final fantasy type-0 hd

Final Fantasy Type-0 HD heads PC-wards on 18 August

Square Enix’s commitment to bringing various Final Fantasy titles to Steam continues next month, as Final Fantasy Type-0 gets a HD version. The store page declares a release date of 18 August, and lists a few PC-specific features.

There will apparently be “upgraded graphics resolution options” for us PC people, along with an “improved battle camera,” motion blur settings, and more blood than the PSP original. Steam-wise, there’ll be trading cards and achievements. Full controller support is listed as well, as you’d probably expect.

The Final Fantasy Type-0 HD pre-order offers range from the embarrassing (an exclusive LOADING SCREEN!) to the probably-quite-effective in the form of some DOTA 2 extras. “Master Chocobo as your courier and Moogle (Class Zero) as your ward,” to be specific.

There’s also 10% off the asking price of $30.00 USD until release day. That makes it $27 for now.

To run Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, here’s the sort of PC you’ll be needing:

Minimum:

    • OS: Windows 7, 8, 8.1 64bit
    • Processor: CPU Core i3 2.5GHz
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: GTX560Ti or AMD Radeon 7790 mp4 [H.264]
    • DirectX: Version 11
    • Hard Drive: 30 GB available space
Recommended:

    • OS: Windows 7, 8, 8.1 64bit
    • Processor: CPU Core i5 2.7GHz
    • Memory: 6 GB RAM
    • Graphics: GTX750 mp4 [H.264]
    • DirectX: Version 11
    • Hard Drive: 30 GB available space
mafia 3

Mafia 3 officially announced – details incoming

Back of the 29th June we reported that 2K had registered a bunch of Mafia 3 domain names which all but confirmed the title was in the works.  Today 2K have sent word that a reveal is scheduled for Wednesday August 5th at Gamescom when they will premier an announcement trailer.

There are no details other than the splash image above.  My speculation from the image is that it isn’t set in the 1940s.  There are four people in the image, one is a woman with an afro hair style and a full A-line skirt so I’m thinking we’re in the 1970’s now. The guy on the left has a fuller bomber jacket and probably really loose boot cut jeans.  I’m not a car person but the four cars behind them look more like cars you’d see at that time too.

No word if we’ll be playing Vito Scaletta  but if it is 30 years ahead of Mafia 2 he’ll be pushing it a bit by now. What hasn’t changed is that some poor schmuck is just about to meet a grisly end as he kneels before the four shadowy figures, hands tied behind his back.

Check back on August 5 for more details.

rocket league

Rocket League free map DLC shows the Utopia Coliseum

Psyonix’ Rocket League has been going down a storm with PC gamers and there’s new DLC coming soon to spice up the gameplay.

A new map called Utopia Coliseum will be arriving in a “few weeks” according to Psyonix and the seasoned players will notice the shape is different to what you may be used to seeing. Psyonix appear to be experimenting with different map shapes and added:

“We wanted to have a lot of standard shape arenas but special shapes are being worked on.”

There are of course still issues with Rocket League to be resolved on the PC and Psyonix posted a list of known issues which includes crash fixes for the v1.3 update.

twitch

Twitch offer channel language control

In a move to give more control to casters over the stream chat panel, Twitch have introduced Broadcaster Language Mode. This allows casters to set a default language on their channel page and viewers will need to confirm they can speak that language in order to post in the chat panel.  If your browser language preferences are set to the chosen language by default you won’t be prompted to confirm you speak that language.

This change appears to be an attempt to curb abusive chatter in a language the caster or moderators do not understand and therefore can’t moderate.

A lot of non-English speakers also speak English and in fact broadcast in English but are equally capable and willing to interact with their viewers in their native language.  A better solution would be the ability to set a number of acceptable languages for your channel.

Perhaps Twitch will respond to user feedback and expand on this idea, although I don’t know how well or speedily they respond to user input.

jotun (2)

Jotun Preview

Jotun (or possibly Jøtun, since that’s what the title card says) is a game which joins The Banner Saga and, for readers who recall the magical 16-bit age, Heimdall in embracing the setting of Norse mythology. Viking tales are full of daring adventure, heroic fights, and one of Loki’s children being an eight-legged horse, so more people should obviously be turning them into videogames.

