Our friends over at Kalypso today announced that Blood Knights, a medieval, vampire themed hack ‘n’ slash will be released on the 1st November forXBLA priced at £11.99.
Blood Knights is a hack ‘n slash action – RPG, where the age-old war between humans and vampires is out-of-control and threatens to plunge the world into the abyss. The game combines spectacular combat with RPG elements in single-player or co-op mode. Blood Knights is developed by Deck 13 interactive, who have made a name for themselves with such titles as ‘Venetica’, ‘Jack Keane’ and ‘Ankh’. Set in a mystical version of the Middle Ages, Blood Knights is an exciting story about the Knights Templar and a legendary Vampire Hunter who finds himself bound by blood to the powerful vampire Alysa during a daring mission. The two must work together to break the blood spell and defeat the hordes of evil creatures who stand between them and their goal.
Features of Blood Knights
Utilise close & ranged weapons to slay monstrous foes & enhance your abilities with XP gained through fast and furious combat
Quickly swap between two playable characters with differing skillsets
Suck the blood of your enemies in order to power up and unleash devastating vampire powers
Ride solo, or take on the horde with a friend in thrilling Co-op
Interact with the environment using your attract and repel skills
Multiple choice dialogues will affect and alter the world around you
Classic Vampire story narrated with atmospheric cut-scenes
Equip yourself with 160 available weapons and 40 different amour elements
Ah, stealth. The art of sneaking around and using nothing but your reactions and wit to overcome the towering obstacles in your way. There’s nothing quite like a good stealth game. Great stealth like Metal Gear Solid, Tenchu, Hitman, Deus Ex and not so much these days but Assassin’s Creed and Splinter Cell is hard to come by in this day and age. Enter Dark, a new stealth-based game published Kalypso Media and developed by Realmforge Studios. Now Dark might sound like an amazing prospect to the uninitiated. It’s a vampire stealth game. That means using the shadows to your advantage while teleporting toward your prey and sap their rich from their veins. Sounds amazing, right? Very, very wrong. More on how terrible the game is as we go on.
The story centres around Mr. Eric Bane, a poor gent who just so happens to be a newly turned vampire. Get this, he has amnesia! The story is riveting already. Eric soon learns that his transformation is not yet fully complete. In other words, he hasn’t even reached his final form. In order to avoid becoming one of Nosferatu’s minions, Eric must drink the blood of his sire. The game then becomes who’s who of tired clichés. Such as angels appearing to him, leading young Eric down the righteous path. It is the angel that sets blood-sucking Eric Bane on a journey to recover his lost memory, a journey that will either see him revert back to his human form, stay as he is, or turn into a hapless ghoul from a Blade movie. Dark’s story is as dull as anything you have ever played. The characters you meet along the way do nothing to stimulate the story, or evoke any kind of emotion from the player. It’s as if there is no personality in this game whatsoever.
Enough story bashing, let’s talk about the awesome gameplay. Or how it’s not awesome at all…not even a little bit. So this is a stealth-action game, that means lots of hiding, sneaking, and quiet killing. You’ll find an abundance of furniture and chest-high walls to call your home due to this. Moving in and out of cover is easy enough. You can lock on to a piece of cover while already being in cover, and simply teleport straight to the next bit without being seen. The issue with this is that sometimes the game will simply bug out and throw you to the far right, far left, on top of, or literally inside the piece of cover you’ve intended to hide behind. There is a nifty feature called vampire vision. This allows you to see through walls and slow down time to help attain what your plan of attack will be. This is the only part of the game that works as it should. It’s not innovative or new, it just works.
