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Aubrielle's Column

2016-07-07

Death By Exposure - Trails of Cold Steel

Aubrielle opens her new semiregular JRPG column with an unofficial review of Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel.
» Continue reading the article...

Torment: Tides of Numenera

2016-06-27

Torment: Tides of Numenera Beta Impressions

Corwin entered the world of Numenera in the beta version of Torment: Tides of Numenera.
» Read the article

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Recently Released

Jul: Phantom Brave PC
Jul: Starbound
Jul: I Am Setsuna
Jul: Necropolis
Jul: Song of the Deep

Expected Releases

Aug: Deus Ex: MD
Aug: Champions of Anteria
Aug: Stellar Tactics
Aug: Tahira
Sep: Earthlock

Tuesday - July 26, 2016

Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem - Character Customization

by Myrthos, 16:10

In a new update for Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem, information is provided on charavter customization and the ammo modifier system. This is the part on character customization.

Hello everyone, I’m Patrick, Lead Character Artist of the project.
Today, I’d like to report our progress on a feature important to us, and I’m sure, very important to you : the character customization.
As expected since the Kickstarter, you’ll soon be able to choose the hairstyle, hair color, eyes color, and skin color of your character.
And, this is a surprise : body types ! So, between four models : medium, heavy, strong and lightweight, you’ll be able to set the character that suits you best ! These settings will also be available for the upcoming female character model.
Please, watch this video to see our progress :

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Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem

SP/MP: Single + MP
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: Hack & Slash
Platform: PC
Release: In development

Details

A House of Many Doors - The Cathedral of Stolen Gods

by Myrthos, 15:56

In A House of Many Doors there are many gods and there are some who try to steal them.

The Cathedral’s pirate-priests roam the House in church-tanks, stealing idols and holy texts, forcing innocent victims to renounce their gods and commit blasphemies. When they have driven all other worshippers away, they return to the main Cathedral and co-opt the god into their swollen pantheon.  

The Cathedral itself is a miles-tall edifice, a jagged cluster of Gothic architecture on tank-treads huge enough to crush a castle. Unfortunately, the Cathedral’s heyday is behind it – the engines are broken, and none of their many gods have the power to make it work again.  

But in the tallest spire, the Omnipope schemes. One day the pirate-priests will reclaim their glory and be feared throughout the House once more. One day.

 

A House of Many Doors

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Modern
Genre: Adventure-RPG
Platform: PC
Release: In development

Details

Legends of Ellaria - Version 0.5.30

by Myrthos, 15:53

A new update for Legends of Ellaria is coming in a week or two.

After a few weeks of silence, we come back with news and additions to LoE. Since we added bits and parts to LoE's engine, we added enough changes to break the save game, so we took our time adding some features we didn’t plan.  

So here’s what’s coming to version 0.5.30:  

  • We completely overhauled the city life and your citizen’s behaviour. 
  • Your city now generates income depending on your civilians and not as a fixed income 
  • You can now build barracks. When you build it, up to 3 soldiers will follow you and help you. 
  • You can now build the market, which will add a fixed number of resource based on visitors
  • The tavern now adds gold at the end of the day based on your population size
  • The blacksmith is important for generating the refined Iron resource
  • There are more indoors and indoor civilians 
  • Each building now have a meaning and is needed for your progress
  • You can now command following soldiers with the F1, F2, F3, F4 keys by building the barracks
  • Building certain buildings requires Rift Stone, which you’ll need to obtain by exploring your map 
  • Your HUD compass shows you locations of interest whenever you’re near them. 
  • But most important, Greenside now contains caves, goblin villages and places that you need to explore to advance your city. We added Rift Stone cave, which you’ll need to clear to retrieve Rift Stone, so that you'll be able to build the barracks. Other locations contains power ups, gold or just cool places to explore. 
  • Legends of Ellaria

    SP/MP: Single + MP
    Setting: Fantasy
    Genre: RPG
    Platform: PC
    Release: In development

    Details

    Path of Exile - Performance Improvements Soon

    by Silver, 15:12

    @DSOGaming they look into the technical improvements coming to Path of Exile with the next patch 2.4.0.

    Grinding Gear Games has released a new video in which Jonathan Rogers, Technical Director at Grinding Gear Games, discusses the performance improvements that are coming in version 2.4.0. Path of Exile is a free-to-play online action RPG and its upcoming 2.4.0 will offer better multi-threading CPU support (that will significantly improve the game's performance). Enjoy!

