Azure Striker: Gunvolt Review

In Azure Striker: Gunvolt, you charge through a series of missions in the order of your choosing within a colorful 2D world, contending with pitfalls and robo-fodder until you engage in a boss battle confined to a single screen arena, and if you’re successful, you’re rewarded with a new type of gun. So, yes, it shares a few things in common with Mega Man. But, what I’ve just described is in effect an armature, a skeleton, and the game that’s designed around it, which forms its own identity through experimental mechanics and an electric, eye-catching presentation, is a fast-paced ride and a fantastic side-scrolling action experience. Although the main mission path isn’t difficult to finish, completing Gunvolt’s optional trials and seeing everything through to the end will challenge and please even the most hardened veteran looking for a fresh, Mega Man-like experience.

The story behind young Gunvolt’s charge takes cues from X-Men’s cautionary tale of mutant discrimination and Final Fantasy VII’s energy-monopolizing megacorporation, Shinra Electric Power Company. Sumeragi, an ancient order that’s seized control of the world’s energy supply, is using captive adepts–people with special powers who were once feared by humanity–to control its slice of the economy. Gunvolt’s an adept with the ability to control electricity, and before being rescued and initiated the ranks of the resistance group, QUILL, he was one of Sumeragi’s prisoners. The story definitely takes a backseat to the action, but with self-aware writing and an array of strong personalities, you’ll get a kick out of the game’s story sequences even if it doesn’t grip you on an emotional level.

Gunvolt comes from Inti Creates, a team with twelve years of Mega Man games under its belt, so it’s not surprising that a gun is central to the action in Gunvolt. Thankfully, the flow of action deviates from your traditional run-and-gun side-scroller, which is a pleasant surprise given that you still, for the most part, run to the right while firing a pistol. Rather than firing bullets in the traditional sense, your sidearm shoots metallic tags that allow the lightning from Gunvolt’s spherical Flashfield to arc across the screen and inflict damage. Since you’ll drain your fuel reserves–known as EP–after a few seconds, you can’t keep it activated indefinitely. Deplete your EP meter and you’ll overheat, which delays the amount of time before the auto-recharge effect kicks in. You have the ability to recharge it on the fly by double tapping the directional pad, but only if the field is disabled and you haven’t already overheated. During a frantic barrage of incoming fire, this is easier said than done.Quickly and cleanly soaring through missions while managing your EP levels is a dance that takes time to master, but every little bit of progress pays off in the rankings and rewards you receive at the end of each mission. The ranking you receive, in addition to the number of collectible medallions you find during each mission, give you chances to reveal squares on a grid representing different materials at the end of a level, though you only get to walk away with one per mission. These materials are used to synthesize new equipment that alter Gunvolt’s movement abilities and EP expenditure, and as you progress, taking advantage of these possibilities make Gunvolt a more adept soldier, and the hunt for higher rankings that much more enjoyable.
Quickly and cleanly soaring through missions while managing your EP levels is a dance that takes time to master…

Though you earn a new type of pistol for each boss you defeat, new weapons simply introduce new paths for your tag bullets or increase the number of tags that you can interact with at a given time. There’s room to master the intricacies of each, but you’re better off focusing on improving the speed of your game and the destructiveness of your Flashfield. By stringing together consecutive attacks on enemies without taking damage, the amount of experience you earn increases. The faster you level up, the sooner you unlock new offensive or recovery skills that become critical tools during more challenging boss battles. They’re often powerful, with some capable of fully recharging your health or cutting a boss’s health in half, but with only three, slowly recharging skill points to spend at any given time, it’s impossible to abuse the more powerful skills that eat up two points at once. If you need some extra help, however, there’s an optional roll-of-the-dice that you can initiate between levels that gives you the chance for a one time revival upon death during your next outing, which also gives Gunvolt an EP meter that never drains and a mid-air jump that never tires.Gunvolt can be challenging at times, but these moments are limited to endgame boss battles and optional skill trials, the latter of which are necessary for obtaining some of the rarer synth materials. Some early trials are a walk in the park, but the challenges that follow are incredibly demanding, and one slip up can make the difference between a successful or failed attempt. Playing with the equipment and crafting system can make things easier, but you quickly find that completing challenges, more than the main mission path, is the ultimate sign of mastering Gunvolt’s abilities.

