Games

Persona 5 Strikers Review - The Hands That Thieve

Gamespot News Feed - Tue, 02/09/2021 - 15:00

It's always nice to see your friends again, even if your time together doesn't always live up to the highest highs you've experienced in the past. Persona 5 Strikers is a lot like that--it comes with some special moments that foster a deeper appreciation for what Persona 5 is and what it represents. From the wild action-RPG combat to the summer road-trip premise, characters we know and love get to show off how much they've grown and prove they can still kick ass in style. Strikers does trip over a few clumsy tropes along the way, and sometimes tries a little too hard to recapture Persona 5's magic, but when it's all said and done, I'm glad this reunion happened to begin with.

It's the summer after the events of the original game, and the Phantom Thieves have a little free time. With Joker being back in town, why not enjoy the break? Before they can even make plans, they're caught in another round of beating down the metaphysical evils of the Metaverse and changing hearts. This time, the phenomenon is happening all across Japan. Although you follow similar patterns established in Persona 5--fighting through surreal dungeons and living life in the real world--the context is quite different both narratively and gameplay-wise.

What's Worth Fighting For

Your first few targets have been manipulating people's desires in order to feed their ambitions for fame and fortune, but there's a bigger mystery as to how and why there's strange behavior en masse. You begin to unveil that tragic pasts have led them down a dark path of exploiting the Metaverse. The broader message isn't to excuse behavior or to say that trauma will surely corrupt its victims--rather, that our circumstances and the people around us (or lack thereof) have significant influence over how we internalize and process pain, and eventually who we become.

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Categories: Games

Bravely Default II: Important Things To Know Before You Play

Game Informer News Feed - Tue, 02/09/2021 - 14:00

Publisher: Square Enix Developer: ClayTechWorks Release: February 26, 2021 Platform: Switch

Bravely Default II arrives this month, so let's take a dive into the upcoming turn-based grind-heavy JRPG. Digging into the game's opening hours reveals many similar aspects to the "modern" take on the classic template, much like other games in the franchise and Octopath Traveler. Looking for more? Our review lands later this month.

Dungeon Delving

First, the game's dungeon structure is formulaic but fun. Once you have it down, you'll really never question about where you are at in terms of progressing through the many, many dungeons. Essentially, the structure is warp point (a quick teleport back to the start of a dungeon in order to use a tent, heal up, save, etc), and then a further warp point later in the dungeon next to a save point. This means the boss is ahead. In Bravely Default II, you want to be saving at every possible checkpoint you see like this, because the bosses can represent an extremely large difficulty spike that may require you to readjust your classes, gear, and skills before going into battle.

Explore Everywhere

What I've been enjoying especially about Bravely Default II so far in the first few chapters is open-world exploration. Each major chunk of the game hinges on a major city and many outlying areas and dungeons. In the open world, you can wander around, find chests dotted around the landscape, chop down grass for sometimes-incredible loot (I found some areas' awesome, best-in-slot gear this way), and even wander into rare monsters. You also need to be cautious when traveling the open world. If you see a suspicious land mass that doesn't have any dungeons or anything on it, and there's a conspicuous strip of land, peninsula, or nook, be extremely careful approaching any enemies nearby. They may be an elite rare monster. These creatures often represent an absurd power spike relative to the areas they are in, much harder than the area bosses, and can wipe out your crew in a single attack. These monsters give you reasons to come back to areas you've conquered to continue investigation. In fact, Bravely Default II rewards you for backtracking early and often, offering new quests in past areas and fast travel between capital cities. So go explore! It's fun! Just be careful.

Alternate dungeons are littered around the landscape as well, and some have big secrets to discover. You can and should use these areas to level up and grind while you work on job combos to handle big bosses. Main story bosses are mandatory to continue your progress, but you don't need to just grind on every bug, goblin, and ogre outside. Plenty of internal areas tucked away in the landscape let you pull out your dungeon-crawling lantern and look around. The enemies are likely tougher than outside, but you can find all kinds of excellent gear and even permanent stat-boosting items.

Grandiose Grinding

This is a game you're going to be doing a considerable amount of grinding in, and you will be swapping around your job abilities to make that happen. In Bravely Default II, you can utilize monster bait to make your grinding more efficient and less time consuming. Are you going to be slaughtering insects en masse in the forest? How about taking on demons in a temple? Humans in a sewer? Whatever major enemy type you're up against, there's an associated bait food you can activate to make sure wave after wave of them will show up, one right after another. What does this do? Not only does it give you the experience, gold, job points and loot that the battles would give packed into one battle, it provides a nice multiplier to your job experience. You can stack this with area-of-effect skills and a job perk that you can obtain early in the game to become an experience and loot lawnmower, ready to gobble up foes and some essential extra padding for boss encounters. Turn your battle speed up to max, get your actions set up, and plow through battles rapidly for a big payout. You can't turn the battles off in Bravely Default II, but weaker enemies will run away from you on sight, so you will only rarely have to fight if you're not interested once you are high level for an area. You can catch them easily, so this doesn't impact mass farming.