Currently running a closed beta on Steam after a successful Kickstarter campaign in August 2014, Jotun pops you in the leather boots of Thora, a warrior who must prove herself worthy of entering Valhalla by impressing the gods. To that end, you need to seek out oversized bosses (the titular Jotun) and hit them with your double-handed axe. That’s how you get divine attention in Viking purgatory.

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Mimir takes time out from whispering to Odin to regenerate your health and abilities.

The current closed beta build has four levels, ranging in Norse topicality from Jörmungandr’s frozen lake to the twisting roots of the great tree Yggdrasil. Thora starts in a hub-like world and (for now at least) is free to enter any of the four areas in whichever order the player fancies. Each zone contains a rune, a pair of which will open up the corresponding boss fight for each ‘world’ off the main hub.

Guidance towards your goal on each level is fairly light. You get a map (both from the pause menu screen and sketched on the ground in the hub world,) but although this shows you roughly where the rune and other points of interest are located, it doesn’t show Thora’s actual position.

Several of the Jotun beta levels also have a puzzle-ish theme, which credit the player with figuring them out. In Niflheim’s nine rivers area, for example, periodic blizzards will inflict an awful lot of damage. Until, that is, you take the visual clue from large slabs of rock with snow piled up against one side and use them as cover. There’s no button prompt. No patronising “Maybe you should try taking cover here!” messages. Just a straightforward puzzle with a gently (and non-verbally) signposted solution.

Jotun takes the same approach with its secrets and god shrines – towering monuments to the Viking deities which bestow Thora with useful abilities, like a decoy or a temporary shield – making the player do a little work to figure out how to reach things.

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Sometimes the puzzle is just “beat up lots of dwarfs.”

With exploration and retracing steps often a part of each area (you can warp back to the hub area at will, and any level progress will be saved,) it would perhaps be helpful if Thora could move a bit faster. The desire to comb large, often quite barren, areas for the last hidden column to bash with your axe is tempered slightly by the knowledge that this could take quite a while. She almost shifts along at a respectable rate (and the limited-use speed boost power can help a bit,) but at the moment it’s one of those games where you find yourself dodge-rolling around the place because it seems ever so slightly quicker.

That lethargy of step is always there, but only really becomes a problem when you’re revisiting an area and trawling around it for hidden extras or a new power. I found the first time through each space to be slower paced by choice, figuring out how various things work and gazing at the Viking backdrops. Jotun has a directorial approach to camera control, pushing it in tight for claustrophobic corridors and pulling it back (way, way back) for shoreline vistas, turning Thora into a miniature, isolated figure alongside staple-mark footprints.

The lack of player control over the camera zoom felt a little limiting at first (and can still result in you losing your character a bit when it’s pulled really far back during crowded fights,) but the effect grew on me. Particularly once I’d reached a certain hidden-ish area and the camera revealed that Thora was overlooking the chamber belonging to that realm’s boss.

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I can almost see my ingloriously slain mortal body from up here.

Combat is used somewhat sparingly in the beta levels. Only one of the three (Brokkr’s Forge) throws cart-loads of dwarven enemies Thora’s way, and that’s arguably as a warm-up for the related boss battle. There are no interrupts to her hand-drawn attack animations, so once you start the lengthy wind-up of the heavy attack, you’re committed to it (though can pivot in place.) Likewise, the dodge-roll has a slight pause at the end of it, preventing you from spam-dodging everywhere.

Consequently, boss fights are fairly methodical duals. Two particularly neat things about the pair of bosses found in this build: they have the same hand-drawn animation style as Thora, but with reduced frames, giving them a lumbering, jerky feel befitting of their behemoth-like stature. Second, you can fight them with no additional god powers if you feel up to it. Or by accident, if you’re me and blunder into a boss chamber before you’ve learned that collectible god powers are even an option.

