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nohighscores.com | Gamers Never Grow Old

Today In Bad Puns: Gods & Heroes Goes Full Steam Ahead

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So Bill evidently has Internet access from his balloon, as he just sent me a press release announcing that the Roman Mythology MMO Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising has just been made available on Steam (in North America; international gamers of mystery don’t get it until the 24th). This release comes with the obligatory bonus item in the form of “access to the mythical minion Gorpal,” who evidently does extra damage with claw and bite. I’ll be honest. I know absolutely nothing about this game, but as an obedient little web monkey I post about it anyway. The full press release is below…

Heatwave Interactive today announced its new massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising, is now available in North America for purchase via Steam, a leading digital distribution platform for PC games. Full worldwide distribution on Steam is scheduled for June 24.

Heatwave also revealed an exclusive in-game bonus item for Steam customers. Players who purchase Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising from Steam will have level three access to the mythical minion Gorpal, a damage-dealer Phorcid that protects players by fighting with claws and poisonous bite.

Launching in North America and Europe this week, Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising is a full-scale MMORPG that immerses players in a universe of authentic Roman myth and legend. Players take on the role of a Demigod and celebrated hero of the Roman army who sets out on a quest for vengeance against an ancient enemy. While battling in the midst of Roman landmarks and legendary scenery, players can build and command their own squad of minions, customize their massive estate, combat mythological creatures, and unleash an arsenal of weapons.

New Magicka Trailers Are Always a Good Thing + Paradox Release Schedule

Fan of Magicka or no (I really do need to play this at some point), you have to admit those crazy bastards at Arrowhead Studios put together some great trailers. The one embedded here announced yesterday’s release of the PvP mode for Magicka as free DLC. This morning I also received a press release with the full Paradox release calendar into 2012, which I’ve included below along with the Magicka PR that includes mention of some new 99 cent maps and details on the three PvP modes (Deathmatch, Brawl, and Krietor)…

First, the release schedule:

Magicka PVP (free DLC) June 21st
Hearts of Iron III: For the Motherland (digital download expansion) June 28th

Supreme Ruler Cold War July 19th

King Arthur: Fallen Champions TBC
Pirates of Black Cove August 2nd
Sword of the Stars II: Lords of Winter August 16th

Sengoku September 13th
King Arthur II September 20th
Defenders of Ardania (PC, iPad, PS3, Xbox) September 27th
Hearts of Iron The Card Game (online) September TBC

Hearts of Iron III Collection November 15th Q4
Gettysburg: Armored Warfare (online) TBC

Crusader Kings II January 17th
Naval War: Arctic Circle Q1
Magna Mundi: An EU Game Q1
Mount & Blade Collection Q1
Victoria II: A House Divided (digital download expansion) Q1
Salem (online) Q2

And Magicka:

The mages of Paradox Interactive are proud to announce that the PvP mode is live, free, and available online. If you are the unfortunate owner of a conscience that prevents you from retaliating against your friends when they “accidentally” explode your head, your chance to seek sweet revenge in one of Magicka’s sanctioned arenas is finally here! Nothing feels better than taking matters into your own hands, right? Plus, we’ll be on the sidelines cheering! Cheering for hysterical demises, that is.

Players will be able to wreak havoc in the Havindir Arena and Training Ground maps, and a new Reservoir wizard robe will be available as new free content.

To celebrate the occasion Vlad, who isn’t a vampire, is sending the wizards on a new special mission: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgcEZ8jz_Hc

Available for sale will be the all-new Final Frontier Map Pack, priced at .99, which include the never-before-seen Vulcanus Arena, a sci-fi themed map that doubles as a PvP map and a challenge map. Also available for purchase is the chilling Frozen Lake map as well as a “stop staring at me, you’re freaking me out” Watch Tower map, both priced at .99. As always players will be able to play the maps even if they didn’t purchase them – as long as the player hosting the map owns the map. Players will be able to don new robes suited for the new PvP game modes – a tank robe, a support robe and rogue robe.

