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Updated: 43 min 34 sec ago

First Teaser Trailer Shows Sam, A Bike, And A Bunch Of Baddies

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 16:09

Croteam has revealed a teaser trailer for its upcoming Serious Sam 4: Planet Badass, which shows the titular character and a bunch of his closest friends.

There's not too much to the clip, but it's fun to see Sam again, as well as one of those creepy headless guys with bombs for hands. We won't have to wait too long for additional information – Croteam says more information, including the official announcement for the game, will be coming at E3, during Devolver Digital's press conference. 

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Categories: Games

Your body is a temple in this open-world survival title

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 22:00

With numerous survival and battle royale titles swarming the video game market, developer Gamepires aims to stand on top using realism with their upcoming Steam Early Access game, SCUM. 

As a prisoner on a TV show, the ultimate objective is to win their freedom by surviving against zombie-like creatures with or against up to 64 other contestants on a 12 kilometer island. The focus to achieving that goal is mastering the human body and its complexities through the “most advanced human body simulation in the world,” creative director Tomislav Pongrac claims. The inspiration for the simulation comes from the team’s research while playing myriad survival titles. They realized that, aside from weapons players discover, differences were merely cosmetic. “You can’t call yourself a survival game if you don’t simulate the real world in some way,” says Gamespire CTO Andrej Levenski.

A chip on the back of your character’s head tracks numerous physical stats, from  respiratory rate to blood volume and calorie consumption, all of which are determined by attributes customized during character creation. Exercising and watching what and how much you eat are the king factors in your success – much like real life. In turn, poor choices result in stat reductions. For example, if you charge into battle and lose a tooth,  that hole in your mouth can affect your ability to eat, which causes a domino effect in stat reductions due to starvation. Hunger depletes attributes such as strength, which governs things like hand-to-hand blows as well as steadiness with a rifle. Players can also get sick if they loiter in the rain too long and don’t have water-resistant gear, and contract diseases from fighting animals.

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“In real life, we are all slightly different depending on what we have learned and what we are capable to perform,” says Pongrac. “In SCUM, all players will be different, regarding their knowledge and capabilities, and we found it much better and more realistic than classes which can be found in some games. In those games, you can create a sniper, a heavy guy, a medic, etc. while in SCUM you will be able to create a character who was a medic before he has been cast on the island, but they also can have a knowledge of using rifles, martial arts, or any other skill you find important. It provides players with almost endless possibilities.”

Upon death, players respawn as a clone of their character, who is created by the TEC1 corporation, the runners of the TV show. Your character maintains all of their attributes thanks to the chip tracking their stats, but the equipment you respawn with depends on a fame system determined by points with different tiers. The more renowned you are, the more equipment you can respawn with, at the cost of spending more points.  Pongrac describes it as “in-game monetization.” Respawning, however, subtracts points and makes you less popular with viewers. “We wanted to create a system that will allow players to continuously upgrade their characters and not to go mad when hundreds of hours invested in gameplay go to waste,” says Pongrac. “There will be no permadeath in the game, but we will make sure that players who try to survive are rewarded while all others who play recklessly are punished in a certain way. There are more things related to the fame system, from sponsor gifts, optional coupons for healing, food, and gear, along with how fame will be distributed within teams, but we will save that for later.”

Despite these numerous systems, Gamepires says SCUM also appeals. A randomized character option that assigns sporadic stats allows players to quickly jump into multiplayer modes that range from team deathmatch to battle royale. “[These types of events are great] because players can rotate faster and try some top gear from the game,” says Levenski. “You can do your regular survival things like hunting, crafting, and cooking, and when events are ready just join in … Your character stats and abilities from survival mode still count in those type of events, so you better join when your character is in good shape.”

If players want to focus on surviving without narrative intrusion, they can ignore plot points and discover the secrets of the show at will. “SCUM provides different gameplay mechanics depending on what players want to do,” says Pongrac. “We like to compare it to the onion. You can peel it layer by layer, or just take a big bite, whatever makes you happy.” 

