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  1. Kingdom Hearts fans may have to wait a bit longer for more news on the much-anticipated Kingdom Hearts 3, but in the meantime Square-Enix has confirmed that Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD Remix will be arriving this December. This title is a collection of several Kingdom Hearts games remastered in HD, including Kingdom Hearts 2 Final Mix, Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep Final Mix, and remastered HD theatrical cutscenes from Kingdom Hearts Re:coded. The Final Mix versions of the former two games include content that was not previously available in North America and look to shed further light on the story. This collection also acts as a lead-in to the upcoming Kingdom Hearts III. For now, fans can look forward to playing Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD Remix on December 2 on the PlayStation 3. You can check out the latest trailer for the game below, which also has a short teaser for Kingdom Hearts III at the end. Source: Giantbomb Are you excited for Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD Remix?
  2. From the album: Drakengard 3

    © http://squareportal.files.wordpress.com

  3. From the album: Drakengard 3

    © http://gematsu.com

  4. barrel

    Drakengard 3: With a Vengeance

    From the album: Drakengard 3

    © http://squareportal.files.wordpress.com

  5. barrel

    Drakengard 3: 2

    From the album: Drakengard 3

    © http://squareportal.files.wordpress.com

  6. barrel

    Drakengard 3

    From the album: Drakengard 3

    © http://www.siliconera.com

  7. LittleBigPlanet 3 was formerly unveiled at Sony's Pre-E3 Press Conference the other night, but if you were expecting Media Molecule to be developing it, think again! This new entry will be handled by Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed developer Sumo Digital, and it boasts a number of new features that is sure to get PlayStation 4 owners excited, including 4-player co-op. First off, three new playable characters were introduced; each having different abilities. Oddsock was the first to be shown in a live, on-stage demo during the press conference, and he's a frog-like Sack creature that is extremely fast and can wall jump. Next up is Toggle, who can shift between being tiny and huge in order to access new areas as well as use his large girth to weigh down buttons and such. Last but not least is Swoop, a bird-like creature who can fly and pick up and carry other characters. Also of note—all previous user-created content from LBP1 and LBP2 will also be available right from the start when you play LBP3. In addition, all of those levels will feature upscaled graphics! LittleBigPlanet 3 is slated for release this November on PS4. A PS3 release was also announced, though it is unclear if it will arrive at the same time or at a later point. You can check out the trailer for the game below. Source: PlayStation Pre-E3 Press Conference Are you looking forward to the new additions in LittleBigPlanet 3?
  8. Developer: Telltale Games Publisher: Telltale Games Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC Release Date: May 13 (PS3, PC), May 14 (360) ESRB: M for Mature [Note: At this point, I cannot avoid some spoilers to Season 2 Episodes 1 and 2; reader beware. There are no substantial spoilers to Episode 3 in this review.] The Walking Dead: Season 2 has reached its midpoint, and things are really starting to heat up for Clementine and the survivors. They are captured by Carver and taken to his community, which is more of a prison state than a place to call home. As tensions rise and the survivors have to deal with the past as well as the present, Clementine has to find a way to escape from the community, with the group in tow. Episode 3: In Harm's Way brings a new type of tension to Telltale's The Walking Dead series. Before, the survivors were only really worried about survival against the zombie hordes; now, the survivors have to deal with the possibly more dangerous threat of Carver himself. He makes for a great antagonist, really; while he is clearly half-crazed and not afraid to kill, it's also clear that he truly cares about the community he has built up, and believes that his methods are the only way to keep it all together. This creates for a different episode than the norm; you don't really feel a great threat from the walkers for the most part, as you do in the other episodes; instead, the threat is from other humans, and the tempers they may or may not have. That also means there's an overall lack of action in this episode, but it also allows for a good deal of characterization. In Harms Way also has a great deal of brutality. While the series has never shied away from gore and death, this new setting takes things to a new psychological level. Carver's methods are sure to leave a bad taste in your mouth, and some of the decisions you yourself have to make may make your stomach do flips. None of these scenes feel particularly forced in, either; they have distinct reasons, and aren't there just to unsettle players. Also, those that played the special 400 Days episode are finally able to see what happened to the survivors that left to come to (what was apparently) Carver's community. Rather unfortunately, though, these survivors only make a short, rather unneeded appearance. The only survivor from the 400 Days group to take a substantial role is Bonnie, who is also the only survivor guaranteed to go to the community in the extra episode. It's a shame that Telltale couldn't integrate the other survivors beyond a mere cameo appearance, and a disappointing part of an otherwise great episode. Another sticking point turns up involving the survivors that may have ended up dead in Episode 2. I stated in my review that I felt some of these characters may have died depending on my actions, and Episode 3 shows that this may have been true; however, Telltale makes this obvious by the way the characters in question have been treated in the dialogue. One of the above characters gets taken away from the group early on in the episode, and ends up being left behind near the end due to various reasons. The other character—while still being quite alive, still with the group, and previously being a person that caused a fair amount of tension—has next to no lines in Episode 3, and those few lines have no weight to the narrative whatsoever. This could be written off due to the character's shock at certain events, but it comes off more as lazy writing on Telltale's part. It's unfortunate that the characters couldn't have a little more weight behind them actually being alive, and players that found issue with Season 1's deceptively linear narrative are also going to find this treatment in Season 2 to be rather disappointing. While these issues do detract a bit from the episode's overall quality, that doesn't completely discount the fact that In Harm's Way offers an interesting and exciting continuation of the story of our pre-teen survivor. If you're willing to forgive the little hiccups, The Walking Dead: Season 2 Episode 3 will give you an engaging and rather interesting two-hour ride. Pros: + A slower pace and relatively safe location give for plenty of characterization opportunities + Carver is a great, intriguing antagonist Cons: - 400 Days cast is largely unimportant - The narrative is starting to give hints that perhaps this season's plot is linear, as well Overall Score: 7.5 (out of 10) Good In Harm's Way is a great episode that offers plenty of room for tension and drama as we work towards its conclusion, but there's no getting away from the nagging disappointments that make the narrative feel as though your choices do not matter. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable code provided by the publisher.
  9. Jason Clement

