Thursday, 4 January 2018

PlayStation Blogcast 275: Live From Arcadia Bay

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You know Ashly Burch? Of course you do. She’s in this episode! We’ve got two new interviews in this episode, shining a light on Life is Strange: Before the Storm and upcoming PS VR megaton Blood & Truth. Plus, Ryan, Kristen and Justin gather to share what they played and watched during their respective holiday breaks. Happy new year!

Stuff We Talked About

  • Life is Strange: Before the Storm
  • Blood & Truth
  • Game of the Year 2017
  • Black Mirror
  • Assassin’s Creed
  • Persona 5

Recent Episodes

The Cast

Official PlayStation Blogcast: Justin MassongillOfficial PlayStation Blogcast: Ryan ClementsOfficial PlayStation Blogcast: Kristen Titus

Justin Massongill – Social Media Manager, SIEA
Ryan Clements – Sr. Social Media Specialist, SIEA
Kristen Titus – Social Media Specialist, SIEA

Send us questions and tips!
Leave us a voicemail! (650) 288-6706

Thanks to Cory Schmitz for our beautiful logo and Dormilón for our rad theme song and show music.

[Editor’s note: PSN game release dates are subject to change without notice. Game details are gathered from press releases from their individual publishers and/or ESRB rating descriptions.]

from PlayStation.Blog

Furi Comes to the Switch eShop on 11th January

News: Furi Comes to the Switch eShop on 11th January

What will you fight for?

from Nintendo Life | Latest Updates

Team Fortress 2 Update Released

An update to Team Fortress 2 has been released. The update will be applied automatically when you restart Team Fortress 2. The major changes include:

  • Fixed not being able to apply the Civilian Stat Clock to Civilian-grade weapons

from Steam RSS News Feed

Team Fortress 2 Update Released

An update to Team Fortress 2 has been released. The update will be applied automatically when you restart Team Fortress 2. The major changes include:

  • Fixed Festivize Woodsy Widowmaker not drawing the lights
  • Fixed the main menu being muted if clients disconnect from a server while in freezecam
  • Updated festivized items to use "Festivized" in the name instead of "Festive"
    • This will help disinguish the original Festive weapons from weapons that have had a Festivizer applied to them
  • Updated Strangifiers so they can no longer be applied to War Paint items
  • Updated the equip_regions for the The Koala Compact, Pocket Saxton, and Pocket Yeti
Missed note from the Smissmas update:
  • Australium weapons can now be Festivized

from Steam RSS News Feed

Video: How reference data was captured for Forza Motorsport 5

In this GDC 2015 session, Microsoft Studios' Arthur Shek discusses the technologies behind gathering reference data for Forza Motorsport 5. ...

from Gamasutra News

RPG Reload Final Edition - 'RPG Reload's Favorite RPGs of 2017'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to yet another special edition of the RPG Reload. As we usually do at the end of each year, we're doing something a little different this week. That's right, it's time for the fourth annual listing of the RPG Reload's favorite RPGs of the year. Since I'm not clever enough to come up with good names, these awards are known as the Golden Pancho Awards, in honor of the frequently-seen Kemco monster. No actual trophies yet, unfortunately, but who wouldn't want a Golden Pancho next to their name? They're so cute!

To repeat myself a little bit from the previous years' awards, I know we already did some Best Of articles here at TouchArcade, but RPGs are what the Reload is all about, so I want to give them some special attention. There were a bunch of great RPGs again this year, so paring that list down was as difficult as ever. Like before, I've separated games into ports and originals in the interests of fairness. One new feature is that I've swapped out the old underdog category for a new category solely dedicated to free-to-play social RPGs. Some may want to dispute whether or not all of these games are RPGs by their personal definitions of the genre, but I like to keep the award possibilities as open as I tend to keep this column, which means that as long as a significant amount of RPG elements are included, the game is considered eligible. Beyond that, I leave the arguments to those who enjoy the practice.

