Monthly Archives: March 2015

This War of Mine Players Helped 350 War Refugee Children

If you purchased This War of Mine's War Child Charity DLC, your money is providing support to 350 war refugee children.

"Right now, War Child are working in places across Iraq and Jordan to protect and support Syrian refugee children,"  developer 11 bit told IGN. "We're honored to announce that support from This War of Mine's DLC campaign can provide the following support for 350 children:

  • Psycho social support to recover from trauma
  • Child friendly spaces to make sure War Child can reach a child before someone else does
  • Informal education, including school fees, livelihood support, and teacher training"
  • Continue reading…

Assassin’s Creed Chronicles Trilogy Announced

Ubisoft has just announced a trilogy of new games set in the Assassin's Creed universe, each exploring a different locale.

As previously revealed, the first "chronicle" will take place in China, where players will experience the downfall of the Ming dynasty. The remaining two entries, set in Russia and India, detail the aftermath of the Red October revolution and the waring Sikh Empire, respectively.

Climax Studios is handling development on this trio of titles in conjunction with Ubisoft Montreal. The games will feature a 2.5D perspective, each with their own distinct art style.

Continue reading…

Pirates 5 Halts Filming Due to Depp’s Injury

Production on Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales has halted following star Johnny Depp's March hand injury that required surgery.

Original reports suggested that Depp's off-set accident wouldn't delay production much as scenes would be filmed that did not involve the actor. But now Variety reports that 200 crew members were told they wouldn't be working for the next two weeks.

Depp is reprising his role as Captain Jack Sparrow for the fifth installment of the billion dollar franchise. Javier Bardem joins the series as a villain bent on revenge who holds Sparrow responsible for the death of his brother.

Continue reading…

Grand Theft Auto 5 60 fps PC Trailer Coming This Week

A new trailer for Grand Theft Auto V is coming from Rockstar. Set to premiere April 2, the trailer will be right here, on IGN, and will show the game running on PC at a buttery smooth 60 frames per second.

Current gen hardware versions of the GTA V are running at 1080p, 30 fps, on both Xbox One and PS4, which means the PC version will run at a 100% greater framerate, which we can all safely assume will never be brought up by PC gamers in online arguments.

The PC version of GTA V will also launch with more music than its console counterparts when it finally does hit hard drives April 14.

Continue reading…

The Flash: “Tricksters” Photo Preview

The team at STAR Labs and Joe (Jesse L. Martin) have to deal with a blast from the past in "Tricksters." A copycat killer using the name Trickster (Devon Graye) is mimicking deadly pranks inspired by the work of the previous Trickster, James Jesse (Mark Hamill), several years ago. Barry (Grant Gustin) and Joe visit Jesse in prison to seek assistance to stop the current Trickster from doing more harm. Hamill is reprising his role as James Jesse from the 1990 The Flash TV series.

The Flash: Mark Hamill on Returning as The Trickster

Continue reading…

Nintendo Direct Announced For Tomorrow

Nintendo has announced a Nintendo Direct will take place tomorrow focusing on 3DS and Wii U releases.

The Direct is currently confirmed for both North America and Europe, when it will take place at 3pm PT / 6pm ET / 11pm GMT.

Nintendo of America has also confirmed a Nintendo Treehouse presentation will be happening after the Direct, focusing on a title due out this spring.

Though we don't know specifically what'll be on show, it's possible Nintendo has decided to show what's coming in a bid to balance the news The Legend of Zelda Wii U has been delayed to next year.

Continue reading…

Story of Seasons Review

Farm work often builds more calluses than character. Baling hay and operating heavy machinery under the sun’s stare isn’t what I’d call fun, as even my few high school summers spent helping a farmstead to flourish had me pining for the comfort of a cubicle. It’s wearisome work, but as Story of Seasons proves, it also has its grand rewards. Watching a field of seedlings transform to a sea of stalks—along with raising a calf to not only produce milk, but also show well in competition—can be worth the hours of tilling, watering, feeding, and grooming.

