Secret of Mana HD

Secret of Mana remake version 1.02 announced

Secret of Mana was released on the Nintendo Entertainment System all the way back in 1993, (the same time Europe received Streets of Rage 2) and a remastered edition has recently been released on PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita and PC.

Secret of Mana HD Remake

The remaster adopted 3D graphics, voiced characters and some new content too. The biggest criticism of the title thus far though, appears to be the horrible optimization, specifically on PC, although it doesn’t look great for any of the versions. The game is said to crash constantly and there are animation problems aplenty, which gives the impression of a rushed to market product.

On that note, Square Enix have announced version 1.02 for the PS4 in early March and it’s due out on PC and Vita soon. The patch fixes many errors, such as black-out screens, colour changes, movement errors and more.

Here’s everything it does:

  • Fixed common application error.
  • Fixed personality colour change error.
  • Fixed black screen after character revived at 0 HP mistake.
  • Fixed an error in which a conversation won’t finish in some specific locations.
  • Fixed an error that had characters fall into the first floor of a dungeon to the next.
  • Fixed an error that slowed an enemy during an assault or magical cartoon.
  • Left the bow weapon trajectory when assaulting particular enemies.
  • Added a guide to display how players can switch the Ring Control screen.
  • Added an icon to display the character currently employing a ring.
  • Added a display of the effect of a Ring.

Hopefully this patch fixes the many performance problems of the game so that fans can fully enjoy the experience offered by Square Enix. I know things will never be like 1993 again, but this can be much, much better!

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Gwent Arena

Gwent Arena revealed by CD Projekt

Gwent: The Witcher Card Game has officially found its niche in the populated CCG (collectable card game) genre along with titles such as Hearthstone and Elder Scrolls: Legends.

Gwent Arena By CD Projekt

With various overhauls recently, CD Projekt has now unveiled Gwent Arena, a new draft-based game mode. It allows players to build decks with no restrictions on faction, card rarity or duplicates. Players then go against Gaunter O’Dimm:

It costs 150 ore or $2 to complete and it ends after three player deaths or nine contracts. The minimum reward is one Keg regardless of results and the rewards will only go up from there as players successfully complete their contracts. The card collection will include all available cards, allowing players to really vary their decks.

With this release as well as the recently announced Faction Challenge, Gwent seems to have a bright future with CD Projekt and fans should be excited to see its growth in the CCG realm.

Dauntless

Dauntless is facing major changes in 2018

Dauntless is an early access co-op action RPG coming to PC very soon. It follows in the footsteps of Monster Hunter: World where players battle Behemoths and craft weapons as they progress in the world. From my experience, the game has massive potential, but with the rise and great success of Monster Hunter: World, this lower tier game from Phoenix Labs will have to struggle to find its niche in the genre.

Dauntless, A Co-Op Action RPG For PC

On that note, 2018 will be a huge year for the game as it brings new updates and changes. The developers are taking their first steps into Open Beta, as they have finally made enough progress from the Alpha and Closed Beta stages. One of the major changes would be to the User Interface, include changes to the health bar, crafting interfaces and more. The developers want to make the game sleeker and more accessible for all.

In terms of content, the developers want to take crafting to a new level and offer the players more to do with daily, weekly and monthly modes that allow for progression via the story or challenges. This is called ‘Evergame’ as players have new ways to hunt, new activities and new social features. Additionally, the islands where players engage behemoths are changing as well, which has been a long-term criticism of the game as islands were known to be drab and empty.

Finally, combat is getting an overhaul as the weapons will be made more versatile with a more realistic feel to them. To aid players in the combat, the game’s tutorial will be remade so that new players aren’t slowed down as they enter the Open Beta.

Dauntless has a solid foundation and much to build upon, but with Monster Hunter: World becoming the genre’s mainstay, will Phoenix Labs find a niche? 2018 is a big year for them…

Arms

Arms gets another free update on Switch

Arms is a multiplayer action-fighting game that released for the Switch on June 16, 2017, and has since had various substantial updates. So, here’s one more.

Arms Gets Another Free Update

The premise of the game is literally that every character has a unique arm with a different attribute – these are equipped with superpowers to make for strategic battles, whether in 1 v 1 or 2 v 2. The premise is simple but the game leads to exciting fights.

