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, 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.


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

Terry Bogard Joins SNK Heroines In New Trailer

Game Informer News Feed - Thu, 08/02/2018 - 18:35

SNK Heroines Tag Team Frenzy, the upcoming tag fighter from SNK and NISAmerica, has an extensive history of women from SNK fighting games to make up its roster. But what's an SNK fighting game without Terry Bogard? Apparently nothing, as the Fatal Fury hat has turned Fatal Cutie and Terry has joined the fight.

It seems like SNK isn't being clear on how exactly Terry ended up like this, and I sure don't want to speculate, but it does appear to be the Terry Bogard, "Are you okay?" and "Buster Wolf!" and all.

Terry was sussed out through a leaked trophy list from the game a few weeks ago, being one of the final two characters left to be revealed. The other character was Mui Mui from Dragon Gal, SNK's pachinko slot series who has also appeared in a few King of Fighters games.

SNK Heroines Tag Team Frenzy releases on PlayStation 4 and Switch on September 7.

Categories: Games

Breaking Down The Biggest Changes Coming To NBA 2K19’s Franchise Modes

Game Informer News Feed - Thu, 08/02/2018 - 17:00

Erick Boenisch has an ax to grind. He sees the constant deluge of negative feedback about NBA 2K and its perceived overreliance on microtransactions in game design. As the resident producer of the multiple franchise modes present in each edition of NBA 2K, this persistent narrative doesn’t sit well with him. 

“Every year when the game comes out, I read these reviews and whatnot, and it always makes me really frustrated when I read a review and it says, ‘2K only cares about microtransactions. All they do is focus all their attention on modes that make money,’” Boenisch says. “And I'm sitting here saying, ‘Man, I've got a 14-page blog SINGLE SPACED that 2K develops with!’ They give me people. They aren't cheap. I'm not cheap! It takes a lot of people to develop these modes… we don't make money on this. But it enhances the NBA 2K experience so much. I look at other games and they just don't do it, so I feel like we don't get a fair shake. We add all these modes like MyGM – two MyGMs now – and MyLeague to really enhance the value of the product and I wish more people would notice that.”

Some backlash over the microtransaction-heavy MyCareer mode may be justified, but Boenisch also has a point. In an era where the majority of sports games are focused on card collection and online modes largely to the neglect of the core franchise experience, NBA 2K is the series that keeps on giving. In the past few years alone, the studio has integrated team expansion/relocation, doubled down on online franchise when games like MLB: The Show and NHL ditched theirs, and trailblazed with the first narrative-driven franchise mode. And unlike MyCareer, none of this content uses microtransactions as the underpinning of the experience. 

NBA 2K19 continues that forward trajectory with a large suite of changes. Here are the most notable franchise mode features coming to this year’s game.

MyGM Narrative Returns

Last year’s MyGM: The Next Chapter story was goofy, and the forced trade pissed off a lot of users, but it also was unlike anything else ever offered by a franchise mode. Operating as the general manager of whatever team you chose, you had to navigate treacherous behind-the-scenes situations to keep the team competitive, position the franchise for a draft promising generational talent, fight off the unsound ideas of a meddlesome owner’s son, and deal with the prospect of relocation. It wasn’t perfect, but I loved the concept and wanted to see them give it another go. 

NBA 2K19’s MyGM: The Saga continues picks up shortly after the events of last year’s story. “Last year you had a choice between paths – you could choose to side with Bob Sanderson and the team relocates to Seattle, or you could spurn Bob and go back to your original owner and your team stays in whatever city you had chosen,” Boensich says. “This year, you're back working for the team you were working for originally last year, and you're in this place where the NBA is adding an expansion team. The new owner coming in, Tex Towers, he wants you to be his basketball operations director, not just a GM.”

From here, you build the franchise from scratch, which involves choosing the city, designing the jerseys/arena, hiring staff, drafting NBA players through the expansion draft, and picking your first prospects in the NBA draft. Along the way, you will interact with many people from last year’s story, including everyone’s favorite punching bag, Andrew Sanderson.

“Everyone hates him – there was nothing to like about him – but he's back this year,” Boensich says. “He's matured a lot and seen a lot of the errors of his ways, but at the end of the day he's still Andrew Sanderson.”

Before you start putting your stamp on the new story, you must answer a series of six questions that let you input what choices you made in the last game. From here, the story is frontloaded – most of your decisions must be made before the start of the 2018-19 season. 

