XBox 360 Universe Straight from the source
  • scissors
    August 31st, 2015GamespotUncategorized

    Heavy Rain was one of the previous generation's most impressive and unique titles.  It managed to inject real tension into a 'choose your own adventure' style game by allowing your characters to actually die without it bringing the story to a halt.  Picking the wrong path didn't result in a traditional fail state and a game over screen; instead the consequences of your decisions were played out.  Quantic Dream's subsequent title, Beyond: Two Souls, deviated from that design and, in my view, suffered because of it.


    While Until Dawn is not made by Quantic Dream it's hard not to draw parallels with Heavy Rain regardless. It's a 'choose your own horror' title that features multiple playable characters attempting to survive through the night, with the player calling the shots and making the decisions (for better or worse).  Until Dawn isn't quite as impressive as Heavy Rain, but it's a fun ride and is easy to recommend to fans of this resurgent sub-genre.

    Until Dawn’s narrative focusses on a group of friends who are relaxing in a mountain cabin/mansion when a tragic accident kills the two twins of the group.  A year on from these events the brother of the dead twins invites the group back up to the mountain to party and to try and forget their woes.  Anyone with half a brain can see that this is going to end poorly (who parties in order to remember the friends they lost when a prank went wrong at a previous party?), but if you're able to suspend your own disbelief the story becomes enjoyable to follow.


    One of the strengths of Until Dawn is that you can actually avoid a lot of the standard horror tropes that so annoy viewers by making different calls.  Does one of your characters hear something in the distance and want to investigate by themselves?  Well you can dissuade them of that bright notion and steer them towards the safety of the group.  That said, a number of stupid decisions are central to the story and cannot be avoided regardless of the decisions you make, which is an unfortunate but necessary part of the game's design.

    Mandatory dumb choices aside, Until Dawn offers up a fairly interesting story that twists and turns through about six and a half hours of playtime.  Things do start to get a little convoluted and silly after a while, but that's likely a by-product of needing to keep the story going for longer than, say, a traditional horror movie. 

    While you might imagine that a game with so many different player choices like this would be highly replayable, I felt that wasn't really the case here.  Certain revelations in the story give new meaning to the events you encounter, and so repeat playthroughs offer less tension and mystery.  It also opens up the story to greater scrutiny and plot holes become much more visible the second or third time around.


    The most glaring problem with Until Dawn - and it's a fault shared with every title in the genre really -  is that developers only have so much time and so many resources to pour into branching narrative paths, and so there a lot of cases of 'funnelling', whereby seemingly meaningful choices actually have no real effect on the story.  

    To be clear, I understand that developers can only create so much content and that the convergence of paths is an unavoidable aspect of the genre, but once you start to spot this the illusion of choice is shattered somewhat.  For example you can quickly begin to spot which characters are destined for dearth regardless of your actions - they contribute little early on and resources have not been put into building up their presence.  One of Heavy Rain's greatest strengths, by contrast, was how well the illusion of meaningful choice was maintained.

    Another weakness of Until Dawn vis-a-vis Heavy Rain is the lack of puzzle gameplay, which was an enjoyable part of the latter title.  On the other hand you're required to put some real thought into some of your decisions in Until Dawn, which is a definite plus.  This is the first time I've played through a game in this genre and felt like not making a choice was actually the best way to go some of the time.


    But where Until Dawn really shines is when you play it with a group of people all shouting out and debating what they think characters should do.  Even when playing it with just one other person I had more fun than I would’ve had by myself, so I definitely suggest making this a 'multiplayer' experience if you're able to. 

    Until Dawn also makes some of the best use of motion controls I’ve encountered in a game that largely uses a traditional control scheme.  At certain points you’ll be tasked with staying perfectly still and will be shown a light bar that indicates your movements.  These events are genuinely tense and I found myself holding my breath in order to keep my character safely hidden.  Other survival horror titles on consoles should take notice.

    The presentation is strong as well.  Until Dawn boasts some breath-taking mountain vistas and great visuals, and while the characters can often be annoying, the voice acting is strong (I especially loved Peter Stormare's performance as Dr. Hill).


    Until Dawn may sound expensive given that it only takes 6-7 hours to play through, but there are still so few titles in this genre with such high production values that it's actually an easy recommendation for fans of the genre.  The multi-character adventure style of gaming that was spearheaded by Heavy Rain is a perfect fit for the slasher/horror genre, and few games, or media experiences in general, are as intense.  It’s just unfortunate that multiple playthroughs can’t maintain that same level of intensity.