Doing that was actually pretty terrific though. It taught me that bosses can probably be taken down with just the basic combat moves (I didn’t actually manage this, but was getting fairly close,) and prompted me to start investigating the other level zones a bit more thoroughly. Another example of Jotun’s hands-off guidance.

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Well, this seems like it’ll be a fair fight.

The boss fights are sensibly designed around Thora’s relatively limited attack set and uninterruptable animations. They have a handful of attacks with lengthy and distinct wind-ups (Fe, for example, will ready her shield like a frisbee before tossing it at you,) and escalate their actions as they take more damage. Shadow is used to denote dangerous areas, like when the Niflheim boss is going to try to flop over on you.

There are perhaps some minor issues with hitboxes and figuring out, visually, where it’s perfectly safe to stand, but nothing that can’t be cleaned up before release. Similarly, the subtle shadowing can make it a little hard to determine depth in levels where there are upper walkways and platforms.

Overall though, Jotun’s early moments are very encouraging. It has a welcome lightness of touch to its guidance, and lets the player learn by exploring and discovering things for themselves. That means there’s a freedom to make mistakes (like tackling a boss a bit too early,) but enough leeway to mitigate them (I’m still convinced Fe can be beaten without additional powers.) There’s a variety to the level design which I can only hope will extend beyond the limited areas on show in the beta, and the art style is, self-evidently, rather terrific. No sign of Loki’s eight-legged horse child just yet, but there’s still time for that.

Dark Storm: Ascension

Dark Storm: Ascension is a new stealth action game coming to Kickstarter

Fenrir Studios will shortly be launching a Kickstarter campaign for Dark Storm: Ascension.

Described as a game “in the style of” Metal Gear Solid and Deus ExDark Storm: Ascension,  is set in a world gripped in an eneergy crisis and the last hope is the exploitation of Dark Matter.

Players take on the role of protagonist Amber Kingsley, a dishonourably discharged Special Forces officer now hired by a private military organisation called Ancille. Amber’s job is to protect the high-tech Apex Facility in the heart of Alaska. Trapped in the facility, Amber sets out to find her friend Jill Halley. On finding her friend Amber hopes to find out the who the facilities mystery attackers are and discover the objective.

The Kickstarter campaign will get underway on 3 August where they will also be giving away access to Dark Storm: VR Missions. These are also available on Steam as a demo of what’s to come but they describe is as “a single player game than a modest technical demo of mostly unfinished ideas and gameplay mechanics”. Think of these ten VR missions as a test of your stealth abilities.

Fenrir has already released a teaser video for the game which you can see below. To follow the game also check out their official website and watch out for the Kickstarter launch in a few days.

witcher 3 (2)

Witcher 3 getting New Game Plus mode as final free DLC

The sixteenth and final piece of free DLC for The Witcher 3 will add an oft-requested New Game Plus mode to the game. That’s confirmed by a snippet of art and corresponding comment on the game’s Facebook page.

Already finished The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt multiple times? We’ve got something coming up…  New Game+, the final DLC, is on the way and, of course, it’s completely FREE!” the post says.

If someone really has finished The Witcher 3 “multiple times,” then consider me impressed. It’s not exactly a short affair.

Players will need to wait a little longer for New Game Plus mode, however. The usual weekly DLC schedule is getting disrupted again because CD Projekt Red need a bit more time to actually finish this one up.

It won’t happen this week though – we need a little bit more time to finish it,” the Facebook post reads.

Further details of how New Game Plus will actually work will also be coming in the near future.

Steam

Steam had a major security lapse over the weekend

Though it now appears to have been fixed, Valve’s Steam security was exposed as being rather on the flimsy side this weekend. Reports on Reddit of various Twitch streamers having their accounts hijacked were eventually traced back to a very straightforward account exploit.

As explained after the fact by videos like this one, all potential account hijackers needed to know was your Steam account name and how to make a ‘oh dear I’ve lost my password’ request.

By inputting a valid Steam account name, requesting a password reset, and simply leaving the verification code (sent to the account’s registered email account) box blank, people were able to reach the password reset page and effectively take over an account.

