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Game Informer News Feed - Tue, 07/17/2018 - 20:10

With Hollow Knight now on the Switch, a number of new players are being introduced to the dark Metroidvania game from Team Cherry. However, there's still more content on the way for players who can't wait to revisit the ruins of the abandoned and dead kingdom.

In a blog post, Team Cherry confirmed that the free DLC pack, which they call "the largest yet," will release for free on August 23 for both Switch and PC. While the developers are a bit vague about what will be added in the DLC, it is clear from the trailer that one of the Nailmasters is being introduced as a boss, as well as a host of other new and old boss fights with slight twists.

Team Cherry also said that the DLC will contain a new mode that has been "long requested" by fans. You can check out the announcement trailer below.

Gods & Glory is described as the Final Chapter for Hollow Knight, so if you're looking for a time to jump in, now is as good as any. Hollow Knight was released last year on PC and last month on Switch.

Categories: Games

My Hero One's Justice Trailer Shows Off Story Mode And More

Game Informer News Feed - Tue, 07/17/2018 - 16:24

My Hero One's Justice's latest trailer covers a lot of ground, showcasing more characters and combat. story mode, mission mode, and customization alongside some spoilers for the anime, so watch out if you're not all caught up.

All the characters have different abilities based on their quirks (just like in the manga and anime), stages are destructible, and you can also bring in sidekicks with you into each battle. The story mode looks like it will follow My Hero Academia's familiar story letting players experience the most noteworthy fights. It will also, apparently, show both sides of the conflict. Mission mode will let you earn coins and rewards to unlock customization options. And finally, Endeavor, the number two hero, will be available to those who pre-order the game.

I had a chance to play My Hero One's Justice at E3, and it was... underwhelming. But I am still interesting in checking out the full game when it releases on PS4, Xbox One, and Switch on October 26.

 
Categories: Games

Mothergunship Review: Bullet-Hell Extravaganza

Gamespot News Feed - Mon, 07/16/2018 - 20:00

Mothergunship wastes little time in throwing you head-first into its fast-paced and over-the-top bullet-hell experience. As the spiritual successor to indie roguelike FPS Tower of Guns, this homage to '90s action games balances a number of clever mechanics throughout its pulse-pounding jaunt through the inner depths of alien ships. As you're dodging hundreds of enemy bullets [while wielding a railgun, grenade launcher, and a flamethrower on one arm] you'll find that Mothergunship offers a satisfying and fun take on classic first-person shooters.

Stepping into the boots of a space soldier in a power suit, you'll work with a tight-knit crew of rebels, led by The Colonel, who plan to stop an alien invasion of earth led by the titular mastermind Mothergunship. The main story itself is entirely secondary to the action, mostly offering context for the game's antics. However, the many cheesy voice-overs and the self-aware video game humor throughout are surprisingly endearing, even if it's mostly background noise. The Colonel and his crew of rebels--which includes an anthropomorphic frog, poking fun at Star Fox's Slippy Toad--serve great supporting roles as you amass a ridiculous arsenal of weapons and level up your power suit.

When it comes to its core run-and-gun gameplay, Mothergunship keeps things simple. You choose your next mission from your home base--which comes in several categories of various story and side missions that offer bonus rewards. From there, you're dropped into a randomly generated dungeon where you'll fight through rooms full of alien robots as you gain experience and funds to power up and buy new gear. But in true roguelike fashion, your trek through the dungeon's depths will never be the same twice, resulting a constant air of uncertainty.

The dungeons themselves come in three distinct forms, each with their own unique visual style showcasing different aspects of the alien armada. While the layout of specific rooms are the same, which can result in some feelings of deja vu when powering through a run at a fast pace, the order of which you'll encounter them are always different, along with the contents of each room and any rewards you can expect to find. To spice things up, however, you'll have the chance to enter challenge rooms that either increase the difficulty or place a unique handicap--which includes poison floors or jump pads--that offer greater rewards. When you die, which will happen often, you'll not only lose the gear you found on your run, but also the select items you chose to bring in. In some frustrating cases, you may find yourself at the whim of poor results from randomization, leaving you underpowered and outgunned by all the dangerous bots.

With that said, Mothergunship keeps its gameplay focused on fast, twitch-based gameplay in the spirit of old-school FPS games like Doom and Unreal. Starting with only your cybernetic fists and a triple jump--which can be boosted up to 40 jumps, keeping you in the air for long periods of time--you can buy new items in the shops located in the dungeons. Not long after, you'll find yourself circle-strafing, rocket-jumping, and barreling through waves of enemies with your ever-growing arsenal of weapons--which includes lightning guns, railguns, and different varieties of machine guns. When tied with the roguelike elements, the gunplay feels far more tactical, where picking the right weapon or modifier from the in-dungeon shop can make the next few floors a breeze or a hindrance.

By far the most impressive aspect of Mothergunship is its comprehensive gun-crafting system. As you acquire funds and complete missions, you gain new weapons, connecting parts, and modifiers to amplify your arsenal at the various crafting stations in your base or in the dungeons. While you can certainly keep things simple and roll out with a modified machine gun with boosted firing rate, the real fun with gun crafting comes from jury-rigging different weapons that have no business working in unison. Before you know it, you'll be gunning down machines with complex creations on both hands, which can easily soak up real estate on screen if you keep adding to them.

