March 23, 2016

Pokken Tournament’s Tutorial Is Tediously Long

Posted on March 23, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

Today I finally had the chance to sit down and try out Pokken Tournament on my Wii-U, I thought I was going to be in for a lighthearted fighting game but what I found instead was tutorial, after tutorial, after tutorial just to learn the basics.  After about the fifth tutorial I swear my eyes were starting to glaze over, it was 8 A.M university lectures all over again – I could probably only give you the gist of how Pokken Tournament plays due to the number of sheer systems the opening three tutorials throw at you.


From what I gather: Each Pokemon in the game has different statistics – health, speed, damage etc and during a match you can call in special Pokemon to either give yourself buffs or cast de-buffs on to your opponents thanks to a special gauge that fills up over time. Then of course, there are the fighting game staples of high attacks, mid attacks, low attacks, standard blocks, cancels, advancing guards, counter-attacks, special attacks, special moves… have I lost you yet? What I’m trying to say is that the initial tutorial in Pokken Tournament does a great job in telling you how deep the fighting system is without actually letting you learn. Don’t expect to go hands-on with some of the most pivotal maneuvers required in skill play, want to learn to swiftly pull off a cancel? Too bad the tutorial gives you 30 seconds then it just rushes you along to the next maneuver.

Best of all? The opening tutorial takes half an hour…. half an hour. Don’t believe me? Watch the whole thing below, because it’s going to take me a while before I can bring you in-depth impressions. Back to practising my quick attack…

[youtube id=”n0oQvOuUs9s”]


Independent Games Festival Awards Recap

Posted on March 23, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

Last week while our staff were busy crossing the many halls of the Games Developer Conference 2016 the IGF (Independent Games Festival) were just as busy preparing to announce the winners for this year’s awards. The grand prize went to Seumas McNally’s narrative crime title Her Story won not only the Grand Prize but also the Best In Narrative award as well. Indie darling Undertale took mercy on it’s playerbase and won the Audience Award while minimalist transit simulator Mini Metro is heading home with the Excellence in Audio award.

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Are these new images of the NX controller?

Posted on March 23, 2016 by Fionna Schweit

New images of the development kit version of the Nintendo NX controller have leaked thanks to Perkele37 on Reddit. We now have an up & close look at the controller in much higher detail than the previous leaked photos. From these photos it is quite clear that the NX’s thumbsticks are physical nubs, not unlike the Vitas, and not on-screen controls as some had suggested. We also now know that the development hardware supports 3.5mm headphone audio output and features haptic feedback similar to Apple’s force touch.

Here are the brand new details leaked by Perkele37:

  • Only the upper ‘nubs’ of the sticks move. The bottom part is static (kind of like the circle pad, but it moves along the bottom ‘sphere’.
  • The rollers on the top feel and look pretty much identical to a mouse scroll-wheel. Though I do don’t believe this will be the final design.
  • Haptic feedback is feels like Apples ‘taptic’ engine. Not like regular rumble.
  • 3.5mm headphone jack on the bottom

Here are the images that went along with the post

NXcontroller2 NXcontroller

what do you think?


GDC: Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens Preview

Posted on March 23, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

Last week at the Games Developer Conference I got the chance to check out a presentation & live demo for Traveler’s Tales upcoming Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  It seems fitting that with ten years spanning between first Lego Star Wars games on 6th generation consoles  & this latest title, and the Star Wars brand being under new management, that TT would try to fit some new mechanics into their latest game.  Not only did we learn the ambitious scope behind Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens but we also got a sneak peak at some of the cool new features  & authentic feel that Traveler’s Tales has planned for this entry in the franchise.

In terms of raw numbers, this might be the most ambitious Lego Star Wars title ever, if not one of the largest. The final game will sport 18 levels taking place during major plot points in The Force Awakens as well as explaining some of the plot elements in-between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens that we didn’t get to see on the big screen. There will be over 200 collectible characters for players to find, collect and use to replay any of the 18 levels. In order to access these levels, players will have to make use of 5 different hub worlds – Jakku, Takodana, StarKiller Base, D’Qar and the Millennium Falcon. Flight levels play a larger role in Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens than in previous entries, flight in the last Lego title felt very 2-dimensional,  players now have full 360-degree movement thanks to a new tool – the ability to flip your ship in the opposite direction at the press of a button. In all honesty, the entire flip maneuver reminded me of the free-roam sections of Star Fox 64, and that’s not a bad thing – I love that game!


