Frederator Studios Creating Animated Short for Costume Quest

Costume

Frederator Studios, an independent animation studio, has announced a collaboration with Double Fine, an independent game developer, to create an eleven-minute short based on the game Costume Quest.  Costume Quest is a short but sweet RPG themed around Halloween conceived by Double Fine’s former lead animator Tasha Sounart.  It was released digitally in 2010 on the Playstation Network and Xbox Live Arcade and later ported to PC, Mac, and Linux to great critical acclaim and a sequel was released across all platforms last year.  The games star fraternal twins Reynold and Wren as they and their friends use empowered costumes to battle super-natural forces.

Frederator Studios is most famous for working on classic Nickelodeon shows such as The Fairly OddParents, ChalkZone, and My Life as a Teenage Robot, and currently hosts shows like Bravest Warriors and Bee and PuppyCat on their Youtube channel.  It seems more likely that the Costume Quest short will be posted on Youtube rather than aired on television.  The short will be written by Zac Gorman (creator of the Costume Quest comic) and directed by Pat McHale (creator of Over the Garden Wall).  Are you excited to see the Costume Quest animation?  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

Earthbound “Sold Out” on Club Nintendo, Already Back Up

Earthbound

Earthbound is one of Nintendo‘s biggest cult classic games and made headlines when it was finally given a digital rerelease on their Virtual Console service.

However, it seems that demand for this title somehow exceeded even an infinite supply as it was listed as sold out on the Club Nintendo rewards service.  What makes this especially odd is that the game is still available for purchase directly on the Wii U’s Virtual Console.

To make things even more confusing, the ‘sold out’ banner has already been removed from the Earthbound listing on Club Nintendo and the game can be ordered again.

Nintendo has been contacted for an official statement on the matter and we will update you once we have a response.

SanctuaryRPG: Black Edition, ASCII is Alive and Kicking

SanctuaryRPG

You know back-in-the-day when text based adventures were massively popular? Entire worlds came to life with nothing more than text on a screen, and you explored the mysterious world using the power of vigorous typing. SanctuaryRPG is kind of like that, only with graphics… but not as we know it. Curious youngsters and the grumpy old folk who played games like NetHack and Rogue should know what ASCII is, but for the uninformed, ASCII is essentially graphics through the power of letters (and punctuation etc.). In short, it’s old…really old.

Steam has been rather lacking in ASCII games, and whilst they do exist (Tales of Maj’Eyal has an option to switch to ASCII for example), Black Shell Games are the only guys with a game made purely from the old tech, and boy is it a treat. Swords, armour, jewelry, monsters, landscapes and more are all represented, fully constructed from your keyboards repertoire of symbols. They even go as far as having a small, somewhat archaic cutscene just to show off.

Of course, as we all know, you can’t just have style without substance, and once again Black Shell Games show us how it is done. You explore the world by punching in where you want to go from a menu, whether that be exploring the wilderness to encounter monsters, start events, complete quests etc. or simply navigating the town to pick up some new gear. It is all very intuitive, but it is also very deep, and incredibly difficult. Combat in SanctuaryRPG is a turn based affair with a fully integrated combo system, rewarding you for continued assaults on enemies, often ending in devastating finishing moves that obliterate health bars. Adding to this, you have a movement and distance mechanic which resembles something akin to NEOScavenger. Additionally the in-depth character progression system allows you to customize your hero to your hearts content. Of course that is without mentioning the diverse class selection, region and race selection all of which drastically change your play style. Death however, is treated in two ways. It is either permanent or massively punishing, and when nearly every enemy has the potential to kill you if you drop your guard, you will be frequently visiting the game over screen until you get the hang of it all.

What we have here is an experience that, despite its rather unorthodox style, is deeply engrossing and hugely rewarding. And did I mention that the game is hilarious? If this is the kind of game people can produce using a “dated” art style, with some pretty old-school mechanics mixed with some modern conventions, then I want more of it. ASCII is back, and I am hooked.

Why You Should Play Sproggiwood

Sproggiwood

There are a lot of games out there that need to be played, and too many of those games are hidden away beneath the tide of AAA tripe that we were burdened with last year. Whether it be undelivered promises, bugs, glitches, pain-in-the-backside DRM, or micro-transactions, 2014 was a bit of a letdown to many. One of the many games which might have slipped under peoples radar is Sproggiwood.

