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2014-01-25
The real differences between the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 games are "pretty minor," so making a point to get worked up over benchmarks like 1080p and 60fps isn't worth it, Xbox director of product planning Albert Penello has said. "Look, I've had a lot of time to think about this and I believe in what I said. I believe that the differences [between the PS4 and Xbox One] is not that great," Penello said during the latest Gamertagradio podcast. "And I know what is going behind the scenes and I have access to more information about some of this...than a lot of people. Sometimes I think people tend to neglect the points that are in my favor and they like to highlight the points that tell me that I am wrong. Right now, I still think Ryse is still the best looking game on any platform. Period. End of story."Square Enix revealed earlier this week that the Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition will run at 60fps on PS4, while the Xbox One frame rate remains a mystery. Penello said it could be true that Tomb Raider runs at 30fps on Xbox One, but pointed out that the Xbox One is just a couple months old and experiences are only going to get better with time."I think if you look at the titles that we launched that were multiplatform titles, the bulk of them were the same [resolution and frame rate]," Penello said. "I think there were 12 titles released on both platforms [PS4 and Xbox One], and all but three of them had basically the same performance on both boxes. Everybody wants to focus on...there's a frame rate thing going on with Tomb Raider, there is a resolution thing going on and OK, there's a lot of reasons why that could be true but we are weeks in, we just shipped, it's a long generation.""I think people who bought an Xbox One are going to be in for an awesome generation of games that are only going to get better," he added. "And an awesome generation of experiences. I think these little things get way overblown versus like the quality of the games and the real differences in the two experiences which are pretty minor." Penello was joined by Xbox chief of staff Aaron Greenberg on the podcast, who offered a unique analogy for the differences between the Xbox One and PS4 with respect to the ongoing 1080p/60fps debate."At the end of the day, it's like we're the movie theater that has all the blockbuster movies and has the most screens," Greenberg said. "And then somebody has figured out that there's also another movie theater that has less screens but like if you look at this one movie sometimes it looks better on their screen. And on our movie theater, sure, sometimes some of our movies look better. You know what, I think the games on PS4 look fantastic. I play them, I enjoy them. I think they've done a great job with their device. I think it's great for the industry that they've had success. At the end of the day, if I have to pick one box, I'm going to pick ours. I work here. I root for the home team. I'm very biased. I feel like if you're going to buy one box, you should buy the Xbox One because it does deliver an all-in-one experience. It does have the best exclusives. It does have the best-looking games."Sony president of Worldwide Studios Shuhei Yoshida told GameSpot last year that native 1080p allows you to be a "better gamer.""I don't think any team is just fixated on 1080p; it's just one of the options...but [1080p] games allow you to be more precise and a better gamer. That's clearly the benefit," he said at the time. Info from Gamespot.com
2014-01-25
Last week popular streaming provider Twitch released released a "Twitch 2013 Retrospective" report chronicling some of the achievements made in 2013, including 45 million unique viewers a month, and over 12 billion minutes of content watched each month.Prior to the report coming out, MLG Founder and CEO Sundance DiGiovanni spoke to onGamers in an interview about their new platform. Specifically, DiGiovanni was asked why streamers would prefer to stream on their new platform than on Twitch."It's harder to broadcast on right now, but they'll make more money," said DiGiovanni. "They'll make significantly more money. It's not one-button streaming, but it's not meant to be either. The key to it is: If you produce live content, have a meaningful audience, and want to make money off of advertising, our numbers are far stronger at the moment. Based on what we've seen on our content on both and what we've heard from partners."DiGiovanni says there's more work to do be done in regards to features beyond monetization."In terms of it being better in any other way, I think the global reliability is really solid. I'm not going to say it's better because I can't speak to that. In terms of the image quality, I think it's great, but I'm not going to say it's better. In terms of chat, I think we have some work to do to figure out what we want to do there but right now. Twitter chat does a lot on the social side, but doesn't do a lot in terms of the real-time exchange that people are used to."DiGiovanni says MLG.tv will host content around Dota 2, StarCraft II, League of Legends, Super Smash Bros, and Call of Duty. Professional Call of Duty players and popular YouTube producers such as OpTic Gaming and Curse Gaming are some of the initial partners on the site."With the launch of MLG.TV, our current partner roster is definitely Call of Duty heavy, " said DiGiovanni. "The community is very active and has grown exponentially over the last few years making it easy to work with and identify partners that make sense for the MLG network. There is a large appetite from both a streaming and viewing perspective for Call of Duty content and the community is extremely passionate. As included in the COD Championship Series announcement today, we are also partnered with Activision and all COD Championship broadcasts will air exclusively on MLG.TV and Xbox Live."The full interview can be read on onGamers. Info from Gamespot.com
2014-01-25
