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    Entries in pc (74)


    Hands on with FireFall: Falling Never Felt So Good

    I made a bit of a shameful admission to Scott Youngblood, lead designer of FireFall, and I'll make the same admission to you; I had never heard of FireFall before PAX East. Granted, the free-to-download, free-to-play, almost-MMO action shooter was only announced a few months ago at PAX Prime, though it has been in secret development for close to five years by Red 5 Studios.

    Mr. Youngblood was good enough to chat with me about FireFall while I tried my hand at fragging some of the other folks in attendance at the Boston Convention Center. The game is played entirely online, across multiple game modes. There is a shared, open world that can be inhabited by hundreds of players at once, as well as instanced matches ranging from 5-on-5 to army against army. The armies are FireFall's equivalent of guilds, and unfortunately, Mr. Youngblood wouldn't let out how large army vs. army matches would be.

    Team deathmatch was the only mode playable at PAX East, which is good enough for me, as it was a blast. After you successfully deplete an enemy's health, you have the ability to finish them off from close range with an execution. It takes two or three seconds to pull off, but executing the downed opposition is a surefire way to score a point for your team. Sure they can bleed out as well, but in this period there's always the chance that a teammate revives them, denying your team the points for your hard earned kill.

    The map I played at PAX East was wide open; a large playground of powered suits making boost-jumps and frantically gunning each other down. We weren't told how many maps would be available in the final product, only that the developers plan on expanding on the world post-release, so we can expect updates with new maps well into release, free of charge. Maps will never cost the player any money. And the map, like the character artwork, just looked good. The thick outlines that go along with cel-shaded art made the entire game look like a smooth running comic book. My eyes were very pleased during our play session.

    Aside from competitive matches, there are also cooperative scenarios to keep like-minded players working toward a greater cause. Resource gathering is a large part of the game, but while doing so, the world will not slow down as you reap rewards. Thus gathering is probably best done in teams, as you'll have some help fending off the worlds hostile mobs. We didn't get too in depth into resources, but crystite is one of the resources that is extremely important, used in just about everything in the world. From what I've seen, 'mining' consists of an orbital drop of equipment called a Thumper, which mines for you and attracts mobs, allowing you to play defense. That's all good, especially compared to resource gathering in other games. However my fingers are crossed that it gets no more tedious than Thumping. 

    Now let's talk classes, which FireFall calls battleframes. The build we played featured three; the offensive minded assault frame, supporting medic, and fast moving, light hitting recon. Just a note here, the developers have made absolutely sure that the medic, while a support class, is not limited to that, with the ability to be a viable offensive force on its own. I can vouch for that, as I was able to register quite a few kills as a medic on my own. Each battleframe has its own special abilities and weapons. The primary weapons have alternate fire functions, which can be changed as new weapon modules are found in loot or from enemy drops. The battleframes also have secondary weapons, as well as unique skills, which each had three in this build. As in most team-focused games (the well designed ones, anyway) working together is encouraged and rewarded. Aside from basic assists, there are several classes that can execute abilities in unison to increase efficiency on the battlefield, further proving that teamwork pays off. Each frames abilities are all on cooldown timers, which can be foregone if you know your maps and find the proper power-up, one of which completely resets your timers.

    I'll say it again; FireFall is entirely free, so any type of customization we get is gravy. Fortunately. there is a modest amount of customizing you can do. You'll be able to buy or find better gear such as entire frames, modules, and different backpacks, which will only visually benefit you if you play in the very viable third-person perspective. By now you must be thinking, the true customization begins when you start shelling out the cash for this free game, right? Yes and no. Mr. Youngblood was very explicit in stating that you will NOT be able to purchase power. So the the broke guy playing in his school's computer lab can still be on even ground as the chick who spends her week's pay on Firefall. Buying will however, net you things like different colors for your frames, extra backpacks, and items to beneficially affect the resource gathering process.

    FireFall has incredibly promise, not only because it's free to play, but because it's fun to play. I'd advise you to head over to the FireFall homepage, where you can sign up for the beta, which if it's anything like what was playable at PAX East, is considerably polished for a beta build. FireFall hits retail -- maybe I should say freetail -- at the end of 2011 as a PC exclusive. And in the words of Scott Youngblood himself, "Hope to see you online.. In my crosshairs."


    Bastion Narrates its Way into the Spotlight

    Supergiant Bastion wallpaper, courtesy of the good folks at Supergiant Games

    Way back in September of last year, I saw a trailer for a humble game named Bastion that brought me back to my days of power gaming as a teenager. Any title capable of evoking such fond memories is one to keep an eye on, and Bastion is no different. Found on a whim at PAX East, the thought of this game came rushing back to the forefront of my mind. Oh yes, hands on baby.

