Hack And Slash Tagged Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Hack And Slash RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network Ninja Gaiden Master Collection Review: Intense Combat, Sloppy Landing https://www.gameskinny.com/epx67/ninja-gaiden-master-collection-review-intense-combat-sloppy-landing https://www.gameskinny.com/epx67/ninja-gaiden-master-collection-review-intense-combat-sloppy-landing Tue, 22 Jun 2021 18:59:11 -0400 ChrisPenwell

The Ninja Gaiden series is known for its fast-paced combat and high production values, but unfortunately, the latter hasn't aged as well as the former. The series' combo-based combat system is still exhilarating, and it's a highlight of the latest release from Koei Tecmo, the Ninja Gaiden Master Collection, but things have changed since these games originally released. 

Gathering Ninja Gaiden SigmaNinja Gaiden Sigma 2, and Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge into a single package for PC, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation and Xbox platforms, the Ninja Gaiden Master Collection has done the bare minimum to bring the trilogy over to modern platforms.

Ninja Gaiden Master Collection Review: Intense Combat, Sloppy Landing

The Master Collection puts you in the role of Ryu, a ninja whose village is razed to the ground by the villainous Doku at the beginning of Ninja Gaiden Sigma. It is Ryu's duty to search for the Dark Dragon Blade wielded by Doku and bring the villain down in the process. 

While the premise sounds epic in scale, the script doesn't match it. It simply takes you along from place to place without much rhyme or reason. 

When there are voiced lines, however, the performances surprisingly hold up with excellent delivery and a fitting tone. While Sigma focuses on its strengths  combat in particular  the later games have more of a narrative focus with more cinematic cutscenes and improved acting.

What doesn't hold up at all are the visuals. I played the Nintendo Switch version of the Master Collection, and it looks barely better than each game's PS3 counterpart. While docked, Sigma particularly displays plain and muddy textures, not to mention a disappointing lack of effects, that emphasize a lack of detail. 

The sequels don't fare much better. Each of them looks just as faded and blurry, and Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge makes things worse by adding in obnoxious flashes of red when you're low on health. 

Ryu in black gi holding katana while standing between two cliffs.

Aside from the occasional framerate drop, which was rare, Sigma's loading screens became annoying after a while, as well. The game stops to load every section of a stage, so if you're running, you'll randomly stop for the game to load. It makes the experience jarring, and it shouldn't be an issue on newer hardware. 

It isn't a problem in Ninja Gaiden 2 and Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge as they take on more of a linear structure to Sigma's more open setting. Rather than evoking Resident Evil 4 or Village, the other titles have the structure of a Devil May Cry or a God of War so Koei Tecmo can carefully plan out when things can load in the background. 

What helps the Ninja Gaiden Master Collection is the franchise's brilliant combat system that still feels current.

There are many different weapons at your disposal and each has its own set of combos to learn. The animation for each move feels fluid and impactful. In Ninja Gaiden 2 and Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge, the combat is faster and more fluid than it is in Sigma, but it somewhat loses the slower, more strategic nature of that first title in the process. 

Other than the last boss in Ninja Gaiden Sigma, which is infamous among the franchise's fandom as being incredibly difficult, each monster and villain you face in all three games feels epic, requiring wits and strategy to take down. It's much easier than the likes of Nioh and Dark Souls, but you still have to stay on your toes to stay alive. 

It's a shame, then, that the excellent combat is plagued by poor controls, a shoddy camera, and some unclear mechanics.

Platforming is imprecise, where jumps are initiated at awkward angles and directions. The camera gets stuck on corners, showing strange angles of Ryu's butt and leading to even more frustration when jumping. Diving underwater is cryptic, and wall running is difficult to use because, at times, Ryu just runs vertically rather than horizontally. 

Ryu in black fighting a silver and red monk fiend gargoyle creature.

But all of those control issues almost fade away the more you play Ninja Gaiden Sigma because it feels wonderful, like a hybrid of Resident Evil 4 or Village's explorative nature and Devil May Cry's action-packed combat design. Exploring, finding key objects, and solving minor puzzles is a delight. The latter unfortunately wasn't present in its sequels.

Ninja Gaiden Sigma succeeds outside of its combat by rewarding players that return to prior areas and providing new abilities and skills that make that retreading more enjoyable. There are new items, new skills, new weapons, and collectibles to acquire. There are even missions that reward you with permanent health boosts and other prizes if you survive waves upon waves of respawning enemies.

With a remaster, you'd also expect some quality of life changes to fit modern tastes. Unfortunately, outside of an easier difficulty, Koei Tecmo has failed to implement an auto-save feature in Sigma. Save points are far apart, and you'll likely get frustrated if you die because you'll either have to cover large distances again or go back to the prior chapter and beat the boss once more to advance.

Furthermore, Sigma's somewhat blurry map could have used an update, with Koei Tecmo adding a key system, for example, that points out where save points are or where the blacksmith is, tempering some of the game's needlessly rudderless feeling.

Luckily, the checkpoints and save points are far more forgiving in Ninja Gaiden 2 and Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edges, though, because of their more linear nature, a map isn't featured in either game. With them being linear in nature, the locales stand out much more than the blandness of the first game.

You can see a great realization of the London Eye during the first stage of NG3, and NG2's realization of a futuristic Tokyo is stunning as it presents skyscrapers, flying cars, and beautiful pink blossom trees.

Ryu slicing an enemy in the stomach with a katana.

Sigma's upgrade system is also confusing. The shop displays weapons that are seemingly available for sale, but "purchasing" weapons actually upgrades them. There was no tutorial explaining this vital tool, so until I stumbled upon it, I went a few hours without ever using it.

If that wasn't enough, the CG cutscenes look absolutely awful, stretched out and low quality. With plenty of AI upscaling tools available, Koei Tecmo could have made the game's cutscenes look better rather than doing the bare minimum.

Taking a page out of Square Enix's playbook with Kingdom Hearts and what they've done with that series' old CG cutscenes could have done Sigma, specifically, wonders. Compared to Sigma 2 and Razor's Edge, it feels like Ninja Gaiden Sigma is the black sheep of the series. It's not as optimized for modern sensibilities.

Ninja Gaiden Master Collection Review — The Bottom Line

 Doku in black armor holding a flame-shaped sword standing in front of a fire.

Pros
  • Excellent combat still feels fresh 
  • Exhilarating explorative gameplay that rewards players
  • Exciting boss battles
  • Decent voice acting
  • Lovely locales in Ninja Gaiden 2 and Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge.
Cons
  • Sigma's terrible platforming hasn't been retooled
  • Sigma's awful CG cutscenes 
  • Annoyingly placed loading segments in Sigma
  • A lack of quality of life updates like auto-save or a better map in Sigma.
  • Blurring in Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge has some blurring 
  • Dull, grey colors in Razor's Edge
  • The sequels forget what made Sigma so good: exploration

Overall, the Ninja Gaiden Master Collection is a sloppy remaster on the Nintendo Switch at least. While it runs at 60 frames per second most of the time, the textures look truly old. The lack of quality of life features like auto-save and a better map is also disappointing in Sigma. Koei Tecmo could have improved the platforming too.

