Games

Learn About The Delicious Demolition Of Destruction AllStars

Game Informer News Feed - 1 hour 36 min ago

Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment Developer: Lucid Games Release: February 2, 2021 Platform: PlayStation 5

PlayStation and Destruction AllStars studio Lucid Games have released a seven-and-a-half minute State of Play video for the frantic and colorful title, giving you a solid idea of what to expect when the game is released next week.

Players choose from 16 distinct characters known as AllStars. Each character has their own unique abilities, as well as signature hero vehicles. You have access to three different vehicle types: one focused on speed and drifting, one focused on handling and agility, and one focused on plowing through the crowd through sheer brute force. Don't get too attached to these vehicles, however, as the common vehicles are meant to be destroyed; developer Lucid Games wants you hopping in and out of vehicles often, mixing up the vehicular gameplay with the on-foot parkour action.

As you evade enemies, wreck vehicles, and collect items on the field, you charge your hero ability and hero vehicles to unleash moves like leaving a trail of fire everywhere you run or drive or going invisible to catch opponents off guard.

Your mission in Destruction AllStars is to enter a vehicle and cause as much destruction and carnage as possible. While ramming another vehicle with your vehicle is the most obvious way to accomplish this, you can jump on top of a vehicle while you're on foot to either take over that player's vehicle or destroy it. 

At launch, Destruction AllStars delivers four game modes. Mayhem, which can be played single-player, is all about causing as much chaos as possible. Carnado is an 8v8 team-based mode tasks you with earning gears by destroying or stealing your opponents' vehicles before banking them by driving your car into the carnado, destroying your vehicle in the process. Stockpile is another team-based game centered on collecting gears, but you also need to focus on controlling the three banks in the arena. The final mode is Gridfall, a deathmatch of sorts, where each character has a set number of lives and the last person standing is the winner.

As you play, you unlock costumes and cosmetics to customize your AllStars and their rides. Using in-game currency, you can buy character skins, character emotes, vehicle emotes, and shouts. The in-game currencies include AllStar Coins, which are earned by playing online and earning experience points. Alternately, you can purchase Destruction Points using real money in the PlayStation Store. Destruction Points will also be earnable later this year by way of completing daily and weekly challenges.

You can watch the State of Play video, which also goes into depth about the in-game challenges, in its entirety below.

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Destruction AllStars will be released on PlayStation 5 on February 2. Best of all, if you're a PlayStation Plus subscriber, you can add it to your library at no additional cost.

Categories: Games

Persona 5 Strikers Trailer Shows Off Phantom Thief Combat Abilities

Game Informer News Feed - 4 hours 7 min ago

Publisher: Atlus Developer: Atlus, Omega Force Release: February 23, 2021 Platform: PlayStation 4, Switch, PC

Set six months after the conclusion of Persona 5, Persona 5 Strikers reunites the Phantom Thieves of Hearts for an all-new adventure. Rather than focusing on Tokyo, Persona 5 Strikers expands the adventure to include a road trip to various regions across Japan. Not only is the scope of the journey expanded, but the combat is completely different from the turn-based fare of Persona 5. 

This time around, the Phantom Thieves traverse dungeons and encounter Shadows, triggering action-packed, hack-and-slash battles. However, the turn-based inspiration carries through to Persona 5 Strikers, as Joker, Ann, Ryuji, and company can still summon their Personas for pause-and-plan sequences that stop the action while you navigate the menus. Just as each character has their own Personas with unique abilities, each member of the Phantom Thieves has their own special abilities and affinities.

Today, Atlus released a new trailer highlighting some of the combat abilities of the Phantom Thieves. Whether you're talking Ann's ability to use fire attacks or Makoto's nuclear affinity, so much of Persona 5 Strikers' combat relies on exploiting enemy weaknesses to trigger Follow-Up opportunities and All-Out Attack sequences. You can see the team reunited and battling it out with Shadows in the new trailer below.

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Persona 5 Strikers hits PlayStation 4, Switch, and PC on February 23. However, you can access the game starting on February 19  if you purchase the Digital Deluxe edition. This bundle comes with a digital art book, a digital soundtrack, a behind-the-scenes video showcasing the making of the music, and special background music from past Persona games. 

For more on Persona 5 Strikers, check out my early impressions of my time with the game here. If you've missed the boat on Persona 5 to this point and want to start at the beginning, the enhanced re-release Persona 5 Royal is the way to go (even if Strikers serves as a follow up to the vanilla version). To learn about that game, you can read my review, or check out associate editor Jason Guisao's opinion piece on why it's a game worth playing – even if you already experienced the original.

Categories: Games

The Medium Review

Gamespot News Feed - 6 hours 7 min ago

The world of The Medium begs to be closely examined, to be parsed for small details that begin to paint monsters as something not too dissimilar to humans. Recognizing these similarities, at times, can be even more terrifying than facing an actual grotesque creature. There's something disturbing about being forced to confront the evils that humans can inflict on one another, and recognize how horrific acts of sexual abuse, ethnoreligious discrimination, and physical violence rarely, if ever, result in a singular trauma. The aftereffects of such actions can fester in the heart and mind of victims for years, an unsettling truth that is often glossed over. It's here that The Medium finds the basis for its story, one that leaves a lasting impression

In The Medium, you play as Marianne (voiced by Kelly Burke, who does a fabulous job), a powerful clairvoyant who travels to the Niwa Resort. She goes there in search of Thomas, a man who leaves her a strange message telling her to find and help him, promising that he'll give her the answers she seeks about her past in return. As a medium, Marianne is able to commune with spirits and help them pass on to the afterlife, a skill she's developed working in her foster father's funeral home. To that end, The Medium plays out on two planes of existence: the normal world and the spirit world, the latter of which acts as a twisted reflection of the former.

The spirit world--inspired by the surreal dystopia portrayed in the paintings of Zdzisław Beksiński--is a nightmarish hellscape, one where the doors are made of human skin that you have to slowly carve open with a rusty knife, and the inhabitants are either monstrous creatures or creepy mask-wearing spirits. Even Marianne takes on a new appearance when navigating the spirit world, the sleeve of her kickass jacket (she's so stylishly put together, I'm jealous as hell) and pant leg becoming frayed, as if this version of her is an incomplete, less-human being. But these two depictions of the world are not black and white opposites. Instead, the game posits that they exist as mirrors of one another--one manifesting literally what the other only hints at figuratively. And via this shared window into both perspectives, The Medium is able to explore the trauma of its characters through puzzle-solving and riddles.

