New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe Review - It's-A-Me, Again!

Gamespot News Feed - Wed, 01/09/2019 - 09:00

Of all the New Super Mario Bros. games, beginning with the 2006 DS title, New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is probably the one least deserving of the "New" moniker. It is, after all, a Switch remaster of the Wii U launch title, and although some new features and the New Super Luigi U expansion are included in this capable repackaging of an already great game, it's getting tougher to justify calling this series New with each passing entry.

There's no doubt the formula works; the 2D Marios continue to boast the best platforming of any game series, with accessible controls and inventive obstacles complementing the best-feeling jump in video games. And as with the Wii U version, NSMBU is inventive from start to finish, with the mid-game Soda Jungle world being one of the best Mario environments ever. However, we've done all this before, haven't we? You start off with a grassy world, then a desert one, then a snowy one, then a water one, repeat ad infinitum.

Once upon a time I found this repetition comforting. But U Deluxe is a victim of its 3D cousins' success: It now exists on the same console as Super Mario Odyssey, which is possibly the finest 3D platformer ever made. By comparison, NSMBU Deluxe feels a little… ordinary. By the numbers. Safe. Where Odyssey confidently transported us to fresh worlds filled with moons and stars and dinosaurs an uncanny valley New York, NSMBU suffers from a lack of originality.

That's not to say it's boring--no, not by any stretch. Within the restraints of a New Super Mario Bros. game, Nintendo does a wonderful job of thinking up new enemies and hurdles for you to overcome, with each level offering a new electrifying critter, weight-limited transport or water-filled safety net. Latter worlds plateau at a satisfying level of difficulty that never becomes frustrating but still gives you a rush when you succeed, while star coins remain available to collect for those who want an extra challenge. Ghost houses can still absolutely get lost, though.

The Switch remaster also adds a new item, the super crown, which transforms Toadette into a version of Peach with special powers. She can double jump, for instance, as well as use her trademark dress to float downwards. Other characters, however, cannot use the super crown, which, as well as denying the internet the Bowsette it so dearly desires, is a strange exclusion. Toadette is denoted as "easy" in the main menu, where Mario, Luigi, and Toad are normal difficulty and Nabbit is "very easy." You can change characters outside of any level throughout the game, but it strikes me as an odd choice--why keep Peach's powers isolated to one difficulty level?

Once you inevitably defeat Bowser--spoilers!--a post-game opens up, offering super-hard levels only unlocked for those who collect every star coin throughout each of the game's eight worlds. From the start you can also access special challenges, such as dodging fireballs for a certain amount of time or triple-jumping to coin glory, as well as the aforementioned New Super Luigi U. The Luigi-led expansion remixes each level from the main game to be shorter but harder, and Luigi himself changes to have a higher jump but slower--and thus trickier--reaction times. NSLU is the most substantial mode outside of the main game, and it's thankfully unlocked from the start for those seeking a challenge.

Despite its aging formula, New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is still a great entry in the series, with its typically tight platforming and both accessibility and depth to spare. While it can feel a bit stale for those who have been round the Mushroom Kingdom one too many times before, Deluxe is well worth playing, especially if you didn't get a chance to play NSMBU on Wii U.

Categories: Games

Yoshi's Crafted World Arriving End Of March, Kirby's Epic Yarn Hitting 3DS Early March

Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 01/09/2019 - 01:25
Publisher: Nintendo Developer: Good Feel Release: March 8, 2019 Rating: Everyone Platform: 3DS

In an odd bit of late-day press releasing, Nintendo has given dates to Yoshi's Crafted World and the equally-crafted Kirby's Extra Epic Yarn.

The Switch Yoshi game, which was revealed at E3 2017, has had scattered showings since its initial announcement. It re-emerged after a recent Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Direct as Yoshi's Crafted World with Nintendo adjusting the release date to 2019. They have now confirmed that the game will be launching on Switch on March 28. You can check out the newest trailer for the game below.

Click here to watch embedded video

Kirby's Extra Epic Yarn is an enhanced port of the Wii game Kirby's Epic Yarn, a yarn-based co-op platformer released originally in 2010. The 3DS game was announced last year and adds Metaknight and King DeDeDe to the campaign. The title is releasing on March 8.

This makes Yoshi's Crafted World the first Nintendo-published Switch game to have a date after January, leaving February oddly open. The felt-textured Yoshi is also an alternate costume for the character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

Categories: Games

Moscow Mule

Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 01/09/2019 - 00:40
Publisher: Deep Silver Developer: 4A Games Release: February 22, 2019 Rating: Rating Pending Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Metro Exodus is only a few weeks away, so players don't have to wait too long to venture out to the surface and feel the harsh winter on their cheeks, at least in-game. A new story trailer for the game shows you the odds you'll be up against, which aren't just environmental and monstrous, but fascistic, as well. 

Check out the Metro Exodus story trailer below.

Click here to watch embedded video

This isn't to say there aren't monsters to fight as well, as the trailer has no problem showing you some of the creeping and crawling grotesqueries ready to jump out from the darkness right in your face.  The year-long journey from Moscow is going to put the crew of the Aurora to the test.

Metro Exodus releases on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on February 15.