The game itself, however, almost makes up for the remaster's lapses. The stellar combat still feels fresh, and the explorative gameplay in Sigma makes for a fun diversion to the Resident Evil and Devil May Cry series. If you want more of a God of War-like experience, the other two titles deliver that high-intensity action in spades. If you can ignore the faults of the remaster, we'd recommend playing the Ninja Gaiden Master Collection. 

[Note: Koei Tecmo provided the copy of the Ninja Gaiden Master Collection used for this review.]

]]>
Naraka Bladepoint: Open Beta Strikes in June, Release Date Lands in August https://www.gameskinny.com/1dpj7/naraka-bladepoint-open-beta-strikes-in-june-release-date-lands-in-august https://www.gameskinny.com/1dpj7/naraka-bladepoint-open-beta-strikes-in-june-release-date-lands-in-august Sun, 13 Jun 2021 16:31:05 -0400 Aaron Bayne

After strenuous playtesting, Naraka Bladepoint is finally on the horizon, with a release date just a couple of months away. 24 Entertainment's E3 2021 showcase unveiled new heroes and weapons coming to the battle royale, as well as its global launch of August 12 on PC.  

Watching any amount of gameplay will reveal an intense back and forth as players trying to out-skill and out-maneuver one and other. Anyone curious about this battle royale can try out its open beta, which launches in just a few days, running from June 16 to June 22.

Naraka Bladepoint is a mixture of fighting game and battle royale. Up to 60 players are able to choose from a roster of characters with varying abilities, as well as a host of unique weapons to use in an "unlimited parkour system."

24 Entertainment took the time to thank fans for their continued support of the game, which had been wishlisted on Steam by over one million players as of E3.

We had the chance to check the game out earlier this year during another closed beta session and came away impressed. Though we remain a little unsure about the game's ladder system and its monetization elements, we think there's enough here to still be very excited.

Naraka Bladepoint is a killer entry in the battle royale genre filled with novel ideas and a strong fundamental grounding. It's worth your time and then some.

I’ve got high expectations of Naraka, especially as it grows and brings in new players while maintaining current ones. If you have any love for the battle royale genre, check out Naraka the first chance you get.

Naraka Bladepoint is available to preorder now and will launch on Steam and the Epic Games Store. Stay tuned for more. 

 

]]>
No More Heroes 1 & 2 Set to Release on PC This June https://www.gameskinny.com/w4aja/no-more-heroes-1-2-set-to-release-on-pc-this-june https://www.gameskinny.com/w4aja/no-more-heroes-1-2-set-to-release-on-pc-this-june Fri, 04 Jun 2021 14:41:35 -0400 David Carcasole

After coming to Nintendo Switch last October, No More Heroes and No More Heroes 2 are coming to PC. XSEED Games announced that action-adventure hack and slash titles will hit PC via Steam on June 9, 2021. 

The two games are set to look better than ever with support for HD resolution on PC and smooth 60fps gameplay. They'll both be available for $19.99, though they will be on sale for their launch week with a 10% discount until June 15, 2021.  

For the first time ever, those outside of Nintendo's ecosystem will be able to experience No More Heroes and Travis Touchdown's epic and insane adventure to be the number one assassin. 

No More Heroes 3 is currently set to release on August 27, 2021, exclusively for Nintendo Switch. If the response from the PC community is positive enough regarding the first two games finally making their way to a non-Nintendo platform, and that shows up in sales, it's not a stretch that fans could eventually see the third entry also migrate over. 

But maybe that's just our hope. We'll have to wait and see. Stay tuned. 

]]>
Chivalry 2 Open Crossplay Beta Sieges All Platforms Today https://www.gameskinny.com/w6ua3/chivalry-2-open-crossplay-beta-sieges-all-platforms-today https://www.gameskinny.com/w6ua3/chivalry-2-open-crossplay-beta-sieges-all-platforms-today Mon, 17 May 2021 15:31:27 -0400 David Carcasole

Torn Banner Studios' upcoming continuation of the Chivalry franchise, Chivalry 2, is on the horizon, and the game's cross play open beta will officially begin later this month on May 27, 2021, at 11 a.m. EST. It will conclude on June 1, 2021, at the same time. 

The Chivalry 2 open beta is the final one before the game launches globally on June 8, and it will be available on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC via the Epic Games Store.

Chivalry 2 has already hosted a closed beta to initially test cross play functionality, where we got a chance to get our boots in the mud and cry out on the battlefield, armed with lethal chickens galore. 

This open beta does more than just allow for anyone to get in on the action; it also brings to the battleground two new maps, a new game mode, and more server options. It will also provide full character customization so you can look as stylish as possible while lopping off the heads of your opponents. 

Finally, the open beta comes alongside the release of the game's official soundtrack on the Spotify music streaming service, as well as a number of other services such as: 

  • Amazon Music
  • Apple Music
  • Bandcamp 
  • Deezer
  • Soundcloud
  • YouTube

It is worth noting that the open beta is available for free to everyone on PlayStation, regardless of PlayStation Plus subscription status, while Xbox players will need to be signed up for Xbox Live Gold to participate. You can also pre-load the beta a day early, so you won't miss any of the fun. 

]]>
Ghosts 'n Goblins: Resurrection Gets an Extra Life on PC, PS4, Xbox One https://www.gameskinny.com/xfnlp/ghosts-n-goblins-resurrection-gets-an-extra-life-on-pc-ps4-xbox-one https://www.gameskinny.com/xfnlp/ghosts-n-goblins-resurrection-gets-an-extra-life-on-pc-ps4-xbox-one Mon, 26 Apr 2021 16:43:53 -0400 Jonathan Moore

Ghosts 'n Goblins has a reputation, and the 2021 remaster of the original hard-as-#@$! platformer, Ghosts 'n Goblins: Resurrection, stays true to its namesake. Released by Capcom in February exclusively for the Nintendo Switch, Resurrection is getting an extra life on PC, PS4, and Xbox One on June 1.

Just as it is on the Nintendo eShop, it will be a standalone purchase for $29.99 on Steam, the PlayStation Store, and the Microsoft Store. 

Ghosts 'n Goblins: Resurrection may have a slick new coat of paint, which makes the game look utterly gorgeous, but underneath that veneer lies a game uncompromising in its difficulty. Players can't even see the whole game on its easiest setting. Despite its relentless adherence to its legacy, which we found a bit taxing in our review, there are some really great moments to be had in Resurrection, and some will relish in the challenge it presents. 

To offer a little help, Resurrection includes a multiplayer co op mode that can be turned on and off at will, and lets another player assume the roles of Archie, Barry, or Kerry to help Arthur make it through the Demon Realm on their way to Astaroth. 

Alongside the news of Ghosts 'n Goblins: Resurrection making its way to PC, PS4, and Xbox One this summer, Capcom revealed its latest arcade compilation would also be coming to all three platforms in May

]]>
Chivalry 2 Closed Beta Storms the Castle Starting Today https://www.gameskinny.com/wzzgr/chivalry-2-closed-beta-storms-the-castle-starting-today https://www.gameskinny.com/wzzgr/chivalry-2-closed-beta-storms-the-castle-starting-today Fri, 23 Apr 2021 17:28:06 -0400 Jonathan Moore

Chivalry 2 is shaping up to be a grand time on the medieval battlefield. We were recently able to take a stab at a beta version of the upcoming first-person hack and slash game, and we found dispatching our opponents with chickens was more fun than it should've been

Now, anyone who has pre ordered the game can take part in the Chivalry 2 closed crossplay beta, which runs from April 23 at 10:30 a.m. EST to April 26 at 10:30 p.m. EST. Platforms include PC, PlayStation 4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S. The press release accompanying the news mentioned that "beta start/end times may differ on consoles," but there was no specific mention of alternate times. 