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    Path of Exile

    SP/MP: Massive
    Setting: Fantasy
    Genre: Hack & Slash
    Platform: PC
    Release: Released

    Details

    Ghost of a Tale - Now Early Access

    by Silver, 11:20

    Ghost of a Tale has released onto early access on both Steam and GOG. It is an action rpg where you play a mouse, who is a minstrel, during medieval times.

    About This Game
    Ghost of a Tale is an action-RPG game in which you play as Tilo, a mouse and minstrel caught up in a perilous adventure. The game takes place in a medieval world populated only by animals, and puts an emphasis on immersion and exploration. It features stealth elements, disguises, conversations with allies and enemies, and quests.

    You'll be able to explore the secrets of Dwindling Heights Keep and navigate its dangers. Tilo is not much of a fighter, so stealth and nimbleness are your allies when confronted with enemies twice your size. Talk to the characters you meet and leave no stone unturned in your quest to find Merra, your true love....
    About the team:
    Ghost of a tale is developed by a very small team. Lionel "Seith" Gallat does 90% of the art, design and coding. Paul Gardner is the game's writer and an experienced game designer. Cyrille Paulhiac does coding and develops tools. Jeremiah Pena is the game's composer, while Nicolas Titeux is responsible for sound design.

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    General News

    SP/MP: Unknown
    Setting: Unknown
    Genre: RPG
    Platform: Unknown
    Release: In development

    Details

    Grim Dawn - Misadventure #100

    by Aubrielle, 10:16

    In Grim Dawn's Misadventure #100, we learn more about the Crucible DLC, an "aetherial-infested city" and more.

    It is hard to believe that we are at 100 Grim Misadventures. The first one ever was over 4 years ago with some totally lame World Editor humor and the first level I ever created for Grim Dawn (that wasn’t used in the end). Looking back through the first updates really hammers in just how far the game has come. Of course, there are some things you can never unsee.

    Fast forward to 2016, Grim Dawn has released to resounding approval, with over 500k copies sold and counting. We’ve released one content update and announced the Survival Mode DLC now known as the Crucible. You will likely be pleased to know that the Crucible is coming along smoothly (some sneaky users may have already discovered the recent addition of Crucible achievements on Steam). We expect to have a release date for you in the near future, posthaste if you will. For those that just can’t wait for more details, the Game Guide has been updated with many answers about the mechanics and features of the Crucible.

    But the Crucible isn’t the end of the road for Grim Dawn, not by a long shot. On the horizon, just beyond the Crucible, we are looking to introduce new high-level unique items to spice up your loot hunt. We will also be taking a look at high level Epic sets, which currently don’t quite live up to their intent as stepping stones to Legendary items.

    In addition, we want to round out the rogue-like dungeon offering with the addition of a brand new Aetherial-infested city for you to explore, featuring new lore and new challenges and bosses on the same level of difficulty as the Steps of Torment and the Bastion of Chaos. Rumor is also that the Outcast, Anasteria, has some special interest in that area. Those who chose to befriend her may find a new quest waiting for them at Honored status.

    Grim Dawn

    SP/MP: Single + MP
    Setting: Fantasy
    Genre: Hack & Slash
    Platform: PC
    Release: Released

    Details

    Tim Sweeney - MS Will Make Steam Worse

    by Aubrielle, 10:12

    Epic CEO Tim Sweeney stated in an interview that he believes Microsoft will make Steam "progressively worse" with Windows 10 patches.

    It's well established that Tim Sweeney, co-founder of Epic Games and co-creator of the Unreal Engine, is not a fan of where Microsoft is headed with Windows 10. He's criticised the Universal Windows Platform twice this year, claiming that it's an attempt by Microsoft to monopolise what has traditionally been a happily open platform

    Now, in an interview with Edge Magazine, Sweeney has become even more direct in his criticisms, claiming that future updates to Windows 10 could serve to erode the usefulness of third-party applications and storefronts like Steam. 

    "There are two programming interfaces for Windows and every app has to choose one of them," he said. "Every Steam app – every PC game for the past few decades – has used Win32. It’s been both responsible for the vibrant software market we have now, but also for malware. Any program can be a virus. Universal Windows Platform is seen as an antidote to that. It’s sandboxed – much more locked down."

    "The risk here is that, if Microsoft convinces everybody to use UWP, then they phase out Win32 apps. If they can succeed in doing that then it’s a small leap to forcing all apps and games to be distributed through the Windows Store. Once we reach that point, the PC has become a closed platform. It won’t be that one day they flip a switch that will break your Steam library – what they’re trying to do is a series of sneaky manoeuvres. They make it more and more inconvenient to use the old apps, and, simultaneously, they try to become the only source for the new ones."

    While that could technically be true, how could Microsoft ever hope to bring down something as gargantuan as Steam, either intentionally or inadvertently? Sweeney believes they have a plan for that.