Don't Rush 

Over the course of the game, you will find many different "asterisks" which let your characters become new jobs. Passive job skills you unlock can be transferred around between jobs, and this is where your creativity and breaking the game skills come in. While I can't talk about them today, there are all kinds of ways to create incredibly powerful combinations. That's good, because bosses can have strong defenses and incredible attacks, you won't be able to get through tough fights by just defaulting and using moves. Having a coordinated build to take on areas and bosses is key, and the game is good at delivering the tools for you to handle them. Be sure to do sidequests and explore if you're feeling completely dominated in a area, and yes, throw on some monster bait and grind it out!

Bravely Default taps into that old-school turn-based JRPG well that we've seen recently with Octopath Traveler, and will likely make players craving that nostalgia blast happy when it arrives later this month. Look for our full review closer to release!

Categories: Games

Valheim: How To Summon The Elder And Find The Swamp

Game Informer News Feed - Mon, 02/08/2021 - 18:30

Publisher: Coffee Stain Publishing Developer: Iron Gate AB

If you checked out our starter guide for the Viking survival game Valheim, you’ve probably already beaten Eikthyrnir and started working on a happy homestead for you and your fellow Norse explorers. Your next mission tasks you with taking on the much bigger and badder boss The Elder and tackling the challenges of the Black Forest and Swamp biomes. After beating the first boss, the game opens up in several important ways that will take you in different directions. While Valheim is perfectly enjoyable as a solo experience, I recommend handling the journey ahead with a few good friends.

After Eikthyrnir’s demise, you’ll have the opportunity to fashion your first pickaxes from its antlers to mine stone, copper, and tin. These items can be found in the second biome in the game that spawns adjacent to your starting zone, the Black Forest. The Black Forest is much more dangerous than the Meadows, and includes Trolls, Skeletons, and a variety of deadly Dwarves. As you explore the Black Forest, be acutely aware of your surroundings and listen for the rumblings of Trolls. Trolls can kill you in one or two hits with your Meadows-tier armor, and corpse running through the Forest is a perilous endeavor.

The Black Forest And Surtling Cores

You can create many powerful items and tools from your newfound ores. However, you’re going to need a smelter, forge, and other additional amenities that you want to set up at your main base. For these, you are going to need to collect surtling cores. Now, there are several ways you can go about getting the surtling cores you need, but we’ll target the traditional way first, and then get to an alternative method later.

The Black Forest contains two different kinds of core “dungeon delves”. Keep an eye out on rocky outcrops with a door leading into the earth. One of these that can appear are Troll Lairs. You won’t need these as each one contains a Troll and some treasure in a single room, but you can feel free to farm these for amber, gold coins, rubies, and Troll hides. You can exploit the game’s artificial intelligence here by going into a Troll Lair, shooting the Troll with a few arrows, and zoning out of the cave. Rinse and repeat until the Troll is dead and walk away with some great loot safely, and make yourself a Troll cape!

The second kind of dungeon delve is the one you’re looking for. These Burial Chambers include a variety of dangers and treasures, and contain multiple rooms. You will face many skeletons in these areas, including some more dangerous archers and magic-imbued creatures. This is a great time to learn how to parry attacks with your shield. You will have poor visibility down in the depths, so a torch is suggested as your main weapon here (or you can bring more players with light sources as you swing with a traditional weapon). Be sure to open and clear each room carefully, cleaning up skeleton, ghosts, and skeletal spawners. In addition to finding various treasures in these areas, you will find rooms that contain a variable number of surtling cores. If you’re lucky, you can find all the cores you need for a bustling base in just a few dungeon dives.

