New Dragon’s Crown Trailer

Atlus have released a new trailer for upcoming game Dragon’s Crown. Exclusively for PS3 and PS Vita.

Dragon’s Crown will be exclusive to the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita systems for $49.99 and $39.99 respectively and is available for pre-orders now from major retailers. The game is rated T for Teen by the ESRB. More details about the game are available on the official Dragon’s Crown website at: http://www.atlus.com/dragonscrown/

Details for the EU launch should be coming soon.

DmC: Devil May Cry Review

Who wouldn’t want to dispatch Hell’s finest with some heavenly combos and a wicked personal armory? This reboot of the classic Devil May Cry series will leave your thumbs aching and your head spinning.

The original Devil May Cry series paved the way for the hack and slash genre of the previous generation consoles. The combat driven narrative brought out the perfectionist in all of us and chaining together the most ridiculously insane combos with panache was mouthwateringly satisfying! This time around, Capcom and U.K developers Ninja Theory have joined forces in this retelling of Dante’s origin story.

Dante has had somewhat of a makeover since we last saw him. Long gone is the anime-esque white hair and burgundy velvet trench coat. Now, Dante is thrust into 2013 sporting a modern gothic-punk look with an attitude to match. As a ‘Nephilim’ (child of angelic and demonic entities), Dante would be forgiven for being a little confused, spending his days sulking around thinking that nobody understands him. He seems to get over it pretty quickly (after about the first 2 minutes of gameplay actually) and is called upon to help save humanity from the clutches of the Demon King Mundus.

A perk of being a Nephilim is that Dante can exist between the human world and Limbo. Unfortunately, this is also where the spawn of Hell likes to gather and it is up to Dante to plough through the infinite hoards, with the assistance of Kat, a psychic medium and his brother Vergil, head of anti-demon organization The Order. As Dante nears his goal of finding Mundus, his trust in his allies is tested and true intentions are revealed.

At first glance, it might seem that traipsing through Limbo, facing the never-ending onslaught of devilish creatures is enough to test anyone’s patience. Thankfully, Dante is gifted with an array of weaponry fit for… well… a Nephilim! Those that are familiar with the franchise can breathe a sigh of relief at the sight of the trusty Rebellion sword and Ebony & Ivory pistols. These weapons are the foundation for stringing together the basic combos. As the story progresses, new weapons are made available, each with a specific feel and purpose. A new feature for DmC is that weapons are now either branded as angelic or demonic and the mastery of both will ensure your survival to the end. Angelic weapons, like the Osiris scythe allows for light, fluid motion and manipulating enemy positions with speed and agility. Alternatively, demonic weapons, such as the Arbiter axe, provide slower, more powerful blows capable of staggering and finishing off the toughest of opponents. The idea behind the new variation of weapon types is to create a unique experience for the player, especially those who want to ramp up those combo points with liquid flair and effortless flamboyance. As always, with DmC, it is ultimately up to you to decide which skills and weapons to upgrade.

Overall gameplay is technically smooth and has a fantastic cinematic quality that links cut scenes fluently with gameplay. When Dante is transitioning between the living world and Limbo, you can see the world around you changing in real time and transforming into a ghastly alternate reality. Similar to the previous games, DmC remains to test even experienced gamers. The same format exists, keeping with the soul of the genre, of battling through waves of enemies to then confront a difficult boss. For newcomers to the series or less technical gamers, this layout can become a little grating at times with the focus primarily on the combat. However, there are plenty of other objectives to complete in the levels, such as locating lost souls or keys that open secret doors and revealing bonus levels. For those that are gluttons for punishment, there are 7 levels of difficulty to slash your way through, reaping many hours of additional gameplay,

Looking at DmC, visually it delivers. Successfully creating an unnerving atmosphere in the absence of anything ‘scary’ can be difficult, but sometimes, just walking down an abandoned street in downtown Limbo does the trick. DmC continues with the gothic ambience as seen in the previous games and slots it in seamlessly with modern cityscapes as well as hellish nightmares. Vivid colours really pop, enhancing these surreal environments and are a welcome change from its dark and dingy predecessors. However, it is the music that really prepares you for some oncoming high-octane action with blistering guitar riffs and screeching vocals. Co produced by electronic group Noisia and metal band CombiChrist, this mind-blowing soundtrack drags DmC into the modern era as well as complimenting Dante’s character very well.

If nothing else, DmC is sure to entertain with many hours of button hammering, fizzing combat. However, the experience as whole has hugely benefitted from a reboot and those who are familiar with the series will appreciate the new features and relish the opportunity relive Dante’s origin story. DmC, as a combat driven action title has held together the soul of the franchise, while enhancing all in-game features to create a unique experience for everyone.

Bioshock Infinite Gets First DLC

Hone your combat skills today with BioShock Infinite: Clash in the Clouds; still to come, an all-new adventure set in Rapture before the city’s fall

New York, NY – July 30, 2013 – 2K and Irrational Games announced today thatBioShock Infinite: Clash in the Clouds*, the first downloadable content pack for the best-selling multiplatform video game of 2013 to date**, BioShock Infinite, is available for download worldwide starting today on the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, Xbox 360® games and entertainment system from Microsoft and Windows® PC.

BioShock Infinite: Clash in the Clouds, developed by Irrational Games, is an action-focused downloadable content pack that presents players with a series of unique, intense challenges and a whole new gambit of combat opportunities. Players will combine a diverse toolset of weapons, Vigors, gear, Tears and Sky-Lines in four new areas inspired by the classic BioShock Infiniteenvironments. In addition, by completing all 60 Blue Ribbon challenges, players will unlock exclusives in the Columbian Archeological Society, gaining access to new Voxophones, Kinetoscopes, concept art and more.

BioShock Infinite: Clash in the Clouds is available starting today for £3.69 (400 Microsoft Points on Xbox Live® for Xbox 360) via online marketplaces on all available platforms, and is included in theBioShock Infinite Season Pass*.

Also in development at Irrational Games, BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea* is a two-part add-on campaign featuring an all-new story for Booker and Elizabeth, set in the underwater city of Rapture before its fall. These two campaigns will be available individually for £9.99 (1200 Microsoft Points), and are also included as part of the BioShock Infinite Season Pass.

