Tag Archives: THQ Nordic

Darksiders III burns brightly toward a November release

November 27. Mark it down now because the much anticipated Darksiders III finally releases onto console.

The next entry into the awesome hack-n-slash action-adventure also come with a several flavours of pre-order to ‘reward’ the loyal fanbase who will undoubtedly be rushing to their favourite retailer to place an order.

First up is an exclusive armour DLC that is available at ‘participating retailers’. Next is a pre-order offer for those who like to purchase their games directly through the Xbox or PlayStation stores. Gamers can “have their choice of THREE distinct pre-order opportunities featuring exclusive in-game content, special discounts and 24-hour early access to Darksiders III”, further details are said to be here, but currently no details beyond the above are known.

And finally, for the physical gamer there are two SKUs to choose from

Darksiders III Collector’s Edition

  • Premium Box
  • Fury Figurine about 29cm – 11″ high
  • Original Steelbook
  • Artbook
  • Soundtrack
  • Darksiders III Game
  • Exclusive Armor DLC; completely original skin replacing Fury’s base armor set (purely aesthetic, no gameplay impact

Darksiders III Apocalypse Edition:

  • Premium Box ~117cm – 46″
  • Wall Scroll – Fabric print with hanger 77 x 100 – 30″ x 40″
  • 4 Figurines: Fury (~29cm 11” high), Vulgrim, War, Death (each about 25cm 10″high)
  • Heavy weight amulet 5cm – 2″ with necklace
  • Original Steelbook
  • Artbook
  • Soundtrack
  • Darksiders III Game
  • Exclusive Armor DLC; completely original skin replacing Fury’s base armor set (purely aesthetic, no gameplay impact)

Those statues look pretty badass… Now, who is up for making a Darksiders recap? I for one have totally lost track of the story…

Titan Quest Review

It’s always a worry when games from the past are remastered. Is it better to remember those games how they were through rose-tinted glasses? Often the end result leaves you realising just how much games have improved over the years, and that your favourite game from the past wasn’t as good as you remembered. However, these remasters can reach a new younger audience, so there is some merit in revitalising these old games. Titan Quest is one of these games that have been given the HD treatment. Originally released on PC in 2006, its now available on PS4 and Xbox One. So, how will this shape up?

Titan Quest is an RPG that follows a player-created protagonist as they navigate Ancient Greece, Egypt and China on a quest to defeat the Titans after they escape from their ancient prison. Most modern gamers will find comparisons with the Diablo series of games. Titan Quest was the brain-child of the legendary game designer Brian Sullivan and the script was written by Randall Wallace, so there was some good pedigree behind the original game.

Unfortunately the biggest flaw of this remake is experienced almost immediately after you create your character and set foot in the world of Ancient Greece. The control of your character is very cumbersome in both movement and combat and the game immediately feels like its going to be a hard slog. As a games reviewer this is the hardest place to be, as you have to persevere just in case the character progression improves the gameplay. I won’t lie, this has been the hardest game to battle with since I started reviewing.

As you progress through the game you gain experience points through defeating enemies and completing quests from the various NPC’s you’ll meet on your travels. These are used to upgrade character attributes such as health and energy levels, dexterity, intelligence, or strength. Your character also has equipment slots which can be filled with the usual weapons and armour, but also bracelets and trinkets which will give further buffs to your stats. As per the usual format in RPG’s you will have both main and side quests to complete. Fighting takes the form of real-time hack and slash combat, with players attacking randomly-generated enemies highlighted automatically. If you die, you will respawn at rebirth fountains scattered through the world. Enemies will drop items and equipment that you can use to upgrade your current equipment and you will also find chests around the world which will also contain upgrades.

After levelling up for the first time, the player can access Masteries, which are skill tree-based upgrade systems where skill points can be used to access and boost different skills. There are eight available Masteries to choose from (Defence, Warfare, Hunting, Rogue, Earth, Storm, Nature and Spirit). Players can access two Masteries at any one time, mixing skills from both trees. The combination of different Masteries create different character classes: for instance, combining Nature and Earth Masteries grants players the “Summoner” class, while Defense and Warfare Masteries create the “Conqueror”. There are 36 possible Classes, which include pure disciplines within one Mastery and hybrids between different Masteries.

