PS5 Game Developers Reveal Upcoming DualSense Features

PlayStation 5 brings with it a ton of improvements over the last generation of hardware, but perhaps the most novel addition of Sony’s latest console is the DualSense controller. Featuring a built-in mic, haptic vibration, and adaptive triggers housed in a comfortable casing, the PS5 DualSense controller adds immersion to games that effectively harness the capabilities of the gamepad. Following terrific uses by games like Astro’s Playroom and Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, a new wave of developers of games coming to PlayStation 5 have revealed their plans for using the technology of the popular controller.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

Incoming DualSense Features

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart allows players to feel everything from footsteps to explosions in the palm of their hands. As you might imagine, those sensations occur pretty frequently in Insomniac’s upcoming adventure, but the team says it has worked to make it so the feeling of those responses don’t get old as you continue to play. Insomniac Games calls the decision to make firing weapons and hitting different surfaces with your wrench “no-brainers” for haptic feedback, but the studio also added several more subtle features. For example, picking up bolts from defeated enemies gives you a tiny impulse from each bolt in addition to a quiet sound in your controller’s speaker. Players can also look forward to feeling the weapon wheel or map scans in more tactile ways when Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart comes to PlayStation 5 on June 11. For more on the upcoming game, check out our recent preview.

If you’re looking for a more immediate feature to experience, Subnautica: Below Zero launches tomorrow, giving players unique features on PS5 through the DualSense controller. Haptic feedback accompanies the use of certain tools, like flipping the switch on your flashlight or feeling the coil of your grappling arm. The DualSense also lets you feel the drilling sensation as you mine for resources with your drill arm. The rumble feature of the PS5 controller vibrates to let players sense their target when using the metal detector, and the controller will even pulse faster as players get closer to their resource objective. If you’re curious about how Subnautica: Below Zero turned out, you can read our review here.

The next game from The Evil Within developer Tango Gameworks, Ghostwire: Tokyo, also puts unique features in the palms of PS5 players’ hands. As players walk through the environment, they’ll not only feel their supernatural powers through distinct adaptive trigger responses, but they’ll hear otherworldly voices emanate from the controller speaker. Tango Gameworks says that thanks to the DualSense controller, players will be able to tell the difference between using their wind, water, and fire powers, and that performing in-game exorcisms is aided by the triggers to make pulling out a spectral enemy’s core even more intense. As players increase the power of their abilities, the feedback of the controller will also intensify, giving players a tactile sense of progress. For more on Ghostwire: Tokyo, check out our interview from last summer where we attempted to get answers to some of our biggest questions.

The recently announced Life is Strange: True Colors looks to give players added immersion into the world of protagonist Alex Chen’s psychic powers. As her emotions change to anger, feature, sadness, and joy, the light bar will react with red, purple, blue, and gold respectively. The adaptive trigger also gets stronger as Alex reaches out with her psychic abilities to hint at a supernatural sense that she’s barely able to keep in control of. 

Scarlet Nexus

Scarlet Nexus, the upcoming action title from Bandai Namco, plans to use the haptics and adaptive triggers to enhance the sensation of smashing and slashing through enemies and the environment. Lifting and tossing objects give you the feeling of doing so through vibration that moves from side to side while adaptive triggers provide a more realistic experience by making you feel the weight of what you’re picking up in the game. For more on Scarlet Nexus, be sure to check out our recent episode of New Gameplay Today here.

Speaking of Bandai Namco, the PS5 version of Mobile Suit Gundam Battle Operation 2 gives players the feeling of firing various weapons and taking hits. When firing using the two triggers, you’ll notice resistance that differs based on the weapon. In addition, the vibration also recreates the discharge of larger caliber bullets and the unique sensations of machine guns and beam rifles. Melee attacks also give you the feeling of landing a heavy blow. Finally, the weapon fire and weapon switch audio outputs on the DualSense’s built-in speaker.

Kena: Bridge Of Spirits

One of the most anticipated games from the early days of the PlayStation 5, Kena: Bridge of Spirits, may have gotten delayed, but developer Ember Lab has increased the DualSense immersion. The main star is the trigger resistance as Kena transforms her staff into a bow, pulls back an arrow and the wood bends. For more on Kena: Bridge of Spirits, check out our exclusive coverage hub here.

While I’m a huge fan of the DualSense’s features and all of this sounds awesome. Unfortunately, many players are still unable to get their hands on a PlayStation 5 due to supply shortages. While the system’s sales are outpacing its competitors and predecessors, Sony said the shortages could even stretch into 2022. If you happen to be one of the lucky ones to have a PS5 in your possession, do these features drive you towards picking up games on the PS5 over other platforms? How important are DualSense features to you?

[Source: PlayStation Blog]


GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon – New Gameplay Today

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GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon arrives in Early Access today on Steam, and is coming to Switch in 2022. This “roguevania” lets players dive into Japanese ukiyo-e style environments as they slash their way through dangerous, beautiful levels and titanic bosses. GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon is being developed by Konami and GuruGuru. Players can explore various levels that look like living tapestries, from the fires of hell to majestic waves.

While players crash into the levels to take on bosses, find weapons, and explore again and again, there are persistent elements in play as well. At your home base, the Getsu Clan Estate, you can add a wide variety of permanent bonuses and boosts to your character as well as strengthen your weapons and equipment. In this fashion, the game leans toward the “roguelite”, where if you persist over time from run to run, you will eventually gain significant power that gives you a serious edge in combat, giving you a considerable advantage in lower levels and difficulties.

You’re going to pick up standard weapons like katanas, clubs, battle umbrellas, and fist armaments, but also side weapons that can help you get past more challenging foes that require some thought. Items like the bow and arrow, caltrops, or bombs can help you deal with difficult encounters without having to put yourself at risk.

In this episode of New Gameplay Today, join the Game Informer gang as they watch Alex Stadnik pilot his way through the first stage. There are plenty of different levels to work through even in this early access period, showcasing diverse and sometimes captivating environments. While GestuFumaDen: Undying Moon is currently only available on PC, I highly recommend using a controller to play instead of mouse and keyboard. 

Interestingly enough, this is technically not the first GetsuFumaDen game, with the original landing on the Super Famicom all the way back in 1987. The games are obviously quite different, but both feature side-scrolling action.

What do you think of GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon? Are you going to check out Early Access? Wait for release? Make a comment about Konami making something other than pachinko machines? Let us know!


Total War: Warhammer III Features Huge Survival Battles

Total War: Warhammer III is scheduled to arrive on PC this year, and we had a chance to dive in and try out one of the big new features: Survival battles. These are akin to major boss battles, and are huge in scale, size, scope, and time investment, and can be much more involved than a traditional Total War fight. Over the course of multiple skirmishes and large scale battles in the same space, you are tasked with recruiting and replenishing troops, building defenses, holding points, and potentially engaging in several battles simultaneously.

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Survival battles are strategic enagements that force you to make both micro and macro choices as you progress throughout an experience. In the case of the demo I participated in, the massive confrontation culminated with an epic demonic encounter.

Playing as the Kislev and their Ice Queen Tsarina Katarin, it was cool to get a feel for one of Total War: Warhammer III’s playable races. The Kislev features powerful cavalry units, flexible infantry, and of course, ice magic. In the demo, I only had access to ice powers via Queen Katarin, but the Kislev also wield wind magic capabilities in the full game. Katarin was enough to shift many battles in my favor with a multitude of potent skills, allowing me to buff allies, freeze enemies in their tracks to control the battlefield, and of course, dish out plenty of direct icy damage.

Finding fun factions to play likely won’t be a problem in Total War: Warhammer III, as there are a multitude of flavorful and fantastic options across the first two titles. However, these extended big survival brawls are a new element to enjoy – and endure. In this survival demo, my Kislev forces faced off against the hellish hordes of Khorne. Initially, it was essentially a battle against another army, which is nothing new. However, we battled over a capture point. Once taken, I could choose how to use my supplies. Supplies in survival allow you to make choices that rippled across the entire battle. These resources can be used to heal existing troops, recruit new ones, and even set up multiple kinds of defensive structures from giant walls to magical towers. You can also upgrade your troops in terms of armaments. 

How you choose to allocate your resources can make a big difference, especially as your options can option up as you progress through an encounter, offering higher-tier units for purchase. In this case, that’s the giant Kislev ice bear unit that can take on tons of demonic little annoyances by itself! Essentially, capturing each outstanding victory point and defending your current victory points is the imperative, and each point essentially comes with its own full-scale battle. By the time I had captured the third and final victory point, I had participated in three big battles and countless smaller ones. 

However, taking that final point was not the end, as the final armies of Khorne, led by an Exalted Greater Daemon, came charging in to attack. During the distraction of this major encounter, first I lost one of my previously held victory points and eventually capitulated in a war of attrition to the big Daemon threat. Some of my loss I attribute to misallocation of resources, and the rest to poor distribution of troops during that final battle. Whatever the reason, there’s no doubt these survival battles are designed to be both lengthy and challenging, with tons and tons of choices to make along the way. I was impressed with the previous Total War: Warhammer titles, and I really have no reason to expect this one will be any different. When will we see it in 2021? Hopefully soon! Ice bears!

Are you looking forward to Total War: Warhammer III? Let us know in the comments!


Yakuza’s Kazuma Kiryu Is Now Available In Duck Form

Yep, that’s right. The lovable protagonist of the Yakuza series is now available as a TUBBZ duck, complete with a bicycle. If you’ve never played a Yakuza game and brawled your way through a throng of enemies, you’ve missed out. And now you can bring the cool hero of the Yakuza saga home, as a duck. Now the real question is, when can we play as a duck Kiryu in a game? Or better yet, a duck Majima? These are the real inquiries that we need answers to! 

The Yakuza series prominently features Kazuma Kiryu in many titles as the protagonist, with the notable exception being the turn-based Yakuza: Like A Dragon. In Like A Dragon, the franchise got a cool new protagonist with Ichiban while retaining many of the strange, eccentric, and often hilarious quirks that make the series a joy to explore. The series is looking to continue this turn-based focus into the future.

“Like a Dragon is a departure from the games that came before it, but I found those changes to be revitalizing. As much as I enjoyed the Yakuza formula, it was definitely a formula. Like a Dragon has enough familiar elements to make it feel like, at its heart, it’s a Yakuza game,” said Jeff Cork in the Game Informer review. “All the while, I fully appreciated how much of a new identity this entry is establishing. Here’s hoping this is the first step in yet another great journey for the series.”

If you’re looking to go back to the beginning so to speak, the best game to start your Yakuza journey on is probably Yakuza 0, which functions as a prequel for some of the most popular characters.

The figure is official SEGA merchandise and comes with a bathtub display box. Other ducks of interest in the TUBBZ line if you’re into Kazuma Kiryu may be Shenmue’s Ryo Hazuki or a Jet Set Radio duck.


GI Show – Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, Scarlet Nexus, And Subnautica: Below Zero

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On this week’s episode of The Game Informer Show, we discuss a handful of the games we’ve been digging recently, including Subnautica: Below Zero, Hundred Days, Yakuza 0, Resident Evil Village, Scarlet Nexus, and Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart. At the end of the show we have an interview with Justin Roiland (@JustinRoiland), the co-creator of shows like Rick and Morty and Solar Opposites. Roiland is also currently the CEO of Squanch Games, the developer behind Trover Saves the Universe. We talk to Roiland about his experience making games, how Trover’s recording sessions were basically long improv sessions, and why he changed the name of his company to avoid getting sued by Nintendo. 

It’s a full show, but we make time for another round of fantastic community emails. So please join Andrew Reiner (@Andrew_Reiner), Blake Hester (@metallicaisrad), Dan Tack (@dantack), Alex Van Aken (@itsVanAken), and Ben Reeves (@Benjaminreeves) for a new wild and ever-entertaining episode!

Thanks for listening! Please make sure to leave feedback below and share the episode if you enjoyed it. You can watch the video above, subscribe and listen to the audio on iTunes or Google Playlisten on SoundCloudstream it on Spotify, or download the MP3 at the bottom of the page. Also, be sure to send your questions to for a chance to have them answered on the show!

Our thanks to The Rapture Twins for The Game Informer Show’s intro song. You can hear more of their music on their website.

To jump to a particular point in the discussion, check out the time stamps below.

00:00:00 – Introduction

00:02:24 – Subnautica: Below Zero

00:13:13 – Resident Evil Village

00:15:15 – Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion

00:16:41 – Yakuza 0

00:18:10 – Hundred Days: Wine Making Simulator

00:24:30 – Scarlet Nexus

00:28:20 – Ratchet & Clank Rift Apart

00:34:59 – Community Emails

01:07:46 – Justin Roiland


Rumor: Rambo, John McClane Coming To Call Of Duty: Black Ops Cold War And Warzone

As Call of Duty continues to embrace the 80s with content for both Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War and Warzone, there are rumors swirling about some iconic characters from that era coming to the game(s) as operator skins. The official Call of Duty twitter has been the source of speculation here based on some not-so-cryptic tweets hinting at Rambo a little while ago, and the Die Hard protagonist more recently. You can see those tweets below here and connect the dots.

However, more recently we have a purported image on Reddit. While the accuracy of the image can’t be verified and people always love to have fun mocking up potential reveals, you can check out this post right here to get a look at what these two new characters might look like.  Reddit user JohnnyUtahBrah has posted the image and it’s gotten plenty of attention over on the Call of Duty: Warzone board. Whether or not the images are 100% accurate or not, the clues that have been dropped on Call of Duty’s social channels are fairly blatant, so it’s likely that both Rambo and John McClane are going to make their way to the Warzone soon.

