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<p>Rage 2 debuted with a bombastic

Fri, 12/14/2018 - 20:00

Rage 2 debuted with a bombastic trailer full of neon color splashes. It was a sign Rage 2 would not look like the first Rage, which was defined by brown horizons.

Avalanche aims to create a variety of visual variations across Rage 2’s world, and that process starts with art concepts. We sat down with Rage 2’s art director Jeremy Miller, who detailed the process for creating Rage 2’s world and why he thinks it has an insanity problem.

“A core part of the Rage world is wasteland cyberpunk. It’s not the cyberpunk world where you go into a desert, it is a post, post-apocalyptic world with a wasteland that is sometimes lush that also has a strong cyberpunk layer.

 

“Visual variation was core for us, and that is supported within the character factions and every part of the world. I would rather that we have a really beautiful, dynamic world rather than super high fidelity cups, for example.”

“Each faction is full of terrible people. But they're also awesome. You can’t help but kind of like them.”

“Rage doesn’t have a resource problem. It has an insanity problem. The world is filled with stuff. There are computers and computer parts, glass, guns, and cars. If you want to get stuff, there is plenty of it laying around and underground… People have spent years taking all this stuff and hacking it together to get it into working order. So we have this weird leveling of all technology so you’ll see people with holograms and right beside, someone has taken old smart tablet and nailed it to a wall. The world has a lot of resources, but no one knows how to use it all and people are crazy.”

“When the Apophis asteroid hit there was this sense that – as far as everyone was concerned – when they came back up, the world was going to be Mars. The planet was going to be completely barren. There is an element of that sort of spacefaring colonialism worked into the costumes. You can see this subtle NASA vibe in their outfits.”

 

“One of our key pillars is this is about fun, and that is a huge element of crazy, but if the crazy we create is just depressing and not fun, then it’s not for Rage. It always has to have the horrific quality of, ‘oh my God! This is so awful! Why would they do this? But I can’t help but kind of like them.' That’s the sweet spot for us.”

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

Categories: Games

Travis Strikes Again Feels Like A Return To The Madness Suda51 Does Best

Fri, 12/14/2018 - 13:00

It has been over ten years since the first No More Heroes game released, taking players into the strange and murderous land of Santa Destroy from the perspective of the strange and murderous Travis Touchdown. While there has been a sequel to the game, the first title in the series kind of ended an era for both Travis and developer Grasshopper Manufacture. It was the last game that saw Goichi Suda, better known by his penname of Suda51, in the director’s chair and nothing from the studio since has felt quite the same way since.

A decade later, Suda is stepping back up to direct a game again in the form of Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes and, after hands-on time with new levels, we can report that it definitely feels like Suda51’s style is back in full force again.

The latest demo for Travis Strikes Again shows new levels for the first time since the game was revealed in an August 2017 Nintendo Direct. Grasshopper has indicated that they want every level in the game to feel different even though the basic framework remains the same. Unlike the previous No More Heroes games with a traditional 3D action game camera, Travis Strikes Again takes a top-down perspective for the majority of its gameplay. To that end, Grasshopper wanted to make each level still feel unique in theme, tone, and mechanics.

The first new level was titled Life is Destroy, which puts Travis into a seemingly cozy suburban neighborhood. The comfortable feelings do not last long, however, as Travis is made aware that a serial killer called the Doppelganger has been active in the suburb. To win the game, Travis must solve the murders, unmask the Doppelganger, and move on to the next work. As Travis travels between houses, a giant glowing skull follows him, causing an instant kill if he touches it. If there is an explanation for the skull, I didn’t get a chance to see it, but I’m hoping it has no explanation.

After investigating a murder scene, Travis is attacked by a monstrous humanoid sheep. The mid-boss charges at you repeatedly and is basically unaffected by anything you do, serving as a pretty strong tutorial for learning how to use your skills. By holding the left bumper and combining it with a face button, Travis can skills that the player has earned and put in slots. These skills are found around the game world in the form of Skill Chips and can drastically alter how well you proceed through fights.

One skill was a time bomb that can be shot out to stick to enemies. By using this on the monster sheep, I could take advantage of his calmer moments to stick a bomb to him and then run away when he got more aggressive, giving me time to let the skill cooldown. Skills also become important when playing in co-op, as synergy between the two players in their skillsets mattered a great deal. Travis had a skill that called in an airstrike, but took a few seconds to fully charge and was interruptible during that time. Badman, Travis’ unwilling partner in the game world, had equipped a skill that slowed enemies to a crawl, making communication between the two important on which skills to use when.

The second level was titled Golden Dragon GP, named after a VR game within the game world itself. Travis is convinced to put a VR headset on and enter a Tron-like world of wireframes, orange beams of light, and death racing. In the races, players must max out to the top speed of their current gear and then shift gears by navigating a path to the next gear. Sometimes they’ll be in a normal order, sometimes they’ll occur in random orders or be branches off in strange directions. The first few races are implausibly easy, but the first boss leaves you in his dust.

Travis is then persuaded to search for better parts, which provides the next action sequence. I had been playing single-player up until this point, but adding a co-op partner is quick and easy and can be done at any time, whether you’re wandering around the game world or fighting a boss. Badman joined Travis to help him tear through a few dozen enemies as the two searched a Japanese-looking mansion for a Golden Dragon GP part.

As Travis and Badman strike enemies, they lose power in their weapons, just like in the original No More Heroes games. In the Wii titles, Travis had to shake the controller up and down to recharge. That functionality is retained here, by holding in the left analog stick and shaking the controller, Travis regains beam saber functionality in pips. This can be done with any of the game’s supported controllers, like the joycons, dual-joycons, Pro controller, or handheld mode. Thankfully, aside from the single-joycon option, all other controllers let you just press in the left analog stick and then oscillate the right analog up and down to charge. It’s quite a bit more consistent, especially in the heat of battle.

