XEL Review – PC

In 2017, Nintendo made a huge impact with Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Fans could not get enough and are salivating at the sequel. What if players could get a taste of something new while they awaited it? Look no further than XEL. With Zelda as the core blueprint and a few added-in thoughts and ideas of their own, developer Tiny Roar is giving it their all to impress. There is a lot to enjoy and only a few things that need attention to make XEL a great game.

XEL begins with a young girl who crashes into a planet which results in some memory loss. The girl is told what happened to her spacecraft by a robot named Chap and that she must locate something called XEL. She later encounters a guy named Desmond who leads her to the village of Needle Eye where she talks with the town elder after she wanders around, finds a blade, and runs across some of the less pleasant robotic natives. Players begin their long quest and begin to understand what XEL is.

If players overlook the grass, the scenery and characters are both beautifully rendered visually. But XEL really shines when it comes to audio. XEL features a ton of voice acting, and all of it is at least passable. Second, the background music is wonderfully done, and although players might quickly stop noticing it for a variety of reasons, the sound quality is actually quite good for both the music and sound effects. However, there were a few abrupt scene changes and instances where dialogue would skip forward, so those issues could probably be substantially resolved.

XEL’s gameplay has a solid foundation. You can hack at adversaries, block with a shield, and find new weapons and equipment like a shock trap and the “not-a-hook shot” in the 3D isometric landscape players have to explore. There are many chests to find and plunder, as well as numerous interesting places to explore and puzzles to solve to get access to chests or other goods in the main regions for plot advancement. According to Breath of the Wild regulations, players have a stamina wheel that is slowly replenished and depleted as players roll or are hit while blocking. At campfires, players can also “make” food by turning it into stat- or life-improving goods that players can select from the menu as needed.

The majority of the time, combat is remarkably fluid. When necessary, players attack and defend while being mindful of stamina. If players are targeting an enemy, players can roll away from them and take steps to the side and back. Additionally, players have the option of equipping two tools, either useful items or potential weapons. Combat with common foes, including some of the bigger mini-boss foes, is generally quite effective. It can be a little annoying if players have a lot of melee and ranged units, but the difficulty is more related to the number of foes than to any fundamental gameplay flaws. On the other hand, some bosses can be more difficult than anticipated. Mainly due to the limitations and concepts of how players fight them.

The puzzle component makes the XEL experience more intriguing. The protagonist’s ability to teleport between the present and the past is most noteworthy. It is autobiographical to help players grasp the setting of the game and helps to create original cross-space puzzles that are uncommon in this genre.

XEL is currently beset by a few problems. All characters generally have problems with movement. Reid, for instance, might occasionally be moving around after various exchanges. My next thought is plunging into a pit halfway across the map. This also poses a similar issue because players could approach ledges to leap off of them while walking, miss, and fall, only to respawn mid-walk directly on the edge, forcing them to jump. This was especially noticeable during the final boss battle when players had to briefly cross some platforms. Another issue that becomes common is the game has some issues loading in assets. Occasionally textures and objects would take a long time to load in, sometimes not at all. Do not let this scare you off though. Tiny Roar is consistently working on getting updates out and fixing a lot of issues each time, so it is only a matter of time before these will be relics of the past

Although each sub-weapon is distinct and has a specific purpose, players learn relatively little about them. For instance, the sonic weapon must be deployed from at least a short to a medium distance away in order to be effective. The targeting for the web shot is also a little strange and requires some adjustment, but overall, it’s fine. The camera orientation only adds to how unpleasant this is. Sometimes it’s a little too far away, and by moving around, players can make the camera appear behind walls where nothing is actually there.There is generally enough enjoyment for players to have in XEL. Although not overly sophisticated, the crafting system is nonetheless a wonderful method to improve equipment and create things for stat bonuses and health regeneration. The puzzles and stages are all fairly entertaining and have various unique themes. The voice acting and music are excellent, and most of the time, the combat is surprisingly fluid. Picking up a copy is definitely recommended if you enjoy Zelda-like games; especially in light of the numerous updates the developer is making.

The First Descendant (Project Magnum) Reveals Teaser Trailer

Today, NEXON released a new teaser trailer for their upcoming third-person co-operative action RPG shooter, The First Descendant. With fresh gameplay and outstanding Unreal Engine 5 graphics on display developed by NEXON Games, the latest teaser gives gamers a mouthwatering taste of the action-packed trailer to be revealed later this month at Gamescom 2022

Previously revealed under its codename “Project Magnum” in an official Sony trailer (which received over 2.1M views), The First Descendant is a free-to-play co-operative looter-shooter featuring high-quality graphics built in Unreal Engine 5. You play as a Descendant with mysterious inherited powers and fight to protect humanity against alien invaders. The gameplay includes strategic boss fights with 4-player tactics, grappling hooks, unique character abilities, gripping gunplay, and tons of looting. After clearing missions and defeating enormous bosses, players can unlock powerful new characters, equipment, and upgrades.

