Category: News

Mastiff Games has a new Logo and Lineup coming

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Back in 2004 I had a little crush going for tiny third-party publisher, Mastiff Games. While NiS and Atlus scooped up Nippon Ichi’s premiere JRPGs like Disgaea and Phantom Brave, Mastiff brought over La Pucelle Tactics. I think I grabbed it at the time because it was only $20 and I probably assumed that any JRPG would only appreciate in value. I was wrong of course, it goes for about $8 Complete in Box these days, but I enjoyed it and kept my eye on Mastiff’s releases after that.

That same year they brought over Technic Beat, Arika’s oddball rhythm game that featured a bunch of music from Namco titles. I was in my hardcore rhythm game period so I happily grabbed it. Seeing Mastiff’s name next appear on the home version of Pump it Up, my absolute favorite dance game of all time, completely pushed me over the edge. I loved these guys!

Unfortunately, that’s also when things started to take a turn for the worse. Their output slowed down and the games they did release (like Gurumin on PSP) weren’t that exciting to me. By 2009 they had contracted the Wii Itch like so many other publishers anxious to capitalize on Nintendo’s unexpected hit console. They did a licensing deal with Remington and put out several hunting games and then spun that shooting gallery gameplay into the Reload and Heavy Fire franchises. Shortly after, their output slowed but they managed to eek by, porting Gurumin to PC and 3DS and hinting at their rhythm roots with Bandfuse, one of those games that hooks up to a real guitar.

Even though my admiration fell off pretty quickly I’ve kept a little flame burning for Mastiff all this time and it may soon be rekindled. The company announced new branding for their 15th anniversary and, most importantly, a “diverse new lineup of games”, according to president and CEO, Bill Swartz.

“Exactly fifteen years have passed since we founded Mastiff. It was fun then, and it’s still fun now”, declares Swartz. “While the fun has remained consistent, we’re marking our fifteenth year as a game publisher with a slate of exciting new games, a new attitude, and a brand-new logo to mark it all.”

The logo is here now — goodbye you lovably derpy old mastiff dog — but the games won’t be announced until this Fall. All I can say right now is that it better not be a “diverse new lineup” of hunting games. Bandfuse was a sign that there’s still love for rhythm gaming at the company and I hope they continue in that direction. More as I hear it.

This PlayStation 4 Theme sums up America’s Summer 2017

Ever since Sony added themes and avatars to the PlayStation 3 there has been a steady flood of hilarious, questionable, and downright litigious offerings. As someone who has been looking at the PlayStation Store almost every week for the last nine years I’ve seen it all: sports team themes, sleazy model themes, all manner of generic “abstract” themes, and questionable licensed themes.

The latest player in the game of prolific production has to be Top Rated. There isn’t a way to search by publisher on the PlayStation Store but I feel like the majority of offerings I’ve seen since the PlayStation 4 launched are from Top Rated. And one of their latest creations is a blissful amalgamation of America’s Summer 2017.

There’s a burger, there’s a red Solo cup, and there’s a hand that is endlessly spinning a USA fidget spinner. You can look upon it forever all day for only $2.99 which in some cases is more than the cost of an actual USA fidget spinner. The description is also pretty much perfect: O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light, what so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming. Get yo fidget on.

Fidget on, you entrepreneurial content creators. Fidget on.

No Man’s Sky returns with the massive Atlas Rises free update

No Man's Sky returns with the massive Atlas Rises free update

I’ve gathered you all here today to say goodbye, my dear video games. From my hot summer friend Crossout to my latest acquaintance, Just Cause 3. We had some fun and I’ll take these memories with me back into the stars because the Atlas Rises update is out for No Man’s Sky and I’m pretty sure my life is now forfeit to it.

The update was preceded by the Waking Titan ARG (which I completely avoided, I hate ARGs) and from its hints and some data mining the fanbase had surmised that we’d finally be getting ancient portals to use as a kind of fast travel. Sure enough, the latest addition to the game’s Release Log includes these portals but the game has gotten so, SO much more.

The biggest headline-grabber has to be the long-awaited addition of multiplayer. Described as “very limited”, up to 16 players at a time can see one another as glowing orbs and communicate via proximity-based voice chat (on PlayStation and Steam, it’s a no-go for GOG players right now). The release log adds that it’s “an important first step into the world of synchronous co-op” so future updates may allow players to customize avatars, exchange gear, and probably dance.

The next biggest bullet point is story. “Thirty hours of new story content” fleshes out the lore that the Waking Titan ARG hinted at. The game so far has had several separate story threads told through hidden computer logs and ancient ruins as well as its mainline Atlas Path. All of these paths now have new chapters of middle-school-caliber poetry to read. More interestingly is a new “interdimensional race” of NPCs whose appearance revolves around the fragmenting of the game’s reality. Honestly, are they writing these major updates and regenerations of the universe algorithms into the storyline?