Though the game’s Director, Kosuke Yabuki, said that there were no major content changes planned, the title has now been updated with the following:

  • More badges/achievements
  • A gallery with art for players to unlock
  • An all-new tournament mode
  • Lastly, the artwork is unlocked by completing missions at a higher difficulty

The new IP has had a solid reception since its release and the continued support is welcome from Nintendo. Hopefully, there’s more on the way…

Raging Justice

Feel the ‘Raging Justice’ – a new 2D beat ’em up coming this year

Side-scrolling beat ’em ups were commonplace amongst the consoles of old with unforgettable titles such as Final Fight and Streets of Rage.

Raging Justice: Clean Up The Streets

So, as with everything in life, the gaming industry is also cyclical, and new title Raging Justice pulls at the strings of nostalgia, drawing much inspiration from those classic games.

Featuring two playable characters, a 41-year-old ex-cop Rick Justice and a 31-year-old ex-military Nikki Rage. The basic premise of the game is as simple as those aforementioned names: you beat up a lot of thugs on the streets.

What’s interesting is the wide variety of weapons available, however. From lawnmowers to tractors, the player will have a lot of fun in choosing their preferred method of cleaning up the streets. Raging Justice adds an interesting twist as players can defeat their enemies physically or arrest them too, each garnering a different reward:

The game is being developed by MakinGames and will be published by Team 17. It’s set to come out later this year on PC, Mac, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.

Hollow Knight

Another free content pack for Hollow Knight is coming soon

Hollow Knight has been one of the most praised and prominent indie games in recent memories. It is a stylish Metroidvania developed and published by Team Cherry and has garnered positive reviews all around. The game shows that indie developers can stamp their name in the industry.

Hollow Knight: Free Content Pack Number 3

Today, the Hollow Knight developers have officially announced the game’s third free content pack called Gods and Glory. It is the final chapter of the Knight’s journey and includes a lot of new content:

  • Players will unlock an extra character and quest involving the Godseeker.
  • There are new boss fights and a new game mode that is unlocked by completing the Gods and Glory story.
  • Furthermore, there’s new music and new charms to add to the collection. That’s a lot of new!

There’s no official release date for the content pack just yet, but it’s said to be released early 2018. For the meagre price of $14.99, I highly recommend players jump into this game and experience one of the best games of 2017.

SteamWorld Dig

SteamWorld Dig is coming to Switch February 1st

SteamWorld Dig 2 was already released on the Switch in September, but fans of the series will be happy to know that SteamWorld Dig, the original, is coming (early!) next month. When we say early, we mean this week: the official release date is February 1st.

Image and Form Games seem to enjoy releasing their titles on the Switch too, as three titles from the series will officially be on the hybrid console: Dig 1 and 2, along with SteamWorld Heist. The fourth title, SteamWorld Tower Defense – released on DSiWare – started the ball rolling. Will it also make an appearance on Switch? We reckon so.

The second SteamWorld Dig

According to a tweet by the developers, the price for SteamWorld Dig is $9.99/€9.99 – a good price for a solid indie title. A UK price is yet to be revealed, however.

The original SteamWorld Dig garnered excellent reviews across various platforms. It’s a platform mining adventure with strong Metroidvania influences. As compared to the sequel, players will take control of Rusty as they dig through the old earth gathering riches for an old mining town that needs resources.

Switch fans should look forward to yet another great title coming to the platform in a few days.

Final Fantasy XV Royal Edition

Square Enix announces Final Fantasy XV Royal Edition and a PC Edition

Final Fantasy 15 was one of my favourite titles of last year and the PC release has long been awaited. So finally, on March 6th, 2018, PC gamers will be able to experience the latest instalment in one of the most engaging and long-standing franchises in history. The game will also include all the previously released DLC.

But PS4 and Xbox One gamers should not feel left out as Square Enix have also announced the release of the Royal Edition that will drop on March 6th, 2018 as well. It also comes alongside every single piece of additional content. So that’s the base game, the four DLC packs from the season pass and new DLC that launches contemporaneously with the PC edition. It also contains flashy new box art:

Final Fantasy XV Royal Edition

Additionally, instead of buying the game again, Square Enix will sell the Royal Pack which includes a new dungeon, boss fights and much more, such as the first-person mode.

Pricing for both the Royal Edition and Royal Pack are yet to be confirmed but look out for it on March 6th!

Dark Souls Remastered

Dark Souls is officially being remastered for all platforms

Shortly after Nintendo announced their Direct Mini, Dark Souls Remastered became real – it’s coming to Switch, PS4, Xbox One and PC. The official release date for the Nintendo Switch version is May 25th, 2018 and will most likely be the date across the other platforms too.

Dark Souls Remastered – Return To Lodran

Players will have access to the main game as well as Artorias of the Abyss – the DLC. There are rumours that all of the Dark Souls games will be coming to the Switch as Nintendo and Bandai Namco Entertainment seem to be working with each other for the foreseeable future.

