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Found 9 results

  1. Jordan Haygood

    Dead Island Art

    From the album: Kaptain's Gallery

    Artwork for Dead Island.

    © Techland

  2. Developer: Inxile Entertainment Publisher: Techland Publishing Platform: PC, PS4, and Xbox One Release Date: February 28, 2017 ESRB: M for Mature Note: This review is based on the PS4 version of the game I think it says a lot about my awareness of Kickstarter when I had not even heard of Torment: Tides of Numenera prior to reviewing it. A Kickstarter campaign that was so successful that it conjured up over four million in crowd-funding donations adding even more to its prestige. Moreover, it is also a spiritual successor to the cult-classic PC role-playing game Planetscape: Torment. With more than its share of delays, and nearly four years of development time, it is curious to see the anticipated CRPG (computer role playing game) title arrive after its beloved Kickstarter contemporaries already basked in their critical acclaim years ago like Pillars of Eternity and Divinity: Original Sin. Was it worth the wait to see the Ninth World or does it stand faceless among better CRPG options in recent memory? If you told me that Torment: Tides of Numenara was delayed entirely due to writing its highly detailed world for several years I would be more than keen believe you. The sci-fi fantasy world-building and writing in Torment: Tides of Numenara is extremely top notch. Filled with painstaking nuance and detail, the Ninth World in which Torment: Tides of Numenara takes place truly feels lived in despite how extremely foreign just about everything surrounding is at the same time. Now, admittedly, the Ninth World is a very difficult setting to parse initially. The game quickly entertains the thoughts of alternate worlds and the incredibly rich sci-fi fantasy world-building is so distinct that you feel just as lost as your mostly blank slate protagonist. But, in an attempt to try sum up preamble in a somewhat comprehensive way, the character you play is a former vessel (also referred to as The Last Castoff) of a being called the Thousand Faced God. Gaining your own sense of self, while uncovering the world around you, you learn that you are but one of many discarded bodies that your former Thousand Faced God “sire” has used in pursuit of his/her own personal endeavors. However, the huge caveat is that the death-cheating/soul-transferring Thousand Faced God, as well as the former vessels that have developed their own sense of self, live in constant fear of a powerful monster known as The Sorrow that is in active pursuit of them, which is seemingly the only way to permanently kill and absorb their existence at any time. I may argue that Torment: Tides of Numenara is more into its world-building than anything else (and for good reason), but it certainly has the soul of a classic CRPG as well. There is a ton of flexibility in character builds and whatever strengths and weaknesses you want to have your variation of The Last Castoff predicated on. Various class molds and D&D styled skill checks are all there and then some. More than anything else this is the most traditional aspect about the game, and it being built within the Pillars of Eternity engine also helps it conform within the familiar CRPG mold too. To be frank, however, I have played more than thirty hours of the game, and have only seen the combat system about three times total (arguably two because one was a tutorial). I was certainly presented with many more chances to fight, but I pretty much avoided most conflict just by talking or passing various ability checks. Apparently the original Planetscape: Torment was very similar in this regard in which you could avoid just about any potential fight based on your actions as well. I think that's awesome, since so many RPGs pretend to have the narrative conceit of player choice and Torment: Tides of Numenara truly follows up on it. What I will say is that even if I did not have much exposure to battles, it does