What We Loved From Just Cause 4’s Stupid Demo

Game Informer News Feed - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 01:33

Avalanche Studios has been delighting E3 ongoers all week with an action-packed demo of Just Cause 4, and if you’re looking for a traditional preview of what they showed, Javy has you covered. However, he’s not the only one who saw the tools of destruction that Rico Rodriguez is packing this time around. Jeff Cork and Jeff Marchiafava also sat in on the demo, with a laser focus on the kind of stupid fun in-game pranksters can look forward to. Rather than keep their ruminations to themselves, they decided to memorialize their thoughts about Just Cause 4 in a text conversation, which you can conveniently view below. You’re welcome!

Jeff Cork: Hello, Jeff Marchiafava! Remember when we saw the Just Cause 4 demo together? What was the biggest surprise for you? Personally, I wasn’t expecting to learn that the tornadoes that were highlighted in the reveal trailer are being controlled by various factions in the game through some kind of weird array of high-powered fans. And no, I am not making that up. The tornadoes in the game are, indeed, being controlled through some kind of weird array of high-powered fans. 

Jeff M: Conspiracy theorists rejoice – the government really is controlling the weather! I think the biggest surprise for me was that apparently Avalanche can read my mind and decided to tailor-make Just Cause 4 into exactly what I want from the series – a big dumb playground for me to mess with NPCs in ridiculous ways.

Jeff C: Sure, you could shoot them with your guns, but that’s amateur-hour stuff. During the demo, we got to see all kinds of wacky nonsense. I think they know their audience perfectly; rather than focus on the various socioeconomic conditions that have led to the downfall of this region, we got to see a lengthy masterclass about how physics can be fun. Rico’s repertoire has been enhanced with an upgraded grappler, allowing for even more mayhem. We all had fun using boosters to rocket people, cars, and other things away, but Just Cause 4 puts it on a completely different level. We saw it in action as the demoer methodically shot booster after booster at a crane and cargo container and stuck them together with a tether. Moments later, the contraption sprung to life, whirling around like an out-of-control wrecking ball and ruining everything within its radius. 

Jeff M: Yeah, I was delightfully surprised to see that you can customize a bunch of characteristics for how your grappler functions, seemingly for the express purpose of causing goofy shenanigans. Some of the options don’t even make sense in any logical circumstance – why would you ever need a tether that continually contracts and expands between to objects? That only makes sense when you’re trying to do something stupid, and I love that they give players the option. Should we talk about the damn balloons now?

Jeff C: Rico can fire off balloons now, which inflate and – you’re not going to believe this – lift whatever they’re attached to into the air. “Whatever” probably includes what you’re thinking about already. You want to pretend you’re a cutrate Snake and whisk people away with your phony Fulton? They won’t be added to your roster, but your victims will float away. Close enough? You can also put them on the corners of the top of a storage container and create a floating mobile platform – one that, when combined with boosters, can fly you around until it probably slams into a mountain or spirals out of control. You can also equip a mod that lets the balloons follow you around, so you can have a conga line of red barrels above you. Why? I don’t know. Maybe drop them and they’ll explode on your enemies? Asking “Why?” seems fairly fruitless, as you said.

Jeff M: Yeah, unlike the Fulton, there really isn’t a point to it beyond “more physics-based fun,” and that’s good enough for me! I’m really looking forward to diving into the grappler customization and seeing what hilarious combinations you can come up with. The biggest news, however, might be that Avalanche even figured out a way to make the weather fun! Apparently the entire island has simulated wind patterns, which make getting around with Rico’s windsuit a little easier – though I doubt it will stop me from smashing into the sides of mountains. Avalanche said Just Cause 4 simulated a number of weather conditions as well, but the one they were showing off was the aforementioned tornadoes. 

Jeff C: They seem to spin real good. During the demo, we saw one tear through an enemy outpost, where it tore up nearly everything in its path – including the red chaos objects, which ordinarily reward Rico with points for destroying them. Guess what? You still get credit for blowing up those generators, gas tanks, and towers, even if the tornado is technically doing all the work for you. He’s not lazy, he’s enterprising! Those chaos objects have a little more utility this time around, beyond blowing up nicely when shot at. For instance, you can put balloons on a gas tank, blow out the back of it, and watch as the resulting jet flame propels the tank away like a missile toward some enemy fighters. And then, of course, it explodes because it’s still Just Cause. 

Jeff M: It is indeed more Just Cause, which is exactly what I wanted from the series in the first place. The new island seems massive and varied, the destruction physics have been kicked up a notch, and everything is gorgeous. I think the real fun is going to be experimenting – Rico has a new box of toys, and I look forward to playing with them!

Jeff C: Boom.

Categories: Games

Dead Or Alive 6 Puts Fighting Back In Focus And Lowers The Skill Ceiling

Game Informer News Feed - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 00:20

Dead or Alive 6 was announced last week, the first full sequel in the series since Dead or Alive 5 released in 2012, and Dead or Alive 4 in 2006 before that. The series does not treat full sequels lightly and tends to try and interpret the wishes of its community through their own development lens with new features and characters and overall focuses with each new game. With Dead or Alive 6, Team Ninja and KOEI Tecmo are trying to fit the 22-year-old series into a more modern mold while not leaving what fans like about the series behind.

The new big addition to Dead or Alive 6 is the Fatal Rush button. Much like a lot of other modern fighting games, Dead or Alive 6 adds an auto-combo button, but places it as its own separate skill. Gone is the Power Blow from the previous game, with the button replaced by a combo that does fairly significant damage to the enemy. If the meter is full, a Fatal Rush culminates in a move similar to what a Critical Blow in Dead or Alive 5 ended with. 

Unlike with most auto-combo functions in fighting games, DOA focuses heavily on reversal mechanics, making Fatal Rushes difficult to use against someone who knows where attacks will be coming from. As a method to make their game friendlier for casual players, the Fatal Rush seems to put a hard ceiling on how far a new player can go with it until eventually it becomes useless for competitive play. Combo variety has always been required to make DOA competitive, so making a combo that plays out the same way the entire time feels like the game has almost solely dedicated a button to training wheels that will eventually become vestigial.

Far more interesting is the Fatal Reversal, which used the Fatal button and a direction to essentially dance around an enemy attack and appear behind them, with them completely stunned. With the ninjas, this obviously manifests itself as disappearing and reappearing behind them, but every character has their own unique flourish and animation to make it looks flashy and visually interesting.

Dead Or Alive 6's Fatal Reversal

The game as a whole is making a concerted effort to display a more modern version of cool. Of particular note are the UI and presentation in the demo, which are leagues ahead of the previous game, with special mention being given to the game's gorgeous character select screen. It gives the game more personality than the stark black and white industrial mid-2000s look of DOA5.

The demo had an option for the story mode, which was greyed out for our build. Game director Yohei Shimbori told us that they plan to include the story in a similar manner to Dead or Alive 5, but cautions that they will be tweaking the structure “because the story of the last game was hard to understand.” The previous game’s story mode jumped around to different times to hide a plot twist that was not made particularly obvious in the story.