Your First Foray Into The Swamp

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Alternatively, you can find surtling cores in great abundance in the Swamp biome. Now, going to the swamp biome at this point in the game is a dangerous prospect, as it is home to poison blobs, leeches, enhanced skeletons, and more. Depending on your world seed, it may be possible to get to the swamps naturally or with some light swimming, but you will likely need to fashion a raft and head to the edges of your Meadows and Forests, and set out on a short trip through the ocean. A bigger, broader ship is advised if you have the farming inclination to set it up. Extreme caution is suggested for your first foray into the Swamp. I highly recommend making an encampment with a bed spawn point on the edge of the biome but not in the biome, so on a Meadows tileset adjacent to the Swamp is ideal. The reason for this is that you do not want swamp creatures invading your home or, even worse, destroying it. Your home-away-from-home will be able to handle the deer and boars that come knocking, but not the swamp fare. Additionally, your first priority upon making a settlement adjacent to the Swamp is to create a portal here that links back to your main base, but you can do that after your beds and walls have been safely secured.

One creature that you can find in vast numbers in the Swamp is surtlings. These fiery foes can be quite dangerous in packs. My advice is to pick them off at range with your bow in relative safety. At all times in the Swamp, and especially when hunting surtlings, keep an eye on your environment and stay out of the many water patches when moving around. Water patches are a hotbed of leeches and they can sneak up on you and kill you easily while you are otherwise occupied. Surtlings are an incredible source of both surtling cores and coal, so if you are an adventurous sort, this is a far better method of collecting these resources than attempting to find and clear out the Black Forest dungeon delves. High risk, high reward!

How To Spawn The Elder

The Swamp contains a number of other dangerous pursuits that you’re welcome to explore immediately, but your primary concern at this time in the game should be putting together a set of gear and tactics to take on the second major boss in the game, The Elder. This massive tree is much more difficult and deadly compared to Eikthyrnir and can be located at extremely inconvenient locations for a corpse run. First, how do you spawn The Elder? There’s a clue at his summoning point (something that is consistent across all Valheim boss encounters) that tells you to burn the young. In this case, we’re talking about the Graydwarves young. 

Now, you may be thinking that you have seen tons of Grayling dwarves, but never gotten a trophy from them to use as a sacrifice in the burning bowl. It’s true, that’s not the way to spawn The Elder. Instead, you will need to find some Ancient Seeds (The dwarves here in Valheim grow from seeds, so these are basically… unborn baby dwarves. ew…). Ancient Seeds can be found in The Black Forest area by hunting down and destroying a Graydwarf Spawner. Look for a purple glow as you wander around the Forest and you should find one in no time. Place these seeds in the burning bowl at The Elder spawnpoint to make him appear. The Elder can fire incredibly powerful vines, summons deadly root spawns, and will absolutely annihilate you if you wander into melee range with a powerful stomp. Make no mistake, this boss is much, much more powerful than Eikthyrnir and can easily kill you and your friends, so I recommend you bring excellent armor and food, practice running and gunning, and bring a mountain of fire arrows to light The Elder up.

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The Swamp and Black Forest are meaty zones with much more to explore than the Meadow, and expand the Valheim experience significantly, both in terms of the dangers you face and the options you wield to combat enemies and the environment. Have you tried Valheim yet? Are you playing solo or with friends? Let us know in the comments!

Categories: Games

How To Get Started In Norse Survival Game Valheim

Game Informer News Feed - Thu, 02/04/2021 - 19:45

Publisher: Coffee Stain Publishing Developer: Iron Gate AB

Valheim has been making longboat waves in the sea of survival games since its early access launch on PC earlier this week. The combination of Norse mythology and brutal endurance is a natural fit for the genre. Survival games have become a major player on the scene in the last decade, with a never-ending string of offerings in various states of early access and release, allowing players to battle against the elements, hunger, thirst, and even massive monsters. Of course, this begs the question: How do you get started in a world that’s actively trying to kill you? Ask any aspiring warrior and they’ll tell you tales of their terrifying first night, huddled in the cold attempting to survive against a tide of evil dwarf-things and skeletons. Fear not, Ragnar. We’ve got your starter survival guide right here to beat back the night.

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First, it’s important to note that you can (and probably should) tackle the dangers of Valheim with friends. You can play with up to 10 people in a single game, and bringing more fledgling Vikings into the mix greatly improves your efficiency and survivability. Getting a group that enjoys a mix of tasks is a big benefit, dividing and conquering activities like building up your homestead, exploring underground dungeons, and gathering essential materials. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves a bit here. When you begin Valheim, you’re unceremoniously dropped into a little forest nook in the Meadows biome where you get a taste of what your future holds. Here, at a magical altar, you can see runestones depicting the various gods that you’ll be taking on over the course of the game. 