Fans that haven't yet pre purchased Chivalry 2 but want to get in on the beta can still do so as long as they purchase the game before the closed beta ends. 

The closed beta includes a 64-person Team Objective mode and Team Deathmatch. There are four maps, including a never-before-seen castle siege map, and more weapons will be included through the expanded class system, which includes four classes and 12 subclasses. 

Aside from killing other folks with chickens and other devastating hand-held weapons, siege weapons will help players lay waste to groups of enemies and take important objectives. 

Chivalry 2 is developed by Torn Banner Studios and published by Tripwire Interactive. It will release on June 8 for PC, PlayStation 4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S. Cross play will be featured between all platforms, and next-gen systems will have a free upgrade path. It's up for pre order now for $39.99. 

]]>
Chivalry 2: A Bloody Good Time https://www.gameskinny.com/wvhf7/chivalry-2-a-bloody-good-time https://www.gameskinny.com/wvhf7/chivalry-2-a-bloody-good-time Wed, 21 Apr 2021 09:00:02 -0400 Justin Koreis

If you are going to kill a man using a chicken, make sure he’s not on your team. I learned this lesson the hard way, as my ally and I battled an enemy knight in Chivalry 2.

I had thrown my sword earlier in the battle, and the chicken was the first thing I could find to defend myself with. My attempt to hurl the bird into the enemy was poorly timed, and I struck the final blow into the back of my teammate's skull. Left unarmed after my fowl betrayal, all I could do was stand and laugh, as my foe crushed me with his massive war hammer.

It was moments like this, more than the wins or losses in the first-person Medieval multiplayer sequel, that stuck with me following my hands-on preview of Torn Banner Studios' upcoming Chivalry 2.

The game kept me alternating between sweaty determination and tear-filled laughter, and it might just be the game we all need right now.

Inelegant Weapons for a Less Civilized Age

Chivalry 2 puts players in the boots of soldiers in massive medieval armies. Up to 64 players control one of several archetypes, from Swordsmen to Archers to the above-mentioned hammer-wielding Vanguard and more. Player-controlled armies then clash, facing off in team deathmatch, capture the flag, and various other game types.

The preview began with the Siege of Rudhelm, an objective-based game type where the invading Agathian Knights assault a city held by the opposing Mason Order. My knight joined his comrades-in-arms pushing massive siege towers towards the city walls and fighting off player-controlled foot soldiers sent to stop us.  

The action is, by design, somewhat clumsy and brutal. Weapons swing in wide arcs, striking friend and foe alike. It doesn’t take much damage to kill or be killed, but a mercifully short respawn timer gets you right back into the action.  

My comrades and I found ourselves off to a fast start. Mixing blocks, feints, and attacks from different angles, I had decent success felling the enemy. Hiding around the corner of the siege tower and ambushing enemies unseen piled up my body count, and eventually, we took the main gate.  

The melee was so much fun I honestly don’t remember who won, nor do I particularly care. Severing heads never got old, and anytime I died it was followed by a laugh, and a desperation to return to the fray.

Embrace the Chaos

The well-designed tutorial walks you through Chivalry 2's surprisingly deep combat, with an over-the-top instructor barking orders with equal parts Drill Seargeant-esque authority and cartoonish comedy. Controls are simple to learn but require timing and strategy to execute in battle. There is support for gamepad or keyboard and mouse, and I found both to work equally well.  

Torn Banner has made a game with a dirty medieval style, and they embrace it wholeheartedly. The world is brutal but with a sense of humor that successfully makes the violence a part of the joke, rather than something darker. The presentation works symbiotically with the gameplay to realize a world that exists for players to take part in. It almost reminds me of Rare and Sea of Thieves, just with less water and more severed limbs.  

This is most evident in the weapons you can find on the battlefield. The arenas are littered with everyday objects to use as weapons. One second, I was fighting side by side with a man holding pitchfork, the next my head was being caved in with the bell from a nearby church (which I’m not convinced is what the clergy had in mind).  

I threw books, smashed people with barrels, even attempted to slay a man with another man's skull. It became a metagame that both armies leaned into and resulted in immediate post-game conversations about who killed or was killed in what hilarious way.

Make Your Soldier Your Own

Next, we all engaged in some good old-fashioned team deathmatch, played on foot in a jousting arena. The two armies sprinted to each other, and the resulting scrum was an excellent facsimile of something out of Bravehart.

Finding opportunities to flank enemies and/or bullying them with superior numbers became key. It’s hard to overstate the joy of bating an enemy to attack you, only to watch your teammate cut them down while you use the in-game emote system to hurl insults at your fallen foe.  A quick click of a button and your character can emote, battle cry, beg for mercy, and more, all fully voiced. There are multiple voice types, with masculine and feminine options to suit your taste.  

The battlefields have environmental hazards as well. I sent people through trap doors onto spikes, was killed instantly by a scorpion (a sort of giant siege crossbow), was crushed under stone on a rope. Every battle revealed a new wrinkle to explore.  

Customization wasn’t available for the preview, but come launch day, Chivarly 2 will feature player customization across each class. Both an earnable in-game currency and premium currency will provide options to purchase cosmetic upgrades. There is also an in-game progression system, allowing players to earn experience points to unlock additional weapons and clothing options.

Chivalry 2 is shaping up to be a grand experience. It's coming to PC via the Epic Game Store, PlayStation 4 and PS5, and the Xbox One and Series X|S with full crossplay support on June 8, 2021. Xbox One and PS4 editions can be freely upgraded to next-gen.

Based on our preview play, this has the potential to be the most fun video games of the year. Prepare for battle! 

]]>
Naraka: Bladepoint is the First Unity-Built Game to Use DLSS https://www.gameskinny.com/f8ys3/naraka-bladepoint-is-the-first-unity-built-game-to-use-dlss https://www.gameskinny.com/f8ys3/naraka-bladepoint-is-the-first-unity-built-game-to-use-dlss Fri, 16 Apr 2021 12:17:00 -0400 David Carcasole

Two days after NVIDIA announced that their AI upscaling software DLSS would be coming to the Unity engine, we now know the first game that will take advantage of it. Naraka: Bladepoint is a battle royale game being developed by 24 Entertainment, and while some lucky players will get to see it in action as soon as April 23, 2021, through a closed beta test, it won't fully launch until sometime later this year. 

If you'd like a sneak preview of Naraka using DLSS, you can watch the video showing off the technology here: 

24 Entertainment said it "is dedicated to bringing players of Naraka: Bladepoint a truly exceptional gaming experience  and DLSS is a major component in delivering on that promise."

The news of DLSS compatibility with Unity is quite exciting, at least for those with 20 and 30 series NVIDIA graphics cards. It's also exciting for developers, who, according to Mathieu Muller, Senior Product Manager of High End Graphics at Unity Technology, will be able to input DLSS in their Unity builds "with just a few clicks."