Sproggiwood is a charming little title from indie developer Freehold Games and is essentially a Rogue-like inspired by Finnish mythology, and covered in an adorably huggable aesthetic that is kind of cardboard-y, kind of cushion-y and undeniably cute. Don’t let those cutesy visuals fool you though, beneath their soft exterior is a challenging game worthy of its genres lineage. You go from level to level as a Cloghead (basically a human with a strangely oblongular cranial structure) of your chosen class (of which there are 6) collecting loot, gaining experience, learning new skills and eventually slaying a boss after a couple of floors. If you survive the trials set before you, you are awarded with money, loot, another dungeon and a small story segment to keep things going. Whilst death is not permanent, you do have to restart the dungeon from scratch, and whilst in the early missions you are not likely to die too much, the game does ramp up and forces you to use your noggin if you want to survive.

Unlike most Rogue-likes, Sproggiwood actually has a plot, and whilst pretty simplistic, it is fairly amusing and is interesting filler in-between your dungeon delving. Unfortunately, the game is pretty linear, with each dungeon being laid before you in on a singular path, with no side quests to speak of. You can go back into old dungeons with new classes to gain more gold and stars, and eventually complete the dungeon 100%, and whilst this is a challenge, it does eventually boil down to backtracking.

Between dungeons you do have a few things to do should you wish too. You have control over a small hamlet, that grows with time and is essentially a large shop/storage area. Here you can buy weapons, armour, consumables and accessories in addition to town upgrades. These range from increasing every heroes health, to making the store cheaper to adding additional loot to dungeons. It gives you a reason to spend your hard earned gold, and to replay dungeons a few times to maximise your profits. You can even customise the look of your village by adding decorations, moving buildings etc. which is a nice little touch that helps break up the dungeoneering just enough to keep the game feeling fresh.

Sproggiwood is by no means a perfect game, and as a Rogue-like, it is not the most difficult of experiences. But it makes up for it with charm, humour and all-round solid gameplay. You can complete Sproggiwood in about 10-15 hours, and it is pretty much the perfect introduction to the genre, and a light hearted distraction for veterans.

5 Reasons Why Persona 5 Is Worth the Wait

Persona

Being a bit hesitant to jump on the bandwagon of any new tech update (and also being a huge cheapskate), I’m still holding on to my good old PS3 with a vice grip. ‘I’ll buy one when Uncharted 4 comes out,’ I assure my weary friends after they question my life decisions, new copies of Dying Light perched securely in their hands. Yet behind my characteristic thrift lies another reason for my hesitance: I’m just not excited enough to buy one.

That was, at least, before I saw the new trailer for Persona 5 (you can check it out below in case you’ve missed it). Please excuse me while I do some online shopping. Of course, Persona 5 is also coming to PS3 but what I watched was unmistakably next gen, and now there’s no going back.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDIK6HVA9NY

Those of you who know and love the Persona series, in which certain people can create beings called Personas to protect them from danger, will probably empathise with me after seeing it. Essentially Persona is a turn based RPG, where the strength of your relationships with NPCs reflect the strength of your character. It’s always been a cult classic.  Big in Japan, with a relatively small, but loyal, following in other countries, the Persona games in their various forms have always retained a fantastic sense of humour and explore the theme of personal identity, as well as revolving around a mystery plot.

For all the series’ merits, the fact is that we’ve been waiting one hell of a wait. Apart from a series of (admittedly enjoyable) Persona 4 spin off titles, we haven’t seen a true sequel since 2008 when Persona 4 was released, meaning that game creator, Atlus, have a lot of patient fans to please.

Here’s my list of reasons why Persona 5 is in fact worth the wait, using observations from the new gameplay footage.

You don’t even need to know what Persona is.

You really don’t. These are new characters in a new setting, no doubt with a new mystery to solve. Persona 5 looks like it’s going to draw in new audiences as well as bring back loyal fans of the series, which means fans of the series can introduce their friends to the franchise with what looks to be an accessible introduction to this classic RPG. If you need any convincing to give it a go, just look at that amazing HD Catherine-style animation art that the whole thing is presented in. It’s okay if you judge this book by its cover.

We’re out of the dungeons!

These environments are colourful and lively. In the previous games, the dungeons (or grinding areas) looked more like randomly generated mouse traps than actual levels. The trailer shows real, dynamic environments, filled with enemies that fit the theme of that environment. Dungeon crawling is inevitably going to be a part of the game, but these scenes hint at a new possibilities. Possibilities that hopefully lead to a less tedious grinding experience.