Surviving Your First Day

Your first big mission is to summon and destroy Eikthyrnir, a giant stag demigod. Yep. A deer. Doesn’t sound too scary, right? Well, we’ll get to more on that later. You’re cold, it’s wet, and you have some raggedy pants on. Time to get to work! Your first night will fall quickly, and like other survival games, Valheim’s evenings are much more dangerous than the days, and having shelter is important. The first order of business is to start punching trees. No, this isn’t Minecraft, but you are going to need some wood! Don’t try and knock down the massive trees just yet, start on the small bushes and find yourself some rocks lying around. Using the rocks and wood, craft yourself a makeshift axe. With that, you can cut down the bigger trees and start collecting massive amounts of wood. You’re going to need it.

You may have noticed that as you run, cut, and craft that your skills are going up. Valheim uses a skill-based advancement system that rewards you with proficiency for doing things. Blocking with a shield, stabbing with a knife, swimming, jumping, whatever. You get bigger and better for doing the things you love! That said, there are stakes and risks here. When you die, you could lose some skill points, so it’s best to value your life as much as possible. Also, you drop everything (including your equipped weapons and armor) when you die. You’ll have to participate in the dreaded “corpse run” in order to get your stuff back, so especially early on, try to die near home.

But we don’t even have a home yet! Let’s fix that. Use the massive amounts of wood you’ve collected to put up a crafting bench and build a makeshift house around it. It’s going to need roofing and a door, and you need to make sure you build it around the bench, as you won’t be able to use the bench unless it’s properly located in shelter. Once your bench is up, you’re in good shape, and it’s probably already getting dark out. Craft a campfire and a bed, and go to sleep. You can pass time to day as long as all players in the game are in beds. If you’re solo you have nothing to worry about here, but if you’re playing with friends it’s important to communicate that it’s bedtime. They will each need a bed as well, which also functions as your bind point where you will respawn on death. As you continue to explore the world of Valheim and push your boundaries, it may behoove you to build bases further and further away from the safety of the Meadows.

Cooking And Crafting Your Way To Victory

Moving right along, the next thing you need to do is place a cooking rack above your campfire. This allows you to cook meat. Food is extremely important in Valheim. Not only do foodstuffs heal you, but they also increase your maximum hit points and confer other benefits. Until now, you’ve probably only been eating berries scrounged from nearby bushes. It’s time to make a real meal. Head outside and let's kill some boars! You can use your fists, make a flimsy club, or even use your axe for the task. 

Boars are everywhere in the Meadows, and make great meals. They also drop your first important resource, leather scraps. With leather scraps, we can make a multitude of useful goodies at the crafting table, including a shield and a bow. You want to prioritize making the bow, but I also can’t stress enough how good shields and blocking are in Valheim. Many enemies can kill you in just a few hits, even with some good food in your system, and blocking can prevent much or all of the damage of a timed swing. It takes some getting used to, but practice using your shield, it will pay off.

Don't Fear The Deer

Once you have a bow, arrows are easy to craft with wood, so make yourself a nice stack of 50 to 100. Of important note is the fact that you can repair any and all of your gear at your crafting stations in Valheim at no resource cost, so take advantage of this to get the most out of your weapons, armor, and tools. Once your bow is crafted, it’s time to explore a little further from home. Try to find some water sources nearby. What you’re looking for at the rivers is flint, which you can find alongside the water and even in it. Pick up as much as possible as you explore. During this time, you should also be using the bow to take on an enemy that may have eluded your fists and clubs. The mighty deer.

Deer are everywhere in the meadows and offer different crafting materials than the boars, and can be used to make some early tier leather gear like helmets. Deer are incredibly skittish, and are hard to chase down and kill with melee weapons. However, your bow is perfect for sniping them at long range. Try to be quiet with your approach, aim, and fire, and keep a lot of distance between you and the target, as they are quite perceptive and will flee at the first sign of you. In addition to the excellent early game drop tables that deer provide, you need to find a deer trophy. With it, you can summon the first boss in the game, Eikthyrnir. The giant enemies and god-tier foes in Valheim are a staggering contrast to the pastoral fare that you’ve been taking on thus far, so be sure to appropriately prepare for the Eikthyrnir battle.

You’re going to want a flint spear, a shield, a bow with a lot of arrows, and the best armor you can craft up. You want to eat the best meal you can whip up as well. At this point in the game, that’s likely going to be a cooked neck (lizard), cooked meat (boar/deer), and whatever raspberry/blueberry you have lying around or a mushroom. With all these in hand, it’s time to take on your first real challenge. Head to Eikthyrnir’s altar (which should be marked on your map if you clicked on the first runestone where you landed to start the game) and place the trophy on the altar. Good luck!

