Wolfenstein: Youngblood Will Borrow From Dishonored's Open-Ended Structure

Game Informer News Feed - Sun, 05/12/2019 - 19:00
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks Developer: Machine Games Release: July 26, 2019 Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Wolfenstein: Youngblood is the next game in the venerated Nazi-killing game from Bethesda and MachineGames, though this one is getting a little help from other Bethesda studio Arkane games. Arkane is likely best known for their Dishonored series, the stealth action semi-open world games, and they seem to be bringing some of that know-how to Wolfenstein.

In an interview with Official PlayStation Magazine, Youngblood's executive producer Jerk Gustafsson talked a little bit about the more non-linear structure they're aiming for with the new game.

“I think players will see a lot of similarities to level design in the Dishonored games, so in that sense it can be a little bit different as an experience but it can be for the benefit of the game, especially when it comes to finding different ways of approaching a combat scenario or a mission in general," Gustafsson said.

He went on to explain that the non-linear structure the game is now built around made penning a narrative a bit more difficult, which means that story content is on the lower side compared to other Wolfenstein games. That said, the overall gameplay time will be longer with fewer cutscenes.

Wolfenstein: Youngblood is scheduled to release on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC on July 26.

Categories: Games

Granblue Fantasy Versus Introduces New Character Ladiva

Game Informer News Feed - Sat, 05/11/2019 - 21:55
Publisher: Cygames Developer: Arc System Works Release: 2019 Platform: PlayStation 4

Granblue Fantasy Versus, the newest fighting game from Arc System Works, has been steadily adding new characters since the game's announcement. Now Cygames and ArcSys have announced the newest character, the out-of-left field wrestler Ladiva joins the roster.

The newest trailer for Granblue Fantasy Versus shows off all the introduced characters so far and ends with Ladiva showing off her wrestling moves. Check out the trailer below.

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Granblue Fantasy Versus is scheduled to release in 2019 on PlayStation 4.

Categories: Games

Be A Sugar Glider In Away: Survival Series

Game Informer News Feed - Fri, 05/10/2019 - 01:55
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment Developer: Breaking Walls Release: 2020 Platform: PlayStation 4

Another new announcement at today's State of Play livestream, Away: The Survival Series puts you in the shoes (so to speak) of a sugar glider making their way in the animal kingdom. While sugar gliders are adorable, those adorability isn't going to save you from other animals, so interacting with the rest of the world in a way where you do not die is paramount.

Check out the trailer for the game below.

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The game is set in the distant future and is intended to feel like the player is stepping into a wildlife documentary rather than just playing a game set in nature. On the PlayStation blog, director Laurent Bernier explained how much detail they are really going into in order to create the best possible natural world.

"In order to feel truly immersed in nature, we set out to create a visually stunning world filled with colorful, vibrant environments. Given the Sugar Glider’s small size, we made sure every plant, leaf, and blade of grass was accounted for, and this attention to detail pays off when you navigate the wide variety of landscapes in Away."

Away was not given a release date, but one would presume it isn't coming until 2020. The game has only been announced for the PlayStation 4.

Categories: Games

Predator: Hunting Grounds Coming From Illfonic And Sony

Game Informer News Feed - Fri, 05/10/2019 - 01:25
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment Developer: IllFonic Release: 2020 Platform: PlayStation 4

During today's State of Play show, Sony revealed a new game from Worldwide Studios, the PlayStation's publishing arm. Those who have been hoping for a game that lets them live out their fantasies of becoming the Predator, the universe's apex hunter, might finally be in luck with Predator: Hunting Grounds, coming from developer illfonic.

You can see the first teaser trailer for the game below.

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The short trailer just shows a group of soldiers pacing around a jungle when an invisible creature, obviously a Predator, standing on a tree above them. During the State of Play itself, the narration afterward explained that the title is an asymmetric multiplayer shooter, implying something similar to Evolve or Dead by Daylight where one player takes control of the stronger unit while every other player is a weaker but more numerous unit, like the soldier.

On the PlayStation Blog, illFonic gave a few more details beyond what was in the video, confirming that idea.

"One group of players will control members of an elite Fireteam who pack state-of-the-art conventional firepower, from shotguns and SMGs to sniper rifles and more," the blog reads. "Meanwhile, one player will control the Predator: a stealthy, acrobatic killing machine bristling with exotic alien technology such as the infamous Plasmacaster. As the Fireteam attempt to carry out paramilitary missions – annihilating bad guys and recovering important items – the Predator will be closing in, using its advanced vision mode to track and ambush its prey."

Predatory: Hunting Grounds will release on PlayStation 4 in 2020.


Categories: Games

MediEvil PS4 Remake Gets New Trailer And October Release Date

Game Informer News Feed - Fri, 05/10/2019 - 00:15
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment Developer: Other Ocean Interactive Release: October 25, 2019 Platform: PlayStation 4

Back when Sony last held the PlayStation Experience in Anaheim, California, the company decided to ease back on the announcement-packed conference and go for something a little more subdued. They still did end up announcing a new game, though, in the form of a remake of the 1998 action game MediEvil. Since then, Sony has been fairly quiet about the title, though we got our reintroduction to it with a story trailer today, as well as a release date for October 25.

You can see the first story trailer, which sets up the concept of the game and shows gameplay, below.

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It definitely still retains all the things that people remember about the PlayStation classic. While I never got into the series myself, I know a lot of people who swear by Sir Daniel Fortesque as one of their favorite characters from the classic PlayStation era. 

You can see why for yourself when MediEvil releases on PlayStation 4 on October 25, just in time for Halloween.

Categories: Games

Everything You Need To Know About Ghost Recon Breakpoint

Game Informer News Feed - Thu, 05/09/2019 - 20:10

Publisher: Ubisoft Developer: Ubisoft Paris Release: October 4, 2019 Rating: Mature Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Launched two years ago, Ghost Recon Wildlands catapulted the longtime Tom Clancy series in a new trajectory armed with an expansive (some might say excessive) open-world, untethered cooperative play for up to four players, an evolving experience that is still being updated to this day. The same development team that shipped Wildlands and delivered 19 title updates in the last two years has ballooned to more than 1,000 developers, and the team has some ambitious and surprising plans for their follow-up. Here is everything you need to know about Ghost Recon Breakpoint. 

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Goodbye Real Settings, Hello Fantasy Island

Ghost Recon has always been set in real-world locations during fictitious geopolitical skirmishes. Over the last 17 years, we’ve fought through Eastern Europe, Africa, South America, and even along the United States border. Now, the special operatives are going off the grid to an island that doesn’t really exist. 

Auroa is a sprawling, make-believe island in the Pacific Ocean. This giant, geographically diverse open world’s closest comparison is probably New Zealand, with snowy mountain peaks, sandy beaches, jungles, and volcanos. This picturesque location is home to Skell Technology, a corporation that develops advanced A.I. and drones. Nomad’s team of Ghosts are sent in after the world mysteriously loses communication with the island.

