Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

We bravely march into the month of... er... March, where both GDC and PAX East will take place in just the first week! And we do so with a list of some of the best PC gaming deals to be found this weekend. Steam is offering up a free weekend of Europa Universalis IV, flanked by a fleet of Disney Interactive games for sale, not the least of which is Disney Infinity 2.0. Meanwhile, Amazon is offering up some of EA's best at a good discount, including Battlefield 4 Premium and Titanfall at its lowest price to date. The Humble Store is offering up simulators like Euro Truck Simulator. And Green Man Gaming is offering up Aliens, led by last year's hit, Alien: Isolation.

Here's our selection of this weekend's PC deals:

Amazon

Bundle Stars

Pay $2.49 for Pixel Boy and the Ever Expanding Dungeon, Stronghold 3 Gold, iO, Revenge of the Titans, Nam, Eradicator, Terrian Saga: KR-17, Sentinel, Legends of Aethereus, and Shiny the Firefly. These activate on Steam.

Or Pay $9.99 for Axis Game Factory Premium and its DLC packs. These activate on Steam.

Or pay $7.99 for F.E.A.R., F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin, and F.E.A.R. 3 and their DLC packs. These activate on Steam.

GamersGate

GameStop

Get Games

GOG.com

  • Deponia - $0.99 (97% off)
  • Omerta: City of Gangsters - $7.49 (75% off)
  • Other games in GOG.com's HERZLICH WILLKOMMEN! sale, including Port Royale and other Deponia games, can be found here.

Green Man Gaming

Use the code B1CYB0-CLSSD1-ARAAGM to get 20% off your purchase. Some exclusions apply.

Humble Bundle

Pay what you want for Hitman: Absolution, Supreme Commander, and the Android version of Hitman GO. Pay more than the average $7.83 to get Thief, Murdered: Soul Suspect, Deus Ex: Human Revolution Director's Cut, the Kane & Lynch Collection, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, and Startopia. Pay $15 or more to also receive Tomb Raider and Sleeping Dogs. All games work on Steam and Steam keys are available with a $1 minimum.

Or pay what you want for Cherry Tree High Complete Pack, Fair Bloom Freesia, and Influent + Language Pack. Pay more than the average $5.15 to get Magical Battle Festa, Revolver 360 Re:Actor, and The Tale of ALLTYNEX. Pay $10 or more to also receive Rime Berta and Half-Second Hero: The Second Coming. Select soundtracks included. All games work on Steam and Steam keys are available with a $1 minimum.

  • Euro Truck Simulator 2 + Going East! expansion [Steam] - $6.99 (80% off)
  • Spintires [Steam] - $9.99 (67% off)
  • Prison Architect [Steam Early Access] - $8.99 (70% off)
  • Other games in the Humble Store's Simulator Weekend sale, including Out of the Park Baseball and Starpoint Gemini 2, can be found here.
  • Painkiller Black Edition [Steam] - $2.49 (75% off)
  • Frontlines: Fuel of War [Steam] - $4.99 (75% off)
  • Check out the full list of games on sale this week on the Humble Store here.

Origin

Steam

As well as regular discounts, Steam has a couple of additional weekend deals.

Shacknews - Steven Wong

In Oblitus, you are a mask-wearing warrior, armed with only a spear and shield, traveling across the dangerous world of Parvus. Fortunately, the there are various power-ups and weapon enhancements (like torches that light up your spear) scattered around the world. The trick is in reaching them without dying. Yes, you'll probably be doing a lot of dying in this 2D platformer, since in addition to featuring a beautiful art style, the game can be extremely challenging.

One Life to Repeat

Players only have one life. If you should die, you have to start the game all over again. All the progress you made has to be redone, and perhaps you can reacquire some of your lost power-ups. I say "perhaps" because Oblitus has procedurally generated levels. The maps remain the same, and key elements like bosses and Harbinger Souls (to replenish health) will always be in the same spots. But the types of enemies you'll encounter, and upgrades, and their locations change each time you die and restart the game.

However, I noticed that there are limits to the randomness. Each time I entered an area, I knew which monsters would definitely be there, like a giant bird that swoops down to on to eat me the minute I step foot in a certain area, or a line of giant carnivorous plants that were always in the same spot, no matter how many times I revisited the area. While the game is still enjoyable, I would have liked to see a greater mix up between the creatures. After replaying a level a handful of times, there would be very few surprises left to discover.