During Dead or Alive 5’s development, Team Ninja was reactive to community concerns and worked to fix them before the game’s release. Whether or not the community will find long term issues with the new Fatal action system, it might be something Team Ninja needs to take a closer look at before Dead or Alive 6 launches in 2019 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. 

Categories: Games

My Hero One's Justice Should Probably Be Held Back

Game Informer News Feed - Thu, 06/14/2018 - 19:58

My Hero Academia is my favorite new anime. There's not much I don't like about the show, which made me excited to play its first video game adaptation to make its way to North America. Unfortunately, I didn't have much fun playing it.

The hands-on demo had nine playable characters available: All Might, Shoto Todoroki, Izuku Midoriya, Katsuki Bakugo, Ochaco Uraraka, Tomura Shigaraki, Stain, Dabi, and Himiko Toga. I played as Himiko Toga just because I think she is weird as hell. There were six stages available: Gran Torino Residence, U.A. High School Building, U.A. High School Classroom, The Beast's Forest (Day), Hosu City Urban District (Day), and Hosu City Alleway. I went with Gran Torino Residence, because I liked the idea of fighting in someone's home.


You can take two characters with you as back up. The hero and villain mix doesn't matter so I took All Might and Stain with me. The first game I thought of while playing was Power Stone, which may be an exciting comparison for some, but I tired of the combat pretty quickly. The hits lacked a profound sense of impact, which is a big shortcoming considering many of the characters in My Hero Academia will put all of their strength into a single blow. The characters were also too floaty, which didn't feel great mechanically, and is also at odds with the characters. Seeing Shoto Todoroki float a little bit as he moved in for a hit looked weird because that character doesn't fly.

Characters are also highly customizable, which I am torn about. Dressing your characters up is always fun, but the costume each hero creates for him or herself is an important element of the anime. They spent a whole episode on it! To see Katsuki Bakugo wearing all kinds of other costume embellishments alongside his signature grenade hands just looks a little weird. If the things you can add to your fighter are dumb enough, though, I supposed I can get on board.

There were some things I liked, like the ability to run along walls, and when you hit someone hard enough, they will slam headfirst into a wall and their legs will awkwardly stick out for a few moments. Maybe more time with My Hero One's Justice will show more depth in the combat, but my initial impressions left me wanting more.

Categories: Games

The Surge 2 Is One Of E3’s Biggest Surprises

Game Informer News Feed - Thu, 06/14/2018 - 19:56

After the admirable Souls clone Lords Of The Fallen, Deck 13 tried its hand at a sci-fi action game called The Surge. The futuristic hack and slash title had some great narrative concepts that never realized their potential as well as a fun combat system centered around dismemberment that was brought down by receptive enemy types and a lackluster environment.

With The Surge 2, Deck 13 seems to have embraced all of these criticisms and worked hard to address them in the sequel. The result, from what we’ve seen from a demo presentation, is a promising action-adventure game that presents an intriguing world filled with secrets and hectic combat encounters.

Gone is the forgettable protagonist (seriously, what’s that dude’s name?) from the first game. With The Surge 2, you’ll have a character creator to make you own protagonist, customizing their gender and looks. The weapon types from the original game have been doubled, expanding from 5 to 10, with the new additions functioning a lot like the trick weapons in Bloodborne. That’s not the only thing that Deck 13 seems to be borrowing from From’s beloved Souls offshoot.

The enemies in the first Surge were essentially mindless, robotic zombies or massive machines that gave a challenging fight but weren’t exactly memorable. In The Surge 2, we watched as our heroine squared off against human mercenaries, all decked out in advanced armor capable of cloaking, that moved and acted much like the hunters from Bloodborne. 

These duels were frantic, with our demoer having to adapt and dodge whenever one of the mercs cloaked and disappeared out of a sight, the only clue to which direction they were going being a tree limb or patch of long grass moving before the foe struck. Killing these enemies allows you to gain access to their tech depending on which limb finisher you cut off. During the first encounter, the demoer finished off the first opponent by tearing through his arm with an axe.  The reward? A floating pistol that they could summon at any point to attack someone. The pistol doesn’t do much damage but is a nifty gadget capable of luring foes into traps or stunning them. Other armor attachments will give you different abilities, making combat not only visually striking (with finishers rending heads or tearing foes in half) but also constantly offering enticing rewards.

The environments are also a big step up from the original game, with the samey factory setting being replaced by the futuristic, quarantined city of Jericho. During the demo we watched the main character investigate a totally synthetic park created for the rich to enjoy. Massive guardians disguised as statutes hide, waiting for “undesirables.” The best part of the demo came when our heroine squared up against one of these guardians in a mini-boss fight that had the boss using a shield. After some crafty dodge work and a few shots from the pistol, the guardian’s shield went down and our demoer made an exciting, risky play, slashing and slamming into the boss and bringing it down. A flashy explosion marked the end of our demo.

The Surge was a promising title marred by a number of issues, all of which the Surge 2 seems to be rectifying. We’re excited to see what else this sequel has to offer when it releases on PS4, Xbox One, and PC in 2019.

Categories: Games

Mavericks: Proving Ground Is An Ambitious-As-Hell Battle Royale With MMO Aspirations

Game Informer News Feed - Thu, 06/14/2018 - 19:35

Mavericks is the next game to compete in the very competitive Battle Royale genre. It is talking a big game, and in some cases, even calling out what will likely be its direct competitor, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.

The developer, Improbable, is made up of folks who have worked on games like Killzone, APB, and Wipeout among a few other impressive titles. It started out its presentation detailing some of the things it hopes will set Mavericks apart from the competition. It promised different weather effects in the environments, like snow and rain, and said it has the technical capabilities to go as high as 400 players in a match. Improbable also wants, long-term, to have 1,000 players broken into a collection of five-person teams. The area of play for the battle royale mode will take place on a 10 x 10 km area (as opposed to PUBG’s 6 x 6 km area), and that will only be a portion of its planned larger 16 x 16 km playable area. Basically, Improbable is making an MMO shooter that will have missions taking place in this large area and battle royale will just be one mode present in the larger game.


Players will impact the map as they play. One of the small examples Improbable offered was when you change bandages out to heal, your old bandages will be discarded on the ground. This way, other players will know someone has been there, and they’re injured. Bullet shell casings will also litter the ground, along with footprints, blood trails, and used med kits. You will also see animals in the world minding their own business.

The environment is also be destructible, with the ability to fire through thin walls, blow down doors with grenades, or even shoot the locks off of doors. You can also quietly pick those locks, too.

An area called The Capital will act as a safe hub where players will be able to collect quests, buy things in shops, or engage in player to player interaction. Improbably has a whole story premise for the world in place occurring after a World War III. People compete in the battle royale for a kind of limited immortality, but we didn’t get more details than that.

Improbable talked a big game with its long-term plans for Mavericks, and it is undeniably ambitious. It’s more MMO (or maybe Destiny would be the better comparison) than you might think, considering much of the talk surrounding the game has been related to its battle royale mode. After the presentation, we did get a chance to go hands-on with a very early version of the game.