The rules are nevertheless similar to last year. Three lists, each with five entries. We've got Best RPG Ports, Best Original RPGs, and Best Social RPGs. Each series is allowed only one spot to keep certain genre elephants from trampling everything else. The lists are not ranked, but simply presented in alphabetical order. The Best Ports prize is not solely or even substantially based on the quality of the port itself, but rather how good the overall package is. These lists are nothing more than my own opinions, and by no means have I listed every excellent RPG that came out this year because that, my friends, would be bananas. Without further ado, let's check out the RPG Reload Golden Pancho Award winners for 2017!


The 2017 RPG Reload Golden Panchos For Ported RPGs

Darkest Dungeon:Tablet Edition

Darkest Dungeon:Tablet Edition, $4.99 - This sort of roguelike game tends to take to well to iPads, and sure enough, Darkest Dungeon is just great on mobile. Battle monsters, insanity, and a capricious RNG to push back the forces of darkness that are moving in on your family estate. There's a lot to manage here and it can be incredibly frustrating at times, but no matter how tough it gets, the feeling of satisfaction that comes from a good session is hard to match. This one is for iPad only.

Halcyon 6: Starbase Commander

Halcyon 6: Starbase Commander, $6.99 - Halcyon 6 has some technical issues and crashes more than it should on some devices, but the game itself is great. You need to rebuild a derelict starbase to act as an important part of Earth's defense against an encroaching force of mysterious origins. This is a hard game to nail down. It's a little bit RPG, a little bit 4X, and a little bit strategy game. It fits mobile really well, and the developers included a score of improvements that were made to the PC version post-release. It's a very complicated game, but more than worth wrestling with.

Planescape: Torment

Planescape: Torment, $9.99 -Planescape Torment is one of the best RPGs of all-time, so of course its iOS version is on this list. This one definitely leans more on the story side of things than combat, but this enhanced version of the game at least tries to address some of its shortcomings on the latter side of the equation. Even if it had been a straight port, though, the story is so amazing that you probably wouldn't care about the iffy battles. As is always the case with these mobile versions from Overhaul, you can play on either iPhone or iPad, but I'd strongly recommend sticking to the bigger screen real estate if you have an option. Either way, it's a must-have.

Sunless Sea

Sunless Sea, $9.99 - Speaking of well-written games, Sunless Sea is absolutely enthralling. This is another one with a lot to juggle, and it can be quite difficult at times, but if you put in the time, you'll get an experience quite unlike anything else that came out in 2017. You might think being out at sea would be boring, but you never quite know what's going to happen in this game. Just make sure your crew is well-fed, lest you start looking like their next meal. This is another iPad-only game, which seems to have been a trend this past year.

Warlock of Firetop Mountain

Warlock of Firetop Mountain, $4.99 - Tin Man's stunning re-imagining of the classic Fighting Fantasy gamebook Warlock of Firetop Mountain was their most ambitious release yet. Rather than doing a straight port of the book as they've done in the past, Tin Man instead opted to make a digital tabletop RPG out of it. There are multiple characters, each with their own branching path through the mountain. Battles play out similar to those found in TRPGs. The text from the original book is supplemented with all-new stories and situations, so there's something new here for everyone.


The 2017 RPG Reload Golden Panchos For Original RPGs

Cat Quest

Cat Quest, $4.99 - I had high hopes for Cat Quest after playing a little bit of it at the Tokyo Game Show in 2016, and the final product sailed past those expectations with ease. It's cute, challenging, packed with content, and just all-around a really fantastic action-RPG. There's a reason this game appeared on just about every TouchArcade staffer's top ten list for the year.

[Premium] RPG Djinn Caster

[Premium] RPG Djinn Caster, $0.99 - Prolific JRPG publisher Kemco stretched their legs a little this year, to varying results. The best of the lot, in my opinion, was Djinn Caster, an action-RPG with an Arabian fantasy setting. The game looks great, has a fun story, and is just a lot of fun to play. I'm not sure if Kemco is going to work with this particular developer again, but I certainly hope they do. They clearly have talent.