Categories: Games

Why Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Doesn't Have Online Multiplayer

Game Informer News Feed - Tue, 01/08/2019 - 17:09

After the initial reveal of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, we quickly learned it would lack online multiplayer – a first for the developer’s major titles since Demon’s Souls. As part of our visit to the studio for our cover story, we asked them to elaborate on why that was the case.

Past From games have had an idiosyncratic take on online multiplayer. Players could leave each other notes throughout the world, warning each other of dangerous surprises or goading them into hazards. One player could summon another to help them with a difficult section, but risk being invaded and attacked by another.

From Software isn’t necessarily abandoning that part of its legacy, but it is taking a bit of a detour for now. “Of course, we at From, we love those online elements,” says Yasuhiro Kitao, manager of marketing and communications at From. “We love to create our own characters just as much as everyone else. We hope players are looking forward to something in the future where we might go back to that, but for now, Sekiro is very much its own thing.”

Not having an online component has its upsides, however. For one, players who’ve longed for an honest-to-goodness pause button (who first got a taste with the Switch version of Dark Souls) finally have that option. It also means players don’t have to worry about being invaded during tense encounters. And without co-op, bosses can be designed with a single player in mind. 

Finally, it frees From up to let loose their creativity when creating Sekiro’s map. “When creating these playspaces, we don’t have to take into consideration how players will operate with one another in these maps, or how they may exploit the playspace by cooperating or something like this,” Kitao says. “So it allows us, again, to hone in on the player experience, and really capitalize on that lack of restriction that comes with creating a multiplayer-based game, and let our imagination run wild in these places.”

For more on Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, check out our breakdown on how its progression works, or head over to our hub to see all of our coverage throughout the month.

Categories: Games

How Character Progression Works In Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Game Informer News Feed - Tue, 01/08/2019 - 17:02

Click here to watch embedded video

One of the ways Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice marks a departure for From Software is in how your character becomes stronger. In other From games, you tailor your character by pouring points into different stats like strength, dexterity, and intelligence, depending on whether you want to fight as a brute, archer, or wizard, respectively. Shadows Die Twice won’t have that breadth of customization, as your character, The Wolf, is a shinobi through and through. That doesn’t mean you can’t tailor him to fit your playstyle, though.

A major departure hardcore From fans may scoff at is the lack of corpse runs. Though you gain experience from defeating foes in Shadows Die Twice, that experience is now divorced from currency; gold now drops from enemies as well, and you won’t lose either when you die. If you’re afraid that change might upset the balance of tension and accomplishment that have come define From games, there’s hope: Director Hidetaka Miyazaki says death will have a detrimental effect, but wasn’t willing to tell us what that might be.

Instead, progression in Shadows Die Twice is slow but steady, as the experience points you gain from killing enemies fill a bar that eventually provides you with a skill point that, you guessed it, you can spend in a skill tree. But it wouldn’t be a From game if there wasn’t a catch: Before you can invest in a skill tree, you have to unlock it by finding a particular item as you explore the world.

Once you’ve unlocked a skill tree, you can invest skill points at Sculptor’s Idols (Shadows Die Twice’s take on bonfires). From showed us a few skill trees for The Wolf; one based on shinobi arts, one around samurai arts, and another based on building up the prosthetic arm. Along with passive buffs and improvements to your basic moveset, you can also unlock special moves called combat arts, activated by pressing both front shoulder buttons and which must be equipped separately. These moves are meant to be periodic rewards that let you invest in a particular playstyle “just to give you something to make you feel like you’re roleplaying in a certain way,” says Yasuhiro Kitao, manager of marketing and communications at From Software.

Each of these trees is catered to a different playstyle. The samurai skill tree, for example, resembles the common warrior archetype, which relies on overt, grounded aggression. The shinobi tree is more evasive and lets you control crowds, with skills like a spinning slice attack that deals damage in an area and the ability to step over enemy spears. Finally, the prosthetic tree offers multiple more ways to approach different encounters, with the option to upgrade your shuriken throw with a follow-up attack that closes the distance between you and your opponent, or to let you throw multiple shuriken.

What we saw of these trees was fairly simple, though they weren’t final. We saw about three or four pathways to take our skill tree, with the final tier of skills requiring four skill points. How long these skill points will take to earn is still up in the air, however. The goal is to allow you to be “more creative and find your preferred ninja style, so you’ll have to specialize and think [about] which path you want to take,” Kitao says.

While the skill tree lets you build out The Wolf in various ways, upgrading his other stats will require more attentive eyes. As you venture through Shadows Die Twice, slay enemies and bosses, and find hidden rooms, be on the lookout for prayer beads, four of which will increase your overall health and posture (The Legend of Zelda’s heart pieces come to mind). You might also find tools to upgrade your prosthetic arm with new abilities, such as a shuriken launcher, an axe, or a flame vent, granting you access to new abilities to take with you on the battlefield. There might even be ways to build on the resurrection mechanic, From tells us.

