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Mass Effect: Andromeda (XOne)

24 Mar

Here’s the situation – a beloved, epic sci-fi series, though not without controversies and detractors, has its first new release in years. It’s set after the original trilogy so many of us love, and has a new man at the helm of the project. It promises some new faces, settings, and situations, yet borrows some core themes from the original trilogy, and doesn’t necessarily blaze any exciting new paths. The end result is an excellent, albeit conservative, entry. It ticks all the boxes of its predecessors so that it feels familiar, yet offers enough new content that it still manages to feel fresh. This is Mass Effect: Andromeda.

Andromeda is set some 600 years after the original Mass Effect trilogy. You play as one of the Ryder twins, fresh out of cryostasis aboard the ark ship Hyperion, of which your father is the “Pathfinder”. You are part of the Andromeda Initiative, the name for the mission of races from the Milky Way attempting to inhabit the Andromeda galaxy. It’s a bold and fascinating concept, though I would argue its realization in the game is at least a bit tame. Very early on in its time in Andromeda, the ship runs into a celestial phenomenon and events begin unfolding quickly.


Throughout the game, I noticed a trend of streamlined elements, inconsistent experiences, and conservative approaches. There are some additions and changes to the series, but they’re not major. Thankfully, I would say that nor are they missteps.

Within moments, you’re conveniently introduced to your new scanner ability, something you will have to utilize heavily throughout. With a simple press of down on the d-pad, it will present a new view on things, often unveiling new discoveries or options that are imperative to your progress. It works a lot like ‘detective mode’ in the Batman: Arkham games. Although it felt a bit forced at first, particularly because of how quickly you have to use it, it came to feel natural. Sometimes, I actually wished it did a little more.

It’s a subtle addition, but it works well. And that describes most of the other new and modified elements in Andromeda. The glyph decryption, a Sudoku inspired puzzle you’ll have to solve a number of, provides both challenge and entertainment. This is the closest thing this entry has to any of the hacking aspects from past games, and in my opinion, it’s superior.


There’s now a jump-jet, which I found I used as much in traversing as I did in combat. With light-platforming elements now in the series, this jump-jet is essential, but it is also useful for the occasional shortcut. If you aim while in the air from a jump, the jets will allow you to hover while you take a few choice shots. It’s a sleek feature, but it is often a very practical and effective way to land shots on enemies ducking behind cover. On that note, I found the enemy AI to be pleasing in the tactics they used and the challenge they presented.

Combat would fall under the streamlined category. In general, it is fast paced and satisfying. Compared to past Mass Effect games, it has been simplified and sped up. No longer can you pause the action to issue commands to your squad, although you can specify targets for at least a couple of your tech abilities, such as the turret. I did have trouble landing melee attacks, but I’m not sure if that’s on the game or an operator error. I wasn’t crazy about the cover mechanic being automatic, rather than mapped to a button, but, to its credit, it worked well. Ultimately, combat in Andromeda has moved even further from feeling RPG-like, and more like a good third-person shooter.

Seemingly all of the weapons, armor, and skills/abilities from previous games are here, and feel great in the tweaked combat system. You can discover and level up a few new biotic (Force-like) and tech (grenades, mines, etc.) powers, in addition to leveling up a wide range of combat abilities. What’s interesting, is that your options in this regard are not at all limited by a class selection. SAM, The AI “partner” you have gives you the option to equip various class “profiles” that are unlocked based on how you invest your skill points. But rather than limit your options, these profiles augment certain ones. Leveling up in this game is different from others, but I liked it, even if I didn’t take advantage of its flexibility much.

So, as alluded to, a lot of the differences are subtle changes, such as abbreviating how you mine planets from you ship (it’s now a one and done probe if you locate an anomaly, and there is seemingly only ever one on a planet). There is an unobtrusive mining ability, with a radar, much like the one used to mine from space in past games, available when traversing worlds in the Nomad, a six-wheeled land vehicle that comes in handy while exploring large, often harsh, planets.


Similarly, other aspects feel like natural combinations or evolutions of past entries in the series as well. A good example of this is the multiplayer, which is still essentially just “horde mode” with occasional small twists. It can also still help you some with your single player campaign, but now it is more tightly woven into it, allowing you to dispatch strike teams on missions, or play some yourself right from the campaign. It doesn’t have much impact on your campaign experience or ending, as it did in Mass Effect 3, but you can gain items and credits that are useful.

I would have liked to have seen more done with the multiplayer premise. It’s by no means bad, but aside from the better integration into the campaign itself, it’s eerily similar to the one found in Mass Effect 3. It can help round out your experience and extend your time with the game, but it feels limited. Some may come to love to grind in it, but I just see a lot of untapped potential. This is an example of where the development team's conservative approach does the most damage. It seems like it could and should be so much more than just the combat from the single player campaign shoehorned into a handful of relatively small levels.

A notable improvement is that the campaign is more immersive overall. There is no sign of the “level complete” screen that was introduced in Mass Effect 2, which felt more appropriate for the end of a level of Sonic than it did in this series. Instead, it seems to borrow more from the original Mass Effect, with few blatant load screens. Loading is often concealed behind (sometimes frustratingly) slow-opening doors, or prerendered sequences. The first-person animations when traveling across the Helius Cluster in Andromeda also lend themselves well to the immersive experience, in addition to helping add weight to the size of, and distances in the cluster. Another nice touch is the ability to view out of your ship when in space and see your surroundings.

The worlds are better in this game than in the past, but not necessarily by much. Some of them feature large open areas - larger than anything I recall in other Mass Effect games - but individually, they don’t necessarily push any boundaries. Together, they might form a pretty big playable area that would rival other large open world games (ones that usually only feature one planet).

Like many other open-world type games, the large areas can often feel devoid of life and activity, but it makes a lot of sense in the context of this particular game. Even the different cities and outposts having modest activity makes sense now. In past entries, I chalked this up to technological constraints, and while I’m sure that is still a factor here, it at least fits better. Additionally, as more areas of the planets became accessible to me, the greater scale helped pull me deeper into the experience (though in the end, I utilized the fast-travel as much as possible in areas I had already explored).

