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Guitar Hero Live photo
Guitar Hero Live

I don't recognize most of the new songs revealed for Guitar Hero Live


But that's probably my fault
May 26
// Darren Nakamura
The tracklist so far for Guitar Hero Live has been a bit puzzling for some. Personally, I can suspend disbelief long enough to pretend to play a Skrillex song on guitar. I mean, I'm pretending to play guitar using an electron...
Game of Thrones screens photo
Game of Thrones screens

Game of Thrones: Sons of Winter screenshots, we have some


Painted with blood
May 26
// Darren Nakamura
Another episode of Game of Thrones: A Telltale Game Series, another batch of screenshots I took while playing through for review. There weren't any huge twists this episode, so I'm not afraid of spoiling too much, but as alwa...
Dragon Quest XI?1 photo
Dragon Quest XI?1

Dragon Quest creator hints at series return to PlayStation


E3? TGS?
May 26
// Steven Hansen
Dragon Quest Heroes is a thing that's coming west this year and Dragon Quest Heroes 2 has already been announced, but what about an actual, numbered entry? How about the first on a PlayStation Console since Dragon Quest VIII ...

Review: Game of Thrones: A Telltale Game Series: Sons of Winter

May 26 // Darren Nakamura
Game of Thrones - A Telltale Game Series: Sons of Winter (Android, iOS, Mac, PC [reviewed], PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One)Developer: Telltale GamesPublisher: Telltale GamesReleased: May 26, 2015MSRP: $4.99 (episode), $29.99 (season)Rig: AMD Phenom II X2 555 @ 3.2 GHz, with 4GB of RAM, ATI Radeon HD 5700, Windows 7 64-bit [Editor's note: there will be no major spoilers present for the episode reviewed here, but events in previous episodes may be discussed.] Those following along with the series shouldn't expect any major changes in how events play out. There is lots of dialogue, lots of split-second decisions, a handful of quick-time events, a little bit of exploration, and not much else. The split between the four living playable characters stays about the same as well: Mira's sections are almost entirely dialogue-based and Asher's are generally more action-focused. Despite being the Forrester known better for stabbing first and asking questions later, Asher's story in Meereen comes with some of the more interesting this-or-that decisions this episode. Where Rodrik has to choose between murder and mercy, Asher has the more nuanced quandary of loyalty to the family that exiled him and loyalty to his sellsword partner Beskha. Parts of Beskha's past come to light in Sons of Winter that give the situation more gravity. Of all the decisions in this episode, Asher's handling of the mission in Meereen is "the big one" for me, and I'm most anxious about the potential fallout from my choice, which won't show up until next episode at least. [embed]292557:58611:0[/embed] Mira's tribulations in King's Landing continue to be a high point for the series. Though this episode lacks the big names -- neither Cersei, Tyrion, nor Margaery makes a significant appearance -- the way Telltale handles Mira shows genuine understanding of what makes the source material so great. Any game could have quick-time swordfights, but a Game of Thrones game ought to be more than that. Her best scene is at Tommen's coronation feast. It comes closest to being like a classic adventure game. She must navigate the celebration cautiously, eavesdrop on conversations to gain information, and use that information at the right time. Even if it turns out not to be the case in the end (as Telltale games often do), the feast scene felt like it could have ended with a much different outcome. As it stood for me, I came out of it laughing, pleased with how clever I felt to have achieved what I wanted and particularly smug about the last line I had Mira say to close out the scene. It reinforced the idea that in King's Landing, shrewd manipulation of information is just as powerful as a sword, if not more so. Rodrik has his own share of politicking to deal with on the home front. A new opportunity lands in his lap that could help return control of Ironrath to House Forrester, and he has his own decisions to make, though they seemed a bit more obvious. Satisfy a desire for petty revenge near the beginning and he loses some leverage for later on in the episode. I'm curious to know how things shake out with other choices; in contrast to the first few episodes I feel like I made the best decisions for Rodrik this time around. There is a tense scene as Rodrik at Highpoint, the Whitehill stronghold. Not only are the stakes high, but it also rewards an attention to detail. Prior to the meeting with Lord Whitehill, some light exploration can help to reveal information that can be used in the encounter. It's another instance where proper intel beats physical force that feels right in place in the A Song of Ice and Fire universe. Gared's scenes were the least interesting this time around. Where prior episodes set him up to be part of the party that goes to Craster's Keep, he ends up with a blander story. It still has room to get better once the importance of the North Grove is revealed, but in this episode it felt a bit like he was stagnating. The oil paint aesthetic that turns people off remains, though it does feel like Telltale has tuned down the baffling polygon edge blur effect that plagued the first two episodes. It's still present, but not nearly as distracting as it used to be. There aren't any heart-stopping moments or dramatic twists like there were in the early episodes, but Sons of Winter sets a good pace and keeps it up throughout the episode. It's great to see the continued focus on shrewdness over brute strength for most of the characters, especially considering House Forrester's situation in Westeros. What the family lacks in soldiers, it must make up for in cleverness. Being party to the events makes me feel clever, whether I truly have much of an effect or not. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Game of Thrones review photo
Son of a...
At the end of Episode 3: The Sword in the Darkness, Game of Thrones: A Telltale Game Series was in an interesting place. Nearly all of the playable characters were in tough spots, but all of them ended the episode with some h...