All of these options make for one well-equipped character instead of several kinds of specialized warriors. From says this style of progression, which streamlines options at the cost of variety compared to Dark Souls and even Bloodborne, lets them focus on offering more overall depth to individual encounters, as From can more easily tailor encounters around your character’s skillset. “This is actually using Miyazaki-san’s own words – You could think of the previous Souls games as more expanding laterally, and adding breadth to these various options and builds,” Kitao says. “While you are a fixed shinobi protagonist, you do feel like there’s a sense of progression, there’s a sense of building your own character and finding your own playstyle, and experimenting with this throughout the game.”

For more on Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, make sure to check Game Informer throughout the month, as we’ll have stories outlining various aspects of the game, like why it doesn't have online multiplayer, all this month. Click on the banner below to see all of our coverage.

Categories: Games

Bury Me, My Love Review: Trials And Text Message Tribulations

Gamespot News Feed - Tue, 01/08/2019 - 12:46

Take a group of people and you'll find numerous differences between each and every one of them. The one undeniable truth is that they're all human, and yet this fact can be all-too-easily forgotten when that same group of people are refugees. Certain politicians, media outlets, and xenophobic hate groups like to wash that individuality away, painting refugees and migrants in monolithic terms as something to fear. It's a harmful and blatant lie, but this emphasis on fear has proven successful throughout history in shaping people's opinions. Bury Me, My Love, a text-based adventure game from French developer The Pixel Hunt, presents a much more honest and truthful look at the human beings involved in the migrant crisis, taking inspiration from actual refugee stories to tell an eye-opening tale that's equal parts heartbreaking, terrifying, and inspiring.

The entirety of Bury Me, My Love plays out on a WhatsApp-style messaging app, with your character, Majd, texting back and forth with his wife, Nour, as she makes the perilous journey from war-torn Syria to the relative safety of Europe. There's an immediate sense of familiarity in those texts that's emboldened by Bury Me, My Love's excellent writing. Both characters are wonderfully realised, and the banter between the two feels authentic from the get-go. They'll poke fun at each other, develop in-jokes over the course of the game, argue, lift each other up, and trade selfies. Harrowing moments of prejudice, traumatic nautical journeys, and tense border problems are often broken up by satisfying levity, as Nour excitedly discovers a KFC or teases Majd over his not-so-subtle habit of sneaking historical lessons into their conversations. You might only be witnessing Majd and Nour talk to each other a few words at a time, but their interactions are comfortable and believable, leaving you with no doubt as to the intimacy of their relationship.

While you mostly watch Majd and Nour's conversations unfold, you'll occasionally chime in by choosing between various dialogue options. Some of these might revolve around simply offering moral support by comforting Nour during a particularly difficult situation or encouraging her to push on. Other times she'll ask for advice on practical issues, like whether she should buy a flimsy lifejacket in a local market in case there aren't any available on the boat, or spend her ever-dwindling funds on a hotel room instead of spending the night in a migrant camp during a thunderstorm. However, just because you've offered her advice doesn't mean she's going to take it. You can try to dissuade her from a decision, but if she's already made up her mind there's not much you can do. Because of this, there's a tangible feeling that you're talking to a real person on the other side of this messaging app, and Majd and Nour are both so affable and charming that the constant, foreboding sense of danger is significantly heightened.

There's an immediate sense of familiarity in [text messages] that's emboldened by Bury Me, My Love's excellent writing

The end of Nour's journey is signified by a voice message that's usually haunting and heart-wrenching. There are 19 endings in total, with your dialogue choices shaping how Nour reaches each conclusion. As a result, there's a fair amount of replayability involved, compelling you to go back and explore how your decisions affected Nour's fate and diverged the story. The problem with this, however, is that there are no checkpoints in Bury Me, My Love. You have to start from the beginning each time you want to try alternative choices, and that means reading through the same lines of dialogue over and over again. Having the option to save at certain junctures would alleviate this problem, so it's disheartening that seeing more of the game is as tedious as it is.

The only other issue with the Switch version of Bury Me, My Love revolves around the Nintendo Switch not being a mobile phone. This might sound ludicrous and overly harsh, but the pseudo-real-time nature of the game on mobile adds a significant amount to the experience. On mobile devices, when Nour's being followed by a group of neo-Nazis, it's anxiety-inducing when she suddenly stops messaging for a few minutes and you're left worrying about what happened to her. On the Switch, the real-time delay isn't featured, so you just get the image of a clock rapidly advancing time before you're back in the conversation. Without push notifications and the physical act of using a messaging app on an actual phone, the Switch version loses some of the tension and immersion afforded to its mobile counterpart. You can still rotate the screen vertically in handheld mode and use touch controls to try and capture an ounce of that authenticity, but the touch controls are disappointingly erratic and rarely work.

Bury Me, My Love might share a similar structure to other mobile text-based adventure games like Lifeline and Mr. Robot:1.5.1exfiltrati0n.apk, but the story it tells and the themes it delves into are relatively unexplored within the medium. It shines a light on a situation people are all too eager to ignore and humanizes the stories of those most commonly relegated to ticker text on news reports, and for that reason alone it's an essential experience. That the story it tells is so engaging and believable, with wonderfully well-rounded characters, only elevates its exploration of the realities of war, and it manages to successfully elicit a genuine human connection. Switch might not be the ideal platform to play Bury Me, My Love on, but whatever your system options are, it's well worth following Nour on this all-too-real journey.