“Creating a fictional setting gives us in measurable license to expand on the world,” says Breakpoint writer Emil Daubon. “We can create a variety of terrain with a variety of physical and social landscapes that you have to navigate, and we can expand on it as we choose. That's a really exciting aspect.”

You’re Stuck Behind Enemy Lines

When Nomad and company approach the island on helicopters, they encounter an unexpected resistance to their presence and the choppers are shot down. From here, the Ghosts are completely cut off from communication with the outside world. With no overwatch, active intelligence, or capabilities to call in reinforcements or supply drops, it’s up to the Ghosts to map their approach to finding out what’s going on. As you gather intelligence and analyze the situation, you begin to unravel what happened at this remote location. 

Your Enemy Is Your Friend 

The Operation Oracle content update for Ghost Recon Wildlands introduced us to Cole D. Walker, a fellow Ghost operative played by Jon Bernthal (The Punisher, The Walking Dead). In the years that have passed since Wildlands, Walker has radicalized his beliefs and teamed up with another black ops veteran named Stone. The duo has formed a deadly team of former spec ops soldiers called the Wolves. This motley crew of badasses have the same training and capabilities as the Ghosts – think the radicalized American version of Ghost Recon Future Soldier’s Bodark units. 

The Wolves infiltrated the island and took over the many R&D divisions to start producing an alarming number of militarized drones and robotic sentries. Taking back control of the island won’t be easy when swarms of drones constantly descend on your location, but with near-future technology taking center stage expect a lot more diversity in Breakpoint’s combat encounters than we experienced in Wildlands. As you pick away at the Wolves by liberating regions and getting the enslaved engineers and scientists to join your cause, you will gain a better understanding of why Walker went rogue. 

“Walker believes in his causes and conditions, and he believes he's on the cause of righteousness however jaded or misguided anyone else might view it,” Daubon says. “He believes in what he believes fiercely.”

Responding To Community Feedback, Breakpoint Increases Realism

Adopting a fictitious setting doesn't mean Ghost Recon Breakpoint is all fantasy. A dedicated subsection of Ghost Recon fans constantly bangs the drum for adding more realism to the tactical experience. For many, regenerating health in Wildlands felt like a bridge too far for a series that once made its heroes glass cannons. Ubisoft has been listening to these calls for a more hardcore military experience. Recalling his own 14-year career as a special forces medical sergeant, Daubon says “hunger, dehydration, injuries, ambiguity, lack of intel, and no supplies can kill you as sure as any bullet.” Ghost Recon Breakpoint doesn’t fully swing in a MilSim roguelike direction with its tactical play, but it wants to surface many of these secondary threats in meaningful ways. 

In Breakpoint, you can no longer sprint down sloped terrain with wild abandon. Like real-world operatives, you must move deliberately or risk injuring yourself in a fall. The new persistent injury system can leave you and your compatriots maimed in battle, affecting things like your mobility or accuracy depending on the injury. You must also keep hydrated and fed. 

The combat tactics also feel more realistic thanks to a few new tools you can exploit during battle. The torch gadget allows you to breach fences, eliminating the need to survey an entire complex to find an advantageous chink in its outer defenses. If you’re out in the open you can go prone and blend with your environment like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Predator at the press of a button, caking yourself with mud. Even if a teammate blows cover and draws attention, a well-camouflaged Ghost won’t be immediately detected. Stealth players will also appreciate the ability to pick up and move bodies of downed enemies to avoid detection. You can even carry fallen teammates behind cover to perform triage from a safe location. 

Other fan-requested improvements include “greatly improved” vehicle handling, a wider variety of heavily armored or armed military vehicles, and a bloody new collection of gruesome, stabby close-quarters takedowns. 

“This is the game the community asked for, and this is the game that they are getting,” says Breakpoint UX & realization director Matthew Tomkinson.

Making Camp Is Critically Important

With no base to call home, the Ghosts have to rough it on Auroa and find shelter on the fly. Whenever you see a smoldering firepit in the open world, you can pitch camp via the new bivouac feature. These locations provide a safe space to plan and prepare your next move. 

Players have several choices at bivouacs. Maimed soldiers can rid themselves of persistent injuries at these camps. A new crafting system allows you to use the items you gathered from around the environment to create useful items like healing syringes, bandages, and rations that can be shared with teammates. If you’re heading into a hairy location, it’s a smart idea to procure a temporary buff by either eating, drinking, or tweaking your gear/weaponry. "Some tasks you perform in the bivouac can only be performed once per bivouac, so players will need to be strategic in their choices," says creative director Eric Couzian.

Bivouacs also allow you to swap between the four character classes in Breakpoint – the run-and-gun assault class, the ranged specialist sharpshooter, the stealth-oriented panther, and a heavy-hitting class that allows you to use rocket launchers. Similar to the specializations in The Division 2, each class has a persistent skill tree with unique tools. For instance, when the panther class is equipped you can use a smoke bomb to provide cover when moving through open spaces, and the sharpshooter can add three special bullets to their magazine that add extra damage, as well as hold their breath longer than other classes for lining up precision shots.

Once you’ve rested and prepped for the next battle, you choose when to break camp and under what conditions. Infiltrating a heavily guarded base? Maybe it makes more sense to move in under the cover of a rainy night. 

Solo Players Say Goodbye To Squad Support

Wildlands elicited a lot of different opinions, from heavy praise to criticism, but one point nearly everyone agreed on was how annoying your A.I. squad members were. These low I.Q. instruments of war sometimes struggled to get into position for sync shots, rarely seemed to do much damage in a firefight, and filled long drives through the open world with groan-worthy chatter. 

Rather than fix the squad A.I., write better dialogue, and give players more control over their teammates (wouldn’t it be great to man the turret on a drive to the next objective or command split-team operations?) instead Ubisoft chose to go another direction by removing your comrades entirely. 

“The mission statement that we received was we want to create a fantasy that replicates being alone trapped behind enemy lines,” Daubon says. “Ultimately, if you choose to play a solo, you have the option to immerse yourself deeply in that aspect of the fantasy. The A.I. teammates would have taken away from that.”

This means no one will be riding shotgun and returning fire when you draw the attention of enemies on the road, which is a bummer. This is even more disappointing considering Ubi said Breakpoint has 30 vehicles this time around, many of which are heavily armored or armed.

However, you aren’t completely devoid of fire support. Nomad can use drones to perform sync shots and thin the enemy ranks.

If the idea of going solo annoys you, you always have the option of playing with up to three other players cooperatively.