Worth noting here that the “leave the verification code box blank” trick did not work for the Steam Guard code request. This means any accounts with Steam Guard active may have had their passwords changed, but shouldn’t have actually been accessed. Those without Steam Guard active were left totally open.

It’s unclear precisely how long this exploit has been around, but it may have been introduced with the release of Valve’s Steam Guard Mobile Authenticator.

At the time of writing, Valve do not appear to have made any kind of official statement regarding the security hole, nor suggested any measures people should take. The exploit itself appears to have been fixed. Those directly affected should have received emails from Steam Support.

Update 27 July: Valve have now issued a statement. Here it is:

“To protect users, we are resetting passwords on accounts with suspicious password changes during that period [21-25 July] or may have otherwise been affected. Relevant users will receive an email with a new password. Once that email is received, it is recommended that users login to their account via the Steam client and set a new password.

Please note that while an account password was potentially modified during this period the password itself was not revealed. Also, if Steam Guard was enabled, the account was protected from unauthorised logins even if the password was modified.

We apologise for any inconvenience.”

Signs of any attempted hijack will be in the email inbox associated with your Steam account. Check for any attempted password resets. If you have an unauthorised one, hope you had Steam Guard active and that it prevented someone getting any further.

way of the samurai 4

Way of the Samurai 4 Review

Way of the Samurai 4 is a game about an enigmatic ronin who finds himself mixed up in a three-way factional tussle over control of the pretend port town of Amihama. Way of the Samurai 4 is also a game about jump-kicking people in the face while wearing a gigantic basket on your head and no trousers.

Those who were enlightened enough to enjoy Obsidian’s Alpha Protocol will find similar delights in this title’s cutting-edge commitment to branching storylines and reactive dialogue. If, instead, you prefer to find enlightenment in throwing rubber boots at passers-by, curiously aggressive eating animations, and being able to accept quests with lines like “sounds like manly fun!” there’s plenty to enjoy as well.

Think of it as a series of alternative, absurd takes on Yojimbo, where sometimes the main character just fancies robbing a sushi store, or gripping his lucky parasol as he saves the day/terrorises some beggars.

Way of the Samurai 4 is an exceptionally odd game.

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See? Odd.

Originally released for the PS3 in 2011, PC users have the people at Ghostlight to thank for bringing this installment (the first one ever on PC) over to our platform. I’ve already written pretty extensively about the port over in this separate article, but here’s the short version: you need a gamepad, the 30fps cap is unfortunate but tied to the engine (and is at least smooth and stable,) the resolution goes as high as you fancy, and the loading times between zones now barely exist.

With that covered I can get on with explaining how Way of the Samurai 4 hits so many of the things I love to see in videogames.

Player agency (or ‘being able to fuck about’ if you want the more straightforward terminology) is the big one. Having direct control over a character is something games inherited from pen and paper RPGs, and inevitably encourages the average player to experiment with how far this ability extends. Almost everyone, for example, has used an important NPC’s head as a crowbar drum kit during expository sequences in Half-Life 2.

While I’ve heard that it slightly dials back on player agency from prior games in the series (in terms of being able to kill any important character at any time,) Way of the Samurai 4 is nonetheless designed specifically around letting your character do pretty much what they fancy.

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Try greeting everybody you meet this way. It’s fun!

You can side with one of the three town factions (the Shogunate, the ultra-nationalist Prajnas, or the newly arrived British consul) if you wish, and get a unique story and ending(s) for each of those. But you don’t have to. The entire game takes place across a period of five days, each of which is divided into a day, evening and night-time segment. ‘Main’ missions happen at specific points in the day, and progress the story when you take them. However, you can also choose to progress time by sleeping, and ignoring faction missions entirely.

If you like, you can even finish (well, ‘finish’) the game in record time by arriving in town on a boat as normal, then immediately asking the boatman to take you away from this dreadful place.

A more traditional first play-through of Way of the Samurai 4 is likely to take you three or four hours. Maybe more, as it’s hard to predict how much dicking around a given player will do. That first ending, though, is just the beginning. On a completed ‘run,’ you get to carry over all of your equipment and fancy clothing to a new game. Time loops around, and you find yourself arriving in Amihama. Except this time you have a better idea what to expect, should have a better sword, and may also have turned into a woman (since that’s one of the first things you can unlock after a successful completion.)

