Leap Lets Us Live Our Wildest Hoverboard Dreams

Blue Isle Studios is bringing its new shooter, Leap, to PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4 along with a PC release. Check out the trailer below showing its wild, fast-paced action … in action. 

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Leap features 60-player matches where players take on roles determined by which exosuit they choose to utilize. The four currently available are the Pathfinder, Titan, Wraith, and Tech Ops, each with different playstyles, armor types, and skills. Some let you fly in the air with a jetpack, while others let you stealth or play the support role. Personal vehicles or PVs let players mount up on their preferred ride, including a mechanical moose, what looks like a snow tube, or my favorite: the hoverboard. I definitely prefer cruising into battle like a gun-toating Silver Surfer.

Check out the Leap site to sign up for a chance to play in its beta which begins on January 19.

Source:[http://www.gameinformer.com/]

Ys IX: Monstrum Nox Getting Local Co-op And 16:10 Support On PC

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Those out there who are looking for a reason to buy and play Ys IX: Monstrum Nox have a few new features to look forward to when you finally pull the trigger. Seriously, though. Play Ys VIII and IX!

Coming in a major update to the Steam version of the game is local co-op. In the trailer above you can see the feature in action, which lets a second player take control of someone as long as multiple playable characters are present in the scene. In the Steam post announcing the update, it talks about the changes from co-op in the previous Ys title, saying, “the second player is largely equivalent to the primary player in terms of capabilities in Ys IX, including movement and combat abilities, using Monstrum Gifts, discovering and triggering landmarks, enemies and events, opening chests, picking up collectibles, and initiating dialogue. Only interacting with menus and the map is restricted to player one.” Pretty impressive for shoehorning multiplayer into a decidedly single-player experience.

Also joining the game is 16:10 support, which allows for slightly narrower displays to be supported. One of those displays sporting that aspect ratio is the upcoming Steam Deck handheld device, which the developers luckily had on hand to snap a picture of the game running on it. 

Topping off the update are some bug fixes to clean up some issues from launch. You can check out the full developer post right here


Have you played Ys IX and does multiplayer sound like a way you’d want to play it? Let us know in the comments!

Source:[http://www.gameinformer.com/]

The Best Deckbuilding Games To Play Right Now

Deck builders are played with cards, but all too often, they’re lumped into core card games like Magic: The Gathering, Hearthstone, Legends of Runeterra, Yu-Gi-Oh!, or others. While certainly there are some awesome competitive tabletop deck builders to check out (Dominion rules, folks), in games today they’re often roguelike dungeon crawls, allowing players to unlock new options, distill their decks down to only the best cards, and try out a wealth of strategies. In fact, you don’t have to like card games at all to enjoy a good deck builder, as they’re more akin to a mechanics-focused turn-based RPG in style and spirit. Anyway, do yourself a favor and check out one of these titles for a great look at what the genre has to offer.

 

Slay the Spire

Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Switch, PC

While not the first deckbuilding game by any means, Slay the Spire has been a huge contributor to the genre’s popularity in recent years. Slay the Spire features near-infinite replayability, which is nice, but the gameplay is stellar and sublime.

As you lose dozens of hours to Spire crawling, you’ll unlock all kinds of new strategies to experiment with. Whether it’s by brute force, the incremental tick of poison, or with tons of lightning, there are hundreds of ways to take on the monsters and bosses in Slay the Spire. Creating a perfect cyclical deck is a pleasure, and random elements each run create interesting variables that make each attempt different and special. If you haven’t played this deck builder yet, you’re missing out.

Check out the full review here.

Monster Train

Xbox One, Switch, PC

Imagine taking a trip to Hell… To reclaim it for your horrifying legions! Monster Train is an excellent choice for folks who like to command giant monsters. Instead of controlling a single hero character like Slay the Spire, players must command and position various troops from complex factions.

Sure, you can play with basic hard-hitting demon spawn, but things get exciting as you attempt to make your way through the gauntlet with more nuanced factions, like a collection of candle creatures that possess immense power – but burn out over time. Players must also manage careful positioning for each unit placed on the train and augment battles with spells. This ride is an awesome one and one I highly recommend getting a ticket for as soon as possible.

Check out the full review here.

Griftlands

Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Switch, PC

If you’re looking for all the core mechanics of the deck builder with a dash of story and the ability to talk your way out of a mess, Griftlands might be the right fit for you. In Griftlands, while it’s likely you’ll specialize in either combat or chatter, you command two different decks – one for direct combat and one for negotiation.

Winning an argument by infuriating the opponent and browbeating them into submission or by persuading them through savvy social skills is an offbeat choice for a roguelike deck builder, but it works well here. Recruit allies, experiment with different characters, and make your way through the lively days and nights of the Griftlands!

Read our official review here.

Across the Obelisk

PC

Currently in Early Access, Across the Obelisk tasks you with forming a group of adventurers to head out into lands teeming with dangers. Experimenting with different takes on classic archetypes like healers, tanks, hunters, and rogues, assembling the perfect mix of abilities, equipment, and skills is super satisfying, even in this pre-release stage. While deck builders are everywhere these days, Across the Obelisk is brimming with promise and panache and is worth a look.

Inscryption

PC

Inscryption is one of those games that it’s best not to talk too much about before playing, as much of the game’s discovery, exploration, and bizarre curiosities can be easily spoiled. However, I’m comfortable saying that the deck-building aspect of the game is fun and exciting, even if it’s not as in-depth as many other genre offerings. It’s a blast to break the rules by moving abilities from card to card, and there’s no shortage of atmosphere and style as you battle in the confines of a dimly-lit cabin.

Our official Inscryption review is right here.

Source:[http://www.gameinformer.com/]

God of War or Red Dead II? Drafting The Best Games Of 2018

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While the internet may be more familiar with fantasy sports such as football or baseball, that doesn’t mean the gamers of the world can’t have a little fun too. From God of War to Red Dead Redemption II and everything in between, join Game Informer as we pick the best games of 2018 and form the ultimate fantasy teams.

But how does the process work? The panel of Ben Reeves, John Carson, Kim Wallace, Alex Stadnik, and Alex Van Aken have assembled to select five games apiece from 2018 to create the most robust roster possible. After randomizing the draft order, each person will have time to decide. At the end of the round, the order reverses, and the fun continues from the fifth person back to the first.

Sounds pretty standard, right? You can fill your list with as many great games as possible and create the video game equivalent of the 1990s Chicago Bulls. That’s where you’re wrong. If you’ve played fantasy sports before, you’re well aware that picking players in the late rounds can get rough. In that spirit, each panel member in today’s video must select one title off Metacritic’s list of the worst games of 2018. In a year of such high highs, it’s incredible how low the lows can get.

But why are we drafting games like this? Just for fun? Why no, for the community validation, of course! That’s right, folks. You get to vote on who has the strongest list. Be sure to head over to our Discord to select the editor with the strongest list, and we’ll read the results on this week’s episode of The GI Show! Thank you so much for your participation and please let us know what you thought of the segment in the comments below!

Source:[http://www.gameinformer.com/]

Five Things Halo Infinite Needs To Do In 2022

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While fans were hopeful about Halo Infinite, not many could have predicted the dominant return Master Chief would make at the end of 2021. The multiplayer suite blew players away with a joyous amalgamation of pitch-perfect combat and some of the best multiplayer maps the series had seen in a long time. The campaign refocused in scale and featured some of the most emotional character moments we’ve seen from Master Chief and Cortana. Not only that, but 343 Industries opened Zeta Halo to players in ways unheard of in a Halo game, creating a delightful semi-open-world experience that features some of the greatest movement the series has ever seen.

But it wasn’t all perfect. Multiplayer staples such as Slayer and Free For All weren’t included at launch. Forge and cooperative play are still months off. The battle pass system was a complete wreck. But those issues haven’t stopped 343 from iterating and improving on one of 2021’s biggest games, and the studio shows no signs of slowing down. But how will the company build on its momentum in the new year? Here are five ways Halo Infinite can build upon its momentum in 2022. Spoiler warning: we discuss the story implications for a lot of Halo’s main characters while keeping actual details vague.

Dog Ears

Who’s A Good Spartan?

Stick with me here… Dog ears. You cat sickos got what you wanted, let me have this.

Streamlining The Menus

Making It A Breeze To Keep Slaying

It’s funny what playing Call of Duty: Warzone for two years will do to you. The FPS juggernaut is celebrated and maligned for many things. Still, whether or not you like the busy menu screens, it has mastered the art of making the battle pass and cosmetics more accessible to its users, something Halo Infinite desperately needs. There have been plenty of times I’ve gone to the battle pass, wanting to equip my shiny new helmet, only to have to dig through the customization menu and scourer multiple Spartans to find the one new cosmetic item.

As much as I don’t love how cluttered the COD menus can get, I do appreciate seeing my new unlocks marked in a way so I can find them easily. I’d love for this feature to come to Halo so that equipping my new shoulder pad and getting back to the slaying is no longer a hassle. It’s a small change, to be sure, but one that could alleviate a myriad of headaches and allow players to bask in the glow of their new snazzy armor before dirtying it with the blood of their enemies.

Balancing The Old With The New (Maps)

I’ll Take One Lockout With A Side Of Something New Please!

Halo multiplayer always comes with certain expectations for additions to the current iteration, with fans hoping for some of the most iconic maps in multiplayer history to come back into the fold. The same is true with Halo Infinite. Seeing maps such as Lockout, Valhalla, and Blood Gulch would be a tremendous treat for longtime fans, especially with Infinite’s new coat of paint. What’s more tantalizing, though, is the chance to sprint and grapple around these hallowed halls of multiplayer madness. Can you imagine racing up to the top of the base in Beaver Creek, using the grapple shot to snag rockets, and scoring a multi-kill? 343 has a treasure trove of old maps to reintroduce to a new player base, and I’m chomping at the bit to see what they choose.

But while the prospect of playing on familiar battlegrounds excites me, I think for the first time in over a decade, I’m more excited to see what 343 will create from scratch. Halo Infinite includes some of the best maps the series has seen in a long time. Playspaces such as Live Fire, Streets, and Recharge are symbolic of the iconic close quarters combat the series made its name with, and Big Team Battle maps such as Fragmentation walk the perfect balance between scale and keeping players in the fight. It’s abundantly clear that the team at 343 has learned a lot of lessons since taking over the mantle of Master Chief, and I want to see them go all out when it comes to the play spaces that bring out the best of what Halo Infinite’s combat has to offer.

My Kingdom For A Fusion Coil

How New Creative Modes Can Keep Halo Going

Speaking of the best of Halo Infinite’s combat, creative game modes have been at the heart of the Halo series, and I’m looking forward to their resurgence in 2022. While this is a series that popularized the mainstay multiplayer modes of the last twenty years, it’s the Grifballs, the infection modes, and more that brought a creative light and a refreshing twist on the iconic suite, something Infinite is lacking as it stands. While I want these game modes featured, I’m more interested in the fresh experiences 343 has up its collective sleeves. The Cyber Showdown event could be a step in this direction, but I also want 343 to take inspiration from another pillar of the Halo Infinite package.

The beauty of the campaign is the exuberant way it pushes you to explore its sandbox, especially regarding equipment usage. The grapple shot isn’t a fleeting resource; it’s a tool to use freely and is one of the highlights of my time on Zeta Halo. I want to see the multiplayer suite reflect that as well. No, I’m not talking about adding a starting grapple shot into Slayer and ranked. Imagine a mode where you can freely use your newfound swinging abilities while being equipped with an unlimited supply of fusion coils. Pure, unadulterated, chaos and I’m here for it. Halo Infinite’s most outstanding quality is its knack for not only understanding the iconic combat dance of the series but adding contemporary layers to make it one of the best multiplayer shooters on the market today. The more it can embrace those pillars, the longer it can hold that claim.

Yeah, But Where’s The Arbiter

Catching Up With The Familiar Faces From The World Of Halo

Halo Infinite’s tale of Master Chief, The Pilot, and The Weapon wonderfully sets up the future of the series. What it also does is leave plenty of room for story exploration that doesn’t involve John and his newfound fight against The Endless, which has me the most excited I’ve been for Halo stories in quite some time. Halo Infinite is a platform, thus a space to expand not only in the multiplayer realm but with more single-player content as well.

If you’ve played the campaign, you’re familiar with the audio logs that are scattered across Zeta Halo that lightly fill in the story between Infinite and the events of Halo 5. The beauty of these peeks and teases is how open-ended they are. We know characters such as The Arbiter, Locke, and more are out there. We just don’t know where they are now. The same can be said for most familiar faces that haven’t been seen since the last fight against Cortana. This ambiguity is exciting not only from a storytelling perspective but a gameplay one as well. The playbook is entirely open for 343. Do they want to tell a more intimate story similar to Halo 3: ODST? Place Captain Lasky on Zeta Halo after the Infinity crashes and tell the tale of his quest to save the UNSC without its most crucial soldier. Do they want to tell a more familiarly bombastic story with new and familiar weapons not found on Zeta Halo? Check-in with Fred, Linda, and Kelly for a more co-op-focused adventure.

Therein lies the beauty of what 343 has been able to accomplish with Halo Infinite’s story. Without spoiling too much of the ending, Halo Infinite’s closing moments make it clear the slate is clean. And while that’s exciting for Chief and company, it’s almost more exciting for the characters around him. It frees up 343 to give arcs and endings to the Bucks, Lockes, and Lasky’s of this world, including or killing off familiar faces as they see fit. AAA video game storytelling can be predictable at times, with every game trying to be a new franchise. 343 has the opportunity to buck that trend and continue what they started with Infinite: Acknowledge the past without being beholden to it.

What else would you like to see added to Halo Infinite in 2022? Be sure to leave a comment below on what you’re excited about in the new year. If you want more Master Chief goodness, be sure to check out our https://www.gameinformer.com/2021/12/22/every-mainline-halo-game-ranked…; target=”_blank”>ranking of the best games in the Halo franchise, our https://www.gameinformer.com/haloinfinite" target=”_blank”>exclusive coverage hub of one of 2021’s best games, and our ranking of the https://www.gameinformer.com/feature/game-informers-top-10-games-of-202…; target=”_blank”>greatest titles from last year! Thank you so much for watching!

Source:[http://www.gameinformer.com/]

343 Industries Is Planning Changes To Halo Infinite’s Store Starting This Week

Changes are coming to Halo Infinite‘s store starting this week, according to a series of tweets from Jerry Hook, the head of design at 343 Industries. 

Users have had concerns about the pricing in Infinite‘s shop since it launched in late November, and it looks like this week will finally see a change in course for what is offered and for how much. Jerry Hook starts his mini-thread announcing the impending update, saying, “We’ve been monitoring the discussions on the Shop, bundles, and pricing closely since launch. Using data and community feedback, we’re going to begin rolling out changes to how we package and price items in Halo Infinite – and it all starts next week.” His thread continues, “Starting Tuesday, the Shop experience will vary week-to-week. We are focused on reducing pricing across the board, providing stronger values in our bundles, starting to put individual items outside of bundles, and more.” 

With the week-to-week adjustments being made, it seems like the in-game store will be evolving and changing based on trends over the coming months. Hook speaks to that in his third tweet, saying, “We will be trying new things throughout the rest of the season so that we can continue to learn and improve for the future. Please keep the feedback coming during this process and I hope to see you all next week for the Cyber Showdown event!” 

What the changes are, we’ll just have to wait and see. Hopefully you can get your Spartan Cat ears or space pickle charms on the cheap going forward. If there are any interesting developments in the Halo Infinite shop, we have a story that we keep updated just about every week to reflect the deals on offer. Check there tomorrow afternoon to see if anything substantial has taken place.

Source:[http://www.gameinformer.com/]

The Resurrection & Reinvention Of Telltale Games

When titles like The Secret of Monkey Island became rarer, so too did Jamie Ottilie’s time with the adventure genre, and, like many, he moved on to other increasingly popular types of games. But then, Telltale Games was formed – roughly a decade after the golden age of adventure games – built from the ashes of LucasArts by a number of former employees, piquing Ottilie’s interest immediately.

Ottilie enjoyed the studio’s first handful of games, but his interest reached new heights following the first season of Telltale’s The Walking Dead, the game that most agree put the studio on the map. And from there, the Telltale of old was born – a studio seemingly destined to create excellent stories in pre-existing universes such as The Walking Dead, and later Game of Thrones and Batman.

For some time, Telltale’s signature formula worked well. Until it didn’t. Overburdened with work leading to widespread crunch in a market oversaturated with the Telltale name, the final blow to the studio came when investors from AMC, Lionsgate, and Smilegate pulled funding. The company began its shutdown in September 2018. It was brutal, coming as a surprise to most everyone there. It was also a massive shock to an industry already weary of crunch and the lack of safety nets for employees.

By the time Telltale shut down, Ottilie’s interest had grown into a full appreciation – he was truly a fan of the studio’s work. Following the studio’s closure, he began to look into what went wrong and how the studio could return. About a year later, he would be the new CEO of Telltale after buying the company, or what was left of it, in 2019.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced Telltale to get creative with motion capture

The Purchase

Ottilie watched Telltale’s shutdown as a game developer and studio consultant, having worked in the industry since the 1990s, leading multiple studios, such as Galaxy Pest Control, Abandon Interactive Entertainment, and more.

“I started asking around and a colleague mentioned that he knew some of the former team at Telltale and we knew about the public assignment [company collapse and asset auction],” Ottilie says. “So we went through and we did the evaluation. It looked interesting and it was something we felt worth saving. It wasn’t a good fit for the company that I was consulting for, which was disappointing.”

“I couldn’t get it out of my head,” he continues. “After mulling it over for a bit, I decided to try to take it on myself and set about trying to raise some of the funds from my network of industry friends. It seemed like a great opportunity – good brands and a great game genre and legacy that should continue.” He created a holding company, LCG Entertainment, to formally make the purchase. With his love of Telltale and his experience as a studio lead, Ottilie felt confident he could bring the studio back.

The First Steps

Stabilizing the Telltale catalogue was priority one. With many of its original titles pulled from storefronts, the new Telltale brought them back. The next step was developing a game. This would chart the path for Telltale’s new future, one where Ottilie and the leadership team would try to prevent the problems that once plagued the studio’s original iteration, problems that ultimately led to its demise.