Magicka PvP offers three modes of gameplay:

Classic Deathmatch: Instead of accidentally zapping your companions, you kill them on purpose! It’s every wizard for himself as up to four physically inept beings duke it out in a one mage takes all battle.

Brawl mode: In Brawl, each player/team only has a set number of lives, and the last ma…wizard standing wins. Just make sure your “friends” don’t squander those precious lives.

Krietor mode: A fiendish new mode named after a clever Magicka fan who modded the game, the round-based Krietor mode unlocks Magicks at special intervals during the match, forcing players to come up with different strategies as new spells become available.

Swords & Soldiers coming to IOS- day late, dollar short?

I thought Ronimo Games’ Swords and Soldiers was fair. When it came out, WiiWare still had some faint promise and it looked like this quirky, 2D RTS was a good fit for the console. But when I played it, I kept thinking “I’d like this better on a handheld”. Flashforward a couple of years. Lo and behold, Ronimo (along with Two Tribes and Chillingo) is bringing their game to IOS. At first I thought this was cool news and that I’d be interested in trying it again on my iPhone. But then, I remembered that there are TONS of games like this in the App Store, many which took some of this game’s core ideas and improved on them. Trenches and Legendary Wars, for example. And this also puts the game in more direct competition with titles like Plants vs. Zombies, too. So I have to say I’m not all that excited about it. It’ll be interesting to see how the game does based on its brand recognition in a flooded market. I hope they’re shooting for a 99 cent price point on this one, otherwise they might be doomed. More optimisic press follows.

Dutch game development armies Two Tribes and Ronimo Games partner with leading independent publisher Chillingo, a divison of EA, to bring highly acclaimed indie hit Swords & Soldiers to the App Store.

This summer iPhone and iPad gamers will be able to command armies of brutal Vikings, vicious Aztecs and devious Chinese, each with their own hilarious storylines. Gamers will go on a globe-trotting single player campaign and unlock addictive high score bonus games! On iPad, gamers can even hone their skills and go up against friends and family with the game’s fully featured multiplayer mode.

A sneak peak at Swords & Soldiers can be viewed here:


Key features
Hilarious characters and storyline mean you’ll be playing with one huge grin
Command hordes of Vikings, Aztecs and Chinese warriors, each with their own unique skills
Three epic campaigns with unique challenges to keep you entertained for hours
Fully customizable Skirmish mode means endless replayability
Stunning HD graphics

Swords & Soldiers will be arriving soon on the App Store, details will be revealed in the coming weeks through the Two Tribes website.

Visit us at: www.twotribes.com

Obsidian Talks Dungeon Siege 3 and Insect Control

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I have my copy of the PC version of Dungeon Siege 3. Actually, I’ve had it since last Thursday, but Steam said I’m not allowed to play it until today. Thanks so much, technology! So, when I escape work this evening (and after a quick beer with friends), I’m heading home to finally get hands-on with the game. I do so with some trepidation, however, after reading this Eurogamer interview with lead designer Nathaniel Chapman, who notes the PC controls of the game are going to get some improvement in a patch…

Eurogamer: You weren’t worried about a backlash from the series’ core PC fanbase?

Nathaniel Chapman: Honestly, we were less worried about that aspect of it. Actually this is one thing I would have liked to have spent more time on, and we are actually spending time on now. Basically, I think as long as PC gamers have a good way to control the combat they will enjoy it. One review – I can’t remember which – said if you play with a game pad the combat is great, so right now we’re working on improving the PC controls through an update.

I think if there are PC gamers who are having a negative reaction it’s less about what the combat is, it’s more how the combat controls.