UPDATE: Following the publication of this story, a representative from Nexon reached out to clarify that their game, Dungeon&Fighter "surpassed the number one game, Crossfire, by a significant amount."Although they're unable to provide specific revenue figures due to a contract with Tencent, the Nexon representative wrote, "If you were to take the figure stated in the Superdata report as net revenue and apply the industry standard 30% revenue share to the developer (as stated on page 25 of Deutsche Bank analyst Hanjoon Kim’s July 1, 2013 report), that would make the gross revenue for Dungeon&Fighter $1.4bn, exceeding Crossfire by over $450 million. While these are not our internal figures, I believe that this gives a good indication of the size of Dungeon&Fighter."The original story appears belowLeague of Legends' revenues for 2013 totaled $624 million, making it the second top free-to-play game in terms of earnings, a report from SuperData reveals.Coming in at the number one spot is CrossFire, a South Korean free-to-play first-person shooter which brought in $957 million in revenues during 2013. Tencent, which owns a majority stake in League of Legends developer Riot Games, publishes CrossFire as well.Valve rounded out the top 10 list with Counter-Strike Online, which brought in $121 million, and Team Fortress 2 at the number nine spot bringing in $139 million.Electronic Art's Star Wars: The Old Republic, which added a free-to-play option in 2012, took the number eight spot with a little more than Team Fortress 2, and less than Blizzard's World of Warcraft, which generated $213 in microtransactions alone (not counting subscription fees).Last week we also reported that Blizzard was beefing up its microtransaction efforts in World of Warcraft, when it posted a pair of new jobs on its "Strategic Initiatives" team, calling for a director and manager for the company's new "Microtransaction Strategy" unit.World of Tanks was fourth on the list with $372 million.Overall, the digital games market in the United States (including social, mobile, DLC, free-to-play, and subscription) grew by 11 percent, reaching a total of $11.7 billion in sales during 2013. Mobile represented the biggest portion of the market with 26 percent, but free-to-play showed the greatest growth, increasing by 45 percent over last year. Meanwhile, revenues from social games dropped by 22 percent and revenues from subscriptions dropped by 21 percent.Info from Gamespot.com
2014-01-25
Happy Friday! It's time for our To-Do list, filled with sneak peaks of this weeks shows, chances to win awesome stuff, and of course the community challenge. For those of you who don't know, the community challenge is a task that you must finish by Monday and can be anything from writing a feature to getting a high score in a game.This weekend on GameSpotOn the Top 5 Skyrim Mods, we'll be joining Kevin VanNord as he fights for his life across the Skyrim wilderness. There might also be some drunken hijinks and shenanigans to be had by your favorite Elder Scrolls hosts, Seb Ford and Cameron Robinson. Remember, you can tune in every Saturday at 12pm PST for the latest episode of the Top 5 Skyrim Mods Show. [ Top 5 Skyrim Mods Show Page] Ever wonder why you feel more intellectual than the average non gamer? Well this Sunday at 12pm PST on Reality Check, Cameron will be giving you four reasons why video games make you smarter, explaining specifically what benefits video games have on the brain. [Reality Check Show Page] This week's episode of House of Horrors is going to be a little different than our previous episodes since Jess and Zorine are celebrating Australia day. Be sure to tune in this Sunday at 7pm PST where we'll be playing Lucius, a psychological horror game from Shiver Games about the 6 year old son of Satan, enjoy! [House of Horros Show Page] This week's Community Challenge is about Nintendo. It's been a hot topic here around the GameSpot offices. As you can see we've written about it, talked about it, heck it was even a discussion point on Jimmy Fallon's Tonight Show. So today we're here to ask your opinion, should Nintendo move away from hardware? Should they open up their games to other platforms? Or are they perfect just the way they are? If you need some help coming up with ideas there are awesome conversations in the Nintendo forum. The community team has kicked off this challenge with their own blogs, so check out what ohaifrancy and digitaldame had to say. Agree or disagree, we want to hear what you have to say. Once you have completed the challenge leave a link to your blog in the comment section below (leave us suggestions for future challenge to.) The community team will pick their favorites and feature them in Tuesday’s GameSpotting blog!Info from Gamespot.com
2014-01-25
UPDATE 1/24/2014 12:00: Sources at the retailer GameStop in the US have clarified that the disappearance of Watch Dogs as a preorder option was caused by a computer error. The game is now available for pre-order again the Italian GameStop site and should be available again in the US as well, putting the issue to rest.The title of this article has been changed to reflect this updated information. Update: Kotaku is now reporting that GameStop US is cancelling Wii U preorders of Watch Dogs.A Ubisoft representative declined to comment on the matter when asked by GameSpot.Original Story: GameStop Italy is said to have cancelled preorders for the Wii U version of Watch Dogs.Reported by Italian Nintendo site Wiitalia, a GameStop employee is reported to have said that Ubisoft had scrapped the version after the retailer previously phoned customers to tell them that their preorders would be withdrawn.The site claims that Wii U hardware and software sales played some part in Ubisoft's and GameStop's decision. Last week Nintendo cut its sales projections for the Wii U by two thirds as part of its disappointing financials.GameSpot has asked Ubisoft for clarification.Ubisoft has said that Xbox One and PlayStation 4 will help bring "excitement" back to the games industry, and last week GameSpot editor Dan Hindes investigated what Watch Dogs could do to the open-world genre.Watch Dogs, which was originally due to be released last November, is also scheduled to be released for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 at some point between April and June 2014. Info from Gamespot.com
2014-01-25