Telltale’s first big reveal happened at The Game Awards 2019: a trailer for The Wolf Among Us 2, which was technically in development at old Telltale before the shutdown, as reported by VG247, but was back again as a completely different sequel. It was intriguing, but when your catalogue includes franchises as large as Game of Thrones, choosing to return with a sequel to The Wolf Among Us, a much smaller IP, comes off a bit odd. The choice to do so, though, was clear as day for Ottilie.

“Wolf is a smaller IP, yes, but it’s also one of the more successful titles of former Telltale … and this sequel is something fans have been wanting for years,” Ottilie says. “It’s also a good connection point to what Telltale was, right? We should communicate with the audience that’s out there and let them know, ‘Hey, we hear you, and we can’t do everything you’re asking us for, but this thing that you’re asking for, we can do this,’ and so we did.”

Concept art of a Fabletown apartment in The Wolf Among Us 2

The Wolf Among Us is based on Vertigo Comics’ series Fables. Similar to the comics, the game centers on Bigby Wolf, the sheriff of Fabletown in New York City. As the name suggests, Fabletown is a community where characters from fables and fairy tales reside. However, when the relatively quiet community becomes home to grisly murders, players must guide Bigby through the investigations across five episodes.

Wanting to do right by the first game and the fans that loved it, Ottilie reached out to AdHoc, a company formed in 2019 by former Telltale creative directors, cinematic directors, and writers, many of whom worked on the first Wolf. AdHoc became collaborative partners on the sequel. The new Telltale, which today is made up of nearly 50-percent former Telltale employees, is developing Wolf 2 – handling game design, programming, mocap, and more – but Ottilie wanted AdHoc on board as the creative team.

“When we joined the project, one of the first things we agreed on is that we didn’t want to reboot things,” AdHoc COO and co-founder Nick Herman says. “There’s plenty that will change, but it’s always in service to the original vision for the project. As much as we love Season One, we remember all the pieces that fell short or were not pursued due to a variety of technical or creative constraints. With new studio leadership and an upgraded engine, we’re able to revisit a lot of those conversations and take bigger swings.”

There were still many questions on the table, however. Art style? Keep it similar to the first, Ottilie says. Story? The team opted to pick up six months after the end of Wolf 1 and set it in winter. Characters? Bigby Wolf, of course, and Snow White, from the first game. The engine? It was time for a change.

Refreshed with a new look and refined art style, The Wolf Among Us 2 will feature the same Bigby Wolf and Snow White you know and love

Avoiding the Problems of Telltale’s Past

Zac Litton has nearly eight years of Telltale development under his belt. He started as a technical director at the former iteration of the studio before becoming Telltale’s first vice president of engineering. After Telltale was purchased, Ottilie reached out to Litton to chat, and it wasn’t long before Litton was back, this time as CTO.

Litton quickly got to work helping the new Telltale rediscover and reconfigure its pipeline, something he says is critical to studio success.

“It was like, ‘Hey, what’s our pipeline going to be?’ And it’s not just the engine, but the pipeline is everything,” Litton says. “It’s how the writers are going to write; it’s how the engine is going to perform; it’s how you handle editing and updates … it’s everything, really.”

In the past, Telltale developed games using its own proprietary engine. And while that worked well in some respects, at the new Telltale, the decision was made to also utilize Epic’s Unreal Engine. Using Unreal as a foundation and adding in layers of Telltale’s custom engine on top of it has changed everything, Litton says. Not only is Unreal an engine used industry-wide, which means finding people that can develop Telltale games is significantly easier than it’s ever been, but it’s open, too, meaning Telltale can use it alongside its own engine to great success.

This ultimately leads to a smoother pipeline, which Ottilie and Litton both believe to be one facet of removing crunch.

“A lot of things didn’t get out as clean as we would have liked them to at [old] Telltale because of time.” Litton says. “You can have a wonderful engine with lots of capabilities to provide really smooth content, but if you don’t have the time to utilize those tools to the maximum extent, you’re not going to get the product you want out.”

Add in Telltale’s old episodic nature to those difficulties, where the studio immediately shifted to working on the next episode after pushing the one before it live, and the work begins to pile up. That’s when crunch can occur, but Litton and Ottilie say they are working hard to ensure the studio has the right tools in place to avoid that.

Ottilie is quite open about Telltale’s former barriers and challenges – he, of course, wants to be, but he also must be. Creating a staff that’s almost 50 percent former Telltale employees doesn’t happen by telling people who were messily laid off that said studio is back. It happens by explaining why Telltale needed to come back and how the new company is going to avoid its former fate.

Beyond a better engine, Telltale has adopted a distributed development model to smooth things out and (hopefully) avoid crunch. Instead of rounding up 400 employees in a studio located in an expensive city like San Francisco, the new Telltale is utilizing the work of developers around the world.

“The world’s changed,” Ottilie says. “[Distributed development] is about ease. What are easy things to outsource? Art. Everybody outsources art at this time, right? We’re doing 80 percent of our work externally across a couple of different teams, and we’re getting great quality out of it. I’m stunned at some of the projects that the teams and individuals from outsourced companies we work with create … and so why wouldn’t we work with them? Distributed development is really about creative freedom in that way … and it’s about keeping our costs manageable.”

Ottilie says Telltale’s stance on crunch extends to outsourced work as well, stating that the studio employs “the same planning and iteration workflow on all of our projects and endeavor to partner with companies who share our view that a healthy work-life balance is important.”

With new studio leadership and an upgraded engine, we’re able to revisit a lot of those conversations and take bigger swings.

If one thing is clear, Ottilie isn’t concerned with saturating the market with Telltale games. He just wants people to be excited about a game with the Telltale name behind it, even if those games don’t come out as often as they used to. That starts with the script and finding the right people to write it. It’s why AdHoc is helping develop Wolf 2.

“We can do a lot of [script] iteration when we’re not paying 400 people to kind of contain that,” Ottilie says. “It’s so helpful in terms of the process … because we don’t want to move forward until we’re heading in the right direction with our story.”

Perhaps one of the biggest changes with new Telltale is the way its games will be released. Previously, Telltale would release an episode and spend however much time it needed to get the next one out, but, history shows that approach often led to crunch. That resulted in waning interest over time.

Ottilie says players can expect Telltale games to be essentially done when the first episode is released. This means players won’t need to wait months to see what happens next in the story. Telltale will announce its release schedule ahead of time, and fans will only have to wait a couple of weeks in between episodes. Much like prestige television, Ottilie foresees Telltale releases better capturing the zeitgeist with this new model.

AdHoc CTO and co-founder Dennis Lenart says having an entire season written – in this case, Wolf 2 – before production begins is very new, and it’s something the AdHoc team greatly appreciates.

“This completely changed how high-level decisions were made and allowed us to better plan on the design side – especially for aspects like choice cadence and pacing of gameplay, of which there is more this time around,” he says. “It’s especially hard when you’re accounting for player choice, but now that we have more than eight weeks to create an episode, we can prioritize things that previously would have been a luxury.”

Ottilie says this new release schedule format is another thing that will help keep crunch out of Telltale. Put bluntly, Ottilie says “no crunch” is a core belief for the new studio. He wants to avoid micromanagement, choosing instead to empower employees to work during work hours and go home and enjoy their lives when their shift is up – “you’re a better person that way,” he says.

The Return of Telltale and Bigby Wolf

Months of pre-production work culminated in the Wolf 2 trailer that aired at The Game Awards 2019. Ottilie called it a defining moment for the studio.

“That night was pretty special,” Ottilie says. “It’s the night where we all felt like we are in the right place and the right time, and we are going to make this happen.’ It went so well – we got a standing ovation. It was a moment of vindication. It was a moment where this journey had really paid off.”

Now, two years later, Wolf 2 is in full production. The script is finalized, and mocap is underway. Ottilie says fans can expect Wolf 2 to answer some dangling questions, but not all as some are better left ambiguous. AdHoc expanded a bit on what players can expect, though.

“Wolf 2 takes place after Snow White steps in as Deputy Mayor of Fabletown, which gets us closer to where the comic starts, but Bigby is still struggling to make the transition from the typical fairytale villain to Sheriff and protector,” Herman says. “This season explores more of the nuances and difficulties of hiding in plain sight, dealing with mostly new Fables and taking place all over New York. The city at large definitely plays a bigger role this time around.”

“Creatively, it’s had the most time in the oven out of any Telltale game ever, so we hope that comes through in the final product,” Herman adds. “Personally, I’m excited for fans to have a chance to explore its new themes. Without revealing things, it’s even more about the human experience of being a Fable, which, like the comic, strips away the fantasy and leaves the player with a lot of uncomfortable and messy decisions to make.”

Deck Nine is aiming for “stylized realism” in The Expanse: A Telltale Series

Into The Expanse

Telltale is also developing a game based on The Expanse, the popular book-series-turned-Amazon-TV-show set in a solar system colonized by humans as they spread out into space. Similar to how it opted to work with AdHoc on Wolf 2, Telltale is working with Deck Nine, the studio behind 2021’s Life Is Strange: True Colors, on its Expanse project. Telltale views it as a co-development deal, with Deck Nine doing a lot of the heavy lifting using Telltale’s engine and tools. It’s a Telltale story told using Deck Nine’s voice.

“We visited Deck Nine early into the reboot of Wolf 2 to discuss possible co-development, but we quickly realized that we wanted to give this talented team more room to run on a project that didn’t have limitations and expectations predetermined by being a sequel,” Ottilie says.

Deck Nine game director Stephan Frost says it’s been a “solid partnership” and especially unique in that it gives the two teams a chance to learn from one another. As for where it belongs in the timeline, it’ll be a prequel in the same universe as Amazon’s series.

“We were pretty nervous about pitching [a prequel] to the creators, and then we specifically picked a character they hadn’t done a backstory for because we wanted to do something canon or something that could become canon for the character,” Ottilie says. “And so we really liked [Camina] Drummer.”

Drummer is unique in that she’s not from Earth, nor is she from Mars – she’s a Belter (someone born in the Asteroid Belt, or outer moons or planets) and with that comes a lot of characteristics that Deck Nine and Telltale say they are excited to play with. Frost says Drummer is aboard a scavenging vessel named The Artemis in the game.

… it’s important to this new iteration of the studio to place the tracks before the train, and it seems that’s exactly what Telltale is doing.

“There’s a mixed crew of high personality Inners and Belters,” he says. “Players will work with that crew, explore various locations beyond the belt, and, of course, need to make life or death decisions that will affect the crew.”

“She’s also unique as a Belter,” Ottilie says. “She’s a little bit more moral, but very black and white, really angry, but not in an unjustifiable or irrational way, right? She’s very controlled and focused and introspective in terms of how she makes decisions as a character, and we wanted to explore how she became that person … and that story didn’t exist yet. None of the novellas tell that story, and there were no plans to go and tell that story [in the TV series]. Drummer doesn’t really exist in the books. She’s an amalgamation of different characters … and we like that because it means there’s a lot of room to have an interesting story develop around her. In our game, the show exists in a microcosm. We put you in the universe you expect to be in.”

Drummer actress Cara Gee will be voicing the character in the Telltale game and providing motion capture for Drummer’s unique movement as well. Frost says there are “other actors from the show written into the story,” but that the teams can’t yet talk about them.

Camina Drummer actor, Cara Gee, is voicing the character and providing motion capture, too

“Who she follows or respects changes based on their actions,” he says, expanding on what else players can expect in the game. “Consider that she used to work with Anderson Dawes, and the extremist faction of the Belt, but then turned away from him and ended up trying to build something new with Fred Johnson, a moderate. What precipitated that change? How does she unite her fierce loyalty to the Belt with her well-earned cynicism for powerful men who claim to have all the answers? These are questions we think players will love exploring with us.”

For now, The Expanse joins Wolf 2 in the “we’ll share more when we’re ready” chamber, which, in a way, speaks to this new Telltale. Litton says it’s important to this new iteration of the studio to place the tracks before the train, and it seems that’s exactly what Telltale is doing.

The Artemis, a scavenging vessel just outside of Jupiter

If one thing is clear, the people we spoke to at Telltale are excited about what’s to come, which Ottilie says will feature new territory for Telltale while respecting the name’s legacy.

“That legacy is why we’re doing this,” Ottilie says. “The journey will continue. We will not fall into the trap of replicating what was there. Wolf 2 will be the closest thing we do to what people are familiar with [with] Telltale, and that’s the reason we’re doing The Expanse with Deck Nine. It’s a totally different voice, completely different aesthetic and pacing. We’re going to continue to work with internal and external teams, and we’re going to match creative leadership to the IPs we pick and give people the opportunity to tell interesting and compelling stories.”

“That’s really the best part of what we’re doing, right? We get to tell these stories and take risks and do new things and surprise people. It’s all kind of fan service. Telltale tells stories in universes we all love. [That fan service] is part of our brand.”

Source:[http://www.gameinformer.com/]

Disney And Tencent Announce A Mobile Avatar MMO Is In The Works

Ubisoft isn’t the only publisher with its hands on the Avatar franchise. This weekend, Disney and Tencent unveiled plans to release Avatar: Reckoning, an MMO role-playing shooter slated for iOS and Android. Development duties are for Reckoning are being handled by Archosaur Games.

The press release announcing the title gives us some info on what to expect. “Avatar: Reckoning will transport players to never-before-seen parts of Pandora where they will meet new Na’vi clans fighting to defend their home, battle powerful RDA troops seeking to exploit the resources of the moon, and encounter spectacular alien creatures.” Players will be able to take on challenges solo, co-op, or in “dynamic multiplayer matches.” You’ll level up and equip your Na’vi with weaponry throughout the story mode experience.

Avatar: Reckoning is being developed on Unreal Engine 4 and is set to release sometime this year.

The other adventure taking place on James Cameron’s Pandora is Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, developed by Ubisoft’s Massive Entertainment. Using the Snowdrop Engine that powers The Division 2, its debut trailer from last summer is a stunner. Go check out that footage to see how Ubi is translating the film franchise onto consoles and PC.

Source:[http://www.gameinformer.com/]

6 Great Games That Are Much More Than Meets The Eye

Never judge a book by its cover. That’s a great lesson in general, especially for video games, but even more so for a select batch of games that are far more than they appear on the surface. While many games feature narrative and mechanical twists, these particular titles go the extra mile to hide their true natures, intentionally so, to surprise players. 

I love games that subvert expectations like this, but they can be hard to seek out or suggest to others. For one, they may initially appear out of your wheelhouse. If you don’t play visual novels, then Doki Doki Literature Club, for example, may pass you by even if the things it’s really going for would be up your alley. That also makes these sorts of games hard to pitch to skeptical friends without giving away what truly makes them special. Plus, if you decide to investigate these games before playing them, you may expose yourself to blatant spoilers. So how to discuss? 

Here’s my solution. Each game listed will have two entries: The Premise and The Twist. The premise explains what the game appears to be on the surface. After all, simply popping up on this list indicates that something’s up, and that might be enough to spark your curiosity to give it a shot. 

The Twist, which will be obscured with spoiler tags, is the section for those wanting to know how the game changes. Though it won’t blatantly reveal every single thing that happens, it will provide a general overview of a game’s true form, if you will. However, you’ll still have to play it yourself to get the whole picture. 

Inscryption

Platform: PC

The Premise

You’re trapped in a cabin by a mysterious stranger. You can’t see his face, but you can earn your freedom by defeating the stranger in a series of card games. This deck builder tasks you with traversing a world map and engaging in card battles and other challenges, then facing a boss at the end. Slay the Spire players, in particular, will feel right at home. The stranger acts as both the opponent and a sort of Dungeon Master, governing the rules and conditions while also role-playing the bosses himself. Can you defeat the stranger and escape the cabin?

The Twist

Inscryption is a deck builder, but it’s also a horror and puzzle game. Players are free to explore the cabin to solve environmental puzzles vital to unlocking new cards while also learning key clues about their captor. Inscryption’s presentation and storytelling methods routinely evolve, even shifting genres, including an old-school JRPG and even elements of FMV games. Inscryption’s sinister tendrils may even stretch beyond the confines of its card game roots.

Frog Fractions

Platform: PC

The Premise

Learn how fractions work in this kid-friendly edutainment game that’s free to play on PC

The Twist

Hoo boy, where to even begin? Frog Fractions drops its guise pretty quickly (which, honestly, it barely tries to maintain). What starts as an innocent game about eating flies warps into a silly space odyssey, a ridiculous business simulator, and other destinations and gameplay mechanics far beyond its initial concept. The best part? Every second of it is hilarious. 

Doki Doki Literature Club!

Platforms: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC

The Premise

You control a high school student coerced into joining the new literature club! While you’re not much of a reader, the fact that beautiful girls run it entices you to stick around. This bubble gum visual romance novel lets you get to know the club’s four members – Sayori, Natsuki, Yuri, and Monika – as you help them get this club off the ground. You can also flex your poetry chops to impress your favorite club member and maybe even spark some romance! The original 2017 game is available for free on PC, but existing fans can fall in love all over again with last year’s Doki Doki Literature Club Plus. This expanded (and paid) edition features new scenes, extra side stories, and updated visuals. 

The Twist

Doki Doki Literature Club keeps a straight face better than most games on this list, but things eventually take a turn for the bizarre and flat-out terrifying. Let’s just say the game is more self-aware than you realize and brilliantly turns its concept against you to become far more sinister and meta than a cutesy romance simulator. The “disturbing content” warning upon booting up the game is the first tip-off that something is amiss, but it’s easy to forget about it given how long (and, frankly, enjoyable) its initial facade is. Do take the warning seriously, though. There’s some messed-up stuff involving, among other things, depictions of physical harm and suicide. 

Pony Island

Platform: PC

The Premise

Test your mettle in an innocent old-school arcade game about ponies in another joint by Inscryption creator Daniel Mullens.  

The Twist

Despite the name, ponies have little to do with Pony Island. This devilish (quite literally) game has you navigating the cursed programming code of this broken arcade game in a variety of ingenious ways. Like Inscryption, Pony Island’s gameplay regularly shifts while challenging you to think outside the box thanks to its fourth-wall-breaking mechanics. Better figure it out quick, though. Your freedom, and life, may depend on it. 

The Stanley Parable

Platform: PC

The Premise 

You control Stanley, a mundane office worker going through the motions of a boring 9-to-5 job! You’ll explore your strangely empty office building, perhaps in search of some purpose. If that doesn’t excite you, maybe the fact that the expanded edition, The Stanley Parable Ultra Deluxe, is slated to launch sometime in the near future. 