seem rather underwhelming compared to the much more varied and strategic gameplay of Divinity: Original Sin. It also did not help that I battled with an obscured view because of the often fixed camera angles of environments too. Weirdly enough, even if you were to fail or die in a battle it does not matter all that much because the main character literally revives somewhat shortly after. Actually, the biggest consequence of dying, outside of seeing the context of certain quests change, are, well, seeing the various load screens. Basically, one load time when you go into the labyrinth of your subconscious (did I mention the storytelling is complex?) and another when you choose to revive into the real world. Problem is, each loading screen is at least thirty seconds each and in worse moments can get rather close to one minute. You may guess what I am trying to lead into, but as it is currently, the PS4 port of Torment: Tides of Numenera runs extremely poorly. It does not matter if you are using a PS4 Pro with boost mode enabled (or are extra crazy like me and have a solid state hybrid drive in it too). Constant thirty-second or more load times as well as regular frame rate hitches (which I have counted to be nearly every ten seconds) are your main companions when playing. I hate that I found myself annoyed by quests that wanted me to go to different locations and not just pick the brains of individuals within that zone. Not because quests weren't interesting -- heck, most of the storytelling is truly fascinating and I found myself engrossed in even the most random of NPCs and the ambiguity of so much of the storytelling -- but because I knew I'd lose many minutes of my time in long load screens simply trying to reach the zone. It is all the more jarring that they are so frequent when the various towns or areas aren't even that big -- just very compartmentalized and load screen-ridden. Really, it's the technical hiccups that mar the whole experience more than anything else. There is not any reason for it either with visuals that are hardly remarkable for the PS4 hardware, despite some neat environmental backdrops. It controls well enough for something clearly intended for mouse and keyboard (though, a bit sluggish), which, for as much as I adore Divinity: Original Sin, I could not say the same about the console port all the time. When it comes to fighting with the stuttering presentation, painful load times or less common issues like a few bugs that forced me to reload earlier saves to make them truly disappear just makes it so the PS4 port is that much less desirable to play. Of course, I still played thirty hours of it, so that just goes to show how engrossed I was in Torment's storytelling despite how frustrated I was in how it all was being presented to me. As it is currently Torment: Tides of Numenara on PS4 is in a state of limbo. The brilliance of its rich fantasy sci-fi setting and very smart writing is not enough to carry one through the constant frustrations of its gameplay. Hopefully, such issues are alleviated over time via various patches in particular. Until then, it's very hard to recommend seeing what the Ninth World has to offer on PS4 when The Sorrow of technical grievances that follows behind it makes it such as hassle to carry on through it. Pros + Masterful writing and world-building. + Truly follows the conceit in which you can avoid most conflict based on the decisions you make + Fascinating side quests with many unpredictable outcomes Cons -Can be rather difficult to parse early in from both a narrative and gameplay perspective - PS4 version runs terribly: Awful load times, frequent frame rate hitches, and noticeable bugs plague a normal playthrough - Underwhelming combat - So-so presentation Overall Score: 6 (out of 10) Decent A very disappointing port to PS4 that is all that much agonizing to behold when the world underneath Torment: Tides of Numenara is so fascinating Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable PS4 code provided by the publisher.
  3. Harrison Lee

