March 31, 2016

New Playable Final Fantasy XV Demo Released, Full Game Releases September 30th

Posted on March 31, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

In case you haven’t heard the earth shattering news, Final Fantasy XV – the now decades long in development entry in the FF series, formerly known as Versus XIII – has a release date! As announced during the Final Fantasy XV Uncovered event, retail / digital copies will be playable on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on September 30th of this year.

Alongside of the reveal of the release date, and a whole pile of tie-in multimedia projects, Square Enix also unleashed a brand new playable demo for the game. Titled Platinum Demo, this short glimpse into the world of the 15th Final Fantasy game is actually a stand-alone story staring a young Noctus.

Final Fantasy XV

Here’s the official game synopsis from the PlayStation Store:

PLATINUM DEMO — FINAL FANTASY XV whisks players away to a fragmented dreamscape, introducing an original story with a few unique twists. Join young Noctis and his magical guide as you explore the fantastical world of his dreams.

Surely fans will be tearing this demo apart for the coming days.. Or weeks… or months until the full game’s release. You can watch a trail for the Platinum Demo in the embedded player below.

[youtube id=”2pWlmyEvc2U”]


March 31st Nintendo Download

Posted on March 31, 2016 by Jason Nason

Nintendo Wii U eShop

Chronicles of Teddy: Harmony of Exidus – Retro pixelated platforming action! Chronicles of Teddy: Harmony of Exidus fuses together action adventure and RPG elements with lavish visuals to create a nostalgic world unlike anything you’ve seen before. Navigate your way through hordes of nefarious monsters and massive boss battles in retro pixelated 2D glory! Solve puzzles, converse with locals and gain skills to restore hope to the once peaceful Exidus.

Pokkén Tournament – Demo Version – Try before you buy! In this free demo, battle Pokémon in new action-packed arena fights. Perform vivid Pokémon moves using an intuitive fighting system and unleash devastating attacks upon your opponent to become thePokkén Tournament champion.

Also New this Week

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Slain! | Review

Posted on March 31, 2016 by Robyn Robo

The new platformer / smash’em’up “Slain!” is the first release of its developer Wolf Brew Games. “Slain!” was KickStarted exactly a year before its release to a figure just shy of $20,000. It is currently out on Windows, Linux and Mac via Steam, with releases planned for WiiU, Xbox One, PS4 & Vita in June. The game is a retro style platformer with some light puzzle elements and very much in the style of many older “hardcore gamer” games. It has more in common with Castlevania or Ghouls & Goblins than it does with Super Mario World. This means it doesn’t really feel, play or look as you’d expect if your experience of “retro” really means “Nintendo 16-bit era”. The graphics aren’t shiny happy and you’ll kill everything you run into with a bloody glee. This is not a bad thing. In fact, I think it’s fantastic to seen something along those lines. Beyond just the graphical difference of goomba stomping and swords, those games had serious differences in their play and controls.

HighlandsTower (from the press kit)

Lovely pixel art

To start with the best points, the game’s art is phenomenal. The pixel art is detailed and fresh, showing that plenty of time was taken on it. Further, levels have several layers of parallax and on screen effects. Sadly, despite trying every graphical quality setting I couldn’t get the on-screen mess, splatters and glow to tone down, making it hard to play through at times. That “mess” is mostly 3D layers, effects, blood, parallel overlays. It’s not a bad choice and fits in solidly with the graphics being almost exactly what I’d expect of a well-designed PS1/Saturn-era game, but it is impossible to tone down and can make it hard to see what I need to see in order to avoid instant death. The underlying pixel art, and some touches, such as seeing the floating medusa heads before reaching the “Hive” is fantastic and reminiscent of top notch games in that art style. A lot of the pixel art in the parallax layers is great as well.

The music is well done, there are great and varied metal tracks throughout. I do wish there were more pauses though, the music is always on full blast regardless of your character pausing, fighting, or beating up a mini-boss. The sound effects do mix in well. Largely, I suspect the developers simply didn’t have time to add in more variety to the backing tracks. The music lends a serious element to the game and works well for slicing and dicing your enemies.

Unfortunately, the dialogue works against that. The writing is extremely basic, peppered with the use of instant messaging shortcuts such as “tho” and “btw”. Unfortunately, this wrecks the “mood” of the game. Further, much of the dialogue in the game is fairly light hearted. Not only does most of it just not hit my funny bone, it also cuts against the serious feel of the game’s graphics and music. This takes you out of the immersion. This is the start of the many problems with the game.

Dialogue capture

“Ugh, MOM, five more minutes!”

