Archive - 2012/04/05

Confrontation – Review (PC/Steam)

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Over the years I have played a lot of RPGs and that is putting it pretty mildly.  Some turn-based, some realtime, some hack and slash, some requiring quite a bit of tactical strategy.  I have learned to love all kinds of different RPGs and found that almost all have some strengths that make them playable, the big question is if they are strong enough to endure.  The best ones wind up being played still over a decade later though there are plenty of great ones that slip through the crack simply because they ride in the shadows of the strongly established.  So first a game must be great then it must be lucky.  The question is whether or not Confrontation winds up being either.

Confrontation doesn’t take very long to show it’s graphically a thing of beauty.  The cut-scenes use the same quality of graphics as its game play with immense details and rich colors.  The music is well composed and the sound is crisp and excellent from the attacks to the death agony screams.  The quality would easily make a great animated series but that is not what they are working for here.  We have to face it however that a game can look great but if it doesn’t play well it isn’t going to survive whereas some games that are just plain ugly have an unlimited lifespan because they are fun and found their audience.

Confrontation is a top down real time tactical RPG where you build up your elite squad of Griffin soldiers to fight against the fearsome creatures of the Alchemists of Dirz (the Scorpion), the ferocious Wolfen packs (the Wolf), and the brutal Orcs of Bran-O-Kor (the Jackal) deep inside the continent of Aarklash.  Starting with warriors,, and working your way through other classes you recruit and redefine your team to both their advantages and your tactical strengths.  This is no “Leroy Jenkins!” game.  Every encounter requires planning and squad placement as well as careful consideration of location.  Fighting in too tight of quarters can block up your melee from getting strikes in, too loose and your healer might start grabbing aggro and taking melee.  There are some skills that the tank class can use to hold aggro but it still comes down to tactical planning.  Playing it I had a lot of close call battles and a couple just flat out failures because I didn’t consider flanking issues or let big melee beasties past my tank and onto the hunter and ranged magic user.  Personally I like a game that creates such challenges so that I have to stop and think rather than just hack and slash through each battle.

The game also has skill trees with lock-off branches so that once you choose a skill path on the character you had better be sure.  One of the more interesting things is upgrades in weapons and armor require finding glyphs on the battlefield which reward credits for each upgrade that go into a pool from which all your characters draw from.  So if you put all your upgrading into a particular character you had better plan to hold onto them for the long run because other characters won’t get anything.

Maps are set up fairly linear with little off shoots that can be taken or avoided which creates the option to engage or avoid patrols as well.  If you like to clean a map you can methodically work your way through, just make sure you have a method or you could find yourself being attacked by multiple patrols and wishing you had snuck by.  Once again this is a tactical RPG and engagement is definitely a factor to consider.  To help with this consideration the camera angle is completely adjustable using the mouse wheel though default is above and slightly behind and during movement will revert back to this location.  Use this option often though because a treasure chest full of bandages could be tucked in a dark corner.  Another nice and helpful feature is the pause located at the space bar that allows you order unit commands and figure out your next move.  Some might think this is too much help but features like this are up to the players to choose or ignore.

The game has a multiplayer mode in which you can play any of the four factions and even challenge particular players to fight.  Since I am reviewing the game prior to release I had a hard time finding players to try this out with but I can say if it as solid as the single-player campaign it should be a lot of fun to play.  It is unfortunate nowadays that a lot of the time the success or failure of a game comes down to how it draws in it’s multiplayer audience more than its single-player campaign though to a degree that is understandable because it does address playtime for your money.

I just have to discuss one feature of this game which doesn’t effect gameplay but to me is one of the most awesome geek touches.  Every old school D&D player and probably a few new ones remembers going to get miniatures at the local hobby store to paint and have sit on the table to represent their characters.  The game actually has a section called Army Painter that lets you paint all the different characters you use and encounter.  As you can see above it looks like a desktop with a coffee cup full of pens and pencils and a couple paint canisters and a styrofoam cup to wash your brush off in.  Honestly I spent quite a while just playing with this feature for the sheer fun of it.  This was a completely unnecessary touch to the game which really endeared it to me or maybe I should say that deep rooted geek within.

Last Call:

This is a solid tactical RPG game with great graphics, excellent game play mechanics and makes you think before you slash.  It has all the makings of a successful game that should appeal to a wide audience.  The key is getting word out and surviving in a market place with a lot of RPGs that are shadowed by giants.

EA Announces Teeth of Naros Downloadable expansion for Kingdoms of Amalur

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PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND – APRIL 4, 2012 – Glimpse into the future of Amalur, as Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA), 38 Studios, and Big Huge Games unveil Teeth of Naros™, the second downloadable content (DLC) pack for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning™. Players will journey through a forgotten land called the Teeth of Naros, a harsh environment named after an ancient troll god. In this new journey players will encounter the Kollossae, a devout race of giants, and uncover the mysteries of their faith. Teeth of Naros will be available starting on April 17, 2012 on Xbox Live for 800 points and PlayStation®Network, Origin™ and Steam for $9.99.

