Season

A gorgeous take on the “walking game” genre, Season’s main themes  are “Travel” and “Preservation”.

A stylized game rendered in nostalgic colors, it looks like a fairytale painting. Explore a dying world and collect what remains of a world of life and wonder.

From the offical site:

Document, photograph, draw, and record life. Through a solitary bicycle journey, form your own memories, your own vision of the world around you. Your goal? Protect these treasures from being forgotten. Your quest will lead you to discover a new world; unknown, yet familiar. You will be immersed in different societies that will make you discover the mysteries of the world of Season; a surreal version of the mid-twentieth century, where thousands of years have passed without any progress. Find out what caused the last collapse and what might cause the next one…

By Scavengers studio, due to be released this year on PC and Playstation.

 

Art and Horror in Mundaun

Explore Alpine mysteries in a Puzzle based Horror with Mundaun! This game has a focus on Art and storytelling, and its overwhelmingly positive reviews rave about the vibes this art piece gives off.

The art of the game has a combination of Two and 3 dimensional aspects, and is entirely in black and white. The overlay of 2-d textures heightens the uncanny valley often seen in 3-d video games.  The consistent  art style provides a feast for the eyes and increases the spook factor when a monster fades into view.

The atmospheric ambience  is achieved through the use of  rough textures of the mountain , while things like plants and animals are carefully detailed. By making the sky light grey and the mountains dark, there is just enough contrast to distinguish the two as you traverse the map.

The simplified human shapes of the characters lend credence to the appearance of the monsters. Having a simple style throughout  lets the player maintain their suspension of disbelief.

The story-book-esque style contributes to the games easy-going gameplay, with minimal stats to keep track of an the ability to run or avoid monsters. The game only has  a few jump scares, relying on psychological horror to keep you on the edge of your seat.

A pleasant vista
From the game’s STEAM page

Dungeon design in DnD: The Rooms, Hallways, and the bits between your players and the Boss

A home is not an empty house; even the most neat space still has stuff in it. In Dnd,  the problem is how to describe a space without tripping up your players, while maintaining the atmosphere you want.

Where is this place going to be? Will you build the building around the location? Will you develop the building based on its occupant? Both?

Think about what people would need to live in your chosen location. For example: A Cult that lives below ground; where do they get their food? What do they do for entertainment? What do they find important in their cult, and what kind of space does that occupy? In that case, you could add in pantries, game rooms, a few sacrificial alters in front of a statue with it’s own room, a space for priests in the cult, a space for digging tools, an area for certain building or support materials, and some sort of path to remove dirt that’s been freshly dug.

Even with just this, there’s already a map being developed.

To build a place around its occupants can be more complex than just location-based design. For example, If you have archers in your castle, you’d want the tall, thin windows and battlements that will protect them; however, non-European cultures tend to use mounted archers (those on horses) more often, so the buildings in those areas don’t account for defense-based archery.

More simply, you can examine the origin and design of your boss, and what pieces of architecture would accentuate those traits. an Eldritch beast would call for a dark and imposing building, with heavy materials, the tall ceilings oozing with foreboding shadows, and stained glass windows alluding to something far beyond the Players’ knowledge. There is also a need to consider the atmosphere you’re trying to create, and creating a moodboard (a selection of images associated with what emotions you want to convey) can help.

For the individual rooms, you can search up a list of items created in the era you wish (for more historically-inspired pieces), or a list of items found in books or media for the location (for sci-fi or high fantasy). You can also review your list of occupants and wonder about what they might need for daily life, and then scatter about these items.

To spice up the interior, you can add in Furniture! Use words that can describe the atmosphere or boss as well. The furniture a person has can tell you something about them. A “bone-thin chair with a black metal back” has a much different vibe than a “warm, plush couch, made of quilted velvet”. A visible lack of furniture can set up an atmosphere of barrenness, or even when placed in context, an air of suspiciousness.  Furniture can be minimalistic, decorated, homely, and can help set up your atmosphere as well as any sounds made by a you-tube playlist.

The materials used in the room can also give it flavor. Describing types of stone using their textures or appearances, or using the wallpaper to its maximum effect. Add in color-meanings or flower symbology to tell the story of the place or its inhabitants. How well-maintained are the rooms? Do people care about the place they’re in?