Its built using CryEngine, so it looks sharp. The trailer released during the PC Gamer Show (seen above) uses the game’s engine, but all the animation and choreography is custom. It started raining during our demo, which looked cool, and I used a bandage and saw that I did leave behind a bandage on the ground. The destructibility was also in place, and I was able to shoot through the walls inside a random house, and shoot up into the ceiling to expose the attic. In theory, if someone is hiding upstairs and you can hear them, you will be able to shoot them from below. It had its hiccups in this early build of the game, and there was no option to go prone, but on its shooter merits (there wasn’t much opportunity to explore the larger open world) it felt pretty good.

Mavericks will enter closed beta in August (you can sign up for it here), and you can sign up for it now. In late 2018 the battle royale mode will be available, and next year Improbable is hoping to integrate its plans for the persistent open world, ongoing player-driven narrative, as well as player choices that will affect the larger world.


I admire Mavericks: Proving Grounds’ ambition. Improbable wants to make a massive shared shooter world where people can experience an ongoing narrative and level up their character while participating in battle royale. The promised tech is impressive, but it’s impossible to say if it will be able to deliver. It’s a game I will definitely be watching to see if it is able to live up to its potential.

Categories: Games

Schoolyard Arguments Find Resolution In Jump Force

Game Informer News Feed - Thu, 06/14/2018 - 18:25

As part of Microsoft’s massive E3 conference, Phil Spencer introduced a fighting game from Bandai Namco as a way of communicating Microsoft’s commitment to Japanese games. The trailer showed Dragon Ball’s Goku and Freeza, the titular character of Naruto, and Luffy from One Piece all fighting each other in realistic modern environments. Bandai Namco introduced the world to Jump Force, a 3D fighting game celebrating manga magazine Shonen Jump’s 50th anniversary.

The story of the game is that our world – that is to say, the real world – is colliding with the world, or worlds, of various Jump series. Unlike previous Jump crossover games, Jump Force is intended to have a story mode explaining why the various heroes and villains are clashing, though Bandai Namco would not tell us the reason quite yet. They only hinted that it would involve the machinations of Light and the Shinigami Ryuk, who were seen observing the fights from the top of a building at the end of the reveal trailer.

The fights take place, at least from what we were shown, in real-world locations. At E3, the only two levels shown were New York City and the Matterhorn, rendered with fairly realistic graphics. There weren’t any citizens fleeing from Naruto’s Kyuubi super or Freeza’s finger lasers, which is good, because that might have been a bit too much to take in.

The actual gameplay of Jump Force is not dissimilar to 3D fighting games already associated with the respective series. Mashing buttons will often get you exactly what you want to happen, usually a disappearing act as you dart across the arena and use your opponent as a volleyball. Holding a shoulder button and combining it with attacks gets you special moves like Goku’s Kamehameha, Luffy’s Gum Gum Pistol, or Naruto’s Rasengan. In that respect, the ease of execution is very similar to Smash Bros. more than, say, Dragon Ball Budokai or Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm.

The combat at the moment, however, is a little slow and unvaried. Characters all move at about the same speed and seem to have a lot of the same combos, making them feel extremely similar outside of their special moves. Mobility doesn’t seem that different between One Piece’s Zorro and Dragon Ball’s Goku, giving the possibly intentional impression that the game is designed to simply be picked up and played for anyone with any favorite character.

Bandai Namco wouldn’t give up the roster for the game, but hinted that there more than a few surprise characters that fans wouldn’t think of. While fighting ability and popularity are important factors, being able to please fans of more niche series is also a major goal for the development team.

Jump Force is scheduled to release in 2019 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

Categories: Games

Generation Zero Is A Game You Should Keep Your Eye On

Game Informer News Feed - Thu, 06/14/2018 - 02:09

The latest in the slew of games the Avalanche Studios, Generation Zero is much quieter than the chaos inherent in both Rage 2 and Just Cause 4, both in its gameplay and development. A small project with only around 40 people developing it and no publisher attached to it, the demo we saw for Generation Zero managed to leave an impression thanks to its unique vibe and killer presentation.

Set in an alternate version of the 80s, Generation Zero takes place in Sweden and finds you playing as a teenager (or a group of teenagers) who have come home to find from a trip from an isolated island to find that the nation has been overrun with violent robots made out of junky cart parts. People are missing or worse, and there’s only you, maybe your friends, and a countryside filled with murderous machines.

Generation Zero immediately draws comparisons to the cult classic S.T.A.L.K.E.R and earns them, giving you a wide and desolated landmass to explore, filled with towns and settlements, most of them occupied by neighborhoods with houses that you can go into and explore—or use as barricades for when the action gets tough. Runing on the Apex engine, the same engine that powers both Just Cause 4 and Rage 2, Generation Zero’s version of Sweden is stunning, with light that cuts through the trees and a slight fog that makes figures in the distance all the more ominous. Game Director Emil Kraftling points to some island in the distance, saying that co-op players can explore the entire island while in a multiplayer session without being tethered to one another, if they so choose.

The demoer spends the first few minutes scavenging ammo and loot from cars and boxes, armed with only a rusty PPK. We come across one of the machines, a runner, that looks like four pipes stuck to a car engine with a lamp for a head. The demoer manages to kill it with a few shots to the head but Kraftling warns that the vast majority of machines aren’t that easy to take down. You’ll have to be smart if you want to survive.

Many of the robots have specific body parts you can disable that will give you an advantage in battle. Clip a robot’s legs and it can’t move (though it can still fire at you with machienguns), shoot one in its visor and it won’t be able to use heat seeking signatures to track you. Environmental objects also let you even the odds when you come across a pack of foes. During our session, the demoer found three Runners in a town center. Using a boombox he picked up earlier, our player tosses it next to a nearby electrical station. The Runners investigating the song playing from the boombox immediately suffer a shock to their systems when the demoer unleashes a volley of bullets on the electrical station. He quickly takes them out while they’re stunned.

The best thing about Generation Zero is just how effective and uniquely eerie the game’s atmosphere is. Despite being set in the 80s, you won’t find an obnoxious amount of neon splashing your screen or hear Michael Jackson blaring from nearby radios. From what we’ve seen Generation Zero refuses to give into the temptation of paying excess homage to the decade of excess. Instead, there’s an unnerving level of HG Wells-style crypticness about the whole affair. Where did the machines come from? What do they want? How do you repel them?  Avalanche says that answering these questions will drive the game’s narrative which, again, can be experienced as a solo player or with a squad.

Our demo ends when our player comes across a new kind of mech in a field, one that dwarfs the Runner in size, awkwardly strutting about like a hobbled giraffe. There are square shaped boxes on its shoulder. The player takes a rifle shot at the mech and it responds by opening those boxes and showering the entire field with a rainstorm of missiles that kill the demoer and cutting to black.

