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Sega has revealed the next ten games to be included in the Sega Mega Drive (Genesis) Mini, bringing us to a total of 30 of the 40 games to be featured.  It’s a strong line-up of the ten newly announced games which includes Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition, Ghouls ‘n Ghosts, Golden Axe, Mega Man: The Wily Wars and more.

Below you’ll find the recent ten announcements and I’ll include the thirty announced games so far.  The Sega Mega Drive Mini will release on September 19th.

    1. Mega Man: The Wily Wars
    2. Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition
    3. Ghouls ‘n Ghosts
    4. Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle
    5. Beyond Oasis
    6. Golden Axe
    7. Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium
    8. Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball
    9. Vectorman
    10. Wonder Boy in Monster World

First Thirty Games Announced So Far:

  1. Sonic the Hedgehog
  2. Ecco the Dolphin
  3. Castlevania: Bloodlines
  4. Space Harrier 2
  5. Shining Force
  6. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine
  7. ToeJam & Earl
  8. Comix Zone
  9. Altered Beast
  10. Gunstar Heroes
  11. Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse
  12. World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck
  13. Thunder Force III
  14. Super Fantasy Zone
  15. Shinobi III
  16. Streets of Rage 2
  17. Earthworm Jim
  18. Sonic the Hedgehog 2
  19. Contra: Hard Corps
  20. Landstalker
  21. Mega Man: The Wily Wars
  22. Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition
  23. Ghouls ‘n Ghosts
  24. Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle
  25. Beyond Oasis
  26. Golden Axe
  27. Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium
  28. Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball
  29. Vectorman
  30. Wonder Boy in Monster World

The post Next 10 Games Announced for Sega Mega Drive Mini! appeared first on PushStartPlay.

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4A Games and Deep Silver has released details on the two major expansions that will be coming to Metro Exodus.  Releasing first this summer is The Two Colonels which will have us play as a new character, followed by Sam’s Story set to release early 2020, which is a brand new sandbox survival level based on Vladivostok.  Both expansions will be included in the Metro Exodus expansion pass, as well as being available for individual purchase.

I’m being deliberately vague here, because both expansion details will contain spoilers from the main game, so be warned.  However, I will include all the official press release details below, for those that have finished the campaign of Metro Exodus.

Finally, you can read our review of Metro Exodus here.

Coming in summer 2019, the first story that players will follow, The Two Colonels, is that of Colonel Khlebnikov, just below the surface, under the dead city of Novosibirsk, as he makes his way home to his son, Kirill, for New Year’s Eve.

But all is not well with the people here: the slime is further consuming the tunnels, mutant attacks appear to be on the rise and the precious ‘green stuff’ that protects the people from radiation poisoning is running low. In order to secure the survival of any of the people, those in charge may need to take drastic measures…

Following the journey and experiences of Khlebnikov during the last days of life in Novosibirsk, which Colonel Miller retraces a year later, players can expect the classic story-driven gameplay of the Metro series in this new linear chapter, complete with a brand new weapon, the deadly flame-thrower, claustrophobic environments, and the all-too-familiar hair-raising tension.

The second piece of DLC, Sam’s Story, coming to players in early 2020, is the brand new sandbox survival level based on Vladivostok. Sam, a US marine at the Moscow embassy before the bombs were dropped, has long dreamed of returning to his homeland, and maybe finding his family alive. The prospect seemed impossible in the darkened tunnels of the Metro, but when the Spartans discovered that Moscow was not the only city left alive after the war, holding out hope didn’t feel so foolish anymore.

Sam makes his way away from the Aurora in search of a way back to the USA, arriving at the remains of Vladivostok’s tsunami ravaged harbours, ruined industrial buildings, and crumbling residential districts.  To complete his journey, Sam will discover that he needs every tactic he has learned so far to survive, as his surroundings prove to be far trickier than expected.

Players will forge Sam’s path through the sandbox survival landscape of Vladivostok, as they take a brand new journey across the wasteland of post-apocalyptic Russia.

The post Metro Exodus Expansion Content Revealed appeared first on PushStartPlay.

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In the ever growing age of technology and personal data, your privacy and security has never been as important as it is now.  You may have seen a lot of YouTube influencers promoting VPN and other then the sponsorship deal of course, there’s a great reason why you should consider subscribing to such a service.