Fighting Fantasy Legends

Fighting Fantasy Legends, $4.99 - Fans of Fighting Fantasy got not just one but two interesting adaptations of the classics this year. This is also something of a board game take on the books, but it's set up quite differently from Tin Man's. I love the way it uses the shared setting of some of the Fighting Fantasy books to compile a set of adventures drawing from a handful of favorites. It's also a pretty solid RPG, but be warned that it can be just as mean-spirited as the original stories at times.

Lowlander II: Lowerlander

Lowlander II: Lowerlander, $2.99 - I adored the original Lowlander. It called back to some old favorites but did so without being a slave to classic conventions that didn't quite work out in the long run. Instead of following the homage trail along to the next game in the Ultima series, Lowlander 2 opts to build out on the original game's ideas to create something that feels more like its own thing. It's bigger, more colorful, and packs in tons of adventures you can still embark on with just one hand.

Strike Team Hydra

Strike Team Hydra, $7.99 - Strike Team Hydra comes from Wave Light Games, a developer that is no stranger to the Golden Pancho awards. It shares a lot with the previous games from this developer, but while the Demon's Rise games were melee-focused fantasy affairs, Strike Team Hydra focuses on gunplay in a sci-fi military setting. It's just as much fun, though, and an essential pick-up for fans of strategy games or TRPGs.


The 2017 RPG Reload Golden Panchos For Social RPGs


THE ALCHEMIST CODE, Free - The Alchemist Code is a surprisingly strong F2P TRPG effort from Gumi, the makers of the hit social RPGs Final Fantasy Brave Exvius and Brave Frontier. With attractive artwork and a story that at least tries to go somewhere interesting, Alchemist Code is a quality effort that I hope will stick around and grow as times goes on.


DANDY DUNGEON Brave Yamada, Free - Dandy Dungeon isn't the typical free-to-play RPG from Japan. In fact, it doesn't even have any social mechanics or gatcha random draws. But in terms of its pricing, balance, structure, and constant updates, Dandy Dungeon probably fits best in this category. Why do I love this game? It's adorably weird. The gameplay mechanics are fresh. The presentation is impossibly charming. And friends, is it funny.

Fate/Grand Order (English)

Fate/Grand Order (English), Free - Fate/Grand Order is one of the most successful social RPGs in recent history, and it's not hard to see its appeal. Leaning heavily into the franchise's visual novel routes, the sheer amount of text and story in this game is a marvel to behold. The translation is kind of terrible, but I'm still kind of reeling at the fact that this got an English release to begin with. The usual gatcha grind settles in after a while, but the interesting characters and scenarios make this one easier to stick to than most.

Fire Emblem Heroes

Fire Emblem Heroes, Free - I've probably been more down on Nintendo's mobile efforts than most people, but if Nintendo has hit anything out of the park so far, it has to be with the release of Fire Emblem Heroes. No, it's not a full Fire Emblem game, but it makes great use of the hundreds of characters that have starred in the long-running series. It adapts the gameplay to a style that suits mobile habits without betraying too many of the core tenets of the franchise, giving casual players and Fire Emblem die-hards alike something to mess around with in their spare moments. The developers have done a great job of updating the game based on player feedback, which is commendable given they could have just coasted on the brand. Plus, I'm quite sure this game is funding the next several mainline Fire Emblem games, so I'm thankful for that, too!

Terra Battle 2

Terra Battle 2, Free If a new game from the creator of Final Fantasy drops and no one notices, does it really exist? Terra Battle 2 has had a pretty rough go of things post-launch, and it's too bad because the game really does have a lot of potential. For the most part, the excellent strategic battle system from the first game returns intact. There are a few tweaks to make things interesting, of course. But there's also a heavier emphasis on story this time, and to go along with that, you'll actually need to explore a world map. It has some balancing issues and I'm not sure if all these parts work together as well as they need to, but I have to applaud this game for its ambition if nothing else.