The graphics are essentially standard-fare for this gen. They’re mostly beautiful, and clearly an improvement for the series. However, the graphics and performance may be where some of those inconsistencies are most evident. Impressive as the graphics are in general, it was not uncommon for me to see details pop in, sometime as close as ten feet away. Sometimes the textures didn’t appear properly, from flickering in the distance to the textures on faces never appearing, leaving them unbelievably smooth, sometimes fuzzy, for a period. Similarly, I recall looking out to a beautiful scene of celestial lights and gases, but the nearby planet and especially the moons were flat and fuzzy.


Some of the animations do a disservice to the game as well. From choppy, Claymation like movement (usually only seen in things at a distance), to several enemies that simply didn’t move at all when I encountered them. Some of the facial expressions, maybe even the faces themselves, can be off-putting, or inappropriate given the emotion of the situation. Yet, a few times I was really impressed by the nuanced and realistic emotions and animations being conveyed.

Likely due at least in part to the graphics, performance issues occur far too often. It can be anything from the framerate bogging down to complete hang-ups lasting for a few seconds. So, while the combat and game in general are fast and fun, you’d be hard pressed to not notice these problems when they arise. They genuinely didn’t affect my enjoyment much, but I could understand if they do for others, especially on a harder difficulty setting.


On the sound side, things are generally great. There’s the occasional bad line, or perhaps delivery, but for the most part, everything audio related is fine. The score is excellent. It does a great job of conveying emotions, and really adds to the experience. If I had a gripe with it, it’d be that it is underutilized. But when it does show up, it is impactful, and that’s exactly what you want from music in a game.

The most notable sound issue I encountered, and remained even after adjusting some audio settings, was that if the camera is not facing a character when they’re speaking, hearing them can be difficult to impossible. Subtitles are on by default, and needed because of this. There were times when I was locked in a conversation with a group of people and was literally unable to hear some members talking because I couldn’t pan the camera to them. Another technical hiccup with sound is that of delayed delivery (or repeat) of information, which more than once left me looking for data or an anomaly that I had already acquired.

Not to downplay the aforementioned elements (or any of their respective issues), but for me, the paramount component for a game like Mass Effect is how engrossing it is overall. This is where Andromeda is somewhat conservative, but at the same time, very strong and consistent. I consider it conservative because of the modest amount of new races, technology, and character types introduced. In addition, there are some eerily familiar themes between this and the original trilogy. I’m not sure if that’s deliberate to play into a bigger plan, recycling, or simply a coincidence. It’s not awful, but when you stop and think about it, you’ll likely notice them.

Aside from that, as mentioned before, some of the way the game and its worlds are presented help immerse you. That immersion is bolstered by a compelling premise, with interesting characters, worlds and situations. A noteworthy streamline here is the removal of the paragon/renegade system, or any overt gauge or tracking for your standing with others. I found this disconcerting at first, but having to actually look and listen to responses felt more organic and engaging.

Of course, some of the missions are a little repetitive, some plots predictable, and as mentioned before, some dialogue a little weak. All the same, so much of what you see, do, and experience, is captivating. When exploring viable planets, you can reach locations that will deploy a forward station, essentially a small pod that serves as a fast travel location, and from which you can receive safety, supplies, adjust your loadout, or deploy your Nomad vehicle.

That’s a pretty small aspect of what you can do. Your job is establishing outposts for your fellow Milky Way inhabitants, making way for more to come out of cryostasis and begin their new lives in Andromeda. Some of the change and progress you can bring about is really satisfying, some of the decisions you’re forced to make are daunting.

The relationships and exchanges you can experience with your squad members, as well as a number of additional characters in Andromeda are fulfilling and feel genuine. There are a number of intriguing characters and story threads to follow. It seems some of the questions and mysteries you can uncover here cannot completely be answered or solved within the game, and I love that! Outside of all of that, there’s exploring, leveling, crafting, and a slew of small quests to ensure you get even further enthralled.

This month, we’ve seen two games from established series bravely push themselves into new territory, and I’ve found the end result of those very satisfying. This game definitely lacks that kind of courage. However, it is 'Mass Effect' through and through, and it’s hard for me to complain about that. What those games achieved is not easy. I’ve seen a number of entries in beloved series try to change and lose the identity that made them great to begin with. Having witnessed that, I know it can be a lot worse than playing safe in a sequel. Really, the idea that so many possibilities for Mass Effect: Andromeda remain, from introducing new gameplay mechanics, to, more importantly, further exploring Andromeda, discovering new worlds, races, stories and mysteries, combined with clear hints that there is more ahead for us in (watch the credits for a Marvel-esque bonus scene), is thrilling to me.


Perhaps that says it best. I could pick apart real or perceived problems in this or any other title, but the bottom line is that I absolutely loved this game. My biggest disappointment after the exhilarating climax was that it was essentially over. My time in this new galaxy, with these new characters and situations, was so enjoyable that I was genuinely saddened by the realization that the credits rolling indicated that the bulk of the experience was over. For me, Mass Effect: Andromeda is like a good book that you don’t want to put down, nor do you want it to end. The litany of complaints and problems are little typos or creases in the pages. You’d be hard pressed to miss them, but you gladly look past them to continue the stellar experience.

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Brandon J. Wysocki is a writer for VGChartz.  He is also the writer of the science fiction story Space Legend: Resistance.  Click through to find links to download parts of the story for free from multiple providers.  You're invited to comment on his articles or contact him on VGChartz via private message (username SpaceLegends) to give him the attention he desperately seeks.

Full Article - http://www.vgchartz.com/article/267751/mass-effect-andromeda-xone/

Blaster Master Zero (NS)

23 Mar

Despite shipping alongside one of the most celebrated video games of all time, the Nintendo Switch has had a rather austere launch window. That window appeared bigger and brighter on March 9, when Blaster Master Zero arrived on the eShop. A remake of the NES classic Blaster Master, Blaster Master Zero is a fantastic reboot that pays tribute to the past while accommodating the present. It’s also a boon for Nintendo’s fledgling hybrid. After Breath of the Wild and Shovel Knight, it’s the best game available on Nintendo Switch.

Blaster Master Zero follows closely the story of the Western release of the NES original, with a few adjustments here and there. A young man named Jason discovers a strange frog, whom he calls Fred. When Fred jumps into a wormhole, Jason follows after him. He finds himself underground, in the decaying ruins of an old Earth. Nearby is a super-powered tank called SOPHIA III, which Jason uses to track Fred, fight the mutants that live inside the planet, and eventually discover a more intricate plot. 

