Dynasty Warriors 9 to Be Released for PS4, Xbox One and PC in the West

Koei Tecmo America has announced today that Omega Force’s latest entry in the long-running action franchise, Dynasty Warriors 9, will be released on the PlayStation 4 Computer Entertainment System, Xbox One, the all-in-one games and entertainment system from Microsoft, and Windows PC via Steam. Omega Force unveiled a plethora of new assets that offer a deeper look in to the vast Chinese landscapes and wildlife, new character designs, and brand-new characters!

Whether players choose to follow the main storyline quests or spend time exploring the vast natural wonders of China – from the lush cedar woods and bamboo forests of Chengdu to the legendary Great Wall – the ongoing war will continue to rage along their journey. Skirmishes, clashes, special side missions, and larger scale conflicts can be engaged at the player’s will as they venture through far –reaching lands, allowing for a sense of freedom of choice for the player previously unfelt in previous Dynasty Warriors titles. These battles range from scouting missions to discover powerful enemy officers, to guerilla actions to subdue messengers and scouts, to outright sabotage on enemy supply troops; success in these combat engagements offer great rewards and have an effect on future battles’ difficulty.

To further expand the choices available to the player, Koei Tecmo is also introducing two new playable characters to the game, each formidable in their own right! Man Chong, from the kingdom of Wei, is a brilliant general, skilled debater, and an excellent tactician. Meanwhile, Zhou Cang from the kingdom of Shu is best known for his incredible stamina and speed. Both characters join an already strong roster of fan favorites and will provide an even more diverse selection for players keen on exploring different storylines in different kingdoms.

Speaking of those old fan-favorites, Koei Tecmo is also releasing new costume designs for popular characters Sun Shangxiang, Lu Xun, and the powerful demon-god, Lu Bu!

Aarklash: Legacy Review

Aarklash: Legacy is a squad based tactical RPG developed by Cyanide Studio. The combat in Aarklash: Legacy is in real time with the ability to tactical pause whenever you wish. You can queue up abilities with the shift key which will allow you to chain abilities together so you don’t have to manually do each one when it is ready. It is possible to click on the portraits on enemies and bosses to see exactly what kind of stats and abilities they have, as well as if they have any buffs or debuffs. If one of your Wheel Swords go down in combat, you can easily click on them with another hero to revive them, but they won’t be successful if they’re being attacked.

In total you will run into 8 different characters you can add to your party, who are all called Wheel Swords. You can only have four of them in your party at a time, but you can freely choose who you want most of the time, since sometimes you will be forced to split into two groups. Luckily, even if they aren’t in your current group, they will still gain experience from battles. All Wheel Swords have a unique set of stats and attack types, resource pools, back stories, abilities, and passive bonuses and disadvantages. An example is Wendaroo who is a physical ranged Wheel Sword that uses healing magic, and can’t be silenced but must damage allies in order to gain mana instead of regenerating it over time.

Each Wheel Sword in Aarklash: Legacy has a total of 4 abilities, which can be enhanced later on with skill points. These abilities are all unique amongst each other and do more than just simply deal damage or heal allies. Except for one Wheel Sword, all abilities will have a cooldown as well as costing resource points such as mana or even health. A few abilities have the chance to affect both allies an enemies, which means you need to be careful since it is possible to heal enemies and damage allies. Example abilities are an area of effect knockdown which will interrupt everything around you including allies, and the ability to transfer buffs that are on enemies to yourself.

After party members have learned all of their skills, leveling up will start to earn them skill points. Since the max character level is 20, you will only get a total of 17 points per hero to use, which means you can only fully level up at most two skills at one time. You are able to apply these points to the four abilities that each character has, making it stronger, more efficient, and gaining special properties. It is possible to reset your points at any time which allows you to easily adapt for the current situation, as area of effect abilities won’t do you much for large boss fights. As you go down the ability tree, there will be branches that you have to decide on since you can’t go every direction at one time. An example is a simple healing ability that can later either heal both the target and caster, or become a channeled spell that continuously heals the target.

The only items that you will run into are four types of jewelry, such as rings and relics. Each type is completely equal to all of the others, you are just simply allowed to equip one of each onto each member of your party. They have differing values of rarity which of course increase the stats on them, which range from junk, magical, rare, and epic. Each rarity rank will increase the number of stats on them, from one being on junk and up to six on epic pieces. Stats can range from simply increasing the max hp, and increases magic damage by a percentage. When you are running out of space to carry jewelry, or just want to simply get rid of the pieces you will never use, it is possible to recycle pieces that add up on a counter. After the counter is filled, a random epic rarity piece of the last jewelry type that was recycled is created in your inventory.