We came away impressed with this slice of gameplay from Avalanche’s latest. As far as setting a mood, Generation Zero fires on all cylinders, engendering a spooky horror atmosphere that makes the game stand part from both Avalanche’s trademark zany output as well as the vast majority of other open-world survival games. We’ll have to wait more to learn about Generation Zero, which is due out in 2019, but this is one spooky co-op fest that has our undivided attention.

Categories: Games

Political Intrigue And Supernatural Beasts Collide In GreedFall

Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 06/13/2018 - 23:32

A new action RPG from developer Spiders puts diplomacy front and center – when you’re not being mauled by massive creatures, that is.

GreedFall’s art style is inspired by 17th century Europe, albeit with a heavy dose of magic. The game takes place on an island called Teer Fradee. The island has recently been colonized by survivors from the Old World, which was devastated by a deadly plague. That puts land in Teer Fradee at a premium, and it's up to you to navigate the tense relationships between several competing factions.

Players step into the leather boots of a representative for the Congregation of Merchants, and can fully customize your character by selecting your gender, looks, and clothing. The demo we saw tasked the protagonist with aiding Sior, the daughter of a tribal clan who needs help defending their home from an invading army. Spiders says that the choices and dialogue branches you select will have a major impact on the story, as well as your standing with the various factions. In our demo, the player chooses to help Sior, and sets out to follow her back to the tribe.

The wilderness in GreedFall is full of strange and deadly creatures, including big wolf-bear hybrids that ambush our travelers during the journey. The ensuing combat looks like a weightier take on the hack-and-slash genre; enemies (and presumably the player) can be hit with a variety of status modifiers, such as “stunned,” “off balance,” “knocked down,” and “poisoned.” Dodging is also possible, but on the whole combat is slower and heavier than the typical action game.

After dispatching the creatures, the duo return to the tribe’s land which is already at war with the invading army. Our protagonist and Sior jump into the melee. An interconnected skill tree allows you to build out your character and combat focus as you see fit, whether you want to be a sword-based warrior, or specialize in magic, traps, or firearms.

The protagonist in our demo favors a large two-handed sword that’s able to cut down multiple enemies at once. However, they are too late; most of the tribe has already been slaughtered, including Sior’s mother, the queen. After the battle, the elder surviving tribeswoman reacts hostilely towards the main character, but he manages to talk her down – he assisted Sior after all, and fought alongside them. Players can have up to two NPCs accompany them during the game, and who you choose will also affect your standing with the various factions. These companions come in handy at the end of the demo, when the player encounters a massive horned creature that requires a prolonged series of strikes, dodges, and magic attacks to take down.

So far the interplay between the factions sounds like the most intriguing aspect of GreedFall; Spiders says that players can approach situations with a wide variety of tactics beyond combat, including diplomacy and deception. We’ll have to wait until next year to see how it all comes together, but we’re interested to learn more of GreedFall’s unique world and ambitious RPG elements.  

Categories: Games

Project 1v1 Is A Quake III-Style Shooter With An Old-School Arcade Twist

Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 06/13/2018 - 22:35

Project 1v1 may look like a Quake III/Unreal Tournament-style FPS at first glance, but there’s more to it than just the opponent-gibbing action. As the title suggests, Project 1v1’s matches are limited to just two players, and play out on small and twisting maps full of ramps, jump pads, and the occasional insta-kill hazard. Whoever racks up the most frags in the allotted time wins. So far, so ‘90s.

However, Gearbox is adding a few interesting twists to the formula. The first is a queue of spectators, who can watch and comment on the match as it happens. Those onlookers aren’t just watching to boost your ego – whoever is at the top of the queue will be the next competitor to challenge the winner, and hopefully send them packing. This king-of-the-hill format is accentuated by Project 1v1’s HUD, which mirrors what you might find in an arcade fighting game, with the players’ health running in big bright bars across the top, along with their score (frags) and the remaining timer.

Project 1v1's maps are small and densely populated with converging pathways.

The other big twist is how weapons and abilities are handled. The characters you select in Project 1v1 (which sport exaggerated sci-fi art styles) are completely cosmetic and highly customizable, allowing you to tweak various pieces of clothing and ornaments you're wearing, as well as all of the color schemes. How your character actually functions in combat is instead dictated by your “deck,” which is comprised of a handful of cards. These cards cover both weapons (including the usual assortment of rocket launchers, shotguns, railguns, etc.), and abilities, which run the gamut from deployable turrets to speed boosts to a Pharah-style rocket barrage. Gearbox hasn’t worked out all the logistics behind the card packs, but players will be able to earn them through play, and they’ll contain a mix of the aforementioned weapons, abilities, and cosmetic items. Once you unlock a card, you’ll be able to use it in as many loadouts as you wish.

My hands-on demo of the game featured quick and tense matches that hearkened back to the early days of competitive shooters, and the three “decks” I tried featured considerably different abilities. Winning felt particularly good, in part because it meant I could keep on playing without waiting in line for another turn. Whether fans will want to queue up for a 1v1 shooter remains to be seen, but as you can probably surmise from the title and lack of screenshots, Project 1v1 is early in development and Gearbox is clearly still experimenting with the nascent shooter's formula.

Categories: Games

Exploring The Depths Of Starlink: Battle For Atlas

Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 06/13/2018 - 22:30

It's easy to think of Starlink: Battle for Atlas as a late-comer to the already-dead toys-to-life market, but thankfully the game itself has more going for it than just the plastic ship you attach to your controller.


The game has a complete solar system of planets to explore, including the option to use your hyperdrive to fly between them. Although they weren't in the demo that I played, you'll also encounter random ships and ports in your travels – including some who are spoiling for a fight.

Naturally planets have missions, involving both combat as well as some puzzles, and there are different factions to take missions from in order to upgrade space stations. There's also loot to find as you explore worlds.

The long and short of it is that Ubisoft Toronto has built out an entire solar system, and there should be no shortage of things to do in it.


Starlink features different ships, pilots, and weapons that you attach to your controller. The weapons constitute the most obvious changes, such as attaching a flamethrower or ice cannon to your wing.

However, the game digs deeper into the options pool. Pilots have their own special attacks (like a giant, rechargable large area blast or an orbital strike) and their stats and abilities can be upgraded via skill points. Moreover, the wings themselves have their own stats, denoting them as more suited to speed or defense. There are also equipment upgrades to find on worlds.

During combat you can hot swap weapons (the game automatically pauses), which is very useful if you need more of a long-range attack, for instance, or you just prefer the Gatling gun. 


Although the demo didn't feature aerial dogfights, there were sequences where your ship was effectively grounded due to corruption fields during a mission. This meant that the ship hovered feet above the ground while ground-based enemies attacked.

This was the weakest part of the demo, as scuttling above the ground in what is otherwise an airborne ship doesn't feel satisfying because you're neither rooted to the ground nor free to fly in the skies.

Pressing Y brings up a temporary front-facing shield, and you can also hop pressing the A button and dodge roll to the left or right, giving you some mobility.

The demo ended with a land-based crab boss, and although my ship was free to take to the skies again for this encounter since I destroyed some corruption structures earlier, the best way to defeat the large boss was, unfortunately, to return to the ground.