NEXON is looking forward to sharing more of The First Descendant at Gamescom Online this August— and for players itching to get a hands-on look at the looter-shooter, beta sign-ups are available now on the game’s Steam Page. The PC closed beta is slated to kick off this Autumn.

The First Descendant is currently in development for release on Steam, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S. Stay tuned to The First Descendant’s Steam Page for more news on the beta and launch dates.

About The First Descendant

The player becomes a Descendant whose mission is to fight against alien invaders for the survival of humanity by protecting the Ingris continent. Experience a spectacular story while growing stronger through various missions and stories to finally discover the Descendants’ secret. Feel The First Descendant’s unique atmosphere through high-quality fields developed with Unreal Engine 5 and gain a new experience of reality and Sci-Fi fantasy coexisting in one place.

Features:

  • 4-Player Co-Op Play – Team up with other players for four-player co-op strategic battles. Each player’s amazing powers and abilities will lead to tactical battles for the win.
  • Charming and Unique Characters – Play as different characters, each with distinctive concepts and battle styles. Characters will have customizable elements to allow players to support character decoration. Don’t miss your chance to play as twelve different characters during the closed-beta test this Autumn.
  • Exciting Battles, Dynamic Action, Multiple Skills, and Unique Weapons – Experience exciting battles with different characters, each with unique skill sets, free movements, and chain actions through grappling hooks, colorful firearms, and additional effects. Players create the battle style they desire!
  • Battle Huge Boss Monsters – Battle huge boss monsters with different appearances and abilities. Various powers and difficulties will stimulate the player’s competitive spirit as you struggle not to fall in battle. Target the boss’s gimmicks to experience a more compact and strategic team play.

Motivating Play and Growth – Equip characters with 3 guns, 4 pieces of secondary equipment, and various sub-weapons. Use and change the equipment based on the types of battles encountered. New equipment develops character growth by combining various pieces, enhancing character and firearm stats, or adding a new ability. Obtain new items through clearing scenario missions or in the world missions where cooperation is crucial. Use new items to challenge yourself with more complex tasks!

Announcing Call of Duty: Next, the Franchise Showcase Event, and Open Beta date times for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II

Just announced at the conclusion of the Call of Duty League Championship Weekend is Call of Duty: Next, a franchise showcase, set to broadcast on September 15. Presented by Infinity Ward, Call of Duty: Next will feature robust information drops detailing innovations, live gameplay and a whole lot more, including:

  • What the imminent future of Call of Duty will look like, including many more details regarding Modern Warfare II, information on the next Call of Duty: Warzone, and more on the mobile version of Call of Duty: Warzone (also known as Project Aurora).
  • A full Modern Warfare II Multiplayer reveal.
  • A multitude of your favorite streamers at the event, playing the games in real time.
  • Additional information and surprises!

Additionally announced at Championship Weekend were detailed Modern Warfare II beta dates. Beta dates are as follows:

  • PlayStation Early Access: September 16 at 10am PT to September 20 – those who preordered the game on PS4 or PS5 or received a beta code
  • PlayStation Open Beta: September 18 at 10am PT to September 20 – accessible to all PlayStation players regardless of preorder status

The second beta weekend is available on all console platforms and PC, featuring Crossplay, allowing players to party up with their friends and the greater community, no matter what hardware they play on.

  • Xbox and PC Early Access: September 22 at 10am PT to September 26 – those who preordered the game for Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC via Blizzard Battle.net or Steam
  • Xbox and PC Open Beta: September 24 at 10am PT to September 26 – accessible to Xbox and PC players regardless of preorder status
  • PlayStation Open Beta (Second Weekend): September 22 at 10am PT through September 26 – accessible to all PS4 and PS5 owners regardless of preorder status

The Modern Warfare beta is set to feature a robust multiplayer experience going beyond the core 6v6 experience with a variety of meticulously designed maps of various sizes, and an equally impressive set of Modes, Progression experiences and other aspects that will be more thoroughly revealed at Call of Duty: Next. Today at CDL Championship Weekend, players were able to see a flythrough of Marina Bay Grand Prix, where combat occurs within the main infield of an urban race circuit, one of the 6v6 Multiplayer maps confirmed for the Beta.