Just when you think you can't fit any more items onto your hodgepodge of armaments, you'll find a connector or mod that presents new opportunities for you. For instance, boosting a weapon's attack power can often result a strong kickback, which can surprisingly keep you suspended in the air and boot you through hallways at great speed. You can easily go all out with your creations, but there is a big catch. The more attachments and weapons you place in your hands, the more ammunition you'll drain. While ammo recharges fairly quickly for both arms, an overly designed gun can be a resource hog--leaving you vulnerable when your gun energy runs dry. This can be especially troubling in fights where you need to move and shoot as quickly as possible.

Coupled with the hectic pace of the game, the weapon system makes many of the fights you'll engage in fresh and exciting. While it's disappointing that Mothergunship doesn't give you that many opportunities to experiment freely with your creations--aside from the base's worry-free firing range and a bonus endless mission that's unlocked after finishing the main story--you'll learn to use and take advantage of the tools you've got on-hand in the field.

Mothergunship can sometimes feel a bit one-note in its execution, which is made a bit worse by the lackluster payoff after the story's finish. While special missions do open up in the endgame, featuring a truncated set of missions modeled after the main campaign that challenges you to clear through the levels without dying, I came away with the feeling that there's more that could have been done with the game's endgame, which as it stands, feels undercooked and derivative. Having said that, I can't deny that I always had a blast powering through many of the dungeons, especially when managing to clear out an entire room of enemies with only a few shots from my ridiculously overpowered weapon.

With the game's clever gun crafting system added into the mix, familiar tropes and techniques from classic shooting galleries feel super-charged in the game's randomized bullet-hell dungeons. When Mothergunship is firing on all cylinders, it's a satisfying and thrilling shooter where it really counts. With an incredibly fun and never uninteresting gun-crafting mechanic, it certainly goes a long way with its clever hook and an endless flow of enemies to gun down.

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Game Informer News Feed - Mon, 07/16/2018 - 19:30

Getting through the Mega Man X games, especially some of the later ones, can be fairly difficult. If you're someone who gets frustrated by one-hit kills, bosses that seem to track you when short-hopping and take out half your lifebar, or infrequent checkpoints, the games can be hair-pullingly tough to play through with a lack of time.

Mega Man X Collection is thus introducing Rookie Hunter Mode, a difficulty toggle which can be done per game or for every game in the main menu. In Mega Man X 1-3, the mode simply halves the damage you take. In 4-8, it also prevents you from instantly dying to spikes bottomless pits. Much like Mega Man Legacy Collection's various modifiers, you can simply choose not to use it if you don't need it.

Additionally, the trophy/achievement lists for the collections have come out, hinting at a secret image for players to find. Almost exactly a year ago, Capcom included an image of what turned out to be concept art of Mega Man 11 inside the Mega Man Legacy Collection, so perhaps they are doing something similar again.

Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1 and 2 launch on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC on July 24.

[Source: 4Gamer via Siliconera]

 

I don't mind the easy mode, especially if you can toggle it for specific levels and then turn it back off. Some of the later games can get rough with their spike-heavy design, so it's nice to let people just casually play through the series.
Categories: Games

20XX Review - Robot Generation

Gamespot News Feed - Mon, 07/16/2018 - 18:00

20XX wears its influences on its sleeve. If you're familiar with Mega Man X, then slipping into the metallic bodies of 20XX's two core protagonists--the gunner Nina and the swordsman Ace--will feel like coming home again. Both characters are satisfying to control, and executing combinations of dashes, wall jumps, and attacks is an intuitive process with lots of room for in-depth choreography.

But the levels you tackle are where 20XX differs from its inspiration, with obstacles and enemies procedurally strung together. For the most part, this works as intended, with new enemies and hazards progressively introduced with each new stage. A corridor that is usually calm might be riddled with spike traps the next time you enter it, adding new challenges to a previously safe area. Other times the shift can feel unfair, filling the screen with projectiles and moving parts that demand superhuman reflexes with practically no margin of error. These areas can bring the strongest of runs to a grinding halt through no fault of your own, which is incredibly frustrating.

Dying is central to progression in 20XX though, so even the most infuriating of deaths have silver linings. During each run you'll accrue Soul Chips, a currency used in 20XX's hub world to purchase permanent upgrades, item unlocks, and single-use buffs. Simple additions to your overall health and special weapon energy are priceless during more difficult later stages, while simple perks such as enemies dropping more health or buffs to overall dash speeds provide welcome twists to the gameplay loop you quickly become familiar with.

Additional weapons are also available and are acquired in the same fashion as Mega Man titles: ripped straight from the husks of bosses you defeat. Each boss battle features a central mechanic; a giant mechanical face will employ an impenetrable shield for brief moments during a battle in between flurries of projectile attacks, while a sentient Venus flytrap will lob mortars at you from afar. These and many more abilities can be picked up after each successful victory, or tossed aside for additional life, energy, or run-specific currencies. 20XX forces you to consider what equipment to take and which to leave behind, but it rarely engages you in scenarios where these choices are truly tested.