As you explore the world of Aarklash: Legacy, you will run into groups of enemies consisting of many different types. Whether you are fighting humans or the undead, there are generally three types of units such as melee, archers, and spell casters. All enemies have the chance to drop an item of some kind, but it doesn’t happen too often. As you progress through the game, the same types of enemies will appear but with stronger stats, and even sometimes adding additional abilities that you need to learn about, so it is somewhat refreshing to see similar enemies.

While you’re adventuring through the world of Aarklash: Legacy, you will come upon large bosses at times. These bosses are unique and will act very different compared to everything else you will run across. It is wise to click their portrait and learn about all of the abilities that they use, since knowing how to prevent abilities like the automatic killing of your party is essential to victory. On defeat you will be rewarded with experience and a large pile of jewelry, usually containing at least one epic piece.

When you reach the second act of Aarklash: Legacy, you will start to encounter many different types of puzzles. Most of them are required in order to progress farther, but they aren’t too difficulty and just require a little bit of thinking. You will run into the same types of puzzles over and over, but they get more difficult and add in different elements at times however. Example puzzles are walking through a hallway with projectiles that will teleport you back to the start if you touch them, and creating shapes with switches to match an example shape given to you.

Most of these types of games just have you running around as a single character, or groups of characters in turn based combat. Aarklash plays a lot like Dragon Age: Origins in that you are able to pause the game and give orders to everyone, though nothing is able to be automated. It also feels a lot like a single player MMO raiding game, since the boss fights require a lot of coordination and you only have to rely on yourself.

All of the important options that you would need exist in Aarklash: Legacy such as rebindable controls, volume sliders, and graphical options. There is a unique gameplay option that you can turn on which will automatically pause the game when certain conditions occur, such as start of combat or one of your party members go down in agony. Graphical quality is quite standard with nothing bad or amazing about them. For some reason, the game randomly causes your GPU to go up and down in temperature for no apparent reason, and may cause weaker computers to overheat(just guessing). Everything is voice acted, though the quality of it could have been better, especially when the dog/kangaroo hero growls and snarls.

Especially on higher difficulty, it feels like you have to pause way too often, and thirty second cooldowns feel like five minutes. There’s nothing negative about being able to pause the game and coordinate all of your attacks, but since nothing happens automatically except for basic attacks, you will have to be constantly giving your party the same orders over and over. Other games like Final Fantasy XII and Dragon Age series had ways to let your party automatically use abilities while you can still manually give orders.

You will accumulate tons of jewelry to equip on your heroes, and eventually it can take a long time to equip your heroes, especially when you have 8 of them. Although it’d be best to manually do it, a “Equip Best” button could easily shorten the amount of time it takes to outfit everyone. Even though every hero that you can use in your party is unique from one another, some are just plain better than others and when you can only have 4 in a group at once and everyone gains experience even when not in your group, there’s just no reason to use some of them. There is one time where you are forced to split into two groups though, which is nice when you want to experience even the weaker wheel swords.

You can easily put the game into normal or easy difficulty if you don’t want a challenge. Even so, you will still need to know what types of abilities enemies and bosses can use as well as your own party. You will eventually run into puzzles, but they aren’t too challenging as long as you use your head a little bit. You can save at any time and the battles don’t last very long so anyone with a tight schedule can easily enjoy Aarklash: Legacy.

When you put Aarklash: Legacy on hard or even Ragnarok difficulty, you are in for quite the challenge. Enemies will be doing a whole lot more damage and fallen comrades will take even longer to resurrect if you can even get to them. Giant bosses are possibly the best thing you can look for, since it is a lot like doing a raid in MMOs but only with you in command. Other than possibly finding hidden bosses and treasure chests, there currently is nothing in the preview version that involves collecting or completing other than the main story. Achievements are available however, though they don’t affect the game in any way. Haven’t solved the game yet, but you can easily expect to get well over 12 hours of entertainment from it, depending on the level of difficulty and how often you have to reload.

Aarklash: Legacy is priced at 21 dollars and there is currently no DLCs announced at this time. If you are a big fan of commanding a small group of heroes around and using strategy and tactics to get past the hardest of obstacles, Aarklash: Legacy is well worth your money to buy.

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 Kang The Conqueror Trailer

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment today released a new trailer for LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 featuring Kang the Conqueror, a time-travelling Super Villain who has stolen numerous cities from across time and space to form the expansive Open Hub World of Chronopolis. First revealed at Comic-Con International: San Diego, the video spotlights Kang in his ultimate quest to take over the universe, as well as the many Marvel locations that make up Chronopolis, including Ancient Egypt, New York City in 2099, Wakanda, Xandar and many other Marvel settings.

