10.23.2017

TMNT: The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Return to Arcades with a WHOLE NEW GAME!!!


     The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have had a long history in video games, loaded with many ups and downs, with occasional oddball gems that really stands out.  In recent years there's been some decent attempts to regain that special something that the old arcade quarter-munchers had and the home ones did not.  It's been nearly 30 years since Konami's original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game first hit arcades and Raw Thrills, Inc is looking to bring back those beat 'em up glory days with an all new adventure featuring our favorite heroes in a half shell.

     Modern arcade game developer Raw Thrills has been hard at work on reviving an old fan-favorite arcade genre staple in the form of a brand new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles brawler beat 'em up, and hopefully proving to us that there are still turtles games to look forward to.  This completely original TMNT game is based on the look of the extremely popular Nickelodeon cartoon, which will be finishing up season 5 in November.
     "This new version of TMNT is a completely new re-imagining of the brawler concept. There are more moves, more environmental interaction, cool Turtle Power special attacks, voiceover from the entire cast (including Seth Green and others)… it’s really amazing."
     Many fans will be quite excited to have this TMNT nostalgia returning to the coin-operated gaming for the first time in decades, and Raw Thrills, Inc plans to have a demo at this year’s International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions expo in November.

     This could possibly be the game I've been asking for for years, in my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows game review I wrote:
"I think a bigger and better studio may have been able to truly pull off an open-world 4 player co-op beat-em-up much better than this- a game to match the ambition this one so desperately strove for.  We just haven't found the right company to do it justice yet.  Maybe Activision can find a group to do it with the Nickelodeon series on a larger scale. 
     As a lifelong fan since I was about 5 years old, that is what I would want.  A huge action RPG brawler, maybe even a hack-n-slash, in a fully open world of Manhattan, complete with sewer system.  The world should be as large as any of the GTA games by Rockstar, and it should be filled with plenty of baddies and mini-missions.  Take note Activision- Traveller's Tales' Lego Marvel Superheroes did it right with the large cityscape full of fun mayhem to be had with a couple hundred characters to swap around.  Copy that and improve on it."
     Now, I know Raw Thrills' game won't be expansive enough to encompass a huge open world for a beat 'em up, but the mere fact they are returning to the roots of TMNT gaming is a wonderful thing.  I'd even consider the fact that they may steal the crown for best turtles game which I personally believe to be 2007's TMNT for the Nintendo GBA.  This could be the start fans of the franchise have been waiting for to point the following games towards what we've been wanting for years.

     I can't wait to play this at an arcade cabinet soon. And pray to the reptilian gods that this game may find a port to home consoles or mobile devices.

     For related posts [ TMNT ]

     Source [ Arcade Heroes ]

10.17.2017

EA Delays Star Wars Project & Shutters Visceral Games

OF MIDICHLORIANS...

     Everyone's least favorite company EA has brought us a double dose of great news today- not only is Visceral Games being closed, but their current Star Wars project is being "revamped and moved to a different studio."


     EA's Executive VP Patrick Söderlund released this news in a game update post, including the unfortunate shuttering of the developers behind the tremendous Dead Space series, which declined in popularity after EA started implementing its own monetizations and the like- and thus diluting the sci fi horror roots that made the first game so damned good. 

...AND MICROTRANSACTIONS

     Through game test concepts and feedback through development, and after hearing "what and how they want to play, and closely tracking fundamental shifts in the marketplace," EA's decided to make these changes.  EA claims to be "reimagining central elements of the game to give players a Star Wars adventure of greater depth and breadth to explore."
     They say they wanted to pivot the way the game plays in a broader, more varied experience, allegedly offering players "more agency" in a way that will give us a greater depth and breadth to the exploration of the Star Wars universe.  Though that might sound great, it also sounds like it really means the core of Visceral's initial plot and design will be plucked from its dying body and replaced with an emotionless, dead loot box heart- presumably to be filled with vast and shitty Midichlorian-filled load of microtransactions and a multiplayer focus.

