Deception IV: The Nightmare Princess Launches Friday

Koei Tecmo Europe is pleased to announce the release of Deception IV: the Nightmare Princess on the PlayStation 4 computer entertainment system, and digitally on the PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system and the PlayStation Vita handheld system this Friday, 17th July 2015.

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Skyrim’s Vampires and Werewolves

For the second time in Skyrim, I caught Sanguinare Vampiris.. the disease that leads to Vampirism.  In Oblivion, the disease was called Porphyric Hemophilia; either disease can be cured by the Cure Disease spell, a potion, or by visiting an altar, and both lead to full-blown Vampirism if left uncured for three days.

I caught the disease early on in my game, but didn’t want the hassle of remembering to feed regularly, or the risk that NPCs might refuse to talk to me.. I wanted to explore the game without too many restrictions.

However, this time, I’d had many hours of exploration, and decided to risk a few annoyed NPCs.  Three days later, I had Vampirism, an increased resistance to Frost, and weakness to fire and sunlight.. this last not being quite as I’d expected.  I also had three new powers: Vampire’s Servant, Vampire’s Sight, and Vampiric Drain.  I only really liked Vampire’s Sight due to my level.. neither raised minions nor a few points health drain could compare with my lovely enchanted swords 😉

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The Darkness – Completed!

After trying out the demo for The Darkness 2 last week, I was reminded that we have a copy of The Darkness for the 360..

Player-character Jackie Estacado is a mobster hitman, only just turning 21 and coming into a rather evil family inheritance: The Darkness! Following a botched job, a car chase and crash, and a rather fun shoot-out in a construction site, Jackie narrowly escapes his Uncle Paulie’s attempt to kill him in an explosion.  The mobsters were still coming after Jackie though.. when the Darkness decided to show itself in spectacular gory fashion!

The cutscene showed some awesome powers, and though most of them were locked to start with, I did get a few to starting off with: the ability to summon Beserker Darklings, a huge demon arm, and my favourite for most of the game, Creeping Dark!

Creeping Dark is a snake-like projection able to climb walls and fit through narrow gaps.. good for scouting, or sneaking up on enemies and launching at them for a fantastic, sudden attack, as well as for finding hidden collectibles.  Using this ability drains Jackie’s Darkness Energy, which means you can’t use it indefinitely.. though I still got a lot of use out of it by eating the hearts of those I killed as I went along!  Aside from a few clipping issues, I really loved this power 😉

After clearing away the mobsters, I found myself in the subway.  The different areas of town are all accessible via the subway, and there are quite a few people wandering around, some with quests, and some purely for ambience.  To start with some of the exits were locked; later I was able to take the train and wander through areas at will, to complete side-quests or look for collectibles.

I went to visit Jenny, Jackie’s girlfriend.. she had no idea about Jackie’s mob connections, or the fact that he now has demonic abilities.  Having just fought off some of Paulie’s men in the streets outside and eaten their hearts, sitting on the couch and watching TV felt a little surreal.

I soon left to meet the next NPC, Butcher, who was busy “cleaning up” at the back of a restaurant.  Butcher pointed me in the direction of Dutch Oven Harry, a drug dealer, who could be removed to disrupt Paulie’s operation.

Dutch Oven Harry’s den proved to be somewhat frustrating, thanks to the checkpoint positioned at the top of the stairs leading down to the secure door.  The henchman standing in for Harry had a rather powerful weapon.. if he didn’t kill me, his goons did.  The Darkness shield didn’t seem to make much difference to the damage taken by the goons, and I resorted to waiting in the shadows for them to come one by one.

Even after the intercom chat with Harry.. which felt like a natural break from the action.. a death anywhere within the den or in the carpark outside, threw me back to the checkpoint, with the whole thing to do again, including running through dialogues which rapidly became annoying.

A little disappointment followed too: instead of allowing me to vent my frustrations onto Harry, I only got to watch him fall to his death.

If I needed any more reason to dislike Paulie, I got it next as he kidnapped and killed Jenny! The Darkness prevented Jackie from doing anything but watch, and soon after, Jackie shot himself.

The next part of the game was set in some kind of hell, with World War trenches, bombings and blood red sky.. I fought my way out of the hostile German trenches and eventually found my way to the British trench, which felt horribly depressing as I’m sure it was intended to.

Wandering through the British trenches, I eventually came across Jackie’s great great grandfather, who admitted he had been the one who let The Darkness inside him, for it to then manifest in the males in the family as they reach their 21st birthdays.  He did give some clues on how to defeat it though, and told me where to find the Darkness Guns, meant to be able to control The Darkness.

While the guns seemed fairly good, I still preferred my Creeping Dark and went back to using that as soon as I was back in the “real” world.. which is where I ended up after going through preparations for an attack on the enemy German bunker.

Back in New York, there were some side quests to do; handling a few thugs, finding a lost brother, and playing chicken with a train for the amusement of a crazy old lady!

