The Game Guy

News and reviews from the PC and console dimensions

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Icebound, a dark-fantasy, mystery visual novel, has been announced for Windows, Mac and Linux.
Icebound takes place in a world in the midst of an ice age as a wandering alchemist attempts to prevent a monster from attacking a secluded town.The visual novel can be pre-ordered at iceboundgame.com for a discounted price of $11.99.
Icebound also has a Steam Greenlight page.

In other news:

  • Developer Amplitude Studios celebrated 300,000 units sold by releasing another free add-on for its 4X turn-based strategy game, Endless Space. This add-on, titled Virtual Awakening, will be available through Steam. It will include content such as mysterious heroes, gameplay elements gravitating around asteroids and gas giants, new escalating random events, AI improvements and more.
  • Videogame developer Zero Sum Games and publisher Iceberg Interactive announced the 4x space strategy game StarDrive is now playable in Beta on Steam. StarDrive is a space-themed 4X strategy game with deep ship design, colonization, diplomacy, research, and 3D graphics.
  • PQube released History: Legends of War, a turn-based strategy game for the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, from Slitherine. The game puts players in the role of Gen. George Patton as he fights his way from Normandy to Berlin in the Western European Theater of World War II.
  • Battlefront released new screenshots (one is below) for the beta version of Combat Mission Fortress Italy -- Gustav Line. Among the things to look foward to in the game are Fallschirmj√§ger! Mountain combat, anti-aircraft guns, snow and seasons.

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Gamers soon will be able to Cowboy Up again as Ubisoft announced Call of Juarez: Gunlinger (see screenshots).
Players take the role of Silas Greaves, a bounty hunter who has brought down some of the West's worst outlaws.
The game will feature the likes of Jesse James, Pat Garret and Butch Cassidy.

In other news:

  • A closed beta is under way for The Aurora World, a new MMORPG from GBE Games. Those who submit a "marathon" video by March 18 during the closed beta will be eligible for a prize. Four winners will get $100 of in-game currency while the grand prize will be a Razer Naga Special Edition -- Molten, Razer Blackwidow Ultimate 2013 Elite, Razer Vespula Dual-Sided Gaming Mouse Mat and Razer Carcharias Gaming Headset.
  • Paradox Interactive released a free demo of The Showdown Effect, a multiplayer action game from Arrowhead Game Studios.To check out the demo, visit store.steampowered.com/app/204080/
  • On March 20, the action platformer Alien Spidy from Kalypso Media Digital will be available for purchase through Xbox Live Arcade, the Apple Mac and PC. A version will be available later through the PlayStation Network.In the game, Spidy, an alien spider, crash lands on Earth and goes in search of his missing friend, Virgi, and the scattered parts of his spaceship.
  • Coming in the second quarter for the PC will be Dogs of War Online, a free-to-play multiplayer game from Cyanide set in the world of Confrontation. Dogs of War Online will be a turn-based, tactical arena game.
  • Reverb Publishing announced today that it has signed a deal with Exato Game Studios to bring its multiplayer voxel-based shooter, Guncraft (screenshot below), to PC and digital game platforms. Guncraft combines a block-building sandbox game with a first-person shooter. The combination, the companies say, allows players to create their own personal FPS experience.

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A patch is out for Far Cry 3 (screenshot above).
Ubisoft says the patch is available for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.
Among the improvements in single player are a new difficulty setting and new HUD/UK settings.
For multiplayer there is the ability to search maps by the author, an improved Skip map voting system and a the removal of a feature that kicks idle players from custom and private matches.

In other news:

  • Out now in stores is Tomb Raider from Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix for the Xbox 360 and PS3. The latest incarnation of Lara Croft is available for the PC through digital download via various platforms, including Steam.
  • Electronic Arts announced that a downloadable demo for Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel will be available March 12 through Xbox Live Marketplace and the PlayStation Network. The demo sees private military men for hire Alpha and Bravo trying to rescue a kidnapped politician. The game launches March 26.
  • Natsume Inc. revealed that its upcoming combat mech title, Carnage Heart EXA, has gone gold and will launch on the PlayStation Network shortly. Carnage Heart EXA will be released for the PlayStation Portable and Vita via PSN on March 19.
  • The free-to-play MechWarrior Online now offers players a chance to improve their skills before facing live opponents. Piranha Games and Infinite Game Publishing announced MechWarrior Online: Testing Grounds.
  • Also available now is the Gold Edition of Total War: Shogun 2 (screenshot below) from Sega. The edition includes Shogun 2 and the expansions Rise of the Samurai and Fall of the Samurai.

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More TMNT is on tap.
Activision Publishing announced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, a new, digital download-only video game inspired by Nickelodeon's new animated series, will be available this summer through Xbox Live Marketplace, PlayStation Network and via Steam for the PC.
The game (see screenshots) is a third-person brawler game set in New York City, taking gamers through articulated, true-to-life environments filled with action-packed adventures as Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Raphael. Featuring a 3D-style, gamers can experience four-player online co-op play while stomping out the Foot Clan and unleashing turtle torment on any foe that gets in their way.

