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Over the past several years, reboot fever has hit the entertainment industry. Whether you're talking about film reboots like Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy or J.J. Abrams' Star Trek films, there's no denying that Hollywood has been riding this wave to the fullest. The video game industry has also decided to use the idea of rebooting a franchise to reinvigorate some of its most well-known properties that have run a little dry. Sometimes, it's little more than a marketing term, as we saw with this year's Need for Speed "reboot." Other times, however, it means an exciting new direction for a franchise that has either run out of ideas or has found itself left behind by modern industry trends. Unfortunately, for every Dark Knight trilogy, there's at least one Fantastic Four equivalent in gaming.
Check out how some of the various reboots of the game industry have fared over the years and let us know which ones you loved and hated the most.
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow
After several awful 3D releases in the classic gothic action franchise, Konami, Mercury Steam, and Kojima Productions nailed it with Castlevania: Lords of Shadow. Superb action, strong platforming, and innovative boss fights deliver an awesome experience for both fans of the classic games as well as newcomers to the franchise. Unfortunately, the sequel failed to carry that momentum.
Reboot Success: High | Our Review
Bomberman: Act Zero
Konami and Hudson Soft tried to go for a much darker take on the Bomberman franchise, but it unfortunately blew up in their faces. The resulting game was a technical disaster that did away with much of what made the Bomberman series so much fun in the first place. Add in some long load times, a poor soundtrack, and a stupidly-named "First-Person Mode" in which you play in third-person view, and you have a game that is just plain bad.
Reboot Success: Low
The leap from strategy game to first-person shooter was jarring for fans of the much-loved strategy series, but those who gave it a shot found a competent shooter that features a decently long single-player campaign, as well as a separate co-op campaign. Unfortunately, predictable mission structure prevented this game from being anything too special, but it was an interesting attempt to branch out the Syndicate series to a whole new genre.
Reboot Success: Medium | Our Review
Blitz: The League
After losing the NFL license to EA's exclusivity deal with the NFL, Midway and Point of View decided to try and stick it to the man with this over-the-top reinvention of the already bombastic sports franchise. Blitz: The League upped the brutality of the play and tried to shine a light on the darker side of professional football. Have a star player get hurt in the middle of a big game? Take him to the sideline and inject him with steroids to get him back out there! Blitz: The League was also full of explicit language and nicknames that poke fun at NFL players' less marketable sides (Ron Mexico, anyone?), giving it an "M for Mature" rating from the ESRB. While this game was a satisfyingly brutal arcade football experience, the sequel was less enjoyable and didn't do well enough to keep the series going.
Reboot Success: Medium
Up next: Devils, princes, and aliens. We look at more attempts to revitalize long-running franchises on the next page.
The astounding success of Hearthstone has kicked off a gold
rush in the digital collectible-card-game genre, and upcoming games like Duelyst
and 5th Cell's recently announced Anchors
In The Drift are exploring ways to blend CCG mechanics into other
experiences. Genre fans can add a promising new project from Free Range Games to
their list of anticipated titles. Labyrinth is an upcoming free-to-play roleplaying
game that sports an intriguing mash-up of deck building, turn-based strategy
combat, and the ability to design and populate your own dungeon.
Cards, Combat, And
At first glance, Labyrinth's gameplay will look familiar to
any fan of tactical RPGs. You assemble a party of heroes and lead them through
multi-tiered dungeons, taking on minions and (eventually) bosses in turn-based
combat that requires deft ability management, positioning, and coordination
among your team members. However, nearly everything in Labyrinth is ruled by
decks. Players will build individual decks for each party member, comprised of attack, spell, and equipment cards from that character's discipline(s).
The cards in Labyrinth work differently than normal CCGs. There
is no mana to manage when playing cards – instead, the numerical value on the card
you play determines where in the turn order that character ends up. Perform a
powerful axe strike, and your Blademaster's next turn will move further down
the timeline – perhaps shuffling a few enemies further up the order. Some moves
like Dodge don't cost any time, allowing the character to play it and
immediately follow up with another action. In this way, attack cards essentially allow players to make powerful moves first, and then pay for
them later; some magical spells flip the script, taking a few turns to charge
up in advance before being carried out. Each card also dictates how many replacement
cards you can draw from that character's deck to replenish their hand, further
differentiating it from other collectible card games.
Like other tactical RPGs, combat also takes positioning into
account. For example, a spell appropriately called The Cross spreads out in an "X"
across the battlefield, allowing the casting character to hit multiple targets
if properly aligned. Heroes also have a basic attack or ability that can be
used as many times as he or she wants, ensuring characters never completely run
out of cards.
Heroes are also acquired as cards, and sport their own unique
mechanics. The Blademaster can build up fury, and then expend it with cards
like Cripple, which converts the pseudo-currency into direct damage on a target
enemy. In contrast, the Thief can go into a stealth mode, which makes some
attacks more potent or increases the rate of success for other abilities like Dodge.
The Priestess acquires devotion through her actions, which can transform spells
– for instance, when leveled up, The Cross spell can restore health to allies
in addition to damaging enemies.
