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Indie Gaming First Impressions: Titan Souls

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Sitting down with ACID NERVE’s Titan Souls is an experience I can only describe as nostalgic. Reminiscent to huddling under my bedside-table lamp in a struggle to get as much light as possible onto the screen of my Game Boy Colour. Stepping into its quaintly retro world with nothing but a bow and a single boomerang-like arrow feels like a charming return to the simplicity of the past. This simplicity seems to be the core from which Titan Souls’ gameplay draws from, with only two buttons to sprint, roll and fire your arrow, alongside fully 3D controls with the analog stick or D-pad.

Basics out of the way, I set about heading up the lonely path towards a creepy door adorned with a pulsating eyeball. Naturally, I shot it, and proceeded through the open archway. Standing at the bottom of a huge structure, I was met with what sounded eerily like rhythmic basketball dribbling. You can imagine my disappointment when it was in fact not basketball legend Dikembe Mutombo who greeted me, but a weird, dodgy looking mass of bouncy green slime that proceeded to squish me repeatedly till I learned to kill it. Welcome to Titan Souls, eh?

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However! My tentative first steps were not for nothing. From this simple, albeit fun and well-designed fight, I was given insight into how the mechanics of the game work and would continue to work throughout. I learned that my character would die if hit once. I learned that after using my arrow to expose the weak-point of a boss, they too could only handle one hit. My first fight also taught me to be observant and I quickly discovered an interesting theme that linked together the game’s introductory bosses.

Bosses, which similarly to the first, were designed in a way that quietly and sub-consciously teaches players how to deal with the progressively more difficult challenges that fighting these Titan Souls present. Over the course of the next twenty or so minutes, I had defeated the game’s tutorial bosses and opened a gate to the larger world beyond.

It is in this larger world that Titan Souls really becomes quite lovely. A subtle nod to classics of the past like Shadow of the Colossus, I was given complete freedom to roam about wherever I pleased, albeit without my chirpy horse companion. Regardless, I found myself quite taken by the atmosphere of mystery and isolation. The game’s accompanying soundtrack wafts a similar simplicity but remains beautifully orchestrated, fitting each individual environment like a glove.

And that’s that really. My experience thus far with Titan Souls has been rather lovely. Coming off the back of recent heavy hitters like Bloodborne and Battlefield: Hardline, it’s nice to be able to just sit down, chill out and not have the constant threat of painful death loom over my head like a big green slime monster… wait a minute!

Hi folks, I'm Tom. I spend most of my time ignoring university deadlines, eating biscuits and making sarcastic remarks about the state of the video games industry. Sometimes I write about these things. Mostly its bad.

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Star Wars Outlaws PS5 Demo Falls Short of Delivering the Full Experience, According to Critic

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Star Wars Outlaws, although it appeared visually stunning during Ubisoft’s livestream earlier this week, has received some criticism for feeling somewhat outdated. A preview unfavorably compared the release to Uncharted: Golden Abyss, the PS Vita exclusive spin-off that was launched in 2011. However, according to the creative director, the sampler is merely a small taste of what the full experience has to offer.

“When entering a show of this nature, where you’re finalizing a game’s production, you’re faced with numerous decisions. Our producer limited us to just one demo for all the shows we would attend throughout the year, such as Gamescom and Comic-Con,” Julian Gerighty explained in an interview with VGC.

He explained that the events are designed to cater to both consumers and journalists. To ensure an engaging experience, they opted for a 20-minute format that offers a diverse range of content and showcases different game systems. However, they intentionally avoided showcasing the open-world experience at this particular event, as they plan to unveil it during the studio tour and preview event. This will be a brief overview, more of an appetizer than a full meal when it comes to the game.

According to Gerighty, the developer Massive Entertainment has crafted a highly engaging game, with only a portion of its greatness showcased here.

Admittedly, the comments do make sense. It’s common knowledge that creating demos requires a significant amount of the team’s focus. If a game plans to showcase itself at consumer conventions, it can’t just offer a short gameplay experience of two or three hours. That simply won’t suffice when attendees are patiently waiting in line. This seems to be just a subpar demo, which is unfortunate. However, it may not be something to worry too much about in the end.