    "Slowly, over the next five years, they will force-patch Windows 10 to make Steam progressively worse and more broken. They’ll never completely break it, but will continue to break it until, in five years, people are so fed up that Steam is buggy that the Windows Store seems like an ideal alternative. That’s exactly what they did to their previous competitors in other areas. Now they’re doing it to Steam. It’s only just starting to become visible. Microsoft might not be competent enough to succeed with their plan, but they’re certainly trying."

    Sweeney has previously said that the PC has remained at the vanguard of graphics innovation because it's an open platform. Microsoft's supposed attempts to turn Windows into a closed platform risks neutering new breakthroughs such as VR before they've had a chance to flourish.

    Source: PC Gamer

    Non-RPG General News

    SP/MP: Unknown
    Setting: Unknown
    Genre: Unknown
    Platform: Unknown
    Release: In development

    Details

    Deus Ex: MD - Super Difficulty Mode

    by Silver, 10:08

    @Rocket Chainsaw they discuss Deus Ex: Mankind Divided's super difficulty mode.

    Some people like their games soft. Others like them hard. And let's be honest; there's nothing that can beat a good, hard...video game. And Eidos Montreal feel the same way too.

    According to a article over at Gamespot, the upcoming Deus Ex: Mankind Divided will aim to please players from a wide assortment of skill levels, offering heavily tailored down challenge for those who want to cruise through, right up to a new super difficult mode dubbed I Never Asked for This.

    Geared towards the most hardcore of hardcore, I Never Asked for This (recalling the iconic phrase from Deus Ex: Human Revolution) pumps up the difficulty the absolute hardest and nullifies reloads on death. That means you can save, load up your file later, and so on. But if you die your entire save file is flushed and you'll be forced to start again. One life, one run. That's all you get.

    Deus Ex: MD

    SP/MP: Single + MP
    Setting: Sci-Fi
    Genre: Shooter-RPG
    Platform: PC
    Release: In development

    Details

    Witcher 3 - Enhanced Edition Mod

    by Silver, 07:07

    @PCGamer Ever want Dark Souls difficulty in The Witcher 3? One modder did and has produced the Enhanced Edition Mod. PCGamer got this story from VG24/7.

    While rumours of an official Enhanced Edition were quashed by CD Projekt Red back in January, the developer recently confirmed a Game of the Year iteration is in the works. The Enhanced Edition mod is independent of both, but alters things like the game's default stats and abilities, meditation and alchemy settings, equipment weight and durability, and talent caps and levelling, among a number of other things. The mod also makes significant changes to the game's combat and damage systems and modifiers-a new "Hardcore Enemies" setting, for example, lifts foes 11 levels above the player. Yikes.

    The list of changes the mod makes is pretty exhaustive-full details of which can be found via its Nexus page. If you're interested, you might also fancy checking out YouTube person Origier does Gaming's extensive overview, which details everything from installation instructions to how said changes affect your game.

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    Witcher 3

    SP/MP: Single-player
    Setting: Fantasy
    Genre: RPG
    Platform: PC
    Release: Released

    Details

    Monday - July 25, 2016

    Meridian Shard - July Update

    by Hiddenx, 23:28

    The Meridian Shard is still in development:

    July Update

    In the last update, I mentioned the new semi-mouse support for control options and a much improved encounter system for monsters/foes. I have spent a lot of time ironing these two features out to include a better interface experience and build a randomized system that not only includes monsters, but also regular and really rare loot items

    [...]

    Meridian Shard

    SP/MP: Single-player
    Setting: Fantasy
    Genre: RPG
    Platform: PC
    Release: In development

    Details

    Dungeon Rushers - Early Access Review @ TGG

    by Hiddenx, 20:36

    TGG has reviewed the Early Access tactical RPG Dungeon Rushers:

    Dungeon Rushers PC review – A pretty good heroic-parody tactical RPG

    Have you ever wanted to enjoy those classic table-top RPGs but you don’t really understand the rules? Good news guys, “Dungeon Rushers” has got you covered!

    Taking its cues from the simpler table-tops like “Dungeons and Dragons” or “Heroquest: Dungeon Rushers” is a fast-paced dungeon crawler that has two-stage gameplay; top-down dungeon crawling and classic turn-based battle stages.

    “Dungeon Rushers” plays exactly like you would expect it to as well. The dungeons are made up of singular tiles. And you can choose which direction you move in, uncovering more of the map as you go. And every time you step on to a new (undiscovered) tile the invisible dice is thrown, and you have a random chance of meeting an enemy (or group of), traps or a random event. These events will give you a buff of some description and quickly become your win condition – get lucky with your items, and you will crush all before you. Get unlucky though and you will have to reload due to deaths. The system’s random nature makes every single dungeon really fun, and it adds to the games replayability as no two runs are ever exactly the same.

