Platforms: 3DS | PS3 | PS Vita | Wii U (reviewed)
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Cards on the table: I love One Piece. Granted, there's a world of deeper, more exciting and incredibly tedious anime/manga franchises out there, but for me there's nothing quite like watching madcap super-powered pirates fighting each other, engaging in hilarious banter, learning intense lessons about comradeship and doing almost no actual piracy whatsoever.
It's the sweet spot of irrepressible humour, great characters, shapeshifting reindeer, stretchy protagonists, violin-playing skeleton musicians and swordsmen so badass they hold a third blade in their teeth. And, as such, perfect videogame material. Even the incredibly inconsistent Omega Force managed to make an excellent Dynasty Warriors spin-off in One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2, but Gabarion have gone one step further by basing their latest tie-in on something more profound.
Namely Monster Hunter. It's a concoction that shouldn't work, yet in practice makes for one of the best anime tie-ins ever developed: a gorgeous, enormous and surprisingly compelling game that lasts for hours on end.
Though, as I made sure to mention in the very first sentence of this review, I'm a fan myself. Bear that in mind, won't you?Click here to read more...
If you're a fan of hack & slash action RPG combat but wish that Diablo wouldn't take itself so seriously, the Van Helsing series is about to rock your world. Quality ARPGs with an anarchic sense of humour and massive value... for £11.99 each at full price. Now that the second game is out -- and brilliant -- there's never been a better time to pick up the first, especially since it's less than four Quid with all the DLC too. Character save files transfer over, so you know.
Platform: PC (reviewed) | PS4
Developer: Supergiant Games
"But is it better than Bastion?" The Big Question looms large over Transistor even though it's total nonsense: the two games couldn't be more different if they tried.
That said, the superficial similarities are overwhelming. My most anticipated game of 2014 is another tightly-paced isometric action RPG that throws cyberpunk singer Red and her friend-turned-superweapon into arena battles against a menacing digital army. Supergiant once again bring Logan Cunningham's honey-voiced narration, sumptuous art direction and superb sound design to bear with ruthless efficiency, creating the achingly gorgeous yet haunting world of Cloudbank around us and spinning a fascinating yarn as it does so.
But whereas Bastion was built around reflexes and powerful emotions, Transistor is cool as a cucumber: a slick, stylish and tactical experience that rewards using your head, not your heart. Victory comes down to forward planning and perfect execution, taking full advantage of a dizzying range of versatile abilities and a game-changing combat mechanic that blends strategic turn-based action with visceral swordplay.Click here to read more...
Stay a while and listen. Diablo III's Reaper Of Souls expansion and its massive free patches turned a directionless grind into a serious dungeon crawling contender - and this new content is finally going to be available on last-and-new-generation consoles this summer in a feature-packed package.Click here to read more...
Platform: PC (pre-order includes Steam beta, £8.88)
Developer: Pixel Ferrets
I'm wearing a chicken on my head, swinging a sharpened carrot around like a vegetarian lunatic and feeling fantastic. See, I worked hard for these bizarre items in Secrets Of Grindea, the indie RPG that glorifies "grind" and shows us that it doesn't have to be a dirty word.
The clue's in the name, see. Grindea. Geddit? Now behold my mighty carrot.
I was lucky enough to encounter Pixel Ferrets and their hot Swedish export back when they were enrolled in Gotland University, whereupon their prototype was already polished enough to win universal acclaim from a panel of industry veterans including Jason Vandenberghe, Ernest Adams and... erm, me. Then it won the Student Choice Awards. And then the Swedish Game Awards. Two years on, and Secrets Of Grindea is finally available to pre-order and play as an early access title.
If you're at all interested in classic RPGs like Secret Of Mana, you probably ought to pay attention. Despite the potential for parody, Secrets Of Grindea is deadly serious about providing a rock-solid gameplay experience to enjoy, ensuring that the grinding and humour are built on firm foundations.Click here to read more...