This invites further speculation into other 80s action hero icons that may find their way to Verdansk in the future. Who would you like to see join the crew? Honestly, nothing is really out of potential scope here. For instance, if you would have told me ages ago that the Saw puppet was coming to Call of Duty, I would have been completely mystified. But as crossover inclusion from massive media properties continues to become more of the rule both here in the Warzone and in big battle royale brands like Fortnite, I wouldn’t be surprised to see other characters from the era joining the ranks. We really need John-Claude Van Damme from Bloodsport, for instance, to really round this crew out.

Some may wonder why Christmas movie icons are headed to the Warzone, but I’m pretty much all for it. At this point in time, when the CoD store is loaded with everything from anime angels to weed-themed fare, there’s no sense in keeping things grounded.

Who do you want to see from the 80s make their way into the Warzone? Let’s get Back to the Future characters in there! Let us know in the comments!


Watch The First Two Hours of Mass Effect Legendary Edition – Game Informer Live

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It’s almost Mass Effect Legendary Edition time! To celebrate, we are boarding the Normandy once more with Mass Effect 1 to show off the changes seen with the very first game. From Eden Prime to meeting the council face to face once more, we’re doing it all with a new 2-hour stream to dive back into a beloved favorite.

Kicking Geth butt, learning more about the Reapers, and finding what it means to be a hero, the Mass Effect Legendary Edition is a remaster of a trilogy that means so much to so many. Most of us here at Game Informer are huge fans, but we thought we’d spice it up this time around to offer a new kind of experience. Myself and Kim Wallace have numerous playthroughs under our belt, with this most recent being playthrough number 32 for me, but Mr. Alex Van Aken is a newcomer to this space adventure. We’re walking him through the different worlds of Mass Effect and showing him the ropes of what it means to be a Spectre, so join us in the fun and help us convince him to go Renegade!

Join Alex Van Aken, Kim Wallace, and Liana Ruppert as they check out Mass Effect Legendary Edition. You can find us on our YouTube and Twitch channels to join in on the fun. Join in on the conversation, share with us your canon Shepards, and tell us what you’re going to be doing differently this time around. For those that have never played the BioWare trilogy, there will be spoilers in the stream, but we will be talking about the unique changes the remaster brings, so if you’re interested all are welcome! 

We will be going live at 11 a.m. Central, so come in, hang out, and let’s kick Reaper butt!

To learn more about our thoughts on the Mass Effect Legendary Edition, check out our review-in-progress right here. Don’t forget! Ahead of Mass Effect’s May 14 launch, BioWare is also giving away a ton of free content, so don’t miss out! You can look at what’s up for grabs right here. Interested in learning more about Mass Effect Legendary Edition? Check out our exclusive game hub too. From no multiplayer game modes to lost code that can never be recovered, no topic was left untouched! 


Microsoft Celebrates 20 Years Of Xbox With New Gear, Halo Love, And More

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Microsoft is celebrating 20 years of Xbox with new gear in its shop, Halo reflection, and so much more! Can you believe it? 20 years of Team Green, time sure flies! Xbox has made some drastic pivots through the generations and the Xbox Series X has kicked off a strong start for a new era of gaming for those that love the Microsoft platform. 

Xbox’s Major Nelson took to the company’s official blog to reflect back on the last two decades from its inception on November 15 back in 2011. “Twenty years ago, playing on Xbox meant hooking up your console with three (or more!) cables to a standard definition CRT TV.  You had to pre-order the hottest new games and stand in line at your favorite retail shop to pick them up. Games were played in 640×480 resolution, and you only had 8GB of storage and 64MB of memory to enjoy them with. And you either played alone or with a friend sitting next to you on the couch.”

With the Xbox Series X and S, players can enjoy every generation before the current one, which means that some of the most beloved adventures from the past don’t have to stay there. With Xbox Game Pass, games are even more accessible than ever before in terms of a more cost-effective library model. Xbox has also broadened its reach immensely in recent years, bridging the gap between console and PC and even more growth is expected on the horizon

“Thanks to game creators and players like you, we have a greater variety of games and diverse characters  – with more worlds to explore, stories to tell, heroes and villains to meet, and achievements to unlock – in the 7 thousand games that have been released across the Xbox platform. Do you remember unlocking your first Xbox achievement? To-date, you and the Xbox community together have racked up nearly 1 trillion total Gamerscore. Most importantly, you’ve worked together to change the face of gaming by welcoming players from all walks of life, everywhere in the world.”

Xbox also paid tribute to Halo, the game that started it all for Team Green! Master Chief became an icon when he first made his DNA and this franchise was a vital part of what made Xbox … well, Xbox! With Halo Infinite on the horizon later this year, the legacy continues. Where it goes from here is anyone’s guess. 

For those that love gear, Xbox is offering special merch to celebrate the 20-year milestone. You can find out what is available with the Xbox Gear Shop right here. Other ways Xbox is celebrating 20 years with fans include: 

  • Share your favorite Xbox memories on social with the #Xbox20 tag for community bonding
  • Free Xbox and Halo anniversary-themed wallpapers can be found here
  • Special Xbox anniversary Avatars are available 
  • Xbox Fan Fest registration is live with a change to win new gear and digital freebies
  • New Dynamic themes for Xbox
  • Anniversary Collection for game suggestions

And so much more! Read all about it right here

What are some of your favorite memories of Xbox through the years? Shout them out in the comments below! 


PS5: Two New DualSense Controller Colors Revealed, Including Midnight Black

Sony has revealed two new DualSense controller colors for PS5 players to enjoy and the reveal couldn’t have come at a more perfect time with so many amazing releases on the horizon. The two new color options are set to go live later next month, but we’ve got our first look at the new Cosmic Red and Midnight Black today. 

Senior director of PS VR, esports, peripherals marketing, and licensing Isabelle Tomatis took to the PlayStation Blog to reveal the newest additions to the PS5 accessory line. When the PlayStation 5 was first revealed in all of its white and blue glory, gamers were enthralled with the unique futuristic design, but there was a high demand for a black option. While the console itself will remain white, one of the new DualSense controllers being offered hits that sleek tech spot, with the other coming in with a vibrant Cosmic Red look: 

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The two new controller options will be hitting shelves next month, though exact dates will vary depending on the retailer. “Both Midnight Black and Cosmic Red feature a subtle blue hue, that produces unique shades of red and black,” said Satoshi Aoyagi in the blog post about the newest additions. “A blue hue is also present in the original DualSense wireless controller colors, so all three colors compliment each other nicely. The controller’s button colors and detailing has been tailored to complement the new colors as well. We hope these new additions will bring further joy and excitement to our fans’ gaming experience.”

To learn more about the two new controllers, you can check out the official posting right here

The blog post also teased more insight into the controller’s unique features, including a deeper dive into Returnal’s impressive haptic feedback and adaptive trigger support. On the subject of Returnal, you can also learn more about how that game is every bit worth the $70 price tag, at least according to our own Dan Tack. 

What do you think about the two new DualSense controller colors for PS5? What other designs would you like to see Sony add next? Shout out those thoughts loud and proud in the comment section below! 


Mass Effect Legendary Edition – Review In Progress

Mass Effect Legendary Edition’s release date is just a day away, meaning your next meet-up with Wrex, Tali, and Garrus could be tomorrow. I’m sure as you prepare for the occasion, you’re wondering how BioWare’s remaster of its beloved trilogy shaped up. Let’s just say, pretty damn good so far!

Since Monday evening, I’ve been playing Mass Effect Legendary Edition, scoping out as much as possible for review. I’ve completed the first game of the trilogy (which has the most substantial improvements), but haven’t had the opportunity to experience as much of Mass Effect 2 or 3. Until I see more of both games, I’m not ready to deliver a review score. 

Here’s what I’ll say for now: Mass Effect Legendary has impressed me. The most noticeable improvements are to the first game, which includes the Mako controls, shooting mechanics, and more detailed environments. These all make a positive difference.  For instance, the Mako now steers better and moves faster. You no longer feel like you’re controlling chaos and hoping for the best. I loved using my boosts to get out of difficult situations. As for the shooting controls, it feels more like a ME2’s third-person shooter gameplay as opposed to the strictly RPG mechanics of the original game. I’ll admit, I was dreading going back to the first entry (it’s a teenager!), and these enhancements made me enjoy and appreciate it even more.

Mass Effect 1 plays smoother, but the enhanced visuals should really catch your eye. The enemies and different alien species look noticeably better, and the extra hint of detail to environments makes them a joy to explore. The human faces are the only thing that looks off, and it doesn’t help that the characters’ mouths don’t sync up with their words. That being said, when I visited memorable places like Virmire and Eden Prime, I saw a new beauty to them, thanks to little touches like adding particle effects, fog, and extra vegetation that sell the personality of each locale. There’s also a photo mode, so you can really take in the sights and your experience. 

Even all these years later, Commander Shepard is a powerful force that lives up to their iconic status, and the trilogy is still captivating and worth your time. You won’t forget these are older games while you play, but this remaster makes the first game much more approachable. That’s the best way to sum up my journey to this point. If you were looking forward to the remaster or wanting an easy one-stop-shop to experience Shepard’s story, I think it’s a safe bet to pick this one up. 

We’ll have a more complete breakdown of Legendary’s strengths and weaknesses in our review, coming soon!

In the meantime, watch our latest New Gameplay Today to see Legendary Edition in action. You can also check out our cover story hub to hear from Legendary’s developers and learn more about the little changes that make a big difference.


Where Is Our Mass Effect Legendary Edition Review?

Mass Effect Legendary Edition’s release date is just a day away, meaning your next meet-up with Wrex, Tali, and Garrus could be tomorrow. I’m sure as you prepare for the occasion, you’re wondering how BioWare’s remaster of its beloved trilogy shaped up. Let’s just say, pretty damn good so far!

Since Monday evening, I’ve been playing Mass Effect Legendary Edition, scoping out as much as possible for review. I’ve completed the first game of the trilogy (which has the most substantial improvements), but haven’t had the opportunity to experience as much of Mass Effect 2 or 3. Until I see more of both games, I’m not ready to deliver a review score. 

Here’s what I’ll say for now: Mass Effect Legendary has impressed me. The most noticeable improvements are to the first game, which includes the Mako controls, shooting mechanics, and more detailed environments. These all make a positive difference.  For instance, the Mako now steers better and moves faster. You no longer feel like you’re controlling chaos and hoping for the best. I loved using my boosts to get out of difficult situations. As for the shooting controls, it feels more like a ME2’s third-person shooter gameplay as opposed to the strictly RPG mechanics of the original game. I’ll admit, I was dreading going back to the first entry (it’s a teenager!), and these enhancements made me enjoy and appreciate it even more.

Mass Effect 1 plays smoother, but the enhanced visuals should really catch your eye. The enemies and different alien species look noticeably better, and the extra hint of detail to environments makes them a joy to explore. The human faces are the only thing that looks off, and it doesn’t help that the characters’ mouths don’t sync up with their words. That being said, when I visited memorable places like Virmire and Eden Prime, I saw a new beauty to them, thanks to little touches like adding particle effects, fog, and extra vegetation that sell the personality of each locale. There’s also a photo mode, so you can really take in the sights and your experience. 

Even all these years later, Commander Shepard is a powerful force that lives up to their iconic status, and the trilogy is still captivating and worth your time. You won’t forget these are older games while you play, but this remaster makes the first game much more approachable. That’s the best way to sum up my journey to this point. If you were looking forward to the remaster or wanting an easy one-stop-shop to experience Shepard’s story, I think it’s a safe bet to pick this one up. 

We’ll have a more complete breakdown of Legendary’s strengths and weaknesses in our review, coming soon!

In the meantime, watch our latest New Gameplay Today to see Legendary Edition in action. You can also check out our cover story hub to hear from Legendary’s developers and learn more about the little changes that make a big difference.


Mass Effect Legendary Edition – New Gameplay Today

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The Mass Effect trilogy holds a special place in our hearts, and for good reason. Developer Bioware’s collection of games stand as some of the greatest western RPGs of all-time through their use of bombastic setpieces, memorable writing, and meaningful use of player choice.

Yet, since the original game’s release in 2007, there’s a whole new generation of players who’ve yet to experience the thrill of commanding the Normandy with your very own Spectre. That all changes on Friday as Bioware is releasing Mass Effect Legendary Edition, a collection of the original trilogy with the modern trappings of quality of life changes, updated textures and lighting, and the sweet speeds of 60 frames per second (Xbox Series X owners can even get to 120fps).

But now that we’ve gotten our hands on the game, how does it feel to be back with Garrus, Wrex, and the rest of the crew? Join us on this episode of New Gameplay Today to find out. Liana Ruppert and yours truly board the Normandy in the remastered version of the original Mass Effect and take you to an updated Eden Prime, where we get to see the graphical upgrades as we first meet the Geth and the evil Saren. 

Later, we hop back on the ship to show off the small but meaningful changes Bioware implemented for the remaster. Finally, we round out our tour of the title with a trip to the Citadel to see how the galaxy’s bureaucrats are living now that they’re living in a visually updated world.

Mass Effect Legendary Edition releases on Friday, May 14, but if you simply can’t wait for more from Bioware’s seminal sci-fi series, be sure to check out Kimberley Wallace’s first impressions, Liana’s dive into why you should roll with FemShep, and our massive coverage hub from our cover story earlier this year (listed below). Thanks for watching!


