All posts by Mark Smith

I've been an avid gamer since I stumbled upon ZORK running in my local Radio Shack in 1980. Ten years later I was working for Sierra Online. Since then I've owned nearly every game system and most of the games to go with them. Not sure if 40 years of gaming qualifies me to write reviews, but I do it anyway.

Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong Launch Trailer

Dear partner of the night, the time has come to pledge allegiance to the Prince of Boston. Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong, the narrative RPG developed by Big Bad Wolf Studio, is now available on PlayStation®4, PlayStation®5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and PC (Epic Games Store). The truth is written in blood. Will you shed yours to make it spread?

Mysterious assassins have attacked the Boston Camarilla – a secret society comprising most of the vampires in the city. Galeb Bazory, Emem Louis, and Leysha are tasked by the Prince of the city’s Kindred with learning the identity of the attackers as well as the motives underlying the large-scale attack. The orders are simple: infiltrate, investigate and get answers, using supernatural powers if necessary.

Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong offers a new approach to narrative RPG games:

  • Each character has its own personality, with its own morality and dilemma
  • A story-based game with multiple story branches where choices have consequences
  • Each of the three heroes has a character sheet with characteristics, Skills and Disciplines that you can modify depending on your choices
  • Original gameplay where each dialog confrontation makes you move forward in the story
  • An oppressive atmosphere and a mysterious universe, faithful to the tabletop role playing game
  • An original soundtrack made by famous composer, Olivier Derivière

With more than fifteen different endings for the main characters and the fate of Boston’s Camarilla, each Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong player will experience their own adventure in this unique narrative RPG.

Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong is now available on PlayStation®4, PlayStation®5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and PC (Epic Games Store).  Nintendo SwitchTM will be available later in 2022

Post-Apocalypse Survival Sim Endzone – A World Apart: Survivor Edition is Now Available on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S

Today, publisher Assemble Entertainment and developer Gentlymad Studio proudly launch the massively popular Endzone – A World Apart on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S, aptly titled Survivor Edition, including Endzone’s first game-enriching DLC called “Prosperity.” Brave the destroyed surface of the Earth and rebuild a semblance of home for the world’s last remaining humans — or die trying.

Steeped in a world poisoned with radiation following a worldwide nuclear disaster, Endzone – A World Apart tasks players with a monumental responsibility: build a civilization and maintain the wellbeing of Earth’s last remaining human colony. Much like its genre peers such as Surviving Mars, Frostpunk, or Surviving the Aftermath, players will use the tools at their disposal to build housing structures, develop a functioning electrical system, and maintain stable water and food supplies. Much unlike its competitors, Endzone – A World Apart won’t see players face off against ghastly ghouls and irradiated monstrosities. Instead, violent weather events—such as sandstorms and drought—seek to destroy.

Boasting over 5,000 positive reviews on Steam, Endzone – A World Apart is a lauded addition to the survival sim genre and blends the best of post-apocalyptic survival and city-building, delivering a challenging yet rewarding redemption-style gameplay experience that demands intuition and skill. With the release of the Survivor Edition, the dystopian survival-sim is now available to a whole new class of (console) survival specialists.

Key Features of Endzone’s Console Release Include: 

  • Full UI overhaul: Specially geared to controllers – provides for a comfortable and up-to-date gameplay experience for current-gen consoles
  • A Bustling Community: The settlement is rarely quiet or dull; fulfill over 90 side missions, all of which are rich in variety and cater to the various needs of your community’s inhabitants
  • Build, Expand, Survive: With more than 90 different buildings to construct and   maintain, including power stations, shelters, water treatment plants, and, unfortunately, cemeteries, colony architects have a vast selection of structures from which to create a flourishing community
  • Can’t We Order In?: To get fresh supplies and learn new information, scouting parties must engage in Expeditions — which involves leaving the safety of the colony and   venturing out into the dangerous wasteland to scavenge valuable resources
  • Dynamic Radiation Simulator: Keep those iodine pills handy, as Endzone features realistic radiation and humidity values that force players to take into account important details about the soil in which they grow their crops

Endzone – A World Apart: Survivor Edition is available now on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S for $49.99 USD. Thanks to a collaboration with Koch Media, a leading global publishing partner, a physical PlayStation 5 retail version is also available for $49.99, as well as on Amazon exclusively in Europe.