Signs of effort can be seen… everywhere.

Did you see those menus?!

There’s action outside of the turn based battles?

There’s a short scene around one and a half minutes in that shows the main character stealthing around that lush hotel/palace area. That’s not typical Persona dungeon crawling. Is it just a new feature to the combat? Or are Atlus planning introducing something different all together. The new hero looks incredibly like some kind of master thief/cat burglar/ masquerade enthusiast, so does this mean we get to stealth around and steal things? There’s also the fact that all the characters are very acrobatic in the trailer, which could also signify a possible new element in the game.

There’s something wicked about our new hero

If you watch all the way to the end you’ll see our hero’s manic smile and his face being engulfed in blue flame. Considering the fact that previous protagonists have taken a form more like blank canvases for you enact your choices out with, a character with a strong personality, let alone a kind of menacing characteristic, would be a refreshing change.

Did you catch anything revealing from the trailer? What would you like from a new Persona? Leave your comments below.

Download Dragon Age: Origins for Free, Right Now!

I have some great news for gamers all over the world who didn’t have a chance to play Dragon Age: Origins when it first launched in 2009: Electronic Arts has decided to offer the game for free for a limited period of time, so you should hurry to get it and experience one of the best RPGs launched in 2009 (and one of the best RPG series ever, according to many).

All you have to do in order to download Dragon Age: Origins for free is to create an Origin account if you don’t have one. From there, you can download the game for free and play it anytime you want. Click here to check out more about this offer. Oh, and Bejeweled 3 is also offered for free, in case you’re getting bored with the top RPG.

What’s the catch? Certainly none and you can fully download Dragon Age: Origins and spend no dime in the future. But this strategy is surely one that EA is using to promote the upcoming Dragon Age game and probably have you spend some extra dollars on the bunch of DLCs that Dragon Age: Origins received. Either way, it’s a freebie that I will gladly take and I hope that you will do too.

Make sure you download Dragon Age: Origins for free soon, as the offer ends in a few days!

Final Fantasy XIII PC System Requirements Revealed

Final Fantasy

Square Enix have announced that Final Fantasy XIII will finally make its way to PCs very soon: on October 9th, to be more precise and if you somehow have any doubts regarding your computer’s power to run the game, we’re here to hopefully take them away by sharing with you the Final Fantasy XIII PC system requirements, as published by Square Enix themselves.

Below you have both the minimum, as well as the recommended system specifications for the upcoming game:

Final Fantasy XIII Minimum System Requirements

OS: Windows XP SP2 or later
Processor: 2GHz Dual Core CPU
Memory: 1 GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA Geforce 8 Series/ ATI Radeon HD 2000 series VRAM 256MB or later
DirectX: Version 9.0c
Hard Drive: 30 GB available space
Sound Card: Sound card compatible with DirectX 9.0c

Final Fantasy XIII Recommended System Specifications:

OS: Windows Vista/ 7/ 8
Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad (2.66 GHz)/ AMD Phenom II X4 (2.8 GHz) processor
Memory: 1 GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA Geforce GTX 460/ ATI Radeon HD 5870
DirectX: Version 11
Hard Drive: 30 GB available space
Sound Card: DirectX 11 compatible sound card
Additional Notes: A game controller using Xinput is reccomended for this game.

So yes, as expected (by myself, at least), the system requirements are not scary at all, on the contrary. It makes sense, since Final Fantasy XIII is not the youngest game either. However, I am sure that fans of the series will be happy to know that the game is finally making its way on PCs this fall.

Bound by Flame Tips, Tricks and Strategies

Flame

If you want to get the shiniest horns ever in the Bound by Flame history, you might want to check out our tips, tricks and strategies article below where we share some… uhm… Bound by Flame tips and tricks for all the players out there, from how to build your character and put those skill trees to good use (and not become a useless tank, like many do) to how to beat the final boss in the game. Pretty much everything you need to know to get you started and running!

1. Don’t rush to become a demon! I know that I said something about shiny horns in the intro, but that also prevents you from wearing a helmet. Becoming a demon also reduces your ice resistance (and defense in general), so it might not be the best suited route to take in the first place. It’s true, your fire spell abilities will increase, which helps a lot. Probably going for the Rogue – demon combo is the best option.