Sigh. Did you people learn absolutely nothing from Alpha Protocol? As a PC gamer, I’ve long ago accepted the fact that design decisions are typically made first on how things will work with a console interface. I don’t like it, but I accept it. What I don’t accept is a developer or publisher putting out a PC version of a game without sufficient attention paid to the fact that you do, in point of fact, have different and unique control schemes when playing on the PC. Seems it should be obvious that mouse and keyboard do not work the same as a gamepad, but evidently, even after Alpha Protocol’s truly abysmal PC controls, Obsidian still hasn’t gotten the memo that they need to actually spend some development time on this stuff before the game is released. If I wanted to use my gamepad, I’d of had Bill send me the 360 version.

Look, I’m glad they’re working on a patch. Also, maybe it’s really not all that bad as is. I’ll find that out when I get home tonight, but if they’re already saying publicly they’re patching the PC controls to make them better, then I’m thinking it’s not too frigg’n good. I’ll come back tomorrow with some quick impressions on that front. If it’s really not that bad with mouse and keyboard I’ll admit to being too touchy on that front.

On the bright side, later in the interview there are a couple references to the game being, “relatively bug free,” and that Obsidian is not hearing about, “bugs or performance issues.” If so, bravo! Obsidian badly needs a reasonably bug-free game. Kudos, too, to Eurogamer’s Fred Dutton for actually asking about Obsidian’s not-too-good history with excessive bugginess in their games. The number of Obsidian interviews I’ve seen in which they’re not asked about this stuns me. Chapman’s answer to the question (it’s on page 2) is a bit irksome, though. It’s not totally unreasonable and I get he’s trying to be diplomatic, especially since he had nothing to do with New Vegas (or other past games), but for future reference (and this is truncated from a much longer response), this is not a good answer:

I’ve played games that are more buggy than other games but I enjoyed them a lot more. It’s hard for me to say whether gamers have a right to less buggy games. Where a developer spends their time is often… It takes time to fix bugs and it also takes a certain… there are some really ambitious games that have bugs because they’re ambitious, and they don’t have the time [to fix them], or they spend time on making the content cooler rather than fixing the bugs.

Obviously, if the game is so broken that you can’t play it then it’s not worth your money. On the flipside, if you have an amazing game that has some bugs and you spend $60 on it, maybe you can feel OK with that.

No, no, no. To this day there are players who cannot finish New Vegas without scrapping tens of hours of play and starting over. Alpha Protocol on the PC was a complete and utter disaster saved only by the fact that there was some incredibly cool gameplay in the midst of all the stuff that didn’t work. Neverwinter Nights 2, by reputation, was nigh unplayable until its first patch and took an expansion to really hit its stride. Knights of the Old Republic 2 was incomplete and was basically finished by its fans.

Do not, do not, DO NOT tell me how you can’t say whether or not gamers have “a right to less buggy games” or that how there’s not always “time [to fix them].” As you noted, we pay money for games that work. You’re absolutely right that bugs are a reality. I don’t know any core gamer who doesn’t get that. And, yes, the bigger the game the tougher it is. But that’s what you sign up for when you make a complex game. The game, if nothing else, has to be complete and completable (by the player) and your company does not have a great track record in that regard. Your only answer here is, “We know we’ve got a bad track record here, we regret it, and we’re working very hard to do better.”

I love you guys (Obsidian). I really do. There is genius in just about every one of your games (that I’ve played). But with your company’s track record we pretty much have to poke you with a stick over this stuff until it stops happening. Hopefully DS3 has started moving that needle in the right direction. If not, you’ll hear about it here.

Peter Molyneux Interview on Fable: The Journey and Kinect

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GamingUnion.net has posted the first part of an interview with Peter Molyneux they conducted at E3 this year. The topic is Fable: The Journey, but I found it interesting that Molyneux, completely unprompted, addresses what many people (myself included) feel is the core issue with Kinect…

I’ll admit that Kinect has got some problems. As an input device it has some real problems. Without a thumb stick, navigation is a real problem. You haven’t got any buttons, so ordering the player to do something can be somewhat of a problem. But what Kinect does have is a great sense of freedom and emotion. So that’s what we’ve tried to do with Fable: The Journey.