In other news:

  • The next installment of Assassin's Creed will be a pirate adventure, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, Ubisoft announced. The game is set to be released Oct. 29 for consoles and the PC.
  • Look for no more expansions for Battlefield 3 after End Game, the fifth expansion, lands. EA announced End Game will be the final digital expansion. It will include four new maps, a new dirt bike, two new AA vehichles and a dropship. Also returning are two classic modes, Capture the Flag and Air Superiority. The expansion will be available first for Premium members and later this month for all players for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.
  • Paradox Interactive announced it has surrendered commercial rights to sell any Ageod game, including Pride of Nations and Rise of Prussia. Developer Ageod joined the Slitherine group earlier this year.
  • Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge is due April 5 for the PS3 and 360. The game will take advantage of SmartGlass technology for tablets and smartphones, which allows "second screen" features for Internet-enabled devices. A game demo also is expected before its release.
  • Gaijin Entertainment reports the large-scale military MMO War Thunder has seen more than one million people playing the game so far. To try your skills as a pilot, visit www.warthunder.com.

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The expansion is now live for Blacklight: Retribution Onslaught, a free-to-play first-person shooter from Perfect World Entertainment.
Included in the expansion are new maps, new weapons and new game modes.
One new mode, Onslaught, allows four-player cooperative play as they battle to stay alive against a zombie horde.
Blacklight: Retribution (see screenshots) launched back in 2012. Those who install the game through Steam can look foward to a variety of special in-game item packages.

In other news:

  • Also getting a new mode is Guardians of Middle-earth from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and Monolith Productions. Survival Mode will allow from one to five players to fight off waves of enemies as they defend their towers. Also available on the one-lane map is the Goblin-town map skin.
  • The second free DLC pack for Ravaged from Reverb Publishing and 2 Dawn Games is out. New for the post-apocalyptic PC shooter. Among the new features are Team Deathmatch and Hijack game modes, and a new vehicle - a dump truck.
  • A closed beta is under way for Kartuga, a 3D pirate action game from InnoGames. The online game will focus on cooperative player vs. player action.
  • Paybackgames.com will host at $20,000 Black Ops 2 tournament in conjunction with Insert Coins and Gamer Glove on July 20. Teams of four players will compete online for 8 weeks. The top 16 teams will compete live in Minneapolis to try and secure the $10,000 top prize. Visit www.paybackgamesevents.com.
  • Tripwire Interactive announced winners in its $35,000 contest to develop new maps for Red Orchestra 2 (screenshot below). Best original level went to "Winterwald" by Danh Truong, $5,000. Best remake went to "Gumrak Station" by Maik Doktor, $5,000. "Winterwald" also took home the grand prize of another $5,000 and an RO2-etched Origin laptop.


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New MMO on Kickstarter

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Now on Kickstarter is Iron Dawn, a turn-based strategy MMO from the developer Zombiefood.
Iron Dawn (screenshot above), developers say, is set in the Steampunk world of the German tabletop game Gotterdammerung. Play is likened to that found in such titles as XCOM, Jagged Alliance and Fallout.
According to the company, players will have access to all additional content after they buy the game once. Available at launch will be two factions, the Commonwealth and the Quel'nar.
For more information, visit www.irondawn.com.

In other news:

  • An upcoming title, Defenders of Suntoria: Dark Sun Rising, will give a twist to the tower defense game. Traditional fanatsy characters -- wizard, cleric and ranger -- will replace the towers. The game from Steel Steed Studio will be available for iOS, Android and PC.
  • GBE Entertainment will launch a closed beta for its new MMORPG, The Aurora World, on March 7 in North America. The title will feature eight player professions in action that takes place after a cataclysmic war of the gods. The top 100 players with the most log-in time during the closed beta will be eligible for a random drawing in which five Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Gaming Keyboards and five Razer Naga Gaming Mouses will be given away.
  • Matrix Games revealed the release of Unity of Command: Red Turn (see screenshots), the first DLC for Unity of Command for both PC and Mac. The action takes place after the events of Stalingrad during Operation Citadel, the ill-fated German attack on Kursk on the Eastern Front during World War II.

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'Avadon 2' announced

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The second game in the Avadon Trilogy, kind of an old-school RPG, will be coming to Windows, Mac and IOS, Spiderweb Software announced.
Avadon 2: The Corruption (see screenshots) puts players in the role of the Hand of the Black Fortress. His task is to protect the kingdom from its numerous enemies, including monsters, titans, pirates and barbarians.
For more on the game, visit www.spiderwebsoftware.com/avadon2.