For starters, just being on the go with your mobile, if at any point you connect to free Wi-Fi on a bus, train, pub or even a restaurant, while there’s only small odds that you may be at risk, there is always that one chance that this open network will leave your private data exposed to hackers.  This could mean that some scum bag can gain access to your passwords to your email account, online retailers, you gaming accounts and much more.  And of course, they could as a consequence, pinch your bank and credit card details, and before you’ve realised what’s happened, the damage could have already been done.

Other than your everyday security, what are the other importance’s does having a VPN benefit your gaming experience?  Well for starters, if you prefer your games digitally and feel restricted by regional release dates, having a VPN is a great way to hide your location, so that you can download happily from other regional stores.  So when a game your really excited for releases on a Tuesday, but it doesn’t release until the following Friday in your country, then fear not as a VPN will break down that barrier, and it will also help gain access to region exclusive DLC.

If you’re big on multiplayer gaming, you can also play multiplayer games from any region.  So if there’s ever a case where another country gets an online exclusive game, like that Halo game that released in Russia years ago, having a VPN will allow you to download and play that particular game, as if you were a resident of Mother Russia.  Also, later this year, Apex Legends Mobile is releasing first in China before anywhere else in the world and by having a VPN, you can download and play as soon as that game becomes available.

You’ll also be able to connect to a multitude of gaming servers from across the world.  So if your country suffers from poor ping times, latency and lag, just find a server that’s good for you and enjoy your multiplayer gaming as you should wherever you connect online.

Just like being connected to a free public Wi-Fi on your mobile or laptop, you will still have your security to consider when playing games online via PC or console, even in the comfort of your own home.  While the vast majority of online gamers are good jolly folk, you will encounter an idiot from time to time, that simply cannot take losing and it might just be that the idiot knows how to get into your personal data or even enforce a DDoS attack.  By having a VPN, you’ll not only be able to safely protect your data behind encrypted gaming private networks, but you will also be able to protect yourself from any imposing DDoS attacks.

So there you have it, there are plenty of reasons to get a VPN but they’re especially great for gamers in preventing DDoS attacks and accessing geo-specific content. If you’re not familiar with VPNs, ProPrivacy has a a lot of great guides to get you started.

The post Why VPN Security Is Important to Your Gaming Experience appeared first on PushStartPlay.

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Super Mario Maker 2 was the sole star of the show at last night’s Nintendo Direct event and with it came a host of new gameplay details and improvements over the original game that released on the Wii U and 3DS.

New to Super Mario Maker 2 is a singleplayer story mode, in which Mario helps Princess Peach rebuild her castle.  However, in order to raise the resources to rebuild the castle, Mario must take on jobs to collect coins as he takes on challenging courses.  In total, there will be over 100 courses to playthrough in the singleplayer campaign, which will no doubt act as a great way to learn the ropes of Super Mario Maker 2.

Also, you will now be able to play Super Mario Maker 2 with up-to three other players via 4-player multiplayer, with players taking control of Mario, Luigi, Toad and Toadette.  You can play a co-op mode where players must work together to beat the courses.  You can also play Versus in which players must race from start to finish and the player that earns the best Versus Rating, wins.  Multiplayer can be played locally on one system or playable on four Nintendo Switch consoles, as long as each player owns a copy of the game (only one of the participating players needs a Nintendo Switch Online subscription).

One of the great features about the original Super Mario Maker was the ability to have themes to build your levels based upon Super Mario games of yesteryear, and this sequel promises even more themes than ever before.  Not only will you be able to use all theme included in the original game, but it will now even include themes and tools for Super Mario World 3D to name but one.  The new courses will also allow you to build levels using deserts, snow, forests, moons sky themes, and much more.

Well that pretty much concludes the main highlights from the Super Mario Maker 2 Nintendo Direct Event, but I’ll also include all the added details via the official press release below.  You can also watch the Nintendo Direct even in full below.  Are you looking forward to Super Mario Maker 2?  Let us know across our social media channels.

Super Mario Maker 2 will release for the Nintendo Switch next month on June 28th.