The problem with the stealth in Dark is that there is no surprise, only routine. Games like Splinter Cell or Deus show that sometimes having a plan of attack may not be enough. There might always be one enemy you’ve neglected to highlight who can send your entire plan astray. So having an escape route and or means of cutting off any kind of alarm system is key. Not here, there is only route learning and killing. Plus most of the other top stealth games I mentioned before have several means of completing a mission or route. To this day I’m still seeing things I could’ve done on Hitman: Blood Money and Absolution that I had absolutely no idea about. In Dark, there will only ever be one option, or the other. The main problem with the stealth aspect of the game is that it’s so repetitive it becomes a borefest. There may be one saving grace that could attract certain niche market of gamers. The game can be hard, very hard. But that’s not because of any kind of actual difficulty implemented into the game’s system. It’s because sneaking up behind an enemy and simply stealth killing them is a chore. The button prompt to kill your foe doesn’t appear until you are basically touching their backside, and sometimes you actually are touching their backside. This prompts all of Dr. Evil’s henchman to sound the alarm and shoot you with their…”lasers” (there are no lasers, but there’s gotta be something fun associated with the game). No, they just raise an alarm and shoot you dead because there is nowhere you can hide where they will not find you. There is no plan B, there is only succeed at this thing, or die a slow vampiric death.
We’re not quite finished yet; Dark has broken another one of gaming’s golden rules. RPG elements where they do not belong. Getting through areas without being detected and getting kills will award you with XP. For every thousand points of experience, you earn something called a ‘power point’ that will allow you to upgrade whatever power takes your fancy.
There’s not much to be said for how the game looks. There is a comic book/noir type feel to the game. This basically means cel-shaded with neon lights, for the modern era. It’s not great looking; it’s just not bad looking. This is probably the most positive thing I have to say about the entire game. The voice acting is bad, real bad. It’s not the kind of bad you can forgive like a dub gone wrong on a Japanese game, or voice acting so terrible it’s funny like Shenmue. The delivery was poor, like the actors were mumbling the words to themselves with no emotion as if they were at home reading a novel in their armchairs. I actually find it quite shocking that somebody oversaw the work that went into this and didn’t think to say “hey guys, do you mind sounding like people when you read these lines”. But then again, with the lines they were given, I’d probably phone it in too.
To sum it up, Dark is a horrible bore of a game. A genuine contender right alongside The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct for the worst game this year. The story extremely boring and predictable. The only fun came from me switching it up between doing a horrible Tom Hardy impersonation every time the name Bane was mentioned, and pretending the character was actually called Eric Bana. The gameplay is rigid and broken. Stealth barely works, and when it doesn’t, combat doesn’t work either. The sounds and voice acting are some of the worst I have ever heard in a game, and it’s just a 9+ hour agonising struggle to get through.
If you’re a stealth enthusiast, just play any of the other stealth games you’ve already completed a thousand times rather than this. You’re guaranteed to have a better time. If you’re a vampire enthusiast, just watch Twilight. Seriously, Twilight is a much better time than Dark.
Basically, stay away from Dark. Do not buy Dark, and kill Dark with fire.
Kalypso has released a new trailer for DARK, their upcoming vampire-themed stealth/action title for the Xbox 360 and PC. In the new trailer above, you’ll get a close-up look at several of the vampire powers available to you, as the newly turned vampire, Eric Bane. Watch as Eric hypnotises unsuspecting guards to slip past them or deliver a deadly strike. Or, use Regeneration to convert the blood of your enemies to health points!
Watch the new video above to learn more about these and other stealth-focused powers featured in DARK, which Kalypso Media will release this summer.
Omerta City of Gangsters has not had the best start to its life since release on 1st February. It’s not been given the chance it deserves I feel, but fear not as I am going to give it a chance it so desires!
Ever since the release of the movie Lawless and HBO Series Boardwalk Empire, I’ve become somewhat interested in the whole prohibition/moonshine trade of the 1920′s/30′s. I’ve watched the films, the series’ and read the books now all that was needed was something to play. Sadly though there was no such game that fitted my need or time frame and so I waited. Until one night where myself and good friend Aaron were looking through Steam, particularly the pre-order section. That’s when I saw it, Omerta City of Gangsters. After watching the video and reading the information I knew this is what I wanted! I was first disheartened when I read that it was available on PC with Mac to follow later (I’m running on a Mac). This sadness soon passed when I found out that it was coming to Xbox 360, sorted.
