Astral Chain on Nintendo Switch

Astral Chain Confirmed For August Release

A new trailer has been released for Astral Chain in Nintendo’s E3 Direct.

The title, from Platinum Games and Hideki Kamiya, is set in a cyberpunk city known as ‘The Ark’. You must work together with the Legions to fight back against the invading Chimera and save humanity — naturally.

Astral Chain appears to feature the awesome action-gameplay we’ve come to expect from the talented studio:

It’s set for release on August 30th.

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Luigi’s Mansion 3

Luigi’s Mansion 3 Gets A Detailed E3 Trailer

The upcoming Luigi’s Mansion 3 has been detailed in a new trailer shown off at Nintendo’s E3 direct. This time around Luigi gets invited to a spooky hotel, so technically, it’s ‘Luigi’s Hotel’ then…?

Besides that, the green brother gets some fancy new moves in the sequel, including the ability to slam ghosts, use suction shots to destroy furniture, disperse enemies with the burst shot and our new favourite: he can turn into ‘Gooigi’.

Gooigi, a gooey doppelgänger of Luigi, can slip through traps and gates, and, most importantly, enables co-op play with another. It’s all looking pretty impressive:

Luigi’s Mansion 3 is set for a 2019 release, but we don’t know exactly when yet.

Final Fantasy 8 is coming to Switch

Final Fantasy 8 Remastered Is Heading To Switch

Square Enix has revealed that a remaster of Final Fantasy VIII is finally coming to the Switch (and other consoles/PC) later this year. Yes, that one.

Announced during the E3 Live event, the remaster brings the game’s classic story to modern platforms, now with new visuals that help bring the game’s characters to life

You can see an example of the graphical update below:

The story of Final Fantasy VIII involves the military nation of Galbadia declaring war on the Dukedom of Dollet, who must hire the mercenary force, SeeD.

Squall Leonhart, a new member of SeeD, together with his friends and Rinoa Heartilly, a member of a resistance group, get pulled into the war, unaware of their fated task to save the world:

We don’t have an exact date for release, but it’s due out this year.

The Last Remnant on Switch

The Last Remnant Remastered Is Out Now On Switch

Released way back in 2008, The Last Remnant captured the minds of gamers with its enthralling story, likeable characters and intricate battle system.

Now it returns — this time on Nintendo Switch in a remastered, portable form:

Features of the Switch remaster include the following:

  • Enhanced graphics enabled by Unreal Engine 4, allowing for a more immersive adventure
  • UI updates to make it look and feel better
  • Over 100 hours of gameplay
  • A unique morale system that changes the outcome of battle
  • A battle system where commands change depending on the status of allies and enemies

A developer featurette was also released, providing an in-depth look at some of the secrets behind the creation of the adventure:

It’s yours for £15.99 in the UK.

22 Indie Games Are Launching On Xbox Game Pass

Microsoft pulled out all the stops during their E3 2019 Press Conference showcasing a total of 60 games.

Twenty-two of those games are indie titles, all of which will be available on Xbox Game Pass at launch.

A handful of the games really stood out to me. Which? Well, Blair Witch, Blazing Chrome, Riverbond, Star Renegades and AfterParty which I covered a while back here on Nitchigamer.

The full list can be found below:

ID@XBOX Games Shown at E3 2019

  • Dead Static Drive
  • Star Renegades
  • Afterparty
  • Way to the Woods
  • Creature in the Well
  • Killer Queen Black
  • Undermine
  • Pathologic 2
  • Lord of the Rings: Living Card Game
  • The Good Life
  • Blazing Chrome
  • Spiritfarer
  • TABS: Totally Accurate Battle Simulator
  • Secret Neighbor
  • Supermarket Shriek
  • Blair Witch
  • Unto the End
  • Night Call
  • Riverbond
  • Felix the Reaper
  • Ikenfell
  • Totem Teller

It is important to note that both Riverbond and Supermarket Shriek are available on Game Pass right now! The other titles are set to release later this year.

As a Game Pass subscriber, I will add more than a few of these to my library. I hope you do too!

Next up, of course, is Nintendo’s E3 Direct. We’re hoping to see some rather unique games on show there.