Bloodstained photo
Bloodstained

IGA's whip gets cracking on Bloodstained level design as Ayami Kojima joins project


$3M bucks later, development gets going
May 26
// Steven Hansen
What with all the excitement around Castlevania: Symphony of the Night assistant director and subsequent series producer Koji "IGA" Igarashi's Kickstarter project, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, it's easy to forget that ...

Life is Strange: Episode Three Achievement guide

May 26 // Brett Makedonski
Chaos Theory: Finish Episode 3: Chaos Theory This is the only Achievement that's earned through story progression. Just finish the third episode. It shouldn't give you any trouble at all. Parallax View: Find optional photo #1 in Episode 3: Chaos Theory Break into Victoria’s room after finding out that she snuck off campus. She has a glow-in-the-dark action figure sitting on her desk. Shine your flashlight on it for a few seconds, then take a picture of it. Lenscrafted: Find optional photo #2 in Episode 3: Chaos Theory Awww, it’s our little squirrel friend again. He’s sitting on the bench to the right after exiting the dorms. Coming close will cause him to scurry away, but rewind time to get him to pose for a picture. The Reflex: Find optional photo #3 in Episode 3: Chaos Theory After meeting up with Chloe and entering the school, take a quick detour to the science room. Max wants a photo of the fish, so turn on the light in their tank and snap a quick pic. Histogrammar: Find optional photo #4 in Episode 3: Chaos Theory While you’re still in the science room, let’s grab another photo. Head toward the back and take a picture of the skeleton with a cigarette in its mouth. Smoking kills, kids! Bokeh: Find optional photo #5 in Episode 3: Chaos Theory In the principal’s office, take a picture of Chloe behind the bronze hawk. It’s not easy to line everything up; it pretty much has to be arranged exactly like this screenshot. Pinholed: Find optional photo #6 in Episode 3: Chaos Theory After getting dressed in Rachel’s clothes, stop off in the upstairs bathroom for a quick selfie. RAW Strength: Find optional photo #7 in Episode 3: Chaos Theory Just like the squirrel, our bird friend is back too. Before eating Joyce’s breakfast, scare the bird from the top of the cabinet, off of the fireplace, and out the window. Then, it’ll land on the fence in the backyard. Go take a picture of it. Viewfinder: Find optional photo #8 in Episode 3: Chaos Theory Try taking a picture of the big rig across the street from the diner. The trucker standing outside will stop you. Talk to him, rewind the conversation, and casually bring up the make and model of his semi. He’ll be so impressed that he’ll let you take a picture for real, as long as you also bring up Rachel Amber. Cross Processing: Find optional photo #9 in Episode 3: Chaos Theory Immediately after the last photo, move around the side of the diner. There’s an unfortunate birdie being swarmed by a million ants. Snap a picture of the carnage. Flash!: Find optional photo #10 in Episode 3: Chaos Theory Toward the end of the episode, Max will discover that her abilities range beyond what she previously thought. After a bit of revelatory dialogue, pick up the camera on the kitchen counter and snap this episode’s final picture. Camera Eye: Find all optional photos in Episode 3: Chaos Theory This one unlocks as soon as you nab all ten photos. Bonus Achievement!
Life is Strange guide photo
Point camera, earn Gamerscore
We're at the halfway point of Life is Strange, and while the story is moving right along, the Achievement lists remain similar. Ten optional photos to snap in every episode, and Chaos Theory is no different. This guide s...

