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Divinity: Original Sin review: Old-school absolution

Divinity: Original Sin is an unashamed timewarp, a beast unrestrained in dragging old-school RPG values into the modern day. The concessions it makes are often by-products of the things it pursues, qualities like agency, depth and challenge. The game is so loaded with depth that, like an inventory-laden hero, it's almost crippled by it, teetering over the abyss of complexity and perplexity. What keeps Original Sin grounded is turn-based combat that's consistently a joy. Its symbiosis with the sheer scope of the game raises the whole thing to heady heights that harken back to another age.

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Invisible Inc. becomes visible on Early Access August 19

Klei Entertainment has not just survived, but thrived, utilizing Steam's Early Access program with Don't Starve. Now the company will make its next game, Invisible Inc. (formerly known as Incognita), available through the service on August 19.

The procedurally generated, turn-based stealth game has been available in Alpha from Klei for $20 (for two copies of the final game). Invisible, Inc. will be available on Steam for $15.99 during Early Access, shifting to $20 at launch.

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Commander, watch the Master Chief Collection, Mass Effect SDCC panels

If you weren't able to attend, Microsoft and BioWare have published full video of their respective San Diego Comic Con panels on Halo: the Master Chief Collection and the next Mass Effect. If you've got 90 minutes spare, you could do worse than perching right here and checking them out - the Halo video's up top with Mass Effect below the break.

If you've been lost in space for the last month and this is the first you've heard of either of these things, let's fill you in. Halo: The Master Chief Collection is a remastered compilation of Halos 1-4, and it's coming to Xbox One on November 11. It also includes access to the Ridley Scott live-action Halo: Nightfall series, as well as the Halo 5 multiplayer beta, due to begin in December.

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Dragon Quest 4 confirmed for Western mobiles

Square Enix unveiled Dragon Quest 4 as part of its line-up for the upcoming Gamescom conference, confirming the mobile port for a Western release. The Enix RPG, which first came to North America as Dragon Warrior 4 back in 1992, will be the series' second entry to reach international mobiles after Dragon Quest 8 back in May. No surprises but the mobile port is based on the 2008 DS version rather than the NES original.

As for the other upcoming games in Square Enix's line-up, Gamescom attendees can try out Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris, Kindgom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix, and Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call. The publisher will also be showing Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn, Nosgoth and Dragon Quest 8 - again, no surprises, but no sign of Kingdom Hearts 3 or Final Fantasy 15 in the line-up.

This year's Gamescom conference begins on August 13, and we'll be there in Germany to cover all the major goings-on, including all the latest Kölsch stats.
[Image: Square Enix]

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Electromagnetic platformer Teslagrad gears up for PS4

Teslagrad, Rain Games' 2D puzzle-platformer that sadly isn't a course based on 1980s rock band Tesla, is coming to PS4 in a boxed edition. The new physical editions are also headed to previously announced platforms of Wii U, PS3, Vita and PC, and publisher Soedesco has confirmed a US release. Rain says to expect copies to be available in Q4.

Teslagrad is set in a steampunk-inspired take on "old Europe," and there's certainly plenty of Eastern European imagery on show, as well as an array of gears, tesla coils and what have you. As for how it plays, there's clearly a bit of Metroid to its electric array of collectible items and its mixture of puzzle-platforming and combat. If you'd prefer to try it now rather than wait for the new ports, it's already out on Steam and avaialble for $10.
[Image: Rain Games]

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Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth ships 250,000 in Japan

With 250,000 copies shipped in under a month, Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth was a bright light in an otherwise quiet quarter for Sega Sammy, games-wise. It's a solid start for Atlus' 3DS RPG, which should have appeal to both Persona and Etrian Odyssey fans.

For comparison, Etrian Odyssey 4 shifted 150,000 copies in roughly its first three months on sale in Japan, while Vita entry Persona 4 Golden shipped 700,000 worldwide by the end of 2013. Persona Q is still to come to the West, with releases penned in for North America and Europe on November 25 and 28.

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You mayfly around in musical adventure Ephemerid for $1

Ephemerid is a beautiful game about an unlikely beast, the mayfly, and it's now available at a reduced price of $1 on the App Store. This is a limited-time sale, so jump on it like a mayfly on corn (we don't know much about mayflies).

We do know that Ephemerid is a musical adventure game and it's "just plain gorgeous." The graphics are composed of paper, glass and paint, and the music elevates the gameplay and story with rocking guitar riffs. Ephemerid follows the entire life of a mayfly – just one day – and asks players to make every moment count for this fluttering insect's sake.
[Image: SuperChop Games]

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Killer Instinct hits retail with bonus Season 2 fighter

Come September 23, Xbox One-exclusive fighter Killer Instinct will make its debut on retail shelves as the "Killer Instinct: Combo Breaker Pack."

Included in the $20 Pack are the eight fighters currently available in Killer Instinct: Jago, Orchid, Sadira, Sabrewulf, Fulgore, Thunder, Glacius and Spinal. The retail package also includes a code for TJ Combo, an additional fighter slated to appear in the imminent second season of Killer Instinct DLC releases.

