XBox 360 Universe Straight from the source
  • scissors
    September 30th, 2015GamespotUncategorized

    Frictional Games has long demonstrated its mastery over the horror genre. First with Penumbra and then with Amnesia, the Swedish studio has proven that it can tap into its players' nightmares to produce terrifying and mentally stimulating experiences. Now Frictional is back with perhaps its deepest and most complete game yet, SOMA.

    So much of SOMA is about discovering the details yourself, so a short synopsis here will suffice. SOMA is the story of Simon Jarret, who suffers from brain damage and bleeding as a result of a car crash. In order to mend his damaged brain, Simon agrees to an experimental brain scan. During the scan, something goes wrong, and Simon wakes up in a mysterious and dangerous place. 

    Those who are looking for the visceral terror of Frictional's earlier work, including Penumbra and Amnesia, may find SOMA somewhat disappointing. The jump scares in SOMA are few and far between. Rather, the game relies on more cerebral scare tactics. Frictional accomplishes this in a number of ways.

    Firstly, the world of SOMA is perfectly detailed and convincing. It feels organic and lived-in. Evidence of things that went horribly wrong, including left-behind audio files and blood stains, combine with the realistic and immersive world to create a foreboding sense of tension and sometimes dread. If something terrible isn't happening now, the game convinces you that something terrible already happened or that something terrible is about to happen.

    Secondly, the game's sound design is spectacular. Whether it's the sound of shuffling monsters, electronic beeps, or the groan of metal, the sounds in SOMA will transport you to another world fraught with danger.

    Lastly, SOMA asks impossible questions of its players and introduces chilling notions about humanity. The scariest things about SOMA, in fact, are the ideas it puts forward about artificial intelligence, about consciousness, and about what it means to be alive.

    Mechanically, SOMA functions closely to Frictional's earlier works. There is no fighting. Rather, Simon must use tools and stealth to solve problems and creep past monsters. In some cases, he must simply run for his life.

    There are a fair number of puzzles in SOMA, but don't expect any brain-melting riddles. Usually they involve finding a hidden code or collecting a set of tools. Doing some extracurricular exploration, however, is advised. There are audio files, e-mail messages, and photos off the beaten path that explain and enrich the story of SOMA.

    Overall, SOMA is one of the better survival-horror games of the last decade. But it does have some warts. Loading times are painfully long and sometimes interrupt the game's carefully-tuned atmosphere. The game also starts slowly, taking some time to build up momentum.

    While SOMA may not have the jump scares and visceral thrills of Frictional's past titles, it manages to create an impending sense of danger through audio cues and a convincing game world. Moreover, it introduces thought-provoking and terrifying ideas about artificial intelligence and humanity. The result is Frictional's most mature and meaningful game yet.

    Full Article - http://www.vgchartz.com/article/261218/soma-ps4/

  • scissors
    September 30th, 2015GamespotUncategorized

    Frictional Games has long demonstrated its mastery over the horror genre. First with Penumbra and then with Amnesia, the Swedish studio has proven that it can tap into its players' nightmares to produce terrifying and mentally stimulating experiences. Now Frictional is back with perhaps its deepest and most complete game yet, SOMA.

    So much of SOMA is about discovering the details yourself, so a short synopsis here will suffice. SOMA is the story of Simon Jarret, who suffers from brain damage and bleeding as a result of a car crash. In order to mend his damaged brain, Simon agrees to an experimental brain scan. During the scan, something goes wrong, and Simon wakes up in a mysterious and dangerous place. 

    Those who are looking for the visceral terror of Frictional's earlier work, including Penumbra and Amnesia, may find SOMA somewhat disappointing. The jump scares in SOMA are few and far between. Rather, the game relies on more cerebral scare tactics. Frictional accomplishes this in a number of ways.

    Firstly, the world of SOMA is perfectly detailed and convincing. It feels organic and lived-in. Evidence of things that went horribly wrong, including left-behind audio files and blood stains, combine with the realistic and immersive world to create a foreboding sense of tension and sometimes dread. If something terrible isn't happening now, the game convinces you that something terrible already happened or that something terrible is about to happen.

