Games

Both Persona Dancing Games Coming Out Earlier Than Expected

Game Informer News Feed - Thu, 08/09/2018 - 15:21

Earlier this year, Persona fans the world over started to get their groove on when news hit that dancing spin-off titles for both Persona 3 and 5 were due out next year. It looks like they have even more reason to get excited now: Atlus has apparently pushed the release date for both games to December 4, 2018.

The company made the announcement with new trailers for Persona 5 Dancing Star Night and Persona 3 Dancing Moon Night, which you can watch here:

For more on Persona and dancing, you can check out our review of Persona 4: Dancing All Night right here.

Categories: Games

Mega Evolutions In Action In New Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! Trailer

Game Informer News Feed - Thu, 08/09/2018 - 15:08

The latest trailer for Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! not only shows off Vermilion City, but also Mega Evolutions, which were discussed in Japanese magazine CoroCoro yesterday.

The trailer below shows of Mega versions of Charizard, Blastoise, and Venusaur, as well as an encounter with Team Rocket, gym leader Lt. Surge, and the S.S. Anne.

For more on the game, take a look at our hands-on impressions here and here.

Categories: Games

Unavowed Review: Dressed To Possess

Gamespot News Feed - Thu, 08/09/2018 - 04:00

Unavowed sounds straightforward on paper. It's a classic-style point-and-click game about demonic possession set in New York City with people to talk to, and puzzles to solve. However, as you get to know its characters and fall further into its mystery, it becomes increasingly clear that Unavowed is much more than it appears: it's a brilliantly written adventure that makes you care deeply about its inhabitants and subverts your expectations.

Many tales involving demonic possession typically conclude with the entity being banished from its host, but in Unavowed, this is where the story begins. Your character wakes up on a rain-soaked Brooklyn rooftop with a hazy memory, surrounded by people you've never met. To your horror, they inform you that you've spent over a year slaughtering people throughout New York and there's a citywide manhunt for your capture. They are the Unavowed: an ancient, hidden order of demon-hunters dedicated to protecting the city from all kinds of supernatural threats. With the spirit seemingly gone, you join their ranks and work to piece together the what, how and why of your demon's bloody murder spree across the city.

It's a good setup for any mystery, but Unavowed sets itself apart with charismatic, fascinating characters and stellar writing. From the members of the Unavowed to bystanders you encounter on street corners, every inhabitant of this version of New York is a compelling character study. A struggle with alcoholism, the burden of generational history, and deep sadness of personal obligations are some of the powerful ingredients that are deftly woven into future quests and conversations in ways that organically reveal themselves to be integral to the game's fiction.

For your own character, three origin stories--bartender, actor, or cop--factor into your interactions. Not only does this change how you're able to interact with people in certain situations, but entire sections of the game will be entirely unique based on your initial choice. There's a surprising replayability to Unavowed--on my second playthrough as an actor, I experienced numerous conversations and encounters that I had no idea even existed the first time around as a bartender, and these lent new perspectives to the overarching narrative.

As you recruit and develop relationships with your team members, they'll quickly grow into well-rounded characters, complete with their own fears, desires, and vexes. These personalities are fleshed-out through incredible writing and voice-acting that genuinely conveys a human experience. It's a strength that permeates the dozen or so hours of the game; their individual histories and shared trauma inform how they interact with you, the world, and each other. In Unavowed, getting drawn into a lengthy conversation is a joy.

But it is the overall mystery that is at the forefront of your adventure here. Investigations lead you all over the city--Brooklyn, Staten Island, Chinatown, Wall Street, The Bronx--and locations are beautifully realized in the colorful 2D artwork. As you progress, you'll need to navigate delicate relationships with business owners and neighbors as you journey to discover the true intention of your ex-demon, who has been manipulating the fear and anguish of these same people.

You'll also need to solve puzzles to defend yourself against ghosts, release tormented souls, and uncover layers of the mystery. The quests you're tasked with are varied and often unpredictable. You might be trying to decipher a hand-written code for an office keypad one minute, and trying to release an interdimensional dragon before it devours you the next. Some puzzles are satisfying to solve through deductive reasoning, and others serve as narrative tools that absorb you into the story. A number of branching choices also arise throughout the game, and they never feel fleeting--even the smallest moments often prove to be consequential in some respect. In addition, because you're limited in only taking two members of your team on any given mission, you have to weigh your choices carefully. Who you bring impacts your puzzle-solving and dialogue options, as well as possible outcomes based on a character's history with an area, their individual talents, and the existing relationships they may have with people you encounter--the number of possibilities here is impressive.

But Unavowed's greatest strength is that it maintains an admirable focus on incredible characterization that feeds into every quest and conversation. Every question you ask, every decision you make, and every sacrifice you make carries you and your team members on an impassioned journey that epitomizes the best qualities of an adventure game. It never rests on tropes, a strong sense of empathy is present through its entirety, and not only do you come to wholly understand character motivations, the way these people deal with supernatural situations helps to build a bond between them and you as a player. From its wonderfully realized locations and its inviting, three-dimensional characters, Unavowed will have you eager to discover the captivating stories lurking in the demonic underworld of New York City.

Categories: Games

<p>We already knew that Super Smash

Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 08/08/2018 - 17:44

We already knew that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is going all in with the characters and stages included. While we knew Nintendo was having fun with Super Smash Bros. Ultimate's soundtrack since the reveal at E3 this year, series director Masahiro Sakurai dropped a ton of new information during today's Nintendo Direct.

Sakurai stated there are more than 800 tracks on the soundtrack, but if you include menu music and fanfare, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate features more than 900 compositions. Sakurai also claimed that you if played all the music in Ultimate back to back, it would take 28 hours to get through all of it.

Like the Wii U and 3DS versions, you can select the tracks you want to play on each stage, and how frequently you want to hear them. However, this time around, you can select any tracks from the series, rather than the tracks for that particular game. This means that if you want to hear Wind Waker tracks on the Breath of the Wild stage, you can do that.

You can also listen to these tracks outside of the stages by accessing the Sound Test menu. There, you find the tracks sorted by game series for ease of browsing. Players are also able to create their own playlists, which is handy for a feature Ultimate borrows from the 3DS version of Super Smash Bros.: the ability to listen to the soundtrack even if the screen is off. This means that you can plug headphones into your Switch and listen to songs in handheld mode without having to leave the screen on.

If you want to listen to some samples of the soundtrack, you can head to the official site by clicking here. Sakurai says the team will continue adding new selections from the soundtrack every week in the lead up to launch. You can also listen to a few selections below.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate launches on December 7 on Nintendo Switch.

Categories: Games

<p>During today's Nintendo Direct

Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 08/08/2018 - 16:17

During today's Nintendo Direct focused on Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, series director Masahiro Sakurai went over several details. One of the most impressive details involved how many stages this massive version of Nintendo's crossover fighter will contain.

A comparison graphic used by Nintendo to demonstrate how many stages have appeared in each entry of the Super Smash Bros. series

According to Sakurai, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate features 103 distinct stages. Each stage can be transformed into Battlefield and Omega forms, and every stage can be used in 8-player battles. In addition, all stages are available from the very beginning, so you don't need to unlock them.

Players can also toggle whether they want stage hazards to be active during any given battle. In addition, if you select the "Stage Morph" option before a battle, you can select two stages that the battlefield will transform between over the course of the fight.