    R-Type Dimensions Blasts Onto PSN Today

    Side-scrolling space shooter fans may remember the R-Type series quite well from the '80s and '90s; it was one of, if not the best series in the genre, offering some hardcore difficulty to those who were up to the challenge. Now Tozai Games has recreated the first and second R-Type games in high-res, 3D graphics as R-Type Dimensions for the PS3. It offers the same challenging gameplay from both games and allows you to switch between the modern HD graphics and the classic, retro style with the press of a button during gameplay. And like the original game, this one also features couch co-op play with another player. Other new features include a slow-motion button that will let you slow down time so you can dodge bullets, an Infinite Mode that gives you an infinite number of lives to allow you to complete the game, fully customizable controls, and a stage select mode that allows you to practice and play any level when you want. Of course, leaderboards are also featured as well. You can grab R-Type Dimensions for $9.99 on the PS3's PlayStation Store when it updates later today. Also, you can check out the game's trailer below. Source: PlayStation Blog
  10. Steve Bitto

    Far Cry 4 Coming in November 2014

    Ubisoft announced this week during a financial presentation that Far Cry 4 will be releasing November 18, 2014 on PS4, Xbox One, PC, PS3, and Xbox 360. According to the slide show, Ubisoft's Montreal, Red Storm, Toronto, Shangai and Kiev studios are all working on the game. They describe Far Cry 4 as, " A new step towards the revolution of the shooter genre." Financially, Ubisoft expects it to be among the top 10 best selling games of the year. Far Cry 4 will be set in the Himalayan region of Kyrat governed over by a tyrannical king. It will feature a wide variation of weapons and vehicles. Expect to see and hear more on Far Cry 4 at E3 next month. Until then stay tuned to Game Podunk. Source: Ubisoft and Ubisoft Blog
  11. Jason Clement