2. Don’t be afraid to go Rogue. Playing as one, with all the stealth abilities and the demon combo is extremely exciting. This opens up the possibility for multiple approaches and the dual daggers are really fun to play. Still, you need to think your build for the final boss battle, otherwise you will have a really tough time there, since Rogues generally have low health and damage resistance.

3. Become an expert fire spell caster. You really need to max out all of the fire skill tree and reap the benefits. And have in mind that if you want to play the Hero, you can (and should) still max out the fire spells, as this is not what turns you into a demon, but the in-game choices.

4. Understand the character builds. To put it short, Warrior is tank, Ranger increases damage per second and Pyro goes great for support on all builds. So focusing solely on your Warrior tree will make it very difficult to play later on, as you will be able to absorb a lot of damage, but cause little. My suggested build is 45% Pyro, 30% Ranger (or Warrior, whichever is your favorite) and 25% the secondary style. Choose the right traits, find out what works best for you and try to balance things as much as possible.

5. Dodge is your friend. This is basically the right approach to any type of battle, including all the bosses. Learn the attack patterns of your enemies and dodge at the right time. If you manage to combine this with keeping your character permanently on the move, you will be able to easily flank opponents and take them out quickly.

6. Increase your health. You will need it, despite knowing how to dodge, despite being a great player. The bosses get more and more difficult, trust me, so you will need all the health you can get, as well as resistance from the Warrior tree. Go for Tough and Colossus or at least one of those to make your life easier.

7. Long range attacks are your friends, too. Always have some crossbow bolts with you and learn how to fight from a distance. Not manly enough, I know, but it will save your demon’s behind on numerous occasions. And you never know when you need some extra bolts to put to good use…

Need more? We have more: How to Make Gold Quickly, How to Defeat the Concubine Bosses, Final Boss Guide and more. Just stay tuned with us as we’re producing more Bound by Flame content to help you out with the game!

Risen 3: Titan Lords Trailer Brings the Threat from Underground

Lords

Being a huge fan of the Gothic series, I am automatically attracted to Risen and even though Risen 2: Dark Waters wasn’t really my cup of tea in terms of “give me Gothic again,” I have high hopes from Risen 3: Titan Lords. And the trailer that Piranha Bytes has just launched showing us a bit of the new adventure makes me ready to practice my magic and jumping to the sides.

The Risen 3: Titan Lords trailer that you can check out below shows us interesting new gameplay mechanics: monsters rising from the underground to attack the players – apparently invincible monsters allied with skeleton Mages that, too, seem invincible. Well, there’s only one thing to do in this case: level up and come back soon!

Until then, check out the great CGI trailer for Risen 3: Titan Lords below:

Story wise, the game brings us traditional fantasy RPG stuff, but still manages to sound exciting enough: “Bereft of his soul, a young warrior seeks for salvation and has to fight the soaring darkness. Even worse: In the whole world, skull caves rise from the grounds and spill creatures of the shadow on the earth. To win back his soul, our hero must fight the darkest threat of the Risen saga.”

Steam Greenlight Pick: After Reset RPG

RPG

It’s enough for you to tell me that your game is inspired by the first two Fallout titles, and I’m sold. If you add to that list Baldur’s Gate and Planescape: Torment, it’s even better. And that’s exactly what Richard Nixon, the creator of the After Reset RPG did to spark my interest in this really promising game.

It’s one game that doesn’t even try to follow a route different to that of Fallout: the earth has become a radioactive wasteland followed by a nuclear attack (from terrorists, from alines… nobody knows for sure), some survivors have crawled back underground, living in vaults and waiting for the day when they can get back, and other survivors managed to keep on living in the surface hell. When the time finally comes for you to open the vault’s doors and investigate the surface, the people who are already there are not too keen on meeting you and there will probably be some blood shed. In an truly amazing post-apocalyptic setting.

And this is what matters the most in this type of games, where Wasteland 2, one of the best Early Access games ever, is the living proof. After Reset RPG comes strong from behind and even though I am yet to see some actual battle footage from the game, an early release of gameplay mechanics shows a lot of promise. It’s extremely early in the game so there’s just walking around, but you can feel that it’s the walk towards something good:

The game reached a relatively modest Kickstart goal of $12,500 without a problem, was Greenlit in just 5 days and managed to gather a small fan base that should expand more and more and more as the game gets closer to that final release. And we’re highly anticipating it, as you should do too!