Amplitude Studios' Endless Legend Shadows announced

We have been big, big fans of Endless Legend so far, both the core game and its first expansion. So any new news on the title is welcome by us.


Month in Review - July

Looks like it’s that time of the month again! See everything that we’ve been up to and catch up on anything you may have missed.

The biggest thing that we've had this month is that the site layout has changed!

As with any major move there are bound to be tiny issues here and there as testing environments and the "real world" are never quite the same. If you see anything or have suggestions of things that we could add drop Nick a line!

Now to the games!

Article by Pierre-Yves

Hanasaku Iroha ~Home Sweet Home~ - Anime Review

Hanasaku Iroha ~Home Sweet Home~ is an OVA that takes place near the end of the original series' final episodes and expands on the background of The Kissuiso Inn (the main setting for the series). Note that if you have not viewed the original series you will want to steer clear of Home Sweet Home until after you have viewed the series that the OVA is based on.


Memorable Music in Gaming #9

This week's collection of games comes from a variety of genres and systems. Some of the titles you might expect, coming from one of the most beloved franchises in all of video gaming. Some of the others? Probably somewhat more of a surprise.


Remastering “Gears of War” video series

Obviously one of the bigger upcoming titles for the Xbox One is a familiar face (it is even getting its own bundle), but I personally have very strong feelings for the Gears of Wars games. The first entry in the series was actually one of the driving forces behind me buying an Xbox 360 before a PlayStation 3 at the time. Obviously Gears of War 2 and Gears of War 3 were great as well, but the first still holds a special place in my memories. Well some new videos show off the progress the Ultimate Edition is making.


Way of the Samurai 4 - PC Review

I have played some interesting games up to this point in my life and Way of the Samurai 4 is absolutely one title that can fall into that category. You begin by getting off of a small boat in the tiny port town of Amihama during mid 19th Century Japan. What do you from this point on is entirely and literally up to you.


Rocket League - PS4 Review

Sometimes there are games that rope you in due to an incredibly deep, twisting narrative. Other titles use photo-realistic graphics or movie actors in their voice cast to breathe life into their creations. There are a variety of hooks that development teams use to try and draw players in, but quite often the most effective is simply making a game that is a ton of fun to play. Rocket League fits that description perfectly.


Champions: Return to Arms - Retro Reflections

Champions: Return to Arms is an action role paying game set in a medieval fantasy setting. I wanted to buy it for many years and finally got it through the internet.

The game starts with a beautiful, elegant woman asking you to lead an assault against an evil power and avenge the fallen soldiers. Isn’t that a bit out of context? I mean, I have no idea where we are, what she is talking about and why I should help her. Besides the lack of an introduction, there are no other characters to talk to. The same lady operates as a merchant and has nothing new to say afterwards. Generally the story and dialogue are very poor despite the fact you can choose to play as a good or evil character.


Toy Soldiers: Warchest coming Aug 11th

Toy Soldiers has developed a pretty popular following over the years. This newest announcement by Ubisoft is a good one for fans of the series.


Startech USB 2.0 HD PVR Video Game Capture Card - Hardware Review

Startech is relatively well known in computer hardware as they manufacture cost-effective alternatives to name-brand peripherals. It was only a matter of time before the company took notice of the ever-growing content capture market, especially with the explosive popularity of Elgato, Hoppauge, and the utterly fantastic AVerMedia gear. Enter the USB 2 HD PVR external capture card. When it was first released it was one of the early 1080p capture devices and was quite affordable given its competition (which generally cost upwards of $300 for a portable capture solution), though much has changed since the device was first released, does it still stand up to its competition?


Q.U.B.E: Director's Cut - Xbox One Review

You wake up in a strange, oddly sterile futuristic environment with no memory of how you got there. The perspective is that of first-person, and as you trudge along gamely through the opening bits, you find yourself having to move from one room to another, using clever physics based puzzles to do so. While the obvious comparison here is to the Portal games, Q.U.B.E: Director's Cut attempts to be its own game with fairly solid success.


