New Gameplay Video Shows Off Puzzles and Dialogue

Game Informer News Feed - Tue, 07/25/2017 - 21:23

Today, Naughty Dog released its latest gameplay trailer for Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, which shows off more of the vegetative scenery and combat mechanics we've become accustomed to in the series. However, the dialogue takes center stage; Chloe's humor and propensity to discuss puzzles with herself is heavily reminiscent of Nathan Drake, but her interactions with Nadine provide an interesting dynamic that differentiates itself from that of Drake and Sullivan.

Their idiosyncratic relationship looks to offer a new feel to the series, departing from the slapstick back-and-forths of the series' previous protagonists in favor of more conversational depth and a cerebral tone, while still retaining some comedic elements. The stealth sequence also affords us the opportunity to hear some of the humorous dialogue between the enemy soldiers. While so far the game has presented a few innovations, it's moments like this that make it so distinctly Uncharted.

The puzzle-solving mechanisms also appear in the trailer, honing the map, item, and artifact interactivity from Uncharted 4. In addition, we see more of the driving sequences that were popularized in the previous installment, along with the impressive grappling hook and swimming mechanisms. As far as freshness goes, the new lock-picking system shows its face again in the video, this time exhibiting its utility for opening weapon crates.

Check out the full video below.

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Uncharted: The Lost Legacy releases on August 22 for PlayStation 4.

For more on Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, check out our hands-on impression from E3 or click the banner below to go to the hub.

Categories: Games

Pyre Review

Gamespot News Feed - Mon, 07/24/2017 - 17:00

Editor's note: Pyre was designed and written by former GameSpot editor in chief, Greg Kasavin.

Competitors strive to win. Criminals yearn for freedom. These pursuits go hand in hand in Pyre, the latest game from Bastion and Transistor developer Supergiant Games. And like those games, Pyre enchants your eyes and ears with beauty at every turn. But this time around, its greatest feat is the unrelenting pull of its characters, a mix of passionate beings that fight for salvation, revenge, and revolution.

That isn't to take away from Pyre's unlikely mix of fantasy RPG elements and--of all things--sport. You are one of many exiles unjustly trapped in the purgatory-like Downside for crimes against the Commonwealth, but exiles that manage to win enough competitions known as "rites"--3v3 matches that incorporate elements of football and basketball--have a chance at redemption. Your journey to build a team of champions takes you across the Downside and back in search of challengers and new skills, with each match bringing you closer to understanding your allies' and enemies' motivations.

Your basic objective during a rite is to maintain possession of an orb while sprinting, dodging, and leaping towards your opponent's goal on the opposite end of the court. Run it in, throw it in, or jump overhead into the goal to douse the opposing team's pyre and reduce its energy. If a team's pyre is depleted, they've lost the match. You only control one character at a time, and will frequently switch control among your triumvirate to jockey for position on the field, or to take advantage of the nine classes' unique offensive and defensive maneuvers. When Pyre hits its stride, rites become fast-paced mind games that call upon your ability to turn on a dime and come up with new strategies under tense circumstances.

One rule in particular pushes you to consider all of your options when it comes to scoring against the other team. Should you physically carry the orb into their goal, the character who scores will have to sit out until the next goal. This can be negated, however: you need only throw the orb into the goal instead. Shooting the orb rather than carrying it comes with its own risks, as the shooter must charge up an arc according to the distance to the goal. In process, that player is vulnerable to attack from the other team. The penalty for being attacked is a temporary banishment from the court for a few seconds, which can leave your own goal open to attack. Weighing the pros and cons of shooting versus rushing is one of many negotiations you must make, often with little more than a second to make up your mind.

Pyre is worth playing for its exciting matches alone, but what makes it worthy of renown is how it leverages the tension of competition to tell a captivating story. Like Roman gladiators, the characters you bring into battle are ultimately competing for freedom. Lose these pivotal liberation rites, however, and kiss that chance goodbye. With a fixed number of liberation rites throughout the story, you have limited chances to help your friends. And while it can be heartbreaking to watch your opponent ascend rather than one of your party members, there are bigger stakes at play that weigh heavier as time goes on.