I picked the Hunter class for my first playthrough, meaning I was extremely proficient with a bow. However, this felt like a bad choice as I proceeded through the first few hours, due to the previously mentioned combat which was so slow and cumbersome that when I encountered a number of enemies I was left with no choice but to run away and then stopping briefly to fire one shot. There are no options to dodge or roll, so if you are getting punished in a fight then only option is to run. And there was a lot of running in my first few hours and it wasn’t at all enjoyable. In total, I got through over six hours of gameplay and things didn’t improve, so at that point I called time on my Titan Quest journey.

It’s a real shame, as there is a huge amount of depth to this game. I know I have only scratched the surface when it comes to stats and masteries, but when the gameplay is this crude and cumbersome its almost a travesty that anyone other than a real fan will ever persevere enough to see it. There are a number of other basic faults that ruin the experience of Titan Quest. When an enemy is defeated they drop items for you to pick up, a task which would be easy when using a PC mouse and keyboard, but it doesn’t seem to have been updated to suit a controller, so the method of just picking up the single item you want is almost impossible and you end up having to pick up everything before heading into the equally cumbersome character menu in order to drop the items you don’t need. The quest system is equally as frustrating, as the map doesn’t seem to show where the quest is. Even a simple map marker would be helpful.

Graphically it’s OK. You have the ability to zoom the camera all the way in or all the way out, and the latter feels the way to play as the world and characters look detailed enough for this generation of consoles. When it is zoomed all the way in you can really notice how poor the graphics are, as can be seen in the following image. The newly recorded voice acting is also pretty nice.

I am sure to face the wrath of hardcore Titan Quest fans on the outcome of this review, but I am sorry to say that the game really shows its age. To give it some positives it is a faithfully remastered version of the original game, that I am sure will be loved by fans of the original. Perhaps if the controls and combat had been updated along with the graphics then the outcome might be different for newcomers, but unfortunately Titan Quest is ruined by these basics. Casual gamers picking this up will probably also give up quite easily and return to the more polished modern RPG’s. Definitely one for the true fans.

Thanks to THQ Nordic and Black Forest Games for supporting TiX!

This Is The Police 2 coming to Consoles in 2018

One of the first games I reviewed for TiX was This Is The Police. Although it’s fair to say that i wasn’t totally enamoured with it, the police management game received a lot of love elsewhere, and the sequel is now announced for Xbox One, PS4, Switch and PC later in 2018. As long as they keep the awesome voice work and vary the gameplay then it’s definitely one to watch!

Welcome to Sharpwood, a remote border town in the north. It’s a rough, cold place, where inhabitants know their neighbors by name and faithfully keep to their traditions, no matter how barbaric those traditions might be. Smugglers, gangs and screaming populists have made this town their home. Despair grows like a cancer, hand in hand with violence.

It’s a hell of a job for the new sheriff, Lilly Reed (voiced by Sarah Hamilton, of the celebrated adventure saga The Longest Journey). She has to maintain order and peace even though her subordinates are uncouth men who aren’t used to receiving commands from a young woman. But everything changes when a mysterious stranger calling himself Warren Nash appears in Sharpwood. And no one knows what he’ll bring to the town: salvation or perdition.

Just like the first game, This Is the Police 2 is a mixture of adventure and management genres, and this time it enjoys further unexpected mechanics that will strengthen both the strategic and tactical parts of the game. It won’t be enough just managing the equipment of your policemen and keeping in mind their individual skills. Every challenge requires the player’s direct participation, and the outcomes will depend on every decision you make. Now your subordinates aren’t just some resource; they are living people with their own strengths, weaknesses, fears and prejudices, and you’ll have to reckon with all these things in order to survive.

Rad Rodgers rushes to Xbox One and PS4 on February 21st

Developer Slipgate Studios and Publisher THQ Nordic have announced that Rad Rodgers is heading for an Xbox One and PS4 release on February 21st for the low price of £16.99. The Kickstarter financed game brings back the 90’s-era PC platformer with a game inspired by classics like Commander Keen, Conker, Ruff’n’Tumble & Jazz Jackrabbit.

Rad is a rambunctious but spirited young boy who maybe plays too many video games. After dozing off at the tail end of a long night of gaming, Rad awakens to find his dusty old console has turned itself back on. Suddenly a vortex emerges and he’s sucked into his TV, where he finds himself the star in his very own video game adventure. Dusty is Rad’s good-hearted but foul-mouthed, now-sentient game console. His clock speed isn’t what it used to be, but what he lacks for in megahertz he makes up for with experience and attitude!