You need to have the nostalgia gene to fully appreciate Might & Magic X: Legacy. I do, especially when it comes to role-playing games, so I did. But this is one of those "genre within a genre" retro affairs that self-consciously turns its back on modern conventions and embraces what us old folks were stuck with back in that antediluvian era known as the 1990s. Limbic Entertainment has created an old-fashioned RPG epic that might well have landed on some "best of" lists at the end of 1996. If you're the sort of person who fondly remembers a time before the Might & Magic name meant nothing but turn-based fantasy strategy, this game is for you.Noting that M&MXL is not for everyone isn't necessarily an insult, either. On the contrary, it's clear from the very first moments of the game that the developers are trying to be as unfashionable as a pair of acid-washed jeans. Everything about this game can be traced back to first-person party-based RPGs from the 1990s, like the original M&M games, the Wizardry series, and even the Eye of the Beholder D&D line. The campaign setting of Ashan is all new for this franchise, however, having been ported over from Might & Magic Heroes right down to the goofy winged helmets. Oddly enough, this approach actually makes M&MXL more of a traditional fantasy game than its forebears, as the original M&M role-players blended spaceships in with their swords and sorcery. Still, the general objective seems to have been to create a new game that picks up right where this style of RPG left off about 15 years ago.The M&MXL bestiary includes the usual roster of fantasy monsters and mythological creatures, like this manticore, which almost looks like a cute puppy dog about to tear your throat out at this angle.And that mission has been accomplished. Well, mostly. Several core components of the game are well done. There is a fair amount of choice when it comes to character creation, with four races and 12 classes (three per race) spread along the might and magic spectrums. Don't expect anything more revolutionary than the likes of dwarven defenders, human freemages, elven bladedancers, and orc barbarians in the beginning, but you have a lot of freedom to specialize once your party starts leveling up and you begin doling out points between attribute stats and skills. You can specialize in everything from maces and bows to a whopping seven schools of magic, allowing for the custom-crafting of almost any sort of heroic adventurer that you can dream up. The sheer amount of liberty even allows for some evolution during gameplay. I started off with an elven ranger who I thought would be good in ranged combat, but I eventually realized that she worked better as a second spellcaster who specialized in healing. A few levels later, and I had an impressive cleric wannabe curing poison and dishing out restoration incantations when she wasn't offing foes with her bow and arrow.It's clear from the very first moments of the game that the developers are trying to be as unfashionable as a pair of acid-washed jeans.Managing your party is more involved than in most RPGs, so you can't just storm off looking for adventure. First, you need to take care of business by buying food. Without it, you're not allowed to rest, which soon causes your party to grow tired and drop ability scores. You also need to rest to regain health and mana, because neither regenerates on its own over time. Not much of this is spelled out, and the tooltips offered up at the start of the game don't do much to explain the basics. All becomes clear if you're patient, though, or if you remember doing this stuff many years ago. Nevertheless, the game could use more hand-holding in the beginning.Battles in M&MXL are spectacularly hard and unforgiving. It took three hours to beat these guys. Well, not really, but it felt that long.Like most RPGs released when grunge was still a thing, M&MXL features a first-person camera and grid-based movement where you move one step at a time. This system works relatively smoothly. Yes, you're stuck with an odd perspective that forces you to view the world as if the party were crammed into a car and looking out through the windshield, and the entire four-person party has to trudge as one through dungeons and forests, like a tank bristling with battle-axes and magic wands. But you soon get used to navigating in such a restricted fashion.Movement has even been improved from the days of yore. M&MXL features turn-based combat, so you can't gimmick the system. Back in the day, it was common to cheat through real-time battles with tricks like the Eye of the Beholder Two Step, where you would zip forward to hit a monster and then immediately retreat before it could hit you back. Here, you're locked into battle once an enemy closes and the fight begins. So instead of dipsy-doodling back and forth, you're stuck going toe-to-toe with the bad guys. This results in some grueling combat, since you have virtually no range of motion once melee combat has started and no ability at all to choose the better part of valor and run away.Managing your party is more involved than in most RPGs, so you can't just storm off looking for adventure.In some ways, the game goes too far. Not only does it take away the exploits common to first-person RPGs in the '90s, but it hammers away at you relentlessly (even at the lower "adventurer" setting). Combat is unforgiving right from the opening tutorial quest to clean spiders out of an underground lair. Monsters flank and surround you in almost every other fight, frequently spawning in out of nowhere to your rear. Just when you've got your hands full with that minotaur in your face, along come two more to hassle you from behind. Most monsters also have devastating special abilities. Almost every enemy has the ability to stun you, poison you, enfeeble you, petrify you, hit you with extra attacks, and more. Wolves and goblins can insta-kill party members if they get lucky. I don't recall an easy battle in the entire campaign. That sounds sort of fun and intense, but really, I could have done without titanic half-hour struggles to best the likes of two goblins, a couple of cavemen, and a pack of panthers.Balance can be an issue in spots. You can easily run into enemies that will slice you to ribbons for not being at a high-enough level, like these nasty spectres.M&MXL isn't impossibly hard, but the punishing difficulty can lead to tedium. You can (eventually) beat any monster, group of monsters, or even the game's collection of brutally tough bosses by thinking about what you're doing when it comes to strategizing and spellcasting. The extreme challenge is a natural fit for a revamped classic, but that doesn't make the occasional bitter pill of a battle easier to swallow. When actually playing the game, I was too busy cursing out the nagas or spiders gooning me from all sides to appreciate the retro character of the battle difficulty.How dated M&MXL is in other areas is harder to appreciate. The story isn't particularly well developed. The opening preamble is about as exciting as listening to someone recite a tax return, and there isn't much of a tale told during the game itself. Your party consists of a bunch