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After besting Eikthyrnir, you’ll be able to make some new tools forged from his antlers that assist in tackling the next big biome, The Black Forest. The Black Forest is a lot bigger and a lot harder than the Meadows, and will send you deep into underground dungeons and place you face to face with undead assailants and giant trolls as you begin learning the wonders of smelting and forging.

This is just the beginning of Valheim as early access continues to roll out new features, and we can’t wait to see what’s next as we attempt to survive and thrive in these dangerous Norse lands.

Categories: Games

Nuts Review

Gamespot News Feed - Thu, 02/04/2021 - 00:41

Nuts makes a strong start. Its quirky concept and bold art direction are enticing, while its novel yet easily understood core mechanics and hints of mystery offer further encouragement. Unfortunately, Nuts doesn't deliver on its early promise as it struggles to develop its best ideas. Despite a lean playing time, repetition sets in. Nuts opens brightly, but fades all too quickly.

Much of your time in Nuts is spent looking for a squirrel and, once found, predicting its next move. The Melmoth Basin Wildlife Reserve is your hunting ground, though as a field researcher you're here only to observe the squirrels, record their movements and file your report. Equipped with a GPS, each day you venture out into the forest to place a few cameras in strategic positions before returning to your tiny caravan to play back the recorded footage and hopefully catch a glimpse of a squirrel or two.

It's a delightful premise and the squirrels themselves are adorable, bounding down gullies, clambering up trees, or just perched on a rock, noshing on a nut. Getting footage of these antics is a matter of method and patience rather than any kind of ingenuity. Your handler will first direct you to a specific spot to set up the first camera. When you play back the recording, you need to make a mental note of where the squirrel entered or exited the frame, and then on the next day you return to reposition the cameras and track the preceding or subsequent stage of the squirrel's journey.

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Categories: Games

Cyber Shadow Review

Gamespot News Feed - Wed, 02/03/2021 - 19:56

What do you associate with the term "ninja game"? Perhaps you think of speedy action and superhuman agility, crazy character maneuvers, intense swordplay, or sneaky stealth. Odds are, however, that you also associate video game ninjas with games that are really, really hard. You wouldn't be wrong; in the long history of ninja-themed games, a lot of the standout titles are known for the formidable challenges they present. Knowing that, you'd likely expect a retro-throwback 2D platformer starring a cyborg ninja to be a tough test of your skills. Enter Cyber Shadow, a game that delivers everything above, especially the difficulty.

Cyber Shadow puts you in the role of the titular Shadow, a cyborg ninja awakened from stasis in the ruins of a massive city. A mad scientist is on the rampage, having fashioned an army of robotic supersoldiers in a crazed quest to revive the dead, and it's up to you to foil his ambitions. It's a simple premise, but Cyber Shadow's story has a complexity that reveals itself as you progress. As you find the souls of your fallen comrades and discover records of the city's destruction and the lunatic doctor's experiments, you learn of a backstory far more interesting and tragic than a simple “mad scientist gone rogue” yarn.

Shadow starts the game quite weak, having simple jumping, slashing, and running capabilities. Thankfully, the first level is a merciful introduction, with plentiful health drops, relatively weak enemies, and lots of checkpoints. But it's not long before things start to ramp up considerably, with early bosses and their bullet-spewing, fast-moving patterns giving you a taste of what's to come very soon. By the second area, you start to feel the pressure--quite literally, as crushing factory debris and instant-kill compactors make it clear that your mission is not going to be a walk in the park.

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Categories: Games

Sega Announces Total War: Warhammer III

Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 02/03/2021 - 15:00

Publisher: Sega Developer: Creative Assembly Platform: PC

The popular Total War: Warhammer series is officially continuing, as Sega of Europe today announced Total War: Warhammer III. The conclusion to the Total War: Warhammer trilogy is once again helmed by the team at Creative Assembly and promises to cast players into a major conflict between the daemonic powers and the sentinels of the mortal world.

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The team promises major choices for players to make within the climactic clash with strategy on a grander scale than the series has seen to this point. This third entry will feature iconic races from World of Warhammer Fantasy Battles, including the first video game appearance of Kislev and Cathay. This entry features the most diverse group of heroes, monsters, creatures, and powers in series history. The all-new campaign tasks players will saving or exploiting the power of a dying god, with each race offering a unique journey through the Chaos Realm, with an endgame centered on determining the fate of the world.

"Our vision, from the start, was to create a series that felt like an incredible journey through this world we all loved," game director Ian Roxburgh said in a press release. "The enormous support of our players in ensuring the success of the first two installments has pushed our ambition to new heights, and we can't wait for everyone to experience it."