For the latest up-to-date news about Endzone – A World Apart, follow Assemble Entertainment on Twitter, Instagram, “like” on Facebook, and join the official Assemble Discord server.

Survival action-RPG Decision: Red Daze is now available on Steam!

For centuries, mankind has learned how to live with the Red Daze, a disease that turned the living into flesh-eating zombies. Even in the Dust Bowl, an unforgiving place where the Red Daze spreads rampant, humankind has found a way to survive. But what if there is more to it — what if you could not just survive, but even fight back

Indie developer FlyAnvil and publisher Nordcurrent Labs announce that its thrilling post-apocalyptic action RPG Decision: Red Daze is finally available on Steam and GOG. The game offers players a unique blend of genres: deep and engaging survival and crafting mechanics systems that will force players to think and compromise in order to survive; nerve-wracking tower defense sections that will keep you on the edge of your seat; humor, atmosphere, and story elements already familiar to fans of both Wasteland and Fallout franchises alike.

KEY FEATURES

  • Experience a unique blend of action roleplay, survival, and tower defense mechanics that will keep you at the edge of your seat.
  • Explore a huge map in search of new allies and valuable resources: anyone you find out there is a potential hero!
  • Adapt to an alive, dangerous world with a day-and-night cycle that affects the gameplay experience profoundly
  • Capture new settlements and upgrade them to host more survivors.
  • Build defenses to keep your settlements safe from the endless waves of enemies.
  • Find potential heroes with their own specialized classes and talents to recruit, so they can join you every time you go outside to explore.
  • Try a wide selection of brutal weapons to mow down your enemies.
  • Craft new equipment and gear to better equip your survivors.

ABOUT DECISION: RED DAZE

Decision: Red Daze is an isometric action RPG with a unique mix of survival and tower defense mechanics. As the Red Daze engulfs the continent, leaving destruction and horribly mutated monsters in its wake, survivors are the only glimmer of hope the human race has. Protect and lead a group of survivors in the infamous Dust Bowl, where the Red Daze is most prevalent; resist the onslaught of the infected while looking for other survivors to expand your base and trying to find a way to escape the pandemic – and, hopefully, find a cure for it. Feel the adrenaline rush fighting back hordes of horrible zombies, mutants, and other deadly creatures that will try to kill you at sight, explore the world in search of new allies, find and upgrade deadly weapons, craft increasingly powerful defense mechanisms to keep your settlements safe. Don’t low your guard, danger is never far away.

If you want to take a further look at the world of Decision: Red Daze, Nordcurrent Labs has been publishing a series of dev diaries on Decision: Red Daze’s Steam page offering an exclusive look at many of the game’s mechanics. The first entry of the series went into the combat mechanics of the game, its mix between action RPG and tower defense, and how they evolved from their origin in the first games of this cult franchise. The varied enemies you’ll face in the Dust Bowl, as well as the different bosses, were the protagonists of two entries of the dev diary. The third entry dove deeper into the story and lore of the game, a key aspect of any RPG. In the fourth post, you can read how survival and tower defense mechanics meet in the building of your settlements. And finally, the more action-oriented side of the game is discussed in two entries devoted to the design of its many different weapons, from regular stuff like shotguns and miniguns to more powerful tools of destruction, such as machine guns and flamethrowers.