Take a look at how Cork and the New Gameplay Today crew fared in the game here.

Categories: Games

Check Your Expectations – Blades Isn't The Full Elder Scrolls Package

Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 06/13/2018 - 22:13

One of the best things about open-world role-playing games like the Elder Scrolls titles is they can be many things to many people. Some come for the combat mastery, or leveling characters to god status. Others are most invested in exploring vast open worlds. And then there are the weirdos who fill their house with thousands of skulls. Some of this is inevitably lost in the transition to mobile platforms, but that's not to say fans won't find something to like about Elder Scrolls: Blades. 

Announced at the Bethesda Showcase earlier in the week, Blades is a gorgeous looking mobile title divided into three modes – competitive arena, a story mode about building up a town, and a dedicated dungeon crawl. I got my hands on two scenarios that gave me a good idea of what to expect from the action. 

As Todd Howard explained during his presentation, the team wanted to design a system playable whether you have two free hands to play in landscape mode, or just one (which necessitates using portrait mode). Using either perspective, the touch controls are generally responsive and the control layout intuitive. I ran into some movement problems with navigating tight spaces, but the dungeon designs we played were so rudimentary you may not need to do much scavenging in the corners like you would a traditional Elder Scrolls game. There weren't many cabinets to peruse, books to read, or items to inspect. The only things I could interact with were some smashable vases (all of which looked the same) and the slow-moving enemies. Sneaking is removed from the equation as well, since the enemies don't really engage unless you willfully move their direction.

Combat is as straightforward as it needs to be considering you can play it one-handed. You press down on the touchscreen to charge up an attack, and also have hot buttons for blocking, a shield bash ability, and two spells. Spells and abilities run on cooldown timers, and aren't immediately available for use when you enter combat. For the purposes of this demo, I had a lightning attack and frost armor. The battles come down to careful timing. Parrying an attack opens up a counter opportunity, and some enemies use distance to stay out of your weapon's reach. To kill off the giant rats, you have to time our strike to the moment they moved in for an attack. The shield block and weapons aren't as responsive as you would get from a standard controller, but they're serviceable. 

Loot plays a critical role in Elder Scrolls games, but I'm not a fan of how Bethesda streamlined the goodies for Blades. Instead of receiving new weapons, armor, etc. when you kill an enemy or destroy an object, you collect one of two currencies – gems and coins. I assume these feed into a robust marketplace considering this is a free-to-play game. Harvesting currency doesn't feel nearly as rewarding as unsheathing a shiny new sword.

The inventory available to players feels more in line with standard Elder Scrolls games. You can equip multiple types of weapons, chest armor, gauntlets, shields, helmets, and the like. I just hope some of the rare items can be earned outside of the marketplace.

We didn't get a chance to check out the story mode, which could help the game feel more fleshed out. Based on my short time with the game, I think Blades fits capably in the time-killing mobile game genre. You could easily pick up the game for minutes at a time to grind out some currency to spend later. But as a long-time Elder Scrolls fan, I hope they don't give short shrift on the story, dialogue, and exploration, which are the true elements that make the franchise so special.  

Look for Elder Scrolls Blades on iOS and Android this fall. 

Categories: Games

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Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 06/13/2018 - 22:05

If you watched Sony’s E3 press conference you probably already know that Ghosts of Tsushima is wearing its Samurai film inspirations on its sleeve. The game is bold new direction for the studio, which made its name developing the Sly Cooper and Infamous franchises. Unlike those series, Ghosts of Tsushima is incredibly grounded, but that seems to be to the game’s benefit.

During our behind-closed-doors demo of the game we got a slightly closer look at Sucker Punch’s next game. Ghosts of Tsushima most striking aspect is its gorgeous art design. At any moment, you can pause the game and get a stunning picturesque view that look as if it were ripped from one of the most visually stunning Samurai films of all time. Sucker Punch is also paying homage to this genre by creatively pacing the action. Combat is full of slow pans as opponents faces off against each other, so players can really soak in the moment, and then the studio punctuates the action with a series of quick (and often deadly) strikes.

Ghosts of Tsushima is set in the 13th century, during a time when the Mongol Empire invaded the small Japanese island of Tsushima. Sucker Punch hopes to tell a sprawling wartime epic from the point of view of a lone Japanese Samurai who has been forced to fend for himself. The game is based around real event, but player won’t be reliving every historical beat à la the Assassin’s Creed franchise.

“This is a game that is entirely grounded in reality,” says Sucker Punch director Nate Fox. “We’re trying hard to transport people to 1274 Japan. We’re inspired by history, but we’re not building it back stone by stone. We’re not trying to rebuild Tsushima island. Our protagonist is a work of fiction. We actually thought about using some historical figures, and we asked some people who are more culturally aware than us and they said that it would be insensitive, so we didn’t do it.”


During our demo, we also learned that the section of the game Sucker Punch showed off during Sony’s showcase is only a side quests. Sucker Punch aims to fill the entire game with more involved story quests of a similar caliber, which will help make the world feel alive and real.

“We believe heavily in this being an anthology of stories, where you’ll see something on the horizon, like a town burning, and you’ll meet a character and there will be twists and turns, but it all feels natural and organic. This is absolutely typical of the kind of experience you’ll find in the game, and I want it to be something that feels bespoke and unexpected. My personal goal is that people get lost exploring feudal Japan. Is that what you’re asking?”

That last part is a response to a question I didn’t include in this article. I don’t know why I transcribed it, so feel free to ignore that here. Ghosts of Tsushima is set to release on the PS4. A release date has yet to be announced.

Categories: Games

The Larger World Of Forza Horizon 4

Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 06/13/2018 - 21:29

The Forza Horizon franchise has always been about an open world, but Forza Horizon 4 is stretching that in new ways for the series. We talked with the developers at Playground Games in more depth about the what players can expect as they explore, engage in co-op with friends, and enjoy the seamless environment.

Driving around the world, you will always have access to 12 real-life drivers. Moreover, this online state can easily be switched off at any time, at which time the game reverts back to the drivatar-filled world you’re used to. As you race along, your friends can follow you across the map, but the game will load in instances of other real-life drivers.

Players experience four distinct seasons, which introduce their own handling challenges and even open up new areas of the map, and the seasons change for everyone at the same time once per week.

If you see someone, their collision will be turned off unless they’re already a friend or you start a race (you can also block people if you just don't want them in your world). Forza Horizon 4’s co-op blends the previously separate co-op silos so there’s no difference between free-roam and event racing, for instance. While you won't be able to create your own events in the world (like putting down a marker where you hit some huge air, for example), you're free to flow between all the game has to offer with or without other people. 

Despite the fact that the online scope of the game is widening, features like race rewinding and photography are still available, as is the ability to chat in the world via preset messages.

The Horizon Festival is once again at the center of the title (complete with a drag strip and circuit in the hub), but campaign players are free to rise up the ranks as they see fit, whether that's through racing, painting, photography, tuning, or streaming.