The Twist

What starts as a seemingly boring office romp quickly becomes an intelligent, hilariously written analysis and deconstruction of well-worn video game design tropes and player behavior. A humorous narrator guides and instructs you on what to do, but the story seamlessly responds if you decide to go left instead of right, leading to several endings. 

The Messenger

Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC

The Premise

Do you enjoy old-school Ninja Gaiden? The Messenger is a great love letter to that series and other hard-as-nails action sidescrollers. You play a ninja tasked with delivering an important scroll to the top of a mountain to help stop an invading Demon King. The 8-bit action sees you cutting down all manner of threats while platforming across various deadly environmental traps.

The Twist

The Messenger’s shift isn’t as dramatic as the other games on this list, but it’s still a cool one. Midway through, the game transforms from an 8-bit 2D sidescroller into a Metroid-style 16-bit game. Although developer Sabotage Studio revealed this style change before launch (which is why I’m saying it here) it still surprised many players. However, what wasn’t disclosed ahead of time was The Messenger’s surprisingly fleshed-out narrative that features a fair share of mind-bending twists. It also packs an unexpected amount of well-written humor that reveals it doesn’t take itself nearly as seriously as you’d initially expect.

Source:[http://www.gameinformer.com/]

Awesome Games Done Quick Hits Event Donation Record

Over the weekend, the yearly Awesome Games Done Quick speedrunning marathon concluded, breaking records along the way, including the amount of money the event has ever collected for charity during one event. 

Taking the top spot in donation totals for any Games Done Quick event, at the time of the marathon ended the grand donation sum clocked in at $3,416,729 with even more money sent in after the fact. The prior record sat around $3.1 million, with the new total handily surpassing that number.

Awesome Games Done Quick and its aptly-named summer event sibling Summer Games Done Quick are week-long stream marathons where speedrunners show off their quickest times to complete games and collect funds for a deserving charity. This year’s AGDQ featured some very fun exhibitions of games like Yu-Gi-Oh! Forbidden Memories, a blindfolded run of Sekiro, Eternal Darkness (played for the first time at AGDQ), and Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade. Capping off the show was a 1 hour 21 minute “All Bosses” playthrough of Metal Gear Solid. Check out any of the runs from this past week at the Games Done Quick YouTube page.

Congratulations to the Prevent Cancer Foundation, the staff of Games Done Quick and runners involved in ADGQ, and those who donated for a great cause. If you’re interested in bolstering the donation total even more, it looks like the AGDQ page is still accepting submissions.

Source:[http://www.gameinformer.com/]

Aftermath Of Success: Stardew Valley, Darkest Dungeon, And Valheim

Stardew Valley

Imagine waking up to find the little-known passion project you have been working on for years has rapidly become popular beyond your wildest expectations. It’s the kind of success developers dream of, but so few achieve. Even if a game has a fantastic story, inventive mechanics, and a unique style, there is no guarantee it will prosper. The competition is fierce, with tons of games releasing every day, and it’s a struggle to catch people’s attention. And yet, there are success stories of developers who managed to overcome all these hurdles and make unexpected sensations, like Darkest Dungeon, Stardew Valley, and Valheim. These games’ creators are unanimously grateful to their fans for giving them a shot, and they acknowledge the creative freedom their success provides. However, they also spoke about the intense amount of work it is to maintain the next biggest hit, as well as their struggles with doubt and finding purpose when moving on to new projects.

First Steps

When asked about how they envisioned the future when they started their Vancouver-based company in 2013, Red Hook Studios co-founders Chris Bourassa and Tyler Sigman answered almost in unison: “We didn’t.” The duo left their previous employers behind to launch the Lovecraft-inspired studio, but, as Sigman explains, “it was always about the game, it was never about the company.” The game he’s referring to is Darkest Dungeon, a gothic, dungeon-crawling RPG where your party’s mental status is just as vital as their physical one. And, though the project has now surpassed 5 million copies sold, and its hotly anticipated sequel recently entered Early Access on Epic, the first step to getting there wasn’t what anyone would call glamorous.     

“It was three of us in a room, in another studio that they were letting us borrow,” recalls Bourassa. “There were rats in that building and human poop on the doorstep the first day we went to take possession as it were – and I use that term in the broadest possible sense. We would listen to the other studio argue, sometimes explosively, about games, and we just kind of put our heads down and were trying to work away.”

Similarly, Eric Barone, creator of Stardew Valley, didn’t begin by thinking about a development studio. In fact, he didn’t even begin by thinking about a game.

“It started out as kind of a practice to get better at programming,” Barone says, talking about the earliest inception of his mega indie hit. Unable to land a job out of college, he decided to increase his skill set by making a small title in the C# programming language. The initial plan, Barone explains, was to make something he could put on his resume to impress possible employers.

Employment is no longer a concern for the developer. Stardew Valley recently crossed the 15 million units sold milestone, with sales showing no sign of slowing down even years after the Harvest Moon-like farming simulator first launched in 2016. But back in the early days of development, it would have been difficult to guess that the training exercise would become a household name.

The oldest known photo taken during Stardew Valley’s development

“It was very scrappy,” says Barone. “It was just me in the corner of our studio apartment on a cheap IKEA desk and my budget computer, just working on it. It never crossed my mind to get an actual studio or anything like that – especially because I was a completely solo developer … It’s kind of a miracle that the whole thing came together because I really had no idea what I was doing.”

Henrik Törnqvist, co-founder of Iron Gate Studio  which is making Valheim, a Viking-influenced, open-world game that stitches together base-building, resource collecting, life simulation, survival, exploration, and boss-battling action – vividly recalls having a tough time coming up with the studio’s name and navigating the paperwork required to get the company set up in 2019. However, filing a mountain of forms and frustrating brainstorming sessions are a small price to pay for what became an almost overnight blockbuster.

Valheim is still technically unreleased, being an Early Access title, but the 2021 sensation was already on the way to selling 8 million copies last summer. Its development began in 2018 when Richard Svensson, Iron Gate’s other co-founder, started playing around with the Norse-inspired world. Impressed with the game and ready to move on from his previous employer, Törnqvist joined Svensson a year after development began. Despite being confident in the game’s potential and having the backing of publisher Coffee Stain Publishing, Törnqvist says, “Honestly, we were just developing the game we wanted to make, and we were hopeful, but realistic, about the prospects of a lo-fi Early Access survival game made by mostly one person [Svensson]. We thought it would appeal and resonate strongly with a very niche audience, but we had no idea it would resonate with millions of people.”

Unbelievable Accomplishment

Darkest Dungeon’s Kickstarter campaign launched in 2014, and the developers watched in disbelief as the project flew past its goal in the first 24 hours. “Is this not the best of things?” Bourassa asks when thinking about that time in the title’s history. “The game that you care about has an audience.”

He and his studio co-founder explain they were careful to keep a sense of perspective even as the pledges continued to pour in. “We didn’t start losing our heads with fantasies of a massive, sprawling game and a huge audience,” he says. However, Bourassa did succumb to the immediate surge of joy at Darkest Dungeon’s later successful Early Access release, at least for a moment.

“It was the first time I kissed a man,” Bourassa says. In response, his fellow founder, Sigman, raises his hand, declaring, “I received it.” The euphoria faded fast, however. Sigman says, “[The success] changed it immediately from, ‘Okay, I think this game will have been worth doing, and we’ll be able to pay ourselves something,’ to ‘Oh, s—, we have a tiger by the tail.’”

The first fruits of overwhelming success were hard to process for the Valheim and Stardew Valley developers as well. “It was a bit of a blur!” exclaims Törnqvist when asked about his reaction to Valheim selling one million copies in its first week of Early Access. “At Iron Gate, we were so focused on development and scale-proofing the game that it didn’t really register; I still don’t think it really has.”

On the other hand, Barone remembers Stardew Valley’s “surging popularity” and the feeling that “everyone’s talking about” his game. But his most dazzling memory from that time is meeting his inspiration, Yasuhiro Wada, who began the Harvest Moon series, which then evolved into Story of Seasons. “Mr. Wada, the creator of Harvest Moon, or his people, reached out to me, and he wanted to meet me,” Barone says. “I mean, that was one of many moments where my mind was blown. And it really sank in as to how big this actually was. That I had just achieved way beyond anything I had ever dreamed of and just being seen in the same kind of arena as Harvest Moon – the game that inspired me to do all this – was kind of mind-blowing. And I’m still kind of shocked and amazed by that, in many ways.”

Now What?

Party poppers litter the floor, and empty champagne glasses clutter tables, but the teams don’t rest after their triumphs. Actually, their work grows more intense. According to Barone, the time after launch “was probably the busiest time of the entire four-and-a-half years that it took to make the game.” Echoing this sentiment, Törnqvist says, “We had so many incredible opportunities coming in, and suddenly such a big community, and trying to respond to everyone, let alone move these opportunities along, is a full-time job!”

It took a few months for the Darkest Dungeon team to feel the change, but with a game in Early Access where you build a title in full view of the community, it was bound to come. “I think expectations, and managing those expectations, became much more of a clear and present danger during Early Access,” explains Bourassa. This shift came after players had put hours into Darkest Dungeon and began to hold opinions of their own on what the game should be. “And we’re much more conscious of having this really big player base, and we want to do well by them,” says Sigman. “But we also know that the way we got there was by being really true to our own sense of the vision. So, there’s a little more weight now ­because you can anger 5 million people overnight.”

For Barone, he remembers the public attention becoming conspicuous earlier on in Stardew Valley’s development, right after the project was greenlit on Steam. “That was when the amount of attention increased a lot,” he recalls. “Which, of course, can be kind of a shock and can be challenging when that happens, especially for someone who has no prior experience. And I’m a very solitary person in many ways. I’m used to being, kind of, just in my own private bubble working. But it was also exciting because I was thinking this game could actually be a successful game.”

After his hit game was released, Barone found moving on more difficult than he expected. “I feel like my next game has to be better than Stardew Valley,” he explains. “Because, you know, I want to be seen as someone who’s getting better. I’m improving. The trajectory of my career is going up, not stagnating, or going down – God forbid.”

For Sigman at Red Hook, Darkest Dungeon’s accomplishment also brought on an unexpected result. “It sounds funny to say,” Sigman states, “But I think no matter how much you succeed, it’s always easy to benchmark yourself against someone who’s literally twice or three or five or ten times as successful. It’s funny that your mind can create gnawing doubt, no matter how fortunate you are.”

Red Hook Studios attends the 2016 Independent Games Festival Awards

Growing Pains

Each project was staggeringly fortunate, so much so that the Valheim, Stardew Valley, and Darkest Dungeon teams could all afford to scale up their operations immediately after launch, but they didn’t. Törnqvist believes subtle adjustments and refinements have helped Valheim continue to thrive. “We’ve grown with a couple of new additions, but we took our time making sure the team is growing in the right direction and with the right people,” he says.

Iron Gate recently passed a huge milestone by releasing Valheim’s Hearth & Home update. The game’s fans had been waiting on the new content almost since the original Early Access release, but the team found itself unable to work on it. Overwhelmed by the pressure that millions of unanticipated players placed on the core experience, Iron Gate delayed its expansion, spending months just keeping the base game stable. “There’s always pressure to introduce big changes,” says Törnqvist, “and add a bulk of new content – and we will – but we want to make sure that there’s a good foundation there first.”

Even as Red Hook’s Sigman and Bourassa discuss changes in the company’s structure, it’s clear the core of the studio – the relationship between its co-founders – has remained unaltered. During our chat, the two often finished each other’s sentences, went off on good-natured, teasing tangents, and even began chatting amongst themselves for long periods. Similarly unchanged from the company’s early days, the duo is still putting their project first. “We grew to make the game – to make Darkest Dungeon II – the way we wanted to make it,” Bourassa says. “We weren’t growing to fulfill an org chart. So, Red Hook as an entity continues to be second fiddle to the project itself.”

“That’s when the company became of value,” says Sigman, “and we realized that to do this game, we should hire more employees directly.” While the two needed to increase the team to tackle their next project, the allure of the early days lingers. “It’s been a massive, massive shift,” Bourassa says. “It’s only something you can really perceive in hindsight, I think. Because you add, like, one or two people, and it still feels like a ragtag crew, and then you turn around and realize you’ve added like 15.”

“I’m just thinking of the Stardew Valley developer,” says Sigman, who didn’t realize Eric Barone was talking with us for this article, “He could grow to a team size of 200 if he wants, probably, with the cash flow he’s generated, but it’s a conscious choice of what you want to be. And so, we were like, ‘Okay, we’re gonna grow, but we’re gonna still do one project right now.’”

Incidentally, Sigman isn’t far off the mark regarding Barone’s thoughts on expansion. “My original idea, actually, was that I would get a team and hand off Stardew Valley to them, and then I would work on my next game. But that didn’t really pan out because I just realized really quickly that I was not going to be okay with just handing off the game to other people. I’m very particular about Stardew Valley, you know? It’s my baby.”

The first time Barone worked with a team to develop any part of Stardew Valley was on an update that launched in 2019. “It was definitely a big change for me,” Barone says. “We got an office, so I was going into a different place every day. I was spending business hours with the other team members, discussing with other people what we were going to do in the update … it took a while to get used to it and then have a flow that worked. I do think the 1.4 update was a good update; it was successful. And it was kind of a good training for how to work with the team … but, I definitely think there’s a part of me that loves working alone, and having that 100-percent responsibility for every aspect of the game.”

Moving Forward

“It is kind of difficult when you have achieved all of the goals that you’d ever dreamed about,” Barone says. “You’re in this position of, ‘What do I do now? Why am I even making another game? Why am I doing this?’”

This seems to have been one of the biggest challenges facing the now well-known developer who only started down this path to find a job.

“I don’t want to just retire,” Barone says. “I want to work; it gives my life meaning. But many of the factors that drove me to work so hard on Stardew Valley are now – you can kind of check them all off. I want to keep making games because I want to share my ideas with the world. I want to create a legacy for myself.”

And that’s exactly what he is doing. Barone has been working on two new titles. One is ConcernedApe’s Haunted Chocolatier, which recently caused a flurry of excitement when Barone dropped an unexpected, early gameplay video on social media. “[Haunted Chocolatier] is another completely solo game, kind of like Stardew Valley, where I’m doing literally everything,” he says. “That one will probably come out first.” His second game is a collaborative work, which will give Barone the ability to flex his muscles developing as part of a team. Working simultaneously as a lone developer on one project and with another developer on a second one has given him “the best of both worlds.”

Despite the freedom he has to pick his projects, Barone recognizes his first hit will follow him throughout his career. “I’m not trying to make the next big indie hit,” Barone says. “I realize and appreciate that, when my next game comes out, I’m going to have a lot of people who play the game, just because it’s from the guy who made Stardew Valley … I was almost considering – it might be interesting to release the game under an alias. And people don’t even know it’s me, and then to see if it could actually just be successful on its own merits. But I feel like that’s a bit disingenuous; I’m not going to do that.”

For the Valheim crew, the focus is still on their Early Access title, and there is still plenty in the works for the game, according to Törnqvist. “[The Hearth & Home] update was always meant to be the foundation we can build on with subsequent content updates – with the Mistlands update our next major one – but the process has taught us that big updates can snowball,” he says. To combat that effect, Törnqvist and his team want to focus on gradual changes, and less dramatic content drops that hit in between large expansions.

Red Hook’s co-founders have made more progress with their follow-up project than either Barone or Törnqvist. Darkest Dungeon II entered Epic Games Store Early Access on October 26, though the full release may still be some ways away. While the sequel has mixed up the game’s art style and gameplay features, Sigman insists, “it’s also a Darkest Dungeon game. I’m really excited about what we are doing in [Darkest Dungeon II], you know? Like fleshing out and getting deeper into the heroes themselves. We’ve had a chance to honestly improve in various ways.” Like Barone as he moves on to his next project, Bourassa also notes how important it was for Red Hook not to simply chase success.

“We could have just added Metroidvania elements to the dungeons,” says Bourassa recalling the earliest brainstorms for the sequel, “and called it Darkest Dungeon II, but it didn’t feel like we could get as excited about that. What’s most important, and the way we found success the first time, was to channel our passion and excitement and our fear into this product. So, by taking the risks, we’re actually delivering something closer to the feeling of the first game, without delivering the exact same game.”

While the success of the studio’s first game certainly casts a long shadow, Sigman takes some comfort from it as well. Even if players don’t take to the sequel in the same way, he says, “At the end of the day, nobody can take away Darkest Dungeon now.”

Source:[http://www.gameinformer.com/]

GTFO Review – The Great Escape

Publisher: 10 Chambers Collective
Developer: 10 Chambers Collective
Release:

December 9, 2021

Rating: Mature
Reviewed on: PC

Turtle Rock Studios helped define the cooperative squad-based genre with Left 4 Dead and its recently released spiritual successor, Back 4 Blood. 10 Chamber Collective, a small group of ex-Payday developers, was undoubtedly inspired by the acclaimed zombie-slaying franchise. In truth, the studio’s debut project, GTFO, is Payday meets Left 4 Dead, but with a deliciously dangerous learning curve. GTFO’s satisfying mix of tactical action and all-encompassing uneasiness will likely appeal to FPS fanatics yearning for an electrifying challenge. And now that its two-year Early Access period has ended, 10 Chamber Collective’s survival horror shooter might reach a wider audience. So, how does the full version of the game hold up? Despite a repetitive loop, GTFO smartly differentiates itself from its predecessors while still being an approachable thrill ride.

My four-player crew is held captive by an entity called “The Warden,” who forces us into an underground facility known as “The Complex” to retrieve miscellaneous items that help uncover the truth behind a devastating virus consuming the Earth. It’s immediately apparent that GTFO’s best quality is its oppressive tone. Rundown 6.0, the latest series of available expeditions, is an all-out assault on the senses. From the claustrophobic plummet at the start of each mission to The Complex’s discombobulating layout of laboratories and dig sites, every component of GTFO’s gameplay is inundated with high-stakes tension. Early expeditions (listed in increasing difficulty by the lettered tiers A-D) offer vague tutorial details – locate the objective, proceed to the specified zone, survive an alarm-raising door scan. These tutorials become virtually nonexistent as I press deeper into The Complex. Fleshy, grotesque humanoids, sensitive to light and sound, sleep in the darkness. Any sudden movements or flashlight misclicks can lead to doomsday scenarios. I appreciate these severe constraints. Clear communication and kit experimentation feels more gratifying this way, especially when extraction becomes harder on higher rundown levels.