With so many stages, the team decided to order them chronologically based on when they were introduced into the Super Smash Bros. series.

In addition to the stages we already knew about, Sakurai introduced several fan favorites that are returning for Ultimate.

 

The following stages were confirmed to come back for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

  • Great Bay
  • Shadow Moses
  • Living Room
  • Gaur Plain
  • Figure-8 Circuit
  • Flat Zone X
  • Pokémon Stadium
  • Garden of Hope
  • Brinstar Depths
  • Summit
  • Unova Pokémon League
  • Magicant
  • Gamer
  • Final Destination

In addition, Nintendo revealed New Donk City Hall from Super Mario Odyssey. The stage begins at ground level before scaling the tower with rising platforms. The musicians you collect in that Kingdom in Super Mario Odyssey also appear in the stage, and it appears that if you hit them and Pauline, the vocal rendition of "Jump Up, Superstar!" plays.

Sakurai says that the team worked hard to modernize the look and balance of returning stages, but for stages from the original Super Smash Bros., the team tried to keep them as faithful in both look and design to the original version as possible to prioritize nostalgia. You can see some examples below.

 

Super Smash Bros. is set to launch on December 7 for Nintendo Switch. For more announcements from this Direct, check out the announcements of Simon and Richter Belmont, Dark Samus and Chrom, and King K. Rool. Also be sure to check out our roundup of a ton of miscellaneous information from the Nintendo Direct.

Categories: Games

Shovel Knight, Rathalos, And More Debut As Assist Trophies In Smash Bros. Ultimate

Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 08/08/2018 - 15:50

Smash Bros. director Masahiro Sakurai showed off a few more assist trophies in today's Direct, confirming some new crossovers for the game and also a few new trophies from Nintendo's history.

Assist trophies are basically non-playable fighters that can be summoned into battle. When a player grabs one, it summons an AI-controlled fighter who can be attacked and knocked out for points by other players, but also performs their own attacks. In the E3 Direct, Assist Trophies like the returning Waluigi were shown off, but also new crossovers like Hudson's Bomberman.

Here's a list of what was shown today:

  • Zero from Mega Man X
  • Knuckles from Sonic the Hedgehog
  • Klaptrap from Donkey Kong Country
  • Kapp'n from Animal Crossing
  • Chef Kawasaki from Kirby
  • Gray Fox from Metal Gear Solid
  • Nikki from Flipnote
  • Shovel Knight
  • The Moon from The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
  • Rathalos from Monster Hunter

While some of them just come out and attack, a few have special properties. Kapp'n drives a bus through the stage, Chef Kawasaki cooks the opponents like Kirby's Final Smash in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Nikki draws things on the stage to hurt opponents, Shovel Knight attacks enemies and digs up food, and the Moon crashes into the entire stage.

Additionally, Rathalos is both a boss in the Monster Hunter stage and an Assist Trophy, the first of its kind in the series.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate releases for the Nintendo Switch on December 7.

Categories: Games

<p>Nintendo revealed a lot of new Super

Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 08/08/2018 - 15:35

Nintendo revealed a lot of new Super Smash Bros. Ultimate details this morning. Here is the full round-up of what we learned.

  • King K. Rool from Donkey Kong Country will be a fighter in the game.
  • Dracula's Castle is a new stage and it will include bosses and items from the Castlevania series.
  • 34 music tracks from Castlevania are being produced for the game.
  • Great Bay from The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask will be a stage in the game.
  • Shadow Moses from Metal Gear Solid will be a stage in the game.
  • Living Room from Nintendogs will be a stage in the game.
  • Gaur Plains from Xenoblade Chronicles will be a stage in the game.
  • Figure-8 Circuit from Mario Kart will be a stage in the game.
  • Flat Zone X from Game & Watch will be a stage in the game.
  • Pokémon Stadium will be a stage in the game.
  • Garden of Hope from Pikmin will be a stage in the game.
  • Brinstar Depths from Metroid will be a stage in the game.
  • Summit from Ice Climber will be a stage in the game.
  • Unova Pokémon League will be a stage in the game.
  • Magicant from Earthbound/Mother 2 will be a stage in the game.
  • Gamer from Game & Wario will be a stage in the game.
  • Final Destination (surprise!) will be a stage in the game.
  • New Donk City from Super Mario Odyssey will be a stage in the game.
  • There will be 103 stages in the game.
  • There will be an option to make stages change in the middle of a fight.
  • There will be more than 800 music tracks in the game.
  • Including menu music and other assorted sound cues, that number bumps up to over 900.
 
  • There will be 28 hours of music in the game.
  • A sound test will be available and usable with the screen turned off in handheld mode.
  • You select rules first, then stage, then fighters.
  • Stamina battle will now be treated as one of the standard modes.
  • In sudden death, the camera now moves in to make everything more intense.
  • You can select the option for everyone's Final Smash to be connected to a charge meter, but players will not be able to execute Final Smashes simultaneously.
  • There will be a mode that eliminates players as selectable fighters as you move through matches.
  • There will be built-in tournament options.
  • Training mode will have an exclusive stage that will feature lots of additional details about what is happening, like meters that show where fighters will potentially land at different hit percentages.
  • Single-player mode is called Classic Mode and it will feature specific fights and stages for each fighter.
  • There is a new item that looks like a gun but fires a single bullet.
  • There is a new sword item called the killing edge.
  • There is a new type of bomb item.
  • Death's Scythe is a new item and it will deliver an instant K.O..
  • There is a staff that shoots magic that will do more damage the farther away it is.
  • There is an evil mushroom that will reverse your opponent's controls.
  • The Rage Blaster will do more damage depending on your damage percentage.
  • Alolan Exeggutor is now a Pokémon in the game. You can climb it.
  • Abra is now a Pokémon in the game. It creates a black hole.
  • Solgaleo is now a Pokémon in the game.
  • Lunala is now a Pokémon in the game.
  • Mimikyu is now a Pokémon in the game. He eats people.
  • Pyukumuku is now a Pokémon in the game.
  • Vulpix and Alolan Vilpix are now Pokémon in the game. One has a fire attack, one has ice.
  • Marshadow is now a Pokémon in the game.
  • Ditto is now a Pokémon in the game. It copies other fighters and takes their form.
  • Alucard from Castlevania is now an an Assist Trophy.
  • Zero from Mega Man X is now an Assist Trophy.
  • Knuckles from Sonic the Hedgehog is now an Assist Trophy.
  • Krystal from Star Fox Adventures is now an Assist Trophy.
  • Klaptrap from Donkey Kong Country is now an Assist Trophy.
  • Kapp'n from Animal Crossing is now an Assist Trophy.
  • Chef Kawasaki from Kirby is now an Assist Trophy.
  • Gray Fox from Metal Gear Solid returns from Brawl to be an Assist Trophy.
  • Nikki from Swapdoodle is now an Assist Trophy.
  • Shovel Knight is now an Assist Trophy.
  • The moon from The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask is now an Assist Trophy.
  • Rathalos from Monster Hunter is a boss and an Assist Trophy in the game.
  • The main menu will let you access a dashboard of options by hitting the ZR button.
  • A new mode was teased on the main menu, but it was mosaic-ed out and director Masahiro Sakurai said they couldn't talk about it yet.