At Comic-Con, TT Games also revealed a brand new character created in tandem with Marvel Games, fusing together the ever popular Carnage and Venom to form a new Marvel Super Villain called Carnom, a character who has never existed in the Marvel Universe before and is completely unique to LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2. Along with Carnom, TT Games announced a slew of other characters coming to the game, including Howard the Duck and his Iron Duck variant, who will be voiced by Kinda Funny’s Greg Miller, Gwenpool, the fan-favorite amalgam of Gwen Stacy and Deadpool, Vulture, from the “Spider-Man: Homecoming” film, Cosmo the Spacedog, Doctor Octopus, Forbush Man, Greenskyn Smashtroll and Throg. These Super Heroes and Super Villains will join the recently revealed Medusa and Lockjaw of the Inhumans, all playable in LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2.

Arcane Saga Online Review

Arcane Saga Online is a free to play massively multiplayer online role playing game developed by CJ Internet Game Studio. There are 4 races and 7 classes to choose from, while 3 races have both male and female options and each of the 7 classes can only be accessed from one of the 7 character race and gender options. Because of this, there isn’t a whole lot of character customization, since you will just have to pick the race and gender that has the class you are interested in. Each class will eventually have a total of 3 jobs to choose from, a party job at level 30 and PvP job at level 45, which all range from dps, tanking, healing, and PvP. After picking your desired class, you will be able to somewhat customize what your character will look like. Only the hair and face will have options to choose from, though there is a large selection of colors that you can choose for your hair and skin. Even though this is a free to play game, all of this means that there will not be paid options to change genders or even races, since it is all tied to your class. You might think you’re done, but you will also be able to choose what your Anima looks like. The options are the same as your character, in regards to hair and skin choices.

When you are around level 15, the Anima that you designed during character creation will become available to you. Other than simply following you around everywhere that you go, the anima can be quite useful in different situations. Moreso when you apply skill points to it, the abilities that you use during combat may be imitated by your Anima, which effectively causes the selected ability to be used twice. This can be deadly or helpful when you use an especially strong ability. Your Anima can also use a purify ability on either dead or alive enemies, which will give you crafting reagents. There is even a way to take control of it, allowing you to walk around in its shoes. . . you might even discover something this way.

If you have played other MMOs, there will be nothing new here. You will be going from zone to zone doing quests that involve killing different enemies over and over. Every once in a while you will get a quest that will want you to do something else, but they generally just require you to click and item when you get to a certain location.

Many activities, from simply using the in game ui and completing quests, will earn you simple achievements that will reward you with Star Coins. This kind of currency can be used in an in game store always available to you through the interface, with lots of different tools to help you on your journey to max level. A lot of these items are the same ones that can be bought with real money, though you can buy Star Coins with money as well, so if you prefer to earn items instead of simply opening up your wallet you are able to.

Along with the Star Coins that you are able to earn, you will also be given a lot of gifts through the mail system automatically when you reach certain character levels. These gifts come in a wide variety of the same ones that you can buy with either the coins or real money, even Star Coins themself, making another way to earn items without spending a dime. The issue with this though is that since you get quite a ton of them, if you try to accept them all at the same time your inventory will fill up fast and with limited space, this will cause a problem.

Every job will always have every skill in its arsenal available to you, so you will be playing with the same abilities from level one all the way up to 70. This may sound boring, but the skill points that you earn from leveling up can be applied to any of your abilities, causing them to either be stronger or work more often. You will have to wisely choose when and where to spend your points since they are per class instead of per job, since if you put them all into a healing role you will have none to put into your PvP job.

Except for a few jobs, most just have abilities that don’t seem to work or go together well, and you just feel like randomly pushing buttons. The addition of the combo system gets rid of this and allows you to create your own rotation. You choose which ability starts the combo, as well as 5 abilities after it that must be used in order. Each of the 5 abilities can be paired with a buff, which have a small chance of being applied to you when the successfully cast each ability in the combo. Buffs can range from simple status bonuses such as STR+, to healing you or regenerating mana. The combo system is very strict in how long you get to activate your abilities in a row, which balances it for PvP and rewards damage dealers for standing in the correct places.

The gear that exists in Arcane Saga isn’t very special on its own, which is where all the spheres come into play. Each piece of gear, from weapons and armor, to jewelry such as rings, has a base stat on it such as physical or magic defense. They all also have different colored slots to put items in called spheres, which have a large variety of colors. Each sphere is limited to which slots they can go into, base colors can only go into their own slot, while mixed color spheres can go into any color that they are part of. Since gear itself has almost no stats, the bonuses that you can get from spheres is huge and is important to pick the best stats for your job. The stats that spheres have can be any of the stats that exist in the game, such as extra hp and mp to bonus strength and wisdom. Each piece of gear also has two locked grey sphere slots that require special items to unlock, and the grey spheres that you can acquire are very powerful such as giving you a bonus of 30 to every stat at once. All spheres can easily be taken out and put back into any piece of gear at any time, so you can easily save your strong spheres for newer pieces of equipment.