The Big Con Is A ’90s Soaked Road Trip About Being A Teenage Con Artist

When I reminisce about the ‘90s, I think about the rise of boy bands, the Nickelodeon Super Toy Run, and being such a rebellious scamp that regularly conned people into giving me everything I wanted. Okay, only those first two memories are real, but The Big Con will at least give me an idea of what it’s like to relieve hapless folks of their hard-earned money. As a con artist with a heart of gold (maybe), you’ll swipe, swindle, and steal whatever it takes to save a family business from ruin. 

You control Ali, a, shall we say, resourceful teenager oozing ‘90s ‘tude on cross-country quest to save her mom’s video store from shady loan sharks. Ali is a con artist and must employ every dirty trick up her sleeve to raise as much cash as possible alongside her criminal buddy, Ted. The Big Con is a comedic narrative adventure game filled with puzzles and mechanics revolving around pickpocketing, donning disguises, sneaking, and other dubious tactics. If stealing the old fashioned way doesn’t work, you can use Ali’s power of persuasion to talk your way into getting what you want. Sure, you could also choose to help people, but that doesn’t sound nearly as satisfying. I might have a problem.  

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The Big Con comes from developer Mighty Yell and is being published by Skybound Games, who recently published the very good Before Your Eyes. It’s already making some noise as one of the eight upcoming games selected as part of the Tribeca Film Festival’s first Official Selection for games. With its unique hook and fluorescent color palette that bleeds the 1990s (the different skin tones reminds me of Nickelodeon’s Doug), it’s easy to see why The Big Con would stand out. 

If you like putting those sticky fingers to use and are up to embark on a totally rad road trip, be sure to keep your eye on The Big Con when it comes to Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, and PC this summer.


The Top 10 Xbox Series X Games

So you got your hands on an Xbox Series X? Congratulations! As you’ve probably noticed by now, the hardware allows for lightning fast gaming when compared to previous generations, and the Quick Resume feature that allows you to seamlessly change games is, well, a game-changer. While the feature set of the Xbox Series X is impressive (not to mention its stellar backward compatibility library), you probably want some games to play on that beast of a console.

The team at Game Informer worked together to compile a list of the 10 games we think are the best on Xbox Series X/S. As more games come out, we’ll update this list with the latest releases that we feel deserve to crack the top 10.

Please note that while the list below contains 10 entries, we aren’t ranking them. If a game has made it this far (and managed to stay here), it’s a must-play, period. As such, we’ll be listing entries in reverse chronological order. Also, with future updates, you’ll find a rundown of previous entries at the bottom of the list. While those titles have gotten bumped over time, they are still all great games in their own right and worth exploring if you’re already caught up on the latest hits.

Here are Game Informer’s picks for the top 10 games on Xbox Series X/S:

Resident Evil Village

Release: May 7, 2021

Following two remakes of classic Resident Evil games, the franchise is back and pushing forward with the changes made in Resident Evil 7: Biohazard in tow. Resident Evil Village continues the story of Ethan Winters as he tries to save his daughter from werewolves and vampires. The first-person gameplay, which debuted alongside Ethan in Resident Evil 7, feels better this time around. Village also expertly carries forward the tension you feel while being stalked by a powerful and ghastly creature, and the boss battles only bring the tension to new levels as you take on all manner of abhorrent beasts and baddies.

Click here for our review.

It Takes Two

Release: March 24, 2021

Hazelight Studios’ debut effort, A Way Out, pioneered new ways to tell a narrative in the context of cooperative multiplayer gameplay, but the team truly perfected it with It Takes Two. The splitscreen co-op multiplayer game leverages its unique mechanics to provide fun and challenging puzzles, platforming sequences, and minigames as you work your way through several creative levels. It Takes Two isn’t just one of the best co-op games of all time, it also features a heartfelt story that touches on themes you don’t often come across in games.

Click here for our review.

Hitman 3

Release: January 20, 2021

The “World of Assassination” trilogy from IO Interactive came to a thrilling conclusion with 2021’s Hitman 3. The latest game in the series not only provides players with an abundance of killer content, but also a ton of side activities, gameplay that rewards experimentation, and outstanding level design. On top of all that, if you own the last two Hitman games (or their content packs), you can import the levels from those games into Hitman 3 and play through the entire trilogy in one seamless experience.

Click here for our review.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection

Release: November 17, 2020

After a turbulent launch, Halo: The Master Chief Collection has grown into one of the best collections we’ve seen. Initially gathering and remastering the mainline games (Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Halo 2: Anniversary, Halo 3, and Halo 4), the bundle has grown to include Halo: Reach and Halo 3: ODST in addition to a ton of other improvements (including all new content for the classic games). On top of the massive collection of multiplayer offerings, players can experience all of these campaigns for a total of 67 missions across the six games.

Click here for our review.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War/Warzone

Release: November 13, 2020

Call of Duty has always garnered attention with its massive campaigns, intense competitive multiplayer, and tense zombie modes. Those hallmarks are all alive and well in Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, but its the battle royale component, Warzone, that is perhaps the biggest draw for players these days. Featuring amazing visuals, fantastic gunplay, and a ton of content delivered in a steady stream, Call of Duty fans have more than enough to keep them coming back for more.

Click here for our Black Ops Cold War review and here for our Warzone review.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

Release: November 10, 2020

Coming off the critically acclaimed Odyssey and its massive expansions, the Assassin’s Creed franchise delivered the Viking fantasy players have been craving. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla masterfully balances its combat, exploration, and storytelling, giving players an engaging and epic experience from start to finish. Valhalla takes many of the successes and lessons of Odyssey and carries them forward, offering another stellar adventure in the ever-growing Assassin’s Creed universe.

Click here for our review.

Sea of Thieves

Release: November 10, 2020

When Sea of Thieves launched in 2018 on Xbox One, it felt more like wading through waist-high, lukewarm pools rather than the oceans of content we hoped for. Fast forward three years and Rare’s swashbuckling adventure is worthy of sailing the Seven Seas. Superb post-launch support from Rare has added a ton of new content and activities for prospective pirates to take part in, and has made it a mainstay on the Twitch charts. The Xbox Series X/S version brings with it various improvements, and we’re excited to see how the game grows going forward.

Click here for our review.

Yakuza: Like a Dragon

Release: November 10, 2020

Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio’s long-running Yakuza series bid a fond farewell to its protagonist Kiryu after seven mainline games. With Yakuza: Like a Dragon, the developer took a chance with Ichiban Kasuga, a loud, dorky, and well-intentioned protagonist that players immediately fell in love with. However, the changes didn’t stop with the gold-hearted Kasuga. This also marked the series’ transition to turn-based combat, which it transitioned to in seamless fashion. Despite these massive changes to the well-worn formula, Yakuza: Like a Dragon still feels decidedly at home when stacked alongside its predecessors thanks to the serious drama, the goofy side quests, and the nonstop action.

Click here for our review.

Gears 5

Release: November 10, 2020

Gears 5 continues the story of the growing Gears of War cast in an action-packed campaign full of narrative twists and new conventions for the series. However, the main reason Gears 5 is still such a mainstay in Xbox consoles to this day is the post-launch support provided by developer The Coalition. Horde, Escape, and the competitive PvP modes all received content updates following launch, but the biggest release came in the form of Gears 5: Hivebusters, a campaign expansion. When the game arrived on Series X, it brought with it a bunch of improvements including higher-resolution textures, better framerate, and new visual effects, making it the best place to play Gears 5.

Click here for our review.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Release: November 10, 2020

The 2D platformer genre isn’t what it used to be, but that hasn’t stopped Moon Studios from releasing some of the greatest entries in the illustrious genre’s recent history. Ori and the Will of the Wisps took everything the first, beloved game did and made it better. With a fantastic story, a breathtakingly gorgeous world, and gameplay that allows you to run, jump, and fight through any challenge thrown your way, Ori and the Will of the Wisps is an action-packed platformer that delivers on all fronts.

Click here for our review.

For more lists about the best games on other platforms, check out our lists of the top 10 games on PlayStation”>”… 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Switch.


All Destiny 2: Season Of The Splicer Exotics, New And Returning

Destiny 2: Season of the Splicer is here and while it had the usual server issues with Guardians trying to get into the game, the team at Bungie continues to push through to get everything back in working order. Just like with every other season, there are new instances to enjoy, more lore to be learned, and new gear to be won. For those interested in getting started on those seasonal challenges and new matchmade events, here is the gear you can look forward to for Guardians itching for more Exotics. 

All Destiny 2: Season Of The Splicer Exotics, New And Returning 

The first drop that Guardians will get is the new Cryosthesia 77K sidearm. It’s a new weapon that is available with the Season Pass right from the get-go. For those that don’t have the Season Pass, that’s OK! You can still earn this bad boy, you’re just going to need to reach Season level 35 first. 

Here’s a breakdown: 

Cryosthesia 77K 

  • LN2 Burst
    • Variable trigger, tap to trigger normally, hold to charge a special Stasis shot
      • Charged shot is ready to fire when Liquid Cooling is active

Star-Eater Scales Legs – Hunter

  • Allows for Hunters to absorb Orbs of Power to charge their Super faster and increase damage

Path of Burning Steps Legs – Titan

  • Converts Solar kills to boost weapon damage and provides resistance to Stasis (good for PvP)

Boots of the Assembler Legs – Warlock

  • Condenses rift into projectiles to boost nearby allies

Hidden Exotic Weapon – Vex Mythoclast, Fusion Rifle

  • The return of the Vex Mythoclast fusion rifle isn’t unexpected due to the Vault of Glass raid’s return, but the Untold Tale weapon ornament confirmed the return

If you’re like me and are excited by Mythoclast’s return, the database sheds some more light on what the weapon’s return has to offer regarding any tweaks. There will be two Exotic perks for its Destiny 2 arrival. Here’s what you need to know: 

  • Timeless Mythoclast
    • Fusion rifle shoots off a single bolt for each trigger hit
  • Temporal Unlimiter
    • Continious shots build up Overcharge, hold down trigger for higher damage output 

There is also a Catalyst tied to this weapon’s return that adds the Calculated Balance park, which stacks Overcharge to improve stability. 

It’s probable that we’ll see new Exotic additions as the Season continues on. There are quite a few Legendary rewards added as well, in addition to a ton of other gear drops that players can look forward to. To learn more about Destiny 2: Season of the Splicer, check out the reveal trailer here.


Ubisoft Isn’t Abandoning Its AAA Franchises With New Free-To-Play Initiative

Ubisoft provided an update for its game release schedule during a recent earnings call, including information regarding Skull & Bones, but there was also talk of the company’s new initiative going forward: free-to-play games. With the announcement that Tom Clancy’s universe is expanding with two new F2P adventures, many have been concerned about what this means for single-player staples under the Ubi umbrella such as Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, and more. 

In the earnings call, it was revealed that a big focus shift is currently in the works, making the move towards more free-to-play expansions on beloved universes and new IPs, as well. In a small statement provided to Game Informer, a Ubisoft representative had this to say: 

“Our intention is to deliver a diverse line-up of games that players will love – across all platforms. We are excited to be investing more in free-to-play experiences, however we want to clarify that this does not mean reducing our AAA offering. Our aim is to continue to deliver premium experiences to players such as Far Cry 6, Rainbow Six Quarantine, Riders Republic and Skull & Bones to name a few while also expanding our free-to-play portfolio and strengthening our brands to reach even more players.”

Ubisoft’s Frederick Dugeuet mentioned during the financial presentation that the change had to do with moving away from the annual release model that the studio became infamous for. By pulling away from that yearly release schedule for games like Assassin’s Creed, the quality of those mainstay franchises soared in a massively positive direction, proving that the annual model was no longer working. With that shift, there is a little more freedom to explore other avenues of expansion, including the F2P model and mobile ventures. 

The long and short of it is that yes, Ubisoft is going to be focusing on free-to-play experiences, but that does not mean that it is abandoning what it is known for. Now, we’ve just got to wait patiently for some dang Beyond Good & Evil 2 news

What would you like to see Ubisoft focus on in the future? Are you worried by the F2P push, or are you excited for these teams to have avenues to explore more gaming options? Sound off with your hot takes in the comment section below! 


Why You Should Play FemShep In Mass Effect Legendary Edition

The Mass Effect Legendary Edition is just two days away and while we’ve already broken down why you should give it a shot anyway (regardless if you’re a returning fan or new player), we’ve got one more case to make. Please, for the love of all things Garrus Vakarian, please give FemShep (Jane Shepard) a shot.

When you boot up the trilogy, there is an option to play as Male Shepard (John Shepard) or Female Shepard (Also referred to as FemShep with Jane Shepard). Mark Meer is the voice behind the former, with Jennifer Hale taking Shepard to new heights with the latter. With over 30 playthroughs under my belt, I can promise you that I’ve played every which way you can imagine: every romance – including the one night stands, John versus Jane, Renegade versus Paragon, all three endings, and all of the little different variances that often get overlooked. I definitely enjoy my time with John Shepard, especially when looking at the Tali, Jack, and Cortez romances, but there is something uniquely special about Hale’s portrayal of this character. 

There is a reason why you’ll find Hale among the voice talent of many of your favorite games: she offers incredible talent when it comes to bringing different characters to life. She knows any character she portrays inside and out, making it an impressive sight to see when she uses that knowledge to add her own voice to a vast array of gaming icons. With Shepard, though, her deeper voice commands respect in a way that is believable and enjoyable to witness. This is doubly so for those that are opting into the ruthless route by going Renegade.

Her inflection is detailed to the very last syllable, her passionate and motivating speeches are made even more impactful by her voice control. To me, despite playing John Shepard almost as many times as I’ve played Jane, FemShep is the ideal way to play the trilogy. It’s a shame that the original trilogy was focused on John so much during the marketing period, but the Legendary Edition seems to be giving Hale her time to shine. If you’re playing for the first time, don’t discount her when looking at your usual play choice. If you’re jumping in again and have only played as John, I can’t recommend stepping out of your comfort zone enough. Hale’s performance is so worth it. 

I’m Commander Shepard and she is my favorite voice on the Citadel. 

Ahead of the game’s May 14 release, BioWare is also giving away a ton of free content, so don’t miss out! You can look at what’s up for grabs right here. Interested in learning more about Mass Effect Legendary Edition? Check out our exclusive game hub too. From no multiplayer game modes to lost code that can never be recovered, we made sure to ask about everything. 

So tell me about YOUR Shepard? This is obviously just one person’s opinion, I want to hear from you! Tell me what your Shepard is like: what’s their life path, romance, philosophy? Sound off in the comment section below! 


Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s Wrath Of The Druids Expansion Arrives Tomorrow

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s first major expansion, Wrath of the Druids, goes live tomorrow, May 13. The DLC was previously delayed from its April 29 release to allow the team more time to polish up the experience. Wrath of the Druids sees Eivor travel to Ireland where they’re tasked with uniting the island’s warring factions to combat the druidic cult, the Children of Danu. 

The expansion offers a new thematic spin by diving headfirst into Gaelic myths and folklore.  You’ll explore the city of Dublin along with three new provinces dotted with historical landmarks such as Giant’s Causeway, Black Pig’s Dyke, and Tara Hill. For an idea of what to expect, take a look at the launch trailer below:

Click here to watch embedded media

Throughout the adventure, you’ll explore haunted forests and battle mythical creatures with new weapons such as the sickle, smoke bomb arrows, and the Irish Hound Summoning ability. You can also conquer Irish Ring Forts and shape Dublin’s economy by forming alliances to establish trade routes. By trading rare, sought-after goods with other nations, you can build the city into a bustling center of commerce. 

If you’re still playing Valhalla’s main campaign but can’t wait to dive into Wrath of the Druids, you’re in luck. You don’t need to finish the story in order to start the expansion. As long as you’ve reached England and have completed either the Grantebridgescire or Ledecestrescire arcs, you’re good to go. 

Wrath of the Druids is included in the Assassin’s Creed Valhalla season pass and can be purchased standalone for $24.99. Remember that the expansion is just the beginning of a longer roadmap of post-launch content. To see what else is coming in the future, check out this breakdown of what’s to come here. Just keep in mind that some dates could change due to Wrath of the Druids’ delay. 

So Valhalla fans, are you looking forward to setting sail once more with Wrath of the Druids? Let us know in the comments. You can also read our review of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s base game here.


Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade Yuffie DLC Needs To Be Downloaded Separately

Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade offers an even more enhanced experience for a new generation of gaming as well as the new Yuffie DLC called Intermission. For those excited to see the new boss fights, returning characters, and a branching narrative that comes with Yuffie and the gang, just know that the Intermission DLC will be a separate download no matter the version purchased. Whether physical or digital, the Intermission DLC is a separate entity from Intergrade for those making hard drive space. 

The Intermission DLC for Final Fantasy VII Remake adds two new chapters for players to enjoy as Yuffie Kisaragi begins her assault against Shinra within the city of Midgar. For PlayStation 4 players, there will be an Intergrade upgrade for free (though not for the version that was previously gifted as a PS Plus title), but the Yuffie DLC will not be available for PS4 players that do not have a PS5 console. For PlayStation 5 players, however, Intergrade will include Intermission at no additional cost, though the download will still be a separate digital item.

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For those that purchase a physical copy of Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade, the Intermission DLC is included but as a separate code as well. At this time, there is no way to play the Intermission storyline without having two separate downloads (via Twisted Voxel). 

For those interested in learning even more about the PlayStation 5-specific take on the first part of the Final Fantasy VII Remake and the Yuffie episode, you can check out our game hub right here

Players will see all of the new features that Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade has on PS5 when the game releases on June 10. What are your thoughts on the Yuffie episode and what she brings to the Remake? Are you excited to see more from the first part of Final Fantasy VII Remake, or are you purely focused on getting your hands on part 2? Sound off with your thoughts in the comment section below.


Destiny 2 Crossplay Activated Early Accidentally During Season Of The Splicer Launch

Destiny 2: Season of the Splicer is officially live and brings with it adorable baby Fallen, an attempt to hack the Vex network, and a chance to see a different side to a race that has been an enemy for far too long. While Destiny 2 crossplay is also on the horizon for the shooter’s roadmap, it wasn’t meant to debut so soon. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened when Bungie accidentally turned on this feature ahead of schedule.

I noticed this last night when running the new seasonal challenges but honestly didn’t think too much of it at the time. It didn’t even register for me that this was too soon, but The Verge’s Tom Warren had no such thoughts and shared a video clip showing Stadia and PC players taking to Crucible against one another: 

Bungie also confirmed the crossplay mishap when Cozmo shared an update about the accidental toggle: 

In case the above embed is not showing up for you on mobile, Cozmo had this to say: “We are seeing reports that some players are able to get a sneak peek at crossplay. This isn’t meant to be live yet and is not representative of the full experience. We will be implementing a fix to remove public access later this week, but in the meantime feel free to partake.” 

It looks like it’s still available until Bungie issues a fix, so if you’re curious about how the PvP experience changes with things like Crucible and Gambit (with the latter being a hybrid of PvP and PvE), hop in. The proverbial waters are fine*

*Chaotic, but we love it.

As for Destiny 2: Season of the Splicer, the latest step for the story of Destiny 2 is available now. It comes with a new six-player activity, new rewards, new challenges, and returning weapons that we all know and love. Vault of Glass is also making its raid return from the first game, you can learn more about that here


An Hour With Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart – The Best Looking Next-Gen Game Yet

Publisher: PlayStation Studios
Developer: Insomniac Games

June 11, 2021

Rating: Everyone 10+
Platform: PlayStation 5

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is exactly what it needs to be: a direct continuation of the beloved series doubling as a showpiece of new-generation technology. I recently saw roughly an hour of Rift Apart in action, and almost every second of play screams of nostalgia while also dazzling with a scale and speed that hasn’t been attainable for the series until PlayStation 5.

In the decades we’ve spent journeying with Ratchet and Clank, we’ve watched them battle against alien armadas and save the universe time and time again. Their efforts have not gone unnoticed. One thankful civilization on a distant world is finally honoring our brave heroes with an extravagant parade. In the opening shot, we see Ratchet and Clank emerge to a sea of roaring fans seated in airborne bleachers that overlook massive balloon representations of the heroes. This single moment has so much to see, including a detailed alien cityscape on the ground far beneath the festive parade. For the opening shot, developer Insomniac Games leans into the power of PlayStation 5 to drop jaws and establish the scale players can expect as this adventure unfolds.

Ratchet and Clank are introduced as the parade’s grand marshals by none other than Captain Qwark, the megalomaniac who always seems to find a camera and microphone to sing of his own praises. In this particular moment, Qwark is narrating one of Ratchet and Clank’s adventures, which the player gets to play through on a movie-like set of an alien world set on a float. This begins the tutorial, bringing the classic Ratchet and Clank gameplay roaring back into view. We also hear the soundtrack intensify; heroic melodies from composer Mark Mothersbaugh that draw loose inspiration from his work on the motion picture Thor: Ragnarok. Insomniac Games targeted this film as the type of soundtrack it wanted, and as luck would have it, they were able to hire the man behind it.  

When Ratchet’s wrench slams into a stack of boxes, the thundering score gives way to the familiar clanging of bolts, as well as age-old movements from the character, and the assistance of his friend strapped to his back. Although Ratchet is just demonstrating the moves he used in battle for the crowd, something is amiss. He’s not just taking on cardboard standees. The Blarg are here, and more are arriving in dropships. This isn’t part of the parade.

A huge battle unfolds, sending the duo hurtling across different floats and even within the skyscrapers of the city itself. Ratchet rail grinds, flips through the air, and unloads hell from a firearm called the Burst Pistol. Creative weapon designs have always been one of the key pillars of this game series, and that remains the case in Rift Apart. The one big difference now is that they will all feel significantly better, thanks to the DualSense controller’s unique functionality.

Most weapons take advantage of the controller’s adaptive triggers. With the Burst Pistol, the player can easily tap into two different firing modes. Pulling in the right trigger slightly unloads slow but accurate fire. Pulling the trigger full-bore creates a faster chamber rotation, but reduces accuracy. The next gun we see is the Enforcer, which appears to be Rift Apart’s equivalent of the shotgun. The lighter pull fires one barrel and the click-through fires both of them. A nice touch on this gun is two lights on its stock, which turn green when it’s ready to fire and red when it’s not (one chamber can be red, one can be green).

While these two guns are similar in usage, the Negaton Collider shows off the DualSense’s unique features when used for a charged weapon. To generate a shot, the player pulls the trigger until they feel resistance, then, when ready, pulling through will fire the beam. This method delivers the tactical choice to instantly fire with a little more effort or outright cancel the beam by releasing the trigger.

I saw six weapons in play. Along with the three aforementioned, Ratchet can equip a Shatterbomb Glove to, well, throw bombs; the Ricochet Gun that works as you would expect, and last and certainly not least, is an armament with the strange name of the Topiary Sprinkler. When this weapon connects with an enemy, a plant instantly sprouts and climbs up their body, rendering them immobile for a few seconds, and making them look like a topiary in front of a mansion.

I even see how this weapon works on a lumbering robot boss named “Wee” Roger. He too can be caught up in the vines, giving Ratchet the chance to unload hell into him. Once he’s defeated, a more powerful version of this robot appears with the upgraded name “Not-So-Wee” Roger. The bosses have health meters that are easy to read. Fans of the series will also see an ammo bar has been added above every weapon Ratchet wields, allowing you to keep better tabs on your arsenal. New depth of field has also been implemented to better frame the target you have in your sights.

The attack on the parade comes from long-time series villain Dr. Nefarious, who is here to steal the Dimensionator that Clank was planning to gift to Ratchet. Clank fixed this dangerous device so Ratchet could finally visit the dimension where all of his Lombax species reside; Ratchet is the only one in this reality. Dr. Nefarious, who is continually suffering defeat, wants to use the Dimensionator to reach a dimension where he always wins. The raytracing effects on the Doctor’s helmet look fantastic, a small but noticeable touch.

The chase to secure this universe-changing tool brings an epic war to this peaceful planet. The parade’s floats and balloons are torn asunder, sometimes with Ratchet and Clank on them, creating unstable footing with platforms rocking back and forth, making firing straight tricky.

I didn’t get to see what happens at the end of this stage, and was instead whisked away to a level much later in the game. This stage is seen through the eyes of Rivet, a new playable character, who is also a Lombax. Her dimension is at war, and she is part of the resistance. She has a purplish/pinkish fur and one of her arms is mechanical. Instead of wielding a wrench, she proudly swings a hammer.

We meet Rivet on a dusty, industrial planet that looks like it has poor air quality. Here, she bounds up cliffs, battling robotic pirate forces, and eventually squares off against a Godzilla-sized robot, which actually becomes intertwined with the platforming. She dashes across falling structures, onto the robot’s shoulders, and then onto a dangerous rail sequence that has cranes hastily laying tracks in front of her. The action looks every bit as fervent and cinematic as an Uncharted game, with everything crumbling around our hero. Insomniac also takes a cue from the Spider-Man games by intertwining story sequences right into the action.

Rivet’s move set is exactly like Ratchet’s. She can strafe (which can now be set to auto, so you don’t have to hold down the trigger), acrobatically flip through the air, and also use the series’ classic Hover Boots to gain incredible speed. Ratchet and Rivet can both perform a new move called the Phantom Dash, which phases them in and out of reality, granting them partial invincibility. This supposedly adds dimensions to combat and traversal, as it can be executed from any move. Although Rivet has been alone her entire life, she’ll eventually have Clank at her side as well through an unknown story twist.  

The story and worlds determine who you play as at any given time. Clank once again gets in on this action through a new platforming minigame that has the player trying to draw power from one dimension to the next. These puzzles push the player to bounce across platforms and avoid obstacles to create a through-line for the power.

Another minigame puts the player in command of a digital spider-tank called the Glitch. It can scurry up walls and ceilings and is used to take down viruses within a program. On top of these diversions, Insomniac says two mountable beasts are in the game, one of which is a giant dragon that soars through the sky on an alien world.

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Insomniac confirms that this Ratchet adventure is still level-based, but the technology behind it is more akin to an open world that constantly streams content in front of the player. It streams so fast, allowing Insomniac to load in textures in the blink of an eye. Load times are lightning quick as well. Within a second’s time, Ratchet could hop from one side of the galaxy to the next. The rifts load seamlessly too, allowing gameplay to move from one location to the next without skipping a beat. Ratchet and Rivet will eventually travel to places Insomniac calls Sync planets, which show off two versions of the same place for their respective realities. To switch to them, the player just has to hit a lever. In that time, the screen flashes white and the other version of the planet appears, looking dramatically different, yet with some clear similarities. I can’t wait to see what kind of puzzle solving awaits in these alternate worlds.

The two realities also mean you’ll see two versions of the same characters. The lovely named character Skid McMarx is the lowlife stoner in the reality we know, but in the alternate dimension, he goes by the name Phantom, and is an expert hack and inventor for the resistance.

Rift Apart’s feature suite sounds extensive, giving players a photo mode, a wealth of accessibility options building upon Insomniac’s work from Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales (including the ability to map a slow-motion function to the d-pad), and also the ability to customize armor, right down to its color. Armors are often the rewards delivered for completing side content.

Insomniac has been on a roll with the Spider-Man games, and Rift Apart looks every bit as epic and fun. It’s one of the few early PlayStation 5 exclusives we’ve seen, and it looks like the team at Insomniac is taking this new hardware for a serious ride.


Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart: Insomniac On Rivet’s Origins, Weapons, And More

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When Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart was first announced in June of last year, the world was instantly taken with the mysterious white lombax and what her role would be in the newest venture from the studio behind Sunset Overdrive and Marvel’s Spider-Man. Flash forward to today and we finally have some answers. Rivet, who’s voiced by the one and only Jennifer Hale, is joining the fray alongside our two familiar heroes and will play a huge role in developer Insomniac Games’ latest adventure. But what else do we know about her or the rest of the game for that matter?

In addition to the latest Sony State of Play, we were able to dive deeper into the new PlayStation 5 exclusive during our latest interview with Mike Daly, the game’s director. Kicking off our video, we discuss the origins of Rivet and how she’ll fit in alongside two of the video game industry’s most recognizable icons.

We also chat about how Rift Apart was always going to be a PlayStation 5 game and how it utilizes the many next-gen features of the next-gen hardware. But that’s not all. We also talk about the game’s wild array of unique and exhilarating weapons and what players can expect from the stylish armor sets the development team showed off in the aforementioned Sony digital event.

The Ratchet and Clank fun is just beginning. If you enjoyed this look at Rift Apart, be sure to check out Andrew Reiner’s written preview on Insomniac’s latest entry in the stellar platforming series, our latest episode of New Gameplay Today, and a look at the opening of the game.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart will be arriving exclusively on the PlayStation 5 on June 11, 2021. Thank you so much for watching. Be sure to let us know what you think of the video in the comments below!


Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart – New Gameplay Today (4K)

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When people think back to the heyday of the mascot platformer, Ratchet and Clank stand on equal footing with the bandicoots and purple dragons of the world. Just as the former had its day in the sun last year with Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time, developer Insomniac Games is bringing back these icons in a big way. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is less than a month away but we’re giving you a brief look at the game on this episode of New Gameplay Today!

In this special 4K video, we’re not only giving you a look at actual gameplay from Ratchet’s point of view but from the perspective of his new female counterpart as well. Rivet, a mysterious new lombax, is fierce with her own abilities to wield the wild weapons Insomniac and the series are known for. It’s up to her to help rescue Clank and figure out Dr. Nefarious’s evil schemes while also reuniting him with his furry friend. On top of all that, we also give you a look at the game’s goofy yet deadly enemies and the updated traversal system that will have players flying around each new planet.

Join Blake Hester, Ben Reeves, and me as we show you an early look at the latest game from Insomniac and discuss the updated weapons, gorgeous scenery, and inspirations for Ratchet and Clank’s newest adventure.

The fun doesn’t stop here though. If you can’t wait for Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart’s exclusive PlayStation 5 launch on June 11, Game Informer has you covered. Be sure to check out this look at the beginning of the game with Marcus Smith, creative director at Insomniac, our interview with game director Mike Daly on the origins of the game and Rivet, and Andrew Reiner’s extensive preview of the fast-approaching new entry in the iconic series.


Scarlet Nexus – New Gameplay Today

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Scarlet Nexus is landing on June 25, coming to PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC. While I was mildly interested in the game before, a recent hands-on session has me counting down the days to release. After experiencing the combat for myself, I am definitely curious to see what Scarlet Nexus brings to the table as an action RPG. Oh, if you like anime, I guess that’s probably a big plus too. I had a chance to play through the early part of the game, unlocking different combat techniques that sync up with psionic powers, and it forms a fairly compelling visual treat as well as testing your timing and prowess. The story and dialogue are true-to-form anime JRPG fare, and while that didn’t really have me raving from the rafters, the combat was enough to carry things along, and splendidly so.

Join us in this episode of New Gameplay Today to get a sense of the various mechanics involved in Scarlet Nexus. You can choose to play as one of two protagonists, and you recruit other various characters to your party. These side characters offer powerful augmentations to your combat style, like being able to slow down time so you can crush your opponents, adding fire elements to your attacks to burn your enemies, and more. Character abilities grow in strength as you work up your relationships with them, similar to building up rapport in a Persona game. However, weaving in traditional ARPG combat with its dodging, jumping, and comboing alongside psionic powers is where the game shines. 

Kicking off a combo with a few attacks and then flinging a car into your enemy is fun, but it gets even better as you tear apart large objects in the air and pull them together into your opponent, using the thumbsticks to mimic the movement of the debris. It’s a creative combat system that has you constantly scouring the environment for your next play, even as you continue to keep an eye on incoming dangers and continue to strike with your standard skills. It all comes together as you time your psychic abilities with your triggered sidekick skills, creating (when you do it right!) an intense vacuum of carnage for your helpless opponents.

Are you looking forward to Scarlet Nexus? Let us know in the comments!


Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart – New Gameplay Today (4K)

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When people think back to the heyday of the mascot platformer, Ratchet and Clank stand on equal footing with the bandicoots and purple dragons of the world. Just as the former had its day in the sun last year with Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time, developer Insomniac Games is bringing back these icons in a big way. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is less than a month away but we’re giving you a brief look at the game on this episode of New Gameplay Today!

In this special 4K video, we’re not only giving you a look at actual gameplay from Ratchet’s point of view but from the perspective of his new female counterpart as well. Rivet, a mysterious new lombax, is fierce with her own abilities to wield the wild weapons Insomniac and the series are known for. It’s up to her to help rescue Clank and figure out Dr. Nefarious’s evil schemes while also reuniting him with his furry friend. On top of all that, we also give you a look at the game’s goofy yet deadly enemies and the updated traversal system that will have players flying around each new planet.

Join Blake Hester, Ben Reeves, and me as we show you an early look at the latest game from Insomniac and discuss the updated weapons, gorgeous scenery, and inspirations for Ratchet and Clank’s newest adventure.

The fun doesn’t stop here though. If you can’t wait for Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart’s exclusive PlayStation 5 launch on June 11, Game Informer has you covered. Be sure to check out this look at the beginning of the game with Marcus Smith, creative director at Insomniac, our interview with game director Mike Daly on the origins of the game and Rivet, and Andrew Reiner’s extensive preview of the fast-approaching new entry in the iconic series.


Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart: Checking Out The Opening With Insomniac Games (4K)

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If you asked the lucky few who own a PlayStation 5 what one of their most anticipated games of the year is, I’d be willing to bet Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart ranks pretty high on their list. For good reason too. Developer Insomniac Games has been hard at work to utilize the next-gen features of the PS5 to deliver an experience filled with spectacle and the chaotic fun the series is known for. But after five years spent on developing titles such as Marvel’s Spider-Man, where will the developer be kicking off the iconic duo’s latest adventure?

We’re happy you asked. In this special 4K look at Rift Apart, we’re joined by Marcus Smith, creative director at Insomniac, to set the scene for where players can expect Rift Apart to begin. The game starts with our two titular heroes being honored for their courageous acts of saving the universe on multiple occasions. 

Clank also wants to make this is a special day and offers Ratchet a device that would allow him to hop dimensions and aid him in his quest to find his kin. But of course, Dr. Nefarious has to make the day about him, stealing the device and causing mayhem the world over. Ratchet and Clank give chase, pursuing the ne’er-do-well through the city in the first of many gorgeous setpieces Rift Apart has to offer.

That’s just a taste of the fun players can expect from Insomniac’s latest adventure, but if you’re wanting to know more, we have you covered. We have a huge preview blowout for Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart on our website and YouTube page, including a special 4K edition of New Gameplay Today, a chat with Insomniac’s game director on the origins of Rivet, and Andrew Reiner’s written impressions of his early look at the new PS5 exclusive. Thanks for watching!


Xbox Series X Update Includes Better Quick Resume, Dynamic Themes, And Audio Tweaks

While not everyone that wants one has an Xbox Series X, in large part due to shortages, the experience continues to improve with each new update. The Xbox May update includes Quick Resume improvements, multiplayer tweaks for children, audio enhancements, and so much more. Let’s dive into what’s the latest with Team Xbox.

Quick Resume, What’s New?

Quick Resume is a feature of this generation that utilizes the innovative Xbox Velocity to push tech to its limit. The ability to go back and forth between numerous games is a huge boon for players, and now it’s becoming even better with more reliability and even faster load times. 

The Xbox crew is also making it a little easier to detect which games are compatible with the Quick Resume feature thanks to a new tag. You can even group them together to make it easier to know which ones are eligible for flawless transition. 

Audio Improvements

Passthrough audio is a means to stream Xbox media apps (like Netflix, Disney+, Vudu, etc) in order to make the sound quality even more profound. Microsoft details that players can start using this by going General > Volume & Audio Output > Advanced > Allow Passthrough. Click the box to mark it as allowed and experience even better sound going forward. 

Dynamic Themes

Dynamic themes were a huge hit on PlayStation but Sony opted out of them (for now) on the PS5. Now, Xbox Series X/S has this more interactive background experience since launch, with a new Motes theme available now as this month’s pattern. Simply go to Settings > General > Personalization > My Background > Dynamic Background to get started. 

Parents And Multiplayer

For those gaming parents out there with a new system, Microsoft released an Xbox Family Settings app on iOS and Android last year. Beginning this month, parents/guardians can now approve multiplayer games directly from the console or the app. This also allows for guardians to tweak multiplayer mode settings for certain games, including allowing approved titles to bypass family settings. Don’t worry about your kids using this to cheat the system, each change will alert the app via notification. 

To learn more about what’s in the Xbox May update, you can learn more right here


Twin Suns Corp Working On A New AAA Cross Platform Title

Twin Suns Corp is a new Seattle-based game studio with plenty of serious industry clout behind it. Tim Longo Jr., Forest Swartout Large, and Jeff Morris are the founders, with fifteen other veterans also onboard with experience on numerous titles from Tomb Raider to Elder Scrolls. While the rest of the team isn’t known yet, the founders themselves have significant experience. Tim Longo Jr. is well known for work on Halo and Tomb Raider, Large on Hitman and Tomb Raider, and Morris on Gears of War and Unreal Tournament – and that’s just a small abridged summary of their careers. With many other veterans also joining the team, they’re sure to be working on something interesting. Go ahead and start the speculation!

Tim Longo, Co-Founder and CEO of Twin Suns Corp, said in a release “Forming this company and team is about bringing incredible people together to collaborate and make uniquely creative and amazing action games. Twin Suns Corp is literally a dream team of expert talent from across the planet and I can’t wait to work with all of them again.” 

Hiro Capital, which is a venture capital fund for creators, is investing 6.4 million dollars across Twin Suns Corp and another game platform, FRVR. According to their reveal, Twin Suns Corp is building a next-gen AAA cross-platform title that is launching a new IP and franchise. That’s a hell of a task, but it looks like Twin Suns Corp is assembling the resources to make it happen.

Hiro Capital partner Ian Livingstone said in a press release “I had the pleasure of working with Tim Longo on the Tomb Raider reboot before he went on to become Creative Director at 343 Industries to develop Halo 5. Tim is hugely talented and has assembled a fantastic team at Twin Suns. We are delighted to be partnering with Tim and his team and are incredibly excited by the potential of their creative vision and their ability to develop groundbreaking new titles in the AAA space.”

What do you think Twin Suns Corp is going to come up with in terms of genre or game style? Are you intrigued by the new company? Let us know in the comments!


Xbox Insider Members Can Sign Up For A Chance To Reserve And Purchase An Xbox Series X/S

Many of us know how difficult it’s been to buy an Xbox Series X/S or PlayStation 5. A global computer chip shortage has put a bottleneck on console production and whatever stock becomes available is quickly scooped up by bot-using scalpers. In an effort to circumvent scalpers and get the new Xboxes into the hands of genuine customers, Microsoft has announced a new pre-order initiative using its Xbox Insider program.

Per The Verge, the program is called the Console Purchase Pilot. It gives Xbox One owners signed up to the Xbox Insider program a chance to both reserve and purchase an Xbox Series X or Series S through the console itself. For those unaware, Xbox Insider is a free program that allows members to test software updates before Microsoft releases them to the public and also grants access to certain game betas as well. 

You can sign up for the pilot now but there are some conditions to keep in mind. First, Microsoft stresses that will be a limited test open to a small audience. Joining the pilot does not guarantee you a console; you’ll be part of a pool of potential buyers that will be selected at a later date. There’s no word on when selected users will be notified. Next, the pilot is only available to U.S. customers. 

Lastly, to reiterate, you can only participate in the pilot through the Insider app on Xbox One. If chosen, you’ll have your choice of a Series X or S and will complete your transaction on the console. The purchase cannot be made on the web, on PC, or through an Xbox 360 or Xbox Series X/S. 

By having the entire transaction take place on a console, Microsoft hopes this will reduce, if not entirely eliminate, scalpers so that dedicated Xbox One owners can upgrade to a Series X/S in peace. It’s a unique approach, but anything that helps legitimate players score a new console is welcomed at this point. It’ll be interesting to see how the pilot works out; if all goes well, maybe Microsoft will keep it rolling and expand it. Plus, if Microsoft finds success, maybe Sony will implement a similar approach (well, beyond the one it already tried), especially with the news that PS5 shortages are expected to last through 2022

What do you think of the Console Purchase Pilot? Do you plan on signing up and trying your luck? Let us know in the comments. 

[Source: The Verge]


Looking Back at 25 Years of Resident Evil

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This is a big year for Resident Evil. Not only did Resident Evil Village just come out – which is great, by the way, and you should definitely play it – but the series just passed its 25th anniversary. Two-and-a-half decades of zombies, questionable characters, and midnight scares. This calls for a celebration. Or a video essay, at the very least. 

We decided to take a look back at the entire Resident Evil series, highlighting which games have meant the most to the overall franchise and the game industry at large. From the original Resident Evil popularizing survival horror as a genre and inspiring countless imitators, spin-offs, and homages, to Resident Evil 4 revolutionizing the third-person shooter and nearly tanking the entire series, to Resident Evil 7: Biohazard taking the series in an entirely new direction, and more, watch above to learn about the developments, circumstances, and impacts of some of your favorite Resident Evil games. 

And before you fill the comments with all of the Resident Evil games that didn’t make the list, there are a ton of games in this series. To make this project manageable, we decided to only highlight the biggest games in the overall series that have had the largest impact on the franchise and game industry. Code Veronica is great, sure, but compared to Resident Evil 4, it just doesn’t make the cut.   

While we’re here celebrating Resident Evil, why don’t you check out our Resident Evil Village spoilercast? We also have some tips, tricks, and guides, if you need a little help along your way. If you’re still not sold on Village, you can also watch us play the first two hours of the game, get a behind-the-scenes look at its fearsome Lycans, or check out the titular village itself. 

Happy birthday, Resident Evil!


Gabe Newell Teases Possible Valve Games Coming To Console

The Orange Box gave console players Half-Life and Portal, but could more Steam games be coming to console? According to a recent Q&A with Valve’s Gabe Newell, it looks like it’s likely! One fan shot their shot to the king of PC and his answer has the community pretty excited for what this could mean. 

One Redditor shared a clip of when they asked if any more Steam games would be coming to consoles. Newell responded, saying, “We will have a better idea about that later this year.” If you were at all curious about if this is something players want, all you have to do is listen to the clip and hear the chorus of “oooohs” that immediately happened after. 

You can watch the clip right here

Obviously, we don’t know what this means quite yet, but it could go a few different ways. Xbox boss Phil Spencer has talked about bringing the Xbox ecosystem to more platforms, so this could be an indication that Xbox Game Pass could be making its way to Steam. It could also mean more Valve-specific titles could be making the jump as well, maybe titles like Dota 2, Half-Life: Alyx, and standalone for the Orange Box? We don’t know but as a PC gamer (as my primary, I play on all platforms), I’m interested to see what this means for the community. With Overwatch 2 a long way off, Team Fortress 2 making its way onto PS5 and Xbox Series X systems is enticing to say the very least. 

What do you hope to see from this tease? Do you think the gaming community is getting excited over nothing, or do you think we could be seeing titles like Half-Life: Alyx and Dota 2 make the jump from PC-specific experiences? Sound off with your theories in the comment section below! 


Overwatch 2 Developer Update Promises More PvP News This Month

Following the departure of long-time Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan, fans have been concerned about the future of the franchise, specifically Overwatch 2. Today, the game’s new director, Aaron Keller, offered a quick developer update to shed some light on when Blizzard plans to reveal more about the sequel ahead of Overwatch’s 5th anniversary.

As opposed to further discussing co-op and story, Keller says the next big info drop will elaborate on Overwatch 2’s PvP element. On May 20, Blizzard will host a livestream featuring both developers and Overwatch League teams where they’ll play matches in Overwatch 2’s new maps. They’ll also dive into the changes coming to the game’s PvP. Exciting as that may sound, Keller makes sure to temper expectations by stating that the maps shown are very much a work in progress. Blizzard plans to share more about the competitive modes later in the year. On May 24, the Overwatch subreddit will host a developer AMA (Ask Me Anything) focused on Overwatch’s development over the last five years as well as Overwatch 2’s progress. 

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If you’ve been impatiently waiting for more news on Overwatch 2, this update might be music to your ears. Although I wouldn’t expect to hear any word of a release window, it’ll be nice to see Overwatch 2 in action and who knows what details could come out of the AMA. If nothing else, Blizzard could probably use a bit of positive news overall. The company’s eSports division was recently hit with layoffs, and its lawyers have been picking fights with Fox over a cartoon dog named Diablo. It’s been an odd time to be Blizzard, and arguably stranger to be a fan. 

What do you make of the upcoming Overwatch 2 updates? What else do you hope to learn about the game? Let us know in the comments!


Nier Reincarnation Pre-Registration Starts Today In Select Regions

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Nier Reincarnation is an upcoming mobile game that serves as the next chapter in the expansive Nier universe. The title has been out in Japan for some time, but last week, Co-Director Daichi Matsukawa announced that the team was preparing for the game’s pre-registration. Starting today, you can finally add your name to that list if you live in North America, Europe, and Korea.

Players can pre-register through the AppStore and Google Play right now. However, anyone who registers through the latter platform might be randomly selected to participate in a closed beta test before the full game becomes available to the public. Of course, in-game rewards can be secured as well. If Nier Reincarnation acquires 300,000 pre-registrants, all players will be gifted 3,000 gems on launch day that can be exchanged for powerful abilities like summons. More information about the pre-registration period can be accessed here

At its core, Nier Reincarnation continues the dark and melancholic themes that the franchise is known for. The story chronicles the odyssey of a young girl and her companion, Mama, as they attempt to navigate and survive in an otherworldly realm called The Cage. Beyond this, the narrative details become a little vague, but remain exciting nonetheless: “To reclaim what she has lost – and atone for her sins – [the girl] sets off on a journey through this place of unknown creation.” For a better idea of the visuals, mood, and gameplay, watch the promotional trailer at the top of the page.

There’s bound to be emotionally tense moments penned by Nier creator Yoko Taro and incredibly atmospheric music composed by Keiichi Okabe. Even Producer Yosuke Saito was also involved in the game’s development. Details on the release period have not been unveiled yet, but Nier Reincarnation will be playable on iOS and Android devices.

I’ve been waiting for this game for a long time, so I’ve already pre-registered it; are you planning on doing the same? Do you think that the fast-paced combat mechanics and multi-layered plot motifs will translate well enough to the small screen?


Here’s Why You Should Play Mass Effect Legendary Edition

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With the Mass Effect Legendary Edition just around the corner, longtime fans are finally getting their chance to play a more optimized Mass Effect experience on modern consoles. Being a massive Mass Effect fan myself, I’ve had more than a few people reach out wondering if the remaster would be a good reason to jump into the franchise for the first time. My answer? Heck-to-the-YES, here’s why. 

A little backstory: I’ve been gaming for over 30 years and enjoy all sorts of genres and tales. From full-fledged single-player narratives to just shooting a few rounds in Battlefield, gaming is my life and I’ve experienced some amazing adventures out there. That being said, no franchise has made quite the impact on me that the Mass Effect series has and a big part of that is due to the incredible craftsmanship of the story and Commander Shepard’s legacy. 

For those that may not know, the Mass Effect trilogy begins with the player becoming Commander Shepard, an N7 operative that joins the Normandy in the year 2183. Aliens, interstellar travel, and turian booty is all around you (kidding on that last part, sorta) but it’s not your average space adventure. 

While there are guns and combat, that’s not the main focus of the Mass Effect tale. The story that follows Shepard’s journey is powerful, unique, and at times gut-wrenching. 

As a note before we continue, I’ll be referring to Shepard as “their” since players can choose to play a male or female version. I am using “their” to encompass both options. 

As Shepard, you will begin as XO to none other than a man named David Anderson, the Normandy’s CO. Anderson becomes like a father figure to Shepard, though eventually events lead to Shepard taking the Normandy’s helm. The first game is also about uncovering an ancient threat, a threat not even fully realized until the end of the first title’s story. The first entry is all about setting up the universe, making you care about it and feel like it’s a part of your actual reality. 

Because the first Mass Effect is more about setting up the world than being the end-all-be-all of the game series, the pacing is a little slow to start but once it picks up? It really picks up. The pacing disruption is also a world-building hurtle, and not something that impacts the second and third games. 

The first game leads into the second where we know who the threat is, but the right people aren’t taking it seriously. Politics (shocker) stand in the way of public safety as Shepard goes through an entire world shift from being poster child of the Alliance, the human’s interstellar military, to being a part of a human terrorist organization due to unforeseen circumstances (we won’t say why, major spoiler). Without giving too much away, the organization in question is called Cerberus, and it’s an organization we first learn about in the first game as players uncover sordid experiments underneath this particular banner. Throughout the course of the three games, we learn more and more about Cerberus and where they fit into the galaxy, and those horrifying details create a uniquely heartbreaking narrative divide for our protagonist and those closest to them. 

In a massive fight against an ancient race known as the Reapers, a sentient machine race that wipes out millions of lives on a cyclic schedule, Shepard builds their team across all three games with characters that are so vastly different from one another and begin to feel like actual family. 

To me, what makes this story so special is the characters themselves. Throughout 30 years of gaming, I’ve become so attached to thousands of characters, all with something special to add to any gaming adventure. That being said, there is something about the progression of getting to know Mass Effect NPCs that feels organic, real, and not unlike how we build friendships and romantic relationships in real life. They are special in a way that even as a writer I’m not sure I could convey properly. 

Don’t judge, but I have 31 playthroughs of this trilogy. It’s my comfort game. When life gets to be too much, I dive back into the world of Mass Effect. It’s my security blanket. But even with so many runs through the story, it still makes me bawl like a baby and I feel like I’ve been punched in the gut when I have to say goodbye again when the end credits roll. A lot of that is just how incredible it is, and another part is though the ending is honed into three clear directions, your choices do really matter in ways many don’t even realise throughout the course of the trilogy. No other game has done this to me and while it’s not necessarily like that for everyone for a variety of reasons, it is a testament to the special magic that this BioWare story has. 

A part of this attachment is the writing itself. The dialogue feels natural and engaging. There are squabbles, there is the process of having to win someone over, and these characters go to hell and back with each other. That sort of shared experience creates bonds in any situation, and that connection is conveyed expertly with the narrative structure and the in-game mechanics. As someone who was active duty, there were real-life situations I went through with people that couldn’t stand me, and vice versa. Those situations we endured together though? That forged a bond that transcended previous perceptions. That same transformative relationship building is very much evident in the Mass Effect trilogy, and something that can be felt on a universal scale no matter each player’s IRL journies. 

Through loyalty missions that dig deep into these characters’ pasts to dialogue options that shape the way these characters see the player within this world, every action feels meaningful and impactful, which is a large part why Mass Effect is so incredibly immersive. These characters matter. They matter to Shepard and they matter to you. 

The combat mechanics are also nothing to scoff at, though boy did the first game’s weaponry age poorly. Throughout the progression of the series, real evolution can be seen both narratively, mechanically, and graphically. With the alleged remaster coming, all of that can be experienced once more but with improved visuals. 

Another reason why you should play the trilogy is that the remaster includes ALL of the DLC. While DLC is usually optional fun, Mass Effect has always felt like it was core chunks of the game missing if you didn’t buy them. I couldn’t imagine playing the third game without meeting the creators of the Reapers face-to-face with the Leviathan DLC, or dirty dancing with Jack while Vega and the biotics have a muscle contest with the Citadel DLC. The extended stories are all vastly unique to each other, and many of them are vital pieces to a much bigger picture. Since all of the DLC is included (except for Pinnacle, here’s why), this is a great way to see the franchise through a new lense previously locked behind a paywall. 

The bottom line, and I know this article was a little vaguer than it maybe should have been, is that the Mass Effect Trilogy is a gem. I’ve tried to keep this as vague as possible since this article is geared to newcomers to the series, and I don’t want to spoil key points of the story. If you haven’t dived in yet, you are really missing out on a phenomenal ride that is on a pedastool few games reach. Planning on diving in and are looking for some help? You know where to find me. I’ve got tips, I’ve got recommendations, I’ve got insanely annoying pterodactyl screeches (as my author bio suggests). Hit me up, let’s fan out! 

You can also check out the latest episode of Replay where we talk about all things Mass Effect 2, that’s the video at the top of the article! Don’t forget to also check out our exclusive Mass Effect Legendary Edition game hub here for exclusive first looks, interviews with the team, and so much more. 


Skull & Bones Gets A New Release Window, Ubisoft Lineup Schedule Announced

Skull & Bones is one of several games out there that is becoming almost mythical in terms of whether or not it’s actually coming out. With several major delays already under its belt, interested Ubisoft fans have been left to wonder if it is DOA. While we still don’t have a release date, we do at least have a new release window. It’s far off, but it’s there. 

The latest financial report from Ubisoft can be found here and highlights a few key areas that players might find interesting. Before we dive into a pirate’s life, let’s talk about a few other key titles in the works. According to the report shown to investors, Rainbow Six Quarantine (which is a working title, at this point), Far Cry 6, Roller Champions, The Division Heartland, and more are on schedule to launch between now and March 31, 2022 (pending no further delays). 

For Skull & Bones, that particular project is scheduled to release sometime between April 1, 2022, and March 31, 2023. The bad news? No chance at something this year. The good news is that it’s something. 

Skull & Bones was revealed shortly after Sea of Thieves, and many were looking forward to the realistic pirate adventure. The first reveal trailer looked awesome, but with each delay, that hope for an eventual release has waned. That being said, the gameplay mechanics look incredibly concise, which makes the long development of Skull & Bones more valuable, and hopefully, Ubisoft can avoid any major glitches when the game eventually launches. 

For background, Skull & Bones is a nautical experience that promises an adventure rooted in the Golden Age of Piracy, a time where captains were nothing short of ruthless, and warships dominated the oceans with a ferocity that made the thirst for war insatiable. Players find themselves as a captain during these wartorn times, a captain that refuses the King’s pardon, and instead undertakes an adventure of treasure and power untamed by complicit society. The short of it? It looks exciting. Hopefully, we’ll get a closer look at what progress has been made sooner rather than later


Pokémon Snap: Complete Pokédex List Guide

Now that New Pokémon Snap is out and photographers everywhere are diving in, more and more players are discovering the wonders of the game’s Lental region. In New Pokémon Snap, players are tasked with filling out their Photodex, a catalog similar to the Pokédex found in the mainline entries. The region contains various diverse biomes for players to ride along. While those areas certainly contain plenty of scenic vistas, the main attraction is how many different Pokémon they house.

Unlike the Pokédex, New Pokémon Snap’s Photodex fills out as you go, meaning they are numbered in the order in which you can encounter them. This makes filling out a particular level simpler. Because of this, Pokémon and their evolved forms aren’t placed next to one another. If you’re worried your favorite monster didn’t make it, we’ve got you covered. 

Complete New Pokémon Snap Photodex

New Pokémon Snap features 214 different Pokémon to discover and photograph. Check out all the creatures you can encounter in this photographic journey. Just be warned: The following list contains spoilers.

New Pokémon Snap


###NameFirst Appearance
001VivillonFlorio Nature Park
002PichuFlorio Nature Park
003GrookeyFlorio Nature Park
004ScorbunnyFlorio Nature Park
005BouffalantFlorio Nature Park 
006PidgeotFlorio Nature Park
007TangrowthFlorio Nature Park
008EmolgaFlorio Nature Park
009WurmpleFlorio Nature Park
010MurkrowFlorio Nature Park
011CaterpieFlorio Nature Park
012HeracrossFlorio Nature Park
013PinsirFlorio Nature Park
014DodrioFlorio Nature Park
015DucklettFlorio Nature Park
016SwannaFlorio Nature Park
017BidoofFlorio Nature Park
018TaillowFlorio Nature Park
019TorterraFlorio Nature Park
020MagikarpFlorio Nature Park
021HoothootFlorio Nature Park
022ComfeyFlorio Nature Park
023FlorgesFlorio Nature Park
024CombeeFlorio Nature Park
025VespiquenFlorio Nature Park
026SylveonFlorio Nature Park
027ShayminFlorio Nature Park
028MeganiumFlorio Nature Park – Illumina Spot
029EeveeResearch Camp
030PikachuResearch Camp
031CutieflyResearch Camp
032BunnelbyResearch Camp
033ScoutlandResearch Camp
034StarlyResearch Camp
035MeowthResearch Camp
036AudinoResearch Camp
037RattataResearch Camp
038TrubbishResearch Camp
039SudowoodoResearch Camp


###NameFirst Appearance
041AipomFounja Jungle
042BounsweetFounja Jungle
044BeautiflyFounja Jungle
045ArbokFounja Jungle
046YanmegaFounja Jungle
047PikipekFounja Jungle
048ToucannonFounja Jungle
049AriadosFounja Jungle
050MorelullFounja Jungle
051SlakingFounja Jungle
052VenusaurFounja Jungle
053LiepardFounja Jungle
054WooperFounja Jungle
055QuagsireFounja Jungle
056SwampertFounja Jungle
057LedianFounja Jungle
059LeafeonFounja Jungle
060MewFounja Jungle
061TrevenantElsewhere Forest
062EspurrElsewhere Forest
063ShiftryElsewhere Forest
064KecleonElsewhere Forest
065DeerlingElsewhere Forest
066SawsbuckElsewhere Forest
067UnfezantElsewhere Forest
068DrampaElsewhere Forest
069PanchamElsewhere Forest
070BulbasaurElsewhere Forest
071SerperiorElsewhere Forest
072ApplinElsewhere Forest
073BewearElsewhere Forest
074GardevoirElsewhere Forest
075NinetailsElsewhere Forest
076LotadElsewhere Forest
077EspeonElsewhere Forest
078CelebiElsewhere Forest
079MiloticElsewhere Forest – Illumina Spot


###NameFirst Appearance
080WingullBlushing Beach
081ExeggutorBlushing Beach
082CrabrawlerBlushing Beach
083DrifblimBlushing Beach
084ZangooseBlushing Beach
085SeviperBlushing Beach
086BellossomBlushing Beach
087InkayBlushing Beach
088PyukumukuBlushing Beach
089MachampBlushing Beach
090StunfiskBlushing Beach
091OctilleryBlushing Beach
092CorsolaBlushing Beach
093FinneonBlushing Beach
094ClamperlBlushing Beach
095PrimarinaBlushing Beach
096RaichuBlushing Beach
097SandygastBlushing Beach
098SharpedoMaricopia Reef
099SquirtleMaricopia Reef
100BlastoiseMaricopia Reef
101LaprasMaricopia Reef
102MantineMaricopia Reef
103PelipperMaricopia Reef
104WailordMaricopia Reef
105MareanieMaricopia Reef
106VaporeonMaricopia Reef
107ManaphyMaricopia Reef
108LuvdiscLental Seafloor
109AlomomolaLental Seafloor
110WailmerLental Seafloor
111CradilyLental Seafloor
112LumineonLental Seafloor
113QwilfishLental Seafloor
114ClawitzerLental Seafloor
115TentacruelLental Seafloor
116ChinchouLental Seafloor
117LanturnLental Seafloor
118StarmieLental Seafloor
119FrillishLental Seafloor
120GolisopodLental Seafloor
121LugiaLental Seafloor
122WishiwashiLental Seafloor – Illumina Spot


###NameFirst Appearance
123SkorupiSweltering Sands
124CacneaSweltering Sands
125SandshrewSweltering Sands
126TrapinchSweltering Sands
127FlygonSweltering Sands
128KangaskhanSweltering Sands
129MandibuzzSweltering Sands
130MiniorSweltering Sands
131SilicobraSweltering Sands
132TorchicSweltering Sands
133HelioliskSweltering Sands
134LycanrocSweltering Sands
135HippowdonSweltering Sands
136TyranitarSweltering Sands
137OnixSweltering Sands
138AltariaFireflow Volcano
139ShinxFireflow Volcano
140LuxrayFireflow Volcano
141TalonflameFireflow Volcano
142MonfernoFireflow Volcano
143AerodactylFireflow Volcano
144TyrantrumFireflow Volcano
145GravelerFireflow Volcano
146ArcheopsFireflow Volcano
147SlugmaFireflow Volcano
148TorkoalFireflow Volcano
149CharmanderFireflow Volcano
150CharizardFireflow Volcano
151TyphlosionFireflow Volcano
152FlareonFireflow Volcano
153Ho-ohFireflow Volcano
154VolcaronaFireflow Volcano – Illumina Spot


###NameFirst Appearance
155FurretShiver Snowfields
156CubchooShiver Snowfields
157BearticShiver Snowfields
158MightyenaShiver Snowfields
159WeavileShiver Snowfields
160BraviaryShiver Snowfields
161SwinubShiver Snowfields
162MamoswineShiver Snowfields
163SkarmoryShiver Snowfields
164SandslashShiver Snowfields
165AbomasnowShiver Snowfields
166VulpixShiver Snowfields
167DelibirdShiver Snowfields
168SnomShiver Snowfields
169FrosmothShiver Snowfields
170CrabominableShiver Snowfields
171SnoruntShiver Snowfields
172GlalieShiver Snowfields
173FroslassShiver Snowfields
174JynxShiver Snowfields
175SphealShiver Snowfields
176PiplupShiver Snowfields
177VanilluxeShiver Snowfields
178AvaluggShiver Snowfields
179DewgongShiver Snowfields
180AurorusShiver Snowfields
181GlaceonShiver Snowfields
182SuicuneShiver Snowfields
183CrobatOutaway Cave
184JoltikOutaway Cave
185GeodudeOutaway Cave
186CarbinkOutaway Cave
187GengarOutaway Cave
188NoibatOutaway Cave
189PumpkabooOutaway Cave
190CroagunkOutaway Cave
191DrifloonOutaway Cave
192ClefairyOutaway Cave
193SableyeOutaway Cave
194RampardosOutaway Cave
195HyrdreigonOutaway Cave
196GoodraOutaway Cave
197MawileOutaway Cave
198JolteonOutaway Cave
199DiancieOutaway Cave
200SteelixOutaway Cave – Illumina Spot


###NameFirst Appearance
201HoundoomRuins of Remembrance
202EldegossRuins of Remembrance
203NatuRuins of Remembrance
204AbsolRuins of Remembrance
205SalanditRuins of Remembrance
206NoivernRuins of Remembrance
207WoobatRuins of Remembrance
208SigilyphRuins of Remembrance
209BeheeyemRuins of Remembrance
210GolurkRuins of Remembrance
211ChandelureRuins of Remembrance
212UmbreonRuins of Remembrance
213JirachiRuins of Remembrance
214XerneasRuins of Remembrance – Illumina Spot

So what do you get when you complete the Photodex? You can see the kind words and rewards Professor Mirror gives you below.

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If you’re looking for tips on how to find some Pokémon, you can see if we cover it in our other guide, which has maps and tips for every stage. For our full thoughts on New Pokémon Snap, be sure to read our review here.


Pokémon Snap Guide: Where To Find Pokémon In The Lental Region

New Pokémon Snap

New Pokémon Snap is now available, and you’re probably wondering where you can find your favorite Pokémon across the Lental region’s diverse biomes. As you may have seen in our other guide, which lists all the Pokémon in the game, New Pokémon Snap features a huge collection of your favorite monsters to find and photograph.

The Lental region charges you with scouring 12 diverse biomes across different research levels and times of day. As you might expect, different Pokémon live in different areas and conditions, while various species are also more active during the night, while others are energetic and visible only during the day.

Where To Find Pokémon In New Pokémon Snap

As you head into the below images and descriptions, keep in mind this guide contains spoilers for which Pokémon appear where. Also remember that different Pokémon appear at different research levels, so if you see something on our maps but not in your game, keep leveling that area and the Pokémon will appear eventually!


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Florio Nature Park

The opening area of New Pokémon Snap eases you into the action, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a ton of opportunities to discover and photograph iconic Pokémon in this wildlife park. Florio Nature Park lives up to its name, delivering a sprawling greenspace for Pokémon to congregate. Along the way, you can spot Dodrio prancing around, Bidoof building a dam, Swanna leading its Ducklett, and Bouffalant grazing. Come back at night for a chance to spot Scorbunny running amok, a showdown between Pinsir and Heracross, and some great opportunities with Combee and Vespiquen.

As you wrap up the mainline part of Florio Nature Park, you’ll open up the Illumina Spot, which features Meganium. Keep the giant grass Pokémon glowing for the best photo opportunities. As you continue on repeated playthroughs, Eevee appears, but the focus remains on Meganium.

Research Camp

One of the pleasant surprises of your New Pokémon Snap journey is the ability to photograph the myriad monsters that wander around the grounds of Professor Mirror’s Research Camp. Not only does this enable you to get up close with Pokémon who are used to the presence of humans, but there are some monsters that are only present at the Research Camp. This location offers outstanding opportunities for photographing Meowth, Starly, Audino, and Stoutland, while the sharp-eyed researcher can find Cutiefly and Bunnelby just off the beaten path. Of course, it wouldn’t be a fully populated camp without two of the most popular Pokémon: Pikachu and Eevee.


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Founja Jungle

After completing enough research in Florio Nature Park, you’re able to jump to Belusylva and ride through the Founja Jungle. Liepard, Beautifly, and Bounsweet can get right in your face, but you might have to work a bit to attract the attention of Pikipek and Quagsire. Come back at night for a wider spread of critters, including Ariados, Ledian, Toucannon, Morelull, Yanmega, and others. You can also encounter Mew during the night, but the process is a little complicated. Head here to learn how to get Mew to appear.

Elsewhere Forest

The most mysterious of all areas, Elsewhere Forest carries an eerie feeling throughout your entire journey, giving us serious Lost-Woods-from-Zelda vibes. As you push through the disjointed course, you end each segment getting consumed by fog, only to emerge in seemingly disparate clearings filled to the brim with Pokémon like Bulbasaur, Trevenant, Espurr, and even Celebi. Depending on how you interact with the Espeon that appears, you open different paths through the woods that lead to areas experiencing different seasons.

Once you unlock the Illumina Spot of Elsewhere Forest, you can engage in an encounter with Milotic. Tracking the slippery water type can be tricky, but it gives you plenty to shoot while it swims all around you. On repeated playthroughs, Milotic is joined by creatures like Lotad, Magikarp, Serperior, and Espeon.


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Blushing Beach

The gorgeous Blushing Beach gives us a taste of the tropical life of Maricopia and surrounds you with Pokémon to match the theme. Whether you’re talking the walking palm tree that is Exeggutor or the surfing Alolan Raichu, the luau theme is in full effect – especially if you play some music for the Bellossom. Machamp may be using the beach as an opportunity to workout and show off his muscles, but Blastoise is taking it easy along the shore. Come back at night and you can witness a battle between Seviper and Zangoose, or be an audience member as Primarina sings a song. You can also toss an apple at the red shovels on the beach to pull Sandygast out of hiding (and scare Octillery half to death in the process).

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Maricopia Reef

The beach is great, but what about the big game you can only spot further out at sea? Reefs are always wildlife hotspots, and the Maricopia Reef in New Pokémon Snap is no different. From aggressive Sharpedo that will not hesitate to snap right back at you if you hit them with a fluffruit to Squirtle chilling on the rocks, you have plenty of water types to shoot. As you navigate around a swirling whirlpool, you’ll be able to spot several nautical flying types like Wingull and Pelipper, plus a Wailord that you couldn’t miss even if you tried your hardest. Depending on the research level and time of day, you end the the stage with Pelipper, Corsola, Mareanie, Lapras, Vaporeon, and Pyukumyuku. Toss some fluffruit and Illumina orbs into the giant whirlpool to get Blastoise to rocket out of it, or hit the two Crystabloom plants at the start of the stage to get Manaphy to pop up by the Wailord in later research stages.

Lental Seafloor

Perhaps the densest area of Maricopia, the seafloor gives you two completely different routes to explore once you unlock the Illumina Orb and can encourage the Clawitzer to blast away the rocks. While seeing Pelipper swimming beneath the water is cool, I was more fascinated by the interactions between Wailmer and other Pokémon like Octillery and Qwilfish. Later in the stage, you can get some great shots of two Clawitzer battling, as well as plenty of shots of Tentacruel as you head towards the surface. Once you unlock the cavern area of the Lental Seafloor, you have access to a few new Pokémon like Lanturn and Golisopod. If you give a Lanturn being harassed by Frillish a hand by tossing an Illumina orb at it, it’ll thank you by leading to Lugia’s secret lair.

The Illumina Spot of the Lental Seafloor gives you a run in with Wishiwashi in both Solo and School forms. Watching the monstrous School form swirl around you is almost terrifying in the dark depths. Not a ton of other Pokémon travel that deep, but on repeated journeys through the deep seas, Wailmer and Wailord showed up, but Wishiwashi’s School form remained the star.


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Sweltering Sands

If you’re tired of water and water types, fear not, as it’s off to the dry desert! Sweltering Sands, despite being a barren landscape, features a pretty strong selection of Pokémon. It’s hard to miss Cacnea rolling down the dunes or Mandibuzz circling overhead, but repeated playthroughs yield encounters with Pokémon like Tyranitar, Lycanroc, and more. If you come back at night, Lycanroc’s Mightnight form comes out to cause mischief, while other Pokémon like Silicobra, Sandshrew, and Kangaskhan stretch their legs. If you find yourself stuck on how to stop the tornado during the day, try lighting up all three Crystabloom plants by the one on the right to reveal Flygon.

Fireflow Volcano

If the desert wasn’t hot enough for you, how about an active volcano? Altaria and Archeops glide and lounge all around you, while majestic Luxray observe to make sure you don’t pull any funny business. As you descend into the volcano itself, you’ll spot all kinds of rock and fire types, including Monferno, Charmander, Aerodactyl, and Tyrantrum. Once you unlock higher research levels, you can take the right path to see a gathering of Flareon, Charmander, Slugma, and Torkoal, or go left and witness a showdown between Charizard and Tyrantrum. Keep your eyes open for Ho-oh on the right during the first area, then hit the three rainbow feathers on the alternate route with an Illumina orb to get a more up-close opportunity with the Legendary bird.

The Illumnia Spot of Fireflow Volcano is probably the most difficult, but it’s still pretty straightforward. The two Volcarona surrounds itself with flames, rendering Illumina Orbs useless. Toss some fluffruit their way and the fire will dissipate temporarily, allowing you to snap them in all their glory. On return visits to the spot, you can see additional Pokémon like Monferno, Talonflame, and Archeops, but you have better opportunity with them in the main Fireflow Volcano course.


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Shiver Snowfields

Up next, it’s out of the frying pan and into the … frozen tundra? The Shiver Snowfields deliver plenty of ice types for you to photograph. Beartic and Swinub are pretty easy to spot, as is Mamoswine, but don’t miss the Skarmory off in the distance. Nighttime visitors will have a shot at Delibird, Jynx, Vanilluxe, and Mightyena. Don’t miss your chance to lure out an Alolan Sandslash when you see its well-camouflaged quills sticking out from the snow.

Outaway Cave

Outaway Cave gives you lots of shots at Gengar, though few of them are truly great opportunities. The best way to get the ghastly ghost type on camera is to toss Illumina orbs into any swirling portals you see on walls or the floor. Always be on the lookout for bat Pokémon like Crobat and Noibat, as they’re a pretty steady presence. As you descend deeper, keep an eye out for Croagunk singing their tunes.

The Illumina Spot features a massive Steelix bursting through tunnels and leaping all around you. Simply snapping photos of it won’t do you any good; you need to light it up with several Illumina Orbs before Professor Mirror will accept your shots. Come back after you accomplish your mission and you’ll also spot Noibat, Carbink, and Sableye on the path. 


Ruins of Remembrance

The final area of the main campaign is the Ruins of Remembrance. Here, your research culminates as you learn more about the Illumina phenomenon. Houndoom prowl as if to guard what lurks beneath the ground, while Salandit and Noivern welcome you to the subterranean setting. Once you enter the main room of the ruins, you can spot plenty of creatures, ranging from Chandelure and Natu to Sigilyph and Golurk. You can also encounter Absol, but your main focus is to light up all of the Crystabloom plants to progress the story – try nudging the Natu that’s asleep on the Golurk’s shoulders if you can’t figure out how to get that last one to light up. Also, Jirachi is easy to miss, but it appears on top of one of the Illumina statues at higher research levels.

The final Illumina Spot lets you chase down the grand prize: Xerneas. The Legendary Pokémon from Pokémon X teleports all around you as you do your best to snap photos of it. Hit the glowing orb with your Illumina orbs to get Xerneas to emerge. When you come back to the spot, Xerneas is joined by Pokémon like Woobat, Umbreon, Sigilyph, and more.

For more on New Pokémon Snap, be sure to read our full review here and see our list of every Pokémon we’ve encountered (so far) here.


EA Play Live Dates Revealed For After E3 2021 In July

Electronic Arts separated from E3 years ago, and it continues to do so for the foreseeable future. Hosting its own event with EA Play, the dates for this year have been revealed, setting it one month after E3 2021. For those interested, EA Play Live 2021 will be a virtual event on July 22. 

While we don’t have any specifics about what EA Play Live has to offer this year, with so many leaks and rumors swirling around Battlefield 6 in recent weeks, we expect our first look at that title. More on FIFA could also be anticipated and possibly a glimpse at the rumored new Star Wars games. 

We may get a cinematic reveal for Battlefield 6 sometime this month or around E3 in June, with a full gameplay reveal in July for EA Play Live. It was teased that Battlefield 6 would be shown off “soon,” so we’re hoping for that staggered announcement schedule because we don’t want to wait until the end of July for our first look. 

I’m also hoping that we’ll see something more that EA has up its proverbial sleeve for Nintendo Switch owners. Last year was actually not bad for those that love the Nintendo hybrid platform; maybe we’ll see even more surprises this year. Madden, perhaps? More Star Wars adventures? 

I’m praying for the rumored Star Wars: The Old Republic remake to make an appearance. Even though the rumors state that it’s not the original team working on the project, it would be really awesome to see a confirmation and maybe even a trailer showing various improvements. Do I think that game will be at the show? No, not really, but we can dream. 

What are you hoping to see from EA Play Live this year? Are you excited to learn more about Battlefield 6? Sound off with your thoughts in the comment section below, and tell us what you’re hoping for regarding possible reveals! 


Subnautica: Below Zero Review – Thrilling New Depths

Publisher: Unknown Worlds Entertainment
Developer: Unknown Worlds Entertainment

May 14, 2021

Rating: Everyone 10+
Reviewed on: Xbox Series X/S
Also on:
PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC

The depths are treacherous. You don’t know what monster is hidden in the blackened waters, but you can hear its terrifying roar grow louder as you dive deeper. You know you are approaching your objective, but feel the monster is even closer. Subnautica: Below Zero delivers a continual sense of wonder and terror in its beautifully designed underwater exploration. Each dive is an empowering experience of discovery and self-preservation. When you come back up for air, you feel like you’ve accomplished something, unearthed a new mystery, and perhaps found what you needed to make your next dive even more rewarding.    

Below Zero is what every sequel should be, building upon the established core formula in clever ways to make the new content feel just as exciting and unpredictable. Holding true to the first game, the main attraction is once again a sprawling alien sea that dazzles with its unusual aquatic life, but the survival gameplay impresses far more now that its been streamlined to the point that it’s rarely stressful or a bother. Even though I would periodically have to fry up a fish to sate my hunger and/or thirst, the majority of my time was spent doing what I wanted at my own comfortable pace and in the order that made the most sense to me.

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A nicely penned science-fiction story is in lockstep with the discovery element, often overlapping in ways that impact your stance in the world and what you are capable of. Unknown Worlds does a fantastic job of leading the player along to points of interest without clearly labeling them. Audio and visual cues are effectively used, often making you question what something is or where it could go.

I don’t want to spoil what the discoveries are, but many are grand in design, stretching both the narrative and gameplay in directions that make the experience even more enthralling. While I was always on the hunt for the next big thing, the moment-to-moment collection of crafting materials is immensely satisfying and better balanced than that of the original game. Some discoveries have many layers to them. Take the comically named Sea Monkey for example. You learn early on that this curious beast likes your gadgets and will steal them away if you get too close. Later in the game (and after developing more a meaningful connection with the world through a big narrative plot twist), the Sea Monkey becomes your friend and will fetch supplies for you. The gameplay sometimes evolves with the story, and is yet another way Below Zero really impresses with its unexpected depth.

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I also appreciated just how stress-free most of the crafting is. In the first game, you were immediately tasked to repair a bunch of broken systems in your vessel. In Below Zero, everything is working as it should from the outset. The focus is instead applied to letting you explore on your own and build exactly what you want. That kind of freeing approach is applied to most of the game, even in reducing frustration in exploration. Yes, it’s a sprawling sea, but each area is subtly different in design, making it easy to know exactly where you are and what materials can be found there (especially when you can scan for them). Another nice touch is if you die with a beacon on you, you can find your way back. The air bladder is also much more effective this time around.

Not all discoveries occur underwater. After crash landing on Planet 4546B, xenologist (and protagonist) Robin Ayou gives us an immediate look at one of the sequel’s most effective surprises: true on-foot exploration. From time to time, you’ll step onto land and see what surprises await you, and they can be every bit as meaningful and unexpected as anything you find in the sea. The on-foot gameplay is as basic as it comes (walk and interact), but these sequences give a more complete snapshot of this wild alien world and help change up the gameplay flow.

As more of this planet is explored, you’ll develop the ability to build your own habitats, personalize them how you want (complete with posters and items you find), and eventually become a master of the sea capable of staring down a beast that would make Jaws turn tail and swim away in fright. Just know, these creatures almost always attack when you least expect them to, giving Below Zero some of the best jump scares out there and they aren’t even scripted.

Some of these screech-worthy encounters don’t exactly go as Unknown Worlds intended and can turn unexpectedly comedic when a beast clearly forgets how to accurately navigate a space, banging into walls and flopping around chaotically. Some escapes also are upended by graphical pop in that makes a giant iceberg materialize out of thin air right in front of you.  Below Zero is a little rough around the edges, but most of my playthrough was nice and smooth.

I can’t stress just how much fun each dive can be, and how fulfilling the discoveries are. Below Zero is one of the best survival games I’ve ever played, showing just how impactful player freedom can be within a world that you’ll want to explore every inch of.

Score: 9

Summary: This second dive into an alien sea delivers a continual sense of wonder with huge discoveries backed by a strong story.

Concept: A sequel that places more focus on story, reduces survival frustrations, and is all about that next great discovery

Graphics: The alien aquatic life is always fun to study and see if you can get close to. The more dangerous biomes and depths are also beautifully brought to life. However, some items pop into existence, and you’ll periodically see odd animations

Sound: A rightfully minimal soundtrack allows the little unknown sounds from the sea pop and potentially fill you with dread. The new voice acting is excellently implemented

Playability: Below Zero is all about figuring out your own path and moving at your own pace. The discoveries are always rewarding, and the nicely designed biomes makes harvesting much easier than before

Entertainment: It’s technically a survival game, but it feels more like a grand adventure that is free of many of the genre’s frustrations

Replay: High

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New World Highlights Dungeon Crawling In New Trailer

Today, Amazon Games showcased the upcoming PC MMORPG New World with a new trailer that highlights the expedition experience. Expeditions are similar to what players may be familiar with from other MMORPGs in terms of dungeon crawls, group-play endeavors with some puzzling, monster-slaying, and big rewards.. Today’s focus is on the Amrine Excavation, a 5-player delve into the unknown to unearth ancient treasures. Of course, we all know what happens when you head into a long-lost excavation in search of riches, you can be sure to find some other nasties down there as you try to get out with the goods. Check out the trailer below for a look at Amrine, as well as a broader overview of what’s coming with New World this August when it’s scheduled to release.

Click here to watch embedded media

Amrine Excavation is meant to be an introductory dungeon experience, so players can sort of cut their teeth on teaming up with other players and making their way through a traditional 5-player excursion here. Intro dungeons may not be the most important in terms of player progression, but they are an amazing tool to get players into the MMORPG experience and can be the most memorable. If you look at something like World of Warcraft, most old timers can tell you detailed stories about their first treks through Deadmines, Wailing Caverns, or Shadowfang Keep. Hopefully, New World’s dungeon experiences will prove to be compelling, repeatable content that gets players engaging with each other alongside the encounters.

New World has had its release date pushed back, so hopefully this summer release sticks. While COVID has had massive industry repercussions across the board for the gaming industry over the past year, New World has continually revamped, replaced, and altered systems and mechanics as they tinker with things leading up to release. We’ll see what New World can bring to the MMORPG table on August 31.