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Categories: Games

Apex Legends Season 8 Gameplay Trailer Reveals Fuse’s Abilities, Gold Ammo Attachments, And More

Game Informer News Feed - Tue, 01/26/2021 - 19:33

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Publisher: Electronic Arts Developer: Respawn Entertainment Release: February 4, 2019 (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC), 2021 (Switch) Rating: Teen Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC

In a world of skill-based matchmaking and unending third-parties from lesser-skilled squads, Fuse emerges from the flames with an ability kit made to devastate enemies as well as create space for his teammates. Respawn Entertainment has given us a new look at Season 8 with a gameplay trailer that you can watch above. Fuse, the latest Apex Legends character, can stun and damage opponents with his pellet launcher or throw grenades from a mechanism on his wrist (just like at the end of the previous cinematic trailer). His ultimate casts projectiles that fall to the ground and burn any foes that might be standing in the area of effect. Fuse seems like the perfect legend for players that simply want to watch the world burn and his laissez-faire personality is just an added bonus. 

In addition to Fuse, new battle pass cosmetics will be available (the Lifeline skin in the gameplay trailer looks pretty sweet). But, more importantly, a higher tier for magazines is joining the loot rotation. Gold ammo attachments contain the same capacity as their purple counterparts but come with an autoloader perk. You can watch Rampart attach the gold mag to her Spitfire and lay waste to an entire squad. The perk likely means that reloading times will be reduced but there’s no word on whether or not this stacks with Rampart’s passive ability. 

The 30-30 repeater finally got some time to shine. The new weapon seems to be a cross between the semi-auto fire of the popular G7 Scout and the charge functionality of the Sentinel. One could even say that the rifle’s mid- and long-range versatility is reminiscent of the ADS-activated choke that makes the Peacekeeper shotgun so powerful. And with the radical Kings Canyon changes that are set to come at the start of Season 8, the 30-30 repeater might just find its way at the top of the loadout charts alongside the Volt SMG.

Speaking of geographical changes, Kings Canyon has been obliterated by Fuse’s childhood friend Maggie. So, new areas have emerged from the ashes of old ones. With the inclusion of armories, on-the-fly high ground, never-before-seen points of interest, and optimized map rotations, wandering Kings Canyon in search of firefights will feel refreshing again. You can see these awesome features for yourself here

Apex Legends Season 8 launches on February 2 so be sure to grind during the final days of Season 7 to secure more wins for your in-game player card. Or, you can get set to jump into the Apex games for the first time on Nintendo Switch (if the rumors are true, of course.)

Categories: Games

Hitman 3’s Developers Share What Makes Its Berlin Level Special

Game Informer News Feed - Fri, 01/22/2021 - 17:11

Publisher: IO Interactive Developer: IO Interactive Release: January 20, 2021 Platform: PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, Stadia, PC

Agent 47 may be the playable avatar and box-art star of the Hitman series, but I’d argue that he’s not the main draw. That distinction has to go to the meticulously crafted levels that IO Interactive has delivered for years. They’re sandboxes in the best sense of the term, providing interesting, beautiful, and varied backdrops for players to ply their grim trade. Each level is purposely built for replayability, rewarding players who fully explore each setting with not only unlocks but a greater vision of the myriad little stories that populate each place. One of Hitman 3’s standout locations is its Berlin mission, which severs Agent 47 from the resources that he’s relied on up until this point in the trilogy. It’s a disconcerting change of pace, and there are some interesting stories behind its development.

We spoke to several members of the development team during our Hitman 3 cover story, and we were able to play our way through the game’s first three missions. We wrote at length about the Dubai and Dartmoor levels, but much about Berlin was off-limits for our pre-launch coverage. Now that the game is out, we’re ready to share some of the behind-the-scenes insights about the mission.

First a quick spoiler warning: If you’re planning on playing Hitman 3, I’d recommend coming back to this after you’ve played through this particular mission. There are some surprising things about it, and much of its impact could be lost if you read too much beforehand. I went into it without any knowledge about what was coming, and I think the experience was stronger for it. Your mileage may vary, of course, but I wanted to bring it up sooner than later.

By the time you begin the game’s third mission, Apex Predator, you’ve probably already developed a sense that IO Interactive is moving out of its comfort zone with these levels. The first mission features a lot of verticality and a pair of targets who can be drawn close together for a memorable double kill. The second mission, Dartmoor, lets players try their hand at being a detective instead of their usual role as a freelance executioner. The optional murder mystery is a complete change of pace, with optional interrogations and investigations that can occur right out in the open.

At IO Interactive, every mission begins with the team nailing down some key thematic words and phrases. For Dubai, game director Mattias Engstrom gave the level designers and artists a few short terms including “on top of the world,” “open and airy,” and “an inviting beginning.” Dartmoor’s thematic direction included the phrase “a house filled with secrets” and the words “ominous” and “vulnerable.” By the time the third mission rolls around, players are dropped into a place where the words “loneliness” and “isolation” were used as creative springboards. Once you’ve played through it, the significance is clear.

Midway through Hitman 3’s narrative arc, Agent 47 finds himself alone. His former colleagues are dead or working against him. What was supposed to be a meeting has transformed into a slaughter. There’s no friend on the other side of an earpiece. Players don’t even know who their targets are as they emerge from a wooded area to find a sprawling club built within a decommissioned power plant. “It was always supposed to be a cold open and a bit surreal with what’s going on,” Engstrom says. “You don’t really have anything or anyone here, and 47 is defining his own mission for the first time.”

Even though Agent 47 doesn’t have any tactical support, he’s far from alone. As you work your way into the facility, you start to appreciate just how many people have packed themselves into the place. “This is our event location,” Engstrom says. “Like, Paris has a fashion show, this is the rave event.” Music can be heard upon approach, with bass reverberating off the concrete. When you descend into the actual club, it’s a nearly overwhelming sensation. The music is loud, and it’s accompanied by a syncopated light show.