    Review: Luftrausers

    Developer: Vlambeer Publisher: Devolver Digital Platform: PSN (PS3, PS Vita), PC, Mac, Linux, Release Date: March 18, 2014 ESRB: E for Everyone This review is based on the PS3 version of the game It starts out unassuming enough—your small, pixelated air craft is launched into the sky to take on an army of enemy naval ships, airplanes, submarines and more. A squadron of enemy aircraft approach from behind, but you're able to shake them off and take them down. While that's happening, a few small gunships start firing on you from the waters below. Dodging their fire, you swoop down, opening fire and blowing both to smithereens before realizing that an even larger fleet of enemy planes has descended upon your position. The sky is darkened and filled with endless amounts of machine gun firing every which way. A few guided missiles scream past in all of the confusion and narrowly miss grazing your aircraft by inches. And to add to all that, you face a barrage of incoming cannon fire from a massive battleship below. But despite everything, you avoid almost every shot... that is, until an ace pilot comes out of nowhere and blows you right out of the sky—your plane erupting in a blaze of glory amidst explosions everywhere. Welcome to Luftrausers. What was just described is what you can expect out of an average session of the game, if you can expect to survive even that long. If you're a seasoned pilot, you may get to see multiple battleships, submarines, and even a blimp or two in addition to all of that, making for some truly chaotic gameplay. At the heart of Luftrausers lies an aerial arcade shoot 'em up that, like many similar action-oriented titles, revels in its willful destruction. There's a certain similarity to Geometry Wars where, in that game, skill is rewarded in part with brilliant displays of beautiful fireworks-like explosions. And yet the thrill of explosions and chaotic action that results is only one aspect of Luftrausers. The central mechanic lies in building up your score by use of chained combos which result from shooting down other air- and naval-craft. Shooting down five planes quickly and consecutively, for example, will give you a 5x multiplier (which will eventually max out once you reach 20x). You'll then have just a few seconds to keep that combo going by shooting down or destroying something else, otherwise the combo breaks. But if you manage to keep it going? You'll be rewarded with potentially thousands and, if you're good enough, tens of thousands of points that will possibly land you at the top of the worldwide leaderboards. One of the best things about Luftrausers is how it exceeds at being easy to get into, yet being difficult to master; just about anyone could pick it up and start playing and know exactly what to do in just a few short seconds thanks to the simple controls and mechanics. In fact, when you first start the game, you simple press the up button and you're taken immediately into the gameplay. There's no drawn out narrative or exposition either; all you're given are a series of three short missions (of which there are 100 in all) each time you launch your craft, and they range from taking down certain enemy craft to score-based challenges and even ones with special conditions (i.e. taking down 10 enemy fighters while on fire). Completing these missions yield additional vehicle bodies, engines, and weapons that provide different bonuses or effects. For example, one body type is so sharp that it can cut through other ships with ease when you run into them and yet another type will drop bombs automatically as you fly. One weapon turns your gun into a single, deadly cannon shot while another gives you a wide spread shot of five bullets. Being able to mix and match different combinations is crucial to completing certain types of missions and it's a lot of fun to find out which combo works best for you. The game's 8-bit pixelated aesthetic lends to its charm and would look right at home on something like the NES, though the pixel art of the different military personnel on the option screens have already caused some controversy. They are intentionally designed to appear as fascist so as to evoke a feeling of the era from the 1900s to 1980s where military intelligence were able to ascertain that the opposing forces were studying and designing "secret weapons" though not quite knowing what they were. In light of this, Luftrausers' character designs have garnered much criticism for their supposed similarity to Nazi symbolism; Vlambleer claims in an apology on their site that they did not design the pilot (or anyone else) with that in mind, however. For what it's worth, I do agree that it's an unfortunate oversight on Vlambeer's part, but the designs are generic enough (perhaps except for the style of uniform; no swastikas, though, thankfully) that I didn't have any particular problem with it. That minor controversy aside, Luftrausers is quite the experience. Its fast, aerial dogfighting and increasingly complex naval battlefield during gameplay make for one of the most thrilling experiences I've played through this year. It might not make a huge splash for the first few minutes, but once you really start to get into racking up points through combos and attempting to take down some of the harder enemy crafts and such, the real fun starts and it becomes incredibly addicting. Too many times I would have a play session that would be extended by another 5-, 10-, 15-, 30-minutes or even an hour just because I had to give it one more try to finish the mission or reach x amount of points. If you love arcade-style gameplay and acquiring high scores and such, you owe it to yourself to play this game; its a complete blast. Now if you excuse me, I have a blimp to take down. Pros + Fast, addictive, aerial dogfighting action + Simple to learn, control, but difficulty steadily increases in-game the longer you survive + Music is pretty catchy, especially after long sessions of play + Leaderboards and plenty of missions offer lots of replay value Cons - Fascist art-style might be offputting to some - May only appeal to fans of arcade shmups and score attacks Overall Score: 9 (out of 10) Fantastic Luftrausers is one of the best aerial arcade shoot 'em ups to arrive in recent history. If arcade games and going after high scores is your thing, grab your helmet and get ready to take off, because this game is a blast. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable code provided by the publisher
  12. solid-alchemist