The very same boss fights are a prime example of this failure. A handful of them provide complex strategies for you to overcome, combining a good mix of precise platforming and attack timing to make victories hard fought and rewarding. Others make good use of the rooms they take place in, providing you with alternative means of attack such as exploding platforms that fall after you touch them. But far too many rely on cheap tricks and uninteresting attack loops. The less egregious of these just feel boring, while the worst unsettle the balance of mechanics to a point where you're forced to just accept taking damage in a hurried attempt to finish your foe off as quickly as possible. And with the randomness of potential upgrades strewn across levels thrown into the mix, having a compelling boss fight is a rare occurrence.

Despite this, it's hard not to get sucked into taking on multiple runs of 20XX's campaign in the hopes of reaching its conclusion. Each individual run is brief enough to make it a perfect match for a portable console such as the Switch, filling in odd gaps of free time with exciting randomized challenges. Daily and Weekly challenges with their own leaderboards are more competitively focused without shaking up the core loop, aside from giving you access to items you might not have unlocked yet for a useful little test drive. The boss rush mode is equally enticing, despite the inconsistencies with their designs. This mode offers a good way of familiarizing yourself with their mechanics without being caught off-guard during a strong run.

20XX isn't just a solo experience, giving you the ability to tackle its campaign with an online partner in tow. Collectible currencies are shared between each player while upgrades are duplicated, presenting you with some opportunities for decision-making but never forcing you into a corner with one player being clearly more valuable than the other. Cooperative play is slightly more chaotic, but having both ranged- and melee-focused characters in a single stage does inject the action with more life, despite the difficulty and complexity of enemies seemingly remaining equal.

Procedural generation is sometimes lambasted as a cheap alternative to intricate level design, and 20XX doesn't always do enough to break that stereotype. But despite its inconsistent level make-ups and underwhelming boss designs, 20XX is still an engrossing side-scroller that perfects the feeling of navigating dangerous, pitfall and enemy-filled stages. Nostalgic itches are sometimes tough to scratch with modern reincarnations of older formulas, but 20XX is a satisfying iteration on a fan-favorite formula. Even if the results are mixed, it's easy to appreciate a Mega Man-styled adventure that never has to end.

Categories: Games

New GTFO Footage Shows Off Disturbing New Foes

Game Informer News Feed - Mon, 07/16/2018 - 17:22

Despite the unfortunate name, GTFO is filling an interesting niche in the co-op shooter sphere. Left 4 Dead-style horde waves, but with an Aliens aesthetic and – according to this trailer – disconcerting enemies. 

GTFO comes from the developers of Payday, and it looks like it uses their pedigree for tense cooperation while radically switching tones. The new teaser shows off shadow enemies, which only have shape when defined by an exterior light source. Because of this, they seem to appear out of nowhere, swarming the players and presumably scaring the pants off them.  

GTFO will release at the end of 2018 on Steam, and you can check out our in-depth thoughts on the game here.

Categories: Games

Four Things You Should Know About The Bard's Tale IV

Game Informer News Feed - Sun, 07/15/2018 - 20:00

InXile Entertainment’s The Bard’s Tale IV wears its heart on its sleeve: Starting a new game throws you into a full-motion video cutscene of four actual human people – two of them equipped with obviously fake elf ears – sitting in front of what looks like the interior of a hand-painted inn. Three of the actors listen intently as the fourth plays a small harp, introducing them to the story of the game you’re about to play. The whole thing is drenched in a warm sepia tone, and at the cutscene’s close, the actors tense up as if they’re turning back into a still image. It’s weird and awkward, but charming.

Given the series’ old-school roots, it makes sense that The Bard’s Tale IV feels deeply nostalgic. It reminds me of the old computer games I used to play on the chunky Windows PC in my family’s basement work room. Its presentation may be sub-par, but below the surface lies an interesting battle system and intriguing world.

Here are four things I learned from playing the game’s first two and a half hours.

1. The World Is Interesting, Even If You’re New To The Series

Before you reach the main menu (and before the glorious FMV “elves”), a cutscene provides you with a primer on The Bard’s Tale’s world: Some gigantic plant-Cthulu gods called the Famhair turned apes into humans, who went to war with the elves and dwarves. The plant-Cthulus were eventually defeated and sealed away by a song, sung by a human woman cursed to sing it for eternity.

I’m not sure how the humans continued to exist peacefully with the rest of the races despite being constructed by evil gods, but hopefully that gets explained in the lore somewhere else in the game. As someone who’s never played a Bard’s Tale game before, I appreciated how the game opened with a story that established some interesting tension for the world and introduced the power of song. It made me hope I was about to participate in something similarly epic.

Once you’re in-game, the story you’re greeted with is different. A group of religious zealots called the Fatherites has been executing non-humans and magic users, which puts the multicultural, magic-using adventurers guild you’re a part of on the chopping block. The guild is attacked, and you’re forced to flee underground to the ruins of the old guild.

You soon begin to find out that a mysterious group has been sending agents disguised as members of the non-human races to harass humans in order to incite more persecution from the Fatherites. The Bard’s Tale IV left me legitimately interested to find out more about how the in-game story and the opening cutscene are connected.