SNIPER ELITE 5 TAKES KILL CAM TO THE NEXT LEVEL

Rebellion, one of the world’s most successful video games developers and publishers, has today released a new gameplay trailer for Sniper Elite 5 which showcases the enhancements made to its genre-defining slow-motion Kill Cam. For the first time in the series, Kill Cam can now be triggered by particularly clinical shots using SMGs and pistols as well as for eliminations using rifles and takedowns. The new trailer is available to view now:

Enhancements have been made to both the physics and the visuals behind Sniper Elite 5’s Kill Cam. Bullets can now ricochet off bones causing even further internal devastation which is shown to the player in more detail thanks to enhancements in the visual representation of the characters including more definition of the skeleton, muscles, organs and sinew. 

The inclusion of iron sights for both SMGs and pistols, a first for the series, will allow players to be more accurate with those weapons, which will, in turn, trigger a Kill Cam for the most clinical of shots. Players will also have control over the Kill Cam in real-time with the ability to speed up/slow down the cinematic, as well as being able to adjust the camera angle.

A favorite feature with fans of the franchise, the frequency with which a player sees Kill Cam, can be adjusted in the game’s menu, including the ability to turn it off completely.

The weapons in Sniper Elite 5 have been painstakingly recreated from real-world references to ensure maximum authenticity. Players can now customize their weapons by discovering workbenches hidden within the missions. Each workbench will unlock further customization options. This means that they can adjust their chosen loadout to suit their individual playstyle and the objective that they are undertaking.

Sniper Elite 5 releases simultaneously on Xbox Game Pass, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Steam and the Windows Store on Thursday, May 26th. The game features an immersive campaign, which is playable in single-player and two-player co-op, adversarial multiplayer for up to 16 players, and a new Invasion Mode which allows another player to join your game as an Axis Sniper tasked with taking you out.

Players who pre-order Sniper Elite 5 will also receive the latest mission of the much-heralded ‘Target Führer’ campaign entitled “Wolf Mountain.” The Deluxe Edition is also available to pre-order and will include Season Pass One (two Campaign Missions, two Weapon Skin Packs, two Character Packs, six Weapon Packs), Target Führer and a P.1938 Suppressed Pistol for those who pre-order.

To keep up to date with all the latest Sniper Elite 5 news please visit sniper.com and follow the game on social media: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube

WRC Generations announcement Trailer

NACON and the studio KT Racing are pleased to announce their new rally game, WRC Generations, the official video game of the FIA World Rally Championship, scheduled for release in Autumn 2022 on PlayStation®4, PlayStation®5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch and Steam for PC. The result of 7 years of collaboration with legendary drivers, who have already made WRC 10 and WRC 9 the references of the genre, the latest entry in the series is an authentic and comprehensive rally racing simulation, giving players the chance to drive powerful cars in the most famous rallies of all time!

An unrivalled level of realism

Never before have games come this close to the real-life World Rally Championship! Hailed by both critics and professionals, this year’s WRC simulation has been reinforced with numerous improvements and optimizations requested by the community.

Just as in the real-life WRC, a major new competitive feature, hybrid cars, have been included in WRC Generations! The potent blend of electric power and combustion engines gives players the opportunity to experience brand-new driving sensations, both in terms of physics and through a completely overhauled sound design.

Previous vehicles can still be found in the game, even more authentically portrayed than ever before. In total, there are no fewer than 37 legendary cars, each carefully recreated with its respective mechanical characteristics.

On top of the 13 rallies of the 2022 season, the game includes 9 other locations for a total of 22 different countries and 165 Special Stages – a record for the genre! The brand-new Swedish route makes its appearance. It is the only completely snow-covered rally with physics even closer to the actual conditions.

New solo and online content

WRC Generations is more polished and detailed than its predecessors and promises countless hours of gameplay thanks to brand-new game modes and new ways to share your passion online!