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Storytelling Includes Dialogue Choices

Breakpoint puts a great emphasis on storytelling, using cutscenes and flashbacks to flesh out its story. Some of those cutscenes even have dialogue choices. In the mission we watched, Nomad’s team move on a research building believed to be housing Paula Madiera, an engineer working against her will on weaponizing Skell Technology. When the Ghosts neutralize the threats and reach her, she implores them to blow up the building to prevent the Wolves from further weaponizing the machines. The player is presented with a choice – sabotage the factory at the risk of drawing more hostiles to your position, or say it's too risky and get the hell out of there. However, don't expect the game to catalog your decisions and tally them to change the direction of the narrative. "Dialogue choices will give players the opportunity to enhance their role-playing experience by choosing the answers most fitting to their mood, impacting the cutscene in which they make the choice," Couzian says.

PvP Is included Out of the Gate

Wildlands didn’t receive a competitive multiplayer mode until six months after launch, but Ubisoft has spent the last year and a half fleshing out the PvP suite. Over that time, the developers added new maps, classes, game modes, and a prestige system with in-game rewards. All that work has laid the foundation for Ghost Recon Breakpoint to ship with PvP from day one. We’ll have more details on how Ghost War is changing in the future. 

Progression Tracks Across All Modes

Just like in Wildlands, you create a personalized Nomad by selecting gender, hairstyle, and attire before you start the game in the enhanced CharacterSmith. From here, your character will be used in both the campaign and competitive multiplayer modes, and your progression tracks across both places as well. That means if you find a gun or unlock a skill during the campaign, it can be used in competitive multiplayer and vice versa. 

Post-Launch Support Includes Raids

Ubisoft no longer ships a game and moves on to the next project. Each of its titles receives expanded content well past its release date, and Breakpoint will be no different. Ubisoft has some promising plans to support Breakpoint, including the addition of more story content, seasonal events, new classes, and even endgame cooperative raids. Ubisoft has the ability to tweak the terrain post-launch as well, so it can add new points of interest as it sees fit. The examples I saw included huge research centers, volcanic bases, and oil rigs off the coast.

Ghost Recon Breakpoint releases for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on October 4. To read more about why Ubisoft chose to set the game in a fictional place, head here.

Categories: Games

Crash Your Ride

Game Informer News Feed - Thu, 05/09/2019 - 20:10
Publisher: Activision Developer: Beenox Release: June 21, 2019 Rating: Rating Pending Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch

It was only just a few months ago that Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled was announced at The Game Awards in December, but we're already staring down the barrel of the game's release next month. The various trailers for the game have shown a lot of surprising new things about what was originally just a remake of the PS1 classic, such as skins, podium animations, and customization now.

You can check out the vehicle customization trailer below.

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In addition to skins for your ride, there will also be podium animations and other ways to customize your cosmetic experiences. While they don't say these things will be purchasable online in the trailer, I would not be completely shocked if that were the case. At the moment, though, it's probably prudent to just assume all of it is unlockable with the game.

Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled releases on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Switch on June 21.

Categories: Games

Brave Fencer

Game Informer News Feed - Thu, 05/09/2019 - 18:50
Publisher: SNK Developer: SNK Release: June 27, 2019 Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC

Samurai Shodown, the newest entry in the venerated weapon-based combat series from SNK, looks like it's shaping up to be quite the revival. While we've gotten a look at one of the game's new characters already, there are also a host of returning favorites, including everyone's favorite French fighting fencer, Charlotte.

The blonde veteran returns with most of her moveset seemingly intact, but with a lot of cool extra flourishes to an already pretty fancy repertoire. You can check out her introduction trailer below.

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Charlotte was always one of my favorites in previous games, though I suspect a lot of that was also not knowing how fighting games worked but realizing I could just keep people away and they would get extremely mad about it. She looks decidedly more fluid and fast, like a fantasy version of a fencer, so I am eager to try the character out in the new game.

Samurai Shodown is releasing on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One this June.

Categories: Games

Life Is Strange 2: Episode 3 Review - Choosing Sides

Gamespot News Feed - Thu, 05/09/2019 - 17:00

The third episode of Life Is Strange 2 takes place two months after we last saw Sean Diaz and his little brother Daniel escaping Beaver Creek, Oregon because of yet another plan gone wrong. There's a lot to get caught up on here, but Sean's journal does a good job of making sure you don't feel like you've missed out. The end of Sean's most recent entry reads, "It's not easy," and as I sat there a couple of hours later completely unable to decide how Sean should proceed in a high stakes situation, I couldn't have agreed more.

The road has taken a toll on the brothers, but they've found themselves a ragtag group of friends and a makeshift community campsite in Humboldt County, California to call home. Their financial situation is also looking up thanks to a couple of not-so-legal jobs working on a weed farm. These were arranged by Finn, a hippie backpacker they first met back in Oregon who now works on the farm. The pace slows right down in Episode 3, and while that's reflective of life on the road, it means that having an investment in the characters and their development is essential in keeping you engaged. Fortunately, with a campsite full of colorful characters to learn from and bounce personalities off of, you get to learn a lot about who the boys are apart from one another and watch them discover who they want to become.

Just in case you've lost track of the events so far (it has been almost four real-world months since the last episode), Episode 3 begins with a flashback to a time before the brothers were forced to leave Seattle. Initially, this feels like retreading ground you're already familiar with, but it serves to reintroduce not only what life was like before the brothers were on the run, but it's also a reminder that the growing pains of their adolescence are the same, no matter how much their lives have changed.

For example, there's a flashback of a sibling tiff that leads to a conversation between Sean and his father Esteban, who asks his son to help take care of his little brother. The discussion is compassionate and respectful; Esteban tells Sean he's proud of him and asks him to go talk to Daniel. Sean does so and this moment mirrors the beats of the prior conversation. The reintroduction of Esteban weighs on your decision-making over the rest of the episode as you try to play the role of brother, father figure, friend, and keeper to Daniel and his supernatural abilities. The realization that there is no way to do all of the above is a frustrating reality for both you and Sean, and this adds nuance to your decision making.

As with the previous episode, Life Is Strange 2's greatest strength is the care it puts into characterization and writing. The ongoing complication of this episode is Sean discovering who he is, what he thinks, and facing very tangible romantic prospects while Daniel feels like he's losing his brother. There are almost a dozen vastly different characters to engage with in Episode 3, and relationships feel fluid and changeable. The relatability of Sean's character makes it easy to sink into his shoes when you talk to your companions. Your connection to Sean's mindset is most clear when Daniel grows close to Finn and you feel an undeniable sense of jealousy when he trades out the watch you gave him for a bracelet from Finn. You feel fear when Daniel acts out and endangers himself, nervous when testing out the waters of a new relationship, and the constant weight of trying to make the right decision when there isn't one. The natural performances, writing, and genuine character moments coalesce to give each character weight and complexity, making them easy to care about.