Roadwarden main title

Interactive Fiction Roadwarden Is A Dark, Humble Adventure

Roadwarden is a new interactive fiction title in which the player explores a hostile realm. It’s coming from Moral Anxiety Studio who developed The Tavern.

The game combines complex dialogues and the simplified graphics of visual novels along with an open story structure and the mechanics of RPGs.

With around 10 hours of content, Roadwarden also features an impressive ‘attitude system’.

Whenever the player encounters new characters, they can select one of five attitudes: friendly, playful, distant, intimidating or vulnerable. Their choice impacts the subsequent interaction and changes the mood and the direction of the general conversation.

Roadwarden dialogue system image.

Roadwarden uses isometric pixel art to present areas, items and events, and various sidequests and hidden interactions have been developed to ensure multiple playthroughs for enthusiasts.

It’s due out in the first half of 2020 as a digital download for PC and Linux.

My Friend Pedro – Let’s Go Bananas

The Killer, 1989, is probably John Woo’s best film next to Hard Boiled. The scene in the church (the house scene) is action choreography at its best. Action scenes when done right are like a dance, everything unfurls and glides — an artform with style, finesse and grace.

DeadToast Entertainment’s My Friend Pedro is a 2D side-scrolling, run and gun game. Inspired by the movies of John Woo, the goal is to dispatch enemies in extremely cool, inventive ways and to chain them for maximum points. Published by Devolver Digital, this is a highly anticipated indie game.

Starting in a warehouse when a glowing floating banana wakes you up and guides you out, it appears the warehouse is full of henchmen who don’t want you to leave. You must escape and take out these henchmen in the coolest way possible.

My Friend Pedro is all about the gameplay; it’s just pure play and pure fun. You can jump, wall jump, hit, kick, evade (which is a cool little spin), roll and shoot; these mechanics put together to create one of the best game flows I’ve felt in a very long time.

You will jump off a wall, roll, stand up, shoot, then evade; it feels so responsive and innate. Additionally, you can slow down time allowing you to aim with more precision as well as do an awesome spin in the air. Furthermore, if you have two weapons, you can set a lock with one hand while the other has free aim allowing you to clear out sections quickly.

The demo ended with me on a motorbike drinking down a highway, popping wheelies, doing backflips and shooting down cars.

Graphically the game is simplistic with character models being the defining feature. The backgrounds have this noir-esque feel too them, concentrating more on the lighting than the environment itself.

Though, tonally, it fits well with the game providing an ambience to the proceedings. Its strength is that it does not distract from the gameplay, that’s key to the talent of the artist; they knew the gameplay was more important.

So, what do I think? I think this game is fantastic. It’s just so fun! When I put the controller down, I had a grin and knew I’d be buying it.

Everything flows with the game, but most importantly, it just plays well. It reminded me of being a teenager and playing the Tony Hawk games, that enjoyment of just playing. The way you can chain everything together, it’s absorbing and refreshing.

The Switch is the perfect home for this type of title, and for those without a great deal of time, that pick up and play mentality, blast a level here and there, then back to work.

My Friend Pedro is set for a June 2019 release date for Windows and Switch, so grab a banana and go dancing.

Bloodstained: Ritual Of The Night

Bloodstained: Ritual Of The Night – Going Back To The Castle…

Ritual of the Night, a stark resemblance to its predecessor’s title; for many it will undoubtedly conjure nostalgia and quality.

That predecessor, for many, is a crowning achievement in video gaming, in many lists of the greatest videogames of all time and responsible for coining the term ‘Metroidvania’.

So, this game has some boots to fill, some big ass, sexy, kinky boots that would make some foot fetish person descend into some erotic madness… you know, those kinds of boots.

I have been somewhat hesitant of this title. As a fan of the Metroidvania genre (Super Metroid is my favourite game of all time) and as a lover of the Castlevania games that adopted this playstyle – yes, even the Gameboy Advance and DS bad boys – something felt off.

Watching early demo and gameplay footage, it seemed a bit bare, hollow and clinical. There was no emotion to it; it felt paint by numbers to appease fans.

However, I had faith and was allowed to try out the game. So, does it deserve to reinterpret a beloved title or is it just another Kickstarter corpse?