For more on Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, you can read an interview with Nintendo about the game here.

Categories: Games

New Trailer Shows Off Combo Moves In Team Sonic Racing

Game Informer News Feed - Tue, 08/07/2018 - 18:17

Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is one of the most respected 3D Sonic games. With creative maps and tight kart controls, developer Sumo Digital delivered an unlikely success for a much-maligned franchise. A new trailer for the follow-up title, Team Sonic Racing, shows that the developer isn't content to just make more of the same. 

Team Sonic Racing, as the name suggests, wants players to cooperate with each other so everyone ends up placing well at the finish line. Points are accumulated by the team as a whole, so simply coming in first isn't an assurance of victory. 

A new trailer for the game shows off a number of power-ups and mechanics designed to encourage this sort of team play. Players can give and request items, slingshot around each other, and even smash into each other for a speed boost. Although the kart-racing genre can be formulaic, these additions add a serious layer of strategy to an otherwise reflex-based game. 

We were excited by the game at E3, and these new details are promising as well. Team Sonic Racing will release this winter on Xbox One, PC, Switch, and PS4. 

Categories: Games

Monster Hunter World Review - Deadliest Catch

Gamespot News Feed - Tue, 08/07/2018 - 17:37

While some fans of the series were disappointed when Monster Hunter XX came to the Switch as a Japan-only exclusive, the good news is that we don't have to suffer in region-imposed torture any longer. The latest big fish in the franchise's pond, Monster Hunter World, is finally here, and it blows the previous western releases out of the water.

For seasoned players, the gameplay loop in Monster Hunter World is immediately recognisable. Your job is a cycle that involves crafting weapons, bulking up, killing monsters, and looting them for materials. However, a well-crafted narrative has not traditionally been a part of that gameplay loop, and that may have been a deterrent for those looking for a foothold into the franchise in the past. Luckily for them, the first major point of difference here from the previous mainline titles is the way that the plot and gameplay are grafted together. A spinoff, Monster Hunter Stories, stepped off the beaten track by introducing a simple yet satisfying narrative, and now Monster Hunter World solidifies that step by using the building blocks of previous narrative concepts to deliver a well-paced experience that spends more time focusing on the bigger picture.

While you spend a lot of time chasing an Elder Dragon that wouldn't look out of place in the movie Pacific Rim, Monster Hunter World's choice to integrate Guild and Village quests into one coherent story cuts out any confusion or ambiguity that new players may feel when it comes to figuring out which quests progress your journey. The fact that everything is tuned for a rewarding solo experience is a plus--it's entirely possible to pump through 60 hours of quests without ever interacting with another player online. And when combined with more intelligent monster AI, facing off against a fire-breathing Tyrannosaurus-like creature on your own makes the stakes feel even higher.

On top of the story, which revolves around the mystery of why the aforementioned Elder Dragon has appeared in the game's new region, there have been some quality-of-life changes that ease your transition into the world of monster hunting. Instead of frontloading a lot of text-based tutorials as in previous titles, you now have a Handler who doles out helpful information to you as you progress through zones of increasing complexity. It can feel a bit like having an annoying younger sibling tagging along on otherwise deadly adventures, but her vocal cues and vast knowledge about monster types are helpful when encountering new enemies for the first time. This assistance ceases when you start cutting your teeth on High Rank monsters, but hearing about new skills and immediately putting them into practice in the field is an excellent way to learn about the game from the ground up.

Monster Hunter World feels like an open-world game to some extent, with fantastically large maps of a scale that we haven't seen before (both vertically and horizontally), no discernable game-pausing loading screens between zones in hunting areas, and a wealth of beautifully rendered environments to slaughter colossal monsters in. A helpful addition to this new world is the swarm of scoutflies that serve as a way to track monsters and other objectives.

Navigating the vastness of those areas without scoutflies would have been incredibly tedious. Once you've located a few traces of a monster's path in a zone, your scoutflies automatically track it to its current location. Gather up enough clues over time and soon your insectoid minions will be able to predict where a certain monster is located based on past movements. This is very useful for investigation missions with tight time frames at higher ranks and sticks to your canon characterisation: a seasoned hunter who understands their prey. Except, perhaps, when said prey glitches through two stories' worth of foliage and can't be attacked with any weapons that you've got on hand. Fortunately, those instances are few and far between.

Part of the ability to capitalise on a monster's weakness is the smart use of all the tools in your hunting arsenal, with the most important being your weapon of choice. The Hunter Arts from Monster Hunter Generations have been removed, and the game's focus is solely on your ability to dish out ridiculous amounts of damage using your respective weapon's combo. Light weapons are still the most mobile while the technical weapons are still the most difficult to understand and master, but there are ample opportunities to get experience with whichever blade, bow, or lance you've decided on. Weapon upgrade trees are all viewable at a glance, and the ability to make a wishlist of parts for your next upgrade makes the process more convenient, and helps you decide which expeditions to focus on.

Bowguns in particular have received the most notable facelift: it appears that there has been an effort to mimic the kind of playstyle you'd have in a third-person shooter, and this is most apparent when you're firing from the hip with the light bowgun. That doesn't necessarily change the strategy needed; you'll still have to make effective use of environmental hazards, traps, barrel bombs, and dung in order to chase down your quarry. There are now more ways to get a leg up on monsters, which make combat encounters more accessible to different playstyles. Elemental effects are all the rage once more, with weapons boasting essential new perks that have evolved alongside the enemies that you forge them from, and the benefits of bringing water to a firefight is a lesson you'll learn early.

Of particular necessity is the ability to mount monsters through aerial combos, or through the slightly less coordinated mad scramble off a cliff onto a creature's back; you're given the opportunity to knock a monster down, which will buy you time to slice off a tail or a claw. While the game will reward you no matter what strategies you take, knowing a monster's weak points is still a must if you strive to upgrade your gear. It's best to nail down your favourite weapon in the Arena--a mode where you test your mettle with specific gear against a monster that you've fought before.

Multiplayer integration is, for the most part, seamless. As mentioned above, there's no distinction between Village and Guild quests anymore, so missions can be done alone or with a friend, and you'll both only have to do it once to complete it. You can start a quest alone in an online session and wait for more hunters to pop in to assist. Alternatively, you can seek out an online session for people of a certain hunter rank, and just go along for the ride if they need a hand with anything. The only qualifier is that some story-focused missions require the leader to either watch a cutscene or discover a monster before others can join.

You can be in the same online session as someone else without having to do the quests that they're doing, which is useful for those who might want to keep an eye on a friend who's new to the franchise. Players who are struggling solo can also send out an SOS flare that lets their friends put together a little rescue party to save the day. In the downtime between adventures, you can do anything from arm wrestling to challenging each other's times on the killing leaderboards.

Getting together with your mates takes a couple of extra steps compared to loading into a multiplayer session on the fly with a stranger. To play with friends alone, you’ll have to join in on their fun via the friends list on the console dashboard, or by sharing a 12-digit session ID. In a game that’s all about momentum and sprinting off into the horizon at the next challenge, getting your hunting posse together is manageable but slightly tedious. That being said, a few minutes to specifically set up a multiplayer session doesn’t necessarily make or break the game.