Though SCUM is ambitious in scope, these factors seem to meld well for what looks like a distinction the survival genre desperately needs. You’ll have the chance to try SCUM when it hits Steam Early Access in the second quarter this year. For more on survival games, check out our hands-on thoughts on SCUM, the latest trailer for State of Decay 2, and our Subnautica review.

Categories: Games

Taking The Circuit By Storm

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 16:07

The rise to the top always starts with a first step, and for those aiming for number one in the rankings in Tennis World Tour, you're going to have to methodically work your way through tournaments across the globe.

Developer Breakpoint (who worked on the Top Spin series) has released a new video for the game (coming to PS4, Xbox One, and PC on May 22) outlining how players construct their schedule in the game's career mode.

Your player's schedule is more than just a menu of dates, however, as managing it well is crucial to maximizing your earnings, avoiding fatigue, and growing as a player.

For more on the game's career mode, check out this rundown from the Sports Desk column.

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Categories: Games

Sora Journeys To Classic Kingdom

Mon, 04/16/2018 - 06:34

A new Kingdom Hearts III trailer dropped today showing off some of the minigames that will be playable in the game, specifically focusing on a bizarre handheld system in Sora's possession that recalls the old days of LCD games.

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The trailer dropped during then KINGDOM HEARTS Union χ Dandelion Meeting in Anaheim, a fan event for the Kingdom Hearts mobile game, Kingdom Hearts Union χ (read as Cross). The short trailer really only gives a small look at the game's minigames, but it is interesting to see any more of the decidedly elusive game.

Kingdom Hearts III was first announced in 2013 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Categories: Games

The MMO Sequel Is Headed To The West

Sun, 04/15/2018 - 20:05

Nexon has announced its long-awaited MMO sequel, MapleStory 2, is finally headed to the West.

Originally released in Korea in 2015 and in China last year, MapleStory 2 improves on the original's 2D sprites and playing field by turning them 3D. You can split your time between dungeon-crawling and facing monsters, or idly build up your house after exploring the world.

Though Nexon did not announce a release date, players can sign up for a closed beta until May 6. The beta will run from May 9-16.

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Categories: Games

Choosing Your Own Path In The Abyss

Fri, 04/13/2018 - 14:00

Underworld Ascendant is a game that, for better or worse, has the chains of history shackled to it. The new immersive sim from OtherSide Entertainment is a spiritual successor to Ultima Underworld, a 1992 game by many of the same developers who were more than happy to explain that it is often considered the first ever first-person action game. With that kind of precedent, the kind of pressure Underworld Ascendant is under starts to take form, though the game definitely seems willing and able to hold that weight.

To say the gameplay in Underworld Ascendant is player-authored might be selling it short. When we talked to OtherSide Entertainment cofounder and immersive sim luminary Paul Neurath earlier this year, he emphasized a desire to take the immersive sim genre further beyond its limitations. Circumventing limitations is the underlying foundation of the genre, after all.

In Underworld Ascendant, players have free reign to seek out solutions however they see fit using whatever is at their disposal. Using what is appropriately titled the Improvisation Engine, players can use and manipulate their environment to solve puzzles, cross gaps, defeat enemies, and generally just tackle any issue in front of them they may need or want to overcome.

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One example in the first dungeon is using water to put out fire. The game imparts the knowledge of this mechanic early on by simply telling you that water, in any of its forms, can be used to put out the various bits of fire around you, from candles to torches to objects set ablaze. It is up to the player to figure out how to apply this knowledge to progress. An immediate option to use water arrows to douse hanging lanterns around an enemy skeleton, befuddling them before sneaking in for the kill. Another might be to set fire to a nearby wooden block as a distraction and then put it out to sneak past. Or the player could just not engage with the mechanic at all until they absolutely need to use it.

The game's narrative is similarly influenced by player behavior. Rival factions vie for your attention and are offended by a lack of it. The player's actions have consequences that ripple across the land and choosing how best to navigate between often contrary options can drastically affect the world.