    Secondly, the game's sound design is spectacular. Whether it's the sound of shuffling monsters, electronic beeps, or the groan of metal, the sounds in SOMA will transport you to another world fraught with danger.

    Lastly, SOMA asks impossible questions of its players and introduces chilling notions about humanity. The scariest things about SOMA, in fact, are the ideas it puts forward about artificial intelligence, about consciousness, and about what it means to be alive.

    Mechanically, SOMA functions closely to Frictional's earlier works. There is no fighting. Rather, Simon must use tools and stealth to solve problems and creep past monsters. In some cases, he must simply run for his life.

    There are a fair number of puzzles in SOMA, but don't expect any brain-melting riddles. Usually they involve finding a hidden code or collecting a set of tools. Doing some extracurricular exploration, however, is advised. There are audio files, e-mail messages, and photos off the beaten path that explain and enrich the story of SOMA.

    Overall, SOMA is one of the better survival-horror games of the last decade. But it does have some warts. Loading times are painfully long and sometimes interrupt the game's carefully-tuned atmosphere. The game also starts slowly, taking some time to build up momentum.

    While SOMA may not have the jump scares and visceral thrills of Frictional's past titles, it manages to create an impending sense of danger through audio cues and a convincing game world. Moreover, it introduces thought-provoking and terrifying ideas about artificial intelligence and humanity. The result is Frictional's most mature and meaningful game yet.

    Full Article - http://www.vgchartz.com/article/261218/soma-ps4/

  • scissors
    September 30th, 2015GamespotUncategorized

    One of the SNES's cult classics was the DMA Design-developed Uniracers. Despite critical acclaim, the title never saw a sequel due to a lawsuit with Pixar. While definitely a unique game in its own right, upcoming PlayStation 4 and PC title FutureGrind is the closest unicycling enthusiasts will get to a Uniracers sequel.
     
    To find out more about this gorgeous stunt-platformer, we reached out to Milkbag Games' Owen Goss, one of the studio's Co-Founders alongside Matt Rix.


    VGChartz: How would you explain FutureGrind to those who've never played it?
     
    Owen Goss: FutureGrind is a futuristic stunt-platformer that’s all about challenge, tricks, and skill. You control a futuristic vehicle, called a grinder, with two coloured wheels that can spin around. You ride the grinder through a track made of rails of different colours. You have to match the blue wheel to blue rails and the red wheel to red rails, all while doing tricks and building huge combo chains to maximize your score.
     
    VGC: The small demo at E3 was very difficult. How do you balance the game making sure that players are being challenged, but also having fun?
     
    OG: Yes, the game is challenging. That said, we’ve made a lot of design choices that make learning to play less frustrating. For example, when you crash your grinder, you can restart your run immediately. There’s no wait to reset and try again, so that makes failure less painful. We also keep the track designs short enough that even if you crash right near the end of a track, it doesn’t feel like you’ve just wasted a huge amount of time. There will be lots of balance work to do as we continue to build the game, but these are the kinds of things we’re thinking about.

     VGC: The idea of FutureGrind has floated around Matt's head for a while now. How many different art styles has the game gone through? 
     
    OG: The original prototype for the game was in 2D, in a pretty clean, vector art style. Once we decided to move forward with development, my first concept art was for a 2D, pixel-art game. However, at some point we started wondering what the game would look like in 3D. I did some early mockups and when we showed them to some of our friends everyone said, “yes! You have to make this in 3D, that looks amazing!” So at that point the game became a 3D game.
     
    Some of the original concept art I did for the game set the game in a post-apocalyptic world. But we pretty quickly decided that we weren’t interested in making a really dark game. So we’ve decided to set the game in more of a post-post-apocalyptic world, where we’ve gone through some bad times, but we’ve rebuilt, and now we have the sport of FutureGrind.
     
     
    VGC: FutureGrind's soundtrack is being created by musician bignic. How important was it to get a talented musical artist on board?
     