The game also broadens out the Forza Horizon lifestyle with ancillary options like houses, jobs, owning businesses, and customization through clothing. There are approximately 12 houses to own in the game, from a simple cottage to Edinburgh Castle, although developer Playground Games hasn't specified how you purchase them (the studio hasn't announced any new microtransactions). Houses can also be used for fast travel.

Those looking for a PvP competitive scene can find it in new team PvP, leagues, and the ability to recruit and create/share PvP circuits.

Post-launch the team is looking at the in-game season format (one year in the game should roughly equal one month) to push new content, and the ultimate goal is to make each season in the game have different stuff to do from in-game year to in-game year. One of the things on the wishlist currently is the ability to make your own events for co-op play.

From game to game the Forza Horizon series has fulfilled the promise of its open world more and more, and Forza Horizon 4 is taking down one of the last main barriers.

Categories: Games

Lara Has Some Devious New Tools In Shadow Of The Tomb Raider

Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 06/13/2018 - 18:52

The Tomb Raider reboot has been about building up Lara Croft from a determined but inexperienced explorer to the hero we know today. During our E3 demo of Shadow of the Tomb Raider, we got to play her as a full-on predator, culminating in a chilling scene that shows her confronting – and dismissing – any remaining fears or lingering insecurities.

Unlike the last demo, which featured a gunfight that didn’t end until either Lara or her Trinity adversaries were dead, today’s demo was more flexible. It’s set in a Peruvian jungle, with multiple routes and paths to explore. Lara moves through a dirt trail, as a radio crackles to live with a warning that “Croft is heading to your location.” She climbs a tree, and sees a trio of enemies below her. Jumping down and taking them out with her knife would be a dangerously stupid thing to attempt, so I draw my bow and fire a new fear arrow into the neck of the closest goon.

The projectile hits its mark with a satisfying “Thwack!” and the victim looks around. He begins firing wildly at his comrades, clearly under its spell, taking them both out. A few seconds later, his panic turns to distress as he finally succumbs to the poison and hits the ground dead. It’s reminiscent of the berserk darts and similar toxins from the Assassin’s Creed games, but that familiarity doesn’t make the effects any less enjoyable. Ahead, I use the same tactic to eliminate a cluster of four enemies. The fear arrows are a limited resource, and they’re also not effective on armored enemies, so I take advantage while I can.

Lara is agile as ever, and climbing trees and getting the drop on enemies remains a solid approach. When a Trinity soldier gets too close to me on a patrol, I use a stealth kill that has Lara fire a rope arrow at him, drop from the tree, and string him up. I’m doing so well that I start to get a little cocky; I try to deactivate a generator while a guard is coming back, and he notices me – even though I stopped by a puddle a bit earlier and covered myself in mud.

The fighters are aggressive and relentless. I try to juke their attacks, but it’s hard to avoid bullets with fancy footwork alone. I do manage to scramble away and backtrack to a vine-covered wall, where I can hide in its greenery. It’s enough to fool the guards into thinking I’m gone for good. That was a mistake. I find a gas can in an elevated spot, and throw it on the ground near several guards. They react the same way they do when I chuck bottles at them: firing blindly at the sound. It’s a fatal error, as their shots detonate the container and the explosion clears out the stragglers.

Lara radios for her friend Jonah, and hears an unfamiliar voice. Jonah’s dead, the voice taunts, and his body can be found in the refinery. “I’m coming for you,” she replies.

Lara moves past a gate, and the jungle gives way to a more industrial setting. Steel drums and vehicles are scattered along the path, which leads to the refinery. She’s midway across a bridge when a spotlight blasts on face, mounted on a helicopter. Stealth is no longer an option. An army of Trinity thugs open fire, and an extended platforming sequence begins. We’ve all seen the basic elements here before – collapsing catwalks, rails that bend and swing when grabbed, and death-defying leaps – but the graphical fidelity and effects from the now-flaming refinery keep it exciting.

The demo ends with Lara falling into the water, and her body is limp as it sinks. A montage of audio memories plays; people from her past and Lara herself doubt her resolve. But she refuses to give in. Her eyes open, and she slowly rises from the water, standing tall as walls of flame flicker behind her. A wounded guard is on the dock, and Lara methodically bears down on him, knife ready. It’s a powerful moment, and the screen cuts to black before we see how it ends. I can only imagine it’s not going to be good for him, for Trinity, and possibly for Lara herself. 

Look for Shadow of the Tomb Raider on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on Sept.  14.

Categories: Games

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Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 06/13/2018 - 18:05

One of the most exciting features on the way in the release of Destiny 2: Forsaken is a new weapon archetype. The bow changes up the battlefield in some important ways, not least because it’s a distance weapon that isn’t actually a gun.

I had the good fortune to get some extensive early hands-on time with the bow, and rapidly found the potential for fun. The pace of shooting is different from what we’ve come to expect with the guns of Destiny 2, and the change is refreshing. “There’s a pace and rhythm to it that is totally different from our other weapons – adding more anticipation to your shots sort of puts you in a zen-like trance,” says designer Greg Peng. “Draw, Aim, Fire, Nock, Draw, Aim, Fire, Nock, Draw, Aim Fire.” Until you shoot it for yourself, it’s hard to grasp the natural feel of the shooting. It delivers as a high-risk, high reward weapon. You invest a significant micro-chunk of time to draw the bow back and get to full power, so nailing the precision hit is essential. But when it connects (often killing PvE enemies in one shot) it’s immensely satisfying.

Continue reading...

Categories: Games

5 Reasons Tetris Effect Might Be The Umpteenth Time You Buy Tetris

Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 06/13/2018 - 17:04

Tetris is one of the most readily available games in the world, and yet people keep making new versions of it. Most of them are generally unaltered, content to act as a quick and easy way to get the game on new platforms and services.

Tetsuya Mizuguchi's take on Tetris is a bit different. While the basic premise is still the same (I'm not going to explain Tetris to you), the way Tetris Effect alters the experience is more about altering the experience of playing Tetris than the game itself, and from my short demo at E3 this year, I think it really works.

I didn't think I'd come away excited about game I've played all my life at E3, but here are five reasons I'm excited to put on some headphones and play some damn Tetris in 2018.

Tetsuya Mizuguchi has good taste in music

Although his games are often carefully designed, fun, and hypnotic puzzlers, the biggest appeal of Tetsuya Mizuguchi games for me is having another chance to delve into his taste in music. After playing hours of Lumines: Electronic Symphony a few years ago, I made a Spotify playlist of all the songs from the game available on the service, and had it on regular rotation for about two years.

The guy knows how to curate a playlist and enhance it through gameplay. You could easily sell Tetris Effect by saying "It's Lumines, but you play Tetris instead." That sounds crazy, but you also know exactly what I mean; while the puzzling aspect is a key part the experience, it's how the music and visuals intertwine with that experience that make Mizuguchi's work stand out, and that's what Tetris Effect is.

The songs I listened to during my demo are still stuck in my head, as are the various sound effects you can make by rotating and dropping Tetrominoes. As much as Tetris Effect is another Tetris game, it's also another Mizuguchi game, and those trappings enhance the trance you enter while playing Tetris.

