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    Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance drops to $30

    GameSpot
    By GameSpot,

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    The Platinum Games-developed action game Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance will be sold at the reduced price of $30 for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 beginning today, Konami announced this afternoon.

     

    Included at the new, lower price point is the Jetstream and Blade Wolf downloadable content at no extra cost, Konami said. It is not clear if this content is on-disc or must be downloaded separately.

     

    The Jetstream DLC is a multi-hour expansion that features Samuel Rodriguez as a playable character. Meanwhile, the Blade Wolf DLC is a side story where gamers play as LQ-84i.

     

    Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance was released for Xbox 360 and PS3 in February. A PC version is "looking good," according to series creator Hideo Kojima, but does not yet have a release date.

     

    For more on Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, check out GameSpot's review.

     

    Source: GameSpot


    The Harvest Review

    GameSpot
    By GameSpot,

    The campaign in The Harvest takes about three hours to complete, and that's way too much time to spend with this action-heavy role-playing game.

     

    The Harvest takes the usual Diablo-esque hack-and-slash tropes and moves them to a sci-fi world of blasters and robots. Granted, this is a premise with promise. Developer Luma Arcade gets a couple of brownie points for doing something outside of the Tolkien-derived comfort zone of action role-players. I was excited in the beginning about the five futuristic character classes, including space marine wannabes, dual-blade assassins with cloaking devices, and robots that are followed around by heavily armed battle drones.

     

    The minor thrill wears off fast once the game gets under way, however. First, the story is nigh on incomprehensible, and the quality of the graphic-novel-style cutscenes introducing everything is abysmal. Future Earth seems to be under siege by enemy aliens, or robots, or some weird cross between the two, and they're looking to harvest souls, grain, or maybe the endless supply of Cheetos. You're called upon by a quasi-military body of men and women in big hats to save the day by killing these bad guys, which take the form of just a handful of creatures, most notably small robot spiders, midsize robot spiders, giant robot spiders, and guys with guns or blades.

     

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    Combat is dull and repetitive. Expect to see these blade-handed guys a lot.

     

    The action is tedium itself. Combat consists of the usual clicking, with little variation beyond one or two canned attacks. You use either your main gun or blade, or one of each character's three special abilities. With the scarab space marine, for example, I did nothing but mindlessly chip away at enemies with a blaster or cause greater damage by leaping into the air and shaking things up with explosive landings. The game isn't challenging on the default difficulty setting, as long as you keep an eye on your health and energy levels, which keep you upright and dealing out special attacks, respectively.

     

    The only strategic consideration is not being able to boost your HP at will through the game's med-pack take on health potions. Whenever you hit the med-pack button on the main screen, it starts a recharge timer that must tick down before you can go for another round. Since this takes a little while, you generally can't buff your HP more than once during a battle. This does add a slight tactical dimension to combat, especially with bosses and large numbers of foes.

     

    Levels are huge, sprawling affairs that take ages to trudge through.

     

    Loot drops are always disappointing. Slain enemies sometimes spit up goodies like helmets, armor, and weapons, but loot doesn't appear as often as you'd hope, and does little to buff your abilities. Armor items come in various flavors of metal, while the weapons have exotic-car monikers (I think I test-drove a VX-7 Tarantula once). You level up frequently, which lets you boost the three core scores--strength, endurance, and agility--but that's it. This is remedial role playing in a Technicolor world.

     

    There isn't even much to buy. You earn potion bottles that come with various point values and can be used to purchase gear, as well as to buy instant respawns at the point of death so that you don't just beam back to the most recent checkpoint. Yet actual choice is limited; items change up seemingly at random, and what is available is typically so expensive that you can't afford it until well into the game. The in-game marketplace has also been so fully automated that you can magically buy and sell from the character menu screen at any time.

     

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    Thank goodness someone's on top of this vital task.

     

    Levels are huge, sprawling affairs that take ages to trudge through. Some are outside in desert terrain, and others are in indoor sci-fi lab facilities, but all are bland and nearly featureless. You notice the odd bit of kit like monitor screens and chests you can blow apart for the gifts inside, but there just isn't anything that interesting, and one real letdown is how character appearance changes so little with the addition of new gear. There isn't much of anything worth taking the time to look at. Or do. Outside of killing enemies, tasks never amount to more than annoying busywork where you run down one corridor or another to activate or destroy some sort of device. All of these jobs drag out the campaign unnecessarily.

     

    Multiplayer only proves that misery doesn't always love company. It lets you experience the same brief, irritating campaign with others, but trying to join public games almost always results in a "No suitable public game rooms could be found" message, making it impossible to tell whether online play is broken or no one is actually playing.

     

    Somebody will no doubt someday make a good sci-fi Diablo. But The Harvest is definitely not that game. Use three hours of your life on something else.