You can also Give clues about your Boss in main rooms. Shed skin for scaly beasts, the odd hair or piece of fur, or even a closet with the Boss’ preferred outfits. Does your Boss have a particular diet, or habits that are unique to their species or situation?

All of the above can be used to world-build in a way can be as subtle (or dramatic) as you’d like!

Have fun designing!

Glyph

Glyph was released by Copenhagen-based studio Bolverk Games for EU/AU regions on January 11th. On January15th, Glyph received an update that fixed up a number of issues that were present at release. It also added various features, including an important final boss fight. In Glyph, you play as a mechanical scarab in a 3D open-world platformer for the Nintendo Switch. You will navigate through over eighty colorful and unique levels. There’s enough content available to the player that will make the game feel like its own individual experience.

You’ll find a few giant creatures in Glyph. Here, you can see this huge Centipede.

Restore the Ancient Temple

Playing as a sphere-shaped mechanical scarab named Glyph, you’ll be navigating through the desert and using your abilities to get through the levels. The levels are varied and look beautiful. They feature plenty of puzzles to solve and enemies to beat. Glyph also contains cosmetics that you can unlock when you master your skills. There are special rewards hidden on every level. There are many hours of content in the game and it should keep a platformer fan enthralled for quite a while.

Glyph must restore the Temple City in the heart of the .

Glyph Around the World

Glyph clearly takes inspiration from  classic Nintendo games like Mario. The team behind the game consisted of only 17 people, so the game’s focus is very clear. They wanted to give the player a fresh and unique 3D platformer that still had many of the qualities that made classic 3D platformers so memorable. Glyph will be released in the Americas with all of the updates on February 1st. The global release date is still TBA. Nonetheless, if you’re looking for a new platformer or 3D open-world experience on the Nintendo Switch, consider giving Glyph a try when it releases in your region.

#Glyph #3DPlatformer #Platformer #OpenWorld #Bolverk #Switch

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 is set to be released for PC and next-gen consoles some time in 2021. It’ll be the first game in the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series. Produced by the Ukrainian company GSC Game World, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 is a dark horror game set in an open-world environment with first-person shooter combat. Set in a fictional timeline of the Chernobyl disaster, the player explores the wastes of the “Zone”. The Zone is where scientists conducted vile experiments that went horribly wrong after the nuclear explosion. The game is filled with characters and mutants that will keep the player on edge. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 is the fourth game in the critically-acclaimed series and it has been nearly twelve years since the most recent release. This new game will be the biggest by far and will run on a much better engine.

a ferris wheel
The Zone has a very creepy and eerie feel to it.

Disaster at Chernobyl

Like the past titles, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 faces the player with a multitude of major decisions to make as they play the game. There are many different endings for the game, all of which are determined by the choices that you made. The game also has a high replayability, as every playthrough will have different events unfolding in the world. GSC Game World wants the Zone to feel like it’s alive and moving all the time. Not only do you directly impact the fate of the Zone, there are special events that will impact it as well that might be out of your control. Altogether, the state of the Zone can end up being wildly different by the end of two different playthroughs.

strange mutants in tanks
You’ll find very strange things in the Zone, including mutants.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is Back

Just like the older games, you will play as a brand new character in S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2. Playing as Skif, you are one of the stalkers. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. stands for Scavengers, Trespassers, Adventurers, Loners, Killers, Explorers and Robbers. They’re people who’ve come to the Zone to exploit it for financial gain. They hope to find precious treasures and artifacts that have been abandoned in the dangers of the Zone. Some stalkers work alone while some stalkers band together into factions. As a stalker, you’ll be pit against humans and mutants alike. The first-person perspective helps make the player really feel the situation that their character is in. The fear of what might be behind a corner is amplified and you really are nervous about what’s going to happen to the character. If you’re a fan of horror and having control of the narrative, be on the lookout for S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 in 2021.