 

While I wish I could have played more about Travis Strikes Again, a lot of my initial concerns about it have fallen to the wayside. The dialogue is undeniably Suda and not the emulation of it that felt flat in previous Grasshopper games. No one would, or should, confuse Travis Strikes Again with earlier No More Heroes games, but it seems to have that feeling of abstract punk that I have been missing, even if the titular character is wearing an Unreal Engine logo on his t-shirt.

You can check out video we took from this demo in a brand new New Gameplay Today right here.

Categories: Games

New Dead Or Alive 6 Trailer Shows Off Returning Veterans Brad And Eliot

Thu, 12/13/2018 - 21:50

Team Ninja and Koei Tecmo have revealed two more returning characters to Dead or Alive 6, veterans Brad and Eliot. Brad is mostly unchanged from his previous incarnations, utilizing his drunken master style once again. Eliot also seems to be the same as the previous game, but has a jazzy new outfit.

You can check out the character trailer for both below.

The pair are fighting on a new stage titled Unforgettable, which pieces together parts from a number of old DOA stages on a film set. You can see the stairs from Helena's stage, outside the casino, the war zone, and more. It seems to be a greatest hits of DOA stages past.

Dead or Alive 6 releases on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on February 15.

Categories: Games

Ace Combat 7's Multiplayer And VR Modes Provide Stunning New Experiences

Tue, 12/11/2018 - 15:00

The phrase “a sinking feeling” describes the way your stomach feels when you descend in a roller coaster or a car crests a steep hill, but it’s something that’s hard to emulate without physically moving. While a lot of games end up being capable of bringing about that feeling, none excel at it quite like Ace Combat, and the newest game in the series makes you feel like you’re actually in the cockpit of a fighter jet.

As a series, Ace Combat has been its own roller coaster in narrative over the years. After a fairly disastrous foray into the real world, the series is returning back into the realms of fictious lands and their fictious wars. The opening CG scene for Ace Combat 7 is narrated by a young girl who, over the course of many years, built a fighter jet with her war veteran grandfather and his friends. She remains an ancillary fixture of the story, adjacent to a number of the big events and skirmishes breaking out during the war between the Osean and Erusean armies, serving more as your R2D2 than your Luke Skywalker.

The first mission takes the training wheels off the moment you go wheels up, tasking you with the main goals of your gameplay: shoot things and don’t crash. After being told that there are enemy fighters and bombers in the area, your squad dispatches to a nearby island to get a practical lesson in locking on to enemies and shooting missiles at them. After the mission ends, a cutscene explains that Erusean forces placed drones in shipping containers sent to Osea and remotely activated them to attack, which seems like a pretty good plan.

The second mission has your fighter taking on those drones, jets with the ability to make pinpoint turns into the foggy clouds above. Dogfighting with these enemies as you do your best to dip in and out of the clouds to avoid icing up and finding yourself face-to-face with the ground as you struggle to pull up and not crash straight into the soil is an actually indescribable feeling and feels fresh every single time it happens, which is a lot because I’m a bad pilot.

The VR missions might be the real star of the show, however, and are genuinely impressive. The side missions put players back in the role of Mobius 1, the hero of Ace Combat 4 and general mythological hero of Erusea. The venerated tones with which characters speak about you is probably the second biggest thrill in the game behind the emetic quality of doing loops to dodge missiles in VR. While it is only a side mode, it could stand as proof of concept of how well VR dogfighting can work in general.

We also got a chance to try multiplayer, a point-based online match that puts six planes in a 3v3 fight. Enemies take a lot longer to kill in this mode, so you go for inching you way up with bullets and the occasional missile. At the end of each round, you’re given accolades depending on what you excelled at or failed spectacularly at, such as “Avoided the greatest number of missiles using cloud-cover” or “Fired the most missed shots.”

As someone who has dabbed in Ace Combat before but rarely dove in head-first, I came away from the demo excited to play more, especially with a PSVR in tow. It will also be interesting to see how the fanbase takes to the new game’s narrative hooks and the return to what people liked about Ace Combat in the first place.

Ace Combat 7 releases for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on January 18, then on February 1 on PC.

Categories: Games

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Tue, 12/11/2018 - 01:15

Bandai Namco has announced that their newest Tales of game, a mobile title named Tales of Crestoria, will be coming stateside in 2019. While not quite dubbed the next mainline or flagship Tales of game, Crestoria has all the resources of one and will be releasing in 2019 on iOS and Android.

"Tales of Crestoria takes place in an oppressive dystopia where every citizen must carry with them an all-seeing 'Vision Orb' that monitors for criminal violations," Bandai Namco writes. "The game follows protagonists Kanata, a naive boy blindly accepting of to the Vision Orbs’ justice, and Misella, an audacious orphan unbridled in her dedication to defending Kanata. Due to the horrific events of one fateful night, the duo find themselves branded “Transgressors”, and condemned to death by society’s popular vote—the draconian system of justice by which their world is governed. With eyes now opened to the injustices of society, a chance meeting with Vicious, “The Great Transgressor,” gives Kanata and Misella a defining choice: Own your fate, or let fate own you."

To celebrate, Bandai Namco has released a concept movie to show off the themes of that description in a fairly cool artstyle Check it out below.

Like most recent Tales of games, the title will be a collaboration between artists Mutsumi Inomata and Kosuke Fujishima.

Despite Bandai Namco traditionally releasing one mainline Tales of game a year, they have slowed down considerably in the last few years, not releasing a new title since 2016's Tales of Berseria. Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition, a remaster of the decade-old classic with additional content for English-speaking players, will see release on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC on January 11.

Categories: Games

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Mon, 12/10/2018 - 14:53

Capcom has made a few announcements about the future of Monster Hunter: World, including a new expansion, Iceborne, which comes out next fall.

Iceborne brings with it new quest ranks, monsters, and more – all within its own story that takes place after the base game.

