Games

Guacamelee 2 Review - Ready For A Challenge

Gamespot News Feed - Tue, 08/21/2018 - 15:00

The mighty luchador Juan already had a devil of a time in the first Guacamelee, but that's nothing compared to his second round. Guacamelee 2 is the best kind of sequel, doubling down on everything that worked in the original. Though it's diabolically challenging, it always feels fair, letting its meticulously crafted level design and self-aware humor shine through.

It begins a few years after the original, with Juan, now married to Lupita (El Presidente's daughter), raising two precocious kids in a tiny house on the outskirts of Pueblucho. At least, that's what's happening in the good timeline. In the Darkest Timeline, one of dozens of parallel dimensions in--ahem--the Mexiverse, Juan actually dies trying to defeat the previous big boss, Carlos Calaca. A hulking meatslab of a lucha named Salvador is the one who finishes the job, and he hopes to use a sacred, arcane guacamole recipe meant only for the gods to merge the land of the dead with the realm of the living. That has dire consequences, of course, and Juan once again must mask up and trek all across Mexico for the power to defeat Salvador and his minions.

Though there are some new additions, the fundamentals of Guacamelee haven't undergone any sweeping changes. The clean look of the first game has been upgraded with some beautiful, evocative lighting effects, and the score has more variety, weaving hooks and catchy breakbeats with a wider range of Latin melodies, but that's about it, aesthetically. The atmosphere is still firmly in the realm of eye-catching and dazzling cartoon aesthetics, but even just those minor tweaks add just the right touch of looming dread to fit Guacamelee 2's intensity.

Structurally, Guacamelee 2 maintains a balance between Metroidvania and side-scrolling beat-'em-up, and it doesn't feel like either genre is being lost in the mix. Just strolling into a room to lay the smackdown on skeletons still feels big and brutal, the way a wrestler slamming an opponent into the pavement absolutely should. A split-second fiesta in the upper right-hand corner that rewards you for big combos is the chuckle-worthy cherry on top of a savage job well done. Hours upon hours later, it never gets old watching the numbers rack up.

The magic lies in how the deadly physicality of your moveset directly feeds into where and how you can explore. Every new move--a frog slam, a flying uppercut--is more than just a way to lay waste to the undead menace, but the keys to mastering your environment. Taking care of a stone barrier between you and the next room, where the solution isn't some key you picked up clear across the map but the overkill of a big, booming punch or a massive headbutt, is satisfying like little else--especially coupled with the innate Metroidvania joy of being able to backtrack into an area and open up a route you couldn't take before with extreme, gratifying prejudice.

Guacamelee 2 retains the physicality of the original, but it focuses more on letting you use your physical moveset as a means of traversal and staying off the ground. Along with Juan's punches, kicks, and grab-and-slam maneuvers, a new magical grappling mechanic can shoot Juan off into different directions, which, until you earn the ability to fly, is the primary way you get through vertical sections of the map or areas where the ground is a hazard. Juan is once again able to turn into a chicken, but what was a cute, occasional gimmick is now integral to gameplay and the touchstone of all of the most delightfully absurd elements of the plot. Chicken Juan now has a high-powered moveset of his own, including firing himself diagonally into enemies and obstacles, sliding through tight spaces, and floating through the air.

As it turns out, staying off the ground is a job requiring more finesse than fight, and finesse is a trait for far more lithe and wiry wrestlers than Juan. The challenges of traversal you face are demanding, but it can absolutely be done, and the greatest challenge of Guacamelee 2 is looking at every obstacle and determining how to execute each of Juan's abilities--only some of which were designed specifically for traversal purposes--to get to a very precise target. Later challenges even require you to change from lucha to chicken Juan and back again for the same obstacle. Guacamelee 2 will frustrate those who don't cultivate the skills, but the exhilaration of succeeding and opening up a giant chunk of the map as a result is a wonderful motivator.

While you can now access upgrades at any time--rather than only at checkpoints--obtaining upgrades isn't just a matter of having enough gold but also performing feats in-game. Want to upgrade your health? You'll need to have found and opened a certain number of chests. Want more power out of a certain move? You'll need to have killed enough enemies with the basic version first. The side effect is that you're given further motivation to explore your environment and engage with even the easiest fights. Gold is still needed to make the purchase, however, and things do get mildly unbalanced there as the game goes on--after a few key upgrades, you'll be able to earn more gold than you can spend just from getting into one fight with a low-level goon.

Straightforward hand-to-hand fights usually aren't terribly difficult. Every enemy has a weakness, and once you figure out what attack leaves them wide open, it's just a matter of you learning how best to capitalize. The danger comes from the placement. To the game’s great credit, no gauntlet of enemies in the game is unfair or unbeatable, they just require a keen eye for picking up the numerous, sly visual cues that tell you exactly what’s possible in a given area.

There is, however, another way to earn the enhancements you'll need to take the fight to Salvador: Challenge Rooms. These tricky, self-contained obstacle courses with a treasure at the end are numerous in Guacamelee 2. The challenges themselves are wickedly conceived and executed, often designed to get you bouncing off walls, flying across rooms, and barrelling towards the ground at maximum speed, just barely missing a fatal hazard. Typically, you'll need to use every single available move in your repertoire to emerge victorious--anything less than surgical precision and command over the physics and minutiae of everything Juan can do will get you instantly killed.