The Teeth of Naros DLC and the journey through the mysterious land will feature:

· A New City – Explore the city of Idylla, which magically floats in the sky above the Teeth of Naros featuring more than 20 side quests, multiple dungeons and a mysterious new race

· New Enemies and Dungeons – Players will take part in a crucible of faith and tribulation with new dangers and enemies as they journey through five enormous new dungeons

· New Twists of Fate and Items – Three new Twists of Fate, nine new armor sets, six new shields and 18 new unique weapons for players to choose from as they journey through this new world

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning was brought together by a stellar team of creative minds that joined World Series Champion pitcher and founder of 38 Studios, Curt Schilling, including 24-time New York Times bestselling author R.A. Salvatore who created Amalur’s 10,000-year history, Spawn creator Todd McFarlane who lent his signature visual style to the artistry of the game, and Ken Rolston, internationally celebrated game designer.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning brings open-world exploration and unparalleled action and combat together in the ultimate RPG experience. With near infinite combinations of destinies, abilities, weapons, items and special moves, players are able to customize their play experience to suit any style. By reweaving their fate, they can retool and totally rebuild their hero in the midst of their adventure. Within Reckoning, players will immerse themselves in a world filled with extraordinary landscapes, mysterious cities, colorful characters and fantastic creatures exploring an entirely new universe where every building, tree, and creature has a clear and defined history.

Developed by 38 Studios subsidiary Big Huge Games in Baltimore, Maryland and 38 Studios in Providence, Rhode Island, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is available now in North America and Europe for the Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and PC. Learn more about Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning by visiting www.Reckoning.com or follow us on Facebook (http://facebook.com/ReckoningTheGame) and on Twitter (http://twitter.com/ReckoningGame). Press assets for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning are available at www.info.ea.com

Dev Blog Talks MWO’s MechLab

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Piranha Games has posted up a new dev blog post discussing the MechLab of their upcoming MechWarrior Online.

From the Post:

How does it all fit?

MechWarrior Online incorporates a “Hardpoint” system which dictates, above all other customization, that weapons can only be swapped out with weapons of the same weapon type. For example, energy weapons cannot be swapped with ballistic weapons.

Each location on a BattleMech, such as the Right Arm or Center Torso, may include a number of hard points. The number of hard points in a given location is determined on a per variant basis, and is based on the weapons included in the variant’s default loadout. For example, a ’Mech that, by default, comes with 2 Medium Lasers and an Autocannon/2 in its Left Torso may actually have 3 energy weapon hard points and 2 ballistic hard points in that location. So, if the player is able to satisfy the weight and critical slot requirements, they could equip an additional energy weapon and ballistic weapon into that Left Torso, or swap out the Medium Lasers for other energy weapons, etc.

Battle Academy Gets New iPad Patch

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Epsom, UK, April 4, 2012 – Slitherine (www.slitherine.com) and Matrix Games (www.matrixgames.com) are excited to announce a release of an update to the critically-acclaimed Battle Academy on iPad, which has been seen amazing success on the Apple tablet. Battle Academy is now constantly sitting at the top of the iPad strategy charts in all countries, becoming one of the first wargames on the iPad to receive wide-spread praise by both press and players alike, with an amazing number many five-star ratings from player’s reviews!

The update can be downloaded by logging into the Apple App Store from your iPad and selecting Battle Academy from the update section.

Iain McNeil said “We always knew we had a great game but we were a bit surprised by the level of success on iPad and would like to thank all our fans for their support. This kind of support ensures we can continue to develop new content for the game on all platforms. We knew taking a full game from PC to iPad was going to be tough but we were not prepared to compromise and release a simpler cut down version of the game.”

The update brings added support for the iPad 3, utilizing the stunning Retina display, as well as adding ground objects. Other bug fixes address the rotation and zoom function to make it smoother in action.

The full bug fix list includes:

  • fixed a bug where you could not start custom MP map games from the iPad
  • a tweaked rotation and zoom for smoother action
  • a tweaked UI to make rotation, zoom, and drag clearer
  • upped double tap timings to help out slower-fingered players
  • should solve issue with display corruption during startup (purely cosmetic).

Deus Ex: Human Revolution Gets Mac Release Date

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LOS ANGELES (April 4, 2012) – Square Enix, Inc., the publisher of SQUARE ENIX® interactive entertainment products in the Americas, today announced the international blockbuster action-RPG video game DEUS EX: HUMAN REVOLUTION® will be released as an Ultimate Edition for Mac on April 26th.

Developed by Eidos-Montréal and brought to the Mac platform by Feral Interactive, Deus Ex: Human Revolution – Ultimate Edition will contain the acclaimed DEUS EX: HUMAN REVOLUTION, the Explosive Mission and Tactical Enhancement packs as well as the Deus Ex: Human Revolution – The Missing Link DLC. It will also include a 40-page book of concept art and a bonus disc, featuring a 44-minute “Making of” documentary, a motion comic, animated storyboard, CGI trailer and the game’s soundtrack, composed by Michael McCann.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution – Ultimate Edition for the Mac is published by Feral Interactive, and will retail in North America for $49.99.