Super Mario Maker 2 Direct - 15.05.2019 - YouTube
 

What’s New?: There are a ton of new course parts, tools and features for creators to use in Super Mario Maker 2, some of which include:

  • Slopes – Create angled surfaces by just picking a direction and setting the length. Gentler slopes are an additional option as well.
  • Angry Sun – Remember the angry sun that attacked Mario in Super Mario Bros. 3? It’s back and ready to put the pressure on players in this new game.
  • ON/OFF Switch – Hit an ON/OFF Switch, and all the red and blue blocks in the course will swap. Setting them up wisely will help players create tricky puzzles and obstacles.
  • Water Level – The water level in Super Mario Maker 2 can be adjusted in the Forest theme, so only half the course can be underwater if that’s what the player wants. Water can even be set to rise and fall at different speeds over time.
  • Banzai Bill – The red variations of these classic Super Marioenemies have a homing function that chases poor Mario wherever he goes.
  • Co-op Making: Pass a Joy-Con controller to a friend to create a course together.
  • To Be Continued…: There are more new secrets in Super Mario Maker 2. Players will have a blast experimenting with all the tools and features they can use to create the courses of their dreams.

Super Mario 3D World: Players can choose to create their courses in the style of Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, New Super Mario Bros. U and a new style based on Super Mario 3D World. Some new features unique to this style include:

  • Cat Mario – Cat Mario can climb walls, scratch, slide and pounce on enemies. Players can even use Cat Mario to climb up the Goal Pole.
  • Clear Pipe – Clear Pipes can be placed in any shape the player wants, but they have to be careful, as enemies can also slide through these transparent pipes.
  • Koopa Troopa Car – Hop in this sweet ride and zoom through the course. Players just need to make sure not to crash!
  • Track Block – The Track Block will follow any path the player draws. The blue one starts moving when the player steps on it.
  • Piranha Creeper – The Piranha Creeper follows the path that the player draws, extending its dangerous spiky stem around the course.
  • Who’s Who in Super Mario 3D World? A cast of other familiar faces will also make appearances in Super Mario Maker 2, so players are in for a treat.

Course World: An online hub where players can play and share courses, as well as play together, Course World is available for players around the world who have a membership to Nintendo Switch Online. Players can browse by Popular Courses, New Courses or even search for specific tags like “puzzle-solving” or “auto-scroll” using a pre-defined set of filters. Once a course is downloaded, it can be played anytime – even offline.

Players can also personalise their Mii character’s appearance using items like shirts and hats that unlock after completing various objectives. In Endless Challenge, players will try to complete as many Course World courses as possible on the difficulty of their choice before getting a game over. Earning impressive scores in this mode might even get the player on the Leaderboards.

The post New Features Showcased at Nintendo Direct for Super Mario Maker 2 appeared first on PushStartPlay.

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Red Dead Online has now left its beta stage and in doing so, Rockstar has ditched the “beta” tag.  However, that is not all the news coming from the popular online Wild West world, because a new and huge update has released that adds a host of new modes, missions and even the much requested passive mode, of sorts.

From now, we will have new A Land of Opportunities co-op missions that will expand upon the Jessica LeClerk saga following the events of the Fort Mercer showdown.  There will also be the opportunity to work with Samson Finch in the Outlaw strand to pull off some highly ambitious bank heists and a path that leads to a dangerous Blackwater adversary.  There will also be new Freeroam missions that you have you encounter characters from the main game, as well as some lovable Pig Famers from Aberdeen (not Scotland).  Additionally, more Dynamic Events will be added as you explore the frontier, so keep a look out for them as you might earn some bonus Cash, Gold, Honor, XP and more.

For something more competitive, then you can partake in Posse Versus Challenges, with Competitive Fishing now being available on demand, along with two other new Posse Versus Challenges, including the Bird Shooting Contest and the Herb Picking Contest.  These events can be activated by the Posse leader via the Player Menu.

You can now also play a gentleman’s game of Poker either with your friends in a private match or a high stakes game on a public table.  Poker tables will accommodate 6 players in total and will be available at Blackwater, Saint Denis, Tumbleweed, Valentine and Flatneck Station.

For those that demand control and domination, then the Overrun Showdown mode has you covered.  Here you and your posse will be able to mark your territory by claiming your land, and then go behind enemy lines to claim your enemies land too, all while attempt to defend them from invading yours.  When the match ends, whoever holds the most land, wins.

A highly requested feature to make its way into Red Dead Online is the Passive Mode from GTA Online.  In GTA Online, this would effectively make you invincible from other player’s attacks and vice versa, however, it also restricted many of the modes in which you could partake.  So instead, Rockstar has come up with a great way to balance this issue by giving the player the choice of either playing in Offensive or Defensive play styles.