Dark Souls II may have returned to £30+ at Zavvi last week, but their corporate overlords at The Hut have matched this tasty price for the PC version. You'll either love or hate this sadistic sequel thanks to its harsh yet nuanced mechanics and intense challenge curve (that isn't so much a curve as a ramp straight up the side of a skyscraper) - to the extent where Carl loves it, Matt hates it and I quietly mumble something about "coherent art direction" before admitting to preferring Dragon's Dogma. Anyway, it's genuinely great and Carl's review explains why - even if you don't personally like it.
Thanks to Jas10 @ HUKD!
I reinstalled Diablo III the other day... and I'd suggest you do the same if you have the time.
It's my job, of course. Blizzard pinged us a code for the long-anticipated expansion, Reaper Of Souls, which launched last night with nary an Error 37 in sight. Offering a new class (the brilliantly cathartic Crusader), a new act with Blizzard's first attempt at procedural urban environments, some great new bosses and a massive adventure mode for item hunters, the new content is matched my a seriously hefty price tag. Naturally I reinstalled Diablo III well ahead of time to make sure that I could take several classes straight into Westmarch to test their tasty new level 70 skills - and our full review will be ready soon. Spoiler alert: it's pretty decent.
However, the last time I mentioned Reaper Of Souls on-site, readers suggested that we took another look at Blizzard's controversial dungeon crawler due to some utterly enormous patches. Update 2.0 revamped Diablo III in numerous key areas earlier this month, rebuilding its progression, loot, difficulty settings and the core gameplay experience in fundamental ways. Some early critics even appear to be giving Reaper Of Souls credit for things that are actually included as totally free updates.
The net result being that Diablo III is now a vastly superior game even if you don't spend a single extra penny. And definitely worth another look.Click here to read more...
Death is your faithful companion beneath Bitterblack Isle.
It's soaked into the very walls of the gothic demesne that ensnares your party, permeating the bones and bodies that litter the bleak labyrinth sprawling ahead of you. It glints in the eye of werewolves the size of people carriers who rip your pawns to tatty shreds, or cannibalistic necrophagous beasts gorging themselves on charnel. Death stalks you constantly, literally calling to you from the shadows, lashing out of every booby-trapped chest and dripping from the teeth of countless over-levelled horrors. At your lowest ebb, death itself appears to you as the grim reaper, a horrific persistent adversary who kills with a single touch and hounds your every step.
Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen is out to kill you, but with enough patience and skill, you can bring death to its knees.
Click here to read more...
Dark Souls: Prepare To Die Edition | Play-Asia | £10.00
Dark Souls: Prepare To Die Edition price comparison | Dark Souls Review
Soul Sacrifice is out this Wednesday, and its European producer is keen to tell you about the deep sacrifice system that underpins the hectic arena combat. As a Monster Hunter-esque proposition from Mega Man and Dead Rising creator Keiji Inafune, many Vita owners are getting rather excited about this one, so we'll have a full review for you soon.
If you're interested, we dedicated 20 minutes of our latest PWNcast to Soul Sacrifice and all of its grim murdering.Click here to read more...
Supergiant Games have revealed their next game as sci-fi action RPG Transistor. As you'd expect from the creators of Bastion, it's looking really rather special indeed even at this early stage.
Hauntingly beautiful trailer, screens and details after the break.Click here to read more...
Dark Arisen is the name given to the huge expansion pack for Dragon's Dogma, but this disc also includes the full original game. While not released until April 26th, the RRP is £19.99 so it's unlikely you'll find a better pre-order price. The original game is currently selling for around £16, so I'd hang on for this version if you've had the game on your radar for a while. Click here to read about what's new for the Dark Arisen side of the package.
Thanks to grizzl33 and 8190085 at HotUkDeals.
