ESH | Atelier Firis Review

Alchemy has always seemed like one of those con­cepts that trans­fers into the world of RPGs per­fectly. Gath­er­ing resources and turn­ing them into equip­ment, med­i­cine and other use­ful items is a per­fect fit for both the game­play and fan­tas­ti­cal set­tings of these games. The Ate­lier series has been around for quite a while prov­ing this con­cept with some fun and cre­ative JRPGs. I per­son­ally hadn’t played any of the pre­vi­ous entries in the series before, but as a player who has par­taken in many through the years, I was excited to give this series a try. Ate­lier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mys­te­ri­ous Jour­ney cer­tainly has a lot going on, with sev­eral very inter­est­ing qual­i­ties I haven’t seen else­where, but isn’t par­tic­u­larly friendly to new players.

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ESH | Omnidirectional Fun in ‘Attack on Titan’

Turn­ing any kind of licensed series into a video game always seems like a ver­i­ta­ble mine­field of expec­ta­tions from both fans and license hold­ers. Land­ing that per­fect bal­ance isn’t impos­si­ble, but it’s usu­ally the excep­tion and not the rule. Since it first hit my radar, Attack on Titan has always seemed like it would be a per­fect fit for the trans­la­tion into a video game. The Omni­di­rec­tional Gear of the the show looked like a ton of fun to blast around a world and slice the napes of some giant’s necks. There have been some unsuc­cess­ful attempts prior to Koei Tecmo’s Attack on Titan game, but finally the series has been done jus­tice and there is a fun game set in the uni­verse of the acclaimed anime series.

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ESH | ‘SEUM’ Takes You to Hell and Back

Never in my life have I been more con­cerned with the latency on my wire­less key­board since I started play­ing SEUM: Speedrun­ners from Hell. Tak­ing first-person puz­zle solv­ing and ramp­ing up the speed to the max, this speedrun­ning game imme­di­ately drew me in with its sense of humor and fun design. Span­ning around one hun­dred lev­els, the game gets pro­gres­sively harder as you descend deeper into its depths. Come on a jour­ney to hell with me and help me fig­ure out if the insane tough­ness of those later lev­els crushes the game’s pac­ing or sim­ply changes its nature.

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Smashed Rook Live | SEUM: Speedrunners from Hell

Come join me for the open­ing lev­els of this fast, fran­tic, funny and speed run­ning game where you need to find por­tals and beers. I’m lov­ing the rock­ing sound­track and very ran­dom humor so far! Check it out and let me know what you think!

ESH | République Marries Stealth and Story

Audio logs can be a great way to fit some extra nar­ra­tive con­tent into any video game, but it seems like the use of this mech­a­nism has been in decline lately. This is a prob­lem that République has aimed to solve and then some. Intro­duc­ing an intrigu­ing nar­ra­tive and fill­ing the story with some truly inter­est­ing char­ac­ters, République takes a unique spin on stealth and adven­ture games. Deliv­er­ing one of the biggest gut-punching moments in recent gam­ing mem­ory, this is one episodic stealth game you’ll want to check out.

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ESH | The Guest Checks You Into a Hotel of Puzzles

Puz­zle enthu­si­asts have recently been treated to a plethora of real life escape rooms meant to test their problem-solving prowess. Video games have been explor­ing this con­cept for a while, but the time­li­ness of the release of the first-person explo­ration game The Guest has put a spot­light on how well-executed games can be almost as good as the real thing. Suc­cess­fully tow­ing the line with the dif­fi­culty of its puz­zles, The Guest is a solid first-person expe­ri­ence with a slightly bizarre story.

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ESH | Disco Dodgeball Brings Dodgeball Back to Gaming

Not only a mouth­ful, Robot Roller-Derby Disco Dodge­ball is an amaz­ing Early-Access mul­ti­player expe­ri­ence. I have not, in a long time, got­ten that sucked into play­ing match after match of any com­pet­i­tive mul­ti­player game. With fist-pumping music, diverse match types and psy­che­delic visu­als, this is one of the most promis­ing games to enter the Early Access program.

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ESH | Pros and Cons: Achievement Systems

When the Xbox 360 launched back in 2005, they intro­duced a fea­ture that would for­ever change gam­ing: Achieve­ments. Since then, there have been strong and vary­ing opin­ions on the impli­ca­tions of this fea­ture. Some com­pa­nies have gone on to copy the fea­ture, while oth­ers have pur­posely avoided imple­ment­ing some­thing like it. Valve’s Steam ser­vice, while it has an achieve­ment sys­tem of its own, has recently imple­mented a brand new fea­ture that some are say­ing is the future of gam­ing achieve­ments. With Trad­ing Cards enter­ing the fray, I wanted to take a sec­ond and look at the pros and cons of each strat­egy that has been tried thus far.

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ESH E3 2013 | Magic 2014 Ignites Your Spark with New Features

This year the pre­miere fan­tasy trad­ing card game, I’m of course talk­ing about Magic: The Gath­er­ing, invites you to “ignite your spark” with the lat­est ver­sion of their dig­i­tal game Magic: The Gath­er­ing — Duels of the Planeswalk­ers 2014. The game fea­tures a slew of new fea­tures and improve­ments over pre­vi­ous entries and an even more excit­ing story to fol­low. With new modes, cards and plat­forms to play on, this is one you’re not going to want to miss.

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ESH E3 2013 | “How to Survive” Puts the Survival Back In Horror

Sur­viv­ing the zom­bie apoc­a­lypse seems to be some­thing that is on a lot of people’s minds. Even in video games, it seems like there are quite a few titles that mainly focus on stay­ing alive after the undead take over the Earth. Most of the time, the focus of this is mak­ing sure you’ve got the wares to be able to pro­tect your­self from the masses of ghouls. While this is cer­tainly impor­tant, there is one part that I feel is often over­looked: your basic sur­vival needs. This is a fact that How to Sur­vive takes into account to pro­vide you with a more immer­sive zom­bie sur­vival experience.

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