“We put a lot of effort into making it an authentic rave in Berlin, and a lot of effort into the music, and we spent a lot of effort into making that crowd,” Engstrom says. Players have to observe NPCs to determine who the targets are, which can be tricky considering the overall density. Of course, Agent 47 can use that to his advantage as well, slipping amid the crowd to conceal himself if a guard notices the suspicious-acting bald guy.

Executive producer Forest Swartout Large says that seeing the content-complete version of the rave for the first time was a career highlight. “I feel like it’s so much, that experience up to that reveal. And then you get inside and you’re like, ‘Oh my god! Mind blown!’” She adds that she felt like seeing it all working together was something special. “I cried when I saw the rave, and when I had the ‘I have arrived’ moment. It was totally emotional. It hit me like a ton of bricks.”

In a first for the series, Hitman 3’s composer, Niels Bye Nielsen, also wrote all of the other music for the game instead of incorporating tracks from other sources. One of the easy-to-miss details about the rave is how the NPCs react to his work. As the music builds and explodes, the crowd will adjust their moves to simulate, well, dancing. Their moves are fairly convincing, though Swartout Large recalls that it wasn’t always quite that way. “We have this very tall Viking/Norwegian animator named Morten [Helgeland], and he did the initial blocking-animation mocap – and it was hilarious.”

That placeholder animation – which, to be clear, was never intended to be included in the game – made it look as though the dance floor was populated by “f---ing dads,” Engstrom says, laughing, as he mimes some decidedly uncool maneuvers.

Dancing dads notwithstanding, the rave sequence is impressive on traditional displays, but the team says it shines even brighter in PlayStation VR. “Without a doubt, that rave level is something where we grab people and say, ‘Can you please come over and just go down on the dance floor?’” says senior game designer Eksil Mohl. “Because you can [make a fist], everybody has just been standing there [mimes pumping a fist to the music]. And they’re saying ‘This is insane. This is insane.’”

Lead game designer Sidsel Hermansen adds that being able to experience the club in VR is a nice reminder of how things used to be before the Covid-19 pandemic. “I haven’t been to a rave for a long time, I haven’t been to a party, I haven’t been to a concert, and I usually do that a lot,” she says. “It’s actually been kind of a reminder. It’s been a beautiful thing to be able to go there.”

Categories: Games

Puzzle Quest 3 Announced For A 2021 Release

Game Informer News Feed - Thu, 01/21/2021 - 20:33

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Publisher: 505 Games Developer: Infinity Plus Two Rating: Rating Pending

It's hard to believe it, but 11 years have passed since the last numbered entry in the Puzzle Quest series. The hybrid match-three/RPG adventure gimmick was an odd pairing, but the series amassed more than 30 million users since its 2007 debut. Today, publisher 505 Games has revealed that the next installment in the series is coming this year, in the form of – you guessed it – Puzzle Quest 3.

Steve Fawkner, creator of the series and CEO and creative lead at Infinity Plus Two, says he's excited to reveal more about what's ahead. "The vision for this latest project has been years in the making, and like any good Puzzle Quest game, it's a delicate balance of gameplay, story, and strategic puzzle-solving while introducing something unexpected that will appeal to both old and new fans. We can’t wait to share PQ3."

Beyond that, the companies aren't sharing much else at the moment. They did reveal Puzzle Quest 3 will be coming to mobile devices and PC later this year, with other platforms to be revealed at a later date. Additionally, this one's being designed as a free-to-play experience. It's premature to speculate too much at this point, but it's likely that means players will get a certain number of cracks at a given level before they'll either have to wait for an energy recharge or pay to accelerate the process.

Puzzle Quest isn't part of the broad gaming conversation the way it used to be, but that could be because of its long absence. Meanwhile, upstarts like the Puzzle & Dragons franchise have filled the void and further honed the idea of combining Bejeweled-like gameplay with RPG elements such as spells and physical attacks.

Categories: Games

Hitman 3 Review — Perfect Execution

Gamespot News Feed - Tue, 01/19/2021 - 13:00

Since it rebooted its Hitman franchise in 2016, IO Interactive has been putting on a level design masterclass. Each of the missions the developer rolled out in what it calls its World of Assassination series has contained a huge, intricate collection of scripted and free-form systems that create harrowing moments, presented elaborate puzzles to solve, and allowed the player to orchestrate ludicrous and often hilarious situations. Levels are designed to be played over and over so you can explore, understand, and eventually master all their moving parts, and it's impossible to see everything one has to offer in a single playthrough (or in most cases, even two or three).

At first blush, Hitman 3 appears to be more of the same. It makes no drastic changes to the underlying formula, instead adding a few graphical upgrades and quality-of-life improvements to the existing Hitman framework. But Hitman 3 improves on the World of Assassination through consistently excellent level design--which is saying something, given how strong all the previous missions are. Hitman 3 is full of fun and fascinating ideas, many of which play with the concepts underpinning the last four years of Hitman levels.

Presumably knowing that players have spent all sorts of time mastering its many settings and systems, IO throws in some brilliant curve balls that require you to use your assassin skills and knowledge in clever, challenging new ways.

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Categories: Games

Hitman 3 Launch Trailer Gives A View To Many Kills

Game Informer News Feed - Mon, 01/18/2021 - 14:00

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Publisher: IO Interactive Developer: IO Interactive Release: January 20, 2021 Platform: PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, Stadia, PC

Hitman 3 launches on January 20, and developer IO Interactive is celebrating the impending release with a brand-new trailer that gives eager fans a glimpse at some of the deadly scenarios that lie ahead. The video (which you can watch above) has its fair share of guns, violence, and death – but maybe not as much as you would expect for a game about a professional killer.

The footage places equal emphasis on the various locations that players will visit in Hitman 3, which makes sense considering how important your surroundings are in this game. Not only does your environment provide an appealing visual backdrop, but it also plays a role in your strategy, including unlocking persistent shortcuts as you play through levels multiple times.

We see several different locations in the trailer, including a country mansion, a towering skyscraper, and more. Because these areas are designed for repeated play, variety among them is important to keep the scenarios from growing stale. If you don’t mind spoilers about one possible route through Hitman 3’s first mission, you can watch us play through it in 10 minutes in this episode of New Gameplay Today.