Congratulations to the games that made the list. It was another tough competition this year, and the final cuts to bring the lists down to five each were not made lightly. Congratulations are also in order to any developer, big or small, who put in the hard work and effort to release an RPG this year. Even if your game isn't appearing on year-end lists, simply getting such a big endeavor completed is worthy of praise. Thank you once more for giving players like me so many exciting quests to tackle.

I've mentioned it once or twice before now, but I suppose the title this week says it all. This is the last edition of the RPG Reload column. After three and a half years and over a hundred games, this particular journey has come to its end. Ultimately, the final decision was mine, but it was largely made based on dwindling traffic and interest in the feature. Which is fine! Even a hit show eventually falls off. The important thing is that we had a lot of fun along the way. The Reload archives aren't going anywhere, and before you worry, neither am I. With the Reload finished, I'm going to be trying out a few new ideas to see how you all like them. If you're really finding yourself pining for my thoughts on old games, I'll direct you one last time to my blog at Post Game Content, where I regularly blab on about old video games in a similar style to the Reload File columns.

As my final sign-off for the Reload, I'd like to thank each and every one of you yet again, gentle readers. Your generous support both as readers and Patreon backers allowed me to do something that had never been done before at TouchArcade. It couldn't have happened without all of you. Thank you for sharing in my adventures with me, and I look forward to what is to come in 2018. Now, with that said, it's time to let me know what your favorite RPGs of 2017 were. You can do that by commenting below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or by sending out a tweet to me at @RPGReload. As for me, well, I'll be around. Thanks for reading!

Thus Concludes the Reload

from TouchArcade

Civilization V mod adds realistic superintelligent AI research

Researchers from the University of Cambridge's Centre for the Study of Existential Risk has released a mod for Civilization V introducing superintelligent AI into the game.  ...

from Gamasutra News

'Arena of Valor' Beginner's Guide: How Arcana Works, What Arcana to Buy, and How to Spend Gold

Picking up from yesterday's Arena of Valor [Free] guide series, in this entry I'll be focusing on the Arcana system and how to spend your in-game gold. If you missed the previous guides the best place to start is at the beginning with the basics of MOBAs, but below I include the full table of contents of everything that has been written so far. If you're not sure what Arena of Valor even is, go read our review. The idea of doing these individual guides is never making any one guide too overwhelming, as MOBAs are a super difficult genre to master.

Table of Contents

What is Arcana?

As great as the tutorial is in Arena of Valor for new players to understand the barebones basic concepts of how a MOBA is played, the game really just drops you off to figure out the Arcana system yourself. This specific mechanic exists in most MOBAs, and the basic concept of Arcana is it provides three things: A constant sense of progression outside individual games, tiny boosts to your heroes, and another thing to work towards collecting. You'll notice as you level up your overall player level the game mentions you've unlocked additional Arcana. You can find all of your Arcana by tapping (believe it or not) "Arcana" on the left side of the main menu.

Once inside, you'll see your current Arcana page. Initially you'll have access to two Arcana pages and buying additional (up to 10) is a major high-level money sink in Arena of Valor. Top-tier players will have custom Arcana pages set up specifically for each of their favorite heroes or even multiple pages for individual heroes depending on how they plan on building their item load-out that game. Each time you level up you gain access to one more Arcana slot, and once you hit level 30 you'll have all 30 slots, 10 of each type. Each color corresponds to its own "category" of individual Arcana power-ups you can put in those slots.