Oblitus features a wonderful setting, and some truly creative creatures and boss monsters, which helps set it apart from other action platformers. Players can use lunge the spear at nearby creatures, or throw it and be left weaponless for a few seconds until it returns. Skilled players should also learn to use the shield, which is something that I never managed to master. Between dodging creatures and throwing spears, the shield is something that's really easy to forget.

Big World, Big Monsters

The game also has tremendous scope. At one point, I started to wonder if I would be climbing up forever, or if there was actually an end to the mountain level. The large levels turn out to be very useful when trying to avoid enemies, because I could lure them off cliffs. However, they necessarily die when falling from great heights. There were plenty of times, when I missed a jump or had to backtrack, where I was surprised by an enemy I left behind and forgot about. Then there are the giants that roam the world, that want nothing more than to crush you into paste.

Although enemies are pretty straightforward and mindless, they are numerous and quite tenacious. They very keen sight lines, and will stay on you as soon as you're spotted. They'll run, jump, and chase you all across the level if they can. They'll lose interest if you manage to drop them off a platform or otherwise manage to escape them, but you always have to be aware of them. Especially creatures like the spiders, which will jump and attack from off-screen. Getting hit suddenly like that does feel cheap sometimes, but it does fit into the game's sense of challenge. There are also a number of cleverly hidden monsters that took me completely by surprise, and figuring out how to defeat them (along with the game's bosses) is a test of skill, observation, and perseverance.

Where Oblitus goes a little overboard is in how there are no save slots. If you intend to beat the game, you have to do so in a single sitting, and hope that nothing goes wrong - like the game crashing. Otherwise, you have to start again from the very beginning, which I think is a lot to ask of players, even for a game where constant restarts is part of the gameplay.

Death is a New Beginning

In spite of soul crushing feeling of losing everything due to a sudden death, or quitting the game, Oblitus has a allure that keeps calling me back. Although the game is very challenging, and I never made it to the final boss, at no point did I feel that the game was impossible to overcome. Oblitus's dark atmosphere and artwork also offer incentive to soldier on, just to see more of world, even after restarting the game a dozen times over. If you don't mind the Sisyphean struggle, Oblitus is definitely a game worth checking out.


This review is based on a PC code provided by the publisher. Oblitus is available on Steam for $14.99.

Shacknews - Shack Staff

It’s been a few months, but 8-Bit Cuisine is back yet again, and this time, Chef Jen is treating us to a sweet treat that would even make the toughest Orc to say “Yummy!”

In this episode of 8-Bit Cuisine, Jen makes some Dalaran Brownies, which are inspired from the Wrath of the Lich King expansion pack for World of Warcraft.

MEASUREMENTS & SERVINGS:

1 ½ Cups Flour

1 cup Cocoa Powder

1 Tsp Salt

1 Cup Butter

1 ½ Cups Brown Sugar

1 ½ Cups White Sugar

1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract

4 Eggs

1 Cup of Chocolate Chips

YIELD: An entire party or one very hungry Orc

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

It's the first episode of the Chattycast to go on without new father Steve Watts at the helm. Substitute host Ozzie Mejia is ready to keep the conversation flowing, but not before acknowledging the passing of true sci-fi icon Leonard Nimoy. The panel of Ozzie, Daniel Perez, Steven Wong, and first-time contributor Joshua Hawkins then move into games within games, games we've bought multiple times, what to expect from Twitch's first convention, and the best "pre-3D era" console games of all time!

Thanks as always to those who provided our topic suggestions this week: The Gorilla Bear, David Craddock, the man with the briefcase, and Psigun. If you want see your name in lights, keep an eye on Chatty to suggest topics! And, special thanks to Chatty user dael for contributing music to the show, and to Bryan "Doctor Games" Carr for production assistance.

Off-Topic: Remembering Leonard Nimoy.Segment 1: What's your favorite minigame within a game? This mostly applies to RPGs though I'm sure minigames exist in other genres as well (the GTA games come to mind). (examples: Triple Triad from Final Fantasy VIII and Beetle Mania from Super Mario RPG)Segment 2: Which of your favorite games have you bought more than once, and how many times did you buy it? Perhaps you double-, triple-, or quadruple-dipped because you wanted to experience the game again and again, or perhaps you got the first version on low-end hardware because it was all you had at the time, so you made do until an upgrade came along.Segment 3: With the announcement of TwitchCon, I would like to hear the panel's expectations for the first gathering of the Twitch community.Segment 4: What is the best console game from each generation? (This week: "pre-3D era" of Nintendo 64/PlayStation/Sega Saturn)

RSS | iTunes | Download this episode

Shacknews - Steven Wong

The premiere episode of Resident Evil 2, titled Penal Colony, starts with a rather hokey commercial for Terra Save, the organization sent into countries to mop up after bio-terrorism events. Its tag line is, "'Terr' doesn't have to end with 'rist'." I'll point out that it sometimes does end with "ible," but that's neither here nor there. What's important is that Claire Redfield from Resident Evil 2 stars in the game as part of Terra Save. She is attending a fundraising dinner when a mysterious military group comes crashing in, kidnapping her and some other guests.