of heroes, oddly called "raiders," who are out to do good things for the human empire in a time of unrest. There isn't much role-playing to be had here; the game is a dry tactical affair where combat is the first order of the day, followed up by the odd puzzle.Monster stock is limited. Areas and dungeons are populated by just a few specific types of creatures or human thugs, and the pace can drag because fighting the same fight over and over again. Loot isn't varied or particularly imaginative, either when it's dropped or when you check out what's available in shops. It gets better as you go, but there isn't a lot of memorable "gotta have it" gear. As a result, you can go for hours with few serious upgrades of weapons and armor. How items are doled out is also strange. Monsters don't tend to drop much when they're slain, but chests loaded with goodies and gold are strewn all over the wilderness like some kind of medieval take on geocaching.Minotaurs aren't too hellish in a labyrinth, but you don't want to be surrounded by three or four of them in a forest.The throwback production values are as traditional as the adventure itself, though these elements have not aged all that tastefully. Animations can be choppy, especially in forests, and slowdown is a common occurrence in the wilderness and when there are multiple lighting effects on the screen at the same time. Sound is also sparse, with what seems like a handful of weapon and monster effects. Hero battle boasts like the orc warrior's "I kill you!" are repeated constantly. Even worse, your heroes shout their cries of sadness about being knocked out or killed a few seconds before the blow is actually delivered, so you get advance warning when somebody is about to be taken down. This makes battles a teensy bit anticlimactic.Might & Magic X: Legacy is a somewhat successful trip back in time to an era when RPGs were both simpler and more complicated than they are today, and a lot more demanding of players when it came to combat. If nostalgia drives you to visit this particular kingdom, you'll not likely regret the time spend there. If your good old days weren't brimming with games of this nature, it's more difficult to appreciate the take-no-prisoners challenge and overlook the limitations.Info from Gamespot.com
2014-01-24
Today during the Paradox Interactive Convention in Miami, Paradox Interactive announced two new games: strategy sequel Hearts of Iron IV and an all-new fantasy RPG called Runemaster.Hearts of Iron IV, like its predecessors, is set during World War II. Paradox described the game as the "most authentic real-time simulation of World War II to date." To that end, the game will feature "authentic" historical figures battling on land, sea, and air. Period-accurate armies, vehicles, and weapons will also be included.As for Runemaster, this all-new fantasy RPG represents a significant departure from Paradox's usual historical strategy offerings. The game is based on Norse mythology and features an open world and procedurally generated terrain.“Creating an RPG is something new for Paradox Development Studio, and it’s been a dream project we’ve wanted to undertake for a long time now,” Paradox Development Studio manager Johan Andersson said. “We’re always playing RPGs in our spare time and discovering new things we love about them as a game genre; it was only natural that sooner or later we’d have to design our own. Runemaster is the result, and we know our fans will love it.”Also during the conference today, Paradox revealed that the average user playtime for strategy game Europa Universalis IV is 190 hours (out of over 300,000 copies sold). Finally, the publisher teased that it is planning to release "new and existing franchises" on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.GameSpot has a team on the ground in Miami for the Paradox Interactive Convention. We'll have more content from the show in the time ahead. Info from Gamespot.com
2014-01-24
The PlayStation 4 version of the Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition will run at 60fps, but Square Enix isn't saying what frame rate Xbox One owners can expect."Both platforms offer the same outstanding Tomb Raider experience," a Square Enix spokesperson told Eurogamer today. Both versions run in 1080p, it was previously confirmed."Delivering the core Tomb Raider gameplay at native 1080p and running at 30fps was always our primary goal given the type of experience Tomb Raider is and the exploration we want players to do. Anything beyond 30fps for this version is gravy," the representative added.Producer Scot Amos told Gamesradar yesterday that the PS4 version of the Tomb Raider: Definitive Editions will run at 60fps, but did not mention a frame rate for the Xbox One version.With Square Enix keeping quiet, we'll have to wait until the games are released to determine the difference in frame rate between the two platforms. A game's frame rate, which varies depending on elements like system hardware and memory, is commonly used to compare graphics performance. Info from Gamespot.com
2014-01-24
Microsoft has hired Breaking Bad network AMC unscripted programming director Ari Mark, the company announced today after reports of the move circulated in December. Mark's position at Xbox Entertainment Studios will likely feel familiar to him, as his duties at Microsoft will include overseeing unscripted content for Xbox. Mark will work from Xbox Entertainment Studios in Santa Monica, Calif. where he will report to president of the outfit Nancy Tellem.At AMC, Mark helped launch the network's unscripted shows, including programming like The Pitch and Small Town Security, as well as Talking Dead and Comic Book Men. It's unclear what he's working on at Xbox.Xbox Entertainment Studios' first project is a documentary series that will investigate the events surrounding the 1983 burial of millions of copies of Atari's famously unsuccessful E.T. movie tie-in. The first installment is due out exclusively on Xbox platforms this year.The studio is also working on a Halo TV show produced by acclaimed film director Steven Spielberg and, according to reports, a World Cup-themed show called Every Street United. Info from Gamespot.com
2014-01-24