Cast of the Seven Godsends - PC Review

There have been a bevy of retro-inspired video games of lately, especially on Steam. Some fare better than others. There is a fine line between paying homage to a classic game and aping them so closely that you lose all sense of originality. Cast of the Seven Godsends actually finds a pretty solid balance that will remind gamers of classic action platforming titles like Mega Man and Ghost 'n Goblins on the NES.


Mionix Announces CASTOR Premium Gaming Mouse

We have covered and enjoyed several pieces of Mionix gaming gear over the last few months. Their new announcement looks promising as well.


Secrets of Grindea - Preview - Better With a Partner

Secrets of Grindea is an Action Adventure RPG that pretty much blew all my expectations out of the water. Currently within Early Access on Steam, it already supports a robust multiplayer, full controller support, numerous skills to choose from, all while being supported by a hilarious dialog and a fun story.


Roving Rogue - Wii U Review

Every now and then there’s something that comes along and takes me pleasantly by surprise. After landing on my desk, I figured that I was in for a good time with a solid platformer in Roving Rogue. This was especially so as my Wii U which doesn’t see much action of late other than a Mario Kart or Smash Brothers night here and there. Now I had an idea as to what I could expect going into things, but Instead of simply being a platformer in which our Rogue runs around teleporting across various stages, there is more than enough humor inserted in one of the weirdest ways that I’ve ever seen in a game.


Solarix - PC Review

I have a real soft spot for horror games, and while the traditional settings of haunted houses and graveyards are all well and good, science fiction can make for some pretty tense atmosphere as well. Dead Space and Dead Space two were a couple of my favorite horror titles last console generation (I try to pretend number three never happened) and Solarix has that sort of Dead Space/System Shock vibe aesthetically, if not in actual gameplay. Solarix has some really solid ideas, but it only executes well on some of them.


NeocoreGames announces The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing: Final Cut

The team as a whole (and PY in particular) have been big fans of the Van Helsing games. Looks like we'll get one last reason to go back and play them again.


Suikoden III - PS3 Review

Louis this one is for you!

Years ago my above friend did something that I’ve never looked back on or once regretted. He sold me his PS1, which was my move away from Nintendo based consoles for quite a while. Sometime after this he introduced me to what is pretty much a cult classic: Suikoden II. Fast forward another few years and I bought my brother’s PS2, making it my own. Louis came over throwing Suikoden III at me before he was heading out of town for a weekend. While I enjoyed Suikoden II, it to me didn’t hold a candle to Suikoden III, which was my favorite entry in the series until the release of the fifth. Back once again, Konami have re-released Suikoden III on the PSN, making it playable for both the PSIII and the Vita. While physically sitting on my shelf, it has been too long since I’ve picked it up. Being able to review it now is an honor.


Monster Truck Destruction - PC Review

Monster Trucks should be all about fun. They are massive, over-powered and over-sized vehicles let loose on tracks to perform stunts and cause some solid carnage. A title called Monster Truck Destruction should be about as entertaining as a game comes, but it is held back by limited options and game depth that fail to take a fun premise as far as it could have gone.


LEGO Worlds - PC Preview

Lego worlds is one of those games that has huge potential but forgets a key piece of human psychology: we like things more if we work for it.

Lego worlds drops your khaki clad adventurer into a world created entirely out of Lego blocks. Which made me cringe a little remembering all the unfortunate encounters my feet have had with the little things. Like Minecraft, there aren’t any tutorials, you’re basically just left to run willy nilly around the biome and bash things.


Koei Tecmo details the next entry in Samurai Warriors series

Keoi Tecmo shows off some new characters for the upcoming title (releasing this fall). Samurai Warriors 4-II promises to be more character focused than ever.


Victor Vran - PC Review

Victor Vran is an Hack & Slash Action RPG in which players take on the role of the titular character as he makes his way into the city of Zagoravia in search of a fellow hunter and friend gone missing. Before starting up, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone at Haemimont Games for all the hard work that they’ve put into Victor Vran. From its opening days of Early Access to the full release that Robert and I got to gratefully experience before everyone else on July 24th, the sheer amount of polish to an already very polished game was simply incredible.