Early next year, however, hunters will be able to play as Geralt of Rivia from The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, featuring his own quests and gameplay.

In other Monster Hunter news, to celebrate the game's one-year anniversary, in January there is an Appreciation Fest, including a newly decorated gathering hub and special quests.

Before then, starting tomorrow (4 p.m. PST), a free trial (PS4, Xbox One) of the base game is available to those who haven't played it through December 17 (3:59 p.m. PST), and if you decide to buy the game outright, your progress transfers to the main title.

Finally, the Kulve Taroth Siege special event quest returns on December 20, featuring an Arch Tempered version of the monster as well as more powerful rewards.

Categories: Games

New Kingdom Hearts III Trailer Shows Off Opening Cinematic

Sun, 12/09/2018 - 18:00

It's been a long time coming, but Kingdom Hearts III is nearly here. In anticipation of its release early next year, Square Enix is revealing three new trailers this month.

The first of the three can be viewed above, and it is being teased as the opening cinematic for the game. It also premieres a new song from Hikaru Utada and Skrillex called Face My Fears. 

Kingdom Hearts III will feature several settings from Disney and Pixar, including Big Hero 6, Frozen, Monsters Inc., and more.

It releases for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on January 29. Check out a previous trailer showing off several of Kingdom Hearts III's worlds by heading here.

Categories: Games

Capy On Ambiguous Game Design And The Invetiable Dark Souls Comparisons Of Below

Fri, 12/07/2018 - 22:45

Below is a roguelike about exploring a series of descending caves on a mysterious island that seems to dare adventurers to come and see if they can survive its challenges. You can craft food and potions, hunt wildlife, and if you die, another adventurer will make their way to the island to quite literally pick up where you left off by acquiring the lamp you dropped on the ground when you died. Despite the density of mechanics and the vague story about a mysterious island that seems to draw in those courageous enough to find it, Below does not offer much on-screen text or tutorial. Alongside the challenge of surviving, figuring out the game’s myriad mechanics, and how to take advantage of them, is one of the things developer Capy Games hope players embrace.

“I am worried about it,” creative director Kris Piotrowski says, “It is a decision that has risks to it, for sure.” Piotrowski recalls the first time he played Minecraft with a wiki open nearby explaining how the game worked, and that was part of the reason he enjoyed the experience. The community was there to help. “I remember when I first played Dark Souls, there was so much to it that wasn't explained and I feel like communities can be built around players helping each other learn and figure out things out,” Piotrowski says. That of course lead to a familiar comparison.

“I think Dark Souls is a brilliant game and the comparison is nothing  but complimentary from my perspective,” Piotrowski says regarding the familiar refrain that many games receive these days: it’s like Dark Souls! And in some ways it is. You open shortcuts to the islands assorted lower levels as you play, combat is precise and challenging and when you die, there is incentive to go back and picked up what you dropped, but Below certainly has an identity of its own. “This is a weird game that has a lot of weird little things in it, but it's also a game where you have a sword and shield and it has combat that sort of feels like Zelda or Dark Souls,” Piotrowski says.

Despite his worry about the ambiguous nature of the game, Piotrowski is confident players will be able to figure out the game. “There is a bit of an entry-level starting point that I think players kind of wrap their heads around. I think games have gone very far in the direction of hand-holding and telegraphing and rewarding players continuously. That kind of slow dopamine drop of gameplay cycles that are finely tuned to keep you in the game and sort of spoon feed you every little detail. I think most games do that and I think certain game fans like to just approach a game and try to figure it out,” Piotrowski says. “I think there is pleasure in trying to figure out the mechanics. When a game tells you, ‘Hey, you're on your own!’ a different part of your brain turns on.”

Below finally releases on Xbox One and PC on December 14. For more on the game, you can watch us play the game with Piotrowski here, and see him on The Game Informer Show podcast right here.

Categories: Games

Six Big Takeaways After Seeing Obsidian’s The Outer Worlds

Fri, 12/07/2018 - 14:00

Yesterday, Obsidian and Private Division announced The Outer Worlds, a sci-fi RPG that looks to please Mass Effect and Fallout fans. In The Outer Worlds, players take on the role of a colonist who has just awoken from a long interstellar hibernation then sets off to explore a solar system with the ultimately goal of getting to the bottom of a corporate conspiracy that threatens to destroy everything humanity has built.

Tim Cain and Leonard Boyarsky are the game’s two co-directors, and both designers worked on the original Fallout as well as titles like Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, WildStar, and Diablo III: Reaper of Souls. We talked with Cain and Boyarsky and spent a day at Obsidian learning all we could about their special new project. Here are six reasons RPG fans should keep The Outer Worlds on their radar.

1) A Unique Take On Sci-Fi

The Outer Worlds is an epic sci-fi opera, but Obsidian’s take on sci-fi is a bit quirky. If you watched the game’s debut trailer, you might have picked up hints of BioShock, but Irrational’s classic wasn’t a direct inspiration. The team was initially inspired by Art Nouveau and Victorian sci-fi from the late 1800s. The Outer Worlds isn’t exactly steampunk, but its universe is filled with a lot of clunky technology and its environments feature a lot of heavy cables and piping.

“We like doing stuff that’s a little bit different,” says Boyarsky. “We wanted to make a sci-fi game, because we’re both big sci-fi fans. You can say Fallout is sci-fi, but it’s post-apocalyptic, which is a bit of a sub-genre. This seems like a good opportunity to go pure sci-fi, so we started to talk about corporations and the way they brand everything. We wanted to explore a future world in that vein. As we talked more, we were drawn to the robber barons of the late 1800s and how they controlled every aspect of people’s existence. That just felt like a really good fit for this.”

2) You Explore An Entire Solar System

Obsidian’s universe isn’t as big as a Mass Effect galaxy, but in The Outer World’s players will fly around an entire solar system aboard their own spaceship. We only got a taste of a few of these environments, but they seem sizable in their own right, and this diversity of locations gives Obsidian the opportunity to create a wide variety of ecologies.