    BioShock Infinite Review

    BioShock Infinite (PS3) Developed by Irrational Games Published by 2K Games Released March 26, 2013 Review Written April 12, 2014 Originally Posted on The Time Heist Blog For years I had been closely eyeing this title since its 2010 reveal from Irrational Games. As a fan of the original BioShock and its sequel, I anticipated an amazing rollercoaster that would possibly trump the original BioShock. With Irrational Games and Ken Levine regaining the creative reigns for BioShock Infinite, will this title bring the same magic displayed in the city of Rapture or should the floating city of Columbia just drift into oblivion like a meandering balloon? In short, yes BioShock Infinite captures similar values from the original BioShock but in itself is an entirely different experience. Although my timing for finally getting around to this game is fairly horrible in light of the recent news of Irrational Games being shutdown and dispersed, I“m glad I finally took the time to experience what I had been fawning over for years. BioShock Infinite is a great game in my opinion and in the twenty-three hours it took me to complete the campaign I enjoyed it to its entirety. Though the game can be completed in less than fifteen hours, I spent many moments gazing about the environments or searching for secrets strewn within the levels out of habit. As opposed to the dark beauty that was Rapture, the floating city of Columbia explodes with wonderfully bright colored hues. The floating city just looks so clean and vivid. BioShock Infinite utilizes a range of bright color schemes throughout each of the levels, and similar to the original Bioshock the structured tonality matches the transpiring situations. To add to this, the talking NPC“s and soft musical tones make this floating isle feel realistic, like I“m watching an adventure film about a lively civilization in the sky. Though with beauty comes an underlying horror as I would find myself witnessing screen tearing during certain climactic parts of the game. At first it was distracting but it completely disappears from annoyance as its appearances were minimal. Story-wise, in BioShock Infinite you take on the role of Booker DeWitt who has been tasked with finding a girl named Elizabeth to erase all of his gambling debts in the year 1912. Very much different from BioShock“s Jack, Booker actually has dialogue and interacts with the locals of Columbia. Not being a muted puppet controlled by the player, Booker has personality. Elizabeth also has a great personality and easily meshes with Booker creating an entertaining ride to the viewers. I“m Commander False Shepard, and this is my favorite tattoo on my body. BioShock Infinite dabbles in previously viewed ideals of choice but mixing it with American history, quantum physics, and ideals of destiny. More of a science fictional action-adventure than its horror focused predecessors, BioShock Infinite“s story resembles that of a Hollywood blockbuster. I found myself glued to my seat enjoying what developments were thrown at me and often anticipated what twists and turns were to come. Even though the ending left my head spinning and required me to replay the campaign a second time to grasp what was unfolded, I thoroughly enjoyed the story within BioShock Infinite. The gameplay is what ties the story and the visuals all together, and the BioShock formula still hasn“t really changed since the previous games. I“m not complaining though as I enjoyed the numerous shootouts throughout the game and believe the style worked with how the story flowed. I“ve heard a few mention they didn“t feel that the firefights didn“t fit within the game, but I believe it fit perfectly with Columbia“s very own Civil War brewing. These firefights were made more interesting when a robotic replica of an American Founding Father walks towards you with a gatling gun. There“s nothing like that surprise factor that leaves you open for attack as you try to configure what the hell is actually going on, and I“m talking about you robotic Abe Lincoln. Whoa! The Be Sharps reunited to perform their hit, “Baby On Boardâ€. As the gameplay formula hasn“t changed, the controls are still as smooth as the previous BioShocks. The only differing mechanics are the skylines and having Elizabeth tagging along. The skylines act as a fancy transition between locals while mixing in strategic combat. I often found myself riding the lines to investigate possible secret areas or to get a quick jump on unsuspecting enemies. The other change was having a sidekick along for the long journey. I actually feared a little that the game would end up being one long escort mission with Elizabeth constantly getting in the way or getting killed. This isn“t the case as Elizabeth can“t be injured by enemies and will actually hide during firefights. She even plays the role of helper throughout each area by throwing items your way that she“s found. Set in the same way that Ellie was mechanically just Joel“s shadow in The Last of Us, Elizabeth is there for the fight but doesn“t interfere with the flow of it. Although the game is damn near perfect in my book I still longed for one feature that was available in the first BioShock, hacking minigames. For some strange reason I loved the hacking minigames in the previous installments, and in BioShock Infinite they are missing. All