    In classic RPG fashion, your character is awaken from sleep and ventures out of his home to seek his destiny, however instead of an annoying pet or underage girl as your companion, you are accompanied by the dulcet tones of the narrator. The vibrant and lively world pops up under your feet as you stride forth, introducing you to the simple combat mechanics when it's not busy wowing your eye sockets. Bold colors are bountiful in Bastion, something that is much too rare in this day of the browns and grays of post-apocalyptic modern warfare.

    This is the old school at it's finest, renewed for the modern day, of course. Your character -- the Kid, as he's called -- does everything expected of the hero archetype in a three-quarter perspective role-playing game; swing his melee weapon -- in this case, a large hammer -- shoot arrows from a safe distance, block attacks with his shield, and roll-evade from danger's path. These actions can be beautifully mixed without missing a beat, and without a miscued moment from your narrator either. All these actions are introduced from the outset, leaving many more abilities and weapons to be unlocked as you progress, I'm sure.

    The Kid will probably play out as one of those silent protagonist types, which I ain't mad at. Some folk take exception with mute heroes, but in this case it gives the wise old narrator a chance to shine. The anonymous voice calls it as he sees it, dynamically narrating the Kid's actions in real time, as well as unraveling the story in a classy way that only a faceless, comforting, gravelly voice can. He's like the second grandfather many of us never knew we had.

    I didn't play for too long, but I don't think it matters. Bastion has shaped up to be pretty special, and has a chance of being one of the year's best indie titles if the cards fall into place before release. Expect it on Xbox LIVE Arcade, Summer 2011, with a PC release to follow.


    REVIEW: Fallout: New Vegas - Dead Money

    Written by Brittany Vincent

    Fallout: New Vegas
    certainly isn't without fault, but it did serve as a succinct followup to one of my favorite PC adventures of the past few Christmases, Fallout 3. After choosing to go the way of Steam for that adventure and this one in turn, I found myself engrossed in a world I couldn't quite escape from...until I was met with saving issues and other wonky glitches that desperately needed ironing out. But surviving the wasteland quickly consumes you, and I knew without a doubt I'd be looking forward to the first available DLC. I should have been leery for all intents and purposes once said package, Dead Money, was announced, but as the release date neared and I was given the opportunity to evaluate the latest addition to the Fallout saga, I was ready. But only if Dead Money could transcend the disappointment and feelings of being disenfranchised that Mothership Zeta so readily inspired. And I'm happy to say that it does, if only by a tiny bit. It's not the fantastic "The Pitt" DLC, but it's a start.

    Click to read more ...


    The Latest RAGE Trailer Gets Me Angry! 

    The latest trailer for id Software's racing-FPS with a splash of RPG elements is still looking good. Seems we've been hearing about RAGE for years now.. What's that? Oh, I guess we have been. Well, the light at the end of the blood-stained tunnel is not just the flaming wreckage of an scrapped battle-buggy, but also the North American release date of September 11. 

    Urge to slaughter hostile deformed mutants rising! 


    The Darkness II is Coming, Jackie

    God damn, all these years later and I still can't get the God Mike Patton's rendition of the Darkness out of my head. Aside from the amazing vocals of Mr. Bungle, The Darkness was actually a solid game. 

    That's why it's such a pleasant surprise to hear, seemingly out of no where, that The Darkness II is on it's way. Shadow abilities, twisted storylines and visuals, all that good shit. Jackie and friend are sure to have learned some new tricks, like fucking quad-wielding weapons. Holy shit, that's a game changer. Rogues, berserkers, and Chow Yun Fat can suck it with their lame-ass ambidexterity.

    No word yet on whether or not Mike Patton will be reprising his role as the Darkness, but he damn well better. We've shot a missive to the proper folks and hope for a reply soon. Until then, embrace The Darkness, and enjoy the following screenshot. Singular screen, quadruple arms. 


    Hard Metal Meets Cold Steel in Hunted: The Demon's Forge

    Did you ever wonder what a dungeon crawler mixed with a third person shooter and the essence of heavy metal would look like? Me neither. Thankfully, inXile Entertainment and Bethesda Softworks has tackled the unthought notion, and the answer to the question is a resounding "awesome".

    Hunted: The Demon's Forge looks to borrow heavily from Gears of War's play mechanic at its face, but it places an emphasis on co-op play. Control the burly Caddoc to slice and dice all sorts of nasties, and have your friend play the svelte E’lara for more of a spell-weaving, arrow-shooting experience. It's like two games in one! But wait, there's more! She casts magic, he follows up with hard slashes, creating a level of dynamic dual techniques between the two. Rad.

    Are you a total hermit with no friends and no connection to the interwebz? No problem ya bum, pick your favorite of the two and let the AI control the other, but feel free to switch between the either of the mercenary alliance at any time! Methinks Hunted: The Demon's Forge is on the right track. Confirmation will come on the stateside release date of June 1 for PS3, Xbox 360, and PC. Now, back to headbanging. 