2. There’s A Potentially Deep Combat System

The Bard’s Tale IV’s combat takes place in on a four-by-four grid. Your party has access to the eight spaces directly in front of you, and your enemies occupy the eight opposing spaces. Your positioning determines whether or not you can reach enemies with your attacks, and whether the enemies can reach you. There are directional attacks that do damage to all enemies within a certain column, as well as attacks that push or pull enemies within their grid. This means you can set up interesting combos like throwing caltrops onto the field in front of enemies with your rogue, then pulling them closer with your fighter’s taunt, ensuring that they take damage as they move over the spikes.

Positioning your party also affects the outcome of the battle. It’s probably a bad idea to put your rogue and your magic-user in front, so you have the ability to move your fighter or your bard to the front lines between battles. Even the best-laid plans can go awry, though. If your enemies get the drop on you, your party’s positioning will flip, putting your squishiest members in harm’s way. 

3. There Are Some Cool Exploration Elements

I had fun with the game’s systems. As you gain party members, you gain access to Songs of Exploration, spells that can be used to open secret doors and solve puzzles. In the opening hours, it was obvious which song I was supposed to use. For example, an ability called “Hidey-Bide” reveals hidden item caches, and “Jarnel’s Eyes” reveals hidden corruption in the environment, such as shadowy figures disguised as villagers, as well as a large area of the map. These abilities made me feel a little more connected to the fantasy of being a bard.

Locked doors around the world sometimes require short puzzles where you move gears around to create a working mechanism. These puzzles are a simple addition that could usually be completed by just moving the gears back and forth until I found the solution, but they were more interesting than traditional “find the key” doors (though I found some of those, too).

4. The Presentation Is ... Mixed

The Bard’s Tale IV’s voice acting isn’t half bad, but everything else is sub-par. There are several types of cutscenes: the hand-drawn/painted cinematic that introduced the world’s lore, the FMV intro, and in-game animated scenes where characters walk around and talk to each other.

Most bizarrely, the game’s major scenes are constructed with flat, blurry images of the character models, cut out and plastered in front of pre-rendered backgrounds. These images don’t move (no lip-synching) apart from being warped and stretched slowly to create the illusion of life. If you need help picturing this, imagine the Hearthstone cinematic trailers, but made with flattened 3D assets ... and also bad.

The game’s in-game visuals aren’t the best, either. Lighting is okay, textures are muddy, and character models are chunky and lack variety.

It also wasn’t as funny as I expected given the series’ reputation as one that attempts to make players laugh with all kinds of drunken debauchery. There were a couple eye-roll inducing jokes, like a pocket-picking skill for the rogue called “cavity search,” but I generally didn’t hear or read much that seemed like it was trying to make me laugh. Oh, except for when your enemies turn around and wave their asses at you. That happens sometimes. Yeah...

 

The Bard’s Tale IV’s opening hours felt a little rough around the edges, but there were enough interesting ideas to leave me curious about the final game. We’ll see if InXile Entertainment will take full advantage of The Bard's Tale IV's potential when the game releases on PC on September 18.

One thing's for sure: I'm looking forward to more of the fake-elf-eared guy. Let’s get more campy FMV in video games, please.

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Game Informer News Feed - Sat, 07/14/2018 - 23:40

As most mainstream fighting games aim to complexify their systems while making the basics accessible. Enter Footsies, a fighting game that will show the power of proper timing and spacing the hard way. It's not exactly easy, but it's simple, and will hopefully teach you proper timing and spacing the hard way.

The game is about landing a special move on your opponent to win the round. Special moves can tough to land, so you can cancel a neutral or forward/back attack into them. You also have access to a Shoryuken-style uppercut, though this one can't be canceled into and serves more as a way to capitalize on predicting your opponent's next attack and countering it. You can also dash forward or backward. Block is allowed, but discouraged; you can only block three attacks per round.

This puts an emphasis on moving back and forth on the small field, making sure you not only press the right attack button at the right time, but aren't just mashing buttons and can follow up any stray move into a special and win the round. It's a neat back-to-basics fighting that not only acts as a teaching tool, but could be fun in its own right. You can download the game for free here.

Categories: Games

Sega Shows More Shenmue HD Footage In Documentary Form

Game Informer News Feed - Sat, 07/14/2018 - 01:30

Few locations are as iconic as Shenmue's Dobuita street, if only for as long as you spend as Ryo wandering the streets looking for answers about his father's killer. Ahead of the HD re-releases of Shenmue I and II, Sega is taking you back to Dobuita Street with a short documentary that features new footage of the HD remaster.

Adam Koralik and Imran Yusuf walk you through why Shenmue was so notable for its time and how Dobuita feels like a home away from home.

Shenmue I and II released together on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on August 21.

Categories: Games

Fighting EX Layer Review: One-On-One Fun

Gamespot News Feed - Fri, 07/13/2018 - 19:00

Fighting EX Layer is a one-one-one fighting game that's built for a very specific audience. There's no tutorial, no story mode, not even a basic arcade mode yet. However, the resulting game is built purely on competitive fighting with focused efforts on making the brawling as satisfying and engaging as possible. And to that end, developer Arika succeeded spectacularly.