THE FORCE ASPHYXIATED

     This doesn't bode well for the Star Wars game as it sounded like the game was "shaping up to be a story-based, linear adventure game," under Visceral's good hands, but now it may be becoming something much closer in alignment with EA's push towards a "games as service model."  Meaning it might wind up like Battlefront, being all hype and no substance, and completely riddled with preposterous microtransactions for every little thing, of which we can only expect more of this same old shit from with the release of Battlefront 2 soon.  It's the same thing for Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, Star Wars: Force Collection, and Star Wars: Force Arena, they are cheap games designed to siphon money off of players instead of creating a unique and memorable story in a beloved franchise.  All the really good Star Wars games have been cancelled or shut down- Star Wars: 1313,  the mobile game Star Wars: Uprising, the Untitled Darth Maul Project, and the amazing potential of Disney Infinity.
     So when EA says, "We want to take the time to get each game right, to make it unique, to make it amazing," I don't believe it.  When the game arrives we'll see if they really want a good story and experience, or if it follows the path of the Dead Space games, getting worse with each new installment, getting worse with each step away from a great single player experience, and closer to the large multiplayer messes.  We even know that Dead Space 3's original plan was great, and EA flubbed that up in the name of the almighty dollar, proving that they've become the money-hungry monsters worshiping a Marker with a big green S spray-painted on its front.

     A team from EA Vancouver will lead devs from EA Worldwide in picking up and working where Visceral left off.  The Star Wars game was expected to release in the late fiscal year end of 2019, but has been delayed and awaits a new anticipated release date to be announced at another time.

     On a lighter note, here's a fun, old Star Wars: Tiny Death Star post.

     Source [ EA ]

10.11.2017

Beyond Oasis has Come to Mobile from SEGA Forever

     Thanks to the SEGA Forever program, the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive classic, action-adventure RPG Beyond Oasis, known as The Story of Thor: A Successor of the Light in Europe, is now available on mobile devices.


     SEGA Forever has been expanding their library of classic games, ported as free-to-play mobile titles, and Beyond Oasis is another tremendous installment being brought to the modern gaming market.  Beyond Oasis is the story of Prince Ali stumbling upon a sentient gold amulet attempting to save Oasis from a villainous enemy in possession of the silver amulet.  It's kind of like a wonderful combination of Prince of Persia and the Legend of Zelda- a huge open world filled with a variety of weapons, magic, secrets to uncover, and a wealth of enemies to slay.

     One neat new feature of this version is the "Rewind" button, which was recently added to Golden Axe, which helps alleviate some of the problems I had in my Golden Axe Sega Forever review.  It's a small clock in the upper left corner, that rewinds the game 15 seconds- oddly fitting for Beyond Oasis making it feel a bit more like a Prince of Persia game by coincidence.  It should be noted that there is an abuse-prevention measure in the form of a cooldown timer (or at the cost of watching an ad, if you didn't purchase the single IAP to remove ads), so you can't just rewind time over and over.
     In addition, like all the rest of the SEGA Forever lineup, the game comes with cloud saving, leaderboards, and controller support. I'm hoping they've cleaned up the controller support as it's been relatively loose and has been unresponsive on previous titles.  Beyond Oasis is a game with a 6 button set up, doubling the usual 3 button standard of the last bunch of games, meaning it'll need a much better handling of the control scheme.

     I'm looking forward to giving this title a go, as it was a an amazing title- ranking up there with games like Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana, Alundra, and Landstalker- all around great action-adventure RPG games.

     Beyond Oasis on [ Google Play ] and iOS
          To eliminate ads, there's a one-time IAP of $1.99/ €2.29 / £1.99.

10.07.2017

Undergrave: An Open Alpha Review

     Three Dudes Make Indie Games, creators of the indie title Tel and Aitch, have an awesome Castlevania inspired rogue-like action-platformer game called Undergrave that's been in the Open Alpha stage since October 2016, and has not been updated since November 2016.


     In Undergrave players take the role of an aged, nameless alchemist fallen into darkness.  In the gothic underworld you must rely on your chain-whip, platforming skills, and knowledge of alchemy to make your way through this dangerous journey.  You must slay strange monsters and harvest their viscera.