This game's predecessor, Total War: Warhammer II, resonated with us, garnering an 8.75 out of 10 review score when it launched in 2017. In that review, Daniel Tack said that "exciting new races make for a delightful strategy offering." With even more races entering the mix of Total War: Warhammer III, hopefully that once again ups the ante to provide for a thrilling conclusion for fans of the franchise.

We don't yet know when Total War: Warhammer III will be available, but you can pick it up on Steam, Epic Games Store, or direct from the developer.

Categories: Games

New Among Us-Inspired RPG Eville Announced, Demo Available Today

Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 02/03/2021 - 14:00

Among Us has been all the rage since its surprise resurgence last year, and independent development studio VestGames hopes to court some of the enthusiastic following of the massive hit. Eville is a social deduction title that combines elements of Among Us with the card game One Night Ultimate Werewolf and wraps it up with RPG elements and a fantasy village setting and aesthetic.

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After a series of murders upends the peaceful and quiet town of Eville, it's up to players to take matters into their own hands. The residents must deduce who the killer is and put a stop to the murders. The citizens of Eville must work together to stop the killings before they end up as the next victims.

Each character has unique skills and roles to help figure out the identity of the murderer. Once someone is identified, you put them on trial as either a means for finding the murderer or as a way to turn villagers against one another in a fit of mistrust. Villagers can also assume the role of Conspirator and help the murderer by removing barriers to clear the path for the killer. 

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At the start of each game, every player is assigned a role: Citizen or Conspirator. Within those umbrella classes are specialized roles that grant unique abilities to support either the investigation or the string of killings. Villagers must work together to achieve their goal of finding the responsible parties, but they can also call upon the help of NPC villagers to look for clues and identify suspects. Conspirators' job is to aide the murderer and work to throw the villagers off the scent while protecting their own identity. If the Conspirators are identified based on clues left behind, it's into the flaming cage for them.

Customizable avatars, an interactive village community, and a meaningful day/night cycle all point toward this being a distinct take on the currently-popular genre. If you want to check it out for yourself, Eville launches into Steam Early Access sometime in 2021, but a free multiplayer demo is available from today until February 9 as a part of the Steam Winter Festival.

Categories: Games

Devs Share A Behind-The Crash Look At Destruction AllStars

Game Informer News Feed - Tue, 02/02/2021 - 01:05

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

Destruction AllStars crashed into public consciousness last June during Sony’s PlayStation 5 event. At the time of its bombastic reveal, the car-combat title was set for a retail release around the then-upcoming console’s launch. In October, Sony pumped the brakes, announcing that the title was getting delayed to February 2. To mitigate the sting, the company said the game would be available at no extra charge for PlayStation Plus subscribers. Hours from its worldwide launch, we spoke with Destruction AllStars’ senior producer and director to learn about its old-school roots, on-foot action, and how it’s treating cars like guns.

When we spoke, the game was slowly coming to life on the other side of the globe. Players in New Zealand were the first to be able to check out the game, which has been an interesting experience for Colin Berry, director at Lucid Games. “This is the first time I’ve launched a game and now there’s somebody playing it live on Twitch,” he says. “Which is cool and exciting, but I’ve described it as being a bit unnerving.” 

Berry has been developing games for decades, working on the Wipeout series, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, and more. He says Geometry Wars 3 was the last game he’s worked on that most people have heard of, adding, “It was only maybe five or six years ago, but the world was a different place back then.” He says the launch of the PlayStation Portable game Wipeout Pure went well, for example, but that it essentially occurred in a vacuum. “I never actually got to see anyone playing it outside of E3. Because once it’s out, you don’t see people play your game. Only now you do, and that’s new to me. You’re more connected to the people who are playing your game.”

The Shift To PlayStation Plus

If things go according to plan, there are going to be a lot of people playing Destruction AllStars. Its competitive nature was the impetus for the move away from a full-priced retail game to a PlayStation Plus release. “The reason for that was quite simply, online multiplayer games need an audience,” says John McLaughlin, senior producer at Sony. “And to give the game the best audience possible was to put it into PlayStation Plus. PlayStation Plus decisions are made way in advance, so the earliest we could come out was February.” It’s a move that helped give titles like Rocket League and Fall Guys an early boost, and Sony is hoping for a similar effect with Destruction AllStars.