Choosing Offensive will effectively change nothing from how you interacted with other players during the beta phase, as this is the default setting.  Here you will be able to be as hostile as you choose, and opposing players can act the same way towards you, but players must be prepared to accept the consequences of the Honor and Bounty system.

However, choosing to play the Defensive play style, for those that would like to explore the Free Roam world somewhat more peacefully, you will have a much higher health gauge to that of Offensive players.  Offending players will also be penalized with harsher punishments via the Hostility system; likewise, Defensive players are not exempt from equal punishment if they also act like pricks.  You will also have a Shield icon above your avatar so that other players will know of your chosen play style.  Defensive players cannot be target with auto-aim, lassoed, melee attacked or executed and you will also be excluded from being targeted in PvP modes such as Player Assassination.

Improvements have also been made to the Hostility System, for example, players who are shot at for no good reason, will not have a penalty against them for firing back, such as their Hostility and Bounty increasing for defending themselves.  Hostile players will also become more visible on the map at longer distances and the more you kill none Offensive players, you will be respawned further and further away from the point of death, to the point that you could end up being in a different region.  However, Hostility will not increase through organised events such as Free Roam Events, Missions, Showdowns or Races, unless you attack players not participating in your current activity.

It terms of items to purchase at the in-game shop, you’ll be able to pick up the Lemat Revolver, a 9-round chamber revolver with a secondary barrel to unleash a single buckshot round, and you can switch between the two barrels on the fly.  There will also be more items of clothing available such as ponchos and patterned bandanas and much more, as well as a new emotes, including the Throat Slit.

As an added bonus, those that login into Red Dead Online this week, you will be gifted with 15 Gold Bars and a 25% XP bonus when playing A Land of Opportunities, Free Roam, Showdown modes, Races and Free Roam Events.  There will also be a 25% extra Cash and Gold bonus found in chests for treasure hunters.  Finally, Red Dead Redemption 2 Ultimate Edition owners will receive a gift of RDO$100 and the Throat Slit emote for free!

In the coming days, there will be exclusive early access content available for PlayStation Plus subscribers.  Additionally those that own RDR2 that do not subscribe to PS+; you’ll be able to play Red Dead Online from now, until May 27th without a subscription.

Then coming in the summer, Rockstar Games has stated that players will be able to role play being a bounty hunter, a treasure hunter or a trader.  So in a nutshell, you’ll be able to start your very own career in Red Dead Online, living your own life in the Wild West!  Each of the three roles will come with unique gameplay aspects, outfits, weapons and rewards.  It all sounds very interesting and it will be fascinating to see how well players (and even myself) perform in their newly found RDO careers this summer.

Well that pretty much concludes this coverage of this massive update, but below you’ll be able to find added information on the other improvements made to balancing and quality of life to Red Dead Online, as well as a trailer detailing the recent update.Oh and if you’re yet to play the truly amazing Red Dead Redemption 2, you can read our review here.

Are you excited about this big update?  Let us know across our social media channels.

Red Dead Online - YouTube
 

Balancing and Improvements

In order to improve the overall gameplay experience, we have made some significant changes to Red Dead Online:

Removed Auto-Aim Headshot Tracking (Enemy Players Only): This subtle but important change affects the way players can earn headshots against rival players. While auto-aim still tracks to the center mass of an enemy player, you will no longer be able to simply flick up on the Right Stick to gain a headshot. This makes earning headshots slightly more challenging, which in turn makes competitive gameplay such as Showdown series more rewarding and balanced.

Faster Weapon Swaps/Instant Projectile Lighting: We have increased the speed of weapon swaps across the board, including instant projectile lighting to make throwing fire bottles and dynamite faster.

New Control Scheme – “FPS2”: In response to community feedback we’ve added a new control scheme FPS2 (+variants). This follows our ‘FPS’ layout but moves sprint to [R1] and crouch to [X]. (This option is available in both Red Dead Redemption 2 and Red Dead Online).

Daily Challenge Updates: In response to your feedback, we’ve removed all PvP-related Daily Challenges from Free Roam and added a number of new Daily Challenges and Rewards, including Challenge Streaks with progressively increasing Gold rewards.

New Awards: Several new awards in Free Roam have been added including awards associated with the latest gameplay.

Global Signal Timers: Players tackling Free Roam Missions will have a bit more flexibility to operate with an increased global signal timer and a reduced range at which players are signaled.