Capcom today announced the Dead Rising Collection, a new Europe-only bundle that includes the original Dead Rising, Dead Rising 2, Dead Rising 2: Off the Record, Case West, and Case Zero. The Xbox 360 bundle launches March 7, though pricing details weren't announced, which begs the question: How much would you pay?It is not clear if Capcom plans to release the Dead Rising Collection in North America or on other platforms, but the publisher said "stay tuned for updates."Meanwhile, Xbox One sequel Dead Rising 3 has now shipped more than 1 million copies, Capcom announced earlier this week. For more on Dead Rising 3, check out GameSpot's review. Info from Gamespot.com
2014-01-24
In a blog post today, Blizzard Entertainment revealed the first iteration of its new Human Female World of Warcraft character model design. As you can see, the graphical upgrades are obvious. But Blizzard also hopes that the human female, and the rest of the character revamps it's planning, continue to feel familiar even amidst the changes."With the revamp, we’re completely overhauling every aspect of the player models, but our goal is to do so while retaining the core look and feel that has always made them your character," senior art director Chris Robinson said." We'll feel like we've succeeded if you see the updated version of your character and it still feels like you’re looking at the character you've been playing for the past however many years--only someone has finally focused a lens."Specific to the female human character model, senior character artist Joe Keller explained that you should notice that she now has greater "muscle definition and personality" in the face. "Hopefully this will also help show her as more of the capable fighter that she is," he said.Blizzard announced during BlizzCon in November that it plans to update all eight of the original World of Warcraft races, as well as Draenei and Blood Elves. To achieve the level of graphical fidelity Blizzard is aiming for, developers are increasing the polygon count significantly (in some cases this means going from fewer than 1,000 to over 5,000), doubling texture resolution, increasing bone count, and retouching almost every animation."For animation alone, that’s roughly 180 animations per character, times 10 races in both male and female variants, equaling approximately 3,600 animations," Robinson said. "We’re also incorporating the rigging technology we introduced with the Pandaren into every character to provide better posing, smoother animation, and the ability to pull off some fantastic facial expressions."In the future, Blizzard will share similar blog posts concerning other character model revamps detailing the techniques and challenges associated with the process. Some of the new character models will be available when upcoming expansion Warlords of Draenor launches, but Blizzard hasn't yet said which will be ready for release.Warlords of Draenor is World of Warcraft's fifth main expansion, following The Burning Crusade (2007), Wrath of the Lich King (2008), Cataclysm (2010), and Mists of Pandaria (2012). In addition to the character model revamps, the expansion introduces seven new zones, raises the level cap to 100, and allows you to boost one character automatically to level 90. Info from Gamespot.com
2014-01-24
Join us over the next few days as we look at all of the leading games consoles and platforms out right now and try to convince you why you should spend your hard-earned cash. We're kicking off with the PlayStation Vita, with Tom McShea outlining why Sony's portable is worth your while.I haven't been shy about my love for the Vita. Hardly a day goes by that I don't lose myself in one of the countless digital offerings on Sony's fantastic handheld. And yet, if you were to look at the sales figures, you would see that I'm part of a tiny minority. Well, I can't explain why others haven't been as excited as I am, but I can sure tell you why this is a system that you need to own.The LibraryThe Vita is a veritable greatest-hits collection of the best independent games out there. For some, having ports dominate the library is a bad thing; I have no idea why that's the case. Games from every platform find their way onto the Vita, so instead of rushing from one device to another, I have most everything I want in one place. Plus, even if I already played a game for dozens of hours when it first came out (such as Terraria or Spelunky), having them in portable form makes me eager to dive in once more. Sony has really embraced portability by giving some games cross-buy/cross-save functionality. I can solve devious puzzles in Stealth Inc: A Clone in the Dark on my PlayStation 3, and then continue where I left off when I commute to work in the morning. With enough practice, you, too, can juggle yetis.Although the indie section is where the Vita is strongest, there's a wealth of more traditional retail offerings as well. As far as I'm concerned, Rayman Origins and Legends were meant to be played on the Vita, because platformers thrive in short bursts. I'd much rather collect lums on the go than tethered to my television. And visual novels such as Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward and Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc have coaxed me to leave my Kindle at home while I'm absorbed in their digital stories. If you want to spend more than a hundred hours invested in one amazing adventure, Persona 4 Golden will keep you riveted with the daily lives of ordinary high school students who battle demons. Oh, and whenever you need your heart warmed, Tearaway is like an arts and crafts table brought to life. Where else can you design the scary face of a jack-o'-lantern while exploring a colorful world?Don't forget about the expansive back catalog from previous generations. Many of my favorite games from the PlayStation and PSP can be downloaded on the Vita. For someone like me, who has never played through Metal Gear Solid, has missed many games from Final Fantasy's heyday, and somehow skipped Chrono Cross the first time around, having these available wherever I am is a huge bonus. I am never at a want for new games for my Vita. Because of the huge selection of games on offer, my backlog grows larger with each passing week as I struggle to find time to play everything.Upcoming GamesIf I could choose any game to be brought to the Vita, it would be Super Meat Boy, which is sadly an impossible dream. Lousy licensing issues! However, for those who enjoy the comedic sensibilities and dastardly challenge of that unforgettable platformer, there's The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, made by one half of Team Meat. I just hope it isn't the first game that causes me to throw my Vita in anger after what are sure to be many, many deaths. Speaking of building on legacies, the mastermind behind Thomas Was Alone