If the launch trailer isn't enough to hold you over for a few days until Hitman 3's release date, we have plenty of other ways for you to immerse yourself in IO Interactive's stealth-focused adventure thanks to our recent cover story. Newcomers should start with this piece highlighting five things you should know about the game. For a more irreverent-yet-informative angle, watch our rapid-fire interview with game director Mattias Engström. And that's not even all – head to our coverage hub to learn about Hitman 3 in VR, what being independent means to IO Interactive, and much more. 

Hitman 3 releases on January 20 for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, Stadia, and PC.

Categories: Games

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: The Game - Complete Edition Review

Gamespot News Feed - Fri, 01/15/2021 - 19:03

When people think of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, they'll likely gravitate to either the comics from Bryan Lee O'Malley or the live-action film from Edgar Wright. However, one of the lesser-known strands of the Scott Pilgrim brand was the film's licensed game tie-in. Like the film, it was not only a faithful adaptation of the comics' tribute to geek culture and retro games, but it also happened to be a fun co-op brawler in its own right. After a sudden delisting from digital video game stores in 2014, the once-lost licensed game has scored a second life with the Complete Edition, and it hasn't lost its exuberant style. The game's passion for a bygone era can often be a bit overwhelming, yet it still offers a satisfying time brawling through the streets with friends.

Like its comic and film counterpart, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game sticks with the same video game-inspired conceit, but interprets it into an actual video game. After the titular character meets the girl of his dreams in Ramona Flowers, Scott and his bandmates Kim and Stephen, along with Ramona, have to fight a rogue's gallery of evil exes seeking to disrupt the relationship. In the vein of a classic arcade brawler, the game keeps its story light to put all its energy into showing off the stunning 2D visuals of its side-scrolling beat-'em-up gameplay, which leans heavily into the splendor of the retro era.

The original game wore its inspirations--classic games like River City Ransom, Final Fight, and Final Fantasy--on its sleeve, and the Complete Edition keeps its aesthetic and core gameplay intact. What you get in this enhanced package is the full game, the four bonus modes involving zombies and dodgeball, and the extra DLC characters--which include Wallace Wells, Knives Chau, and hidden character Nega-Scott. The Complete Edition also comes with Network Mode for online play, which was a late addition in the final DLC for the original game.

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Categories: Games

How The Action-Packed Persona 5 Strikers Appeals To Fans Of The RPG Series

Game Informer News Feed - Fri, 01/15/2021 - 15:00

Publisher: Atlus Developer: Atlus, Omega Force Release: February 23, 2021 Platform: PlayStation 4, Switch, PC

When Persona 5 launched in 2017, I fell into my new RPG obsession. I loved nearly everything about the journey of the Phantom Thieves, but the characters and the story are what stuck with me long after I wrapped up the more-than-100-hour journey. So when Persona 5 Royal was announced, I couldn't wait to jump back in and repeat the adventure with new characters, locations, and an additional story arc at the end. However, while I loved Persona 5 Royal (a lot, in fact), it left me wishing for an all-new story with the beloved cast of characters; I wanted to see how their friendships and lives evolved following the wild events of Persona 5. It may not be an RPG like the game it serves as a sequel to, but Persona 5 Strikers promises to give me the new adventure I've been craving since I first stepped foot in Café Leblanc nearly four years ago.

Co-developed by Atlus and the studio behind the Dynasty Warriors franchise, Omega Force, Persona 5 Strikers is hardly a direct successor to the Persona 5 I fell in love with. However, if you go in expecting it to be like what we saw Omega Force do with Hyrule Warriors, where it's just nonstop action and a constant stream of hack-and-slash battles, you're in for a surprise. Over the course of the first several hours I played, I felt less like I was playing some sort of strange, dissonant spin-off action game and more like I was playing a sequel to Persona 5 with action-based combat. 

The similarities and differences between Persona 5 and Persona 5 Strikers are most aptly displayed through the cast of characters and the way you interact with them. The majority of my early hours were spent in dialogue with the Phantom Thieves. I loved learning more about what they've been up to in the months since the end of Persona 5. The passage of time was particularly exciting for characters like Makoto, who is now in college and in a different place in her life. If you're into the style aspect of the title, nearly all the characters are sporting new looks as well.

However, while the characters and their voice actors return from the original Persona 5 (sorry, Kasumi fans), the social elements have been hugely scaled down from the mainline series. Instead of social links, you can develop bonds with characters on your team. Much like the dearly departed social links, bonds open up new stat boosts and abilities for characters. Unlike Persona 5's system, however, you don't earn points toward upgrades through going to a ramen shop, amusement park, or shrine with your friends, but rather by defeating enemies. I'm a little disappointed by the lack of social options since that's such a huge part of what made me fall in love with these characters and the series as a whole in the first place, but this project was never meant to be a social simulation like the original release.

While the original characters already have strong links to one another, they welcome a new member to the Phantom Thieves' ranks very early on in the story. Sophia is an artificial intelligence character that Joker and Skull find during their first trip back into the Metaverse. She joins the team, contributing narrative guidance on top of her skills in battle. Using her yo-yos, she can attack a wide range, while her blaster lets her hit enemies from afar.

In Persona 5, the team infiltrates a Palace by discovering a corrupt ruler, gathering information on them, and using an app on their phone to make the shift into the Metaverse. That process remains the same in Strikers; the team discovers that something strange is happening involving Alice Hiiragi, a fashion stylist and idol who has developed an oddly ardent following. As it turns out, the seemingly sweet Alice has figured out some way to capture the desires of ordinary people, turning them into obsessed fans who will do anything for her, including one man who drops to his knees and confesses his love to her in front of his own fiancé. Once the Phantom Thieves figure this out and see Alice's true nature, they know they can't let it stand, so they begin an investigation by talking to and eavesdropping on fans scattered throughout Shibuya.