There are many different types of equipment, potions and food, spheres, and gear upgrades that are available for you to craft. All crafting requires many different types of materials, and all of them can be found while killing monsters or disenchanting already obtained gear. The need to go around and hunt for shiny rocks to mine or plants to pick doesn’t exist in this game, which gets rid of a lot of grind and wasted time of waiting for your character to mine their 5000th rock. When crafting gear, you may or may not get a random assortment of already equipped spheres in the piece you made, making a good way to accumulate different types of spheres. Potions and food just require items you can find while killing enemies, and they are all simple ones that just restore health and mana. While you can’t directly make the colored spheres on your own, you can gamble ones that you already own along with a little bit of money which will randomly change its color and stats either for the better or worse. Grey spheres are the only ones that you can directly create, and they cost a lot of material to make.

Starting at level 30, you may begin to explore the many dungeons that are available every five levels. Grouping together with 5 other people, a tank and healer accompanied by 4 damage dealers will work their way through the many different rooms full of enemies, while periodically running into bosses to defeat. At first the dungeons are very easily done, even two people can complete the first dungeon, but as you get higher in levels the dungeons and their residents will become stronger and use more complex abilities. Bosses in the beginning just require the healer to keep the tank alive while everyone else kills it, but later on the bosses will indirectly attack the group with are of effect spells so everyone will have to make sure they’re paying attention to what they’re doing. All bosses have a chance to drop an item that can be sold for a large amount of money, as well as pieces of a dungeon specific set that can benefit any job.

Compared to other MMOs, you could say this game is simply unpolished and not worth the time. The grind to max level as well as materials to craft items is drastically reduced in Arcane Saga Online, since you can easily get to level 30 in the first day of playing. Gear having the ability to be greatly customized is another plus, since you can decide exactly what stats go on your gear.

The available options are very limited, but luckily you are able to rebind what every button does. A lot of the nice features and options in other MMOs however don’t exist. Even at the max settings, graphics for Arcane Saga are very simple and basic, though the character models do look fairly nice while the world and everything else look like they were made a decade ago. Every area has its own music while all abilities and attacks also have unique sounds, so they didn’t skimp there.

Overall, almost every mechanic in the game feels like as if it is unpolished. Everything feels and looks very simple, as well as being stiff and unresponsive when you try to do certain things. Not only does it exist in the game mechanics, but it is another MMO that feels like it was quickly and rushed through a translation team, since at times it can take a while before you figure out what something means. Skills and different specializations have always been a staple mechanic in MMOs, but in Arcane Saga they really limit your ability to change them around easily. You can only switch your job around 4 times every 24 hours, and in order to move your skill points around you must reset each one separately… which will cost a lot of Star Coins. Along with the previous restriction, you also can only enter each available dungeon four times a day, which can put a hamper on your journey if you don’t like quest leveling. Inventory space is very limited, and you can’t buy and use extra bags which you can do in almost every other MMO. With the amount of free goodies that they send you from leveling up, your inventory can get filled up very fast unless you decide to use all the gifts. Although it doesn’t affect gameplay, the fact that each race is tied to one class, that creates a big limitation in the customization of characters. Some people probably don’t want to be forced into a male role for tanks, or female role for healers. This is even moreso bizarre when you realise that both human choices only come with dps as both of their PvE jobs. . . male having two magical dps jobs and female having two ranged dps jobs.

As long as you are around the level as the enemies that you face while questing, they are all very easy since it is as simple as pushing buttons until the monsters are dead. If you ever struggled as a tank or healer in other MMOs, you might just want to stick to being a damager dealer when it comes to dungeons since both of the other roles will most likely be too much for you again. Even so, as you progress through the game even the people doing all the damage to bosses will have to make sure they aren’t causing the enemies to attack them as well as dodging all of the abilities that bosses tend to use on groups. Leveling your character out in the field while doing quests and killing enemies will allow you to quit at any time, since none of that content takes more than a few minutes to complete each task. However, if you are more interested in doing dungeons, they can easily take from 30-60 minutes to complete, and that is only if everyone is doing their job right. If you are doing a dungeon with possibly weaker players or strangers in general, you might not want to be willing to stick around for the amount of time it will take to complete the dungeons.

As with all other MMOs, PvP is an aspect that exists in Arcane Saga and it can happen out in the world while you’re leveling or in designated areas. With the wide selection of skills and abilities that exist on all the classes, as well as PvP specific jobs, you can expect PvP combat to be engaging. Even the PvE in Arcane Saga is challenging, which we don’t seem to see anymore in newer MMOs these days. A group that is above the dungeon’s level with a very good healer and tank can easily struggle on the bosses, meaning that groups that plan to do PvE content at the minimum level will definitely have a rough time. The achievements that currently exist in the game aren’t very difficult and most people will have earned most if not all of them by time they are at max level. Peros, on the other hand, will be what all collectors will be after because there are well over 100 of them. Some can simply be bought, but others will have to be found out in the world and collected with your Anima, such as a few guaranteed ones that can be found in the dungeons.