The story is profoundly silly and suffers a bit from translation issues, but it’s charming in a 1980s throwback way. Where else but in a video game would a young hero discover a mutant-fighting tank underground while searching for a frog? Also charming is the game’s retro pixel art. Developer Inti Creates used the assets from the original Blaster Master as a starting point to create 8-bit graphics that work beautifully with Blaster Master Zero‘s old-school sensibilities.

As in the original, Blaster Master Zero is a 2D platformer-shooter hybrid that is inspired by the non-linear progression of Metroid. In sideview perspective, players control Jason as he navigates SOPHIA III across suspended platforms, under water, and over spikes and lava flows. By pressing X, players can eject Jason from the tank and explore on foot. This will prove necessary to access the many dungeon entrances scattered across Blaster Master Zero‘s large, interconnected game world. Once inside a dungeon, the sideview perspective shifts to top-down.

Part of what makes the game so successful is that both perspectives — and the mechanics and weapons that go with them — are equally engaging. In top-down mode, Jason employs several sub-weapons and explosives to defeat mutants, find secret shortcuts and, eventually, topple one of many boss creatures. Using the power-ups, keys, and maps found in each dungeon, Jason pushes forward across several detailed, diverse subterranean environments via SOPHIA III in sideview mode. Each half of Blaster Master Zero complements and informs the other.

While Blaster Master Zero looks like a game plucked from 1988, it actually boasts quite a few modern revisions. In addition to new sub-weapons, areas, and storylines, the game features save points and an in-game map. This makes for a far more forgiving and less disorienting experience. Another new element is the game’s local co-op mode. In this mode, player two controls an aiming reticle and fires at enemies while player one controls SOPHIA’s navigation and weapons systems. It’s essentially a “helper” mode, as in Super Mario Galaxy. Still, it’s a welcome addition.

New and revised boss battles are another highlight. Take, for example, the battle with Hard Shell, a giant mutated crab. In the original Blaster Master, Hard Shell strafes left and right, shooting toxic bubbles. In the remake, Hard Shell moves quickly around a large complex, charging at Jason. It’s not unlike an aquatic version of the Vulcan Raven fight from Metal Gear Solid. Regrettably, some of the more interesting bosses are recycled during Blaster Master Zero‘s endgame.

That’s a relatively minor quibble, however. Apart from a few localization issues and a handful of recycled bosses, Blaster Master Zero stands as a shining example of a retro remake done right. Inti Creates left the core mechanics intact and textured them with modern conveniences. The result is a title that winks at the 1980s but provides a gaming experience entirely accessible and engaging for players in 2017. 

Full Article – http://www.vgchartz.com/article/267680/blaster-master-zero-ns/

Super Bomberman R (NS)

23 Mar

Bomberman is one of those 90s gaming icons that limped into the twentieth century. With the rise of 3D graphics engines and huge open worlds, top-down maze games fell out of fashion, and with them went the cheerful white bomb-layer himself, Bomberman. Now, 10 years after his last appearance and 33 years after his gaming debut, Bomberman is back with his seven siblings in Super Bomberman R. Co-developed by Konami and HexaDrive, Bomberman R is split into two main modes: story and multiplayer. In many ways, Bomberman R is the tale of two games, as its story mode disappoints while its multiplayer mode — especially its local multiplayer mode — entertains.

Set in the Starry Sky solar system, this newest Bomberman game follows the heroic White Bomberman and his seven put-upon siblings as they attempt to rid the system of the evil Professor Buggler (formerly Bagura). Up to two players can play through the story’s 50 levels, which span across five planets. The story is simple and inoffensive, and told swiftly via animated cut-scenes.

50 levels may sound like a lot, but they go by quickly. Worse, they’re mostly boring. Konami and HexaDrive attempted to spice things up with different objectives, for example rescuing stranded civilians or finding hidden keys, but even that variety doesn’t do much to elevate the repetitive and shallow gameplay. Making matters more frustrating in story mode is an isometric camera that makes it difficult to judge gaps and elevation changes.

There is a bright spot, however: boss battles. Every ninth or tenth stage, the Bombermen siblings face off against one of the five Dastardly Bombers. Round one is a cat-and-mouse game with each Bomber’s robot form, and round two is a battle against his or her giant mech. Both are rewarding and challenging, and break up the monotony of the main campaign.

In any event, the selling point of any Bomberman game is its multiplayer mode, and it’s here where Konami and HexaDrive perform on more stable ground. Local multiplayer is an absolute blast (forgive the pun). Up to eight players can join locally and battle on the same TV, according to a wide range of custom options: number of rounds; time; starting position; skulls (bad effects); pressure blocks (sudden death); and revenge carts, which allow defeated players to hover outside the map and toss bombs back in. Moreover, players who want to practice solo can fill matches with bots. It’s all very fun and addictive.

There are even more multiplayer options online, including “Free” and “League” battles. Free battles are your typical Bomberman multiplayer fare, with options for friends-only rooms and customization. League battle is more like the “For Glory” mode in Super Smash Bros. Players compete with others from around the world, earning (or forfeiting) battle points that unlock access to higher leagues. They can also earn coins, which are redeemed in Bomberman R‘s shop. Unfortunately, online play suffers from slight lag. It feels like each Bomberman is moving at three-fourths speed. As of March 10, Konami has promised an update to fix the problem.

Back to the Bomberman R shop. It’s a strange thing. Accessories, characters, and multiplayer maps are available in exchange for coins. These coins are earned in story mode and across multiplayer, creating an incentive to keep playing in order to unlock everything the game has on offer. However, players earn coins slowly and shop items are expensive, creating the potential for frustration for those who expect instant gratification.

So, that’s Super Bomberman R. Story mode is a chore, outside of entertaining boss fights. Online multiplayer is robust but suffers some technical issues. Local multiplayer is the best of the bunch, and a nice way to spend a Friday night with friends. After seven years of nothingness for the White Bomber, it’s a serviceable but unadventurous return to form.

Full Article – http://www.vgchartz.com/article/267679/super-bomberman-r-ns/

Rumor: Leaked Destiny 2 Poster Reveals September 8 Release Date

23 Mar

A poster for Destiny 2 has been leaked online and it reveals the release date for the game is September 8. However, until an official announcement is made by Activision or Bungie this should be treated as a rumor.

