Recently PlayStation Network had a massive sale on various titles including Rainbow Moon and I took this as an opportunity to check out a unique looking turn-based SRPG (strategy role playing game) which I normally might not have given a chance to. I selected hard mode and an adventurous start, which in this game means you literally embark on a new world with no items other than the most basic sword to begin with. The resulting hours of gameplay were fascinating and left me wondering why I haven’t heard more about this game before.
Live Action Announcement Trailer of Deception IV: The Nightmare Princess.
Genre(s): Action game, Strategy RPG
Platform(s): PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita
Publisher(s): Tecmo Koei
Developer(s): Tecmo Koei
Release Date (NA): July 14th, 2015
Editor’s Note: RealGamerNewZ has moved web servers, some older posts can no longer be commented on and have been preserved without their images. Thank you for your understanding in this matter. This article was written by Louis Thompson on 20150430 and was last modified on 20150430 .
For the 20th anniversary of the Heroes of Might & Magic franchise, we present to you the Heroes of Might & Magic III – HD Edition Steam Review. Before we begin, a brief history of the path this game has walked to arrive in front of you here today. Might & Magic began as a video game for the Apple II personal computer and eventually made its way to many other platforms including the Commodore 64, TurboGrafx-16 CD (in Japan), and eventually even the Nintendo NES. The game was one of the most early role playing games to emerge in the industry and was mostly created by one person, Jon Van Caneghem. Knights, Clerics, Robbers, Sorcerers, Paladins, and Archers are created with tracked statistics that evolve over time, similar to a Dungeons & Dragons system.
After helping to give birth to RPG elements in the video game scene (alongside other emerging titles in the genre), the series went on to merit many sequels including the series Heroes of Might & Magic which first arrived in 1995 presenting the Strategy portion of the SRPG formula we see in the series, but many board games for tabletop setting, books, and other games were also created within the over-arching franchise of Might & Magic. Heroes of Might & Magic itself shares a bit of a series fatigue when part four hit since too much of the original formula was changed, and although later games got decent reception it was at this point that the original development studio New World Computing began to lose control of the project. Nival Interactive developed the fifth title in 2006 under publisher Ubisoft since they had purchased the rights for 1.3 million dollars from now defunct publisher The 3DO Company.
It later became revealed that the original creator Jon Van Caneghem had wanted to work on an online MMO version of the game but 3DO had decided to make 3 PlayStation 2 games for the franchise instead since they argued it would cost the same amount to develop and probably had shaky faith in the still very early MMORPG scene which existed at the time. Ubisoft has managed to maintain the good name and reputation of the series under their ownership, but just barely. Their online only DRM had been featured on some of the games, which players reacted to extremely poorly, and under their publishing house the series has suffered many more bugs than previously seen in the franchise. Eventually the series began to reach a franchise fatigue from Ubisoft’s handling but it has been given some time to rest and lay dormant as Ubisoft plan to publish an upcoming 7th entry called Might & Magic Heroes VII which we will reserve judgement for until release.
So there you have it, Heroes of Might & Magic III – HD Edition is the result of a long road for a tired, but wise and well respected franchise who has walked over many mountains, through many publishing and development studios, and many various platforms to reach you here today on Steam in its Remastered glory.
As far as gameplay for those who aren’t already familiar with the series. I will go into a few of the details here and let you get the main feel for the game. This is one of the quintessential Strategy RPGs of all time and forever changed the game asserting itself as a legendary name in the genre. Based on a heavy amount of lore and background universe that gamers still have strong feelings for, Heroes of Might & Magic III – HD Edition consists of exploring dungeons, completing quests, coming across treasures, and a lot of the main fodder found in today’s SRPGs (of course). What really makes this game solid is the very well thought out and intricate leveling and skill systems that players can master.
Battles take place on a grid and players can only move a certain amount of spaces each turn. Once each unit on the battlefield has been given a command then the enemy is allowed to take a turn and will also move and attack with their units on the field. Statistically tracked attributes for each character are the main focus that the gameplay revolves around. Throughout the game there are cities and kingdoms which can be visited. Some of these are evil places and others are considered good or neutral. Due to the missing expansion packs in this remaster, there are also missing cities and kingdoms, including neutral ones which had units to be recruited. There also appears to be some missing from the vanilla game for some reason with no real mention for these omissions in the marketing of this game. Players also travel between underground and above ground layers as well as discover artifacts across the gameworld. Overall, this game captures the feel of the old world and brings a lot of interesting lore for gamers to check out again as we all ponder the historical truth about reptilian-humanoid beings and other mythical creatures who star in the game.