Arcane Saga Online is a completely free to play mmo and it does not suffer from having microtransactions. Currently, 99% of everything that you can buy with real money makes it a faster leveling experience to the max level of 70. There are a few cosmetic items though mostly for your Anima. Everything bought in the store uses NC, which costs a dollar per 1000. Star Coins can also be purchased, and with the most expensive purchase of 1000 of them being 27 and a half dollars, you might want to just earn the ones available in game first in case you don’t need that many. Most of everything costs between 1-5 dollars each, and can last either one day or 7 days, so it isn’t too overly expensive considering it is a free game. Mounts can also be rented for up to 30 days, which cost 4-5 dollars. Nothing in the store can give people large advantages, only unique convenience items such as being able to revive at 100% restoring at the spot that you died, but they can be costly. Compared to other free mmos, Arcane Saga Online has one of the best micro transaction models that won’t drain players of money. . . unless they want to reach max level very fast.

Sonic Forces ‘Villains’ Trailer

Today, SEGA revealed Sonic Force’s exciting new key art along with the latest trailer. The trailer features an all-star cast of Sonic villains and introduces a brand-new powerful, mysterious enemy, Infinite. Infinite joins Eggman’s evil group of henchmen in Sonic Forces which includes Chaos, Metal Sonic, Shadow and Zavok who have already taken over the world and are ready to create more next-level panic and disorder.

While more about Infinite will be revealed in the future, other villains making an appearance in today’s trailer include:

  • Doctor Ivo “Eggman” Robotnik: The original Mad Genius Doctor, and Sonic’s nemesis. After countless failed attempts, his plan to take over the world seems to finally be succeeding.
  • Chaos: An ancient power thought to have been quelled after the events of Sonic Adventure. His return is a mystery.
  • Shadow: Once called “The Ultimate Life Form”, Shadow fights for his own reasons. He appeared in Sonic Adventure 2.
  • Metal Sonic: One of the evil doctor’s most powerful creations, Metal Sonic first appeared in Sonic CD, and has returned at a few key moments since.
  • Zavok: The leader of a group known as The Zeti, Zavok is a powerful warrior who was first seen in Sonic Lost World.

Sonic Forces will be available for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, & PC this Holiday.

Sid Meier’s Civilization VI Review

I played Civilization V once. I thought I’d give it a bash to see what all the fuss was about. I ended up sat there in my underwear, utterly infatuated, from breakfast until 7pm in the evening when I finally conceded it was about time for some lunch.

Just one more turn, as the self-assured Civilization VI trailer reminds us – as if we need reminding. Civilization is the heroin of the video game world, to the degree that it could probably give even World of Warcraft pause for thought. With its heady combination of depth, accessibility and turn-based world domination, the series has had us engrossed since the early 90s, when Macs weren’t cool and sending your mates messages in MS-DOS was the nearest thing we had to social networking.

Just a few hours into the game it’s apparent that this is the most refined Civilization yet and smacks of its mobile offshoot Revolution (which is no coincidence, with both sharing the same interface designer). That’s not to say it’s watered down or underdeveloped; more that it’s a leaner experience with a focus on refinement over wholesale reform, easily resulting in the most accessible incarnation of the series yet to grace the PC platform.

The formula is as compulsive and hypnotic as ever, with your civilization’s capital city acting as the economic and military hub from which you are free to rule as you see fit. Workers busily turn tiles, the otherwise seamless segments that make up the fabric of land and sea, into roads, farms and mines, better exploiting any natural resources held within. Scouting parties dot around beyond the frontier, far outside your circle of influence, making first contact with city states and competing civilizations alike, paving the way for diplomacy. And all of this is punctuated with the turn-by-turn ticking of scientific research, nudging you ever-forward in the pursuit of scholarly goals, and the production of buildings, providing both function and form to your cities in equal measure.

And with four ways to win, free to rule you are. Perhaps a diplomatic victory takes your fancy, garnering trust through institutionalised pacifism, savvy trade and political posturing, in the hope of commanding a majority vote at the United Nations. If that all sounds like too much hard work you can always do like Genghis Khan and shoot for a domination victory, shoving all your resources into rapid expansion and military might.