Dazed and Confused

Claire and her friend Moira Burton wake up in a dark, dirty, and abandoned prison with glowing wrist bands locked onto them. Additionally, someone is watching their every move, and is perfectly willing and able to unleash horrors upon them. Together, they make their way through the prison, solve puzzles, evade traps, and battle mutants in an effort to escape and figure out what's going on. However, there are a lot of monsters, and ammunition is scarce, so the duo must work together to get out alive.

While Claire specializes in using firearms and picks up a combat knife for melee attacks. Moira, on the other hand, specializes in profanity, holding the flashlight, and hitting things with a crowbar. Don't laugh, because that flashlight is far more useful than it sounds. Not only does it illuminate darkened corners, but it can also be used to find hidden objects like ammunition and treasure. Furthermore, shining it directly at a monster's head will stun it, leaving it vulnerable to a melee attack. Moira can also step in with her crowbar to finish off monsters.

Now, if only the game had a reliable AI for the companion. Then it would be a much more tolerable game. Although Moira will automatically shine the flashlight in any direction you're facing, and acts as an excellent distraction for enemies to pummel on, she's not very good when it comes to actual combat. Sure, she'll shine her light on a monster's face, giving you an opening, but there's no way to tell her which monster you want her to focus on. Most times, the AI will stare out into space as a giant hammer-wielding monster comes running in, bludgeoning her over the head.

You can switch between characters with a button press, but that does little to solve the problem when you're in the midst of fighting for your life against multiple enemies. Furthermore, you fail the episode if your companion dies. What's worse is how there are a couple of instances where the game requires you to be separated from your partner while you figure out a puzzle. In the meantime, the AI doesn't do anything to defend itself. So, while you're busy exploring darkened hallways, your friend might be eaten alive by giant spiders.

Resident Evil Revelations 2 is the kind of game that screams for a cooperative multiplayer, which is very unfortunate for PC players, since co-op is not included. Despite having a variety of graphics settings, the PC version is severely hampered compared to its console counterparts. Which is too bad, because the rest of the episode is pretty good.

Episodes

The game still has other quirks, mind you. Enemies will occasionally get stuck on corners and jump through walls. The mouse sensitivity was a little high for me, and I had dial it down in Windows, but the gamepad controls worked fine. There were a few instances when I hit dodge but got hit in the face with a hammer anyway. I also never got into the lockpicking minigame, which is actually a crowbar guiding game, where you have to hunt through a circle to find a smaller circle. It feels it takes more guesswork than skill to complete, whether you're using a mouse or a controller. And really... how tricky should prying a box open be?

My main issue is that the game can't decide whether it wants to emphasize stealth or not. You can crouch and perform sneak attacks on all but the biggest creatures, but there are more than a few scenes where doors will suddenly unlock and monsters will come running into your enclosed space, negating any sense of stealth play the game might have had. The on-screen blood spatter from getting hit can become overwhelming. At one point, I could hardly see anything and ended up walking head first into a spinning sword trap. Despite all this, the characters controlled fairly well, and I like being able to lure monsters into environmental traps.

Although I don't necessarily see how the episodic format benefits Resident Evil Revelations 2 yet, especially since each of the four episodes are releasing on a weekly basis, I'll admit that it's interesting that your upgrades, inventory, and ammo count carry over from one to the next. Players can also upgrade Claire and Moira's skills so that they'll have an easier time fighting using a point system that's based on your performance score.

Except, you don't have to wait for the next episode. It's possible to replay the episode using all the gear and skills you acquired during your first playthrough. That means, theoretically, you could go through the first episode a few times to power up and outfit your character in preparation for later episodes. It's a convenient little feature, but I suspect it could take away some of the challenge later on.

Conclusion

The weak companion AI weighs the game down like a massive anchor around its neck. Otherwise, Penal Colony would have been a very promising start to the Resident Evil Revelations 2 episodic series. The game features a decent mix of stealth and action, and has some pretty clever puzzles. Moira's personality kind of got on my nerves, but maybe she'll grow on me in future episodes. We'll just have to see, as the series progresses, if the story and characters are enough to overcome some of the gameplay issues.