Once you clear out a dungeon level, you can decide to leave
with the loot you've already acquired or keep on going. However, if all your
characters die or you're forced to flee on the next level, you'll lose your previous
loot, creating an enticing risk to delve deeper for greater rewards.
Free Range Games says the loot you acquire comes in the form
of gold and stardust, which is used to buy card packs containing attacks,
spells, and equipment from the four main disciplines, as well as additional
hero archetypes. Free Range says the currencies function similar to
Hearthstone; while you can purchase gold with real money, you can still acquire
every card in the game without spending a dime. You can also disenchant cards
you don't want in order to craft specific cards. Also like Hearthstone, you can
take on daily quests, which pay bonus loot for completing specific objectives.
However, these strategic dungeon crawls are only half of Labyrinth's formula.
The dungeons you explore in Labyrinth aren't crafted by the
developer – instead, you'll be looting the home bases of other players (there will, however, be solo adventures as well). When
starting the game, each player is given their own dungeon, consisting of one
room and a boss monster. As players progress, they can expand their lair with
additional rooms, levels, and defenses. These elements, which include minions,
booby traps, and other bosses, are also acquired in card packs.
Rather than squaring off against the owner of the dungeon in
traditional PvP combat, the dungeon master crafts a special defense deck. When
an invader enters the dungeon, that deck is shuffled, and the top card is
played on each turn. In this sense, the dungeon master is basically setting up
a complex web of A.I. to thwart loot-seeking parties, as the deck will play
itself – the dungeon owner won't even be online when the raids take place. While
the deck is shuffled, Free Range says there will be plenty of room for
strategic deck building, as certain cards will chain together or affect other cards
in different ways. The dungeon's boss will also draw from its own separate
deck, which the owner can stack with attacks and minion summons however he or
she sees fit.
The idea of getting raided by random players when you're not
online can be off-putting, but don't worry – even if your invaders are
successful, they're not stealing the hard-earned riches you've already banked.
Instead, your dungeon serves as another source for loot, generating a given
amount of resources every day based on its size. Invading players can steal from
this daily allowance if they're successful, but not the money you've already
banked – the worst-case scenario is you won't passively make any money on a
given day. However, there's also an upside to being raided; if the player's
characters don't make it out alive, you'll acquire bonus loot above and beyond
what your dungeon generates. Players can also perform test runs on their own
dungeon to tweak its defenses. Free Range says that there's no limit to how many
dungeons you raid in a day, so even if your lair isn't up to snuff, you can
still acquire more resources the old-fashioned way.
A Promising Start
Free Range Games is still a long way from releasing
Labyrinth, but so far I'm intrigued by the project. I love the idea of mixing
CCG elements into a tactical RPG, which simultaneously adds more strategy (in
the form of deck building) and luck (in the form of card drawing) to the
gameplay. I especially like the clever approach to PVP, with should make raids
feel more like a single-player dungeon crawl even though you are still
competing against other players. The format also ensures you'll never have to
wait for the servers to find another online player to match you up with, and
blowout defeats (hopefully) shouldn't be as embarrassing.
For now, my biggest question is how time-consuming/tedious it
will be to build and balance the sheer number of decks you'll be playing with.
Free Range says the game will launch with 300-400 cards, including 24 hero
cards and 8 boss cards (plus variant bosses). Juggling different decks for each character you acquire
might be a pain, but I'm encouraged by Free Range citing Hearthstone's
monetization model as their inspiration – Blizzard's ultra-popular CCG strikes
the perfect balance for a free-to-play game, and if anything, Labyrinth appears
to be offering even more ways to generate resources without cracking open your
Labyrinth took only seven days to get approved on Steam
Greenlight, which should hopefully bode well for Free Range's newly
announced Kickstarter; the developer is asking for $ 150,000 to supplement the
backing it has already acquired for the game. Free Range says it has lots of
plans for the future, including team-built guild dungeons and possible live
versus matches between players' parties. Free Range says it's designing
Labyrinth to be a game that users play for decades – the first step in the long
journey will start with a closed beta in early 2016.
Visit the official Labyrinth home page to follow
along with the game's development.
Move over, Grimoire cards. This is how you do Destiny lore right; with a new fan-made set of Destiny-themed Magic the Gathering cards.
The set of cards, first posted by Imgur user “brootalcore1,” shows off each faction in Destiny, each crafted to fit the typical Magic the Gathering color scheme familiar to series fans. The Fallen inhabit the aggressive red and the orderly white. The Cabal, the immense warmongering species reminiscent of Halo’s Brutes, inhabit red, white, and the power-hungry black.
The robotic Vex, logically enough, are assigned blue and green. Of course, to no one’s surprise, the Hive and Oryx’s legion of Taken forces are almost entirely devoted to black.
The good guys of Destiny get their share of the cards, too, with Cayde-6, Eris Morn, and Lord Saladin all acting as legendary creatures. Various vehicles and exotic equipment like the Thorn handcannon and Suros Regime auto rifle can be added into the mix for a modest mana count.