Halcyon is the name of The Outer World’s solar system. It is the furthest colony from Earth and features two main planets humanity initially intended to colonized. However, once the colony ships arrived in the system they realized that only one of the planets as good for habitation, so while one planet is full of sleek technical marvels and gleaming skyscrapers, the other is a barren wasteland teeming with wild monsters. In addition to these two planets, players can explore several moons, asteroids, and space stations spread across Halcyon.

  3) Goofy, Dark Humor

If you have any question about The Outer Worlds’ brand of humor, just know that you can play through the entire game as a dumb guy – literally, there is a dialogue option labeled [Dumb] that will let you role-play as a clueless brute. Halcyon is also filled with fat snakes that were bred for their leather, missions about diet toothpaste, and a rare weapon that works like a shrink ray to miniaturize your opponents.

“I think humor is really, really hard to do in a game, but games that go pure dark are hard to take in every night,” says Cain. “I play games that skew dark, and after a while I just don’t want to play them anymore. We like this kind of dark humor where we can put something in the game that also looks silly, but when you dig into it, you find out it’s really horrific.”

“You can actually get a lot darker and a lot deeper into things if it’s fun and humorous,” adds Boyarsky. “Getting deep into the human condition can be a little overwhelming, but if you are having a fun time and laughing and then we sneak in some of that depth and darkness, it actually resonates a little better.”

4) Open-Ended Problem-Solving

Obsidian looks to allow players to tackle The Outer World’s missions in a variety of ways. Charmers might work their way out of firefights with the right words, while thieves can bypass combat by finding a backdoor into most outposts. Those who choose to engage in The Outer World’s first-person combat will have the option to slow down time with a feature called tactical time dilation. This slow-mo feature allows players to look closely at enemies to gain information such as their level of health and other stats. Attacks made during tactical time dilation also do extra damage, but ultimately players will be able to approach every problem in their own way.

“We always ask ourselves, ‘How are people going to react in the game and what do we think they’re going to want to do,’” says Cain. “We added a lot of different playthrough paths. For combat, we have both melee and ranged, but players also have stealth and dialogue options. Then we have all the hybrids like what if you want to sneak through part of the map and then talk your way out of a jam. Or, what if you just want to kill everybody? We’re happy to say that you can kill everybody in the game and still finish the main story arc. You’d be a psychopath, but you could do it.”

  5) Embrace The Fear

The Outer Worlds is constantly watching players and recording their actions. Ultimately, it will present new events that could leave lasting scares on your hero. At various times, the game will invite you to select a fear for your character. These fears are based on things that have happened to you. For example, if you take a lot of damage from a certain enemy type, you may be invited to develop a fear of that enemy, which means you will take extra damage those foes. In return to taking a fear, players will get to pick an extra perk to buff their character in other ways. This creates an interesting risk reward dynamic where players can choose to have some weaknesses in order to make themselves stronger. Once these fears have been chosen, they are locked in, but players can also choose to opt out of this fear system entirely. 

“If you’re familiar with the works of Joseph Campbell – The Power of Myth and The Hero with a Thousand Faces – he always talks about how heroes are more interesting because they have flaws, so we incorporated the fear system,” says Cain. “The game’s flaws can be anything from a fear of heights to a fear of the dark, or you can be susceptible to different damage types. So the game might go, ‘Hey, I noticed you catch fire a lot. Do you want to be susceptible to flame damage?’ People are like, ‘Why would ever want to be susceptible to flame damage?’ But if you’re one perk away from something really cool, it can be really tempting.”

6) Companionship On The Spaceship

During your journey through Halcyon, you will meet a host of characters who will join your crew. These characters feature their own unique abilities, motivations, and ideals. As you get to know them, they will give you personal companion quests, and completing these missions could change their character. Companions will interject in the middle of conversations and buff your skills, but they might also leave your crew if they don’t like what you’re doing. We encountered one companion named Ellie, who is a tough, no-nonsense sharpshooter. Another companion, named Felix, is a sarcastic melee brute with a good intimidation skill. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to romance any of your companions.

“You encounter all the companions in the first third of the game, because it’s no fun getting a companion in the last hour,” says Cain. “They are designed to touch most of the major skills, so they are all different, but there is some overlap so there’s not just one guy who is really good at ranged attacks or one person who’s a good doctor. They also play off all the different ways a player can play. Like, if you’re playing a psychopath, we show how all these companions react to that. If you’re being really nice, not all the companions are going to be like, ‘Oh great, you’re a hero.’”

 

Given Obsidian’s lineage working on games like Fallout: New Vegas, South Park: The Stick of Truth, and the Pillars of Eternity, The Outer Worlds looks like the kind of game that RPG fans have been waiting a long time for. We enjoyed our brief taste of Obsidian’s unique spin on sci-fi and the studios bizarre humor, and we can’t wait to get our hands on the game in 2019 when it releases on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. For more, be sure to watch our New Gameplay Today video preview or watch the announce trailer.

Categories: Games

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Fri, 12/07/2018 - 07:30

After launching Far Cry 5 in 2018, Ubisoft Montreal is bringing players back to that game’s Montana setting. However, this direct sequel is far from a retread. The Hope County you explore in Far Cry New Dawn is drastically different, as a global nuclear apocalypse has destroyed most of human civilization. You step into the shoes of a new character hoping to help the residents of Hope County in a unique twist on the franchise. I recently visited Ubisoft Montreal to learn more about the game, and here are 12 key takeaways I had from my day in the offices.