Your team operates under the tutelage of a revolutionary figure with plans to overthrow the corrupt Commonwealth--it will only work if you effectively liberate enough characters in your party to fight the good fight at the end of campaign. It behooves the cause, then, to put your best characters forward, but sending off champions is bittersweet as you have to say goodbye and carry on with less experienced characters. And no matter what, when the final rite passes, those who remain must relinquish hope and live out their remaining days in the Downside. Having control over who stays and who leaves (and when) allows you to shape the relationships and interactions that define your journey, and your outlook on the conflict at large.

Were it not for Pyre's elegantly written characters, the consequences of your decisions wouldn't carry nearly as much weight as they do. Every exile you meet bears a unique backstory and personality, and the nine that join your cause stir up emotions both in you and among each other. Hedwyn's unrelenting optimism, for example, becomes all the more meaningful when you understand that it's a coping mechanism for constant heartbreak. Pamitha, a cold and fearsome Harpy, seems less imposing and more fragile by the time you realize that her family ties complicate her position on your team. You feel proud when a rite is won and you've guided a dear friend to freedom, but failure and guilt are only a few mistakes away--a very real threat in the latter half of the game.

But win or lose, your journey continues. There are no game over screens, only bad endings if you rack up enough losses. Regardless of the outcome of an individual rite, your exiles earn experience towards enlightenment and get to choose between a small selection of special abilities as they level up. You can also acquire talismans to benefit individual characters or the team at large. Beyond who you take into rites, and who you converse with during your limited downtime, character progression and customization is yet another way that Pyre allows you to personalize your journey.

Although Pyre is designed to be replayed and supports that quite well through the power of choice, you thankfully aren't required to restart the game in order to jump back into competition. A local versus mode gives you the chance to compete outside of the campaign, which is appreciated given that there are less than 30 matches throughout the story. With every character (including your various opponents) and item unlocked, versus mode also allows you to explore the full potential of the Pyre's roster in ways the campaign doesn't. The only catch to PvP is that rites are at their best when you're on even footing with your opponent, and it only takes a few matches with less experienced players to highlight the conspicuous absence of online play.

Pyre's competitive side is a wonderful surprise, both for how it introduces a brand new sport and for how it seamlessly connects to a narrative filled with heartfelt characters and tragic circumstances. But it's all held aloft by relentlessly beautiful artwork and a masterful soundtrack packed with a diverse selection of genres and instrumentation. Every inch of the lush Downside, and every second of your journey, is a delight for the senses.

And thus it's all too easy to fall in love with Pyre. It's immediately attractive. Its songs dance in your head long after they debut. And before you know it, you find yourself driven to get better at rites and perform at the top of your game. Likewise, you can't help but reflect on your partners in the Downside--those you trained, as well as those you neglected. Supergiant Games has created something special that lives on in your heart. And against great odds, it's invented a sport that could have stood on its own without the story it's attached to--but it's so much better because it is.

Categories: Games

Bandai Namco Reveals Gameplay And New Trailer

Game Informer News Feed - Sun, 07/23/2017 - 19:48

During a recent livestream, Bandai Namco revealed both gameplay and a new trailer for the upcoming Little Witch Academia: Chamber of Time, a video game adaptation of the popular anime series. Little Witch Academia is a series that centers around a young woman, Atsuko, who enrolls in a magical academy.

The action RPG will have a separate story from the anime, but many of the characters appearing in the show will also be playable in-game. According to a report from Gematsu, such characters include Akko Kagari, Lotte Yanson, and Sucy Manbavaran. The Luna Nova Magical Academy will also be completely explorable notes developer A+ Games.

You watch watch both the trailer and the gameplay below (both are in Japanese). The second video is the complete livestream, with gameplay beginning at around 2:48:30.

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Little Witch Academia: Chamber of Time comes to PlayStation 4 and PC in Japan as of November 30. The game is expected to release in North America by 2018.