While it would be nice to say the computer could handle all of these play styles with equal aplomb, it’s sadly not the case. The AI can be colossally dumb at times, quickly succumbing to the inherent complexity of the game and often coming across as transparent, awkward and occasionally absurd. Even on the hardest difficulty settings it’s not uncommon to see a civ sit in their capital city for more than a hundred turns, refusing to expand, with nary a single military unit for defence.

It’s not that they can’t put up a fight, and the whole game feels considerably tighter in the mid to late game, with the exploitation of city states becoming less valuable of an exercise (they donate a sizable amount of gold when you first encounter them) and other civs starting to hit their stride. It can however get tiresome and you could find yourself not finding the end-game mop up compelling enough to keep playing.

And it all comes back to being able to find the right amount of challenge. New players may wobble uncomfortably between the difficulty settings, potentially becoming bored long before they find their sweet spot. Advanced players will quite literally be making their own fun: purposefully starting in weak positions, turning city states off for no early game boost, or even automatically declaring war on all civs they encounter. This is, of course, one of the game’s strengths, and reminds you why there are no ‘levels’ or campaigns in Civilization VI: every game can be as different as you like. Natural resources, rivers, civs, city states, difficulty level, ocean-heavy maps for naval warfare or to break up the pace of the early game, continental battles with high ground – so many spiralling variables that play out over the course of 6, 8 or even 12 hour games.

There’s plenty of new touches too, such as the city screen, the main way of interacting with your cities, where you can tweak citizens’ work focus, add new production projects to the queue, view your number of buildings and assign specialists, as well as buy new tiles or units. Undoubtedly the most significant change though, is the removal of the long-standing square grid of the world map in favour of a hexagonal grid, a feature inspired by the 1994 game Panzer General, according to lead designer Jon Shafer. In addition, each hexagonal tile can accommodate only one military unit at a time, forcing armies to spread out, using the geography to their advantage and also opening up room for tactics like flanking. This completely changes the way in which battles are played out and not only makes them more strategic, but also moves away from simply reaching that critical mass of units, piling them all into a single tile, and stomping your way around the map.

Civilization VI looks better than ever, particularly at higher graphics settings, with details oozing from map tiles, cities and units. It does however seem to chug to a disproportionate degree, even on modern gaming rigs, with the engine struggling to keep up regardless of map size. There is hope, then, that this could be patched out in time, as it is a touch distracting, particularly when clicking Next Turn to shift the game forward.

And so its a game that inherits many of its flaws, none of which when taken in isolation do anything to mar the experience. The game’s biggest success is retaining almost all of the depth of previous games and presenting it to players in such a streamlined and effective manner. It’s deceptively simple at a glance, but play on – and you will – and you’ll soon be sucked in to its turn-by-turn charms, carefully balancing the needs of your people with the overwhelming urge to go and bash the civ next-door. And then, glaring unblinkingly at the screen, you realise it’s 7pm.

Portal Knights Review

Portal Knights does naturally draw immediately comparisons to other popular open world sandbox titles, with a square-based building block system that appears very reminiscent of games such as Minecraft or Terraria, but does not struggle to differentiate itself. Having finally been released from Early Access, this first complete version of the game does feel enjoyable, despite repetitive.

Portal Knight’s combat is not particularly great, yet is perhaps one of the more enjoyable parts of the game. The game combines a simplistic RPG system with the open world sandbox formula, allowing the player to choose between a Warrior, Mage or Ranger. In multiplayer, the synergy between the Warrior and the ranged attackers does make the game feel very co-operative, as the Warrior can often just draw the monster’s attacks away from the others, allowing the other classes pelt them with attacks from afar. The combat does feel smooth and its simplicity is perhaps beneficial for players who are more focused on building, but for a game so loaded with enemies, the variety of the gameplay is pretty underwhelming. The system’s repetitiveness quickly becomes monotonous, as practically every enemy can be beaten with just your standard left click basic attack and a combat roll. However, the three classes do feel different, and stylistically the differences between the three are somehow still impressive despite the entire game really being split between two button presses. The boss fights are pretty challenging until the players work out what they’re supposed to do, and from then on, they are no harder than regular monsters, other than having more health.

If you are coming into this game expecting a free, open world experience, you may be disappointed to find out that calling it open world is a stretch. The player progresses through different maps by finding and unlocking several “portals”, giving access to 44 different areas. The sizes of these areas are chosen by the player at the start of the game, between small, medium and large, and although the large maps are huge and can provide an open world vibe, it often prevents a player from progressing through to the next area due to difficulties related to finding the portals in such a massive space. These different areas also result in very many loading screens, which is part of why the game is very questionably open world. A large world will keep the player in the loading screen for a very long time, and even medium worlds can take too long for the player to want to travel frequently. The game does not incentivise the player to stay in a single area either; progressing to the next area is encouraged as it allows for players to discover and obtain new materials to craft new armours, weapons and blocks. As resources on each map tend to be exhausted fairly quickly, especially in smaller maps, it often feels like there’s nothing to do other than move on.