The environment is lovingly rendered down to the most minute details, and it paints a full and clear picture of what life is like with your makeshift community in the California forest. You can overhear conversations as you walk around the campsite, there's a chore list nailed to a tree, and there are giant redwoods to admire in every direction. There is a larger focus on the series' contemplative cutscenes set to an evocative alternative soundtrack, which underpins the coming of age vibe of the episode.

Aside from a couple of late-game scenes, interactive moments are less of a focus--though there are narrative reasons behind it. Occasions where you're trimming buds of marijuana, sketching your companions, and trying to steal a truck break up the blocks of wandering and conversation in a refreshing way, but they're the minority of your playtime. Fortunately, it's far more interesting to watch Daniel grapple with having to grow up so quickly and Sean trying to decide between doing what's right for his brother or what's right for himself as a young adult figuring out who he wants to be.

With Sean and Daniel spending all their time around other people, there are few occasions for Daniel to use his powers, despite them having grown significantly stronger. While his abilities spark some interesting conversations and eventually shift the flow of the plot, they largely take a back seat to the rest of the narrative right up until they're used to cause some inescapable dramatic upheaval. As they've been used this way multiple times in the story so far, these moments begin to feel predictable--and though the implications are interesting, it's certainly a crisis you can see coming.

Your connection with Daniel will begin to fray regardless of your prior relationship and binary decisions can still not go the way you'd like because characters act out of their own interest. This agency makes the people you interact with far more interesting. Just because you make a choice doesn't mean the story will unravel that way as the motivations of independent characters are prioritized, so they won't necessarily do as Sean asks. The story branches are also starting to bear pretty significant fruit, with a few wonderful scenes regarding the exploration of romance, sexuality, individuality. While there is less interactivity this episode, the achievement in portraying genuine and evolving young characters and the challenges of adolescence remains engaging.

Despite its supernatural themes, Life Is Strange almost always delivers an honest moment instead of a sensationalized one. There's something far more relatable about a teenager mumbling apologies after their "first time" instead of dancing down the street to the tune of "You Make My Dreams Come True," and it's these moments that truly solidify your investment in Sean. At one point, Finn tells Sean, "Memories are just lessons for the future." For a story that so rarely lets its characters escape unscathed no matter how you choose to act, it's a solid adage. The goal of making it to Puerto Lobos feels increasingly immaterial given the escalation of Daniel's powers and the hurdles in their way. As they say, the journey matters far more than the destination, and Sean and Daniel's journey is one that continues to intrigue.

Categories: Games

Persona 5 The Royal Details Include New Confidants, Music, And More

Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 05/08/2019 - 23:10

Last month, Atlus revealed the first details and trailer for Persona 5 The Royal, their revised version of their hit RPG with some new content. The new version follows in the same footsteps as games like Persona 3 Fes and Persona 4 Golden by taking the base game and putting out more content and tweaks, of which we finally get some details for with Persona 5.

The news comes from an interview with director Daiki Itoh, who directed Persona 4 Golden, and producer Kazuhisa Wada in the Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu. In the issue, Itoh states that he expects fans of Golden to have their expectations surpassed in terms of new content, though they weren't quite ready to fully detail all that content yet.

To begin with, following feedback about the experience pacing of Persona 5, The Royal will include tweaks to how experienced is gained throughout the campaign. Since the game now includes a third semester, that might be part of the tweak, but hopefully it is just slightly more experience across the board to minimize any kind of grinding time in an already very long game.

The new character Kasumi will be integrated into the story and will put the main characters in a new light. Of course, as a party member, she also has a confidant story line to go along with it. Another new confidant named Maruki is also here, but only described as "an extremely nice adult character," which, you know, that never works out awkwardly in Persona 5.

There will be 20 new music tracks added to the game from Persona 5's base version. While the game will probably recognize your Persona 5 save data for bonuses, you can't actually just pick up from the old save file for the new game. Finally, the developers coyly mention that the "handsome man" from the trailer, who is presumed to be a human form of Morgana, also sleeps in Joker's bed. 

Persona 5 The Royal has been announced to come west in 2020 exclusively on PlayStation 4.

[Source: Famitsu via Gematsu]

Categories: Games

Blood Drive

Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 05/08/2019 - 14:59

Publisher: Bandai Namco Developer: Bandai Namco Release: September 28, 2018 Rating: Rating Pending Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

It is always hard to figure out what to call a genre when it is still in its early days. There was a time where every first-person shooter was derisively dismissed as a Doom-clone, even years after its namesake. It is in that same vein that we still struggle to figure out what to call games that seemingly derive inspiration from From Software’s Souls titles and have simply settled on Souls-likes. This increasingly proves to be an inaccurate comparison as these Souls-likes diversify and find their own identities, which is exactly what Code Vein, a new action title from the God Eater team, is trying to do.

Code Vein takes place in a vampiric world, where the lords of the night control, oppress, and farm humanity. This is becoming a progressively difficult problem of scale, as more blood is needed but not enough humans are surviving to be siphoned. Enter your protagonist, a captive of the vampires that has an inexplicable ability to create trees that produce human blood. It’s definitely macabre, but well within the God Eater team’s common theme of creation through consumption that permeates all their games.

While I did say it was reductive to simply boil Code Vein to being a Souls-like, it might also be the easiest way to get at the heart of how the game feels. The team does not shy away from comparisons to Dark Souls and in fact seems to be honored to be mentioned in the same breath as one of the progenitors of the genre. The inspiration is definitely felt in the action – when facing bigger enemies who don’t quite stun the way you would want, you tend to slash twice and then roll away, like you have a thousand times before. You back off to heal, you hang around a giant enemy’s backside, you don’t get greedy with damage unless you want to pay for it.

Where Code Vein looks to differentiate itself, however, is in other key aspects rarely touched by the Souls games. The first and most major, according to the developers, is a larger emphasis on story. Indeed, the game begins with several cutscenes showing how your character met the female survivor that he or she cares for, how they got captured together, and establishing the various NPCs situated around you at any given time. It is a bit too early to say whether the story is one worth paying attention to, but the developers believe it is one of the things they do best.

The non-playable characters are also another distinction between Code Vein and its influences. While you occasionally go it alone, you are often paired with a partner to help make the goings on a little easier. By and large, your AI partners are not particularly aggressive and enemies are not especially interested in them, so they do not exist to take gameplay away from you. The other characters, often hunters or warriors of some sort or another, do factor into cutscenes with some regularity, often serving as the silent protagonist’s mouthpiece when things need to be said. They are also very, very chatty.

Bandai Namco’s newest foray into the Souls genre recently saw a delay from its original hard date in September last year to sometime in 2019. While the developers explain that this was mostly for polish, the game is still lacking a little bit in that regard. Characters pop into animations in visible ways that do everything they can to remind you that you are playing a video game. If I had to guess, this is a solution to another problem and thus not that easily polished over, it is still something bothersome to see.