Categories: Games

Still Not Bitten

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

The odd saga of The Walking Dead: The Final Season will soon see the first episode after the closure of Telltale Games released. The series has been in limbo since the narrative games company closed, leaving hundreds of employees in a lurch with no severance, though Skybound Games has put together most of The Walking Dead's team to finish the final two episodes.

You can check out a trailer for Episode 3, titled Broken Toys, below.

Click here to watch embedded video

The final season ends the story of Clementine, who players have been following since the release of the original Walking Dead season in 2012. While the "Still Not Bitten" developer group reassembled for the last two episodes of the final season, it is not known whether they will be working on more The Walking Dead or different games or merely disbanding after completion.

A few weeks ago, it was announced that Epic Games was responsible for getting the developer team back together. As such, new PC purchases of The Walking Dead: The Final Season will be exclusive to the Epic Games Store, while anyone who bought the season pass before will still get the remaining episodes on their PC store of choice. Console versions are unaffected by this.

The Walking Dead: The Final Season's third episode will release on January 15.

Categories: Games

Even Harder Corps

Game Informer News Feed - Thu, 01/03/2019 - 22:50

Indie game studio JoyMasher has been working on their Contra-inspired sidescrolling shooter Blazing Chrome for a little while now and the game manages to impress at every new showing. There's something decidedly refreshing about how deliberately Blazing Chrome wears its inspirations on its sleeves, especially in this new video showing the first section of the fourth level.

Check out the video below.

Click here to watch embedded video

Unfortunately it cuts off right before a mid-boss battle, which I was eager to see, but it's clear to see that skill is important to not dying in the new game. Any damage kills your character, so most new players will probably get hit by everything. It's good to know that you can get good enough to just speed through and it looks pretty fair to do so.

Blazing Chrome is scheduled to release this year on PlayStation 4, Switch, and PC. 

Categories: Games

Below Review: The Long Way Down

Gamespot News Feed - Thu, 01/03/2019 - 01:00

Below, Capy's long-in-development roguelike, has cultivated a sense of mystery across the course of its entire gestation. The question of what Below is, exactly, doesn't go away once you're playing it--the game offers minimal instruction beyond the occasional button prompt, and much of the first few hours is spent figuring out how everything fits together. Your objective is simple enough and spelled out in the game's title--you're on an island, and you need to go as deep below the surface as you can. How you do that slowly becomes clear, although reaching any suggestion as to why you make this voyage takes far longer.

Below opens with a long, slow cutscene of a boat arriving on an island, with no context or explanation. It's a suitable introduction to a game that you'll want to take at a considered pace; from the beginning, there's no instruction, although it won't take you long to find the lantern at the island's apex and begin your journey through the first floor. From there it's a matter of exploring each floor of the island's depths, finding keys to unlock doors that will take you further down, and managing your resources and health as you deal with a series of hardships.

Whenever you die in Below, a different boat will arrive at the island's shore and you'll be given a new disposable character to take up the quest with. The distant camera and simple character designs mean there's not much to differentiate each individual you control: they're not named or unique in any way, and the game never makes it explicitly clear how or whether they're connected. You start each life armed with a sword and hunting bow, which can be used to fend off any enemies you encounter, as well as a single refillable bottle of water that's needed to replenish your character's thirst meter. From there it's up to you to gather the resources you'll need to survive--by defeating enemies, finding chests, and exploring any part of the world that's sparkling--as you delve deeper into Below's world.

Early on, Below can feel generous by roguelike standards. You unlock multiple shortcuts as you go, allowing you to jump to a deeper level from the beginning of your next life, so that you don't need to go all the way back through the whole game every time. Before long you unlock the ability to activate campfires as single-use checkpoints, letting you warp straight back to them with your next character. Resting at campfires will take you into a little room where you can store excess items that your next explorer can collect if need be, although storage space is limited, and if you exit out of the game you'll start right back in the room you left when you start the game up again.

It takes a while to encounter an enemy that can do real damage too, meaning that instant-kill traps are a much greater danger for the first few levels, conditioning you to take a slow, cautious approach. Each time you respawn, the layout of every floor will have changed slightly, with room positions shifting and your map (which helpfully shows which direction you can exit each room from) having reset. It's essential that you return to where you last died when you were carrying your lantern, which provides some challenge--you can retrieve resources from any corpses you leave behind, but your lantern is absolutely vital for progress.

For the first seven or so hours, Below hits a good balance between the intrigue of its atmospheric aesthetic and the punishing nature of its mechanics. Unfortunately, the balance shifts in a major way later on, and the game's increasing difficulty is matched by harshened conditions. While early floors are rich in the essentials, letting you exploit swarms of bats for meat and enemies that drop gems that power your lantern, later floors are more miserly. Gathering resources from chests and defeated enemies is important--there's a rudimentary crafting system letting you combine them to create weapons and items, but which resources you have access to depends on which floor you're exploring. It's not unusual to end up with an inventory full of items that can't be combined or used for anything.

