January 18, 2017

Nintendo launching four new Fire Emblem titles, including mobile game next month

Posted on January 18, 2017 by Jason Nason

Nintendo surprised Fire Emblem fans today via a Nintendo Direct announcement with news of multiple new games. We already knew about the upcoming game for the Nintendo Switch and a hint of a 3DS game from the official website, but there was much more news today.

In addition to these games we got our first glimpse of the Fire Emblem title headed to mobile devices in Fire Emblem Heroes.

“In recent years, the popularity of the Fire Emblem franchise has grown exponentially,” said Doug Bowser, Nintendo of America’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “The devoted fan base and series newcomers alike will soon have an abundance of new games to play on a variety of devices. There’s never been a better time to be a Fire Emblem fan or jump in for the first time.”

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Perception, A New First Person Horror Experience Coming From Ex Irrational Devs

Posted on January 18, 2017 by Rae Michelle Richards

Developers from the now defunct Irrational Games have formed a new studio, The Deep End Games, and have unveiled their first project – Perception, a first person horror experience that will be coming to both Windows PC and PlayStation 4. The Deep End Games have partnered with a brand new publisher, Feardemic – which is owned by Layers of Fear devs Bloober Team, to bring their unique horror experience to life.

Perception isn’t your typical horror narrative, the game’s protagonist, Cassie has lost her sight and relies on a cane and SmartPhone in order to navigate the environment. With these tools at her side she is able to use a form of echolocation to traverse a gloomy Massachusetts Mansion that might be hiding a dark & ancient secret. Using her tools Cassie is able to use her cane & phone to generate sounds that will illuminate the environment for players. Ambient sounds such as a door slamming shut or a foe running towards you will also illuminate more of the mansion for players to explore. Since Cassie can’t fight back if she is spotted she’ll have no other recourse but to hide and wait for the all clear.

It is important to note that this game does fall into the trope of providing blind people with superpowers – in this case literally echolocation that produces vivid imagery. While modern scientific research using fMRI machines has shown that the brain will rewire itself towards the other sense, this does not result in the type of enhanced experience shown within perception. As someone with a partial visual impairment –  I’m blind in one eye – I am a primarily auditory dominate individual but this doesn’t mean that I can hear frequencies that others can not, it simply means the brain has rewired itself through neuroplasticity to put more focus on the other senses. I feel that this is an important distinction that needs to be addressed when discussing a game with a disabled lead character, especially with a mechanic like Cassie’s echolocation.

As Scientific American discuses the neuroplasticity concept in relation to loss of senses thusly:

“It is commonly assumed that the improvement in the remaining senses is a result of learned behavior; in the absence of vision, blind people pay attention to auditory cues and learn how to use them more efficiently. But there is mounting evidence that people missing one sense don’t just learn to use the others better. The brain adapts to the loss by giving itself a makeover.”

Realism aside Perception looks like a fun horror experience with a story that could be engaging – honestly I’d like to know more about the game’s narrative. Perception was originally kickstarted in 2015 to the tune of $168,000 USD with a then projected release date of June 2016. The devs outlined more about their plans for the game over on the PlayStation Blog yesterday – go check it out!


Rising World Is A Fun Minecraft Alternative To Explore

Posted on January 18, 2017 by Les Major

There are tons of Minecraft like titles out there and it’s hard to tell what isn’t just more of the same. Back in the earlier days of the series, many indie titles filled the gap of similar games on Xbox 360 before the titan of voxel building made the leap to consoles. There’s one thing that I always wanted in a game of this type though, and that was smoother landscapes. EverQuest Next: Landmark had a style like that, but unfortunately it seems to have gone through some complex times and won’t be around much longer. However Rising World is in early access and already it’s looking like a wonderful game in this style to play.

The big thing I always wanted out of Minecraft was exploration. In general though, I feel that it’s more about building and online play than really getting out there and seeing the world. Rising World however has given me some neat surprises in my first few experiences that it makes me want to wander. One of the latest updates even adds dungeons! Currently they are just empty ruins to explore, but enemies are on the way. An abandoned shack I found, which is tied to that update, did contain a treasure chest and the remains of a skeleton.

I like that the trees in Rising World use physics as they fall. It’s something nice that has been included in some other games, like The Forest I do believe, but it’s neat to see the tree actually topple and roll down a hill. Then you chop it up into logs and craft them into lumber. With the game having smoother polygonal mesh over the voxel world it’s build upon, everything feels more like an adventure in a non-building first person open world game. But you can indeed build in Rising World as well.

Rising World Crafting

Having only just started the game I’m not too sure about things like smoothing terrain to build a happy little home on. Which of course I’m sure I could just make a block foundation for instead. However Rising World does come with an in game journal to give you some gameplay info as well. It is your usual fare of crafting, building, and the like, but with a more natural looking world and some neat stuff to explore. With a variety of biomes and some neat stuff to create it’s a neat place to let your imagination run wild for awhile. That and the game is still in early access as well so further updates are on the way. You can check out Rising World right now on Steam.

I’m enjoying the single player aspect and from what I’ve heard that’s a favored focus for the game. I have yet to try out multiplayer however.


DarkNet Bringing Cyberpunk Hacking To The PlayStation VR

Posted on January 18, 2017 by Rae Michelle Richards

Vancouver based game developers Archiact VR Games are remastering their successful PC hacking simulator DarkNet for the PlayStation VR. This updated immersive hacking sim features a neon aesthetic and grid based user interface is due out this spring.

Archiact VR Games also released a small launch trailer to promote the game’s impending release on PlayStation VR.  It gives the viewer a good sense of what the moment to moment gameplay of selecting nodes on a virtual grid in-front of the player but does little to explain the mechanics behind these selections. The devs obviously designed the game from the ground up for virtual reality – with the aforementioned grid requiring the user to turn their head in order to take all of it in. Underneath this grid user interface is a series of challenging logic puzzles which promise to test players ability to problem solve under pressure.

A brief interactive experience based upon the full game – not necessarily a traditional demo but more of an original experience designed after the principals of DarkNet – is available on the game’s official website if you happen to have an Oculus compatible headset.  The game passed the Steam Greenlight process in the summer of 2014 but appears to be currently only available through the Oculus Home store right now, the full version is priced at $11.00 CDN on PC and will be priced at $14.99 USD upon launch.


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