is bringing the stealthy Volume to the portable realm, and if you desperately wish you could spend more time with the cast from Golden, look no further than Persona 4: Dancing All Night. Dancing? On a handheld? Why not? The more rhythm games, the better, no matter how bizarre they sound.The only way to counter a spy is to be a counterspy!You're still hungry for more games, aren't you? You're so greedy. Well, you're in luck, because there are more than just three games planned. CounterSpy has been making me excited for quite some time. Sneaking around is my specialty, and I assume such hijinks are made even more interesting when you throw them into a Cold War setting. It's better than a hot war, right? Well, that depends on what you want. Android Assault Cactus sports a silly name and copious amounts of blood as you race for high scores in twisted battle arenas that may as well be warzones. And don't forget about Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number, which should pick up right where the outrageous original left off.Want to give your trigger finger a rest? Hohokum is as far away from police enforcers and hired assassins as you can imagine. Drifting through eye-catching worlds while relaxing music plays over you seems like the perfect way to forget about the day's troubles, even while surrounded by anxious commuters on a train. I could go on listing games that make me squirm in anticipation (Dustforce! Rogue Legacy! Natural Doctrine! Starbound!), but, sadly, I must wrap this section up. I'll leave you with two words: Murasaki Baby. Let that sink in for a second. Want to know what it is? Think Baby's Day Out except, you know, fun.The HardwareRaw specifications have never interested me. What does matter is how a system's technical prowess affects its games. Killzone: Mercenary looks just as good as its PlayStation 3 counterparts, and having that kind of power in portable form is a luxury. With gorgeous games such as Gravity Rush and Assassin's Creed III: Liberation cramming in visuals I'm accustomed to seeing on a television screen, the Vita provides great-looking games no matter where you feel like playing. Plus, don't ignore the incredible flexibility of this hardware. There's a touchscreen, back-touch panel, gyroscopes, a camera, and two analog sticks, so a huge variety of experiences can be brought to life.Unlike the platform she appears on, nothing can keep Gravity Rush's Kat down.But that's all marketing babble. One of the reasons the Vita is such an incredible piece of hardware is that it's extremely versatile. By supporting Unity--an engine used by many developers--scores of games can be easily ported to Sony's handheld. And because the system is so powerful, developers can bring games over without taxing the system's resources. That's why we're seeing a steady influx of so many independent games. Sony's hardware welcomes the small-scale games that provide the creativity and innovation that make me so excited about the future while still being powerful enough to let larger teams push its technical limits. It really is the best of both worlds.Speaking of the future, because the Vita is so well designed, I don't expect many changes in the coming year. Sony has released a cheaper model in Japan that swaps the gorgeous screen out for something less impressive, and there's a chance that could make it stateside, but don't expect anything more significant. The Vita TV is also out over there; it lets you play Vita games on your television, but it's little more than a novelty. So the only real hang-up with the system right now is the exorbitant price of the memory cards. Hopefully, Sony will cut their price soon, eliminating the last reason someone might have to stay away from the platform.Other StuffThe Vita's focus is entirely on games and you can see that dedication when you look at the ancillary features that further enhance the experience. PlayStation Plus is a subscription service that is a huge help for those who want to spend as little money as possible while still enjoying the best games out there. Every week, Sony hands out select games free of charge, along with deals on lots of other games, so as long as you're willing to shell out $50 per year, you're always going to have new games to try out. Just last week I downloaded Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed, the sequel to one of my favorite kart racing games, and that joins other free games such as Soul Sacrifice and Hotline Miami in my queue. Not too shabby.Free is the perfect price for any Sonic game.Another amazing feature is Remote Play. The Vita seamlessly connects to my PlayStation 4, allowing me to play console games without the need for a television. I'm immediately spoiled by this option. While my wife watches a movie, I can try to survive for one more day in Don't Starve or learn another sea shanty in Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. I've had no problems with lag hindering my experience, and even though the Vita has fewer buttons than the DualShock 4, developers have figured out creative ways to use the touchscreen that has eliminated any potential problems. Leading up to the launch of the PlayStation 4, Remote Play never seemed that intriguing, but it's an indispensable part of my gaming routine now that I have it.Finally, Sony just unveiled PlayStation Now, which feels downright gluttonous considering I already have more games than I could possibly find time to play. Now is a streaming service that brings the extensive back catalog from Sony's rich history (PlayStation, PlayStation 2, and PlayStation 3) to modern platforms. And, yes, the Vita totally supports this service. Just imagine playing Shadow of the Colossus while staying in a hotel room, or being able to admire Alice: Madness Returns after being dragged to your in-law's place. The Vita's impressive hardware, robust streaming solutions, and varied library have made it my go-to system, and it's clear to me that anyone who loves games would adore one once they give it a chance. Remember, "It's better on Vita" isn't just a slogan I made up; it's the truth. Info from Gamespot.com
2014-01-24