Once you're midway through the game, each new restart is going to involve some early grinding, as jumping right to a lower level without the resources needed to keep your character fed, and without retrieving the lantern from where you last died, can turn the game into a disastrous slog. The areas you can use to gather resources need light so that you can avoid the instant-kill traps planted all over them, and although you can craft limited-use torches, that's not going to do you much good in later stages where the lantern is your main way of fighting back against some of the game's harsher nasties.

Your mileage may vary depending on your patience, but this isn't a case where the game's brutality works in service of its excellent combat and astonishing world. Below's main thrills come from discovering new things, and when you're forced to repeat the same sections multiple times, the game's difficulty feels excessive and unnecessary. Below's combat is simply not interesting enough to make the tough sections feel worthwhile--the rudimentary dash/shield/attack system has little room for nuance, and when enemies can do extreme damage with a single hit (often with a "bleed" effect that requires you to use resources to patch yourself up), death doesn't always feel like your fault.

Later floors ask you to play very differently compared to the earlier ones. Suddenly you need to keep moving constantly, and the slow, methodical exploration that made the early parts of the game interesting is lost. The game's sense of foreboding mystery begins to dissipate as well, as the mechanics reveal themselves to be relatively uncomplicated and the game's art design relies on some tired tropes and enemy designs. Overall, the art design and Jim Guthrie's imposing soundtrack are both excellent but become much harder to properly appreciate when you're suffering through the game's more tedious sections. Below also feels much better suited to PC--the distant camera and tiny characters had me moving closer to the television while playing on Xbox One.

Below's extreme demands for patience and tolerance remain right through to the game's mysterious ending. But despite its assured aesthetic and the initial pleasures of discovery, Below will eventually turn into a slog for all but the most committed of players.

Categories: Games

We Discuss Our Time Behind The Wheel In Rage 2

Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 12/26/2018 - 20:00

During our Rage 2 cover story trip to Avalanche Studios in Sweden, we got behind the wheel of a tricked-out hot rod then went toe-to-toe against a missile-spewing 18-wheeler in a deadly race across the wasteland. In short, Rage 2’s car combat is a thrill, but Javy Gwaltney, Leo Vader, and Ben Reeves are here to expand upon their impressions in this written discussion.

Ben: I found it interesting Avalanche chose to start our demo with a vehicle chase/battle. I think that means they found some fun in the car combat – or at least they think it’s an important pillar of the game. Personally, I thought that convoy battle was a cool set piece, but what were your initial impressions?

Leo: It’s obviously not what I’ll be coming to the game for, but it bodes well that the vehicle combat is getting a focus. A sizable portion of any open world game is spent moving from objective to objective, so the potential for car battles feeding into upgrades and progression for your ride makes those trips between waypoints seem more enticing and less tedious.

Javy: The vehicle segments were more entertaining than I thought they would be. My love for Rage 2 so far is primarily rooted in its first-person shooting, but I loved racing across the sand in my dune buggy of death, unleashing missiles and minigun fire on a convoy. It’s also nice that there’s a dedicated ramming button, so you can slam other cars off cliffs or into rocks, podracing style.


Ben: Yeah, I don’t want to oversell it, but I liked the feel of the cars. Or, I should say, car. I messed around with a couple of different vehicles, but I kept coming back to the Phoenix, which is your main starting car. Honestly, I don’t see a reason to really use much else, because that vehicle feels great. It’s fast, well-armored, and has a decent arsenal. The Phoenix feels like the Batmobile. Ever since playing Spy Hunter as a young boy I’ve loved shooting other cars with a mounted minigun, so I’m an easy sell here. Did you guys check out any other cars? What did you think of the racing minigames or open-world driving?

Leo: I hijacked a few random cars, some of which had their own weapons. One of them just seemed to explode when I hit the fire button, which was funny. I liked how there is a trader vehicle driving around the map who you can honk at to make him stop and sell you stuff. There was also a car you could honk at to trigger an impromptu race for cash. I thought those were really clever interactions for a game like this.

Javy: I also tried a bunch of other cars besides the Phoenix ... and I did not care for them. They felt super light and destructible. However, we also saw a massive monster truck players will be able to drive. It looked super impressive and I can’t wait to get my hands behind that steering wheel. However, I think the most impressive vehicle for me was the gyrocopter. That was super-fast and zippy and will let you hop from biome to biome quickly while avoiding enemy conflict. Do you guys have any concerns about the driving or vehicular combat? I’m hoping we get more weapons than just the minigun/missile combo.


Ben: I don’t think I have any huge concerns, but I do have a few question marks. I’m also curious about alternate weapons. The team talked about upgrading cars, but they didn’t show off that system. Maybe some more weapons are locked behind that. I’d also love to see more reasons to use your car outside of travel. Like, there weren’t a lot of big set piece moments that involved your car. A lot of the car action seems player-driven, so everyone’s mileage may vary. You can stop and challenge random NPCs to a race, which is neat, but I don’t think I’d be highly motivated to do that. The one dedicated race I played was pretty rough and floaty (to be fair, Avalanche said it is still tuning the race challenges). Outside of those dedicated races, I didn’t see any reason to use your car in missions. Hopefully, there are some more varied car-related missions.