Welcome to what we’ve all been saying for a year now. This is why I don’t roll my eyes when I see games like Forza 4 and Mass Effect 3 looking for ways to use Kinect in conjunction with existing controllers. There’s cool tech here, but as a stand-alone device for interacting with games it will never, ever, get the job done. It’s a novelty that fades very quickly for anyone over the age of ten. But you find small, simple ways to use it along with existing control schemes and suddenly you have options. Maybe not options worth $100 out of pocket for players, but options all the same.

The full interview is worth checking out. Molyneux goes on to protest the notion that the game is on rails, saying that Fable has always been “about freedom,” and that Fable: The Journey will encompass that by allowing you to move around your caravan using body or hand gestures. At this point I’m not totally writing the game off, but it’s got a lot to prove before I put any money down on it.

Spotted at Eurogamer.

Tropico 4 E3 Trailer

Live on tape delay from E3, it’s the Tropico 4 trailer. I haven’t played one of these since the first game, but I’ve heard so many good things about Tropico 3 it’s tempting to give this one a host. In any case, you should watch this just for the music. It’ll liven your day.

NCAA Football '12 UStream "Demo Event"

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From the NCAA Football ’12 blog, there’s going to be a 60-minute streaming video presentation today at 1:00 EDT to discuss the game and many of its new features. If they put up embeddable final video after it’s done, I’ll make a point of updating it here. Here’s the word from the blog:

The demo for NCAA Football 12 drops next week and to prepare you for the occasion we’re rolling out 60 minutes of live streaming video full of info, insight and answers to your biggest questions.

Head to Ustream.tv/EASPORTSLIVE at 10AM PT/1PM ET Tuesday June 20 and if you get there on time and behave you’ll get to sneak a peek at Road to Glory. That mode is going to surprise a lot of people. As far as the demo goes, you’ll have a chance to learn about the teams, modes and other inside info directly from the game makers themselves. Set your alarm and be there live.

Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword Content Update

Paradox sends word this morning that Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword has received a sizable update that includes playable female characters (woo!), the ability of troops to crouch as well as reload on the run, and an alternative melee fighting style for musketeers. The press release doesn’t go into further detail, but they’ve also made available a downloadable storyline walkthrough that lists three separate quest chains you can get involved in. I’m assuming this is new as well? Someone page Bill back from his balloon. He’s got a diary to get back into! Here’s the PR with new feature list and complete patch log included after the break:

Paradox Interactive and TaleWorlds Entertainment is aiming to keep fans of Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword happy with a new and extensive content update.

This update to the newly released stand-alone expansion pack Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword adds tons of features and improvements to Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword. A trailer and a story line walkthrough has also been released!

Highly sought after features such as authentic pikemen line formations and crouching marksmen formations along with new troop commands, like volley fire & row formation, bring army tactics to a whole new level. Now pikemen will make steady their weapons in order to cripple incoming cavalry with ease! Marksmen can form multiple firing lines within their squad in order to maximize firing rates and damage output!

Other great new features include:

- New alternative melee fighting style for musketeers.
- Great new ragdoll physics effects.
- New particle and sound effects for firearms, for added realism.
- Completely redone Captain Mode introduces a new troops purchasing system & all new troops!
- Female player characters and armors!
- A rebalanced single player experience, including an improved economy, item balance, and difficulty.
- New and more realistic caravan management system. New quests.
- An improved multiplayer balance to both classes & weapons, providing more distinct play styles.
- Healthier faster horses!
- Crouching and the ability to run and reload add more styles of play.
- An all new grenade system with a new explosion model and particle effects.