It’s enjoyable to be able to breeze through the main game while learning how to wield Gunvolt’s abilities with newfound confidence, but considering that most levels can be completed in about ten minutes, and there are just over ten to explore, it’s also a bit deflating when the game runs out of new things for you to see. The challenges and the hunt for hidden items are worthwhile endeavors that will encourage you to play for a few additional hours, but you’re still repeatedly retracing your steps, and this is Gunvolt’s only downfall. That’s not to say you won’t find yourself going back in for just one more run, but this take on the core Mega Man formula ultimately runs out of new scenarios quicker than it deserves to given how exciting and fun it is to play.

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Rust Creator on Minecraft Sale: “I’d Have Done the Same Thing”

In the wake of Mojang’s sale to Microsoft for $2.5 billion, some have criticized Minecraft creator Markus “Notch” Persson for “selling out.” Facepunch Studios founder Garry Newman says he would have done the same thing in that position, and not just because it would mean becoming fabulously rich.

“Once you start hiring people your whole attitude changes,” reads a blog post by Newman, who is best known for Rust and Garry’s Mod. “You’re not just fing about with your life anymore.. you’re fing about with other people’s lives–and the lives of their families. You can’t just sell out and f*** everyone over.”

“… it really isn’t in [Microsoft's] favor to pay a sload of money for it and then completely f it up” — Garry Newman

“Companies like Blitz that go bust, don’t pay people what they were owed, let 175 staff go, then started up under another name almost straight away,” he continued, referencing last year’s closure of Blitz Games Studios. “Those are the guys you don’t want to be. I am sure more than the top guys at Mojang became very financially rich due to this deal and that’s something that should be admired–not seen as a bad thing.”Were Newman put in the same position as Persson, things wouldn’t have gone differently. “Long story short. I’d have done the same thing,” Newman said. “The money is enough to very much take care of all the staff. The game is in relatively safe hands. Mojang’s legacy is as a huge success story instead of a one-hit wonder. Everyone wins. Can you seriously say you’d have done it differently?”In addition to the criticism over Persson’s decision, some have openly wondered whether Microsoft is poised to now ruin Minecraft. Newman says this is “debatable,” making a salient point: “I’m sure Microsoft didn’t just buy it because they’re struggling desperately to stay relevant and some of their kids play it a lot. But even if they did it really isn’t in their favor to pay a sload of money for it and then completely f it up. That wouldn’t make any sense.”We don’t yet know exactly what Microsoft’s plans for Minecraft are, though we do know it doesn’t plan on pulling it from competing platforms like iOS and PlayStation.Yesterday’s news that Microsoft was acquiring Mojang sparked a great deal of discussion in the games industry, some of which we’ve collected for you here. For more, check out GameSpot editor Rob Crossley’s thoughts on the deal.For all of GameSpot’s news coverage, check out our hub. Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.comFiled under:Minecraft Written By

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Xbox One Exclusive Scalebound Is Unlike Anything the Bayonetta Studio Has Made Before

Scalebound, the upcoming Xbox One exclusive from Bayonetta and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance developer Platinum Games, is unlike anything the studio has made before. That’s according to director Hideki Kamiya, who says in a new interview that the game aims to “create new gameplay,” among other things.

“The one thing that I will say is that up until this point in my career, and up until this point in Platinum Games’ history, we’ve never made a game like Scalebound,” Kamiya told IGN. “What I’m trying to do with Scalebound is create a very different kind of game than what I’ve created up until this point. We’re trying to create new gameplay, and that is a challenge for me personally.” Scalebound was announced during Microsoft’s E3 press briefing in June as an exclusive game for Xbox One. Releasing for that console, compared to Xbox 360, will no doubt have its benefits in terms of the game’s visuals and performance, but Kamiya said, “It’s less about new hardware, and more about making something totally new.”Kamiya went on to say that the power of the Xbox One should help Platinum in its effort to make Scalebound a visually stunning game. “We’ve never tried to do something photo-real or something more realistic with that touch,” he said. “But it’s always been something I’ve wanted to try. Now having that opportunity has been both difficult but interesting. And the power of the machine is helping there. It’s definitely something Platinum Games has wanted to try, and now we’re getting our chance to do it, which is cool.”Regarding Platinum’s alignment with Microsoft for Scalebound, creative producer JP Kellams added that it was an “important step” in Platinum’s legacy to work with a Western publisher such as Microsoft. He went on to say that Microsoft believes in Platinum’s vision for Scalebound, and that the companies have a “really open relationship.”Finally, Platinum and Microsoft working together on Scalebound might mean that gamers get to play the title sooner than expected. “Microsoft is very hands-on and they check everything while you’re working together,” Kamiya said. “One of the things we’ve noticed, because they keep you honest, is that we’ve been making this game faster than we normally would.”Official details for Scalebound are scarce. The only piece of media released to date for the game is the gorgeous CG trailer you see above. In it, we see a sword-wielding player squaring off against various dragons and even fiercer foes. The player is also able to cover his body in scales, in a way becoming dragon-like himself. No release date has been announced for Scalebound, but it’s a safe bet we won’t see it this year.