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The Sky Breaker Pierce DLC for Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora comes out in July for PS5

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Ubisoft has given us our first look at The Sky Breaker, the first DLC story pack for Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora. In it, a strange shadow will appear in the sky and threaten the Na’vi clans, who just can’t seem to get a break. It comes out next month on PS5, on July 16th.

A new part of the Upper Plains called “The Heart of the Plains” can be reached by taking the Sky Breaker. Some well-known biomes have changed into new types, and there are also many new ones. Of course, the RDA has also sent out new types of enemies, so you need to be careful. The good news is that not everything is bad. During the Na’vi Festival of Games, players can look forward to timed tasks that are a little less scary. Secrets of the Spires, another story pack, is still planned to be added to the game at some point.

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Unknown 9: Awakening displays significant potential, once the narrative takes a backseat

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Stepping into the deepest recesses of Bandai Namco’s domain at Summer Game Fest Play Days, we were immersed in the captivating realm of Unknown 9. This expansive narrative transcends traditional boundaries, encompassing comics, novels, podcasts, and soon, a thrilling video game. This project displays a remarkable level of ambition, with commendable effort put into constructing a captivating universe. However, it is only when we look beyond the specific names and terms that Unknown 9: Awakening truly reveals its potential.

However, if we attempt to comprehend it, so should you. The Unknown 9, as the name suggests, are immortal beings who possess a profound connection to The Fold, an enigmatic parallel dimension. It is believed that they have observed the entirety of human existence, yet the reason behind their vigil remains a mystery. There is a group called Quaestors who strongly believe in the profound wisdom and power of the number 9. Interestingly, these individuals have formed themselves into two distinct factions. The Leap Year Society is dedicated to uncovering the mysteries of the number 9 and sharing its knowledge with humanity, all in the name of progress and benefit for all. Meanwhile, The Ascendants are determined to obtain this knowledge exclusively, with the goal of disrupting the repetitive pattern of humanity’s tumultuous past.

Haroona, our protagonist, possesses the ability to access The Fold, which grants her unique and extraordinary powers, including the ability to Step. She has the ability to briefly enter The Fold, allowing her to take control of individuals and manipulate various objects. She is driven by an unwavering determination to avenge her father’s death at the hands of Vincent.

The abundance of context provided here is crucial for establishing an intriguing narrative, although it can be quite overwhelming to process. Thankfully, based on the gameplay footage we were presented with, it seems that the game is coming along quite well. This action adventure game focuses heavily on combat and incorporates Haroona’s supernatural powers.

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She can step into enemies to take control of them for a short time. When she does, you can control what the enemy does next. For example, you could hit a close danger or shoot another enemy. When she comes back to her own body, these things happen, and the bad guys basically kill themselves. Of course, Haroona can only use this skill very rarely, but it gives her an advantage even when she is surrounded.

You’ll be able to use this more often as the game goes on, but it’s still limited. You’ll also be able to unlock other skills along three paths. We’ve been told that you won’t be able to get all of these skills at once, so you’ll have to pick and choose which ones to use. But even though Stepping will become more common, enemies will take steps to stop it. A part of our hands-off practice happened at an enemy outpost where they had set up a zone that stopped people from stepping on it. You can’t use any of Haroona’s special abilities in that area, but you can sneak through and turn off the machine if you stay out of it. It looks like each task will have at least two different ways to complete it.

The Stepping concept seems like it could be very useful, even though we didn’t get to play it. You can set up some cool combinations, like having one enemy fire their gun at an explosive where other enemies are waiting, then having a different enemy attack the first enemy. It will also be used to solve simple puzzles and look around, since Haroona can also push and pull things. As you explore, you’ll find items that give you more information, and a beautiful journal will keep track of everything you’ve learned.

Even though the main story is a little hard to follow, Unknown 9: Awakening is a really fun game anyway. Keep in mind that each story in the larger world can be read on its own, so you don’t have to connect with the others if you don’t want to. Even so, it feels like a lot to think about. Since the game isn’t coming out until Fall 2024, we should be able to play it soon to see if the gameplay is good enough to keep it going.

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