The issue with the Challenge Rooms is that the reward at the end can vary. When you survive a rough room, and you're rewarded with a heart piece that extends Juan's life, you can walk away knowing it was all worth it. Getting through a difficult room but only receiving 400 gold, can feel like a slap in the face, especially when money is no object.

Thankfully, with infinite lives and the game's generous checkpoints, you're never too far from where you started should you fail. You will scream and curse at the screen often, but there's no luck, glitches, or happy accidents involved in conquering Guacamelee 2's most stringent tasks; there's only deft, acquired, well-practiced skill.

But there's more than just steel-hearted challenges waiting in the dark corners of Guacamelee 2's world, and many of its secret areas hide the best jokes in the game. There's an RPG dimension where all of Juan's fights are turn-based and, probably the best of the bunch, a hilariously spiteful take on lootboxes where Juan must spend enormous amounts of gold to simply open a closet door in a poor family's home to get his reward for saving their lives. Choozo statues--calling back to Metroid's Chozo statues--are still where Juan gets his main powers, and the script consistently has fun with the idea that smashing each statue is smashing up Uay Chivo's private and precious property.

Everything about Guacamelee 2 comes off as smarter and more thoughtful than the first game, even while indulging in its self-aware shenanigans and Rick & Morty-esque dimensional hijinks. The game never stops finding new ways to hook you in, to the point that even the most painstaking and intensive playthroughs feel like they just fly by. Saving the numerous timelines in Guacamelee 2 is just as much about partaking in a marvel of devious, meticulous game design as it is about saving Juan and his family from peril.

Categories: Games

The Violent World Of Assassin's Creed Odyssey

Game Informer News Feed - Tue, 08/21/2018 - 14:59

Ubisoft released a new trailer for Assassin's Creed Odyssey, serving as a backdrop to the game by providing a quick overview of the land's violent past.

For more on the game, check out the ongoing hub for our recent cover story by clicking on the banner below.

Categories: Games

We Go Hands-On With Devil May Cry 5

Game Informer News Feed - Tue, 08/21/2018 - 14:35

Since confirming the swirling rumors about Devil May Cry 5 at E3 earlier this year, Capcom has kept quiet on many of the details behind the actual hacking and slashing behind the impressive looking characters in the first trailer. With Devil May Cry 4 being a decade-old title and the more recent DmC: Devil May Cry being developed by Ninja Theory and not Capcom proper, I was curious to see what kind of ideas Capcom would pull from where. After all, with Bayonetta as stiff competition and God of War upending expectations of what an action game could be earlier this year, the genre has evolved quite a bit since our last white-haired protagonist. After getting some hands-on with the game at Gamescom, it looks like Capcom is mostly playing it safe, sticking to what's worked for in the past when it comes to structure. Some of the changes at play in my demo, however, could be major.

My demo had me playing as Nero, the young protagonist of DMC4 who’s now several years the wiser but no less the wisecracker. The first thing I notice as I start moving around (with the trademark dash that kicks in after you move in a single direction for a couple of seconds) is the camera follows Nero far more closely than it has in the past. Nero doesn’t run from one camera shot to next, as he did in DMC4 - instead, it follows one continuous “shot,” like in most modern action games. While the change makes for a more cinematic look (and cuts out the part where you’re not sure which direction to move as you enter a shot), I had trouble adjusting to the closer angle during combat.

The combat is mostly as you know it from the classic DMC games: You have one button tied to your sword, gun, jumping, and Nero’s arm. In the demo, Nero was packing a revolver, which didn’t outpace the Red Queen in terms of damage but packed enough punch that I didn’t feel like I was simply peppering enemies like I might have with the Dante’s Ebony and Ivory. You can also lock on to enemies to make combat flow better, as well as display an enemy’s health. Even as I was relearning the controls, I could feel old instincts kick in; using the Stinger attack to close the distance to enemies is valuable, and while it lacks some of the high-flying finesse and versatility of Bayonetta, the interplay between gun and sword attacks feels great.

Although he doesn’t have the Devil Bringer anymore, Nero now makes use of different kinds of Devil Breakers, a line of robotic arms with different abilities that attach to his amputated arm. You’ll find these arms scattered throughout each level, and they each have a limited number of uses. The Overture, for example, fires of an electric wave that deals damage, while the Gerhera allows for more aerial maneuverability, which made for some balletic airborne combos. You can also charge up these attacks to deal more damage, or discharge by pressing the left bumper to produce a pulse the forces enemies off of you, though doing either will break your current arm completely.

I’m a big fan of tying new abilities to different arms, but I’m not sold on having to scavenge the battlefield for them and potentially not having access to them during a boss battle. The question is how plentiful this "ammo" will be, but in my demo, I found more than my fair share. It's hard to say whether this was for the sake of the demo, or whether this mechanic works as a way to really get you to second-guess spamming the Devil Breaker button.

Even if you’re out of metal arms, Nero can still use a coil to reel in smaller enemies and pull himself toward larger ones. Stringing these abilities into combos is effortless, but this is where I missed DmC’s combat system most; being able to push or pull enemies independently of their size made for more freeform combat, and while implementing that here might have been tricky, I’m sad to see it go.