Games built on Unity include titles such as Hollow Knight, Cuphead, Praey For The Gods, Disco Elysium, and Outer Wilds. We've already seen what DLSS can do for titles like Control, and as more of the industry adopts NVIDIA's technology, it'll be interesting to see how it will be used to give players everywhere an incredible visual experience, whatever their hardware.  

Those interested in checking out Naraka before its official release can request closed-beta access on Steam.

]]>
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity Demo Out Now https://www.gameskinny.com/6v326/hyrule-warriors-age-of-calamity-demo-out-now https://www.gameskinny.com/6v326/hyrule-warriors-age-of-calamity-demo-out-now Wed, 28 Oct 2020 12:43:36 -0400 Josh Broadwell

A hefty Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity demo is out now on Nintendo Switch, following a new Age of Calamity trailer, which debuted during Nintendo's Direct Mini Partner Showcase.

The Age of Calamity demo includes the game's first chapter and lets players carry over save data to the full version of the game when it releases on November 20, 2020.

The action ramps up even more outside the first chapter. The new Age of Calamity trailer Nintendo revealed shows the four Divine Beasts from Breath of the Wild have special playable segments.

Vah Medoh wreaks havoc from above, while Vah Naboris tramples everything in its path. Vah Rudania shatters the earth with mighty stopms, and Vah Ruta freezes foes in their tracks and rains down a deluge of pain.

These Divine Beast segments take place in a different format from the usual musou combat and focus more on spreading attacks over large areas instead of taking on individual monster hordes.

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity releases November 20 for Nintendo Switch. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Age of Calamity news as it develops.

]]>
No More Heroes 3 Releases in 2021, No More Heroes 1 and 2 on Switch Now https://www.gameskinny.com/fnb41/no-more-heroes-3-releases-in-2021-no-more-heroes-1-and-2-on-switch-now https://www.gameskinny.com/fnb41/no-more-heroes-3-releases-in-2021-no-more-heroes-1-and-2-on-switch-now Wed, 28 Oct 2020 12:36:03 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Nintendo shadow dropped another Nintendo Mini-Direct Partner Showcase and packed it full of No More Heroes news.

Following a delay earlier in 2020, No More Heroes 3 releases in 2021 on Nintendo Switch, but if that's too long to wait for more Travis Touchdown, No More Heroes 1 and No More Heroes 2 are available on Nintendo Switch now.

No More Heroes 3 puts a twist on the usual formula. Instead of climbing to the top of the assassin rankings, Travis must work alongside fellow assassins to defend the planet from hordes of invading aliens.

While it's a standalone entry in the No More Heroes series, even the trailer recommends playing the prequels first.

HD remasters of No More Heroes and No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle are available for $17.99 each on the Switch eShop. Both games first released on the Nintendo Wii in 2008 and 2010 respectively.

Travis struggles to prove he's the number one assassin in the first game, but his conquest has consequences. In No More Heroes 2, he's hunted by another assassin whose brother he killed in the first game.

Both games feature plenty of over-the-top beat-'em-up action. Travis switches between using his signature beam katana and melee-style wrestling moves to mow down foes with ease — when he's not chilling with his favorite retro-style mini-games, that is. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more No More Heroes news as it develops.

]]>
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity Drops Weapon Durability https://www.gameskinny.com/8e085/hyrule-warriors-age-of-calamity-drops-weapon-durability https://www.gameskinny.com/8e085/hyrule-warriors-age-of-calamity-drops-weapon-durability Wed, 07 Oct 2020 15:52:33 -0400 Josh Broadwell

The second part of Nintendo's October Treehouse Live dropped a Goron-sized load of information about the upcoming Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity. From backstories and skills to weapons and shirtless Link, there's a lot to dig into.

Age of Calamity expands on the original Hyrule Warriors' gameplay in a number of ways. For starters, it includes the map from the original game. Completing story missions and gaining certain items unlocks new locations like blacksmiths, towns, and stables, each with something important to offer.

Side quests that expand the BotW world and offer some bonuses as well, such as unlocking new combos or strengthening weapons.

Quest completion brings rewards in the form of materials as well, things like food items for buffs, parts for the blacksmith, and some random items needed to unlock other quests.

Weapons are no longer breakable in Age of Calamity, and it seems like working with multiple weapon types — two-handed swords, magic, and such — will be well worth the trouble.

The segment opened with a lengthy Urbosa fight sequence. As expected, the Gerudo Champion wields a deadly scimitar and the power of lightning against her foes. But she'll sometimes resort to trickery to gain the advantage over her opponents — such as by summoning a Molduga to deal with the pesky Yiga Clan.

Kay of Nintendo Treehouse said Age of Calamity pays a good deal of attention to the Champions' backstories, including their relationships with other characters. Urbosa's, for example, explores how she knew Zelda's mother.

Speaking of Zelda, for the first time in a mainline game in the Zelda series, the Hyrulian princess herself is playable. She primarily uses Runes for attack, but also turns the Sheikah Slate's photo mode into a murder weapon.

And yes, Link can go into battle stripped down. It wouldn't be part of the Breath of the Wild universe otherwise.

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity releases November 20 for Nintendo Switch. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Zelda news as it develops.

]]>
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity Gameplay Shows Off Playable Champions, Young Impa https://www.gameskinny.com/hw4g1/hyrule-warriors-age-of-calamity-gameplay-shows-off-playable-champions-young-impa https://www.gameskinny.com/hw4g1/hyrule-warriors-age-of-calamity-gameplay-shows-off-playable-champions-young-impa Sat, 26 Sep 2020 11:03:33 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Koei Tecmo gave us our first look at Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity's gameplay and playable characters as part of the 2020 Tokyo Game Show. The showcase introduced a new trailer highlighting the game's four Champions, and we're not crying  you are.

Age of Calamity's gameplay draws from the original Hyrule Warriors. Players defend key locations from monsters, rescue fellow fighters in need, and annihilate hordes of enemies with over-the-top attacks.

But there's a Breath of the Wild twist.

Special attacks in Age of Calamity use rune powers from the Sheikah Slate — bombs, stasis, freezing, and the like. While they can turn the tables on foes in an instant and are vital for breaking the shields of stronger enemies, they have recharge times just like in Breath of the Wild

Age of Calamity tells the story of what happened to Hyrule when Calamity Ganon broke free and devoured the land. Battles and environments revolve around that story, so, for example, players get to see the entirety of Hyrule Castle Town before it became a ruinous shell.

There's only one way this story can end, but the new Hyrule Warriors looks set to add plenty of unexpected elements as well. The brief gameplay demonstration teased the Baby Yoda of Zelda, the small white egg Guardian that apparently follows Link and co. in battle.

As expected from a Breath of the Wild prequel, Age of Calamity adds the four Champions of Hyrule as playable characters, and then some. Young Impa takes the field, using talisman magic to befuddle and destroy her enemies. More characters will be revealed before Age of Calamity releases on November 20.

Those with Breath of the Wild save data on their Switch systems will unlock the Trainee Wooden Sword for Link, a weapon that sometimes blocks attacks. This is alongside the pre-order bonus of the Lucky Ladel DLC weapon.

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity news in the coming weeks.