Impressions are based on a PC download code provided by the publisher. The first episode of Resident Evil Revelations 2 is available now for $5.99 per episode or $24.99 for the season pass. The game is rated M.

Shacknews - Daniel Perez

Hot on the heels of its recent Weekly Bundle for Lovers, Humble Bundle’s latest weekly bundle features a selection straight from Japan.

The Humble Weekly Bundle Made in Japan offers Cherry Tree High Complete Pack, Fairy Bloom Freesia, and Influent + Language Pack for whatever price you choose. Paying more than the average unlocks Magical Battle Festa, Revolver 360 Re:Actor and The Tale of ALLTYNEX. Pay more than $10 will unlock Rime Berta and Half-Minute Hero: The Second Coming.

The Made in Japan bundle will last for a week and will support Save the Children and watsi.

Shacknews - Daniel Perez

I hope your arms have recuperated from Fruit Ninja Kinect as Halfbrick has announced its sequel, Fruit Ninja Kinect 2, will be releasing on the Xbox One worldwide on March 18.

Fruit Ninja Kinect 2 features five new game modes, four-person multiplayer, five new characters to help guide would-be ninjas, and a new progression system. Players will be able to dodge shurikens, hack through a forest of bamboo, and attempt to avoid spotlights as they work to become a true ninja.

Fruit Ninja Kinect 2’s multiplayer modes will allow up to four players to swipe their way through a number of objectives with Battle and Party modes serving as the ideal proving grounds for masters in the art of fruit ninja-ing.

Fruit Ninja Kinect 2 will be available for $15 when it releases on the Xbox Game Store on March 18.

Shacknews - Daniel Perez

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and NetherRealm Studios have released the first story trailer for their upcoming fighting game, Mortal Kombat X.

The story trailer highlights Mortal Kombat X’s main story, which takes place 25 years after the events of the previous Mortal Kombat title. MKX follows a new generation of characters as they discover Outworld isn’t the only threat they face. The trailer shows off some of the game’s newest fighters, which includes Cassie Cage, Jacqueline Briggs, Takashi Takeda, and Kung Jin, all of which are descendants of previous Mortal Kombat characters.

Mortal Kombat X will be getting a worldwide release on April 14 on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC.

Shacknews - Daniel Perez

Capcom released the first episode of Resident Evil Revelations 2 this week across multiple platforms, although those who purchased the PC version are up in arms over the lack of local co-op support even though the company had promoted the feature leading up to its release. As a result, Capcom has released a statement regarding the missing feature.

“We apologize to our Resident Evil Revelations 2 PC players who purchased the game and expected to have local co-op as a feature,” Capcom says in its statement. “The feature wasn’t intended for this version and that caveat was mistakenly omitted from the product description on the Steam page earlier, and then included as soon as we were made aware. This was an unintentional error and again, we apologize for the confusion this may have caused.”

In regards to a resolution, Capcom offers the following, “We are currently looking into the matter and potential solutions and we hope to have new information to share very soon, so please stay tuned.” Let’s just hope the new information is the addition of this feature to the PC version as this feels like the old bait and switch tactic to me, regardless if it was “mistakenly omitted” from Steam’s product page.

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

Killer Instinct is about to take its ranked online play to the next level, as Iron Galaxy is ready to introduce Ranked Leagues with tomorrow's 2.4 update. Today, the developer offered up some more details on this new feature.

Ranked Leagues are a monthly clash to the top, with participants determining their tournament placement after playing online ranked matches. Players will be placed in a bracket of similarly-skilled players, where they'll fight to reach "Killer" status.

"Every Tier game matches players up with similar skill levels," Iron Galaxy's Kraig Kujawa said on Xbox Wire. "Bronzes play Bronzes, Silvers play Silver, and so on. A shiny, new Player Card banner will show everyone the status you’ve reached. As the battles rage on, you can gain or lose Ladder points and Rank Titles, but once you’ve made to a Tier, you can’t fall out of it. No need to stress out about flubbing a match or two! Occasionally, you’ll even match up with someone outside of your Tier, but bonus Tier Points make it well worth your while for you and your opponent to take the risk. After you reach a certain threshold of Tier points, you graduate to the next Tier."

Upon reaching the Killer rank, Ranked Matches become best two-out-of-three, as is the tournament standard. Reaching this ranking will put those players on the monthly leaderboard, while also unlocking exclusive Player Card PRO stars that will separate them as the best of the best.

The 2.4 update will also introduce Aganos to the game, with Ultra Edition owners of the game able to take him out for a spin. Other changes detailed in the Killer Instinct forums include XP system changes, as well as some new skins.

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