Other new faces, clothing and weapons can be purchased with Samurai Points, awarded post-credits at the end of every play-through and based on your proficiency in various areas.

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Or at least until someone knocks my hat off. Then I’m going home.

The more often you go through the game, the more knowledge of its somewhat esoteric systems you’ll acquire, and the faster you’ll be able to complete a run. Your aim might be to explore the quest-lines of a different faction, to earn a bunch of cash for new outfits and weird accessories, or maybe to perfect a new fighting style.

There are a bountiful abundance of fighting styles (more than eighty in total,) each one with a slightly different move-set. With so many to find there’s obviously a bit of move overlap, but each weapon has plenty of styles to select from, no matter whether you wind up as a classic katana-wielder, a more exotic spear user, or a martial-artist. Guns and dual wielding enter the equation at a later date too.

Way of the Samurai 4’s combat system is largely a one-on-one affair. When you’re attacked by a group of enemies, they’re still kind enough to go after you one at a time in traditional movie fashion. No matter what fighting style you adopt, you’ll be using a combination of light and heavy attacks, along with blocks and dodges. There’s also a neat ‘push/pull’ system, which allows you to catch an enemy off balance if you adopt the correct counter-stance.

Don’t expect a fluid and polished sword-dueling simulator out of this (it’s not a title that screams big budgets.) But if you’re prepared to handle an occasionally unreliable camera and the fact that sometimes you might be fighting while stood on a bed or something equally bizarre, there’s a decent amount of depth to be found. With a half-decent weapon, the easier difficulties can be overcome by learning how to dodge and spam powerful moves. That won’t work in harder modes, which can sometimes finish you off in a single hit.

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It’s not janky, this is just the patented BedBalance combat feature.

Way of the Samurai 4 is pretty up-front about its basic mechanics, but leaves a great deal else up to player discovery (or, more likely, stumbling across this information in a guide or forum somewhere.) On our most recent podcast, fellow PC Invasion writer and WotS veteran Tim McDonald told me it was possible to create a custom fighting style by locating a blank book and bringing it to the town Dojo. This was completely new information to me, but great to learn.

Certain methods of advancing the plot in interesting ways, like simply refusing to speak when offered a dialogue option, or drawing your weapon in the middle of NPC conversations (both of which are open to you as choices the majority of the time,) can realistically be found through experimentation. Others, like the fact that Amihama has a crime rate which persists between play-throughs and is directly influenced by player actions, are a whole lot more obscure. Sleeping outside gives the whole neighbourhood a bad reputation, apparently.

This multi-layered, discovery-led design is another of the things I love dearly about Way of the Samurai 4. The game offers enough basic details to get everyone through to the end, but if you’re prepared to mess about, or do a little research, or talk to somebody else who’s played the series, it’s highly likely you’ll discover something new. Like BDSM mini-games. Or how to re-size accessories to make them comically huge. Or even what some of the ‘charms’ do on swords you’ve created yourself from various deconstructed parts of other weapons.

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I mean, I guess it’s more of a torture mini-game, but that’s a fine line.

Way of the Samurai 4 is a game which very much gets by on cleverly executed ideas, flexibility of action, and outright silliness, rather than super-expensive production values. The vast replayability (thanks in part to a structure with many branches,) in combination with an unmatched level of player agency are its greatest triumphs; aided by a campy, offbeat tone that does much to encourage a sense that this world is meant to be messed about in. As someone who craves player freedom and appreciates ridiculous dialogue, being at last able to play one of these cult titles on PC is a real delight.

Blood Bowl 2’s Dark Elf trailer gives poor Blood Bowl advice

Blood Bowl 2’s Dark Elf trailer gives poor Blood Bowl advice

I realise advertising trailers probably aren’t the place people will be flocking to for Blood Bowl 2 tips, but this new one showing the Dark Elves isn’t even pretending to depict realistic Bowl tactics.