It's gorgeous

As in Lumines, Tetris Effect has you play through a series of songs rather than simply clear lines 'til you drop. When the music transitions from one song to the next, the backdrop and block aesthetic changes with it. During this transition, you get the kind of dense, colorful explosions you might want to test out a new 4K TV with, and it adds to the experience.

Some of the backdrops in my demo were especially trippy, including one themed after Egyptian pyramids, where all the blocks where cleverly made up of two triangles and a sea of enormous diagram-like shapes of spheres and pyramids approached the screen at high speed. Another involved a sort of tribal ritual, where part of the song and sound effects were the primal "huhs!" of a chant acted about the tribe on-screen. By default, the actual Tetris board is fairly small on the screen, placing a larger emphasis on the backdrop. It might a little distracting to your actual Tetris play, but it works.

Especially In VR

Strapping on a headset to play Tetris sounds like something out of a dystopian future, but doing so is worth it for a couple of reasons. For one, it sort of forces you to put on headphones, which should be a given for a Mizuguchi game. Second, the visual flair that occurs when you transition from one song to the next is heightened when the particle effects fly right at your face.

You can also zoom the view of the board in and out, and at its most zoomed in, you actually have to look up and down to see the entire board. It's weird and again probably won't make you a better Tetris player, but this is more about the experience of playing Tetris than getting high scores, and it's a pretty fun novelty.

The Zone mechanic adds to Tetris without ruining it

The only real change to gameplay Tetris Effect makes is the introduction of the Zone mechanic. As you play you build up a meter, and when you unleash it (preferably when your board starts filling up), time slows down, letting you stack up and clear lines more easily. Even better, every line you clear is instead moved to the bottom of the board, and when the Zone timer ends, all the lines you've cleared disappear at once, making for some easy points.

Tetris is as perfect as any game is ever going to be, but the Zone adds to it in a fun way. It doesn't meaningfully alter the way you play Tetris, but does add a fun pace of building meter and pulling off Zone maneuvers, which again serves to distinguish Tetris Effect from other versions of the game without adding a layer that ruins the whole thing.

It has a story mode

Okay, maybe not a story mode the way you're thinking. You don't play as the square Tetromino and recruit the other Tetrominoes to take down the malevolent Top of the Tetris Board or something. It's a little more like Rez, where there's a loose narrative between all the songs you're playing through, but nothing too overt. There's a plot and message in the Tetris Effect, but it'll be delivered through the music and game itself.

There's also a menu where you select different stages made up of three or four songs, each are which act as a short, tailor-made medley designed around a theme or feeling. The length of these medleys changes depending on what difficulty you play on, and you'll have to work your way up to the hardest difficulty in order to see the complete version of a given stage. It's a neat way to repackage Tetris, and I'm hoping it delivers the same sort of euphoric denouement Mizuguchi tends to go for in his games.

I'm still a little surprised by how excited the changes in Tetris Effect made me to play Tetris again. I'm still a bit on the fence about VR as a whole, but playing it with a headset on definitely pushed me closer towards one. But even if that doesn't appeal to you, can play the entire game without it. Just make sure you wear headphones.

Tetris effect is schedules to release this fall on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation VR.

Categories: Games

Ori And The Will Of The Wisps Wisely Builds On Strong Foundations

Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 06/13/2018 - 15:11

At a behind doors demonstration during E3, we got to see some more of the sequel to Ori and The Blind Forest in action. The original game wooed us back in 2014 with its Metroid-like gameplay and beautiful graphics. From what we saw Will Of The Wisps, a sequel due out on Xbox One in 2018, will give fans of the first game even more beauty to gawk over while also adding a surprisingly in-depth combat system to the mix.

The demo we watched was short, focusing on Original explore a desert area called The Windswept Wastes. A new burrowing mechanic let Ori dive in and out of sandpits to tangle with nasty, fanged worm enemies. While on the surface, Ori had a whole suite of abilities to take on baddies, including a magical spear, bow & arrow, hammer, and self-healing ability. 

Perhaps the most impressive thing about Will of the Wisps, like the original game, is the fluidity of movement. Ori's movements recall an almost 90s Disney-like animation style, with the little fella zipping back and forth, launching volleys of arrows before bouncing out of a pit with two well-placed jumps. The speed and beauty of Ori's attacks and evasive maneuvers is lovely to behold and, just as it did with the platforming in the original game, gives Will Of The Wisps' combat its own unique identity.


We came away impressed with Will Of The Wisps. Though the game's release window is still a bit away, the offerings that Moon Studios showcased are a promising sign of where this platforming-action series will go.

Categories: Games

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Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 06/13/2018 - 07:20

Super Meat Boy was a challenging platformer and a big hit in the indie scene when it released back in 2010. The sequel has been in the works for a long time. First announced back in 2014 as a mobile-only sequel, the project originally began development as an auto run platformer for mobile platforms. However, the game has evolved a lot over the last few years. I once thought it was going to be an inferior mobile offshoot that wouldn’t live up to its name, but after playing several levels at E3, I now know that I was wrong.

Don’t be like me. Here are several takeaways from my hands-on times.

  • Meat Boy and Bandage Girl now have a kid named Nugget who has been kidnapped by Dr. Fetus, which is why you’ve set off on this crazy adventure.
  • Team Meat is still considering adding additional characters, but right now it’s just Meat Boy and Bandage Girl who both control the same.
  • The controls are as tight and precise as the original.
  • The game features more story cutscenes, usually before a boss.
  • This is still an auto run game, but the levels are very polished, and honestly I almost didn’t miss being able to control the movement.
  • A randomization element pulls from over 100 premade level chucks to construct all of Super Meat Boy Forever’s levels, which means that each level could be completely different every time you play it.
  • I know procedurally generated games get a bad rap, but these levels all felt very polished, like real levels.
  • Team Meat is considering a mode that will let players play through all 100 of a level’s premade segments as one ultra-level.
  • The checkpoints are very forgiving, which is good because these levels are a bit longer than the original Meat Boy’s levels.
  • You now have an attack button. Attacking enemies gives you a bit of an extra time in the air, which is useful for platforming. You can also use this attack to hit switches, which opens new doors and activates buzzsaws and other deathtraps.
  • Sliding also functions as an attack.
  • The game is challenging, and I was playing on the easiest of the three base difficulties. It also feels fair.
  • The soundtrack is good, but it will be hard to live up to the original’s soundtrack.
  • Super Meat Boy Forever is being developed for Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC, and eventually mobile. The Switch version is set to release later this year, and the rest will follow.
  • This isn’t a detail about the game, I’m just here to tell you that the article is now over.
  • I’m sorry, but all good things come to an end.
Categories: Games

Hitman 2 Retains The Same Murderous Flavor In A New Locale

Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 06/13/2018 - 06:41

2016's Hitman brought the series back to its roots while making it more elaborate than ever, giving players numerous paths to their target and letting them experiment along the way. While Hitman 2 doesn't change that formula much, it does improve on it, making some under-the-hood changes that should make it easier for would-be assassins to track and kill their targets. It's also improving on the game's release schedule, with the promise of regular updates and a full game out of the gate.