Rad & Dusty’s adventure begins in the First World, taking them through seven dangerous stages of action-packed, humor-filled, hardcore platforming fun. This decaying jungle world has been infected by a fierce corruption, and it’s up to the unlikely buddy-duo Rad and Dusty to save the jungle’s inhabitants and restore the Elder Tree as guardian of the land.

Weapons – Dusty arms Rad with a variety of radical bad-ass weaponry. The Bolt Blaster has unlimited ammo, is easy to use, and more than enough firepower to get the job done. The Phoenix Cannon shoots out a fiery bird whose wingspan lights enemies ablaze as it flies by. There are 5+ weapons in this first chapter, with more to come.
Sounds & Music –  Our composer Andrew Hulshult combined his years of musical experience (both performing and writing) with his passion for retro-style gaming to create an amazing and authentic soundtrack for the game complete with MIDI-inspired music… And synthesizers!
The Pixelverse – While Rad and Dusty are a great team, only Dusty can enter the electrified Pixelverse — a dangerous spacetime-breaking region that exists behind the game world. Dusty enters the Pixelverse when necessary to repair glitches in the running game world, allowing both Rad & Dusty to continue their journey.
Classic Easter Eggs – The game features hard-to-find collectibles in sometimes even harder-to-find classic secret rooms. Use your precision platforming skills to collect ’em all.

De Blob review

De Blob has been out for quite a number of years now, first appearing on the Nintendo Wii in 2008 De Blob has now reached a wider market and is taking a seat amongst the great on both Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Developed by Blue Tongue Entertainment and Blitworks, De Blob is a story of good against evil, The evil INKT Corporation has declared ‘Color is a Crime!’ and leeched Chroma City of all its beauty and interest. The race to rescue Chroma City has just begun, and only De Blob can save the world from a black-and-white future with his unique abilities to colour the world back to life.

De Blob is suitable for anyone that can lift a controller and use it, it’s a very simple game with simple goals, however, it is an amazing bit of fun. Now I’m the first to admit that I can act like a child, but can I see a game through the eyes of one without putting my grownup head on? I doubt it. To see De Blob from as many angles as I could, I recruited my sons to play the game and review it. My eldest is eleven years old and plays a wide range of games, so here’s a De Blob review through the eyes of a child:

De Blob is a third-person platformer arranged around the theme of painting and mixing colours. De Blob is a friendly character in Chroma city, however, the INKT Corporation has turned the city from colourful, bright neon to a dull, dark and murky place by inking all of the buildings, landmarks and plants. It’s your job to make everything colourful and neon again. A simple tutorial teaches you how to combine colours and paint the world, with De Blob changing colour dispending on what he runs into, and needs to avoid running into ink.

The graphics are good considering its age. You transfer from city to city with the colours you chose. I didn’t like the music that plays during a mission, I was expecting music that reels you in and makes you want to do the missions, instead, it just irritated me.

In some games a slow start is often a side effect of a complex game slowly teaching you it’s mechanics, here, however, I found De Blob provided a quick tutorial and never really developed into anything more interesting or engaging than the simple elements it taught in the beginning. Saying that, I did enjoy playing the game with my younger brother and it’s a great family game to play when all of your family is bored. I will rate De Blob 7.5/10. I think the game is aimed at younger children as I got quite bored after a while doing the same thing over and over again.

So in a roundabout way, I think he liked it, for a short time anyway, I certainly did enjoy playing De Blob but like Alfie said it didn’t grab you long enough to want to play it for any length of time. The controls were simple, however, the camera did you no favours as it didn’t follow you, and at times just made controlling De Blob a bit of a dizzy nightmare. My youngest son however, who is six, thoroughly enjoyed it, to the point where he was playing nothing else. Graphically De Blob is basic and serves its purpose but generally, I think it was probably best leaving a game released in 2008 right where it belonged, because there are plenty of games on the market that appeal to the younger gamer and De Blob could easily be overlooked.

Thanks to Xbox and THQ Nordic for supporting TiX

We Sing Pop review

I do consider myself to be a massive music geek, I play the guitar and I have created some of my own tunes over the years and reached the dizzy heights of actually having a tune played on the radio, granted it was BBC introducing but I’m still quite proud of it. With that said though I can’t sing a note but I jumped at the chance of reviewing We Sing Pop!

This game type has been around for some time now and proved to be quite popular in its early years. We Sing has been around since the start, flexing its karaoke muscles across multiple platforms and turning ordinary people into living room superstars. We Sing games are a great hit at parties, with the multiplayer element mixed with a drink or two – everyone is guaranteed to have fun. Where does We Sing Pop stand amongst all that though? Is it a game for a gamer or just a party activity? Let’s see.