Press Charges: When a lower Hostility player is killed without retaliating they will have an option to “Press Charges” during the respawn period, which will enforce an increase on their attacker’s Hostility and Bounty value. Press Charges is not available if you are a high Hostility player or marked as an enemy to the player who killed you.

Horse Specialty Selection: You can now use the Player Menu to preset which of your owned horses you would like to use in Free Roam, Races, and Showdown Modes while on missions.

Increased Gold Payouts: We have adjusted the economy to increase Gold payouts across the board, with most Gold-earning activities now awarding up to double the previous amount. Starting today for a limited time, players will also receive 1 Gold Bar per rank they progress.

To see a comprehensive list of fixes as part of today’s update including a new HDR cinematic mode for both Story Mode and Red Dead Online, visit the dedicated Rockstar Support page. And check out the new Red Dead Online official site which includes resources for new players including details on existing game modes and features, plus integrated tracking via Social Club and more.

The post Red Dead Online Ditches ‘Beta’ as Huge Update Releases, Details Here appeared first on PushStartPlay.

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The latest DLC for Lego DC Super Villains is available now with the Young Justice League Animated Series Level and Character Pack.  The DLC Pack which is available for a modest £2.49 or at no extra cost to season pass holders, will add a new mission inspired by the popular animated series, where players must defeat an enemy known as “The Light”.

The DLC Pack will also add some new playable characters to the already packed roster such as Kid Flash, Aqualad, Artemis (Tigress), Miss Martian and Super Boy.  It will also include an additional villain to unlock, Black Beetle.

The Young Justice League Animated Series Level and Character Pack is available now for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.

The post Lego DC Super Villains Young Justice League Animated Series DLC Out Now appeared first on PushStartPlay.

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Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice - Launch Trailer - Nintendo Switch - YouTube
 

When Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice released for PC and PlayStation 4 in 2017, before later releasing for Xbox One, this title published and developed by Ninja Theory quickly became one of the favourite games in recent times.  It looked stunning, had very competent gameplay, an enthralling protagonist, an amazing voice cast and one of the best audio development I’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing.  It was a game that explored mental health and in particular psychosis, in-fact, it was so powerful, it got much of the gaming community talking about their own struggles with mental health.

In my review for the PlayStation 4 version from 2017, I said its tale is “both haunting and beautifully told” and that it was “one of my standout games of [that] year”.  So seeing as I’ve already reviewed Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice in full, here I’ll be talking about the quality of the Nintendo Switch port.  However, you can read my review of Hellblade here.

Even though Hellblade is developed by the same talented team that brought us Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, 2013’s DmC reboot and the criminally under-appreciated Heavenly Sword, the port of Hellblade was handled by QLOC.  This team has a rich history of porting titles, mainly from console to PC such as Dark Souls: Remastered, Mortal Kombat 11, a number of Capcom releases and much more.  So it’s fair to say that from the get-go, this Nintendo Switch port of Hellblade is in good hands and the quality of this port, considering its roots, is quite the technical marvel from start to finish.

Of course visually, to successfully port this great looking and demanding game from the much powerful systems to the Nintendo Switch, it will have to have some sacrifices (no pun intended), thankfully not at the expense of our heroine, Senua.  But that’s an obvious compromise and while this game understandably falls under-par visually, it’s still incredibly impressive that this port has happened at all, especially to the high standard that it is.  Detail on the environment, to Senua, NPC’s and the environmental textures do look a little grainy and rough around the edges.  There also seems to be less foliage in the world, and less detail such as blood when dealing damage to enemies.

However, for a game of its type, it’s still easily one of the best looking games on the Switch.  One key method executed by QLOC is rather than having the in-game cut-scenes in real-time, like we get on the other platforms, on the Switch port, they are in essence FMV’s.  This is a great way to make allowances, but yet retains much of the high quality cut-scenes as you blend into gameplay.

The transition from cut-scene to gameplay and vice versa, does have some very brief jitters as it transcends the two, but it’s a very minor discrepancy.  Understandably at times, you do get some noticeable dips in framerate during some more of the demanding segments, but nothing that should even remotely put you off or hinder you experience with this magnificent game.  Thankfully the combat isn’t hindered either, which remains as competent as other formats.