Still, experimentation sits at the heart of the game and courses through all aspects. The overall structure of Underworld Ascendant has players taking quests, gaining skills, and having helpful eureka moments that can't be quantified within a skill tree. You only need to learn that wooden doors are flammable once before it becomes a core part of your mental toolset for solving puzzles.

The immersive sim genre is one that trades in the currency of stories and experiences, acting as a playground for experimentation for players to tell each other how they overcame various obstacles using unlikely tools. Underworld Ascendant seems to be seeking to do more with its world than merely telling players to have at it, however, and is trying to be a game that uses its variety and openness to encourage repalyability. OtherSide wants players to find their stories of creative puzzle solving and then try to create more stories on top of that.

Underworld Ascendant has a lot of history to live up to, but the far more interesting question is whether the game will live up to its own potential. While we'll know for sure when the game releases later this year on PC, it is making a strong argument for meeting that lofty goal already.

Categories: Games

Siegfried Comes Swinging In Soulcalibur VI

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 16:56

Soulcalibur VI is marching towards a release this year (PS4, Xbox One, and PC), and Bandai Namco has just announced another combatant for its roster – Siegfried, who wields his massive zweihander Requiem in this gameplay trailer.

While you don't get to see the game's destructible armor in the trailer below, you can witness Siegfried's super in action.

To see more of the Soulcalibur VI's gameplay in action, check out this New Gameplay Today footage with our hands-on time with the fighter.

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Categories: Games

Seeing Alien Planets Through The Eyes Of A Robot Bounty Hunter

Wed, 04/11/2018 - 20:15

From its inception, one of virtual reality’s best video game applications has been the action of firing a gun. Gunheart, which is currently playable in early access, has not stumbled into some unknown fun mechanic of virtual reality, but it is trying to create a version that offers a compelling reason to fire a gun, and to do it over and over.

You are a bounty hunter tasked with clearing assorted work sites on various alien planets of their alien bug problem. You do this by making your way through levels and shooting the bugs alongside up to two other players. Structurally, Gunheart has a lot in common with Destiny. You work your way through the site with random cooperative players (or friends), get paid, return to the hub location, The Bent Horizon, exchange your earnings for upgrades and new guns, and repeat the process. A story is present to add some context to why you are shooting alien bugs, but the main thrust to keep playing is going to be the upgrades.

The shooting feels good, if somewhat familiar to other VR shooters, but it does have a few wrinkles that I quickly noticed and enjoyed. Reloading certain weapons requires two actions: pressing the reload button and flicking your wrist in order to reset the gun. The action is a satisfying one, especially when a bunch of alien bugs have you pinned down and you need to quickly reload. Flicking your wrist to reload your gun and firing off a last-second shotgun blast feels good.

The alternate weapons are also equipped in a novel way. You typically hold two weapons, one in each hand, but when you want to use your powerful chain gun, or bow and arrow, you bring the two guns together in front of you, and they automatically transform. I especially liked the bow and arrow weapon as bringing your hands together in this way is already the natural way you would hold your hands to fire off an arrow, and pulling back and letting one fly feels right.

Some of the familiar VR qualms are present with Gunheart, as well as some not-so-familiar oddities. The best way to make your way through the levels without succumbing to motion sickness is to warp everywhere. This action still feels odd, and it also affects the general balance. It’s hard to feel overwhelmed by the alien menace when it’s easy to turn around and hit the warp button a few times to get out of danger. The look of the player is also odd, and the way other players are represented in-game is similarly strange. You and others play as robots wearing scarves around their necks, and when you see other players, they are seated in floating chairs zipping around the level. It doesn’t change the way the game is played, but it does look strange.

Gunheart has a lot going for it in the crowded VR shooter space. It doesn’t feel hugely innovative or new, but it also doesn’t feel like a shallow VR tech demo. Developer Drifter Entertainment has missed its self-imposed deadline to take the game out of early access six months after its initial release, but even in this early-access state, Gunheart feels like a fully-featured shooter and is worth keeping an eye on, especially if you’re a fan of Destiny’s loop of perfecting familiar encounters to acquire new weapons and gear.

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We played Gunheart using an Oculus Rift and a pair of Touch controllers, but the game is also available on Vive.