Platinum is also currently working on Wii U exclusive Bayonetta 2, as well as a multiplatform Legend of Korra game, based on the Nickelodeon TV show. Both are due this year.

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch

For all of GameSpot’s news coverage, check out our hub. Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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The Evil Within: Fear the Freaks in This New Trailer

Publisher Bethesda has released a new trailer for its upcoming survival horror title, The Evil Within.

The footage (above) showcases the deranged miseries that veteran police detective Sebastian Castellanos encounters throughout the game.

It’s a nicely assembled trailer, not intended to show gameplay but instead showcase the general abhorrence of your foes. If you prefer in-game footage, GameSpot has about sixty minutes of that here.

The Evil Within has been developed at Shinji Mikami’s Tokyo studio, Tango Gameworks, which was acquired by Bethesda in 2010. Mikami has a famed history of developing survival horror games, having been instrumental in the development of the Resident Evil series.

The game has been developed for five platforms: PC, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 3. It’s due for release across Europe and the US on Tuesday October 14.

Rob Crossley is GameSpot’s UK News Editor – you can follow him on Twitter hereFiled under:The Evil Within Written By

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Space Sim Elite: Dangerous Reveals Price and Preorder Edition

Elite: Dangerous will cost $60 when it’s released on PC, but you can preorder the game’s Mercenary Edition right now for $50 and some extra rewards, developer Frontier Developments has announced.

If you preorder the Mercenary Edition, you’ll get a digital download of the game, an Eagle fighter ship docked in a secondary location in the game, and an exclusive pack of ship paint jobs. You’ll also get a digital players guide, a “day one” ship decal, a digital concept art book, and more digital rewards to be announced over the coming weeks. If you’ve already preordered the game, don’t worry. You’ll receive everything that’s included in the Mercenary Edition too.

Frontier Developments have yet to announce when exactly it will release this year, but you can start playing the game right now by buying your way into the beta for $75, which will get you the Mercenary edition as well. Frontier Developments CEO David Braben also recently said that the game could come to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. For more on Elite: Dangerous, check out GameSpot’s previous coverage.

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Resident Evil: Revelations 2 Will Be Released Episodically

Capcom announced today that upcoming zombie-themed game Resident Evil: Revelations 2 will be released episodically, somewhat like Telltale Games’ popular Walking Dead series.

Building on the way in which the original Resident Evil: Revelations told its story across TV-like episodes, the sequel takes things further. The game is composed of four main chapters, each of which will be released as individual episodes–one per week. Episodes will sell for $6 each, or you can buy the “Complete Season” for $25. If you bought every episode individually, it would cost $24. So what does spending the extra dollar get you?This bundle includes the four chapters and some “additional game content,” which will be announced later. Once the four episodes are released, Capcom will launch a disc-based version of Revelations 2, featuring the four chapters and additional content, for $40.Capcom adds that the retail disc version of Revelations 2 will include “further gameplay content” on top of the additional content included with the Complete Season.Revelations 2 aims to keep you hooked like a TV show, in that each weekly episode will end on a cliffhanger. This should “spur further conversation and speculation,” Capcom says.The game is coming to Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PC. As was previously rumored, the game follows Claire Redfield and Barry Burton’s daughter, Moira Burton. Here is how Capcom sets up the story for the first episode:

“The party is crashed, Claire and Moira are knocked unconscious and taken to a mysterious detention center located on an island. They soon encounter demented, writhing enemies called Afflicted roaming the halls of this abandoned facility, and have to team up to survive. The real question is, who brought them here? And… why?”

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch

For all of GameSpot’s news coverage, check out our hub. Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Super Smash Bros. Wii U Releases in November — Report

A preorder card for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U that surfaced online suggests that the game will release on November 21, 2014.

The card, a picture of which was posted online by Twitter user BluesDriveBuster, seems to have come from the American retail chain Fred Meyer, and looks authentic. The release date it lists also falls into Nintendo’s official release window of winter 2014. Of course, the retailer could just have listed the wrong date by mistake, and we won’t know for sure until Nintendo makes an official announcement.If the release date is accurate, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U will release a full month after the release of the 3DS version, which comes out October 3.Yesterday, our time with Super Smash Bros. for 3DS also revealed that you’ll be able to use Nintendo’s handheld to connect to the Wii U and use it as a controller while playing the console version of the game.