The game is set in Atlantic City in the roaring twenties, you are a young man fresh off the boat looking to make a name for yourself in America. Upon starting a new game you first select your player emblem, a choice of six varying men, you then assign an allotted amount of skill points to different areas such as muscle, courage and smarts. After doing this you are asked a series of questions relating to your life in Sicily and how you would react to certain situations. Your answers have an affect on your skill points, raising and lowering certain things. One question will also decide what weapon your character starts with. All of this is upgrade-able through leveling up.
Atlantic City is split into sections to make overtaking the City more manageable. Each time you advance to the next area the ‘goal posts’ change. Police activity, Enemy gangs or the Klu Klux Klan all of which will hinder your operations in whatever way possible. Mission objectives (so far) have consisted of raising a certain amount of ‘Dirty Money’/’Clean Money’, Clearing the area of certain people or shutting down a certain amount of business’…whatever way possible.
The game is classed as a simulation game with turn-based tactical game play elements which is a perfect description of what to expect. The simulation comes when you are running your business’ but the turn-based combat comes when it’s mission time. Members of your team can be captured, rival business’ can be cleared out, police stations can be shot up and banks can be robbed. This is all done through the turn-based combat, you and your team will move and attack with the other team doing exactly the same, using elements of cover to give you the upper hand, sometime the objective is to reach a point (e.g the evidence room in a police station) and destroy whatever is there other times it’s just a case of wiping out the opposing team.
The game itself is pretty cool and a great representation of Atlantic City at the time, with the classic boardwalk to the old cars going along the roads, you do get a certain nostalgia from playing Omerta. The game isn’t perfect but what it does do well is transport you into the brogues of gangsters in the famous city. When you have a district up and running making you a large amount of dirty money from the illicit alcohol you’re making and selling to your other business’ you feel like your untouchable, when you have the city officials owing you a favour and the sheriff in your back pocket you know nothing can go wrong. Changing the dirty money to clean is a simple operation when you have book makers running around the clock. Whats more, is that people then come to you – with jobs and asking favours. Fellow gangsters looking for a helping hand with money will ask for loans and you won’t even bat an eyelid when you give them $2,500 in dirty money in exchange for 10 payment of $300 in clean money. At the moment I haven’t come across anything I would consider a bad point of the game. I think that comes with being so immersed in it. My only point to make, that could be considered bad is that sometime you can hear where the music ‘loop’ starts again, but that’s not a massive deal.
Overall Omerta City of Gangsters is a great game and plays on the whole criminal empire, moonshine times very well. A game I am thoroughly enjoying, and I’m sure will continue to for a while.
Kalypso Media has today launched Dollar Dash on the Xbox LIVE Arcade for 800 Microsoft Points.
Dollar Dash is a chaotic free-for-all multiplayer game that enables up to four players to battle it out as cartoon thieves who must make use of extravagant weapons to grab bags of cash and deposit them in a getaway vehicle before it disappears. Developed by Candygun Games, it offers 18 multiplayer maps, countless weapons, deep player customization, and comedic tactics for players to achieve victory.
• Gather, Dash and Fight: Be the fastest, smartest, and craziest multiplayer battle thief
• Overwhelming Content: 18 maps, over 20 weapons and a number of power-ups to discover
• Single player: Defeat skilled AI opponents to prepare for Online PvP
• Multiplayer: Four-player Drop-in & Jump-out multiplayer for instant online action
• Three intense game modes: Venture through different versus modes, from Dollar Dash where the fastest win to Hit’n’Run, where the toughest rule the field
• Shop: Spend in-game cash on weapon upgrades, character customization, perks and more
• Unlock: Collect badges, unlock many crazy Achievements, and compete on global Leaderboard