Archive - 2012/04/06

Path of Exile Preview (PC)

Path_of_Exile_Screenshot_88

Let me just begin by emphasizing that I love how we are in a time and place with gaming where indie games can come out of seemingly nowhere, and completely surprise a gamer (both good and bad). More and more lately I feel this way, and games that do not have the big business marketing hype machines behind them can still have a big impact on us, particularly when they are a pleasant surprise (i.e. good).

With the build up towards Diablo III, and the hype surrounding the title, I did not see another game in the Action RPG genre coming along and diverting my gaze. It turns out I was in for a great surprise indeed.

So starting with the open play weekend, and continuing with closed beta now, I was introduced to Path of Exile (Developed by Grinding Gear Games, with a free to play micro transaction model). This game is very much the spiritual successor to games like Diablo 2 and Titan Quest, taking what was great about those games and building on them. It maintains a model where players move through various Acts (each with a town hub and quests), and hack, shoot, bash, blast, and maim everything in their path. The simple joy of this type of gameplay is captured extremely well, with a very slick and intuitive interface, great controls (with the exception of occasional pathing jank), randomized zone layouts, and exciting and varied loot drops.

The biggest place I think PoE makes its mark is with the level of character customization and building that can be achieved. Classes all are placed on the same skill grid (along the lines of Final Fantasy X), and the main difference between the classes is where on the grid they start (near more of the strength based skills, Int based skills, etc). The player is then free as they level up to go off in many diverging directions and is faced with an enormous level of choice in how they actually build and develop their character. This is probably the single coolest feature of PoE, and in my opinion is what could help it stand out as one of the next big games in the Action RPG genre. Beyond this, the skills a character actually uses are found as random drops (or rewarded via quests) and socketed into items. These skills will level with the player as they level as long as they are equipped, and makes for a deeper level of customization. Grinding Gear Games is truly embracing the concept of deep character customization that allows the player to craft exactly the type of character they want.

I believe that Grinding Gear Games is on to something big here, and the more I play the game, the more I recapture the feelings of joy I had playing Diablo 2 and Titan Quest. Currently they are in Closed beta, but the game will be going into an open beta phase later this year (TBA). They are offering a variety of packages that you can buy (that come with points to spend on micro transactions now and when the game officially launches) which will get you into the closed beta, that range from 10 dollars to 1000 dollars. I will stress that they seem very adamant about their micro transactions being cosmetic, and have expressed a very anti-pay to win mindset (very good to hear).

What it boils down to, is that this game (in my humble opinion) is going to be a huge sleeper hit that explodes via word of mouth, and winds up a huge critical success (perhaps in a similar way to League of Legends). If you have not heard about this title, which I would imagine is true for many gamers out there that generally only hear about the big name titles, then please go check it out at http://www.pathofexile.com and buy yourself a pass into beta. For 10 dollars you get into the beta and get some points to spend on stash tabs or character slots. This will be the best 10 dollars you have spent on a game this year (assuming you are a fan of Hack N Slash Action RPGs). If you love what Grinding Gear Games is doing here and want to support them further, by all means spend more.

Bottom line, this game is absolutely incredible, and it is clear it is being made by passionate gamers who are also fans of what they do. I for one cannot wait to see what they have in store for us as the game launches and beyond, and will be introducing the game to everyone I know that would enjoy games of this style.

Screenshots

Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut Announced to Enhance Ending

Mass-Effect-3-screen-1

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – April 5, 2012 – BioWare, a Label of Electronic Arts Inc. announced Mass Effect™ 3: Extended Cut, a downloadable content pack that will expand upon the events at the end of the critically acclaimed Action RPG. Through additional cinematic sequences and epilogue scenes, the Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut will give fans seeking further clarity to the ending of Mass Effect 3 deeper insights into how their personal journey concludes. Coming this summer, the Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut will be available for download on the Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and PC for no extra charge*.

“We are all incredibly proud of Mass Effect 3 and the work done by Casey Hudson and team,” said Dr. Ray Muzyka, Co-Founder of BioWare and General Manager of EA’s BioWare Label. “Since launch, we have had time to listen to the feedback from our most passionate fans and we are responding. With the Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut we think we have struck a good balance in delivering the answers players are looking for while maintaining the team’s artistic vision for the end of this story arc in the Mass Effect universe.”

Casey Hudson, Executive Producer of the Mass Effect series added, “We have reprioritized our post-launch development efforts to provide the fans who want more closure with even more context and clarity to the ending of the game, in a way that will feel more personalized for each player.”

The Mass Effect franchise is one of the most highly decorated series in the history of games, having earned over 250 awards from critics around the world. Mass Effect 3 launched last month to universal critical acclaim, receiving over 75 perfect scores. For more information on Mass Effect 3, please visit http://masseffect.com, follow the game on Twitter at http://twitter.com/masseffect or “like” the game on Facebook at http://facebook.com/masseffect. Press assets for Mass Effect 3 are available at www.info.ea.com.

Crux360 for New iPad Arriving May 12

image004

Crux has announced that their upcoming Crux360 case for the new iPad will be released on May 12th, 2012. The case will retail for a reduced price of $99 dollars and features a Bluetooth keyboard as well as multiple configurations suited for typing, gaming, and playing movies. Checkout the official website for more details.