A beta for the game is mentioned and will be coming to the PlayStation 4 first in June, according to Eurogamer’s Tom Phillips.

Tweet

Thanks Reddit.

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/267750/rumor-leaked-destiny-2-poster-reveals-september-8-release-date/

Rumor: Leaked Destiny 2 Poster Reveals September 8 Release Date

23 Mar

A poster for Destiny 2 has been leaked online and it reveals the release date for the game is September 8. However, until an official announcement is made by Activision or Bungie this should be treated as a rumor.

A beta for the game is mentioned and will be coming to the PlayStation 4 first in June, according to Eurogamer’s Tom Phillips.

Tweet

Thanks Reddit.

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/267750/rumor-leaked-destiny-2-poster-reveals-september-8-release-date/

Meet 2 More Heroes of Dragon Quest Heroes II in New Trailer

23 Mar

Square Enix has released a new Heroes trailer for Dragon Quest Heroes II introducing Maribel and Ruff.

View it below:

Dragon Quest Heroes II launches for the PlayStation 4 on April 25 in North America and April 28 in Europe. For Windows PC it launches worldwide on April 25.

Thanks Gematsu.

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/267749/meet-2-more-heroes-of-dragon-quest-heroes-ii-in-new-trailer/

Nintendo: JoyCon Wireless Issues Caused by ‘Manufacturing Variation’

23 Mar

There have been reports that some Nintendo Switch users have been having connection issues with the left JoyCon when using it in wireless mode. Nintendo has released a statement to Kotaku that the issue was caused by a “manufacturing variation” and is not a design flaw. 

“There is no design issue with the Joy-Con controllers, and no widespread proactive repair or replacement effort is underway,” said a Nintendo representative. “A manufacturing variation has resulted in wireless interference with a small number of the left Joy-Con. Moving forward this will not be an issue, as the manufacturing variation has been addressed and corrected at the factory level.

 

“We have determined a simple fix can be made to any affected Joy-Con to improve connectivity.

“There are other reasons consumers may be experiencing wireless interference. We are asking consumers to contact our customer support team so we can help them determine if a repair is necessary. If it is, consumers can send their controller directly to Nintendo for the adjustment, free of charge, with an anticipated quick return of less than a week. Repair timing may vary by region. For help with any hardware or software questions, please visit http://support.nintendo.com.”

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/267748/nintendo-joycon-wireless-issues-caused-by-manufacturing-variation/

Sony Unveils New PSVR Titles

23 Mar

Sony Interactive Entertainment announced nine new PlayStation 4 games, many of which will be supporting PlayStation VR. 

The games have been created by Sony’s China Hero Project, which helps developers in China. 

Here is a round up video of the announced games:

The games confirmed to have PSVR support are The Walker, The X Animal and Pervader VR.

View the trailers for the PSVR games below:

 

Thanks UploadVR.

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/267746/sony-unveils-new-psvr-titles/

PSN Only on PlayStation Sale Discounts Exclusives Up to 55% Off

23 Mar

 Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe is running an Only on PlayStation sale that discounts exclusive games on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita up to 55 percent off. The sale ends April 5.

Some of the biggest titles have been discounted. This includes Uncharted 4, Bloodborne, The Last of Us Remastered, The Last Guardian, and Gravity Rush 2.

 

Here is the complete list of discounted games:

  • UNCHARTED 4: A Thief’s End Digital Edition
  • The Last Guardian
  • Ratchet & Clank
  • God of War III Remastered
  • The Last of Us Remastered
  • The Last of Us: Left Behind (Standalone)
  • Bloodborne: Game of the Year Edition
  • Bloodborne
  • Bloodborne The Old Hunters
  • Until Dawn
  • Until Dawn: Rush of Blood
  • Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection
  • Uncharted 1: Drake’s Fortune Remastered
  • Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Remastered
  • Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception Remastered
  • The Heavy Rain & BEYOND: Two Souls Collection
  • BEYOND: Two Souls
  • Heavy Rain
  • DRIVECLUB (Various)
  • inFAMOUS Second Son
  • inFAMOUS Second Son + inFAMOUS First Light
  • inFAMOUS Second Son Legendary Edition
  • inFAMOUS First Light
  • The Order: 1886
  • KILLZONE SHADOW FALL
  • KILLZONE SHADOW FALL and Season Pass Bundle
  • KILLZONE SHADOW FALL Intercept Online Co-op Mode (Standalone)
  • PlayStation VR Worlds
  • Journey
  • Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture
  • KNACK
  • ALIENATION
  • ALIENATION Conqueror’s Pack
  • ALIENATION DLC Season Pass
  • ALIENATION Survivor’s Pack
  • ALIENATION Veteran Heroes Pack
  • ALIENATION Weapons Supply Pack
  • RESOGUN
  • RESOGUN Season Pass
  • RESOGUN – Heroes Expansion
  • RESOGUN WipEout Ship Bundle
  • RESOGUN: Defenders Expansion Pack
  • Escape Plan
  • Escape Plan – The Asylum
  • Escape Plan – The Underground
  • Escape Plan Collection
  • Escape Plan The Director’s Cut
  • Gravity Rush 2
  • Gravity Rush Remastered
  • Dead Nation: Apocalypse Edition
  • HELLDIVERS: Super-Earth Ultimate Edition
  • HELLDIVERS Reinforcements Mega Bundle
  • HELLDIVERS Masters of the Galaxy Edition
  • HELLDIVERS Reinforcement Pack
  • HELLDIVERS Reinforcement Pack 2
  • Journey Collector’s Edition
  • Rogue Galaxy
  • Guilty Gear Xrd -Sign-
  • Flower
  • Shadow of the Beast
  • Dark Chronicle
  • Dark Cloud
  • Here They Lie
  • CounterSpy
  • RIGS Mechanized Combat League
  • Super Stardust Ultra
  • Super Stardust Ultra VR
  • The Unfinished Swan
  • flOw
  • flOw Expansion Pack
  • Ape Escape 2
  • Bound
  • Entwined
  • Fat Princess Adventures
  • Fat Princess Adventures Mega Loot Bundle
  • Tumble VR
  • War of the Monsters
  • Twisted Metal: Black
  • Hohokum
  • GUNS UP! Battle Support Pack
  • GUNS UP! Defence Budget Pack
  • GUNS UP! War Chest Pack
  • PaRappa The Rapper 2
  • Insurgent Pack
  • Wild Arms 3
  • Sound Shapes Ultimate Bundle
  • Everybody’s Tennis
  • Intercept Online Co-op Expansion Pack
  • Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits
  • Primal
  • Hustle Kings VR
  • Hustle Kings VR – Upgrade
  • Forbidden Siren
  • The Mark of Kri
  • Doki-Doki Universe
  • Hardware: Rivals
  • OKAGE: Shadow King
  • FantaVision
  • Rise of the Kasai
  • The Tomorrow Children Frontier Pack
  • Kinetica

