Diablo III 2.4.3 Update: Party Like It’s 1996 (Or, To Hell & Back, Grinning)


 

Well, oooh. I wasn’t expecting to be this surprised by an update, but yep, Blizzard did just what I was thinking they were going to do with a bit more throwback action, albeit it short-lived. The update also popped up on PSN (as the 1.15 patch), which is the version I played through last night and messed around with into this morning. Other than it not having the retro UI, it’s exactly the same content. I was more surprised that the team had not a lot of info from the original Diablo and had to piece things together using fan wikis, but hey – most fans are helpful when they’re not fighting with each other.

(Hey! Subscribe to my boring YouTube channel, already!)
 

The throwback maps made me grin like a loon as I took a newly created Monk through those hellish stages. I went through on Normal the first time, which is why The Butcher went down without killing my holy fist punching dame. Actually, in my original Diablo play back in ’96, I didn’t die against that brute until my second time through because I got overconfident, his room was on a new spot on the map with a dead end outside I got trapped in and the exploding barrels I hit took off a wee but too much health when he rushed up with that axe. Ow. Actually, I had a run later through the PlayStation version in 1998 where I got stuck dying on the 7th floor thanks to a lightning fast lightning magic blasting mob parked right at the stairway. I think I still have that save data on an old memory card here.


 

In any event, if you’ve a PC, PS4 or Xbox One, remember spending too much time in digital Hell and want a quick trip back to 20 years ago… yeah, go grab Diablo III: Reaper of Souls – Ultimate Evil Edition, but do it soon. The Darkening of Tristram event only lasts until the end of January and you might not want to miss the oddball gifts you get when completing the run.

-GW

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Happy New Year (Take 2)

(Thanks, TroniCPol!)

Hey, my mood lightened! Ha. Anyway, I was trying to think of an appropriate New Year’s thing to post when it hit me that I hadn’t played the late Kenji Eno’s very offbeat D2 in about four years. It works as a perfectly bleak yet eventually hopeful holiday horror game experience for the period between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Thanks to just being too busy to unearth one of my Dreamcasts, make sure the battery is working so that I could start playing about nine hours before midnight so the end credit sequence ends with the onscreen game clock counting down to the New Year and getting a cheery message for all that effort, I haven’t gone near this gem. But that’s going to change.

Anyway, backlog or not I’ll finally replay this classic at some point this year just to see if I can speed through it a bit faster. Much of the game’s length is due to extended stretches of cinematic sequences that can’t be skipped, so it’s a pay attention game almost all the way through, lousy US dubbing and all.

Ah well. Anyway, Happy New Year, people – 2017 is going to be innnnnnteresting.

-GW

Diablo Turns 20: Blizzard, What Are You Up To?


 

Twenty years is a long time for any form of interactive entertainment to be around and still have an active fan base. Blizzard seems to know its classic PC game Diablo has a rather dedicated and somewhat vocal legion of players that have stayed with the franchise through three games, numerous patches and a few expansion packs. Granted, the love for the first two games meant Diablo III was going to be heavily criticized for both its long development time and any huge changes to what longtime fans expected. Let’s just say the fans didn’t disappoint in letting themselves be heard.


 

But of course, Diablo III was a mess at and post launch, but tons of patches, the removal of that horrid Auction House and surprisingly, mostly superb console ports that actually improved upon the foundation laid made it a far better game for everyone save last-gen system (PS3/Xbox 360) owners who didn’t get the great 2.4.0 update. I’d already sunk a few hundred hours into the PS3 version and planned to transfer my save files over to the PS4 when I finally made the move to that console. Of course, that didn’t happen thanks to Phill Katz stealing my PS3 after I sent it to him for repair. NO, I haven’t forgotten you, asshole.


 

So, yeah. I’ve had to restart from scratch with Diablo III: Reaper of Souls – Ultimate Evil Edition on the PS4 and so far, I’m quite pleased with my progress. I’m working on a Demon Hunter build and blazing through Adventure Mode after completing the Campaign once just to build up a ton of Paragon points so I’ll have a huge pool to use when creating other characters later. The 2.4.0 content surprised me with a dark and grim new map that added a few new enemy variants, crashing waves, rain and… freakin’ gigantic sea snakes popping up if you ran too close to the edge of some spots on the map.


 

Anyway, this post has no point other than me reminiscing and wondering just what the hell Blizzard is up to. Yes, I know about the Necromancer class coming as well as the upcoming “remake” of the first game using the DIII engine. But I’m hotly curious as to what else is planned. Other games get re-releases, HD upgrades or flat out remakes, so it only makes sense that this one would at some point soon. Unless Blizzard is just messing with us fans. Those old cinematics sure cleaned up well, huh?

-GW

Amnesia Collection On PS4: Twist Your Mind With Fear (More So Than Usual)

I kind of wish I had amnesia right about now, but it’s more important to stay frosty an alert out in the real world. That said, I still wish I had Amnesia, but this desire is actually in the form of Amnesia Collection on the PS4. It’s not on the PSN Store as I type this, but trust me, it’s going to be at some point today. If I’m in the mood to camp out under the covers later, perhaps a buy and play will be made. The first game and it’s shorter sequel, Justine, may have aged visually over the last five years, but my money says those old Lovecraftian shivers will still work perfectly.

-GW

Today’s Freak-Out, Courtesy of DreadOut

Seriously twisted and interactive to boot, this icky video from talented Indonesian developer Digital Happiness wants to mess with your day in a big way. This VR-enabled teaser for DreadEye almost makes me want to try a VR horror game, but I don’t want to be found dead on the couch with those damn goggles strapped to my head. That would be somewhat expensive and embarrassing, right? Right.

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Oh, by the way… DreadOut is on sale until November 1 for a mere $2.99. Get it, I say.