#STALKER #STALKER2 #Horror

Cyberpunk 2077

Cyberpunk 2077 logo

This long-awaited game out of CD Projekt Red finally arrived on PS4, Xbox One, and PC on December 10th. First announced all the way back in 2012 and delayed from the previously announced release date in November, this has been among the most highly anticipated video game releases of all time. The game sold over 8 million copies through digital pre-orders alone. This game features a wide array of game mechanics that inspired an incredible amount of hype for the game. All in the first person, Cyberpunk features drivable cars, gunplay, melee combat, stealth elements, expansive skill progression, choice over the story’s direction, character customization, and the list goes on. With so much to potentially accomplish, some of these mechanics might be hit or miss for certain gamers with high standards. But what most can agree with is that the rich and unique story is among the highest quality that you can find in a game.

Residents of Night City sit at a table with a drone on it
Residents of Night City often augment their body with cybernetic implants.

Night City

Taking place in an alternate future, the setting for Cyberpunk 2077 is beautifully crafted. The graphics are among the highest quality that you can find on these systems today. You’ll need a high-end PC if you want to see the real potential of this game. You play as a named character named V, but the player has a great deal of control over who V really is. The player controls everything from what they look like to where they came from. The game starts with three paths that will influence the direction that your character takes in the story throughout the game. With Keanu Reeves casted as one of the main characters, the game’s focus is largely geared towards its storytelling. There are multiple endings that will be shown based on your decisions throughout the game. There are also various side quests that will directly influence your character and sometimes the city as a whole. Cd Projekt Red really wanted the player to feel like they control V’s destiny.

A corporate executive stands in front of a luxury car
V can come from 3 different backgrounds: Nomad, Street Kid, or Corpo

Wake up Samurai

Cyberpunk 2077 has so many gameplay features that it’s hard to compare it to other games. It wouldn’t be fair to expect driving to be at the quality of a racing game or for gunplay to be at the quality of an FPS game. Cyberpunk is really about giving the player the opportunity to choose how they want their character to go about completing the game’s quests. There are currently a wide range of bugs and issues that players have been running into, but these are very likely to be patched out in the near future. It’s possible that some of the specific mechanics might also be adjusted to improve the game even more. CD Projekt Red worked on Witcher 3 after its release and made very real improvements to the game. You can nearly guarantee that they will do the same for Cyberpunk.

#Cyberpunk2077 #Cyberpunk #SciFi #CDProjektRed

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

Assassin's Creed Valhalla logo

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is the newest entry into the Assassin’s Creed franchise. It’s currently out on PC, PS4, PS5, Stadia, Xbox One, and the Xbox Series X/S. It comes after 2018’s release of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, widely recognized as the best entry into the series in many years. Valhalla has added plenty of new mechanics, while also getting plenty of inspiration from numerous past titles. Taking place in ninth century Norway, the player takes control of Eivor, a Viking Assassin that must fight against the Templar Order that has infiltrated the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms.

Eivor traveling through Norway
Like every Assassin’s Creed game, you can mix a combination of stealth and combat to eliminate your targets.

A New Breed of Assassin

Much of the gameplay in Valhalla will feel more like Odyssey than most other Assassin’s Creed titles. You can play as a male or female Eivor and explore many romance options with both sexes. There is a well-developed leveling system. Leveling up provides the player with a great deal of interesting benefits. There are also plenty of weapons in the game, with a brand new form of dual-wielding combat that will set this game apart from the others. The game is filled with major and minor decisions that can help shape the entire world of of the game, giving you plenty of control over how your character influences Northern Europe. This is much like Odyssey, where you could influence the tides of the Peloponnesian War, which would affect all of Greece. Also taking inspiration from older titles, Valhalla has reintroduced the ability to run settlements. Building them up and doings missions for them will provide various gameplay bonuses. The game does a great job at motivating you to keep on playing.

Eivor talking to an ally
Assassin’s Creed games provide many hours of content through the story.

Nothing is real. Everything is permitted.

The Assassin’s Creed franchise is rich with lore. Since the first game’s launch in 2007, we’ve seen fantastic events unfold. We’ve learned about the mysterious Isu race that helped guide human civilization. Every game has given us more understanding over the Assassin’s Creed universe. Fans of the series will be excited to see how the story presses on. Yet, what works so well with the Assassin’s Creed series is that it’s always easy to be engrossed in an individual title’s universe, even if it’s the only one that you’ve ever played. Each title takes place in a distant land, hundreds of years earlier or later. This keeps the settings, characters, and stories so fresh. Whether you’re a fan of the series or not, Valhalla will be an enjoyable game for most fans of open-world adventure games.