of the locks are either opened via a keycode or through Elizabeth“s amazing lock picking skills that could quite possibly put Jill “The Master of Lock Picking†Valentine to shame. Although it was missing from the game, it is quite possible Irrational Games deemed it unnecessary or something that would ruin the current flow of the adventure. HIGH FIVE!!!!!!!! In conclusion, even though Bioshock Infinite strays away from the former“s horror focused design, the science fictional action is a welcome sight. The cast of characters all play a prominent role and will be easily remembered in days past. Easily noted, the Lutice twins and their banter similar to that of a 1940“s comedic duo will always come to mind when looking back at what could be the final BioShock game. So in turn, if you enjoyed the previous BioShock games or enjoy FPS games that have an interesting story to follow, then BioShock Infinite is definitely a game you should buy. So wipe away the debt, bring them the girl… Review Written by Solid-Alchemist If you enjoyed this review and would like to check out some other opinion pieces, come on over to The Time Heist. Any critique's or recommendations are welcome!
  13. Today, Disney officially announced its next iteration of the Disney Infinity franchise, this time called Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes. The game is slated to feature the likes of the Avengers, Spider-Man, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and villains such as Loki and MODOK, and they'll all share the same type of visual aesthetic that the characters from the first game had. Also, like the first Disney Infinity, this one will also feature a starter set which includes Thor, Black Widow, and Iron Man, the Avengers play set, and two minigame-discs. All characters, power discs, and the base from Disney Infinity 1.0 will work here as well. This year will feature 20 new characters and 80 new power discs releasing. Speaking of the latter, the power discs will now feature new types such as costume changes and sidekicks. Super heroes will also figure into different category types (such as brawler, ranged, etc.) and will have their own branching skill trees that players can upgrade over the course of the game. The Toy Box mode is also said to be getting an overhaul this time around as the developers are spending a good 60% of their time on it in order to streamline building as well as letting players enter interior structures and even letting you decorate your own home with achievements and the like. Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes will be released this Fall on PS4, Xbox One, Wii U, PS3, Xbox 360, PC, and iOS. Reportedly, a new starter kit will be required for the Xbox One version, but the PS3's base will be usable with the PS4 version of the game. Source: Game Informer Are you excited for Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes?
  14. It was only a week and a half ago that the PlayStation Store hosted an amazing sale for games that were marked down to $0.99, and now Sony looks to be following up on the tremendous savings by providing another big sale. In honor of Golden Week in Japan (which encompasses four holidays and is the biggest shopping and traveling week of the year there), the PlayStation Store is hosting a sale to celebrate some big Japanese games which you'll be able to get for up to 50-75% off. Here's a list of what's on sale- Color Key PS Plus Price Regular Sale Price Armored Core: Verdict Day (PS3) - $5.99 $9.99 $19.99 Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk (PS3) - $24.49 $34.99 $49.99 Atelier Meruru Plus: The Apprentice of Arland (PS Vita) - $19.59 $27.99 $39.99 Atelier Totori Plus: The Adventurer of Arland (PS Vita) - $19.59 $27.99 $39.99 Chrono Cross (PS3/PSP/PS Vita) - $3.49 $4.99 $9.99 Chrono Trigger (PS3/PSP/PS Vita) - $3.49 $4.99 $9.99 Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc (PS Vita) - $32.39 $35.99 $39.99 Devil May Cry HD Collection (PS3) - $8.99 $14.99 $29.99 Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z (PS3) - $15.00 $29.99 $59.99 Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z (PS Vita) - $10.00 $19.99 $39.99 Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational (PS3) - $5.00 $9.99 $19.99 Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory (PS3) - $14.69 $20.99 $29.99 Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (PS3) - $14.99 $24.99 $49.99 Metal Gear Solid HD Collection (PS3) - $11.99 $19.99 $39.99 Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection (PS Vita) - $8.99 $14.99 $29.99 Muramasa Rebirth (PS Vita) - $7.49 $12.49 $24.99 Persona 4 Golden (PS Vita) - $14.62 $19.49 $29.99 rain (PS3) - $3.75 $7.49 $14.99 Saint Seiya: Brave Soldiers (PS3) - $15.00 $29.99 $59.99 SoulCalibur V (PS3) - $5.00 $9.99 $19.99 Tales of Symphonia Chronicles (PS3) - $10.00 $19.99 $39.99 Time and Eternity (PS3) - $9.79 $13.99 $19.99 Ys: Memories of Celceta (PS Vita) - $19.59 $27.99 $39.99 Zone of the Enders HD Collection (PS3) - $10.49 $17.49 $34.99 There are also a number of other sales on games that include the likes of Daylight ($11), Vagrant Story ($3), Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 1 & 2 ($5 and $10), and much more. Check out the rest of the list on the PlayStation Blog! Source: PlayStation Blog Which games will you be buying during this sale?
  15. Jason Clement