  • Red - These Arcana directly increase your overall damage. Core red Arcana provide tiny individual boosts to your attack damage, ability power, attack speed, and critical strike chance, and things like that.
  • Blue - This category deals with defenses. Core blue arcana supply armor, magic resist, armor pierce, and magic pierce.
  • Purple - Combining both red and blue, purple Arcana are a hybrid of the two. Core purple arcana provide more HP, HP regeneration, as well as life steal and magical life steal

If you look at the available Arcana in game by checking out the Arcana Shop, you'll see that the stats associated with the different colors of Arcana blend together in different ways. You get the most "value" out of the "pure" Arcana. For example, if you really want to stack attack damage ("AD"), a level III Arcana can give you +3.2 per slot, while the purple AD Arcana only gives you +1.6 per slot. The trick there is that the purple AD Arcana also gives you +1% movement speed. Thanks to the flexibility of MOBAs it's always possible a situation might exist where a tiny amount of AD and movement speed is a good thing, but overall you're getting far less value out of that in pure AD than you get out of the red AD Arcana. Maximizing value of your Arcana load-out is important, as you only have 30 slots (or potentially far less if you're under level 30).

Does Arcana Make a Difference?

While these stat boosts are always nice to have, they play the biggest role in the early game. 10 level III AD Arcana provide +32 AD which you have the second your character loads into the game. Add in 10 level III AD and movement speed Arcana mentioned previously and you're up to +48 AD. For the sake of comparison, a common starting item for an AD-based hero is a Short Sword which provides +20 AD, which when combined with your Arcana is +68 AD which at level one is tons of bonus AD, and can very likely make a difference in your favor if you decide to get into a level 1 rumble with the enemy on the other side of your lane.

The cool thing about the Arcana system, like most things in a MOBA, is a "best" Arcana load out really doesn't exist. It all comes down to your personal play style. If you like getting really aggressive early game, stacking raw damage stats makes a lot of sense. Alternatively, Arcana that provide percentage based bonuses don't do a ton at level 1, but at level 15 when you've got every inventory slot full, will provide massive benefits while the +48 AD from Arcana designed for early-game engages will be relatively meaningless.

I'd say there's no "wrong" Arcana, providing you're building towards some kind of focus. A mish-mash of all sorts of different Arcana in every slot really isn't going to do you much good as each individual bonus will be so slight that overall it won't amount to anything.

What Arcana Should I Buy?

I hate to say it, as it seems like a massive mountain to be climbing as a new player, particularly with how stingy Age of Valor can feel with how it gives out gold, but the only Arcana you should be buying are level III. Level I and level II might seem compelling to buy to fill out all of your slots, but the lifecycle of MOBAs are long, and the time it takes to hit level 30 is comparatively short. For the sake of comparison, I've been playing League of Legends since 2009. It took me maybe a month to hit maximum level. If I bought lower-level Runes (the League of Legends equivalent to Arcana) I'd have used the for a month, meanwhile, the max level Runes I've been using for close to a decade.

Level III Arcana will set you back a lofty 2,000 gold a pop. You'll need 60,000 gold in total to fill up one entire Arcana page with level III runes. I've been playing non-stop since the North American soft launch release, hitting the gold cap of 1,500 gold per day, and along with the other bonuses the game has given me. I've only managed to rack up 43,000 gold. It's a commitment, but, again, if you're this into Arena of Valor that you're three guides deep into reading about it here on TouchArcade, chances are you'll be playing long enough that you'll eventually have so much gold you won't know what to do with it.

For your first set of level III runes, I'd focus on getting the most general purpose runes that will apply to the most heroes. Here's what I'm building towards:

  • Red: 10x Obliterate III (+3.2 AD) - I primarily play warriors and tanks, and most of them use attack damage. If you lean more towards casters, substitute 10x Obliterate III for 10x Enlightened III (+5.3 AP).
  • Purple: 10x Benevolence III (+45 HP, +5.2 HP/5, +0.4% Movement Speed) - More HP helps with survival and HP/5 increases your overall passive health regeneration which means spending longer in lane which means more gold and from creeps before needing to recall to base to heal. A combined 4% movement speed bonus isn't huge, but, it also doesn't hurt. This feels like the best "all purpose" purple Arcana as every hero can benefit in some way from these things.
  • Blue: 10x Mythril III (+5 Armor, +5 Magic Defense) - Based on my experience in other MOBAs, unless you want to get real weird with your blue Arcana, the combination of armor and magic defense is always a good default pick. Over 10 you'll have +50 armor and +50 magic defense, which is useful in any game.