Leo: There are definitely some unknowns about how much you will use your vehicle and if you’ll feel forced into it when you don’t want to be, but I absolutely love being able to eject thirty feet in the air from a vehicle at any time. That’s reason enough for me to get in a car. I’m a simple man.

Ben: As we all are. In conclusion, I guess what we’re trying to say is, “We highly wreck-a-mend Rage 2's car combat.”

Kyle: Hi, I didn’t play Rage 2 or was involved in the cover story in any way, but I don’t like that last sentence, Reeves. It’s bad.

For more on Rage 2 be sure to check out our cover story hub by clicking on the banner below.

Categories: Games

Showcasing The Unexpected Beauty Of Rage 2’s Biomes

Game Informer News Feed - Mon, 12/24/2018 - 20:00

A lot of wastelands are defined by their greys and browns. We’re fascinated with post-apocalyptic worlds, but we’re tired of looking at them. Thankfully, in recent years, developers have begun to shift towards more colorful dystopias. Avalanche Studios has taken Rage’s desert environments and brightened them up for the sequel with a variety of forests and pink-streaked shanty towns. We take a deeper look at all the environments you trek through in Rage 2.

For more on Rage 2 be sure to check out our cover story hub by clicking on the banner below.

Categories: Games

Battle Princess Madelyn Review - Halfway There

Gamespot News Feed - Sat, 12/22/2018 - 18:36

Few games wear their inspiration on their sleeve as proudly as Battle Princess Madelyn does. From the moment you lay eyes on its detailed pixel artwork and see the titular armor-clad Madelyn throwing lances at the creeping undead in a murky marsh, you'll immediately have flashbacks to the classic Ghosts 'n Goblins series. That's not a knock against the game--if you're going to take inspiration for your retro-styled platformer, you may as well take it from some time-tested classics. And when Battle Princess Madelyn is at its peak, it really feels like a worthy successor to those games.

Unfortunately, that fiendishly fun and challenging action game is only half of Battle Princess Madelyn. The other half is a botched attempt to shoehorn large-scale levels filled with traps, tough enemies, and tricky platforming into a Metroidvania formula.

Battle Princess Madelyn finds our rough, tough royal recovering from her family being kidnapped by a wicked sorcerer. In the wake of such tragedy, she sets out to find and defeat the fiend… but she's not alone, as the soul of her deceased dog Fritzy is there to fight alongside her and help revive her when she falls in combat. She'll explore creepy crypts, sprawling caves, volcanic peaks, haunted fields, and dangerous waters in her quest to save her loved ones, and it certainly won't be easy. It's a simple premise, but an effective one, and the ghost dog gimmick adds a nice little dash of originality.

There are two play modes in Battle Princess Madelyn: Arcade Mode and Story Mode. Both options follow the same story but present it in a different way. Arcade Mode is short on dialogue and cinematics and long on fierce action, while Story Mode goes far more in-depth, featuring a semi-open world, story beats to progress through, items and secrets to uncover, and NPCs to interact with. Movement and action in both modes are similar, though in Story Mode, Madelyn has to find items needed to progress and gain abilities; in arcade mode, she has the necessary abilities from the start (aside from optional weapon drops from enemies).

Arcade mode is where you can most clearly see this game's Ghouls 'n Ghosts inspiration. The one-hit buffer of your breakable armor, the various weapons like lances and axes, the unending waves of creeping zombies that make it hard to stay in one place for too long--heck, even Madelyn's running animation looks like they referenced several of Arthur's frames. It does improve on the GnG formula in some key ways, though. Madelyn's double-jump is much easier to control, and her life force--powered by Fritzy's ghostly magic--can be replenished by slaying enough enemies. She can also spend a little bit of Fritzy's magic to perform a homing attack on an enemy, which is a great aid in some of the trickier areas. While the game doesn't really explain these controls to you, you should know well what to do, especially if you've experienced simple 2D platforming before.

The Arcade Mode is easily the best part of Battle Princess Madelyn. It's a tough action-platformer that rewards careful, thoughtful play and features memorable environments, tricky platforming, and some really cool encounters with gigantic bosses. Yes, you do have to restart the whole level if Fritzy's life-giving magic power runs dry, but that's part of the old-school experience. At least there aren't limited continues! Rounding out the retro experience is a great chiptune soundtrack that really helps make the game feel like a forgotten relic. (You could change it to an orchestrated version, but why would you?)

While Arcade Mode is a great experience for challenge-seeking action fans, Story Mode is a pretty heavy disappointment in comparison: a fumbled effort at trying to fit a patient, precise platformer into an exploration-based gameplay mold that often fails in incredibly frustrating ways. Unfortunately, Story Mode is also the default mode, meaning that most folks are going to play it first… and likely have a bad taste in their mouth from it.

Story Mode tasks you with exploring several interconnected areas based on similar design concepts to the ones seen in arcade mode, but with very different layouts. Your abilities are extremely limited at the beginning, and in order to progress, you need to scour these sprawling areas to find routes, items, and NPCs that will help you on your quest.