If you want to check out more Super Smash Bros. for 3DS, we spent an hour playing through the game yesterday. You can watch our playthrough below, or check out a montage of the main characters’ Final Smash moves. We’ll have a lot more videos, and full rundowns on the game’s unlockable characters next week.

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Destiny Could Reach Call of Duty-Level Sales Of 20M Units, Analyst Says

Destiny, Bungie’s much-anticipated “shared-world” shooter, was released yesterday and is selling well, according to one analyst. Sterne Agee’s Arvind Bhatia said in a note to investors today that after speaking with GameStop executives and checking in with stores, the firm now has “increased confidence” that Destiny can reach 15 million units sold this year.

On a longer timeline, Bhatia said Destiny could reach “Call of Duty levels” and sell around 20 million units during its lifetime. This comment specifically was based on “optimistic feedback” gathered during Bhatia’s recent conversations, presumably with retailers.Strong sales for Destiny wouldn’t be too surprising. After all, publisher Activision launched a mighty marketing blitz for the game, all in the name of helping establish Destiny as Activision Publishing’s third billion-dollar series, joining Call of Duty and Skylanders.Will strong sales of Destiny eat away at the market for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare? Not so, according to Activision, which believes the games can peacefully coexist.

Destiny is available today for Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation 4. Earlier today, Activision announced that the game generated $500 million launch day, though an official unit sales number was not announced. Destiny’s launch has not been entirely smooth, as college students across the country are reporting that they can’t play the game due to network issues.

For more on Destiny, check out GameSpot’s review-in-progress in video form (above) or written.

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch

For all of GameSpot’s news coverage, check out our hub. Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Mar 19, Sosuke Aizen Arrancar costume

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Yahoo slams new ‘digital will’ law, says users have privacy when they die

What should happen to your personal digital communications—emails, chats, photos and the like—after you die? Should they be treated like physical letters for the purposes of a will?

Yahoo doesn’t think so. The company is criticizing new legislation giving executors charged with carrying out the instructions in a person’s will broad access to their online accounts. The legislation aims to tackle the sensitive question of what to do when someone’s online accounts on sites like Facebook, Google or Yahoo outlive them.

This past summer, Delaware signed into law the “Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets and Digital Accounts Act.” It was modeled after legislation approved earlier by the Uniform Law Commission, a nonprofit group that drafts and lobbies for new state laws. In Delaware, the measure removes some of the hurdles that an estate attorney or other fiduciary would otherwise have to go through to gain broad access to the deceased’s online accounts.

“A fiduciary with authority over digital assets or digital accounts of an account holder under this chapter shall have the same access as the account holder,” the law states.

That expanded access violates the initial agreement users entered into when they started using Yahoo’s services, the company said Monday in a blog post.

“When an individual signs up for a Yahoo account, they agree to our terms of service, which outlines that neither their account nor the contents of their private communications are transferrable at the time of death,” wrote Bill Ashworth, Yahoo’s senior legal director of public policy.

Yahoo’s terms of service say it may delete an account and all of the account data, if it’s shown a copy of the person’s death certificate.

The company said Monday that the legislation approved by the Uniform Law Commission doesn’t offer the right approach to providing a family or fiduciary the information they need when dealing with the loss of a relative. Part of the problem with the legislation is that it presumes the deceased would even want his or her digital communications to be handed over, Yahoo said.

Yahoo’s statement helps to clarify industry’s broader opposition to Delaware’s law.

“We agree with the concerns raised by Yahoo,” a Facebook spokesman said Monday.

Google did not respond to a request for comment, but in July co-signed an industry letter to Delaware Governor Jack Markell urging him to veto the law, noting that Internet companies already have privacy tools in place to address the issue.

Facebook, for instance, offers a “memorialization” feature for when users die. It doesn’t let anyone log into or modify the person’s account, but others can still post to the user’s timeline.

“Unfortunately, these innovations, user choices, and privacy concerns are ignored by the ‘give everything to the fiduciary’ nature of the law,” the letter said.

Delaware’s law also conflicts with the federal Electronic Privacy Communications Act, which prevents companies from sharing the contents of communications in civil court proceedings unless they first obtain consent from the subscriber or sender, the letter said.

The legislation has yet to make its way into other states besides Delaware, but that doesn’t mean its reach is limited. People don’t have to live in Delaware for its law to apply.

The law applies depending on which state governs the fiduciary relationship, said Kelly Bachman, press secretary for Delaware Governor Markell.

That means it would apply if the person’s will is created under Delaware law, or if someone is given power of attorney under Delaware law, she said.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service
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