     What immediately caught my eye was the alchemy crafting mechanic.  As you kill enemies and find items, you collect bits and pieces of things such as bones or mushrooms with which to make potions.  It's a very interesting set up with a plethora of options in what can be created.  When you find a laboratory, you can bring up the list of craftable potions and by adding ingredients, crushing, and heating to the instruction's specifications you are able to make all manner of things.  Looking for a draught of flame?  Done.  Elixir of health?  Here you go.  An "osseous" potion that explodes a pile of bones through the air?  Just made 10.
     On the down side of this is sometimes the instructions aren't clear.  Following the instructions exactly often resulted in "unknown" potions.  After repeated tries, I found that I had to adjust the recipes just slightly, like heating half a second longer than was stated, to achieve the correct results.  It's a little frustrating, but still mostly works.  To not sound too harsh, I'd like to add the scrolling scroll of potions in the upper right corner is one of the smoothest, and coolest, animations in the game.


     What Undergrave does well lies in its concept.  It's basically just another rogue-like, but the Castlevania-esque visuals take it to a memorable level.  Then it pushes the game further with clean, gorgeous animations, in a heavily Gothic and atmospheric environment.  It also features brilliant and fitting music, adding to the tension of the environments quite wonderfully.
     Sadly, this open alpha is plagued by one awful problem- the controls.  As they are right now, the controls are very, very clunky and unresponsive.  In a rogue-like, unresponsive controls can lead directly to death, which is unbelievably frustrating.  A great many of my deaths were due to the jump not responding and subsequently falling to my death or taking fatal damage.  Jumping while moving often stops the character and instead of jumping in an arc, he just jumps straight upwards, and in turn often meaning incurring damage that could've been avoided had the momentum carried him forwards as it should.
     It should also be noted that the "interact" button is inexplicably in the center of the screen instead of one side by all the other controls.  That way players aren't forced to stretch a finger across to the center of their devices, some of which are large enough they may need to pull a hand away to reach.

     All in all, Undergrave is a tremendous in its alpha state- it's off to an amazing start with excellent graphics and distinctly moody music.  It's got an amazing base concept of creating your alchemical weapons, but could definitely expand on that, perhaps to making more than just potions- maybe other weapons or things to enhance his whip, such as adding an elemental attack to it.  They could add a wider variety of locations, a bit of story lore for us, and some permanent unlockables to aid us in our quest.
     Regardless of whether it's still in development or not, if you are a fan of Castlevania or rogue-likes, you should definitely check Undergrave out.  Despite my complaints, it's still a beautiful little game you can pick up and play in short installments.

     For updates follow 3DMG on [ Twitter ]

     To play [ Undergrave ]

9.28.2017

Red Dead Redemption 2: Trailer 2 is Here

     Rockstar Games' highly anticipated sequel to Red Dead Redemption has released a glorious new trailer to remind us that 2018 can't come fast enough.


     In this new trailer we get a little bit of the story- it follows the trail of outlaw Arthur Morgan and the Van der Linde gang as they're pursued across the American heartland.  It looks like there'll be plenty of fighting and stealing along the way.  Red Dead Redemption 2 seems to improve upon the last installment in every possible facet.  Better graphics, a bigger world, and presumably another epic western tale of blood and glory.

     We'll need to ready our rifles and revolvers in preparation for this wonderful prequel.

     Red Dead Redemption is set to arrive in spring 2018 on PS4 and XBox One.

9.24.2017

Slaughter 2: Prison Assault: 3rd Person Shooter's Sequel: Teaser Trailer has Arrived

     I was a huge fan of Slaughter, it's a tremendous 3rd person shooter game with a ton of action, humor, and fun all crammed onto Android devices.  Then I found out there was a sequel on the way and hyped it over on Droidgamers.


     I've been eagerly awaiting more news of how far along the game has been and what the status might currently be.  Recently creator/developer Ray "Venomized Art" Spark has mentioned the game's release is "just around the corner," with no specific date given.  Though it should be noted that it was sitting at around 60% complete as of a month ago, and as of 20 minutes ago, he released a teaser video with the comment that it is, "Almost finished."


     I can only tell readers to watch the videos and go check out the first game to get a feel for it- this is one that I highly recommend, as I said before, "Slaughter is a genuine treat for anyone that likes short and sweet 3rd person shooter games.  It's has good controls, lots of shooting, humor, and a lot of replayability."  Though I should note that there ARE sound effects, but they aren't in the trailer- here's a trailer/gameplay of the first showing them, so please don't be offput by not hearing anything in these teasers.