“We are really excited to offer our fans the content that they have been asking for,” said Ken Levine, creative director of Irrational Games. “With Clash in the Clouds, people get a pure action experience that takes BioShock Infinite combat to its highest challenge and intensity level. With the Burial at Sea episodes, we are building a Rapture-based narrative experience that is almost entirely built from scratch.”

The BioShock Infinite Season Pass is available now for £15.99 (1600 Microsoft Points) and includes all three pieces of add-on content, as well as the Early Bird Special Pack, which includes powerful weapon upgrades, exclusive gold weapon skins and infusion bottles to upgrade abilities.

BioShock Infinite is rated M for Mature by the ESRB. For the latest news and information onBioShock Infinite, become a fan on Facebook and follow Irrational Games on Twitter.

Persona 4: The Animation

For the past couple of years I’ve become obsessed with the Persona series. And oddly it didn’t start because of any of the games themselves. It started with a little video series called the “Endurance Run”. A video series produced by Giantbomb where two guys (Jeff and Vinny) played through the entirety of Persona 4, the series ending after 100 hours. My two weeks off work were completely dissolved by this wonderful commentary on the most bizarre yet intriguing game I’ve ever seen. I had to play it, yet being mainly a Nintendo/Microsoft guy I didn’t own a PS2. It was a couple of years later when I would finally own an enhanced and upgraded version on the Vita, Persona 4: Golden, and it would quickly jump into my top three games of all time.

My Persona passion would continue when I would finally go back and play Persona 3: FES. Not ideal considering the mass improvements that the fourth game had over 3. Still, I loved the craziness of the story and excellent characters. And now I come to the point of this little blog ramble, the Persona 4 Animation. Released in three blu-ray sets (or “Boxes” as they are called on the blu-ray spine), across 26 episodes, this tells the story of Persona 4 in its entirety, from comedy antics to epic battles. But how does it work as an animated series?

Persona 4: The Animation is quite an odd one. On the hand someone who loves the series will get a huge kick out of seeing all their characters in animated form, most with the same voice actors as the game, newcomers however will wonder what all the fuss is about. It can be said that at times it follows the games story too closely and those rare moments where it slightly deviates from it are its best moments. A specific highlight being the insane battle with Mitsuo. One way it most certainly does deviate from the game is with the protagonist or now as he is called, Yu Narukami. Essentially the character in the game was you (“Yu”, get it?), you gave him his name, you made the choices, and not having a voice made it even more personal. Here Yu has a voice, and despite initial reservations, it’s pretty good.

Instead of having Yu be the boring, straight man hero, instead he has some of the best comedy moments in the series. Those that have played the game will be all too familiar with the infamous Kings Game section, well it’s here in all its glory and Yu loves it just as much as the audience did.

Now I’ve come to the sudden realisation that I haven’t even explained what the story of Persona 4 actually is, well, it basically follows the story of the transfer student Yu who gets sucked up into a murder mystery that involves a world inside the TV. That’s the basic set up; though it gets far crazier the deeper you go.

With Persona 4: The Animation there are two types of episodes. The “Social Link” episodes and the “Battle” episodes. Social Links are where Yu helps out the characters many personal problems and the Battle episodes are, obviously, where the real action happens. Often they are spread out quite evenly, but some of the Social Link episodes don’t translate all that well and can be incredibly boring. For instance the Nanako episode is excruciatingly awful where the episode follows your cousin trying to solve the mystery of what Yu gets up to during his days all the while pretending to be a detective. The battle episodes though are a dazzling spectacle of colours, drama and action, even having the great battle music playing over the top. In fact, all of the music from the game is present and accounted for.

Something I did find quite strange is the way the series handles the games multiple endings. Obviously it doesn’t end with the “bad” ending, that would be stupid, but in the main episode list are 25 episodes, the 25th episode ending with the “good” ending. Then stumbling onto the Extras menu and you’ll see “Episode 26”, this being the “true” ending. Why they couldn’t just have them play in order I don’t know, but at least it’s there and doesn’t end with episode 25’s quite anti-climactic final battle.

Personally, despite the odd duff episode and minor annoyances, I loved the animation, but then I would as I loved the series. It would be interesting to see the perspective of someone going into this cold with no prior knowledge of the game it’s based on as I suspect it wouldn’t be quite as glowing as my little write up. Anyway, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to start a new Persona 4 playthrough.

BIGBEN INTERACTIVE AND MILESTONE ANNOUNCE WRC4

Charged by adrenalin, the official 2013 FIA World Rally Championship videogame will be available in October for PlayStation®3, PlayStation®Vita, Xbox 360 and Windows PC®

25th July 2013, Milan (Italy) – Bigben Interactive in collaboration with the development studio Milestone, recognized racing videogame developer, announces WRC FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP 4, the fourth chapter of one of the most loved series that will be on shelves in October 2013 forPlayStation®3, PlayStation®Vita, Xbox 360® and Windows PC®.

Emotion, Authenticity, Simulation.
Following the path taken with the previous chapter of the series, WRC 4 will feature a new amazing mix of elements with high graphical detail and real in-game sound. All these improvements are possible thanks to the community’s feedback. The main characteristics that will be included into this new game are: loyalty to the license, an exciting game experience, accessibility for first-time players and a dynamic and competitive online game mode.
Among new features of this 2013 edition, players will have the chance to experience new lighting conditions, new weather effects depending on the stage, and a brand new Career Mode to put the player into real driver’s shoes . Realism and immersion are two of the most important pillars of the development, with impressive 3D environments and an HDR system that will grant the best in-game performance.

“We are very pleased and proud to become the publisher of this famous racing franchise”, said Alain Falc, CEO of Bigben Interactive. “This is a new step in the partnership built with Milestone over the past few years. All our efforts are done to offer players the most complete and realistic WRC videogame”, concludes Alain Falc.