For one, there’s no cloud save. Your saves are stuck to a single system, no good in case you often switch between OS installs or machines. In fact, the save system simply isn’t all that well thought out. The game auto-saves at each major level, but not at each checkpoint. There is no easy way to manually save or check where your last save is, so be prepared to play through some small or not so small sections all over again without expecting it. If there is a save icon or screen, I missed it. A full-on save screen would be appreciated, even if it can save almost instantly. The checkpoints are extremely frequent and do allow for any meaningful progress to be maintained while you’re playing, and there is no life limit since you’ll die almost as often as Super Meat Boy. These checkpoints help keep the game from being frustrating for the wrong reasons, but with the shaky save system it’s just not enough.

Of the bosses, some of them are extremely repetitive, especially in the first level where you can simply bash through all of the mini-bosses if you time the first swing right. There are occasional AI glitches, for example the Thorn Beast boss simply stopped moving, letting me kill it easily. Further in, the fire hounds stopped moving too, although they at least kept shooting at me. Some moving platform puzzles didn’t sync up right, meaning they could be easy to get across or extremely hard depending on your timing. One “skeletress” simply didn’t attack me while I hit it from another, moving platform. Basic enemies, for example skeletons and the rat-claws can simply be bashed through and most of them have extremely simple movement, never jumping, maintain a constant speed and floating enemies bouncing off walls at predictable angles. Outside of certain bosses, the initial difficulty isn’t quite enough for a game of this nature. Most of the bosses had very basic attack patterns, opting to simply swing away at your character instead of being animated into doing something more interesting.

The simple bosses are good considering the awkward controls. While only three of the Xbox buttons and two shoulder buttons are in use, but instead of weapons switching with R2 and L2, the directional pad is sacrificed for weapon switching. For a retro platform this is a disappointment, and the pre-game configuration didn’t seem to be able to fix it. I couldn’t get the game to play at all with my Steam controller [Update: managed to get this working, but using the bottom most buttons and top most shoulder pads together is no fun], and the controls are mostly not configurable. Since this game supports SteamOS, I found that very concerning. I found the keyboard control layout to be okay after learning it, but different from most games’ usage of the bottom row for no obvious reason. In the end I stayed with my trusty Xbox 360 gamepad.

Attacks are fairly simple, there are three weapons, each has two swings. You get all of them after the first level and two during the first level. These weapons affect monster types differently, which is nice. The main swing always has a button-mash combo, the other decapitates basic enemies for Mana on their final hit point. You do get two “spells” that use up mana, and in return give you a ranged fireball and a screen-wide explosion. In theory, combined with the enemies that require well timed attacks and restraint on the combos, this is a great system. In practice, I found most enemies could be smashed through and the timing to be frustrating. That said, I think the control problems are something that mostly require tweaking. Further into the game enemies became more difficult on average and it’s okay to only need somewhat careful timing & memorization on mini-bosses. Assuming they patch in more configuration of the controls, this part would be acceptable. The movement back and forth or while jumping is okay, jumps are not in the “fluid” Mario style, but the choppier older platformer style that allows for pixel perfect precision. As there are plenty of lava-floor scenarios in this game, it was a good decision and works well, even if it doesn’t look fluid.

The floor isn't lava, it's blood, with tentacles in it.

The floor is lava.

The game’s configuration menus are extremely awkward. Audio can be configured within the game, but is the only thing that can be. All of the graphics, resolution & controls that can be changed are configured pre-game. This pre-game configuration pops up every time, the game never launched directly into play for me. Further, after that screen, my mouse cursor refused to hide on either Linux or Windows, leaving a cursor on top of the game at all times. I’m not sure if this is something the developer can fix, or an underlying problem with the platform they chose to write the game on. The developer seems aware of many of these problems. They released a note on the Steam page promising the following:

 “As of this week we will be using an updated SFX professional. We don’t have a timeline on the SFX re-haul but it will start this week. As soon as we know the date it will be delivered we will let you know!

The first patch is going to take care of: bugs, in game text, control pad, transition screens in game and we will also be looking at Keyboard lag and menu bugs, again this is in the works but don’t have an exact date. We will let you know as soon as we do.

We are of course looking at the combat system and some other additional issues, but do not have specifics or timelines as final decisions have not been made.”

This is good, as it shows the developer cares and is aware of at least some of the issues I pointed out. Still, if they were aware of these issues, they probably should have held off on the release itself. I am hoping that some soon to come patches will put this game into a recommendable spot, but I cannot recommend it fully at this time. “Slain!” Is not a long game, not inherently bad for an affordable indie title. That said, combined with the frequent checkpoints, I could see someone decently good at these types of platformers & okay with slogging through its rougher spots beating it in a day.