    [...]

    Verdict: 3/5
    In overall, Dungeon Rushers is a good game that is borderline great. There is a lot of content here to enjoy and characters that are entertaining and funny for all the right reasons. Unfortunately, it is let down by a combat system that is too simplistic to be truly enjoyable – time and development will hopefully alleviate this issue as the game progresses through early-access.

    -> Steam page

    Dungeon Rushers

    SP/MP: Single-player
    Setting: Fantasy
    Genre: Tactical RPG
    Platform: PC
    Release: In development

    Details

    RPS - Gen Next #1: Benefits of Procedural Gen

    by Aubrielle, 11:31

    RPS looks at the future of video gaming in their new four part series, Generation Next.  Part one looks at how procedural generation could benefit games, specifically RPGs, in the future.

    Mark Johnson is the developer of Ultima Ratio Regum, an ANSI 4X roguelike in which the use of procedural generation extends beyond the creation of landscapes and dungeons to also dynamically create cultures, practices, social norms, rituals, beliefs, concepts, and myths. This is the first in a four part series examining what generating this kind of social detail can bring to games.

    In Critical Gaming: Interactive History and Virtual Heritage, a 2015 scholarly work by Erik Champion, a very intriguing point is made about the books in the Elder Scrolls series. In considering the interactive options given to the player, and the detail of the “lore” books the player can encounter, Champion argues that the books in the Elder Scrolls series describe a far richer world than the player is actually able to engage with. He proposes that the fiction in these works speaks to a social world with a grander possibility space, and a set of more detailed cultural, social and religious elements, than the fiction the player is able to create through their actions. Elder Scrolls books speak of remarkable unique stories with a tremendous scope of actors, events, cultures, and places; within the play of the games themselves, however, it is difficult to break out of several core gameplay loops of combat, conversation and exploration, to experience or even create the kinds of stories and social worlds we read about in the game’s libraries.

    As well as feeding into this disconnect from gameplay, all this background world detail was hand-written, once, by the game’s developers. As deep and rich as many of the tales these books tell are, they remain the same no matter how many times the player starts the game. Few players will ever return to a previously-read book a second time, making their reading a one-off activity done at the start of the game, and even then something that most players gloss over, fully aware of the lack of immediate relevance to their character’s experience that most books (except for “skill books” that raise your stats) actually have.

    The intersection of these two concerns – their disconnect from the gameplay, and their unchanging nature – severely limits the social detail of the Elder Scrolls world to being only incidental, a backdrop, a player-created side-quest, or something to be considered once and then entirely forgotten. But what if such sociocultural detail could always be new and fresh, and always be actually reflected in the world(s) the player explores? Would players want to engage with this kind of detailed and always-distinctive worldbuilding, and how could worlds with those sorts of elements affect a player’s actual experiences instead of being nothing more than background reading?

    More.

    Rock, Paper, Shotgun

    Details

    Mass Effect - A History

    by Aubrielle, 11:24

    GameSpot has published a video history of Mass Effect, including lots of little details you may not have known.  Says GameBanshee:

    GameSpot has published a new video that charts the history of the Mass Effect franchise, from its beginnings as Project SFX, a pitch from Casey Hudson that included heavy online elements that would end up being dropped, all the way to the ending controversy for Mass Effect 3.

    The video concludes with some speculation on Mass Effect Andromeda and the writer's wish for a title that doesn't include an epic story but only focuses on character relationships. I'm personally in favor of that, but I have the feeling BioWare might be conservative in that department after the reaction to Dragon Age II.

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    Source: GameSpot

    Mass Effect

    SP/MP: Single + MP
    Setting: Sci-Fi
    Genre: Shooter-RPG
    Platform: PC, Xbox 360
    Release: Released

    Details

    Gyre: Maelstrom - Quartet Session

    by Silver, 00:11

    Evodent has revealed some of the audio work going into Gyre: Maelstrom.

    loading...

    Evodant is proud to present a behind-the-scenes look at some of the audio we recorded for our game Gyre: Maelstrom. The talented team at Precursor Productions is working closely with us on an amazing game score and sounds effects palette!

    Gyre: Maelstrom

    SP/MP: Single-player
    Setting: Steampunk
    Genre: RPG
    Platform: PC
    Release: In development

    Details

    Sunday - July 24, 2016

    Hideo Kojima - Interview at Comic-Con

    by Silver, 23:13

    @IGN Hideo Kojima is interviewed at San Diego Comic-Con about all things Kojima productions related. The interview starts at 2:36:29.