Hack & Slash Action RPGs are very well settled by this point in time. Monsters rush towards your character and they either promptly take them out or die trying. Felled monsters physically drop gold and loot while giving you experience towards a character level up in order to tackle even tougher enemies for even better loot! This essentially forms the core of the system. What is done with this idea after the fact is what makes or breaks the experience in which very few ever truly manage to make it into the top where select other titles* almost immortally sit.

Victor Vran changes a lot to the core formula making it something fresh and new. Following the idea of a free rotating overhead camera (in a Third Person Isometric View), Victor can turn and see around corners instead of simply having shaded out buildings in the way. While this isn’t a new idea as Sacred and others did this way back when, it isn’t a common occurrence either. It is always appreciated to see that extra level of added attention as it makes the world that much more believable. Rotating the camera is also going to come in use as Victor is allowed to jump over obstacles. Wait… jumping?

If absolutely nothing else, jumping was in all seriousness one of the biggest things that could have been added to this style. There are a lot of times in which the sheer frustration of having to go ALL the way around something because you can’t just “fall” down or “hop” up feels like it kills the momentum. Allowing players to jump honestly opens up a whole new world and combining it with being able to do full 360 rotations with the camera truly makes it so.

Now, jumping is freaking awesome but it was nothing compared to wall jumping. Just when we didn’t think it could get any better, Haemimont one upped themselves. Victor is allowed to perform up to two wall jumps in order to reach higher places that may not even look like anything at first glance but contain secret treasures and more enemies to slay. Being able to jump is one thing, but it has to be done right. Honestly with how well the jumping works, Haemimont would have no issues in designing either a Platformer or a Metroidvania as what they’ve designed trumps half of the systems out there with its smooth responsiveness.

Moving into combat, weapons take an interesting approach as each one comes with its own skill set which is quite a change from requiring a character to learn skills from a tree in order to use them. Going in this direction fits in quite nicely with the quick paced and versatile approach that Victor Vran has taken. Hammers, Swords, Rapiers, Mortars, Scythes, Tesla Guns, and Blunderbusses all act differently and are useful all in their own rights as long as the situation allows for it. If the situation doesn’t? Victor can instantly switch between two onhand weapons (once a few levels have been acquired) for some fairly impressive combos to change the course of the battle.

Because weapons are never enough power for heroes fighting against the forces of darkness they get skills! Instead of going about a traditional method in order to use different abilities such as mana and / or cooldowns, Victor is instead going to have to work for them by filling up his Overdrive meter. Once a segment is filled, powerful abilities known as Demon Powers can be used such as launching a Sanguin Aura to restore health, Fire Storms to burn enemies to a crisp, or Time Bubbles to slow enemies to a crawl, and those are just a few. Like weapons, two Demon Powers can be equipped at a time (after a bit of leveling of course!) and they come in the same rarity types making mixing, matching, and upgrading just as necessary. Like the choice of which weapons are equipped to battle against the hordes that would eat you for breakfast, the only choice that you are going to have to make is “which one of these do I use my overdrive meter on?”.

Weapons and Skills are both powerful active abilities but sometimes that’s not enough. Working alongside these are Destiny Cards that can be equipped which all grant various passive abilities to give that extra needed boost. Life stealing, adding percentages to both critical damage and hit rates, boosting base damage, adding more health, all of these and much more are possible to pick up. What was most impressive is that even the cards follow the same principle as the two prior equipable categories in regards to levels in which these come. Unlike the first two however, the cards do not use rarity like they use actual level definitions which in the end amounts to the same thing. They come in all shapes and sizes to allow plenty of mixing and matching to suit your playstyle.