    Review: Child of Light

    Developer: Ubisoft Montréal Publisher: Ubisoft Platforms: Wii U (eshop) PS4/PS3 (PSN) Xbox One/Xbox 360 (XBL), PC (Steam) Release Date: April 29, 2014 (Wii U, PS3,PS4) April 30, 2014 (PC, Xbox One/Xbox 360) Rating: E 10+ This review is based on the Wii U version of the game Child of Light is a 2D side-scrolling platformer/RPG hybrid that evokes a fairy tale-like aesthetic in its visuals and story. The main character in this tale is Aurora, a young princess with a pure heart whose soul was brought to the Kingdom of Lemuria. At first, the whole predicament seems like a nightmare to her and she wishes for nothing more to wake up from it all, but she soon discovers that it's all too real as she's thrust into a quest to reclaim the three sources of light and defeat the Black Queen who has taken over the realm. Now if you're wondering why this review started out with a poem, it's because the game's narrative and dialogue is told liberally through rhyming—again, much like many fairy tales of old used to be. Though a bit unorthodox at first, it does put a charming and unique spin on the way the story is told. Also, it can't be stated enough just how beautiful the art direction in this game is. Using the same UbiART Framework engine that Rayman Legends and its predecessor used, Ubisoft Montréal has brought to life the drawings and colors of a storybook fairy tale, and it's arguably even more impressive and surreal than the other two aforementioned games. The sheer attention to detail in animations (such as Aurora's constantly flowing hair or how her crown gets knocked off when she's attacked during battles) is astounding, as are the minute intricacies of the different paintings and backgrounds that make up each area. On the platforming side of the game (everything outside of battle mode, essentially), you control Aurora by herself, though you'll eventually meet characters that will join your party and assist you in your quest as well as in battles. Aurora also has a little elemental spirit (who literally looks like a rain drop) named Igniculus for a companion, and you'll be able to move him around the screen with the right analog stick (or if you're playing the Wii U version, you can assign him to a Wiimote so a second player can control him). He plays an important part in battles as I'll explain in a bit, but outside of them he can be used to collect orbs called wishes (which, if collected in a certain order, will help restore HP and MP) as well as open treasure chests and light beacons and switches that will help you progress through some of the game's light puzzles and dungeon areas. As you make your way through each area, you'll encounter various dark creatures and enemies, but you can choose to avoid them most of the time if you want. Still, you're doing no favors if you avoid most of them since you'll need the experience for tougher battles like the boss fights. If you do come into contact with one, a battle will start, though how it begins is contingent on how you approach the enemy. In a nice touch, you can actually gain the advantage of having first strike if you come at them from behind, but the same is also true of the opposite; get struck by them (or by a projectile) and they'll suddenly have the jump on you. Speaking of which, the battle system is without a doubt one of the best and most exciting parts of Child of Light. It's similar to the Active Time Battle system known to Final Fantasy fans, but a bit modified. Both your party's characters and the enemy characters adhere to a time bar on the bottom of the screen, starting on the left and ending up on the right side before you can execute your move. The last 20% or so of the right side of the bar is a red zone known as the casting phase. When a character first reaches this part of the bar, you'll be able to select their move which will then have its own, potentially shorter waiting period. Depending on the type of move you execute, the wait could be instantaneous (i.e. using items, defending), short, medium, long, or very long (most powerful magic). You can also only have two active party members at a time in a battle, but you can switch back and forth with any of them at the beginning of each turn. Where it gets really interesting is when you factor in the ability to use Igniculus's wish power to either slowly heal one of your characters or hinder an enemy character's progress, thus slowing them down and increasing their waiting time between moves. Just like when you're outside of battles, this uses up the wish bar, so you have to be careful with how you use it; if you run out of wishes, you'll have to wait for it to slowly refill. Something else you'll need to consider is the fact that if an enemy attacks one of your characters while they are in the casting phase, they'll be interrupted and have to start all over on the bar, but the opposite is also true. By taking advantage of Igniculus's ability to slow enemies down, you can turn battles in your favor by ensuring that the enemy's casting phase is interrupted, thus buying you time before they can attack again. This is a crucial part of the gameplay and it makes for some truly intense boss fights throughout as a result. The only downside to this mechanic is that you can pretty much game the system once you're down to one enemy left on the screen (including bosses), ensuring that you can almost always interrupt its casting phase. However, the bosses get around this somewhat by being faster and having some brutal counterattacks, buffs, and/or debuffs if you do interrupt them, making things a bit more interesting. These particular battles will also have you making full use of many of your characters' different abilities, keeping things fast-paced and strategic. Outside of battle, there is also a system that allows you to equip and craft gems called Oculi, which give your characters certain bonus and stat enhancements. For example, equipping Sapphire Oculi will make a character more resistant to fire attacks, while others can add attack bonuses, extra HP, and more. The whole system is extremely useful due to the ability to combine Oculi together to create even more powerful versions, giving you a degree of control over how you want to set up your characters, stat-wise. It's also fun to see what new Oculi you can make from combining others. There's also a branching skill tree where you'll use skill points gained from leveling up to unlock new stat bonuses and skills, allowing you to customize your characters in a way you see fit. Aside from the main quest, there are also a number of side quests you can undertake which often result in being rewarded with rare items as well as some additional side stories, like those of some of your companions. Your party members will also talk with each other in cutscenes occasionally after battles, lending to a greater sense of them being individuals with their own personalities and quirks. This is something Child of Light does exceptionally well—even in the shorter time span the game has compared to most other RPGs, you really do feel like you grow with your companions, each of which have their own motivations and desires. Not all of them are incredibly interesting, but you'll likely have a favorite or two among the bunch. In the end, Child of Light is, without a doubt, a triumph in every way. Its formula and fusion of storybook fairytale aesthetic combined with RPG and platforming elements make for one of the most fun, unique, and beautiful titles I've played in some time, and its soundtrack is also a joy to listen to. The story is exceptionally good as well, with many of the characters making it even stronger with their own sub-plots and struggles. Ubisoft has now also set the bar for downloadable games, not only in quality of content, but also when it comes to value, as this is possibly the best $15 you'll spend in your life so far due to the breadth of content and depth of gameplay you're getting. If you love RPGs or are even the slightest bit curious about this, then you should absolutely play Child of Light. It's far and away one of the best games not only this year, but of the generation. Pros + Amazing visuals and fairytale aesthetic brought to life by UbiART Framework + Great story and interesting use of rhyming in narrative + Battles are extremely engaging and fun + Great value; $15 for deep gameplay and 15+ hours of content Cons Battles, especially boss fights can become predictable in nature Overall Score: 10 (out of 10) Masterful Child of Light is breathtaking to behold and brilliant to play. If any of Ubisoft's games deserve to be called a masterpiece, it's this one. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable code provided by the publisher.
  16. Steve Bitto