As expected, Monster Hunter World scales the difficulty up if you're not the only one embarking on the quest. Up to four people can go out into the wilderness at once, and the beta experience has already demonstrated to many how exhilarating group combat can be. The more targets available for monsters, the more unpredictable their movements. This means that while you may have more firepower, it can be harder to lock down a monster that's particularly prone to relentless charging or rapid aggression. Luckily, playing with others gives you the opportunity to try out different weapon compositions, and while unusual weapons like the hunting horn might see minimal use in the solo campaign, its sweet, party-buffing tunes and your teamwork abilities will become crucial to helping your friends take down the most savage of beasts.

While it may seem like quite a bit has changed, there's a hell of a lot in Monster Hunter World that's stayed the same. Whether it's the appearance of draconic series regulars like the Rathalos and the Rathian or the presence of tried and true weapons, the roots of the Monster Hunter franchise are strong with its latest release. Apart from the overall sprucing up of graphics and the cutscenes with full voice-over, the standout improvements really come from the simplification of the existing systems in a way that welcomes newcomers without alienating existing fans. A lack of loading screens makes exploration a pleasure, and tracking new and improved monsters through areas as they rank up means that you've got plenty to conquer once the story quests are complete. There may not be any new weapons, and there may be a Hunter Arts-sized hole left in the hearts of players who spent hours getting good at the various Styles. However, the removal of those old mechanics feels less like a funeral and more like a necessary streamlining.

The PC version of Monster Hunter World, on a superficial level, doesn't exhibit any critical differences in performance compared to the console versions of the game. While running on the highest display settings, we noticed a marked amount of pop-in during some of the more graphically intensive cutscenes, but it wasn’t enough to be off-putting. Some trees in the distance take a little longer to come to life, but you’re often too preoccupied with killing a slavering, townhouse-sized animal to care. The Hunters themselves also generally appear to have warmer, more realistic flesh tones on the PC, but the overall difference in aesthetic mileage is otherwise minimal.

One area where the contrast is stark, however, is in multiplayer accessibility. While the PlayStation 4 version had its hiccups with getting the squad together, those aren’t present at all in the PC version, which makes the most of its integration with Steam to get you playing together in under a couple of minutes. It's refreshingly simple compared to laboriously typing out a string of numbers, or fiddling with the PlayStation 4’s subpar native interface.

Another pleasant difference which you’ll notice while preparing for multiplayer missions is the fact that there’s almost no downtime at all. This might vary based on your network and PC, but in our experience the time between posting a quest and having it ready to go when others join was instant. In comparison, the PlayStation 4 version seems to take its own sweet time when preparing quests within both individual and multiplayer sessions. Like the aesthetic differences between platforms, this is relatively minimal in the grand scheme of things. However, an improvement is still an improvement, and the overall quality of life differences in regards to multiplayer on PC are definitely welcome.

In terms of how the game handles mechanically on PC, the answer is positive. While PC ports of console games have the potential pitfalls of unwieldy control schemes and unintuitive keyboard shortcuts, Monster Hunter World has gracefully avoided these. The default keyboard and mouse combination works well, even when stress-tested under combat situations that require plenty of frantic directional and dodge-rolling inputs. Using the mouse to control both attack inputs as well as overall steering took us the length of the tutorial to get used to, but it never presented an issue in itself. There’s no need to play Twister with your fingers to execute deadly combos here, though fans of the controller input will likely gravitate to the same for efficiency at the end of the day.

Ever since the title was first announced, it was clear that Capcom was gunning for something grander than Monster Hunter Generations. It has succeeded, and this is likely the biggest and best that the franchise has ever been. It's not just the comparative depth of the narrative; it also boasts almost seamless integration between combat systems that were previously incomprehensible for amateurs. The Monster Hunter formula has definitely honed its claws, and all the above factors play their part in making Monster Hunter World a meaningful evolution for the series at large.

Editor's note: This review has been updated to include our experience with the PC version of Monster Hunter: World -- August 7, 2018

Categories: Games

NBA 2K19's First Gameplay Trailer Doesn't Hold Back

Game Informer News Feed - Tue, 08/07/2018 - 16:00

NBA 2K19 is looking to bring back some of the skill back to one-on-one encounters, and the new gameplay trailer for the title shows that there's no shortage of talent here.

The standard edition of the game is out on September 11, but if you get the Anniversary edition is available on September 7.

For a full rundown of the title's gameplay, check out these eight big changes, and you can also take a look at Bertz's breakdown of the Franchise modes.

Categories: Games

Overcooked 2 Review - A Great Second Course

Gamespot News Feed - Tue, 08/07/2018 - 09:00

Following 2016's co-op cooking hit, Overcooked 2 introduces a fresh set of kitchens and recipes to conquer. Like in the first game, simple controls and a cute, cartoony style lend levity to intense dinner rushes where one mistake can lead to culinary disaster. The fun and chaos of playing with friends is preserved in the sequel, as is the far less exciting reality of playing solo. And while the added online play can't compare to in-person antics, the new throwing mechanic and a host of ridiculous kitchen layouts make for a delightfully frenetic follow-up to a couch co-op favorite.

Like the original, Overcooked 2 takes you from one poorly laid out kitchen to the next, tasking you with cooking as many dishes as possible within a set time limit. Whether alone or with friends, each kitchen poses its own set of problems and hurdles; conveyor belts make basic movement more difficult, floating rafts and hot air balloons cause kitchens to shift under your feet, and the sink is usually nowhere near the dirty plates. It can be hard to figure out how to approach each level, but it's very easy for even the best strategies to devolve into chaos.

Failing is just as fun as success, and Overcooked 2 still serves both the party crowd and more competitive players beautifully. Nothing about cooking is simple except for the controls--each task, like chopping ingredients or washing dishes, requires a single button. The rest is a balancing act that demands precise communication as well as adaptability, because things usually go wrong. The urgent beeping of food that's about to burn can quickly turn into panicked yelling and possibly a fire. It's often a comedy of errors, especially with the max of four people, and successfully serving up dishes at all is a triumph worth celebrating.

Once you get past the initial stress of cooking in a nonsensical kitchen, you can actually start to strategize. With two players, you'll probably put more mental energy toward juggling various tasks, while with more co-chefs, you'll need to be careful not to run into anyone else. There's a very different kind of satisfaction in settling into a groove with your team, timing things perfectly, and maximizing your score. (Plus, calling out "Order up!" just doesn't get old.) It's also an enticing reason to chase higher and higher scores in the arcade mode and challenge another experienced two-person team in the versus mode.

While much of the basic formula remains the same, Overcooked 2 adds the ability to throw raw ingredients. It's a relatively small addition, but it smartly adds to the chaos without overcomplicating it. A block of cheese flying by as you're chopping a tomato makes the kitchen feel more hectic, but it's actually extremely efficient--you can throw meat directly into a frying pan to save time or toss some fish across a moving platform that's blocking your path. Many of the levels take full advantage of the new mechanic, with kitchens split into two parts that intermittently come together. It often makes more sense to station one team member in one part of the kitchen, tossing ingredients over as needed, so you don't run the risk of trapping everyone in one area while things shift.

Overcooked 2 also adds online play, a fine idea that's far less compatible with the best parts of the game. It's a different kind of challenge to cook with limited communication--especially on Switch, thanks to the lack of built-in voice chat--but playing online lacks the urgency of playing with people in the same room. A bit of lag, too, can ruin the flow or cause you to misclick. It's a welcome feature if your co-op partner is far away, though, and better suited for completionists rather than those looking to goof off.