Based on the books rather than the TV series and made in collaboration with the author himself, this is a decent tie-in if not overly adventurous when compared to the competition. There's a steady flow of DLC for the game though which hints at the developer's being keen to keep working on it as an ongoing franchise. Maybe they should let Mr. Martin get on with finishing off the books though. While you're waiting for the next series/book you could do far worse, so head on over to ShopTo and save yourself a few quid over the other sites.
Alientrap Software, the indie outfit behind critically-acclaimed run & gun platformer Capsized, has revealed their latest project. Apotheon will be a sidescrolling action RPG set in ancient Greece, exploring rich mythology throughout a "massive open-world Mount Olympus."Click here to read more...
Platforms: PC | PSN | XBLA (reviewed)
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
There was an opportunity here.
A few exceptions notwithstanding, traditional loot-grinding dungeon crawlers are still a relatively rare breed on home consoles. PS3/Xbox 360 owners have watched in quiet envy as PCs and handhelds continually attracted the bulk of the addictive genre, from Diablo III to Heroes Of Ruin and Torchlight II, meaning that there's a gap in the market for anyone willing to provide a similar experience. Into the wasteland stepped Wizarbox, promising to deliver compelling persistent character creation and cooperative hijinks for a bargain downloadable price. We became rather excited about RAW: Realms Of Ancient War, our interest piqued by some intriguing trailers.
Though RAW has its moments, it's clear that Wizarbox haven't exactly seized this opportunity with both hands.
Click here to read more...
Click here to read more...
Ahead of next week's release on PC, PS3 and XBLA, Realms Of Ancient War has received a new video showcasing its cooperative hack & slash action. Many gamers have been looking for an accessible action-RPG while their PC fellows got stuck into Diablo III, so if Wizarbox delivers, they could well have a hit on their hands.
Edmund McMillen has announced that his deliciously twisted roguelike The Binding Of Isaac is headed to home consoles. Though he's not willing to talk specifics, a Q&A reveals that Microsoft definitely "want" to secure The Binding Of Isaac for XBLA, and it will have local cooperative play. The console version will also include the Wrath Of The Lamb expansion pack.
We described McMillen's creation as "a randomised , replayable and reprehensible masterpiece" in our 8/10 The Binding Of Isaac review.
Developer: Gazillion Entertainment
The tagline that the Gazillion Studios team, would like us to take on board for Marvel Heroes is: “Marvel meets Diablo on Steroids.” Considered the President of the company is one David Brevik, co-founder of Blizzard North and creator of Diablo and Diablo II, we’re inclined to take notice.
This upcoming action MMORPG would be a tempting enough prospect for fans of the genre and the world’s most iconic name in comics. Consider this though: the game will be free-to-play. Sure there will be optional micro-transactions, but you’ll be able to play all the way through the game without spending a dime. “We’re aiming to create the highest quality free-to-play game ever made,” ambitious, but there’s no denying the potential.
Brevik displays an infectious enthusiasm for the game: “I specifically sought this project out; it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while. The heroes and their powers fit really well into a Diablo-style game. Not only that, but there are things that these heroes can do that have never been done in an action role playing game.”Click here to read more...
Blizzard are all set for the worldwide release of Diablo III this evening, and have prepared a video for series newcomers, explaining everything a newbie needs to know about the action-RPG. Check out the video above for information on the classes, a little bit of background info, and some tidbits on the upcoming PvP features that'll be integrated post-launch.
It’s Diablo meets Pokemon in this sci-fi dungeon crawler from Maxis, and Gameplay are currently offering the Limited Edition for £2 cheaper than the next cheapest retailer over at Game. Along with a copy of Darkspore, you will gain immediate access to some in-game items to help you as you battle your enemies, which include better stats for your heroes, an XP booster to speed up progression, and an early unlock for one of the many customisable heroes you will be able to get. With the regular version being a bit more expensive at the moment, this is the best value for your money right now if you’re looking to get in on the action. Thanks to ukstylist @ HUKD!