Devil May Cry is known as a punishing series (DMC3 is regarded as an exceptionally hard game), but I didn't get much of that here. This could just be the demo, but aside from the boss fight at the end, I never felt like I was in danger during any particular encounter. And with this only being a short snippet, I can't speak to how managing your health between encounters matters. Hopefull,y it'll have the regular, varied suite of difficulties to really test what players can do.

Aside from these changes, this is Devil May Cry as you know it. After getting used to the new camera angle, putting together some combos with all the new tools at my disposal was effortless. You can also once again slow your button presses to produce different attacks, and by the time my demo was over, I was getting in some solid A-tier combos by putting thought into how I approached combat. A nice little touch: As your combos get cooler and climb the letter grades, you begin to hear additional layers in the combat music, which gives you another incentive to be stylish (along with the regular one of getting more stylish points to use as a currency).

My demo ended with a tough boss encounter that had me using every tool at my disposal to control my distance to evade attacks and get in damage whenever I could, which is exactly what I want from a Devil May Cry game. The boss isn't too intricate, with a glowing weakpoint, but his flurries of fireballs and short-range swings at me whenever I got in close took some maneuvering to work around. After defeating the boss with a sliver of health remaining, I was glad to be back in Nero's shoes. It felt cool, in a way action games haven't in a little while.

Devil May Cry 5 is sticking to its guns, doubling down on the mainline series' strengths while sprucing up the edges. That doesn't strike me as a bad thing, though. I may not be sold on the ammo system for Devil Breakers, but I’m not ready to dismiss it yet; I had plenty of them in stock during my demo, and I’m hoping that with more variety in abilities and some clever upgrades, it’ll lead to some challenging scenarios where I have to think on my feet about which arms to use when. Plenty of action games have filled in the gap between mainline Devil May Cry entries, but what I played of DMC5 has not only reminded me of the series’ unique brand of fast-paced combat, but has left me eager to see what changes are in store for Dante, as well as what new surprises the mysterious third playable character has in store for us when it DMC5 hits sometime next year.

 
Categories: Games

LEGO DC Super-Villain Trailer Puts You At The Center Of The Battle For Earth

Game Informer News Feed - Tue, 08/21/2018 - 14:01

A new trailer dropped today for LEGO DC Super-Villains, the newest game in the LEGO games series, which shows how a ragtag group of super-villains from the DC universe end up being tasked with saving the world.

The trailer shows that Darkseid, DC's being of pure evil, attempting to take over Earth. He is aided by the evil alternate version of the Justice League known as the Justice Syndicate, prompting the villains to save the Earth so there is an Earth left to rule when it's over.

The villains have an ace in the hole, however: You. As the rookie to the villain team, you take a starring role in the rebellion to protect Earth from this fake Justice League and Darkseid.

LEGO DC Super-Villains releases on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC on October 16.

Categories: Games

The Sinking City CG Trailer Redefines Drowning Your Sorrows

Game Informer News Feed - Tue, 08/21/2018 - 14:00

The Sinking City is one of the most intriguing games on the horizon. The Lovecraftian horror title hopes to seamlessly blend both creeping feelings of horror along with the overwhelming and suffocating feeling of drowning. You can see exactly what we mean by checking the newest CG trailer for the game below.

The ocean-themed horror channels both the vast emptiness of the ocean as an infinite abyss to swallow you whole and the creatures lurking beneath its depths. While I definitely want to see gameplay of this game, nailing the tone is just as important in this instance as anything else. Hopefully the game keeps up with the tone of the CG trailers.

The Sinking City releases in March next year on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. You can read the latest preview of the game here and check out its inclusion in our list of upcoming Lovecraftian games.

Categories: Games

Life Is Strange 2 Is An Impressive Big Brother Simulator

Game Informer News Feed - Tue, 08/21/2018 - 09:00

Yesterday, the world got its first look at the new setting and characters of Life is Strange 2. While that initial trailer doesn’t look like too much of departure from what we’ve come to expect from the series, I was able to gleam several new details about the game during a theater presentation for the sequel, which does make some interesting alterations to the formula.

The most significant change Life is Strange 2 makes over its predecessor is that rather than see the outcomes of your decisions manifest in the people in and around Arcadia Bay (the setting of the first Life is Strange), you’ll be taking a road trip. Life is Strange 2 follows Shawn and Daniel Diaz, two brothers who’ve had to run away from home after a mysterious event occurs in their hometown of Seattle, Washington. Taking place three years after the events of the original Life is Strange, the Diaz brothers’ journey has them traveling from Seattle to Mexico, which means we’ll be seeing quite a bit of the American West Coast in Life is Strange 2.

Since many characters may not stick around as you make your way to Mexico, a huge part of the sequel will be the relationship between Shawn and Daniel, which acts as the lightning rod for decision-making this time around. As his older brother, Shawn is shaping what kind of person Daniel will become. 

We saw two short snippets of gameplay during the presentation, taking place in different parts of the game. The first has Shawn and Daniel walking along the side of the road in the middle of a forest in the Pacific Northwest. One change that immediately stands out; running on Unreal Engine 4, the sequel looks markedly better than the original at first glance. The facial animation is also greatly improved, though I did still spot a couple of stiff interactions during our demo.

As the two head down road, Daniel spots a car with its window partially rolled down, and with a Choco Crisp bar on the dashboard. They’re his favorite, and Shawn is left to choose to leave the bar alone or take it as a snack for later. In our demo, Shawn chooses the latter. While it doesn’t have any immediate consequences, we’re told our decision to casually nab candy from an unknown stranger could alter how Daniel behaves down the road.