Playing alone is also the domain of completionists, as it's kind of a chore--you switch between two chefs, and it's a matter of smart task management without the fun of communicating and screwing up with other people. While the more complicated kitchens seem impossible to tackle on your own, a lower score threshold means you can still get the full three stars even if you only served a few dishes. Nothing is out of your reach alone, but success just isn't as satisfying.

Overcooked 2 undoubtedly shines in local co-op and the versus arcade modes. New recipes and obstacles provide a fresh challenge for veterans, but it remains approachable for new players with simple controls and short playtimes. The new throwing mechanic, too, adds a new dimension to both strategy and the inevitable chaos without overcomplicating things. It's a strong foundation, and with the right friends, Overcooked 2 is one of the best couch co-op games around.

Categories: Games

Dead Cells Review: Rise From Your Grave

Gamespot News Feed - Mon, 08/06/2018 - 17:00

Tucked away in a long-forgotten prison lies a corpse. From time to time, a sticky mass of green goo slips into the cell and gives the body a burst of life. Stomping forward, the armored mass of carrion charges through zombies and hordes of undead on a vain quest to find the way out. Fans of Dark Souls will notice… more than a few similarities, for sure, but this particular outing isn't what it appears to be.

Dead Cells is a fascinating amalgam of several of today's most popular indie genres. It juggles elements of tough-as-nails action games and Metroid-inspired exploration platformers, with the procedurally generated levels and random item allotments found in roguelikes. It's impressive how it all comes together without a hitch, especially given that the persistent character growth found in games like Dark Souls or Metroid squarely conflicts with the randomized resets emblematic of Rogue-inspired games.

The balance struck here is one of unlocked opportunities. Each time your avatar stirs back to life, you're given a fresh chance to press through the stages. You encounter them sequentially, so you have an idea of what to expect, but your choices in each will determine your ultimate path. So, for example, while the first stage is always the Prisoner's Quarters, your next hop could be the Promenade of the Condemned or the Toxic Sewers. At first, only the former will be available. But, in time, you'll earn runes that confer permanent changes and open up new routes.

So, while some roguelikes and even Dark Souls could, in theory, be completed in one run without dying, that (so far as we've found) can't happen here. You must progress, die, and then restart to worm your way through the different routes, collecting critical upgrades that give you even more options.

Along the way, of course, you'll have a shuffling inventory with new weapons and skills found in chests or shops. You can also pick up stat upgrades that you lose upon death as well as "cells," which, if you survive your current stage, can be banked for unlocking rare items that will be added to your potential gear lottery pool and permanent bonuses like additional healing items.

Besides the inventory and stage shuffling, combat and platforming are the most critical aspects for you to master. And while Dead Cells executes on all of its mechanics, these two shine brightest. For starters, traversing levels is a smooth, quick process once you've got the basic feel for it. Your movement is precise, with just enough forgiveness to make exacting jumps feel demanding, yet achievable. And this meshes seamlessly with the action.

Enemies will respond to your presence in different ways. Some are unable to see you or react unless you're on their platform and in their direct line of sight, while others will lob grenades at you from across a gap or through platforms, but can't attack directly. Your goal is to read the screen and understand the different abilities of each enemy type, and to use that information to strategize and execute your optimal approach.

Countless other variables such as the presence of doors (which can be opened slowly for a stealth attack or kicked in for a stunning blow) work together to mix things up. Toxic pools, spiked floors, etc. all come together to give the right mix of obstacles and challenging foes. This also plays well with Dead Cells' overall look and tone. Each enemy glows a bit and has a different color scheme and silhouette. The same is true for the stages themselves. Together, these easily identifiable coding systems make it intuitive to read the room and remain focused on the ludicrously quick combat without losing sight of your next target.

That's especially critical because of the zippy pace of bouts, too. Most of the time, you'll have two weapons or a weapon and a shield. This, combined with jumping and dodging, forms the core of your skill set. Once you get the hang of it all, you can effortlessly combine attacks and dodges, and, for instance, freeze an enemy with a spell before rolling behind them and unloading with a quick set of slashes. All of this seems like a chaotic mess at first. And it is--to a degree. Each piece of the combat puzzle is introduced gradually, so you very naturally learn how it fits into the larger picture.

Your nascent exploration through the Prisoner's Quarters and other early-game maps may take around 10 minutes during your first few trips. It feels agonizing, too. You are vulnerable, largely powerless, and unfamiliar with your very dangerous surroundings. So much is left unexplained at the outset that the choice to just go and worry about the rest later comes as second-nature. Still, the going isn't easy and you'll struggle. At least at first.

But each round gives you a different set of toys to play with. The stage will change each time. One route comes and goes, perhaps a new treasure or den of foes takes its place. But that doesn't really matter. The Prisoner's Quarters, while unique with every run, keeps to a certain, persistent theme. The wistful music and basic ideas are the same. Through repetition, you earn not rote memorization of layouts, but the ability to take whatever weapons you get for that run and utilize them to their fullest. In short order, what took 10 minutes at the start takes 30 seconds once you've found your bearings.

What doesn't always quite workout the same way, though, are the latter areas. Fewer opportunities to practice with tougher enemies means that they never quite develop the same level of familiarity. It keeps every attempt feeling tense and exciting, but it can also lead to some frustration. Spending a whole run trying to make it to one spot only to die and have to restart a 15-minute stretch of play again can be grating, but the backstop there is the permanent upgrades.

Even if you can't make it all that far, Prisoner's Quarters is simple enough that you'll have plenty of opportunities to "bank" cells for the aforementioned upgrades. That gives you a sense of constant progress, even when you bomb a run. In fact, the only real issue with the adventure is that some of the better upgrades can take substantially longer than they should. It stalls progress in the mid-game a bit and can lead to a feeling of grinding your wheels. Besides that, though, Dead Cells is a phenomenal effort to blend together some very disparate genres into a tight, cohesive whole. It's one of the better examples of how to remix ideas without losing their individual strengths.

Categories: Games

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Game Informer News Feed - Sun, 08/05/2018 - 22:10

Shortly before the Tekken 7 finals at Evo 2018, Bandai Namco released trailers announcing returning Soul vets Astaroth and Seong Mi-na.

The golem Astaroth made his debut in the original Soulcalibur, to which Soulcalibur VI time-travels/reboots itself to, and has appeared in the second, third, and fourth games after. Seong Mi-na predates him by one game, having appeared in Soul Blade, known in the arcades as Soul Edge.

Soulcalibur VI arrives on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on October 19. The game also features a guest appearance from the White Wolf himself, Geralt of Rivia. You can see us taking him for a spin at E3 right here.

Categories: Games

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Game Informer News Feed - Sun, 08/05/2018 - 20:00

The ignominious history of Mega Man voice acting is hard to forget. With Mega Man X Collection releasing recently, it's not hard to remember there was a time where Mega Man voice acting was at best bad. Even closer to Mega Man 11 is the eighth Mega Man mainline title, which kept a line flub in the final dialogue and had Dr. Light pronounce the villain name as "Dr. Wawee."

Capcom is getting ahead of those concerns by showing off voice clips of Mega Man 11's voice actors on the game's website. There's no Dr. Wawee to be found here, as Dr. Light speaks in a way that in no way indicates he's hunting wascally wabbits. It also seems like Torchman is some kind of fire...ninja...guy, which is also cool.