For more information on Call of Duty: Next, the Beta and more, head to the Call of Duty blog:

Lead a Supernatural Posse Across the American Frontier in Hard West 2, Out Now on PC

Welcome to the Wild West, partner! Good Shepherd Entertainment and developer Ice Code Games have released Hard West 2 today on PC via Steam and GOG.com for $29.99/€24.99, with a 10% launch week discount available until August 11. Battle the living and undead through the lawless American frontier in this supernatural sequel to the hit original turn-based strategy game experienced by over half a million players worldwide.

When first-class con man Gin Carter raids a legendary “ghost train” in search of gold, he discovers it haunted by the Devil himself! Now Gin must lead a posse of extraordinary outlaws to save his soul in a land claimed by darkness.

Hard West 2 aggressively ups the ante on the usual tactics gameplay experience, with multiple ways to go on the offensive and change the tide of a fight to your advantage based on your posse’s configuration, skills and traits. Each kill will activate your Bravado and refill your Action Points, so you can keep the streak going with the unstoppable force of a steam train.

With careful planning and positioning, a clever player can blow a hole through enemy lines and lay waste to the stragglers before they even have a chance to take their turn. The smallest decisions can have an explosive impact in the blink of an eye, rewarding creative thinking and skillful execution at every opportunity.

Key Features:

  • Lead a Supernatural Posse: Responsibility for your squad of gunslinging outlaws, witches and other mysterious beings lands at your boots. Give your team members bonus skills or enhance existing powers with cards from the Deck of Haunts, then arm them with guns, explosives, trinkets, or just some beans and whiskey to keep them in top shape. Synergize your party’s abilities to pull off devastating attacks and control the battlefield. Make the right calls to get more Loyalty Points and use their support to solve predicaments and sub-quests.
  • Conquer the Dark Frontier: Explore the frozen wastelands and lawless frontier towns of the Wild West in a desperate battle against the living and undead. Fight across dynamic levels that’ll keep your brain as busy as your trigger. Let your Western imagination run wild with thrilling horseback chases and train heists.
  • Unleash Your Bravado: In Hard West 2, you no longer have to hide behind cover, as each kill will replenish your Action Points! Go on the offensive, and chain together brutal kills to extend your streak as you take down anyone or anything brazen enough to stand in your way!
  • The Good, the Bad & the Undead: Wild West folk tales and the occult collide in a character-driven story featuring the voice talents of Kevin Conroy (Batman: The Animated Series), Darien Sills-Evans (Days Gone) and Adam Gifford (The Colony), co-written by Origins Award winner and New York Times bestseller Matt Forbeck (Deadlands) with a score by BAFTA Award winner Jason Graves (Dead Space).

Visit www.HardWestGame.com for more information, and join the community on Facebook, Discord and Reddit.

Sherlock Holmes The Awakened First Trailer + Dev Update Video for Live Kickstarter Campaign

Ukrainian developer Frogwares has gone live with their Kickstarter campaign to safeguard the funding of their Lovecraftian horror adventure, Sherlock Holmes The Awakened. Along with more details about the game and a collection of rewards for backers, the campaign page has two new videos from the team.

The first official trailer shows a young Holmes and Watson fleeing for their lives. A “misunderstanding” of sorts has led the New Orlean Sheriffs’ Department to hunt down the duo. After a few near misses from some shotguns, the budding detectives escape into the deeps of the surrounding swamps. But something seems noticeably off, let alone with Sherlock, who seems to already be losing his hold on reality.

The team have also released a lengthy team update video. On top of stark images of what has occurred in Ukraine during the invasion, the video explains why Frogwares have opted for Kickstarter, how the team are currently dealing with the situation, and more on what The Awakened will be on top of some additional work in progress footage of the game.

“We opted for Kickstater to create a financial safety net for the game but also to try to give back to our closest fans wanting to support us now. This way we can give them that bit of recognition by putting their names and photos into the game while it’s still in development.”

“We also have decided to be very realistic with our other rewards and keep them all digital. We have seen devs in the past promise things that become very time-consuming to deliver. Our team simply doesn’t have that luxury.” – Sergiy Oganesyan, Comms Director, Frogwares

All the downloadable rewards on Kickstarter will be made available for purchase to all players in the future, but supporters of the campaign will be getting this content first and at a notable discount, including the game itself.

Frogwares do not have a set release date for Sherlock Holmes The Awakened but internally the consensus is that they will be able to finish and deliver the game by mid-2023, if not sooner.

The Awakened will be coming to PC, PS4, PS5, XB1, Xbox Series X/S, and Nintendo Switch.