    Playstation Plus May Lineup Revealed

    Sony has announced the titles coming to the Instant Game Collection for Playstation Plus members in May. Playstation Plus has impressed in recent months offering quality titles like Bioshock: Infinite, Batman: Arkham City and Tomb Raider. Next month will be no different. Among the games available is the fantastic Puppeteer which we absolutely adored! Here is a full breakdown of May's PS Plus offering: PS4 Stick it to the Man! PS3 Puppeteer Pro Evolution Soccer 2014 Skullgirls Encore PS Vita Surge Deluxe Limbo Take a peak at the quirky puzzler Stick it to the Man! for Playstation 4: Source: Playstation Blog Do any of these games have you excited for the May PS Plus update?
  17. Dragon Age: Inquisition will launch on PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One October 7 in the US and October 10 in Europe! Inquisition will be the third in the series and the first on next gen consoles. According to the game's official website, those who pre-order the game will also get the Flames of the Inquisition DLC pack. EA and Bioware were nice enough to provide this trailer to whet your appetite. Excited to get your hands on Dragon Age: Inquisition this October? Source: Dragon Age Inquisition Official Website
  18. Jason Clement

    Tales of Xillia 2 Dated for Release in August

    If Tales of Xillia left you wanting more when you played it last year, then you'll be happy to know that you won't have to wait much longer for its sequel. Namco Bandai has announced that Tales of Xillia 2 will be releasing on August 19 in North America first, followed by a European release on August 22. Xillia 2's storyline follows a chef from Elympios named Ludger Kresnik, along with his brother Julius and their cat, Rollo. Ludger's bloodline is said to have possessed a terrible power, so the three embark on an adventure that affects the recently united world. A Collector's Edition of the game was also announced, which includes a figure of Ludger Kresnik, music CD, soundtrack, Rollo key charm, replica pocket watch, and 3 DLC costumes (one each from Vesperia, Symphonia Chronicles, and Graces F). Source: Press Release Are you looking forward to Tales of Xillia 2?
  19. Jason Clement