It must be mentioned again that there is DLC to the original game which is not included in this Remastered edition. The story with that is the original developer supposedly lost track of the source code and therefore those will not be released at this time. Hopefully that doesn’t mean forever doomed to be excluded from the HD Edition, but currently that appears to be the situation. There are still 7 campaigns contained in the game with battles taking place on 50 skirmish maps.
The game looks very retro still, even with updated sprites, but runs great full-screen or even windowed so you can play while you work. Over 30 artists have spent a year contributing works to the title, but the actual environments and back drops in the game remain unchanged, so this has little to no noticeable effect for the modern user. Let’s be honest, this game’s visuals were already very well crafted and are probably some of the best pieces of Pixel Art ever done. It’s probably not easy trying to update something like that.
What DotEmu has drawn will be a nice touch though for returning fans of the franchise, and definitely was necessary for people in the mainstream market picking this up for the first time. It’s just that this is the minimal standard, not the full deluxe package, when it comes to Remasters. And, although the game looks great how it is, this is met with tons of valid criticism from gamers who would rather just buy the original which is still available digitally from Ubisoft through other non-Steam marketplaces. As some one who mainly uses Steam though, I can understand how many PC Gamers still simply refuse to do business outside of Steam.
Some of the actual benefits for those on the fence include Steam Achievements. There’s also new updates to the online multiplayer mode which now uses Steamworks, but the experience is horrible at this time and needs further patching. Luckily, this game has never been about the online, and the single player gameplay is left in its classic state so we won’t be punishing the game too much for that. If you really want to play online with folks, this is not the game to be doing it in anyways. Heroes of Might & Magic III is all about that statistical grind, immersion in a barbaric world of swords and daggers, magic and mayhem.
While this is supposed to be a serious entry in the Ubisoft portfolio paying tribute to a classic series, it ends up just being a decent purchase for newcomers and that’s about it. This release is getting treated as a slap in the face to fans by some of the most vocal PC Gamers in the press, and in a lot of ways this is justified because of the availability of the original and the lack of updates in this Remaster. That being said, reviews are perhaps going a bit too far with this. Heroes of Might & Magic III – HD Edition is a solid and stable application giving my Steam account a piece of history that it previously did not have. To me, that’s something. Heroes of Might & Magic within its own right provides a masterpiece classic experience for the Strategy Role Playing Game genre and this Remaster doesn’t hinder that experience in any way.
Overall Score: 7 / 10
RGN Rating : Bronze Game
Original Developer: New World Computing
Remaster Developer: DotEmu
Publisher: Ubisoft Entertainment
*(Does not require UPlay DRM, or this would be a very different review)
Review Copy Info: A digital copy of this game was provided to RealGamerNewz by the publisher for the purpose of this Review.
Editor’s Note: RealGamerNewZ has moved web servers, some older posts can no longer be commented on and have been preserved without their images. Thank you for your understanding in this matter. This article was written by Jon Ireson on 20150213 and was last modified on 20150213 .
Transistor for the Windows PC and Sony PlayStation 4 is a Action Strategy RPG the likes of which has never quite been seen before.
In a digital world called Cloudbank where digital souls, and digital people, exist as functions, and concepts are similar to programming language terms. A female protagonist named Red is presented at the center stage of all combat and cinematic aspects of the game. Red is a rebellious and righteous singer well known among the people of Cloudbank and has voice stolen.
In this game other characters included are the Camerata organization (possible Illuminata reference; i.e. Illuminati Corp), representing intriguing and shadowy top level organizations in general. In this game a series of events leads the entire Cloundbank citizenry to being held hostage in a digital manner with the Transistor linked to it all as well. There’s a process unexplained outbreak causing mass relocation efforts that causes a further chain of events to occur and generates the enemies Red faces along the way.
To prevent spoilers that’s all we’ll say about that, but further details can be uncovered through various ‘playthroughs’ of the title, which is another great boost in replay value for the game. Combat is discussed later in the Gameplay Section of this Review and is the core of this title alongside its unique look discussed below.
In Transistor, dialogue is like whispers in the wind. Noir themes are mixed with colorful graphics and a heartfelt, albeit unusual story line. Music is incredible and has a great variety of modern techno sound effects mixed into real live instruments; percussion and otherwise, with late-game levels even sounding something like Diablo mixed with an upbeat house flavor.