Hack photo
Hack

Locked Steam achievement requires you to hack game's code


Invisible, Inc.
May 26
// Steven Hansen
It's not to say that secrets are no fun anymore, but the internet sure can take the luster out of 'em. I mean, what would have been the point of my dog eared, note scribbled Myst notebook if I could solve the whole thing cons...
Mad Max game photo
Mad Max game

Mad Max trailer is seriously missing some Furiosa


Warboy pale in comparison
May 26
// Steven Hansen
Oh, man. Look, I trust in Avalanche's (Just Cause) ability to make crazy, fun, open action games, even if I'm leery about the studio putting out two in one year (Mad Max and Just Cause 3).  But! And this is a honking 'o...

Review: Life is Strange: Chaos Theory

May 26 // Brett Makedonski
Life is Strange: Chaos Theory (PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One[reviewed])Developer: Dontnod EntertainmentPublisher: Square EnixRelease date: May 19, 2015MSRP: $4.99 (Each Episode) As Life is Strange plays out chapter by chapter, it's increasingly difficult to talk about with any degree with specificity. Doing so not only runs the risk of spoiling the many significant plot points that continually punctuate this game, but it also feels like a disservice to discuss Life is Strange's events in black and white when much of its brilliance lies somewhere else. It's not a linear story progression that makes this title worthwhile, rather it's the character building and continually changing relationships that constantly shine. While episode two felt like it meandered too much, it laid the framework for an effective third part. Just spending that extra time inside the head of Max, getting to know Chloe, and seeing the incessant vitriol at Blackwell made for characters who are easier to empathize with. It all pays off in a big way in Chaos Theory as the cast is finally at a place where the audience feels like it knows them and cares for them. At the forefront of this trend is Max's relationship with Chloe, as the duo is ditching the re-introduction stage and have hit a groove of sorts with their interactions. There are plenty of moments when Chloe's rebellious carpe diem spirit rubs off on Max in a charming way; likewise, Max's level-headed and rational demeanor affects Chloe, probably for the better. [embed]292750:58673:0[/embed] These conflicting personalities may have been most at equilibrium during a serene midnight dip in the academy's swimming pool. It's here that the two are at their most introspective and humble. It's here that they express that they lean on one another. There's an understated emotionality about it all that makes it one of Life is Strange's best scenes yet. Really, the swimming pool scene best exemplifies the quality that Dontnod's employed masterfully throughout the three-fifths of Life is Strange that we've seen: restraint. It would've been easy to highlight the moment with some sort of memorable event. But, the developer didn't. Instead, it let the two simply talk, which wonderfully lends humanity to them both individually and as a team. However, it's not just Chloe and Max that are further humanized. Almost all characters have some sort of sympathetic progression, as Life is Strange continues to prove that it excels at dealing in shades of grey. We get a glimpse at how scumbag drug dealer Frank has loved and lost. We see how "step-prick" David password protects his computer not with a nod to his army service or himself, but with a receipt that holds the date he met his wife. The latter of those revelations is discovered through a fetch quest-style puzzle. As painful as it is to admit, this element of gameplay is still where Life is Strange is at its very worst. The reason that's sort of tough to swallow is because it always encourages exploration and will often reward the curious. However, when it forces that wandering upon the player, the pacing drops from a self-imposed standstill to a mandatory one. It's enough to deaden the mood rather quickly. It's a rare instance of Dontnod eschewing that aforesaid restraint to somewhat negative results. Thus far, the developer has done a great job keeping everything in check so as to not go off the rails. The time-rewinding mechanic still doesn't feel as if it's taken over the game nor does it serve as a permanent crutch. Instead, it's mostly sparingly used, usually to glean more information from a tight-lipped witness. Similarly, Life is Strange hasn't yet gone full-out on the paranormal aspect that clearly hangs over the entire story. This reserved approach is appreciated, as it lends weight to the characters and their personal circumstances rather than spotlighting the supernatural. There may be an imminent deviation from that pattern in the very near future, though. In the waning minutes of Chaos Theory, Max discovers a new ability that could easily shift the narrative focus. Chaos Theory is effective in that it's the first time Life is Strange asks the player to evaluate the net benefit of Max's ability to alter time. Until now, it's mostly dealt in small affairs where the results are immediately noticeable. Episode three finds a way to work on a longer timeline and with more at stake. In all honesty, it's the first time I've felt that exact heart-wrenching emotion that I experienced eleven years ago when watching The Butterfly Effect. The cliffhanger that Chaos Theory ends on is so perfect for this portrayal of the fictional Arcadia Bay, Oregon where nothing's ever perfect. However, it's also scarily dangerous in that it very well might render most of the world-building a moot point. It'd be such an absolute shame if that were to happen. We have to wait to see if that's the case. But, Life is Strange now has me in its grips, and if I'm worried, it's only because I care. I finally really, truly care. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Life is Strange review photo
Tornadoes in Texas
I'm worried about Life is Strange. But, it's not the same concern usually expressed when a game's teetering dangerously close to mediocrity or worse. It's the type of uneasiness reserved for a title that's taken three install...