Our demo opened with an authentic Star Wars scroll, accurate right down to the font and aspect ratio! As Finn / Poe’s Tie Fighter comes crashing into the ground we watch it explode into a thousand little Lego bits that scatter all around the desert.  Rey appears over the cliff, near the wreckage and hilariously pulls offer her mask – which is one solid Lego helmet piece. The player is then thrust into the action as Rey skates her way down the sandy slopes, collecting small Lego bits as she goes.  After the surfing introduction, the player is thrust right into combat, fighting waves of enemies until they defeat the designated leader NPC.  It is at this point we are introduced to multi-builds, one of the new features in the game.

Here is how WB Games describes multi-builds:

Multi-Builds – The enhanced Multi-Builds system allows players to choose from multiple building options to solve a puzzle and advance the game in different ways. For the first time, the same pile of Lego bricks can be used in multiple ways, with the player building and re-building different objects for different purposes.


A dev from TT who was walking us through the demonstration noted that this particular encounter can end in one of two ways, depending on the multi-build selected by the player. Each multi-build had its own cut-scene and comedic dialogue to accompany it, rewarding the player for experimenting with different options.  Combat has improved greatly from previous Lego titles – A yellow gauge now fills up on screen and allows players to pull off cool finishing moves once it is full. Also new to the combat system is the combat multiplier. In terms of playstyle Rey was a very agile character who is able to use her staff to access previously inaccessible vertical sections of the map, while BB-8 rolls around and is able to partake in a hacking mini-game while Rey explores the map for hidden items.


The second half of the demonstration focused on Rey’s escape in the Millennium Falcon from a group of Tie-Fighters. This section played very similar to an on rails space combat game, not unlike the aforementioned Star Fox. Players control the ship as it moves along an X/Y axis, oncoming Ties exploded into small bits as Rey blasted them apart. Rey is able to maneuver the Falcon to almost every available end of the level thanks to the one button flip mechanics mentioned earlier. Devs did mention that if you are playing these ship sections in 2 player co-op mode one player will control the Falcon’s movements while the other controls the mounted gun turrets.

Our demo ended with Lego Kylo Ren reciting his “I feel the call to the light” monologue from the film, only this time the monologue ends with the revelation that Ren has what appears to be a child’s room aboard the StarKiller Base.

[youtube id=”Fsa8HkZiVwg”]

Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be available on June 28th for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii U, Nintendo 3DS and Steam.


Hero’s of the Storm is getting draft bans, Finally

Posted on March 23, 2016 by Fionna Schweit

Blizzards MOBA Heroes of the Storm is an awesome game. I still play it at least onece a week. I have several max level Hero’s and I have even dabbled in the ladder mode though I still have yet to get a placement since they upped the number of games you need to finish to be placed. Now HoTs is getting on the few things it has been missing to put it on the level of other major competitive MOBA’s like Riots League of Legends. Its getting draft bans! Draft ban’s arent all the next patch is bringing either, in a strong show of dedication to a game thats over a year old Blizzard is also bringing out an  “epic visual overhaul” to the games lobbys including new background art, animated hero models and portraits, and updated selection animations, and hero bans in ranked play. Perhaps most exciting of all is that custom ranked games are also on the way


The redesign will more clearly indicate which heroes are being banned out, show you what map is going to be played, add favorite heroes, and loud, clear audio cues will be added to indicate maps, hero names, and bans. Perhaps the most anticipated and asked for change, hero bans, will be implements this patch as well. This will allow players in a ranked game to exclude some champions from choice in their games. Draft mode is a necessary piece of strategy for higher level games and should add a new level of depth to the games somewhat shallow meta.


This is what the new UI will look like, nothing is radically changing but there are a lot of small tweaks. Notice the large text at the top, denoting what map the game is to be played on, and the two top ban slots, as well as the bottom row of favorite heroes.

In the video (which we linked above) Dustin Browder says, “We’ve been doing this ban system in our esports for the last many months, going all the way back into last year, so you can watch our esports now and you can see how these bans affect your strategy in the game. So absolutely go check out our esports and see how the pros have been playtesting and using this ban system to create some really interesting strategies in our game.”

Are you looking forward to these changed? Tell us on Facebook or Twitter what you think of bans in HOTS


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