    Review: Dying Light: The Following

    Developer: Techland Publisher: Warner Bros. Entertainment Interactive Platform: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One Release Date: February 9th, 2016 ESRB: M for Mature I originally passed on Techland“s open-world zombie action game/parkour simulator, Dying Light, when it debuted last year. While everything I“d heard about it indicated it was an awesome experience and the exact breath of fresh air the zombie game genre needed, there were too many other titles for me to make the time for Dying Light. After having mowed through The Following, the first major expansion for the game, I“m starting to sincerely regret passing on it the first time. The Following takes place after the events of Dying Light. While I won“t spoil any plot details from the main game, suffice it to say that the central narrative in the expansion is much better-written. Dying Light“s main campaign was sharply criticized for inferior plot development and hamfisted characters. While The Following doesn“t craft the finest of zombie apocalypse survivors, the story itself is what“ll draw you in. Kyle Crane is once again tasked with helping his band of misfit parkour instructors and survivors in Harran, only this time, he“s caught out in the farmlands of the nearby countryside. A dying man tells Crane and company about a secret place, protected by the Mother, where followers of the local religion are immune to the virus. To get to the Mother and her followers, however, Crane needs to earn the trust and respect of the local populace. This means strapping your gloves on and killing everything that tries to eat or shoot you, from gun-toting bandits to half-rotten walkers and everything in between. If you“re feeling especially brave (or foolish), The Following introduces several boss monsters known as Freaks of Nature. They“re much stronger than your garden variety of zombie and usually require co-op assistance to take down. If you decide to solo a Freak, extra patience and crafting materials are in order. Weapons and loot function exactly like the base game, with melee devices requiring constant maintenance using the limited repair system. Unless you“ve unlocked the tree skill that occasionally grants a free repair, you“ll be cycling through weapons at the usual rate. Loot crates are everywhere, mostly found in houses scattered across the countryside. If you hate lock-picking minigames, you might be turned off by how many locked crates there are. A bit of patience and a steady hand, however, will unlock plenty of useful goods and upgrade parts. While most of the gameplay, enemies, and quest types are similar to those in the base game, The Following introduces one drastic change to the formula; upgradable dune buggies. Traversing the countryside on-foot is a daunting task. Gone are the high-rises and rooftops from which Dying Light made parkour the star. The Following breaks out into open spaces and wheat-filled fields, so buggies are the best mode of transportation. These diminutive vehicles, however, are more than just ferries. They can be upgraded with various parts, engines, tires, paint schemes, and weapons (like a flamethrower and electric cage) to make it your own personal rolling fortress. All the internal parts need to be maintained using Dying Light“s infamous limited repair system, but continuously driving will provide you with the necessary experience to craft higher-end replacement parts. The buggy also needs to be refueled, and gas is readily available from the dozens of cars scattered about the environment. The closest comparison for The Following is Mad Max with zombies, so if you“re into grinding the undead into the asphalt, this expansion is probably up your alley. Really, the only odd design choice Techland made was making the entire experience separate from the main game. In order to access the additional content, you need to start The Following from the main menu. All items and skills from the base game are carried over, but the minor disconnect is jarring when you make the transition from Harran to the farmlands. You“ll also want to be around Survivor level 10 or 12 before you start the expansion content, else you may be over-run by the wicked-fast crowds of virals during the day and the lethal volatiles at night. For $20, Dying Light: The Following is jam-packed with content. The game-world is massive, rivalling the vertical playgrounds of Harran. The implementation of upgradeable combat buggies and even more loot means the best time to explore Dying Light is now. The Following adds a decently-written narrative with a surprising ending, along with some unique boss encounters and the ever-satisfying combat. At the bargain price-point, The Following is a worthy addition to your digital collection. Pros: + The new buggies are awesome + A solid story with a great ending + Rewarding combat and loot + It“s Mad Max with zombies! Cons: - Too much lock-picking - Some quests are a bit too familiar Overall Score: 8.5 (out of 10) Great Dying Light: The Following is jam-packed with content and a worthy addition to your digital collection. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable code provided by the publisher
  4. Marcus Estrada