Not every choice you make is major, however; when Shawn spots a trail blaze indicating a path to the campgrounds, he chooses to teach Daniel about trail blazers. And when Daniel later sees a sign telling the residents of the campgrounds to beware of animals, Shawn chooses to play into that fear rather than assuage his concerns. There’s also a bit of natural conversation along the way; as the two approach the campgrounds, the brothers indulge a Lord of the Rings metaphor for their journey, though they have a quick spat over whether Shawn is Aragorn or Sam in this case (Daniel, of course, is Frodo).

As the two approach a bench at the camp grounds, they begin the contemplate their current situation along with the view (Daniel, who is only nine years old, has never seen the bed of a lake at this angle). While it’s clear the two have left home due to an incident, I begin to suspect Daniel isn’t aware as to what’s going as Shawn is. Daniel knows the reason they left home involves an interaction with a police officer, but when he mentions the brothers’ father, Shawn cuts off the conversation. As the scene pans up and cuts to black to the tune of a melancholy guitar-centric melody, we’re told Jonathan Morali, the composer for the original game, is back for the sequel.

The second scene we see moves us back in time a bit (structurally, not literally), to what we’re told is a truncated version of the game’s opening. Shawn and his friend Lyla mull over how to best text Shawn’s crush, Jenn, as the two prepare for a party going on later that night. Here a few of the quirks from the series re-emerge; while I saw several instances of improved facial acting, a few scenes still felt a little stiff in terms of animation. The dialogue seems much better localized, however, even if the voice acting I heard felt a bit spotty at times. These are teenagers, though, so when Shawn begins to display his interest in Jenn and Lyla replies: “Oh my god, you thirsty b----!” it’s hard not to think it’s what what an actual teenager might say.

After Shawn gets home, we quick meet up with his dad in the garage. Creating diverse characters can be difficult, but Shawn's father stands out as a good representation of someone with a Latino background. He has a noticeable accent, but it isn't so thick as to be tropey, and with the exception of one affectionate use of "Papito" to describe himself when Shawn for a hug, he doesn't interject Spanish into every sentence he can, which is often a crutch for writers trying to make a character "sound" Latino. I don't see too much of myself in him, but as a Latino I grew up around people like him, and I was glad to see him represented in a positive light. 

Kids not getting along with their parents has been a running theme in Life is Strange, but Shawn’s dad seems incredibly supportive from what I've seen. He encourages Shawn to find a way to apply himself in school, though Shawn isn’t sure about which field to apply himself to. Knowing he’ll have to ask sooner or later, Shawn asks his dad for some money so he can stock up on supplies for the party. When his dad inquires about whether or not the money will be used for beer, Shawn decides to be honest, which happens to pay off; happy his son isn’t keeping anything from him (and for doing a great job on the lawn earlier in the day), he decides to give him a whopping $40 after a quick warning telling him that he doesn’t want Shawn entering any cars that night.

After a quick visit to Daniel’s room during which he tells us he’s working on secret project, we head to our room to video chat with Lyla. As we prepare our approach on Jenn later this evening (during which, in another bit of quirk writing, Lyla refers to his mother as “The Momster”), Daniel barges in to reveal his secret project; he’s figured out how to make fake blood for corn syrup and food coloring, which goes great with his new zombie mask. After Shawn brushes him off, the two continue their chat, only to be interrupted again when Shawn notices something going on outside and bolts out of the room.

Daniel, pretending to be a zombie, has bumped into an overly-aggressive Brett, getting fake blood smeared on his shirt. When given the choice to back his brother up or begin to question him, Shawn chooses the latter, laying into him about his haphazard wandering. Brett, however, insists on goading Shawn as well, poking him about his absent mother. This prompts Shawn to turn heel and fight Brett. The fight is quick and doesn’t end well: Brett ends up falling on a sharp rock, and he begins to slowly writhe as Shawn and Daniel realize something has gone horribly wrong.

A nearby police officer arrives on the scene, and nervously begins to shout at Shawn and Daniel to lie on the ground. When the brothers’ dad appears to de-escalate the situation, things to continue to spiral out of control. A flurry of shouting, nervous voices, and one gunshot later, and Shawn’s dad is dead.

The scene quickly cuts out and flashes forward. Something else has happened, and now the officer is lying on the ground as well. His squad vehicle is overturned, too, hinting that Shawn might have some sort of supernatural ability similar to Max’s ability to rewind time in the first Life is Strange. As the police arrive on the scene, Shawn and and barely-conscious Daniel depart, revealing the reason why Shawn was so adamant about cutting off the conversation about their father in the initial scene.

These two scenes are only a small part of Life is Strange 2, and many of the most powerful questions about the game can only be answered once we have our hands on the full game come late September. How impactful will all these choices be? If Shawn does indeed have some sort of power, will it tie in gameplay at some point? But even with all these unanswered questions, the improved writing expertly explored bond between two brothers, and the increased nuances with which the two scenes handled most characters shows that the team at Dontnod isn’t just resting on the success of the first Life is Strange, but is actively looking to expand the series’ reach and further improve its reputation as team full of ideas about what kinds of stories video games can handle.