Each card’s ability reads closely enough to what you might find in the middle of a Destiny firefight. Oryx’s special ability allows him to deal damage and then assume control over a creature by placing a “Taken counter” on it. The Vex’s Timegate card allows a player to consistently summon Vex creature tokens during their main phase.
Check out the gallery below for a look at all the cards.
[Source: Imgur User Brootalcore1]
While Hearthstone certainly wasn’t the first collectible game to attract a large digital audience, it has certainly elevated the genre’s prominence. A number of other titles have sought to capture that audience, though none have knocked it from its perch yet.
Duelyst is the latest free-to-play entrant in the space, and it has some impressive names behind it. Developers include creative director and producer Keith Lee (Diablo III, Ratchet & Clank) and lead artists Glauber Kotaki (Rogue Legacy) and Christophe Ha (Overwatch, World of Warcraft, Diablo III).
(Please visit the site to view this media)
The team also includes board game mastermind Eric Lang, who is credited as designer of Fantasy Flight’s XCOM: The Board Game, Wizkids’ Quarriors and the Dice Masters games, and (one of my all-time favorite tabletop games) Chaos in the Old World. Originally a successful Kickstarter campaign, Duelyst puts players in control of one of six factions with unique play styles and creatures.
There are currently more than 350 units and spells to collect, from which players can build their squads. Play takes place one-on-one on a gridded battlefield.
While full release is planned for early 2016, Duelyst is in open beta starting today (available on the official site). For more, you can check out the gameplay trailer above and watch us chat and play with Keith Lee in a Test Chamber from February of this year.
Microsoft and 343 Industries have announced how the Halo 5: Guardians requisition (req) system will impact both the Warzone and Arena multiplayer modes. They come in permanent and consumable varieties, and you can either purchase packs of them with earned req points or with real money.
The video below details the ins and outs of the system and how you can get cards. It isn’t specific about real money costs, but 343 suggests it is “generous” with doling out points to spend on packs.
(Please visit the site to view this media)
Customization items are unlocked permanently and can be used in both Warzone and Arena. These come in the form of armor, helmets, assassination animations, visor colors, weapon skins, stances, and emblems.
Consumable items are only usable in Warzone. Using the MOBA-like in-match leveling system, you’ll have to reach a certain threshold and spend related energy to cash in a card for a power weapon or vehicle.
Digital card games on mobile are becoming huge, with Hearthstone leading the pack — and former Disney man Graham Hopper is back with Days of Discord. …
“The more I promised I’d change and failed to do so, the more I hated myself for what I was doing to my body, and seemingly couldn’t stop. Dozens of hours down the drain to save $ 2.99.” …
Magic: The Gathering's upcoming Battle for Zendikar set will be arriving in October, but at PAX Prime 2015 many of the details are sure to drop during the annual Magic: The Gathering event and party. We can expect to see a slew of new cards, new mechanics, and maybe even an iconic planeswalker or two.
Game Informer has an exclusive preview card to share before the spoilers and teases start to roll out in force this evening. While the card isn't an awesome new planeswalker or legendary artifact, it's what I would call a "classy common" Here's Gideon's Reproach!
If you're looking for more set details and preview cards, at 7:30 PM Pacific Wizards of the Coast will be streaming the Battle for Zendikar Preview Show from PAX at www.twitch.tv/magic !–>
If you’re playing The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt, you’ve probably run into some annoying merchants that want to suck you out of the immersive yet somehow still-open world experience with a couple of hands of Gwent, a lightweight mini-game that can take even more of your time. It’s fun and easy, and there are a number of associated and incredibly lucrative questlines, so if you want to get started with Gwent there’s an easy way to do so.
Before you even start hammering on the quest chain (conveniently located in your quest log under secondary quests), you’re going to want to pick up Northern Realms Siegemaster as your general from the innkeeper in White Orchard. This will make life a lot easier, because weather cards require thinking and planning, and we’d like to eliminate that from our strategy whenever possible, yeah? Siegemaster can double the value of your siege row and will win you quite a few rounds.
Get started on the Gwent questline as soon as you can to start collecting rare cards that will tip the scales in your favor. You should also plan to play every merchant you come across, but keep in mind you’re only going to get a card drop from them for the first victory. You can sit around farming coins and crafting mats forever, but honestly it’s mostly a waste to beat folks more than once.
If you’re having trouble, note that spies are the overpowered goodness that will take you from a Machop tier player to a Machamp.
Just keep throwing spies at your opponent’s board until they capitulate and pass, while you hoard a stocked hand – there’s no normal draw phase in Gwent which means card advantage is a serious thing. When you play those opponents who just love to swarm monsters in the front row and horn to create 100+ power abominations, just smile and keep drawing – you’ll win the next two rounds. Decoy cards are especially useful in this respect, so when your opponent throws a spy your way you can pick it up and turn it right back at them!
If your goal is to catch em all and become the very best, there’s an awesome Gwent tournament in the game that has some hefty rewards (and a substantial entry fee!). Just keep throwing decoys and spies around and you should be a pro in no time.