    Review: Dying Light

    Developer: Techland Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC (Steam) ESRB: M for Mature Release Date: January 27, 2014 Note: This review is based on the PS4 version of the game When Dead Island was about to launch in 2011 I was quite excited. It looked like the next zombie game which would differentiate itself from the pack. In the end, I ended up being severely let down by what turned out to be a capable but clunky experience. Fast forward a few years and now we have Dying Light. Although the name avoids painting it as a sequel to Dead Island, it feels so much like one. As sequels are meant to do, it improves on nearly every aspect of the existing zombie formula and manages to create something unique. Although it may not be a rousing success either, it“s certainly a step in the right direction. Dying Light introduces us to the story of Kyle Crane, a sort of undercover agent who has gone to the fictional location of Harran in order to liberate some information. Unfortunately, right out of the gate he screws up and attracts the attention of survivors—and zombies. He“s saved by a band of survivors, which of course means he now owes them his life. It also happens to provide an “in” for him to gather intel and hopefully discover where the target resides. Of course, the story falls into a predictable pattern where Kyle isn“t sure where his allegiances lie, and it never quite transcends that samey storyline. Luckily, the game doesn“t live or die based on its storyline. Instead, most of the player“s focus will be continually pointed at gameplay itself. At zillions of points during your playthrough you must traverse Hassan in order to collect items, search an area, or talk to NPCs. This also happens to be a huge, sprawling landscape. Without a convenient method of fast travel (although a zipcord does help once unlocked) you“ve got to trust that Kyle“s arms and legs can get you from one side of the map to the other. He“s got some pretty great freerunning (or parkour) skills to make it through alive. This movement mechanic is handled surprisingly well. Although not all ledges can be climbed, if you see something that looks ripe for grabbing onto it“s usually possible. Instead of dealing with hordes of zombies on the street you can simply take to the roofs and push lone zombies off them. When a situation gets too hot there“s usually an option to sprint off and make your way to a safer location. At least, that“s true during the day. At night a special kind of zombie lurks and is best avoided until getting leveled up a fair bit. These creatures lurking in the darkness can kill you in one hit! Oh, and nighttime itself is also outrageously dark which lends itself to unexpected deaths for unprepared players. When you choose to engage in combat (or more likely, are forced to as part of a mission) things feel a bit too similar to Dead Island. Melee attacks are slow and deliberate, which lends itself to a more strategic sort of play—but that“s hard to do with zombies piling up from all directions. Although there are guns to be found, there aren“t many. The real killing blow in early stages of Dying Light is that weapons break quickly. You“ll have to scrounge about through drawers, enemy corpses, and locked chests to collect items to fix weapons a limited amount of times. Destructible weapons is usually an annoying design choice as proves to be the case here. There are some lovely aspects to be found while playing. The world is gorgeous (if slightly less pristine on PS4 compared to PC), there“s a ton of side missions, large variety of weapons to find or craft, and a well-oiled freerunning mechanic. However, these strides don“t fully overstep the shadow of Dead Island. Techland has still provided less than optimal combat and an average storyline. With that said, most of the time my experience with Dying Light was enjoyable. After shutting off the critical side of my brain and leveling up a bit, the game brings a satisfying zombie romp to current generation platforms. Pros: + Vast location full of freerunning promise + Tons of weapons to choose from + Multitude of ways to level up Kyle Cons: - Uninspiring, predictable story - Clunky fight mechanics - Slow progression from zero to hero Overall Score: 6.5 (out of 10) Decent Dying Light has tons of promise but Techland ended up falling back on existing design decisions rather than fully embracing change. Disclosure: This review is based on downloadable code provided by the publisher.
  5. Marcus Estrada