Mega Man 11 releases on October 2 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC.

Categories: Games

Pokemon: Let's Go Videos Show Off New Exploration Gameplay

Game Informer News Feed - Sat, 08/04/2018 - 22:00

Want to see more of the upcoming Switch Pokémon game(s) in action?  You're in luck. The Pokémon Youtube Channel has uploaded some Japanese gameplay videos that showcase short clips of exploration, focusing on players roaming a pretty countryside with various Pokémon.

You can watch all of them here:

For more on Pokemon: Let's Go, you can check out our hands-on preview here.

Categories: Games

Ultimate Team & Kick Off Changes Try To Make FIFA 19 More Inviting

Game Informer News Feed - Sat, 08/04/2018 - 17:20

Developers are always trying to get more people to play, whether it's enticing new customers or giving new incentives for the current ones not to leave, and FIFA 19 is making some changes and adding new features to its Kick Off and FIFA Ultimate Team modes in pursuit of this goal.

Kick Off is an exhibition game mode I haven't touched in I don't know how long, but in FIFA 19 it's a standout multiplayer mode (sadly only local offline) due to the inclusion of House Rules. These are exhibition matches that take liberties with the rules of the game to create situations you wouldn't normally get to experience.

  • Long Range: Goals from outside the box count as two. Fans in the back rows better watch out.
  • Survival: When a team scores a goal, a random player from that squad is removed.
  • Headers & Volleys: Only goals by these methods are counted.
  • First To: Whomever reaches the chosen score first wins.
  • No Rules: Perhaps the most fun House Rules variant where there are no bookings, cards, or offsides. Go studs up or go home.

I played these, and all of them were a lot of fun, but particularly No Rules, which as you can imagine becomes a free-for-all. Then again, if your opponent thinks they're going to run around just breaking your players' legs, you can make them pay by anticipating contact and dodging tackles, leaving them in the grass.

Kick Off also utilizes FIFA's new Champions and Europa League licenses, letting you drop into the competitions at various points such as the group, semifinal, or final stages, and you choose to play a best-of series or successive home/away legs. Finally, handicap settings offer a further layer of customization by letting you set the score at the beginning of the match as well as the intelligence of your teammates.

However you play in the mode, it's tracked via an ID system that records your stats versus A.I. as well as friends, and this can be tied to your PSN account and activated when you're at your friend's house. The ability to call up your account when you're playing somewhere else, however, looks to be only on PS4.

FIFA ULTIMATE TEAM

EA says that Ultimate Team is FIFA's most popular mode, but one of the problems for the masses that sink loads of time into it is that they're sinking too much time into it. Specifically, the competitive Weekend League, which – if you qualify – consists of 40 games in a single weekend!

At this time EA hasn't mentioned if the number of games in the Weekend League is remaining high, but a new qualification process called Division Rivals replaces the Daily Knockout qualification tournament and online seasons (which is still available offline) to address, in part, the hellacious grind.

  • Players start out by playing placement matches, which puts you in one of 10 divisions. Placement matches are a one-time deal. At this time, it's unknown how many placement matches there are.
     
  • You play within your division during the weekly competition, which includes promotion and relegation at the end of the week, and scaled prizes depending how well you do (similar to Squad Battles). Champions points are earned through division play. These are used to determine your entrance into the weekend league, and are also offered as part of a pick your prize reward.
     
  • Champions Points can be cashed in at any time to enter the Weekend league. So if you can't participate in a particular weekend you can save those up for use when you're ready.
     
  • Your performance in the Champions Weekend creates a feedback loop that contributes back to your Rivals score and helps with future qualification into the Weekend league.

This all sounds straight forward, but I'm curious how many games are in the Champions Weekend, because if it's still as high as 40 like the Weekend League, then this doesn't seem to be a major change other than you won't have to go through the Daily Knockout qualification tournament. Frankly, since EA hasn't made a point of announcing the number of games in the league, I fear it's the same.

In other Ultimate Team news for FIFA 19:

  • No surprises here – Champions and Europa League FUT items will be added.
     
  • New Icons for the year: Rivaldo, Johan Cruyff, Frank Lampard, Eusébio, Clarence Seedorf, Raúl, Makélélé, Steven Gerrard, Miroslav Klose, and Fabio Cannavaro.
     
  • There are no console-exclusive Icons this year, and producer Mat Prior told me the plan is to make the previous Xbox exclusive Icons available on all systems, but he doesn't know if this is possible due to potential rights issues.
     
  • When opening a pack there are new management shortcuts – flick the analog stick up to send a card to the transfer list and down to quicksell. The ones untouched go to your club.
     
  • There's a Player Pick Pack giving you a choice of one out of five players.
Categories: Games

No Man's Sky Next Review: You Are Not Alone

Gamespot News Feed - Sat, 08/04/2018 - 16:00

Nothing about the hype, release, disappointment, and slow, disciplined redemption of No Man's Sky has been typical. As such, the great paradox of the Next update isn't exactly a surprise. It introduces some drastic improvements to the base game, not to mention a great deal of what Hello Games' Sean Murray promised and was pilloried for not delivering at launch. It is a grander, more cohesive experience that makes the infinite expanse of space feel much less lonely. But what Next really ends up emphasizing through all of its quality-of-life improvements and additions was that the game we got on day one was always going to be "the game."

You start out as an amnesiac astronaut stranded on a random planet with a broken ship that, once repaired, takes you on a potentially neverending search through a near-infinite universe. What you seek can vary; it may be answers that explain your identity crisis and the odd state of the universe or a wealth of natural resources to fund an extended tour of strange, far-off planets. Though you begin as a disadvantaged lost soul, it's entirely possible to study your surroundings, take advantage of what they have to offer, and become a social and military force in the eyes of No Man's Sky's alien races.

Through multiple updates, this has always been the very soul of No Man's Sky. Ever since the Atlas Rises update, "You are not alone" is the first phrase another living being speaks to you after you manage to escape your starting planet. There is an enormous amount of fear, hope, and power in that moment, especially after spending a couple of hours scouring your ersatz home planet for the resources to repair your ship.

The power of that statement diminishes, however, the more the game gives you command and comprehension of your environment. Without a doubt, No Man's Sky has become a veritable sandbox. In fact, after a few initial goals are met, you receive a message asking if you'd like to continue the story, or define your own path--whatever that may be. Through a combination of new mining and terraforming tools and the freedom to build how and where you wish, it has never been easier to make any planet into a home. Finding the raw materials to do so and refining them into their most useful form is now a quick and relatively painless fact of life. Multiple land-based vehicles now exist, making traversal even less of a dangerous hassle. As for space, frigates and fighter crafts are easier to obtain. There are more missions available to haul in incredible amounts of resources or, if you're looking to play the role of a space pirate, seek out traders and fleets in other galaxies and ransack them for sweet loot.

All this is made more enticing by the fact that Next fulfills the much-touted promise of true multiplayer, where up to four people can now party up and take on the universe together. It's not entirely seamless. Multiplayer tended to create random stutters and bugs more than anything else I did in game--even when playing the otherwise technically astounding Xbox One X port. That said, you can still wander around, help people farm resources, and have backup while breaking into a well-guarded facility. Portals and teleportation devices are now a staple in No Man's Sky, and showing off your new home has never been easier. Altogether, No Man's Sky's universe finally feels like, well, a universe. It feels like a fine place to live a digital life, while simultaneously being the least innovative or interesting thing the game could become.