]]>
Warhammer: Vermintide 2 Hacks Into the Weekend with Double XP, Discounts https://www.gameskinny.com/4h6jb/warhammer-vermintide-2-hacks-into-the-weekend-with-double-xp-discounts https://www.gameskinny.com/4h6jb/warhammer-vermintide-2-hacks-into-the-weekend-with-double-xp-discounts Fri, 27 Mar 2020 12:27:44 -0400 GS_Staff

Warhammer: Vermintide 2 doesn't often get the love it deserves. It's a fast and frantic co-op hack and slash title set in the Warhammer fantasy universe that thousands have played for hundreds of hours. But it's now the perfect time for thousands more to jump into the fray. 

Through March 29, players can get double XP on both PC and console (PS4 and Xbox One). To further entice new players, Fatshark, the game's developer, has discounted the game by 75% on PC. Unfortunately, the game is still $29.99 on the PlayStation Store and Microsoft Store as of this writing. 

PC players can pick up the entire Vermintide 2 bundle for $32.56. The bundle includes the base game and its three DLC packs: Shadows Over Bogenhofen, Back to Ubersreik, and Winds of Magic

For those who already own the base game and wish to purchase the DLC packs separately, those are also on sale individually for 33% off. 

Aside from the double XP weekend and deep discount, Season 2 of Vermintide 2 saw it's most recent update on March 24. The Curse of Drachenfels Chapter 3: Enchanter's Lair introduced a brand-new map and "a batch of weapon skills" to the game, according to the game's dev log. All Season 2 content is available for free to anyone who owns the base game. 

]]>
Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders Review — A Tactical Blunder https://www.gameskinny.com/ofj1l/kingdom-under-fire-the-crusaders-review-a-tactical-blunder https://www.gameskinny.com/ofj1l/kingdom-under-fire-the-crusaders-review-a-tactical-blunder Mon, 02 Mar 2020 17:49:06 -0500 Jordan Baranowski

These days, it's tough to have a surprise release, but developer Blueside seems to have done it with a PC port of the 2004 cult-classic Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders. Releasing 16 years after its initial Xbox drop certainly qualifies as a surprise.

The Crusaders is a game that I was aware of but never played on its original release, and I was excited to dive in and see what this port was all about.

However, don't expect some massive remaster here with all sorts of newfangled options. Besides a few quality of life upgrades (like supporting modern resolutions), this release of Kingdom Under Fire is the exact same game you would have played almost two decades ago.

Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders Review — A Tactical Blunder

Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders is a combination of two different genres: hack-and-slash action and real-time tactics. Initially, the game might seem rather shallow, with the tutorial missions lulling you into a false sense of security. But there is a lot to think about as you lead your armies into battle.

Once you encounter a foe on the battlefield, the action zooms in, allowing you to take control of the leader of your forces, slicing your way through the opposing army in third-person action.

The hack-and-slash sections will be familiar to anyone who played games from this original time period as it was an extremely popular genre in the early 2000s. You have a few different attack buttons, a block button, and a few specialty attacks. You can chain together some combos and seek out elite foes to turn the tide of battle, but these sections are relatively mindless and get boring fairly quickly.

The tactical sections are pretty ambitious considering Kingdom Under Fire is originally a console game (and it still very much plays like one). You adjust your army's formation on the fly, counter enemy troops, utilize flanking maneuvers and sneak attacks, and even use weather patterns to your advantage. You can also upgrade your troops between missions; upgrades that are certainly necessary but don't generally make enough impact to be all that exciting.

All of this is done with an Xbox controller. There is an option to use a mouse and keyboard, including a near-constant reminder about what key to press to pull up an overlay, but after a few goes at it, I gave up. This is a game made for consoles, and even the voiceover tutorials reference which Xbox button to press.

Death Metal

All of this action is set against the backdrop of an extremely generic fantasy setting with extremely generic characters. Early on, your army consists of Generic Goodman, Sexy Sword Lady, and Beefy Dumb-Dumb. They lead a troop of identical-looking soldiers against other groups of identical-looking soldiers. The first army you fight is a bunch of ladies in thong armor, because of course, it is. And many enemies spout one-liners and say they're "surprised" without sounding like it.

Production values for video games were very different in 2004, but there are a lot of issues with Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders that remind you exactly when this game was made, and why things have changed since. 

When zoomed out, characters look fine. When zoomed in, well, dear lord. Anytime characters speak, their mouths move in bizarre slow motion no matter what they are saying. Their eyes are black pits. Characters clip in and out of one another with abandon.

It's hard to criticize a game from almost 20 years ago by saying, "It looks bad." But it just does.

If you just scrolled down to the comments to write, "Because the soundtrack is badass, dummy," then I must admit that you are correct. Kingdom Under Fire has a very awesome heavy metal soundtrack that plays almost constantly. Credits, battles, cutscenes, it doesn't matter: this is a game that sounds like how the cover of a Dungeons & Dragons sourcebook looks. 

Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders Review — The Bottom Line

Pros:
  • Awesome soundtrack
  • Surprisingly deep tactics
  • Was (probably) technologically impressive in its time?
Cons:
  • Hack-and-slash gameplay gets bland
  • Generic stories and characters
  • Has been surpassed by many other games
  • Straight port leaves a lot to be desired

It feels like the PC port of Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders could have benefited greatly from a bit more remastering. It seems like a game that had some fine ideas back in the day, but both genres it tackles have moved on to bigger and better things in the time it has been away.

The hack-and-slash sections lack the variety to stay interesting, and the tactical sections are impressive for a console game but feel clunky and hamstrung on PC.

2004 me probably would have loved sitting down at a friends house and cracking some skulls in Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders. If this is a game that you fondly remember playing, the PC port will undoubtedly hit some nostalgia buttons. For everyone else, I just don't think you'll get too much out of it.

Check out the soundtrack though: it's bangin'.

[Note: A copy of Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders was provided by Blueside for the purpose of this review.]

]]>
Diplomacy Has Failed: The Wonderful 101 Launches Into Action Soon https://www.gameskinny.com/vma1d/diplomacy-has-failed-the-wonderful-101-launches-into-action-soon https://www.gameskinny.com/vma1d/diplomacy-has-failed-the-wonderful-101-launches-into-action-soon Wed, 26 Feb 2020 12:56:24 -0500 Josh Broadwell

Following a hugely successful Kickstarter funding campaign, Platinum Games' hero game salvaged from the Wii U's wreckage finally has a release date.

The Wonderful 101 Remastered will release for PlayStation 4, PC, and Nintendo Switch on May 19 in North America.

Platinum released a brief trailer showing off some of the action you can expect, with a more cartoonish take on Viewtiful Joe's comic-book action.

In a press release, courtesy of Gematsu, Platinum's Hideki Kamiya also talked about the studio's hopes for the game and why they wanted to give it a second chance it life. Despite low sales on the Wii U after it released in 2013, the studio never regarded it as a failure.

In fact, Kamiya says it's because of the low sales they wanted to give it a new chance at life, saying:

a game is only a failure if it disappoints the gamers who play it. From the start, The Wonderful 101 didn’t quite reach a large enough audience for me to clearly call it either way. 

TW101 isn't a straight-up port either. Platinum has fine-tuned the controls and adjusted gameplay so it's easier to adapt to right away, and the framerate and visual quality were upgraded to suit modern consoles.