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/267745/psn-only-on-playstation-sale-discounts-exclusives-up-to-55-off/

April Games with Gold Announced

23 Mar

Microsoft has announced the Xbox Live Games with Gold for April 2017. Two Xbox Ones game and two Xbox 360 games will be free to download next month, and all of the Xbox 360 games are playable on Xbox One.


The Games with Gold for April are:

  • Ryse: Son of Rome ($19.99 ERP): Available April 1-30 on Xbox One
  • The Walking Dead: Season 2 ($24.99 ERP): Available April 16-May 15 on Xbox One
  • Darksiders ($19.99 ERP): Available April 1-15 on Xbox 360 & Xbox One
  • Assassin’s Creed Revelations ($19.99 ERP): Available April 16-30 on Xbox 360 & Xbox One

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/267744/april-games-with-gold-announced/

April Games with Gold Announced

23 Mar

Microsoft has announced the Xbox Live Games with Gold for April 2017. Two Xbox Ones game and two Xbox 360 games will be free to download next month, and all of the Xbox 360 games are playable on Xbox One.


The Games with Gold for April are:

  • Ryse: Son of Rome ($19.99 ERP): Available April 1-30 on Xbox One
  • The Walking Dead: Season 2 ($24.99 ERP): Available April 16-May 15 on Xbox One
  • Darksiders ($19.99 ERP): Available April 1-15 on Xbox 360 & Xbox One
  • Assassin’s Creed Revelations ($19.99 ERP): Available April 16-30 on Xbox 360 & Xbox One

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/267744/april-games-with-gold-announced/

3 Games Added to Xbox One Backward Compatibility

22 Mar

Microsoft has added three games to the long list of Xbox 360 games that are playable on the Xbox One through Backward Compatibility.

The games are Daytona USA, Stacking and Tower Bloxx Deluxe.

Tweet

Other recent games include Hitman: Absolution, Grand Theft Auto IV, The King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match, Assassin’s Creed: Rogue, Gyromancer, Moon Diver, Space Invaders: Infinity Gene, and Borderlands 2.

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/267743/3-games-added-to-xbox-one-backward-compatibility/

Monster Hunter XX Tops the Japanese Charts

22 Mar

Monster Hunter XX (3DS) debuted at the top of the Japanese charts with sales of 848,467 units, according to Media Create for the week ending March 19. 

Senran Kagura: Peach Beach Splash (PS4) debuted in second with sales of 53,747 units. Accel World VS. Sword Art Online (PSV) debuted in third with sales of 38,653 units. The PS4 version debuted in fifth with sales of 32,016 units. 


The Nintendo Switch was the best-selling platform with sales of 49,913 units. The 3DS sold 42,279 units, the PS4 sold 34,628 units, and the PlayStation Vita sold 8,004 units. The PlayStation 3 sold 2,212 units, the Wii U sold 368 units and the Xbox One sold 135 units.

Here is the complete top 20 chart:

  1. [3DS] Monster Hunter XX (Capcom, 03/16/17) – 848,467 (New)
  2. [PS4] Senran Kagura: Peach Beach Splash (Limited Edition Included) (Marvelous, 03/15/17) – 53,747 (New)
  3. [PSV] Accel World VS. Sword Art Online (Bandai Namco, 03/15/17) – 38,653 (New)
  4. [NSW] The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Limited Edition Included) (Nintendo, 03/03/17) – 32,115 (262,977)
  5. [PS4] Accel World VS. Sword Art Online (Bandai Namco, 03/15/17) – 32,016 (New)
  6. [PS4] Ghost Recon: Wildlands (Ubisoft, 03/09/17) – 26,628 (116,419)
  7. [PS4] Horizon: Zero Dawn (SIE, 03/02/17) – 18,096 (169,385)
  8. [PS4] Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix (Square Enix, 03/09/17) – 16,161 (78,931)
  9. [NSW] 1-2-Switch (Nintendo, 03/03/17) – 15,456 (115,737)
  10. [PS4] NieR: Automata (Square Enix, 02/23/17) – 12,242 (269,310)
  11. [Wii U] The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo, 03/03/17) – 11,308 (73,392)
  12. [3DS] Pokemon Sun / Pokemon Moon (Nintendo, 11/18/16) – 10,128 (3,211,045)
  13. [PS4] YU-NO: A Girl Who Chants Love at the Bound of this World (Limited Edition Included) (5pb., 03/15/17) – 9,629 (New)
  14. [3DS] Future Card Buddy Fight: Mezase! Buddy Champion! (FuRyu, 03/15/17) – 9,349 (New)
  15. [PSV] YU-NO: A Girl Who Chants Love at the Bound of this World (Limited Edition Included) (5pb., 03/15/17) – 8,858 (New)
  16. [PS4] Grand Theft Auto V (Low Price Version) (Take-Two, 10/08/15) – 6,012 (303,506)
  17. [3DS] Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 3 Professional (Square Enix, 02/09/17) – 5,751 (178,604)
  18. [3DS] Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS (Nintendo, 12/01/16) – 5,646 (995,522)
  19. [NSW] Super Bomberman R (Konami, 03/03/17) – 5,583 (50,756)
  20. [PS4] Super Robot Wars V (Limited Edition Included) (Bandai Namco, 02/23/17) – 4,680 (126,486)

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/267742/monster-hunter-xx-tops-the-japanese-charts/

Bloodstained for Wii U Cancelled in Favor of Switch Version

22 Mar

 The Wii U version of Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night has been cancelled in favor of the Switch version, according to project lead Koji Igarashi in an update on the Kickstarter page

"Thank you for always supporting us," said Igarashi. "I would like to give a message to the backers who pledged for the Wii U version of Bloodstained. 