ABOUT THE GAME:

Sherlock Holmes The Awakened is a Cthulhu meets Sherlock Holmes detective horror adventure. The game acts as a continuation of young Sherlock’s story with Holmes and Watson undertaking their first major case together. An Eldritch god-obsessed cult is making moves in the shadows to bring about a world-altering prophecy and it’s up to the young detective duo to thwart their plans. This is a creative take on what horror-filled and reality-breaking events could have met our heroes at such a crucial point in their lives to go on and shape them into the characters we all know they become. Delve into the trauma and fear that cements their friendship for good and the revelations that break Sherlock’s mind to create the flawed and haunted genius he is destined to be. Originally released in 2006, The Awakened is a full remake and substantial rewrite being rebuilt and redesigned from the ground up to run in Unreal Engine 4.

Turbo Golf Racing is out today

The future of motorsports is here. Developer Hugecalf Studios and publisher Secret Mode are pleased to confirm that Turbo Golf Racing is available now on PC, Xbox Series X|S, and Xbox One via Steam Early Access and Xbox Game Preview.

Players can grab Turbo Golf Racing from today for £14.99 | €17.99 | $17.99. It’s also now available via Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass.

Turbo Golf Racing is a fast-paced, arcade-style sports-racing game for up to eight players online, where drivers charge down—or flip and glide over—twisting golf courses teeming with jumps and boost pads. It’s every racer for themselves in first-to-the-flag Grands Prix spread across 30 levels, as gameplay-altering Power Cores and devious shortcuts contribute to the chaos.

“It’s hard to comprehend that three-and-a-half years have passed since we first started prototyping our car-golf game,” says Jonny Hughes, director & producer at Hugecalf Studios. “We’re immensely proud of how far Turbo Golf Racing has come since then and we will be forever grateful to the tens of thousands of players who helped us refine the game during this year’s Beta tests. I’m excited for players to experience everything that’s in Turbo Golf Racing today, and to discover what’s to still to come in the months ahead…”

Hugecalf Studios currently anticipates that the Early Access and Game Preview period will last approximately 12 months, during which time Turbo Golf Racing will receive numerous content, feature, and balancing updates. Players can expect new levels, cars, cosmetics, and Power Cores in the coming months, with the first free content update due later in August. You could say there’s a… (drumroll) fairway to go, yet.

“Player feedback is central to everything in Turbo Golf Racing today and in its future,” explains Krystal Ramsey, product manager at Secret Mode. “The ridiculously talented team at Hugecalf Studios has already made an incredible game that’s exhilarating from minute one, but this really is the beginning of the ride. Without spoiling the surprises in store, we’re incredibly excited to see how the Turbo Golf Racing experience evolves throughout the Early Access and Game Preview programs in tandem with the community’s ideas.”

Turbo Golf Racing is out now on Steam and Xbox platforms.

Back 4 Blood DLC Expansion 2 Announced as “Children of the Worm” – Arriving Aug. 30

Warner Bros. Games and Turtle Rock Studios today announced details for the next major Back 4 Blood downloadable content (DLC) expansion, officially named Children of the Worm. The upcoming DLC expansion is scheduled to release on Aug. 30, 2022, as part of the Back 4 Blood Annual Pass, Back 4 Blood: Deluxe Edition, Back 4 Blood: Ultimate Edition, or via standalone purchase.

Children of the Worm will feature a brand-new story campaign that puts players into an epic showdown with a fierce new enemy threat. To help combat this unknown adversary, the expansion will introduce “Prophet” Dan, a gun toting, self-proclaimed preacher of the end times, who joins the growing list of playable Cleaners in their effort to save humanity. Children of the Worm will also include eight exclusive character skins and 12 exclusive weapon skins, along with new weapons, accessories, and cards.

 Additionally, several new free content updates have been recently added to the game and are available for all Back 4 Blood owners, including all-new skins, legendary items, burn cards, emblems, sprays and more.

Back 4 Blood is a first-person co-op zombie shooter from critically acclaimed developer, Turtle Rock Studios, available now for Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One consoles, PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4 consoles, and PC. The Back 4 Blood story takes place after a catastrophic outbreak where most of humanity has either been killed or infected by the parasitic Devil Worm. Hardened by unspeakable events and emboldened to fight for the last of humanity, a group of apocalypse veterans called the Cleaners have rallied to take on the infected horrors known as the Ridden and reclaim the world.

To learn more about Back 4 Blood, visit Back4Blood.com or join the community conversation on Twitter (@Back4Blood), Facebook (Back4Blood), Instagram (Back4Blood), Twitch (Turtle Rock Studios), YouTube (Back4Blood), and Discord (Turtle Rock Studios).