We're looking forward to another chance at experiencing this chapter in Platinum's saga, especially now that it has a spiritual follow-up in Platinum's newly announced Project G.G.

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more The Wonderful 101 Remastered news as it flies our way.

]]>
Koei Tecmo Set to Announce New Dynasty Warriors Game This Summer https://www.gameskinny.com/lwm31/koei-tecmo-set-to-announce-new-dynasty-warriors-game-this-summer https://www.gameskinny.com/lwm31/koei-tecmo-set-to-announce-new-dynasty-warriors-game-this-summer Thu, 20 Feb 2020 14:53:20 -0500 Ashley Shankle

Despite its massive, glaring, and unforgivable faults, Dynasty Warriors 9 did decently enough for Koei Tecmo not to toss the whole series in the trash. Thank goodness.

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Dynasty Warriors series, Koei Tecmo is presenting a play from August 20 to 24 by Daisuke Nishida. Nishida has written and directed plays for the series before and worked on the anime series Bokurano and Claymore.

The play, subtitled "The Battle of Chibi IF," seems to offer an alternative take on the famous battle of Chibi that fans of the Dynasty Warriors series and those familiar with Romance of the Three Kingdoms are well-familiar with.

This doesn't seem to be all Koei Tecmo has in store for fans this year, though.

In a letter posted on the official 20th-anniversary site, series producer Akihiro Suzuki reminisces about how Dynasty Warriors came to be, the successes of the fourth entry in the series, and how it's spanned to such vastness even outside of its numbered entries (Empires, Extreme Legends).

He also confirms a new game will be announced this year for the 20th anniversary. One has to wonder whether this new game announcement may be a bit of a return to form, emulating the PlayStation 2 era of Dynasty Warriors, as he details the success of Dynasty Warriors 4 in selling a million copies in only nine days when it first came out.

There's a storm a-brewin' over at Koei Tecmo, and I'm excited to see if lightning will strike. While I do consider Dynasty Warriors 9 one of the worst games I've ever played and I genuinely dislike it, I've still pumped over 80 hours into the blasted thing.

Whether Dynasty Warriors fans want to admit it or not, Koei Tecmo and Omega Force are basically guaranteed our money. I'd love to spend that money on a worthwhile entry to this series again, but we'll have to wait until August to see what they have in store for us.

]]>
KUNAI Review: A Modern Take on Old School Fun https://www.gameskinny.com/io28d/kunai-review-a-modern-take-on-old-school-fun https://www.gameskinny.com/io28d/kunai-review-a-modern-take-on-old-school-fun Thu, 06 Feb 2020 09:00:01 -0500 RobertPIngram

Will fictional future humans ever learn? From the looks of things, probably not. 

KUNAI, from Turtleblaze and The Arcade Crew, is set in a world where a powerful A.I. name Lemonkus has been developed by humans "trying... to make the world a better place."

As powerful A.I.s have a habit of doing, Lemonkus quickly determined that humans were a real drag on the functionality of earth. Consequently, it saw to the near-total eradication of those pesky living beings.

While robots now run the world, they aren't all on board with the A.I.'s plans, and with the help of a robot resistance, Tabby the tablet is restored and embued with the spirit of a martial arts warrior, tasked with taking down the evil artificial overlord and its robot army.

Armed with a sword that doubles as a battery charger that fills with each kill you make, you must explore the platform-friendly world to gather the tools and upgrades you need to save the day.

KUNAI Review: A Modern Take on Old School Fun

When you decide to name your game after a tool at players' disposal, you're laying a star on the game's walk of fame — for better or worse. Luckily, in this case, KUNAI is right on the money.

If you don't know what kunai are, you're not alone. Full disclosure, I did not know the game was named after the titular weapon until my character received them and I saw them named as such.

While kunai may not be widely known, if you've consumed any entertainment about ninja, or played games like Onimusha: Warlords or Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, you have probably seen kunai before.

They're the small blades with a loop at their hilt, which is often, including in KUNAI, attached to a rope to allow for throwing and retrieval.

In KUNAI, you receive two of the weapons, one to send off over your head in either direction. They aren't just for combat, though. You can dig into most walls and ceilings in order to whip yourself around the game's levels and reach otherwise inaccessible areas.

Often the kunai are required to platform across a room, but even when they're not, there's a good chance you'll still make use of them for one simple reason: they're really fun.

While the game's old-school style may not be able to deliver you the caliber of free-swinging found in something like Marvel's Spider-Man, it gets the absolute most out of its 2D setting. The fun only multiplies when you purchase the ability to use your kunai as bungees, pulling down and releasing to fly off through the air.

KUNAI may not be the first game of its type to give you a grappling-hook-style option, but it certainly does so with aplomb.

Respect Your Elders

One thing that's clear about KUNAI is that it was made by developers who have a love and appreciation for classic 2D platforming games. The fingerprints of prior generations are all over KUNAI from beginning to end.

Some of the elements are general, like the presence of ability-based gating made popular in Metroidvania-style games like Metroid and Castlevania. In others, it's a more direct sense of nostalgia, like when you finish off the first boss and find yourself platforming around an airship ala Super Mario Bros 3, complete with an auto-scrolling viewport that will do you in if you don't move fast enough.

Although there is nothing particularly groundbreaking waiting for you in KUNAI, that is not to say the end product is just a hodge-podge of mechanics past. By taking familiar elements and elegantly combining them, TurtleBlaze has created an excellent addition to the 2D-platforming catalog.

KUNAI Review — The Bottom Line

Pros
  • Once you master your kunai, flying around levels is incredibly fun
  • The controls are tight and responsive
  • The classic pixel-art style is beautifully rendered
Cons
  • Some of the backtracking required after reaching an objective is excessive
  • Boss quality is inconsistent, with some real standouts but others falling a bit flat

When you assess KUNAI on an element-by-element basis, two things are true. First, there is nothing you can point to that's executed flawlessly. Second, there is nothing you can point to that's executed poorly, either.

Metroidvania games remain a popular niche in the gaming community with good reason, and KUNAI is a worthwhile addition to the genre. It's easy to pick up and get going, but it provides enough escalation as you progress to keep you interested as you move from sector to sector, picking up new toys and perks along the way.

On occasion, rooms can blend together and navigation, particularly before you earn the ability to access your map, can be a bit confusing. Once you get the hang of whipping around from room to room, however, the game takes on a quick and enjoyable pace.

Whether you're a fan of Metroidvania style platformers or are just looking for a fun game that's easy to jump in and kill some time, KUNAI is an excellent option.

[Note: A copy of KUNAI was provided by The Arcade Crew for the purpose of this review.]

]]>
Turns Out It Wasn't Godfall PlayStation 5 Footage After All https://www.gameskinny.com/obfey/turns-out-it-wasnt-godfall-playstation-5-footage-after-all https://www.gameskinny.com/obfey/turns-out-it-wasnt-godfall-playstation-5-footage-after-all Wed, 22 Jan 2020 13:26:01 -0500 Josh Broadwell

Yesterday, we reported on alleged leaked footage from Godfall, the upcoming PlayStation 5 launch title from Counterplay and Gearbox. While the leaker — and we — never mentioned this was definitely PS5 footage, some did wonder whether it was showing off next-gen software. Turns out, it wasn't.

