Zelda: Breath of the Wild Site Is A Breath of Fresh Air Today

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Yep. While the disappointment of the release slipping possibly into next summer is a bit annoying, the fact that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild now has an official site chock full of too much info is a really good thing. Go poke around, please. Especially if you’re a big, cranky skeptic who didn’t get the chance to play the demo this past June and think an open world Zelda is somehow a bad idea despite the series being chock full of open world goodness from the very first entry.

-GW

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SLAIN: Back From Hell- Rebirth = More Death (And This Is Good)

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20160801114534_1When last we left Wolfbrew Games‘ crowdfunded bloody heavy metal baby back in March, it was curled up in a fetal position after being excoriated in some fair to unfair critical and player reviews that beat it every which way to Sunday. While some of the complaints were valid, the piggybacking negativity freight train that hit the game got a wee bit out of hand in my opinion. Some who “expected” a 2D Dark Souls meets Castlevania clone when the developer was going for something less derivative let out a few too many howls at the moon. But such are the days where popular games get used as benchmarks for almost any other game that dares have a dark theme and a whiff of gore.

Fortunately, the last few months have gone into polishing up the game, adding many new elements and fixing issues that kept it from being all it needed to be while keeping the core of the game intact.

In other words, folks… it’s BACK:


I’ve just sunk about a half hour into Slain: Back From Hell and it’s absolutely a better game experience so far. The developer has even done something awesome for those players who bought the game back when it was initially released, offering up an extra game code FREE of charge that can be gifted to a non-Slain owning friend. Talk about customer service at its finest! I’m in the middle of a ton of stuff this week, but this will get reviewed ASAP. I just hope my well-aged Xbox 360 controller survives while I’m trying to appease that Metal God.

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-GW

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DOGOS: OPQAM’s Root Grows Into A Mighty Shmup Oak

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dogos_02 Developer OPQAM’s first game, Project Root was and is a pretty solid modern take on the top down arcade shooter that slowed the pace down and opened up its maps to allow for near total freedom to fly and blast enemies through some fairly lengthy missions. That game really felt like a modern take on Thunder Force II‘s top-down sections, but some critics and gamers didn’t “get” the game’s seemingly languid pacing at all, opting to call it “boring” when this wasn’t the case. To each his or her own, I suppose… but this guy thinks a lot of people got it wrong.


 

Still, it seems OPQAM took the brickbats to heart in creating DOGOS, its upcoming PC, PS4, and Xbox One follow up, set to land soon as another digital-only release. It’s been Greenlit on Steam and looks as if it’ll be a big hit for the Recent hands-on time with a three-mission build shows the developer has hit on a great combination of classic shmup gameplay set in an more structured open map that almost gives the game the feeling of a dungeon crawler. There’s a story here to follow about Desmond Phoenix, a lone pilot tasked with some heavy duty mission work on an enemy-packed planet, but I’ll save that for the full review later. What you need to know is the game controls like a dream so far and the go-anywhere aspect coupled with the ship maneuverability really stand out. Yes, there are bosses and mini-boss ships to face off against with players needing to shoot aerial and ground targets as they fly around each large level. While the camera is generally top-down, OPQAM notes a few cool features in the final product:

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The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Hands-On: No-Rule Hyrule Is An Amazing Place

Yep. You need a Wii U. NOW. Or when the game comes out, no hurry! Um, the NX version is supposed to launch the same day, so maybe you can get one of those too?

Yep. You need a Wii U. NOW. Or when the game comes out, no hurry! Um, the NX version is supposed to launch the same day, so maybe you can get one of those too?

 

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This blurry photo is a result of my hands shaking because I was about ten seconds away from firing up the first of two demos. Oops.

Other than a trip into the rabbit hole a few years back after an early teaser trailer, I’d deliberately been ignoring any and all news, gossip and other speculative to factual bits of info about Nintendo‘s new Zelda game because for my purposes, going in cold makes for the best gaming experiences. When the opportunity arose to be one of 500 people who weren’t going to E3 to play the demo, I cleared my calendar and made sure I got my butt down to the Nintendo World Store bright and early to score a slot. Once that was done, the breath holding began with the hope the demo wouldn’t disappoint.

It didn’t. Although a mere 40 minutes was spent with it (two timed sections of 15 and 25 minutes each), the demo of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was one of the most memorable times I’ve had with any game I’ve ever played and definitely the most interesting Zelda game I’ve sampled.