Of the remaining changes, the next most major ones revolve around flying. Chief among them is the much-demaned ability to fly closer to the ground. Previously there was this invisible wall that would keep you from swooping around among a planet’s terrain. It was disheartening (not to mention pretty unrealistic) but now you can disable the safeties and smash into canyon walls all you want! You can also use your freighter to navigate the universe and jump to new systems, space combat and enemy AI has been refined, you can now hail other spaceships and potentially avoid a fight, and you can deploy mid-atmosphere gas harvesters to gather crafting elements out of the sky.

No Man's Sky returns with the massive Atlas Rises free update

Less flashy, but literally game-changing updates include a more functional galactic map system for navigating the stars, a whole new planetary biome type, new ships and freighters, a rebalanced economy with new supply and demand systems, NPC guilds to rank up in, procedurally generated quests, gigantic crashed freighters that you can mine for resources, and seriously, there’s still more.

I’m not going to rewrite everything here, especially since I have yet to lay my own hands on it. I will be kicking up my stream game again if anyone wants to watch me stumble through all these additions. For now I’ll let the Release Log fill you in on the rest.

New footage shows even more Dynasty Warriors 9 gameplay

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Well this is a *far cry* from the Dynasty Warriors I know

Dynasty Warriors 9 is gonna be so weird! The marketing machine has been revving up for a while but within the past week two noteworthy things happened. First, Koei Tecmo America confirmed the game for the U.S. on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Steam. No date has been set but it’s always nice to hear that we won’t have to try and import a new installment.

Second is the release of the latest trailer which shows much more of the actual gameplay. Up to now it’s been a lot of tightly edited clips with no on-screen display but finally we get to see the game in action. The major change from previous entries in the series is the promise of an open world. Before, you would carry out preset missions with remixed targets, obstacles, and objectives on a handful of maps. While it’s easy to dream up something like Dynasty-Warriors-meets-Far-Cry, the reality is looking to land on the well-worn DW side. But that’s not say I am at all disappointed by what I’ve seen so far.

While major battles look pretty much the same — your larger-than-life hero cuts through throngs of idle fodder with dazzling combo strings, working to take over a territory — this latest video reveals some unexpected variety. Somewhat like Red Dead Redemption or Grand Theft Auto V, random side missions seemingly pop up as you’re criss-crossing the landscape. You may be on your way to a battle when a nearby enemy messenger triggers a sudden chase. Or you may stumble across a supply convoy that will make future battles easier if you can wipe it out.

The new footage also shows off something I never thought I’d see in a Dynasty Warriors game: stealth. It’s all in Japanese so I can’t tell you the specifics but seeing fabled tyrant-ruler Cao Cao creeping through the grass and Metal Gear style exclamations pop up over the heads of suspicious soldiers looks absurd and delightful. Stealth can also apparently be used to sneak up on (or sneak away from?) animal encounters. The series has had battle-ready tigers and pandas for years but the latest PR copy implies they’ll be out in the world doing their own thing, probably waiting for you to collect 10 or more of their hides for a side quest.

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All your slash fiction favorites return!

The series is no stranger to RPG leveling, weapon and armor forging, and item crafting. None of that has been shown yet for Dynasty Warriors 9 but given the large scale of the world, the hub towns, and the item drops seen in the video, I’m sure there’ll be plenty of it. Just a few other random sightings from the footage: grappling hooks for scaling castle walls, a bow and arrow for every character with a bunch of different arrow types, exploding casks to shoot with those arrows, air dashes and wall jumps, riverboats for traversing waterways, realtime day/night lighting, troop commands, and glorious slow-mo! Oh, and naturally there’s thrashing guitar rock.

I’ll be back with more when an official date is announced or another worthwhile trailer is released. For now, I’m already fighting the urge to go back to the last entry we picked up or try to power through DW: Strikeforce again. Check out the official site for more screenshots and character art.

Original Dragon Quest hidden inside Dragon Quest XI

Original Dragon Quest hidden inside Dragon Quest XI

Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age just launched in Japan on PlayStation 4 and Nintendo 3DS but players have already found a special Thank You gift hidden in the game. Play-Asia’s guide starts with “after finishing the story”, which is already crazy considering the game has only been on sale for about a week.

Anyways, first you finish the game, then you take a pair of sisters back to the Tree of Life where you can watch a hidden credits video. During the video the “Spell of Restoration” appears — the password system from the Famicom and MSX versions of Dragon Quest — presenting you a download code to punch into the Nintendo eShop or PlayStation Store. Better take a screenshot before it scrolls by.

Once redeemed you’ll have your very own free copy of the original Dragon Quest that nobody else can play, sorta. Some comparisons by fans indicate that this hidden game is a port of the mobile version that’s been kicking around on smartphones since 2013. But, nobody else can play it on a PlayStation 4 (it’s totally got trophies) or Nintendo 3DS, just yet anyways.

The “Spell of Restoration” apparently has a shelf life and the free download codes hidden in Dragon Quest XI will expire on January 28th, 2018. By then I totally expect this version of Dragon Quest to be available for all to buy, followed shortly by more mobile ports of Dragon Quest 2 through 6.

If this news somehow pushed you over the edge and you’re looking to buy Dragon Quest XI, why not use our affiliate link and toss us a couple pennies? Every Blue Slime controller, 3DS faceplate, and art book sold helps keeps us going.