Fighting EX Layer comes from Arika, the developer behind the Street Fighter EX series for the PlayStation 1 and 2, and features many of the original characters created for those games. Faces like Blair Dame, Doctrine Dark, and the fan favorite Skullomania are all here to deliver epic beatdowns while looking better than ever. If you enjoyed the SFEX games, playing EX Layer feels like seeing old friends again after a very long time--though you don't need to remember the roster from a 1996 game to have fun with its colorful cast of fighters.

Of course, characters in a fighting game are just empty shells without a solid fighting engine to back them up, and EX Layer delivers that. The six-button fighter incorporates throws, dashes, a special overhead attack, varied special moves and super attacks, and basic attack chain combos (executed by pressing light-to-strong attack buttons in succession.) Movement, particularly dashing, feels swift and responsive even for slower characters, and basic attacks are satisfying thanks to a combination of well-designed animations and delightful auditory and visual flourishes.

This solid gameplay provides the foundation for EX Layer's two defining mechanics. The first is the ability to chain attacks into special and super moves, which is achieved by cancelling mid-animation into a stronger skill. While many fighting games do this, EX Layer is notable for how smooth and free-flowing the cancelling feels; timing windows tend to be generous, and there are only a few restrictions on what attacks can chain into others, leading to some spectacular combos involving multiple special and super skills fired off in rapid succession. Allen's Justice Fist special move has a tremendous recovery time that makes it difficult to utilize on its own, for example, but by cancelling it into a super move, it becomes a lot more versatile. The cancelling, combined with dash-oriented movement, makes for a game that's very focused on aggressive, in-your-face tactics.

The other major element that sets EX Layer apart is the Gougi, pre-constructed decks of five special skills--either active or passive--that activate when certain conditions are met over the course of the fight. Effects can range from an increase in movement speed after a certain amount of time has passed to special properties attached to your attacks after you land hits with them a certain number of times. There are currently 15 Gougi decks available in the “standard” version and five available in the lower-priced “light” version, with more potentially on the way as DLC.

The skills that activate in each Gougi are designed to pair well with each other. The Infinity deck, for example, contains three boosts to building super meter and two other skills that make use of this extra meter gain, allowing you to play by building and spending meter very quickly. Other decks can change basics of the game in some unique and challenging ways; the Stealth Raptor deck transforms dashes into short hops, while Sky Dancer gives you a homing jump that will let you land near your opponent from any distance. This results in some Gougi decks being easier to use than others, but the more technical decks offer some intriguing potential to those willing to put in the time and effort to work with them.

It's in the thick of battle when you really see how much Gougi can impact a match. Many of the effects don't activate until a couple of rounds in, meaning that you'll gain access to new skills and abilities throughout the entire match. This challenges you to not only change up your fighting style and take full advantage of your unlocked skills as the battle wages on, but also to adapt to your opponent's ever-evolving set of skills. Due to the aggressive nature of its combat and the Gougi boosts, the playing field in EX Layer is practically always changing in a fun, organic way.

The fact that Gougi and attack cancelling are so versatile makes for a game that feels designed expressly for people who savor the technical aspects of fighting games--the kind of folks who will gladly spend hours upon hours in Training Mode just experimenting to find cool and interesting techniques. With its lack of single-player modes (besides a versus-CPU Kumite mode buried under menus), Fighting EX Layer is expressly targeting the hardcore competitor. While Arika has said that there are no plans for expanding the single-player element of the game anytime soon beyond an eventual arcade mode, it's showing that it's dedicated to maintaining the health of the community. Unfortunately, for such a competition-focused game, the netcode can be spotty, leading to some noticeable lag and occasionally frustrating matches if you don't have anyone to fight against locally. If you keep to high-bar connections, things usually go a lot more smoothly.

On a pure gameplay level, Fighting EX Layer is an absolute treat. What it lacks in bells and whistles it delivers in pure, fun combat. This is a game made for the sort of people who will spend hours perfecting an impractical, extremely-precise combo in training mode simply for the satisfaction of having done it. If that describes you, then Fighting EX Layer will be worth everything you put into it.

Categories: Games

We Happy Few Trailer Shows Off Playable Characters, Crafting, And Stealth

Game Informer News Feed - Fri, 07/13/2018 - 18:00

Compulsion Games released a new trailer for We Happy Few, the developer's narrative-driven action-adventure game set in an alternate-history 1960s England. The trailer introduces the game's three playable characters – Arthur, Sally, and Ollie – and gives another look at the game's strange, drug-filled world.

Players begin We Happy Few's story as Arthur, a "British everyman" trying to escape the city of Wellington Wells in order to reunite with his brother. Players will meet the two other protagonists – Sally, a chemist who uses drugs to take out enemies and avoid detection, and Ollie, a "mad Scotsman" and former soldier who shares a mutual dislike with almost everyone in town – and play through their stories sequentially.

 

The trailer also gave a quick look at the game's weapon crafting mechanics, skill trees, and side quests. We Happy Few has changed quite a bit since its initial existence as a survival-focused experience in early access. To read more about the game's transformation, check out Kyle Hilliard's interview with the developers.