There’s a lot that is interesting about Code Vein, especially for those that like the idea of the Souls games but have felt them lacking in some different areas; maybe their aesthetic did not quite fit your tastes, maybe their isolation was too cold and unforgiving, maybe it was something else that you cannot quite define. Whatever the case, for those people with their noses pressed against the glass of the genre, Code Vein might be worth checking out when it releases on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC later this year.

Categories: Games

Whispers of a Machine Review - Quiet Greatness

Gamespot News Feed - Wed, 05/08/2019 - 02:00

In Whispers of a Machine, a retro-styled point-and-click adventure, interesting themes and mechanical elements relating to human augmentation are stapled onto a recognizable framework. Your character, murder investigator Vera Englund, has access to cybernetically augmented abilities thanks to some neat future-science, and she can do things like perform biometric readings of the folks she is interviewing to pick up on anomalies in their heart rate and composition, conduct forensic scans over environments to pick up on potentially vital information for her investigation, and increase her strength for moments where brute force is necessary.

But it's not a game that dives deep into the nature of augmentation, or which uses augmentation for most of its puzzles. Because of this, the game ultimately doesn't quite live up to the full potential of its premise. Regardless, it's easy to appreciate Whispers of a Machine for what it is--a damn good point-and-click adventure with a lot of unique, interesting ideas.

Throughout Whispers of a Machine, there are decisions you can make during dialogue and puzzles that are tied to one of three different styles of approach: empathetic, analytical, or assertive, and following each one of these will lead to different outcomes later on down the line. During dialogue, you're typically given these three choices of response, and although they're not labeled, it's usually clear which approach each one matches to. Cleverly, the puzzles that track these choices don't explicitly signpost the fact that there are multiple solutions, meaning that the game will, on occasion, track a decision that is perhaps closer to your natural instinct than any intentional roleplaying you're doing. In one early example, it’s not entirely clear that there’s more than one way to get a vent open, but the game will remember which methodology you arrive at and whether you seek help from others or find a way to get it opened yourself.

The broad plot remains largely the same regardless of how you play. At the game's opening, Vera is sent to investigate a murder in Nordsund, a small, quiet town that sits atop a giant spire, isolated from the abandoned roads and wasteland below. The lore of both the city and the larger game world are slowly unfurled over the course of the story. Whispers of a Machine is set in a near-future following "The Collapse," a cataclysmic event that you learn more about as you play. A.I. is outlawed, while augmentation allows humans in certain occupations to excel, but taking the "blue" that is essential to keep your augmentations working comes at a heavy mental cost.

Nordsund, the locals assure you, is not the sort of city where people get murdered--and yet by the time Vera arrives, a second murder has already been committed. It's up to Vera to find the link between the victims, identify their killer, and, inevitably, deal with the larger conflict that has spawned this violence. Getting to the bottom of this means investigating the town and getting to know several of its citizens. Nordsund is grimy and cramped, sparsely populated and made up of garbage dumps, poorly assembled shacks, repurposed buildings, and elevators that never seem to work.

The murder plot ends up drawing Vera into a much larger investigation into warring political and ideological factions, ultimately leading to a conclusion that sees Vera grappling with issues from her own past (and a few potential endings, depending on your choices). The story is well told, unveiling new details and character beats at a steady pace throughout, offering up a good mix of foreshadowing and red herrings to keep you on your toes. The lore underpinning it all isn't anything too exciting, though--there are a lot of standard science-fiction tropes revisited, and the game ultimately doesn't have a lot to say about its own A.I. apocalypse beyond the fact that it happened. But Vera is a likable protagonist with a compelling backstory, and the game's small cast is eclectic and brought to life by some great vocal performances.

Your choices will dictate which augmentations you can unlock. If you respond empathetically to the game's cast during the first day of your investigation, for instance, on the second day you'll unlock the ability to energise machines, objects, and people with a little jolt; if you were purely analytical in your approach to puzzles and conversations, though, you'll be gifted with enhanced sight, while assertive players will be given an amnesia ability to affect their target's memories. Depending on which powers you unlock, the solutions that are available to you for certain puzzles later in the game will change completely, essentially creating ‘new’ puzzles. A second playthrough in which you make different choices will only differ at a handful of points, but these unlockable powers are fun to test out and discover the limits of, even though each one is only really used a few times.

The puzzles are, for the most part, smart and engaging. Your ability to progress is tied not just to how you reason through a situation, but to how much attention you've been paying to the evidence and the key locations around town. The payoff for remembering a detail from earlier in the game can be great--one late puzzle, for instance, is reliant on recognizing a certain sound in the background of a cassette tape found near the game's beginning.

Using Vera’s augmentations to progress makes for an interesting dynamic, too--remembering that you can access her augmented strength or scan the environment for DNA samples is empowering, but the game never loses sight of Vera’s character, or her skills for deduction and reasoning, underneath these powers. There are very few puzzles that you could accuse of being obtuse; there's one that is perhaps a little too outside-the-box, but it's not so wild that it requires random guesswork. Getting to know Nordsund is a pleasure, and when you finish the game--which is unlikely to take longer than about five hours--it's easy to feel a little sad about needing to leave a place that, for all its grim-future grime, was interesting.

Despite having big ideas, Whispers of a Machine is ultimately a traditional example of the genre with some neat ideas rather than something revelatory. But it's very good at what it does, and those augmentations help to differentiate it from all the other adventure games out there. It's short but gripping, offering a well-written, interesting and clever experience that wraps up well and which rewards your choices and play style with unique powers and puzzle solutions.

Categories: Games

Five Big Takeaways From Our Hands-On With Supermassive’s Next Big Venture

Game Informer News Feed - Tue, 05/07/2019 - 19:01

Publisher: Bandai Namco Developer: Supermassive Games Release: 2019 Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

For our latest, just-launched issue, we got exclusive access to a new demo for Man of Medan, the first game in Supermassive’s Dark Pictures anthology. This is the studio’s first big project since its cult hit Until Dawn, and it’s going all-in by telling standalone stories in five games, each exploring different subgenres of horror. Man of Medan is up first, and it tackles the home invasion and the ghost ship tropes. A group dive to explore a historic World War II site is supposed to be a vacation to remember, but it ends up being that for all the wrong reasons. Here are some brief takeaways from our discussions with the team and hands-on time. You can learn even more new details by reading our 6-page feature in our June issue, which is now live digitally.  

The Branching Paths Are Ambitious

While Man of Medan may be half the length of Until Dawn, it isn’t lacking in content or replayability. The team upped the ante in the amount and variation of the branching paths. I did a few playthroughs of my demo and experienced different relationship states, information, dialogue, and events based on my choices. In one playthrough, I had a happy newly engaged couple; in another the proposal was denied, which was a total mood-killer for the trip and made things awkward. In one playthrough, I even got one of the main characters killed. One simple choice about going peacefully or struggling with kidnappers ended up determining if I knew the whereabouts of a certain character. 

