LogoHD 

…and stay inside playing a lot longer. 505 Games and developer Keen Games have announced a huge new update to their popular family friendly crafting/action/RPG, Portal Knights that includes many requested features such as voice and text chat for online play, remappable controls, and a ton of tweaks and fixes. The new larger islands make the overall game world even more fun to run around in, and my logging in to check out the changes also revealed the game’s visuals have gotten nicely upgraded as well. 

Check out the new trailer and screenshot slideshow below.


 


 

-GW

HoloGrid: A Few Days Left to Get This AR Card Game Funded

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Up until recently, I didn’t think I’d be a big supporter of Augmented Reality or Virtual Reality, but a bunch of hands-on sessions have me convinced that these are great ways to keep entertained and both are worthy of attention depending on what you’re looking for. AR is a far more affordable and less setup-based solution that’s also (in my opinion) more immersive as a real world thing because you play without your head enclosed in a pair of pricey goggles that require some major horsepower to run out of the box. You can also take an AR experience with you and share it with anyone without lugging around a ton of equipment. One excellent example would be HoloGrid: Monster Battle, from Phil Tippett and developer Happy Giant, now in its final days on Kickstarter. I took the plunge after a demo and if you’re into collectible cards, monsters, stop motion and an all-in-one game package that DOESN’T rely on microtransactons, you probably need this game. I’ll shut up here and let you do some required reading and clicking…

Star Wars VFX Legend Discusses Future of AR for Gaming & Film
Phil Tippett & HoloGrid Designer discuss next gen AR & HoloGrid as a Platform

 

steadfastWith only THREE days left, the HoloGrid: Monster Battle Kickstarter Campaign is going strong and has nearly reached it’s funding goal. In a recent conversation with Phil Tippett and HappyGiant President and Lead Designer Mike Levine, the two discussed ambitions for the new game, and the future of AR gaming and film.

“This is just the beginning for HoloGrid, and AR Gaming” said Levine. “We’d love to not only bring other IP into it, like Yu-Gi-Oh, Star Wars, Starship Troopers, and others, but our goal is to have it be one of the first next gen AR games available, as new systems roll out.”

 

“It’s the Wild West”, Tippett added, “Tippett Studio is excited about the endless possibilities working with augmented reality. We love to play, and this gives us new, fertile ground to play in with HappyGiant.”

 

“We envision using all the capabilities coming with next gen AR systems”, said Levine. “From 3D motion tracking and depth sensing, hand and eye tracking, and more – the creatures don’t have to just be holograms on a board game-like experience on your table, they can be all across your living room, on bookshelves and counter tops … underneath your desk!”

 

As new AR tech comes to market (Cast AR, HoloLens and more) HappyGiant hopes to bring the game to new platforms. It was built from the ground up to play today on mobile devices, and to be portable to next-gen AR systems as they emerge.

Below the jump are 5 more things you should know about this game!

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HoloGrid: Monster Battle – Tippet-ting the Scales With A Cool VR/AR Game

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HoloGrid Monster Battle is coming soon from developer HappyGiant and Tippett Studio. Yep, that Phil Tippett. Here’s a teaser trailer to ogle and wonder about making some table space for. Your family game night just got a bit more interesting:

A “Hybrid” Board Game, Collectible Card Game (CCG), and Digital Game in one, it delivers to players a new type of gaming experience.

While this sort of thing has been attempted previously (most notably in Sony’s fun but somewhat unwieldy to set up Eye of Judgment for the PS3 back in 2007), the VR/AR aspects of this may make HoloGrid more acceptable as it can be played across a wider range of already available phones and tablets. Additionally, playing on a mobile device means the game may find an larger audience among casual to core gamers if it’s as cool as it looks (and that nostalgia factor kicks in for us older farts who love stop-motion animation). More info is on the way on this one, but it looks promising enough to be a “next big thing” even without the popular license. Of course, if Disney wants to throw a chunk of money at Tippett and HappyGiant, I’d think they wouldn’t turn it down flat. As usual, we shall see.

Lost Reavers Beta Hands-On: Fun, But Needs Some Old West Tweaking

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LOSTREAVERS_keyartWhile it hasn’t sold in the numbers Nintendo has liked to have seen, the Wii U isn’t dead just yet. Bandai Namco’s online-only action shooter/RPG-lite exclusive Lost Reavers popped up last Friday as a public beta until April 26 (the final version goes live a day later) and after some extensive playtime, the jury is in on the gameplay (solid and accessible fun), but out on the lack of certain features that make these online games hugely popular and more enjoyable to western audiences. Let’s start with what works before commencing with the constructive criticism, as some things can and should be ironed out once the final release is out.