The locations of these portals can often be completely illogical too. Usually they are placed the island that you have spawned on, but they can be randomly inside cliff faces that are hidden from the player’s view or very difficult to get to, on floating islands way above your spawn point. This is also not the only problems the random map generator seems to have, as the spawn point can be placed way below the surface, even inside a dungeon, meaning that if the player dies, which can be extremely easy since the game’s map generator seems to enjoy making it very easy for the player to fall off the entire map, the player will have to make their way out of the entire dungeon again.

Of course, you can build a new spawn point when you gather the materials to. Unfortunately, building often includes a lot of waiting time, and creating a new spawn point will take the game eight minutes. Fortunately, you can leave and explore while these eight minutes pass, but nearly everything that you build can end up with the player spending a lot of time doing nothing other than waiting. The waiting times do feel simply pointless, as most things do not take eight minutes to make like the spawn points do. Metal bars take five seconds each per bar, meaning when the player makes them in bulk and has to wait a minute or two, there really isn’t anything for the player to do than essentially go AFK or just look blankly at their inventories, as it’s not long enough to get anything done in the game other than spend the majority of it in a waiting screen.

Building in the game often feels pointless and difficult and the game overall thrives far more as a combat-based RPG than a Minecraft-like builder. Placing blocks often feels illogical as you’ll often place blocks in places where they weren’t intended, and as you get forced to position yourself in very precise ways to get blocks where you want them to go, the process takes too long for building to be fun. These sandbox aspects don’t seem to be badly thought out outside of this, as there is a nice variation of attractive blocks, as well as decent furniture and other environments and buildings in the game do look very nice, but unfortunately the mechanics of the game, as of right now, feel too clunky to allow the player to make something like this themselves without frustration.

A basic storyline is attempted but features nothing other than an opening and ending cutscene, with some basic lines of text shown if the player is the current host of the world, while players that aren’t the host really don’t experience the storyline at all. The parts of story that are scattered around the game feel unnecessary and uncontextualized, and the plot does not incentivise the character to progress or “win” in any way. This is not to say that the game doesn’t make you want to play it more though, and the game is perfectly fine played without any interest in the plot. The plot’s existence, however, felt like it was added in as an afterthought, as if the creators believed it was mandatory as opposed to actually wanting it to be an interesting part of the game.

Exploration of maps are usually based around underground dungeons. This is generally unrewarding, as the chests you find rarely give you anything that helps you progress. Most of the loot in the game consists of fairly generic ore, potions, building blocks and general fodder. You won’t get armour pieces or weapons as drops, or really anything exciting that will make you want to explore for them more. Other than these dungeons, exploration is generally fairly limited, and the areas are usually based around “themes” rather than anything special. You won’t often find a large difference between two desert maps or two volcano maps, for instance. You’ll find several NPCs too, but they mostly do not have much value. Some are merchants, while some offer quests that give considerable EXP points, yet others seem to just be there to characterise the areas and make them feel a bit more alive, which doesn’t work when they are maybe the only NPC you will encounter in the area. Quests-wise, the game also generates “event” quests on occasion, but these never seem to reward the player with anything useful.

Multiplayer is the far more enjoyable way to play the game but is heavily reliant on if the players are willing to help each other. This is not an MMORPG nor is meant to be player like one. This is a heavily co-operative game and the players will constantly be gathering materials for others that they don’t necessarily need for themselves but are required by others in the party. When somebody in the group selects an area to teleport to, the entire team will be teleported there, and nobody in the group, not even the person who initiated the teleportation, can cancel it. This is an obvious problem with the game, and makes communicating with the others in your team key as the loading screens take so long that teleporting back to the original location would just result in a long period of boredom. This is not a game that can be played without co-operation, understanding and patience.

As a whole, this game is far from bad. It looks simple and pretty, is easy to get into and is relaxing, but lacks content and can often feel frustrating in the areas noted above. Still, this is a fun game to play with a friend or two, though perhaps not currently worth the £15 you’d have to spend on it. Do not expect a great open world sandbox experience, but do expect a simplistic and enjoyable RPG that can even be accessible to someone that you know who doesn’t usually play video games in the first place.

The Walking Dead: A New Frontier Season Finale Trailer

Today we can share the official trailer for the season finale of the critically-acclaimed The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series – A New Frontier.

Beginning Tuesday, May 30th, players can download Episode 5: ‘From the Gallows’ on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC/Steam, iOS, and Android-based devices. The episode will also download for all users of the special Season Pass disc for consoles, which includes the critically acclaimed two-part premiere and grants access to all subsequent episodes in the five-episode season for download as they become available.