Amnesia Collection PS4: One Rule of Fear, Broken For The Streamer Age

So. A big fat resounding YES booms out here to the upcoming Amnesia Collection for PlayStation 4, set for a November 22, 2016 release. Featuring all three entries in the “series” (Amnesia The Dark Descent, Amnesia: Justine and Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs), I’m going to dive on this set of scares like a thousand dollar bill scooting down an empty street on a slightly windy day. On the other hand… that trailer above gets a sore thumb in the eye for going the pesky paid YouTube screamer/streamer route when something a lot less… annoying would have been perfect.

A good deal more so, in fact.

Take a look at the original PC trailer for Amnesia: The Dark Descent:

Effective? Yep. Disorienting? Definitely. I’m not sure who put this new trailer together, but it just makes a truly frightening game experience into another jump-scare game that are literally a dime a dozen (or free) on Steam. Now, I’m not one of those off the wall gamers screaming for a boycott or spewing bile over a not so hot (and at the end of the day, minor) decision made by whomever. It’s just that I like having one game that’s actually unnerving to remain so without the possibly fake or overplayed reactions you can see dozens of on YouTube on a daily basis.

-GW

The Technomancer Launch Trailer: Get Your Ass To Mars on PC & Consoles

With the risky and expensive on a few fronts potential of sending humans to Mars (on a one-way trip, yet!) being a big deal over the past couple of years, it’s clear that entertainment focused on the Angry Red Planet is going to be hot for a while. Fresh from veteran developer Spiders and publisher Focus Home Interactive comes The Technomancer, an action/RPG for PC, PS4, and Xbox One out tomorrow. A prequel to MARS: War Logs, the game looks to add to the lore Spiders set forth in that game while introducing new characters, environments and gameplay to players who buy their ticket to the stars.

I’ve been bonked on the noggin with a review code, so I’m going to be off-planet for a bit. Back with some impressions shortly. Oh, by the way: MARS: War Logs is on SALE on Steam for 75% off. Check it out if your curiosity is piqued. It’s got a few rough edges, but makes for a pretty decent diversion that makes The Technomancer all the more intriguing as a prequel. If the new game is even better, will Spiders go forward or back in the timeline they’ve created? That’s a question for sales figures to partially answer, I’d bet.

Assault Suit Leynos: Target Worth (But So Far, Not US-Bound)

As you can see above, Dracue Software has taken the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis classic Assault Suit Leynos (or Target Earth to American gamers), polished it up while keeping the gameplay and visuals nicely nostalgic. Even better, the music is the same as in the original game but sounds suitably beefy (yes, I was grinning like a madman while this trailer was playing). So far, the game will only be available for Japanese PlayStation 4 owners and most likely other Asian territories.

Given that the intro screen text crawl is in English, it’s a safe bet that the game may be considered for localization by a smart US publisher. My money is on Xseed Games, Atlus or maybe Rising Star Games as a longshot. Anyway, it’s a darn good thing I’m not home at the moment or else I’d have stopped writing this post, dug out the Genesis or MD from under the TV and started playing the original version just to relive he days of beating it on on sitting on the hardest level. Granted, my reflexes are probably a lot lousier than they were way back in the day and it would take a few plays to recapture that old glory and put a notch in the gaming belt. Hell, I probably won’t make it past the first stage until I remember how to quickly take down that end-level boss ship before it reaches my base and blows it to space dust.

Eh, we’ll see. Now, someone get on getting his game out in English, please. I’ll start holding my breath in 3… 2… 1… (inhale!).

Vendetta: Curse of Raven’s Cry: Arr, Yeah – It’s Not Dead In The Water

VendettaLogo (Custom) 

News3Remember a game called Raven’s Cry that was supposed to pop up a while back on PC and consoles? Well, it sort of did (on PC) but didn’t survive the harsh critical waters thanks to a number of issues. Reality Pump Studios moon-walked off the plank it was on, went back to the drawing board and has polished up their open world pirate RPG to what looks like a tasty finish.

The newly titled Vendetta: Curse of Ravens Cry has a release date of November 20 (hey, tomorrow!) looms on the horizon for Mac, Linux and SteamOS in both Standard and Digital Deluxe Editions for users who want their games in that particular format. Console and packaged retail versions of the game will arrive sometime during Q1 2016, but don’t expect to see this on the PS3 or Xbox 360 at all as those “old” systems have of late been consigned to Davey Jones’ locker when it comes to getting new releases, arrrr!

Five screens below and publisher TopWare Interactive has just put up a nice interactive map of the places you’ll go on your ship with your not so jolly crew. As far as I can tell, there are no whales to deal with in the game, but as you can see, Here There Be Tygers… er, leopards. That screen is kind of amusing because it looks as if both that feline and that pirate are thinking of that new coat they’re going to be wearing when the smoke clears.

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As to the seaworthiness of Vendetta, it’s probably safe to say that Reality Pump has set the ship righter that it’s previusly been, but the proof will be in the parrot pudding starting tomorrow.

Humble Weekly Bundle Features Some Great Rising Stars

HWB Rising Star Games
 
How’s this for a “don’t miss it!” deal? Seven of Rising Star Games‘ best indies for a mere eight dollars (or more if you choose)? yeah, I heard your jaw drop from here, pal. Every single RSG indie up for less than a song. Anyway, what’s in the digital box? Look in the box below and go get your bundle before time expires on this fantastic deal:

HWB_Rising Star Games Bundle 

Deadly Premonition: The Director’s Cut is worth it for it’s supremely bizarre take on the horror and open world game genres, but everything here is worth your time if you’re one of those open-minded gamers who loves variety and plenty of replay value. Ha – I see that you’re all busy buying and downloading now, so I’ll just silently sneak away and let you get to it.