    Full Article - http://www.vgchartz.com/article/260740/until-dawn-ps4/

  • scissors
    August 31st, 2015GamespotUncategorized

    Heavy Rain was one of the previous generation's most impressive and unique titles.  It managed to inject real tension into a 'choose your own adventure' style game by allowing your characters to actually die without it bringing the story to a halt.  Picking the wrong path didn't result in a traditional fail state and a game over screen; instead the consequences of your decisions were played out.  Quantic Dream's subsequent title, Beyond: Two Souls, deviated from that design and, in my view, suffered because of it.


    While Until Dawn is not made by Quantic Dream it's hard not to draw parallels with Heavy Rain regardless. It's a 'choose your own horror' title that features multiple playable characters attempting to survive through the night, with the player calling the shots and making the decisions (for better or worse).  Until Dawn isn't quite as impressive as Heavy Rain, but it's a fun ride and is easy to recommend to fans of this resurgent sub-genre.

    Until Dawn’s narrative focusses on a group of friends who are relaxing in a mountain cabin/mansion when a tragic accident kills the two twins of the group.  A year on from these events the brother of the dead twins invites the group back up to the mountain to party and to try and forget their woes.  Anyone with half a brain can see that this is going to end poorly (who parties in order to remember the friends they lost when a prank went wrong at a previous party?), but if you're able to suspend your own disbelief the story becomes enjoyable to follow.


    One of the strengths of Until Dawn is that you can actually avoid a lot of the standard horror tropes that so annoy viewers by making different calls.  Does one of your characters hear something in the distance and want to investigate by themselves?  Well you can dissuade them of that bright notion and steer them towards the safety of the group.  That said, a number of stupid decisions are central to the story and cannot be avoided regardless of the decisions you make, which is an unfortunate but necessary part of the game's design.

    Mandatory dumb choices aside, Until Dawn offers up a fairly interesting story that twists and turns through about six and a half hours of playtime.  Things do start to get a little convoluted and silly after a while, but that's likely a by-product of needing to keep the story going for longer than, say, a traditional horror movie. 

    While you might imagine that a game with so many different player choices like this would be highly replayable, I felt that wasn't really the case here.  Certain revelations in the story give new meaning to the events you encounter, and so repeat playthroughs offer less tension and mystery.  It also opens up the story to greater scrutiny and plot holes become much more visible the second or third time around.


    The most glaring problem with Until Dawn - and it's a fault shared with every title in the genre really -  is that developers only have so much time and so many resources to pour into branching narrative paths, and so there a lot of cases of 'funnelling', whereby seemingly meaningful choices actually have no real effect on the story.  

    To be clear, I understand that developers can only create so much content and that the convergence of paths is an unavoidable aspect of the genre, but once you start to spot this the illusion of choice is shattered somewhat.  For example you can quickly begin to spot which characters were expected to die at a certain point because after that they contribute little and resources have not been put into building up their presence.  One of Heavy Rain's greatest strengths, by contrast, was how well the illusion of meaningful choice was maintained on the fist playthrough, but I admit that I wasn't as tuned to these development tricks at the time.

    Another weakness of Until Dawn vis-a-vis Heavy Rain is the lack of puzzle gameplay, which was an enjoyable part of the latter title.  On the other hand you're required to put some real thought into some of your decisions in Until Dawn, which is a definite plus.  This is the first time I've played through a game in this genre and felt like not making a choice was actually the best way to go some of the time.


    But where Until Dawn really shines is when you play it with a group of people all shouting out and debating what they think characters should do.  Even when playing it with just one other person I had more fun than I would’ve had by myself, so I definitely suggest making this a 'multiplayer' experience if you're able to. 

    Until Dawn also makes some of the best use of motion controls I’ve encountered in a game that largely uses a traditional control scheme.  At certain points you’ll be tasked with staying perfectly still and will be shown a light bar that indicates your movements.  These events are genuinely tense and I found myself holding my breath in order to keep my character safely hidden.  Other survival horror titles on consoles should take notice.

    The presentation is strong as well.  Until Dawn boasts some breath-taking mountain vistas and great visuals, and while the characters can often be annoying, the voice acting is strong (I especially loved Peter Stormare's performance as Dr. Hill).


    Until Dawn may sound expensive given that it only takes 6-7 hours to play through, but there are still so few titles in this genre with such high production values that it's actually an easy recommendation for fans of the genre.  The multi-character adventure style of gaming that was spearheaded by Heavy Rain is a perfect fit for the slasher/horror genre, and few games, or media experiences in general, are as intense.  It’s just unfortunate that multiple playthroughs can’t maintain that same level of intensity.

    Full Article - http://www.vgchartz.com/article/260740/until-dawn-ps4/

  • scissors
    August 31st, 2015GamespotUncategorized

    That's according to EA DICE’s general manager, Patrick Bach. “I don’t think we have a single system in the game that is the same as in Battlefield," he told the Official PlayStation Magazine.