Far Cry New Dawn Comes Out Soon, And It’s Cheaper Than A Standard Game

Far Cry New Dawn is priced at $40, but creative director JS Decant says that doesn’t necessarily indicate that players should expect a budget experience. “I think Far Cry 5 was a huge, tremendous experience, so this is slightly smaller in scope in general,” he says. “But if you’re looking for an action-driven adventure with things you like in a Far Cry, it’s there. If you’re someone who likes to explore and discover all the details of the previous world or if you’re into having the best weapons and optimizing, the game is going to be large.”

Far Cry New Dawn looks to be a fun spin-off entry in the Far Cry franchise with an interesting take on the post-apocalypse. With the title launching on February 15, we don’t have to wait long to find out if Hope County is truly worth saving.

New Dawn Is A Standalone Title, But You Probably Want To Play Far Cry 5 First

Though Far Cry New Dawn is meant to be a standalone title, players who worked through the campaign of Far Cry 5 will notice definite continuations from that story. Many of the cult’s structures have been repurposed in this post-apocalyptic world, and we even got a glimpse of cult leader Joseph Seed, the primary antagonist of Far Cry 5, at the end of the reveal trailer.

“The world is in the place where [Joseph] wanted it to be,” Decant says. “He wanted the world to be there so he can start something fresh, something new, something far from what we did with our societies. […] It was a tricky thing because on one hand we wanted to continue with these characters that we loved in Far Cry 5, but at the same time, we wanted to make sure this was a post-apocalyptic game that could be accessible for anyone.”

This Nuked World Doesn’t Look Dead

Rather than going for the stereotypical gray and brown aesthetic many people associate with the post-apocalyptic concept, Ubisoft Montreal researched how the planet would react to and recover from an actual nuclear war. According to their research, the first six years would be a nuclear winter featuring low temperatures, a dead landscape, harsh winds, and new biomes forming everywhere. After the first six years, the sun and rain returns, leading to a “super bloom” event that leads to vegetation reclaiming the planet beginning at year 10. Far Cry New Dawn takes place during the super bloom, 17 years after the nuclear war of 2018.

Because the planet is in the midst of this super bloom, Hope County is colorful and warm, with flowers and vegetation growing from the death and destruction of nearly two decades prior. “Everybody has an idea of what a post-apocalypse setting should look like,” art director Isaac Papismado says. “We really wanted to avoid the dark and grim environments. We saw that 17 years is the perfect time where life and vegetation could come back. That’s something we really wanted to take advantage of.”

While the vegetation is thriving thanks to the meteorological shift, the radiation has infected and mutated some of the wildlife. I didn’t see many examples of this, but I’m interested to see what the team does with this idea.

You Can Launch Saws At Your Enemies

Another theme Ubisoft Montreal is pursuing with New Dawn is the idea that nothing is being manufactured anymore, so everything from buildings to weapons has a makeshift feel. This is most evident in the series’ zaniest weapon yet: the Saw Launcher. This device uses circular saws for ammunition, launching them at your targets. It starts out shooting one saw at a time, but you can upgrade it to shoot multiple at once; the highest I saw was three saws, which all ricochet off objects and into enemies in a satisfying manner.

“We wanted to bring something to the table that would be believable, but also crazy,” says Decant. “We started to think about this thing that would throw little discs, and the team went wild, and we got the Saw Launcher.”

Far Cry: New Dawn's boxart gives us a glimpse at twin sisters Mickey and Lou The Main Conflict Is Between The Survivors And The Highwaymen

You control a character who was a part of a group that was moving up the west coast to rebuild civilization. Unfortunately, the train they’re on is ambushed by a marauding gang called the Highwaymen and the dream of this group rebuilding the civilization is squashed for the time being.

Far Cry New Dawn centers on this conflict between the survivors, who are building a community for the future, and the Highwaymen, who don’t think the world is salvageable. Instead, they move from city to city consuming all the resources and living for today. As you might imagine, your character aligns with the survivors at their home base of Prosperity. The survivors decide that in order to survive and rebuild civilization, they need to run the Highwaymen out of town.

The Highwaymen are led by twin sisters Mickey and Lou. Their families secured the docks shortly after the apocalypse, giving them access to abundant resources. However, the resources didn’t last long, and the two fought to be at the top of the food chain. Mickey and Lou are currently in Hope County, but the Highwaymen are spread across the entire country.

You Don’t Spend The Whole Time In Montana

Since the nuclear event wasn’t localized to Montana, the bombs affected other parts of the world. If you’re in need of resources, you can embark on expeditions, which take place in other areas of the country. During a live gameplay demo, I saw one expedition take place in a Louisiana swamp. An abandoned theme park serves as the setting as I watch the character infiltrate a camp and recover resources. Over the course of the game, players can also travel to another location on the west coast of the U.S., as well as an Arizona location. These additional areas are reused throughout the game, so the Louisiana expedition I saw isn’t the only mission taking place in that region.

“We tried to pick places that felt super different [from Hope County], but also with iconic elements,” Decant says. “We even have one where we refer to another Ubisoft game. [Expeditions] were an opportunity to create areas that felt very different from Hope County.”

The Standard Activities Will Feel Familiar To Far Cry Fans

While you’re in Hope County, many of the standard Far Cry activities are at your disposal. You can embark on treasure hunts, which often involve a twist of some sort; the treasure hunt I saw has you infiltrate a wolverine nest to retrieve a key, but wolverines are the least of your worries once the barn you’re inside goes up in flames. You can also work across the map and clear outposts where the Highwaymen are stationed.

Outposts Bring An Additional Twist This Time

While outposts are nothing new to the Far Cry series, New Dawn adds a new gameplay loop to them. Once you take down an outpost, it becomes a fast-travel location for you. However, you can choose to send those in that outpost to scavenge for additional materials, essentially abandoning it and allowing the Highwaymen to retake it in exchange for resources. Once they reclaim the outpost, you can take it back, but it will be more difficult the second time around.

Enemies Have Designated Difficulty Levels

Enemies now have difficulty levels ranging from one to three to indicate how hard it will be to take them down. If you stir up too much trouble and raise the alarm level, high-level enforcer enemies will join the fight to present extra difficulty.