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    Non-RPG General News

    SP/MP: Unknown
    Setting: Unknown
    Genre: Unknown
    Platform: Unknown
    Release: In development

    Details

    Matt Chat - Stephen Kick Interview, pt. 2

    by Silver, 23:02

    Matt Chat focuses on System Shock with Stephen Kick of Nightdive Studios which is currently on Kickstarter with 3 days remaining and seeking several stretch goals.

    loading...

    Matt Chat

    Details

    Starbound - Review @ theEscapist

    by Hiddenx, 08:49

    theEscapist has reviewed the Sandbox Adventure RPG Starbound:

    Starbound Review - Terraria in Space

    It's been a long journey for Starbound. Announced all the way back in 2012 as a "spiritual successor" to smash-hit "Minecraft-but-2D" builder Terraria, it excited fans of the collect-explore-build genre by promising us a Terraria-like experience crossed with the freedom to explore a procedurally generated galaxy. The game had a fairly rocky "early access" journey but after spending some time with the final build, but it looks like it has finally become the game we were promised all those years ago.

    [...]

    All that said, Starbound has come a tremendous way from its first Early Access release. Back then I would have had a hard time recommending the game to anyone besides the most hardcore of fans, but now I can happily recommend it to anyone with even a passing interest in the construction game genre that Minecraft kicked off.

    Bottom Line: It's a bit rough around the edges, and the first few hours are a slog, but Starbound is a deep and vast constructor with a killer soundtrack.

    Recommendation: If you're looking for a spiritual successor to Terraria, you have found it.

    Score: 4/5

     

    Starbound

    SP/MP: Single + MP
    Setting: Sci-Fi
    Genre: Adventure-RPG
    Platform: PC
    Release: Released

    Details

    Long Gone Days - Modern Military RPG

    by Silver, 08:43

    @IndieGames they take a look at Long Gone Days, a modern military RPG with 2D turn based combat and an involved dialogue system. There is a demo available here if you want to try it out.

    Soldiers from all over the world will join forces in order stop an imminent war in Long Gone Days, a modern military RPG with a couple of neat ideas. Featuring body part targeting in the game's turn-based combat, a dialogue system where the way players interact with their team will affect how they perform in combat, and NPCs that speak a language the player can't understand without an in-game interpreter, it's promising many things that will help it stand out from other RPGs.

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    Indie RPGs

    SP/MP: Unknown
    Setting: Unknown
    Genre: RPG
    Platform: Unknown
    Release: In development

    Details

    The Great Whale Road - First Impressions

    by Hiddenx, 08:42

    ArcaneZorro checked out a preview version of The Great Whale Road:

    loading...

    The game will be released on July 28th.

     

    The Great Whale Road

    SP/MP: Single-player
    Setting: Historical
    Genre: RPG
    Platform: PC
    Release: In development

    Details

    Phantom Brave PC - Release: July 25

    by Hiddenx, 08:18

    An old Playstation 2 classic will be released for the PC on July 25th: Phantom Brave PC

    Phantom Brave PC includes all Phantom Brave: The Hermuda Triangle and Phantom Brave: We Meet Again content!

    On a small, lonely island in Ivoire lives Ash, a Phantom who lost his life in battle, and Marona, who has the ability to communicate with Phantoms. Sometimes, Marona receives Bottlemails that float along the sea.

    Marona, who lost her parents when she was very young, makes her living by completing the requests inside the Bottlemails as a Chroma, a person who accepts freelance work to solve problems for people. However, because of her abilities, the people call her the "Possessed." Even if she completes her work, some clients will hesitate to pay her the reward because of her reputation.

    Still, Marona stays optimistic and follows what her parents told her long ago: "Help people, and someday everyone will start to like you." Her goal is to save enough money to buy Phantom Isle, which she's currently renting. Like a subtle wave in the sea, the adventures of Marona and Ash are about to begin.

    Phantom Brave PC

    SP/MP: Single-player
    Setting: Fantasy
    Genre: Tactical RPG
    Platform: PC
    Release: Released

    Details

    Marvel Ultimate Alliance 1&2 - Available Tuesday

    by Silver, 07:19

    @DSOGaming they announce that Marvel Ultimate Alliance 1 and 2 are releasing for PC and next gen consoles this Tuesday. The formerly console exclusive games are described as epic action RPGs and involve teams of superheroes.

    ....
    These Ultimate Alliance games are described as ‘epic action RPGs with a huge focus on cooperative play,' and will be priced at at $39.99 each or as a bundle together for $59.99.