The problems with Story Mode become obvious from an early point, and only worsen as the game progresses. For starters, the extremely large, hazard-laden areas feature little in the way of checkpoints, meaning that losing all of Madelyn's energy results in a complete restart from the area's entrance--a tolerable setback in a linear arcade mode, but infuriating in an exploration-driven game. In addition, a lot of these areas tend to look very samey in terms of props and backgrounds, so unless the level you're in features a very linear path, you may have some serious trouble figuring out how to get back to a specific location.

In addition, a lot of things just aren't hinted at or explained well at all. One way the game tries to guide you is with a bony skeleton hand that will sometimes pop up to point in the general direction of important items, but it's less useful and more frustrating when the means to get to said items are difficult to discern.

Sticking points like this come up often, particularly when you have to start backtracking to reach previously inaccessible areas with new abilities and especially when you have to do quests for NPCs, some of which are necessary to proceed. It's easy to forget what character needs which macguffin, or who needs to be rescued where, and there's no quest log or intuitive way to remind you of what's needed. Compared to the skill-testing action-game challenges of Arcade Mode, Story Mode's challenges are frustrating in a far worse way: they often fail to tell you just what the heck you're supposed to do, leaving you to wander aimlessly through huge, dangerous maps in hopes that you might find or trigger something.

Battle Princess Madelyn looks and sounds fantastic, and half the game is a delightful spiritual throwback to a beloved action game series. It's a shame that the other half drags down the whole package--and performance issues on Switch like slowdown and stalling when moving through menus don't help, either. There's at least one great game in the Battle Princess Madelyn package, but it's hard to fully recommend it when the game mode that's presented front and center drops the ball royally.

Categories: Games

Here's One Piece World Seeker's Opening Cinematic

Game Informer News Feed - Sat, 12/22/2018 - 17:30

Bandai Namco has unveiled the opening cinematic for One Piece World Seeker, showcasing some of Luffy's powers, members of his Straw Hat crew, and some of the bad guys he'll face on Jail Island, World Seeker's main locale.

One Piece World Seeker launches for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on March 15.

Categories: Games

Final Fantasy XIV 4.5 Trailer Hints At What To Expect Next Month

Game Informer News Feed - Fri, 12/21/2018 - 18:45

Square Enix has released a trailer for Final Fantasy XIV's 4.5 update, a precursor to next summer's massive Stormbringers expansion. The update, which is scheduled for next month, has a number of big changes and readies players for the Blue Mage job class coming shortly after.

Take a look at the trailer for the update below.

The update is set to arrive on January 8, with the Blue Mages coming the following week. The new job class is a little more limited than a lot of players were like, emphasizing solo play as Blue Mages learn skills from enemy monsters throughout the game. When they hit level 50, the current level cap for the job class, players will have content called The Masked Carnivale to tide them over until Stormbringers.

With 4.5, players will also get their hands on a new instanced dungeon, a number of new cosmetics like emotes, mounts, minions, and hairstyles, new questlines for crafters and gatherers, a new raid dungeon, and a Golden Saucer overhaul. It should keep a lot of FFXIV's fans busy for a little while.

You can check out more patch notes on the game's official site.

Categories: Games

New Story Trailer Provides A Glimpse Inside The Oldest House

Game Informer News Feed - Thu, 12/20/2018 - 15:41

Remedy Entertainment has released a new trailer for Control, its upcoming game that features objects that pull at the edges of reality. The clip shows the inside of the Oldest House, a structure that appears to be a skyscraper but is in fact home to a variety of mind-bending anomalies. 

The trailer is narrated by James McCaffrey (Max Payne), and he explains how the building's mundane facade hides a mystery that's been hidden from the American public since the '60s. 

Control is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in 2019. For more on the game, check out our impressions from the E3 demo, which includes insightful commentary from creative director Sam Lake.

Categories: Games

Deku From My Hero Academia Joins Jump Force

Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 12/19/2018 - 23:15

Bandai Namco released a story trailer today for Jump Force, their new crossover fighting game featuring heroes and villains from Japanese comic magazine Shonen Jump. After that trailer, they announced that Deku, the young protagonist from My Hero Academia, would be joining the fight for our quirk-less Earth as part of the base roster.

Guess who’s Detroit SMASHING!!! into #JUMPFORCE.

Pre-order your copy today and Unite to Fight:

— Bandai Namco US (@BandaiNamcoUS) December 19, 2018

Deku is the main character in a mostly ensemble cast in both the manga and anime of My Hero Academia. Born without a superpower, or quirk, in a world where everyone has them in some type or another, Deku inherited a quirk from his Superman-like hero, All Might. Under All Might's guidance, he started on a path to become a symbol of peace and justice for the world.

In Jump Force, Deku uses the same realistic artstyle that every character in the game has, but maintains the same character design from his series. That means his giant eyes are accompanied by realistically textured clothes and gloves, which is certainly a look. The game will also have character customization for your avatars, so if you want to dress your original character up in Deku's clothes and use some of his moves, you're covered.

Jump Force releases on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on February 15.

Categories: Games

Check Out The Story Mode And Avatar Customization In New Trailer

Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 12/19/2018 - 16:10

Bandai Namco has released a new Jump Force trailer, which provides a glimpse of the game's story mode – which in turn does its best to explain how and why all these characters have gotten together. Let's just blame it on a cube or something.