Also when playing docked or handheld, like with just about any game on the Nintendo Switch, resolution will differ depending on whether you play docked or in handheld, which puts out at 1080p docked and 720p handheld, and from what I can tell, the framerate just about performs the same regardless.  In terms of audio, it seems that no expense has been made, as its equally as daunting and immersive as the other platforms.  The voice-acting performances are exactly the same and so too is the audio quality, both with Senua and the voices in her head, likewise with the environment too.  However, one issue that I do have, which isn’t to the fault of the game, is when playing with the Pro Controller (which my personal preference), there’s no audio jack in the controller to plug in your headset, which is the best way to experience Hellblade.  However, the tablet does of course have a headset port, so if you don’t have a Pro Controller, you won’t find that to be of an issue.

All of that said, it’s truly a great testament to the great work done by QLOC to even get this game to work on the Nintendo Switch, especially to the level to that it performs.  It would have been quite easy to make this a lazy, cash-in port, but you can tell that QLOC have taken great pride in the fantastic work that they have done here.  If  was going to ask for one improvement, if it would be possible, an update to make the framerate a little more consistent via an update would be great.  However, playing this game again courtesy of this port, has reminded me of how Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is such a great game and if you’re a Nintendo Switch owner that is yet to experience this magnificent game, then you need to add it to your digital collection right now via the Nintendo eShop.

As a reminder, you can read our more in-depth review of Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice here.

The post Nintendo Switch Port Review: Hellblade Senua’s Sacrifice appeared first on PushStartPlay.

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The criminally underrated Ghostbusters: The Video Game which released for PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 (among other formats) in 2009, could be getting a current-gen remaster, if a recent Taiwanese ratings board is to be believed.

Before Ghostbusters 3 was announced to release in cinemas next year,  Ghostbusters: The Video Game acted as the follow-up to Ghostbusters 2.  It was even written by and co-starred Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis (God rest his soul), as well as starring Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson and many more original actors from the movies.

The Taiwanese ratings only mentions Xbox One as the format, but it would be safe to assume that it will also release on PlayStation 4, as well as maybe PC.  Of course we’ll keep you updated if we hear of any more news on this matter.  But until then, let us know across our social media channels if you’re looking forward to the prospect of Ghostbusters: The Video Game on current gen systems?

Below is a trailer of the original game that released in 2009.

Ghostbusters The Videogame Trailer - YouTube
 

Source: Taiwanese ratings board

The post 2009’s Ghostbusters: The Video Game Could Be Getting a Remaster appeared first on PushStartPlay.

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A Plague Tale: Innocence - Launch Trailer - YouTube
 

If you have followed our coverage of A Plague’s Tale: Innocence, on Push-Start; you might have noticed that in recent weeks, I have grown a little disillusioned with it. The constant barrage of the ever same press releases, unnecessary montages, and increasingly odd clips, led me to believe that the final product may be not all that Focus Home Interactive would like us to believe. But now after spending close to a dozen hours with A Plague’s Tale: Innocence, I can say that the above statement is true, as this particular release is even better than the publisher has suggested.

The first impression, which A Plague’s Tale: Innocence is not quite up to scratch. As from the get go, the title does not look as incredible as it did on some of the pre-release screenshots. However, while it may not be an equal to God of War in terms of visuals, it is definitely its superior in terms of performance. As A Plague’s Tale: Innocence runs at iron-clad 30fps from the very start, all the way until the very end. It doesn’t hitch, it doesn’t stutter, it doesn’t slow-down, it simply just works – as Todd Howard would say.

Don’t get me wrong, A Plague’s Tale: Innocence is a great looking game – but it is clearly not the AAA release which some may have expected. Textures, models, and lightning effects are downright incredible. However, the minor details such as character interactions with the environment, reflections, and most importantly animations, leave a lot to be desired.


While on your quest to save your brother, you will often be tasked with crawling under obstacles, jumping over barriers, and climbing up walls. And unlike in games such as Uncharted, or even the recently released Days Gone, the character interactions during those sequences seem a little archaic, and backward. When you are ducking underneath a fallen tree, you simply crouch down and walk underneath it – Amicia (the main protagonist), doesn’t tuck in her chin, push away from the trunk, nor does she use her arms to pull herself back up while on the other side. And while lack of such extensive detail is not exactly problematic, it does come across as a little jarring and out of place, when imposed against the title’s impressive, core visual presentation.