“It's a different feel this year,” Boenisch says. “I don't think it's truncated in any way. It's a lot more front-loaded. You're going to experience a lot more sequential scenes end-on-end. You're going to be reading for 10 minutes straight a couple times while the main storylines go through. There is gameplay as well, but when you're building a team and you don't even have players yet, you're kind of limited in what you can do.”

Good news for those who would rather skip the story altogether: You can. Instead of playing through The Saga Continues, you can fire up a traditional MyGM experience if you desire.

Player Mentorships

This is one of the new additions I’m most excited about. When you bring young players into your organization this year, you can assign them a player mentor to help customize how they develop via the badge system. For instance, LeBron James could take Brandon Ingram under his wing this year for the Lakers. As the GM, you can pick three of LeBron’s badges you want to impart to his mentee. 

“Generally speaking you can only go up a level in badges for each year, so if you're nothing you can go to bronze, and if you're bronze you can go to silver,” Boenisch says. “If you're silver, it may take a bit longer to go to gold.”

This new feature already has me thinking differently about those last three roster spots on my team. I’ll probably be signing savvy veterans to these bench roles just to have them around to help improve my most promising rookies. Boenisch also says players who serve mentor roles are more likely to transition into coaching when they retire as well.

MyLeague Online Gets Live Draft/Free Agency Events

Last year’s fantasy sports-inspired “keeper” format for offseason moves in MyLeague didn’t sit well with many, so Visual Concepts has ditched the concept altogether in favor of live events for each major beat of the NBA offseason. 

The shorthand way to think of this approach is if you could do it offline, you can do it online this year outside of one concept – player training. This expanded approach to online leagues includes team relocation, league expansion, financials/contracts, a real-time free agency period, real-time staff signing, real-time NBA draft, and even real-time league meetings to vote on new rule proposals.

Admins can control the pacing of each of these events by adjusting the timer for each sequence. Users can keep track of all their notifications and deadlines with a handy new League Members panel. 

All of the league transactions during these periods are archived, so you can go back and look at past drafts or free agency periods to see how aggressive rival GMs may have been and use this information in your planning.

The Deepest Tuning Slider Set Ever Seen In Sports Games

Boenisch says it’s hard to please everyone when it comes to CPU logic for team building. While some might feel the trade mechanic is too forgiving, others feel it’s too stubborn. Given the impossibility of making everyone happy, Visual Concepts decided to give everyone the keys to the logic system with a new suite of tuning sliders. 

“The reason we did it is obvious,” Boenisch says. “Our fans are super rapid about the NBA and they all want it to work a different way. There's no question on why it was done.”

This in-depth toolset lets you tweak everything from how teams value players or draft picks to player contract demands and player progression. If you don’t have time to adjust these settings but want a different type of experience, you’re in luck. Hardcore tweakers can upload their settings for sharing, and Visual Concepts has also created easy, medium, and hard settings for MyGM mode using these tuners. 

You can dig even further into the options available here in the NBA 2K19 franchise mode blog.

Historical Draft Classes

The Import Draft Class feature has some interesting new additions this year thanks to historical draft classes. For NBA 2K19, Visual Concepts has recreated every draft class from 1976-2017, plus some of the most notable classes from the ‘60s and early ‘70s. 

“We have rights to a pretty vast majority of players,” Boenisch says. “As you come toward the present, we have rights to more players. But there are some years we omitted where we didn't have the rights to the good players, or there just weren't any good players in it to justify the effort.”

You can import these classes at the start of any NBA season. Boenisch says he’s had fun using these to inject his league with standouts like Oscar Robinson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, George Gervin, Michael Jordan, and other NBA legends. 

Improved Player Creation

Last year, Visual Concepts got nailed for its weak player creation tools in NBA 2K18. They are fixing that this year with a new toolset that includes facial sculpting, 50 facial hair options, and fully customizable hairstyles that let you adjust the length, shave patterns, and fades. 

This should give creators far greater control to make their own custom draft classes, create missing players from historical draft classes, and bring longtime absentees like Charles Barkley and Reggie Miller into the fold for all-time teams. 

A new player DNA feature also lets you import player likenesses or attributes, which could be handy if you want to make a LeBron James Jr. for a future draft class. These templates can be shared with other people as well. 