Categories: Games

Shadow Of The Tomb Raider PC Trailer Shows Off Its Graphical Effects

Game Informer News Feed - Tue, 08/21/2018 - 02:35

During Nvidia's Gamescom talk today, the GPU company showed a trailer for Shadows of the Tomb Raider, the upcoming Lara Croft adventure being developed by Deus Ex developer Eidos Montreal. The trailer focused on all the technology Shadow of the Tomb Raider would leverage to make this Lara's best looking adventure yet.

Check out the PC technology trailer below.

As the trailer indicates, Shadow of the Tomb Raider on PC will support real-time ray traced shadows, HBAO+ ambient occlusion, tessellation, HDR, and more.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider releases on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on September 14. You can read about the game's clever and modular difficulty system here and the process of evolving Lara Croft here.

Categories: Games

Valkyria Chronicles 4 Shows Off Its New Features To Aid You In Battle

Game Informer News Feed - Tue, 08/21/2018 - 00:40

The wait for Valkyria Chronicles 4 is not too long now, but the larger wait for a new console Valkyria title has lasted a decade. It stands to reason that in those ten years, war might have changed a little, and this new trailer is eager to show you exactly how.

The New Features trailer shows how to command your army and request backup from offshore cannons to bombard your enemy with explosions or inspire dying soldiers to keep it together for just a bit longer.

As the trailer indicates, there's a few new commands and wrinkles to the game this entry to make battles a bit more varied and to bail you out when the unexpected happens. Valkyria Chronicles 4 releases on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC on September 25.

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Game Informer News Feed - Mon, 08/20/2018 - 23:50

Gears for Breakfast has released a new video about their 3D platformer A Hat in Time, which is filled to the brim with news, including for new DLC, new modes, and a Nintendo Switch version.

The trailer, which you can see below, announces a brand new DLC expansion for the game titled Seal the Deal. There's also new time rifts introduced to the game, and a "Nostalgia Badge," which filters the game to look like a N64 platformer. If you're a fan of visual filters, you will enjoy the new ones added to the game's photo mode.

As mentioned before, the trailer also mentions a new split-screen co-op mode, as well, and finally announces the Switch version. A Switch port has been denied multiple times since the game's release last year by the developers, but it appears they have finally acquiesced to Switch fans hoping for a release. It is only listed as the "near future," however.

Seal the Deal and the co-op mode are coming to the PC version on September 13, with Seal the Deal being free to players who download it on launch day and $4.99 ever after. A Hat in Time is currently available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

Categories: Games

Dead Or Alive 6 Adds Hitomi And Leifang, Along With A New Pirate Ship Stage

Game Informer News Feed - Mon, 08/20/2018 - 22:30

KOEI Tecmo and Team Ninja have released a new gameplay video of Dead or Alive 6, showing Hitomi and Leifang together on a pirate ship complete with a Kraken hiding beneath the surface.

The new trailer shows both characters, who were treasure hunters in the previous Dead or Alive game, likely continuing their newfound occupation in a gold-filled ship. One of the stage hazards appears to be a Kraken tentacle reaching out and slamming your opponent into the bowels of the ship.

Hitomi was introduced in Dead or Alive 3 in 2001, while Leifang has been a mainstay of the series since the very first game in 1996. The two returning characters follow up an already-introduced roster that includes Kasumi, Ryu, Jann Lee, and newcomer Diego.

Dead or Alive 6 releases on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in 2019.

Categories: Games

Life Is Strange 2 Revealed With First Trailer Showing Growing Up In The Wilderness

Game Informer News Feed - Mon, 08/20/2018 - 21:25

While Life is Strange 2 has been long anticipated, developer Dontnod Entertainment and publisher Square Enix have been quiet about the game. At E3 this year, they released a prequel chapter about a little boy, his imagination, and an alcoholic father which we ended up really digging. Since the free chapter's release, Dontnod has been pretty cagey about Life is Strange 2, but we've finally gotten a reveal trailer.

From the reveal trailer, it seems like the first episode at least follows two bothers on their own in the pacific northwest. While the two wander the wilderness, they come across a police officer who has brandished his gun. Something followed that may or may not involve superpowers and the cop's car takes a tumble. 

The first episode of Life is Strange 2 releases on September 27 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

Categories: Games

Immersive Sim Underworld Ascendant Gets November Release Date And New Trailer

Game Informer News Feed - Mon, 08/20/2018 - 19:45

Underworld Ascendant, a spiritual sequel to the pioneer of first-person games Ultima Underworld, has been anticipated since it was first announced. The developers Otherside Entertainment promised a totally freeform RPG letting players figure out their own ways of getting through puzzles and we definitely put that idea to the test when we played it earlier this year. Thankfully, everyone else can test it themselves when it releases on November 15 on PC.

Underworld Ascendant puts players back into the Stygian Abyss, an area first introduced in Ultima Underworld, to explore, exploit, and conquer. Players grow through their experience by climbing a multi-branched skill tree and completing quests within the dungeon's darkest corners.

You can check out the Gamescom trailer below.

You can read our interview with veteran developer Paul Neurath here where he discusses how the game builds on the immersive sim legacy.

Underworld Ascendant releases on PC on November 15. The game comes courtesy of Otherside Entertainment, which is also working on the System Shock Remake that recently got delayed.