The fruit of your labor is yours to ripen, but it takes time and patience to see your farm in Story of Seasons—a Harvest Moon game in everything but name—progress beyond a small patch of unripe tomatoes. Tilling dirt, planting seeds, spreading fertilizer, keeping your animals happy and healthy—the list of chores is long (and yes, these are chores.) You won’t gleefully rush to brush your two rabbits and water your spinach crop before the day’s end, but you’ll still push through these menial tasks for the good of the farm. The products that come from the processes drive you to action, and while these procedures are often tedious, the payoff of your hard work is too rich a bounty to resist.

He's just so happy!

When you’re first planted into town, there’s actually very little to do. As a new farmer looking to sell your goods and attract fresh business, your customizable character (who can be either male or female) has very few tools and tokens to work with. You’re given a ramshackle dwelling stationed on an unkempt plot of land, as well as an assortment of equipment with rugged grips and dull edges. It’s from this unremarkable cocoon you must emerge, and while the compulsion to create proper plots for crops and to tidy up this agricultural mess is strong, making any real progress takes time. Your first few weeks feel empty, and at times even aimless, since you don’t have the means to accomplish much.

It’s not just your budding flowers, fruits, and grains that determine the pace. It’s your character’s insufficient stamina that drives activity, and while cooking the various purchasable recipes and ordering an entrée at the local restaurant gives you a healthy boost of energy, the consistent burden of running out of juice is wearisome. Every swing of the axe, thrust of the hammer, or flick of the wrist as you water crops affects your stamina, and that’s a nagging, momentum-killing issue early on. Without the proper funds or food (or if it’s a Wednesday and the restaurant’s closed), you can easily wind up with depleted strength before noon. After that, you’re left to either socialize with your neighbors or sleep the day away to fully restore your energy. Story of Seasons’ biggest flaw is its insistence on too literally conveying the world-weary axiom, “There just aren’t enough hours in the day.”

The fruit of your labor is yours to ripen, but it takes time and patience to see your farm in Story of Seasons progress beyond a small patch of unripe tomatoes.

You learn to work within these tight boundaries. After watering your crops and tending to your livestock Monday morning, maybe you’ll spend the next three hours fishing—an activity easy on your stamina—with the hopes of nabbing a rare catch. If it rains on Tuesday and you don’t need to manually water plants (an occurrence you’ll cherish), you can spend the morning selling crops to the merchant visiting the market. From there, you can allot your waning hours of sunlight to chopping down trees to free up additional space for barns, or working the land for all those sweet potato seeds taking up space in your inventory. Once you discover valuable minerals like copper and purchase enough blueprints for new tools, though, the stamina restrictions loosen. By the time I crafted a gold brush and watering can, I was able to attend to almost every errand in a given day without depleting my food bank or splurging at the restaurant.

Unfortunately, digging up dirt and picking up stray branches isn’t fun. In fact, gathering materials and making sure everything on your farm is in tip-top shape before you hit the hay can be an lifeless grind. But even after spending three in-game days doing little more than watering plants and milking cows whilst waiting for a merchant to come to town, the compulsion to continue expanding my empire was strong. After playing a marathon session and with every intention of putting the 3DS down, simply waking up to the pitter-patter of rain against my roof was enough to get me out of my virtual bed and back into the fields. Story of Seasons intelligently doles out new tasks and items that build upon its basic farming mechanics, so it’s easy to just barrel through weeks at a time in anticipation for bigger and better results.

Time doesn't grow on trees, Elise!

The deliberately paced farm work coupled with the time between planting crops and seeing results only makes cashing in your trove of goods sweeter. A calendar tells which days of the week merchants come into town, and the more you sell, the more unique buyers visit the market. Different items are also in-demand during certain weeks and with particular buyers, so while you might have moaned and groaned as you slaved over dozens of different plants, selling an entire crop of chili peppers at above-market value can turn the whole game around. This sudden influx of cash allows you to lease new land, buy more cows, or even expand your house.

