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Game Informer News Feed - Fri, 07/10/2020 - 22:45

Publisher: Bethesda Softworks Developer: Arkane Studios Release: Holiday 2020 Platform: PlayStation 5, PC

Arkane has made a name for itself with the gameplay freedom, creative abilities, and detailed worlds in the Dishonored and Prey franchises. Now Arkane Lyon is working on a new IP called Deathloop, bringing together the studio's strengths with some new twists. The first-person shooter tasks you with eliminating eight targets in a single day to break a time loop. But beware! A rival assassin, who can optionally be a PVP opponent, also hunts you. Deathloop was announced at E3 2019, and we got our first look at the gameplay in action recently. However, there’s still a lot we don’t know about this intriguing sci-fi experience. We recently sat down with Arkane Lyon to get some clarity on what to expect. 

On What’s Different From Past Games

If you watched the gameplay trailer, it was easy to see the echoes of Arkane’s previous properties, especially Dishonored. When asked about what’s being carried over from previous games and how Deathloop will have its own identity, game director Dinga Bakaba didn’t shy away from the familiarity. “Something we are bringing back that we care a lot about is the flexibility of the gameplay, the flexibility of the worlds - the player being able to sneak past situations or go in action-heavy to find creative and intuitive solutions to challenges,” he says. “We care about world-building and placing players in a world with a lot of interesting lore elements and little stories to uncover. There are also some abilities that we have in the game that you might have seen in the gameplay reveal that do resemble some that we had in the past.”

While it looks like Deathloop is speaking to the studio’s strengths, Bakaba also assured us there’s plenty of new lifeblood. “This project was really started on the premise of doing something different, to experiment with different concepts after eight years of doing Dishonored, he explains.

“I would say the story is more player-driven than [anything] we ever did before. You can do things in almost any order. That’s something new for us. The time loop itself is something very different in terms of the structure of the game and how you approach, for instance, dying in the game. And lastly, I would say another key element that is new is the multiplayer elements. Colt is trapped in a one-day time loop and in order to escape, he has to kill eight targets before the end of the day. One of those targets actually can be played by another player. The fact that the main antagonist of the game called Julianna can be played by another player is also one of the key novelties on display here.”

On How Arkane Keeps The Time-Loop Structure Engaging

Deathloop centers on its Groundhog Day-like structure; if you die before reaching the end of the day (or fail to meet certain objectives), you relive it until you beat all eight targets. But how does that stay interesting for a player beyond the challenge? Loops invite repetition, and that’s not always fun in games. We asked Bakaba how the structure stays engaging for the long haul. 

“The story progresses along with your actions and the knowledge that you piece together about the events,” he explains. “It's something that progresses iteratively, but as it progresses, the world resets. You're really trying to solve this impossible situation by learning more about your targets and the place, and once you know something, it’s knowledge you can act upon.” Bakaba uses the example of finding the code for a safe that holds important information, but it’s located in another district and can only be assessed in the morning. Obviously, you’d have to wait for the day to start anew to unearth those details and use that information. 

The island is divided into several districts. By entering them at different times of the day, you see different events and routines. “Depending on where you are, different things happen,” Bakaba says. “Just exploring all the permutations of those districts through the day is something that's exciting to do. And then starts the experimentation: But what if I do this? What happens then? Can I prevent this character from dying? Oh, wait a minute, I killed that character, but he was digging a hole, what if I don't kill him and come back in the afternoon and then maybe this opens the passageway to something else. It is really about this clockwork; pushing a domino here, pushing a domino there, and then seeing the ripple effects.”

Bakaba also confirmed there is “no such thing as a perfect day,” meaning there will be some slight variations and differences each time a day resets. For instance, maybe a character wears a different color shirt, eats something different for breakfast, or begins the day in a different mood. The main events are always the same, but little details may change.  “[The experience is] more about what the player is throwing into this and how they’re making it change. So there is all this exploration and then experimentation, you know, trying different things and taking a different approach.” Bakaba spoke about giving players more agency to either avoid certain challenges until they’re ready or just discovering different ways to approach things that might offer new or better results. 

At the end of the day, your goal is to find “the golden loop,” a way to complete this eight-target puzzle.  How many times players repeat days before they find it will vary. “How you get to that knowledge is really freeform,” he explains. “Even though this is about Colt being on the clock to take out the targets before midnight, we didn’t want the experience to be a race, so time in that sense is a bit abstracted. If you want to spend all your time in one district and read every note before you go on to the next day, you’re welcome to do that. I am sure some players will try to make a super-optimized version of the campaign where they take fewer loops to be able to complete the game. I think that would be interesting to see what speedrunners do with this game.”

On Creating Cool Weapons And How Progression Works

Arkane has a flair with creating nifty abilities and weapons that open up different ways to pursue situations. That’s not changing here. In fact, one of the big things the studio was excited for creating a first-person shooter and creating interesting guns. 

“This is the first first-person shooter we are doing since two of our projects, Return to Ravenholm and The Crossing, never shipped,” Bakaba says. “So it’s been a long time and we just wanted to make really big guns and really look awesome and have those nice toys for the player. Our approach here was to go for an arsenal that was accessible, so I would see it and immediately be able to say, ‘Okay, that's a shotgun, that's a precise pistol, that’s an automated assault rifle.’ We wanted to have those tent poles of first-person shooters, but give them their own vibe visually in terms of gameplay. We also wanted to make a few little bit crazier weapons.” Bakaba pointed to one of the guns we saw in the trailer as a good example, where you can use two guns that shoot two bullets, but can combine them into a full rifle that fires off four bullets in one burst. “It's a nice weapon, it's stylish, it allows us to do those cool animations when you combine the gun. It’s one of my favorites.” 

As for abilities, Bakaba said to expect some familiar ones from Arkane’s previous work, pointing to the shift ability, which functions similarly to Dishonor’s Blink, where you’re teleported to an area nearby. A new one he shared was Julianna’s signature ability. “Colt and Juliana have a vast set of abilities and weapons that they can access, which they share for story reasons, but each has a few specificities and one of Julianna’s is a power we call masquerade,” he says. “Masquerade allows you to take the appearance of any character on the island, any of the NPCs. You can play a mind game on Colt and make some kind of ambush. There is a number of things you can do with this power and we think it will be very exciting to see what players will do with it, especially the kinds of mind games and the kind of surprises that will arise from this.” Bakaba reiterated the abilities always make sense for the character and reflect their personality in some way. 

One part that especially has us curious is how progression works in a game where you’re literally starting each day anew. “When you're playing through the campaign, especially in the beginning, it's a time loop, right? So anything that you pick up whenever the day resets is gone," Bakaba says. "You have to really deal with the fact that this is a time loop. But somewhere in the story, there is something important that happens, and the Colt finds some kind of loophole, so to speak, and he's able to keep some of those abilities across loops. From then on, the progression becomes a bit closer to what you'd expect from a modern action/RPG, where you can unlock those abilities. So, it's interesting because we go through this phase where we're really subject to the rules of the time loop, and then more and more, we start breaking those rules and Colt starts taking ownership of this world.”

On How The Story Is Told And The Assassins' Unique Relationship

The story takes you to the island of Blackreef, a mysterious, chaotic place stuck in an eternal time loop. For the inhabitants, the island is a never-ending party and breathtaking wonderland. For Colt, it’s a prison – a world ruled by decadence where the delinquents keep him captive while their party never stops. Colt must find answers to why the time loop exists and discover a way to break it, but that’s only scratching the surface of this sci-fi tale. “In all of our games, we've been trying to toy with the concept that the world is much bigger than what you see,” Bakaba teased. 

Bakaba said Arkane wanted a really focused experience, so expect something more on the order of Prey’s space station. “We are telling much less of a linear story than we did in something like Dishonored, where you would go from one place to the other and have emotional beats along the way that we could control like a blocking cutscene,” he says. “Here, the player will really piece together the story at their own pace. And there are a number of narrative design elements that go into supporting that; there's non-linearity and the fact that we have multiplayer components”

Bakaba said there’s an element here they can’t talk about, but one he could mention was the relationship between Colt and Julianna. These two are at odds. Colt desperately wants to break the time loop, since it’s not the best day for him playing on repeat. Julianna will do everything in her power to keep it going, as she sees this as the ultimate playground with no consequences. Colt and Juilianna’s rival relationship is a core element of the narrative, as she’s the main person you’re conversing with during the adventure.

“They talk with each other very often during the story, which is a bit reactive based on what you just did, where you are, and with what you've uncovered with the narrative up until now, Bakaba says. “It’s a relationship that is built. Trying to draw a comparison, it's something like you would get in something like Firewatch where you're very often on the radio with Delilah and you have this relationship growing and taking left turns.”

Bakaba said it’s a more freeform narrative, and while Arkane certainly has some new tools for how it’s telling Deathloop’s story, it also brings in its signature environmental storytelling that invites exploration to uncover Blackreef’s deeper mysteries. “I think it's the most player-driven narrative that we've done in a game until now,” he says.”

On What The Eight Different Targets Bring To The Table

Deathloop has its own cool, retro, ‘60s-inspired world, and it’s safe to say interesting people inhabit it. But what makes these eight targets special? More importantly, how do they impact the gameplay and environments we visit?

Bakaba said the team will take more about this at a later date, but he did divulge a bit about the first target named Alexis, who was shown off in trailers. “One thing I’ll say about him is he’s not a very likable character, and he’s hosting this crazy party at night where everyone is dressed as a wolf,” he says. “There’s this strict dress code to the party and figuring out which one is Alexis is definitely part of the challenge in how you approach the mission, especially the first time when you don’t have any clues.”

Bakaba didn’t go into specifics about the rest of the cast, but he did leave us with this on what to expect: “The only thing I can say is that we really try to have a diverse cast of targets. They are all part of a group called The Visionaries. They are the people that are responsible for the time loop - the physical anchors of the phenomenon. That's why they have to die. We have targets that have different views and different beliefs about the events.

"One of them might be seeing all of this as something more spiritual, or even religious to an extent. One of them will be more about seeing all this endeavor as a scientific experiment. For another one of them, it’s a moral thing, where the time loop is the only way we can be free because there is no consequence. They all have different reasons for kickstarting this whole crazy program together. As we do in our games, the environments in which you find them is really a reflection of who they are and what they bring to the program.”

As you can see, Deathloop has plenty of mysteries to uncover, and we can't wait to see what's in store. Hopefully, we'll learn more in the coming months before release, but our chat certainly left us more intrigued. What do you think so far? 

Deathloop launches this holiday season for PS5 and PC.

Categories: Games

Desperados 3 - The Quick-load And The Dead

Gamespot News Feed - Fri, 07/10/2020 - 17:00

Imagine being able to take back every mistake you make, instantly, reliving each moment over and over until it plays out as you hoped. In less astute hands, it could feel like an exercise in trial and error. In Desperados 3, however, it unfolds in masterful fashion, providing ample scope for you to dream up a multitude of creative plans alongside the ability to reset the board in a flash should the plan fail. It's a rapidfire process of forming an hypothesis, testing it and tossing it aside. By encouraging experimentation at every turn, Desperados 3 proves a stealth tactics game where invention thrives.

Stealth games can often degenerate into a loop of quick-saving and quick-loading. Desperados 3 is built around that loop, an aspect reinforced by a tutorial which instructs you on how to quick-save and quick-load before it tells you how to deal with an enemy. It's hammered home by regular pop-up notifications informing you of the time since you last quick-saved. You can customise this reminder--tweaking the delay or disabling it entirely--but the fact the default setting is to nudge you every 60 seconds ought to stress the importance of quick-saving.

Archetypal gunslinger John Cooper and his friends are rather fragile, even on the normal difficulty setting, while the cadres of thugs, gunwomen and assorted rifle-toting outlaws they find themselves up against are very much of the "shoot first, ask questions later" mindset. So when a plan heads south--as even the most meticulously observed ones are wont to do, usually when one of the gang gets spotted or occasionally a carelessly discarded body is found--it's very much a case of the quick-load and the dead.

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Categories: Games

CrossCode Review - A Lot Of Ambition

Gamespot News Feed - Thu, 07/09/2020 - 21:30

It's been a long, long road for CrossCode to finally hit consoles. The 16-bit throwback RPG started life as a widely praised 2012 tech demo, enjoyed a super-funded 2015 Indiegogo campaign, and then arrived on Steam in 2018. Two years later, it's hard not to feel that all this runway has caused CrossCode to be overly ambitious and complicated--even for veteran genre players. As I was sailing into my 20th hour and still trying to not second-guess my shaky strategy for the vast amount of stats that can be customized and stacked, the game was still unspooling tutorials and rolling out new wrinkles. CrossCode is a lot of game to wrap your head around, and one whose expansive menu screens and tutorials double as a mechanically overbearing strategy guide that cannot be skimmed to even start to get your bearings. Playing CrossCode can be a bit like going on a road trip without GPS: Every few miles, you have to pull over and unfold an unwieldy road atlas.

CrossCode, at its heart, is not a retro-styled hollow homage to Super Nintendo titles like 1993's Secret of Mana and 1995's Chrono Trigger. Instead, it's something more like a full-throated continuation of their tradition of exploring massive worlds full of side quests, puzzles, colorful characters, and gear to collect--while also building on their thornier, more tactical contemporaries. CrossCode's fondness for this era of action role-playing games is clear out of the gate: Both the opening menu screen and introductory sequences set the tone with plaintive piano, chiming bells, and an oozing chiptune soundtrack that wouldn't be out of place on one of those "lofi beats to relax/study to" YouTube playlists that lean more heavily into nostalgia. The pixel art style doubles down on all this.

The above is in sharp contrast to the game taking place in a fictional, modern MMORPG called CrossWorlds. That is, CrossCode is a single-player game taking place in an in-game MMO where other characters speak and behave either as other players or NPCs. It's a world filled with guilds, griefers, and other player characters running through, too busy questing and level-grinding to hold still and talk with you. And just like in a real MMO, the other players you make your way on with will chat and open up about their lives--and give you due notice when they feel they've been playing way too long and need to log out and take a break.

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Categories: Games

Superhot: Mind Control Delete Coming Next Week, Free If You Bought The Original

Game Informer News Feed - Thu, 07/09/2020 - 18:53

Publisher: Superhot Team Developer: Superhot Team Release: February 25, 2016 (PC, Mac, Linux), May 3, 2016 (Xbox One), July 9, 2017 (PlayStation 4), August 19, 2019 (Switch), July 1, 2020 (Stadia) Rating: Teen Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, Stadia, PC, Mac, Linux

Superhot delivered a unique twist on the first-person shooter when it originally launched in 2016, making it so that when you stood still, everything else in the world did as well. The formula led to a new, more tactical way to approach shootouts, with the cherry on top being the intriguing lore found in the world of Superhot. While players could expand the experience in virtual reality through Superhot VR, an all-new title called Superhot: Mind Control Delete has been announced, and best of all, those who buy the original Superhot before the new title's release get the game for free.

Superhot: Mind Control Delete began development three years ago as a free expansion to Superhot, but the scope of the game quickly expanded to become larger than that of the original. What started out as a rogue-lite experience quickly turned into something else entirely. Mind Control Delete features similar gameplay to the original, but the levels are far less linear. This entry adds new enemy types, weapons, abilities, and power-ups. According to a PlayStation Blog post from co-director Cezary Skorupka, it features a, "'non-existent' story that is waiting for you to explore and experience rather than being rammed at you in high-speed like in the original Superhot."

Click here to watch embedded media

According to Skorupka, every time the team tried to add new features and implement new ideas, it felt like it set the project back. Superhot Team went back to the drawing board multiple times, rewriting the story, redoing the upgrade system, changing the U.I., and removing things like rotating challenges, boss fight arenas, a progression-based in-game currency, and even a fake internet app. After several years of fine-tuning Mind Control Delete, the team feels as though it has something special. The finished project, according to Skorupka, will take dozens of hours to complete.

Those who purchased the original Superhot (or buy it prior to July 16), can get Superhot: Mind Control Delete for free. Those who purchased it on PS4 will find Mind Control Delete automatically added to their games library at launch. Those who bought it on Xbox One should be on the lookout for a system message around Mind Control Delete's launch with a voucher for the new title. If you purchased the game on any other platform, you can email your receipt to freemcdplease@superhotgame.com to receive a DRM-free copy of Mind Control Delete for PC, Mac, or Linux. It's important to note that this offer only applies to those who purchase the game (giveaways or vouchers do not count) prior to July 16, so if you want to take advantage of the deal, you need to buy the original Superhot on your platform of choice before then.

Superhot: Mind Control Delete hits July 16 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Mac, and Linux. 

[Source: Superhot on YouTube, PlayStation Blog]

Categories: Games

Slay The Spire Review - Trend Setter

Gamespot News Feed - Thu, 07/09/2020 - 18:44

Deck-building can prove intimidating. Trying to determine synergies and strategies when starting out is a tall task, and pairing that with a roguelike--where failure in battle will send you back to the start of another randomized dungeon--might seem downright overwhelming. Yet thanks to a setup that encourages experimentation and is rewarding to play even when you're failing, Slay the Spire marries roguelikes and deckbuilders beautifully--and it's easy to see why it's helped to popularize this burgeoning mix of genres.

Slay the Spire sees you take part in a series of battles, amassing a collection of cards that dictate your every action in combat: There are cards that launch attacks, allow you to defend yourself, buff you, or nerf enemies. Most cards in and of themselves are relatively simple, consisting of a straightforward action and an associated cost. Battles see you ascend the titular spire and acquire new cards, relics, and single-use potions, and you'll need to weigh the various routes as you go, opting in or out of mini-bosses that promise great rewards but threaten to bring your run to a halt. Whether you make it to the end or not, you'll then start all over again, only to face another randomized set of encounters with a fresh loadout.

Slay the Spire on Nintendo Switch

The structure is familiar, and it's easy to assume that your early runs (which can last up to two hours or so) show you all that Slay the Spire has to offer. Making progress permanently unlocks additional, more complex cards that you can encounter and integrate into your deck during future runs, which expands your range of choices, but it's in the relics system that the game reveals its true depth.

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Categories: Games

Story Of Seasons: Friends Of Mineral Town Review - When The Seasons Change

Gamespot News Feed - Wed, 07/08/2020 - 14:00

Harvest Moon, and now Story of Seasons, have thrived on their personality above all else. With each entry in the series offering fresh story and minimal improvements to gameplay, replaying one of the older titles is asking for disappointment, even if it has a new coat of paint. Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town brings the 2003 Game Boy Advance title into 2020 with enjoyable cutesy graphics and personality, but does little to add depth to the already outdated gameplay..

After choosing from an extremely limited set of character customization options, you set out to take over a farm left to you by your late grandfather, where you once spent the summer 20 years ago. It's unclear why your character left whatever life they had behind, but you are quickly thrust into the day-to-day work of maintaining a farm, starting with crops.

Growing crops is one of the main methods of making money, but progression is slow. You can't improve your crop yields in any meaningful way until the option to buy better farm soil becomes available in the second year, which is 25 to 30 hours into the game. Upgrading the watering can allows you to tend to more crops at once, but the increased stamina usage makes for minimal improvement to your crop yield.

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Categories: Games

Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing In Disguise Review

Gamespot News Feed - Wed, 07/08/2020 - 14:00

Warning: This review contains spoilers for the first Deadly Premonition.

The first Deadly Premonition was an anomaly, a seemingly unintentional oddity that enjoyed cult success by happenstance. It was an oxymoron of character development and unpredictable storytelling accompanied by a clunky, unintuitive gameplay experience. Its sequel, Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing In Disguise, follows suit; however, though the return of the original's off-kilter writing, outlandish characters, and disturbing twists is an exciting prospect, it all feels diluted this time around, missing many of the flavor notes that defined its predecessor. There are incredible moments worth experiencing, all of which are held together by the game's protagonist, Francis York Morgan. But inexcusably poor performance issues (even by Deadly Premonition standards) make it hard to recommend to anyone outside the existing fandom. And even then, Deadly Premonition 2 stumbles in some of the places that made the first truly special.

The game flips between the past and the present, first beginning in 2019, which is 10 years after the Greenvale case from the first game. FBI agent Francis York Morgan, now Francis Zach Morgan, has neither fully recovered from the tragic loss of his love, nor the revelation of his dual identity, and is now a retired recluse in his Boston, Massachusetts apartment. Seeing Morgan for the first time is jarring; he looks frail, sick, and alarmingly grey. He doesn't come off as slick and charming as he once did, but rather deranged and unstable, murmuring and talking to himself in the midst of a hoarder's dirty apartment--it's a stark contrast from the agent we know and love. The once illustrious agent, regaled for his inexplicable, and rather supernatural, investigation techniques, is now under scrutiny by the very bureau he once worked for.

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Categories: Games

Death Come True - Hotel Hell

Gamespot News Feed - Wed, 07/08/2020 - 05:15

The experience of waking up with a foggy mind in a weird, unfamiliar hotel room is already distressing, but there are myriad ways it could be even worse. Let's say you blacked out so hard that not only do you not remember last night, you don't remember anything at all. Making things even more upsetting, there's an unconscious woman with her hands tied up laying in the bathtub. The real kicker, though, would be seeing a news report with your face on it describing you as a wanted serial killer. And now someone's knocking on your door…

Death Come True is the latest project from Danganronpa creator Kazutaka Kodaka. Much like that beloved adventure series, Death Come True places the protagonist in a horrifying, deadly situation where the only way out is to uncover the mystery of what's really going on. But the approach here is very different: Where Danganronpa told its twisted sagas of death and despair through visual novel-style presentations, Death Come True is presented as a live-action film with branching paths. While the heavy use of full-motion video (FMV) has seen an interesting comeback in games like Her Story and Control, Death Come True hearkens back to the simpler, experimental FMV adventure games of the mid-'90s--all the while reminding us of what was good and bad about those titles.

Protagonist Makoto has no idea where he is, how he got here, or even who he is--save for the TV report describing him as a serial killer--but he knows something's deeply amiss in this hotel. Things quickly go from bad to worse when Makoto, through your choices, makes another unsettling discovery: When he dies, he wakes up again in the same hotel bed to restart and repeat the same sequence of events over again, so not even death can free him from the bizarre reality he's trapped in.

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Categories: Games

Marvel's Iron Man VR Review - I Am Iron Man

Gamespot News Feed - Wed, 07/08/2020 - 03:15

Where so many VR games still fall back on restricted controls, the PlayStation VR-exclusive Iron Man VR asks you to learn and master its unique flight controls if you really want to feel like a Marvel superhero. Getting comfortable in Tony Stark’s iron skin makes you feel like you know what it’s like to "be" Iron Man in a way no standard game could. At the same time, the game around that core mechanic feels overly thin. With reused environments, recycled mission objectives, and a predictable story that overstays its welcome, Iron Man VR quickly loses its luster.

For better and for worse, Iron Man VR tells a complete ripped-from-the-page Marvel comic storyline. Tony Stark squares off with a mysterious new villain, the Ghost, who uses an army of old Stark Industries drones to systematically terrorize him and his company. The Ghost invokes Stark’s past of making weapons and selling them indiscriminately, forcing him to reckon with his past self as well.

Like Insomniac's Spider-Man, Iron Man VR is an original variation of existing Iron Man stories, with vague allusions to moments that comic book and MCU fans will know, which makes it easy for any Marvel fan to jump in and follow along. It's a bit too familiar, though. Retreading themes and issues you've already seen Iron Man work through in both the comics and films, Stark's struggles, both internal and the threats he faces on the battlefield, feel a bit stale. And though there’s a complicated, long-winded plot, you can identify every twist from a mile away.

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Categories: Games

Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown Announced

Game Informer News Feed - Tue, 07/07/2020 - 19:00

Click here to watch embedded media

The Test Drive Unlimited has been dormant for years; the last installments were Test Drive Unlimited 2 in 2011 and Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends in 2012. Since then, the IP has changed hands – today it is owned by Nacon. Now, with developer KT Games behind the wheel (the team behind the recent WRC titles), Test Drive is racing back to relevance with a brand new entry.

Apart from confirming the game's existence and name (Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown), not much solid info is available beyond the brief teaser trailer above. According to a Nacon press release, the game "retains the DNA of the series, which is based on a love of beautiful cars and the joy of driving around a luxurious island world recreated at 1:1 scale."  

More info regarding platforms and a release date are undoubtedly in this game's future, so keep your eyes on the road.

Categories: Games

Steelrising Is A New Action/RPG With A Historical Twist

Game Informer News Feed - Tue, 07/07/2020 - 19:00

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Developer Spiders is the studio behind games like The Technomancer and Greedfall, and today it revealed a new action/RPG with a historical twist.

Steelrising is set in an alternate version of Paris during the French Revolution. Controlling the automaton Aegis, players fight against the robotic armies of King Louis XVI. You can get a general flavor for the characters and campaign by watching the reveal trailer above.

Previous titles from Spiders have toyed with player agency and even taken inspiration from Souls games, but have had a general lack of polish bring the experiences down. Only time will tell how Spiders will blend action/RPG conventions this time, and how it addresses feedback from earlier efforts.

Steelrising is being published by Nacon and releasing in 2021.

 

Categories: Games

Get A Long Look At Windbound's Gameplay

Game Informer News Feed - Mon, 07/06/2020 - 20:33

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Publisher: Koch Media Developer: Deep Silver Release: August 28, 2020 Rating: Everyone 10+ Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC

Windbound is an upcoming survival game with stylish visuals and exploration-focused gameplay. Ahead of the game's August 28 release, publisher Deep Silver and developer 5 Lives Studios have released a lengthy look at the game in action.

As protagonist Kara, Windbound has players scavenging for resources, fighting creatures, and sailing a ship between islands in a seafaring adventure. By watching the video above, you can learn more about how all of that works, as well as how the game is structured.

Windbound is releasing for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC.

Categories: Games

Shadow Warrior 3 Coming In 2021

Game Informer News Feed - Mon, 07/06/2020 - 18:23

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Publisher: Devolver Digital Developer: Flying Wild Hog

With a transition to the next generation of consoles ahead of us, Shadow Warrior may not be on the top of everyone's mind. However, today publisher Devolver Digital and developer Flying Wild Hog are reminding gamers about this FPS series with an announcement trailer revealing that Shadow Warrior 3 is in the works. 

The cinematic trailer (above) is just a teaser, with a look at full gameplay coming on July 11. Shadow Warrior 3 releases in 2021.

Though PC is the only officially announced platform right now, the odds of the game coming to consoles are good.  Shadow Warrior and Shadow Warrior 2 (our review) released on PS4 and Xbox One, so we'll likely hear more about other platforms further down the road.

Categories: Games

Ninjala Review - Stylish Stealth

Gamespot News Feed - Fri, 07/03/2020 - 00:54

In a landscape already oversaturated with live games, differentiation is vital. Ninjala attempts to forge its own path through a combination of bubbly style and unique melee mechanics. And though it's light on content and heavy on microtransactions at launch, those two qualities are enough to make it stand out, and could give it the necessary staying power to live on long-term.

The mechanical differentiation comes from eschewing the usual shooter tropes of competitive online games. Instead, Ninjala is a multiplayer game focused primarily around melee combat, forcing tight confrontations between kid-ninjas with limited range. That gives it a feeling akin to a game like Devil May Cry, as you may see an opponent from a distance and charge in to do battle and then dash off quickly. The attack button is mapped to the shoulder like a traditional shooter by default, but I found a different control preset that set it to a face button much more natural to the character-action feel.

The weapons are limited to only three types--balanced katana, powerful hammers, and ranged yo-yos--but they produce a surprising amount of variety. The weapon types come with a handful of design variants, each with their own special properties and powerful ultimate ability. Finding your preferred playstyle is a matter of narrowing down the options, first by toying with the weapon classes themselves and then diving into the next layer to find which combination of special abilities suits you. None of the weapons feel obviously overpowered compared to the rest, so it really comes down to personal preference.

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Categories: Games

Cyberpunk 2077's Shades Of Gray

Game Informer News Feed - Thu, 07/02/2020 - 20:14

Publisher: CD Projekt Developer: CD Projekt Red Release: November 19, 2020 (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, PC), TBA (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X) Rating: Rating Pending Platform: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

We recently had the amazing opportunity to go hands-on with Cyberpunk 2077, which you can read about in our full playthrough impressions as well as our biggest takeaways article. We also sat down with some of CD Projekt Red’s talented developers, learning more about their creative process and how they approached this ambitious project. One topic that consistently surfaced was the team's signature shades-of-gray storytelling and how it enhances the experience.

During our four-hour demo, we wrestled with who to trust, never feeling completely confident in our decisions or what the consequences would be. If you played CD Projekt Red’s Witcher series, you know this feeling all too well, but with each passing project, the developers only seem to be getting better at keeping you on your toes and making you second-guess your actions. To learn how much care and thought goes into these interactions, we asked lead quest designer Paweł Sasko for more insight into the complicated process. 

“It’s a very complex thing,” Sasko says, laughing. “It’s very easy when you design things to just fall into one [extreme] or another, and this is how our production style comes into play.” According to Sasko, every quest gets created with the writer, quest designer, and cinematic designer working together and challenging each other to show different sides to the character. “We’re always keeping each other in check… to figure out the correct way to present elements or the character when you look at it from their perspective,” he says. “We always look at it from a perspective of balance.” 

Sasko says it comes down to feedback from both designers and testers. If they feel strongly against a character, the designers come together to think of ways to better showcase the character’s point of view and give more context for their actions. Sasko worked on the famous Bloody Baron quest from The Witcher 3, where you find out the man who offered his hospitality to Ciri also has an abusive past. “One of our objectives was to find a parallel between Geralt as a father and Baron as a father, but also throw enough bad things in there so the player will like him and dislike him at the same time,” Sasko says. “This is what we are almost constantly playing with in Cyberpunk 2077, having it be like in real life where people say one thing and then do another.”  

CD Projekt Red goes to great lengths to pull this off in its games, using body language and dialogue to throw you in different directions. Just like in real life, you can never really know someone’s true intentions or what they’re thinking. Cyberpunk 2077 offers a world of danger, where it feels like everyone is out for themselves, just waiting to pull one over on you. As customized protagonist V, you must try to navigate these shady people to the best of your abilities, and deal with the repercussions. “It might be that a character is speaking in a very convincing manner, but through the animations, through their poses, and through the setup of the scene, we are showing that the character is not like that,” Sakso says. 

A character in our demo named Evelyn is a good example of this. Evelyn is shrouded in mystery when you meet her; she's a confident, charming young woman who contracted Dex, the fixer you get one of your first big jobs from. All your interactions with her prove she has some connection to Night City’s high circles, but every time you ask her questions, it feels like you’re only getting half the story. At one point, she offers to just cut Dex out of the deal so only you two split the riches. It’s suspicious, but then again, you don’t know Dex that well. Still, are you ready to cross a legendary fixer who could make your life hell? 

“When you're meeting Evelyn in Lizzie’s [Bar], she's doing very specific things in the specific moments and there are things she is not certain about that she’s discussing,” Sasko says. “The way she's moving in that scene, that's specifically designed to present that character in the best possible way, and to give the player lots of different interpretations and hypotheses.” 

Sasko says the team then throws in more potential clues to give players a certain perspective or vision of the character. Then in the next meeting with the character, the team tries to twist this a bit by adding more elements to the picture that test or confirm the player's hypothesis. It’s a tricky balance between conveying a sense of who that character is as a person, but also reflecting the complexity of people and their capacity to omit, forget, or alter details. After all, memory is a tricky thing, and people’s versions of events sometimes change as they relay them.  

The audio and dialogue also play a huge role in uncovering new information and giving you different ways to interpret characters. “When you talk to the characters and ask more questions, they can actually throw things in that are contradictory or will give you some more clues to what they really think to make you question things,” Sasko says. “It’s just really fun because that makes the player be conscious and look at the characters. Of course, we cannot be all over the place with that, because if you go completely random, then it won't work. It has to be designed very specifically.”

People are complicated, multi-dimensional beings, and CD Projekt Red certainly likes to display that in its games. In Cyberpunk 2077, there are no correct answers – just a bunch of choices and seeing where they lead. Either way, we can’t wait to see more of the intriguing people and conundrums V will face.  

Categories: Games

Outriders' Structure Explained In New Video

Game Informer News Feed - Thu, 07/02/2020 - 19:40

Click to watch embedded media

Publisher: Square Enix Developer: People Can Fly Release: 2020 Platform: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Outriders is the upcoming cooperative shooter/RPG from developer People Can Fly and publisher Square Enix, and the companies are giving eager players a new look at the game in action. The latest video dives into how Outriders' world and quests are structured.

Highlights include some info about your base/truck, a look at some members of your crew, and an explanation about how the hub-and-spoke layout of the map accommodates different sidequests. Get those details and more by watching the footage above.

To learn even more about Outriders, check out our rapid-fire interview, along with our coverage hub full of other exclusive features.

Categories: Games

Hyper Scape - Battle Like Everyone's Watching

Game Informer News Feed - Thu, 07/02/2020 - 19:16

Publisher: Ubisoft Developer: Ubisoft

The battle royale arena always has new contenders entering, taking shots at the big players in the genre. Today, Ubisoft showed off its latest first-person foray into the battle royale ring, Hyper Scape. With 100 players, three-person squads, and some mechanics that change things up for longtime fans of the "where we dropping?" genre, Ubisoft is betting heavily on another element to power its boisterous bash: the viewers. Tapping into the world of streaming integration, Hyper Scape allows viewers to engage with the players in important ways, like voting on in-game events to change the shape of the game. Hyper Scape is free-to-play and coming to Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.

The game begins in a familiar fashion. In a waiting room, players wander around and size each other up as the player count ticks up. Then, it's drop time! Pods fly down from the sky (no fall damage) and allow you to pick and prioritize your landing zone. The major landmarks contain significantly more loot than the smaller ones, but as is the standard, you'll probably have to blast your way out of an early conflict to walk away with the gear.

Gear in Hyper Scape works a bit differently than other battle royales. Your weapons and abilities have different tiers that can be upgraded by collecting multiple copies, making those extra guns a boon when you find them. So if you have a shotgun and find another shotgun, it might upgrade the magazine size, and the next copy might upgrade the damage. Upgrade enough times, and you max out a weapon or ability, turning it golden. If you're really lucky, you can find golden items out in the wild without having to do any upgrading at all. If you're looking to score some fully-upgraded loot right away, the hot spots often contain them.

Click here to watch embedded media

Hyper Scape keeps it simple with two weapons and two abilities. That's your kit. Some of the abilities are familiar fare – healing, teleporting, invisibility – but I had a ton of fun with the bouncy ball. Yes, one of the skills you can pick up is an armored ball that you can bounce around in to giant heights, and then jump out of your ball midair and let loose a salvo at the enemy. The ball is a great way to dive into combat or escape a dangerous encounter, plus it looks really cool and plays up the game's vertical focus.

One mechanic that battle royales are tackling today is how to handle death. What happens if your teammate dies? Well, in Hyper Scape you can bring them back with a little effort, but the journey to make that happen is the most interesting angle. When a player dies in a squad scenario, they become a ghost. They're still in the game, but they can't interact with anything, meaning they still have sight and can feed you information regarding enemy movements with zero risks. If you defeat an enemy, a beacon appears where they've been slain, and your fallen teammate can head to this beacon and sit on it. At the beacon, you can revive your dead ally. They come back without their loot, but ready to get back in the action. This means theoretically a player could come back in a match many times, assuming they have savvy teammates willing to take risks and communicate to bring them back.

As with other battle royales, the field of play whittles down as areas of the cityscape collapse in stylish fashion over the course of a game, which feels less like a strict circle closing in and more about closing off the field chunk by chunk. With all the death involved in a final-zone scenario, you may be wondering how things get resolved when teams can potentially bring their allies back to life many times. That's where the crown comes in. In the late game, when players are corralled into the final district, a crown will spawn. If a player on your team can hold the crown for a short period of time, you win and the game is over. Of course, you are highlighted on the map while holding the hot potato, so everyone remaining is gunning for you. If you go down holding the crown, someone else can grab it, and the action continues until one team is left or a player holds the crown long enough.

It's 2020 and visibility and watchability are key factors for some games. Hyper Scape is one of those titles. With a robust Twitch extension, viewers can alter the game state in real-time by voting on alterations. Want to see some low-gravity action? Vote! Unlimited ammo? Vote! Health for everyone? Vote it up! As a viewer, you can have a direct impact on the game by slinging votes and then watching how your favorite players and teams handle the new rules. There are other ways that viewers can interact with Hyper Scape and streamers, like integration that allows you to play with your favorite streamer without any laborious friend invites; it's all handled by the extension. It's stream-centered gameplay from the ground up, so we'll see if Ubisoft's bid to win the viewers via integration pays off.

You can score an invite to Hyper Scape right now via drops by watching your favorite streamers, with more information on a wide release coming in the future.

Categories: Games

Furi Creators Bringing Co-Op RPG Haven To PS5, PS4

Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 07/01/2020 - 22:56

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Publisher: The Game Bakers Developer: The Game Bakers Release: 2020 Platform: PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Switch, PC

Developers The Game Bakers are taking a different approach for Haven compared to the studio's last title, action game Furi. Haven is designed as a simpler, less-frantic PS5/PS4 co-op action/RPG.

Creative director Emeric Thoa says he was inspired by the game Flower and its chill gameplay. Although Haven has standard elements like crafting, different approaches to combat, and much more, the aim was to make things as simple and un-confusing as possible, doing away with complex skill trees, crafting systems, and UI overload.

Instead, Haven wants you to focus on controlling Yu and Kay as they explore the world – including enabling seamless drop-in co-op – and becoming invested in the couple's story.

Haven was announced as part of Sony's PlayStation Indies initiative, but does not yet have a release date for either version.

Categories: Games

New Narrative Adventure, Where The Heart Is, Coming To PS4

Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 07/01/2020 - 18:01

Developer: Armature Studio Platform: PlayStation 4

Revealed as part of PlayStation's recently announced indie-focused initiative, Where the Heart Is is an new narrative adventure slated to hit PS4 later this year.

The game is being developed by Armature Studio, and tells the strange story of a man named Whit Anderson. He falls down a sinkhole on his family farm, and then relives moments of his life in a series of vignettes. These story scenes have a dream-like quality, and players have the opportunity to make choices that impact the course of Whit's life and the consequences of his actions.

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You can get more details (and see more of the game in motion) by checking out the spotlight on the PlayStation Blog.

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Right now, Where the Heart Is has only been announced for PlayStation 4. However, since the game is releasing this winter, the question of a possible PlayStation 5 release naturally arises. Though the team has no additional platform announcements at this time, a PR representative for Armature Studio tells us that the team is incredibly excited for the PlayStation 5 and what it means for gamers and developers. 

Categories: Games

F.I.S.T.: Forged In Shadow Torch Brings Bionic Bunnies

Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 07/01/2020 - 17:31

Developer: TiGames Platform: PlayStation 4

Today brought the reveal of F.I.S.T.: Forged In Shadow Torch, a new action/platformer from TiGames. With the help of Unreal 4, F.I.S.T. features a gorgeous dieselpunk aesthetic, showing off an industrialized world filled with anthropomorphic animals whose world has been overtaken by a malevolent machine legion.

Players take on the role of Rayton, a rabbit war veteran who dons a mechanized backpack suit that provides tremendous facility in battle. The suit can shift between a fist, drill, or whip attack form, giving Rayton different approaches to combat, from slow and devastating (drill) to fast and longer-distance (whip). Each weapon is built to allow for combo-heavy arcade-style combat against an array of mechanical enemies.

Beyond the 2D battles, F.I.S.T. is also billed as an exploration game, as Rayton makes his way through the interconnected city, so it’s fair to expect at least a bit of Metroid DNA in the mix.

F.I.S.T. makes a strong first impression. The visuals look great, the combat appears fast and reactive, and the world seems both charming and gritty. Take a look at the trailer below.

F.I.S.T.: Forged In Shadow Torch is planned for release on PS4 sometime in the next few months.

Click here to watch embedded media

 

Categories: Games

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