[Source: Gematsu]

Categories: Games

Shelob Returns In Latest Trailer

Game Informer News Feed - Sat, 07/22/2017 - 19:20

At this year's San Diego Comic-Con, Warner Bros. showed off a new trailer for Middle-Earth: Shadow of War. The trailer highlights a number of the game's story beats, and introduces us to new (and old) character: Shelob.

Originally a villainous spider in Lord of the Rings, Shelob retains her eight spindly legs in Shadow of War, but can also shapeshift into a human, making her a bit more empathetic and expressive this time around. You can watch the full trailer introducing her new incarnation below.

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Categories: Games

San Diego Comic-Con 2017 Trailer Gives Extended Look At Combat

Game Informer News Feed - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 22:45

Steven Universe fans are getting what looks like a fairly robust role-playing adventure with turn-based combat when the franchise makes its gaming debut on consoles.

This new Steven Universe: Save the Light trailer from San Diego Comic-Con 2017 shows some of the abilities players can use in the game. It looks like developer Grumpyface Studios is injecting plenty of fusions, including the combination of Steven and Connie, Stevonnie.

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The sequel to the mobile game Steven Universe: Attack the Light, Save the Light is being written by show creator Rebecca Sugar. We don't have an official release date yet, but Steven Universe: Save the Light is coming soon to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Categories: Games

See What's New For Madden 18's Gameplay

Game Informer News Feed - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 18:41

A new Madden trailer has come out focusing on an important foundation of the August 25 football title – the gameplay. Specifically, some of the new elements for this year.

One of the major optional gameplay mechanics is increased QB control through target passing: the ability to throw to a space versus just always targeting at a receiver's numbers or choosing a high/low pass. 

At the :15 second mark of the trailer (below) you can see an orange on-the-field icon that indicates where you want to throw the ball. In this case, it's ahead of the receiver. This is separate from choosing a catch button as a receiver to try and run after the catch, for example.

The trailer also shows the coaching adjustments menu you can bring up while you're picking your play that lets you tweak how your defense plays the ball in the air (such as being aggressive on the ball), your cornerback matchups, and your pass rush. This is for those crucial situations such as when you want to press for an turnover, for instance.

Finally, the new footage (taken from the game engine) touches on the new WR vs. DB interactions, blocking and tackling, and play styles. The latter is broken up into the arcade, simulation, and competitive categories. Simulation means that player ratings take precedence while competitive is about your stick skills with the controller. An example of the competitive play style is that your DB won't drop a sure-thing INT due to a poor catch rating because this play style rewards the user for correctly putting him in a good position to pick off the ball in the first place.

For more on Madden 18's gameplay, here are some impressions I picked up from my hands-on time with the game at E3.

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Categories: Games

Bandai Namco Releases Collection Of Screens Showing Piccolo And Krillin In Action

Game Informer News Feed - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 16:57

Earlier this week we learned that the world's strongest human being and the ultimate bad-guy-turned-good-guy archetype will be in Dragon Ball FighterZ. Today, Bandai Namco released a handful of in-game screens of Krillin and Piccoloin the game.

You can check out the gallery below to see plenty of screenshots from combat as well as their character art.

For more on FighterZ, head here for Trunks' announcement trailer, the details surrounding the closed beta, and here for an interview with the game's producer.

Categories: Games

Spider-Man, Frank West, Haggar, And Nemesis Confirmed

Game Informer News Feed - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 22:19

Pictured: Frank West as he appears in Dead Rising 4.

Today at San Diego Comic Con, Capcom confirmed four additions to Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite's roster.

Spider-Man, who needs to introduction, Frank West from the Dead Rising series, Haggar of Final Fight fame, and finally Nemesis most famously from Resident Evil 3: Nemesis will all be playable fighters in the game. The new fighters were revealed during the Marvel Games panel. A trailer was shown during the panel to attendees, but it should be available online tomorrow morning.

For more on Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite, specifically our thoughts on the game's single-player campaign from our time with the game at E3, head here.