Click here to watch embedded media

I spent copious amounts of game time preparing for upcoming expeditions. Loadout balancing is essential in GTFO, and it’s a good thing that each prisoner can come equipped with two firearms, a melee weapon, a heavy-duty tool, and double-edged buffs called “boosters.” GTFO rewards stealthy approaches and meticulous planning, so I usually bring a knife to silently take down unaware “sleepers” while also referring to my bio tracker tool to record enemy positions. Other gear includes blunt weapons and cool gadgets like foam launchers for slowing rampaging targets/gluing doors shut or auto sentries for buffeting pesky flankers with tungsten rounds. Booster effects, such as increased damage and specified resistances, make each prisoner feel like a one-person army. Vanquishing monsters with synchronized melee attacks to establish fortified defenses for mowing down incoming adversaries is never easy. Even so, when each player is attentive and utilizing equipment effectively, GTFO’s squadrons of disparate parts suddenly feel like well-oiled machines.

Launching expeditions with friends is the best way to experience the terrifying mayhem, and GTFO’s team-centric exploration mechanics are proof of this. I’d share medical packs and munitions sprinkled throughout the map with less fortunate companions – that one shotgunner always taking hits on the frontlines or the distant sniper consistently low on ammo. Moreover, tools satisfyingly pay off when paired together. Mines deployed on foamed gateways would exterminate entire armies, allowing the team to save resources for creatures with bigger health pools. Hollering in unison as swarms clamber into a once-empty room and breathing a sigh of relief when the team somehow emerges unscathed rank among my favorite moments in GTFO.

 

I only wish there was more to do. Scouring predominantly pitch-black settings to collect artifacts (boosters) or locate far-off terminals and other bland objectives grows tiresome. An array of enemy types with wormlike appendages, energy blasts, and tentacled wings keeps the action fresh early on. Still, after you memorize important coordinates, most of that terrifying magic is stripped away. Some interesting environmental puzzles emerge in command consoles (interactive parsers) which let me search for and ping vital items like key cards. But experienced players often ignore these computers, rendering them useless in most cases. And when matchmaking, trolls and/or quitters make playing through hours-long expeditions infuriating. Rundown 6.0 implements competent bots that can be given orders and merciful checkpoints to help remedy these issues. However, there’s nothing more disheartening than watching a trigger-happy stranger queue into a D-level mission with the intent of getting their whole team killed. Finding success is downright punishing if you don’t have a dedicated group.

GTFO might grow stale the more hours I pour into it, but 10 Chamber Collective’s rundown updates function like seasons and are guaranteed to introduce new levels and primary/secondary goals to complete in the coming months. The gunplay leaves a lot to be desired as the catalog of assault rifles, SMGs, pistols, and shotguns feel the same, but stealth runs are satisfying to plan out with others. Guttural screeches of enemies are bloodcurdling during engagements, while dark and complicated backdrops limit sightlines and keep me on my toes. GTFO isn’t for the faint of heart. Nevertheless, the fear of death means that re-strategizing and improvising are commonplace, which is a metagame that feels disappointingly absent in most cooperative shooters as of late. If you’ve been craving an FPS that tests your critical thinking and mechanical skills, then GTFO might just be the perfect hidden gem to satiate that ravenous hunger.

Click image thumbnails to view larger version

 

                                                                                                           

Score: 8

Summary: Despite a repetitive loop, GTFO smartly differentiates itself from its cooperative shooter influences while still being an approachable thrill ride.

Concept:

Graphics:

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Entertainment:

Replay:

Click to Purchase

Source:[http://www.gameinformer.com/]

Mario Kart Needs A Super Smash-Style Makeover

Mario Kart 9 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Mario Kart is a fantastic franchise – one of Nintendo’s best, easily – but it’s time for it to come to an end. Now, that’s a bit of a loaded phrase, but I wholeheartedly mean it: we don’t need another Mario Kart game. What we do need, however, is a brand new exciting kart game from Nintendo. It should feature not just Mario (can’t leave behind the Kart King like that) and the gang, but Link, Zelda, and other Hyrulian characters, too. We should still be able to race with the Inklings from Splatoon, but if I want, let me race as Protagonist from Astral Chain or even Lappy. 

What I’m proposing is the end of Mario Kart and the beginning of Nintendo Kart. 

Click here to watch embedded media

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on Switch is the pinnacle of the franchise – it features more tracks than any other entry, the most characters, the smoothest racing, the best mechanics, and one of the most banging soundtracks in all of games. I can’t see a world where Nintendo tops it. It might create Mario Kart 9, a game equally as good as Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, but surpassing it? How do you even do that while remaining within the confines of the Mushroom Kingdom (and the few non-Mario characters and tracks featured in Deluxe)? I don’t think you do, and that’s why Nintendo should blow off the lid with Nintendo Kart, a new kart franchise with a Super Smash Bros. inspiration. 

Super Smash Bros. had humble beginnings on the Nintendo 64. It featured just a handful of characters, tame mechanics, and significantly fewer stages than later entries would contain. It was so dang fun, though, and at the heart of that fun was watching Mario beat Kirby up right after Kirby laid into Link, who just took Ness’ final stock. Seeing these characters interact in a new way was fascinating, and it provided the groundwork for what would become one of Nintendo’s most successful games. I’m not saying Nintendo Kart needs to immediately jump to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate status – just focus on Nintendo characters for now and keep the roster small. 

Make each racer unique and keep them heavily inspired by the franchise they’re from. Pick the most iconic locations from their games and create exciting playgrounds for players to race and battle on. Mix up the formula with new items and maybe even throw in some character-specific mechanics. Imagine if Astral Chain’s hero could throw a chain around a racer ahead of them and use it to pull themselves up? What if Link could use the Sheikah Slates’ magnesis ability to latch onto another racer and trail behind them for a couple of seconds? As creative as Nintendo gets with most of what it develops, the possibilities for these abilities could be endless. 

Click here to watch embedded media

And yes, I expect upbeat jazz renditions of every racer’s theme, but don’t stop there: bring in some of the more metalcore-inspired music from Astral Chain, utilize the Ocarina of Time, juice up races with some Splatoon-inspired funk rock, and toss in the Pokémon theme song for good measure. Just get wild with it. 

Personally, I’m tired of racing around on Mushroom Kingdom tracks. Shaking the formula up with tracks from each racer’s franchise and sticking to said franchise’s art, rather than trying to blend it all together into the colorful and bubbly style of Mario Kart, would provide the fresh coat of paint Nintendo’s kart racing efforts need. 

What’s best about the idea of Nintendo Kart is that it’s just the start. From there, you develop a sequel and take the series to new heights, much like Super Smash Bros. Melee did on GameCube. Eventually, Nintendo Kart Ultimate can become a reality. While its Smash Bros. counterpart lies dormant for a couple of generations (Sakurai deserves the break, y’all), let this be the flagship Avengers Endgame-esque team-up kart racer that every Nintendo console needs. 

Click here to watch embedded media

Nintendo Kart Ultimate could carry the flag of advertisement that Smash Bros. has always been for various Nintendo IPs. All the while, it could give fans a new way to interact with beloved characters like Mario, Ganondorf, Shulk, Olimar from Pikmin, and eventually, Sora, Master Chief, and others (maybe Waluigi if Nintendo’s feeling nice). 

I love Mario Kart. It’s been a Nintendo staple in my life for as long as I can remember. But rather than try to improve upon Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, which seems nearly impossible, let that series end on a high note and rev up the engine of a new one with Nintendo Kart. 


What direction do you want to see the Mario Kart series go in with the next iteration? Let us know in the comments below!

Source:[http://www.gameinformer.com/]

Remembering The History And Lore Of Halo Reach | Video Gameography

After tackling Metroid in Season 1, the second season of Game Informer‘s Video Gameography podcast moves on to one of the biggest shooter franchises in existence: Halo. This week, we examine Bungie’s swansong for the Halo franchise: Halo Reach.

Halo Reach launched on September 14, 2010, for Xbox 360 and served as a prequel to Halo: Combat Evolved. Set on the doomed planet Reach, players control a new member of the Spartan Noble Team as they valiantly defend the human-occupied world from a massive Covenant invasion. The time and setting gave Bungie creative freedom to introduce new characters and flesh out an event that had only been referenced in books, while the multiplayer introduced new (though divisive) mechanics such as armor abilities. 

Join hosts Ben Reeves (@BenjaminReeves) and Marcus Stewart (@MarcusStewart7), and Polygon‘s Mike Mahardy (@mmahardy) as we unpack the history and impact of Halo’s most emotionally charged entry to that point. And for more Halo, be sure to check out our definitive ranking of every Halo game.


Check out the rest of our podcast on the Video Gameography hub. If you’d like to get in touch with the Video Gameography podcast, you can email us at podcast@gameinformer.com. You can also join our official Game Informer Discord server by linking your Discord account to your Twitch account and subscribing to the Game Informer Twitch channel. From there, find the Video Gameography channel under “Community Spaces.”

Source:[http://www.gameinformer.com/]

Kirby And The Forgotten Land, Pokémon Legends: Arceus, Analogue Pocket | All Things Nintendo

After a slow news week to kick off 2022, the world of Nintendo is firing on all cylinders, so this episode of All Things Nintendo is all about catching up on the new looks at Pokémon Legends: Arceus and Kirby and the Forgotten Land. Not only that, but Game Informer‘s Alex Van Aken also came ready to chat about the all-new Analogue Pocket and The Nintendo Tapes, his new collaborative EP of Nintendo remixes (two of which you’ll sample during this episode!).

If you’d like to follow the people from this episode on Twitter, hit the following links: Brian Shea (@brianpshea), Alex Van Aken (@ItsVanAken)

The All Things Nintendo podcast is a weekly show where we can celebrate, discuss, and break down all the latest games, news, and announcements from the industry’s most recognizable name. Each week, Brian is joined by different guests to talk about what’s happening in the world of Nintendo. Along the way, they’ll share personal stories, uncover hidden gems in the eShop, and even look back on the classics we all grew up with. A new episode hits every Friday!

Be sure to subscribe to All Things Nintendo on your favorite podcast platform. The show is available on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Google Podcasts.


00:00:00 – Introduction
00:01:34 – First Nintendo Game/Favorite Nintendo Game
00:14:02 – Hosting the Game Informer Show
00:15:52 – The Nintendo Tapes
00:19:25 – Alex’s Culinary Training
00:23:18 – Kirby and the Forgotten Land Preview
00:32:31 – Teases of 30th Anniversary Activities For Kirby
00:33:29 – NES Classic Switch Controllers Restock/Price Drop
00:36:39 – Pokémon Legends: Arceus Preview
00:47:41 – Pokémon Converse Collaboration
00:51:50 – Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker Free to Play This Week
00:53:48 – Assassin’s Creed: The Ezio Collection Coming to Switch
00:56:42 – E3 Going Virtual… Again/Nintendo E3 Memories
01:03:04 – Analogue Pocket Review
01:29:52 – Definitive Ranking: Nintendo Handheld Form Factors
01:36:19 – eShop Gem of the Week: A Short Hike


If you’d like to get in touch with the All Things Nintendo podcast, you can do so by emailing AllThingsNintendo@GameInformer.com, tweeting to Brian (@BrianPShea), or by joining the official Game Informer Discord server. You can do that by linking your Discord account to your Twitch account and subscribing to the Game Informer Twitch channel. From there, find the All Things Nintendo channel under “Community Spaces.”


For more Game Informer podcasts, be sure to check out The Game Informer Show, which covers the weekly happenings of the video game industry, and Video Gameography with host Ben Reeves, which explores the history of video games – one series at a time!

Source:[http://www.gameinformer.com/]

The Tomorrow Children’s Relaunch Can Feature An Island Of Your Creation Via A New Contest

Last November, Q-Games announced that its shuttered collaborative multiplayer game The Tomorrow Children would be rising from the grave. We still don’t know when players will be able to resume building islands as unsettling doll-like characters, but players have a chance to contribute something new to the experience thanks to a new contest.

Q-Games’ contest invites players to design an island of their own from scratch. You see, The Tomorrow Children is all about working alongside players to rebuild the world, known as The Void, after a neo-Soviet experiment goes awry. Landmasses take the form of islands and, to promote the game’s spirit of contribution, one of these could be custom-made by you. 

No game development experience is necessary. If you have the imagination and some decent artistic chops, you’re as qualified as any other entrant. Your concept can be a drawing, a 3D model, or whatever visual representation you prefer. There are some rules to note, which you can read in full here. The major stipulations are that the winners won’t be paid for this, and they’ll surrender claims to any intellectual rights their creation. Winners will be included in the game’s credits, however. It probably goes without saying that designs featuring plagiarized elements or are overtly violent and/or sexual will be disqualified.

You can submit entries beginning today by visiting the contest’s website. Submissions close on February 1, and Q-Games will announce the winners on July 15. Given that timeframe, it’s likely The Tomorrow Children won’t be relaunching during the first half of the year. We’ll have to see if it makes it out again before the end of 2022 and if it will remain a PlayStation exclusive now that Q-Games has regained the rights. 


What do you think of this contest? Are you interested in entering? Let us know in the comments! 

Source:[http://www.gameinformer.com/]

Final Fantasy XIV Services Are Coming Back Soon

Last month, due to the overwhelming queue times to access Final Fantasy XIV servers, digital game sales and certain services were suspended until things calmed down. Now, Square Enix is preparing to allow fresh accounts to be created in a couple of weeks.

According to a developer blog post, January 25 will be the date digital sales of Final Fantasy XIV will be resumed. The move coincides with the already-planned opening of a new Oceanian data center, bringing five new worlds into existence, hopefully alleviating congestion on other worlds. This also means the suspended Home World Transfer Service will also be brought back on January 25, letting players bring their character to these new servers, or elsewhere barring any limitations imposed on still-overpopulated worlds. The often-memed free trial for FFXIV will continue to be frozen for the time being.

Also on the docket is the Data Center Travel System, which expands players’ ability to visit other worlds to play with friends or quest/etc. Currently, a similar functionality is present in game, but only allows you to visit worlds that share a data center with your character’s home world. However, with the new Data Center Travel System, you’ll be able travel to servers housed within a different data center. There are some restrictions however, as listed on the blog post.

  • Players will be able to visit Worlds in other logical data centers within the same physical data center.
  • Players will not be able to visit Worlds in other regions/physical data centers.
  • Though cross-region travel is technically possible, implementation is still under consideration.
  • Travel is initiated not while logged into the game, but from the character selection screen.

FFXIV producer Naoki Yoshida says in the post, “there are just about no restrictions. Be it undertaking quests, forming parties, or using the Duty Finder, you’ll be able to play the game as usual.” Some communication services won’t be available when traveling to another data center, though, so arrange for another means of chatting with your Free Company or home world friends if necessary.

Other data centers around the globe also have updates planned in the coming months and years, letting even more people play at the same time. You can read all about those expansions in the developer blog post here.


Have you been playing FFXIV: Endwalker? What do you think about the latest expansion? Let us know in the comments!

Source:[http://www.gameinformer.com/]

Super Replay | Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order – Episode III

A not-so-long time ago in the same galaxy we all reside in, Respawn Entertainment deviated from its first-person shooter roots to create Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. This third-person action game was the studio’s first stab at tackling the coveted Star Wars license, crafting an original adventure set five years after Revenge of the Sith. It stars Cal Kestis, a padawan turned junker (played by Shameless star Cameron Monaghan) that managed to evade the Jedi purge of Order 66. After he’s outed by the Sith, he embarks on a quest to recover an artifact capable of locating force-sensitive children while also avoiding capture by the Inquisitors, who are elite Jedi hunters. 

The game features a blend of lightsaber combat and a suite of Force abilities. Borrowing inspiration from FromSoftware’s Soul series, encounters are challenging, requiring a strategic blend of blocks and parries to outduel opponents. Meanwhile, the various planets take on a Metroid-inspired progression with players unlocking abilities to backtrack to previously inaccessible areas. 

Click here to watch embedded media

Fallen Order was released November 15, 2019, and was a critical and financial success. It also served as a saving grace for single-player fans, providing proof to an increasingly multiplayer-focused EA that linear story-driven experiences can still make the big bucks. With a sequel reportedly in the works, we’re revisiting this gem of the Star Wars video game pantheon. 

Join Marcus Stewart, Daniel Tack, Andrew Reiner, along with TikTok and Twitch star Louie Benson (@TeamLouie) on Twitch today at 2 p.m. Central as we journey through the entirety of Cal Kestis’ adventure. Expect plenty of laughs, deaths, and general nerding out over all things Star Wars. We encourage you to hang out with us in chat. Just as a reminder, subscribing to Game Informer on Twitch rewards access to the official Game Informer Discord channel where you can interact with our lovely community as well as the editors. See you in chat!

Source:[http://www.gameinformer.com/]

Valve Steam Deck Looking To Hit Current Ship Dates

In what feels like a rare positive update regarding supply in the tech sector, Valve has announced its delivery estimations of the Steam Deck are currently on track. The update, which was posted on the Steam Community site, gives the good news that the first batch of handheld PCs will ship in late February.

By now, we’re all well versed in supply chain issues, challenges presented by working remotely during the pandemic, and chip shortages, some of which did delay the Steam Deck once from its original launch window. Valve says that’s not going to be the case again, at least for the first batch of devices, saying, “it looks like we’ll be able to start getting these out the door by the end of February.” If you happen to have a preorder down on a Deck, you can check your personal delivery date on the Steam Deck store page here.

Work on identifying which games will work best on the Steam Deck is also well underway. The blog post says, “In parallel, work and testing for the Steam Deck Verified program has been underway. You’ll soon be able to see Deck Verified status for a growing set of Steam games. We’re checking four major categories: input, seamlessness, display, and system support.” Knowing which games will work on your shiny new hardware will be invaluable, especially for early adopters testing the limits of their Steam library, so it’s nice to see this filtering feature isn’t a post-launch afterthought.

If you’re curious what the Steam Deck is, we have you covered! Check out this quick rundown of the specs announced for Valve’s upcoming portable device.

Source:[http://www.gameinformer.com/]

Dune: Spice Wars Devs Shed More Light On The Upcoming Strategy Game

The reveal of Dune: Spice Wars was an unexpected treat during The Game Awards 2021. The upcoming game reunites the long-running (and newly relevant) sci-fi property with the genre it helped popularize: 4x strategy. Fans have patiently waited for more details about the game and got their wish thanks to a developer FAQ on the game’s Steam page.