  • Career mode lets players determine their own history, managing every aspect of their team and leading them to success. A new way to manage hybrid-powered cars will be included in the skill tree.
  • In League mode players can take each other on in the same category in daily and weekly challenges in an attempt to rise to the top of the rankings.
  • With the Teams system, players can choose to join a team or create their own, raising the standard high in every challenge.
  • The Livery editor enables players to customize their cars with a variety of finishes and stickers. In WRC Generations, players can now share their creations with each other!
  • Players can take part in training races on split screen or online, and enjoy the real experience with a friend in Co-driver mode.

WRC Generations will be available October 13th 2022 on PlayStation®4, PlayStation®5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, and later on  PC and Switch.

Stunning Side-Scrolling Action RPG Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising Available Now

Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising, the fast-paced 2.5D action RPG with town-upgrading elements from global publisher 505 Games, Rabbit & Bear Studios and NatsumeAtari, is available now for PlayStation 4|5, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC via Steam, Epic and GOG. Would you be interested in a review key?

Helmed by Suikoden creator Yoshitaka Murayama, Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising combines visually stunning action combat with RPG charm. Treasure hunter CJ, beastman mercenary Garoo and New Neveah’s temporary mayor Isha set off on an adventure to explore the mystical Runebarrows below New Nevaeh. Surfacing after a devastating earthquake, these ruins filled with riches attract adventurers from across the continent.

Fortunes and foes await: strategize and toggle between abilities to take down enemies and powerful bosses. Unleash distinct combo moves called Link Attacks to deliver satisfying, destructive blows. Earn elemental ruins to empower each character’s attacks. Navigate dungeons and collect materials to help the denizens of New Nevaeh reconstruct their homes and unravel the secrets of the Runebarrows that set the scene for 2023’s Hundred Heroes.

Ghost on the Shore Review – PC

Ghost on the Shore is yet another walking simulator masquerading as an adventure game that puts you in the shipwrecked shoes of Riley, stranded on an island loaded with lore, secrets, and hidden history waiting to be uncovered.  Along for the ride is Josh, a disembodied ghost that provides some delightful conversation and banter along with some useful historical facts about the island and its former inhabitants.Similar to games like Gone Home and Firewatch, Ghost on the Shore basically has you walking around all sorts of creative locations searching for anything that glitters indicating something you can interact with, rotate, examine, or maybe just a picture to look at or a document to read.  Riley will even get to showcase her own artistic talents by frequently sketching specific locations in the world and adding her own creative touches.

Riley will get to shape her journey mostly through her interactions with Josh, and those decisions can lead to various outcomes for the game.  The conversation flow between Riley and Josh is actually quite special thanks to some wonderful voice acting by the two leads.  As you get further into the game, you’ll start to learn about both of the main characters, their pasts, and their motivation moving forward.  Dialogue choices are delightfully subtle at times with no way to predict the outcome of your choices, and you only get one shot at any given response, so choose your words carefully.

Eventually the game will diverge into one of four possible branches based on your relationship with Josh at the moment.  These all lead to four unique endings which, despite a lot of overlap in early gameplay, adds some replayability to the game if you want to see all possible endings.  A single casual pass through the game is 4-5 hours, but the way the branching works you cannot start from a save to see the other endings.  You have to replay and make difference choices.  Ghost on the Shore has an auto-save and no chapter saves, so if you miss something you really can’t go back for missed items.

Visually, Ghost on the Shore has a distinct artistic style that reminded me of early Borderlands; lots of low-poly models, flat shaded textures, and large swatches of landscape tiles dotted with various structures to explore.  Controls are simply and a controller works just as good as a mouse and keyboard for moving around and interacting with the world.  There is a lot of reading and a lot of listening, and I was annoyed that the game locks you into place while listening to recordings, many of which can go on for minutes.

Ghost on the Shore offers a very leisurely adventure game experience with limited inventory and virtually no puzzle-solving.  It’s a big world of discovery and enlightenment and a bit of relationship building with Josh.  For me, the whole Riley/Josh dynamic was what held my interest; especially when it became clear just how much a part of the island Josh was becoming.  This is definitely one of those games where you can sit back and relax and enjoy some interactive fiction.  There’s not a lot to tax your brain when it comes to actual gameplay, but there is a solid emotional drama waiting to be uncovered if you choose to explore the world of Ghost on the Shore.

