Videos

Torment: Tides of Numenera

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Torment: Tides of Numenera

It’s a wonderful time to be a PC-centric gamer, particularly if you got your start in the nineties. Many of the best franchises of that era are seeing a sweeping resurgence, either in the form of remakes, sequels, or spiritual successors, and many of the leading genres of that time are coming back in an equally big way. Between the smash-hit Pillars of Eternity and the upcoming Legends of the Sword Coast, old-school RPG fanatics have a lot to look forward to this year, and chief among the field is inXile‘s Torment: Tides of Numenera.

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Toren

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Toren

Toren is a difficult game to classify. It sits somewhere between narratively-driven art titles like Dear Esther and Gone Home, and the more simplistic side of action-adventure titles like Ico and Shadow of the Colussus. Its narrative centers around a girl born into a barren world and her metaphorical journey of self-realization, and is influenced heavily by a marriage of folkloric tales.

Toren is the first title from indie developer Swordtales, and was one of the first titles developed with financial assistance from the Brazilian government. It’s already something of an industry darling, having been nominated for a number of indie gaming awards, among them an Honorable Mention for excellence in Visual Arts at IGF 2012.

 

At it's best, Toren is breathtaking.

At it’s best, Toren is breathtaking.

It’s a parallel that’s been made before, and it’s a difficult one to escape – so many of the visual choices and the design elements recall Ico, and to a lesser degree Shadow of the Colossus. Fans of the fictional world shared by both of those titles will feel right at home with Toren. The simplicity of the game-play, the animation, and the art style are all reminiscent of an earlier, simpler time in game development – for good and ill.

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Endless Legend: Guardians

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Endless Legend: Guardians

Amplitude has done the impossible several times. They’ve pioneered a remarkably effective internal kick-starter alternative in Games2Gether, they’ve entered into the 4x genre with not one, but two incredibly robust and satisfying experiences, and they’ve created a rich, and fascinating world that’s excellently positioned to deliver unique experiences in a number of genres. Their games are an excellent example of genre differentiation, and yet manage to maintain a vital thread of connection with each other that allows for a familiarity across genres.

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Amplitude is responsible for the Endless universe. To date there are three titles in that universe: 2012’s dark horse strategy hit Endless Space, and 2014’s Endless Legend and Dungeon of the Endless. Both Endless Space and Endless Legend are classified as 4x strategy titles – a genre dominated for most of its existence by the wildly popular Sid Meier’s Civilization franchise. The 4X genre was defined by Alan Emrich of Computer Gaming World in a review of Master of Orion, and those four Xs refer to eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate, and are an excellent way of breaking down the game-play to its most essential elements.

The utter domination of the 4X genre by the Civilization series is difficult to argue – there’s no question they hold the dominant spot, and there’s little question that they deserve it. Civilization has always walked an amazingly thin line between great depth and accessibility, and so many of the other titles vying for the crown have fallen far on both sides of that tightrope. I would have been hard pressed to name a 4X title that managed to deliver as deep, rich, and detailed an experience in a manner that wasn’t intimidating to the point of utter frustration. I would have been, and was. And then I played Endless Legend.

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Blitzkrieg 3 Early Access Impressions

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Blitzkrieg 3 Early Access Impressions

Blitzkrieg 3 is a World War II MMORTS driven by the Unity Engine and developed by Nival. It’s the third full release in the franchise’s 12 year history, and is in many ways a departure from formula. The title is currently in early access, and far from feature complete, and the following impressions take that into full account. That said, many of the observations below are based on the current state of the title, and as such are subject to change.

Blitzkrieg has always been a franchise that focused less on the base-building macro-strategy integral to so many Real-Time-Strategy titles and more on individual unit control, and that is the principle shift in design philosophy made by Blitzkrieg 3.

 

If nothing else, Blitzkrieg 3 is an excellent example of World War II eye candy.

If nothing else, Blitzkrieg 3 is an excellent example of World War II eye candy.

Blitzkrieg 3 is in simplest terms, a base-building Mobile RTS on a more robust platform. The gameplay paradigm will be familiar to anyone who’s played a mobile RTS in recent years like Clash of Clans and its ilk – laying out a base, its defenses as well as production and resource infrastructure, and building an army from that infrastructure.

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WONDERCON 2015: Batman Unlimited Interviews Pt 2

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WONDERCON 2015: Batman Unlimited Interviews Pt 2

The legend of Batman continues this week as Warner Bros. Animation releases Batman Unlimited: Animal Instinct on BluRay, DVD, and digitally everywhere. Although audiences may be more used to the darker and more intense Batman from Warner Bros. and DC’s usually straight-to-video releases, Batman Unlimited has lightened the tone for a larger family viewership, but is keeping all the action of Batman’s previous television stints. In this animated adventure the cape crusader faces off against a menagerie of DC’s most animalistic antagonists: The Penguin, Cheetah, and Silverback. This threat to Gotham is so huge that even the Dark Knight won’t be able to handle it by himself, so enter Nightwing, Red Robin, Green Arrow, and of course The Flash to help save the day!