    As Mike Jones, executive producer for this Ultimate re-release, claimed, both of them will feature improved performance, some UI and graphic enhancements as well as making the games compatible with modern platform features on current-gen platforms.

    The reason Marvel is re-releasing these games is because this would be a great way to ‘celebrate an amazing franchise that's about to hit its 10th anniversary.'

    General News

    SP/MP: Unknown
    Setting: Unknown
    Genre: RPG
    Platform: Unknown
    Release: In development

    Details

    Saturday - July 23, 2016

    Wizardry Chronicles - Translated into English

    by Aubrielle, 11:28

    Wizardry Chronicles, released in 2001 and formerly only available in Japanese, has been translated into English by a dedicated team of fans and made available for PC.

    Download here.

    General News

    SP/MP: Unknown
    Setting: Unknown
    Genre: RPG
    Platform: Unknown
    Release: In development

    Details

    Ghost of a Tale - Early Access on July 25th

    by Hiddenx, 08:32

    The Early Access version of Ghost of a Tale will be available on July 25th - from Twitter:

    #GhostOfATale early access will release on July 25th at 9AM PDT. Price will be $19.99 (-10% during the first week). Please spread the word!

    -> Steam

    Ghost of a Tale

    SP/MP: Single-player
    Setting: Fantasy
    Genre: RPG
    Platform: PC
    Release: In development

    Details

    I Am Setsuna - Reviews

    by Hiddenx, 08:20

    The reviews for the JRPG I Am Setsuna are a mixed bag:

    The Washington Post:

    ‘I Am Setsuna’ review: A JRPG with heart

    [...]

    “I Am Setsuna” is the polar opposite of a subversive work it. It’s earnest and conventional but also alert to the vast scope of human fallibility and treachery. When the game starts posing you ethical questions about leadership or when you stumble upon an artfully glitchy-looking area where the developers left their calling cards (i.e., you can hear tale of how the composer cried while writing the score), it’s hard to resist the endearing tug of the human pulse humming beneath the surface of the pixels.

    Shacknews:

    I Am Setsuna Review: The Pain of Remembering

    [...]

    The Well-Beaten Path

    With I Am Setsuna, on one hand you have a staunchly traditional tale that offers a cursory narrative that's familiar on the surface as well as character tropes and archetypes that feel as though they were torn straight from the pages of "Classic RPGs 101." On the other, you have a convoluted battle system and irritants from games of the present that bring you down from any nostalgia high you might have been riding. It's all wrapped up in familiar dressing to get you hooked, but once you get to the substance it's clear I Am Setsuna needed a bit more time in the oven, or perhaps a master class of what made the games that inspired it memorable in the first place. If you're aching for a familiar and exciting JRPG, there's better to be found out there. While this is a serviceable option, there are plenty other more memorable ones out there.

    Score: 7/10

    Reno-Gazette-Journal:

    FINAL THOUGHTS

    I Am Setsuna is an unabashed love letter to fans of classic JRPGs, featuring solid, turn-based combat and a beautiful snowy world that looks like a moving painting. It’s a tad on the short side for an RPG and the journey can feel rushed, especially with the lack of extra content. Overall, it feels like it's at the cusp of JRPG greatness but just needs that little extra something to reach its full potential. Still, if you’re looking for an old school-style JRPG fix, I Am Setsuna will hit the spot.

    Score: 3.75 out of 5

    RPGFan:

    [...]
    From a stylistic standpoint, I am Setsuna is unflinchingly committed to its "snow and sacrifice" motif. Its visuals are simplistic yet graceful, and nearly every area has a chilly ambiance. Characters leave trails in the snow, trees rustle in the wind, and frigid waters reflect Setsuna's determined countenance. The soundtrack is led entirely by piano, creating a solemn atmosphere that is unquestionably beautiful but has a tendency to blend together. I am torn between wishing there was more variety in the game's audiovisual presentation and acknowledging the cohesiveness of its design.

    I am Setsuna takes enough risks to be worth experiencing, in spite of its narrative foibles. It is imperfect, and yet saying it "falls flat" would be overly reductionist. I admit I'm disappointed that I wasn't more touched by its themes, but there remains a gentle beauty within I am Setsuna that I wouldn't mind revisiting. Perhaps I'll make the pilgrimage once more a few winters hence.

    Score: 80/100

    iDigitalTimes:

    ‘I Am Setsuna’ Review: A Return To Form For Square Enix

    [...]