With Next, No Man's Sky becomes a competent space-faring sandbox. It's definitely good enough to turn some of the heads who angrily ranted against the game that released in 2016. Creatively, though, No Man's Sky neither gains nor loses anything by trying to become a mining colony sim. It greatly excels when it embraces being the No Man's Sky we've always known.

The things that make No Man's Sky a great experience are the things that have been there since the first version. In that game, you are well and truly alone. You were a drifter in a universe where the chances of meeting a stranger who spoke your language were in the single digits, and the chances of meeting one who said something coherent were even lower. In that game, you're not being led on by loot or having the best house. Your concerns are material inasmuch as if you wanted answers, if you wanted to see what new creations the procedural generation gods had bestowed on the next planet, you needed to barter, trade, and mine.

The good news is that side of the game is still very much here, and it has seen its share of improvements, most notably to the pacing and presentation. It's rare that graphics can make or break a game, but Next's visual upgrades truly make a difference. The worlds are vastly more detailed, with breathtaking new lighting and physics effects enhancing everything from pollen flying off plants as they sway in the breeze to gravity and light being vacuumed into the yawning void of a black hole. The third-person camera not only grants the game a sense of scale, but also gives you a better understanding of exactly who you are in the universe, especially since the look and species of your character is now customizable at space stations. The improved effects in space make an already magnificent environment even more amazing, especially with ringed planets now a common sight.

Where much of the game's initial hours are still spent introducing you to the core mechanics, they are now far more deeply embedded in narrative conceit; you are a newborn wholly unaware of who you are, your place in the universe, and who is guiding you along. Every new bit of information is found by you, clued in by anomalous broadcasts from derelict equipment strewn across the universe, learning from the failures of other explorers. There are aliens, but their help is unreliable until you put the time and effort into learning their language. You do this either by getting one of the aliens to teach you new words or finding the species' codices scattered in foreign monuments. There are many more of these opportunities now, especially in space stations which have been redesigned as wide-open forums where one might find friends bragging about new discoveries, hulking armies on furlough, or scavengers hawking their new finds. You're a stranger to them all at first, and it's only in choosing to take the risk of ingratiation that you can find yourself in a species' favor, with their representatives willing to offer help in your hours of need.

All of this is in favor of the Artemis and Atlas Path storylines, introduced in the Atlas Rises update. The narrative beats of each story are largely unchanged, but they are both now far better integrated into the flow of the game as rewards for your curiosity rather than staunch waypoints impatiently waiting for your arrival. That said, players returning to old saves will find it's not as easy as just picking up where they left off, and much of what they already own gets shuffled around at random. It doesn't break pre-existing games, but it's a less-than-welcome relearning curve, to be sure. Both narratives still have their positives and negatives, though the original Atlas Path storyline is now a minor footnote in a journey much wider in scope, but what matters most is that both narratives encourage the things that distinguish No Man's Sky.

At its absolute best, No Man's Sky is a measured, gentle experience where you are rarely the agent of change, but a perpetual visitor who's constantly dwarfed by the magnitude of a universe neutral to your presence. It is not your job in these stories to colonize the universe. Your job is to comprehend it. Your job is to recognize the spirituality in it. The primary gimmick of No Man's Sky, since day one, has been awe. The best things about the Next update feed that gimmick. While features like multiplayer and base-building certainly put more proverbial asses in seats, they're also the least memorable additions to an otherwise thoughtful experience.

Categories: Games

Indie Action Game Lost Soul Aside Gets A Flashy New Trailer

Game Informer News Feed - Fri, 08/03/2018 - 19:05

Lost Soul Aside is an action game we've been keeping our eye on. The game made a big splash on the PSX show floor last year, where the character action title attracted huge lines as part of Sony's China Hero Project initiative to bring promising games from China to the world stage. The one-man developer Yang Bing caught Sony's attention, which supplied resources in exchange for timed exclusivity.

At the recent ChinaJoy, a digital entertainment expo in and about China, Sony showed off some footage from China Hero Project games. This included a new trailer for Lost Soul Aside, which has clearly improved with the extra development resources since PSX.

The newest trailer features a lot more than was available at the PSX demo. While the original target date was 2018, the current trailer describes it as a "work in progress," so it's unlikely to make it this year.

Categories: Games

Dead Cells Celebrates Its Launch With An Animated Trailer

Game Informer News Feed - Fri, 08/03/2018 - 15:00

Dead Cells, the action-platformer rogue-like, is coming out soon. To celebrate, developers Motion Twin have released an animated trailer both poking fun at the absurdity of revolving door deaths and showing you the dangers you'll be up against.

Check out the short animated trailer before and start deciding which weapon you're going to want to try out first.

We also mentioned Dead Cells as one of the notable Metroidvanias releasing this month.

Dead Cells has been in early access on Steam since 2017. It releases on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Switch on August 7, which is also the date when it leaves early access on PC.

Categories: Games

Meet Dragon Quest XI's Cast With A New English Trailer And Yuji Horii's Character Descriptions

Game Informer News Feed - Fri, 08/03/2018 - 14:00

Dragon Quest XI promises to be one of the biggest games in the long-running series and that level of vast content will need an extensive and interesting party to keep interesting.  Today's trailer for the game hopes to show off that Dragon Quest XI has exactly that.

The trailer introduces you to the full roster of party members joining the Luminary on his journey. Square Enix has also released thoughts from series producer Yuji Horii on each of the new characters in the game.

The  Luminary  –  The  Destined  Hero

Yuji  Horii’s  inspiration  for  the  Luminary – Since  this  is  the  eleventh  mainline  title  in  the  series  and  we  were  planning  to  go  back  to  the  roots,  I  wanted  the  main  character  to  be  a  classic  kind  of  "hero"  (or  what  we  call  "Luminary"  in  this  game). I  also  wanted  to  create  a  sense  of  unpredictability. So,  here,  the  main  character  is  informed  that  he  is  the  "Luminary"  and  heads  to  the  castle,  only  to  be  caught  and  thrown  in  the  dungeon. The  main  character  is  the  "Luminary",  but  who  exactly  is  he? His  story  progresses  with  that  question  in  mind.

Your  favorite  part  of  his  design? – I  like  the  Luminary's  silky  locks. I  think  he's  a  rather  surprising  protagonist,  and,  in  a  sense,  he  could  even  be  the  most  attractive  main  character  from  the  series  with  his  silky  locks  and  youthful  looks.

On  the  Luminary’s  personality - Dragon Quest  protagonists  typically  don't  have  a  strong  personality. Reason  being,  is  that  it  is  determined  that  the  main  character  should  first  and  foremost  be  the  player. To  make  sure  the  player  can  identify  with  the  hero,  we  intentionally  make  him  quite  normal,  or  quite  orthodox,  so  he  doesn't  act  in  a  way  that  the  player  definitely  wouldn’t. We  strive  to  create  the  protagonist  so  that  it  will  be  easier  for  players  to  feel  that  they  are  the  main  character. In  that  respect,  ultimately,  I  want  people  to  have  their  own  vision  and  depiction  of  the  protagonist  and  project  themselves  onto  the  character.    