[Source: @MarvelvsCapcom]

Categories: Games

Supergiant's Party-Based RPG Gets Intense New Trailer

Game Informer News Feed - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 21:59

Supergiant Games, the developer behind Bastion and Transistor, has released a new launch trailer detailing the exiles, Rites, and more, in the mystical purgatory called the Downside.

In Pyre, you are responsible for leading a group of exiles across the Downside, taking on other exiles in an ancient competition called the Rites (that looks a lot like a game of NBA Jam) as you fight to extinguish your enemies' pyre while defending your own. A single orb is the primary tool of destruction in the Rites, and opposing players must take control of the orb and launch it at the opposing team's pyre to cause damage. Each character possesses different innate abilities with unique benefits for combat and traversing the arena, although a general skill tree is also available for leveling up.

The game offers a two-player local multiplayer mode as well as a single-player mode which, upon defeat, adapts the story instead of giving a Game Over.

Check out the launch trailer below.

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Pyre releases July 25 for PlayStation 4 and PC. For more, check out another trailer here and watch us take on the Downside in our Test Chamber.

Categories: Games

Activision Officially Unveils Call Of Duty: WWII's Nazi Zombie Mode With A Trailer

Game Informer News Feed - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 21:16

It seems like this Call of Duty's attack on the zombie horde will feel more like a terrifying zombie movie than a goofy 80s romp.

You can watch the trailer for the Nazi Zombie mode below, which is filled with grisly visuals and voice over from a scary man who takes himself very seriously.

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Along with the trailer, Activision also revealed the mode's celebrity cast. David Tennant, Elodie Yung, Katheryn Winnick, Udo Kier, and Ving Rhames will all be part of the game.

Nazi Zombies, as part of the Call of Duty: WWII package, releases November 3. For more on the game, head here.

Categories: Games

Latest Trailer Shows You How To Bring A Motorcycle To A Fistfight

Game Informer News Feed - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 17:30

The latest trailer for Yakuza Kiwami shows off the both the mundane of Yakuza, like playing crane games and singing karaoke, and the absurd, like punching someone with a motorcycle.

Yakuza Kiwami is a remake of the original Yakuza game that found a lot of success on Japan in 2005, but didn't find a huge audience in North America when it released for PlayStation 2 in 2006. Kiwami represents another chance for the series' origins to find its audience, which should be a lot easier this time around thanks to the new fandom generated from Yakuza 0 earlier this year,

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For more on Yakuza Kiwami, head here for its E3 2017 trailer, and here for for a hands-on preview. The game will be available on PlayStation 4 for $29.99 on August 29.

Categories: Games

Hack Into The Horror Of A New Trailer For Cyberpunk Title Observer

Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 07/19/2017 - 20:41

The future is indeed a scary place. Observer, which takes place in the definite dystopia of Poland 2084, puts you in the shoes of detective Dan Lazarski as he hacks into suspects' minds and invades their fears.

The game's new story trailer sheds a little more light on the game's context as well as Lazarski – played by Rutger Hauer from the original Blade Runner, among other films.

Our own Javy had a 10-minute demo of the title and thought highly of it enough to include it in our list of the best indie games from this year's GDC.

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Categories: Games

New Evil Within 2 Trailer Explores The Haunted Mind

Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 07/19/2017 - 16:11

Detective Sebastian Castellanos returns to fight the STEM project in The Evil Within 2, and this time he's also looking for his daughter, presumed dead in a house fire.

Castellanos returns to his nightmares in an attempt to save his daughter, and you can do so as well when the game comes out on October 13 on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

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Categories: Games

A Video Tour Of The Beta

Game Informer News Feed - Tue, 07/18/2017 - 22:44

Today sees the launch of the Destiny 2 beta for everyone who pre-ordered the game on PS4. Xbox One pre-orderers can look forward to diving in tomorrow, and the beta will go completely open this weekend for all console players. 