    Dying Light Screenshot 3

    From the album: Review Images

  6. Marcus Estrada

    Dying Light Screenshot 2

    From the album: Review Images

  7. Marcus Estrada

    Dying Light Screenshot 1

    From the album: Review Images

  8. Harrison Lee

    Review: Call of Juarez: Gunslinger

    Developer: Techland Publisher: Ubisoft Platforms: PC, XBOX 360, PS3 Release Date: 5/21/13 Rating: M for Mature This review is based on the PC version of the game Just a few months ago, Ubisoft released one of its most ambitious and insane downloadable games ever, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. Marked at a $15 price-point and packed with more laughs and explosions than most AAA-retail titles, Blood Dragon was a creative burst of freedom that was a welcome addition to Ubisoft's library, even if the game itself lacked in a few areas. Mercifully, the Far Cry series wasn't the only franchise to get mini-sized in a downloadable title; the Wild West shooter Call of Juarez is in for the same treatment with the recently-released Gunslinger. But can Call of Juarez: Gunslinger redeem the embattled franchise's checkered past? I can't believe I'm saying this, but Gunslinger is already one of my favorite games of the year. Players take on the role of protagonist Silas Greaves, a former bounty hunter who seems to have found solace in drinking and telling bar stories. One day, he wanders into Abilene, Kansas, and orders a few pints. The local residents know Silas's name and ask him to regale his stories. With a smirk and some stylish comic-book cutscenes, Silas begins his tale of violence, legendary Wild West outlaws, and bloody revenge. Call of Juarez: Gunslinger certainly looks like a comic book in motion, with beautiful cel-shaded graphics and lots of red matter spraying all over the place. Silas walks among his outlaw foes like a god, dispatching enemies with reckless abandon. As Silas engages everything from revolver-shooting bandits to Apaches, he narrates his story and fills in details about who he was killing and why. If someone calls him out on an inconsistency in the story, he might rewind the gameplay and tell the "correct" version. You'll get to experience the same segments, albeit with different enemies and such. It's a great little conceit and makes the extremely linear campaign feel fresh and exciting. Silas is the definition of a grade-A gunslinger, and his skills trees prove it. Throughout the 3-5 hour campaign, Silas can upgrade his revolver, shotgun, and rifle skills by building kill combos. Kill more bad guys in rapid succession and Silas will earn even more XP. You'll also get access to Gunslinger's better gun variants, many with significant damage buffs and fancy engravings. While the upgrades are fairly basic, one major skill is incredibly useful and should be upgraded ASAP; the Focus ability. Focus lets you slow down time and dispatch baddies in cinematic fashion. Think of an ultra-gory Matrix bullet time and you'll get idea of Focus. It makes the sometimes daunting task of building a 40-plus kill-chain as easy as squeezing the trigger. I guarantee you'll feel like a kick-butt action hero, just as you should given Silas's incredible story embellishments. I beat the campaign in about 3 hours, but there's an Arcade, Duel, and New Game Plus mode for those seeking even more content. Arcade takes out all of the narrative filler and throws you right into the combat, setting up leaderboards for high kill-scorers. Duel mode takes the familiar quick draw boss fights from the campaign and makes them back-to-back. I wasn't too fond of the duels in the story mode, but at least you can test your reflexes again. New Game Plus allows you to retain all of your previous skills, as well as unlock weapon chests at the start of each mission. Starting off with akimbo sawed-off golden shotguns is pretty awesome if you ask me. The plot isn't particularly superb or unexpected but is presented in a fun and entertaining format. I laughed at some of the inside pokes at Wild West tropes and enjoyed the light-hearted tone the game went for. Gunslinger finally did away with the brevity of previous entries and just went haywire, building a Quentintino-esque vibe throughout the whole experience. Blood flows freely and enemies litter the ground as you rack up the kill count. Just let yourself go and the plot will seem like a distant memory as you decimate hundreds of enemies. Visually, Gunslinger is pretty darn gorgeous. The improved Chrome engine finally brings the series into the modern age and the cel-shaded visuals are fantastic. I did encounter micro-stutters due to using a keyboard but there is a hotfix for this. The audio is also pretty solid, with convincing voice-overs for Silas and the bar patrons. You'll feel every squeeze of the trigger and the gushy sounds coming from fallen foes. Call of Juarez: Gunslinger is an absolute hoot in the presentation department, featuring more polish and shine than any of the previous entries. I have very few complaints about Gunslinger, and those that might have been a valid concern (like the missing FOV slider) are currently being patched. The game is short, but it felt like the perfect length for a $15 budget title. There's so much spit and polish that it's almost surprising this is a download-only title. I'd love to see more of this from Techland from Ubisoft, and if Blood Dragon is any indication, you can bet there'll be more Call of Juarez in the future. Gunslinger is an absurd amount of fun, more fun than it should be, and is an absolute must-buy if you like blowing big holes in bad guys. Pros: + Absurdly fun + Low budget price + Lots of bang for your buck + Very polished release Cons: - Duels aren't much fun - A little short Overall Score: 8.5 (out of 10) Great If you're tired of the same old shooters, there isn't a reason not to try Gunslinger. It's old-fashioned, gory fun!
  9. The Dead Island devs are back in the blood-and-gore business with a game code named Project Hell, but this time it isn't quite the zombie-smashing romp that you may have come to expect. "Project Hell" is a monster-mashing first person hack-and-slash that presumably takes place in some sort of fantasy world of some variety. Ye olde buildings and monster-looking concept art seems to imply that maybe the tropical wonderland feeling isn't quite what Techland was going for here. The base concept came from Marcin "MZM" Zygadlo, one of the members of the development team, when he was making an independent weapon mod. It apparently allows the player to freeze enemies with magic and beat them with weapons, and that birthed the original thought. The idea seems to have evolved into a game designed around bashing up undead monsters to get to boss monsters. Things look pretty early on right now, with a few scraps of concept art and a general idea, but the team has an idea and is supposedly largely autonomous, so we'll see where they go. As for platform, PC seems to be the goal right now, but they aren't discounting the idea of Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3.
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