A single standard playthrough of A Plague’s Tale: Innocence sixteen chapters should take you no more than seven hours. But if you decided to go for all the trophies/achievements, collectibles, and character upgrades, then your total play-time will clock out at around 14 hours or so. Which is respectable considering that A Plague’s Tale: Innocence, doesn’t retail at the full, AAA price mark of £45 – £55. But if you are used to the 20 to 40 hours grand tales which have seen the light of day in the recent months, then you may be a little disappointed with A Plague’s Tale: Innocence replay ability – as such is rather limited.

As you had a chance to read above, A Plague’s Tale: Innocence features upgrades, which in-game are managed through crafting. The crafting itself is quite free flowing, and easy to use – then unfortunately the economy surrounding it can be both quite infuriating, and tiresome. As in-game, you are limited to carrying only a certain number of resources, and those are used to both craft your upgrades, and ammunition for Amicia’s slingshot. However, there is simply not enough room, even with the first two capacity upgrades, to carry enough items to both continue upgrading Amicia’s kit, and constantly craft new ammunition. Playing through A Plague’s Tale: Innocence, you will constantly find yourself beneath the rock and a heard place, where you’ll be forced between upgrading your kit, to expand the flexibility of it; or craft ammunition, in order to make the title’s insta-death stealth sections easier, and less infuriating.

A Plague’s Tale: Innocence does feature the dreaded insta-fail sections. But fortunately, those are not the bread and butter of the core experience. As the title in question is full of diverse sections where you get to solve puzzles, explore, and surprisingly enough fight hostile NPC’s. But the latter form of gameplay, especially within the final third of the game, will only be available to you if you decide to sacrifice your kit upgrades, for special ammunition, as certain hostiles can only be taken down using acid pellets, and special attractors which direct the in game rat hordes towards hostiles.

If you had a chance to play the recently released Days Gone, and fell in love with the Freaker hordes, then you are going to fall in love with A Plague’s Tale: Innocence’s Plague rats, as that work in a very similar manner to the Freaker hordes. Plague Rats always bunch up in hundreds, if not thousands of units, and when given an opportunity, they will devour both the main protagonists, and any of the friendly NPC’s which may be travelling with you at the time. And no, the hordes do not affect the framerate in the slightest. Even in chapter 14, where you are surrounded by four massive hordes, an abundance of hostile NPC’s, and extensive lightning effects – A Plague’s Tale: Innocence is as snake slithering his way through the grass.

All the pre-release materials for A Plague’s Tale: Innocence featured solely Amicia the main protagonist, and Hugo her five year old brother. However the final release features a plethora of friendly NPC’s, from alchemist’s apprentice, through thieving siblings, all the way down to a blacksmith’s son, and those are more than just scene setting, as all of the above-mentioned characters can be interacted with, and are vital tools in your journey to salvation. If you go into the title unaware of their existence, then you are going to be pleasantly surprised as they are all decently written, and it easy to relate to them in one way or another.

Narrative wise, A Plague’s Tale: Innocence is excellent. As the core tale of survival of Amicia and Hugo is just a part of a greater plot, and such encompasses the armed conflict between France and Britain, the Holy incursion of the title’s main antagonist force, The Inquisition, as well as a handful of subplots relating to both hostile and friendly NPC’s. And even hour into the game, you come across a man who has been driven mad by the loss of his son to the plague, and what ensues after your first encounter culminates in an incredibly satisfying finale which does not just serves as an end to the man’s storyline, but also build’s Amicia’s character and allows her to evolve from a two-dimensional Mary Sue, into a bona fide, first class hero.

Overall the story of A Plague’s Tale: Innocence, and its subplots are sublime. However, just like everything, those have their own issues. One of them stems from a very Tomb Raider ‘esque moment where Amicia laments after killing a man with her slingshot, only to deck two more soldiers mere minutes later. And the other, is directly related to Hugo who can, and does often act like an unbearable brat – which can get a little, if not incredibly annoying. By the time I’ve reached chapter ten, I was hoping that there is an option to just throw him into a horde of rats, because I was done dealing with his mood swings. And while I personally detested him through and through, then my view of him is entirely subjective, and some will likely appreciate him more than I did.

To conclude, all that really has to be said about A Plague’s Tale: Innocence, is that it is a neat adventure game, which has significantly exceeded my expectations, and while those were not very profound to begin with, then even I have to admit that A Plague’s Tale: Innocence is ten times the game which I, and many others expected it to be. It may not have some of the certain AAA qualities, due to its clearly limited, AA budget – then ultimately it offers an experience, which is above and beyond games such as Anthem or Fallout 76, and feels like a breath of fresh air in the always online, games as a service, world.