We Sing Pop (which I keep calling Let’s Sing for some reason) provides you with the chance to sing to 30 different songs from a wide range of genres and artists spanning the last 30 years or so. There is a good range of tunes that everyone will be able to enjoy from Coldplay and Meghan Trainor to Wham! and Freddie Mercury. They have “I Want to Break Free” on the list but credit it to Freddie alone, maybe that’s a licensing thing but it did feel a bit wronged, it may have been a mistake, who knows…

I used my headset microphone but you can use the bespoke ones provided in the retail box version but I don’t suppose it makes much difference. In addition, you can use an app from your respective store, I had some problems with the app though as in I couldn’t use it at all. My phone is on the same network as my Xbox and the app is supposed to detect the game and connect automatically, well it didn’t… not even once. I suppose using your phone over a network as a mic wouldn’t be ideal anyway as the lag would be unbearable.

Speaking of lag and latency, just like every other game like this, it’s a serious issue. Developers have put settings in place so you can offset the sound with whats on the screen but these don’t really provide what is needed to get a smooth player experience. I have my Xbox over HDMI into a TV using Game mode, I have no issue with any other game but for some reason I just could not get rid of the latency on We Sing. I also have Rocksmith which I can pretty much nail the latency issue but We Sing proved to be very frustrating. The latency issue means that you’ll miss markers and get misses while trying to sing, meaning your score will suffer. If I’m doing something wrong then I’d love to know what it is but the latency issue really put a downer on the whole experience.

The interface and layout is very user-friendly and anyone can navigate where they need to go easily and quickly. It’s pretty much a launch, select and sing game with no messing around (unless you have bad latency…alright alright I’ll leave it, calm down) meaning you can get into the singing pretty quickly. There are a few modes including solo and multiplayer modes that can support up to 4 singers.

The on-screen lyrics change colour when it’s time to sing and each song is set to its original music video which is a nice touch. Each phrase or word is represented by a shape on the screen giving you a clue how long to keep a note going, it also changes colour to indicate whether or not you have hit the mark or sang in tune. I do think you can pretty much say what you want into the mic to get the points, just as long as you sing in time you’ll be fine.

If you’re drunk or in your early teens – not drunk and in your early teens though – We Sing Pop is a great bit of fun, not to be taken very seriously. The latency issues won’t matter if you fit in either of those categories. I had fun with it just singing along not taking myself too seriously and confirming the fact I can’t sing at all. My son had a go and sang his heart out, he had loads of fun with it and I think he now fancies himself as a star. As long as you’re not expecting a game that will occupy you for hours on end, then We Sing Pop will meet your expectations as a party activity or just a bot of fun for the kids, nothing more.

Thanks to THQ Nordic and Xbox for supporting TiX

ELEX review

ELEX balances its shortcomings and successes to ultimately deliver an average RPG experience. However, developer Piranha Bytes has a particular charm that’s present here and may push it over the edge into a strong recommendation for those who’ve been impressed with the developer’s past titles. Indeed, It’s clunky, buggy and tremendously difficult, but a great story, varied and impressive looking environments, and that aforementioned charm certainly makes an impression.

ELEX places you in a post-apocalyptic, Earth-like world steeped in lore. The ruins of what we would recognise as modern buildings are scattered throughout the large playable area, which includes multiple biomes ranging from desert to snow and everything in-between. Meanwhile, futuristic and ancient technology harmoniously co-exists, alongside a form of magic, as different tribes of survivors either look to salvage and re-build, revert to more medieval traditions, or blend the two. It’s a remarkably well thought out and developed world with believable history and NPCs.

This wealth of culture and range of technology provides intriguing stories to follow, meaningful choices to make, and some excellent equipment and weapon load-outs to try. And indeed, the alien setting allows for exotic wildlife and enemies, as well as mutant humans effected by the cataclysm that destroyed the world. It’s a rich setting ideal for a RPG experience.

However, unfortunately there are several severe issues that mean to ruin the experience. Chief among these are the bugs and oddities, with mission markers not showing up on the map or showing up in the wrong place, events not triggering when they should, peculiar hitboxes making combat immensely unfair, and horrendous animations and clipping destroying immersion.

Yet despite things like the dead-eyed expressions on your character’s, as well as the NPC’s, faces, and the T-pose falling animations, enemies and the environment look stunning, the voice work has moments of greatness, and the story and detail of the lore is terrific. What it ultimately comes down to then is the combat.