Readers who may not be aware of what I am talking about: Bloodstained is the spiritual successor to Castlevania and notably Symphony of the Night; the highest rated game in the classic series.

Sharing the same producer, Koji Igarashi, it surpassed its Kickstarter goal and is one of the highest funded products on the platform. Published by 505 Games and with the help of WayForward (who made the criminally underrated The Mummy Demastered), the game has somewhat turned into a cult supergroup.

Bloodstained has you play as Miriam, an Orphan Alchemist who has undergone experiments that allow her to have demonic crystals transplanted into her body.

Now, Miriam must stop another alchemist who had the same experiment, Gebel. Succumbed by the demon crystals, he has lost his humanity. In defeating Gebel, Miriam will end the demon outbreak and retain her humanity.

The gameplay is pretty much what is to be expected from a spiritual successor of the Castlevania series from Koji. A Metroidvania style game where exploration and levelling up is key to your success.

Leveling up is done like a traditional JRPG where experience points are given by defeating enemies and items such as weaponry and clothing provide stat bonuses. Also, you gain abilities by defeating enemies and absorbing their crystals.

Unlike its predecessor, Bloodstained has gone for a 2.5D look that really adds a modern feel to the game; using the dimension to give the world depth and a geographical sense.

A little addition is that the item of clothing selected shows up on your character; it’s something small but really goes a long way. It’s these tweaks that really add a modern touch and make the game look amazing. Moreover, the characters have a cel-shaded aesthetic that keeps it feeling nostalgic.

The demo I played started you on a boat heading to the castle when the demon force ambushes you. You must explore the boat and kill the demons. Though a small area, there was much to find and explore, you can read books to learn more, you can interact with cannons to blow up walls, and the monster types were varied enough to keep it from getting stale.

But how does it play? I hear you scream, calm down, you’ll wake up your children.

I can safely say that it only took a couple of seconds for all my anxiety to fade. It’s fantastic.

It feels slicker, it looks more beautiful and it plays just how you want it to play. Speaking with a representative, 505 games told me that the game’s speed is the same as Symphony of Night.

Hours of gameplay and various playable characters; this is something where you’ll get your money’s worth. This is a game that many have been crying for, and it delivers. Made for the fans but not for their money – for their love.

Bloodstained is set for release June 18th 2019 for Windows, Xbox and PS4. The Switch version hits slightly later on June 25th:

XIII

Cult Shooter XIII Returns This November

Cult shooter XIII — from 2003 — is returning in the form of a remake, not a remaster, this November. The surprising announcement concerning the obscure title first appeared on PlayStation’s official blog here. 

XIII wasn’t your typical FPS — not at all. Instead, it utilised stylish cel-shaded graphics combined with an engaging conspiracy story that featured ‘XIII’, a soldier who loses his memory and has been accused of killing the President of the United States.

The only clue XIII has to go on? A small key and a mysterious tattoo. Here’s a teaser to whet our appetites:

Back in the day, XIII featured an impressive 34 levels in the solo campaign — it was loved, by the few who bought it, for its intense gunplay and often brutal takedowns.

“This remake’s idea came naturally as we felt this unique kind of story-driven FPS experience was missing in today’s gaming landscape.

Our goal is to bring XIII’s compelling story to a new generation of players with the best possible graphics and animation.”

The XIII remake is being developed by Playmagic and will be published by Microids for PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC. It’s released, if you haven’t already guessed, on November 13th.

The weirdest thing of all? This writer was thinking about the game and the possible future of the franchise just last week. Freaky.

Atom RPG Review

Atom RPG Review [PC] – Welcome To The Soviet Wastelands

Welcome to the Wastelands. No, no. We aren’t talking about Las Vegas or West Virginia. Welcome to the post-nuclear fallout badlands of Russia.

Set in 2005, Atom RPG places you directly in the boots of a Soviet special forces cadet tasked with assisting in the restoration of the Soviet Union after the Cold War ends in mutual nuclear destruction in 1986.

Made by indie developer AtomTeam in the style of Wasteland and Fallout 1 and 2, Atom RPG promises the best of classic RPGs, but is this adventure worth the time?