My demo left me with the impression IO Interactive doesn't want to fix what wasn't broken, but is continuing to refine the experience. My mission placed me in Miami, where I was tasked with sabotaging a prominent race car named Sierra Knox at Formula 1-esque race. I began my mission without weapons of any kind, which may have limited my options out of the gate, but made getting through the pat-down at security a breeze.

Once inside the event proper, it's clear Miami is following in the lineage of its predecessor by packing Miami with thousands of people and lots of spaces to explore. IO tells me there are over 2,000 NPCs, and it's a little difficult to get a good read on the place at first. I hop on a set of nearby bongos for a few seconds, then hop off to explore my options. I notice the VIP section, which is sporting a discerning security detail.

As I start to piece a plan together to lure one of the guards away to nab his outfit, Diana Burnwood points me to a red van in the parking garage, which she's loaded with a silenced pistol and an explosive. As I make my way to the van, I notice an inner office inside the parking garage with two guards in it, one of which was asleep at the wheel. After loading up at the van, I scan the edges of the garage for a bit and find a fuse box out of sight of the guards. Sabotaging the fuse box turns the power off in the office, luring the one conscious guard out of his post. After subduing him and dragging his body into the locker located right next to his fellow unconscious guard, I don the security garb and make my way into the VIP section.

At the VIP section, I hear that one of the mechanics on Knox's pit crew is planning to quit. Diana quickly has me tail him through a crowd, which is where one of Hitman's new features comes into play. Blending into crowds is now an explicit part of the game, and lowers the awareness of suspicious people around you.

As I blend in with the crowd, I realize one of Hitman's guiding principles is still in place: In order for the mechanic to make his next move, I need to "trigger" his next action by walking near him, instead of simply waiting for him go along his route. While this isn't a dealbreaker, it hampers my immersion in the world, and I had hoped the full sequel would have meant a more clockwork world, with every character acting independently of Agent 47.

I roll with it, however, and begin tailing the mechanic at a distance by cutting through crowds interspersed at the outside VIP section. I stop to reassess after he decides to start sipping wine at the bar. As is often the case in Hitman, it's time to poison his drink. My guise as security hasn't been compromised, so I'm free to head into the kitchen to wait for a waiter to enter the supply room. As soon as they enter, I chuck a kitchen knife at their face and take their outfit. Of course, the rat poison I need is right behind me.

Back at the bar, I get to see another tweak in action: I can now choose to keep my head down as a waiter while I wait for the mechanic to leave his drink unattended, which lowers my chances of being spotted by another waiter who might know better than to let an overly stoic guy with a barcode tattoo tend bar. After a few seconds, I see my chance and slip the poison in the mechanic's drink, then follow him to the bathroom. 

Before I subdue him, IO tells me to watch out for people and mirrors. If someone happens to be looking at a mirror with your refelction, it'll count as them seeing you. Luckily, the bathroom is empty, and I'm free to leave the unconscious mechanic to his bodily functions.

While wearing the mechanic's outfit, I head to the pit near the race track. The pit crew leader doesn't skip a beat and immediately orientes me on the finer points of being a crew member as though I'd just been hired. He tells me to get out on the track and maintain Knox's car. With the explosive still on me, it's all too easy to sabotage the whole affair. While I went with the explosive, IO tells me there are at least two more ways to end the scenario.

Finally, to confirm my kill, I stop by the racetrack to get a better few of the finale. As Knox races past me, I detonate the explosive, ending the demo. This is a fairly standard Hitman anecdote, but that's indicative of Hitman 2's approach: The original has created so many player-made stories worth telling that it's hard to justify upending too much of the formula.

If anything, the most important thing Hitman 2 changes is the release schedule: Rather than release one scenario every month or so, players will have access to the entire game at once when the game releases on November 13, letting them play out Agent 47's next few mission on their own. IO assures me its dedicated to supporting Hitman 2 past release, however, and confirmed bonus missions like escalation contracts and elusive targets will make a return and will be delivered on a similar schedule as before.

They also confirmed Agent 47's briefcase is back, letting you stow just about any item inside. You can also leave the briefcase lying around, and it will be noticed by passersby, which could screw up your entire plan or play right into your hand, depending on how you use it.

These details are all great, but I wonder why Hitman 2 is a wholly separate game from the first, instead of a continuation of the world of assassination established in the first Hitman. Still, if Miami is at all indicative of the expansive playgrounds Hitman 2 will let players go wild in, it should deliver the same kind of sly-yet-goofy thrills fans have become so enamored with in the last few years.

Categories: Games

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Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 06/13/2018 - 05:02

Resident Evil 2 is one of the most beloved Resident Evil games of all time. It has a beloved-ometer rating of over 780. It’s so loved that fans have been asking for a remake for decades. Then in 2015, Capcom announced that it would finally remake the entry that fans had been asking about for years. At E3 we went hands on with the game to see if it is everything we want. Here are our two biggest takeaways.

  1. Holy crap! This game is perfect for Resident Evil 2 fans. Like the GameCube remake of the ordinal Resident Evil, this game looks way better than the original, but it also plays on your expectations in some fun ways.
  2. There are two campaigns. The original RE2 featured two playable heroes and an innovative zapping system in which events from a player’s first playthrough would affect their second playthrough with the second character. This remake doesn’t feature a zapping system, but Claire and Leon are both playable, and each character has their own unique campaign.

I know I only promised you two details, so don’t tell anyone that I’m giving you a few extra.

Bonus detail: The game features a behind the shoulder camera similar to Resident Evil 4, but this game retains its survival horror focus. Where Resident Evil 4-6 were more action oriented, the remake of 2 is moodier and slower, featuring the classic puzzles and Metroid-like elements of the original game.

Bonus detail 2: The layout of the police station is very familiar, but this time around the floorplan includes bathrooms. Like the remake of the original, you take a slightly different route through the station, but I encountered several rooms that looks eerily familiar to the original PlayStation game that we all know and love.

Bonus detail 3: Combat knives actually seem useful, because this time around they can be used as a defensive weapon. Like the remake of the original (what am I? A broken record?), you can collect knifes, which act as a defensive tool. If a zombie attacks, you can stab one through its brainpan with a knife. However, unlike the first remake, these knives can be retrieved from courses and reused. But remember, they’re not made of adamantium, so you’ll only get a few uses out of them.

Bonus detail 4: The map is awesome. Not only does the map automatically fill out as you explore your environment, it highlights points of interest that you might want to return to, so it is easy to see if you missed something, or where you left that first aid spray you couldn’t carry your first time through a space. Rooms that have been fully explored are highlighted blue, but if you still have items to collect in a room that space is highlighted red.

Bonus detail 5: Seriously, Resident Evil fans, I think this is the game you’ve been waiting for! At the same time, those who haven’t experienced the original PlayStation-era game should still have a good time. The game releases on January 25 for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One X, and then on a later date for PC.

Okay, be cool. Don’t tell anyone I gave you all those free bonus details. We had a deal.

Categories: Games