    OG: bignic is amazing. The music is something we’ve always had a pretty clear idea about, and from very early on we knew we wanted bignic for the soundtrack. When we were building the prototype, both Matt and I were listening to a lot of bignic’s soundtrack for his “Corporate Lifestyle Simulator” game. We absolutely loved that soundtrack and for our first playable 3D prototype we used one of the songs from the CLS soundtrack because we knew that was the sound we wanted. We approached bignic and asked him to write the soundtrack, because his style fit the game so perfectly. He composed an absolutely amazing soundtrack that we’re really excited for people to hear. 
     
    VGC: Would you say that Uniracers is an influence on the game? Are there any other games that have impacted development?
     
    OG: Uniracers is definitely an influence. We love that game. OlliOlli, Skate, and the SSX games are all also pretty big influences. I play a lot of Trials, so that’s been a big influence in some ways too.
     
     
    VGC: What types of different modes will players be able to trick through?
     
    OG: We haven’t talked specifics yet, but the main mode for the game will be a campaign mode where you’re unlocking new tracks and grinders and trying to earn a name for yourself in the world of FutureGrind.
     

    VGC: FutureGrind is currently set to release on PS4 and PC in Q1 2016. Is it still on pace, and has development gone as smoothly as you thought it would?
     
    OG: We’re now saying “early-to-mid 2016” for our PS4 and PC launch. Development has gone quite smoothly so far. The switch to 3D involved some significant learnings, but we have a much better game for the decision. So far we’ve been concentrating on really nailing the core gameplay and feel for the game. Now that we’re happy with that we’re moving into building out the rest of the game.
     
    VGC: With FutureGrind being Milkbag Games' first console game, how has it been working with Sony?
     
    OG: We’ve been very impressed working with Sony. They’ve been great to work with so far. It’s really great to see them working with so many indies.
     
     
    VGC: FutureGrind has a very clean, futuristic aesthetic (which I guess makes sense considering the name). Will players learn anything about the world that the game takes place in? Is FutureGrind some sort of futuristic extreme sport? 
     
    OG: Yes, exactly. FutureGrind is the extreme sport of the future in which daring riders can make a name for themselves and earn sponsorships to work their way up the ranks. However, much of the history behind the world we’re building is just something we’re using for our own development so that the world feels like a place with a story, even if it’s never explicitly told to the player.
     
     
    VGC: Feel free to give your pitch as to why gamers should check out FutureGrind once it releases in 2016.
     
    OG: If you’re into challenging games with a high skill ceiling, you’re going to want to play FutureGrind in 2016. It has very simple controls, but from that comes a ton of depth in terms of tricks, combos, and gameplay. This is a game you’re going to want to master and try “just one more time.”
     
    Developer Milkbag Games can be found on Twitter over at @Milkbaggames, while the founders Owen Goss and Matt Rix can be found at @OwenGoss and @MattRix, respectively. More information about FutureGrind can be found on its official website and devlog.

    Full Article - http://www.vgchartz.com/article/261215/interview-futuregrind-is-uniracers-meets-trials/

  • scissors
    September 30th, 2015GamespotUncategorized

    Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter expects the death of video game consoles to be prolonged and to last several decades.

    "I think the console death will take decades," Pachter told MCVUK. "That means that GameStop has at least another 20 years to sell DVDs. I think that the decline in physical game sales hurts GameStop the least, as Amazon and Best Buy customers are far more inclined to buy online than GameStop customers, due to the latter’s predominant position in the used games business."

    Pachter noted that music CD sales are down 80 percent from their peak 18 years ago, however record labels still manufacture CDs. Similarly, DVD and Blu-ray disc sales are down 50 percent from their peak but they're still released. So while physical game sales might decline in the coming years there will be an audience to sell physical games to for many years to come.

    Pachter also discussed the closure of RadioShack and Blockbuster, and argued that GameStop is in a different position.

    "RadioShack was put out of business by crushing debt (GameStop has none) and very slowly declining sales due to their irrelevancy," he said. "Blockbuster was put out of business not by digital downloads or streaming video, but by lower-priced Redbox, whose sole business is renting physical DVDs. There is no analogy for GameStop."

    _______________________________________________________________________________________

    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/261225/pachter-console-death-will-take-decades-gamestop-has-at-least-20-years/

  • scissors
    September 30th, 2015GamespotUncategorized

    Over 75,000 people attended EGX 2015. The event, which lasted for four days from September 24th until September 27th, showcased 200 pre-release games.