In addition to showing off some of the various Jump crossovers, you can get a look at how you'll be able to customize your avatar. Thanks to a wide variety of costume elements, body modifications, and superpowers, you should be able to design a fairly close approximation of whatever your anime-addled brain can concoct.

Jump Force is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on February 15. For more on the game, take a look at our hands-on impressions and footage of a whole slew of ultimate attacks here.

Categories: Games

Raising Cane

Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 12/19/2018 - 02:20

Some new footage of Devil May Cry 5 has been released focused mostly on V, the enigmatic goth who bears an uncanny resemblance to Kylo Ren. While some of the footage is from the larger trailer earlier this month, there's also some new footage in there, including story cutscenes showing off V's true motivation.

Check out the trailer below.

In the trailer, V dryly "jokes" that he's only two days old, and then takes it back. Later, he stands above an unconscious Dante with the sword Sparda dangling above his head, excoriating him for causing whatever problems V is currently experiencing. 

One theory is that V is the reincarnation of Mundus, the demon king villain from Devil May Cry, a theory which is somewhat bolstered by the fact that the demons V summons seem to all be based on enemies from the 2001 game. This would also explain the grudge he seems to bear against Dante, who defeated him soundly and rescued Mundus' creation Trish from his grasp.

In the footage, we also see V fight against Goliath by summoning an equally large demon to his side. This is the first time we have seen anyone other than Nero fight Goliath, which likely means that V can also do that mission or might fight Goliath again.

Devil May Cry 5 releases on March 8 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

Categories: Games

<p>The characters in Rage 2 are insane,

Game Informer News Feed - Mon, 12/17/2018 - 20:00

The characters in Rage 2 are insane, but living through an apocalypse will do that to you. Avalanche Studios has spent a great deal of time dreaming up the inhabitants for Rage 2’s chaotic post-apocalyptic world. During our recent cover-story trip to Avalanche we talked with the team about this bizarre cast and got an extensive breakdown of their roles in the world. Here’s a deeper look at some of the odd people you’ll meet during your time with Avalanche and id’s bombastic open-world shooter.

Aunt Prowley

Prowley is a highly capable ranger who raised Walker (Rage 2’s protagonist). She is not Walker’s biological mom, but she raised him alongside her own daughter, Lily. Avalanche says Lily’s father was a mysterious stranger, which left us wondering if his reveal would be important to Rage 2’s story. Regardless, Aunt Prowley, Lily, and Walker were a tight-knit group. Unfortunately, Lily doesn’t have nanotechnology, so she can’t use the high-tech gear that Walker has, and she doesn’t have his powers, which sparked a friendly rivalry within the family.

Dr. Kvasir

Dr. Kvasir is one of Walker’s prime mission givers. He is a crazy scientist who lost the ability to walk. He used to have robotic legs, but he found it tiresome to continually fix them, so he eventually decided to create a pair of legs that could heal. The dim-witted mutant under him is called Legs, and Legs’ spinal cord is fused with Dr. Kvasir's. The doctor can control Legs’ movements and also feels all the pain that Legs experiences. Legs has a mind, but it’s so tiny that it doesn’t really process any information or have an independent thoughts.

Klegg Clayton

An up-and-coming business mogul, Klegg is the son of the mayor of Wellspring from the original Rage. After his father died, Klegg invested the family money and eventually became the richest man in the wasteland. Now, Klegg owns Mutant Bash TV, which is a kind of barbaric, no-holds-barred deathmatch show. However, Klegg isn’t satisfied with his wealth; he also wants political power, so he’s following in his father’s footsteps and running for mayor. This maniac’s fashion sense comes from his obsession with images of celebrities featured in old magazines from before the apocalypse.

Chazz Morass

The host of the wasteland’s most-popular racing show, Chazz is an eccentric character, to say the least. Avalanche was inspired to create Chazz after reading an old article from Mad Magazine about a man who chose to stand out by wearing a checkered German helmet. Chazz has a creole drawl, like someone from the backwaters of Louisiana. Not only is he is always eating, everything he talks about is somehow connected to food. For example, when he talks about car races, he might describe them as sizzling and say things like, “The grease rises to the top of the pan.”

Desdemonya Cold

Desdemonya is the post-apocalyptic equivalent of a TV star, and she hosts Mutant Bash TV, the wasteland’s barbaric form of entertainment. This aging showgirl is obsessed with old-time cabaret and shows from Broadway, and she speaks in a weird mishmash of French and German, because she believes that’s what the aristocrats of the old world used to do. The team was somewhat inspired by Carol Burnett’s performance in the movie version of Annie. While Desdemonya might have once been beautiful, she is now well past her prime. However, she still acts very sensual.

For more on Rage 2 be sure to check out our cover story hub by clicking on the banner below.

Categories: Games

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Game Informer News Feed - Mon, 12/17/2018 - 15:01

Square Enix has released a new trailer for Kingdom Hearts III featuring a bevy of story seeds as well as gameplay footage.

The wide-ranging trailer dips more into the title as its January 29 release date approaches, including summons, new keyblade attacks, and much more.

Click here for the recent trailer featuring the game's opening cinematic, as well as take a look at this handy character guide.

Categories: Games