Andy McNamara and I have both been dedicated players of the original Destiny since its launch in 2014, and after many months of waiting, we sat down today for a first look at the beta. As we show off sections of the story, strike, and competitive action that the beta offers, we also took the time to discuss some of the changes coming to the game, how the game appeals to newcomers and lapsed players, and also the numerous aspects of gameplay that we have yet to learn about for the big sequel. 

Enjoy the video!

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Categories: Games

Splatoon 2 Review

Gamespot News Feed - Tue, 07/18/2017 - 16:00

Splatoon 2 is easy to love. It's colorful and quirky and unafraid to be different, and it's consistently a blast to play. As far as shooters go, its unique movement mechanics stand out and make each match exciting. And while the logistics of its multiplayer aren't perfect, Splatoon 2 is a vibrant and exuberant sequel with enough fresh additions and changes to set it apart from the original.

Like the first game, Splatoon 2 stars human-squid hybrids called Inklings. Their world is bright and filled with nautical puns both spoken and implied, and even just walking around and picking out new clothes is delightful. The shoe store is called Shella Fresh, for example, and cute fish-themed decor peppers the hub area. That extends to the gameplay, of course; your weapons shoot (or sometimes fling) ink, and you can instantly change into your squid form and swim through ink puddles to reload. Swimming also has a stealth element to it, since you're harder to see and faster, and therefore better equipped for surprise attacks. You can also ink walls and swim up them in squid form, which adds to your verticality in matches. In the standard multiplayer mode Turf War, you're tasked with inking more of the map than your opponents while also "splatting" them to limit their progress.

Multiplayer is undoubtedly the main draw of Splatoon 2, but both new and returning players should absolutely try the new-and-improved single player mode before jumping into any matches. Unlike in the first game, where you could only use the standard Splattershot gun in the campaign, Splatoon 2's serves as a fantastic introduction to all the basic weapon types you'll have access to--and it's much more robust, with collectibles that require a sharp eye to find and creative platforming challenges that really showcase how unique Splatoon 2's movement is for the shooter genre. And while it starts out a bit basic, each level builds on the last and requires clever application of your knowledge to complete. Grinding on rails while shooting targets, then switching to your squid form and successfully landing a tricky jump is satisfying not just because it's fun and cool but because it really feels like you've mastered Splatoon 2's new mechanics.

Unfortunately, not all of the single player campaign's lessons make it into the multiplayer. Most notably, rail grinding, which is the standout from single player, isn't possible on Moray Towers' rails. That in particular feels like a missed opportunity, especially since that map is returning from the first game. However, getting to use a wide variety of weapons in single player makes the transition to multiplayer easier, and subtle tweaks to weapons and gear, like faster movement with the roller, add a layer of new strategy for veteran players. On top of that, the majority of the maps are new, and favorites include Inkblot Art Academy and The Reef, both of which have several vertical levels that result in intense struggles for control of the higher ground.

The only multiplayer mode for non-ranked matches is Turf War, which is consistently so much fun that only having one casual mode isn't really a problem. Covering the most ground with your ink is a simple enough concept, but skillful movement, well-timed inking, and the right strategy for your weapon all work together to give each match more depth. There are some wrinkles with the logistics of these regular battles: there's no way to change your weapon once you're in a lobby, so you're stuck with whatever team composition you get, and you can't guarantee you'll be on the same team as any friends who join your lobby. But, as the most laid-back of the multiplayer options, Turf Wars' quick games and random team assignments make it easy to jump in and out and have fun without too much pressure. It might be frustrating when your team of randoms doesn't seem to know what they're doing, but the fast-paced struggle to cover turf with your team's ink is as exhilarating as ever.

Ranked battles return with Tower Control, Rainmaker, and Splat Zones. Each mode is similar to game types you might be familiar with in other team shooters; Tower Control consists of escorting a tower to a goal, Rainmaker is like reverse capture the flag, and Splat Zones requires you to "control" specific areas for a certain amount of time by covering them with your team's ink. Unfortunately, the lobbies for ranked matches haven't been populated enough for us to play them ahead of launch, but based on our experience with the first game, we can expect these modes to work essentially the same way. Splatoon's ink mechanics make these modes feel different from other games, and the focus on specific objectives is great for competitive players who want something more than the informal structure of Turf War.