Overall, especially with something of a glut of games available today, I can’t recommend this game. It is genuinely gorgeous, and has good music, but the gameplay at its heart fails to pull together.

Dead Again - Slain Logo

You’ll see this a lot


Razer announces gaming capture card targeted at streamers

Posted on March 31, 2016 by Fionna Schweit

Razer has been announcing a ton of new products this year, with a series of gaming laptop, and a whole boat load of peripherals. So it came as not much of a surprise to me when I hear that they had accounced the Razer Ripsaw a new box aimed at making streaming and capturing from a console as simple as possible. In a 44 second video posted to Razers channel user got a chance to see how simple it really is to plug in the Ripsaw and get right back to gaming.

[youtube id=dKMPBXWm_SA]

The Ripsaw is designed with gamers in mind, and can capture up to 1080p and 60fps meaning that you can capture all of those frames your console is putting out for some sweet 60fps YouTube action. The Ripsaw has both DMI and component input though it does need an adapter to use the component one, it also has USB 3.0 port to go to your pc. Razers advertising claims that by using USB 3.0 you can transfer uncompressed 1080p 60 Hz game footage to your PC with virtually no latency. If this is true its a pretty impressive feat, and I would be interested to get my hands on one for testing.

You can check out the new Ripsaw for 180$ on the Razer store

Will you be picking up  Razer’s newest toy? Tell us on Facebook or Twitter



Crunchyroll spring anime rundown

Posted on March 31, 2016 by Fionna Schweit

Watch the first episodes of any of these anime with a 15 day free trial to Crunchyroll!

Crunchyroll is always killing it by bringing you new and fresh anime to watch all year round, but at least for me Spring is always a special season. So its no surprise to me that Crunchroll has brought their A game.

First announced this year is MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM UNICORN RE:0096 it is premiering Saturdays, starting April 2nd @ 3:30PM PST.  An adaptation of the long running Unicorn Gundam series of OVA’s, MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM UNICORN RE:0096 is one anime I am extremely excited for this season.


So far the official description from Bandai reads: Going back to the Universal Century(UC) the show takes place U.C. 0096 three years after Chars rebellion. On the surface, it appears that tranquility has returned to a world which has been troubled by conflict ever since the One Year War. Banagher Links, a boy living at the manufacturing colony Industrial 7, meets a mysterious girl who calls herself Audrey Burne. Audrey has taken independent action to stop the Vist Foundation from handing over Laplace’s Box to the Neo Zeon remnants known as the Sleeves, and Banagher decides to help her. But the colony becomes a battlefield as fighting breaks out between the Sleeves and the Earth Federation Forces, who have also come to prevent the handover. As Banagher runs through the battle in search of Audrey, he has a fateful encounter with a white mobile suit, the Unicorn Gundam, which is the key to Laplace’s Box.

[youtube id=_VsItczD6qI]

Hit the jump for the rest of the seasons upcoming anime!

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Sony and Square Enix Unveil new Final Fantasy Movie

Posted on March 31, 2016 by Jason Nason

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and SQUARE ENIX last night unveiled Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV, a fully CG animated movie slated to premiere this fall. The movie will be released worldwide as a cross-media collaboration with Final Fantasy XV, the upcoming Final Fantasy sequel.

Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV features an all-star cast, including Sean Bean (Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones) as King Regis, Lena Headey (300, Game of Thrones) as Princess Luna and Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) as Kingsglaive soldier Nyx.

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The Deer God brings breathtaking 3D pixel art Adventure to the Wii U eShop

Posted on March 31, 2016 by Jason Nason

The Deer God is a breathtaking 3D pixel art adventure that is on the way to the Nintendo Wii U eShop, and to say that we are excited is an understatement. The game is about survival, reincarnation, and karma; all set in a unique 3D pixelized world.

The game looks absolutely gorgeous with it’s pixel art look and looks like it will be an absolute treat. The Deer God has a unique night and day system and features procedurally generated landscapes will allow you to experience the game in a different way each time.

Developed by Crescent Moon Games after a successful Kickstarter campaign, the game was released on Steam just about a year ago and has since also been ported to Android, iOS, and XBox One. No exact date has been set for the Wii U release, though it is being brought to the Wii U by Mobot Studios.

The game will support both the Pro Controller and “Off-TV” play with GamePad and has an amazing original soundtrack by Evan Gipson.Read More


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