Supermassive fully committed to this much variation and created its own in-house tool to keep track of it all. “It is very ambitious in terms of the branching,” says game director Tom Heaton. “We worked really hard to make sure we had a blend of long-term, short-term, medium-term branches and consequences. In this game, the whole chapter and scenes may or may not play out depending on what you do at various parts of the game and within those scenes they can play out dramatically differently. We have to keep track of everything the player has done, every decision they’ve made, everything they’ve said. Sometimes those are quite inconsequential things, but you know, an hour down the line we can pull back on that and remind the player what they said earlier, and that’s really satisfying to the player. It says to the player, you’re being listened to and what you do matters.” 

A Bigger Focus On Relationships

Supermassive quickly realized that the relationships between the various characters were one of the most popular parts of Until Dawn, making the team put even more effort into giving them more depth and reward here. If you invest the time and min/max certain relationships, you unlock bonus scenes. You also can have unique relationship states depending on how you foster your characters, opening up different dialogue and scenes. “One of the things that’s really important is the relationships between the different characters and [maintaining them] under extreme tension and duress,” Heaton says.

Exploration Is Rewarding

In my demo, I was not disappointed in taking the extra time to search and revisit every nook and cranny, in fact I was rewarded in an array of different ways. Sometimes this meant having an extra item that came in handy for a sticky situation later on. Other times, it meant finding out more back story and how the characters came to be in this precarious situation. Man of Medan is based off a famous legend about the ship Ourang Medan, where its entire crew perished under suspicious circumstances in the 1940s, so it’s interesting to see how Supermassive incorporates it into its fiction. You can find out more by finding “secrets,” mysterious objects that provide insight into the past and the characters’ certain situation. “You can’t really work out much from just one of them,” Heaton explains. “You make connections and start to piece them together for the backstory. It will unlock scenes where characters will talk about what they know and it can help you as a player. If you find enough, you get hints allowing you to make better decisions for the rest of the game.” Additionally, if you were a fan of Until Dawn’s totems, you can discover so-called “premonitions,” which show how a character could potentially die, acting as a heads up so you can take caution with that scene as you play it.

 The Split-Second Decisions Are Intense 

If you thought Until Dawn had some difficult choices and interesting consequences, you are going to feel right at home here. The decisions often come fast and have unpredictable consequences, making you wonder when it’s worth taking a risk or playing it safe constantly. After all, any of the main characters have the potential to die at certain points in the game based on your choices. “We find it’s quite easy to come up with an easy decision, something that’s an obvious good and an obvious bad,” Heaton says, “That’s no good to us at all because people can navigate that very quickly. We want pros and cons for [all our choices]. You have to take a risk; you have to jump into the unknown.”

The most tense scene I experienced was where a kidnapper armed with a gun wanted me to call the coast guard to find out more about the current storm and its duration. He firmly warns you there will be consequences if you try anything. You have the opportunity to say something immediately or play along. Later the coast guard asks if everything is okay and says reach out if there is an issue. It’s almost like the game is daring you to take the risk. I didn’t, though. Instead, I chose to stay silent as he said one last time to let him know if something is wrong. I figured silence might indicate that something is awry, but I won’t know the larger ramifications of that choice until I play the game in its entirety. I still think about this moment and where it may lead.

Expect The Unexpected

If we learned anything from Until Dawn and its big twist, it’s that Supermassive loves to take you by surprise. The team uses tropes and stereotypes to build out the world and its characters, but then it turns them on their head for some intriguing and shocking outcomes. Man of Medan looks to be following suit, but just because the team is using the home invasion and ghost ship subsets of horror doesn’t mean they’re going to be used in a way you’d expect. For example, while Supermassive plays on the home invasion aspect, it’s not the typical strange men breaking into your home. After all, the group is on a boat far out in the South Pacific. How Supermassive brings the invaders into the ghost ship and along for the bigger mystery is even more clever. I’m still wondering how it will all come together due to the various elements at play. 

Man of Medan launches this summer on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. For more information, you can read our previous preview here and be sure to check out this issue of the magazine.

Categories: Games

Exclusive New Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 Heroes Revealed

Game Informer News Feed - Tue, 05/07/2019 - 17:01

Publisher: Nintendo Developer: Team Ninja Release: July 19, 2019 Rating: Rating Pending Platform: Switch

We recently returned from a trip to Nintendo North American HQ, where we had the opportunity to go hands-on with Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order for the first time. We played with a bunch of the characters (the full roster is well over two dozen names long) but we were especially excited to be introduced to two newly announced heroes who have joined the team as playable characters.

Hawkeye should need little introduction to anyone who has been following along with either Avengers comics over the many decades, or for those more familiar with his Jeremy Renner-portrayed appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Whichever version you recognize, you know that the bow-and-arrow wielding hero brings a versatile array of ranged attacks to the table. That same flexibility defines Hawkeye’s appearance in Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3, as he takes out enemies through a variety of precision arrow shots and explosions.

While lesser known in many circles, her dedicated fans will be thrilled to learn that Ms. Marvel (also known as Kamala Khan) has also joined the Ultimate Alliance 3 hero list. She’s had a stint as an Avenger in the comic books, but she’s also headlined her own comic book, and her larger-than-life personality (and powers) have made her a rising star in the Marvel universe. By stretching and enlarging her body parts, her in-game version fills up some significant screen real estate as she bashes the bad guys with oversized fists and feet. 

We’ll take a closer look at both Ms. Marvel and Hawkeye later this month, and also offer some dedicated gameplay impressions. In the meantime, if you want to learn about character leveling and progression, endgame activities, and details on the expansive Infinity trials game mode that we saw during our visit, check out our cover story, which rolls out in our digital issue later today.To switch your print subscription to digital, click here, or to create a new subscription to the digital edition, click here.

And to follow along with new Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 coverage throughout the month, click into the banner below to visit our content hub.

Categories: Games

World War Z Review - Zombie Zeitgeist

Gamespot News Feed - Fri, 05/03/2019 - 23:52

Despite its departure from the novel, the film adaptation of World War Z was compelling because of its terrifyingly fast and uncharacteristically cooperative zombies. Seeing hundreds and thousands of undead bodies crawling over one another to create haunting swarms or towering pillars helped make the staple fictional enemy feel fresh, and it’s the exact energy that gives its loose video game adaptation the same strong foundation. When it's all about gunning down thousands of enemies with a couple of friends, World War Z is at its most entertaining.

Simplicity is at the heart of World War Z. Each of its 11 stages are filled to the brim with undead enemies for you and up to three friends to mow your way through, using an assortment of firearms, special weapons, and explosives. There's not much else to each of these missions that make them more complicated, which works for World War Z in its initial hours. The straightforward nature of gameplay makes it incredibly easy to jump into a match and immediately understand how to contribute. Pointing a gun at enemies and pulling the trigger rewards you with satisfyingly gruesome kills that thin the horde, allowing you to push further to the next objective. Optional lower difficulties for each stage let you get by without much synchronized play, letting you get to grips with World War Z's multiple classes.