Categories: Games

Take On The World With The Heart Of The Cards

Mon, 04/09/2018 - 15:00

As part of the King Knight DLC for Shovel Knight, Yacht Club Games announced the King of Cards expansion, a brand new campaign centered around becoming card royalty.

For the expansion, Yacht Club Games has created an entirely new card game that functions similarly to Final Fantasy VIII's Triple Triad card game called Jouster. Cards representing Shovel Knight's many monsters make up your hand with arrows pointing in assigned directions on them. The cards are laid down in lit up center squares with the objective being to slide a card onto a gem on the board. Cards can be shoved by other cards in your hand by lining up arrows from the shover with sides with no arrows on the shovee, eventually getting to the gem.

King Knight is introduced to the card game, then walks forward into a Jouster hall with multiple opponents ready to play. He has to defeat every enemy in the area before he can take on the Black Knight below in his quest to become King.

The default deck probably won't get you very far, but Shovel Knight's merchant resides in a treasure chest in the basement below, and he's selling random cards for King Knight to buy. Since he's King Knight and part of the Order of No Quarter, he's more than happy to cheat, and consumable cheats can also be purchased from the merchant to just do things like destroy the entire enemy hand.

Yacht Club Games explained to us that King of Cards basically doubles the content of the King Knight DLC expansion, offering an entire campaign of characters, stages, and bosses similar in content to the main game and other two DLC campaigns, in addition to the platforming campaign already announced.

Both parts of the King Knight expansion are scheduled to be released in the first half of 2018.

Categories: Games

Funky Kong's Wild Ride

Mon, 04/09/2018 - 02:33

At PAX East 2018, we got hands on with the Switch version of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, one of Nintendo's Wii U to Switch ports in the system's second year.

The big new addition, and emblazoned on the front of the new version's box, is the introduction of Donkey Kong's relative Funky Kong to the playable character list. Unlike previous characters like Diddy, Dixie, and Cranky, Funky supplants Donkey Kong as the main playable character and has his own skills to get through the game's levels.

The gorilla with sunglasses and a surfboard has a much easier time through the game for new players who find Tropical Freeze a little frustrating their first time through. Funky can double jump, basically emulating Dixie Kong's hair twirl but without needing her as a partner. While Cranky could bounce on spikes, Funky makes them completely moot by jumping and standing on them. Funky also hovers, much like Diddy's jetpack, making the incredibly safe jumps even safer. Finally, Funky can move fast in the same way Donkey Kong can infinitely roll, but without the need for a partner Kong.

For players who don't necessarily want an easy mode, however, Funky offers a few other advantages. Because of these extra skills, Funky Kong is a speedrunner's dream. The character basically breaks the game's level design and tears through areas far faster than Donkey Kong and any individual partner could do. For players who enjoy the time trial aspects of Tropical Freeze, Funky Kong is likely to dominate leaderboards. 

When players are using Funky Kong, his role as shopkeeper is taken up by Squawks the parrot, who does his best Funky impression in his stead.

The main improvement to the Switch version is much faster load times. The game on the Wii U suffered from extremely lengthy loads, while the Switch game seems to come in around half the time.

Whether Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze on Switch will be worth an extra purchase for previous owners has yet to be revealed, but fun with Funky can be had even for players who have already gone through the game.

Categories: Games

A Surprising Journey Through Time And Space

Sun, 04/08/2018 - 23:28

Outer Wilds' initial impression is rather mundane and even a little disappointing when you first sit down with it. The pitch for the game, space exploration governed and oppressed by time ticking down to a universal restart every few minutes, feels almost wasted at the outset. I played the demo at PAX East, however, and came away feeling far more intrigued by the game than its initial moments disguised.

The game starts with your character, an alien of some sort, getting ready to use an amateur garage-built rocket to get off their podunk planet and see the universe. Before I could set off, though, I needed launch codes from the forest village's observatory as a cranky old alien in a rocking chair sternly informed me. Along the way, some alien children might ask the player character to play hide and seek with them to tutorialize the game's radio frequency receiver, or fly drones with someone to learn how to fly the ship, both of which I did and neither of which were particularly fun. Regardless, I got the codes, returned to the ship, strapped in, and took off.