"During our Kickstarter campaign, the Wii U was at the height of its popularity, but the situation has drastically changed after the release of Nintendo Switch. 

"This change made it difficult to receive the necessary support from the hardware maker, which has led us to drop the Wii U development and shift the development to Nintendo Switch. 

"We are very sorry that it has come to this after all your support, but we hope you will understand. We would like to respond by preparing options for our backers, such as moving your pledge to another version or requesting a refund if you don’t want any other version."

The Switch version is now available as an option in the backer survey for anyone who backed the physical or digital release of the game, replacing the Wii U version.

If you selected the Wii U version originally it has automatically been changed to the Switch version. If you want the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation Vita, or Windows PC version it can be changed now in the backer survey. 

If you backed the Wii U version and don't want any of the other versions you can cancel and get a refund.

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/267741/bloodstained-for-wii-u-cancelled-in-favor-of-switch-version/

Quake Champions Burial Chamber Arena Trailer Released

22 Mar

Bethesda Softworks has released the Burial Chamber arena trailer for Quake Champions

View it below:

Here is an overview of the Burial Chamber arena:

Burial Chamber. On the edge of Oriab, amid colossal shantak bones, the cenotaph of Goroth’s long-dead champion slowly succumbs to Mount Ngranek’s molten grasp.

Shantak’s Demise

Acting as the perimeter for the Throne Room, this area exemplifies the more open nature of Burial Chamber. Multiple levels incoming and outgoing to the center to the arena give your team different routes to attack the Power-Up: directly in the center, each of the side routes, and the lower area.

Throne Room

The statue of Goroth looks over the Throne Room, which holds the Obelisk. Multiple floors inside with two entrances means teams may wish to defend from the perimeter instead, choosing to fall back into the room should defenses break. While the high ground is always a benefit to either side in combat, the Obelisk itself is situated on the floor, meaning you may need to make a trade-off on position or defense.

Perilous Outcropping

This side route is home to the Mega Health, Rocket Launcher, and runs along the walls of the Main Chamber. Players that can make the long leap over the lava can reward themselves with a few extra cooldown items, health, and most importantly: a teleporter that will drop you into the Main Chamber, right above the Power-Up, giving you a perfect opportunity to try and steal the Power-Up before it can be taken by the enemy.

Lava Falls

Home to the second Obelisk, the Lava Falls sits on the opposite side of the arena. Defense here will be tough, as it’s perimeter is more open, but with only two entrances in, both visible from nearly any point in the room, you may be able to create a chokepoint. Cover is light, but with a slight high ground advantage, teams may wish to play a little further back. Care should be taken to avoid getting knocked into the lava from weapon knockback.

Bridge of Retribution

The central area of the arena is where you’ll find the Power-Up spawn, located on top of the sarcophagus on the ramp. This room tends to be dangerous to hang out in, especially if the Power-Up spawn is incoming. No cover on the upper level will leave slower Champions vulnerable to being railed from all sides without anywhere to run to.

Molten Underground

The claustrophobic grave sites are a great place for heavier Champions to hide out, as the winding paths and low ceilings make great territory for high amounts of splash damage. The Molten Underground is heavy on Cooldown and Health, which can be helpful for players that can move quickly, and precisely throughout the area.

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/267740/quake-champions-burial-chamber-arena-trailer-released/

ReCore Definitive Edition Rated for Xbox One in Germany

22 Mar

ReCore Definitive Edition has been rated in Germany for the Xbox One. 

ReCore originally launched for the Xbox One and Windows PC in September 2016. There is still DLC planned to release in 2017.

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/267739/recore-definitive-edition-rated-for-xbox-one-in-germany/

Resident Evil: Code Veronica Rated for PS4 in Germany

22 Mar

Resident Evil: Code Veronica has been rated in Germany for the PlayStation 4. 

The survival horror game originally launched in 2002 for the Dreamcast and was later ported for the PlayStation 2 and GameCube. 

Resident Evil: Code Veronica X HD was released in 2011 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. 

The PlayStation 4 port is likely the 2011 version of the game. 

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/267738/resident-evil-code-veronica-rated-for-ps4-in-germany/

History of Final Fantasy: Lightning Strikes Thrice (Final Fantasy XIII-2 and Lightning Returns)

22 Mar

While Final Fantasy XIII wasn’t exactly well received upon release, it did have its fair share of fans, and regardless of its mixed critical and fan reception it still sold extremely well across all regions. Still, whatever you thought about Final Fantasy XIII, at least once the game had been released you probably thought that you could then leave it behind and look forward to the next major installment in the series. Of course, as we now know, Square Enix had very different plans in mind.

Not only did Final Fantasy XIII become just the third game in the entire mainline series to receive a direct sequel (after Final Fantasy X and VII), but it actually got two of them. How much they were needed is another issue altogether, especially considering that the ending of Final Fantasy XIII didn’t really feel like it needed a continuation. Still, here we are now, so let’s talk about the rest of the Lightning trilogy.

 

And Then There Was Time Travel: Final Fantasy XIII-2

 

Final Fantasy XIII-2 began development in early 2010, just a few months after the release of XIII, with the intention of fixing the issues and complaints made about the first game. Development lasted roughly 18 months and it was completed largely by the same team that had worked on the previous game, including Motomu Toriyama as director, Yoshinori Kitase as producer, and Tetsuya Nomura designing the main characters.

Much of the game’s development was focused on addressing the numerous complaints laid upon FF XIII. This meant, for example, that terms such as l’cie and fal’cie were intentionally avoided as much as possible so as to prevent any confusion about them. Another point of focus was giving the game a dark atmosphere to suit the setting of a world that had gone to ruin.

One of the many issues that needed to be fixed for the sequel was the poor communication between various departments during development, especially as the team behind FF XIII was larger than any prior game in the series. This was even more critical for XIII-2 as Square Enix sought aid from Eidos and Tri-Ace during development. Eidos helped in applying more Western development techniques, while Tri-Ace provided some of the game’s art and programming.