Developer Shiro Games answered some common questions about the title. It clarifies that Spice Wars is a combination of 4x and real-time strategy elements that includes, among other things, base-building. The game has been developed from the ground up, meaning it won’t feature any elements from Shiro’s previous strategy game, Northgard. Maps will also be procedurally generated and sport a variety of unique traits players can tinker with. 

Shiro Games previously announced two playable factions: House Harkonnen and House Atreides. It plans to have two more factions at launch and a 5th house during Early Access. Shiro wants to remain faithful to the book series first and foremost, stating that houses that appeared in prior Dune games but not in the source materials, such as House Ordos, aren’t guaranteed to return in Spice Wars. 

Click here to watch embedded media

Other nuggets include confirmation of multiplayer and plans to add a campaign at some point in Early Access. Shiro is also open to the idea of adding mod support depending on the level of demand. 

Dune: Spice Wars is slated to launch in PC Early Access sometime this year, but Shiro will be eyeing other platforms after launch, so don’t rule out an eventual console release.

Be sure to visit the full FAQ to see if your burning questions have been addressed. If they haven’t, don’t despair. Shiro Plans to provide additional gameplay updates throughout the coming months.

Source:[http://www.gameinformer.com/]

God Of War Review – Reaching A Higher Summit

Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Santa Monica Studio
Release:

April 20, 2018
(PlayStation 5,
PlayStation 4), January 14, 2022
(PC)

Rating: Mature
Reviewed on: PlayStation 4
Also on:
PlayStation 5, PC

In gruff moments of fatherly instruction, Kratos repeats the phrase “be better” to his son, Atreus. This happens in different contexts, but the lesson remains consistent: Your decisions are not bound by precedent, and the choices of others are not examples to follow – they only set standards you can strive to exceed. In developing the latest God of War, Sony’s Santa Monica studio apparently took this message to heart. While previous games in this series established a successful formula of stylish action and epic setpieces, the team used this opportunity to be better; with surprising changes on every front, God of War forges a new identity and surpasses even its most acclaimed predecessors.

As a longtime fan of the series, this entry captivated me for completely different reasons. The narrative is one of them, despite its simple premise: Kratos and Atreus need to reach the top of the highest mountain in the Norse domain. They encounter detours and surprises along the way, but the precise story beats are less important than how they are conveyed. God of War brilliantly presents a desolate journey in a gorgeous world, all through the lens of the relationship between a distant father and his eager son.

The interactions of Kratos and Atreus range from adversarial to compassionate, and these exchanges have ample room to breathe and draw players in. Atreus wonders what he might say to his departed mother if given the chance – an exercise Kratos finds pointless. When Kratos artlessly paraphrases the fable of the tortoise and the hare, Atreus mocks his lack of storytelling prowess. These quiet moments are interesting, slowly and believably closing the distance between two characters – a focus that contrasts sharply with previous games. In terse responses and long silences, Kratos conveys more than he ever did cursing Olympus at the top of his lungs.

 

That isn’t to say God of War has sacrificed its ability to deliver incredible spectacle. An early encounter (against a mysterious enemy called the Stranger) sets the bar absurdly high, and a cathartic sequence later on stands out as my favorite moment in the series to date. Between those points and beyond, the adventure is punctuated by a steady flow of enormous beasts, ancient architecture, and intense boss fights. The environments and characters look fantastic, and a new cinematic camera angle brings you close the action and never cuts away – a decision that proves immensely rewarding during big moments by giving you an intimate view. Despite this more grounded approach to presentation, the action’s scope and ambition is stunning in cutscenes and combat alike.

The Greek world may be gone, but Kratos is still a god of war, and his skill on the battlefield is appropriately divine. He fires off magic attacks and performs brutal executions in his attempts to defeat a clever assortment of foes from Norse myth. The ice-infused axe Leviathan is a drastic departure from the iconic Blades of Chaos Kratos once wielded, but it is a well-balanced and entertaining tool of destruction. I like how it emphasizes a more calculated style of combat; instead of zoomed-out, combo-driven encounters, Leviathan makes you a tactician. You can’t cut through huge swaths of enemies with it, so you need to consider how to manage your foes. You can freeze one from afar by throwing your axe, then use your fists to stun and grab another, then recall Leviathan for an area-of-effect ice burst. This kind of strategy gives many fights – especially one-on-one bosses – an engaging duel-like quality. Plus, the “thunk” of Leviathan magically flying back into Kratos’ hand is satisfying every time.

During the first few hours, I had doubts about the axe-and-shield emphasis. In those opening segments, crowded melees are difficult to navigate due to off-screen attacks, which encouraged me to keep my distance – at least until I got more comfortable with key mechanics like parrying. After that, I quickly came around; the combat system’s gradual unfolding in God of War is a joy. Though it may feel restrictive at first, before long you are rapidly alternating between all the tools and skills at your disposal, including your fists, Spartan Rage, Leviathan, and more. Cooldown-regulated runic attacks provide a diverse and unique array of special moves, like a freezing beam or a stunning blast, and I had fun experimenting with them and seeing which ones I wanted to cycle into my regular rotation.

You spend experience to unlock cool new techniques, and they aren’t just damage or range improvements; several have a significant impact on your options, like Kratos assuming a secondary stance from which additional attacks are possible. I also leaned on Atreus for assistance, since his arrows are crucial for incapacitating many creatures. Some of these concepts are introduced too slowly, but on the other hand, I relished how God of War’s battles avoid stagnation through constant evolution.

Underlying all of your combat endeavors is a surprisingly involved gear system that gives you an avenue to customize your arsenal, but also dangles aspirational goals in front of you. Many of your deeds provide materials and equipment as rewards, and like an RPG, you see the numbers next to your stats increase as you build and equip new items. You also see materials you don’t have for pieces of gear you want to craft, which adds to the excitement when that item finally drops after finishing a sidequest or beating a tough foe. This layer of upgrading may be less exciting than learning new moves to chop up monsters, but it still provides a powerful incentive to explore.

While not strictly open-world, the game has a large lake with various shores and islands available for free exploration. I loved systematically checking out new locations and acquiring crafting materials, enchantments, and other rewards. These excursions are largely optional, but they are the best way to ensure that you have everything you need for equipment upkeep. As a bonus, these diversions flesh out the world with some interesting NPCs, in addition to offering some fun (but not too challenging) puzzle-like scenarios. They can provide a nice break from the main story, but they’re always available, so you don’t need to invest in them at the expense of the narrative pacing.

God of War’s momentum rarely falters, and when it does, the inconvenience is brief. For example, you have the freedom to explore, but the map isn’t especially helpful for tracking your position relative to the things you are interested in, and the fast-travel system is weirdly cumbersome and opens up too late. This is more frustrating if you plan on being thorough with collectibles and post-game objectives (no new game+ this time around), but that didn’t dampen my enthusiasm for climbing cliffs and delving into ruins long after the 30 hours I spent finishing the main story.

Years ago, Kratos killed the deities of Mount Olympus in a gory rampage. Now, in the Norse realm, he has remade himself into a different kind of god. He is quieter and more deliberate, affected by his history but not constrained by it. Kratos’ reinvention serves as a narrative hook, but it also parallels the series’ evolution as a whole; where God of War once relied on bombast and bloodlust, now it leaves space for strategy and nuance. It still has superb action and plenty of jaw-dropping moments, but it supports them with a new level of depth and maturity. God of War learns from its past while clearing an exciting path for the future, and emerges as one of the best games of this generation.

Click image thumbnails to view larger version

 

                                                                                                           

Score: 9.75

Summary: God of War forges a new identity and surpasses even its most acclaimed predecessors.

Concept: A sublime reinvention of the God of War series that adds new layers of depth in gameplay and storytelling without sacrificing epic moments

Graphics: The world and characters come alive with fantastic design and gorgeous visuals. A more intimate camera ups the intensity of moments big and small

Sound: From the quiet tracks to the thunderous climaxes, Bear McCreary’s score supports the action and establishes an interesting tone

Playability: Despite a variety of different attacks, the controls make it easy to strategize in combat and use your full array of abilities

Entertainment: An enthralling experience from beginning to end, with a mixture of great narrative moments and engaging encounters. God of War is a well-paced adventure that knows when to let the action simmer and when to make it boil over

Replay: Moderately High

Click to Purchase

Source:[http://www.gameinformer.com/]

God Of War Review – Reaching A Higher Summit

Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Santa Monica Studio
Release:

April 20, 2018
(PlayStation 5,
PlayStation 4), January 14, 2022
(PC)

Rating: Mature
Reviewed on: PlayStation 4
Also on:
PlayStation 5, PC

In gruff moments of fatherly instruction, Kratos repeats the phrase “be better” to his son, Atreus. This happens in different contexts, but the lesson remains consistent: Your decisions are not bound by precedent, and the choices of others are not examples to follow – they only set standards you can strive to exceed. In developing the latest God of War, Sony’s Santa Monica studio apparently took this message to heart. While previous games in this series established a successful formula of stylish action and epic setpieces, the team used this opportunity to be better; with surprising changes on every front, God of War forges a new identity and surpasses even its most acclaimed predecessors.

As a longtime fan of the series, this entry captivated me for completely different reasons. The narrative is one of them, despite its simple premise: Kratos and Atreus need to reach the top of the highest mountain in the Norse domain. They encounter detours and surprises along the way, but the precise story beats are less important than how they are conveyed. God of War brilliantly presents a desolate journey in a gorgeous world, all through the lens of the relationship between a distant father and his eager son.

The interactions of Kratos and Atreus range from adversarial to compassionate, and these exchanges have ample room to breathe and draw players in. Atreus wonders what he might say to his departed mother if given the chance – an exercise Kratos finds pointless. When Kratos artlessly paraphrases the fable of the tortoise and the hare, Atreus mocks his lack of storytelling prowess. These quiet moments are interesting, slowly and believably closing the distance between two characters – a focus that contrasts sharply with previous games. In terse responses and long silences, Kratos conveys more than he ever did cursing Olympus at the top of his lungs.

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That isn’t to say God of War has sacrificed its ability to deliver incredible spectacle. An early encounter (against a mysterious enemy called the Stranger) sets the bar absurdly high, and a cathartic sequence later on stands out as my favorite moment in the series to date. Between those points and beyond, the adventure is punctuated by a steady flow of enormous beasts, ancient architecture, and intense boss fights. The environments and characters look fantastic, and a new cinematic camera angle brings you close the action and never cuts away – a decision that proves immensely rewarding during big moments by giving you an intimate view. Despite this more grounded approach to presentation, the action’s scope and ambition is stunning in cutscenes and combat alike.

The Greek world may be gone, but Kratos is still a god of war, and his skill on the battlefield is appropriately divine. He fires off magic attacks and performs brutal executions in his attempts to defeat a clever assortment of foes from Norse myth. The ice-infused axe Leviathan is a drastic departure from the iconic Blades of Chaos Kratos once wielded, but it is a well-balanced and entertaining tool of destruction. I like how it emphasizes a more calculated style of combat; instead of zoomed-out, combo-driven encounters, Leviathan makes you a tactician. You can’t cut through huge swaths of enemies with it, so you need to consider how to manage your foes. You can freeze one from afar by throwing your axe, then use your fists to stun and grab another, then recall Leviathan for an area-of-effect ice burst. This kind of strategy gives many fights – especially one-on-one bosses – an engaging duel-like quality. Plus, the “thunk” of Leviathan magically flying back into Kratos’ hand is satisfying every time.

During the first few hours, I had doubts about the axe-and-shield emphasis. In those opening segments, crowded melees are difficult to navigate due to off-screen attacks, which encouraged me to keep my distance – at least until I got more comfortable with key mechanics like parrying. After that, I quickly came around; the combat system’s gradual unfolding in God of War is a joy. Though it may feel restrictive at first, before long you are rapidly alternating between all the tools and skills at your disposal, including your fists, Spartan Rage, Leviathan, and more. Cooldown-regulated runic attacks provide a diverse and unique array of special moves, like a freezing beam or a stunning blast, and I had fun experimenting with them and seeing which ones I wanted to cycle into my regular rotation.

You spend experience to unlock cool new techniques, and they aren’t just damage or range improvements; several have a significant impact on your options, like Kratos assuming a secondary stance from which additional attacks are possible. I also leaned on Atreus for assistance, since his arrows are crucial for incapacitating many creatures. Some of these concepts are introduced too slowly, but on the other hand, I relished how God of War’s battles avoid stagnation through constant evolution.

Underlying all of your combat endeavors is a surprisingly involved gear system that gives you an avenue to customize your arsenal, but also dangles aspirational goals in front of you. Many of your deeds provide materials and equipment as rewards, and like an RPG, you see the numbers next to your stats increase as you build and equip new items. You also see materials you don’t have for pieces of gear you want to craft, which adds to the excitement when that item finally drops after finishing a sidequest or beating a tough foe. This layer of upgrading may be less exciting than learning new moves to chop up monsters, but it still provides a powerful incentive to explore.

While not strictly open-world, the game has a large lake with various shores and islands available for free exploration. I loved systematically checking out new locations and acquiring crafting materials, enchantments, and other rewards. These excursions are largely optional, but they are the best way to ensure that you have everything you need for equipment upkeep. As a bonus, these diversions flesh out the world with some interesting NPCs, in addition to offering some fun (but not too challenging) puzzle-like scenarios. They can provide a nice break from the main story, but they’re always available, so you don’t need to invest in them at the expense of the narrative pacing.

God of War’s momentum rarely falters, and when it does, the inconvenience is brief. For example, you have the freedom to explore, but the map isn’t especially helpful for tracking your position relative to the things you are interested in, and the fast-travel system is weirdly cumbersome and opens up too late. This is more frustrating if you plan on being thorough with collectibles and post-game objectives (no new game+ this time around), but that didn’t dampen my enthusiasm for climbing cliffs and delving into ruins long after the 30 hours I spent finishing the main story.

Years ago, Kratos killed the deities of Mount Olympus in a gory rampage. Now, in the Norse realm, he has remade himself into a different kind of god. He is quieter and more deliberate, affected by his history but not constrained by it. Kratos’ reinvention serves as a narrative hook, but it also parallels the series’ evolution as a whole; where God of War once relied on bombast and bloodlust, now it leaves space for strategy and nuance. It still has superb action and plenty of jaw-dropping moments, but it supports them with a new level of depth and maturity. God of War learns from its past while clearing an exciting path for the future, and emerges as one of the best games of this generation.

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Score: 9.75

Summary: God of War forges a new identity and surpasses even its most acclaimed predecessors.

Concept: A sublime reinvention of the God of War series that adds new layers of depth in gameplay and storytelling without sacrificing epic moments

Graphics: The world and characters come alive with fantastic design and gorgeous visuals. A more intimate camera ups the intensity of moments big and small

Sound: From the quiet tracks to the thunderous climaxes, Bear McCreary’s score supports the action and establishes an interesting tone

Playability: Despite a variety of different attacks, the controls make it easy to strategize in combat and use your full array of abilities

Entertainment: An enthralling experience from beginning to end, with a mixture of great narrative moments and engaging encounters. God of War is a well-paced adventure that knows when to let the action simmer and when to make it boil over

Replay: Moderately High

Click to Purchase

Source:[http://www.gameinformer.com/]

Our Most Anticipated RPGs Of 2022

From small personal stories to bombastic god-fighting adventures, RPGs can provide compelling journeys with the potential to draw you in for hours, days, or weeks at a time. Not only do they stretch our mathematical skills with min-maxing stats, but they also dazzle our imaginations with wondrous worlds, fantastical magic or technology, and magnetic characters. 2022’s upcoming slate of RPGs is looking great so far, so we’re sharing a handy list of ones you should keep your eye on throughout the year.

Keep in mind that the list below is not ranked but rather ordered chronologically by release date. That way, you’ll know which games are just around the corner. We’re expecting this list to change as the year goes on, with games being removed as they are released, and more exciting titles added as launch dates are announced. So keep checking back in the coming months to keep tabs on the RPGs we think should be worth your time. Without further ado, here are our most anticipated RPGs set to send us on grand adventures in 2022. 

Pokémon Legends: Arceus

Release: January 28 – Platforms: Switch

A stark departure from traditional Pokémon titles, Legends: Arceus lets trainers in on the action of Pokémon battles. Catching and battling happen seamlessly in the semi-open world, and in some cases, your character can find themselves on the receiving end of a ‘mons devastating attack. Taking place over 100 years ago, you explore the lands of the Hisui region, or what we now know as Sinnoh, to complete the region’s first Pokédex with help from the ancestors of familiar characters and the mysterious Galaxy Team organization.

Dying Light 2 Stay Human

Release: February 4 – Platforms: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation4, Xbox One, Switch (Cloud), PC

The long-awaited sequel to the Dying Light is almost upon us, and the evolution of this open-world zombie series is looking great. Taking place 20 years after the original, you play as new protagonist Aiden Caldwell, parkouring in and around The City, a last bastion of sorts for humanity after the zombie infection has taken hold of much of the world’s population. Dying Light 2 offers plenty of drama with branching narrative paths and characters that can be your best friend or worst enemy, depending on the decisions you make. Expect plenty of thrills running, jumping, gliding, and crafting as a means to survive this second foray into Techland’s zombie jungle gym.

Monark

Release: February 22 – Platforms: PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Switch, PC

Former Persona developers are cooking up another stylish high school drama centered on Daemonic entities known as Monarks and the seven Pactbearers they’ve partnered with. As one of the students who has teamed up with a Monark, you wield a power known as Ego against the other Pactbearers to free Shin Mikado Academy from a “madness-inducing Mist.” The premise and visuals seem pretty familiar, but Monark injects an additional layer of strategy to stand out from its Atlus-developed inspiration with its tactical combat skirmishes.

Triangle Strategy

Release: March 4 – Platforms: Switch

Square Enix’s latest title utilizing its beautiful HD-2D art style is a throwback tactical JRPG called Triangle Strategy. If you’re a fan of Final Fantasy Tactics, this is a game you’ll want to keep an eye on. The triangle referenced in the title comes in two different flavors. First, the story centers on three nations, all struggling for control of quickly depleting resources of salt and iron in the continent of Norzelia. Your actions throughout the game affect the other titular triangle, the three convictions: Utility, Morality, and Liberty. Whichever of these traits you favor or don’t will guide how the narrative plays out, which could change the course of history for entire nations.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails From Zero

Release: Fall 2022 – Platforms: PlayStation 4, Switch, PC

First released in Japan in 2010, this follow-up to the Trails in the Sky trilogy takes place a handful of months later in the region of Crossbell, years before the events of the Trails of Cold Steel series. Why be excited about a decade-old RPG? Trails From Zero is the first of a couple of missing links in The Legend of Heroes saga that were never localized in English. These games all take place in the same world and timeline, so we’re pumped to add more pieces to this ever-evolving narrative puzzle when Tales From Zero finally hits later this year.