This is no surprise as the Nintendo Switch’s sales are the highest in U.S. history and Nintendo have confirmed that they will be working with more third-party publishers.

Players will now be able to “re-experience the critically acclaimed, genre-defining game that started it all. Beautifully remastered, return to Lodran in stunning detail.”

Switch fans should look out for more announcements regarding the Dark Souls franchise, while PS4, Xbox One and PC gamers should be excited to replay such an incredible game.

Switch Sales: Red Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch is now the fastest selling video game console in the US

Nintendo has officially announced that the Switch has become the fastest-selling video game console of all time in the United States, selling over 4.8 million units in only ten months. The previous record holder was the Wii. So Switch sales are rapid, to say the least.

Switch Sales – A Bold Future

It’s no surprise that the Switch has seen such great success: it caters to hardcore and casual gamers with its unique premise, while games such as Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild have both been hailed as Game of the Year titles, driving further demand.

Reggie Fils-Aimé, CEO of Nintendo of America, stated that the console has attracted gamers who were already attached to Nintendo titles, as well as children who are now looking to experience these franchises for the first time.

With Nintendo gaining popularity among third-party publishers, and the releases of upcoming games such as Yoshi, Kirby Star Allies, Bayonetta 3, a new Pokémon title and Metroid Prime 4, the Switch looks set to realise a bright future ahead.

PUBG

PUBG on Xbox One gets a 4.7GB patch

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds gained massive popularity in a short space of time as a battle royale game in Early Access. Whether trending on Twitch, YouTube or topping the Steam charts, PUBG is a huge hit in gaming.

PUBG On Xbox One

The game officially released on Xbox One and the X last week, but it garnered quite mediocre reviews. The game was criticized for its poor performance on the console and some argued that it was borderline unplayable.

In response to this, the developers have released their first update with a download size of 4.7GB. The update brings bug fixes among other things.

The patch notes are as follows:

Gameplay

  • Gas can now be used while on bike or bike with sidecar

UI/UX

  • Equipment icons on HUD will now be visible
  • Player icon is now more clearly visible on the world map
  • UI prompts now appear when reload and enter a vehicle options are present

Character

  • Tweaked hair colour options

Animation

  • Cleaned up sidecar passenger animations in first person view
  • Fixed player camera issues while a passenger on the backseat of a Buggy
  • Addressed arm animations specific to holding some weapons
  • Character now correctly faces the proper direction when stopping while swimming

Others

  • First pass visual and performance improvements
  • Slightly improved anti-aliasing on Xbox One and Xbox One S
  • Localization updates for Vietnamese, Spanish, (Spain/Mexico)
  • Controls on motorcycle no longer inverted
  • Keyboard functionality is disabled

Bug fixes

  • Fixed instances of player nametags not properly displaying in the lobby during Squad and Duo play
  • Fixed minor animation while crouching and prone
  • Fixed issues where curtains on windows block line of sight of players in the TPP mode
  • Fixed an issue where when Squad leader left the party, voice chat ceased to function as intended
  • Fixed issue where players could lean out of vehicles even when obstructed
  • Fixed collision of cardboard boxes in Yasnaya city
  • Fixed typo in the controller guide
  • Other minor fixes

We’d imagine that there will be a stream of updates to come as the game has already hit over a million players on the Xbox One. Hopefully, the developers can get this version of the game working as well as it should.

Overkill's The Walking Dead

First trailer for Overkill’s The Walking Dead reveals playable character

Overkill, the developers of the Payday series, are developing a new The Walking Dead game. It’s a four-player co-op first-person shooter wherein an outbreak leads to players fighting for their lives against zombies, or walkers.

Meet Overkill’s The Walking Dead – PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Overkill’s The Walking Dead has been a secretive project for quite some time, with next to nothing known about the game until now. With that said, here’s the officially released first trailer which showcases a playable character.

We get to meet Aidan, a busy and stressed businessman located in Washington D.C. It begins with a flashback to his stressful life and switches to a sombre and desolate wasteland that used to be his home. The trailer ends with Aidan preparing to fight for his life against an onslaught of zombies.

Each of the playable characters will have abilities, skills, roles and background stories and the game itself will include raids and missions as players progress through the world. The question on many people’s minds is whether the game will follow the route of the Payday series. Will it be a run and gun style of shooter or will it be more tactical and slower-paced?

In any case, it’s set to be released on PC, PS4 and Xbox One in autumn/fall 2018 and more trailers are expected throughout next year. This could be great.