In other news:

  • PC specs for the upcoming Tomb Raider were announced by Cyrstal Dynamics and Square Enix Ltd. Minimum specs are: Windows XP Service Pack 3 through Windows 8, DirectX 9 graphics card with 512 MB of RAM, Dual Core CPU and 1 GB of RAM (2GB for Vista and later). The game, due March 5, also will support AMD HD3D and AMD Eyefinity technologies.
  • The next update for The Secret World, Funcom announced, will be The Last Train to Cairo in March. It will involve trains, obviously, and travel back to ancient Egypt to search for powerful artifacts.
  • This summer, look for Armored Core: Verdict Day for the PlayStation 3 an Xbox 360, Namco Bandai announced. The Armored Core mechs again will be thrown into a battle for survival.
  • A closed beta will launch March 7 for the tactical MMORPG Ecol Tactics Online, coming from GamesCampus. Sign up for the turn-based browser strategy game at http://EcolTactics.GamesCampus.com.

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Since I am just getting started on Planetside 2, the free-to-play MMO from Sony Online Entertainment, some early observations.
1. The game world in which Planetside 2's three rival factions do battle it truly massive and richly realized.
2. The factions offer definite differences in their abilities. They are not just the same faction dressed up in a different costume.
3. Players can be six classes of infantry or command armor and aircraft; so there is something for everyone.
4. There are helpful tutorials on the website, but there still is a fairly steep learning curve.
5. Finally, while Planetside 2 is "free to play," it seems to me that it would be worthwhile to fork over real money in order to purchase the gear you feel you need to play the game in the style you desire. You do you earn credits as you play to spend on equipment. However, while I am certainly not the best player in the world (and maybe not even an average player), it does seem like a mighty slow process.

In other news:

  • MechWarrior Online, the free-to-play title from Infinite Game Publishing and Piranha Games, added a huge Alpine Peaks map. Other updates include five versions of the Trebuchet, a medium-weight BattleMech, and more balanced matchmaking.
  • The Goblin Snaga is the latest downloadable character for Guardians of Middle-earth from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and Monolith Productions.Guardians is a multiplayer online battle arena featuring characters from the Lord of the Rings.
  • Shades of Darkness, a stand-alone expansion for Might & Magic Heroes VI, will be available for PC download on May 2, Ubisoft announced.
  • Two new DLC packages were announced for Mass Effect 3, EA and BioWare reported. They are the single-player Citadel and the multiplayer Reckoning.
  • Paradox Interactive announced a demo is available on Steam for its recently released grand strategy game, March of Eagles. The demo limits players to playing the role of Prussia during the Napoleonic Wars in Europe.
  • Speaking of Valve's Steam, Bohemia Interactive announced that its upcoming Arma 3 will require Steam in order to be played. The move, according to a press release, will allow the game to be released this year.

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A distribution deal for Defiance, an upcoming open-world shooter, has been inked between Namco Bandai Games America and Trion Worlds. Namco Bandai will handle retail distribution of the game for PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in North and Latin America.
The game is set to launch alongside the new TV show Defiance on the SyFy Channel.
Trion Worlds promises that events from the TV show and game will affect developments in both.
The game Defiance (see screenshots) is set for an April 2 release.

In other news:

  • The wait is over. Crysis 3 from EA and Crytek now is available at retail and through Origin.com.
  • Sixteen teams will compete will compete online in a single-elimination qualifier during the North American Summer Promotion Qualifier for League of Legends. The top four teams will receive an all-expense paid trip to Dallas to compete live for a total $30,000 in prizes at the Major League Gaming Winter Championship. The winner also will garner a spot in the May Promotion Tournament leading to the League Championship Series.
  • Wargaming announced an upgrade to its World of Warplanes, a flight combat MMO. The beta is under way. Sign up at www.worldofwarplanes.com.
  • A free-to-play, episodic, time-travel adventure, The Time Tribe, was released by Thundersnow Media Inc. The point-and-click adventure game follows the exploits of four children who are members of a secretive group of time travelers. The game is rated E for everyone. Visit www.thetimetribe.com.
  • March of Eagles (screenshot below), is a strategy/wargame from Paradox Development Studio and Paradox Interactive, now is available from digital distributors. Players take the role of one of Europe's great powers and battle on land and sea for dominance during the time of Napoleon.

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'Crysis 3' almost here

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In just a few days, the much-anticipated Crysis 3 (see screenshot) will arrive.
Electronic Arts and developer Crytek GmbH report that more than 3 million players worldwide have downloaded the Crysis 3 multiplayer beta.
Come Feb. 19, Prophet and his powerful Nanosuit will set out to save mankind on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC via Origin.

In other news:

  • Capcom reports Darkstalkers Resurection will be available for download March 12 on the PlayStation Network and March 13 on Xbox Live Arcade; Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate lands March 19 for the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U; and on May 21 Resident Evil Revelations will be offered for Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U and PC.
  • GOG.com (Good Old Games), which offers classic games for modern PCs that are free from copy protection, announced the availability of System Shock 2, described as "a modern sci-fi horror masterpiece."
  • On Feb. 22, Gala Networks will grant acces to a public server for its Allods Online expansion, Lords of Destiny. To be part of the playtest, register at allods.gpotato.eu.
  • The official website for Wargame AirLand Battle from Focus Home Interactive has launched. The game (screenshot below) is the sequel to the real-time strategy game Wargame European Escalation.

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