Being an RPG there is going to be a decent amount of leveling going on. Levels don’t exactly work out the way most people would generally expect which follows on the general theme of “This is not your typical Hack & Slash adventure”. Instead of granting stat boosts at every level Victor will instead receive a variety of “other” bonuses. Each level up comes with it’s own flavour of upgrades such as Hit Point upgrades, an additional weapon slot, first Demon Power, more overdrive meters for Demon Powers, a second Demon Power. Each of these only adds to the repertoire of what is possible when running around the city of Zagoravia on the various quests both in terms of the main storyline or sub-quests and challenges.

Finally Zagoravia itself is an interesting experience. Here we have what amounts to an open ended city that unlocks more quarters and surrounding regions as gateways are discovered while adventuring. Each of these areas both big and small come with their own sets of challenges that award amounts of experience, gold, items, and each of these rewards are labeled under the challenge that can be viewed on both the map screen and the area’s intro page prior to entering.

As areas are explored and sub-areas are uncovered, there is going to be a lot of space that can be roamed through making it quite far to run between these time after time. This is especially the case when delving back into sub-areas to complete challenges. Using a form of what we’ve all come to consider a “town portal”, Victor can quickly hop back to the game’s main hub and then select from there which area that he wishes to go back into and explore.

The only downside to going back to the hub is more often than not an upside when attempting to complete challenges as any progress of an uncompleted challenge is erased. Certain challenges require xth amount of enemies taken out in under thirty seconds, two minutes, and so on. Others require a certain amount of enemies taken out without receiving damage, without using potions, without using demon powers, or even only with demon powers. Sometimes these are easy while other times they are exactly what they are called. Challenges.

Falling more into the challenges than the leveling up are Hexes. These have to be one of the more interesting “bonuses” that can be acquired when hitting a particular level up. Hexes essentially act as a modifiers which can drastically increase the difficulty but should be kept in mind that to be considered in effect for a challenge, they have to be activated prior to entering the area. Use these with care as they can truly be the difference between challenging and impossible with your current repertoire of equipment and skills.

Now while reviewing is not always fun and games, it can really seem that way at times. Taking the release version out for a spin from scratch, Robert and I had a blast playing for at least another four solid hours from our previous seven to eight hour stint. Playing online with Robert is always a fun time and here is us going a bit nuts at times and thankfully me not dying twenty times to a particular boss fight. Amusingly, I didn’t die first!

Multiplayer is a rather solid affair other than a few internet hiccups here and there. Between the sheer amount that we played during early access and the amount of time that we’ve spent on full release there was never any issues in joining up and slaying monsters together. Things to be kept in mind however are the following. The first is that any character that discovers a new area to enter and teleport to only unlocks it for themselves. The second is that challenges such as defeat xth amount of enemies with a hammer count for everyone present. Lastly, any challenge that requires “not” using items, Demon Powers, or getting hit are all individually based. This means that one’s misstep is another’s gloating and bragging rights.

Victor Vran is a must for any lover of the Action-RPG / Hack & Slash genre. Taking in elements that should have been in for ages such as the ability to simply jump without it being a special ability with a cooldown or a mana cost was sheer brilliance. It was the “little” (okay HUGE) things like this that opened up a world for so much more gameplay possibilities while never sacrificing speed or performance to do so. I love Blizzard’s Diablo just as I love Ascaron’s version of Sacred, but Haemimont, you now have my heart when it comes to Hacking and Slashing and I hope that this isn’t the end to this incredible style that you’ve created within Victor Vran.

Needless to say that I’ve just crowned Victor Vran my King of Hack & Slash. There. I’ve said it!

Platform PC

Developer(s) Haemimont Games
Publisher(s) EuroVideo Medien
Genre(s) Action
Hack & Slash
Mode(s) Single Player
Other Platform(s) NA

Review by Pierre-Yves

 * Immortal titles would be with the likes of Diablo, Torchlight, Titan’s Quest, and Sacred. Some of these are viewed in much higher esteem than others but all have been remembered and adored by various people over the past decade or more.