DEUS EX: HUMAN REVOLUTION for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and Windows PCs is published by Square Enix Inc.

For more information about Deus Ex: Human Revolution, log on to http://www.deusex.com. To check out information exclusively about the Ultimate Edition, visit: http://www.feralinteractive.com/deusexhr.

Harmonix Announces Rock Band Blitz

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Cambridge, Mass. – April 4th, 2012Harmonix is excited to announce Rock Band™ Blitz, an all-new downloadable title for Xbox LIVE Arcade and PlayStation®Network that brings the excitement of a full band experience into your hand! Designed for use with a standard controller, Rock Band Blitz is beat-match gameplay evolved… no instrument peripherals required!

Rock Band Blitz is a new way to experience your favorite Rock Band songs, with fast-paced, multi-track arcade gameplay that encourages you to compete against your friends for the highest scores. Use insane power-ups like the note-obliterating Bottle Rocket or the Pinball strategically to boost your scores and top the leaderboards!

Rock Band Blitz features over 20 tracks new to the Rock Band franchise, including Blink-182’s “Always,” Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks,” Quiet Riot’s “Metal Health (Bang Your Head),” and Rick Springfield’s “Jessie’s Girl.”  Rock Band Blitz is also compatible with most of your existing Rock Band Music Library, including all content from the Rock Band Music Store, as well as tracks exported from Rock Band, Rock Band 2, and more. As a bonus, all of the tracks that come with Rock Band Blitz are immediately playable in Rock Band 3 at no extra charge, so you can get the band back together and play Rock Band Blitz’s 20-plus new tracks in Harmonix’s award-winning full-band game!

“We’re excited to give Rock Band fans a new way to play their existing Rock Band library,” said Harmonix CEO and co-founder Alex Rigopulos. “With over 3,500 songs at their disposal and addictive multi-track gameplay, Rock Band Blitz is going to be a great way to compete with your friends later this summer!”

Harmonix will be bringing Rock Band Blitz to Penny Arcade Expo in Boston, MA this week – April 6 through April 8 – for its first public playable appearance. Fans can stop by booth #642 to check out Rock Band Blitz on one of six kiosks and get their first taste of the game’s frantic, instrument-free arcade action!

Rock Band Blitz is scheduled for release on Xbox LIVE Arcade and PlayStation® Network this summer. For the latest assets, including screenshots and the game logo, please visit http://www.rockband.com/press/blitz

Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion Coming for 3DS

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BURBANK, Calif. – (April 4, 2012) – Disney Interactive Media Group today announced the development of “Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion,” the first Nintendo 3DS™ title in the “Disney Epic Mickey” franchise. The title features an interactive combination of painting, dual screen integration and 3D transformation capabilities designed to give players the unique ability to create objects and even characters they can place in the world of Wasteland.

In “Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion,” Reality is What You Paint of It.  The game offers a special drawing and painting function that allows players to create rough versions of objects that magically transform into classic Disney-style 2D illustrations.  Utilizing the game’s unparalleled dual screen integration, players then move their creations to the top screen where they are further transformed into full-color, fully-rendered 3D visuals.

Paying tribute to the classic Sega Genesis title “Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse,” “Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion” focuses on the fabled Castle of Illusion, which has fallen into Wasteland, an alternate world filled with 80 years of forgotten Disney characters and theme park attractions – and now forgotten video games.  The evil witch Mizrabel, villainess from the classic “Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse,” finds herself an unwilling inhabitant of Wasteland, and unleashes a plot to escape using the Castle of Illusion to imprison and drain the cartoon essence from currently famous Toons.  Players will take on the role of Mickey Mouse as he utilizes his magical brush to wield paint and thinner to confront Mizrabel and save the Toons.

“The original ‘Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse’ changed the face of video gaming by allowing players to play as Mickey Mouse in a side-scrolling adventure full of dynamic environments,” said Warren Spector, vice president and creative director, Junction Point. “We’re honored to be able to pay tribute to this classic video game by creating a title that  truly takes advantage of the unique capabilities of the Nintendo 3DS, putting the magic of Disney and the historic Castle of Illusion in the palm of your hands.”

“Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion” is being created by critically acclaimed DS developer DreamRift, in collaboration with Disney Interactive’s Junction Point. The game is slated for a fall 2012 release on the Nintendo 3DS. For more information, go to www.disney.com/disneyepicmickey, or check out this month’s issue of “Nintendo Power” magazine which features an exclusive cover story on the upcoming game.

About Disney Interactive Media Group
Disney Interactive Studios, part of Disney Interactive Media Group, is the interactive entertainment affiliate of The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS). Disney Interactive Studios self publishes and distributes a broad portfolio of multi-platform video games and interactive entertainment worldwide. The company also licenses properties and works directly with other interactive game publishers to bring products for all ages to market. Disney Interactive Studios is based in Glendale, California, and has internal development studios around the world. For more information, log on to http://www.DisneyInteractiveStudios.com.