The post Game Review: A Plague Tale – Innocence appeared first on PushStartPlay.

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Arcade Classics Anniversary Collection by Konami - YouTube
 

During the 80’s, from Konami, Capcom and Namco alike, there were a plethora of arcade classics.  Some more memorable than others, but some seemingly forgotten classics included in this collection might just re-jog your memory.  Konami’s Arcade Classic’s Anniversary Collection features eight titles from 1981 to 1988 and while some don’t perhaps hold-up all that well today, there are one or two very enjoyable inclusions in this classics collection.

In my humble opinion, as logic might suggest, the earlier the title, the less it perhaps holds up.  So as you edge towards the later 80’s, the quality gradually improves in this collection.  Starting with 1981’s Scrabble, this is a low pixelated, side-scrolling shooter, a genre that very much dominates this collection, for better or worse.  Considering Scrabble was released in 1981, it surprisingly still plays quite well, which is a testament to this true old-school classic.  But in saying that, it’s certainly not the best game in this collection either.

TwinBee which released in 1985 is a vertical shooter and for me, is one of the weaker titles in this collection.  Visually, it’s nice and colourful, but in terms of gameplay, it’s one of the clunkiest of the eight arcade games.  Oddly the two Gradius titles in this collection have their alternative names.  I know games have different names in different regions for any number of reasons, but the name Gradius seems more well known then Nemesis (1985) and Vulcan Venture (1988).  However, both Nemesis (Gradius) and Vulcan Venture (Gradius II) hold up reasonably well as side-scrolling shooters, with Gradius II being the better of the two, with the slightly more superior gameplay, visuals and audio.

Life Force (1986) aka Salamander which is a multi-scrolling shooter from various perspectives, is very similar to that of Gradius.  With the scrolling shooter genre dominating this collection, perhaps a beat ‘em up would have been great to mix things up, either in the place of Life Force or one of the Gradius games.  I know the great TMNT arcade game from 1989 probably couldn’t make it due to licensing, but maybe Crime Fighters, also from 1989 would have been  worthy addition.

The remaining three titles are perhaps the best included in the Konami Arcade Classics.  Haunted House (1988) is a very challenging, arcade spin-off of the beloved Castlevania series and stars Simon Belmont in the hunt of Count Dracula after he abducted his newlywed wife, a very typical 80’s arcade storyline.  The best way I could describe Haunted House, is that it’s kind of like a cross between Castlevania and Altered Beast, but is still perhaps less superior then many of the console versions of Castlevania.

Typhoon (1987) also known as A-Jax is easily one of my favourite games in the collection.  Typhoon is a hybrid of two shooter genres, one being a fighter pilot akin to the likes of another Sega classic, After Burner, and then after beating a level, the game will switch to a vertical shooter, being in control of an apache helicopter.  It’s quite cool to effectively have two genre shooters in one game and it’s even better when both would stand-up alone as decent shooters in their own right.  Finally we have Thunder Cross (1988), which is a game that I remember quite well.  Yes it’s another side-scrolling shooter in this collection, but out of all the ones included in this collection, Thunder Cross has the most refined gameplay, it looks the best and it sounds quite nifty too.

One final addition to the Konami Arcade Classics is the eBook which is included as a bonus.  This includes all the information you could ever want on all eight games featured, complete with the design process, concept art and general thoughts from the developers.  If you can get this in physical hardback form, it would make for a great coffee table book.  Please correct me if I am wrong, but if a code of some sort was made available from this collection, so that you could download this eBook on to a tablet, it would make for a great read to sit back and chill out too.

All in all, this collection may be a little to dominated with the side-scrolling shooter, but that’s not to say that it’s not a great trip down memory lane.  Sure I don’t remember all these games included in this collection, but it’s great either re-visiting or visiting a new, if only we had a beat em’ up thrown in to replace one of the shooters.  That said, for a launch price of £15.99/$19.99, this collection offers great value for new and veteran fans alike and if you want a taste of what arcade gaming was like in the 1980’s, then the Konami Arcade Classics Anniversary Collection is a great place to start.

The post Game Review: Konami Arcade Classics Anniversary Collection appeared first on PushStartPlay.

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