The team has recreated the sense of wonder of the original NES game, but with a much larger and absolutely drop dead gorgeous open world Hyrule devastated by time and disaster starring a Link who’s been awakened after a 100-year slumber. How this ties into previous Zelda games is unclear at this point, but there are enough visual, aural and gameplay cues that give the new game a sense of familiarity longtime fans will get right away. The lucky ones chosen to play and plenty of onlookers at the demo event got to experience a game long in the making that’s going to feel fresh and incredible to longtime Zelda fans who may not play PC role-playing games like The Elder Scrolls or The Witcher series that offer massive maps and an amazing amount of quests to tackle. Breath of the Wild’s freshness brings manual jumping and climbing everything from trees to mountains to the franchise for the first time, no in-game companion/follower for Link (other than Amiibo support noted in the video below the jump), and a world where there’s a lot to do, but one in which the freedom to do as one wishes actually makes things MORE thrilling.

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Goliath Hands-On: Why Build a Bear When A Robot’s More Effective?

GOLIATH logo2016 is turning into quite a packed year of indie game bliss for those looking for alternatives to AAA madness and yearly franchise games trying to recapture old glories long since past. One of my personal favorite indies is Whalebox Studios’ survival/action/RPG, Goliath (out on Steam tomorrow). A bit of time with the demo reveals its an intriguing, vastly fun to play mix of gameplay that should please fans of everything from Minecraft, Armored Core, Pacific Rim and a bunch of other influences that popped into my pointy head as I played. There’s a nicely cartoon aesthetic to the visuals that may initially fool you into thinking the game is a casual sort of fluff game. But my, isn’t it funny how visuals aren’t the big selling point when gameplay is tight and challenging, kids? Yeah, I thought you’d agree.

Anyway, the game’s focus on building and maintaining your Goliath is obviously key to the game, so it’s a benefit that it doesn’t take long before you get your first one built. You play as the a human survivor of a plane crash who ends up in a strange world where different factions are vying for some sort of superiority (as usual). However, with gigantic monsters stomping around in the wilds, let’s just say it’s not safe out there. Your character initially is stuck in the middle of nowhere after the plane wreck, but a radio call from a fellow survivor spurs him on to stay alive and find a means of making it out of that procedurally generated forest map. Your first (but not last) Goliath is a wooden one, but it’s no mere faux Tobanga you’ll be piloting. Nope, your modular mahogany mech is pretty sturdy and can take a bit of a whacking up to a point. As long as you’re near a source of wood or have the materials in your inventory, repairs are a cinch. Continue reading

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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Lost Reavers Killed My Productivity Today (Thanks, Bandai Namco!)


 

So yeah. I only planned to give that Lost Reavers beta a try for oh, about an hour or two. I got online at noon (after a few attempts at logging in after midnight failed because the beta wasn’t ready for its close up), and the next thing I know it was 6:47 and anything else I had planned earlier was toast. More in-depth impressions to come tomorrow. It’s fun and really easy to get into but REALLY needs an offline solo and up to 4-player co-op mode so even MORE people can play it.

Back in a bit. My eyeballs need a break, I’m at level 16 and there’s a big, bad boss that needs to be dealt with (later this evening, perhaps?)

Jalopy Hands-On: Slow Riding a Lemon Is Actually Fun Times

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Jalopy_headerOf all the different games from Excalibur Publishing I’ve sampled over the past two months, Jalopy is out and out the best one to date. Created by Minskworks, which is Greg Pryjmachuk, a former game developer who worked on on the legendary Formula 1 franchise, Jalopy is both a visual throwback to the 1990’s and a solid, challenging car simulation for the modern age that’s more fun to play than certain AAA driving games. Set during the fall of Communism in the Eastern Bloc, players are tasked with owning and maintaining a beat up but lovable Laika 601 as they drive it around the GDR’s highways and countryside. Continue reading

Agatha Christie: The ABC Murders Hands-On: “Little Grey Cells” Get A Nice Workout


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Microids‘ upcoming Agatha Christie: The ABC Murders hits European retail and digital outlets next week for PC (via gog.com or Steam) and US online and retail a few weeks later. Some hands-on time last week with the demo reveals mystery fans will have a fine time indeed playing dapper detective Hercule Poirot as he takes on that clever killer with the alphabet fetish and a talent for leaving clues galore. The demo features Poirot investigating the first murder (a shopkeeper found dead in her tobacco store) using his “little grey cells” in some simple to learn gameplay that should please casual to expert gene fans. Continue reading

Land of A Thousand Gransys III: How’s Your German?

(Thanks, GameStar!)

While I speak not a word of German, it’s not needed at all in this GameStar video preview of the upcoming PC version of Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen. I’m loving the now silky smooth frame rate and upgraded textures quite a lot and am definitely looking forward to diving into the game all over again. While some PC-only gamers may consider this “dated” by current standards, DD:DA has a fantastic sense of atmosphere that brings a solid level of realism to its graphics.

Well, if your description of realism includes a bestiary of mythical beasts trying their level best to kill your user created character dead and many times at that. Look for this one early next year, particularly if you happen to love action-heavy RPG experiences that do a few things differently and quite well at that.