Review: Darksiders II (X360)

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In 2010, the first thing that Darksiders did was to destroy the world. It brought on the Apocalypse reserving players a front row seat as one of the Four Horsemen. Humanity was dead, and War was on the march.

Fueled by the vision of comics industry veteran, Joe Madureira, and his team at Vigil Games, it took the charred building blocks of a Biblical end and gleefully twisted them into a vast adventure battling through the aftermath as angels and demons fought over the bones of what was left. But like any good story, there’s always more to tell. And like any good sequel, there’s always more than one way to improve on the original.

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Review: Hunted – The Demon’s Forge

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Throw the words “old school” into an RPG conversation and you might get a number of different answers depending on who is in the room with you. Visions of spreadsheets filled with statistics, inventory menus filled with +2 weapons, or a hack ‘n slash slog through deviously crafted dungeons rife with hidden horrors and HP draining traps are only a few that you might get.

And that’s what Hunted delivers – deep, mysterious ruins, hidden treasures, weapons, and plenty of monster fodder to wade through. Remembering my own time with Stonekeep on the PC, it was as if inXile had shaken loose the good bits from the games its founder, Brian Fargo, had made in the late 80s and distilled them through the Unreal Engine’s alchemy. What came out the other end, though, is slightly sweet with flawed grit.
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The Dream Machine

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From Sweden comes this charming, Flash-based adventure game that you can play in your browser. It’s unique in that instead of using flashy graphics or fancy 3D to wow players, the creators instead used cardboard sets and claymation characters to dress it up giving it a special look reminiscent of Wallace & Gromit.

It’s also a finalist at the Independent Games Festival and feels as polished as any game that you might find on a shelf. The first chapter is free to play. After that, you have to pay to see the other episodes in this five chapter series. As for the story, it follows a couple who move into an apartment and later discover a secret that turns their world upside down. The puzzles aren’t difficult with one exception in the first chapter, but they’re fun and the characters are as entertaining to watch onscreen as their dialogue is to read.

As something that can be a negative to some prospective players out there, you also have to be online to play it since the whole series is designed to be played from your browser. On their development blog, they’ve stated that this was necessary to protect themselves from piracy seeing as they don’t have the kind of protection that a publisher could have provided them with. They’re just indies who want to make a good game, but it’s also clear that there are those out there that really don’t care as long as they can get their product for free.

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Because it’s all online, it uses its own cloud system for saves though you will have to create an account to make the most out of it. But this also plays into another reason for why they chose this delivery method: you can play the game from any machine that can support the site, whether it’s a Linux box, Windows, or a Mac.

So give this a shot if you’re hungry for something that’s a little different. And when you do, be sure to pick up everything that isn’t nailed down. There’s no telling when that hangar might be useful. Give it a try at their official site here.

Indiana Jones and the Fountain of Youth

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No, that’s not the new name of Indy’s next film or some kind of bizarre crossover with the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean film, but it is the name of a project that is already ten years in the making by die-hard fans of Lucasarts’ classic adventure games featuring the Man in the Hat.

This one takes place in 1939, before the invasion of Poland by the Nazis, as they scour the globe in search of yet another artifact for the Reich. But the Fountain may only be the start of a race to attain an ancient weapon of forbidden power and only Indy can stop them in time. Doesn’t he always?

The free PC-only demo lets you sample a bit of the impressive gameplay. For those unfamiliar with this type of adventure game, it’s the kind of point-and-click exploration and puzzle busting that were incredibly popular in the eighties and the nineties. You’ll need to scour scenes for clues, examine notes, and break through devious puzzles to beat those nefarious Nazis.

From the sharp art style and polished soundtrack to the puzzles – and even a little fighting – it’s like playing the sequel to Indy’s other adventure, the Fate of Atlantis, all over again. So if you miss those old Lucasarts’ styled adventures – or need something to help forget Kingdom of the Crystal Skull – try this one out or visit the site and check out the history behind it.

When, and if, the game is finally finished, it’s going to be released as a completely free fan tribute. Definitely keeping my eyes on this one.

The Silver Lining releases its first episode

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At long last, the first episode of the fan-made dedication to King’s Quest by Phoenix Online Studios is done and out in the wild. A word of warning at the time of this writing: you have to register with their fan club first, though, before you get the download screen which can be annoying to deal with. Either that, or wait until the 364MB download gets its own torrent. With that said, it’s worth it for fans of the series to check it out.

When the new holders of the King’s Quest IP, Activision, sent a cease and desist to the developers of “The Silver Lining”, fans were understandably crushed and upset especially after it had come so close to completion.

But it looks like the outpouring of support for the project as well as Phoenix’s dedication have convinced Activision otherwise and, in an uncommon reversal, allowed the free-to-download project to continue.

Though it won’t be called “King’s Quest” because of the usual legalese, fans that have been following the game know who the characters are and what the story is expected to tell. And now that it’s out, how does it fare?
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Shadow of the Colossus to Become Movie

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Yes, Shadow of the Colossus is to be given the Hollywood treatment. The team ICO game that took the critical world by storm back in 2005, wowing gamers with it’s minimalist landscapes, subtle plot and enormous antagonists, is being adapted for the big screen.

Producer, Kevin Misher (The Scorpion King, Public Enemies, The Interpreter) Is in charge of the project, with Young script writer Justin marks (Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-LI) having the unenviable job of creating a script. No director has yet been mentioned.
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