GameSpot's early access reviews evaluate unfinished games that are nonetheless available for purchase by the public. While the games in question are not considered finished by their creators, you may still devote money, time, and bandwidth for the privilege of playing them before they are complete. The review below critiques a work in progress, and represents a snapshot of the game at the time of the review's publication. There’s something so soothing, so familiar about clicking on monsters until they fall over dead. Of course, isometric role-playing games are more sophisticated than such a simple description communicates, but when your onscreen avatar wields a giant cudgel, cutting through legions of the undead with repeated presses of a single button is hypnotic. Given the amount of blood spraying about the dungeon corridors and the bushels of treasure erupting from corpses, the typical action RPG piles on the rewards with relatively little risk.For the reward-hungry role-player, Grim Dawn is a familiar temptation, even as an early access purchase on Steam for $29.99. Its development studio is helmed by Arthur Bruno, the lead systems designer of the well-regarded clickfest Titan Quest, further making an early purchase difficult to resist. And so I capitulated to temptation by forking over the dollars and checking out this work in progress. And it clearly is a work in progress, as betrayed by an abrupt conclusion after eight hours or so and a number of yet-to-be-implemented features, such as additional difficulty levels and cooperative multiplayer, though both options are on their way.As it stands, Grim Dawn has the basics clearly down. Its dark, demonic world mixes guns, swords, and magic into a “greatest hits” compilation of role-playing tropes, letting you choose the kind of role that best suits your playing style and sends you across the land in search of fame and fortune. As is so often the case with these kinds of games, the purpose of your adventure isn’t all that vital: the shrugworthy story is just an excuse to get you moving. But where Grim Dawn might have made a mark by depicting a unique world, it’s perfectly content to be just another fantasy kingdom. In a genre where Path of Exile, Diablo III, Torchlight II, and even Akaneiro are recognizable on sight, Grim Dawn sticks with the slithering creatures and snarling wolves we’re used to, and a generically attractive land that doesn’t evoke any mood in particular.For the reward-hungry role-player, Grim Dawn is a familiar temptation.But make no mistake: Grim Dawn is attractive, and it executes its tried-and-true formula with just enough panache to keep you clicking. The open-ended class system has you venturing down the talent trees of two different professions, so if you’ve wanted to be a pistol-wielding creature summoner, here’s your chance. Further skills are afforded by rare equipment that grants you even more abilities, and I found myself mixing and matching skills in ways I didn’t initially intend, leveling my strength more than a spellcasting pistoleer probably should, if only to fit into the most durable armor. Mix-and-match character builds aren’t always effective in games like this, but I never felt particularly challenged, at least not until I made my way to Grim Dawn’s final extensive dungeon, which had me and my summoned minions battling legions of undead attackers in the cramped darkness.And so the future looks bright for this glum adventure. Developer Crate Entertainment states that the current content represents about one-third of the campaign, with Act II rolling out in the early months of 2014. The first act plays around a bit with a faction system that has you aligning with various sects, but the choices were so inconsequential as to seem unnecessary. I'm looking forward to seeing that system deepened, however, in the hopes that it might darken Grim Dawn with the tonal shadows the game demands if it is to live up to its title. Luckily, this system should see more play in the second act, perhaps around the same time that you will be able to bring friends along on your fantasy trek.In a world where you can download the great Path of Exile for free, it’s difficult for the developer of a Diablo-esque role-playing game to grab your attention. With $29.99, you aren’t just buying an early access game, but also making a statement of trust in its maker. Grim Dawn has earned my trust in a viable future; its foundation--the refined action and rock-solid character progression--is so sturdy that from moment to moment, there’s little to remind you that you’re playing an unfinished game. My greatest worry, however, is that the full game built on this foundation is just another fantasy adventure in desperate need of a strong identity.What's There?Several hours of slick but formulaic single-player dungeon crawling in a pretty but formulaic world. What's to Come?Cooperative multiplayer, additional difficulty levels, additional acts, a crafting system, a new character class, and more. What Does it Cost?$29.99, available via Steam.When Will it be Finished?Developer Crate Entertainment has yet to announce a target date for when they may consider the game to be "released."What's the Verdict?Cautiously recommended. It may not be feature complete, but from moment to moment, Grim Dawn plays like a finished product. Info from Gamespot.com
2014-01-24
DayZ creator Dean Hall is an interesting guy. We already knew he climbed Mt. Everest, but did you know he drank his own urine, hates Windows 8, and plans to re-enlist in the New Zealand Army reserve? These are just some of the highlights from the Ask Me Anything (AMA) session he held on Reddit this week. Here are the 16 fascinating things we learned about Hall, who goes by the name "Rocket2Guns." He Hates Windows 8DH: Microsoft's Windows 8 drives me f***ing crazy as a desktop OS. I watched my dad trying to use it on his new laptop and it convinced me that it is the most unintuitive thing I've ever seen. More poor dad spent many years slowly figuring out the basics of using a windows computer... and Microsoft sucker-punched him. So I refuse to use it.One of Jay-Z's 99 Problems Was DayZDH: Jay-Z's lawyers tried to get us to stop using DayZ and change it to ZDay, actually. We declined. But it did make me laugh.DayZ Has Already Made Him A Bunch of MoneyDH: I get a royalty, and I get paid. I also sold (assigned) the rights for DayZ to Bohemia so I was remunerated there too. Compared to royalty rates for other "artists" and such I am probably doing very well. Compared to game designers (who mostly don't get royalties) I'm doing extremely well. My royalty rate is not insignificant (it is fairly significant).The Current State of DayZ represents just a fraction of his vision for the gameDH: It's currently about 20% of what I'd want for DayZ.If He Ever Has a Son, He Might Name Him TomDH: I like short names, like Tom. But I'm also fairly self absorbed so I would probably name