    Ridge Racer Unbounded Burns Out

    As a PlayStation launch title, the original Ridge Racer was not only a technical and visual marvel, it was awesome fun. The series has been pretty hit-or-miss since then, with the only truly fond memories I have of the franchise after the first entry being the surprisingly good Ridge Racer Type 4.

    Fast forward to today, where it's been announced that Ridge Racer is making a comeback and is apparently pissed off. Why else would Reiko, the adorable face of the series, plow through two cars and one brick wall on the way to destroying a city block?

    Ridge Racer Unbounded, targeted for release way off in 2012, seems to be taking the franchise down the aggressive, reckless racing path that seems to be fairly popular these days. I've always been a fan of the Burnout series, so if Ridge Racer Unbounded can capture that type of enjoyable destruction and put a unique twist on it, this might be a title to watch.


    Beyond Black Mesa Makes its Gritty Debut

    Half Life 2 fan film Beyond Black Mesa is finally available in full to be watched online, so do it now. Fans of the Half Life universe, fan films, and independent productions alike can agree that this is awesome. 

    Shot with little more than one camera and a budget just over a grand, Beyond Black Mesa is a testament to what a bunch of talented fans can do. A few high-budget studios who have dabbled or are looking to dabble in game-to-film crossovers have some 'splaining to do!

    If you're interested in learning more about the film, visit the website. Make sure you give yourself 12 minutes to watch the movie in full beforehand though, definitely well worth it.


    3D Pixels Are Blowing Up in Voxatron

    Voxatron is a game made of voxels. Voxels are 3D pixels, found in games such as 3D Dot Game Heroes and Fez. Both voxels and Voxatron look awesome. The independently developed title has been making its way around the interwebz for a week or more now, however time constraints have prevented me from making any mention of it.

    A little 3D Dot Game Heroes, and a little Smash TV, and a little Link to the Past, with a banging chiptune soundtrack seems to be what primarily comprises Voxatron. Due out in August 2011 for PC and Mac, developers Lexaloffle Games -- which I can't say without thinking of the rofflecopter -- haven't announced any plans for a console release yet, but I have a feeling we'll see Voxatron on our big screens before it's all said and done.

    Keep this one in mind, y'all.


    Our Favorite Low Budget Games of 2010

    As the year comes to a close, it seems as if everyone and their mother is dropping their two cents on the best and worst games of 2010. To set our list aside, I want to try something different. Since you can go to just about any place on the internet to find a best of the year list, let's try this:

    Our Favorite Low Budget Games of 2010

    VVVVVV by Terry Cavanagh (PC, XBLA)
    It doesn't get much more simple than this. Commodore 64 inspired graphics, three button gameplay, and a soundtrack of banging chiptune beats. Released in January of this year, VVVVVV captured gamers' hearts with its simple allure, and breaking point difficulty. The plain, outdated look on its face belie VVVVVV's complexity, which feels almost like a Metroidvania game circa the 1980s. 


    Super Meat Boy by Team Meat (PC, XBLA)
    Based on the successful Newgrounds flash game Meat Boy, Super Meat Boy picks up where its predecessor left off; by making you want to kill yourself. Fans of fast action platformers and punishing twitch-reflex difficulty immediately fell in love with Super Meat Boy. Team Meat made some enemies along the way, like PETA and lamers who wanted a fun and relaxing gaming experience, but sometimes you need to break some heads to get to the top.


    Limbo by Playdead Studios (XBLA)
    Limbo earned a healthy buzz mostly for its "art game" presentation as completely black and white. In its entirety, Limbo never strays from it's noir style; the characters are little more than blobs of shadow, though the backgrounds are detailed and beautiful. Music is left out in favor of ambiance. With plenty of tricky platform puzzles to solve, Limbo is a slightly disturbed yet hauntingly lovely slice of low budget gaming.


    Shank by Klei Entertainment (PC, PSN, XBLA)
    Shank is one super pissed off badass motherfucker looking for revenge on the dudes that ruined his life. What better means to do this than a gory side-scrolling stylized action game with slick hand drawn graphics and an epic southwestern soundtrack? While the story wasn't the best, the insanely fun fighting and on-the-fly weapon switching made stringing together combos pleasing for both your eyes and your id.


    Minecraft by Markus "Notch" Persson (PC)
    What would this list be without Minecraft, arguably the low budget title of 2010. Technically, Minecraft was released in 2009, but it only really began to blow up this year. Starting as a one man job, Minecraft is a game where you can pretty much build anything you want, from the simplest log cabin, to a god damned working CPU. After an incredible increase in popularity this year, Notch hired some more people and created a development company funded strictly by Minecraft sales. As of December 29, 2010, Minecraft has over 2,750,000 registered users, and over 900,000 purchases. Not too bad for a one man project.