Starfield

Release: November 11 – Platforms: Xbox Series X/S, PC

Bethesda Game Studios is taking its tried and true RPG formula to interstellar locales with the late 2022 release of Starfield. As a member of a space-exploring collective known as Constellation, you explore alien worlds in a pocket of the Milky Way galaxy set in the year 2330. If Starfield shares any DNA of Fallout or The Elder Scrolls, expect to be embroiled in fierce faction conflicts and flush with a bevy of engaging side activities that will have you gleefully exploring every nook and cranny of each planet you land on.

Star Ocean The Divine Force

Release: 2022 – Platforms: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Developer tri-Ace returns with a new edition to its seminal RPG series, bringing Star Ocean to new open expanses and ratcheting up the action. Star Ocean The Divine Force stars Raymond, a sword-swinging, star-faring hero with the sickest ’80s hairband ‘do we’ve seen in quite some time. Raymond teams up with “many playable characters,” one of which is an uncrowned princess named Laeticia, whose kingdom is at the center of one of the narrative’s conflicts that could end up having galactic ramifications.

Sea of Stars

Release: 2022 – Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC

Like its predecessor, The Messenger, Sabotage Studio’s newest project and prequel of sorts, Sea of Stars, takes heavy influence from games of a bygone era. Instead of falling back on the action platformer genre, Sea of Stars gives us serious Chrono Trigger vibes that immediately caught our attention. The story centers on two kids, Valere and Zale, who wield the powers of the moon and sun. Combining them creates Solstice magic, a powerful force they’ll utilize in their battle against a disgustingly-named threat known as The Fleshmancer.

RPG Time: The Legend of Wright

Release: TBA 2022 – Platforms: Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC, iOS, Android

DeskWorks’ stunning RPG takes papercraft and hand-drawn art to the next level. RPG Time: The Legend of Wright is about a student named Kenta who dreams of becoming a game designer. However, because Kenta doesn’t have a computer on which to make his games, he takes to his trusty notebook to doodle out epic adventures. Using other objects like straws, stationary, cardboard, and more, The Legend of Wright and Kenta’s imagination come to life in incredible and charming ways.

Source:[http://www.gameinformer.com/]

Watch A Race Around Daytona In This New Gran Turismo 7 Footage

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PlayStation invites you to take a lap around the Daytona International Speedway in this new in-game footage of Gran Turismo 7.

Polyphony Digital is a master of details, and this sub-four-minute clip is full of them. Starting out in a first-person driver view, we take in the little odds and ends around the dash of the vehicle, including the actively-updating stats on the steering wheel display. The shadows and light, both direct and bounce lighting, are on full display in this view as well, not to mention the materials and textures of objects like the driver’s gloves and the various metals and plastics in view.

Pulling out to camera shots outside of the car, we see the models of the vehicles themselves and how they move and interact with the road they’re peeling across. The subtle weight shifts are noticeable if you watch the body of the cars closely as they turn, speed up, or hit the breaks. We also get a great look at the reflections on the windshields and side windows, and light reflections and flares off of shinier materials on the vehicles. Other details to look out for are the crowd density in the stands and the overcast skies. 

Sony’s newest entry in its impeccably detailed driving simulator hits PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4 on March 4.


How’s Gran Turismo 7 looking to you? How do you think it stacks up to other recent racers we’ve seen in the past couple of years? Let us know in the comments!

Source:[http://www.gameinformer.com/]

Spelunky 2 Review – Enthralling Entropy

Spelunky 2

Publisher: Mossmouth
Developer: BlitWorks
Release:

September 15, 2020
(PlayStation 4), September 29, 2020
(PC), August 26, 2021
(Switch), January 12, 2022
(Xbox Series X/S,
Xbox One)

Rating: Teen
Reviewed on: PC
Also on:
Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch

“This is the run where I make real progress,” I tell myself. “Last time I got careless, but this time will be different.” With that self-assurance, I descend into the caves of Spelunky 2 for the umpteenth time. Masterfully dodging booby traps and whipping bats, spiders, and snakes before they can steal my health, I make it through the first level with ease. My confidence rises as I pick up a crossbow from the shopkeep. Everything is going according to plan, when suddenly a horned lizard rolls into me, knocking me back and setting off a glorious chain reaction featuring skeletons, arrow traps, and eventually, a spike pit that triggers my demise. I’m frustrated my best-laid plans fell apart so fast, but as soon as the option to start a new run appears, I can’t select it fast enough.

Despite the many times I’ve yelled as my character’s body bounces around like a pinball from scenarios such as that, Spelunky 2 is unceasingly fun. Maintaining the same formula as its predecessor, the engaging roguelike action-platformer drops you into a procedurally generated cave system and dares you to get further than you did last time. The engrossing difficulty and randomization of the world effectively combines with that very desire to do better, providing the drive to take on another round. As you dig deeper into the caverns, you uncover new biomes, like an aquatic-themed area with killer fish and octopuses that are all too willing to end your run. While starting over at level 1-1 can make the experience tedious, multiple visits to the deeper areas grants you the ability to start your run at that point instead. The procedural generation provides nearly endless levels to play through, and the distinct worlds introduce new elements and challenges to keep the experience fresh as you progress deeper into the caves.

Click here to watch embedded media

This time around, you can chart your path depending on the challenges you want to encounter. After completing the first area of the cave, do you venture into a lush jungle flooded with monkeys and man-eating plants? Or do you want to brave the volcanic foundry full of explosive robots and fire-spewing ladybugs? I love getting to decide which world to tackle as I reach these new areas, and I’m continually impressed at how different each biome feels from the others.

In addition to being able to choose your path through the caves, Spelunky 2 adds new secret areas you can duck into for treasures, challenges, and even new characters to rescue and add to your community back at base. It’s fun seeing the people you save appear at your camp, but too often these passageways lead to nowhere, causing me to sometimes disregard them since they’re usually wastes of time. This further highlights the main pitfall of procedural generation: While skill clearly plays a large role in your overall success, luck is also a factor as some runs are significantly easier than others. Still, no run is impossible, as Spelunky 2 ensures there’s a clear path to each level’s exit, so I tried to make sure I took advantage of the times fortune favored me.

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While descending into the caves alone is a blast, you can enlist help in the form of NPCs, who are often so aggressive that the best you can hope for is they’ll take down a few enemies en route to causing their own demise. You can also discover helpful mounts like a turkey that can headbutt enemies and glide, a fire-breathing dog, or a lizard that spits bubbles. However, the better company to keep comes from multiplayer, which can now be played locally or online. As you might expect, chaos reigns supreme as you add more players into the mix; don’t expect to make better progress with your friends, but it sure is fun.

Spelunky 2 is as addictive an experience as I’ve played this year. Two-minute-long runs stack to turn into consecutive hours of gameplay, and “just one more try” easily turns into an afternoon of exploring, dying, and trying again. Spelunky 2 is at once captivating, stressful, and exciting, and even now, I can’t wait to once again test my mettle within the cave’s ever-shifting walls.


Note: This review is based on a pre-release build in which online multiplayer was unavailable.

Score: 9

Summary: Spelunky 2 is an addictive and chaotic experience that builds on the already exciting formula of the original.

Concept: Dive back into the shifting cave system of Spelunky, this time with branching paths, new enemies, and mounts to ride

Graphics: Beautiful environments are a treat to behold, and improved physics make water and lava look great as they slip through holes and cracks in the world

Sound: Helpful audio cues hint at nearby side-objectives, while a solid soundtrack accompanies the on-screen chaos

Playability: Despite its high degree of difficulty, Spelunky 2 is easy to pick up and play thanks to simple and tight controls

Entertainment: No matter how many times I yelled in frustration, I couldn’t wait to jump right back into the ever-shifting caves

Replay: High

Click to Purchase

Source:[http://www.gameinformer.com/]

25th DICE Awards Nominees Revealed With Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart Leading The Pack

Ratchet and Clank

The 25th annual DICE Awards takes place next month and will honor the best and brightest titles to release in 2021. Unlike The Game Awards, which is a bit more mainstream and consists of votes from both media and the general public, the DICE Awards (which stands for Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain) is helmed by The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. It’s also an industry-only event generally viewed as the most prestigious award ceremony in the business. Today, we found out this year’s event honors 59 nominated titles across 23 categories. 

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart leads the pack in terms of the number of nominations with nine. Deathloop doesn’t lag far behind, garnering eight nominations. Academy members, which consists of a jury of industry peers, begin voting today. IGN will livestream the ceremony, hosted by Discovery’s Jessica Chobot and Kinda Funny’s Greg Miller, on February 24. The nominees are as follows:

Game of the Year

  • Deathloop
  • Inscryption
  • It Takes Two
  • Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
  • Returnal

Outstanding Achievement in Animation

  • Call of Duty: Vanguard
  • Deathloop
  • Kena: Bridge of Spirits
  • Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
  • Resident Evil Village

Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction

  • Call of Duty: Vanguard
  • Deathloop
  • Kena: Bridge of Spirits
  • Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
  • Resident Evil Village

Outstanding Achievement in Character

  • Deathloop – Colt Vahn
  • Kena: Bridge of Spirits – Kena
  • Life is Strange: True Colors – Alex Chen
  • Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart – Rivet
  • Resident Evil Village – Lady Dimitrescu

Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Composition

  • Deathloop
  • It Takes Two
  • Kena: Bridge of Spirits
  • Psychonauts 2
  • Returnal 

Outstanding Achievement in Audio Design

  • Forza Horizon 5
  • Halo Infinite
  • It Takes Two
  • Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
  • Returnal

Outstanding Achievement in Story

  • Before Your Eyes
  • Inscryption
  • Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Psychonauts 2
  • The Forgotten City

Outstanding Technical Achievement

  • Battlefield 2042
  • Forza Horizon 5
  • Moncage
  • Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
  • Returnal

Action Game of the Year

  • Deathloop
  • Halo Infinite
  • Metroid Dread
  • Returnal
  • The Ascent

Adventure Game of the Year

  • Death’s Door
  • It Takes Two
  • Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Psychonauts 2
  • Resident Evil Village

Family Game of the Year

  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Happy Home Paradise
  • Cozy Grove
  • Mario Party Superstars
  • Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
  • Warioware: Get it Together

Fighting Game of the Year

  • Guilty Gear -Strive-
  • Melty Blood: Type Lumina
  • Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl

Racing Game of the Year

  • F1 2021
  • Forza Horizon 5
  • Hot Wheels Unleashed

Role-Playing Game of the Year

  • Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker
  • Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous
  • Shin Megami Tensei V
  • Tales of Arise
  • Wildermyth

Sports Game of the Year

  • FIFA 22
  • Mario Golf: Super Rush
  • NBA 2K22
  • Riders Republic
  • The Climb 2

Strategy/Simulation Game of the Year

  • Age of Empires IV
  • Gloomhaven
  • Griftlands
  • Inscryption
  • Loop Hero

Immersive Reality Technical Achievement

  • Lone Echo II
  • Puzzling Places
  • Resident Evil 4 VR
  • Song in the Smoke
  • Yuki 

Immersive Reality Game of the Year

  • Demeo
  • I Expect You To Die 2
  • Lone Echo II
  • Resident Evil 4 VR
  • Song in the Smoke

Outstanding Achievement for an Independent Game

  • Death’s Door
  • Inscryption
  • Loop Hero
  • Sable
  • Unpacking

Mobile Game of the Year

  • Behind the Frame
  • Fantasian
  • League of Legends: Wild Rift
  • Moncage
  • Pokémon Unite 

Online Game of the Year

  • Back 4 Blood
  • Call of Duty: Vanguard
  • Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker
  • Halo Infinite
  • Knockout City

Outstanding Achievement in Game Design

  • Deathloop
  • Inscryption
  • It Takes Two
  • Loop Hero
  • Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart 

Outstanding Achievement in Game Direction

  • Deathloop
  • Inscryption
  • It Takes Two
  • Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
  • The Artful Escape

It’ll be exciting to see who walks away with what, but in the meantime you can view last year’s DICE winners here.

Source:[http://www.gameinformer.com/]

Chorus Review – The Void Of Space

Publisher: Deep Silver
Developer: Deep Silver Fishlabs
Release:

December 3, 2021

Rating: Everyone 10+
Reviewed on: PC
Also on:
PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Stadia

Chorus is a madcap barrage of laser beams, missiles, and impossible space combat dodges, boosts, and chases in its best moments. At its worst, it’s bogged down with tiresome and repetitive encounters, frustrating checkpoints, and bland characters. Sci-fi space combat shooters are a niche genre today, so while I’m thankful Chorus exists, much of the game is a relatively linear and mundane slog, punctuated by a few epic encounters here and there that live up to a galactic fantasy.

Click here to watch embedded media

As Nara, you’re a starfighter pilot with an incredibly checkered past. The tale is fairly cliche and sometimes obtuse, but Chorus doesn’t ride on its out-of-this-world story. No, Chorus is about gameplay, and when it works, it nails it. Excellent segments play out almost like a movie, where we get to zoom around the battlefield propelled by abilities, dodging lethal blasts left and right and laying down heavy fire on capital starships. Taking down a colossal enemy ship piece by piece, shedding its outer defenses, and ripping through its interior core is a blast, and there are some massive Star Wars vibes when you zoom across the top of a craft blowing up generators under heavy fire. Other highlights include a segment where you’re hopping through dimensions to pursue an enemy ship or ruining a galactic space entity. Similarly, the unlockable abilities in Chorus, known as rites, absolutely shine, giving the player a considerable array of tools that make combat more interesting as the game progresses. With rites, your options increase substantially, from being able to teleport behind your foes for easy attacks or even propel yourself through foes to tear them apart.

In the standard battle-to-battle moments, Chorus suffers. While it has some light elements of open world where you can do side missions for additional loot, the journey is relatively straightforward and, unfortunately, monotonous. Outside of the highlight battles, the encounters are painfully similar and often include elements that add to the drudgery. For example, one mission tasks players with saving several allies from enemy fire and taking out an enemy ship. If you get blown up at any point during the mission, it’s back to the beginning to start the whole process over again, including the mini-cut scenes and chatter. This mission structure is commonplace in Chorus, and it’s a tough asteroid to swallow.

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If all enemy starfighters went down in a few shots, that wouldn’t be a big deal, but the combat is often an elaborate and involved dance of teleporting, dodging, weapon swapping, and more. After losing a few times on the same battle, my energy to proceed was often sapped. Encounters that are timed or involve protecting allies are almost always frustrating, as you can be zipped back to a checkpoint only to have to take on the same enemies again and again until you nail the battle. You may have been battling several ships at once and forced into taking evasive action, but the NPC that you were sworn to protect simply went down while you were busy. When fights involve many units to protect, it can take significant effort and ability synergy to survive, and getting sent back to the start of a mission because of a timer or ally death is highly demoralizing. These issues are exacerbated by regions of space that are stripped down to a series of similar fights, and here I desperately searched for the next big moment to keep my will to continue alight. It doesn’t help that Nara is constantly whispering to herself in some bizarre form of ASMR, but with the entire package riding on gameplay, Nara’s idiosyncrasies were not a big deal.

Chorus has some epic battles that live up to space combat fantasies, but the rote and often arduous trail to get to them is a hard course through the stars to chart.

Score: 7

Summary: Chorus can be an entertaining space combat adventure at times, but the mediocre moments take a considerble toll.

Concept:

Graphics:

Sound:

Playability:

Entertainment:

Replay:

Click to Purchase

Source:[http://www.gameinformer.com/]

Dying Light 2’s Final Dying 2 Know Episode Focuses On Four-Player Co-op And Console Versions

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Dying Light 2 Stay Human is just a few weeks away, and Techland is wrapping up its Dying 2 Know video series with Episode 6 today.

Like all previous episodes of Dying 2 Know, there’s a thing or two worth watching for. This time, Techland answers a frequently asked question with a little show and tell. Yes, there certainly is co-op play in the open world sequel, and it supports up to four players running around The City. Check out the video above to see footage of multiplayer in action.

Another big focus of Episode 6 is showing footage from the various platforms Dying Light 2 will be available on. Back in December, our own Senior Editor Brian Shea experienced this first hand, playing a portion of the game on PlayStation 4 Pro. Check out his hands-on impressions right here, where he was generally impressed with how it ran on older hardware.

Also in this episode, you’ll hear from the developers about working on the game over the last few years and, as always, there’s plenty of gameplay footage to check out.

Dying Light 2 Stay Human will be available on February 4 for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch (Cloud), and PC. Apparently, the game is stuffed to the gills with 500 hours of gameplay, though that number has changed a few times this week. Regardless, check out our comparison to other games with long run times.

Source:[http://www.gameinformer.com/]

Microsoft Is Officially Done Making Xbox One Consoles

Xbox One

Microsoft has revealed that it is no longer producing new Xbox One consoles. 

That includes the original Xbox One console, Xbox One S (and its All-Digital edition), and Xbox One X. This isn’t anything new for the tech giant, though – it actually stopped manufacturing the Xbox One X and Xbox One S All-Digital edition in July of 2020. However, the Xbox One generation is officially done now that The Verge has learned that Microsoft stopped making Xbox One S consoles, the last of that generation still being manufactured, at the end of 2020. 

“To focus on the production of the Xbox Series X/S, we stopped production for all Xbox One consoles by the end of 2020,” senior director of Xbox console product marketing, Cindy Walker, told The Verge

This news comes just a day after a new Bloomberg write-up revealed that Sony is reportedly doing the exact opposite with its PlayStation 4 console, ramping up production of another 1 million units in 2022 to address the ongoing PlayStation 5 shortage. 

Of course, Microsoft’s news today doesn’t mean finding an Xbox One or one of its many variants will be impossible as there are still plenty out there on shelves. However, with news that these consoles are no longer being produced, we wouldn’t surprised if they started flying off the shelves as that’s what typically happens when the collector market hears of production on something ending. For example, try finding a Nintendo 3DS available to purchase at MSRP today – good luck. 

It’s not surprising that Microsoft is honing in its focus on its new-gen of consoles – the Xbox Series X and Series S – especially in light of industry reports that reveal the ongoing chip shortage that makes buying new-gen consoles so difficult at the moment could last until 2023

[Source: The Verge]


Do you still have an Xbox One? If not, are you interested in picking one up now that you know production of them has ended? Let us know in the comments below!