The story of Final Fantasy XIII-2 picks up at the exact point where XIII ended. As the main characters were freed from the focus as l’cie by the goddess Etro, countless paradoxes manifested across the timeline. Lightning is caught in one such paradox and is pulled into this world’s version of purgatory – Valhalla. As a result she is written out of history from that point on, leading most people to believe that she is either dead or crystallized along with Fang and Vanille at the base of Cocoon. 

It features several different endings – just the second time the series has done this, following Final Fantasy X-2. The ending you get depends on the choices and actions you make at various points in the story, although it is possible to find all of the endings during a single playthrough as you can reset the events of a time period in order to do things differently.

The only person who knows the truth is Serah, Lightning’s sister. She begins to have visions of Lightning in Valhalla, and soon after the paradoxes begin to affect the village of Bodhum she now lives in. She encounters a young man called Noel, who reveals that he is from the future, and that he has met Lightning in Valhalla. Motivated by this revelation, Serah decides to go looking for her sister through time alongside Noel.

 

Most of the game’s characters are ones already familiar from XIII, but there are a few important new additions. The aforementioned Noel plays a large role in the story, as does the new villain – Caius Ballad. The third significant new character is Yeul, a seeress who has been reincarnated countless times throughout history, and whose protector is Caius. Her visions and fate are at the center of the game’s plot, and the reason behind Caius’ actions.

The gameplay is mostly an evolved form of the style found in XIII. The battle system is largely similar, with minor improvements made to make it more interactive. You can better customize how the AI controlled characters act in battle, the party leader can be changed during battle, and perhaps most significantly, the death of the partly leader no longer results in an instant KO. 

In addition, in combat the third character slot is filled by monsters you can catch and train. These monsters can be customized and leveled up through items, and during battle you can use their special abilities through a new system called the Feral Link. The strength of the special ability is usually based on how well you input the accompanying QTE. Which leads us nicely on to the fact that the game features QTEs during many of its cutscenes, and especially during plot critical boss battles.

The Crystarium system also returns, albeit in a slightly altered form. The Crystarium is no longer gated by storyline events, allowing for much more organic character growth, done at whatever pace you desire. One notable change from XIII is that monsters are no longer always visible on the field, but instead appear randomly as you move around. However, battles can still be avoided, and you can get an advantage against enemies by attacking them on the field before the battle starts.

 

One notable improvement is the game’s environments being much more open and explorable, instead of the largely narrow corridors of the first title. In general the developers intentionally made Final Fantasy XIII-2 much more open from the very beginning compared to XIII. This is in large part thanks to its emphasis on time travel, which allows you to often tackle different areas and time periods in whatever order you want. 

The soundtrack was a collaborative effort by Masashi Hamauzu, Naoshi Mizuta, and Mitsuko Suzuki. Hamauzu, who also composed the music in Final Fantasy XIII, provided roughly a quarter of the soundtrack, as did Mizuta, while Suzuki created the rest of the score. The music has a lot more variety compared to XIII, although some of that variety isn’t exactly for the best.

 

Visually, XIII-2 actually went through a slight graphical downgrade compared to XIII, perhaps due to the much shorter development time or it being a multiplatform title. It’s by no means a bad looking game, it’s just an interesting detail that the sequel is slightly less visually stunning. Fortunately, the visual design is still very strong, with each location having a very distinct style and look that helps each place and time period stand out.

Upon release Final Fantasy XIII-2 sold very well, although sales dragged well below those of XIII in every market. Ultimately the game has sold well over 3.5 million copies worldwide, which puts it just below half the total of its predecessor.

 

Not the End of the World I Expected: Lightning Returns

 

The original plan for XIII-2 was for it to be focused on Lightning, but during early development the focus shifted to Serah and her storyline. However, the developers still wanted to tell Lightning’s story and give her a proper ending, which then led to the creation of another sequel. Lightning Returns began development in May of 2012, once again with additional help from Tri-Ace.

Lightning Returns was developed in a little over a year, partially due to the developers not wanting the story of the previous games to fade from players’ memories, but also because they wanted to finish the story before the next console generation got properly under way. The team once again consisted mostly of personnel who had worked on the previous two titles.

 

Much of Lightning Returns was designed from the ground up because it did not reuse many of the previous two titles’ assets. The world and locations were entirely new, and even the Crystal Tools game engine required a significant overhaul as it had not been designed for open-world games. In general, many of the common aspects found in the previous two titles went through various changes for Lightning Returns, making it a very different beast.

For example, Lightning is the only playable character, the Crystarium system was abandoned (Lightning’s stats are instead increased by completing story events and sidequests), and it’s an open-world game with four very large areas to explore.

Another massive difference is the introduction of a time limit. In essence, you have a set number of days to explore the world before the apocalypse. Initially Lightning has seven days, but by completing sidequests the time limit can be extended up to thirteen days. The days progress in real time, putting a clear deadline on you actions. The time also impacts many of the game’s quests, as certain locations are only available at certain times, and some quests need to be completed before too much time passes. To aid in this, Lightning Returns gives you the ability to temporarily freeze time and use various other special abilities.

The battle system is quite different as well, no longer using the paradigm shifts from the previous two games. Instead, you can map specific commands to buttons on the controller, including melee attacks, magic, dodges and other abilities. The main feature of the battle system is the use of schema, i.e. Lightning can swap between three distinct schemata during battle, each with its own unique weapon, armor and abilities. Each schema also has its own ATB gauge, meaning that by constantly swapping between the three you can maintain a continuous attack on enemies.

The story of Lightning Returns jumps ahead 500 years after the events of XIII-2, during which time Lightning has been in a Crystal Stasis, waiting to be awakened. The world, now called Nova Chrysalia, has been transformed by chaos, leaving most of the planet uninhabitable and stopping the people living there from aging. Lightning is tasked by the god Bhunivelze to save as many souls as she can before the apocalypse. 

Many familiar characters from the two prior games return, including every playable character from both title, each with their own new goals. Hope, for example, serves as Lightning’s assistant during her quest, while other familiar characters turn up at various junctures during the story.

Visually, Lightning Returns is surprisingly the least impressive out of the trilogy, featuring much less detail in the environments and NPC character models. This is another area where the short development period clearly impacted the final product. The soundtrack, on the other hand, is of a similarly high quality as before. It was created by the same three composers and is in general very similar in style to the music found in XIII-2.