Batman: Arkham Knight photo
Batman: Arkham Knight

Did you really think Batman: Arkham Knight wouldn't have pre-order costumes?


Of course it does
May 26
// Chris Carter
Because WB has to monetize every single facet of their games (hello pay-for-fatalities on top of a Season Pass and lots of paid costume DLC), Batman: Arkham Knight will also feature more pre-order bonuses beyond its $40 ...
The Witcher 3 photo
The Witcher 3

Two new DLC updates arrive in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt this week


One quest and an alternate look
May 26
// Chris Carter
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a pretty lengthy game, and it's about to get even longer this week. In addition to a new "alternate look" for Yennefer, there's also a new quest coming called Missing Miners. Both will be free. It'...
Resident Evil photo
Resident Evil

Resident Evil 0 Remastered revealed, arrives early 2016


Re-enter the survival horror..on a train
May 25
// Alessandro Fillari
Coming off of the super successful Resident Evil Remastered earlier this year, Capcom made plans to invest more in HD remasters of classic titles. And after seeing how well REmake HD sold, it's clear that there was quite an a...

Review: Stealth Inc. 2: A Game of Clones

May 25 // Conrad Zimmerman
Stealth Inc. 2: A Game of Clones (PC [reviewed], PS3, PS4, PS Vita, Wii U, Xbox One)Developers: Curve DigitalPublisher: Curve DigitalReleased: October 13, 2014 (Wii U), April 3, 2015 (Xbox One), April 7, 2015 (PS3, PS4, PS Vita),  April 30, 2015 (PC)Price: $14.99 In Stealth Inc. 2 the player controls a quality assurance clone, created for the purpose of testing products in dangerous situations and intended to be disposable. After surviving a test meant to kill them, the clone becomes aware of their nature and breaks loose into the facility, where they discover other trapped clones and an employee determined to kill them in service of a high productivity rating. To free the other clones and escape the PTI Complex, the player must traverse six zones where products are being tested. Each contains test chambers, progressively complex environmental puzzle stages focused on a different product. Test chambers are completed by accessing one or more terminals which open a path to the exit, while avoiding death by way of traps including mines, lasers, whirring blades, and the constantly shifting walls of the facility. That last one is a favorite of the game. Stealth Inc. 2 frequently employs traps which are unforseeable, mostly by crushing the player with walls and usually mocking them after doing so with pithy text. It's a game where level memorization is fundamental to play, an element reinforced by the rank-based scoring system which grades on completion time, number of deaths and the number of times spotted by enemies. While it does occasionally feel a bit mean-spirited, regular checkpoints within a test chamber usually mean that little ground is actually lost when it happens, softening the blow. [embed]292743:58667:0[/embed] The first zone, a testing area for night-vision goggles from which the player initially escapes into the larger facility, introduces basic elements common throughout the remainder of the game. The player's clone can run, jump, and cling to certain ledges, while encountering environmental objects (like pressure switches, force fields, and infrared beams), enemy turrets and robots, and the simple lighting system which determines how visible the clone is. Zones after this introduction each provide an additional piece of equipment around which all test chambers in the zone will revolve. The products vary in their range of function and the simplest objects generally provide the broadest possibilities. The Inflate-A-Mate, a small device which may be thrown and then enlarged remotely to become a rectangular block, is the most utilitarian by far. It can function as a weight for buttons, a platform for climbing or standing on, a wedge to stop moving walls, and a barrier to block lasers or create shadows. It can even be thrown over enemies and expanded mid-flight to crush them or provide a boost for high jumps. The other gadgets may not have as much range, but they have enough to justify ten stages in which