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New Metro Exodus Trailer Shows The Horror Vibes Are Alive And Well In The Open World

Game Informer News Feed - Mon, 08/20/2018 - 19:31

When 4A Games announced the Metro series was leaving the underground for the wide-open spaces of post-apocalyptic Russia, many fans worried the game could lose some of its suffocating vibe and tense moments of horror. The Gamescom 2018 trailer indicates those worries could be unfounded. 

The latest look at the game journeys further into the countryside than we had seen previously, showing off more diverse settings and seasons. The eerie lighting, freaky looking mutated animals, and startling number of corpses hanging from poles or pinned to walls shows that 4A Games hasn't turned its back on the vibe that got the series this far. 

Metro Exodus is slated to come out February 22 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. To learn an absurd amount about the promising game, head over to our cover story hub from earlier in the year. 

Categories: Games

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Releases March 22 Worldwide

Game Informer News Feed - Mon, 08/20/2018 - 19:20

Activision has announced that the recently announced new game from prestige developer FROM Software will be arriving on March 22 next year.

The new game is the first completely directed by FROM president Hidetaka Miyazaki since Bloodborne on the PlayStation 4 released in early 2015, having only taken a co-directing role on 2016's Dark Souls III. The ninja-action game contains some DNA from the Souls genre that FROM pioneered, but is mostly its own new thing.

In addition to the normal retail edition, a Collector's Edition has also been announced for the game. The Collector's Edition contains:

• Full Game
• 7” Shinobi Statue
• SteelBook
• Collectible Artbook
• Map 
• Digital Soundtrack
• Replica Game Coins

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice releases on March 22 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. 

Categories: Games

The Latest Darksiders III Trailer Features Cameos From Previous Protagonists War And Death

Game Informer News Feed - Mon, 08/20/2018 - 17:00

THQ Nordic and developer Gunfire Games released a new trailer for Darksiders III this morning, and while it's mostly a series of impressive action sequences and monster showcases, you also learn a little bit about the game's story. Protagonist Fury is up against against difficult odds in the third game, and it also looks like she will be spending some time with War and Death, the protagonists from Darksiders and Darksiders II respectively.

Darksiders III is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on November 27.

For more on Darksiders III, head here for our hands-on impressions and here to listen to a piece of music from the game by composer Cris Velasco.

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Rico Parachutes Into A Tornado In New Just Cause 4 Trailer, Because Why Not?

Game Informer News Feed - Mon, 08/20/2018 - 16:47

Just Cause hero Rico Rodriguez is no stranger to danger – we're talking about a guy who will throw himself from a plane at 10,000 feet and use his grappling hook to grab onto another vehicle in midair. In Just Cause 4, the maniac thrill seeker throws himself into the eye of a tornado. 

Avalanche Studio's new Apex engine is on full display here, as the tornado rips through buildings and sends their remains flying in every direction. Meanwhile, Rico follows along in a vehicle built specifically for storm chasing. Why is he following the tornado, exactly? Who cares. It looks badass.

Just Cause 4 is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on December 4. To learn more about the game, you can read Javy's hands-on impressions from E3

Categories: Games

IO Interactive Folds All Of Hitman Season One Into Hitman 2

Game Informer News Feed - Mon, 08/20/2018 - 15:58

If you never got a chance to play through the episodic Hitman reboot, you may want to hold off on buying it. Today, IO Interactive announced plans to incorporate enhanced versions of these missions into the upcoming Hitman 2 as a part of its World of Assassination initiative. 

Coming as a part of the Hitman Legacy Pack, this downloadable content drop includes all six locations from season one – Bangkok, Colorado, Hokkaido, Marrakesh, Paris, and Sapienza. But rather than just port them over as-is, IO is giving them the full Hitman 2 treatment, with enhanced visuals, improved stealth and combat, plus some new toys like a briefcase for smuggling in sniper rifles and flash grenades.  

IO plans to have all the new Hitman games and missions fold into World of Assassination moving forward, making it your one-stop shop for hit jobs. If you already own Hitman season one, you don't need to re-purchase the content – you immediately gain access to the missions with all their new bells and whistles. 

Hitman 2 comes out for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on November 13.

Categories: Games

H1Z1 Battle Royale PS4 Review: All Kills No Frills

Gamespot News Feed - Sat, 08/18/2018 - 20:00

Battle royale games have established themselves as more than just a fad, and as the space becomes more crowded, games strive to carve out their niche. With the console port of H1Z1, focusing on simplicity and streamlined mechanics is how it stakes its claim. Significant changes were made to H1Z1's original formula on PC to get you moving and encourage more action, which is further supported by intuitive controls. Where H1Z1's lacking is in variety, due in large part to an uninspired map that's missing interesting setpieces for its most intense firefights. But if the thrill of besting 100+ other players is what you seek, H1Z1 delivers just that.

As with many battle royales, your first objective is to quickly scavenge the dropzone for anything to improve your chances of survival. H1Z1 limits what's available on the ground and in abandoned structures to common loot, but you'll find enough to stay competitive in the opening minutes of a match. It's not too difficult to get equipped with a pump shotgun, basic assault rifle, a few healing items, low-level armor, and small backpack, which alleviates the frustration of coming away with nothing even after combing through buildings. However, the good stuff is tucked away in supply crates that litter the map as the match progresses. Boxes of high-level equipment dropped from the sky is a genre staple, however, H1Z1 focuses on this element by strictly keeping the best items exclusive to crates.