Gearbox's Randy Pitchford and Counterplay responded to the trailer on Twitter, both saying variations of the same thing.

The footage was only ever of the PC version to begin with and wasn't meant a kind of goal to hit for the team.

Both Counterplay and Pitchford suggested the game has come a long way since the trailer from last year and are excited to show off all the changes.

This all makes sense. The leak offered nothing definitive about the footage other than saying it was from last year.

So, now that that's out of the way, we still have no tangible idea what the PS5 is capable of and what it might consist of other than spruced up hardware. Backwards compatibility? Maybe. Ray tracing? Definitely. Anything else? Hopefully, we'll find out soon.

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X news as it develops.

]]>
Dark Alliance is a Waste: There are Better Routes for D&D https://www.gameskinny.com/irezg/dark-alliance-is-a-waste-there-are-better-routes-for-dd https://www.gameskinny.com/irezg/dark-alliance-is-a-waste-there-are-better-routes-for-dd Mon, 23 Dec 2019 14:59:59 -0500 Ty Arthur

Ever since the dark days of 4th Edition, D&D hasn't been very prolific on the video game front. Decidedly, it dropped the mantle carried in decades past that saw multiple games saw release every year. Consequently, we're long overdue for a D&D video game resurgence — that's finally about to happen.

There's no question that the Baldur's Gate 3 announcement in June 2019 started the hype train, but that long-awaited sequel has no release window at this time. Barring any sudden surprise developments, the next game fans will most likely see is Dark Alliance, due to arrive in Fall 2020.

The Dark Alliance announcement at The Game Awards in mid-December garnered a mixed reaction to be sure. The teaser has an odd Go Pro camera style applied to it and the slightly off-kilter character models have left more than a few long-time Forgotten Realms enthusiasts scratching their heads.

Considering we underwent the monumental task of ranking every single D&D game from best to worst awhile back, it should be clear we've been fans of the system through its various incarnations over the decades. Whether it's "garbage" or not, we're going to play Dark Alliance. But only a few days after the title reveal, there's already a nagging feeling that this isn't the direction in which the franchise should go. 

Why Action Hack 'n Slash isn't the Way to Go

       We've been here before, and it wasn't pretty.

Frankly, the latest D&D game reveal felt a bit like if Bethesda decided the next Fallout game should be Brotherhood of Steel 2 (ugh, hopefully, I didn't just give them any ideas for the follow-up to Fallout 76).

While the Dark Alliance entries on the PS2 obviously had fans, they weren't really D&D games. They were a pale shadow of the classic Infinity Engine RPG titles like Baldur's Gate. We haven't seen any actual Dark Alliance gameplay yet, but the cinematic trailer makes it look like we're getting Vermintide with Drizzt, Wulfgar, Catti-Brie, and Bruenor. 

The issue isn't that there's no room for new 4-player co-op vs enemy wave games. Fans have been champing at the bit for a legitimate Left 4 Dead 3 for years now, after all (and the recent GTFO doesn't do a bad job of scratching that it). The problem is that it seems unlikely to work well in the Forgotten Realms using D&D mechanics as a springboard.

The first tip-off that a catastrophe may be brewing popped up when the president of Wizards Of The Coast wasn't willing to answer if Dark Alliance will be a AAA game or somewhat of an indie, stating it's all "in the eye of the beholder."

        We are less amused by this joke than you think we are. That guy in the upper right? That's the face I'm making right now.

Awesome beholder pun aside, if Dark Alliance is going to be a highly polished, top tier, AAA game, it would have been very easy to say so. The coy notion that some people will think it's AAA and others won't makes it clear we should temper our expectations.

There are strong reasons to be concerned about a mid-tier action game set in the Forgotten Realms. The D&D franchise ditching its core RPG elements to go an action route has a long and illustrious history of being truly, horrendously awful.

In 1988, the Commodore 64 title Heroes Of The Lance seriously gave the infamous E.T. a run for its money in the "worst PC game adaptation" category. The more recent Daggerdale and Demon Stone are some of the most lackluster hack 'n slash titles to ever hit consoles.

Can We Forget the Forgotten Realms Already?

       Ugh, you again?

Quality and game mechanics aside, the biggest issue surrounding the Forgotten Realms is that it is laughably over-saturated. Wizards Of The Coast has relied on its wide appeal as the basic fantasy setting nearly everyone knows names like Drizzt for far too long. It's absolutely time for a change.

While he still has his die-hard groupies, I was pretty burned out on cheesy, unkillable Drizzt as the face of the Forgotten Realms by the time I was 19. Fast forward another 14 years and he's somehow still the go-to fantasy D&D character — despite having remained just as obnoxiously uninteresting over that time period.

There are dozens of other locations in the Forgotten Realms besides Icewind Dale and the Sword Coast that are consistently ignored in any given D&D video game adaptation. If you go even further and move beyond Faerun altogether, there's simply a staggering amount of material to dive into across any of the other campaign settings from D&D history.

By my count, there have been a whopping 50 video game entries in the Forgotten Realms if you include mobile titles and major expansions to games like Neverwinter Nights 2. By contrast, there have been a paltry 19 D&D video games across every other campaign setting combined.

Considering that Planescape: Torment is still one of the most lauded RPGs in the history of video games, it's absolute insanity that Wizards never took another crack at that setting in a digital format. Granted, many developers might not want to follow that critically acclaimed gem and face backlash if they don't absolutely knock it out of the park, but Planescape isn't the only campaign setting out there either.

With the right promotion, a return to Krynn and the Dragonlance setting could easily send the hype machine go into overdrive. That universe hasn't seen a proper video game since the gold box SSI days in the early '90s.

If Wizards is absolutely dead set on changing the formula from an RPG to another style like it appears they are with Dark Alliance, why not go with Birthright instead? 

Realm management and large scale combat are baked right into the setting, making it ripe for a 4X or turn-based strategy game with RPG elements. Why let major series like Civilization and Age of Wonders — or tabletop crossovers like Gladius — get all the glory? 

Flip the genre spectrum and it's somehow been more than 20 years since a game launched in the Ravenloft campaign setting. There's more than enough room there to either offer a straightforward horror game with D&D characters or inject more horror and undead creatures into an RPG.

The options don't remotely end there either, as there's still more game styles to mine from the earlier days of D&D, like a sci-fi mashup with Spelljammer.

Why are we still fighting orcs and goblins on the Sword Coast when we could be battling illithids and neogi in space?

Mass Effect and KOTOR were both beloved by RPG fans, and there's no reason Spelljammer couldn't get thrown into that list of names.

If there's one setting that is most ready for a return to PC gaming, though, it has to be Dark Sun.

The current entertainment, social, and political climate is wildly ripe for a gritty Dark Sun game.

A developer could easily dive into the political- and social-commentary pool, making a title that would be well received right now. Dark Sun is a setting about the working class toiling under tyrants amid rampant racism. Did I mention that a global environmental catastrophe has struck?

Even if Wizards of the Coast wants to avoid that sort of on-the-nose commentary  and of course they do; this is the company that forced Neverwinter Nights 2 to get rid of a brothel there's still plenty of reason to go with Dark Sun. Grim and dark are very much "in" right now.