to explore them, at least. The "Me Too" lets the player create a second clone, with both clones responding simultaneously to commands and allowing for one to be killed without consequence. A pair of teleporter beacons enables instant relocation for both the player and enemy robots, while a portable light illuminates paths and activates special switches. The least interesting of the gadgets, the "Jack Boy," allows the player to assume control of robots, provided they can sneak up on them and successfully time the use of the device. And while it's fun to control the enemies, the very fact that the robots are the only element the gadget interacts with gives it limited application. It doesn't take long to realize that for an entire zone you will tag the back of at least one robot per test chamber because that's all your gadget does. It's forgivable, especially as there is clever level design at work. Determining the proper approach to clearing a test chamber, where to throw gadgets and what objects to interact with first, is an enjoyable process if you don't mind the occasional bit of trial-and-error learning. A few stages verge on maddening in their difficulty, but these are rare and Stealth Inc. 2 is a moderate challenge, though total completion will require thorough and riskier exploration of stages to free hidden clones. Completing the eight required test chambers in a zone rewards the player with that zone's gadget for use in the facility overworld, necessary to enter the next zone and providing ways to reach collectible items and bonus test chambers. Completing zones also opens up the facility to provide easier access between previously explored areas and aid in the hunt for these extras. The previous Stealth Inc. had no such overworld; levels were instead selected from a menu. The addition does give the game a greater sense of cohesion by minimizing interruption of play and serves the sparse plot with more opportunities for taunting from the scientist (the necessity of which is questionable), but not much more than that. Moving from one door to the next is rarely compelling. There are few enemies and those that exist present little to no challenge, making these passages mostly consist of stuff to clamber over on the way to something worthwhile. It seems like the overworld should be fun, too. As the player accumulates more of the gadgets, the potential is there for complex puzzles requiring the use of multiple items. The way equipment works winds up limiting a lot of that potential, as only one tool can be in the field at a time anc changing tools returns any thrown objects. Stealth Inc. 2 is by no means a bad 2D puzzle platformer, but it doesn't stand out in a genre which has had some impressive entries in the past year. Attempts to improve the experience of its predecessor by adding an overworld feel more like padding than an increase in scope and many of its levels necessitate foreknowledge to complete them successfully. Still, there are pleasures to be found in discovering the many facets of the tools and the puzzles do an admirable job of squeezing out their individual potential in clever ways. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Stealth Inc. 2 Review photo
No trace in the crowd
When Stealth Bastard released four years ago as a freeware title, it was easier to get excited about 2D puzzle platformer games. In the time since, Curve released an expanded version to Steam and ported that game to consoles,...

Edith Finch photo
Edith Finch

'What Remains of Edith Finch?' has the potential to be quite the horror romp


Spooky
May 25
// Chris Carter
Sony has revealed a new trailer for What Remains of Edith Finch? and I'm digging the atmosphere. Apparently the narrative will focus on a series of short stories, all involving the death of different members of the Finch fam...
Bloodborne photo
Bloodborne

Bloodborne patch 1.04 arrives with some tweaks that make the game easier


Passworded co-op is now easier to play
May 25
// Chris Carter
Ah, Bloodborne. While I'm not quite sure how it ranks overall in terms of the Souls games (I need a few more years to ponder that), there's no doubt in my mind that I'll be returning to it periodically. A steady str...
SFV photo
SFV