For comparison, the digital Combo Breaker Pack, which includes only the eight Season One characters and no access to TJ Combo still features an identical $20 price tag, while the free-to-play, one-character version of Killer Instinct asks players to spend $5 for each additional fighter.
[Image: Microsoft]

Humble Weekly Bundle shoots for the stars

Brace yourself for an influx of neon, spaceships and robots in the Humble Weekly Bundle: Sci-Fi Edition. Available for any price you wish is Velocity Ultra, Cosmic DJ (Early Access game) and QUBE. For $6 or more, add in The Fall, Strike Suit Infinity and Strike Vector. The Last Federation is available for $15 or more.

These purchases include the soundtracks for Velocity Ultra, QUBE, Cosmic DJ and The Last Federation. As is the case with these delicious Humble Bundles, part of the cash goes to charity, this time Child's Play and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Also, pay at least $1 and grab Steam keys for all of the games in the bundle.
[Image: Humble Bundle]

God game Maia pulls in $1 million while in Early Access

Maia, a sci-fi colony management sim from developer Simon Roth, has pulled in more than $1 million, and it's not even fully out yet. This figure includes the £140,481 ($225,219) Maia secured on Kickstarter in 2012, plus $11,000 on Indiegogo, pre-sales on Roth's site and Steam Early Access sales, Develop reports. Maia was Greenlit on Steam in August 2013.

Roth is using the cash to set up a new development house called Machine Studios. He's hiring developers and may get to work on another, new project once everything is settled.

"The real reason I wanted Machine Studios rather than Simon Roth Incorporated is I thought it would be really narcissistic and weird, for one," Roth said. "And also, I didn't want my employees to have to put on their CV, 'I worked at Simon Roth,' when it could be Machine Studios. And so it gives them a better thing to say what they worked for."

Maia is $25 on Steam Early Access for PC, Mac and Linux, and it's currently $21.70 on the game's site (purchase includes a Steam key).
[Image: Simon Roth]

The Dota 2 International pulls in 2 million concurrent views

The Dota 2 world tournament, The International, drew a digital crowd of more than 20 million people, Valve has revealed. Of the 20 million, 2 million watched The International 2014 at the same time, meaning the peak number of concurrent users was more than triple the population of the city where the tournament was held, Seattle.

While impressive, the true numbers for viewership is actually higher, as the 20 million and 2 million figures do not include views from MTG Europe, CCTV China TV or ESPN, the latter of which hosted Dota 2 events on both ESPN2 and ESPN3.

So, a record-shattering prize pool, a broadcast partnership with ESPN and now more than 2 million concurrent viewers out of 20 million total. Not too shabby, Valve. Not too shabby.
[Image: Valve]

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Rayman creator starts a studio but remains at Ubisoft

Michel Ancel, the creator of Rayman, is starting his own studio called Wild Sheep – though he'll remain at Ubisoft Montpellier, Ubisoft says in a statement to Game Informer.

"We are fortunate to have some of the industry's finest talents, including Michel Ancel, working with us at our studio," Ubisoft Annecy, Paris, and Montpellier Managing Director Xavier Poix said. "In addition to spending some of his time on this new venture, Michel is leading the creative development of select projects at Ubisoft Montpellier, including an extremely ambitious new title that is very close to his and the team's heart."

Sounds like Ancel has a lot of projects in progress. Managing all of them will be like herding Wild Sheep or something.
[Image: Ubisoft]

Final Call of Duty: Ghosts DLC pack hits Xbox Live August 5

The fourth and final round of Call of Duty: Ghosts DLC will make its debut on Xbox platforms next week, Activision announced.

The Nemesis DLC pack adds four new multiplayer maps: Goldrush, Subzero, Dynasty, and Showtime, a "reimagined" version of the Shipment map originally featured in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Nemesis also includes the final chapter in the co-op Extinction storyline, pitting players against a new alien breed equipped with psychic powers.

Nemesis premieres on the Xbox 360 and Xbox One on August 5. Releases for the PlayStation 3, PS4, and PC platforms will follow in September.

[Video: Activision]

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Guardians of the Galaxy skins to appear in Minecraft

The latest intellectual property to appear in the Xbox 360 version of Minecraft via DLC skin pack are the Guardians of the Galaxy, just in time to promote the Marvel Studios film of the same name.

According to Play XBLA, the Guardians of the Galaxy skin pack will include 24 skins "inspired both by Marvel's blockbuster film and the comic books." This means you get the expected faces like Starlord and Thanos, but also more esoteric characters like Angela, an angel Neil Gaiman first debuted in the pages of Spawn, before convoluted legal wrangling and a cosmic wormhole recently shunted the half-naked celestial warrior maiden into the Marvel Universe.

Lacking from the Play XBLA announcement are any details on when this DLC pack might arrive or what price point it may feature. Instead, we're told that more information will be coming soon.
[Image: 4J Studios]

Get double RP in GTA Online this weekend

Career criminals will soon have an opportunity to make a name for themselves in Grand Theft Auto 5's online multiplayer mode, as Rockstar announced that all GTA Online players will receive double RP throughout this weekend.

This week also marks your last chance to pick up GTA Online's Independence Day content, so if you want to outfit your character with a fireworks launcher, an American flag t-shirt, or a glorious flowing mullet, you'd best make plans to join in this weekend's bloodbath.

Rockstar's Double RP event kicks off tomorrow, and extends through August 3.

[Image: Rockstar]

The Joystiq Podcast

The Joystiq Podcast

Super Joystiq Podcast Special: E3 2012 'Day 3'

Latest episode: Friday, June 8th, 2012

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