Unlike Left 4 Dead, which is clearly an inspiration for the cooperative gameplay, World War Z gives you the flexibility to choose which roles you fulfill in a team. Although you're able to equip any weapon you find, classes determine what you start with and what unique abilities you bring to each match. The Exterminator, for example, excels at lobbing Molotovs into gathering waves of undead enemies and has an upgrade tree that increases damage done to enemies that are on fire. The Medic can heal teammates without a first aid kit, and Gunslinger can distribute ammunition for use across all weapons. Classes can be tweaked slightly with unlockable traits (which you purchase with in-game currency earned from playing matches), though you can only equip a handful at a time.

The classes are fun to experiment with, and as you start taking on harder versions of each stage, they become more crucial to your success. At higher difficulties enemies are more ferocious and deadly, while you have fewer chances to revive downed teammates before they die. Friendly fire also becomes more unforgiving, making the frenetic nature of firefights a lot more challenging to deal with. These combine to better encourage well-balanced team configurations that capitalize on both healing and offensive abilities in order to survive, highlighting the usefulness of each class ability better than lower difficulties.

Playing as your favorite class unlocks perks for said class faster, and the same applies to the weapons you pick up. Kills accumulated with each weapon levels them up, giving you new attachments to purchase that increase damage, handling, reload speeds, and more. Weapons are separated into ascending tiers, with tiers increasing as you progress through a stage. Although you'll start with a Tier 1 pump-action shotgun, for example, you can just as easily find a magazine-loaded and automatic version before the climactic final battle of each story chapter. This gives you a reason to slow down and poke around each of World War Z's maps, as well as hunt down valuable explosives that give you entry into weapon-laden safe rooms. Picking up a new and improved weapon has an immediate and tangible effect on your ability to cut down increasingly large hordes, which makes finding the perfect one rewarding.

Stage-specific objectives are less exciting, though, only serving to push you from one combat encounter to the next without much strategy. Most of them just pad each mission with uninteresting interactions with switches or terminals just to group everyone up again before the next big zombie encounter. They're boring and rarely offer any opportunities for synchronized team play. Only a handful of scenarios attempt to add some variety into the mix, and even fewer succeed. One standout encounter tasked me and my team to venture into a multi-level room filled with toxic gases, forcing us to hunt for keycards that could be used to interact with terminals and bring the gas level down. This one scenario makes you wish there were more like it spread throughout the multiple story chapters, and it's frustrating that it isn't the case.

The combat set-pieces these objectives funnel you towards are more regularly engaging. World War Z replicates the signature dread of its film adaptation by inundating you with hundreds of enemies at a time. These "swarms" are fantastically exciting to strategize around. You'll get the chance to place up some defenses before the swarm invades, setting up automated gun turrets or electrified fences to aggressively attack chokepoints or establish new ones to slow down their movement. The sheer scale of these battles is impressive. It's haunting to watch zombies cascading off the sides of buildings or collecting to scale tall fences, all with the single mind to come and tear you and your team apart. Breaking down these swarms is both challenging and satisfying, giving you a sense of accomplishment when the tide subsides and enemy numbers thin to a slow trickle.

Each swarm is fun to battle against, but their predictability and placement in each stage quickly diminishes their effect on the action. World War Z's stages don't change outside of difficulty scaling. Sneaky Lurker enemies who can jump and pin you down will appear in the exact same areas of each map every time; a large and dangerous Bull will charge at you during the same set-piece battles that trigger in the same places during each chapter, while enemy-attracting Screamers will pool together foes at choreographed stages during each level. The predictable placement of these special enemies makes return trips to story chapters less exciting due to their predictability, which diminishes their appeal.

Breaking down these swarms is both challenging and satisfying... but their predictability and placement in each stage quickly diminishes their effect on the action.

This swarm mechanic permeates World War Z's limited PvP modes too, turning simple team deathmatches or king-of-the-hill skirmishes into fights not only against other players, but also dynamic pockets of undead enemies. This is the only surprising spin on PvP, considering that the loose shooting buckles under the weight of the precise requirements of more serious competitive play. It's nice to have something outside of the limited chapters in PvE, but it has a severely limited appeal without any competitive-focused progression or exemplary modes to make your time invested feel worth it.

It doesn't take long for the 11 chapters to feel tiresome, especially when World War Z struggles to remain stable and keep you in games. I had the game hard crash and boot me back to the PS4 dashboard on numerous occasions, during anything from intense firefights to simply joining an online game. The frame rate was also wildly unstable, especially when being rushed by hundreds of foes on screen. It's not surprising that it happens, but it still negatively impacts the fluidity of each encounter. The four locations that house each of the chapters are delightfully varied and immediately recognizable (the two chapters in the cherry blossom petal-littered streets of Tokyo were particularly beautiful), but they can sometimes also fall prey to flat and boring textures that struggle to enrapture you with the desolate apocalypse around you.

World War Z has many rough edges that are easy to spot, exacerbated by limited content that makes repeated playthroughs less interesting with each run. But it's also a cooperative shooter that has the space for those dynamic and ridiculous player stories to emerge in. The rush of taking down a swarm with friends is core to what makes World War Z's action work so well, and it rewards you well for the time spent on the classes and weapons you like. It could benefit from having more to go around, but if there's a future for World War Z and its chaotic cooperative action, this is a good foundation to build it on.

Categories: Games

Giga Wrecker Alt Review - Hunk Of Junk

Gamespot News Feed - Fri, 05/03/2019 - 22:15

If not for the studio logo when you start up Giga Wrecker Alt, you'd never know it was made by one of the most successful video game developers in history. It isn't just that this lacks any connection to Game Freak's iconic Pokemon series. Giga Wrecker Alt, an enhanced port of the 2017 PC release, doesn't have the cohesion present in the Pokemon games, and its blend of clever ideas is held back by poor implementation.

The core mechanic behind Giga Wrecker is novel: You destroy robots to gather debris, which can then be formed into objects like blocks, weapons, and tools. These help you to resolve both platforming and puzzles, and the giant debris blocks also make a handy melee weapon against the bots. The bigger the debris pile you carry around with your cybernetic arm, the better it will serve as a bludgeon against larger robots, and the more and bigger tools you can create.

For example, many puzzle rooms have pressure-sensitive switches that are only activated by the maximum size debris block. The solution, then, comes from taking down progressively heftier machines to build a big enough stockpile. Junk piles can also be cut or drilled through to make platforms, or a block piece can be used to deflect a laser. It's an inventive idea that merges combat, puzzle-solving, and platforming under a single gameplay hook.