Using the survivor's Prosperity home base, you can upgrade weapons and train companions New And Familiar Companions Are There For Your Support

If you need some help, you can play cooperatively or bring a Gun for Hire or animal companion into a fight. These characters unlock as you play through the story, and can learn additional abilities as you use them more. For example, one of the Guns for Hire is a grizzled, elderly woman named Nana, who happens to be the sharpest shot in Hope County. This sniper is an ideal companion for stealth missions, as she can unlock abilities like using a silencer or being able to shoot through cover. The other Gun for Hire I saw was Carmina, who is the daughter of Nick and Kim from Far Cry 5. Since she’s only 17 years old, she doesn’t know of a world without the apocalypse.

While I didn’t get to see the other Guns for Hire, Decant says there will be familiar archetypes and even some known characters among the lineup. “There is an RPG, there is a bow-and-arrow character, and a shotgun,” Decant says. “We took some of the most appreciated archetypes and some of the more appreciated characters and created some new ones.”

You Can Still Recruit Animals And Your Pup Can Ride Shotgun

Two new animal companions are also unlockable. Though Boomer the dog from Far Cry 5 is long gone, Timber fills his role as the new canine companion. Timber not only has some new takedowns, but he can also ride in vehicles and scare away larger animals. I also saw Horatio, a giant boar. This monstrous beast draws the attention of the enemies in the area and can be a tank to take down.

The Weapon Wheel Screen Is Streamlined

A simplified weapon and item wheel screen helps streamline the process of getting to the object you hope to use. Now when you open the weapon wheel, the consumables and crafting menus are listed on the sides of the screen. This means you no longer need to flip between wheels to choose the item you want.

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Fri, 12/07/2018 - 04:10

Double Fine launched Psychonauts 2's first official trailer at the Game Awards, although the title has certainly been knocking about for some time now.

Despite the long run-up to the sequel and a delay out of 2018, the developer has officially announced a 2019 release year for the game.

Categories: Games

New Biomutant Trailer Gives Us A Quick Glimpse At The Open-World RPG

Fri, 12/07/2018 - 01:20

THQ Nordic has shared a new look at Biomutant, their upcoming action RPG starring a rodent-like protagonist. The new trailer shows a host of new environments and new forms for the titular Biomutant. Check out the trailer below.

THQ Nordic did not have much else to share for Biomutant, but advised looking forward to more in 2019. We last played the game this past August in Cologne, Germany at Gamescom, where we called it an "oddball take on the open-world action-RPG."

Biomutant is scheduled to release on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in Summer 2019.

Categories: Games

Devolver Digital's New Ape Out Trailer Shows Us A Colorful Symphony of Destruction

Thu, 12/06/2018 - 19:20

Cymbals clash when you throw a guy out the window. Colors splash on the screen like Jackson Pollock himself is tossing paint onto the canvas. Devolver Digital's latest top-down shoot'em up appears to be a colorful symphony of destruction if the game's latest trailer is anything to go off of.

Following an orange-colored ape as it ascends an elevator, the trailer shows you picking up guards to be used as human shields, blowing away people with shotguns and just generally painting the walls with the blood of your enemies as you make your escape in gameplay reminiscent of Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number. Every foe that you dispatch is synced with frenetic jazz music, making the mayhem as rhythmic as it is brutal. And with art by Bennett Foddy of Getting Over With Bennett Foddy, the game's violent, kaleidoscopic aesthetic looks like it'd fit right with Devolver Digital's wheelhouse.

To witness all the beautiful carnage yourself you can check out the trailer below to see how Devolver Digital's next top-down shooter is shaping up. 

Categories: Games

Resident Evil 2's Latest Demo Lets Us Dive Deep Into Claire And Leon's Campaigns

Tue, 12/04/2018 - 16:00

Though archaic now, there was a certain charm to survival horror on the PlayStation that has yet to be replicated in the exact same way despite massive technological advancements. Chalk it up to a young age and a lack of perspective, but nothing quite felt the same as stalking the halls of the Raccoon City Police Department in the cover of night looking for the right key to the wrong door. I went into the Resident Evil 2 remake looking to recapture that same feeling, but found that Capcom wasn’t trying to recreate a moment-in-time with the horror revival as much as they were trying to recontextualize it.

The Resident Evil 2 demo we played at Capcom’s offices puts us a little bit into both Leon and Claire’s campaigns going different directions. While Leon’s demo started with him opening the parking garage gate with Ada Wong, longtime Resident Evil femme fatale first introduced in the 1998 release, Claire’s demo starts with her getting separated from Sherry in the same parking garage. The two follow different paths for their entire demos, with Leon venturing into the city’s sewers and Claire running for her life in the police department.

Leon’s content was definitely the more linear of the two, sending him out into the city alongside Ada. While the rookie cop defends his circumstances to the trenchcoated woman, she deftly dodges all questions about her own past and what she’s doing in Raccoon City’s zombie apocalypse. The conversation boils over in Kendo’s Gun Shop, where the now fleshed-out owner asks the pair to leave after it’s clear Ada won’t explain anything, prompting Leon and Ada to head into the sewers in pursuit of scientist Annette Birkin, giving Leon his first clue into his partner’s motivations.

In the sewers, Leon ends up meeting with a giant alligator who isn’t very happy to see him. The mishaps continue until players can, for the first time in Resident Evil 2, take control of Ada. While the character has been playable in various Mercenaries modes and her own climactic chapter in Resident Evil 6, she brings new tools with her into this remake. Ada can scan walls using an X-ray gun that lets her see wires and remotely hack electronics from a distance, an important key to solving puzzles.

For Claire’s route, rather than exiting into the city, she enters into the Raccoon City Police department to find a way to follow Sherry Birkin. While her long-term goals of opening the parking garage gate are obvious, finding the circuitous ways to get there involves a lot of running around and creating short-term plans for where to go. There’s various rooms that need to be hit and puzzles that need to be solved.