The List Goes On And On

The features highlighted above are just the tip of the iceberg for new franchise mode toys. The full list includes a lot more interesting concepts including:

  • New NBA Draft presentation that offers more expert analysis on each pick.
  • The new All-Star Game format lets you name the team captains and pick the teams in MyLeague. 
  • The All-Star Weekend now includes a Rising Stars young talent showcase game that pits Team USA against Team World.
  • The new Summer League format adopted by the NBA this year. 
  • An Injury History menu displays the injury history for every player in the league. This will be useful for spotting injury prone risks in free agency and trades.
  • Traded player exceptions are in the game this year, so when you move more salary than you get in return in a trade, you can spend that difference at any point in the next 12 months.
  • A Draft Pick Tracking menu lets you see all your picks for the next five years in one place, outlining how the picks were acquired and listing any exceptions they may have.
  • New rule change proposals including a Draft Lottery tournament that makes each team that didn’t make the playoffs compete for the rights to the #1 overall pick and another that eliminates conference delineation from the playoff equation and simply seeds teams with the best records from 1 to 16.
  • Updated Draft Lottery odds to align with the NBA’s new approach starting in 2019 that gives the three teams with the worst records the same odds to draw the number one pick.
  • User controllable season awards that allow you to decide which players earned these accolades.

To read more about these features, head to the NBA 2K19 franchise mode blog.

Categories: Games

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Game Informer News Feed - Thu, 08/02/2018 - 16:34

The Life is Strange series is known for its deep and emotional stories. Bubbling underneath these personal tales is a hint of superheroes. New teaser footage for Life is Strange 2 hints at the idea of powers playing a large role.

The trailer doesn't last long, and is a bit confusing at first, but shows what appears to be a murder delivered in spectacular fashion. We see officer Matthews call in a 10-10, which is police code for a fight in progress. What happens next is...well...I won't spoil that for you. Watch the video. It's well worth your time.

Life is Strange 2 will unfold across a five-episode series. The first chapter launches on September 27 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. If you don't want to wait that long, you should play the offshoot story, The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit. Not only is it free, it's damn good.


Categories: Games

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Game Informer News Feed - Thu, 08/02/2018 - 15:00

I recently had the chance to play four hours of Spider-Man. This extensive play session gave me a better understanding of how this superhero experience is stitched together, as well as how it balances the duality of Peter Parker and his masked alter ego. I have dozens of details to share regarding the open world, combat, and missions, but my time with the game can be distilled into one short message: Be excited. Be very excited.

Earlier this year, I spent roughly a half hour getting to know Insomniac Games' version of Spider-Man for Game Informer's May cover story. This limited hands-on opportunity delivered on the game's proof-of-concept. I walked away from it with a good understanding of the vision for the open-world design, combat complexity, and storytelling ambitions. However, as much as I enjoyed webslinging through New York City's bustling streets, I wondered if that experience would have staying power. I also questioned how much variety would be included in the missions and city activities. Insomniac's boast of this experience being as much about Peter Parker as it is Spider-Man also needed to be seen to be believed. Read more...

Categories: Games

Madden NFL 19 Review In Progress

Gamespot News Feed - Thu, 08/02/2018 - 06:01

The Madden series aims to be a true-to-life representation of the popular American sport, and Madden 19 is a refined step forward with advancements across the board. There are some issues hanging over from past games, and the Franchise updates are not as big and exciting as you might expect, but Madden 19, with its capable Frostbite engine and its compelling Longshot story mode, remains the best, most complete Madden game to date.

On the field, Madden's gameplay has never looked or handled better, and this is due in part to a new system EA calls Real Player Motion. One of the biggest pieces of this is the new "one-cut" feature for ball-carriers that allows them to change direction quickly and with a burst of speed to get around a defender. An appropriately timed cut, coupled with an acceleration boost, lets you make tight, fast, and precise turns that help you get through the line or to the edge when making runs. You can also perform hesitation moves that can make a big difference in those crucial moments when you see an opening or a gap, and it's thrilling to successfully execute a run, even if it's only for marginal yardage. Establishing the run game can be critical, and it's nice to see Madden 19 make running responsive, fun, and representative of what you see in real NFL games.