In the long run, the story ends up as twisting and turning as any plot that provokes the mind despite taking place in a fictional and new setting. Social topics of the futuristic society we live in today are addressed by the stories of Cloundbank and the events that unfold throughout the game. What starts out with questions eventually leads to a bigger picture understanding of the way life is in Cloundbank.
Levels are beautifully crafted with tricky camera angles that give pleasure to the mind while playing. While mostly linear, Transistor presents optional side passageways which lead to new paths and different challenges – making grinding essentially optional to some extent. There’s also an optional “backdoor” every once in a while that leads back to Red’s sanctuary. This is also a place where many ‘side-quest’ style content remains dormant and waiting for players such as Speed Trials.
Transistor is not an RPG in the way that random battles occur everywhere you turn but instead is an RPG in the fact that it has a very systematic battle, character, upgrade, and turn systems which players utilize in entire battles that must be survived. Every time a player dies, they don’t die. They lose one of their Functions and once a certain amount of Functions are lost, it sometimes becomes pretty clear that death is coming – so a player can either restart the battle or keep going until death, at either of which point the last save file is called upon.
A few times I managed to walk off the victor in battles I was losing and without some of my Functions until I reached one or more Access Points (the spots where you switch up functions and save the game). As players go from scene to scene, there is pretty much an Access Point after every battle. This is actually very nice in that every battle is treated as 1 room faced after another. Theoretically, there’s never going to be a point where you lost progress because you forgot to save thanks to a well thought-out level design like this. It allows the player to focus on the game’s intriguing story and best of all – the strategy and tactics of each battle or “room” at hand. Be careful losing those Functions though and allowing yourself imperfect battle completions, because facing off boss battles without the right Functions could be difficult.
Each function also tells players more about the characters and the world around you as they are derived from subjects. Battle system descriptions and highlights are presented as well as upgrade details. Battle becomes more and more strategic at a certain point after starting off more tactical and action-oriented.
Combining Functions through use of the game’s slots system provides better moves and custom attacks. Having these attacks and deciding which to bring into battle greatly expands Gameplay, but that’s just the beginning. Mastering which upgrades, passive, and active slots work best for any give play-style is a huge replay value extender and keeps the game feeling fresh throughout.
During Turn() (the turn-based part of the game initiated manually) players plan out moves while time is frozen and then watch Red perform them in real-time. players also have the ability to use moves in action while waiting for a gauge to recharge on this main ability.
Real time attacks are also important and each move can be used outside of the timeline planning as well such as to prevent cells from spawning new enemies after a cell just came out of an enemy you defeated (or in some cases, tons of cells from one mini-boss as seen in our Video Review below this section). Moves are custom mapped on the controller to the X, Square, Circle, and Triangle buttons.
Different enemies are stronger or weaker against various attacks – such as getting hit from behind or being shocked with electric moves. enemies are more and more leveled up as you go acquiring different attributes which means the player must switch up tactics in order to kill efficiently. The enemies also gain new abilities and sometimes level-specific scripted events that the player cannot reproduce. The challenge is always possible to overcome and although enemies team up together players who seek out weak points in these alliances will be able to destroy everything in their path. Some enemies are temporarily protected for a variety of reasons which require players to move intelligently or cloak themselves.
Remember, you’re in a digital world filled with operators that send packets which spawn cells, where enemies can sometimes become cells that respawn if not taken out keeping the player briskly moving from turn to turn, and backup comes in the form of Cheerleaders, Snapshots, and much more. Losing functions in battle and loading up backup ones becomes an issue when facing opponents that are new to the player due to the learning curve of each enemy unit. Earning more moves which themselves upgrade and expand on abilities is another mechanic in play.
Players must choose which upgrades to accept and pick above the rest each time they level up. Permissions and passive slots are earned through time are presented as upgrades. Each attack move can have up to 2 passive effects on it at a time generated by placing functions into secondary slots. This can produce various combinations on both attacks and also the experience of using Turn(). Taking each turn will allow players more time to do so, quicker, and more defensive / resistant attributes while in turn mode thanks to using passive slot abilities of functions like Crash().
Process limiters make the game harder in exchange for allowing players to receive a huge bonus in the power of their character. For example, players can control whether or not the shielded cells spawn after a kill and will receive less or more of a User Level bonus as they go forwards based on this. It’s recommended highly to use these limiters though, because the game is actually easier with them on since the player gets a huge boost in their abilities based on the Player Level Bonus granted. The action on-screen that becomes exponentially more intense is still easier dealt with using high level tools that the Limiters provide more ease of access too.