This slow start drained me of enthusiasm for Outer Wilds quickly. I did not realize the game would soon make me feel foolish for thinking that.

In space, while attempting to grapple with the controls, I accidentally got a little too close to the sun. I ended up with a bit more than a suntan as I accidentally thrust my ship into the burning star and died. A loading screen separated the next scene, a respawn at the same campsite with the same old alien, hoping that the game saved after I got the codes and not before. To check, I decided to just go ahead and get in the ship and see if it let me. I groaned as the alien told me I needed the codes to launch into space, only to be surprised at his surprise that I already knew them.

My character didn't respawn. They went back in time.

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My next journey was to a planet-sized comet hurtling through space, covered in a hazy green mist and swirling tornadoes just off the ocean cliffs. The landing process, which involved loading up landing cameras to figure out where I could actually set my ship, let me park precariously on the edge of a rocky outcrop on a mountain. I unbuckled my seat belt, stepped outside, and immediately died.

Whoops. Probably poisonous.

I respawned again and looked up at the sky and saw the comet I was just on flying overhead. A sparkling object fell from the sky into the village. As I raced toward it, presuming it would be something that lets me figure out how to survive the poison, the demo ended, and I was left bewildered and fascinated.

The Majora's Mask-like atmosphere and mechanics feel like intentional nods and inspirations and made me desirous to see far more of the game. It is hard to say if the core gameplay loop of Outer Wilds will hold up or if there is a deeper narrative beneath its concept, but I definitely want to find out more after playing the demo.

Outer Wilds is scheduled for release on PC in 2018.

Categories: Games

Manage Not Just Your Riders, But Your Emotions Too

Sun, 04/08/2018 - 21:52

Neo Cab is a game from Chance Agency (whose staff has worked on games like Firewatch) that's billed as an "emotional survival game," touching upon themes like the gig economy, technology, and human connection. Taking influence from ride-sharing apps like Lyft and Uber, Neo Cab puts you in the shoes of a driver who must manage both their emotions and riders.

You play as Lina, a young woman who is a newcomer to the city of Los Ojos. In the not-too-distant future, she's one of the last remaining cab drivers since most have been replaced by robots. She's empathetic and knows when to speak up or when to bite her tongue depending on who gets in her car. This insight is helped by an item she wears that helps track her emotional status. When rude customers make her angry or sad, this item will flash a certain color to let her know. This way, she can keep her emotions in check so that she can be level-headed and careful with how she interacts with riders.

Outside of conversations with riders and your resulting emotional health, you also have to manage your finances and reputation in order to progress.

Rather than describing it as a cyberpunk game, creative lead Patrick Ewing tells The Verge that he sees the game as "now punk," since it takes its inspiration from today's technology. Instead of trying to send a message through the game that technology is harmful, Ewing hopes that it instead has us contemplate the "human cost that exists within these systems."

Neo Cab is still in early development and it doesn't have a release date just yet. It plans to launch on PC through Steam and You can learn more by heading to Chance Agency's development blog.

[Source: The Verge]

Categories: Games

Become Acquainted With 1918 London In This Dark And Gritty Trailer

Sun, 04/08/2018 - 20:45

We're just a couple months away from the release of Vampyr, an RPG about vampires in 1918 London. A new trailer was recently revealed, giving us another glimpse at protagonist Jonathan Reid's plight and the world he inhabits.

Set as World War I comes to a close and around the time of the Spanish Flu, Britain is ravaged with death and overcome with hopelessness. In Vampyr, these dark times give vampires the opportunity to kill to their heart's desire without much of the city noticing. Playing as Reid, you are a vampire yourself, and one of the biggest challenges you face is morality. You need to satisfy your thirst for blood, but as a doctor, you often don't want to kill unless absolutely necessary. 

You can view the trailer below.

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Vampyr launches on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on June 5.