    I am Setsuna isn’t a perfect distillation of the 90’s RPG gameplay so many gamers mastered in their youth. But the game is a carefully considered, if at times flawed, collection of mechanics rarely seen on the modern gaming landscape. Sometimes, Setsuna trips over itself, particularly when it comes to the many intertwining systems built upon the ATB system. And we would have loved to see Tokyo RPG Factory do more with the game’s overworld, which doesn’t give players much incentive to step off the beaten path. But I am Setsuna is perfect for those hoping to get their JRPG fix without sacrificing all their available free time for the next six months or anyone interested in completing a role-playing game that prioritizes enjoyability over hours played.

     

    I Am Setsuna

    SP/MP: Single-player
    Setting: Fantasy
    Genre: J-RPG
    Platform: PC
    Release: Released

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    Starbound - Released

    by Hiddenx, 08:00

    After a long Early Access phase the sandbox adventure game Starbound has been released:

    Starbound is an extraterrestrial sandbox adventure game! You’ve fled your home, only to find yourself lost in space with a damaged ship. Your only option is to beam down to the planet below and gather the resources you need to repair your ship and set off to explore the vast, infinite...

    Starbound

    SP/MP: Single + MP
    Setting: Sci-Fi
    Genre: Adventure-RPG
    Platform: Unknown
    Release: Released

    Details

    Game Informer - Introducing Kids to RPGs

    by Aubrielle, 07:49

    Most of us here discovered the amazing possibilities of RPGs when we were kids. Game Informer's Top of the Table column tells us how to share that RPG magic with kids today.

    (even though the article is about pen-and-paper RPGs, the same principles could apply with PC RPGs)

    Ask anyone who has played role-playing games with friends or family over the years; there are few better ways to build relationships, foster laughter, and have a great time than sitting together to create a story. For all of the fantastic worlds RPGs take us to, the opportunity to come together with other people is the best part of the experience. But what if you want to share that laughter and adventure with your daughter or son, niece or nephew, or even the kids you mentor in a club or school?

    Playing role-playing games is a fantastic way to bring kids out of their shell, and give them power to shape a story as it comes into being, rather than always witnessing it from the outside like they might with a movie or book. It’s also an amazing way to bring adults and kids together, and build trust through a shared experience. 

    If you’re the adult, it’s up to you to understand the game, and most of the time, to be the gamemaster who guides the story. But don’t be intimidated. Follow the suggestions below to help ensure everybody has a great time. And if you’re looking for great role-playing games to try with younger players, flip over to the second page for some RPGS specifically designed with kids in mind.

    Read more.

    Game Informer

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    Deus Ex: MD - Ignoring Main Objective

    by Aubrielle, 07:44

    GamesRadar takes a look at the question "how much fun can we have while ignoring your main objective?". The fleshed-out feel of the game is refreshing.

    I got drunk in a railway station, tried to climb into a sewer, nearly died

    The important take-away here is that I learned just how expansive and organically explorable Mankind Divided’s hubworlds are. They seems significantly upraded from Human Revolution, in scale, variety, freedom, and overall sense of being in a real place. Case in point: the city hub is so big that it’s actually split into two parts, with a subway ride connecting them. Additionally, the sewers underneath the city are no longer simply short-cuts and break-in routes. They’re so large and winding that you can pretty much cross from anywhere (within a hub section) to anywhere else without seeing daylight. The concept of a parallel under-city - mentioned at one point by an oppressed, subterranean aug pariah - almost rings true.

    Anyway, I’m at the subway station on my way to getting a train across to the other side of the city. I realise that I have a few bottles of booze in my inventory - looted from a garage lock-up that I managed to hack open on my way over, using a very similar minigame to that used in Human Revolution. My health could do with a pick-me-up, so I down a couple of them. My health goes up, while my eyesight drops off a cliff. Adam is shambolically drunk, but I am undeterred. But I decide to get out of public view until it wears off. I’ve seen enough hollering, railway drunks in real-life to not want to be counted among their number. And look! What’s that over there? Why, it’s a ‘Staff only’ door. Bound to be something good behind it. I head through, and I find a manhole cover.

    I open it, and climb down. I open up my map, and confirm that yes, these tunnels go on for miles. This is exciting, and I am hyped to explore and see what secrets they hold (when I can actually see again). But disaster! The bottom of the ladder is cloaked with poison gas, as is the rest of the chamber. Unable to focus when I first get down there, I don't notice until things go red and Adam starts coughing up thick chunks of God knows what. I shall return, sober, and augmented with air-purifying lungs, but for now, I rapidly ascend, flopping out onto the subway’s cold floor tiles like a dying seal, gasping, debased, but now at least sober.