Night Light Interactive discusses bringing Whispering Willows to Consoles - Interview

With the recent news that Whispering Willows would be coming out for more platforms than its initial PC-only release, we were excited for an opportunity to chat about the title. Here at Chalgyr's Game Room, we were big fans of this game when it first came out, scoring it a 9 out of 10. Today we are joined by David Logan of Night Light Interactive and Ralph Egas of Abstraction Games as they field some of our questions.


Details on two upcoming Activsion titles

Here are announcements around two upcoming Activision titles, each one calling back to my childhood in a different way.


Onechanbara Z2: Chaos - PS4 Review

I’m a certified hack ‘n’ slash expert! Okay, “expert” is probably a bit of a fraudulent stretch.  In fact, I certainly and objectively suck compared to the player who can perform a no-damage 30 minute speed-run of Bayonetta on the hardest difficulty whilst, for added challenge and absurdity, her hands are oiled and confined within 14oz boxing gloves.


Battle Fantasia ~Revised Edition~ - PC Review

On the surface, Battle Fantasia ~Revised Edition~ should score high marks with me. I love the fantasy genre and have spent countless hours playing a wide variety of fighting games. As a general rule, I tend to thoroughly enjoy Arc System Works fighting games as well. This updated version of the fighting game that released on PS3 and Xbox 360 several years ago is a valiant effort, but still has its share of flaws as well.


Blood Bowl 2 unveils its Overview Trailer and its pre-order campaign

I like to think of this as a different kind of 'fantasy football'. The latest info is certainly interesting.


Sorcerer King - PC Review

The strategy/RPG hybrid may be my favorite gaming genre ever. I cannot tell you the number of hours I sunk into games like Shining Force, Fire Emblem, Warsong, King's Bounty and more. I love the fantasy scenarios, turn-based strategy and the numbers crunching that I do in my mind to make my strategies come to life. Now that it has exited Early Access, I feel that Sorcerer King may be on track as the best strategy game of 2015 to date.


Turtle Beach Stealth 500X Xbox One Gaming Headset - Hardware Review

Turtle Beach is a powerful brand; there is a reason they hold over 50% of the market share for console accessories and it generally has to do with the fact that they build solid, high quality headsets. With the announcement of the new Turtle Beach Elite 800X headset, we at Chalgyr's Game Room decided we would take a minute to share the love and wealth of some of their other gear, in this case the Stealth 500X for the Xbox One.  Here is our take on this vaunted brand's oft-praised headset.

How about a new trailer for the next Danganronpa game?

This one looks very different from the visual-novel like murder mysteries that comprised the first two Danganronpa games, but we are still holding out hope that this next iteration proves just as entertaining.


Anna's Quest - PC Review

Some people seem surprised that the point and click adventure genre has been seeing something of a resurgence over the last couple of years. Those people clearly have not been paying attention to Daedalic Entertainment's offerings, because their titles are almost always excellent, with unique visual styles, compelling stories and simple, yet approachable mechanics that are often geared towards a specific audience. Anna's Quest fits right in.


Deception IV: The Nightmare Princess - PS4 Review

Deception IV: The Nightmare Princess is a great touch-up on the Deception IV: Blood Ties game. For those who have already had a chance to play the game, this version does not offer a ton of new content, though the additional story and quests certainly provide some fun. If you are new to the game or series and want something unique to play? This game is devilish fun and easy to recommend.


Xbox One Gears bundle announced

Gears is one of those games that actually convinced me to buy an Xbox 360 when I did, and we've been following all Gears news pretty closely in these parts. This announcement really didn't surprise me, but it's nice to see it confirmed.


MotoGP 15 - PC Review

At first glance, MotoGP 15 looks very similar to the recently released Project CARS. Those unaware of the two games might believe someone if they were to say that the game on-screen is Project CARS - when in reality it's MotoGP 15. Now when it comes to motorcycle and superbike road racing, I'm not the first guy in the room to stand up and holler in excitement, but a racing game is a racing game, and I'm on a mission to play every last one of them ever made. I have no robust means of keeping score, but since I nod my head at every 4th racer mentioned, I guess I'm only that much closer to my goal.