One thing about this game is that Transistor has more interactive environments than expected which helps add to the feel of something fresh always within grasp during gameplay and interim moments (for tweaking upgrades and doing trials).
Heavily based on Strategy with the bonus cinematic quality and gameplay experience of an Action title, Transistor has time to laugh at itself too. When players are planning out a Turn() they can sometimes achieve ‘Overkill’ status and are met with warning messages in the turn-based readouts such as “You’re mean.” and “Do you even read?”. Strategically using overkill planned moves can waste essential time per Turn(), however a few common enemies tend to shift and the position shifts are not always flawlessly predicted by design, to add to the dynamic aspect of battle.
Video Review w/ HD Gameplay:
*Click on the Gear, then Select 1080P HD for Optimal Viewing
REPLAY VALUE: EXCELLENT – Tests / Trials, Trophies, New Game Plus!!!! After beating Transistor and loading into the game at a later time, players are greeted with the following challenge – “You will restart the story, retaining your User Level and Functions. The Process will respond in kind. Begin Recursion?” informing an increased difficulty experience while players are also being given the opportunity to continue unlocking and mastering various Limiters, Processes, and otherwise ‘gear’.
While easily praised for its original graphics and rich strategic blend of action / turn based gameplay with heavy rpg elements, Transistor really takes players for a ride with its story-line. While at first a bit mysterious and strange to get used to, players spend time figuring out how all of these digital tech terms fit into the game’s world and at the same time a larger picture is beginning to unravel. Sort of like solving a mystery, bit by bit the reality of this world is fused together by the path of battle and reflection between the protagonist Red and her companion. With plenty of replay value and deep systematic design to master, there’s no shortage of reasons why this game is good.
Transistor could be seen as a metaphor for the changes the world has been seeing in regard to the Internet and how various groups in power feel it should be used. For that matter, Transistor’s plot could even expand beyond that and be used as a message about society’s changes overall and serves as a warning that there are those who would like to stop these changes dead in their tracks and replace our reality of a living, evolving society with their own images of what society should be like. Transistor gets a 10 out of 10 from RealGamerNewz and is rated an RGN Platinum Game.
Overall Score: 10 / 10
RGN Rating: Platinum Game
Publisher / Developer: Supergiant Games
Available On: PC | PS4
Played On: Sony PlayStation 4
Review Copy Info: A digital copy of this game was purchased by RealGamerNewz for the purpose of this Review.
Editor’s Note: RealGamerNewZ has moved web servers, some older posts can no longer be commented on and have been preserved without their images. Thank you for your understanding in this matter. This article was written by Jon Ireson on 20140528 and was last modified on 20140528 .
**UPDATE** The game has also been announced to have a release date in Europe and North America during 2014 at some point, most likely Early 2014.
The Strategy RPG from Tecmo Koei was detailed recently in anticipation for its expected release date of February 27, 2014 for PlayStation 3 and PS Vita in Japan. TheVitaLounge reports that Siliconera and Famitsu have dropped the bomb on the world that players will finally be able to set more than three traps (a first for the series) and the names of the 3 ‘psychic’ mediums in the game “the magnificent Kaelia, Lilia of humiliation, andVerza of cruelty”. The game will feature a plot based off of a rescue plan for the ‘decendants of the saints‘.
[Source: Siloconera + Famitsu via TheVitaLounge]
Editor’s Note: RealGamerNewZ has moved web servers, some older posts can no longer be commented on and have been preserved without their images. Thank you for your understanding in this matter. This article was written by Mitch Walters on 20131023 and was last modified on 20131026 .
For those who are looking for a next-generation Strategy RPG experience on the PlayStation 4, Natural Doctrine will be released for PS4 as well as PS3, and PlayStation Vita this February by publisher Kadokawa Games. Fear not English-speaking gamers, there is still hope that a North American and / or European release could be announced, though none has surfaced at this time.
However, If you are really hard pressed on the gameplay aspects of this single / multiplayer experience you can even import it. PlayAsia opened up their line for importing / exporting of the PlayStation Vita version today listing a February 22, 2014 release date and since Vita games are region-free this will be playable on your Vita no matter which region you live in. Check out the PlayAsia Listing Here and take a look at the Official Trailer in High Definition below.
Editor’s Note: RealGamerNewZ has moved web servers, some older posts can no longer be commented on and have been preserved without their images. Thank you for your understanding in this matter. This article was written by Jon Ireson on 20130930 and was last modified on 20130930 .