Categories: Games

Find Out What Has Been Added To Tales Of Vesperia: Definitive Edition Other Than Improved Visuals

Game Informer News Feed - Fri, 07/13/2018 - 15:31

Bandai Namco released a new trailer for the upcoming current-gen remaster of 2008's Tales of Vesperia.

The game will have improved visuals, but also adds more mystic arts, costumes (if you look closely you will see Klonoa and Mr. Driller costumes in the trailer), and new battles.

Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition is coming to PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC this winter.

 

Categories: Games

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker Nintendo Switch Review: Time For Adventure

Gamespot News Feed - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 23:55

Nintendo has all but cornered the market on streamlined, cute adventures for all ages. While Captain Toad made his first appearance in Super Mario Galaxy, he's since been spun off into his own puzzle-platforming series based on a very different type of design philosophy than you may be used to. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker debuted on the Wii U back in 2014, but as Nintendo moves much of its legacy system's library onto the Switch, Toad has another shot at stardom. And it's certainly a worthy outing--even four years on--for anyone who appreciates clever puzzles.

The core gameplay conceit is one of level design. You'll need to rotate a cuboid world around Captain Toad as you look for clues and solutions from multiple angles. Each move helps change the level, affecting how different parts react to one another and to you. As you turn the stage, you can see different pieces and elements. It's not uncommon to shift things around and notice a "POW" block in a convenient location. Toss a turnip from the other side, and you can dissolve a wall with its power and move through.

Perspective matters, and the obstacles that can affect how you use your perspective are fertile ground for spectacular puzzles. And it allows a breadth of pacing options as well. Some stages feel tense and rushed, but some are set against calming pink clouds. A calm stage can be followed immediately by one filled with foes and traps, though, shifting where and how you focus your attention. The progression is steady enough--both within stages and across them--that you'll be left, more often than not, feeling clever and encouraged.

This is all true for both the Wii U and Switch versions, but the Switch version adds in a few things, most notably local co-operative multiplayer. Ostensibly a distinctive addition (as there's also a 3DS port that lacks it), it is poorly executed the majority of the time. Each player gets one of the Switch's Joy-Cons, splitting the typical play into two roles. One handles Toad's movement, while the other dispatches enemies and shifts the camera. It's a bizarre twist that could feel a lot more developed than it is. As it works, neither role gives much for its player to do and having enemies largely handled by one person cuts down on the scope of the platforming and the puzzles, making each stage feel like a cut-down version instead of a solid addition in its own right.

That said, the sharper screen on the Switch and addition of about a dozen new areas and modes make this version a strictly better choice, and the short, relatively simple stages of Captain Toad lend themselves to a portable environment. Of course, it also carries with it the weaknesses of its forebear. Even with the bonus content, Treasure Tracker is a bit short. You're left with the sense that there could be plenty more and that the idea of rotating through levels doesn't get its full due.

Despite a smattering of minor complaints, Captain Toad stands as a pint-sized version of Nintendo's stellar first party pedigree. It's among the best Mario spin-offs around and a delightful iteration on old ideas.

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Game Informer News Feed - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 20:10

Gunfire Games and Perfect World just announced Remnant: From The Ashes, a co-op shooter that looks to be in the vein of Left 4 Dead or Vermintide. Where Remnant mixes things up is the third-person perspective, "dynamically-generated worlds", post-apocalyptic aesthetic, crafting, and The Root. The Root are an enemy from another dimension that have invaded earth and players can fight them on their home soil or on earth. 

The game looks to retain the creative art of the Darksiders games with a focus on a more realistic and dark aesthetic. The enemies are definitely interesting and the third-person perspective and gameplay look to be very different from other similar co-op games. In fact, the trailer makes the game look more inspired by something like Warframe than Left 4 Dead.

Gunfire is currently developing Darksiders 3 which will release this November. Remnant: From The Ashes is currently scheduled to hit PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in 2019. 

[Source: IGN]

Categories: Games

Latest Pokémon Let's Go Pikachu And Eevee Trailer Emphasizes Bonding And Battles

Game Informer News Feed - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 16:50

The new trailer for Pokémon Let's Go Pikachu and Pokémon Let's Go Eevee has a little bit of everything, showcasing just some of what you'll find in the Kanto region.

The trailer contains footage of everything from customization and riding large Pokémon to battling gym leaders and co-op play. Bonding with your Pokémon is a key component of the title, and this will be easy not only because they're so cute, but because it'll happen as you pet, feed, and even tickle it. You can also coordinate your wardrobes together!

For some hands-on impressions of the game – including using the Poké Ball Plus – check out Kyle's preview.

 

Categories: Games

Octopath Traveler Review: Divide And Conquer

Gamespot News Feed - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 14:00

Retro throwbacks rarely go for the mid-'90s mix of 2D sprites and low-res 3D models, but along comes Octopath Traveler, a game that manages to both faithfully recreate the aesthetic and add to it in subtle yet meaningful ways. It's a great look, one that draws you into the world and delights you with small artistic touches that bring something magical to otherwise simple environments. Enemies and bosses alike are lavishly drawn despite the confines of the game's intentional low-res aesthetic. It's a similar treatment that you can find in a game like Final Fantasy VI, where rough sprites in the overworld transform into big, detailed illustrations in battle.