him Dean Jnr. I do that with my preferred successors in CK2.He's Already Climbed Mt. Everest And is Eyeing K2 NextDH: I'd like to get back into my climbing properly. I'd really like to do some more expedition type stuff, like I want to visit the North/South poles on foot (whole way). I'd like to return to do some climbing in New Zealand (Mount Aspiring, Mount Tasman, "the grand traverse"). One day I'd like to take a crack at K2.You Want to Be Friends With Him Because He Has A Plan to Save Your Life In The Event Of A Zombie OutbreakDH: My first goal would be to get out of metropolitan areas. I'd try and find some camping equipment, a pistol (hard), and break into an aircraft at a small airstrip. Try and use the aircraft to get somewhere remote with friends. My flying isn't great but I'm fine with a small single prop.When He Climbed Mt. Everest, He Had A Terrifying Dream…DH: I had a recurring dream where we were on our summit attempt, and I needed to pee. It was very cold and when I started to pee, my pee hit the ground and it started to freeze. The freezing ran up my pee as it was coming out and into my penis. I would always wake up just as it hit me.I was so concerned about it, I told the expedition doctor and we all had a good laugh :)He Plans To Re-Enlist in the New Zealand Army ReservesDH: In the Air Force I was a ground officer, but I graduated top of my class which was actually the first time a ground officer had beaten all the aircrew candidates. So that was cool. I worked as a contract relationship manager, with a secondary appointment as the NZ Police liaison. Was a cool job did all sorts of crazy police training for search and rescue. Lots of jumping out of helicopters!Then in the NZ Army I was trained as an infantry officer with the Singapore Army. Got to do lots of cool stuff. Survival training. Demolitions training (even got to set off all my charges cause I got a good score in my tests!). Urban ops. Lots of stuff. But my corps was actually Signals. This is why I wasn't promoted, because I wasn't technically qualified and I couldn't be bothered to do my corps training because it was really shit. So I've been a Second Lieutenant for a very long time.I was discharged as I am overseas. I intend to apply for the reserves when I return, though. He Once Drank His Own Urine By AccidentDH: I used to pee in bottles in the army. While developing DayZ in my barrack room, at Waiouru on ex Thunder Warrior, I accidentally grabbed the wrong bottle. It was really gross.He Really Likes Steam Early AccessDH: I think it's great but there are massive icebergs sitting around it waiting to be hit. I think some projects are going to hit those and those issues will need to be addressed. It helps because it gets rid of the publishers dictating what the people find popular. You guys say what concepts are good, not some fat guys driving Bugattis.He Wants You To Learn More About The World Around YouDH: Learn everything you can about the world. Never miss an opportunity to learn more. The universe is so fascinating it blows my mind every day, and I feel so lucky to have the ability to learn about it.In the army everything was often very boring, and I struggled to stay awake. So I used to intensely focus on anything said or trained, ask massive amounts of questions. Not only did this keep me awake, but I found how fascinating even the most boring thing can be when you really try and understand it.Climbing Mt. Everest Helped Him Re-Focus His LifeDH: I think Everest helped get me back on track. It was my survival experience in Singapore (and my whole time attached in Singapore) that completely changed my life outlook. I got a bit lost with everything when DayZ took off, but Everest helped me get back to what mattered and what I wanted to do, to hell with everything else.If He Played Rugby, He'd Be a WingerDH: I can run fast, but I could never catch very well. I played some touch rugby in the Army. If I could get the ball, I was really awesome. I played wing - but like I say,... the hard part was getting me the ball.After He's Done With DayZ, He Wants To Open His Own StudioDH: In my new studio I really want to create this vision for a great internship/graduate program. I fund their projects, provide a incubator environment, then get the pick of the litter. I can't wait to set that up!He Has Never Met or Spoken With Valve Boss Gabe NewellDH: Maybe one day! I hope so! I have a huge amount of respect for him, I'd love his advice on setting up my own studio.DayZ has sold over 1 million copies through Steam Early Access so far and is one of the most played titles on Steam. You can download the game today for $30. Info from Gamespot.com
2014-01-24
It’s the that time again! The Social Share is where we highlight what our staff members are talking about in their personal Twitter feeds. Each week will be different and sometimes just silly. Be sure to follow GameSpot and our editors on Twitter to see their shenanigans first hand.Kevin VanOrd - @fiddlecubShadow of Mordor is making a lot of noise in the gaming community and the hype train for it is revving up. There have been a few discussions about what the game looks like, and the queues that it seems to grab from other titles, here’s what Kevin had to say.Shaun McInnis - @smcinnisParadox Interactive had a convention in Miami this weekend and announced what they are currently working on . Runemaster was one of the the titles mentioned apparently the open world Norse inspired setting caught Shauns eye.Justin Calvert - @justicecovertIf you have a 3DS and haven’t taken a moment to download the Bravely Default demo, hopefully you have a good excuse. As you can see Editor and Chief Justin Calvert is ready for the full version of the game to come out.Tom Mc Shea - @TomMcSheaIt’s looking like OlliOlli is a bit of a hit with this Vita loving editor. What exactly is OlliOlli about? It’s a 2d skateboarding game with “deviously crafted levels and challenges” available only on the PlayStation Vita, go check it out.Chris Watters - @CTWattersThere’s been a lot of discussion about Nintendo and what they’ve not been doing right lately, stories about their falling sales, and lackluster appeal has clearly struck a chord with many gamers. However, few can argue that one thing Nintendo games do well is their catchy melodies. Which is your favorite?That's all for this weeks Social Share, make sure you're following us on Twitter and Facebook. Remember for neat custom gif's we're also on Tumblr. Info from Gamespot.com


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