Street Fighter V will be playable for the first time next month


At CEO
May 25
// Chris Carter
CEO (Community Effort Orlando) is an annual fighting game tournament held in Orlando Florida, and this year, they have quite a bit announcement in store for fans -- Street Fighter V will be playable for the first t...
Battlefield 4 photo
Battlefield 4

Battlefield 4 (not Hardline) is getting an update tomorrow


A new mode
May 25
// Chris Carter
Despite the fact that Battlefield 4 launched back in 2013, it's still being updated. Tomorrow, players will get the spring update on all platforms, which includes the Gun Master mode. After an hour of downtime in the mor...
Mortal Kombat X photo
Mortal Kombat X

Tanya will make it to Mortal Kombat X in 'early June'


Or his name ain't 'Boon'
May 25
// Chris Carter
Way before the game released (because that's how WB rolls), we knew the contents of the $30 Mortal Kombat X Kombat Pack. Jason Vorhees has already been released, but Tanya, who made an appearance in the game's story mode...
Witcher 3 bears photo
Witcher 3 bears

Bears Vs Cyclopes in the Witcher 3


Whoever wins, we lose
May 24
// Nic Rowen
Despite the positive reviews (such as the one by our very own Chris Carter) I've been hesitant to jump into The Witcher 3. It sounds great, but with a potential run time clocking in at 100 hours and up, I don't want to buy a...
Ultra Street Fighter photo
Ultra Street Fighter

Ultra Street Fighter IV PS4 supports PS3 fight sticks


1080p, 60fps
May 22
// Steven Hansen
If you thought that the announcement of Street Fighter V meant that, finally, Capcom couldn't squeeze out another Street Fighter IV release, you were wrong. Ultra Street Fighter IV is coming to PS4 May 26 packed in with all t...
Eurovision photo
Eurovision

Six months later, Guilty Gear Xrd: Sign comes to Europe


Eurovision
May 22
// Steven Hansen
Things are going your way right now, Europe. That whole Eurovision thing is going on and you're finally getting Guilty Gear Xrd: Sign, which Chris totally loved when it came out in the US back in December.  Plus, you hav...
Save bug photo
Save bug

Witcher 3 bug kills Xbox saves, console patch not ready this week


Watch out for save bug on Xbox One
May 22
// Steven Hansen
While reception towards the usefulness of The Witcher 3's day-one update on Xbox One was mixed, the general stability patch CD Projekt RED is working on would be welcomed all around. Especially on the Xbox One, where people a...
Don't Starve photo
Don't Starve

If you buy Don't Starve on Wii U soon, you'll get a free gift copy


Not bad
May 22
// Chris Carter
We already knew that Don't Starve was heading to the Wii U on May 28 (June 4 in Europe), but now we can confirm that developer Klei Entertainment has sweetened the deal a bit. If you buy the game for $14.99 before J...