While at this year’s WonderCon in Anaheim we got to catch up with the incredible voice talent of Roger Craig Smith (Batman), Yuri Lowenthral (Red Robin), Will Friedle (Nightwing) and writer Heath Corson to talk to them about DC’s latest animated feature and the return of Batman to the all-ages audience.

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WONDERCON 2015: Batman Unlimited Interviews Pt 1

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WONDERCON 2015: Batman Unlimited Interviews Pt 1

The legend of Batman continues this week as Warner Bros. Animation releases Batman Unlimited: Animal Instinct on BluRay, DVD, and digitally everywhere. Although audiences may be more used to the darker and more intense Batman from Warner Bros and DC’s usually straight-to-video releases, Batman Unlimited has lightened the tone for a larger family viewership, but is keeping all the action of Batman’s previous television stints. In this animated adventure the cape crusader faces off against a menagerie of DC’s most animalistic antagonists: The Penguin, Cheetah, and Silverback. This threat to Gotham is so huge that even the Dark Knight won’t be able to handle by himself, so enter Nightwing, Red Robin, Green Arrow, and of course The Flash to help save the day!

While at this year’s WonderCon in Anaheim we got to catch up with the incredible voice talent of Roger Craig Smith (Batman), Yuri Lowenthral (Red Robin), Will Friedle (Nightwing) and writer Heath Corson to talk to them about DC’s latest animated feature and the return of Batman to the all-ages audience.

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An interview with John Barber on IDW’s Transformers

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An interview with John Barber on IDW’s Transformers

With only two more issues left of IDW’s Transformers: Combiner Wars, Pixelated Geek was lucky enough to sit down with writer and editor John Barber at a signing on Free Comic Book Day at the Villainous Lair, and talk about writing for Transformers, what we can expect to see in the final chapters of Combiner Wars, and what comes after.

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PG! Interviews James Pugh of Battlecast

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PG! Interviews James Pugh of Battlecast

Over the weekend PG’s own James Huneycutt and myself had the distinct opportunity to speak with James Pugh of Battlecast fame. Battlecast is a podcast where James and his buddies – Dan Brozo, Andy Boyd, and Dirk Stenger – choose characters from any walk of fiction or non-fiction and have them battle in a turn-based role-play style fight. James Pugh is a regular battler and at times an adjudicator on Battlecast, and has won many battles through his use of video game characters and…pop stars. Hit the jump to check out the interview! Read On

May the Fourth Be With You!

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May the Fourth Be With You!

Here at Pixelated Geek, we take holidays very seriously. The geekier the holiday the more enthusiastically we celebrate it, and so it comes as no surprise the May the Fourth is one of our absolute favorites. Some of us marathon the films, some of us re-install classics from our childhood; I personally took the time to break out Fantasy Flight Games’ excellent X-Wing  miniatures games and slogged it out among the asteroids inconveniently clustered round about my dining room table. Later on, I broke out the 2nd edition West End Games Star Wars Role-Playing Game and leafed through old friends and enemies.

 

I celebrated May the Fourth by picking up a copy of Fantasy Flight Games Age of Rebellion Core Rulebook!

I celebrated May the Fourth by picking up a copy of Fantasy Flight Games Age of Rebellion Core Rulebook, feverishly pouring over it, and plotting the imminent demise of some Rebel Scum!

Like all holidays, May the Fourth is always just a little too short, and it always feels like it rolls around a little too rarely. We’re not ready to let go of it quite yet,  so we’re rolling together some of the latest news, fondest favorites and coolest content from around the internet for one last Star Wars hurrah.

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PG! Interviews James Pugh of Star Citizen

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PG! Interviews James Pugh of Star Citizen

Yesterday I had the great pleasure of sitting down with James Pugh, Community Manager of Cloud Imperium Games, developer of the highly-anticipated Star Citizen. For those of you that are as yet unfamiliar with Star Citizen, it is a genre-bending mouthful of a game: a first-person science-fiction persistent-world massively-multiplayer-online title with a focus on flight-simulation and first-person combat. At the time of this article’s composition it has reached $81,230,252 in crowd-sourced funds, and as such it is the largest crowd-funded project of any kind to date. But more than that, it’s arguably the most ambitious title in the history of interactive entertainment, and that is incredibly exciting.

 

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One of Star Citizen’s more compelling designs – the Constellation

Below, James discusses the effect of crowd-funding on developer culture and the advantages and challenges of same, how crowd-funding affects the developer process with regards to end-product expectations and deadlines, and what it’s like to work at Cloud Imperium Games.

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