Lightning Returns continued the downward trend in terms of sales for the trilogy, selling just over 1.5 million copies. 

 

The Best Part

 

The battle system – and that applies to both games. They are well designed, fix most of the issues people had with the first title’s combat, and yet are still fast-paced and full of tactical depth. The paradigm shift system in XIII-2 was also much-improved, while Lightning Returns’ Schema system was a lot of fun to use and play around with.

 

The Worst Part

 

The story in both games is still a mess. Story-telling is in fact a massive weak point for the entire trilogy, oftentimes being incoherent, quite poorly told, and frankly uninteresting much of the time. Many of these issue come from the inherent shortcomings found in the first game, which failed to properly explain many of the critical elements of the world and plot, and as a result the sequels have to play catch up to fill in the holes that were left behind in its wake. This means that they have less time to tell their own stories, leaving many aspects of both core plots underdeveloped.

 

Do Final Fantasy XIII-2 and Lightning Returns Still Hold Up?

 

Yes and no. Each game has aspects that improve upon many of the issues found in Final Fantasy XIII, but at the same time they also feature notable downgrades in other areas as well. In the end this makes both games uneven experiences, with some genuinely excellent aspects mixed with others that don’t work at all.

The most readily noticeable negative change is the decreasing graphical quality of the trilogy as it progresses. It’s very curious that the newest game of the three is also the worst looking one, even if this is reasonably explained by the reduced development time and the fact that for Lightning Returns the game engine had to be heavily modified to work with an open-world environment.

 

On the plus side, the design of the worlds and their various locations makes up for these graphical downgrades. The various places you get to visit during both titles have their own unique looks and feels, and the wide variety of inspirations for each location is readily apparent.

The score is also another high point for both games, although XIII-2 also contains the single worst and most ill-fitting song I have ever heard in a Final Fantasy game. Still, as a whole, both have very good soundtracks that contain some excellent pieces of music from all three composers.

 

In terms of storyline there wasn’t much improvement over XIII, with XIII-2‘s story being a scattered mess of individual scenes that have a trouble connecting together in a meaningful way, and Lightning Returns constantly straining under the pressure of having to tie together every remaining loose end from the mess that was the story in the two previous entries. The overall narrative has its moments, but it just doesn’t hold up in comparison to most other storylines in the series from FF IV onwards.

The characters don’t fare much better either, as most of the new ones simply aren’t that interesting and the old ones don’t really develop much. If you liked the characters in XIII you’ll probably like them in the sequels as well, but outside of Lightning don’t expect much, if anything, new or interesting. That said, Caius is actually quite an interesting main villain in XIII-2, with understandable and in many ways relatable motivations for his actions.

 

The gameplay and battle systems are the main reasons to play the sequels, unless you’re heavily invested in the story. Most of the changes the two games made in terms of gameplay were for the better; they fix most of the mistakes made in XIII while introducing new elements that have keep things fresh through three long, connected games.

Finally, the greater amount of freedom the two sequels provide is a very welcome change, although this also has its downsides. Because you now have much more room to decide what to do next, and where to go, the story has a tendency to get lost for long periods of time. It’s the exact same thing that happened in Final Fantasy X-2, where the ability to freely travel to almost anywhere comes at the cost of plot cohesion and pacing.

 

Ultimately, though, I did enjoy playing through these two games, but neither really had a lasting impact on me. I feel like the biggest problem with all three games is that they’re just kind of forgettable. It’s only been a few years since I played through XIII-2, and I’m already having trouble remembering large sections of the game. Unlike almost every previous entry in the series, I can’t really see myself ever going back to play either of these two titles ever again. There just isn’t enough in them to warrant a second playthrough.

If you’re a fan of XIII and genuinely invested in the story once you finish that game, then you might as well play XIII-2 and Lightning Returns as well, but for anyone else there really isn’t much to recommend either. The original didn’t even need a sequel in the first place in my opinion, but if you’re really curious to try them then they’re very easy to find nowadays. Steam is perhaps the best option because the entire trilogy is available in one place for a fairly cheap price.

 

Fun Fact(s)

Some of the inspiration for Final Fantasy XIII-2‘s more open-ended structure actually came from Rockstar Studios’ Red Dead Redemption.

Lightning Returns features several street musicians playing music in its two city locations. In a rather amusing easter egg, one of them plays quite an unusual rendition of “Clash on the Big Bridge” from Final Fantasy V, with a kazoo as the central instrument. 

Additional Sources:
Final Fantasy Wikia
– Final Fantasy XIII-2 Ultimania Omega
– Lightning Returns Final Fantasy XIII Ultimania

Next time we’ll begin to wrap up this extended look at the Final Fantasy series by covering the story behind the creation of Final Fantasy XIV, and the issues that led to its complete overhaul and relaunch. Following that I will conclude this History of Final Fantasy series with a list ranking the mainline titles from worst to best. Until then, thanks for reading.

Full Article – http://www.vgchartz.com/article/267735/history-of-final-fantasy-lightning-strikes-thrice-final-fantasy-xiii-2-and-lightning-returns/

GameStop: Switch Sales Could ‘Possibly Eclipse the Wii’

21 Mar

The Nintendo Switch has had a successful launch and a recent report said Nintendo has doubled the production of the console for the fiscal year ending March 2018.

GameStop senior director of merchandising Eric Bright told Game Rant that the Switch could possibly outsell the Wii. The Wii sold 100 million units worldwide in its lifetime.


"The Nintendo Switch is off to a start right now that it could possibly eclipse the Wii," said Bright. "Initial sales on this have been phenomenal. I can’t give straight numbers, but I can say we’re seeing one of the highest attach rates of software and accessories to a device that we’ve seen in a long time.

"We’re seeing tremendous success with the power chargers for the Nintendo Switch, as well as people coming in and picking up extra Joy-Con so people can turn it into a four-player device. We will soon be going online with all-new bundles. Because of the popularity of Zelda, which is one of my top picks, we’re putting together a Zelda bundle of hardware and accessories for customers to pick up online."

Keep an eye on the VGChartz Gap Charts as we will be comparing Switch sales with the Wii, Wii U, 3DS, and more.

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/267737/gamestop-switch-sales-could-possibly-eclipse-the-wii/

Blue Reflection Gets Fumio Taya Character Trailer

21 Mar

Gust has released a character introduction trailer for&