Erik  –  The  Reliable  Partner-In-Crime

Yuji  Horii’s  inspiration  for  Erik – The  first  member  the  hero  meets  is  Erik. He's  a  thief  who  happened  to  also  be  in  the  castle  dungeons. He  has  been  traveling  to  atone  for  his  sins,  and  during  his  travels,  he  runs  into  a  prophet  who  informs  him,  "you  will  eventually  meet  the  Luminary,  and  when  that  time  comes,  save  the  Luminary  and  you  will  be  free  of  your  sins." He  didn't  actually  believe  the  prophecy  at  that  time,  but  when  the  hero  is  thrown  into  the  dungeon  next  to  him,  he  is  surprised  by  the  revelation  that  the  young  man  is  in  fact  the  "Luminary." He  decides  to  go  along  with  the  hero  to  see  if  there  is  any  truth  to  the  tale.  Erik  is  the  brotherly  type  when  it  comes  to  his  relationship  with  the  hero,  and  supports  the  "Luminary"  at  all  times. He  is  a  slightly  nihilistic  and  cool  thief  character.

Your  favorite  part  of  his  design? – Erik  is  a  pretty  handsome  looking  rogue,  a  bit  nihilistic  and  cynical  at  times. This  was  reflected  in  his  design  and  can  be  attributed  as  one  of  its  charms.  

On  Erik’s  personality – As  mentioned  earlier,  in  terms  of  the  setting,  Erik  is  traveling  to  atone  for  his  sins  and  meets  a  prophet  who  informs  him  "you  will  lend  a  hand  to  the  Luminary,  and  you  will  be  free  of  your  sins".  At  first,  he  thought  this  to  be  preposterous  and  didn't  believe  the  prophecy,  and  this  reaction  describes  his  personality  to  a  certain  degree. But,  when  the  "Luminary"  actually  appears  before  Erik  while  he  was  placed  in  the  dungeons,  he  comes  to  believe  the  prophecy  and  saves  the  hero,  so  there's  an  honest  and  compassionate  side  to  him  as  well.  

Veronica  &  Serena  –  The  Fearless  Young  Mage  and  The  Laid  Back  Healer

 

Yuji  Horii’s  inspiration  for  Veronica  and  Serena – I  came  up  with  Veronica  and  Serena  as  a  set. I  wanted  to  include  a  strong  female  duo  in  the  game,  like  Maya  and  Meena  from  Dragon Quest  IV.  That’s  not  to  say  that  Veronica  and  Serena  have  similar  personalities  to  Maya  and  Meena,  but  that  is  where  the  initial  idea  for  them  came  from. I  can’t  say  too  much  more  without  revealing  spoilers,  so  let  me  simply  say  we  added  an  element  of  surprise  when  it  comes  to  these  two.

Your  favorite  part  of  their  design? – I  was  quite  particular  about  having  Serena  carry  a  harp.  She  also  has  a  therapeutic  quality  to  her,  but  she's  prone  to  make  silly  mistakes,  and  the  design  portrays  her  gentle  and  serene  spirit. Veronica  is  physically  small,  but  even  so,  she  has  a  big  personality. I  really  like  her  design. Her  staff  is  bigger  than  her  body,  but  she's  still  an  outstanding  mage.

On  their  personalities – Veronica  looks  like  a  child,  but  she's  actually  a  mature  young  lady. She's  a  bit  of  a  tomboy  with  a  strong  mind,  and  she  doesn't  shy  away  or  hold  back  from  stating  her  own  opinions. In  comparison,  Serena  is  the  one  that  always  hides  in  the  shadows. In  fact,  Veronica  is  always  saying,  "she's  such  a  slowpoke," But,  this  is  a  nice  distinctive  quality  between  the  two  characters  and  their  relationship.    
Rab  –  The  Mysterious  Old  Man

Yuji  Horii’s  inspiration  for  Rab –  In  Dragon Quest,  you'll  always  find  at  least  one  older  man. For  example,  Ragnar,  Carver,  and  Trode  from  some  of  the  past  games  are  a  few  middle-aged  male  characters  with  some  comedic  undertones. That's  where  Rab  comes  into  play. However,  he  has  a  little  bit  more  mystery  about  him.  

Your  favorite  part  of  his  design – He's  an  old  man,  but  rather  than  depict  him  as  a  gentle  type,  I  asked  for  a  design  that  adds  a  touch  of  the  mischievous  old  grandpa  vibe. He  has  a  side  that  feigns  ignorance,  which  makes  him  feel  a  bit  more  approachable.

On  Rab’s  personality  Rab  appears  with  Jade. He's  a  strange  character  that  brings  to  question  "who  exactly  is  he?" That  said,  despite  his  appearance,  he's  actually  quite  strong. He  has  a  stern  side,  but  also  has  the  playful  side;  he  is  enshrouded  in  mystery.    

Jade  –  The  Noble  Martial  Artist

Yuji  Horii’s  inspiration  for  Jade – When  deciding  on  what  type  of  character  Jade  should  be,  and  in  deciding  the  party  members  that  would  accompany  the  hero,  I  wanted  to  incorporate  a  female  martial  artist. Dragon Quest  XI  is  the  culmination  of  the  series’ 30-year  history,  so  we  wanted  to  include  some  nods  to  past  titles. Up  until  now,  if  you  asked  people  to  name  a  female  martial  artist  from  the  Dragon Quest  series,  Alena  would  be  the  first  name  to  come  to  mind. This  time,  we  have  Jade,  who  supports  the  main  character. She's  essentially  a  big  sister  type  of  character  that  treats  the  Luminary  as  if  he  were  her  younger  brother.  

Your  favorite  part  of  her  design? – She's  fearless  and  brave. For  me,  having  her  hair  gathered  in  a  high  ponytail  reflects  her  strong  will  and  determination.

On  Jade’s  personality – She's  fearless  and  brave,  as  well  as  chivalrous  and  dignified. She's  like  an  older  sister,  striving  to  protect  and  support  the  main  character,  but  she  also  has  a  vulnerable  side.  

Sylvando  –  The  Entertainer  Extraordinaire

Yuji  Horii’s  inspiration  for  Sylvando – Sylvando  is  a  traveling  performer. He  has  a  playful  side  to  him,  but  has  his  own  sense  of  chivalry  and  his  own  set  of  firm  beliefs. He  believes  his  form  of  chivalry  is  to  bring  joy  to  others.

Your  favorite  part  of  his  design  Sylvando  is  physically  fit. That's  an  aspect  that  we  were  particular  about. He  went  through  some  rigorous  training  when  he  was  younger,  so  his  body  is  quite  built. He's  fit  and  also  excels  in  various  stunts  and  acrobatics. He  is  muscular,  but  with  a  beautiful  form. He  was  more  slender  in  the  original  designs,  but  we  asked  him  to  be  redrawn  because  it  made  more  sense  for  him  to  have  a  tapered  body. His  frame  is  slender,  but  he  has  well-defined  muscular  tones  and  a  beautiful  line.

On  Sylvando’s  personality – Again,  he  believes  that  bringing  joy  to  others  is  his  form  of  chivalry,  and  he  works  vigorously  towards  that  belief.

Dragon Quest XI releases on PlayStation 4 and Steam on September 4.

Categories: Games

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