By cranking up the frequency of supply drops and shining brightly colored beacons on them (that are visible in the distance), crates serve as hotbeds for action. The risk-reward nature instigates tense firefights, and encourages improvising a tactical approach; will you stake out the crate from a distance and use it as bait, or do you rush to loot it and get out of dodge before you're preyed upon? When powerful weapons like the RPG, scoped burst rifle, or automatic shotgun are likely within grasp, it's impossible to ignore these drops. Even if you're unfamiliar with the effectiveness of specific gear, traditional color-coding to indicate rarity--white, green, purple, gold--makes it easy to identify what's worth swooping up. It's not groundbreaking, but H1Z1 devises a way to sensibly deliver the better elements of battle royale.

It also helps that H1Z1 doesn't hide much from you as it conveniently plots out nearby vehicles and supply crates on the map. While it takes some of the mystery out of this style of game, it's another tweak that gives you the tools get to the fun parts without delay. Especially because the deadly gas zones close in on the remaining players quickly, it's nice that the means for mobility are readily available. Considering that players parachute into the map at random locations (there's no choosing where to drop), making resources available and visible upfront mitigates the feeling of getting the short end of the stick.

The systematic changes to the core of H1Z1 would be all for naught if there wasn't a practical control scheme to tie it all together. Thankfully, the changes to gameplay mechanics feel as if they were done with a gamepad in mind. Support items like grenades, bandages, and first-aid kits have dedicated buttons, and swapping out weapons or changing your armor is as easy as picking up a replacement. Small backpacks open a third weapon slot, while the rare ones grant a fourth slot in a simple weapon wheel, effectively negating cumbersome weight management that'd be tough to incorporate for gamepads. Most significantly, item crafting has been nixed altogether. As a result, combat flows smoothly, and you're a lot less likely to fumble around with the controls under high-pressure situations since there aren't any clunky menus to navigate.

As with the PC version of H1Z1, though, there's a dissonance between its military-sim DNA and quirky rules of engagement. Movement and weapon behavior are still very much in line with what you'd see in a tactical shooter. But being able to instantly pop out of cars at full speed without taking damage itself seems incongruous, and using that as a tactic to close the distance for shotgun kills adds further dissonance. To top it off, vehicles don't inflict damage when ramming players. The wide-open design of the map makes these oddities stand out in a way that feels both thematically incoherent and disparate in a gameplay sense.

H1Z1 also falls short in its single map that's largely made up of open fields and a scattering of deserted buildings. There's a striking lack of features or interesting backdrops to stage the frantic firefights and make encounters feel fresh from match to match. The more dense locations like Pleasant Valley, Ranchito, or Dragon Lake offer some of those tense moments when you don't know if enemies are weaving through buildings or peeking around corners. But overall, even marquee locations are visually uninspired and plainly laid out, which makes battles grow stale over time. Outside of outlandish cosmetics, the distinct lack of style or variety to how the game presents itself makes it hard to want to stay for long.

As a free-to-play game, microtransactions come part-and-parcel. Crowns work as purchasable in-game currency, and Credits are solely earned through playing the game and completing daily challenges. Here, H1Z1 has evolved with the times by incorporating a Battle Pass which unlocks an exclusive line of rewards--like cosmetics, emotes, and in-game currency--to earn as you level up (though nothing that provides gameplay advantages). It may be irksome that a loot box system remains the prevailing method for rewards, but it's worth noting that each box spells out the rarity of the items you'll receive.

H1Z1 doesn't shake up the battle royale formula in any big way, but instead offers a simple, streamlined experience. It differentiates itself from its PC counterpart to its benefit by revamping the core systems at play, giving you just enough to work with in battle without being overwhelmed. But it's still missing diversity in its action that would create lasting appeal. Bare presentation aside, the only map available isn't the best vehicle for solid gameplay as its largely made up of uninteresting locations. In a crowded space of battle royale games all vying for your attention, H1Z1 makes room for itself by just focusing the action-packed moments--nothing more, nothing less.

Categories: Games

Exclusive Hands-on With Darksiders III's Latest Demo

Game Informer News Feed - Fri, 08/17/2018 - 19:00

From its inception, Darksiders was meant to be a multi-entry franchise. The four biblical horsemen of the apocalypse are its protagonists, after all. Following the release of the second game and the collapse of publisher THQ, the future of the franchise looked apocalyptic, and not in the fun video game way we all appreciate. However, many of the developers of the first two games (though notably not the series’ creator, Joe Madureira) reformed to create Gunfire Games, and that studio is picking up the series where it left off. Gunfire Games will be taking a demo of Darksiders III to Gamescom, but we got a chance to play through it first.

The first Darksiders followed the exploits of the horseman War, Darksiders II followed Death, and the third follows Fury, War’s sister. The final horseman, Strife, makes a shadowy appearance in the demo’s opening cutscene, but whether or not he will be a major factor in the game remains to be seen.

Back To The Apocalypse

The demo opens with the Charred Council, three stone faces with mouths of flame who directed the horsemen in the previous games, performing a ritual that mostly involves reminding the player of who the main characters are and their roles.  Fury interrupts the ritual in the interest of getting on with it so she can get to the action and the council identifies her as the most unpredictable of the apocalyptic riders, calling her a “terrible engine of rage.”