Source:[http://www.gameinformer.com/]

Kirby And The Forgotten Land Release Date And Game Draft 2018 | GI Show

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In this week’s episode of The Game Informer Show, the crew discusses Kirby And The Forgotten Land’s unexpected March release date and Dying Light 2 Stay Human’s recently-announced hour count. Lastly, Alex Stadnik introduces a new segment wherein the hosts must compete in a fantasy draft featuring the best games released in 2018.

Follow the crew on Twitter: Alex Stadnik (@Studnik76), Alex Van Aken (@itsVanAken), Ben Reeves (@BenjaminReeves), Kimberly Wallace (@KStar1785), and John Carson (@John_Carson)

The Game Informer Show is a weekly gaming podcast covering the latest video game news, industry topics, exclusive reveals, and reviews. Join hosts Alex Stadnik and Alex Van Aken every Thursday to chat about your favorite games – past and present – with Game Informer staff, developers, and special guests from all around the industry. Listen on Apple PodcastsSpotify, or your favorite podcast app.


Check out the timestamps below to jump to a particular point in the discussion:

00:00:00 – Introduction
00:04:03 – Kirby and the Forgotten Land
00:17:05 – The Spectacular Video Game Draft of 2018
01:09:07 – Housekeeping
01:14:01 – Listener Questions
01:15:24 – Dying Light 2 Game Length Discussion
01:31:24 
– Listener Questions

Topic Of The Show:

The Spectacular Video Game Draft Of 2018

While everyone is creating lists of their most anticipated upcoming games, the Game Informer crew is taking time to look back at one of the best years of gaming in The Spectacular Video Game Draft of 2018. Host Alex Stadnik uses his love for fantasy football leagues to pit Ben, Kim, John, and Van Aken against one another. The rules are simple: each player must draft a team of five video games released in 2018 in an attempt to assemble the best team, and then podcast listeners will vote on which team deserves the number one spot. Video games are picked via Snake Draft rules, meaning the pick order is reversed each round. Lastly, each team must include one pick from Metacritic’s Worst Rated Games Of 2018

Stay tuned to the Game Informer Twitter and the Official Game Informer Community Discord if you would like to vote for a team.

Listener Questions:

The Game Informer crew answers your burning questions.

In light of recent Dying Light 2 news, this week’s slate of listener questions begs the question: what is the ideal video game length? Additionally, the crew discusses the first games they remember playing and underappreciated aspects of games like sound design, user interface, and the small details that make a game feel amazing to play.

Read this week’s questions below and submit your own via the Official Game Informer Community Discord or by emailing us at Podcast@GameInformer.com:

Hey GI crew, with Dying Light 2 taking a long time to fully complete, in your opinion, what is the ideal game time length. – DaniPhantom77
Hello GI Crew! It’s my birthday today, and I’m turning 26! This means that I am officially closer to 30 than 20, and it sparked some reflection about my childhood. So, what is the first game you remember playing? Mine is probably Star Wars: Attack of the Clones on the Gameboy Advance! Not a particularly good game, but I remember it fondly. – Jonah Abraham
What is an aspect of games that is underappreciated or more subtle but still takes intentionality and effort to create or curate? Things like gameplay or art direction or voice acting are talked about and have awards for—but what are less noticeable things that can make a real difference in a game? – camus_cthulu

For more Game Informer podcasts, be sure to check out https://www.gameinformer.com/podcast/2021/10/12/introducing-video-gameo…; delay=”150″ href=”https://www.gameinformer.com/podcast/2021/10/12/introducing-video-gameo…; rel=”noopener noreferrer” tabindex=”-1″ target=”_blank”>Video Gameography, our video game history podcast, and https://www.gameinformer.com/podcast/2021/10/06/introducing-all-things-…; delay=”150″ href=”https://www.gameinformer.com/podcast/2021/10/06/introducing-all-things-…; rel=”noopener noreferrer” tabindex=”-1″ target=”_blank”>All Things Nintendo which deep dives into Nintendo’s library of games every week.

 

Source:[http://www.gameinformer.com/]

God Of War Devs Talk PC Release, Mod Support, And Playing With Keyboards

God of War was one of the best games released in 2018, and it will probably be one of the best games to release in 2022 because it’s now coming to PC. To find out what made that game great in the first place, be sure to read our original review. To learn what the developers think of playing the game with the mouse and keyboard or why they might not offer mod support, we spoke to Sony Santa Monica’s creative director Cory Barlog and senior manager of technical production Matt DeWald.

Let’s cut to the chase. Why do you think people should check God of War out now that it’s on PC? 
Cory Barlog: Because it’s a giant smokescreen to sell you on the fact that Silent Hills is secretly inside the game? Totally kidding. Honestly, I think for us, it’s really exciting that there’s a new potential audience of people who haven’t played the game who get to experience it and show it off on their beefy machine. I don’t have a 3090 [GeForce graphics card], but I’m sure they all have a 3090. But also, even if you have experienced it, I’ve played the game a few times, but playing it on my ultra-wide is a pretty awesome experience.

Matt DeWald: We’ve sold almost 20 million, like 19.5 million copies on console, but it’s surprising to hear that there are still people out there that have never played it. And if they haven’t played it on console by now, they’re probably not going to play it on console. So this gives them an opportunity to play it on a platform they might play. As Cory mentioned, we added widescreen, and we pumped it up so you can play at 4K. You can increase the rest of the graphics resolutions and really accentuate how awesome the content looks.

Does the 60 frames per second or the ultra-widescreen or any of that new tech make it easier to beat the Valkyrie queen?
DeWald: Yeah, I mean, it depends on how good you are. But I think that having more frames definitely helps the reaction time a bit. We added Nvidia Reflex, which decreases some of that reaction timing as well. I still haven’t beat Sigrun, so I don’t know. I’ve tried for four years, and I’ve kind of given up. She owns me.

Looking back, now that you’ve all had a few years of perspective, do you have any new thoughts or emotions about God of War?
Barlog: I still have those pangs of the – I don’t wanna say trauma, but I really don’t have a better word, so I’m gonna say the trauma of going through making all that. It was definitely a really long process, so it’s nice to look back on it this far away and really see it clearly and criticize the hell out of everything I did and the decisions I made. I don’t think that ever stops. Honestly, I feel proud of it, but I constantly look back and second-guess all the decisions I made and wonder, “Oh, did I do that right? Was I smart to push for that? I probably should have made this other decision.” It’s maddening because I just want to be able to look at it and enjoy it, but I can look at it now knowing new people are gonna play it, so I’m excited about seeing and hearing new reactions of people who are like, “I don’t normally play console games, and you know, I gave this one a shot and was pleasantly surprised.”

Were you guys tempted at all with this PC release to tweak things or go back and adjust something?
DeWald: I asked whether we should, and what did you say, Cory? “Han shot first?”

Barlog: Right? Yeah, I definitely didn’t want to go back and edit anything. Like put the flashlights in the soldiers’ hands or make, you know, Greedo shoot first or anything, but there is always that temptation. And I have to back off from that because I know that’s not a good thing, for me at least. If there are things that are legitimately broken, totally all about that, let’s go in there and fix that, but to go into anything else and change any of it, it feels like it just takes on a different tone to do something like that. I feel like we’re always just looking ahead and going like, “Okay, let’s fix that in the next thing. And then let’s look forward into this thing and do this.” But most of the things we’re addressing are how can we make this look amazing? How can we provide the features to people who are like, “I spent five grand on my PC. I want this to look awesome.”

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How much insight do you guys have into how Sony decided that the PC was a market they wanted to push this on to? Was that something you were championing early on? 
Barlog: I think it was the collective of studios all over saying this is a really good idea. We should be looking into this. Eventually, I think it reached that tipping point. When we had sent so many suggestion box suggestions that they were like, “I’m tired of hearing all this. Fine, we’ll do this.” It’s a process. We’re still figuring it out as a company and as individual studios how to do this and what the process and strategy will be.

So, do you think that we might see Ragnarok on PC sooner than four years after its console release? 
Barlog: I have no idea. Right now, we’re taking it one game at a time, kind of looking at each one and determining, “Okay, is this the best thing?” And we’ll gauge how it does. Do people enjoy it? Did we do it right? Is there anything we did wrong? What can we do better in the future if we do this again? But at the end of the day, ultimately, it’s Sony’s decision.

How much did you think about mouse and keyboard controls for God of War?
DeWald: Quite a bit, because right away we knew that, coming on a PC, we’re gonna have to focus on that. We’re gonna have to figure out what that looks like. One was building a customizable interface that you can change all the keys. That’s not something that existed on the console. There’s a lot of work just doing that. But then figuring out what is that default setup? And does that feel natural? One of the learnings that we found was, for instance, the traversal modes that you usually do on console, you press circle. As you jump across things, you lift up barricades, and you crawl through cracks and things like that, it was all just circle. One PC we had E for interact, which is a pretty common system, but we found that, when we had people testing, they always tried to press space to jump across gaps, even though the pop-up thing was saying press E, crossing the gap with space was more natural for the keyboard. So we had to go back through and find all those traversal points that had some sort of jump mechanic and add in the option for space to be able to work there too. And that’s just not something you do on the consoles. Now I have two buttons, E and space, that both do the same thing. But it just felt natural for people to do that.

Barlog: I’m just gonna play on my Bongo controllers.

That’s a real war drum. Do you guys think it plays well on the mouse and keyboard, or do you still prefer a controller?
DeWald: I actually play most of the time on mouse and keyboard now just because I’ve been working on it for two years, and it’s just been my default. It feels super natural to me to play it on mouse and keyboard.

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A lot of people use their Xbox controllers to play on PC. How do you guys feel about people playing God of War with an Xbox controller now?
DeWald: Awesome. We even put in all the glyphs for you so you don’t get confused by the button press. Yeah, we have no problems with that. You can even use a Switch controller here as well. You can definitely use any of the third-party controllers. We tried to add as many options as possible because why limit people who want to play the game?

How do you guys feel about people modding the game? 
DeWald: Obviously, we’ve all seen the like Yoda as God of War and Grogu as Atreus. I think it’ll be interesting to see what people put together. We didn’t add modding support. It’s not something we developed time to create tools. Everything we have is custom, so it’s really hard to build some of that stuff. But I’m sure some very smart people out there are going to do some very cool things, and we’ll see what comes of it.

Barlog: Yeah, when I play games on PC, I use mods when they’re available. I think it’s cool. It’s fun. One of the cool parts of playing PC games is the feeling that other people can add something to it or improve upon it and enhance your experience. GTA and Skyrim are two fantastic examples of games that just keep getting better because people are like, “I just want to try this.” You don’t really have that level of interaction on the console, so the fact that that’s a possibility, I think it’s cool. But you know, I don’t really speak for everybody else in the company.

Do you have any plans down the road to add more modding support and make it easier for people to create mods?
DeWald: It’s not currently on the plans, but I mean, anything could happen. It’s a fairly complicated process to get our assets from Maya into the game, and so to try to build user-friendly tools to do that – it takes months to train up our own artists to get some of those processes in place – so to try to build a tool that’s going to be intuitive enough for an end-user to be able to do some of that stuff would be quite a bit of work. Out tools are very much built on our processes in the way we build content.

Barlog: Our tools are difficult. That’s just how we roll. We like to have difficult tools. Our engine wasn’t really built to support that. Our tools are super custom and inherently complicated. So I don’t think that’s something that will probably happen in the future, but who knows.

Any final thoughts? Anything we missed? 
DeWald: The big thing is just that it’s coming out soon. I’m just super nervous and excited for what happens when it hits because there’s a ton of different permutations of PC hardware and software out there, and I’m interested to see how that works. But we’ve spent a lot of time trying to make sure it was performing, and I hope that comes across.

Barlog: You guys did a great job. I am super excited about this.

DeWald: Can you quote him in your article saying that we did a great job?

Barlog: And that’s why I said it here just so I only have to say it this one time, and then it will be in print forever, so I never have to say it again.


God of War releases on PC on January 14. Read our full review of the original PlayStation 4 version or watch our video preview of the PC version here.

Source:[http://www.gameinformer.com/]

Hitman 3 Year 2 Roadmap Detailed, Hitman Trilogy Coming To Xbox Game Pass Alongside PC VR Release

IO Interactive revealed its Year 2 plans for Hitman 3, which also came with the news that the entire Hitman World of Assassination Trilogy would be coming to Xbox Game Pass. The studio also revealed that Hitman VR support, which works for all three Hitman games, will come to PC. 

Year 2 of Hitman 3 starts this month with the Elusive Target Arcade, which goes live on January 20. This is a new game mode that takes the Elusive Target concept featured in this trilogy to “the next level” as it “mixes up the formula and introduces new challenges and unlockable rewards, all whilst keeping the essence of what makes Elusive Targets exciting and interesting to play.” 

Click here to watch embedded media

“Each Arcade Contract now tasks you with taking down consecutive Elusive Targets, one contract after the other,” IO’s blog post reads. “Each one must be completed to proceed to the next – and there are additional complications added to the contract as well. If you fail an Arcade Contract at any point, there will be a 12-hour lockout before you can retry the contract again from the start. This lockout enables us to keep the high-stakes gameplay that is a hallmark of Elusive Targets, whilst giving players a clear indication of when they are able to play a particular Elusive Target again.” 

All Arcade Contracts added to Hitman 3 are permanent additions, too. When this new mode launches on January 20, it will begin with three contracts, each with Elusive Targets from one of the three Hitman World of Assassination games. More and more contracts will be added throughout the year. 

The next big exciting announcement for Year 2 of Hitman 3 is that Hitman VR, which allows you to play the entire trilogy in VR, is coming to PC on January 20. Here’s a clip of what that looks like, courtesy of Hitman 3 Senior Game Designer Sekil Møhl. 

On the PC side of things, Hitman 3 Year 2 brings some exciting new technology improvements to the game. 

“One of the most notable enhancements to the game will be the option to enable ray tracing on PC later this year,” IO’s blog post reads. “With better reflections and better shadows, our locations are going to look better than ever. In addition to ray tracing, our ongoing partnership with Intel means that we will also be one of the first development studios in the world to implement Intel’s XeSS technology, which uses machine learning to deliver more performance with exceptional image quality.” 

Finally, Variable Rate Shading will be added to PC versions of Hitman 3 this year. This inclusion boosts PC performance by “shading at different frequencies in different parts of the image, putting more power where it has the most impact.” 

Also announced today, the entire Hitman World of Assassination Trilogy, which consists of IO’s Hitman, Hitman 2, and Hitman 3, will hit Xbox Game Pass on January 20. Speaking of trilogies, IO has nicely packaged the entire series into a new collection called Hitman Trilogy that will be available digitally on January 20 on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC via the Epic Games Store and Steam. Hitman Trilogy is how players will play all three Hitman games on Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass. 

That’s not all, folks. IO has also announced Hitman Freelancer, a new single-player mode coming this spring. 

“Freelancer is a brand new, single-player mode coming to Hitman 3 that introduces roguelike elements, strategic planning, and a customizable safehouse,” IO’s blog post reads. 

This new safehouse is aptly titled Agent 47’s Safehouse. It’s unlike anything seen before in a Hitman game, IO says. It’s fully customizable, allowing you to choose exactly what type of hitman you want to be. Plus, as you progress through the Freelancer mode, more areas of the safehouse will be unlocked, granting you additional customization options. 

You can check out new suits in the safehouse, try out guns on the firing range, change the decor, and more. You can also access the Mission Hub here, which is where you can view all available Freelancer campaigns, with each representing a different criminal enterprise from the World of Assassination. 

“For each campaign, you need to choose the order you want to play the missions,” IO writes. “After each mission, you’ll return to the safehouse to restock, resupply, and strategically plan your next move. Whichever location you leave until last will be where you’ll corner the Leader of the enterprise. Blow their cover, eliminate them, and the campaign is complete. You get paid and return to your safehouse.” 

Campaigns have been completely reworked for the new Freelancer mode, too, IO says. Locations will have new NPC types, which can either help or hinder your mission. For example, suppliers will offer a selection of weapons and items that you can pick up to help your mission, whereas other NPCs might alert Leaders of your presence once detected. Other new elements in these campaigns include additional safes, hidden stashes, and other NPC assassins. 

However, your gear in Freelancer is not persistent, so don’t grow too attached to anything you pick up. Anything you don’t manually bring back with you to the safehouse will be lost. Consumables will also need to be restocked before each campaign, as the ICA is no longer present to help you in Freelancer. 

“We’re excited about Freelancer giving players a persistent and infinitely replayable experience that is entirely their own; from customizing their safehouse to match their style or mood, configuring and strategically planning for campaigns through to picking a playstyle with all of their gear on the line.” 

The last big announcement for Hitman 3 Year 2 is the reveal of Codename: Rocky, a new map. However, beyond a screenshot that you can view below, that’s all IO spoke about it. IO says more details about this new map will be shared later in Year 2. 

And that’s everything you can expect in Year 2 of Hitman 3. For more, check out our thoughts on the game in Game Informer’s Hitman 3 review and then read about how the upcoming Hitman TV series will give Agent 47 hair. Check out this story about how IO Interactive is approaching creating its own James Bond game after that. 


Are you excited for Year 2 of Hitman 3? Let us know in the comments below!

Source:[http://www.gameinformer.com/]

Shadow Man Remastered Possesses PlayStation And Xbox Consoles Today

Shadow Man Remastered is a, well, remastered re-release of the 1999 cult game that launched on PC last April. The updated version comes from Nightdive Studios, the team currently handling the upcoming System Shock remake, and it’s making its surprise jump to consoles…today!

Shadow Man was developed by Acclaim and launched on August 31, 1999, for PlayStation, Nintendo 64, and PC before coming to the Sega Dreamcast later that same year. Players control the titular Shadowman, a superhero by Valiant Comics whose series first began in the early ‘90s. In addition to possessing enhanced strength, agility, and durability, Shadowman sports occult powers born from voodoo, which you’ll use to battle otherworldly foes to prevent an apocalypse. The game was a modest critical success and went to garner a cult following. You can watch the remaster’s launch trailer below.

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The remaster features 4K visuals and 60 frames-per-second gameplay, with other graphical flourishes such as anti-aliasing and dynamic shadow mapping. Controls have also been modernized with mechanics such as a weapon wheel and auto-targeting. The Switch version, which launches January 17, includes gyro-aiming. For existing fans, the remaster also includes three new levels that were cut from the original release. 