The main story, however, involved tracking down a briefcase full of evidence.. and then going after Eddie Shrote.  I learned the Black Hole power while going for the briefcase, and despite my love for the Creeping Dark, I switched to the new power as it was much more effective against multiple enemies.

I went to meet Shrote in the church back in Trinity Cemetary.. bringing the briefcase plus bomb.. and walked into a rather tough but fun fight with SWAT members and floodlights, before finding out how much of a psychopath Shrote is!  Demon arms plus briefcase bomb made an end of Shrote and myself.. again!

Back to the creepy hell world to finish off the bombardment of the German bunker.. though I was rather uneasy in this world, this time there was an on-rails tank ride, which was good fun as well as a break from the “make Black Hole; devour hearts” that the game had started to slip into.

I also confronted The Darkness, in what turned out to be a slightly confusing non-fight.. that is, until I figured out that I was supposed to not fire on him, despite the two attacking Darklings making it feel like I was supposed to fight.  Fighting him makes him stronger.. but accepting him was to control him.

Back to the real world, and this time for even bigger fights, one on a boat where I was to kill the Captain, and the second to go and help Aunt Sarah and a few of the other friendlies in a shoot-out with Paulie’s goons.

I approached both of the fights in the same way.. Creeping Darkness as far in as I could, and then Black Hole for those I couldn’t easily reach.. but once I got to the door of Aunt Sarah’s house, I was no longer able to use The Darkness.  Normal weapons just don’t feel as powerful as using The Darkness.. 🙁

Finally, I headed out to deal with Paulie.. in his mansion over on a little island.

I was joined by two Darklings.. and then many more as I got closer to the mansion and Paulie’s thugs.

Unlike anywhere else in the game, Paulie’s men were constantly spawning, though it took me a while to realise as I was approaching carefully, shooting out the lights and wanting to pick off all the men before going into the mansion.  My black holes made awesome piles of bodies here though..

Once I reached the doors of the mansion, I was frustrated to find myself relegated to spectator, as The Darkness took over and obliterated the front of the building, the men and even a helicopter.

I was given control back long enough to chase Paulie up into the lighthouse, and to shoot at him to injure him.  I would have liked the choice to leave him once he begged for his life, as each kill was another step towards being The Darkness’ puppet.. but the door was shut preventing me from leaving, and he eventually found a pistol and started shooting at me, which forced my hand somewhat.  For story purposes, though, it probably makes sense for Jackie to kill Paulie.. as he killed Jenny.

Having found a number of collectibles in the game, there were some cool bits of extra content available afterwards, including concept art and comics.  I like getting to see stuff like this 🙂

Demoing Darkness

This week, the demo for The Darkness II, by Digital Extremes and 2K Games, was released on Steam, Xbox LIVE, and later, the PlayStation Network.

Player-character Jackie Estacado is the don of a crime family, as well as the owner of a demonic power called The Darkness.  After the death of his girlfriend, Jackie has tried to control The Darkness.. but it wants out!

Jackie is also being hunted by others who want The Darkness for themselves, and the demo starts with a scene of Jackie being crucified and beaten in order to try and force him to give up his powers of his own free will..

Earlier events have Jackie going to a restaurant and meeting some girls before one of them is shot and a car rams its way through the wall, crushing Jackie’s leg and foot.  This results in Jackie himself having to be dragged away by a henchman while he shoots the enemies who have come to capture him..

This bit was on rails, but I found the shooting fun, with plenty of enemies appearing from all around.

Once outside, though.. that’s when The Darkness put in an appearance! 🙂

One of the new features of this game is quad-wielding: Jackie can use firearms while still manifesting powerful demon arms, unlike in the previous game where you used either The Darkness or guns.

The demon arms are powerful enough to pick up enemies, who you can then execute or throw away to their deaths; other items can also be picked up and thrown too.  I got extra points for impaling an enemy with a thrown bit of scaffolding.. very Bulletstorm 🙂

There are also bonus points for different executions.. and lifting an enemy into the air with one arm and then splitting them in two with the other does feel rather powerful!

Once out into the street, car doors can be torn off and used as a shield while you shoot it out, or you can throw the door itself at them if you prefer.  All these abilities are available via different buttons on the keyboard or mouse, and while this saved me from having to switch between active abilities, I found the use of middle-click strange and slightly uncomfortable.

In the first Darkness game, there were a range of Darkling types with their own unique abilities: Beserker, Gunner, Kamikaze and Lightkiller.  In this game there is just one Darkling with some importance to the story and gameplay.  He is able to help out in fights, interact with the environment around him, and scout out areas for Jackie.. more of an ally than expendable minion this time.

Certainly, he is rather unique.. as well as having an affected British accent, he’s wearing a Union Jack for a jumper and has a dead cat on his head..

Upgrades for Jackie’s various abilities can be acquired at various Dark Shrines.  Essense can be spent on various abilities or improvements via the talent tree, and I was pleased to see that you can spread the points around or specialise as you wish!  I’ll be taking the extra-strong demon arms, thanks 😉