“We’re really happy to be part of this exciting WRC 4 announcement and all the news included into the 2013 version of the game”, affirms Luisa Bixio, Marketing and Sales Director. “This brand new chapter, different from the previous reboot of the series, will include many  of the improvements requested by the community. A lot of the features that we’ve seen on the official Facebook page or received by mail have been incorporated. We’re convinced that WRC 4 represents a step forward for the series and will be appreciated by players”, concludes Bixio.

WRC 4 is the official game for the 2013 FIA World Rally Championship and features all the rallies from the 2013 WRC calendar, complete with all leading WRC teams and drivers in the revamped Career Mode to turn players into real WRC drivers. WRC 4 also features an improved version of the graphics engine, called Spikengine, launched last year.

Published by Bigben Interactive and developed by Milestone studio WRC4 will be available in October 2013, for Xbox 360®, Windows PC®, PlayStation®3 and PlayStation®Vita.
Follow us on Facebook, on the official Youtube Channel or check the #wrcthegame twitter hashtag.

Floating Cloud God Saves the Pilgrims in HD Gets Release Dates

The European version of Floating Cloud God Saves the Pilgrims in HD! is now done, and ready for release. It’ll be hitting the PSN Store in SCEE regions (list below) on the 7th August. 

Floating Cloud God Saves the Pilgrims in HD! is a remastered, native PlayStation Vita version of Floating Cloud God Saves the Pilgrims – Dakko Dakko’s second title, released for PlayStation minis in May 2012. The all-new PlayStation Vita version introduces a selection of brand new additional features and content, not least a new ‘twin-stick’ control scheme created specifically for Vita. All art, music and sound effects have been fully remastered and we’ve added a lovely set of PSN trophies.

Floating Cloud God Saves the Pilgrims in HD! will be €3.59/£2.99 or local currency equivalent, has support for French, Italian, German and Spanish text, and will be available on PSN Stores in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Belgium, Austria, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Poland, Luxembourg, Greece, Turkey, Hungary, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Slovenia, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Kuwait, Israel & India!

The US version is close to complete and will follow very soon.

Blizzard Tease Diablo III For Home Consoles

Genuine Evil Coming to Your PS3- Choose Your Weapon.

#EvilReborn

Blizzard Entertainment’s epic action-RPG Diablo® III is moving the eternal war between the High Heavens and the Burning Hells to a new battleground— PlayStation®3 and Xbox 360®! Armed with a controller and a custom-designed interface tailored for consoles, players will step into the role of one of five powerful character classes—Barbarian, Witch Doctor, Wizard, Monk, or Demon Hunter—and embark on a dark journey to save the world of Sanctuary from ancient demonic forces. As these heroes adventure from the besieged town of New Tristram all the way to the Diamond Gates of the High Heavens, they’ll engage in pulse-pounding combat with hordes of monsters and challenging bosses, grow in experience and ability, and acquire items of incredible power.

Blizzard Entertainment originally released Diablo III for Windows® and Macintosh® PC on May 15, 2012. Within 24 hours it had become the fastest-selling PC game of all time, and as of December 31, 2012, Diablo III had sold through more than 12 million copies worldwide.

Stealth Inc: A Clone In The Dark Review

More indie goodness comes to the PS3 and Vita in the form of Stealth Inc: A Clone In The Dark a port of the PC and Mobile hit from developers Curve Studios.

Originally called Stealth Bastard, the game was given the name change for the Playstation release, however it is still a bit of a bastard to play as it offers up one of the most challenging experiences on the system.

The idea of the game is to simply get to the exit. Well, we say simply, as it is anything but simple. All manner of deadly traps will be between you and the exit and generally there to make your task as difficult as possible. Yet like many stealth games, you have various tricks to make your way to the end.

Shadows are the order of the day, as cameras and the like won’t be able to see you, there is also a handy little visual indicator as your goggles light up green when hidden and red when visible. Using the shadows is just small part of it, as levels start off fairly simple, but soon become ultra complex as you try your hardest to move without being spotted.

The difficulty shares a lot in common with a game like Super Meat Boy, but the mechanics really do set it apart, as it becomes less of a pixel perfect platformer and relies more on your ability to think on the go as you plan your next move. In some levels, switches may need to be hit in order to open up other areas to get to a terminal to open the exit. All the time having the various traps, robots, cameras and more trying to spot and destroy your clone.

Each level is graded with a rank between D and S, with the rank you get depends on three main things. The time it takes to complete a level, how many times your clone dies and how many times he is spotted. Basically get through the the level in the quickest time possible, without dying or getting spotted and you get an S-Rank. Easy right? Well not at all, it will take multiple attempts to perfect a level, learning the layout and the movement of the enemies, trying to get the quickest and most efficient route to the end.

Completing levels and getting certain ranks unlocks the various enhancements to your clone, such as decoys, camouflage and more. Choosing the right equipment for the right level can make all the difference, especially in the later levels. Happy with that S-Rank? How about online leaderboards per level that will show up straight away how you compare to the rest of the world. Leaderboards are split too, for simply best time and best time with equipment attached.

Aside from all that, each level also has hidden treasure known as Helices, which add yet another level of difficulty. The Helices are not easy to collect, some may be easy to find, but reaching them is a whole other ball game and again, getting a perfect run whilst getting the Helice isn’t possible, so yet more runs are needed. At the end of each sector you are given a rundown of just how well you have performed, with an over view as to total time, deaths and times spotted.

Each sector also has a boss level, which even early on isn’t simple and requires you to use all the skills learned from previous levels to beat. The first levels act as something of a tutorial, with hints explaining the different mechanics, which become intuitive from the very moment you try each one.

What works with a game like this, as it did in a Super Meat Boy, is that no matter how difficult a level appears, you know what you have to do and how to do it. Each failure is down to something you did wrong, no blame on the controls or the game cheating you. Death is met with instant restart at the last checkpoint, again something that is vital for a game that requires you to try over and over.

You will try things again and again, it is how the game is designed. It wants to challenge you and challenge you it will. The complexity really grows as you progress with many levels including backtracking that you’d expect in a game more akin to Treasure Island Dizzy. Hit a switch to activate a door, then go somewhere else to hack a terminal before going to another switch. Using all those technique to both avoid robots, or use them to your advantage.

Levels that initially seem impossible just start to make sense as you feel your way through, learning how one thing affects another. You will not breeze through Stealth Inc, even levels that look easy on first inspection can be difficult to work through. Then working out how to get through that same level without being spotted, killed and in the quickest time will test you to the limit.

There is a built in level editor which brings you all the assets used by the developers for the main game. It is possible to lose hours to the editor, however levels are local only and being unable to share them seems like somewhat of a missed opportunity. There are so many possibilities as to what can be created in an editor that can match that of Trials Evolution. It is really the only down side to a wonderful game.

Stealth Inc: A Clone In The Dark is a special game and one that shows off the sort of thing the Vita was made for. A game that is simple to play, both in quick bursts or for hours on end, that offers up a challenge and doesn’t hold back just because it is on a handheld, At just £7.99 you will struggle to find another game that offers as much content for the price. This is one game that won’t be hiding in the shadows for long.

NAMCO BANDAI GAMES EUROPE ANNOUNCES SOULCALIBUR II™ HD ONLINE

SOULCALIBUR II Celebrates Its 10 Year Anniversary with New Online Battles and Updated HD Graphics

PARIS, FRANCE – July 22nd 2013 – Leading video game publisher and developer NAMCO BANDAI Games Europe S.A.S. today announced SOULCALIBUR II™ HD Online which will be soon available as an Arcade game on Xbox Live® online entertainment network from Microsoft and via the PlayStation®Network for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system.  Heralded as one of the best fighting games of all-time, SOULCALIBUR II returns to consoles this year with crisp new high definition graphics and all-new online modes in celebration for its 10 year anniversary.

Developed by PROJECT SOUL, the elite development team at NAMCO BANDAI Studios, SOULCALIBUR II HD Online reimagines the beloved title by adding online multiplayer support to the title as well as vibrant updated graphics to take advantage of modern high definition TVs.  For the first time ever, players will be able to square off against opponents from around the world with their favorite SOULCALIBUR II characters such as Ivy, Taki, Mitsurugi, Talim, Maxi and more.  The online infrastructure will feature brand new netcode overseen by the PROJECT SOUL development team.  SOULCALIBUR II HD Online will also come with the multitude of modes found in the original release including: Arcade, Survival, VS Battle, Time Attack, Survival, Team Battle, Practice and Weapon Master.

“For the past 10 years, the SOULCALIBUR franchise has established itself as the best weapon-based fighting franchise for consoles,” said Olivier Comte, Senior Vice-President at NAMCO BANDAI Games Europe. “SOULCALIBUR II HD Online will allow the fans to relive online this most beloved chapter of the series with new HD graphics.”

For more information about SOULCALIBUR II HD Online and the entire lineup of NAMCO BANDAI Games Europe titles, please visit: http://www.namcobandaigames.eu

 

Velocity Ultra Review

Looking at the front page of Gamestyle you’ll see that we’ve become more focused towards the smaller, indie titles that have risen with the benefits of downloadable platforms. It also helps that these games are some of the most interesting produced. Velocity Ultra (an HD remake of the PS Mini original) is one of those. On the surface it may seem like a simple vertical scrolling shooter, dig deeper and you’ll find a ton of ingenuity.

It’s hard to sum up Velocity Ultra, it has so many different elements that it’s a hard game to categorise. As mentioned, just calling it a schmup would be doing it a huge disservice. It’s more like a fast paced, shooter, puzzle hybrid that also contains minesweeper. No joke, there’s an actual full version of Minesweeper in the game. Why? Not sure, but we’re glad it’s there! There’s also a calculator too if you fancy doing some sums.

With around 50 levels there’s plenty in Velocity Ultra to sink your teeth into, each one getting progressively harder and more challenging than the last. As the game begins you’re shown the more standard powers, for instance holding R will scroll the screen at a faster pace, and then later you’re given bombs, teleport around the screen and the ability to drop pods that allow you to essentially backtrack to an earlier stage in the level, critical if you want to grab all the survivors littered around the level. This is where the puzzle aspect of the game comes in.

Certain levels have switches that need to be triggered in a specific order to drop the shields over areas of the map. But in later levels these are split over multiple paths, so dropping a pod at the start of each junction is crucial in going back to that specific point and exploring the alternate route. Of course you could just teleport to the start of the level, but this costs time, and time is valuable in the world of Velocity Ultra. While there is a timer in the top left ticking down, in most levels you’re never in danger of it running out, but getting to the end of the level in the fastest time is important if you want to get the best score and medal. This in turn earning XP that unlocks the later levels. However, there are also levels that require speed. These levels are few and far between, but will require you to boost most of the way to the finish as the time limit is far shorter.

The variety in levels is certainly something we love about Velocity Ultra. These speed levels being interspersed with levels requiring switch puzzles or classic schmup, shoot anything that moves type combat scenarios. It means each level requires a different approach, and while it does take a while for the game to initially get going (early levels can be painfully slow when the game is teaching you the ropes), later missions really showcase the excellent level designs created by FuturLab.

Velocity Ultra definitely has a minimalist approach to the graphics, but then the game doesn’t need to be flashy, the gameplay is what will make it stand out from the crowd. Music is at times repetitive and, as previously stated, the game takes a few too many levels to get going, but these are minor quibbles in an otherwise brilliant title. So with that said Velocity Ultra definitely gets two thumbs up from us.

Superfrog HD Review

Superfrog may not be the most well known game from Team 17, overshadowed perhaps by the Worms series, but for those who played, it was a solid and challenging platformer. Our green caped hero is back and this time in HD.

Superfrog HD is pretty similar to its original 1993 release, which was the Amiga’s answer to Sonic and Mario. The basic premise of the game is that a prince has his princess abducted by the witch before she turns him into a simple basic frog. Yet a stroke of fortune gives the hero superpowers that he can use to rescue his princess. Mario meets Brothers Grimm!

Whilst the game retains the general essence of the original, the twenty four levels stretched across the six themed worlds are all original. There is the chance however to access HD remakes of the original levels from Superfrog, by winning at the slot machine bonus games at the end of each level you complete. The game is available on both PS Vita and PS3 as a cross-buy title and looks impressive on both the bog screen and the Vita’s OLED screen. The HD remastering has worked a treat here and is a marked improvement over the original game’s visuals.

Superfrog HD is a simple platformer, where the task is to get to the end of each level within the time limit. Which is pretty forgiving, as you get ten minute to make it. However, the challenge comes with the scoring system. The layout of levels isn’t based on a simple left to right as seen in the likes of the Sonic and Mario games, these are a lot more slower paced and based more around exploration than anything.

Aside from simply reaching the exit, there are coins to be collected, secret areas to be found among a whole load of enemies to be killed, or avoided. All these actions rack up points and you are given a star rating based on how you perform in each level. So just reaching the exit without collecting coins will see you get a single star, but finding all the secret areas, collecting all the coins, etc will net you the maximum three stars.

This is where the ten minute limit per level all of a sudden seems a lot shorter than it might originally come across. You may know where the exit is, but those secret areas will take you well of the beaten path and some clever camera work makes sure you see glimpses of coins in places you don’t immediately know how to reach. Essentially acting as a dangled carrot as you go off in search of the goodies, to rack up the better score and net those three stars.

As is common with these sorts of games, each world also has a boss level to beat, which again shares a lot with the Mario and Sonic games. Hit the boss a number of times and finish them off.

There is a lot of challenge to be had and it is a mixture of frustration and fun as you try to maximise your score on each level, but the integrated leaderboards help with pushing you on. Aside from the main game and the unlockable original levels there are the Frog Trials, which randomly generates levels and gives you a starting clock of just fifteen seconds. The idea is to get the highest score possible whilst keeping the clock going by collecting the clock icons dotted throughout the level. It is a great test of your reactions as you try to better yourself with each and every play.

There is also a level editor out there for the more talented and creative types, which whilst not being a patch on the likes of Little Big Planet or Trials Evolution, does have a good selection of tools for making some fantastic levels. The downside? These are not able to be shared online, which means either you can play them yourself, or hope that someone wants to try them in person. It is a shame as it would be interesting to play the communities offerings.

It is the only real downside of a game that offers great value and plenty of content. It is easy to see why Sonic and Mario went on to dominate the video game world, but Superfrog was a cracking title in its own right and thanks to this HD re-imagining, a whole new generation of people will be able to enjoy this under-appreciated gem.

Worms Revolution Extreme Announced For PS3 & PS Vita

Since the launch of the PlayStation Vita, Team17 fans have been requesting a mobile version of Worms™ for the handheld platform that they can play on the go. I’m delighted today to unveil that version is Worms™ Revolution Extreme and it is making its way to the PS Vita later this year!

Worms™ Revolution Extreme features:

Extensive single player campaign

Spanning a whopping 47 missions and 25 puzzles to beat and complete. Missions are set amongst a variety of different environment themes including: Sewer, Farmyard, Spooky, Beach, Mars, Funfair or Medieval!

Local and online multiplayer carnage

Worms has always been great with friends, or enemies! With Worms™ Revolution Extreme that’s no different as you’re able to take part in local or online multiplayer battles for up to four players! Choose from one of three game modes: Deathmatch, Forts and Classic and getting firing those Bazookas!

Treasure Mode

New for PS Vita (and PS3) is the cool Cross-Gifting feature, Treasure Mode! This all new mode enables you to link up with your friends who have a PS3 system (or vice versa). You can help each other unlock 10 special gifts using a lock and key system. Meet the requirements in either offline Versus or online battles to receive a key and connect to a friend’s PlayStation 3 system with the corresponding chest to unlock the treasure!

Touch Screen

We’ve also utilised the PS Vita’s touch screen controls and added in the ability to use the front touch screen to select items and zoom/pan the camera and the back touch screen to aim your weapons.

Cross-Platform Continuation Play

Keep your worms close and mobile using Cross-Platform Continuation Play! This cool feature allows players to carry on their PlayStation 3 save game progress on their PS Vita, or vice versa.

Worms Revolution Extreme is due for a Q3 2013 release and will be available for PS Vita via the Sony Entertainment Network Store.

 

Angry Birds Star Wars Coming To Consoles

London, UK – 18th July, 2013 – May the flock be with you! Activision Publishing, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATVI), in conjunction with Rovio Entertainment Ltd. and Lucasfilm Ltd., today announced that the mobile gaming sensation, Angry Birds™ Star Wars®, is expected to release on gaming console systems for the first time on 29th October, 2013. Complete with new levels, features and platform-unique design elements, these new editions will be available for the Xbox 360® games and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, PlayStation®Vita, Nintendo’s Wii™ and Wii U™ systems and Nintendo 3DS™ hand-held system.

“Downloaded more than 100 million times since its release last year, Angry Birds Star Wars melds together two of the biggest names in pop-culture entertainment for an out of this galaxy gaming experience,” remarked Jami Laes, Executive Vice President of Games at Rovio Entertainment. “Angry Birds and Star Wars™ are franchises with millions of fans around the world and we’re excited to partner with Activision to bring the marriage of these beloved properties to gamers everywhere this holiday season.”

Iterating on many of the engaging mechanics of Angry Birds™ and Angry Birds™ SpaceAngry Birds Star Wars evolves the core game design and hilarious tone of previous entries in the series with new characters, challenges and environments that pay homage to the iconic hallmarks of the Star Wars universe. This title adds 20 never-before-seen exclusive levels – in addition to the existing 200 from the original Angry Birds Star Wars mobile game – and for the first time ever, multiplayer modes. Play alongside family members or friends in two-player co-op mode to achieve a combined high score or against them (up to four players) in competitive mode. In addition, the game delivers achievements and trophies, leaderboards, high-definition graphics (on HD-compatible systems) as well as unlockable bonus levels, items and content.

Angry Birds Star Wars is not yet rated by PEGI. For more information, please visit www.activision.com.

Ubisoft Announce Dates and Prices For Flashback HD

This new version in 3D and HD, releasing in XBLA as part of Summer of Arcade, will also include the original 90’s game

London, UK – July 17th, 2013 – Ubisoft® announced that Flashback, remake of the iconic 1992 title, will be released on August 21st as part of the XBLA Summer of Arcade, for 800 Microsoft Points. It will also release on Playstation Network and Digital PC this autumn.

The original Core-Team revamped their own creation, leveraging the best of today’s technology while remaining true to the classic side-scroller that set the standards of the genre in the 90’s. A new generation of players can now experience a game that helped define sci-fi Action/Adventure games.

In addition to the updated version of the game, Ubisoft is pleased to announce that the original Flashback will be included so players can play the original game that started it all. Now is your chance to play the re-imaged cult classic hit as well as the original game you may have missed.

Conrad is back to save humanity from an invasion of alien Morphs set on absorbing our minds and incorporating our species! Rolling and shooting, always ready for another fight, help Conrad save the world and his girlfriend.

Watch the video below

Flashback will be released on August 21st 2013 on XBLA for 800 Microsoft Point, with PC and PSN dates /prices to follow.

NAMCO BANDAI GAMES EUROPE ANNOUNCES TALES OF XILLIA™2 FOR PLAYSTATION®3

-A Multi-Dimension Epic Adventure Awaits Role-Playing Game Fans in 2014 from the Acclaimed TALES OF Development Team –

PARIS, FRANCE – July 8th, 2013 – Leading video game developer and publisher NAMCO BANDAI Games Europe S.A.S. announced this week-end, during a special event at the Japan Expo in Paris that TALES OF XILLIA™ 2 will be coming to Europe and Australasia exclusively for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system in 2014.  Building on the foundation of 2013’s TALES OF XILLIA™ gameplay and world, TALES OF XILLIA 2 will bring together brand new characters in this epic multiple dimensions spanning Japanese role-playing game experience.

TALES OF XILLIA 2 focuses on the events a year after the climactic end of TALES OF XILLIA.  Players assume the role of Ludger Kresnik, a young man who enjoys cooking and lives with his older brother and cat, Rollo.  On his way to his first day at work for a local cafeteria he runs into a young girl named Elle Marta and the two soon become involved in an accident that will change both of their lives forever.

TALES OF XILLIA 2 focuses its story theme around the concept of “choice”, which is also expressed heavily in the game’s overall gameplay mechanics.  Throughout Ludger’s journey the player will be able to decide how he reacts to various characters and situations.  These choices can cause the story to branch out into different paths.

Choice also extends to the battle system for TALES OF XILLIA 2 by enhancing the TALES OF series’ trademark gameplay.  Players will be able to initiate “Weapon Swap” in real-time during battles while controlling Ludger, allowing him to switch between three main weapons: dual blades, a sledgehammer and dual pistols, allowing for fast and strategic movements as he rushes across the battlefield.  Building on the base from TALES OF XILLIA’s battle system, the new Cross Dual Raid Linear Motion Battle System will let players link to any selectable character in battle to serve as a support character and perform linked artes against targeted enemies.  Different party members have different support characteristics and linked artes, allowing players to strategically decide which characters are linked to whom as various battle situations arise.

“We are extremely happy to bring another piece of the beloved Tales of franchise in Europe and Australasia” said Olivier Comte, Senior Vice-President at NAMCO BANDAI Games Europe. “TALES OF XILLIA players will be able to fall back into this deep storyline in 2014 with TALES OF XILLIA 2, as we will introduce brand new characters and let them experience new gameplay features but also improvements of the first opus battle system”

Players who have a save game file from both TALES OF GRACES™ f and the upcoming TALES OF XILLIA will be able to enjoy exclusive bonus items for TALES OF XILLIA 2.

TALES OF XILLIA will be available exclusively for the PlayStation®3 system on August 9th, 2013 in Europe and Australasia.

TALES OF XILLIA 2 will be available across Europe and Australasia in 2014.

For more information on the Tales of series, please visit http://www.namcobandaigames.eu

Ultra Street Fighter IV Announced

With the fighting tournament EVO taking place it seemed like the perfect time for Capcom to reveal the next update in Street Fighter IV.  This Ultra version will be available as a download or a full retail release and it comes with five new characters. Hugo, Rolento, Elena, Poison and a new character that Capcom are keeping under wraps. This is as well as new arenas and rebalanced gameplay based on fan feedback. Here’s the trailer:

Ultra Street Fighter IV is scheduled for release early next year for current gen consoles.

Team17 Announce Worms™ 3 for iOS!

Thursday 11th July 2013 – Today marks the fourth anniversary of Team17’s first venture onto the App Store with Worms™ and what a journey it’s been! On iOS, Worms™ 2: Armageddon alone has amassed a frightening set of statistics. Did you know there have been over 120,000,000 games, played totaling over 1,900 years of game time?

Now the chart-topping, award-winning, #1 turn-based strategy game is back and better than ever! Worms™ 3 includes gorgeous new graphics, worm classes, strategic playing cards and all new weapons! What’s even better is that Worms™ 3 has been designed and developed exclusively for mobile platforms.

Jam-packed with awesome features, Worms™ 3 includes:

  • PLAY online with asynchronous multiplayer warfare. Enroll in ranked or friendly matches and show off your prowess. Remember, with async you don’t have to commit to a full session at a time. Take your turn then go beat your friend’s score in the single player Bodycount mode!
  • CONQUER 27 single player missions across 4 themes: Beach, Spooky, Farmyard and Sewer.
  • BATTLE in multiplayer Forts or Deathmatch modes and challenge yourself with the increasingly difficult Bodycount single player game.
  • Local Pass N Play multiplayer for up to four players!
  • INCOMING! New weapons such as Nora’s Virus, Black Hole Grenade, Canned Heat and the return of fan favourites such as the Old Lady, Homing Pigeon and Boggy B!
  • DEAL yourself the advantage with a new, game-changing enhancement. Turn on the card mode and alter the start and end of each turn by the playing of strategic cards.
  • COLLECT in-game rewards that allow you to purchase bronze, silver and gold cards. Build your deck from 41 fiendishly designed cards!
  • ENLIST your perfect battle combination as you choose your Worms from a new ‘Class’ system – Heavy, Scientist, Scout and classic Soldier. Each has its own unique skill and ability. Which will fit in with your style of play?
  • GO LARGE with the fabulous Airplay feature. Link up to Apple TV and play on one device with up to four players on the big screen. The active player can plot their move secretly on the iOS device while the waiting gamers can witness the move on the TV screen!
  • CUSTOMIZE your squad and make them unique with a huge amount of customizable elements new to iOS!
  • GREATER CONTROL for players who can now choose between an all-new D-Pad control system and the original touch controls.
  • MARVEL at the glorious streamlined menu system. Gamers can now enjoy a much more pleasant and navigable menu system with a quick access player HUB for all updates and information!
  • BE THE BEST and Worm your way to the top of the Leaderboards across all major game modes including single player as well as asynchronous online ranked matches.
  • Show off your skills by earning Achievements! A delightful blend of the simple and complex, these goals have been deliberately engineered to push you and your Wormy skills to the limits!

Exclusive to mobile, Worms™ 3 is due for a Q3 2013 release and will be available for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch via the App Store.

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Kung Fu Rabbit Review

Kung Fu Rabbit makes its way on to the PS Vita after stints on the Wii U, iOS and Android. A theme that is becoming a lot more common over the last few months.

We at Gamestyle have already reviewed the game for the Wii U release and gave it a very respectable EIGHT out of TEN. The gameplay between the two versions doesn’t change. Essentially feeling like a homage to the likes of Super Meat Boy and N+, Kung Fu Rabbit offers up a more considered approach than the aforementioned titles.

It is no bad thing, as the platforming still have that pixel perfect feel to it and as level progress the challenge ramps up. Whilst reaching the end of a particular level in itself isn’t as rewarding as some other games, it is the literal carrot that the game dangles in front of you that offers said reward. Both in terms of actual in game rewards and the sense of accomplishment you will feel.

Each level contains three carrots that can be collected, plus a bonus golden carrot. Collecting these determines how well you have done at each level, much like a stars system seen in many iOS games, such as Angry Birds, Cut The Rope, etc. But rather than being score or time based, it is done by using a collection system. It works really well, as you know exactly what you need to achieve to fully complete each level and we actually like that as an alternative to the usual score based stars system.

Controls are super simple too, which they need to be in a game that relies on precision. The analogue stick is used to control movement and the X button for jumping, with square for using any powerups you may have equipped. There is the option to use either the touchscreen or rear touch panel to control jumping, but having tested the waters with this, we don’t see why this would be beneficial, but hey, credit to Neko and cTools for making it optional, which is all we ask when it comes to control configurations. Bonis marks too for avoiding a personal pet hate and note forcing touch screen controls for menus, as again you can use buttons and touchscreen however you see fit.

There is plenty of content too, with three main worlds containing around sixty levels in total plus a bonus world which unlocks various levels based on how well you perform throughout the game. Whilst there is only a few hours gameplay to get through all the levels, to do so achieving 100% will take considerably longer. The game is sneaking with this too, as the first thirteen or so levels seem rather easy, then from then on it ramps up the difficulty, but the balance is there.

Some levels will make it almost as easy as possible just to reach the gate at the end, but make it a lot harder to get those carrots, others might make getting one or two carrots easy, yet make getting the third and golden an exercise in patience. As said, it ramps up the difficulty, but not in that ‘every level gets harder and harder’ kind of way. It varies how the difficulty changes and that keeps things fresh.

On the Vita, Kung Fu Rabbit is a wonderful addition, it isn’t just the closest we have to a Super Meat Boy on the machine, it is a wonderful game in its own right. Another game that understands the appeal of handheld gaming. Offering what iOS is missing, quick. cheap, challenging gaming, with proper controls as default. More of this please!

 

Magic 2014: Duels of the Planeswalkers Review

Almost as expected as a yearly sports update, we can expect a new Duels of the Planeswalkers update and so it is with Magic 2014.

If you have played any of the previous games, you’ll know what to expect. A fine digital representation of the physical and popular card game. With a few little twists and gameplay enhancements added with each new iteration.

It depends on how much you are invested into the series as to whether the 2014 update is worth your investment. It is very similar to 2013, but does have the updated cards. So if you are just a casual fan, then stick with 2013, you’ll get all you need from the experience from the older versions.

If you don’t have a previous version, then 2014 is just as good a place as any to jump in and see what all the fuss is about. It follows the same single player structure for the most part and does a fairly decent job of introducing the game’s mechanics before taking you into more challenging battles.

Once the single player campaign is beaten the 2014 version throws the Revenge Campaign at you, which essentially has you take on the more difficult to beat Planeswalkers. It takes out all the learning battles and straight up challenges your skills. It is a nice addition to the series and adds a little longevity to the single player.

Whilst the single player is well fleshed out, the meat of the game is in the multiplayer and once again this isn’t for the faint hearted, nor the beginners. You are up against real people, many of whom are dedicated to the series, both in digital and physical forms. You will get online and get beaten soundly. It is one hell of a learning curve, going from understanding the basics and beating the AI, to taking that online and trying to apply your knowledge to real opponents.

However, as with previous versions, it does feel very rewarding when you do get that win, or even run someone close. It isn’t just a feeling that you passed something by trial and error, or even just repeating something enough times that you eventually get somewhere. With every game played, you feel you have learned something new, taking on board another person’s approach to the game, eventually finding something that suits you.

There has been another little edition to the 2014 edition, with Sealed Deck Play. Basically this mode gives you various sealed booster pack, from which you must make a usable deck and take that into battle. It doesn’t level the playing field as such, as it can be pretty overwhelming for the non experienced player, but it does add an additional challenge for those who want it.

Magic 2014: Duels of the Planeswalkers is yet another excellent addition to the series, but whether you buy it depends on two things. How invested you are into the series as a whole. Does the idea of the updated cards for 2014 mean that much too you? Or are you just someone who enjoys a casual go now and again. There other factor is if you are totally new to the game, if so, you may as well go for the latest version.