    30,000 people, or 40 percent of the people that attended, had never been to an EGX event before.

    "The stage is well-and-truly set for EGX to increase its international significance in the global video games event circuit”, said the founder and CEO of Gamer Network, Rupert Loman. "Ideally timed just before the lucrative holiday shopping period, the event is a proven platform for driving pre-launch hype and influencing consumer purchasing decisions. 91% of visitors use the show to decide which products to buy."

    EGX Rezzed, the next EGX event, will take place from April 7th until April 9th next year in London.

    Thanks VG24/7.

    _______________________________________________________________________________________

    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/261230/over-75000-attended-egx-2015-egz-rezzed-dated/

  • scissors
    September 30th, 2015GamespotUncategorized

    The Divinity: Original Sin 2 Kickstarter campaign has ended and $2,032,434 was pledged from 42,713 backers. An additional $43,000 was raised via PayPal.

    Not only was the game funded, but all of the stretch goals were hit as well. The stretch goals add two new skill trees, Game Master mode, Strategist mode, racial skills, Undead Origins, The Hall of Echoes, Shapeshifting Mask, and dedicated mod support.

     

    "All of us at Larian Studios have been truly overwhelmed by the level of support that we have received — not only in terms of pledges, but also feedback and involvement," read an update on the Kickstarter campaign page. "Right from the beginning, it was our aim to use the campaign as a means to bring our community of fans into the heart of the development process. In every regard, you have exceeded our wildest expectations, and we would like to extend our everlasting gratitude to you all."

    "And of course, all of the stretch goals have been unlocked! The combined pledges from Kickstarter and Paypal mean that we’ve broken through the $2 million mark, and all of our stretch goals have now been achieved! Get ready for Game Master mode, the Hall of Echoes, Skill Trees and much more!"

    Divinity: Original Sin 2 is expected to be released in December 2016.

    _______________________________________________________________________________________

    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/261229/divinity-original-sin-2-kickstarter-ends-with-over-2-million-pledged/

  • scissors
    September 30th, 2015GamespotUncategorized

    Texas-based studio Twisted Pixel has parted ways with Microsoft and is now an independent company once more.

    Microsoft published six Twisted Pixel titles, starting in 2009 and ending in 2013; The Maw, Splosion Man, Ms. Splosion Man, Comic Jumper, The Gunstringer, and LocoCycle.

    "Microsoft has been an incredible partner since day one and we’ve always kept a background dialog open with them about the idea of returning to an independent studio model if the timing made sense for us," said Twisted Pixel's co-founder and creative director, Josh Bear.

    Microsoft Studios General Manager John Needham added: "Twisted Pixel has been a great partner to Microsoft Studios, bringing a range of innovative new experiences to Xbox fans around the globe.  can’t wait to see what this talented team creates next and look forward to bringing their outstanding games to Xbox and Windows 10."

    Microsoft and Twisted Pixel have worked together over the last few months to make the latter's transition to becoming an independent studio again as smooth as possible.

    _______________________________________________________________________________________

    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/261228/twisted-pixel-no-longer-part-of-microsoft/

  • scissors
    September 30th, 2015GamespotUncategorized

    Super Mario Maker (WiiU) has retaken the top spot in Japan for the week ending September 27th, according to Media Create. The game sold a combined 52,396 units for the week. 

     

    Last week's top game - Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon (3DS) - is down one spot to second with sales of 44,555 units. Yo-kai Watch Busters: Red Cat Team / White Dog Squad (3DS) remains in third with sales of 39,468 units. 

    Utawarerumono: False Mask (PSV) debuted at number four with sales of 26,252 units. The PlayStation 4 version sold 18,635 units and the PlayStation 3 version sold 10,693 units.

    The Nintendo 3DS was the top selling platform at 29,110 units sold. The PlayStation Vita sold 19,078 units. The Wii U sold 18,024 units, the PlayStation 4 sold 4,071 units, and the PlayStation 3 sold 2,630 units. Xbox One sales fell to just 232 units. 