    He continued:

    “They are as far apart as any shooter would be to any other shooter. I think people will be surprised that it’s even a DICE game in some cases, but I think that the quality of the game and the quality of the audio, the visuals, the emotion it evokes will hopefully feel very DICE.”

    Star Wars Battlefront releases on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PC in November.

    Full Article - http://www.vgchartz.com/article/260742/star-wars-battlefront-doesnt-share-a-single-system-with-battlefield/

  • scissors
    August 31st, 2015GamespotUncategorized

    Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain has claimed the top spot on the weekly Steam sales chart, ahead of its official launch tomorrow.

    It will no doubt be the first of many chart-topping performances for Kojima's final Metal Gear Solid title.

    Counter-Strike: Global Offensive maintained its second position, while Rocket League retained third, thanks to brief promotional discounts for both titles (the latter received a Steam Controller promotion as well, which also helped the Steam Controller re-enter the chart this week).

    Grand Theft Auto V also held onto its fourth place for a second week, while Ark: Survival Evolved slipped from first to fifth.

    Here's the complete top 10 list:

    1. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
    2. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
    3. Rocket League
    4. Grand Theft Auto V
    5. Ark: Survival Evolved
    6. Pillars of Eternity
    7. H1Z1
    8. Payday 2
    9. Call of Duty: Black of Ops III
    10. Steam Controller

    Full Article - http://www.vgchartz.com/article/260741/metal-gear-solid-v-the-phantom-pain-tops-weekly-steam-sales-chart/

  • scissors
    August 30th, 2015GamespotUncategorized

    Sony has announced all of the games that will be releasing this week on the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation Vita in the US. 14 games in total will release this week, six of which are available at retail.

    Here is the full list of games:

    • Armello - PS4 (Digital)
    • Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons - PS4 (Retail)
    • Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls - PSV (Digital, Retail)
    • Disney Infinity 3.0 - PS4, PS3 (Digital, Retail)
    • Fat City - PS4 (Digital)
    • Grow Home - PS4 (Digital)
    • Mad Max - PS4, (Digital, Retail)
    • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain - PS4, PS3 (Digital, Retail)
    • The Muppets Movie Adventures - PSV (Digital)
    • Nobunaga’s Ambition: Sphere of Influence - PS4, PS3 (Digital, Retail)
    • Nova-111 - PS3, PSV (Digital Cross-Buy with PS4)
    • Space Hulk - PSV (Digital)
    • Super Time Force Ultra - PS4, PSV (Digital Cross-Buy)
    • Zombie Vikings - PS4 (Digital)

    ________________________________________________________________________________________

    A life-long and avid gamer, William D'Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel dedicated to gaming Let's Plays and tutorials. You can contact the author at wdangelo@vgchartz.com or on Twitter @TrunksWD.

    Full Article - http://www.vgchartz.com/article/260739/new-playstation-releases-this-week-disney-infinity-30-mad-max/

  • scissors
    August 30th, 2015GamespotUncategorized

    Sega has announced Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita.

    You can view the Japanese announcement trailer below:

    The game is set to release in Japan in March 2016 on the PlayStation Vita, and fall 2016 on the PlayStation 4.

    Full Article - http://www.vgchartz.com/article/260738/hatsune-miku-project-diva-x-announced-for-ps4-amp-ps-vita/

  • scissors
    August 30th, 2015GamespotUncategorized

    Sega has announced Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita.

    You can view the Japanese announcement trailer below:

    The game is set to release in Japan in March 2016 on the PlayStation Vita, and fall 2016 on the PlayStation 4.

    Full Article - http://www.vgchartz.com/article/260738/hatsune-miku-project-diva-x-announced-for-ps4-amp-ps-vita/

  • scissors
    August 30th, 2015GamespotUncategorized

    The gaming industry is so used to the notion that the biggest hits of the year are released in the final quarter, so as to capitalise on holiday sales, that we sometimes forget that each year also plays host to some big early hitters.

    It mostly is the case, of course, that publishers aim to release their most lucrative titles towards the end of the year, but not always. This list of the top 10 new retail releases of 2015 in terms of sales illustrates some potent exceptions to that rule.

    First, the small print:

    - The game must have been released in 2015 (and where a launch has been staggered worldwide only 2015 sales figures will be counted).
    - Multiplatform totals have been combined.
    - The figures include handheld sales.
    - The article covers sales up to, and including, the week ending 11th July.
    - Figures quoted are retail sales only, as digital sales reports are patchy at best. This, of course, harms the totals for games like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, which has sold tremendously well on digital platforms, but in the interests of maintaining a level playing field we have decided not to factor in any digital sales).