Once the team has enough information, it's back to the Metaverse to infiltrate Alice's dungeon, which turns the area surrounding Shibuya Crossing into a jail. The dungeon I played, while shorter than a Persona 5 Palace, plays out shockingly similar to how they played out in the original mainline RPG; you traverse the area, ambushing Shadows as you go. The biggest difference in the entire game lies in the combat; rather than the turn-based fare of Persona 5, battles play out closer to the high-paced action of the Warriors series. While you can hack and slash to your heart's content, taking strategy into account is crucial. Not only can you swap between your active party using the d-pad, but you can pause the action to swap Personas and use their abilities. Capitalizing on enemy weaknesses can knock them down, opening the door for a powerful All-Out Attack. I was also caught off guard by how the battles are spaced out. Based on my time with the Hyrule Warriors games, I expected the battles to be more constant. Instead, the encounters more serve to break up the exploration.

Even when you're not in the dungeon itself, Shibuya and the surrounding areas feel like a return home if you've already played either version of Persona 5. Shibuya and Yongen-Jaya are laid out exactly as they are in Persona 5, and seeing the gang return to Leblanc or their hideout in the accessway brought a smile to my face. I know the team will eventually move on from Shibuya and Tokyo as a whole during the course of the story, but these callbacks to the Phantom Thieves' flagship adventure are fun.

If my early hours are any indication, Persona 5 Strikers serves as a compelling follow up to one of my favorite role-playing games of all time. Not only am I enticed by the idea of carrying on with the lives of the various members of the team, but I'm intrigued by the directions the story is going. Persona 5 Strikers launches on PlayStation 4, Switch, and PC on February 23. To see the initial announcement trailer of its Western localization, head here.

Categories: Games

Why Scott Pilgrim Is Still One Of The Best 2D Brawlers

Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 01/13/2021 - 11:01

Publisher: Ubisoft Developer: Ubisoft Montreal Release: January 14, 2021 Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, Stadia, PC

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game – Complete Edition is available this week, brought back to life by Ubisoft after the original version (which released in 2010) was delisted from digital storefronts several years back. In its absence, a kind of mythology has risen up around this 2D brawler, with fans remembering it fondly and proclaiming its place among the genre’s best. Some of that mystique may be related to the game’s delisting (sometimes people simply want what they can’t have), but after playing through the complete edition, I am reminded that all of the praise is anything but empty.

Most importantly, you don’t need to be a Scott Pilgrim fan to appreciate this game, or know anything about its world. Seeing the characters and story represented is fun if you’re familiar, but that tie-in is really a peripheral part of what makes this game noteworthy. That’s because, whether you’re talking about the Scott Pilgrim graphic novel or the Scott Pilgrim vs. The World movie from director Edgar Wright, this universe is steeped in video game references and sensibilities, and those take center stage for this adaptation.

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Most of the nods and Easter eggs in the game are callbacks to video game stuff, rather than anything tied to the Scott Pilgrim universe. You can expect a parade of references to things like The Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and more. In short, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game may be a licensed product, but it is approachable for all people regardless.

Once you start playing, you find more than the basic punch-and-kick mechanics of old-school brawlers. Your repertoire starts simple, but new layers are folded in as you progress to keep the action fresh, which is ultimately what makes this game such a standout. Encounters are an entertaining mix of straightforward brawling and various environmental variables. Maybe a crowd of screaming band groupies are about to trample you. Maybe you need to punch a stationary car to pieces. Maybe you are swarmed by ninjas, and swords are everywhere just waiting to be used. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game injects variety with amusing one-off segments and a plethora of weapons you can use to whack your enemies into submission, but it doesn’t rely solely on the novelty of using what you find around you.

Your characters also grow and improve, giving you another satisfying avenue for progress. The game takes lessons from some of the legends in the genre, including Streets of Rage, River City Ransom, and Castle Crashers. You level up, earn money, improve your stats, learn new moves, uncover secrets, and clash with epic bosses. You get the ability to grab, throw, and stomp, along with a handful of super-powerful techniques that really help you tear through a screen full of goons. The playable heroes (seven in total) are all different enough to reward ushering each one through the game, but not so different that you feel like you’re starting back at square one. And, of course, this is all best experienced as part of a four-player co-op group brawling together (though it works as a single-player game, too).

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Another thing that blows me away (even today) about Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game is the presentation. From the fantastic chiptune soundtrack from Anamanaguchi to Paul Robertson’s pixel art, the whole package perfectly captures a retro aesthetic without feeling dated or archaic. It an experience that transports you back to the glory days of arcades, but from the comfort of your own home – and without that weird arcade smell.

I’m not formally reviewing this complete edition, because apart from being functional on modern consoles, it doesn’t feel significantly different from the original. But it was a great game then, and it remains a great game now. Yes, it’s a bummer that this fantastic brawler was unavailable to players for a while. But that time away seems to have allowed the game’s legend to grow, and this old-school throwback deserves its shot to find an audience again.

Categories: Games

Gotham Knights' Open World Was Optimized For Co-Op

Game Informer News Feed - Mon, 01/11/2021 - 17:55

Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Developer: Warner Bros. Games Montreal Release: 2021 Platform: PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Gotham Knights was first announced during the DC Fandome streaming event. And even though it's not a part of the acclaimed Arkham series, the visuals and gameplay are informed by the popular Batman games. Players can take on Gotham's criminal underbelly as Robin, Batgirl, Nightwing, and Red Hood. In a deep-dive interview with GamesRadar, Gotham Knights' executive producer Fleur Marty and creative director Patrick Redding talked about WB Montreal's mission to create a seamless, engaging two-player co-op experience while staying true to the Arkham series' gameplay. 

"We have entirely redesigned the combat system in order for it to work well in co-op," said Marty. "Of course, we're still a brawler, and some of the mechanics won't feel totally alien for people who played and enjoyed the Arkham series, but it is in many ways very different." Additionally, the entirety of Gotham City has been redesigned so that co-operative play feels more natural and intuitive. Redding mentioned how co-op experiences will make players feel like an unstoppable duo, "The two-player dynamic fits the fantasy and the Gotham City setting. The 'duo' or team-up is such a central feature of the universe that there's a literal shorthand for it in the comics, animation, film, and TV versions. Gotham is a city of alleyways and rooftops, so the footprint for gameplay needs to be compatible with that."

Click here to watch embedded media

Gotham Knights launches for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in 2021. For more info on the game, check out our own interview with Gotham Knights' creators. 