Watchmen and Game Of Thrones were huge successes that took the fantasy and sci-fi worlds by storm. The Boys might have put a comedic spin on things, but the success of that series further makes it clear that comic book fans will show up in droves for a story full of hard choices and no good guys. 

Dark Sun is also one of the least saturated settings in D&D history. There's been a grand total of three games in the series: Shattered Lands in '93, Wake of the Ravager in '94, and an early attempt at an MMORPG called Crimson Sands that lasted from '96 to '98. 

D&D Steps Up To Bat

        Seems like a perfectly good time for a new slave uprising

With news arriving that multiple games besides Dark Alliance and Baldur's Gate 3 have been greenlit for the coming years, it's clear that D&D will get the chance to swing seven or eight times and (hopefully) hit something.

Based on the last decade of output, I'm not personally expecting any of them to be home runs, but with a little luck, maybe we'll at least get something memorable.

What did you think of the Dark Alliance announcement trailer, and what style of D&D game would you like to see come out next? Sound off in the comments below!

]]>
Devil May Cry 5 Review: One Hell of a Good Time https://www.gameskinny.com/izetv/devil-may-cry-5-review-one-hell-of-a-good-time https://www.gameskinny.com/izetv/devil-may-cry-5-review-one-hell-of-a-good-time Wed, 13 Mar 2019 15:14:56 -0400 Joseph Ocasio

It's been over six years since we last saw Devil May Cry, or 11 years if you don't count Ninja Theory's DmC: Devil May Cry. After the latter's commercial failure, Capcom decided it was out with the new and in with the old.

Devil May Cry 5 returns to the series more playful roots, bringing with it the same hack-and-slash action that made the series so successful. It may not change the series' formula, but if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

That's not to say there isn't anything new in Devil May Cry 5, but the core mechanics are just as sharp as they've always been.

The game's story takes place over a few months and is partly told out of order. Without spoilers, the gist of it all is this: Dante is back, brought on by newcomer, V. Nero enters the picture, and it's the job of all three to take down a brand-new enemy, Urizen. 

The story is easy to follow despite the fragmented story structure. And as with past games, Devil May Cry 5 may not have a deep or emotional narrative, but you should expect a heavy dose of action, sarcasm, and corny one-liners.

While the story remains as over-the-top as always, the characters have undergone a bit of maturity. Nero isn't as angsty as he once was; he's much cockier and more confident than we remember him in Devil May Cry 4.

Dante, meanwhile, is a much wiser and older man than he was in past games. He hasn't quite reached the, "I'm too old for this" schtick, as he's still just as insanely over-the-top as always, but it's clear he's learned a few tricks along the way.

New characters, like the gun-loving Nico and the gothic V, are instantly likable and make their marks on the series. Meanwhile, returning characters like Lady and Trish make for welcome returns.

There are even some nice bits of fanservice and callbacks for longtime fans.

Unlike other games with open, expansive worlds that encourage you to explore every inch of terrain, Devil May Cry 5 is 100% linear. You're always being pushed forward, with the only alternate paths leading to hidden collectibles and secret missions.

Even most of the backtracking from past games has been removed. Should you get lost, you can now hold down the left analog stick to get back on track, similar to Dead Space. After playing so many open-world games, it's quite refreshing to keep things narrow and focused.

As with past games, you'll spend your time hacking and slashing your way through 20 levels. Each character has a distinct combat style, but control in the same way.

Nero plays just as he did in DMC 4, but now he can use multiple prosthetic arms. There's a wide assortment to choose from, with each bringing different abilities and special attacks. One shocks enemies, another acts like a rocket and punch enemies, another slows down time around a foe, and much more.



Mixing and matching each arm is fun and brings new strategies to how you approach each combat encounter. The one thing to keep in mind is that if an enemy attacks you, you'll lose that arm. Luckily, you can hold multiple limbs at once, though you can't switch between them on the fly. You can also collect different arms during gameplay or buy them in the shop. 

Dante returns and will feel comforting to play for fans who've been sticking around since the series began. He controls just as he did before, with his trademark sword and dual pistols. Along with them, he has access to metal gauntlets, twin buzzsaws that can become a motorcycle, and much more that won't be spoiled. 

Dante can also change his fighting style on the fly by using the D-pad, with the same styles returning from DMC 3 and DMC 4.

Trickster is about dodging and teleporting around enemies; Gunslinger specializes in projectiles; Swordmaster is all about Melee strikes; and Royal Guard is about absorbing damage and sending it right back to your foes.

Each style changes how you approach enemies, allowing players to choose one that matches they're playstyle and experiment with ones they might not usually use. Like his weapons, you can upgrade them to access new moves.

Finally, there's V. Unlike Dante and Nero, V doesn't rely on weapons to fight. Instead, he relies on summoning a Demonic Bird named Griffin and a Panther-like demon called Shadow. However, V must be the one to deliver the finishing blow to enemies, so he can't just stand around and let his pals do all the work.

This approach to combat brings a much more methodical, much slower pace to battles, making V the least fun to play.

That's not to say there isn't any satisfaction to playing as V. There are enough flashing moves from his demon pals to keep things interesting. He just isn't as fast or exciting of a character to play as Dante or Nero. Luckily, V's missions aren't as frequent as Nero's or Dante's.

The various enemies the trio faces also help spice things up. Each creature feels distinct and has its own attacks to watch out for. They may all go down the same way, but they do enough to keep you on your toes. One downside is that the game is pretty easy, on the base difficulty.

Even when you're out of health, you'll be able to sacrifice some of the red orbs you collect to refill your health bar or use a Gold Orb.

You get plenty of the latter by exploring levels, and the game will give you one each day. Using these does take a few points off of your final score, so it does make for a good incentive to avoid using them unless it's necessary.

The only way to increase the difficulty is to beat the game. It makes sense so that you can get used to the various combat styles, but it would have been nice to allow veterans to kick it up to a higher difficulty right out of the gate.

It should also be mentioned that Devil May Cry 5 has microtransactions. You can spend real money to get red orbs that you can use to gain abilities. Save for one pricy special ability that's useless, though, the game always gives you plenty of red orbs to use, making them a pointless addition.

Pros:
  • Excellent combat
  • Varied playstyles
  • Delightfully over-the-top
  • Welcome return to form
Cons:
  • Repetitive environments
  • Easy difficulty

The combat in Devil May Cry 5 is easily the best in the series. The different playstyles are easy to grasp, and no one character plays precisely the same. Breaking up the combat for the three heroes are some light platforming sections. They're not as taxing as other games, but they do a great job of mixing things up.

Running on the RE engine, Devil May Cry 5 is one good-looking game. Creature designs are distinctly out of this world, and the bleak color pallets help sell the end-of-the-world vibe that it's presenting.

Character animation is top notch, with excellent stunt and motion capture bringing to life the insane action that's on display. If there's one major complaint, it's that the environments start to blend into one another after awhile. 

On a base PS4, the game generally runs great, with only a few sections that suffer from notable slow down. The cutscenes tend to run unlocked, but mostly it's nothing too noticeable that'll ruin your immersion.

The music features the same great punk-rock that the series is known for and the voice actors do a great job in fleshing out their characters.

The bottom line is that Devil May Cry 5 is a great action game that does the series justice. It's been a long time coming, but it's great to have Dante and the gang back. Grab your gun and pull the devil trigger: DMC is back. 

]]>