You don’t have time to sit and wait around, as Mr. X is pursuing Claire through the department. He shoves aside a helicopter, prompting Claire to swear to herself, and stalks her as she desperately tries to solve puzzles. You can hear him stomping from rooms away, giving you a warning to run or find a save room to hide yourself, but fighting Mr. X only ends in delaying him slightly, with no chance of defeating him.

 

The game controls immaculately, but this doesn’t mean you will be shooting zombies down like this is Resident Evil 4. Ammo is still extremely limited and trying to kill every zombie will result in a smoking but empty clip sooner rather than later. One sequence with Ada puts her in a room with four or so zombies while she solves a puzzle. Trying to kill them all is theoretically doable but unlikely. Gathering them all in one spot and using a flash grenade to run past them to the goal is probably a much better use of your resources.

You can check out our New Gameplay Today for footage from the demo. Resident Evil 2 releases on January 25 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

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Tue, 12/04/2018 - 15:39

Civilization VI's upcoming Gathering Storm expansion (February 14) features devastating environmental effects, but Maori legend Kupe – discoverer of New Zealand – finds a hospitable place to settle for his civilization.

Check out the expansion's new trailer detailing the Maori's advantages, from increased production, a unique building, and more.

For information on the Gathering Storm expansion as a whole, check out this previous preview.

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Mon, 12/03/2018 - 14:35

This week mark's the opening salvo of Battlefield V's Tides of War live service campaign. Called Overture, the first chapter has a few notable components. The new single-player war story mission, The Last Tiger, centers on a German tank driver facing bad odds when the Yanks roll into Nazi territory. On the multiplayer side, tank drivers can look forward to the vehicle-focused map called Panzerstorm, which is set in the open fields of Belgium.  Overture also includes a practice range so you can test out weapons/vehicles and delivers a slew of new assignments, weapons, and cosmetics to unlock. This includes vehicle customization, which was conspicuously missing from the game at launch.  

The content drop comes alongside an update that fixes some issues players found in the early weeks of action. Medics will benefit from a buff to SMGs that make them more effective at range, and DICE plans to involve the community to find the sweet spot in the time-to-kill/time-to-death debate

You can dive into the Tides of War content Tuesday, December 4 on all platforms.

Categories: Games

Five Reasons We're Excited For Mechwarrior 5: Mercenaries

Sat, 12/01/2018 - 23:00

MechWarrior was the first notable gaming franchise to let players pilot a giant robot capable of wreaking all sorts of havoc. An off-shoot of the popular Battletech universe, Mechwarrior has a surprisingly long, twisty history of IP rights being traded back and forth between companies. This has resulted in long delays between entries as well as an MMO set in the series' universe: MechWarrior Online.

While MechWarrior Online has turned into a well-received game due to continual support after a rocky launch, fans of the series have yearned for another strong single-player showing for more nearly two decades now.  Revealed back in 2016, developer Piranha Games (who also developed MechWarrior Online) have promised that Mechwarrior 5 will be just that : a return to fiery, mech-driven glory. However, the world has changed since Mechwarrior stomped its footprint into gaming's landscape back in the 90s. With the likes of Titanfall, Steel Battalion, Hawken, Armored Core, Into The Breach, and numerous other mecha-inspired games, the seminal series finds itself with a new challenge: having to stand out amongst the crowd. Luckily, the demo we got to play at this year's Mech_Con demonstrates that Piranha Games has something noteworthy on the horizon with Mechwarrior 5.  

Here are five reasons to be excited about MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries.

The Story Is Promising
A problem you run into with games that have a rich lore like Battletech and Warhammer is that they can often be unkind to new players unfamiliar with that history. Luckily, MechWarrior 5 is a game that casual players can jump into without any familiarity with the universe thanks to a simple setup: you're a young pilot who's been orphaned by one of the factions in MechWarrior's universe. Your job is to build a band of mercenaries to make your living in the war-torn setting of backwater planets and get revenge. The story is direct, with a lot of potential to dive into the cost of war, trauma, technology's horrific effect on warfare. Or, y'know, it could just be a well-written direct revenge yarn. Either way, the easing into the universe will doubtlessly be appreciated by newcomers.

The Combat Is Challenging And Fun
If you haven't played MechWarrior before, you might look at a screenshot of the game and understandably mistake it for a Titanfall-like experience. However, MechWarrior's brand of action has always been more tactical, with a focus on exaggerated realism. Your mechs are not swift and nimble. Instead these machines operate more like tanks, hulking and slow, with each footstep echoing throughout the cockpit and brushes of your mech against buildings capable of leveling entire structures. It's all meant to help you immerse yourself in the fantasy of piloting a massive war machine and it does a fine job accomplishing that.

Combat itself strikes a balance between standard first-person shooter action and simulator warfare. You'll often be fighting in open spaces, like countrysides or cities, having to switch between the various weapons in your loadout. During our demo, I had access to lasers, miniguns, a powerful cannon that was essentially the mech's sniper rifle, and a barrage of missiles. Learning the ins and outs of your weaponry is important because you have a heating meter that can cause your mech to briefly shutdown if you use too many high temperature weapons at once, leaving you vulnerable to attacks. This means you have to master a sort rhythmic battle, with High Temp (laser) following Low Temp (minigun) while also figuring out where to aim on your opponent's mech.

Do you want to take your foe out immediately? Go for the cockpit or the legs. Is their laser doing too much damage to you? Focus fire on their arm to blow it off. Keep in mind there a repercussions for dismembering your opponents, with the salvage of your enemy mech being worth far less on the market if you take to destroying the valuable weapons and limbs on them.

The moment-by-moment combat is exciting and every decision you make not only affects how the battle unfolds but the metagame as well, which is satisfying in a different way.

