Daily updates on video games and popular culture, along with Australia’s grooviest gaming podcast.

Shadow Realms goes for that D&D feel

Posted by Peter Nickless On Tuesday 19 August 2014No Comments

Remember to validate your ticket… and your crossbow.

Shadow Realms, the new announcement from BioWare, is a 4v1 action RPG set for release on PC in late 2015. It takes inspiration from old school pen and paper role-playing games by having one player take on the role of the Shadow Lord, placing traps and enemies around the map and four players as heroes tackling their creations.

There appears to be a strong emphasis on combat, with the hero players being able to choose from amongst six classes, each with individual skill-sets.  Action takes place in real-time from a third person perspective as players tackle multiple enemies, which must be defeated for the “Shadow Barrier” to be lifted and new map areas accessed.  BioWare will deliver the persistent worlds of Earth and Embra for players to combat in with extra content being promised in episodic form.

Players tasked as the Shadow Lord will experience their own upgradeable abilities and view the action in real time too. The Shadow Lord can also possess and control enemies or appear directly to players from time to time.  This old-school “Dungeon Master” approach is one that Shadow Realm’s creators see as a way for groups of friends to have continuing co-op adventures each time they play.

I must confess that every time BioWare announce a new game I get excited.  To my mind they have pushed storytelling in RPGs to the point of triumph and have achieved great mainstream success for doing so.  BioWare has become a brand of quality for many gamers.  Hell, I even loved Dragon Age 2.

Strange announcement

Posted by Stephen Foote On Monday 18 August 2014No Comments

That’s Max, our heroine, on the left.

Given the lukewarm reception received by French developer DONTNOD Entertainment’s ironically titled Remember Me last year, it’s not surprising to hear that they’ve parted ways with publisher Capcom and have instead struck up a deal with Square-Enix to deliver their upcoming “episodic narrative experience” Life is Strange.

The game is billed as a murder mystery set in small town America, and DONTNOD have chosen once again to champion female characters in their product. Assumedly in no small part due to the enduring success of the Tomb Raider reboot, it’s encouraging to see Square-Enix take a chance on a property like Life is Strange and demonstrate a focus on promoting diversity in gaming protagonists.

While this sounds fairly straightforward, the developers have also chosen to incorporate what sounds like a repurposed version of the ‘memory remix’ mechanics present in Remember Me, allowing Life is Strange protagonist Max to instead rewind time and alter the course of the narrative experience.

Boasting a hand drawn art style, the screenshots and concept art available thus far are reminiscent of Dreamfall: The Longest Journey, Portal and Mirror’s Edge in terms of design and perhaps the abundance of the colour orange.

Although no release date is currently set, Life is Strange will be available on current PlayStation and Xbox consoles as well as the PC platform.

Gamescom Roundup: The Rest

Posted by Matthew Hewson On Sunday 17 August 2014No Comments

Microsoft l Sony l EA l The Rest

ITEM! Zombie slasher Dead Island 2 was shown in greater detail and looks to be displaying more promise than the two games that came before it. A tonal shift towards dark humour, a refined combat system and amazing graphics may improve on the mediocrity of the past. The only problem I have is it is set in California, which last time I checked, isn’t an island… Read the rest of this entry »

The Black List 258

Posted by Black Panel Staff On Saturday 16 August 2014No Comments

Welcome to The Black List, your one stop shop for the stories published on the site this week.

SUNDAY REVIEW Introducing Gunfire Games > The fallout from Crytek’s recent financial woes has continued, with a new studio emerging from the ashes of the publisher’s layoffs in United States. Crytek’s studio in Austin, Texas was originally charged with developing multiplayer action game Hunt: Horrors of the Gilded Age, only to find itself dramatically downsized and reassigned to engine support duties. READ MORE

MONDAY NEWS Evolve Delayed > Highly anticipated sci-fi blockbuster Evolve has been bumped from October 2014 to February 2015. Turtle Rock Studios has been on a high after demonstrating its hot new IP at E3 this year, winning Best of Show as well as Best Console Game in the Game Critic Awards. Evolve was part of the THQ bankruptcy sale and was picked up by 2K Games, which has been promoting the game to all and sundry knowing that the pedigree of the Left 4 Dead team is one of top-notch co-op based shooting. READ MORE

TUESDAY JUST ANNOUNCED Resident Evil Remake > After some abysmal efforts in recent Resident Evil games, Capcom is going back to where it all started… again. That’s right Capcom is bringing the original Resident Evil into modern times by giving the remake from 2002 an HD remake. Confused? Well the original RE game hit the PSone way back in 1996. Capcom recognised that many players missed it the first time round and re-released an upgraded version for the GameCube. Both the original and the remake are considered classics of the genre and sold very well so the developers are hoping that a new version of the game will have similar success. READ MORE

WEDNESDAY PREVIEW Gamescom Roundup: Microsoft > Hardware updates ahoy! Microsoft have announced a raft of new features for the Xbox One, including the much requested pre-downloading of pre-orders and the inclusion of media server capabilities. Just about every media format known to man is being supported (including .MKV) via both network streaming and playing from a portable device. My 360 just took one step closer to the rumpus room with this announcement. READ MORE

THURSDAY NEWS Gamescom Roundup: Sony > New features are incoming, the most notable being Share Play, which will allow friends to play with you from their PS4 without owning the game. This new innovation seems to use the PlayStation Now infrastructure to allow this sharing to happen. It should be a great feature in countries with stable, fast internet. In Australia? Well I guess we will just have to wait and see. READ MORE

FRIDAY NEWS Gamescom Roundup: EA > First up BioWare hit the show all guns, or should I say arrows, blazing with a substantial gameplay trailer for the upcoming Dragon Age: Inquisition. This game looks to have all the hallmarks of BioWare’s best titles like super customisation of characters, in depth story and excellent tactical RPG combat. The only downside? Well they stated that a completionist’s playthrough clocks in at around 130 hours. Goodbye life. READ MORE