Episode description: Richmond teeters on the brink of collapse as chaos reigns from all directions. The lives of its citizens and all those closest to Javier hang in the balance. The decisions you’ve made and bonds you’ve nurtured across the season will determine which characters now trust Javi to safeguard all they hold dear as the crisis pushes every relationship past its breaking point…

The two-part premiere of The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series – A New Frontier launched to widespread critical acclaim. In their review of the premiere, IGN.com said that, “Smart characterization and writing for Javi and his family, plus the return of Clementine, add weight to a largely unfamiliar but already engaging new frontier that I can’t wait to continue to explore,” adding that its “uncharted territory feels familiar and, excitingly, fresh.”

GamesRadar said that A New Frontier, “demonstrates the resonant power of interactive storytelling,” and that it, “finds the right balance between rewarding longtime players who’ve shaped their own version of the story and welcoming those who might be hopping aboard this grim adventure for the first time.”

Game Informer said the two-part premiere has, “shocking deaths, intense betrayals, and split-second decisions to second-guess,” claiming that “Everything leads up to a hell of a cliffhanger, making me intrigued to see what happens next.”

The Walking Dead: A New Frontier acts as both a new beginning for players fresh to the series and unfamiliar with Clementine, as well as a continuation for players who have experienced Seasons One and Two. Players new to the series are able to start a story that is tailored to this new beginning. Players continuing onward from prior seasons have multiple options for quickly configuring their tailored backstory, or importing past save files from various platforms.

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 officially announced

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, TT Games, The LEGO Group and Marvel Entertainment today announced LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2, an all-new, original adventure and sequel to smash hit, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes. Bringing together iconic Marvel Super Heroes and Super Villains from different eras and realities, along with signature LEGO humour, the latest epic adventure from TT Games transports players into a cosmic battle across a myriad of Marvel locations ripped from time and space into the incredible open hub world of Chronopolis. LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 will be available starting 17th of November for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. The game will be released for Nintendo Switch this Christmas.

“With a completely original branching storyline, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 introduces amazing new gameplay features, including the ability for characters to manipulate time and a four-player competitive Super Hero battling mode,” said Tom Stone, Managing Director, TT Games. “With a huge array of brand new characters from the Marvel universe, including old favourites in new guises, this game is sure to thrill both LEGO and Marvel fans, as well as newcomers to the series.”

“The LEGO Group is delighted to continue the stories of the legendary Marvel characters in a new LEGO adventure,” said Sean McEvoy, VP Digital Games, The LEGO Group. “Fans young and old will love playing through this all-new cosmic saga spanning the Marvel Universe as seen through the LEGO lens.”

“As we look to bring amazing games to Marvel fans of all ages, we’ve teamed up yet again with our incredible partners at LEGO, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and TT Games,” said Jay Ong, SVP, Games & Innovation, Marvel Entertainment. “LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 brings characters from across Marvel’s history into an original story told in a way that only LEGO games can, offering hours of epic gameplay.”

“Delivering on our commitment to make unforgettable games, it was only a matter of time before we teamed back up with our incredible partners at LEGO, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and TT Games,” said Jay Ong, SVP, Games & Innovation, Marvel Entertainment. “LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 brings characters from Marvel’s storied history into an original story that transports players into a one-of-a-kind LEGO world, offering hours of epic gameplay.”

Players will go head-to-head with the time-traveling Kang the Conqueror in an epic battle across Chronopolis, from Ancient Egypt and The Old West to Sakaar and New York City in 2099. Along the way, gamers will be able to take control of a host of iconic characters, from Cowboy Captain America from the past to Spider-Man 2099 from the future along with Thor, Hulk, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Doctor Strange, Green Goblin and dozens of other Marvel Super Heroes and Super Villains.

Packed with entertaining LEGO humour for fans of all ages, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 features a four player multiplayer mode, allowing friends and family to play competitively or cooperatively as a team.

Absolver Launches August 29

Independent developer Sloclap and low blow specialists Devolver Digital pulled no punches today as the company released a brand new trailer showcasing the details and nuance of combat in the upcoming online melee action game and announced that Absolver is set to kick your face off on PlayStation 4 and PC August 29th.

Absolver puts players behind the mask of a Prospect, who has taken a sacred vow and chosen to join the Absolvers, an elite corps of combatants fighting to maintain stability in the world. Prospects will choose a combat style, each with their own special abilities, and assemble their own custom Combat Deck to create a personal fighting system in intense, real-time combat. Choose to wander the land alone, with friends, or find a mentor to spar and learn from to become a more polished warrior.

Absolver’s new trailer dives deep into these details, giving players a good look at each unique fighting method and the abilities they serve. At the beginning of your journey, players choose one of three combat styles, but others exist in the world of Adal waiting to be discovered.