    Suikoden II May Be Coming to PSN Soon

    At this point, Suikoden II might just be the biggest PlayStation game to not have been released on the PlayStation Store as a PSOne classic, and fans have taken note of this fact for years. The original Suikoden has actually been on the PS Store since 2008, so its sequel's absence has been the source of much speculation and mystery over the last few years. However, that all looks to change soon. An ESRB rating for Suikoden II on PlayStation 3 in North America was spotted by Silconera earlier today, and Sony Computer Entertainment America is listed as the publisher, leading many to believe that they're the ones that licensed and precipitated this release; not Konami, who owns the franchise and published the sequel when it originally launched. In any case, none of this has been officially confirmed, but ESRB ratings usually result in the game being released not too long after, so it looks like more Suikoden is in store for RPG fans. Source: Siliconera Are you excited at the prospect of Suikoden II potentially releasing on PSN soon?
  20. Developer: Telltale Games Publisher: Telltale Games Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360, OSX (PS Vita and iOS coming at a later date) Release Date: April 8, 2014 Rating: M for Mature Note: As this is the halfway point in the story, some spoilers are discussed in this review We're finally at the halfway point in the The Wolf Among Us, and by now, most stories usually give the audience a good idea of where the plot is heading. While Episode 2 was still a solid episode, this was one aspect that it failed at as the whole episode just felt more like a sub-plot then it was actually advancing the story, at least until the end. Fortunately, Episode 3 picks up the pieces and manages to do something interesting with them, all the while introducing some new characters that shake up the situation a bit. Episode 3: A Crooked Mile begins with the fallout over the revelation about Crane that was revealed at the end of Episode 2, leaving Bigby determined to track him down for answers. The evidence discovered against Crane so far is pretty convincing, and he feels the need to let Snow White know at once; however she's already tied up with another matter tied to the previous episode; the timing of which couldn't be worse due to what's going on. Adding to the fuel on the fire is the fact that with Crane having disappeared, Fabletown is now without proper leadership, a fact that Bluebeard points out when he barges in on Bigby and Snow in the middle of their investigation in the Town Hall. Bluebeard's insistence on helping with the case throws a figurative wrench into the gears as Bigby and Snow can't be certain of his intentions and if he has ulterior motives in all of this. Unfortunately, they're left no choice but to agree to his inclusion on the matters and the three are left to investigate Crane's apartment, what the Brothers Tweedle are up to, and who Crane's black market glamour supplier is. There are some intriguing moments throughout that especially stand out, such as two separate instances that have Bigby dealing with a person that is under the influence of medication and/or alcohol. Naturally, the way you respond is crucial since someone without their full thinking faculties is more opt to make rash decisions, and interestingly enough, you can play along with their delusions and game their expectations to further your cause. The moment with Holly in particular is an interesting one, as you come to learn a little about the relationship between her, The Woodsman, and her sister, Lily. Some of the decisions Bigby must decide in this episode feel like they have a lot more weight given to them as well, with at least two of them seeming like they may have major ramifications down the road depending on your decision. The conclusion to this episode is also much more well done than the previous two. Whereas the first two episodes went more for quick shock value, Episode 3 presents a more organic ending by introducing new characters that quickly establish themselves as a major threat and dish out consequences for the actions that take place. By the time the credits roll, the plot escalates immensely, not because of shock value, but because a true villain is finally established. And with the underlying themes of poverty, gradualism, racism, and such being discussed, combined with the fact of a larger conspiracy going on, the next two episodes look to pay off in a big way. If there's one thing that's unfortunate about Episode 3, it's that the gameplay itself still doesn't quite live up to what was presented in the first episode. It's still very much a linear affair, with you only having to click on most of what's on the screen in order to proceed, though there are a few action scenes, especially one important one at the end that triggers a major decision you'll need to make. Still, it's a shame there isn't more actual detective work and deducing that happens, like when Bigby cross-examined Mr. Toad's story in Episode 1. After a slightly faltering second chapter, Episode 3: A Crooked Mile really picks up the plot once again and sets it on the path that it needs to be going down. Things are continuing to be built upon - characters, themes, and the plot, and it feels like things are continually moving. It still doesn't quite live up to the highs of the first episode, but it's a great continuation in its own right with plenty to take away from and leaves you excited for the remaining two episodes. Pros + Story pacing is much better this time around + Developments that occur are more interesting and feel like they're going somewhere + Ending does a great job of setting up the final two episodes Cons - Still not a whole lot of investigation/puzzle solving and such Overall Score: 8.5 (out of 10) Great Episode 3: A Crooked Mile is a return to form for The Wolf Among Us. Its developments mark a significant part of the story and will leave you hungry for more. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable Steam code provided by the publisher.