    Here is the complete top 20 chart:

    1. [Wii U] Super Mario Maker (Nintendo, 09/10/15) – 52,396 (245,182)
    2. [3DS] Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon (Nintendo, 09/17/15) – 44,555 (196,379)
    3. [3DS] Yo-kai Watch Busters: Red Cat Team / White Dog Squad (Nintendo, 07/11/15) – 39,468 (1,566,740)
    4. [PSV] Utawarerumono: False Mask (Aquaplus, 09/25/15) – 26,252 (New)
    5. [3DS] Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer (Nintendo, 07/30/15) – 21,785 (1,050,673)
    6. [Wii U] Splatoon (Nintendo, 05/28/15) – 20,736 (681,495)
    7. [PSV] Genkai Tokki: Moero Crystal (Compile Heart, 09/25/15) – 18,721 (New)
    8. [PS4] Utawarerumono: False Mask (Aquaplus, 09/25/15) – 18,635 (New)
    9. [3DS] Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King (Square Enix, 08/27/15) – 17,790 (776,665)
    10. [PS4] Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (Konami, 09/02/15) – 15,158 (372,233)
    11. [PS3] TV Anime The Idolmaster: Cinderella Girls G4U! Pack Vol. 5 (Bandai Namco, 09/25/15) – 13,287 (New)
    12. [PS3] Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (Konami, 09/02/15) – 11,217 (167,691)
    13. [PSV] Minecraft: PlayStation Vita Edition (SCE, 03/19/15) – 10,770 (343,434)
    14. [PS3] Utawarerumono: False Mask (Aquaplus, 09/25/15) – 10,693 (New)
    15. [3DS] Monster Hunter Diary: Poka Poka Airou Village DX (Capcom, 09/10/15) – 10,197 (83,687)
    16. [PSV] Hakuouki: Shinkai Kaze no Shou (Idea Factory, 09/25/15) – 10,064 (New)
    17. [PS4] The Witch and the Hundred Knight: Revival Edition (NIS, 09/25/15) – 8,902 (New)
    18. [PS4] Saint Seiya: Soldiers’ Soul (Bandai Namco, 09/25/15) – 6,938 (New)
    19. [3DS] Rhythm Heaven: The Best+ (Nintendo, 06/11/15) – 6,830 (475,059)
    20. [PSV] Resident Evil Revelations 2 (Capcom, 09/17/15) – 5,765 (21,698)

    _______________________________________________________________________________________

    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/261226/super-mario-maker-retakes-top-spot-in-japan/

  • scissors
    September 30th, 2015GamespotUncategorized

    Sony has revealed October's free games for PlayStation Plus subscribers. These titles will be made available to download for free from 6th October.

     

    The free PlayStation Plus games for September are as follows:

    • Broken Age (PS4, PSV)
    • Super Meat Boy (PS4, PSV)
    • Unmechanical Extended (PS4, PS3)
    • Kickbeat (PSV, PS3)
    • Kung Fu Rabbit (PSV, PS3)
    • Chariot (PS3)
    Note also that DriveClub PlayStation Plus Edition will be removed from the monthly games catalogue on October 6th.

    _______________________________________________________________________________________

    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/261227/playstation-plus-games-for-october-super-meat-boy-broken-age/

  • scissors
    September 30th, 2015GamespotUncategorized

    As was widely reported yesterday, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 required players to download a patch that was bigger than the game itself at launch. This has led to both criticism and speculation that perhaps the complete game is not on the disc.

    Activision, however, has attempted to quash these theories by coming out and saying that the core of the game is indeed on the disc and that the patch was necessary in order to fully integrate dedicated server support.

     

    "The core of the game is present on the disc and playable without downloading the patch," an Activision spokesperson told Game Informer. "The patch does contain tweaks that are needed to fully integrate dedicated server support, which is needed if the player is connected to the Internet since the game is always online. The patch also gives the players additional content as well as improved stability and overall experience."

    Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 released yesterday in North America for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and will release this Friday in Europe. The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions are set to release in November.

    _______________________________________________________________________________________

    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/261223/activision-core-of-tony-hawks-pro-skater-5-is-on-the-disc/

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