Categories: Games

The Nazi-Killing Action Game On The Go

Sun, 04/08/2018 - 04:24

At PAX East, Nintendo gave us hands-on time with the Switch version of Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, last year's story-heavy action showcase from Bethesda.

The demo we played started about half an hour into the game, where protagonist BJ Blaskowicz obtains the ability to start moving around in the game's action sequences. The first area had Fergus Reid, BJ's partner-in-arms from the army through the resistance, imploring BJ to take back the resistance U-boat from Nazi clutches. 

On first glance, the game looks like the PC version on lower settings. It makes a lot of the same compromises that Doom made on the Switch last year, lowering resolution and depth of field to run at a consistent albeit decidedly lower framerate. When just walking around, this is not terribly noticeable, but getting close to walls or character models like Fergus bring you back to the reality that you're playing a game where the baseline was PlayStation 4 and Xbox One now crammed on to a Switch.

That said, the game still plays like Wolfenstein II, for better or for worse. The introduction to the game still has BJ stealthing around and taking out Nazi officers before they can raise an alarm or, more likely, simply going in guns blazing and hope for the best. Both strategies function the same on Switch as they do on other consoles, though the system's slightly larger deadzone on its analog sticks makes fine adjustments harder. While we did not get a chance to try the motion controls out, the slight wrist movements involved there should compensate adequately to help make more accurate shots.

We also asked whether the game still features the ill-fitting cover of We're Not Gonna Take It. The Nintendo representatives could not confirm or deny, but did say the game is identical content-wise to its brethren. 

There's still no word when Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus will launch for the Switch, but all indications are that it will come out this year. For people looking to take Wolfenstein's brutal kills and story on the go, the Switch version should function fine, just with a lot of the expected compromises.

Categories: Games

Bring On The Slow Survival Jams

Sun, 04/08/2018 - 03:11

During PAX East 2018, State of Decay developers Undead Labs unleashed a new trailer for the game showing off different aspects of the zombie survival sim.

The somber trailer plays slow music over the gameplay and management mechanics of the game, showing off leader mechanics, shooting, even zombie tossing. At one point, the player character stuns a large zombie by shooting it in the head a number of times before running at it and swinging around its neck to stab it in the back of the head.

You can check out the new trailer below.

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State of Decay 2 launches May 22 on PC and Xbox One, with an early access period beginning for preorder customers on May 18.

Categories: Games

Fly In With The First Gameplay Trailer

Fri, 04/06/2018 - 21:06

Dragons make everything better, and that's no exception when it comes to Yasuhiro Wada's latest project in his pedigree of slice-of-life simulation video games from Harvest Moon to Story of Seasons. While disparate footage from GDC 2018 and screenshots of Little Dragons Café have been released slowly, official gameplay footage has emerged from its cave with a new trailer showcasing the major features of this vibrant-looking title that looks like it came straight out of a coloring book.

Two siblings are tasked with managing their mother's café shop since she's fallen into a deep sleep, but a wizard appears telling them that they can save her if they rear a baby dragon that he gives them. Not only must they feed and care the dragon around their island, but also fret about gathering ingredients and executing recipes for a diverse set of customers. Exploration and cute, simple mini-games are spread throughout the experience as you test your cooking and multitasking prowess. 

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You can read extensive impressions and check out all sorts of screenshots from Elise Favis' hands-on session with Little Dragons Café, which is set to be released for the PlayStation 4 and Switch this summer. 

Categories: Games

Releasing From Early Access With A Double-Edged Appeal

Fri, 04/06/2018 - 17:00

In the harsh landscapes and social climate of Conan Exiles, day and night means survival. The action-based MMO has been through plenty of growing pains in the last year, so we went back to the Hyborian Age in a hands-on session to give you a rundown of how Funcom’s take on the decades-old fantasy franchise is evolving a month before its release from early access.