But, as mentioned before, there's no "right" Arcana build. In games with larger communities, there's entire sites dedicated to theorycrafting the best load-out of these bonuses. The above build is super general, and depending on whether you buy AD or AP reds, can apply to a ridiculous amount of heroes in the game. And, really, it's not the worst thing to play a AD-based hero with AP Arcana, you'll still get all the benefits of your purple and blue Arcana, and who knows, you might even have one ability that scales off AP.

What Should I Spend my Gold on in Arena of Valor?

I know it's going to be super tempting to buy new heroes with your gold, but trust me, until you have full sets of all the level III Arcana for the heroes you enjoy playing, all you want to be buying is Arcana. The 20,000ish gold that a hero unlock will cost you is 1/3 of an Arcana set. Given the fact that once you exhaust all of the various bonuses the game gives out from events and other things you're limited to 1,500 gold per day, you're talking two weeks of hitting the daily cap to get one hero.

People hate being told to buy things in free to play games, for sure, but if you want more heroes outside of the free rotation and the ones you get from in-game promotions, the best way to get them is to just spend money. You can't buy gold, so the only way to get Arcana is by playing tons. With the "expensive" heroes costing around $10 worth of vouchers, ask yourself what is easier for you to do- Make $10 at your job or spend 14 days straight playing enough Arena of Valor to hit the daily gold cap?

If nothing else, just save up to get at least one core level III Arcana set before unlocking heroes, if you want to be extra proactive about your gold spending, get a full set and a second set of reds the opposite of what you bought. (i.e. if you have 10x AD Arcana buy 10X AP Arcana.) This will give you the ability to use both of your freebie Arcana pages and have a very general purpose load-out for both AD and AP heroes.

from TouchArcade

Watch Live on Steam - SMITE World Championships

Watch the SMITE® World Championships live on Steam.

The SMITE World Championship features the top PC SMITE teams from around the world, competing for ultimate glory. Who will lift Thor's hammer, Mjolnir, this year?

from Steam RSS News Feed

Take The Scares With You As Nightmare Boy Hits Switch This Month

News: Take The Scares With You As Nightmare Boy Hits Switch This Month

Monster in your pocket

from Nintendo Life | Latest Updates

How imbalance in the Endless series lead to a new take on the 4X genre

Co-founder of Amplitude Studios Romain de Waubert and narrative director on the Endlessseries Jeff Spock discuss how creating imbalance among factions lead to a new take on the on 4X strategy genre. ...

from Gamasutra News

Stylish boss rush hack-and-slasher Furi is heading to Switch next week

Psychedelic boss rush extravaganza Furi is making its way to Switch next week, Thursday January 11th, according to its developer The Game Bakers.

Furi first launched on PC back in 2016, and has since made its way to Xbox One and PS4. The upcoming Switch version is described as being "entirely feature complete", and includes the game's "One More Fight" DLC, the option to speed-run the ultra-challenging Furier difficulty mode - this has never been available on console before, apparently - plus all improvements and updates seen in other versions.

According to The Game Bakers, Furi is "a love letter to Japanese action games such as No More Heroes, Metal Gear Solid and Godhand". It pits protagonist The Stranger against 12 distinctive bosses, each requiring entirely different strategies to defeat - all based around the game's streamlined one-on-one "dash-and-slash" action core.

Read more…


NBA Playgrounds Ups Its Game With New Enhanced Edition Update

News: NBA Playgrounds Ups Its Game With New Enhanced Edition Update


from Nintendo Life | Latest Updates

Get a job: Two Bit Circus is looking for a Game Designer

Two Bit Circus is looking for an LA-based Game Designer to help it build and modify games for its upcoming micro-amusement park. ...

from Gamasutra News

Don't Miss: Devs recount their first game design experiences

When were you first bitten by the game design bug? Was it a mod level? A playground game? A cool Mario level scribbled in crayon? We asked 19 developers to share their origin stories with us. ...

from Gamasutra News