Much of the game operates similar to your standard classic RPG, and this is not a knock. Though nothing groundbreaking, everything from combat to character creation and the subsequent effect on the gameplay is well-designed.

Combat is grid-based with movement and attacks dictated by how many action points you possess. You will have two forms of attack costing more or less AP depending on which you choose. This can either be bare hand and feet attacks, long or short range weapons, or some combo of either. Thankfully, you will generally have more attack points to begin with than your early opponents.

Unfortunately, as I will explain shortly, you will discover rather quickly just how ill-equipped you are for the realities of the wastes almost immediately.

The best-laid plans of mutants and men often go awry in the wastelands. The skills and stats you choose during character creation will heavily affect your game, especially in the early stages. You can choose from the usual range of stats such as strength, endurance, and intelligence.

Your skill sets include weapons specialties such as Martial Arts for bare-handed knuckle-busting, long and short range weapons, gambling, survival, and lock picking. You also have the option to choose a “Distinction” which will auto-allocate your skill and stats points to create a very specified type of character for you.

These can be both a blessing and a curse. In fact, the downsides that come along with the “perks” of these distinctions might be worth avoiding altogether unless you already have a set strategy for the game.

For instance, you can choose to be a “Savage Hunter” which will drastically increase your damage to animals. However, no one will like you (you lose Personality points) and you will have trouble carrying all those animal skins with a significantly reduced carry weight. Some Distinctions like “Diplomat” which heavily focus on Speechcraft might not be a bad choice, but you have to make certain you deal with the fact your weapons skills will suffer significantly.

I chose to bypass the “Distinctions” and ended up making three separate characters throughout my time with Atom RPG. My third character was lower in Speechcraft and personality than the two previous, and I noticed how helpful being able to smooth talk my way through the world was from the get-go.

People easily volunteered additional information, and in one instance I was allowed through without proper papers. My other two characters were given a much harder time of things. Lockpicking came into handy right off the bat as well. It is amazing just how many locked containers I came across early on. But, I suppose that makes sense in a savage post-apocalyptic landscape.

Intelligence and mechanical skills will also come in handy during the first hour or so.

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Though I prefer a character more heavily skilled in the gift of gab, I gave my final character a heavy focus on Strength and Martial Arts. This is because of how high the difficulty can be during random encounters.

When you leave a specific area such as a town or a bunker, you will appear on the world map. Using map scrolling with WASD you will locate a destination and then click on it, sending your character on their way.

During your journey, you will encounter events that range from meeting a friendly caravan to running into bandits. Even as prepared as you are regarding attack power and resistance to enemy attacks, running into four bandits, two of which are armed, within the first 30 minutes of the game almost guarantees your death. At one point, I admittedly only made it to a nearby bunker on luck. Instead of running into armed bandits that could kill me in a few shots, I ran into some giant ants instead. Giant ants are much more easily dealt with, largely because they cannot carry guns.

The game seems to be designed to push the player to heavily allocate points to only a couple of skills and stats, slowing down later progress in others.

For example, though you get a few guns early on, unless you heavily allocate skill points to their use from the beginning, they won’t do you much good. On my first run, I gave my character high personality and Speechcraft skills, allocating an average or below average amount of points to most of the other skills and stats save for intelligence. Lockpicking, and technology. All was going fairly well until the one time I could not talk my way out of a bandit encounter and then I was dead.

In fact, even with my reasonably high Speechcraft, I didn’t succeed in talking my way out of very many bandit encounters early on, thus leading me to a frustrating familiarity with the death screen.

The storyline might be your standard post-apocalyptic RPG fair, but being in another country is an exciting change. I found the writing to be enjoyable. Though you will have many standard interactions with NPCs in towns and cities and other areas, you will also run into some interesting characters.

I appreciated that the creators did attempt to create unique personalities for the people that populate the world, and you will see that come through, sometimes in fairly amusing ways.

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Aside from the high difficulty, particularly in the beginning where it seems nigh on unfair, Atom RPG is very well designed. Though punishing, it feels satisfying to know your character design choices do make a significant impact on your progress and that playing the game again with different stats and skill selections will significantly change your gameplay experience, even if it does not have a huge impact on the overall story.

Atom RPG demonstrates well precisely why classic RPGs maintain a healthy audience even to this day.