Guncraft: Blocked and Loaded - Xbox 360 Review

What happens when you marry two very different but popular genres? Well, I suppose it depends on the game types you are talking about, but Guncraft: Blocked and Loaded takes FPS popularity and applies it to the block building goodness that games like Minecraft helped to popularize. The end result? A surprisingly fun experience.


New “Halo 5: Guardians” Story Details Revealed at San Diego Comic-Con

Halo 5: Guardians is one of those titles it seems like everyone is tracking, and it's great to see even more information about it coming out via SDCC.


Stonehearth - PC Preview

I have long been a fan of the city-building style of games and to some extent, survival-style games like Minecraft, ARK: Survival Evolved, or Terraria. When Banished was released some time back a new style of city-builder was born, a survival city-building sim that was brutal and just different enough to stand on its own; simply put I enjoyed it and a newfound appreciation for the hybrid genre was born. A year or so later comes Stonehearth, a city-building survival sim that has an art style reminiscent of Minecraft but one a grander scale. With procedurally generated maps, unit classes, and various methods of interruption (such as bandit attacks or monsters), Stonehearth aims to carve out a slice of this new pie all for itself. I was fortunately to get my hands on an Early Access build of Stonehearth and here are my first impressions.


Mionix Sargas 320 Gaming Surface - Hardware Review

We recently had the pleasure of reviewing Mionix's Zibal 60 mechanical keyboard, Nash 20 gaming headset, and their absolutely perfect Naos 8200. Today we bring you Mionix's Sargas 320 gaming surface, an affordable mouse mat designed to be portable and of the highest quality. Does the Sargas 320 fit in with Mionix's other products that simply exude quality and perfection? Read on for more info!


Space Exploration Tile-Based Board Game Galaxy of Trian Goes Digital in 2015

We love our board games here, and strategy and science fiction? This all seems like a pretty promising mix.


Dex - PC Review

I first caught wind of Dex while browsing KickStarter some time back and was immediately interested in the title as it is a cyberpunk 2D action RPG and I am sorely starved for games that are cyberpunk. For such a rich and interesting style, cyberpunk is a sorely underrepresented concept in gaming. As Dreadlock's development ended and Dex was released I just had to get my hands on this game, as it appeared to be highly influenced by one of my favorite anime franchises of all time, the Ghost in the Shell series (heck, even the main character could be a relative of Kusanagi Motoko). Now that Dex has been fully released and I have had plenty of time to spend running about in this giant open-world-esque 2D action RPG, here are my thoughts.


Masterspace - PC Review

Nick hooked me into reviewing this game by telling me “it’s essentially Minecraft in space” but it was also made of fully destructible worlds rather than the Minecraft blocky style and featured space exploration. I was stoked! But I was also cautious. The game was getting some really negative reviews on Steam with players blaming the devs for releasing it before it was finished. Unfortunately I have to agree with them. Masterspace was a fantastic idea that with a little more spit and polish would easily have become a new favorite game.


Q.U.B.E.: Director's Cut is landing on consoles soon

Having played and enjoyed this title on PC some time ago, it's nice to see it getting a proper console release with some updated materials.


LEGO Jurassic World - Mac Review

Dinosaurs. LEGOs. Those two things alone should spark the imagination of almost any kid - I certainly recall them coming together frequently in my childhood, and they seem like a perfect pairing for a video game as well. That the recent Jurassic World movie was such a huge success should only reinforce the likelihood that the game is well-received. The good news is, the video game holds up quite well as a creative, kid-friendly take on the movie.


Area-X - PC Review

Area-X continues the theme of visual novels that look to add a little bit of something extra to the presentation. Once upon a time, these games were often little more than fully scripted scenes that sometimes you had a chance to impact with some choices. Now games are sprinkling in RPG or adventure elements to help liven the content up.


Good news - Zero Escape 3 is coming

I really don't have much to add beyond the awesome press release for this one.


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