     

    Source: GameSpot


    Google's MMO mobile game Ingress leaves beta in December

    GameSpot
    By GameSpot,

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    If you've been waiting for an invitation to get in on the beta of Google's massively multiplayer online mobile game, Ingress, then you're in luck: starting today, the game is open to all Android owners. Opening the doors on the game comes almost a year after the game's introduction and is part of the lead up to the official release on December 14, 2013.

     

    GameSpot spoke with John Hanke, vice president of developer Niantic Labs, about his team's work and to learn more about the game. There's a deep backstory to the game and a lot going on gameplay-wise, but in basic terms, Ingress involves two factions (the Enlightened and the Resistance) battling for their individual causes. Teams of real-world players must work together to create and link portals using their mobile devices in public places around the world to score points for their side.

     

    Hanke says that he's most happy that "the game has become an excuse for people to get out and explore." He describes seeing players stopping one another on the street and being able to bond over their shared experiences in the game as incredibly satisfying. "[ingress] gets people out exploring their cities and towns...and working together" And Hanke also says, that though he originally expected to have to manually balance characters across the two factions, the game has independently maintained a self-balanced state. When players see one side getting ahead, they're drawn to the opposite faction, keeping the global score very close.

     

    Even in limited beta, the game has been downloaded over 1 million times, but Hanke isn't expecting any of the normal problems that plague console and PC MMOs when they go public. With Google's experience and resources, he is confident that the increased traffic from opening up the game will not present any technical problems.

     

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    The beta's end is preceded by a global game event call Project Magnus, which kicks off today. Players on the game's Enlightened faction will attempt to piece together an entity known as Roland Jarvis. Meanwhile, Resistance players will be fighting to stop them. The game's website says, "This effort will literally span the globe as Agents from the over 200 countries where Ingress is currently being played cooperate to achieve their goal." The effects of who emerges victorious will leave a lasting mark on the game's narrative and will also herald the end of the beta period.

     

    But just because this is an open-world title with a constantly evolving story doesn't mean that there's isn't a planned endpoint. "This isn't going to be something J.J. Abrams-like where people are left wondering about the ending." Hanke says. "We're going to draw the narrative to a satisfying conclusion, and it should take roughly 24 months." After that, depending on the player reaction, Hanke says there could be a sequel or the team may spin-off into a new experience entirely.

     

    More details about the game's global events are available on the Ingress Google Plus page and the game is available for download for Android on the Google Play website. Have you had the opportunity to try out the game yourself yet? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

     

    Source: GameSpot


    Mario & Sonic at the Sochi Winter Games - Skating and Downhill Skiing Gameplay

    GameSpot
    By GameSpot,

    Whether it's racing around an ice rink, or blasting down a mountain, it's all about controlling your speed!

     

    Source: GameSpot


    Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games Review

    GameSpot
    By GameSpot,

    The Mario & Sonic series has always, and perhaps bizarrely, mixed accessible minigames, topical sporting events, and gaming nostalgia. It's an odd but enduring mix, one that's given us Charmy Bee cameos in a stylised re-creation of England's capital city for London 2012, but sadly the mascot duo's fourth outing falls flat.

     

    In Mario & Sonic's first outing on the Wii U, developer Sega starts with a major change for the series: Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games demands that you make use of the Wii MotionPlus across its collection of 20 Nintendo and Sega characters and 25-odd minigames. The hardware boost ensures an extra degree of controller fidelity in new and returning Olympic events including skiing, figure skating, and curling. And while the move creates an additional expense for families with only a few regular Wii Remotes kicking around, the MotionPlus helps bring a touch of finesse to a previously waggle-intensive series.

     

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    Don't worry: the Shy Guy is wearing a protective mask.

     

    It's the forced addition of the GamePad that serves to complicate matters, shifting the series away from its simplistic roots. At best you've just got to explain each individual mechanic to a group all holding different configurations of controllers, but at worst you've got to contend with groups of irate children arguing over why one gets to have a GamePad and the others don't.

     

    The GamePad is incorporated in various ways, and like with many aspects of the Mario & Sonic series, there are both ups and downs. Biathlon, a new event for 2014, mixes cross-country skiing on the Wii Remote with a shooting range, letting the player at the top of the pack shoot via the GamePad while forcing others to use the more complicated Wii Remote. It's a sporting event that hasn't been well translated into a party game, suffering too much from the fact that it's the person who's already ahead that gets placed in the most advantageous situation.

     

    Bobsleigh is another example of an event that's complicated by the GamePad's involvement, only one that's far more endearingly preposterous. The leader steers the vehicle with the GamePad while barking orders at up to three other players, who lean their Wii Remotes to the left or right to help steer around corners. Sitting cross-legged in a row on the floor isn't required, but it does make this event a lot more fun.

     

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    Snowboard slopestyle, meanwhile, has you take turns to get the highest score on a downhill run, with points awarded for speed, jumps, and grinds. You steer with the GamePad, and flick the touchscreen to perform tricks. It's simple but fun, and is pleasantly different from the more traditional downhill skiing.