[Source: GamesRadar via IGN]

Categories: Games

Super Meat Boy Forever Review -- Can't Stop, Won't Stop

Gamespot News Feed - Wed, 01/06/2021 - 19:04

Every aspect of Super Meat Boy Forever is frustrating in some way or another. It's a runner, so you have to time your jumps and don't have the liberty of setting yourself up perfectly before taking on a puzzle. And despite putting you on a treadmill, its levels demand incredible nuance and precision, which you'll hone through failure after failure after failure. Super Meat Boy Forever will kick you in the teeth and expect you to stand back up, flash a bloody grin, and go after it again. And that's exactly what happens. Though the jumps may be challenging, Forever's incredibly precise controls give you all the tools you need to stick the landing. The runner format is different, but it opens the door for new and interesting types of complex puzzles that spawn new, captivating varieties of spectacular yell-and-throw-your-controller platforming.

Like in the real world, time has passed in the Meat Boy universe. Meat Boy and Bandage Girl, whom he saved in the original, have settled down and had a baby, Nugget. In Forever, Nugget is kidnapped, so Meat Boy and Bandage Girl go after her. (You can play as either one from the very beginning.) The story has no material effect on your gameplay, but the short cartoon cutscenes find ways to grab your attention all the same with a webtoony out-of-left-field story chock-full of references to video game canon, adorable woodland creatures, cuddly animals, and the adorable little Nugget, who often proves too adorable for even her captor to ignore.

Super Meat Boy Forever captured on PC

The cutscenes are thus an entertaining reward for hard-earned progress. Following in the original Super Meat Boy's footsteps, Forever lays out levels sprinkled with bottomless pits and buzzsaws that require quick thinking and quicker reflexes to escape. At the same time, it's a very different game. Meat Boy or Bandage Girl constantly runs forward, and you simply control when they jump, slide, or punch. By necessity, the levels take on longer, more horizontally oriented shapes to accommodate the new system. Despite those changes, Forever still retains the essence of Super Meat Boy. Though automated movement theoretically seems like it would make the platforming less satisfying, since you aren't in complete control, Forever's challenge is just as captivating.

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Categories: Games

Calico Review

Gamespot News Feed - Wed, 12/23/2020 - 23:18

I was quite a young girl when I first got interested in video games. It was something of an awkward transition. At the time, games were largely considered "boy toys," so moving from typical "girly" things like princess dolls and My Little Ponies into gaming was jarring at times, especially since not a lot of games catered to the cute, colorful things I’d been enjoying at playtime to that point. Sure, I loved the fantasy worlds of Mario and Sonic, but I also wished there was a fun gaming playspace for me that echoed the fluffy-cats-and-rainbow-unicorns aesthetic of my Lisa Frank Trapper Keepers.

Had my third-grade self seen Calico, an open-world animal cafe and social interaction game, she would have lost her mind. Calico embraces an aesthetic and theme that is shamelessly, unabashedly girly in the best ways--a world of happy magical girls living in pastel-colored lands with fluffy, cotton-candy trees where all kinds of lovable animals roam freely. But while Calico's concept and visuals are a delight, the simplistic, bug-ridden gameplay dragged me kicking and screaming out of the childhood fantasy world I so wanted to exist in.

Calico is very cute (screenshots captured on PC).

Calico starts off with your created player character inheriting a cat cafe in a faraway world where magic is very real and a part of everyday living. Your job is to fill your little cafe with animals, decorations, and cute kitty-themed pastries while exploring the world and helping your new friends with various errands. It’s a very laid-back, play-as-you-please experience in the vein of other life-sim games, but with an air of play and fairy magic baked in: You can buy potions with funny effects to use on yourself and your animal friends, like shrinking down to mini-size to cook, zooming around while riding on giant red pandas and bunnies, decorating your house with clouds, flowers, and cat paws, and collecting basically any animal in the game (that isn’t already someone else's pet) to be a part of your cafe or your traveling posse.

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Categories: Games

Medal Of Honor: Above And Beyond Review

Gamespot News Feed - Thu, 12/17/2020 - 23:56

Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond marks a return to the series' historical roots as well as its first foray into virtual reality. It's been a long time since we've stormed the beaches of Normandy or liberated Nazi-occupied France in a Medal of Honor game, but Above and Beyond strives to bring us back to that familiar WWII experience within the new technology. Being asked to answer the call of duty and return to the battlefield in a new Medal of Honor is an exciting prospect, but Above and Beyond is far too simple a shooter and far too restrictive to ever feel engaging like the series once was.

Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond's campaign is composed of six major missions, each of which is broken into smaller sections, moving you from location to location as you make your way through the story. Each moment of gameplay has you moving through a small area and using a variety of WWII weaponry to take out Nazis. These moments can feature you walking around on foot or, at times, in the back of a vehicle.

Some of the action sequences can be a little too intense, including a sequence where my character was in the back of a moving truck and shooting enemies in the opposite direction, which made me especially motion sick. That said, Above and Beyond offers some great comfort options to help alleviate motion sickness. These include settings that let you tweak turning increments, turn on tunnel vision when sprinting, or even let you skip more intense action sequences entirely and continue through the story. These were enough to alleviate my own issues with motion sickness and made it possible for me to make it through every section without skipping through them. Starting up a new VR game without knowing how your mind and body will react to its movement can be intimidating, but Above and Beyond's options help mitigate discomfort you may experience throughout its duration.

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Categories: Games

Diablo Immortal Alpha Impressions

Game Informer News Feed - Thu, 12/17/2020 - 23:00

Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment Developer: Blizzard Entertainment, Netease Platform: iOS, Android

The Diablo Immortal Alpha is finally here. How does it live up to expectations? It’s been quite some time since its meme-tinged reveal at Blizzcon years ago, and the free-to-play mobile Diablo game is out in the wild for a select group of testers. I had a chance to go hands on and slaughter skeletons, spiders, and cultists by the hundreds. Let me be upfront with initial impressions – it plays well, looks good, and leans in hard on the core principles that make Diablo games great. That said, it makes me wish I could play it on another platform without having to resort to Android emulation, as I simply don’t enjoy gaming on my phone for extended periods of time and I loathe virtual controls. Let’s dive in.