#assassinscreed #valhalla #ubisoft

Yakuza: Like a Dragon

Yakuza: Like a Dragon logoYakuza: Like a Dragon has just been released for Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC, and PS4. It’s coming to PS5 on March 2, 2021. This is the newest entry into SEGA’s Yakuza series and it’s made a great deal of changes in story-telling and gameplay that make this game unique and sets itself apart from the older games in the series. The player takes control of a brand new character, in a brand new Japanese city, and the gameplay during combat is totally different, too.

Japanese Crime Syndicate

Just like its predecessors, Yakuza: Like a Dragon puts the player in the shoes of man who must fight against a deadly and dangerous Yakuza clan. You primarily play as Ichiban Kasuga, but this new entry into the series has a huge difference from every other game. You actually play as a team of four players. Instead of being a beat-em-up style fighting game during combat, the combat is actually turn based. There are still a wide variety of traditional and wacky enemies that might require some skillful strategy to get through the game, and you’ll need to take advantage of the strengths of all your characters. Like the past Yakuza games, this game also has many minigames throughout the city. Traveling through the city of Yokohama, you can participate in everything from kart racing to batting cages to arcade game to karaoke.

Karaoke singing

They take karaoke very seriously in Yakuza.

A Fresh Take on Yakuza

Yakuza: Like a Dragon has also opted to make various other changes to the game. Every Yakuza game from 2006 until now has been exclusively voice acted in Japanese. You now have the option for the game to be played out with English voice actors. Voice acting legend, George Takei, plays Masumi Arakawa. He is Kasuga’s patriarch and father-figure from his yakuza past. The Yakuza series has always focused on telling a long story while providing plenty of side-quests, minigames, and memorable boss battles. Despite the vast differences in the way that Yakuza: Like a Dragon plays and tells its story, it still has the same core focus that past releases have had. Whether you’re a long-time fan or a brand new player, this game could provide many hours of entertainment. If you’re a fan of Japanese storytelling or turn-based games, give this game a try.

A Yakuza battle
Changing to a turn-based combat system will give the battles a very different feel.

#Yakuza #SEGA #Next-Gen

Watch Dogs: Legion

Four armed hackers on a building

Watch Dogs: Legion, coming to the Xbox Series X/S on November 10th and PS5 on November 12th is the third installment of the Watch Dogs series from Ubisoft. Watch Dogs broke new ground in the open-world third-person shooter genre in 2014 by introducing a wide range of hacking abilities available to the player through the character’s smartphone.The newest installment in the series is breaking ground again, this time by introducing the ability to recruit and play as anyone on the street.

Cyberattack

Like its predecessors, Legion’s single-player plot revolves around toppling corrupt futuristic law-enforcement and evil cybercriminals. In the future, “smart cities” use one operating system to control a great deal of the city’s infrastructure and property. Hacking into the system gives you the power to manipulate everything from traffic lights to people’s cellphones. You can even see the names of everyone walking down the street, along with various bits of their personal data.

Watch Dogs: Legion
Aiden Pearce, the original protagonist of Watch Dogs, makes an appearance through DLC.

Play as anyone

What sets Legion apart from Watch Dogs 1 and 2 is how that personal data now comes into play in a big way. Legion lets you actually recruit civilians into your hacker uprising and add them to your team. Every pedestrian in futuristic London will now have various traits that will make them stronger or weaker as a playable character. Finding a powerful team member is like striking gold. Like most typical open-world third-person shooters, dying means that you’ll wake up in the hospital. But now you’ll have to wait until that team member gets over their injury before you can play as them again. Unless… you want a challenge. For hardcore players, your player will actually permanently die and you will lose them with no way of getting them back.

Old lady with a gun in one hand, tasing a man with her other hand
That’s right. You can play as a stun-gun toting old lady.

Uniquity

With the GTA series having such a dominant position in this genre, the Watch Dogs series had to differentiate itself with the hacking system. Ubisoft has kicked off their entrance into the next generation of consoles by continuing to effectively innovate the series and set itself apart from other games with the ability to play as anyone in the city. Watch Dogs: Legion is unique enough that, even without experience in the series, it’s worth a try.

Watch Dogs: Legion, coming to the Xbox..
There will still be plenty of gun-based combat.