     

    Many returning events are identical to their previous incarnations, though some have been spruced up a bit. Hockey, a particularly drab addition in Mario & Sonic's last wintry sojourn, fills in the hole left by the absence of soccer and beach volleyball, now functioning as a kind of cut-down NHL that has you darting around a tiny rink making chaotic overpowered shots while a Shy Guy sits in goal at each end. It's a lot more fun than you'd expect from such a rudimentary implementation, but it's also hard to imagine it being something you'd want to play multiple times.

     

    Figure skating pairs easily takes the crown for the barmiest minigame. Two players are judged on synchronising their movements, and while you're each allowed to hold a Wii Remote, it's when you play together by holding hands around a single controller that the real silliness kicks in. Having one player clumsily spin around the other in real life while an onscreen Daisy pirouettes elegantly around Dr Eggman is enough to put a smile on anyone's face, although you might need to encourage your immediate friends and family members to finish a glass of wine before joining in.

     

    There are highlights, then, but too many events prove to be a disappointment. I've always found it particularly difficult to feel anything but boredom for this series' ski jumping and speed skating modes, and the downhill slide offered by skeleton is handled with more panache by skiing and snowboarding. But it's Sochi 2014's Dream Events that are especially lacking, with the series' former fantastical twists now reduced to half-baked spins of preexisting events wrapped loosely in the aesthetics of the Sonic or Mario series. Snowball scrimmage is the worst of the lot; it's a crude third-person two-versus-two battle with flat snowball-firing guns.

     

    The Mario & Sonic series has been an inclusive experience, catering to all players of all skill levels, but Sochi 2014 complicates that simplicity.

     

    Developer Sega attempts to add value with a flurry of other modes, with Legends Showdown acting as the game's campaign. As opposed to the technically involved London Party board game of London 2012, Legends Showdown simply peppers a cluster of events with the odd cutscene, as a quartet of characters face off against shadow versions of themselves. Each area is capped off with a boss battle against one of the Sonic or Mario series' more obscure characters, including E-102 Gamma, Birdo, and Jet the Hawk. The mode is completely dull.

     

    Medley Mania is similar to Legends Showdown, but presents clusters of events without any narrative context, and Action & Answer Tour mixes individual events with a quiz show . You must complete various feats during randomised events, such as exposing a picture hidden in smoke with curling stones. It's the most successful additional mode in the game by a country mile, forcing you to keep a little something extra buzzing around your head while competing.

     

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    It's unlikely you'll ever be this delighted when playing the game.

     

    The game also adds online competition to the series for the first time, but only via four events: Olympic events freestyle ski cross, snowboard cross, and short track speed skating, alongside multi-vehicle Dream Event winter sports champion race. You can be matched into games alongside strangers or people from your friends list, and online multiplayer is tied together with a national metagame. Winning points in an event goes towards a ranking for your country, with the game displaying the national rankings on the main screen and also via in-game updates on the GamePad.

     

    The Mario & Sonic series has been an inclusive experience, catering to all players of all skill levels, but Sochi 2014 complicates that simplicity. The game's long-winded tutorials have a wearying effect, and the most enjoyable events--which are the simplest, coincidentally--are essentially identical to events from previous years. There are dribs of fun to be extracted from the overall package, but from the outset, it's hard to shake the feeling that this is a series that has now thoroughly outstayed its welcome.

     

    The Mario & Sonic series is the perfect example of the kind of charming, bite-sized, and all-inclusive entertainment that defined Nintendo throughout the Wii's golden years, but a lack of creativity and a poor implementation of the Wii U GamePad ensure that Mario & Sonic's fourth outing in six years fails to secure a podium finish.

     

    Source: GameSpot


    Adventure Time creator adds voice to upcoming Double Fine adventure

    GameSpot
    By GameSpot,

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    Double Fine Productions, the studio behind Brutal Legend, announced that they're collaborating with Adventure Time creator Pendleton Ward on the upcoming independently published game Broken Age.

     

    The announcement came during the Day of the Devs event in San Francisco and on the private backer forums for Broken Age. Ward will be voicing one of the characters in Broken Age, and the reveal was accompanied online by a video showing him in the studio recording lines and improvising with Tim Schafer.

     

    As announced earlier, Hynden Walch, who voices Princess Bubblegum in Adventure Time, Jack Black, and Jennifer Hale also play characters in the game.

     

    Broken Age made headlines earlier this year as the most successful video game Kickstarter (and one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns of all time) up to that point. And Pendleton Ward's cult hit Adventure Time is featured in the upcoming game Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I DON'T KNOW!

     

    The Day of the Devs event runs until 8PM PDT today, and you can watch the remainder on the Double Fine Twitch channel here.

     

    Source: GameSpot


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