 

From there, Fury begins the task given to her by the council: collecting the seven deadly sins. Fury is dropped into a what appears to be a city street that has lost a long war with nature. Dilapidated cars litter the overgrown street, and it immediately recalls locations explored by War in the original Darksiders. Also like the original game, Fury is joined by a Watcher, a companion character that reminds her of her mission and occasionally offers assistance. In the first game, the Charred Council sent a Watcher (voiced by Mark Hamill in that game) with War to keep an eye on him and make sure he stuck to his mission. It’s safe to assume Fury’s Watcher is with her for the same reasons.

For this demo, Fury only has a single attack button, but I find combos by holding down the button in the middle of a flurry of attacks or waiting to press the attack button after some initial hits. The controller layout screen in the options menu also hints at Chaos Form and Hollow Attacks, but they are closed off for my demo.  I make short work of the assorted enemies with simple combos, but it’s clear there is some additional depth to the fighting system that will surface later in the game.

Fighting Envy

After taking out a few enemies and using Fury’s chain whip to swing over gaps, I find Envy, the first of the seven deadly sins. She’s an ugly vulture-like creature that reminds me of the Skeksis from The Dark Crystal. She broadcasts her attacks explicitly but moves surprisingly fast, sending out shockwaves to jump over as well as directed attacks from above that I roll out of the way to dodge. Envy collapses the floor and I do some straightforward platforming and whip-swinging to get back to her.

She kills me during that second stage of the fight, but my failure reveals a new mechanic. Darksiders has always been transparent about borrowing mechanics from games like Zelda, God of War, Prince of Persia, and Portal, but now it has a new game to add to that list of inspirations that won’t come as much of a surprise: Dark Souls. Leading up to my fight with Envy, I had been collecting souls from killed enemies, and when I made my way back to her to attempt our fight again, I saw the souls I had presumed lost waiting in the middle of fight location waiting for me to collect them. I learn later in the demo that those souls can be exchanged for experience points for my health, attack power, or magic abilities.

Knowing her patterns now, I defeat Envy and trigger a cutscene. The Watcher accuses Fury of killing Envy instead of capturing her, but Fury holds up a glowing green talisman she stole from around Envy’s neck that sucks up her essence. It glows and functions like the Nephilim amulet that Death used to store the souls of his departed brethren in Darksiders II, but they appear to be two different objects, despite the similarities.

 

Impressed, the Watcher says, “You were all that the council promised, mistress,” reminding Fury that the other deadly sins will not be as easy to find and capture. The two move on to a similarly dilapidated city street and Fury comments that she is impressed by her brother War’s work, considering it was him who inadvertently caused the apocalypse in the prologue to the first game. “His gifts are impressive,” Fury says, but the Watcher reminds her that she has no peers among the horsemen. The Watcher seems to think Fury is the most powerful of the group.

Exploring The World

Before the demo concludes, I get a chance to explore the environment. I see platforms too far away to reach, implying a future upgrade that will let Fury access distant locations. I also find hallways blocked by glowing purple rocks, and another covered in some kind of translucent material that can probably be unlocked or destroyed with the right ability. I also see, off in the distance, a wall that looks a whole lot like the ones Death had to climb in Darksiders II. I didn’t climb any surfaces during the demo, but I bet Fury has the same upper-body strength as Death.

 

I also come across a large enemy who sleeps until I attack him. I defeat him, but he gives me more trouble than any of the enemies up to that point. I could have totally avoided him had I just walked by, so he was a totally optional additional combat challenge.

Right before the demo ends, I come across a gigantic tree weaving its enormous roots through the assorted buildings. The Watcher refers to it as The Maker Tree, and I am unable to explore any further.

Darksiders III so far feels like a continuation of the first two games in a way that I appreciate. It’s strange to be nostalgic for a console generation that only ended recently, but it played distinctly like a PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 character-action game, which is a style of adventure I miss and haven’t played in some time. Hitting enemies with the chain whip felt good, but I am hopeful for more depth in the combat as you learn new abilities. I am also concerned that I didn’t solve a single puzzle. Darksiders II’s late-game had some amazing Zelda-inspired puzzles (like playing catch with clones of yourself through portals), and I hope Fury also gets a chance to use her arsenal of abilities to open locked doors when the game releases in November.

For more on Darksiders III, you can hear "Fury's Theme" from composer Cris Velasco by heading here.

Categories: Games

Generation Zero Continues To Impress With A New Gameplay And Open World Trailer

Game Informer News Feed - Fri, 08/17/2018 - 17:08

Generation Zero, the open-world shooter from Just Cause developer Avalanche Studios, impressed us at E3 2018 a couple months ago. Avalanche has given us glimpses of the gameplay, but now it's ready to show off more of the open world through the latest trailer.

Set in an alternate version of 1980s Sweden, Generation Zero casts you as a vacationer returning home to find your quiet countryside home has been invaded by massive, hostile machines. Your job is to defend your home turf while figuring out why this invasion happened. Generation Zero supports fully customizable characters, seamless cooperative multiplayer for up to four players, and a persistent world where any damage you do to enemies is permanent.

Avalanche Studios released a new trailer for Generation Zero today. The new video shows off how you can use stealth and strategy to your advantage, as well as how looting the scraps of machines you kill can give you the upper hand in battle.

If you want to be among the first to try Generation Zero, you can sign up for this fall's beta test here. Generation Zero is set to launch on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in 2019.

Categories: Games

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