You can pick up Shadow Man Remastered digitally on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One now for $19.99.

Source:[http://www.gameinformer.com/]

New Pokémon Legends: Arceus Gameplay Preview Offers Best Look Yet At What This Game Actually Is

Pokemon Legends: Arceus

Nintendo and The Pokémon Company have released a new gameplay preview trailer for Pokémon Legends: Arceus and it’s a 13-minute look at what we’ll actually be doing in the game when it launches on January 28. 

It offers the best look yet at this new take on the Pokémon formula, which is especially exciting because as of late, Nintendo has been churning out trailer after trailer showcasing essentially the same content. Not to mention, no official public hands-on previews have happened for this game so we don’t even know what playing Arceus feels like. However, today’s gameplay preview video provides some answers to a lot of the questions we had. 

Click here to watch embedded media

Exploration

The trailer doubles down on the open-hub nature of the Hisui region, citing that each biome has different Pokémon to catch, terrain to traverse, and raw materials to gather. These raw materials can be used to craft items such as healing items, lures, smoke bombs, Poké Balls, and more, and the narrator says your Pokémon can help you find these materials too. 

Wild Pokémon

Different Pokémon appear based on the time of the day and weather conditions. Plus, different species have different temperaments. Some are skittish and might run away. Others are aggressive. If a Pokémon detects you, it will be in an alert state and it will deflect all Poké Balls you throw at it. In order to catch an alert Pokémon, you’ll need to battle it with one of your own. 

You can distract Pokémon with things like food, too. Also, if you encounter aggressive Pokémon, they might immediately attack you and if you take too much damage, you’ll blackout and lose some of the items you were carrying. 

Pokédex 

As part of the Survey Corps, your job is to fill out the Pokédex. This doesn’t just consist of catching Pokémon – that will only get some of the survey report filled out. You’ll need to witness them doing certain moves or observe them at different parts of the day to learn more about the species and ultimately, complete their Pokédex entry. 

Traversing The Hisui Region

Because of how large the Hisui region is, you’ll have access to special “blessed” Pokémon that you can ride on. For example, you can ride Wyrdeer to navigate land faster, but you can also immediately hop onto the back of a Hisuian Braviary to fly through the skies, Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire-style. Basculegion lets you skim through the rivers and seas of the Hisui region, too. 

Jubilife Village

Jubilife Village is the center of operations for the Galaxy Expeditions Team, which is a group of people who have set up camp in the Hisui region to learn about it and the Pokémon within. They’re made up of the Survey Corps, Security Corps, and Medical Corps. Jubilife is your home base and it’s here you’ll collect tasks and turn in completed ones. You can also purchase crafted items and clothes here, and trade Pokémon with other players here, too. 

Missions and Requests

Part of the gameplay loop of Arceus is completing missions and requests. The latter are small tasks to help the people of Hisui while the former is how you progress through Arceus’ story. You can use your Arc Phone in a very Sheikah Slate-way to set waypoints, map out the region, and more as well. 

Battle

As expected, battling in Pokémon Legends: Arceus is turn-based, like the traditional Pokémon games. However, there’s a twist in the form of different move styles. If you use an Agile-Style move, it raises the user’s action speed, which means their next move might happen sooner but the move will be weaker. Strong-Style moves, on the other hand, cause your Pokémon to sit out for a move and in return, hit stronger the next time they attack. 

Alpha Pokémon will be tough to battle but easily spotted thanks to their large size and glowing red eyes. Catching them will be tough, but it will be worth it. 

Customization

You can customize your character with a variety of clothing items at the Clothier in Jubilife Village. As you progress through the journey of Arceus, you’ll unlock more and more items including hairstyles, shirts, pants, and more. 

Noble Pokémon

Noble Pokémon are special frenzied creatures that rampage across the Hisui region. They’re easy to spot, too, as they glow gold. These are essentially boss battles. Depleting their health won’t end the fight. Instead, you’ll need to throw special balms at them made of their favorite food. In between throwing balms, you’ll need to dodge its attacks to survive.

At some point during the fight, the Pokémon will reveal an opening and then you can attack. Now, you have to actually defeat it in battle before you can finally catch it. The narrator promises that these will be some of the toughest battles in the entire game. 

And that’s where the video ends. Pokémon Legends: Arceus will hit the Switch on January 28. While waiting for its release, catch up on some of the recently-released trailers, starting with this Pokémon Legends: Arceus trailer that introduces the Diamond and Pearl clans to the game. Watch this trailer for a better look at the environments, NPCs, and Pokémon we’ll be catching after that, and then watch this one for a better look at the crafting in the game


Are you excited for Pokémon Legends: Arceus? Let us know in the comments below!

Source:[http://www.gameinformer.com/]

Halo Infinite: January Xbox Game Pass Ultimate Subscriber Multiplayer Bonus Revealed

Halo Infinite Xbox Game Pass Ultimate Subscriber Multiplayer Bonus

Xbox announced back in December that starting that month, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers would be getting monthly multiplayer bonuses in Halo Infinite. In December, subscribers received a bright green MA40 AR coating, challenge swaps, and a double XP boost.

Today, Xbox has revealed what subscribers will be getting this month and, keeping in line with last month’s bonus, you can expect another bright green coating. This time, though, it’s for the warthog. 

“Spartan, prepare to update your armory,” an official Halo tweet made today reads. “With Xbox Game Pass Ultimate Perks, you’re locked in to get monthly Halo Infinite multiplayer bonuses, including the brand-new Pass Tense Warthog coating. Claim via the Perks gallery on your console, PC, or the Xbox Game Pass mobile app.” 

As noted in the tweet, this month’s bonus comes with challenge swaps which allow you to get rid of a challenge you don’t like and replace it with a new random one as well as double XP boosts, which are 60-minute boosts that earn you double XP for everything you do. 

The announcement tweet does not mention a date for when this month’s bonus will go live. For more about Halo Infinite, check out our thoughts on it in Game Informer’s Halo Infinite review and then read about how 343 Industries says a Big Team Battle fix is coming soon. Check out this story about a Halo Infinite player who won more than 100 consecutive free-for-all matches after that. 


Are you excited for this month’s bonus? Let us know in the comments below!

Source:[http://www.gameinformer.com/]

Free-To-Play Battle Royale, My Hero Academia: Ultra Rumble, Announced

My Hero Academia: Ultra Rumble

Bandai Namco has revealed My Hero Academia: Ultra Rumble, a free-to-play battle royale coming to the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC. 

This new battle royale set in the universe of the popular manga-turned-anime My Hero Academia was announced in the latest issue of Weekly Jump, a Japanese magazine, as reported by Gematsu. All that we can glean of the game so far is what’s shown in Weekly Jump, which Gematsu has two screenshots of, so be sure to check out that report for some more details in Japanese and multiple in-game screenshots. 

“Team up to win a 24-player rumble in multiplayer action,” the magazine reads. 

According to the reveal, Bandai Namco has plans for a closed beta test for My Hero Academia: Ultra Rumble, which is not unusual for battle royales or free-to-play games for that matter. As for who to expect in the game, we see All-Might, Shoto Todoroki, Katsuki Bakugo, and of course, Izuku Midoriya. 

As for where this game falls narratively, that’s anybody’s guess although eagle-eyed fans might spot some giveaways that place it after certain events in the show. We won’t spoil any events here because you should either watch or read the very good My Hero Academia

Interestingly, Gematsu credits someone on Twitter as finding this magazine announcement but if you look for that tweet, it’s been deleted. Perhaps this Weekly Jump magazine wasn’t out yet and that person got an early copy of it or something; only time will tell. For now, My Hero Academia: Ultra Rumble does not have a release date, but we’ll keep our eyes peeled for one. 

For more about this franchise, read about how Legendary Entertainment is giving My Hero Academia the live-action adaptation treatment. Check out our thoughts on My Hero One’s Justice after that. 

[Source: Gematsu]


Are you excited for My Hero Academia: Ultra Rumble? Let us know in the comments below!

Source:[http://www.gameinformer.com/]

Astroneer Releases On Switch Today, But Performance Far From Stellar

Astroneer

After launching on PlayStation, Xbox, and PC in 2019, Astroneer, complete with the Xenobiology update, arrives today on Switch. The game has won its share of fans over the years since its launch, and the new content promises to send players on a planet-hopping, story-driven quest to uncover the secrets behind strange extraterrestrial lifeforms. As such, veteran players and would-be fans may be looking at this latest console release as a jumping-in point. Unfortunately, players may find the interstellar game doesn’t fly smoothly on Switch.

System Era Softworks is the development team behind this sci-fi adventure, and it counts amongst its crew experienced industry creators from places like 343 Industries, Valve, and EA. Astroneer allows players to hop into the spacesuit of an intergalactic explorer who, upon arriving on a new planet, builds up a base by collecting resources, terraforming alien terrain, and crafting ever-greater technologies. The result has noticeable Minecraft vibes, though its vivid, polygonal aesthetic and galactic backdrop set it apart from other titles in this space.

I played around five hours of Astroneer’s Switch version, traversing undiscovered wilderness, digging enormous holes in the landscape, and printing up new scientific facilities to further my progress. While the world’s vibrant colors certainly seem right at home on the Switch, Nintendo’s console has some problems handling many aspects of Astroneer. As far as visuals, the world’s lush foliage pop noticeably into view as you walk through the terrain, making the world seem barren until you are almost on top of a location.

The controls, which at best seem clunky and at worst game-haltingly frustrating, are also an issue. Accurately picking objects up requires the player to use the left trigger, right stick, and right trigger. Not only is that a lot of steps to precisely grab something, but you also can’t use the right stick to move items and the camera at the same time, making it hard to see where you’re going.

These problems don’t make the game unplayable, but they add a cumbersome layer, exacerbated by the game’s limited explanations of how things work. It’s clear there is a fun game underneath the unwieldy controls and poor graphic performance. However, picking up Astroneer on another platform may give you a better playing experience.  

Source:[http://www.gameinformer.com/]

Forever Skies Tasks Players With Salvaging And Surviving A Ruined Earth

Forever Skies is a newly announced first-person survival game by developer Far From Home. Players control a scientist who returns to a devastated, barely inhabitable Earth to scavenge for remains while making larger discoveries about how the planet has changed.

Earth is covered in a thick layer of toxic dust following an ecological disaster. You don’t know how Earth fell apart in the first place, though, so you’ll brave the environment to uncover artifacts and resources hinting at its demise. Finding ways to grow food and craft tools is also vital. The world’s ecosystem has changed dramatically though, so who knows what dangers you’ll find hidden beneath the clouds. 

An airbase serves as your floating headquarters. It can be customized to your liking, and you’ll use it as a laboratory, home, and workshop. You also appear to have a variety of tools at your disposal. The trailer shows off a wrist-mounted laser that vaporizes objects, such as a door to access a new area. Forever Skies will begin life as a single-player game, but Far From Home plans to add a co-op mode during its Early Access lifecycle. 

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Far From Home plans to launch Forever Skies in Early Access sometime this year. Though it will be available first on PC, the team plans to release the game on consoles, of which PlayStation 5 is confirmed, at a later date.


What do you think of this first look at Forever Skies? Let us know in the comments!

Source:[http://www.gameinformer.com/]

New Legend of Vox Machina Trailer Showcases What To Expect In 12-Episode First Season

The Legend of Vox Machina Critical Role

A trailer for Amazon Prime Video’s upcoming Critical Role series, The Legend of Vox Machina, has been released alongside new details about the upcoming animated show. 

Amazon released a new Vox Machina trailer today and you can view the standard version below. However, if you’re looking for something more at home with the ramblings of the Critical Role cast that happen on Thursday nights, you might want to check out the red band version of this trailer, which features more gore and no beeps over Vox Machina’s more choice words. 

Click here to watch embedded media

It was revealed today by Variety that The Legend of Vox Machina will be released as a trio of episodes every week, for four weeks, starting on Friday, January 28. In a little over two weeks, the first three episodes will hit Amazon’s Prime Video subscription streaming service, and then the following Friday, another three episodes will be released and so on until the 12-episode Season 1 comes to an end. Don’t sweat, though – a second season has already been greenlit following massive Kickstarter success for this series. That same Kickstarter success also extended the first season from 10 episodes to 12. 

For the uninitiated, The Legend of Vox Machina is an animated series based on the first Critical Role D&D campaign that ran from 2015 to 2017. Like the D&D story it’s based on, the animated series sees Ashley Johnson, Laura Bailey, Liam O’Brien, Marisha Ray, Matthew Mercer, Sam Riegel, Taliesin Jaffe, and Travis Willingham return to their roles. These eight Critical Role voice actors are also executive producing the series alongside Brandon Auman (Star Wars: Resistance) and Chris Prynoski (Metalocaypse). 

For more about Critical Role, check out these two statues released last year and then watch The Legend of Vox Machina red band trailer after that. 


Are you excited for The Legend of Vox Machina? Let us know in the comments below!

Source:[http://www.gameinformer.com/]

Monster Hunter Rise Review – Runt Of The Litter

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Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Release:

March 26, 2021
(Switch), January 12, 2022
(PC)

Reviewed on: Switch
Also on:
PC

Monster Hunter: World was an important paradigm shift for Capcom’s beloved franchise. The well-paced difficulty ramp made progression enjoyable for newcomers, while countless endgame challenges kept expert hunters coming back for more. Monster Hunter Rise’s gameplay often attempts to copy World’s success, which isn’t always a bad thing. Battles continue to be an exhilarating dance with death, gear customization is satisfying, and coordinating hunts with friends makes for awesome fun and unexpected outcomes. Even with the introduction of new mechanics that help amplify these features, Monster Hunter Rise struggles to establish a creative identity of its own.

Encounters with huge and impressive beasts is the centerpiece of the experience, putting your skills with the myriad weapon types to the test. Once victorious, you spend your downtime sprinting around the main hub, upgrading or forging better equipment, nabbing a bunch of pending quests from NPCs, and meticulously preparing for the next hunt. This captures the fundamentals of the fantasy-action series, but Monster Hunter Rise doesn’t venture far beyond that comfort zone.

During the opening hours, the people of Kamura Village are busy preparing for the “calamity,” an army of wild monsters hell-bent on laying waste to everything in their path. As the village’s newly registered hunter, you must slay or capture numerous creatures in the biomes beyond your hometown’s steel gates. As soon as you’re done marveling at the blooming cherry blossom trees and humming along to the gorgeous score, be sure to grab key consumables from your ever-expanding item box, eat a delicious meal at the local eatery for exclusive bonuses, and venture forth into the unknown. This routine has a comfortable monotony that Monster Hunter fans will likely appreciate, but the addition of the “Buddy Plaza” adds a new feature to your return trips.

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The Buddy Plaza is a base of operations for your palicoes and palamutes (cat and dog warriors, respectively). You can send your trusty pets on missions of their own to procure miscellaneous crafting materials, spend currency to train them so that they’ll be more effective in future engagements, swap out their equipment, or hire even more of them by talking to the handler. Buddies are extremely versatile, and Monster Hunter: Rise constantly rewards you for using the plaza’s various facilities. Still grinding for that rare beak or tail? Your palico “meowcenaries” might surprise you with one from a recent expedition. This kind of positive feedback gives the lulls between combat/exploration some much-needed flavor.

The environments are visually arresting, and house entire ecosystems filled to the brim with endemic life as well as hard-to-find secrets. My two favorite locales – Shrine Ruins and Flooded Forest – are littered with the remnants of ancient civilizations; they have huts wrapped in thick vines and sky-piercing pyramids that loom in the distance. While roaming, I often thought about the histories of these forsaken settlements and the people that once called them home. However, my imagination was often all I had to go on, since the lack of meaningful story beats makes the plot fall flat.

A generic tower defense mode serves as a lackluster reminder of the larger narrative; these jarring “rampage quests” involve constructing an array of automated turrets and mountable ballistae around the village’s gates. Waves of monsters clutter the screen and work together to pummel you while also breaking through your defenses. All the enemies are damage sponges, and clearing the arena hardly requires much thought; I often just held the fire button until I was the last one standing. Thankfully, you aren’t required to complete a ton of rampage quests to gain access to Monster Hunter Rise’s main missions.

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You spend most of your playthrough experiencing the classic loop: Battle gigantic adversaries like the feral Arzuros and Lagombi, collect mundane items, and deliver heavy objects to camp. Be sure to explore the nooks and crannies of every map as floating, colorful birds called “Spiribirds” can be absorbed to increase your health, stamina, attack, or defense. These buffs make completing the above-mentioned missions much easier. Don’t want to do all of that on foot? Ride your palamute to expedite navigation or whip out your wirebug to scale cliffsides and mountain ranges in seconds.

Wirebug attacks, called Silkbinds, add a new layer of intensity to the action. When used repeatedly, Silkbinds force monsters into a mountable state. These short combat sequences are all about using a monster’s power against them by ramming into nearby structures for stagger damage or sprinting towards other unsuspecting adversaries to dish out the pain. Wyvern-riding is my favorite mechanic because it adds an exciting burst of strategy to the franchise’s age-old combat system.

Beyond mounting monsters and using the wirebug to wall-run in spectacular fashion, not much else distinguishes Monster Hunter Rise from the installments that came before. It has enough endgame content to keep you occupied long after the credits roll (if you don’t mind copious amounts of grinding) and multiplayer is still the optimal way to play, but the excitement of my early hunts waned before long. Monster Hunter Rise is far from being the next definitive chapter in the series. Nevertheless, if you’re looking for a polished-but-conventional adventure with a few small-scale nuances, then you’ll be right at home in Kamura Village.

Score: 7.75

Summary: Monster Hunter Rise showcases its commitment to engaging combat with interesting new mechanics, but these changes aren’t enough to differentiate it from previous titles.

Concept: Defend your village from angry monster hordes while spending quality time with your growing roster of lovable palicoes and palamutes

Graphics: Character textures don’t always look great, but the world itself is vivid

Sound: From gentle vocal harmonies to blood-pumping battle themes, Monster Hunter Rise boasts the best soundtrack in the franchise to date

Playability: Zipping through each backdrop with the wirebug makes you feel like a nimble acrobat, and controlling mounted monsters feels satisfying

Entertainment: Fighting different beasts is always a blast. However, the time you spend outside of combat pales in comparison to your epic encounters

Replay: Moderately High

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Source:[http://www.gameinformer.com/]