Taking pleasure in the dreamy, diorama-esque look of Octopath will satisfy you for a while, as will the immediately likable combat system, which implements a few small innovations to revitalize the otherwise traditional turn-based mechanics. What may ultimately trip you up, however, is the narrative--a collection of eight short stories each divided up into four chapters of increasingly higher difficulty. After picking a protagonist at the start of the game, you gather allies by travelling to their icons on a map.

This approach is viable in theory, but Octopath woefully struggles to weave interesting tales despite the wide range of personalities behind them. You get an intro, a spirited launch into a quest, a revelatory examination of people and places, and then a conclusion, each chapter lasting roughly one or two hours with a lot of drawn-out dialogue. Coupled with wildly varying English voice acting, it's all too easy to want to reach for the skip button when a story sequence slowly winds up. In these moments, everyone but the relevant character is relegated to being backseat companions, hidden away from view entirely. The only time your team acts as such outside of battle is during rare opportunities that you get a banter notification, which allows for a brief discussion between a couple of characters, dependent on who's in your party. These can be entertaining from time to time, but they are too infrequent and inconsequential to truly matter.

It's no doubt disappointing to report that Octopath's stories are more or less a wash, but that doesn't mean the world is any less intriguing on its own. On the contrary, it's constantly refreshing to see how much care has gone into fleshing out run-of-the-mill NPCs, many of whom have peculiar backgrounds that outshine some of the more mundane major characters. Side quests allow you to explore these personalities a bit further than usual, but there's enough variety and colorful writing to make fly-by introductions worthwhile whenever you come to a new territory. Octopath's towns are brimming with excuses to look twice at the unsung heroes and villains that call your rest stops home.

NPCs feature other smart interactive touches that call upon your characters' individual strengths. Just like you'd inquire into backstories, you can steal belongings (or talk strangers into selling what you can't steal), allure them into following your crew and helping out in battle, or pick a fight with them in the middle of town--just a few of your options. Some of these actions carry a chance of success, and repeat failure in a particular town can temporarily kill your reputation, preventing further attempts until you pay the local barkeep to spread positive gossip about you to their customers. It's a punishment that's easy to overcome, and it's a little strange that you can so freely try to rob the same person ad nauseum until you succeed, but it's nonetheless great to have that added layer to exploration.

Without a broad objective steering your party across the world map, you're instead guided by icons that tell you where to pick up the next chapter for a specific character and what level your party should be to survive random encounters with beasts and brigands. The initial stops circle a sizable body of water in the middle, with each round of chapters shifting ever slightly outward towards the edge of the map. The procession of events and markers is measured in such a way to provide natural progress through each character's personal adventure. Keep up with the logical order and you may never have to grind for experience if you avoid fast traveling to previously visited locations.

In order to activate a chapter, you need the relevant character in your party, but even if you neglect to cycle party members regularly enough to keep them on even footing by the time they're called upon, you can still carry a grossly under-leveled character into battle without too much concern. It's one of many reasons why Octopath's battle system feels so fresh: it's about what you hit the enemy with rather than how hard the hit lands.

Every enemy in Octopath is vulnerable to at least one particular element or weapon type, and most are vulnerable to three or more. A grid beneath their sprite in battle will automatically tell you how many vulnerabilities they have, but it's up to you to uncover the specifics by hitting them with everything you've got. When you successfully strike with a relevant spell or weapon, an icon fills in a space on the grid so you have a clear record of what to do throughout the battle and in future encounters. With these tactics in mind, your goal is to break your enemy's defenses by hitting them enough times with effective attacks to whittle away their shield. Once broken, an enemy will lose their next turn and remain in a highly vulnerable state where attacks hurt them a little more than usual.

Despite the lackluster stories that pull you through the world, Octopath thrives on its character progression and the temptations of high-level challenges and rewards.

The other important piece of combat is the battle point system. Battle points act as extra swings of a weapon in a turn, or as a means to power up magic attacks. Every character gets one BP added to their slate per turn so long as they don't spend BP, which will delay the accrual process by an additional turn. In most cases, saving up BP is a beneficial way to wear down an enemy's shield in one turn with a single character. But once an enemy is broken, BP is best used to fortify single attacks during that window of opportunity.

The concept of breaking enemies is paramount during boss battles (which often include a pair of sidekicks), long affairs that test your ability to remain focused on your resources, characters' turn order, and unusual dangers, like coordinated attacks against your party that can insta-kill characters when you least expect it. If you're fighting around the experience level that Octopath suggests for these fights, you may find yourself engaged in a 30-minute test of your ability to remain organized and focused. Common enemies will pose formidable challenges as well, but those fights go a lot quicker, and you're afforded more opportunities to flex your various skills for the fun of it, rather than to satisfy the punishing demands of excruciating bosses.

Your battle party is only as good as you make them, which means not only earning enough experience points to level up and learn new skills, but coordinating individual skillsets to diversify your options while also doubling down on your most effective attacks. Each of the eight characters starts with a distinct job, and as you explore the world, you uncover shrines that let you assign a secondary job as well--each secondary job is limited to one character at a time. Managing two jobs and equipping passive support abilities recalls RPG like Final Fantasy Tactics, but unlike such games that typically give you free reign to stuff your party with overpowered job configurations, Octopath smartly limits your options to prevent you from breaking the system.