That’s when Story of Seasons is at its best. After spending weeks digging through your couch cushions for enough loose change to simply feed your cows, finally selling your goods and using this influx of money to upgrade each aspect of your agricultural business is wonderfully satisfying. The subsidiary activities, such as fishing, decorating, and (eventually) mining for rare minerals can be entertaining on their own, but they all feed into Story of Seasons’ primary goal—to build the biggest, best farm possible.

Every swing of the axe, thrust of the hammer, or flick of the wrist as you water crops affects your stamina.

Because of how single-minded you can become, it’s difficult to find entertainment outside of the farm. Poking the townsfolk to hear repetitive dialogue is dull, and the planned events that range from cooking competitions to fashion shows feel more like roadblocks during your daily routine than novel ways to interact with your neighbors. Different events through each of the four seasons do well to break up the pace, but every moment you’re not farming can feel like a waste of effort.

One nagging distraction is the frame rate, which noticeably dips as you travel from screen to screen. Story of Seasons isn’t a visual powerhouse, even if the cartoony characters and vibrant colors of the different seasons are nice to look at. But as soon as you step into a patch of land littered with seeds and budding plants, the presentation stutters. It doesn’t prevent you from completing any specific tasks, but the frame rate remains a consistent nuisance.

Even so, Story of Seasons is a wildly addictive, bizarrely rewarding adventure constrained by tight restrictions that only loosen after a significant time investment. The early pacing problems do well to bolster the sense of progression later in the game, and while the restrictive stamina system tempers the fun early on, the eventual payoff for all your hard work is enhanced by the early days spent toiling in the fields. There are blatant issues—some of which might keep you from advancing beyond the first season—but once Story of Seasons has its hooks in you, it’s difficult to walk away from the farm.

This Week’s Deals With Gold Are…

This week's Deals With Gold features a number of noteworthy discounts for Xbox One users, including a 50 percent price slash on Bioware's fantasy role-playing game Dragon Age: Inquisition.

As detailed by Major Nelson, Xbox One titles that are half off include Diablo III: Reaper of Souls Ultimate Evil Edition, as well as FIFA 15. Several LEGO titles have been discounted as well, including Marvel Super Heroes, which can be purchased for 75 percent off.

On the last-gen front, Xbox 360 owners can pick up Diablo III Reaper of Souls for half its regular price, as well as the latest entry in EA's popular soccer franchise. A slew of add-on content and LEGO games round out the list, too.

Continue reading…

Final Fantasy 14 Director Thanks Fans Ahead of Expansion

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn director Naoki Yoshida has thanked players for their support as the last pre-expansion patch for the MMO is released.

Patch 2.55: The Gates of Judgement launches today and marks the end of the game's main scenario, before a new one starts up with expansion Heavensward's launch. The end of this chapter will see the dragon Vishap attack Ishgard while you and the Scions of the Seventh Dawn defend it. Anyone wanting to jump straight into the first quest of the expansion when it launches will need to complete the "Before the Dawn" that's being introduced today.

In light of this landmark, and the impending release of the game's first expansion, Yoshida has released a message for fans and players.

Continue reading…

Devolver Digital Reveals Steam-only Film

Devolver Digital Films has a movie coming out on Tuesday, March 31, on Steam.

The video game-inspired comedy/sci-fi, titled Motivational Growth, features Jeffrey Combs as the voice of The Mold, which we’re told is a talking fungus that lives in the bathroom of Ian DeFalivor (played by Adrian DiGiovanni).

According to the presser, Ian is a depressed recluse whose television has just died following a botched suicide attempt. Ian then starts taking advice from a “smooth-talking” chunk of aspergillus, and wheyhey, you’ve got a movie.

"This moment is largely why Devolver started picking up great indie films off the festival circuit two years ago,” reckons Devolver Digital co-founder and partner Mike Wilson. “We believe the global community of discovery and curation that exists on Steam and had allowed indie game development to flourish could become the best thing to ever happen to digital film distribution as well."

Continue reading…