Indeed, the combat in ELEX is in the traditional Piranha Bytes style: slow, realistic and tactical. Swinging a melee weapon, drawing a bow and aiming an energy rifle all feel natural yet painfully slow, and once you’ve committed to an action, it will follow through. There’s no move cancelling or supernaturally quick movement to be had here, it’s more grounded than that, despite the fantastical setting. Those familiar with Piranha Bytes’ Gothic and Risen titles will know the feel of combat and be able to adapt to the slower paced style more swiftly than others; focusing on movement, blocks and dodging, while managing just how many enemies you engage at once. It’s a highly satisfying system once you get to grips with it, and its ebb and flow is unique, but mistakes are fiercely punished and this can be hugely frustrating.

Another trait often found in Piranha Bytes RPGs is the impressive openness of the open-world, meaning you can freely explore and tackle the dangers of the land at your discretion. This too can be frustrating; it’s all too easy to wander into an area full of enemies significantly more powerful than you. Additionally, a lack of handholding means it’s very easy to wander from the critical path, and you can end up taking on side missions and getting caught up in the emergent gameplay to a degree that can make finding your way back tricky. These traits are part of what makes ELEX such an impressive RPG, but at the same time it feels inaccessible.

While ELEX is certainly not an RPG for everyone, its engrossing world and story make it an attractive title for those who enjoy the genre. However, the current bugs are frustrating at best and game breaking at worst, making it a patch or two away from a wholehearted recommendation.

Thanks to Xbox and THQ Nordic for supporting TiX

Sci-Fi fantasy title ELEX dated for Xbox

Elex

Who doesn’t love an open-world action-packed RPG epic? Well, apart from you, (you know who you are, and we’re watching), Piranha Bytes along with THQ Nordic love the genre. They’ve announced today, the release date and Collector’s Edition details for their next epic, ELEX.

So, what can you expect from ELEX (that’s the correct way to format it too, you appear to have to shout it)? Well, seeing as this comes from the creators of Risen and Gothic, you’re going to have to set your bar pretty high.

Higher than that.

That’ll do it.

ELEX is a hand-crafted action role-playing game that is set in a post-apocalyptic science-fantasy universe. A precious, limited resource has landed on the planet, crash landed actually, in the form of a meteor. This unleashes great power and opens the door to magic, with the ability to re-sculpt life into new forms. You’ll be able to choose a faction, pick a companion to influence the world with and then ponder the countless weapons and fighting styles you’ll have to choose from.

Grab a shotgun, lay your hands on a flamethrower, pick up a plasma rifle or be a little more basic with swords, axes and bows. The choice is all yours in this seamless open world full of mutated creatures, original characters, powerful action and not forgetting the deep moral choices. Every decision taken will hammer the future of the world in your game.

THQ Nordic aren’t content with merely announcing a release date, oh, no. You should know them better than that by now. They’ve also released details of the Collector’s Edition of ELEX and what you’ll be getting if you decide to go for it. Inside that Collector’s Edition, you’ll find:

  • A 10-inch high figurine of an Alb Mage
  • A 2-inch amulet in the form of a combat drone
  • A cloth map, showing the world of Magalan
  • The original game score on CD
  • An artbook
  • The game’s manual
  • Obviously, the game itself

More details will surely emerge on the price point for the Collector’s Edition of ELEX closer to the release date, which brings me neatly on to that subject.

ELEX is currenly looking at a release date of the 17th of October.

Here’s the cinematic trailer that accompanies this news. Enjoy.

THQ Nordic announce Darksiders III

Today, THQ Nordic announced that hack-n-slash action adventure Darksiders III is currently in development and is slated for release in 2018 on Xbox One.

As promised, we have taken our time to ensure that this next Darksiders will be everything action-adventure gamers and especially Darksiders loyalists could dream of and more,

said Lars Wingefors, Co-Founder and Group CEO, THQ Nordic AB.

The company also announced that it is working with the team at Gunfire Games, which is largely comprised of the original creators of the Darksiders franchise, on development of the long and highly-anticipated project.

The Gunfire team brings an intimate involvement with every aspect of the Darksiders franchise since its inception,

said Reinhard Pollice, Director of Business and Product Development, THQ Nordic.

There is simply no team better qualified to create Darksiders III, beginning with our unpredictable and enigmatic hero FURY – a mage who is considered the most powerful of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse!