Games

Why You Shouldn’t Sleep On Resident Evil 3’s Resistance Mode

Game Informer News Feed - Fri, 03/27/2020 - 15:00

Publisher: Capcom Developer: Capcom Release: April 3, 2020 Rating: Mature Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Resident Evil has traditionally been a survival-horror franchise with a focus on moody isolation, which runs counter to the idea of online multiplayer modes. However, Resident Evil 3 includes an online asymmetrical 4v1 mode called Resistance that actually does a stellar job capturing the horror inherent in the series. In Resistance, a group of four survivors works together to escape the sadistic tests set up by the Machiavellian Umbrella corporation. Meanwhile, a single player-controlled mastermind works from the shadows to keep you in line and destroy your morale. It's more fun than I suspected and might be worth your time. 

Each match is split into three stages where survivors work to complete various goals. In the first stage, you scour the environments for keys to unlock the next area. In the next stage, you hack a series of computers while avoiding monsters. And in the final stage, you race across the map and work to destroy a number of experimental equipment. As players take down roaming zombies and other enemies they earn Umbrella cash that can be used to buy new weapons, herbs, and other tools at the beginning of each round.

For my first match, I play as the absurdly named Martin Sandwich. All of Resistance’s survivors have their own unique skills, and Martin is an engineering genius who can disable traps around the battlefield and use his flash baton to stun enemies. Using one of Martin’s skills, I ping the environment, which highlights objects on the map for the rest of my team. However, when I wander too far from the group I become an easy meal. It’s hard to play Resistance as a lone wolf, and teams of survivors need to stick together to survive. 

Martin is a good example of a support character, but if you want to be on the front lines, you can play as someone like Samuel Jordan. This young bruiser used to train as a boxer, which makes him an ideal shield for the rest of the team. I love Sam’s dash punch, which allows him to quickly close in on zombies. Sam is also skilled in the use of melee weapons, such as bats and sledgehammers, which easily tear through groups of undead monsters. 

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Playing as a survivor is only half of the Resistance experience, and I probably had the most fun when I jumped into the shoes of a mastermind. The mastermind works behind the scenes laying traps and working to prevent the survivors from escaping before time runs out. Masterminds start with a complete view of the map and can see the location of all the survivors' goals. They are also dealt a hand of random cards, which can be used to summon various monsters or lay trip mines. Masterminds can also get their hands dirty by directly controlling anything they spawn, but I felt that I was just as effective when I let my spawn run wild. 

Iconic villains such as Annette Birkin and Ozwell Spencer return for the role of mastermind. During my turn at the controls, I play as Alex Wesker and I laughed with demented glee as I unleashed a small army of zombie dogs on a group of unwitting survivors. Each mastermind has their own ultimate attack, which allows them to do things like unleash Tyrants onto the battlefield or set up deadly laser fields that kill anyone they touch. Alex’s ultimate is a monstrous plant, which looks a bit like Plant 42 from the original Resident Evil. This plant’s vines whip out in all directions and it devours two survivors before they finally subdue my creature. 

Over the years, Capcom has experimented with a lot of different multiplayer modes within the Resident Evil universe, but they have rarely left a lasting impact. However, I started having fun with Residence the moment I picked up the controller. Coordinating with a group of survivors is a lot of fun and manages to remain tense and scary. Meanwhile, the mastermind offers a more strategic level of play that we haven’t seen in a Resident Evil game before, but one that I’m actually interested in exploring more when Resident Evil 3 launches. We’ll have to wait for the final release to see if Resistance has staying power, but this is the most promising new mode we’ve seen from the series in a long time. Stay tuned for our upcoming review. 

Categories: Games

Why Gears Tactics Might Have What It Takes To Compete With XCOM

Game Informer News Feed - Fri, 03/27/2020 - 13:00

Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios Developer: Splash Damage Release: April 28, 2020 Platform: Xbox One, PC

Gears Tactics was announced at E3 2018 alongside Gears 5 and the Funko-branded Gears Pop! It almost seemed like a joke to pull the Gears franchise in so many disparate directions, but the more we’ve seen of Gears Tactics, the less we’re laughing. Not only is Microsoft taking this entry into tactical strategy very seriously, Gears Tactics looks like it could be something special.

Gears Tactics draws the obvious comparisons to other turn-based strategy games, such as XCOM. Co-developed by The Coalition and Splash Damage, this fast-paced, turn-based strategy game lets players plan coordinated strikes for a whole team of warriors as they try to find the best line of attack without sacrificing too much cover.

“When we were thinking about how to expand the Gears of War universe, we locked in on this idea of a tactics game, because we have some common areas in the fact that Gears has squads and cover is important," says design director Tyler Bielman. “But it was important that we do our version of a tactics game, so we made a lot of effort to pace up the game. You have as much time as you want on your turn to figure out your strategies and where you want to go, but everything else is faster. We wanted it to feel a lot more intense than traditional tactics games.”

During an extended demo, we got a taste for Gear Tactics’ faster pace and watched a handful of soldiers face off against a squad of Locust grunts. Unlike many strategy games, the heroes in Gears Tactics don’t move along a grid. Instead, players are free to move around the battlefield however they like. This opens up new strategies as players now have a greater level of flexibility to create flanking routes around their enemies. At the same time, it’s still very important to grab cover and find lines of sight that give your heroes a higher percent chance to hit their targets.

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Another big change to combat is how Gears Tactics approaches its action system. Traditionally, strategy games allow players to move each hero once per turn before attacking. Gears Tactics, on the other hand, gives each hero three action points to use each turn, and players can choose to mix and match their movements or attacks however they like. Meaning, a hero left on the outskirts of a combat zone can use all three action points to make a mad dash across the battlefield. Alternatively, a character who is well positioned could use all three actions to attack. The heavy gunner class actually has an ability that makes each successive attack more deadly, as long as they don’t move between shots. Another neat trick is placing a character with three actions into overwatch, so when enemies move into their field of view, your soldier attacks up to three times.

The final piece to Gears Tactics strategy puzzle is the execution system. After dishing out a set amount of damage to an enemy, it might fall into an execution state. Enemies in an execution state crawl slowly along the ground and pose little threat, but they can be revived by their companions. On the other hand, if your heroes get within melee range of these downed foes, they can perform an execution. These brutal melee attacks not only remove those enemies from the board completely, but they also give the rest of your companions an additional action point to use during that turn. Players who find good ways to push deeper into the battlefield may be able to chain executions together to keep their turn rolling for a long time.

“To counter all that freedom, we serve up a lot of enemies,” Bielman explains. “Our average enemy per encounter count is pretty high. You are facing a lot of different types of enemies, some that create fronts and are defensive, some that will snipe you from afar, and some that will actually rush you and try to push you out of cover. The whole combination makes the game feel like Gears of War, just kind of boiled down to its essence. It's about flanking and it's about cover and it's about combinations of tactical moves.”

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Players have five different classes to choose from and each class has over 30 different skills to learn as they level up over the course of the game. Gears Tactics doesn’t feature any top-level base building mechanics similar to XCOM, but you are rewarded with better equipment after each level, and additional gear is scattered throughout the levels. All of these weapons can be modded, and players can also visually customize each piece of gear with a variety of paints and visual patterns.

The story for Gears Tactics is set 12 years before the first Gears of War and follows  defiant COG soldier Gabe Diaz, who just happens to be the father of Kait Diaz, featured in Gears 4 and 5. Gabe's squad is ultimately tasked with assassinating a Locus scientist named Ukkon. However, Ukkon isn’t some pencil pusher, he’s an elite member of the Locust Council and one of the geneticists responsible for breeding some of the nastiest monsters in the entire Horde. 

“He's the monster that makes monsters,” Bielman says. “In Gears games, we have these big bosses. We've got Brumaks and we’ve got Corpsers. If you’ve never seen a Brumak, it's basically a big dinosaur with rocket launchers strapped to it. You'd think, 'Wow, who would actually do that? Who would put rocket launchers on a dinosaur?’ That's Ukkon. So Gabe’s team needs to find him and shut him down before he improves the Locust army any further.”

Based on everything we’ve seen, Gears Tactics looks like it should be a fun ride for Gears of War diehards. However, strategy fans who have never played a Gears game before might also want to give this a try. Despite the recent coronavirus outbreak, Gears Tactics is still set to launch on April 28 for PCs and will be available from day one for Xbox Game Pass owners (you still have to play on PC). An Xbox version is in the works and will release at a later date.

Categories: Games

Nemesis Is Coming For You In These Exclusive Resident Evil 3 Screens

Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 03/25/2020 - 14:00

Publisher: Capcom Developer: Capcom Release: April 3, 2020 Rating: Mature Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Resident Evil 3 releases on April 3, so you don't have to wait long to run in fear from Nemesis yourself. However, to whet your appetite for fear, check out these exclusive screens of Capcom's monsters in action. 

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For more on Resident Evil 3, read our hands-on impressions with Carlos or our feature on how Capcom made Nemesis scarier than ever

Categories: Games

Corruption 2029 Review - Lost Soul

Gamespot News Feed - Mon, 03/23/2020 - 23:31

In the banal future-war fiction that serves as set dressing for the battlefields of Corruption 2029, soldiers are remote-controlled living machines. These humanoid husks are devoid of humanity, mechanized units designed to be disposable as they fight the second American civil war. Both sides sport bland three-letter initials, the NAC (New American Council) and the UPA (United Peoples of America), their full names reading like soulless corporate think-tanks, their motives as opaque as they are forgettable. Actual people are seemingly absent in this conflict. Lifelessness permeates the entire experience, sapping all interest in what is otherwise an accomplished tactical combat game.

In this sense, Corruption 2029 is a disappointing step backward from the developer's debut title, 2018's Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden, a game that elevated the XCOM formula primarily through a charismatic cast of characters. The mechanics of combat work in essentially the same way they did in Mutant Year Zero with similarly distinguished results. You control a squad of three units (and occasionally a fourth unit you might acquire mid-mission) and you're able to explore the map in real-time until the enemy spots you or, preferably, you trigger an ambush. Once the fight's underway, you and the engaged enemies alternate between ducking behind cover, firing your weapons, lobbing grenades, and deploying special abilities in turn-based combat.

The tactical combat is a triumph of clarity. The UI conveys all the pertinent information flawlessly, leaving you reassured that each move you make is going to play out with a high degree of certainty and few unintended consequences. When deciding where to move, for example, you can hover over each accessible square on the grid and see your exact chance to hit every enemy in range with the weapon you have equipped. Swap that weapon and all the percentages update. Clear icons inform you that the destination is in low cover or high cover and if an enemy is currently flanking that position. Having these details reliably presented on-screen is a constant benefit to the decision-making process and goes a long way to ensure success in each combat encounter is determined by preparation and smart choices rather than an unexpected fluke.

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Categories: Games

Exclusive Impressions Of Carlos In Resident Evil 3

Game Informer News Feed - Mon, 03/23/2020 - 18:00

Publisher: Capcom Developer: Capcom Release: April 3, 2020 Rating: Mature Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Jill is the main star in Capcom’s upcoming remake of Resident Evil 3, but she’s not the only survivor you control throughout the game. Carlos Oliveira is a UBCS’s heavy weapons specialist who meets Jill early on, and he becomes an integral part of the story. Since Carlos is working for Umbrella, Jill initially distrusts him, but the two survivors eventually form an uneasy alliance, and players even take control of Carlos about halfway through the game. For our Resident Evil 3 cover story this month, we went hands-on with a section within Raccoon City’s ruined hospital that features Carlos. 

“If you look at the original design of Carlos, you could say that he had a more easygoing, almost playboy personality,” art director Yonghee Cho says. “We wanted to maintain his personality, but at the same time, make sure that the way he interacts with everybody makes sense, given the dire situation. In terms of the hairstyle, we went back to that easygoing nature. He's not going to be too concerned about that stuff, so we’re making sure that part of his character is intact.”

Different concept sketches for Carlos

In the original Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, players take control of Carlos about halfway through the game as he races through a hospital to find a cure to the T-virus. Capcom asked us not to share the details of his mission in the remake, but we did get a good look at the hospital and were impressed by how much Capcom expanded the facility. The ‘90s version was simply a handful of zombie-infested rooms featuring a few puzzles. The remake expands the hospital into a network of interlocking rooms compete with several lock-and-key puzzles that slowly open new areas in a traditional Resident Evil fashion. 

As I set off exploring the new hospital, I come across a set of lockers. Inside, I find a key that opens a whole new set of previously locked rooms. Later, I drop down into a courtyard where I find another useful item that opens other areas. Somewhere along the way, I pick up an upgrade for Carlos’ M4A1 carbine assault rifle that reduces the weapon’s recoil. Weapon upgrades like this are scattered throughout the game, but they usually require players to do some extra puzzle solving.

Amidst a scattering of healing herbs and ammo, I find notes that detail the horrors of the hospital staff leading up to the outbreak. One nurse talks about an influx of patients experiencing hyperphagia and limb necrosis. Resident Evil 3's atmosphere does a fantastic job of ratcheting up the tension even when you're not fighting enemies. 

Inside a waiting room, I find a small horde of zombies waiting to eat my face, so it’s time to put Carlos’ dodge move to the test. Much like Jill, Carlos can dodge enemy attacks with a well-timed button tap. However, where Jill simple rolls out of harm's way, Carlos gets aggressive and shoves enemies to the ground. Not only does this dodge negate any incoming damage, but it neutralizes enemies for several seconds and buys me some extra time to line up a few headshots. 

Unfortunately for Carlos, slow-moving zombies aren't the only enemies Carlos will encounter. As I move through the operations wing of the building, I catch a hint of a much larger creature: the Hunter Beta. Hardcore fans will recognize these lizard-like hulks who dart around the environment and slash at you with razor-sharp talons. For Resident Evil 3, the Hunter Beta has been redesigned and now looks a bit insect-like in addition to its lizard features. 

Various concept designs for different versions of the Hunter

“I wanted to make sure that it was clear that these are not naturally occurring adversaries,” Cho says. “These are manmade, artificial creatures. Specifically, with the Hunter, if you take a look at the original design, it has a much more humanoid look. This time around, we wanted the hunters to look almost beast-like, a little bit more feral.”

As I face my first Hunter Beta, I stagger back in horror. This feral beast’s claws are drawn, and its mandibles flicker eagerly, hungry for my flesh. He’s strong and fast, which is a deadly combo, and I unload nearly two full magazines worth of ammo into the monster before he finally collapses. The Hunter Beta is a fearsome foe even in a one-on-one battle, but Hunters will eventually hunt you in packs, which sounds truly unnerving. Carlos’ demo comes to a close not long after my confrontation with these creatures, but I know that more horrors await when Resident Evil 3 launches on April 3. 

Categories: Games

Half-Life: Alyx Review - Full-Life Consequences

Gamespot News Feed - Mon, 03/23/2020 - 17:00

Naturally, monumental expectations accompany the first Half-Life game in 13 years, and for the iconic franchise's return to come in the form of a VR exclusive is undoubtedly bold. But at each step of the way, Half-Life: Alyx proves that almost everything the franchise did best is elevated by VR: the environmental puzzles that require a keen eye, the threat of a headcrab jumping for your face, the cryptic storytelling. The series' staples are as great as ever here, and in its most powerful moments, Half-Life: Alyx confidently shows you why it couldn't have been done any other way.

What's a day in the life of Alyx Vance? In true Half-Life form, the entire game goes from morning to night in a single shot of first-person action in which you, as Alyx, trek through the undergrounds and abandoned zones of City 17. At first, it's to save your dad Eli Vance from the clutches of the Combine. However, you're subsequently led to uncover the nature of that massive floating structure that hovers over City 17, referred to as the Vault. With a cheeky sidekick Russell in your ear, and a trusty, prophetic Vortigaunt who comes in clutch, Alyx is more than prepared. A basic premise for sure, but the journey is thrilling, and the payoff is immense.

There's a newfound intimacy captured in doing the things that Half-Life always asked of you. Because it's a VR game, the way you look at and process your surroundings fundamentally changes, thus making the solutions to environmental puzzles more of a personal accomplishment than before. Simply finding the right objects to progress was fine with a keyboard and mouse, but when it's your own hands turning valves, moving junk to find critical items, pulling levers, or hitting switches while turning your head to see the results of your actions, these become enticing gameplay mechanics rather than means for breaking up the pace. Without waypoints or objective markers to guide you, subtle visual cues and calculated level design lead you to the solutions, and progress feels earned because of that.

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Categories: Games

MLB The Show 20 Review - Bases Loaded

Gamespot News Feed - Fri, 03/20/2020 - 22:57

MLB The Show 20 suddenly finds itself in an unprecedented position. The COVID-19 coronavirus has disrupted sports across the globe, and baseball is no different, as Opening Day of the 2020 Major League Baseball season was recently postponed for at least the next two months--and even that seems optimistic. It's an unfathomable turn of events, yet it also means Sony San Diego's latest baseball sim is now one of the only ways to experience the 2020 season of America's favorite pastime. It's a good job, then, that MLB 20 maintains the series' consistently high quality. Refinements to fielding and hitting may only be incremental this year, but they add more depth to what is still one of the most compelling sports games on the market, while new additions and modes off the field increase the game's variety as you chart a course towards World Series glory.

Fielding and defense received a lot of love in last year's game, so MLB 20 adds a few more wrinkles without rocking the boat too much. The distinction between Gold Glove caliber outfielders and mere mortals is now slightly more pronounced, particularly when the CPU is in control. The best outfielders in the game are much more dialed in this year, reacting to the ball off the bat with authentic accuracy and a dependable first-step. On the flip side, the square peg you've lodged into the round hole in left field might struggle when it comes to reading the flight of the ball, committing a fair few errors over the course of a season as balls careen off the edge of his glove instead of nesting in its palm.

There's also a new Extreme Catch Indicator that identifies those bloop singles and hard-sinking line drives that are right on the edge of being catchable. If you have a player like Minnesota Twins center fielder Byron Buxton patrolling the outfield, you might take a chance and attempt a risky diving catch on one of these tough-to-reach balls, knowing full well that he's skilled enough to pull off a spectacular grab. With an average defender hustling towards the ball, however, you might prefer to play it safe and get yourself in position to gather the ball after it bounces. Surrendering a single is a much more positive outcome than laying out for a catch and completely missing the ball, resulting in a triple for the fortunate hitter.

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Categories: Games

Call Of Duty Warzone Review - Cash Rules Everything Around Me

Gamespot News Feed - Thu, 03/19/2020 - 19:29

The latest Call of Duty from Infinity Ward shipped without an answer to Black Ops 4’s Blackout, but it has since been supplemented by Warzone--a completely standalone battle royale built off of the backbone of Modern Warfare. Not only is it a smarter way to ensure it's not tied to each annual release in the series, but Warzone gives the series its own identity within the competitive genre.

It might not be apparent at first, though, especially when you take into consideration how much Warzone borrows from other popular battle royale games. It incorporates a ping system similar to the one in Apex Legends, letting you tag enemy positions, points of interest, and loot for teammates at the press of a button (albeit mapped to a button that's harder to reach quickly, mitigating some of its convenience). It plays out on a massive map akin to PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, where large swathes of open land are ripe for snipers while dense suburbs make for exhilarating and chaotic close-quarters skirmishes. And like the ones in Fortnite, color-coded chests overflowing with loot are easy to hunt down when you are within earshot of their signature emanating jingle.

None of these competitors are defined solely by the elements Warzone borrows from them, and Warzone isn't defined by the sum of their parts. Instead, Warzone uses them to establish a solid foundation for its own distinct elements. It starts with a larger player count than the aforementioned battle royale games, with Warzone currently supporting up to 150 players per match, with modes for three-person squads or solo play. Having so many players active at once keeps you constantly on alert, but also increases the odds that you'll at least have some action (and likely a handful of kills) each match. This makes even some of the least successful drops feel worthwhile--even if your entire match lasts only a handful of minutes, you'll likely get some valuable time in with some weapons, better preparing you for another fight in the next match.

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Categories: Games

The Messenger Developer Sabotage Announces Turn-Based RPG Sea Of Stars

Game Informer News Feed - Thu, 03/19/2020 - 16:00

Publisher: Sabotage Developer: Sabotage Rating: Rating Pending Platform: PC

Sabotage, the studio behind 2018 indie darling The Messenger, has announced a Kickstarter campaign for its new project. Sea of Stars is a beautiful turn-based RPG that serves as a prequel to the Ninja Gaiden-inspired The Messenger. However, rather than exploring the origins of certain characters, this prequel looks to expand and enrich the world introduced in The Messenger.

Just as The Messenger drew inspiration from Ninja Gaiden and the classic Metroidvania formula, Sea of Stars borrows heavily from classic RPGs like Chrono Trigger, Breath of Fire, and Illusion of Gaia. While this may seem like a jarring leap between such distinct genres, Sabotage says this was the plan going in. "We've been wanting to make an RPG all along, but it just was too ambitious as a first project and too risky to arrive with no name for ourselves and propose such a big project," says CEO and creative director Thierry Boulanger. "We wanted to start building interest about this world. We're slowly telling the important story arcs of that world, one game at a time. The game genre that we use is always the best way to tell whichever story that we're telling. For The Messenger, it was a platformer because it was just one character and a more linear, straightforward mission; now it's all about exploration, a party of six people, and higher stakes, so the RPG is kind of indicated there."

Sea of Stars takes the world of The Messenger, which was flooded to the point there was only one island remaining, and lowers the tide as we travel back hundreds of thousands of years to a time where you could hop from island to island and explore the various communities that existed on them. In the video presentation I saw, I witnessed a vibrant colony of humanoid seahorses, a group of gorillas hidden deep in a dark cavern, and a cult of lizard assassins working to resurrect their evil goddess. All the while, the threat of a flesh monster who can manipulate bone, blood, and flesh to create abominations to do his bidding looms. 

To fight off the flesh monster's creations, the world looks to Children of the Solstice, guardians who were born on either the summer or winter solstice and acquire the power of the sun or moon. At the beginning of the adventure, you choose to play as either Valere, a girl imbued with the power of the moon and carries a heavy-hitting staff, or Zale, a boy harnessing the power of the sun who uses his agility to blade dance. Regardless of the character you choose, the story remains largely unchanged, and the other protagonist remains in your party and plays a crucial role in combat, solving puzzles, and traversing the world.

During the presentation, I see how two characters play off each other in exploration. As the two protagonists come to a head-shaped stone formation with a moon symbol in the top, the two characters manipulate the time of day into night, illuminate the symbol, and open the door to reveal an enemy scorpion monster to fight.

Battles play out in typical turn-based fashion, but they are far from passive affairs relying solely on random-number generators. By timing your inputs in conjunction with when your attack animation occurs, you can inflict more damage to your target. Conversely, if you time your defensive input with your assailant's animation, you can mitigate the damage done to you. In addition, when you cast a spell, it sometimes requires certain inputs to maximize the spell's effectiveness. For example, in one battle I saw, Zale casts a Sunball attack, but before he blasts the fireball at the enemy, the UI prompts the player to mash a given button as much as possible within a given window.

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When an enemy goes to cast a spell, it broadcasts a series of attacks you can perform to neutralize the incoming spell. In a different battle, the soon-to-be-casting enemy displays two moon symbols, a sun symbol, and a sword symbol over its head. This means that for every attack that matches those symbols, the spell will be weaker. Sabotage hopes all of these, when combined with the standard elemental weaknesses and interchangeable battle party, delivers a turn-based system that elevates beyond what other titles in the space have done.

One pain point for a lot of RPG players is the grinding requirements present in a lot of traditional titles. Sabotage wanted to ease that pain by making it more about your battle plan and skill in executing your moves than how much time and repetition you put into the battles leading up to that. "Grinding, at least in my opinion, can be tedious," Boulanger says. "You still have progression; through combat, you still upgrade your character, but you're always moving the story forward. The game is shorter, but you end up playing it more because you have no friction in replaying it because it's never a task. It's constantly moving forward. For us, grinding is probably so you spend more time in the game, but you'll spend even more time in the game if you want to play it two or three times."

While I didn't get my hands on Sea of Stars, the gameplay footage shown to me was gorgeous and engaging. The battle system looks to experiment in interesting ways without alienating turn-based combat fans such as myself. When combined with meaningful exploration and a beautiful world full of mystery, I'm looking forward to learning more about Sabotage's next title.

Sabotage launches its Sea of Stars Kickstarter campaign today. If you'd like to contribute to it or learn more about the project, head here. The title is still early in development, so players should expect to wait until 2022 before being able to add the game to their PC or consoles.

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Categories: Games

Doom Eternal Review In Progress

Gamespot News Feed - Tue, 03/17/2020 - 14:00

Editor's note: We will be finalizing this review once Doom Eternal has officially released and its multiplayer servers become available. Look out for an update after the game launches on March 20; for now, read on for our full thoughts on the single-player portion.

Id Software's return to Doom in 2016 was a phenomenal update of the franchise's classic shooter formula. It was fast and intense, full of huge monsters and scorching metal tracks, modernizing the feel of the 1990s original while adding some new-school flourishes. Where Doom 2016 brought the original Doom into the present, Doom Eternal feels like a big step forward in making the franchise something new: It's a master class in demon dismemberment after the introductory course to ripping and tearing of four years ago. Like its predecessor, Doom Eternal makes you feel like a monster-shredding badass--not just because you're the strongest Doom Slayer, but because you're also the smartest.

Doom Eternal is all about effectively using the huge amount of murder tools at your disposal. Health, armor, and ammo pickups are at a minimum in Eternal's many combat arenas, and the game instead requires you to earn these by massacring monsters in a variety of different ways. Stagger an enemy and you can tear them apart with a brutal glory kill, which refills your health; douse a demon with the new flamethrower and they'll start to spout armor pickups; or cut them in half with the chainsaw to grab some much-needed ammo.

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Categories: Games

Animal Crossing: New Horizons Review In Progress

Gamespot News Feed - Mon, 03/16/2020 - 14:00

There's only so much you can do every day in Animal Crossing. Part of the fun of its real-time clock is going to bed wondering what you might wake up to in the morning--how your town might change, who might move in, what special visitor might be there tomorrow. So far, I've played Animal Crossing: New Horizons for 80 hours over 17 days, and that anticipation hasn't yet gone away. While I've spent a lot of time developing my island so far, I still feel as if there's plenty left for me to do and see--there's a lot in New Horizons to occupy your time with.

Unlike in previous games, you're not moving to a lived-in town in New Horizons; the island is completely empty when you and two animals arrive as part of Tom Nook's "getaway package," save for the tiny airport. There's no store or museum, all three of you live in tents, and Tom Nook himself operates out of a tent that he shares with his adorable nephews, Timmy and Tommy. Tom Nook clearly expected this whole thing to be a bit more glamorous (or at least popular), and in typical Tom Nook fashion, one of his first actions is to put you to work collecting tree branches and fruit to make a fire pit and drinks for a welcome party.

The party serves as an introduction to the resource-gathering aspect of New Horizons' new crafting system, but it's also the first of many endearing moments with the animals. In their high-pitched, sped-up way of talking, their chit-chat centers around friendship and helping one another on the island. One of my villagers played a tambourine, shifting back and forth to his own beat while smiling, while the other sipped juice by the fire. Tommy, the more precious of the Nookling duo, stood by the tent, holding a small flag that seemed to be part of his welcome getup. It feels like a proper community from the start, despite the small population size and total lack of amenities on the island.

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Categories: Games

Nioh 2 Review - Get Good And Die Trying

Gamespot News Feed - Fri, 03/13/2020 - 00:28

Nioh 2 is not to be trifled with. Building on the original's tough-as-nails reputation, Team Ninja's second samurai action-RPG brings back the original's penchant for punishing and highly nuanced combat. The sequel hones the original's distinctive take on the Souls-like without completely reinventing itself. The result is a long, tough slog that will push even the most challenge-hungry players to their breaking points as they fight for every inch of ground and become master samurai.

Despite the title, Nioh 2 is a prequel, revealing the secret history of a decades-long period of war in medieval Japan. As the silent, customizable hero Hide, you fight to uncover the secret nature of "spirit stones," which grant supernatural power, and defeat hordes of Yokai across the country. The plot, which you mostly hear through cutscenes and exposition between missions, has an interesting historical bent, but it is really just glue to hold the levels together. Historically relevant names like Nobunaga and Tokugawa play into the saga, but whatever flavor they add in the moment fades the second you take control and it's time to start killing demons.

But that's okay. Nioh 2's story gives just enough context for you to follow along and make you feel like you're making progress without getting in the way of the gameplay. Nioh 2's definitive feature is its challenge. With core mechanics refined from the bones of Dark Souls, Nioh 2 boils down to a series of battles and duels in all kinds of situations. These battles demand intense precision: Not only are your attacks and skills limited by a stamina meter--called Ki--but any extra attack or mistimed movement will leave you exposed, often to an attack that will cost you a substantial amount of health. Like other Souls-like games, there is a painful pleasure in mastering whatever opponents the game throws your way.

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Categories: Games

Mindseize Review - Metroidvania Fusion

Gamespot News Feed - Thu, 03/12/2020 - 20:57

If you had asked me to write out a checklist of features I would expect to find in a Metroidvania, my final list would be pretty close to what I found in Mindseize. It's a decent one, too. Solid, even. And, for all that, just a little bit dull. There’s nothing wrong, per se, with an unimaginative adherence to the basic Metroidvania formula, but Mindseize also fails to inspire with its approach to theme-setting and story development. The final result is a competent but unspectacular action-platformer with precious few ideas of its own.

You play a father bent on exacting revenge on an evil sci-fi organisation that, uh... seized the mind of his daughter. An early unsuccessful encounter with the Big Bad leaves Angry Dad disabled but, with the help of a good sci-fi organisation, able to continue his crusade by transplanting his own mind into a robot. It's nonsense, of course--though it's inoffensive nonsense, sparing in its narrative dumps and blessedly easy to ignore.

More urgent matters involve exploring the various planets, each of which is presented as a vast network of 2D platforms appropriated from conventional stock--the jungle area, the industrial factory, the rainy dystopian nightscape, the caves littered with glowing crystals, and the caves that are a bit darker because there are no glowing crystals. They're all there, present and correct, and no more imaginative than similar scenes in countless other games.

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Categories: Games

Bracing For Hell

Game Informer News Feed - Thu, 03/12/2020 - 14:00

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Publisher: Bethesda Softworks Release: March 20, 2020 (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Stadia), 2020 (Switch) Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, Stadia, PC

Doom Eternal launches on March 20 – the sequel to the classic franchise's acclaimed 2016 rebirth. To celebrate the impending release, id Software and Bethesda have released the trailer above, priming the pump and getting players psyched for an action-packed journey through heaven and hell.  

This is one of your final chances to see what Doom Eternal has to offer before it becomes available, topping off a busy few months leading up to the game's big debut. We've recently had three-hours of hands-on time, learned about the game's heavy metal choir, and watched a trailer highlighting glory kills. If your excitement wasn't already at a fever pitch, this new footage will hopefully push you over the edge. 

To see even more of Doom Eternal in motion, watch us dig into the gunplay and new features in this episode of New Gameplay Today

Categories: Games

Ori And The Will Of The Wisps Review - Light On Your Feet

Gamespot News Feed - Wed, 03/11/2020 - 00:47

Ori and the Blind Forest was a delight in 2015--a tough-as-nails combination of a metroidvania structure and Meat Boy-like demands with a surprising amount of heartfelt heft. Five years later, Moon Studios' followup, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, is every bit as graceful and lovely as its predecessor, even if some of the emotional beats and exploration feel a little less novel the second time around.

Will of the Wisps picks up almost immediately where Blind Forest left off, with Ori's patchwork family unit welcoming a new member, the owlet Ku. The family is happy and loving, but Ku wants to fly and Ori wants to help her. Soon the two are swept off in a gale to a new forest deep with rot, which begins the adventure in earnest.

Because this setting is disconnected from the one in Blind Forest, the geography is new, yet familiar. The painterly imagery is comforting, especially in the opening hours as you explore similar biomes. They're beautifully rendered again, but a little samey if you've played the first game. After a while, Will of the Wisps opens up to more varied locales, like an almost pitch-black spider's den or a windswept desert. The theme throughout the story is the encroachment of the Decay, a creeping evil that overtook this neighboring forest after its own magical life tree withered. But if it's meant to be ugly, you wouldn't know it from many of the lush backgrounds--especially in the case of a vibrant underwater section. Ori is often swallowed up by these sweeping environments, emphasizing just how small the little forest spirit is compared to their massive surroundings.

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Categories: Games

See How Spawn Fits Into Mortal Kombat 11 In Brutal New Gameplay Trailer

Game Informer News Feed - Mon, 03/09/2020 - 14:31

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Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Developer: NetherRealm Studios Release: April 23, 2019 Rating: Mature Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, Stadia, PC

Todd McFarlane's Spawn is coming to Mortal Kombat 11 starting next week, bringing his arsenal of chains, guns, and battle axes to the ring. A new gameplay trailer shows how the character, voiced by Keith David, fares against a fellow chain-wielder, Scorpion.

Spawn's appearance marks the end of the game's Kombat Pack DLC bundle, which also includes The Joker, Sindel, the Terminator T-800, Nightwolf, and Shang Tsung. If you have the pack, Spawn will be available for download starting March 17, and he'll be accessible as an individual download on March 24.

If you like the way Spawn looks in the trailer, McFarlane Toys is releasing a figure based on his Mortal Kombat appearance starting today.  

This isn't the first time Spawn has flexed his powers in a video game. Back in 2003, he was an Xbox-exclusive character for Soulcalibur II. If you want to get a nice reminder of how far games have come visually over the past few decades, it's worth pulling up a clip of his cameo on YouTube for a little comparison.

Categories: Games

Frictional Games Reveals Amnesia: Rebirth

Game Informer News Feed - Fri, 03/06/2020 - 13:00

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Frictional Games picked up steam the last few days, teasing its next project, treating fans to found footage and audio clips to piece together. Today, the acclaimed horror developer, best known for hits like Amnesia: The Dark Descent and Soma, finally unveiled its upcoming game: Amnesia: Rebirth. The game is set to come out later this year.

Amnesia: Rebirth is a brand new story set in the world of Amnesia: The Dark Descent. This time around, you retrace the journey of Tasi Trianon through the desolate Algerian desert. It's said her quest will "explore the limits of human resilience." Details are light on specifics, but here are some tidbits from the press release: you pull together fragments of a shattered past, time is against you, and if you fail, you will lose everything. To get a glimpse at the game, you can watch the reveal trailer above, which focuses on a downed airplane.

Right now, Amnesia Rebirth is set to come out this fall on PS4 and PC. 

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Categories: Games

Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX Review - Better Than You Remember

Gamespot News Feed - Fri, 03/06/2020 - 00:59

When the original pair of Pokemon Mystery Dungeon games were released in 2006, they were received as the ugly Duckletts of Pokemon spin-offs. Now, almost 15 years later, it is clear how wrong we were to write off Spike Chunsoft's ambitious take on the titanic series: Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX for Switch is wondrous to play and, in a way, boasts a substantially more resonant fable than most other recent Pokemon games.

You wake up one morning and everything seems pretty ordinary, at least until you realize that you're not a human anymore. Instead, you've magically and mysteriously metamorphosed into a Pokemon--which exact species is determined by a fun little personality quiz you take at the beginning of the game. Before long you make a new best friend, who is also a Pokemon, and you decide to form a rescue team together. Why? To save foolish Pokemon who have ventured into dangerous dungeons stricken by environmental disasters, even though they're totally aware of said environmental disasters. Over the course of the game, you embark on arduous odysseys to the many dungeons scattered sporadically across the world of Pokemon, each of which contains several 'mons in desperate need of help and lots of others who are a bit aggravated by the daily earthquakes.

What's important about Mystery Dungeon carving itself out a new home on Switch is that DX isn't just some sort of lazy rehash. Perhaps the most striking thing about this reworked spin-off, at least at first, is its revised color palette. It's pretty different to the old Mystery Dungeon games, sporting a warm painterly style to replace the originals' GBA-era pixel art. The revamped rescue base you get about halfway through the game is especially gorgeous, while the relentlessly upbeat soundtrack is capable of both intensifying the charming tone of the art and flipping even the tensest moments on their head. This is an essential part of the game's overall appeal, as it goes hand in hand with the fact that Mystery Dungeon is ultimately about overcoming adversity with a smile on your face. One second it seems as if you're on the verge of the inevitable apocalypse, the next you're bobbing along, beaming for no reason, ready to hurtle headlong into a procedurally generated dungeon to save some 'mons and make some money.

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Categories: Games

Granblue Fantasy Versus Review - Fighting Fantasy

Gamespot News Feed - Tue, 03/03/2020 - 01:00

There isn't a lot of room for newcomers in the fighting game genre. Veteran franchises like Street Fighter, Tekken, Mortal Kombat, and Guilty Gear have dominated the space for years, so the new challengers that do choose to step into the ring usually have the backing of a popular license. Granblue Fantasy Versus is just that kind of rookie fighter; it's based on a property that's incredibly popular in Japan thanks to a successful mobile gacha (virtual capsule-toy vending machine) game with RPG hooks, but relatively unknown everywhere else. Versus is, for all intents and purposes, Granblue Fantasy's debut on the world stage.

Developed by Arc System Works--known for excellent fighting game adaptations of Dragon Ball Z and Persona 4--Granblue Fantasy Versus has a strong core thanks to unorthodox gameplay mechanics that delicately balance depth with approachability, while introducing interesting new ideas of its own. The extra flourishes that serve as a nod to fans or aim to adhere to RPG roots whiff on occasion, but the experience as a whole holds its own thanks to the strength of its fundamentals.

ArcSys has made strides in improving the approachability of its anime fighters more with simpler inputs and easier-to-understand systems, but for Granblue Fantasy Versus, it has moved away from the breakneck pace, air-dashing-oriented, aggressive playstyle of anime fighters to something more traditional. As a ground-based fighting game, Versus has a much slower pace of play and places heavier focus on normals and special moves instead of partner assists and lengthy touch-of-death combos. In that respect, it can be likened more closely to Capcom fighting games such as Street Fighter. The emphasis is on timing and spacing your attacks properly to create opportunities for follow-ups or set up situations where you have an advantage, but not necessarily an almost guaranteed victory. At a higher level, it's about footsies, precisely executed mixups, smart use of the universal overhead, and the occasional frame trap. For newcomers--of which there's likely to be many, given the popularity of Granblue Fantasy--it's much more stable ground to find footing. Fighting game veterans will naturally have an advantage, but for everyone else, the mountain doesn't seem as steep to climb, so the idea of walking the path to mastery is much more inviting.

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Categories: Games

Take Your First Good Look At Half-Life: Alyx In Action Through Three New Gameplay Videos

Game Informer News Feed - Mon, 03/02/2020 - 19:08

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Publisher: Valve Software Developer: Valve Software Release: March 23, 2020 Platform: PC

Half-Life: Alyx is less than a month from release, and developer Valve just hit the gas on the hype machine, releasing three videos that show this highly anticipated VR game in action. The official release date is March 23, and you'll be able to play it on your Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Windows Mixed Reality, and more.

The videos give you a look at uncut gameplay featuring all kinds of environment interaction, combat, and movement. You'll quickly see that no detail is spared in Half-Life: Alyx. Just opening a locker or getting an upgrade brings about a level of excitement you wouldn't expect.

Are you looking forward to this VR experience? Do you think it has the potential to turn VR into a must-have for people?

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