There's also a new co-op mode called Salmon Run that lets you play alongside one to three friends in a horde environment. It's surprisingly challenging and requires more strategy and finesse than Turf War by far. Even on lower difficulties, my groups struggled against minibosses that require specific strategies to take out--they're less threatening than the single-player bosses but hard to deal with in high volumes. Successfully clearing the waves was satisfying knowing that we had to have worked well as a team in order to survive. In addition to the updated single-player campaign, this is another mode that shows off what's so great about Splatoon 2's unique gameplay in ways that PvP multiplayer doesn't.

The biggest problems with the original Splatoon's multiplayer were limited matchmaking and a lack of voice chat, which made team strategy extremely cumbersome and difficult. While regular battles still lack shooter matchmaking mainstays like parties, there's a new mode called League Battle that lets you group up with either one or three other friends and play together in a more competitive environment. League battles include the same modes as ranked but don't affect your solo rank, which is a great option if your skills aren't quite in line with your friends'. That said, voice chat is still a problem--you have to use a phone app to communicate, which is inelegant at best and ridiculous for a modern team-based game. There's no good reason it couldn't have been included in-game.

At first glance, Splatoon 2 seems very similar to the first game. But all the small changes, and even the bigger ones in single player and League Battles, make for a fresh take on the already unique shooter. If you played a lot of the original, the sequel has enough to keep you coming back, and if you're new to the game, it's a fantastic place to jump in.

Categories: Games

Inside Chloe Price From Life Is Strange: Before The Storm

Game Informer News Feed - Tue, 07/18/2017 - 15:19

Life is Strange: Before the Storm centers on Chloe Price in Arcadia Bay before the events of the previous 2015 title. The first episode, entitled Awake, comes out on August 31 (PS4, Xbox One, and PC), and today developer Deck Nine Games (taking over for Dontnod for this prequel) released a video centering on Chloe and how this is a different time for the character both on the screen and off.

Ashly Burch, who voiced Chloe in the original Life is Strange isn't reprising her role for Before the Storm, but she's integral to the process this time around. Rhianna Devries is voicing Chloe for this game, and the video below shows how she's approaching the challenge.

The profile also features lead writer Zak Gariss, who delves into the core of who Chloe is and her relationship with Rachel Amber.

For more on Before the Storm, be sure to check out Kim's Seven Things You Need To Know About The Prequel feature.

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Categories: Games

New Trailer Introduces Us To The Firing Squad

Game Informer News Feed - Mon, 07/17/2017 - 18:21

It's another "Mayhem Monday" which means it's time for some more news from Volition's Agents of Mayhem. This week, there's a new trailer that introduces us to the Firing Squad, a group described as "morally flexible and occasionally reliable." 

First up is Oni, a former Yakuza assassin who uses a silenced pistol and can weaken enemies with his aura of fear. Next up is a familiar face, Pierce Washington from the Saints Row franchise. He's a wannabe hip-hop star who was recruited to the team after unifying the gangs in Stilwater. His special power allows him to hypnotize enemies into dancing. Finally, we have the Iranian assassin Scheherazade who moves fast and vanishes into thin air before destroying L.E.G.I.O.N. soldiers with her sword and knives.

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Agents of Mayhem comes out on Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC on August 15. You can read our hands on impressions here, and check out the Magnum and Bombshell trailers here and here

Categories: Games

Filthy Mitts Showcased In This NHL 18 Gameplay Trailer

Game Informer News Feed - Thu, 07/13/2017 - 17:32

Skilled danglers are prevalent in the NHL these days, and NHL 18 is giving players the ability to replicate their sick moves – as well as ways defenders can keep them in check.

Today's gameplay video for the title (coming out on September 15 on PS4 and Xbox One) shows off this year's dekes system, including the ability to branch them off of each other. Not to be outdone, defenders can better position and sweep their stick to get in the way. Finally, the video also covers the Threes mode and off-the-puck positioning by the A.I.