However, it isn't long before the concept meets its limitations. Giga Wrecker often asks more of you than it's willing to give, making for an unforgiving and frustrating experience. Most pervasively, the physics systems at the heart of the game are inconsistent. Even when you already know the solution, you'll spend a significant amount of time performing it over and over waiting for the pieces to fall in place just so. Then, with the puzzle resolved, you'll be asked to escape to a door without falling into an instant-kill trap, which is where poor checkpointing issues arise--if you fail, you'll need to begin the puzzle again. At one point, I solved a particularly tricky puzzle and then jumped onto a moving platform, only to have the camera pull away to highlight that I had solved it. By the time camera control was restored, I was in a spike pit, dead.

The checkpointing that does exist is odd and erratic. Since the physics-based puzzles are prone to unresolvable errors, each major room includes a reset point highlighted in noticeable hot pink. These are activated by pressing up, which leads to unintentional activation on a fairly regular basis. If you don't hit these reset points, though, you'll find yourself sometimes checkpointed at the start of a puzzle and other times checkpointed when you first entered a room and repeating a dialogue sequence. I got in the habit of hitting a reset point as soon as I entered any room, just to make sure I set the checkpoint there.

Even putting aside unlucky moments and fiddly checkpoints, though, the platforming can be a struggle. The controls are imprecise, and you'll often continue to slide after releasing a direction or move an uncertain distance from a light, fine-tuned tap. Inching closer to an edge to prepare for a tricky jump will occasionally result in going right over it.

The platforming and puzzles are scattered across three major areas joined by a central hub. Progression generally comes from solving rooms to activate nodes, which then open up doorways locked behind a set number of those nodes. Rinse, repeat. The overworld map that shows how these areas connect is nonsensical, only giving the vaguest idea of direction to find the next doorway, but the areas are small enough that memorization eventually sets in.

The one area that works as intended is combat, but this element is underserved. The robot destruction is mostly about gathering debris, so enemies are few and far between, and you dispatch them with environmental hazards more than your limited arsenal of weapons. The more challenging combat comes from the boss battles: three named characters with two battles apiece, followed by a single final battle. These rare moments are where the combat shines, relying on the same debris-gathering mechanic but challenging you to gather it by countering their moves in between dodging devastating attacks. These fights are challenging, and as opposed to the rest of the game, they leave you with a feeling of accomplishment rather than exhausted relief.

Even putting aside unlucky moments and fiddly checkpoints, the platforming can be a struggle.

While much of the game grows more complex over time, the story actually becomes simpler and more accessible. You're put into the shoes of Reika Rekkeiji, a young girl who barely survived an apparent robot apocalypse thanks to an emergency surgery that gave her a cybernetic arm. The art style helps reinforce Reika's mindset, as her cyborg arm has a spindly sense of body horror. It looks twisted and unnatural on her frame, and as she starts to encounter humanoid "Astra" class robots, their appendages are similarly awkward, elongated, and misplaced on their bodies. It's a subtle and creepy way of showing rather than telling one of the story's major themes.

Giga Wrecker uses some staid plot tropes, like the classic amnesiac protagonist, and at first it feels like showing up to a book club without having done the reading. Characters make multiple inside references to the ongoing robot conflict with such ease and familiarity that I genuinely wondered if it was adapted from an existing franchise. As the story proceeds it slowly clarifies itself. It all carries a distinct tone of anime melodrama, complete with soul-searching soliloquies about the nature of war and violence. It isn't breaking new ground, but it's fine enough.

Despite its glimmers of inventiveness and artistry, Giga Wrecker Alt is its own worst enemy. The puzzles are too frustrating and the platforming too fiddly to recommend it. Game Freak set out to make something very different than the series it's most known for, and the studio's trademark creativity shines through in brief moments. The execution on the whole, though, is sadly lacking.

Categories: Games

New Gameplay Today – Layers Of Fear 2

Game Informer News Feed - Fri, 05/03/2019 - 14:00

Click here to watch embedded media

The original Layers Of Fear scared the pants off a lot of gamers back in 2016 and now its sequel, set aboard a spooky ocean liner and featuring the voice work of Tony Todd, looks to do the same later this month. We got to play through a section of the game and talk about our thoughts on the game and our hopes for how the sequel can improve upon the original.

For more on Layers Of Fear, here's our review of the original game here.

Categories: Games

Jon Bernthal Joins Ghost Recon: Wildlands For New Missions Today

Game Informer News Feed - Thu, 05/02/2019 - 22:05
Publisher: Ubisoft Developer: Ubisoft Paris Release: March 17, 2017 Rating: Mature Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Ubisoft revealed today new missions for Ghost Recon Wildlands, their multiplayer squad-based shooter would be launching today and are bringing some start power with them. Titled Operation Oracle, the new missions set off a free weekend for the game and seemingly tease a new Ghost Recon game. Moreover, they also star Jon Bernthal, who played Shane on AMC’s The Walking Dead and the eponymous Punisher in the Netflix show.

Check out the live action trailer of Bernthal below.

Click here to watch embedded media

Bernthal plays Ghost team leader Cole D. Walker, who Ubisoft points out is a bit of a loose cannon with his own agenda. The mission is fairly story-based and, as the blog post for the new content points out, "What you will discover here might very well set the scene for the future." It is very hard to interpret that as anything other than a tease for more new content or a new game.

The missions accompany a free weekend that launches today, so you can try them out right now, especially if you're a fan of Bernthal.

Ghost Recond Wildlands is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

Categories: Games

Tensions Come To A Head In Life Is Strange 2 Trailer For Episode 3

Game Informer News Feed - Thu, 05/02/2019 - 18:20

Brothers Sean and Daniel haven't had it easy since running away from the law in the opening hour of Life Is Strange 2, and it looks like things are about to get harder. A new trailer for the upcoming episode, called Wastelands, finds our brothers trying to make a place for themselves in a small forest community in California. 

However, negative influences and bad luck seem to conspire against the pair once more. You can watch for yourself down below:

Click here to watch embedded media

Episode 3 is due out on May 9. You can read our reviews for the first and second episode in the meantime.

Categories: Games

New Gameplay Today – Observation

Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 05/01/2019 - 21:45

Click here to watch embedded media

Publisher: Devolver Digital Developer: No Code Release: Spring 2019 Rating: Rating Pending Platform: PlayStation 4, PC

Scottish developer No Code, formed by developers who worked on Alien Isolation, won big in 2017 with Stories Untold, a creepy and stylish horror adventure. This year, the company is bringing its audience to the horrors of space with Observation, a game where you play as an artificial intelligence on a space station where things have gone terribly wrong.

We got to play the first hour of the game, which is a pretty neat combination of Alien and 2001: A Space Odyssey. If you want to see why Observation is a game you should be keeping an eye on, watch the first 45 minutes of the game above.

For more on No Code's games, check out our review of Stories Untold. Observation releases May 22 on PC and PS4.

Categories: Games