To balance out the new tactics for ball-carriers, Madden 19 adds a new strafe burst mechanic for defense. If timed appropriately, this can help you get into position faster than normal and improve your chances of stopping a big run. EA has always strived to give players more control and better responsiveness on the field, and the advancements this year are nice, even if they are only granular in nature. And in a further step towards emulating actual NFL games, Madden 19 lets you choose a custom celebration after a touchdown or a big defensive play with individual and team-based celebrations. Whether you're performing a simple spike on your own or doing the spoon-to-mouth dance with your team, it gives Madden a more authentic feel.

This is the second year of Madden using EA's Frostbite engine, and it has indeed made strides to make the game look better. Character models are now more lifelike, while small things like player sweat (yes, really), the way bodies crunch and recoil after big hits, sunspots pouring onto the field at dusk, and weather elements like rain and snow get even closer to replicating an actual NFL broadcast. While the graphics looks better, the physics can still be really weird at times. I saw things like arms bending in ways they absolutely should not, mid-air collisions causing the ball to launch through the air at an angle and speed that makes no physical sense, and balls that disappear into the ground for no reason. Crowd animations can also be odd at times. The Madden franchise has always been replete with bugs and weirdness, and I tend to agree that this is part of the charm; none of the issues I encountered were enough to completely break the immersion. Also new in the presentation department are the menus, which now look sleeker and are less cluttered.

Madden 19's commentating is a big bright spot. The play-by-play/color duo of Brandon Gaudin and Charles Davis return, and they have an excellent rapport. Their banter succeeds thanks to their football acumen, as well as their willingness and ability to emulate real NFL broadcast booths and shoot the breeze on topics like stadium food and Seinfeld references. While Gaudin and Davis turn in excellent performances, the Texas high school commentators from Longshot mode really steal the show with their over-the-top, homer play-by-play calls that left me laughing and wanting more. Another commentating update this year is former ESPN anchor Jonathan Coachman as the pre-game/halftime host; he replaces Larry Ridley. Coachman is enthusiastic and fun to listen to, but most Madden players are likely to skip these segments. Madden 19's commentary will be updated on a regular basis with new dialogue lines that reflect what happens in the real NFL once the season kicks off later this month, though it remains to be seen if the commentators will tackle controversial subjects.

One of the deepest modes in Madden 19 is Franchise. Last year's game was frustratingly light on advancements and improvements, but the new Madden thankfully adds more to the mix to give you a different kind of control over shaping your franchise--and the individual players on your team. One of the more notable new features is what's called the Archetype Progression system which adds different styles to positions and lets you continue to build and expand your players over the course of one or multiple seasons. The XP you earn in games gives you skill points that you can then spend to upgrade one of the archetypes for your player instead of assigning them to specific attributes. This can feel frustrating as it effectively limits the amount of fine control you have to shape your players as specifically as you were able to previously. This might have been done to help balance teams in online play, but whatever the case, it's a bit of a bummer to have that kind of precise control taken away.

Madden 19's new custom draft class creator for Franchise is another welcome addition. At launch, you'll be able to download draft classes made by the community, so you can expect some dedicated player to create the latest real-world NFL mock drafts in real time.

Another way to play Madden is through the card-based Madden Ultimate Team mode, which remains Madden's deepest pursuit--and it's stocked with things to do this year. In addition to the standard challenges, of which there are more than 100, there are Solo Battles where you can go up against other fan-created MUT squads in weekly tournaments, while there will also be a playlist for MUT squads made by EA Sports developers, NFL players, and celebrities. It's a thrill to take on a different squad each playthrough in Solo Battles, and I can see myself returning again and again to this mode to see how my team stacks up. Already a deep and robust mode, MUT adds the brand-new MUT Squads Challenges, where you and two others take on the CPU in a series of challenges. I am currently testing this mode on pre-release servers, and I'll have more to say about this when the public servers go live. MUT still pushes you towards microtransactions, and that may be a concern for some. But it remains as exciting and satisfying as ever to put together a fantasy team where Tom Brady can throw a touchdown pass to Jerry Rice.

Returning from Madden 18 is the Longshot mode, which was arguably the biggest, most impressive, and fleshed out new feature that the franchise had ever seen. It wasn't perfect, and neither is this year's version, Longshot: Homecoming. The story picks up with Devin Wade having a tough time in the Dallas Cowboys training camp, with Colt Cruise struggling through life in Mathis and getting blindsided by a major life event that puts his entire life and career into question. The voice acting and performances of all the major characters, Wade in particular, are solid. EA also recruited celebrities like frequent Adam Sandler collaborator Rob Schneider, Ron Cephas Jones (This Is Us), Jimmy Tatro (American Vandal), and Joey King (The Kissing Booth) for the mode, and they turn in memorable performances.