For much more on the game, including gameplay, Threes mode, EASHL, career mode, and more, check out 60 Things We Know About NHL 18.

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Categories: Games

New Game Mixes Medieval And Magic In Early Access July 26

Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 07/12/2017 - 21:30

Blue Isle Studios, the people behind Slender: The Arrival and first-person adventure game Valley have revealed their next project, titled Citadel: Forged With Fire.

The the company's past efforts haven't met with mixed acclaim, Citadel has a few interesting hooks. At a glance, it looks quite a bit like an Elder Scrolls game, with the first-person exploration and RPG hooks of that series. However, Citadel lets you tame monsters instead of fighting them, use a broom to fly around the world, and construct (and destroy) castles of opposing houses online.

The game will be available on Steam through Early Access on July 26, though the game is also in development for Xbox One and PlayStation 4. You can watch the game's reveal trailer below.

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Categories: Games

Diablo 3: Rise Of The Necromancer Review

Gamespot News Feed - Wed, 07/12/2017 - 01:00

It had me at “you can blow up corpses.” Rise of the Necromancer provides a fantastic new character class for Diablo III in a dark wizard who loves the dead as much as Alice Cooper. As such, this downloadable content provides a reason for dedicated fans of Blizzard’s hack-and-slasher to revisit the game, and it even offers a little nudge for newbies to finally get with it and play one of the best action RPGs of all time. There’s one important caveat, though--all you get here is the new necromancer class and his undeadly accoutrements.

Still, playing as the necromancer offers an entertaining new way to experience the original Diablo III while also reviving a beloved character from Diablo II. This goth-inspired sorcerer stands out from other Diablo III classes thanks to his grim appearance and incredible battlefield abilities. The necromancer is an absolute powerhouse right from the start of the game, courtesy of a host of skills that let you wreak havoc. Soon after you start your adventure, you'll have a troop of skeleton warriors trotting by your side, slicing and dicing all comers while you hang back and raise the corpses they left behind as makeshift grenades via your Corpse Explosion skills. Detonating the bodies of fallen foes is endlessly satisfying, because of both the geysers of gore and how you can chain explosions, slaughtering huge numbers of enemies in strings of kabooms.

And the necromancer doesn’t just excel at blowing up corpses. A wide range of skills allow for varied playstyles; you can also let summoned skeletons and spirits do the heavy lifting while you use the Siphon Blood talents to leech enemy health and restore your own. You can wade right into melee combat or take a step back and fire off the ranged Bone Spikes or swing the mystical Grim Scythe. The Necromancer also offers some frills that allow you to sport big skeletal wings, don a custom portrait, have ghoulish pets scampering at your heels, and use over 30 new legendary items.

In short, this is a great character pack. The necromancer comes with a lot of depth and seems well thought-out. The one lingering concern is that the new class might be a little overpowered, but that’s a minor worry, given that most players will be using the goth-and-guts spellcaster for a runthrough of what’s likely a very familiar campaign in a game they know extremely well. Challenge probably isn’t as big a concern as novelty and the sheer fun factor the new character brings. The visual presentation is also extremely well done, offering a perfect balance between cartoon showers of blood and the dark grotesqueries of playing as a guy who revels in death.

But it’s still just a character pack. Despite the title, Rise of the Necromancer doesn’t offer any new quests, campaigns, or storylines. The name is more than a bit misleading, since it leads you to expect that there’s a little more (rotting) meat on this (animated and coming right at you) bone. And for $15, you’re right to expect more. The one slight saving grace when it comes to value is that the DLC arrives at the same time as the free 2.6.0 patch, which adds features to the core game like Challenge Rifts, new zones, and new bounties.

If not for the price, Rise of the Necromancer would be easy to instantly recommend to fans of Diablo III or anyone with even a passing interest in trying out a classic hack-and-slash RPG. Still, this is a fantastic character pack that adds one of the best, most enjoyable classes to the existing game roster.

Categories: Games