The delay gave the developers time to ensure that its online tech was up to snuff. “There’s a difference between launching when there’s no consoles out there and having a very small audience and then coming a few months later when you have potentially millions of players on,” McLaughlin says. “We spent a lot of time on the back end, working hard and making sure that everything goes as smoothly as it possibly can.”

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Car Combat Comeback

Back in the PlayStation 1 era, car-combat games were fairly common. In fact, the original demo disc for the console featured playable demos for Destruction Derby and Twisted Metal. “There used to be a lot of these games of this type, and then they just kind of seemed to dry up,” Berry says. “It’s similar not just with the car arena-combat games, but even with action-arcade racing games like the PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3 era of Burnout and Split/Second and Blur and those.”

Arcade racers still come out from time to time, but players who just want to smash cars together until they explode have fewer options. And as Berry points out, those games don’t stop being fun just because they’re not being made much anymore. 

“I can remember early on in our project – I won’t name-check the guy because he wouldn’t be happy – but we have a concept artist who joined us fresh out of school, a really good guy, a really talented guy,” Berry says. “He must be 21, 22 now, so he was 18 back when we first sort of started the project. One of the references for one of the things that we were looking at, I mentioned Burnout, and he was like, ‘I’ve ever played Burnout.’ I was like, ‘What? It came out blah blah blah this year,’ and he was like, ‘Yeah, I was four.’ Right. That explains that.” Berry says that exchange made him appreciate that his team would be bringing a genre to players who may not have had a chance to experience the satisfaction of crashing virtual cars together.

The twist with Destruction AllStars is that you don’t lose when your car is wrecked. Instead, your character can continue on foot – which is about as dangerous as it sounds. “In this game, even though it’s car combat and it’s about smashing into each other and the cars are a really heavy focus, the way we sort of think about it, for our mentality, is you are the character and the cars are your weapons,” Berry says. “They’re disposable. You’re supposed to wreck them and cause damage. You’re supposed to get wrecked. In years gone by, it’s always been that thing of, ‘Oh, if I get wrecked I’ve lost.’ Or that’s game over. But it’s not. You get wrecked, and you come flying out of the car in an explosion of metal and wheels and bits of car, and your character comes out and lands on the floor and bang. They go, and they’re off.”

Wear And Tear

Destruction is, obviously, a huge part of the game. As cars degrade and take damage, they begin to perform more poorly. As it turns out, finding the balance for that aspect of the driving was a little tricky. “It’s mostly cosmetic, and this was something that we deliberately tuned because we could have gone either way,” Berry says. “Because you can get out of the car at any point, it became a question early on, ‘If we gimp your handling as soon as you get impacted, you’re just going to get out of that car and go and get another one.’ And that means we end up with an arena littered with abandoned cars that are of no use to anybody, and it means that we’d probably get less spectacular wrecks because you take a bit of damage, lose a wheel, and then get out because the car feels really, really gimped.

“On the flipside, if we never reflect the damage in the handling and in the car’s performance, that’s not going to feel completely right, either, because it’s going to feel like a little disconnect. We tailor it so that as the car has taken quite extreme damage and it’s on its last legs, say its last 25-percent of health, you can start to feel it pull to one side if it’s taken damage to one side or lost a wheel. And you start to feel the bite on the accelerator on the adaptive triggers and also the brake, they start to rattle and you can feel that your car has taken damage. It’s going a little bit slower, but not massively slower. It was a conscious choice of wanting to reflect damage in the vehicle performance but we don’t want to do it to a level where it becomes too much and the players just leave the car behind.”

Destruction AllStars is available February 2 on PlayStation 5 via PlayStation Plus.
 

Categories: Games

Immortals Fenyx Rising: A New God Review

Gamespot News Feed - Fri, 01/29/2021 - 21:34

Immortals Fenyx Rising's first major DLC, A New God, feels like it's calling a bluff. Ubisoft's open-world template has gotten flack over the years for turning its sprawling worlds into a sea of icons that push you to beeline it to the next objective. If that's gotten stale, why not cut out the "open world" part? That's more or less what A New God does: It abandons any pretense about these games being about discovery and traversal in favor of a set checklist of challenges. The idea works in concept; the self-contained puzzles were some of my favorite parts of Immortals, so this DLC is in some ways exactly what I wanted. It, unfortunately, doesn't work as well in practice. Although it introduces some clever ideas to tease your brain, the way these ideas are implemented are extremely hit-or-miss, as agonizingly inconsistent and frustrating as it is clever.

A New God doesn't spend much time getting you up to speed with its story or gameplay, so you should probably finish the base game before you jump in. After the events of Immortals, Fenyx is ready to ascend into the pantheon of gods they'd helped free from Typhon--as soon as they prove themselves worthy by completing a number of puzzle and combat trials designed by said gods in Olympos.