Gigapocalypse Rampages Its Way Onto Consoles Today With Kaijus, Chaos & Destruction

Headup Games & Goody Gameworks are pleased to announce that retro-inspired side scrolling city-smasher Gigapocalypse is out today for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch, priced at $9.99 / €9.99 / £7.99.

Inspired by Kaiju monster movies like Godzilla and King Kong, as well as classic arcade games like Rampage, Gigapocalypse gives players a roster of monsters, or “Gigas”, to choose from as they reduce cities to rubble to the beat of a pumping heavy metal soundtrack. Create your own monster apocalypse with customizable Kaijus and lay waste to a wide variety of locations waiting to be stomped into dust.

With every run you undertake to try and get to each location’s boss, your Giga will become more powerful and earn mutation points. Spend these points to upgrade your Giga with new mutations, skills, skins, and even up to five tiny minion pets who will accompany you on your outings of urban destruction. Take care of your Giga in Tamagotchi-style minigames and decorate your Giga’s home with cool items that will improve your Giga and make them even more menacing.

Gigapocalypse offers nine monsters to choose from – three ‘Old Gods’, three prehistoric monstrosities and three horrors from outer space. You can take these beasts of destruction into a host of fun city locations from across multiple timelines, ranging from the Wild West to the modern day.

“We are delighted to bring Gigapocalypse to console gamers who want to let off some steam and smash stuff up,” said developer Goody Pundit. “With the many updates and improvements we’ve made during the game’s stint in Early Access on PC, the game is better than ever, and I hope console players enjoy picking out a Giga from our monstrous roster and laying waste to everything in front of them!”

CYBERPUNK ACTION-SHOOTER THE ASCENT ANNOUNCES NEW CYBER HEIST DLC 

Publisher Curve Games and Swedish indie studio Neon Giant are excited to announce new DLC for their popular Cyberpunk action-shooter RPG The Ascent, titled The Ascent: Cyber Heist, which will be available from 18th August 2022.

The Ascent: Cyber Heist is set after the base game’s main story and is accessible for those who’ve completed the main campaign and want to take on a new contract for a top-secret mission. Continue the story either solo or co-op with friends in a range of all new main missions and exciting side quests. Players can blast or smash their way through with brand new weapons, including advanced melee combat, in a new never explored before location.

In Cyber Heist, Kira, your former employer, has a new top-secret job, and as a newly independent contractor how could you refuse?  Venture outside of your familiar arcology into a brand new arcology owned by the Malhorst-Gelb Group. There’s some new ground-breaking tech ripe for the taking, but you’re not the only one with their sights on the prize.

Solo or in co-op with your friends, take on new challenging missions, explore brand new environments, fight your way against new enemies, and experience new ways of fighting using melee weapons!

  • CONTINUE THE STORY – SOLO OR IN CO-OP: The Ascent: Cyber Heist can be accessed once you’ve completed the base game campaign. Bring your friends with you to take on this new challenging contract. Your squad hasn’t caught up with you yet? No problem, as long as you as the host has completed the main campaign, your squad can join up and help! (We know you’ll be carrying them anyway…)
  • NEW WEAPONS: Speaking of carrying, experiment with all-new weapons, including for the first time in The Ascent – Melee weapons! So now you can get up close and personal with the new Rock Crusher and Guillotine!
  • NEW OVERWORLD LOCATIONS: Discover and explore a brand new arcology owned by the Malhorst-Gelb group with breathtaking new locations and environments.
  • NEW MAIN & SIDE MISSIONS: Continue the story of The Ascent by completing new challenging main and side missions. Encounter colorful new characters like Ontario and Zell along the way, and fight against new enemies.

Cyber Heist will be available for £7.99/€9.99/$9.99.

Cyber Edition

There is now a special Cyber Edition of The Ascent available, this includes the previous DLC packages Cyber Warrior and Cyber Sec  plus the new Cyber Heist DLC, all for £36.99/€44.99/$44.99

Noghead Plush

The Ascent brings you Noghead! Designed by Curve Games and Neon Giant, Noghead Plush is made with an Ultra Soft Fleece exterior that feels amazing! A powerful ally to have in-game and an adorable plushie companion in real life.

To find out more check out the link here: Noghead Plush | Makeship

About The Ascent 

A solo and co-op action-shooter RPG set in a sci-fi cyberpunk world, The Ascent is the first title from Neon Giant, a new 12-person studio composed of games industry veterans who were some of the minds behind iconic AAA titles such as the Gears of War, Bulletstorm and Wolfenstein franchises. The Ascent is now available on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One consoles and PC and Xbox Game Pass.