Click here to watch embedded media

Diablo Immortal takes place in the sweet spot between Diablo II and Diablo III chronologically. This means that a lot of cool characters are still around and in play to interact with. In this alpha, the Barbarian, Wizard, Monk, and Demon Hunter were available for play. I went with a class I’ve played a ton of in Diablo II and III, the Barbarian. The Crusader and Necromancer are slated to join the cast on launch. Many of my signature abilities like spinning around in a whirlwind or smashing things with big blunt objects are there intact, and there are even some mobility tactics to deal with when dodging telegraphed enemy attacks. However, again, playing it on my phone (A Google Pixel 4XL) made for a less precise experience than controlling my characters via WASD on Bluestacks emulation. The game looks really, really good “for a phone game” and there’s a load of voice-acting to go along with the rich effects. You get that sweet Diablo feel of punching through a pack of monsters, crushing elite enemies and bosses, and watching their bouncing bodies burst forth with a flow of gold and loot. There are even new random quests that can pop up when you’re in an area. These events are not complicated, but let you take on new challenges for additional rewards even when crossing familiar ground or exploring for bosses and chests.

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The first time I saw Diablo Immortal several years ago, I was not impressed. It looked like almost any other generic dungeon-crawler that you could accidentally download off the app store, usually games that just keep rolling out sequels and ways to siphon people’s paychecks for big boosts. However, the alpha build that’s out there now looks, feels, and plays much closer to a core Diablo title, with some simplification in place for the mobile platform. Here’s something they got really right - activities. They’ve basically encapsulated the Diablo II “run” where you would go farm a boss through a level and turned them into mini-dungeons with several bosses and other challenges before taking on the primary antagonist. 

You can run these dungeons to your heart’s delight with no stamina bar or restrictions. The first thing I did after knocking out King Leoric was queue up and go at him again. It’s the first dungeon activity you unlock, and the mini-dungeon contains two cool bosses and the big guy himself, who is very similar to his Diablo III incarnation, but he has a horse now. That’s pretty cool. Even cooler is the activities all have certain rewards to chase, so you might go after Leoric one day if you’re after a pair of pants or the Countess another if you want some crafting materials, as they change bonus rewards. These dungeons are tuned to be snack-size in length and are scaled to handle alone or with friends, though they’re tuned for a group of players and not soloists on “Hell II” difficulty, which I haven’t yet had a chance to explore. Groups in Diablo Immortal can field up to 4 players.

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In addition to these activities, rifts are back from Diablo III, with new options. Using crests, players can stack up modifiers for Elder Rifts to amp up the challenge – and the rewards. Elder Rifts can yield both runes and legendary gems.

Smashing through enemies is satisfying and you get that wonderful slot-machine feeling as you ramp up your gear, salvage your junk, and upgrade your high-power items. When you change out a slot (like a primary weapon) and you’ve sunk some upgrades into it, that can feel bad. Diablo Immortal lets you keep your upgrades tied to the slot when you change it out if you want, so you don’t need to feel bad about getting a hot new breastplate or a fresh axe. The paragon system returns, offering a smorgasbord of boosts after level cap (which is 45 in the technical alpha). These paragon trees let you focus on survival, treasure hunting, damage, and PvP. Yep, there’s PvP. I haven’t had a chance to engage in any PvP yet, but it’s back! Blizzard plans to add additional paragon trees to the game as time passes.

Click here to watch embedded media

So, Diablo Immortal is free-to-play. In this technical alpha, it’s not easy to determine just how much that will impact gameplay, but the plan is monetization via a battle pass, crest/reforge stone sales, and more. It’s important to relay that you can’t buy gear. It’s also important to let people know that Diablo Immortal is more of a MMO than its predecessors, where you can see and battle with random folks all over the world during your adventures. Guess what? You can also trade with them anonymously over a tool called The Market. What can you trade in the market? Legendary gems, materials, and supplementary items. How exactly this is implemented is not something I’ve had a chance to test yet, but I’m hopeful that with the focus on account-bound items and gear that it’s nothing egregious.

I’m aware that for some, Diablo on the go is going to be an awesome thing, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my experience with the technical alpha so far. It’s a much better experience and game than what has been previously shown, so it’s clear a lot of renovation and care has been spent getting it to a new place. I almost sort of have to acknowledge this existence of what appears to be a quite competent mobile Diablo begrudgingly, since the biggest takeaway from tapping on my cooldowns and watching loot flip out of flopping demon corpses is that I wish I could play it on a standard platform rather than hunching over my phone and clumsily mucking about with virtual controls and big chonky touch buttons.

I’m hoping that Diablo IV will scratch that itch, but with that likely far in the future, I guess I’ll hunker down and whack away at some ghouls on my mobile device. I’m hoping that Android emulation alternatives give players an option to play effectively and efficiently on a PC, but we’ll see how things go. While there’s no word on a release date yet, the “alpha” battle pass is scheduled to expire in around 40 days, so I wouldn’t be surprised to hear more about a beta or release in the near future.

Categories: Games

Myst Oculus Quest Review

Gamespot News Feed - Wed, 12/16/2020 - 20:29

If you've enjoyed having your brain teased by a video game in the last 20 years, or enjoyed the layered mechanical riddles of an IRL escape room, you have Myst to thank. Wildly popular when it launched in 1993, the narrative adventure was a pivotal moment for puzzle-solving in games. Now, 27 years later, the classic is reborn in virtual reality--rebuilt, but almost completely unchanged. Myst is and will always be a treasure. Even after all these years, its puzzles will still test, and maybe even stump, you. For returning fans, seeing it in VR for the first time is a powerful nostalgia trip. Being inside a world you’ve only seen through a screen before feels like diving into your own memory. When you get over that initial sense of wonder--or if you don't have the nostalgia that conjures it--Myst can’t hide its age, and its VR makeover exacerbates its blemishes.

Myst is a small uninhabited island dotted with odd buildings and unintuitive, free-standing switches. When you arrive, you have no idea why you're there or what you should be doing. As you poke around--opening every door, pressing all the switches, reading the books and notes you find--your situation starts to take shape. Trapped on Myst, you will need to unravel its puzzles to uncover its secrets and escape.