You can see Ghost on the Shore in action in our first look video along with commentary.

Afterlife VR Out on Steam Early Access Today

Independent game developers Split Light Studio is launching their horror VR game, Afterlife VR, on Steam Early Access today.

Afterlife VR is an Immersive first-person horror game with a blood-chilling story that will make you question your own senses and experience the true essence of terror.

In Afterlife VR, you play as Adam Bernhard, a young rookie police officer on a routine night patrol, who receives a call that will change his life forever. Uncover the secrets hidden deep within the Black Rose mental hospital walls.

Afterlife VR will be available in Early Access for approximately 1 to 2 months. The full version of the game would launch with German, Spanish, Italian, French, and Russian translations, modified mechanics of escape from the ghost, enabling of find, collect and store the notes in player inventory, and features/improvements suggested by players.

Features

  • Immersive first-person horror game built from the ground up for VR;
  • Blood chilling story that will make you question your own senses;
  • Innovative puzzle design, taking advantage of both the motion controllers and the protagonist’s telekinetic abilities;
  • Enjoyable and scary encounters with enemies – fight them with your firearm and/or your psychokinetic powers;
  • Explore the mysterious Black Rose hospital and immerse yourself in its twisted story.

“Evil Dead: The Game” Out Now

Come get some! Saber Interactive and Boss Team Games have released the long-awaited new co-op PvP|PvE multiplayer action title Evil Dead: The Game on PlayStation®5, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation®4, Xbox One, and PC via the Epic Games Store. Evil Dead: The Game Deluxe Edition, also available today, comes with Season Pass 1, which includes the Classics Bundle, full of outfits that take the team back to their roots, as well as three upcoming DLC packs, which will feature new characters and cosmetics.

Evil Dead: The Game’s launch trailer showcases its spooky and massive game world and intense survivor vs. Kandarian Demon gameplay experience. The trailer is filled with homages and nods to fan-favorite Evil Dead lore and scenes and features the original new song “Come Get Some,” a groovy homage to the Evil Dead franchise created by legendary recording artist and hardcore Evil Dead fan Method Man and hip-hop producer Statik Selektah.

Inspired by the iconic horror, humor and action of the Evil Dead franchise, Evil Dead: The Game brings the series’ biggest characters together in a pulse-pounding battle with the forces of darkness. Work as a team of four survivors to kick Deadite butt and banish the vile Kandarian Demon. Or become the Demon yourself, using its powers of possession to stop the good guys dead and swallow their souls!

Evil Dead: The Game delivers the ultimate Evil Dead action experience. Choose your squad with fan-favorite characters from every era of the franchise, including Ash, Kelly Maxwell, Pablo Simon Bolivar, Annie Knowby, Scotty and Lord Arthur. Battle with more than 25 hard-hitting weapons, like the good ol’ chainsaw and boomstick, and level up a variety of character classes with their own unique abilities to survive the night in multiplayer and bonus single-player missions.

The title is officially licensed by Boss Team Games from Renaissance Pictures, leading European production and distribution company STUDIOCANAL, leading entertainment company Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM), and global content leader Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF.A, LGF.B) to develop the first multi-platform console and PC game based on “The Evil Dead,” “Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn,” and “Army of Darkness” films and the STARZ “Ash vs Evil Dead” television series. The game is developed and published by Saber Interactive and Boss Team Games.

Players with NVIDIA graphics cards can experience Evil Dead: The Game with AI-accelerated NVIDIA DLSS for maximum performance and image quality. The game can also be played via GeForce NOW, NVIDIA’s cloud gaming service.

For more information, visit www.EvilDeadtheGame.com, and follow the action on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.