     

    10th. Splatoon - 1.31 million units

    The little title that could. VGC regulars will probably not be surprised by this game's presence on such a list, but non-regulars rightly will be. It really is a remarkable achievement - an exclusive, brand new IP, on a platform that has only just managed to gain an install base of 10 million is the 10th best-selling new release of 2015. What's more it's one of only three exclusives to make the list.

     

    9th. Bloodborne - 1.39 million units

    Another exclusive to make the list. It's not quite as surprising as Splatoon that Bloodborne made the list, given both the game's legacy (being a spiritual successor to the incredibly popular Demon's Souls and Dark Souls series) and it being available on the market-leading console, which currently has an install base of around 25 million units. Still, a great achievement for this dark and brooding exclusive.

     

    8th. LEGO Jurassic World - 1.39 million units

    This game regularly features at the top of various regional charts on a weekly basis, thanks largely to the fact that it's available on every single active retail platform, but Traveller's Tales, to its credit, doesn't rest on its laurels and assume that this, as well as the LEGO IP, will automatically shift copies. The series is generally considered one of the few shining examples of a high quality, family friendly licensed IP.

     

    7th. Dying Light - 1.53 million units

    Techland's first current generation open world zombie title manages to clinch an impressive 7th position. Given that an expansion for the game is on the way, which should boost sales a bit, and the casual-core appeal of zombies, expect Dying Light to continue to do well during the holiday period.

     

    6th. The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D - 1.78 million units

    The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D is the only handheld game to make the list and it's the highest-placed exclusive to-boot. That speaks volumes both to the enduring appeal of Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda series as well as the desire for quality remakes.

     

    5th. The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited - 1.83 million units

    What is widely regarded as the black sheep of the Elder Scrolls series notches up an incredible 5th place on this list. The MMORPG, which is set on the continent of Tamriel within the Elder Scrolls universe become free-to-play earlier this year just prior to its current generation console debut. Both decisions seem to have brought new life to the game.

     

    4th. Mortal Kombat X - 2.37 million units

    The previous generation version may have just been cancelled but the current generation version has been a big success for NetherRealm and Warner Bros. It's one of just four new titles that has managed to surpass two million sold to consumers in the first half of 2015.

     

    3rd. Batman: Arkham Knight - 2.95 million units

    The PC launch was an utter disaster, and the console versions had their fair share of bugs as well, but that negatively publicity hasn't stopped Batman: Arkham Knight from selling almost 3 million units at retail across three platforms. With just three weeks' worth of sales accounted for, expect this one to still be in this top 10 list come 2016.

     

    2nd. Battlefield: Hardline - 3.05 million units

    Visceral's first Battlefield spin-off is the forgotten sales giant of the year so far, just managing to cling on to second place ahead of Batman: Arkham Knight (expect that the change soon). It's slipped down the charts quite considerably but at 3 million sold it has a good base going into the second half of the year. Will that be enough to keep it in the top 10 though?

     

    1st. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - 3.20 million units

    The top-selling new release of 2015 is The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. CD Projekt RED's labour of love is the clear sales leader with 3.20 million units sold to consumers at retail across the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows PC. And that's just the game's retail figures - if you include digital sales then it's standing at over 6 million units sold.

    Full Article - http://www.vgchartz.com/article/260733/10-best-selling-retail-releases-of-2015-so-far/

  • scissors
    August 30th, 2015GamespotUncategorized

    Yup, Square Enix has made an announcement of an announcement at PAX Prime in Seattle.

    Game director Hajime Tabata announced that Final Fantasy XV's release date will be announced next March, at a special event, and that the title's release window will be in 2016.

    All jesting aside, it sounds like the Pax Prime panel was fairly substantial, and featured a progress report highlight video, footage of the game's main menu screen, lots of new concept art, details on the overworld, towns, shops, gameplay, and the Regalia car that your team will use in the game.

    You can find a full breakdown of the panel event over at Gematsu.

    Full Article - http://www.vgchartz.com/article/260736/square-enix-announces-date-for-final-fantasy-xv-release-date-announcement/

  • scissors
    August 30th, 2015GamespotUncategorized

    Yup, Square Enix has made an announcement of an announcement at PAX Prime in Seattle.

    Game director Hajime Tabata announced that Final Fantasy XV's release date will be announced next March, at a special event, and that the title's release window will be in 2016.

    All jesting aside, it sounds like the Pax Prime panel was fairly substantial, and featured a progress report highlight video, footage of the game's main menu screen, lots of new concept art, details on the overworld, towns, shops, gameplay, and the Regalia car that your team will use in the game.

    You can find a full breakdown of the panel event over at Gematsu.

    Full Article - http://www.vgchartz.com/article/260736/square-enix-announces-date-for-final-fantasy-xv-release-date-announcement/

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