One of the most notable changes is how combat has received an overhaul to be more engaging. Light and heavy attacks can now be mixed together with a wide assortment of weapons that have overhauled animations, giving a greater heft and weight to combat akin to The Elder Scrolls Online’s simple, yet engaging fights. As silly as the comparison sounds, Exiles has a Dark Souls vibe with a focus on locking onto opponents and dodging wisely (with less of the precision and difficulty); you’ll need to feign and time your attacks accordingly as you wait for the right openings to expose opponents.

It’s an upward climb to make your way through Conan’s world. In our playthrough, our customizable character is freed by the iconic barbarian from a mysterious condemnation to hang on a cross. From then on out, we not only had to fend off vicious predators and savages, but also handle menial concerns like thirst, hunger, stamina, and stat-altering ailments. We were at a loss for what to do at first from all the overwhelming information, but we slowly adjusted to the world’s harsh groove by crafting bedrolls to spawn near locations where we died, quickly gathering supplies for crafting, and so forth. It helps that the UI has been cleaned up to be more readily legible as well. Leveling persists, and the equipment you acquire can be swiftly recovered should you plan accordingly.

There’s a lot to keep track of as you gather your bearings, but after scavenging enough and adjusting to taking care of your character’s many needs, you can begin establishing a settlement with the game’s diverse, extensive building tools. While traversing these abodes resulted in some glitches for us like levitating up stairs and hearing other playtesters getting stuck, it’s incredible what you can do. You can even bring company (by force) with the Thrall system by enslaving other tribes’ people to protect your own and craft new items with their skills. It’s one part of the flow of managing your own keep in the game, and a new example of streamlining this comes with farming, which lessens the need to go abroad and mindlessly collect every supply you’d need since you can grow food in your own backyard.

While there’s no traditional story, Funcom is expanding the lore with the discovery system, encouraging players to take note of mysterious objects and items spread across the game’s world, which give clues to how and why your character ended up on the cross along with references to the broader universe of Conan.

We didn’t get far enough in our short playtime to raid a dungeon, but we can tell they’re not the main attraction of the game. The constant tug of war between warring players in PvP seems to be where the most fun and unexpected encounters happen, even if setting up strategies for epic assaults can be hard to naturally bring about.

Another concern arises with raiding. It’s a key component of PvP, but players might have frustrations with the lengths you need to go to in order to advance. Backup stashes of supplies and weapons are necessary to manage since players can raid bases and steal equipment if you’re not around to do something about it. Relying on a large group of friends is key to making significant progress, but if you don’t have the stomach for PvP, the PvE mode now has a new feature called Purge.

In this mode, large groups of NPCs attack your base at certain intervals, and similar to FOB raids in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, these Purges even occur when you’re not playing. While you can adjust the conditions for this feature, the enemies will attack more frequently and in greater numbers depending on where you settle in, how many friends are in your clan, and so forth. You’ll certainly test your limits of preservation in the online arena, but Purge is an incredibly welcome and more forgiving alternative.

We wouldn’t put too much attention into building grand bases since a rival Avatar (god) can destroy everything in a matter of seconds. These formidable, giant gods are a spectacle, and you can summon them upon meeting several conditions. You can assassinate a player controlling an Avatar, but with so little time for them to control the deity, the damage is usually done by the time it’s all over.

Conan Exiles is replete with RPG systems and survival mechanics, and while the climb to ascend the barbaric ranks of the land may be an entertaining process, the potential frustrations and investment required for PvP might root out potential players. However, the introduction of Purge captures the survival spirit of its online space. Either way, the game has come a long way to establish its merit with commendable visuals, settlement building, and various improvements with new environments to explore. There are some kinks and systems that could be ironed out and deepened to make Exiles something truly special. As it stands, the game is poised to offer an ambitious survival-oriented alternative in the MMO genre, but whether it will burst out with a rousing battle cry to all remains to be seen.

You can also check out Andrew Reiner's opinion piece on the troubles that come with early access or watch our recent New Gameplay Today on another survival-based game called Subnautica, which you can read Elise Favis' review on here.

Categories: Games

See The Race Through Chaos In The Latest Trailer And Screens

Thu, 04/05/2018 - 23:50

Codemasters and Deep Silver have come together to show off a new trailer for their upcoming arcade-style racer, Onrush. Developed by the former Evolution Studios team (MotorStorm, DriveClub), this game focuses on getting up close and personal with your opponents, taking them down at every opportunity. Getting to the finish line isn't the primary goal – it's about making it there with style.