     Slaughter 2 puts players in the shoes of a Special Forces soldier (some of whom shot at Russel, the protagonist of the first game), and will cross over with the first game at some point.  This game should reveal the secrets of the first's captured city, and the developer has said he hopes this one will be about twice the length in terms of gameplay.
     In previous contact with the developer he's stated the game contains better graphics, animations, new weapons and enemies, as well as including a lot more trivia, texts, and secrets.

     The first Slaughter is available for .99 on Google Play

     Source [ Venomized Art on Facebook ]

9.03.2017

Borderlands 3 Update: PAX West 2017 Teaser Announcement

     Fans have been clamoring for news of the beloved Gearbox franchise Borderlands for another installment since the Pre-Sequel hit systems in late 2014.  There was the cancelled mobile MMORPG Borderlands Online that looked great, and then we got a tidbit of hope when Gearbox Software CEO Randy Pitchford said at PAX East 2016 that, "Obviously, there is going to be another Borderlands."


     Now, after the lackluster Battleborn, Pitchford came out and stated that Gearbox has 90% of their studio's productivity focused on, "Working on the thing I think most of you guys want us to be working on," heavily insinuating the singular game fans are looking forward to- Borderlands 3, or more likely Borderworlds- a more fitting title after the finale of Borderlands 2.  Many of us are extremely hyped as Gearbox's last game hasn't been nearly as captivating, and they could really use a blockbuster to get fans back.
     While he didn't expressly state the name of the game, as Gearbox is now a publisher and can't officially announce a game until they are formally announced, it was a definite teaser- as some of the tech demo they showed at GDC 2017 featured a very distinct art style (see video above).

     All else that is known is that Battleborn's Art Director Scott Kester is serving in the same role on Borderlands 3, and the original Borderlands' writer Mikey Neumann, will be writing it again.

     Source [ Dual Shockers ]

     For related posts [ Borderlands ]

9.01.2017

Golden Axe (Sega Forever): Short Review

     As a long time fan of Sega, from their great system Genesis to their amazing game series' like Streets of Rage, I was truly excited to see they were doing what I complained Nintendo should've done years ago- port their games to the mobile market via iOS and Android.  So far, Sega's ports have brought us classic games such as Altered Beast, Ristar, Kid Chameleon, and Phantasy Star 2, and now, they've brought the fantasy arcade turned Genesis beat 'em up Golden Axe to the Sega Forever lineup.
     Players can once again take on the role of a Dwarf, Barbarian, or Amazon Warrior to battle the dreaded Death Adder for the legendary Golden Axe to restore peace to the land of Yuria.  Slay enemies, ride beasts, and cast spells all along the journey to take back the ravaged kingdom!


     Starting with the good, the Sega Forever titles get some upgrades from the old version.  There's a choice in graphics, either the original or new smooth versions, there's also a slightly easier mode, leaderboards, and a new duel mode where players can face off wave after wave of enemies.  They've also stated that there is a, "Multiplayer experience coming soon."

     Now, sadly, the bad part.  As with all the other Sega Forever games (the exception being Phantasy Star 2- it doesn't require the quick responses of the other games), Golden Axe is another great old school gaming experience once again marred by awful controls.  I noticed numerous times where my character wouldn't respond to inputs, or the controls were off just enough to be frustrating- like trying to make a jump across a gap and instead falling to your death, and I'm not fully positive on this, but I believe some enemy hit boxes were altered, because there's a bunch of times where I'd swing directly through enemies and they'd remain untouched.
     It's also unbelievably irritating to get caught in stun-locked to death sandwiched between enemies because the controls lag or unresponsive d-pad inputs leave you standing still.  The game was originally designed as a quarter-muncher arcade meant to siphon peoples' pockets of coins to make money, and the irksome unfairness of the arcade difficulty is greatly exacerbated by the d-pad input problems.
      In reality, a small patch could easily fix this.  It's the biggest issue with the wonderful games they've been putting out, and if Sega wants to start making money off of these they need to specifically fix the controls.  They've begun a trend that retro gamers want, and have started down the right path, they just need to hone it in and really make these games shine.