There's A Lot Of XCOM's Influence Here
MechWarrior 5 is basically two games in one. When you're not taking up arms for settlers on remote planets, fulfilling contracts to get paid, you'll be raising your own band of mercenaries and manipulating the market to your outfit's advantage, recruiting mercenaries and buying mechs with the salvage you sell after battles. You're not alone in MechWarrior 5, with three other mechs able to join you on missions for you to issue simple commands to (like Attack Enemy). The pilots for these mechs have an RPG-lite system attached to them. The more they fight, the more experienced they become in battle, with experimenting with certain weapons making them more efficient with those weapons. You'll need to diversify your stable of pilots to help you have a loadout for every occasion. For example, you wouldn't want pilot that has no experience with laser weapons, load their mech with lasers, on a lava-based world because they would overheat their mech all the time.

Like XCOM, pilots can also die. Permanently. You'll have an endless supply of fodder soldiers to restart from the ground up when you lose people, so it's not the end of the world, but it's still devastating to lose a character you've put so much time into. While Piranha Games currently has no modifier conditions that stick with the soldiers for a substantial amount of time (like PTSD affecting performance), the developer has said that such a system could be a possibility for the final release. 

Riding Into Hell With A Buddy
If you want to play with a squad that's a little less predictable than the serviceable A.I., you can play every mission with up to three friends. We played a round of co-op and it was a blast, with a team of player-controlled mechs absolutely destroying the enemy forces much faster one player plus three A.I. partners. Be warned: if your friend dies in a game, the pilot they're controlling is gone for good from your stable.

That's A Lot Of Mech
Piranha Games is striving to make MechWarrior 5 a big game filled with things to do. Though the developer admits the time is flexible, depending on what side contracts the player pursues as well as their skill level, "40-50 hours" was bandied about in our Q&A sessions for a complete playthrough. Considering that you can play through the game with a band of buddies, this could give MechWarrior 5 the same sort of appeal that Borderlands 2 and Ghost Recon: Wildlands have: beefy multiplayer experiences capable of pulling in both casual and hardcore gamers who are looking for a title to play with their friends regularly. With tons of missions to take on and mechs to collect through the market (and battle), there's also just a lot of fodder here for completionists too.

We'll have more on MechWarrior 5 later today as Mech_Con continues to rage on in Vancouver.

Categories: Games

Dark Pictures: Man Of Medan Gets A New Dev Diary Detailing Visual And Audio Design

Thu, 11/29/2018 - 01:55

Man of Medan, the first game in Supermassive's Dark Pictures Anthology, is still a bit of a question mark. While the game seems to take after Supermassive's criminally underrated Until Dawn, more information would definitely help bolster our excitement for the title. Thankfully, the developer and Bandai Namco are answering that request with a series of dev diaries.

The first dev diary focuses on the sound work in the game, arguably one of the most important parts of making a horror game. To get the sights and sounds of an old steel ship right, the team actually got the run of a real one and recorded all the various sounds they could amass.

The video also goes on to talk about the lighting in the game, trying to make sense of how to navigate the game world while both keeping it spookyand playable. Thus the team based lighting off occasional in-room light sources and light coming down in shafts through openings in the ceiling.

Man of Medan is scheduled for release in 2019 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

Categories: Games

Meet Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden's Foxy New Hero

Wed, 11/28/2018 - 17:00

The Bearded Ladies just showed off a new recruitable character to its tactical adventure game Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden. Farrow is a humanoid fox and combat-ready Stalker who can use her signature ability, Silent Assassin, to double her critical strike chance while hidden.

Players will encounter Farrow in the Metal Fields. This stealthy fox makes for a great assassin, but she has no memory of her origins and had no idea that anything other than her settlement existed until she meets your crew in Road to Eden. 

Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden lets players choose from a number of mutations split into three categories: Passive, Minor, and Major. While Farrow has several options, you can only equip one from each category. Her mutations  include:

  • Passive
    • Super Tendons: Move and sprint to high places without a ladder.
    • Silent Assassin: Do great damage while in hiding.
  • Minor
    • Circuit Breaker: Identify and disable a mechanical enemy's critical functioning parts for 1 turn.
    • Sneak: Pass others unnoticed.
    • Gunslinger: Shoot multiple targets at once using only 1 AP.
  • Major
    • Corpse Eater: Eat fresh raw meat to replenish your health.
    • Moth Wings: Grow wings on your back to move vertically and hover in position.
    • Frog legs: Perform super-mutant leaps and cover long distances. 

Farrow also has passive stat boosts that will upgrade her chance of inflicting critical damage and increase her maximum health. 

You'll be able to try out the vulpine recruit when Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden comes to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on December 4.  You can see the game in action in the 35-minute developer walk-through video here

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Tue, 11/27/2018 - 19:35

The latest Jump Force trailer has revealed the character models and attacks for their new additions to the Shonen Jump brawler. Last week Bandai Namco announced that characters from the anime/manga Rurouni Kenshin would be joining the roster. The new trailer shows off the sword-based attacks of protagonist Himura Kenshin and Kyoto arc antagonist, Makoto Shishio.

Released as a manga in 1994, the story of Rurouni Kenshin follows Kenshin, a former assassin who in later life swears off his murderous past and becomes a wandering swordsman who pursues justice without taking lives. To do so he has the lethal edge of his katana turned inward making killing with it practically impossible. The antagonist Makoto Shishio, was likewise an assassin before being burned alive by the government, forcing him to adopt his covered-in-bandages look.

The trailer seems to give us a glimpse of Shishio's fiery finishing move, as well as Kenshin's ultimate slice among other moves.

Jump Force is set to release February 15. For more info on the power-packed anime roster, be sure to check out our video compilation of nearly every ultimate attack revealed thus far, or our news hub where we'll keep you constantly updated with all the latest powered-up transformations and energy bombs. 

 

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