The content of Myst's places and puzzles do not follow any kind of unifying aesthetic--they are united in service of creating perplexing challenges that require you to be mindful of your surroundings and think creatively. At a glance, each puzzle seems completely obtuse, a hodge-podge of interactive puzzle pieces that don't easily fit together. More often than not, you'll need to take a good long look at your surroundings and figure out how the puzzle works before you can solve it.

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Categories: Games

Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 Review

Gamespot News Feed - Sat, 12/12/2020 - 00:50

Fans of competitive, block-dropping puzzle games had it pretty rough for most of the last decade. Creativity in the Tetris space was being stifled by a strict set of game-rules guidelines imposed by The Tetris Company, while Puyo Puyo was mostly trapped in Japan, playable only by those international fans fervent enough to tread import waters. Thankfully, things have changed somewhat on both fronts, bringing us the unusual mashup title Puyo Puyo Tetris in 2017 to critical and fan success. Three years later, we now have a follow-up in the form of Puyo Puyo Tetris 2. While it keeps much of what made the original game a success, it offers a few new game modes and online enhancements--but as a sequel, it lacks the same punch as the original.

Like in the original game, Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 is built around an engine combining these two competitive puzzle titans into a singular game entity. Players pick either Puyo Puyo or Tetris gameplay and go up against an opponent, with rules adjusted according to which style they're using--or they can play a mode that switches between Puyo Puyo and Tetris gameplay at set intervals. If you're feeling especially brave, you can attempt Fusion mode, which puts Puyo blobs and Tetromino blocks on the same board in a complex rules mashup that will put your puzzling skills to the true test.

But that's just the beginning. There's a lot on offer in Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 for both solo and multiplayer play. The Adventure mode offers an all-new story, complete with a pleasant new overworld interface and featuring a cast of colorful weirdos--mostly from the expanded Puyo Puyo universe--who solve all of their problems and disagreements by tossing colored blobs and blocks at each other. The game modes change in every chapter, so Adventure Mode serves as a way to practice and learn the various styles of gameplay available while also unlocking characters, in-game shop credits, and various embellishments for your profile. While the rainbow-colored characters and their jokey personalities are certainly cute, the nonsensical nature of the narrative will either charm you to bits or leave you mashing the skip button to get to the dropping faster. This mode takes a few hours to finish, and future DLC expansions have been teased.

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Categories: Games

Star Wars: Squadrons Has TIE Defenders And B-Wings Now

Game Informer News Feed - Fri, 12/11/2020 - 17:45

Click here to watch embedded media

Publisher: Electronic Arts Developer: Motive Studios Release: October 2, 2020 Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

The aggressive microtransactions of Star Wars Battlefront II left a bad impression on some players, which may be why EA's next foray into the Star Wars universe left them behind. However, that isn't to say that Star Wars: Squadrons has stopped evolving since its launch; the team at Motive Studios has continued to update the game with new features and options – all available to players for free.

The latest content drop – first discussed last month – adds two classic starfighters to the game: one for the Rebel Alliance, and one for the Empire. The good guys get the B-Wing, which appeared in Return of the Jedi. The bad guys get the TIE Defender, a powerful Imperial ship that was introduced in the original TIE Fighter PC game. You can see these two new starfighters (alongside other features) in the video above.

The update is available now on all platforms: PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Of course, you can also play the game (via backward compatibility) on the new-gen consoles. 

While the new ships are the main attraction, that isn't where the tweaks stop with this update. You can read the full release notes for the complete account, but here is an excerpt from the "General" category of fixes:

  • Added Custom Games and a server browser, available in the Multiplayer & Training menu
  • Adjusted Skill Rating requirements for each tier via server-side change last week (see below for full details)
  • Updated Skill Rating gain/loss ratios to better reflect each player’s performance in a match via server-side change last week
  • Ongoing server-side matchmaking improvements
  • Fixed an issue where the game could crash if the player didn't skip through the outro screens of a match
  • Fixed an issue where the game could crash when loading into Fostar Haven
  • Fixed an issue where having Lighting quality set to Low could create intense flashes of light on Fostar Haven
  • Fixed an issue where AI in multiplayer could on occasion deal no hull damage to players with their primary weapons
  • Fixed or improved instances of poor collision detection on Fostar Haven, Galitan, Esseles, Nadiri Dockyards, Zavian Abyss, and Sissubo
  • Fixed issue where the interior of the TIE interceptor could disappear after respawning
  • Fixed issue where Star Destroyer engine VFX could flicker
  • Fixed an issue where PlayStation 5 visuals appeared blurry.

Check out EA's post for me, or even better – hop into Squadrons yourself and see how the game has changed. If you do, which new ship are you going to try out first? 

Categories: Games

Outriders' New Trailer Teaches You How To Survive

Game Informer News Feed - Fri, 12/11/2020 - 02:50

Click here to watch embedded media

Publisher: Square Enix Developer: People Can Fly Release: February 2, 2021 Rating: Mature Platform: PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Outriders is the upcoming shooter/RPG that casts players as super-powered warriors trying to survive and thrive on the hostile planet of Enoch. However, if you think this is a traditional shooter that has you crouching behind cover and using medkits to heal, then think again. Publisher Square Enix and developer People Can Fly just released a new trailer for Outriders that emphasizes the game’s ability to keep the action moving.

The trailer (above) runs through the “Mantras of Survival,” which are really just four tips that you should keep in mind while playing Outriders. They make a lot of sense individually, but as a whole, the paint the picture of a game that wants to keep players moving and shooting constantly, rather than getting caught in prolonged shooting-gallery encounters. The tips include things like “cover is for cowards” and “kill to heal,” so Outriders definitely doesn’t encourage conservative play.

The other two pointers are “think aggressive” and “powers on tap.” That first one is self-explanatory, but the second means that you have an array of special abilities with generous cooldowns,  so you shouldn’t worry about saving them only for dire situations – and that you shouldn’t just always be shooting stuff with your firearms.

If you want to learn even more about Outriders, you can check out our entire hub of content from when we featured the game on our cover. In fact, you can read that entire cover story right now. One the other hand, if you prefer your Outriders content with a dash of humor, you can watch our rapid-fire Interview with game director Bartek Kmita and lead writer Joshua Rubin.

Outriders releases on February 2 for PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, Xbox One, and PC. It is also coming to Google Stadia, but that version doesn't hit until an unspecified date later in 2021.

Categories: Games

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