I'm surprised by how little I miss the parts of Immortals that A New God trims. You don't explore Olympos much, since it's more of a hub than a world. Immortals' eye-rolling humor (which still can't land a punchline most of the time) is also thankfully easier to ignore than it is in the base game, as it's delivered almost entirely through quips from the gods trying to amuse you or impart advice as you play.

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Categories: Games

Evil Genius 2 Aims Its Doomsday Device At March Release Date

Game Informer News Feed - Thu, 01/28/2021 - 15:00

Publisher: Rebellion Developments Developer: Rebellion Developments Release: March 30, 2021 Platform: PC

If you've been desperate to take over the world on your own terms, Rebellion Games has you covered. In fact, World Domination just so happens to be the name of the game ... literally. Evil Genius 2: World Domination puts you in the shoes of one of four maniacal masterminds as you build up your evil lair, train your minions, stop unwanted intruders, and, eventually, take over the world with the help of your Doomsday Device. Today, Rebellion Games let us know that March 30 is when we'll be able to chart our path to snatching control of the Earth away from the powers that be.

Evil Genius 2: World Domination lets you select from four different playable characters: Max, a narcissist with a well-rounded playstyle; Ivan, a muscle-bound madman; Emma, a master manipulator and former spy; or Zalika, a science-heavy zealot. Based on the character you choose, your options, playstyle, and even story change. If that's not enough customization, you can also choose from three island locations on which to build your supervillain headquarters. Each island features its own gameplay challenges.

Once you get down to brass tacks and start building your lair, vastly updated controls allow you to build multi-floor lairs with ease. If you're worried about do-gooder spies from the Forces of Justice infiltrating your lair (and you should be worried!), new rooms, henchmen, traps, and more can be placed however you see fit to try and catch those who would dare attempt to thwart you. 

Of course, you can't dominate the world if your entire operation is contained to one little island. You can send henchmen and minions on missions across the globe to gain influence and control over different regions. By completing various schemes and heists, you can expand your criminal network and steal valuable loot.

Check out the new release-date announcement trailer below and get ready claim the world for your own.

Click here to watch embedded media

Evil Genius 2: World Domination lands on PC via Steam on March 30. For more on the long-awaited sequel to the 2004 cult-classic, check out my preview from late 2020 here. To learn exactly what Evil Genius 2: World Domination is, read up on my coverage of the reveal from E3 2019.

Note: The original headline and body text stated the release date was May 30. The actual release date for Evil Genius 2: World Domination is March 30. We regret this error. The headline and body text have been changed to reflect the accurate information.

Categories: Games

Olija Review

Gamespot News Feed - Thu, 01/28/2021 - 14:00

Like all great short stories, Olija manages to do more with less. Its characters are roughly drawn and very pixelated, but they build strong bonds that resonate and create real stakes. The caves, ruins, and dark corners of the world exude an ominous, foreboding mood that permeates every turn. And the action, a mix of quick-moving combat and light puzzle-platforming, steadily and consistently finds new ways to keep you on your toes. Olija takes exactly as much time as it needs to tell its story and show you everything in its bag of tricks.

Olija follows Faraday, a shipwrecked lord trapped on a hostile chain of islands called Terraphage. Facing all sorts of magic, dark oozing blobs, and people who want him dead, the lost lord seems doomed, but he quickly finds a weapon to turn his fortune: a legendary magic harpoon that he can throw and either teleport to its location or summon back to him. To get home and, optionally, save his crew, Faraday explores the islands of Terraphage, defeats a hidden evil, saves a queen--you know, hero stuff.

Though it boils down to a clichéd hero's quest at the most essential level, Olija teases a lot of narrative out of a small amount of exposition. Faraday has a small retinue of recurring companions and acquaintances he meets on his journey, including a ferryman who brings him from island to island and shipwrecked sailors of Oaktide, a floating shantytown. While Faraday is silent, his companions speak to him, and you can sense the bond that forms between them. Their spoken tone softens and they grow more familiar as Faraday integrates into their lives. Those connections anchor Faraday's journey with a human connection that resonates beyond the plot, and gives you a reason to see things through.

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Categories: Games

Learn About The Delicious Demolition Of Destruction AllStars

Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 01/27/2021 - 18:31

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.

Click here to watch embedded media

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 - Wed, 01/27/2021 - 16:00

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.

Click here to watch embedded media

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 - Wed, 01/27/2021 - 14:00

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

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