Because of the hard and fast rules of the game in the real world, there is unlikely to be any real revolutionary changes with each passing edition, however the makers of the digital version do their best to make little evolutionary additions, that do offer some interesting new challenges, but it is never enough for the casual fans to buy year on year. It is still an excellent game though.

Rayman: Origins Review

As a character Rayman is largely dismissed by the mass market. A weird, limbless creation, he has a unique look that may put a number of people off, making them run back to the well-known safeness of a Mario or Sonic. Their loss really, as Rayman Origins is probably the best 2D platformer in the past decade.

Having already experience the colourful joy of Rayman Origins on the Xbox 360, we were wondering what, if anything, would be lost in its transition to the Vita. Sadly, the one big casualty is multiplayer. Playing with friends was a highlight of the console versions, so it’s sad to see it go. But to be honest, finding someone who actually owns a Vita outside of Japan is a challenge in itself, so multiplayer is a feature that probably wouldn’t have got much use anyway. In its place is the new Ghost Mode, here you take your best time on a given level and share it with other people using the Vita’s Near functionality. It definitely lacks the crazy fun of a multiplayer Rayman session, but it’s better than nothing.

What most definitely hasn’t been lost with Raymans arrival on the Vita are the beautifully colourful graphics. Rayman Origins looks excellent in pictures, but seeing it in motion is another thing entirely. Levels are vibrant with a staggering attention to detail and the characters themselves are infused with so much charm and, well, character, that it’s hard not to love each one. There’s a definite madness to the characters when it comes to the animation, and it just feels like this could really have only come out of the mind of a crazy person. From the insane dancing with each completed level to the infrequent but amusing cut scenes. All this graphical fidelity aided by the catchy soundtrack and voices of the assortment of characters. The characters don’t exactly speak words, but then they don’t have to, there movements do enough to purvey what little story there is in the game. A lot of love has gone into the game and it shows.

The structure of the game is the same as any other 2D platformer, go through each world containing a number of levels, till you reach the end. What definitely sets Rayman Origins apart is the, at times, fiendish level design. At the start you’re eased into the game, getting used to all the moves at your disposal and unlocking new ones as you progress. But it’s not long before you’re thanking the designers for giving the player unlimited continues and well-paced checkpoints. It gets tough, really tough. None more so than with the brilliant treasure chest levels. Here you’re tasked with chasing a running treasure chest across the level while the level itself scrolls from left to right, or sometimes bottom to top. It requires pinpoint platforming precision and are some of the best designed 2D levels we’ve played in years.

The more standard levels are not just about reaching the end, but collecting the mass of Lums that inhabit them. Lums in turn are used at the end of the stage to free Electoons. Electoons can also be found trapped in cages usually hidden in hard to reach spots that, like most things in this game, require platforming grace, or in some cases, extraordinary leaps of faith. The collecting of these Lums and Electoons adding a huge amount of longevity to the game, going back to old levels in order to find that last Electoon cage, which in turn unlocks the treasure chest levels. There’s a lot of replay value here after completion.

It’s clear Rayman Origins is a labour of love for all involved. A simply beautiful game that loses nothing (well, aside from multiplayer) in its transition to the handheld Vita. Our expectations for all future Rayman games have now never been higher.

OMG HD Zombies Review

OMG HD Zombies is a remake of the PS Minis title OMG Zombies. As you can guess it has had the HD treatment for the PS Vita. 

Following in the footsteps of the likes of Velocity Ultra, The HD Adventures of Rotating Octopus Character and other minis, this is essentially more of the same but in native format for the Vita. Which whether you own the originals or not are worth having just for the looks alone.

OMG HD Zombies is a puzzle game where the idea is to create chains of exploding zombies by firing your weapon at them. Each zombie has a different ability that has a different effect on the chain. Players need to work out the positioning of the zombies, the type of zombies in the level, the layout of the level and the upgrades they may have earned to create the largest chain possible and hopefully rid each level of 100% of zombies.

The concept whilst solid does leave a little to luck as well as judgement. The biggest frustration is that a level will have a slightly different layout of where zombies are, so there is no way to work out the best possible combination of shots across various attempts. This means that whilst aiming in the same area may clear 55% of zombies in one go, the next time it may clear 91% it adds an element of randomness that does away with the puzzle element somewhat. That said, it is a minor frustration and replaying levels doesn’t tend to bother you, as you’ll soon find you have lost a lot of time whilst trying to clear each level.

Depending on how well you do on each level, you are awarded with a bronze, silver or gold medal (plus a special medal for clearing 100%) and a cash prize. Medals earned open up new levels and money can be used to buy upgrades. The upgrades really work well in OMG HD Zombies too, as not only can you upgrade your weapon, to give effects such as more power, but you can also upgrade barrels so the explosions are greater and affect more zombies. You can also upgrade the various zombie types so that their abilities have better affects. Such as the soldier zombies who when killed will shoot off bullets, upgrading them will see the bullets take extra deflections.

Controls are split, you can either use the touch screen, or the analogue stick and buttons. By using the touch screen you simply touch the zombie you wish to shoot and watch the chain. Using the physical option means you aim with the analogue stick then press the face buttons to make the shot. With the zombies being quite small on the screen, it can be awkward to touch the right one, especially if they are in a huge crowd, so the physical controls instantly become the best method. The only issue here though, is that the menus are touch screen only, there really needs to be the option to switch to physical controls here too, but in all fairness that is just being picky.

There are loads of levels each with slightly different themes and layouts, so despite the simplicity of the concept there are a good few hours of gameplay here, especially if you plan on getting 100% on each level. Doing so isn’t easy either, as there will be times when you’ll hit a massive chain, have two bullets left, but have three zombies to kill who are not even close to each other. The OMG HD Zombies version of a 7-10 Split. But getting 100% feels great and gives a sense of achievement.

Overall OMG HD Zombies is a fun little time waster, it has a mix of touch screen controls or physical controls, depending on player preference. Despite the randomness of layouts on levels, when you hit a mammoth chain the feeling is great. Laughing Jackal have a fine game here and one that should have a pennant home on your Vita.