 

While the “plot” is thinner than a sheet of rice paper on a recently paved road run over by a dozen brand new steamrollers, it’s not *why* you’ll be playing at all. The game is a throwback to a simpler arcade style of play: Run through maps killing monsters and picking up drops before making to a relic room where that prize is retrieved by a single player and carried to an exit warp while the others protect hm or her. Most maps are relatively short and can be completed in less than five minutes to closer to ten minutes each with a good set of teammates. The Unreal-powered visuals are okay and occasional lag and bug issues (that will hopefully be squashed before launch) aside, the game runs at what looks like 30fps most of the time. While it’s a third-person game, each of the four classes plays differently and the heavy gunner guy has the only optional first-person view. My own preferences are the third person furthest view camera because it allows for seeing more of what’s around you, but there’s also a second third-person view that adds a targeting cursor as well as a lock-on function that should help casual players get used to things quickly.

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Gallery: DUELYST – It’s In The Cards This One Will Be A Hit

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While I’m not at all a “competitive” gamer or a huge fan of online-only gaming, every one in a while I’ll get something cool to peruse in my inbox that makes me stop and click away on a few links. Counterplay Games’ DUELYST not only got me to click away on a few links, I actually signed up to check out the beta of this free to play card battle/strategy game and came away pretty impressed. Given that lack of time is a big factor in getting me to even look a most online games, DUELYST grabbed me right away with its gorgeous pixel art style and short matches that take around 5 to 10 minutes to play.


 

Once you create an account, the game recommends you dive into a three stage tutorial in order to learn the basics. This is great advice to follow as the game takes off the training wheels should you choose to hop into it feet first. As with any good turn-based strategy game with card battles, positioning is crucial as is having the proper cards. Early solo play pits you against each faction and defeating them unlocks them and their cards. This gets you a nice starter deck as well as lets you choose which group to join. That said, the AI is pretty fierce. Expect to have your rear end passed back to you a few times when the AI outplays you or you run out of good cards because you haven’t built up a nicer deck.
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PC Review: Portal Knights

Portal_Knights_LogoHDPlatform: PC

PK_cropDeveloper: Keen Games
Publisher: 505 Games
# of Players: 1 – ?
MSRP: $14.99
ESRB Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10+)
Official Site
Score: A- 90%

Even though it’s still in Early Access on Steam, Portal Knights has become something of a phenomenon among its growing user base. According to 505 Games, to date players have:

– Looted more than 232 million items

– Mined more than 103 million blocks

– Killed more than 23 million enemies

– Crafted more than 19 million items

and yes indeed, I’m one of those players having a blast with the title. While it does start out a wee bit slowly, some literal digging around in that first (and later, every) area will have you soon seeing that there’s a great deal under the pretty surface that really goes a long way in making things even more entertaining. While geared towards younger players (note that E10+ rating above), the RPG elements, often challenging combat, crafting and exploration elements have a very wide appeal for novices as well as hardcore gamers looking for the next big deal.


 

Things kick of simply enough with a character creation screen where you choose your gender and select one of three classes (Warrior, Archer, Mage) before warping into the first randomly generated world. There’s a set of basic tutorial pop-ups that cover a few things and Minecraft fans will probably get wise to what to do a wee bit faster than anyone who’s not played that game. That said, there are enough differences from that game (and the side-scrolling Terraria) that set it apart. For one thing, other than the simplistic character faces and baggy starter outfits, the visuals (which run at a zippy 60fps) are much more appealing and lively here. Rich colors and nifty visual effects abound in each area, making exploration always fun when you make it to new worlds. Monster types are nicely varied as well, changing at night to deadlier varieties once you unlock your first portal. Continue reading

Portal Knights Early Access: Fun As Heck (But Fixable)


 

While I’ve only sunk about an hour in so far to the Early Access Steam build, Portal Knights is so far, pretty darn good. It’s not quite the Minecraft-like game some think (which is a good thing), but a pretty new action/RPG with (so far) smallish worlds and a light crafting element that doesn’t get in the way of players who just want to whack as wee beasties and level their avatar up. Again, I haven’t played enough to write up a decent review or even and solid impressions other than most everything works quite well. My archer seems to have an issue dodging when I hit the correct keys, but she hasn’t died a horrible death by slime or other low-level monster just yet. The game looks and sounds great so far, but it would have been nice to have a few more character customization options out of the gate.

Still, it’s early and bugs will be squashed, feedback will be listened to and when it’s really ready to shine, I’m predicting Portal Knights will be the go-to game for players looking to try something new and hopefully get few friends to give it a go as well. Okay, stopping here for now. I think I hear a level up calling me.