Homecoming's story is one of pain and struggle, loss and redemption, and how football really doesn't matter when compared to issues at home and in life. Homecoming, like Longshot before it, has bold ambitions in terms of the story it tells and the feelings it wants to evoke, but it doesn't always work. At one point early in the story, Cruise remarks to a character about "some of the most cliched stuff I've ever seen," and this could also apply to Homecoming's story. At times, it can be uneven and inconsistent in its tone, coming across as very hokey and ham-handed.

And in what is a surprising move, EA (almost) completely dropped the Telltale-style dialogue options from the first iteration. It was fun to make choices and steer the conversation in the original Longshot, even if the story never really branched, so it's a real shame that EA moved away from this in favour of a more traditionally structured story. That being said, the narrative will pull you through and, at just about four hours in length, you may finish it in one sitting. Unfortunately, I experienced a significant difficulty spike at the end of Devin's story where he goes up against a much better team and has to make all the right plays to get the win. A lack of variety in this sequence and the upswing in difficulty made what should have been a climactic conclusion a boring and frustrating affair. Those issues aside, I had a fun time playing through Devin and Colt's story, which reached a satisfying and heart-warming end.

Madden 19 is an excellent football game that improves on last year's entry in almost every way. There are problems, but there has never been a football game that more authentically represents the NFL than this in terms of presentation, controls, and depth. Madden 19 servers go live on August 10, and GameSpot's final review will be published after we've thoroughly tested their stability.

Categories: Games

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Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 08/01/2018 - 18:30

Valve has announced that Artifact, their trading card game based on Dota 2, will be playable at PAX West in Seattle at the end of this month. Additionally, they've also revealed that the game will release on November 28 for $20 on Steam, with mobile versions coming in 2019.

Valve announced the card game during their International Dota 2 tournament last year, which makes one of the faster turnarounds for Valve-announced games. While we got a chance to check the game out earlier this year, the PAX West showing is the first time the public will get a chance to test it out.

It would not be surprising if we also see a bit more of Artifact at The International 2018 when it takes place later this month, but fans who want to get hands-on will have to try it out at PAX in Seattle on August 31. For everyone else, November 28 is not that far away.

Categories: Games

Lylat Cruise Stage Confirmed For Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 08/01/2018 - 15:37

The big selling point of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is it will include every fighter that has ever appeared in the game, but its stage selection has not yet been promised to be as comprehensive. The official Smash Bros. website has been offering frequent updates for the game and the most recent one confirms the inclusion of the Lylat Cruise stage that originally appeared in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

Nintendo also recently confirmed that Princess Peach's Castle will be making an appearance in Ultimate.


For more on Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, here's just about everything we know so far.

[Source: Super Smash Bros.]

Categories: Games

Remind Yourself Of The Shenmue Story Ahead Of The HD Remaster

Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 08/01/2018 - 01:55

Shenmue I & II is anticipated by a lot of long-time Sega fans, but it has been almost 20 years since the first game released on the Dreamcast. That's a long time to remember a story for people who want to skip straight to Shenmue II or just rant to remind themselves of the game story to get hyped up.

Thankfully, Sega has released a retrospective for Shenmue, with the first episode focusing on the story. As a bonus, the video is narrated by Corey Marshall, the voice actor for Ryo Hazuki.

It's a good recollection of all the dive bars and sailors and fighting weird gremlin people in arcades and getting screwed out of a ticket to China by a shady travel agent firm.

Shenmue I & II releases on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on August 21.

Categories: Games

New Trailer For The Sinking City Gets Under Your Skin

Game Informer News Feed - Tue, 07/31/2018 - 23:45

The Sinking City, the open-world Lovecraftian game, has released a new trailer and it's definitely not for those who get queasy at the idea of small acts of body horror. The trailer, titled A Close Shave, the trailer sells the detective-meets-supernatural premise of the game with some genuinely off-putting images. 

"It starts with the nick of a razor blade, a small pool of blood forming on the surface of the skin," the description reads. "From there, it only gets weirder, my thoughts a whirlpool that drags me down, into a world unlike anything I’ve ever known. It all starts with the nick of a razor…"

Check out the trailer below.


The Sinking City is releasing on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on March 21.

Categories: Games