And the 1.141 patch log:
General Gameplay:
- Firearms have been rebalanced.
- Firearms have been given refined melee animations.
- All Melee weapons have been rebalanced.
- Horses have been made faster and rebalanced.
- Characters can now crouch. The default key is ‘z’.
- New troop orders for volley firing and line formations.
- Added new types of ranged ammunition, ex: piercing arrows.
- Pikes have two types of thrusting attacks.
- Reloading interrupted by being hit is now continued where it left off.
- Switching to pistols is now quicker whereas switching to muskets has been made slower.
- New grenade explosion/damage system.
- New tactics introduced via crouching pikemen/marksmen formations.

- New sounds and particle systems for firearm shots,bullet hits, and ricochets.
- Order menus redesigned.
- Female face textures retouched slightly.
- Motion blur effect has been removed from some weapons.
- All armors have female versions.

- Multiplayer Captain modes have received an overhaul; all new troops and troop purchasing system.
- New stat/behavior balances for musketeers and infantry.
- Network code improved.

Single Player:
- Added starting option to play the game with a female character.
- Battlefield AI enhanced and can give the new volley fire orders.
- New Village Elder Quests.
- New and more realistic Caravan Trading System.
- Economic balances to production and troops.
- Various balances made in the interest of fairness to starting characters.
- New balances to weapons and redone grenade rules/system.

Bug Fixes:
- Fixed siege door abuse in some multiplayer maps.
- Fixed ladder placements in many maps.
- Navigation meshes in lots of maps fixed.
- Double barreled pistols’ reload animation bug is fixed
- Grenade splash damage bugs fixed.
- Fixed typo in trade permit cost.
- Lots of fixes to problematic quests and npc behaviors/interactions.
- Various bug fixes.

Paradox Announces King Arthur: Fallen Champions

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Fans of King Arthur: The Roleplaying Wargame who don’t want to wait for Q4′s King Arthur II to get with moving armies around, and doing whatever other stuff you do in these games, have something new to keep an eye on. Today Paradox announced they would “very soon” release King Arthur: Fallen Champions, which aims to bridge the gap between the first game and its sequel. Don’t they know you’re supposed to use comic books and cheesy SyFy movies for this sort of thing? Here’s the PR on this $10 game…

King Arthur: Fallen Champions features the story of three brave souls – a knight, an enchantress, and a prophet – who venture through uncharted lands beyond the Forest of Bedegraine in fulfillment of their individual quests. Sir Lionel, a brave knight from Britannia, is on a quest to rescue a damsel in distress. Lady Corrigan of the Sidhe, an enchantress of the twilight, is seeking the secret pathways that will lead her back to her lost home of Tir na nOg. Drest the Chosen, a prophet of the North, is drawn by the mystic voices and visions to explore the wild lands. Tied together by strings of fate, these three heroes must join hands in order to prevail as champions of a forgotten battle that began long time ago.

- Follow three unique heroes, each with their own storyline featuring adventure quests and epic fights. The fates of these three heroes are intertwined, and their quests lead up to one massive battle under extraordinary circumstances.
- A variety of battle types fought on unique, beautifully crafted battlemaps, ranging from smaller tactical skirmishes to grand engagements against superior numbers.
- A dark and gripping fantasy tale that bridges the gap between King Arthur and King Arthur II, set in an ancient region of Britannia, beyond the well-known territories of King Arthur – The Role-playing Wargame.

50% Off Interplay Games at GoG.com

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This morning Good Old Games has decided you’re far too poor and destitute to bother with some fancy summer vacation. Quick! Someone recall Bill from his balloon and call Brandon back from the beach! Instead they, and you, should save money by staying home and buying old Interplay games for 50% off.

Okay, sure, the reasoning isn’t particularly sound, but there’s a solid list of games in GoG’s Interplay lineup that includes the Fallout series, Descent (including Freespace), and Jagged Alliance, all available for a $2.99 through July 4th. In fact, you can save yourself the decision making and pick up all 32 games for $95.68. Don’t do it because I said so, though. Just listen to what Alan Rickman thinks of all this…

Kind of sums it all up right there, doesn’t it?