Ostensibly, it’s here to show you the various skills some of the Dark Elf team can offer. They basically play a running/dodging game, but can pick a pass when they need to and have a few players who can dish out a bit of sadistic pain. The trailer runs through the assassin’s Stabbing abilities, the Witch Elves’ need to attack twice with Frenzy, a handy Leap skill on the Blitzer, and so on.

That’s all fine, but seeing the Dark Elf player go for multiple one-dice blocks against Dwarves was giving me fainting fits. Not to mention throwing a pass to a player who’s completely surrounded. Don’t play Blood Bowl 2 like this folks, you’ll lose.

Blood Bowl 2 comes to PC on 22 September.

Everspace

Everspace trailer shows more of the PC space shooter prior to Kickstarter launch

Rockfish Games who are working on their rogue-like space combat title Everspace have kicked out a new trailer.

Powered by Unreal Engine 4, this space shooter will be arriving on Kickstarter on 6th August. Like all good space stories there’s a mystery to solve as players find themselves waking on board a ship. They’ll have to search for the origins of their own existence and an unknown commander following a “mysterious command” to head to a specific location. Expect flashback story telling, resource collection, ship upgrades, and some impressive visuals.

To keep a close eye on development check out the official website.

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Way of the Samurai 4 patched, mouse support coming soon

Ghostlight have pushed out a quick patch for Way of the Samurai 4, addressing a couple of black screen and save issues that some players were running into.

According to the notes, it tackles the following problems:

– Fixed black screens upon death or loading a save that affected certain character types.
– Fixed miscellaneous crashes.
– Fixed some audio issues.

Of those issues, I think the only one I ran into was the audio thing. One of the background tracks started double looping while I was chatting to the blacksmith.

For those who were unable to progress past a post-death black screen though, this could obviously be quite a vital update.

In addition to the above, Ghostlight say they are bringing more substantial mouse support to Way of the Samurai 4. Right now, the mouse/keyboard controls are more like just keyboard controls.

This patch announcement states “We had mouse support in but we were unable to get it working quite right. Expect a build early next week adding it in.”

The PC Invasion review of Way of the Samurai 4 will be up later today. Some impressions of the PC port can be read here.

Shadowrun: Hong Kong

Shadowrun: Hong Kong releases next month

Hairbrained’s Shadowrun: Hong Kong raised a whopping $1.2 million when the Kickstarter closed out back in February and they’re now just about ready to release it.

Shadowrun: Hong Kong is a completely new campaign with its own host of new characters. As the campaign reached well over the $1 in funding the release also comes with the additional mini-campaign Shadows of Hong Kong which will allow you to import your character from the end of Shadowrun: Hong Kong  and undertake this extra 4-5 hour story.

If you backed the game (or even if you didn’t but are still keen,) then the good news is Shadowrun: Hong Kong will release on 20 August at 10AM PST on Steam, GOG and Humble.

It’s great to see a Kickstarter hit its release date bang on time.

Total War: ARENA

Total War: ARENA’s new map Germania joins the closed alpha

Creative Assembly’s MOBA-esque Total War: Arena is currently in alpha testing and today a new map joined the game’s roster.

The Germania map is “the most complex to date” according to CA and is firmly aimed at the more experience player. The map comes with dense forest areas which are great for ambush action but it also comes with large elevated areas which means more tactical planning will be required to reach the enemy.

This is the fourth map to be added to the alpha test and joins Thermopylae, Marathon and Salernum. If you like what you see in the video below get your name down to test over on the Total War: Arena site.

We’ll be jumping in to test this out in the coming days.

Bombshell

ARPG Bombshell gets ten minutes of gameplay

QuakeCon is bringing a few bits and pieces into the wild and it’s been a while since we saw anything of the upcoming ARPG Bombshell from developer Interceptor.

Bombshell was revealed in May 2014 and features the lead character Shelly Harrison who is on a mission to save the US president from an alien threat. The game is a typical ARPG affair as she romps through the video blasting aliens and demonstrating a few of her skills.

The video demonstrates the game and the dialogue which is as cheesy as you’d expect but it does look rather nice. The game is expected to appear on the PC this autumn.