    I get a train to the other side of the city, deliberately get in the wrong ‘non-augmented’ queue at the other end (the cops are a bit sniffy, but basically let me get away with it, because I’m secretly their boss and I think on some level they’re starting to sense it), and head up to street level.

    Read more.

    Source: GamesRadar

    Deus Ex: MD

    SP/MP: Single + MP
    Setting: Sci-Fi
    Genre: Shooter-RPG
    Platform: PC
    Release: In development

    Details

    Witcher 3 - First Person Mod

    by Silver, 02:09

    @DSOGaming they report that CDPR forum member skacikpl has developed a first person mod for The Witcher 3 which will be releasing soon.

    CDPR's forum member ‘skacikpl‘ is currently working on a first-person mod for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and has released a new video in order to showcase it. The modder claimed that the current version of his first-person mod will be released soon, so stay tuned for more. Until then, enjoy the video after the jump!

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    Witcher 3

    SP/MP: Single-player
    Setting: Fantasy
    Genre: RPG
    Platform: PC
    Release: Released

    Details

    Bard's Tale IV - Character Progression

    by Silver, 01:44

    A new kickstarter update for The Bards Tale IV brings with it details on what to expect from character progression. This update also gave our bt4 interview back in May a shoutout so check it out if you haven't already.

    While skill trees can have a lot of options, their complexity grows along with the adventurer. The very first view you might have of your skill tree as a Fighter might look a little something like this, showing only a smaller number of skills to unlock:

    skill tree mockup

    The image above is a mockup using placeholder art, but should give you a sense of what this might look like in the game.

    In the above image we see the player has a few choices to pick from for their fledgling Fighter: learning to wield more advanced one handed weapons, learning to wield great weapons, gaining access to battle standards, wearing more protective armor, gaining bundles of attribute points, learning a new passive, or learning to craft basic potions. You'll notice that many of those choices also carry along with them some increased attributes as an added bonus.

    For those of you thinking that's all there is, don't worry. You'll be able to view your entire skill tree from the get go. For simplicity's sake we set the default view to show you only what you have available at a given level, and what's just beyond the horizon. However, you can always zoom out to see the full number of options available to your adventurers as they grow into heroes of legend.

    [...]

    For those of you looking closely at the skill tree descriptions, which I'm confident many of you are, you might be wondering where you get your combat abilities from. Many of them, in fact, do not feature in the skill tree directly - instead, the place you acquire abilities is actually from your equipment. As you progress down the skill tree you unlock the ability to wield new and more exotic weapons, off-hand items, and trinkets. You may unlock access to a single item, such as a battle standard, or an entire category of items, such as Tier 2 great weapons. These items each have a specific ability or abilities. By wielding a great club you'd be able to use Lumbering Strike during battle, while wielding a battle standard would allow you to rally your allies with the ability "To Me, Brothers." As a certain weapon is used, an adventurer will eventually master its abilities, allowing them to keep using those abilities even without needing the weapon equipped. This will let you naturally unlock a vast amount of tactical flexibility over the course of the game.

    And lastly, equipment such as your helm, armor, and boots also play a major role in your character's growth and progression. Through the skill tree you're also able gain access to increasingly powerful and exotic armor, robes, costumes, garbs, habits, and accoutrement. Your gear accounts for a major chunk of your adventurer's attributes. How many blows your character can withstand, how able he or she is to focus the eldritch forces, and their mental fortitude is heavily influenced by what mystic equipment they've found and learned to use throughout their journeys. These items can also grant you unique passive abilities that can help you form powerful combos. Itemization is an important aspect of The Bard's Tale IV and we've only given you a cursory glance, so we'll be touching on it more later.

    By the good graces of the Review Board, wise choices made in your skill tree, and only the most potent of enchanted war gear, your adventurer can become a one of a kind hero whose deeds will be chronicled through song for an age.

    Bard's Tale IV

    SP/MP: Single-player
    Setting: Fantasy
    Genre: Dungeon Crawler
    Platform: PC
    Release: In development

    Details

    Friday - July 22, 2016

    ELEX - The Skex

    by Hiddenx, 21:23

    WoE presents artwork and info of the Skex monster:

    According to legend, the Skex once had a bright coat and real wings. But nowadays the Skex is just known as an aggressive and haggard runner. If there is no way of escape, beware of it's razor-sharp mandible.
    Despite his haggard appearance, the Skex is a very robust creature and has spread to many countries of Magalan. Especially when the Skex come across in small groups, you shouldn't provoke them. As a voracious omnivore, the Skex leaves nothing left from his foes.
     - Piranha Bytes

    ELEX

    SP/MP: Unknown
    Setting: Post-Apoc
    Genre: Action-RPG
    Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One
    Release: In development

    Details