You will no doubt come to prefer certain jobs over others, but some of the most valuable skills are tied to characters rather than their assignments. H'annit, the hunter, has the unique ability to capture enemies that can be summoned during future battles a limited number of times, whereas Alfyn the apothecary can make medicine mid-battle by synthesizing salves with expendable ingredients, for example. Between these unique character skills and the variety of jobs on hand, your party will transform on a regular basis to keep up with the demands of bosses and particularly finicky enemy types. This constant search for new strategies leads to a wonderful variety of experiences and accomplishments by the time you reach Octopath's end.

Despite the lackluster stories that pull you through the world, Octopath thrives on its character progression and the temptations of high-level challenges and rewards. The promise of new jobs, exciting boss fights, and powerful gear will inspire you to poke around every corner, and there are no shortage of discoveries to strive for. And all the while, you're treated to one of the most interesting and effective re-imaginings of a retro aesthetic around. Octopath will likely be a divisive game due to its fractured storytelling, but it's one worth playing despite its lesser qualities. Its high points are simply too good to ignore.

Categories: Games

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Game Informer News Feed - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 00:50

In an interview with Buzzfeed, The Last of Us Part II director Neil Druckmann hinted a tiny bit at whether Ellie will be going it alone in the man-turned-monster horrorland.

When questioned about the heart of NPCs and making one of the best NPC partners of all time in Ellie, Druckmann decided to spill a bean or two about the gameplay and story.

"Well, so, Ellie used to be an NPC, but she’s the protagonist in this story, so the player is controlling Ellie," Druckmann said. "Umm, it’s safe to say with the game that we made in the past that there will be some NPC with you in this story, even though we’re not showing [the NPC] in this demo. And our general approach is to say, again, How do we treat them like people? How do we get them to behave honestly as those people? How do we give them interesting characteristics so that they can navigate the world, make meaningful actions, and surprise you in the way people do?"

The E3 demo, which was shown during Sony's E3 showcase, had an older Ellie stealthing through and inevitably killing everyone in a small area. In that demo, as Druckmann said, Ellie went it alone through the entire thing, though she definitely could have used a little help from some friends. Druckmann is pretty careful about what he says, so he probably wouldn't talk about the other character unless they plan to reveal them before too long.

Do you think Ellie's NPC partner has already been shown in some story cutscenes? What role do you think they'll play?

[Source: BuzzFeed]

 

I doubt they have another young teenager again, but who knows. Sony seems to do pretty well with having young companions in their games.
Categories: Games

New Spyro Reignited Footage Shows The Second Game Off

Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 07/11/2018 - 23:45

With Spryo Reginited Trilogy on its way fairly soon, we've mostly only gotten footage of the first Spyro game. Thanks to the official PlayStation account and PlayStation Underground, however, Spyro 2 has finally gotten some love as we get our first footage of the second game in the series.

The developers at Toys for Bob walks you through the Idol Springs level and its way-more-detailed NPCs.

Spyro Reignited Trilogy is releasing on September 21 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Categories: Games

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Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 07/11/2018 - 02:40

With every new Super Smash Bros. games, fans are always curious and excited to see what new musical tracks from the games represented will make their way into the new Smash Bros. title. With Smash Bros. Brawl, director Masuhiro Sakurai called in multiple composers from the industry to arrange songs from different series, which had things like Kirby music being arranged by Final Fantasy XIII's composer or Donkey Kong Country music arranged by Wild Arms' composer.

Since the game's announcement, Nintendo has been slowly posting music samples of new tracks for the new game. Since the Inkling is a new character for the game, the track Bomb Rush Blush is playing on the Moray Towers stage and is composed by Tomoya Ohtani, who is behind a lot of Sega classics like Space Channel 5 and Chu Chu Rocket.

Another track is an arrangement of Vega's theme from Street Fighter, done by legendary video game music scribe and original Street Fighter II composer Yoko Shimomura.

Today's update is a medley of Mega Man 4 music done by Jun Senoue, a longtime Sonic veteran who is primarily known for his more modern rock stylings in the series.

You can find more samples, and a place to find the rest of the music as they get posted, on the official site right here. 

What dream composer and series combinations do you hope make it to the game?

Categories: Games

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Game Informer News Feed - Tue, 07/10/2018 - 21:55

While Far Cry 5 took place entirely in the rural but dangerous Hope County, the DLC has been eager to stretch its legs by taking place in far off places. The newest DLC, Lost on Mars, takes players into space onto the red planet.

Lost on Mars is the second piece of DLC for Far Cry 5, following the Hours of Darkness Vietnam DLC, and takes Far Cry 5's Nick Rye and series veteran Hurk to Mars via a blue levitating light to stop an alien invasion at its origin. You can check out the teaser trailer below.

The DLC is part of the season pass and will be available on July 17. If you want to hear what we thought about the last DLC for Far Cry 5, Hours of Darkness, you can check out our conversation about it here.

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