Sid Meier’s Civilization V: Gods & Kings Gets Release Date

Civ5GandKScreen2

New York, NY – April 5, 2012 2K Games announced today that Sid Meier’s Civilization® V: Gods & Kings, the expansion pack for the critically acclaimed and award-winning Sid Meier’s Civilization® V, will be available for Windows-based PC in North America on June 19, 2012 and internationally on June 22, 2012. Developed by Firaxis Games, Sid Meier’s Civilization V: Gods & Kings enhances the Civilization V experience by adding new civilizations, leaders, units, technologies and more, as well as the return of religion and espionage. Spanning the breadth of human civilization, the Gods & Kings expansion pack allows players to found the first Pantheon of the Gods and spread religion across the world as well as deploy spies in enemy cities to form allies and steal technology.

Sid Meier’s Civilization V: God & Kings takes players through time as they engage in new quests and global competitions, interact with new types of city-states, and master exciting new systems for land and naval combat. Nine new civilizations, each ruled by a new leader; nine new wonders; three original scenarios; and dozens of new units, buildings, technologies and resources have also been added, offering even more ways for players to expand their empire on their quest to rule the world.

Sid Meier’s Civilization V: Gods & Kings is not yet rated by the ESRB. For more information please visit www.civilization.com.

2K Games is a division of 2K, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO).

All trademarks and copyrights contained herein are the property of their respective holders.

Skylanders Coming to iOS Platform

Skylanders Cloud Patrol iPad 2

Santa Monica, CA – April 5, 2012 – Activision Publishing, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI), is expanding the reach of the phenomenally popular Skylanders franchise, the #1 kids game of 2011, with the debut of Skylanders Cloud Patrol™, an entirely new gaming experience for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users, available exclusively on the iTunes App Store.

“Skylanders is already a huge success both on consoles and the web with Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure and Skylanders Spyro’s Universe and we are excited to bring the franchise to the mobile platform,”said John Coyne, vice president, consumer marketing. “Now with Cloud Patrol, fans have a brand new way to interact with their favorite Skylanders characters on the go in fun a new form of gameplay.”

Skylanders Cloud Patrol is set in a new region of Skylands that has been overrun by the evil minions of Portal Master, Kaos. With all 30-plus skylanders available to unlock, the game lets players take command of a magnificent sky-ship and use their favorite skylander to dispatch the baddies using touch gestures to tap-and-shoot or swipe the screen to create amazing combos.

Skylanders Cloud Patrol lets fans unlock skylanders and Magic Items and bring them to life in Cloud Patrol using the code bundled with each Skylanders action figure. Additionally, new Portal Masters may earn or purchase in-game currency to build their virtual mobile skylanders collection, Magic Items, and more. Cloud Patrol also features Game Center leaderboards and achievements and a 3D character viewer that allows players to browse their entire in-game collection.

The Skylanders App is available from the App Store on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch or at www.itunes.com/appstore.

For more information about Skylanders Cloud Patrol please visit www.skylanders.comSkylanders Cloud Patrol is developed by Vicarious Visions, an Activision studio located in Menands, NY.

TopWare Announces Planets at War

e8ce6f84d3511f5a0560a3d68e753532

Karlsruhe, Germany, April 5th. 2012 – TopWare Interactive announced today plans to publish longstanding partner Targem Games’ new project “Planets at War” for the PC, MAC, Xbox 360™, and Playstation®3. “Planets at War” is a strategic interplanetary conflict simulator in which players control one of four available races, managing and deploying their forces to conquer enemy regimes.  Foreign galaxies, multiple planetary bodies and diverse enemies all add to the challenge, providing a long-lasting and engaging experience.  The graphical environment blends a unique art style with vital statistics to provide both functionality and space-age splendor.
Employing a number of diverse victory scenarios, each new level of Planets at War builds upon the previous to incorporate additional depth to gameplay.  Starting with basic planet capture scenarios and building towards mighty boss encounters, players must manage their forces expertly as they seek interstellar dominance over their opponents.  A sound strategy and cool head are paramount to success in choosing when to train new forces, solidify defenses, or launch a massive attack campaign to deliver the final blow.

“The challenging gameplay paired with the exquisite presentation of the game’s complex mechanics are sure to find players loosing themselves in the folds of time and space”, states TopWare’s CEO Alexandra Constandache.
Additional announcements and details on Planets at War are coming soon.
For more information visit www.topware.com

Paradox Announces Naval War: Arctic Circle Quiz

navalwar_arcticcircle_screens_gamescom_action_russianfleet

NEW YORK – April 5th , 2012 – As armchair commanders from around the world prepare to set sail and fire torpedoes in Naval War: Arctic Circle, the master tacticians and designers at Turbo Tape Games and Paradox Interactive have established a new home base for the upcoming wargame. Naval War: Arctic Circle is a realistic real time strategy game about modern naval warfare, and all the information you need to stay up-to-date on the game’s status and continuing improvements can now be found at:
http://www.navalwargame.com/

As the game’s April 10th release date approaches, Paradox and Turbo Tape want to know: What warship are you?

Take the Naval War: Arctic Circle – What Warship are YOU? Quiz and find out what role suits your personality in the fleet engagements of life!
http://www.navalwargame.com/quiz

It takes a hearty soul to brave the cold and the dark of the north, waiting for something to happen and then dreading the moment comes…Are you able to take one these missions by yourself or are you the type that travels best in a pack?
Are you a mighty aircraft carrier, queen of the ocean and mistress of a seascape that spans hundreds of miles? Are you a submarine, silently and slowly moving into position so you can strike while surrounded by enemies? Are you a frigate, the workhorse of the fleet guarding more valuable vessels and exposing yourself to the first missile strikes?

Naval War: Arctic Circle comes to you from Paradox Interactive and Turbo Tape Games on April 10, 2012 for a recommended retail price of $19.99.
Do you think you have what it takes to seize control of the riches of the North Atlantic? Are you brave enough to risk everything to change the world’s balance of power in your favor?