     Despite its flaws, Golden Axe is still a good addition to the growing Sega Forever library with its extras and the promise of an online co-op on the way we can hopefully look forward to fixes yet to come.  I honestly hope they do fix the consistent control problems, because Sega has a monstrous library of tremendous games worth replaying, or bringing to a completely new audience, and this is the singular stumbling block in the way.

     Golden Axe via the App Store and Google Play.  It's free to play with adds, but has a $1.99 IAP that removes adds and allows for an

8.31.2017

Mega Bloks (Construx): Masters of the Universe Skeletor: Micro Review

     It's been quite a while since I've found some cool toys since Wave 2 of the Mega Bloks (now Mega Construx) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles mini figures, and today I came across an awesome new one- a tiny Masters of the Universe Skeletor.

     When I first came across the initial bunch of TMNT Mega Bloks figures I was immediately taken with how well done they were, wave 2 pushed that impressiveness even further.  Then the toys were set back a little with the TMNT: Out of the Shadows film tie-ins, then they knocked it out of the park with the black and white Mirage Comics figures- they were downright spectacular!

     Once again, Mega Construx has done a fantastic job in making an absurdly tiny and somehow still manage to have a ton of articulation.  This is a tremendous new mini figure that is great for collectors and fans.  It's well painted, well sculpted, and articulated- these things are just plain amazing little figures.  I only hope they will produce more than only He-Man and Skeletor, currently the only 2 available for the Masters of the Universe line.  I'd really like to see Tri-Klops, Stinkor, Man-at-Arms, or any of the vast array of characters from the comics or show.
     I'll definitely pick up more as they come, but right now, this Skeletor is a perfect introduction to the set, and I can only hope for more to come.

     I've also seen they've released 2 figures from Star Trek: The Next Generation and 2 from Aliens.  In reality, they could make a plethora of great figures for those series' as well- paving more paths for cool new figures now that the TMNT lines are becoming stale.  I'm not kidding, there's a wealth of characters to choose from but they go with ones nobody wants, or more simple repaints/variants of the core turtles for each new wave comprising a full 50% of each new wave.  Mix it up a little Mega Construx!  People will buy the awesome figures when they aren't making the same mistake the old Playmates line made, no one wants the football Leonardo, or an Army fatigues Donatello, we'd rather have a cool Metalhead or Chrome Dome than the infinite number of variants.

8.22.2017

Jurassic World Evolution: Trailer & Thoughts

     I heard there was a new Jurassic Park game on the way and I got immediately excited, unfortunately that excitement was swiftly quashed when I found out it was just another world builder game.


     According to the developer's official press release:
     "Jurassic World Evolution evolves players’ relationship with the Jurassic World film franchise, placing them in control of operations on the legendary island of Isla Nublar and the surrounding islands of the Muertes Archipelago. 
     Players will build their own Jurassic World as they bioengineer new dinosaur breeds and construct attractions, containment and research facilities. Every choice leads to a different path and spectacular challenges arise when ‘life finds a way.’"
     I'm not going to lie, though the developer has over a decade of world/city building, management, and simulation games experience, I just feel they could've done better for the Jurassic Park legacy than this genre of game.  The old Sega Genesis game was a great platformer, the Sega CD version was a point-and-click mystery (as was the far superior, and much more recent Telltale version), and this honestly feels like an upscaled version of Ludia's mobile tie-in Jurassic World: The Game.  The mobile game was a good time-waster, overloaded with IAPs and the like with an interesting dinosaur evolving and battling sub-game- but it was also a mobile game, and not a full console game.  While I don't like this type of game, I'm sure it'll have a bunch of people hyped.

     All I'd like to see, and have wanted to see for decades, is a 3rd person action-adventure game like Uncharted 4 or Rise of the Tomb Raider that takes place in the Jurassic Park universe.  If they could get a company like Naughty Dog or Crystal Dynamics/Eidos Montreal to make it, the game would top the charts instantly.  The closest we got to it is the LEGO Jurassic World game, it wasn't the best, but it was still pretty damned fun despite the flaws (that plague all the LEGO games).

     Jurassic World Evolution will arrive on PC, PS4, and XBox One in Summer 2018, in time for the theatrical release of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom on June 22, 2018.

     SOURCE [ Frontier ]