The tracks are reminiscent of Burnout and MotorStorm, with shortcuts to find, multiple paths to take, and allows a quick return to the action once your vehicle has become a fireball. Cars and motorcycles are both on display in this new trailer and each should provide unique challenges.

If high-octane action is in your blood, be sure to check out the trailer below.

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Onrush is slated for release on the PS4 and Xbox One on June 5.

Categories: Games

Exploring Uncharted Islands In World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth

Thu, 04/05/2018 - 14:01

Randomized elements make this new experience an excellent addition to World of Warcraft.

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Categories: Games

Engage In Jolly Cooperation Once Again

Tue, 04/03/2018 - 15:01

Dark Souls, it can be argued, defines an entire genre of games at this point. When the game originally released in 2011, fans of Demon's Souls were excited for the spiritual successor, but a lot of others were baffled putting their hands around the Souls formula for the first time. The game stymied some, charmed others, and created an experience that has yet to be truly paralleled in exactly the same way.

When Dark Souls Remastered was announced for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC, there were a lot more questions than answers. Bandai Namco has been fairly mum about details, but we finally had the chance to go hands-on with the game and find out whether Dark Souls Remastered could end up as the definitive version for the games.

In terms of graphics, Dark Souls Remastered will offer you different features depending on the platform you play it on. While PC will of course be native 4K and 60 frames per second if your hardware supports it, PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X will have upscaled 4K and 60 FPS. Base versions of those consoles will be 1080p and 60 FPS. The Switch version will also be 1080p when docked, and 720p in handheld mode, but will be 30 FPS regardless of whether it's docked or handheld.

The developers of the port say they have avoided some of the 60 FPS issues that have plagued both makeshift and official framerate solutions in the games in the past. There's no worry about falling out of world when sliding down a ladder in this release, an unintended consequence of mods that fixed a lot of the original PC release's problems. If a fallen enemy is ragdolling on the ground, hitting it with your weapon does not massively affect our durability like in the official PC release of Dark Souls II. While we did not get to see it ourselves, we were assured Blighttown now runs at at a framerate consistent with the rest of the game.

A few textures are being cleaned up, but by and large most textures are being left the same. Some still look a little grimy and low-resolution, but a lot of Dark Souls' textures were originally more detailed than their 720p resolution really allowed, making the game still look great in most spots.

As far as gameplay changes go, there is a host of small and large changes. For online multiplayer, six players can now be in a world at once, up two from the game's original release and now in line with Dark Souls III's number. In order to get access to six player worlds, players need Dried Fingers, which have been moved from the Painted World of Ariamis to the Undead Burg Merchant to make that easier, with the former Dried Finger location now just being Twin Humanities. Players can now meet up with friends using a password match system, which syncs levels so significantly stronger players don't just carry friends. 

In order to keep PVP fights from going on too long, estus is the only healing item allowed to be used by invaders, and is halved for all phantoms. If you defeat an invading phantom, all your estus flasks are restored. Additionally, the game is no longer based on peer-to-peer connections and now all players connect to a dedicated server.

Other changes include the ability to use multiple consumables, like Soul items, at once where the original release forced players to use them one at a time. Full button remapping is available, including changing jumping to L3 like Dark Souls II and III. Items are no longer automatically added to the item bar upon picking them up and holding up or down on the D-Pad brings you to the first item on the bar. Finally, covenants you've pledged an oath to can be switched at bonfires without needing to physically visit the covenant keeper to switch again.

Dark Souls fans have a lot to look forward to with the remaster and hopefully it lives up to the promise of a better running, more modern version of the original game. Virtuous is porting the game to Switch and QLOC for the consoles and PC, but FROM Software is overseeing both teams and approving the changes, which should mean it keeps the spirit of the game intact. Souls fans will have a chance to find out when the game releases on all platforms on May 25.

Categories: Games