Review: Destiny: House of Wolves

May 22 // Chris Carter
Destiny: House of Wolves (PS3, PS4 [reviewed], Xbox 360, Xbox One)Developer: BungiePublisher: Activision Released: May 19, 2015MSRP: $19.99 (Season Pass $34.99) As I previously discussed, House of Wolves has been a mixed bag so far. Let's start with the good. Bungie has listened to fans when it comes to smaller quality of life changes. There have been incremental improvements overall like the ability to toggle the volume of the sound and music (thank goodness), fixes like the patch for the heavy ammo bug, and communication has been better since the debacle that came up before the launch of the last DLC. The loot system in House of Wolves is arguably the best part. It allows players, by way of items called Etheric Light, to upgrade their guns and armor all the way up to the new maximum statline. This includes all of your favorite vanilla Destiny guns like the Fatebringer, and any kind of Legendary armor, including that raid set you kept from Vault of Glass. It's no glamour system (Etheric Light is hard to get, thus implementing a grind of a sort), but it's far better than the previous loot mechanics, which forced you to re-level Exotics after having a chance to upgrade them once a week.Right now, I'm sitting on three max level 34s three days after launch, which, depending on your point of view, is either a good or bad thing -- and would be nigh impossible to do with vanilla Destiny or The Dark Below in week one. The problem with this new expansion isn't mechanics, it's content, and this "House" is practically vacant. [embed]292545:58616:0[/embed] The story might technically have a few more missions tacked onto it compared to the last add-on, but they're just as short and painfully recreated from previous assets. There's lots of bravado with the narrative, and the tie-in with the Queen is pretty cool, but half the missions are direct retreads disguised as DLC. One mission is literally just a Patrol quest. Like, the same exact Patrols on Venus you've done a million times, you just need to kill some Vandals for a few minutes. Another is almost a direct slap in the face -- as it's the exact same level as the first mission, just in reverse. As for the Strike, you can't just put a new hat on the Archon Priest and charge money for it. Another problem is that all of the old content is more than stale at this point. Most Destiny players have been playing the same old Nightfalls, using the same "cheese spots" for months on end. Where is the variation? Maybe as part of the newest House of Wolves patch we could get remixed bosses for existing Nightfalls to spice things up a bit? I'm not even asking for completely redone levels, just new boss tactics that offer something different instead of bullet sponges. Is it so much to ask that maybe Sepiks Prime glows blue or red instead of purple, and has a new power? The rewards have been remixed, but the actual encounters remain the same. I'm not going to run the same Nightfall for a chance at an Etheric Light. The worst part is that I'm already drained when it comes to the Prison of Elders, the "endgame" activity that Bungie dressed up and provided in lieu of a raid. I'm sorry guys, this just doesn't fly. Crota's End had it's fair share of hate, and some of it for good reason, but I remember very clearly how awesome it felt to drop into the unknown of that abyss on day one. Running through that totem relay with five other friends, racing into the light with Thralls at my heels, figuring out how to beat the bridge encounter -- all of it gave me a sense of wonder, just like the Vault of Glass raid did before it. Prison of Elders has none of that magic. It's soulless. As of today, I've completed the Prison eleven times in total across all three of my characters. It felt the exact same every time. The setup is as follows: you'll start off in an airlock, walk into a room (it's the same four rooms, literally the exact same ones over and over), and either kill enemies, or dismantle mines for three waves -- then move onto the next room. The red room will always feature the Kabal, the green room will always feature the Hive, and the two same-looking outdoor purple environments will host the Fallen and Vex. Sure, you may have to blow up a mine or stand in a circle to destroy it every two to three rounds or so, but ultimately, it's the same room with the same enemies over and over. All of the bosses so far are even reskins, adding insult to injury. At this point, it's clear that the name of the game is to clone assets and charge money for it. There's content, but it feels like a series of checkboxes rather than something meaty. Take the final boss of the static level 35 Prison of Elders challenge, the highest-level encounter available in the game right now. He's a reskin of the boss from the story (he is the exact same boss from the story), but now he kills you in approximately one hit because of Solar burn. The arena is a reskin of the same Fallen room that you've probably seen 10 times over at this point in the first week. There's around 50 adds in the room all shooting at you at once. Does this sound familiar? That's because it's pretty much every other boss fight in the game. There are a few nuances like mines (reskinned from the Prison challenges), and a poison debuff that needs to be passed around the party (or cheesed with a Warlock res), but it ultimately ends up being nothing more than "shoot the bullet sponge with the Gjallarhorn because that's the gun that works in every circumstance." I've completed the level 35 Prison twice (one with the above method and another normally),  and simply put, the two previous raids had far more depth to them. I've seen hundreds of variations when it comes to strategies for the Gorgon room, the Crota encounter, and the Templar. For 99% of the Prison of Elders, your best tactic is "stand in a corner and shoot." It's like the Nightfalls you've played 50 times over, but in most cases, even easier, and with less interesting locales and enemies. Trials of Osiris isn't much better. Because it's PVP-oriented though and thus inherently less predictable, it's not nearly as tiring as playing the same four rooms ad nauseam. It requires a premade group of three, at which point you'll battle through a gauntlet with no resurrection capabilities (outside of the Warlock) once the entire team is dead. Each "match" is won by the team who wins five rounds first. If you win a specific amount of matches (five is the minimum for anything good, so far I've earned up to six wins) without losing three matches, you can earn gear. If you do lose thrice, you'll have to re-enter the tourney and start all over. It's cool in theory, but the rewards are fairly shallow and the event only runs from Friday until the reset Tuesday morning each week. The loot table is basically a direct counterpart to Prison -- one gun per week, one armor piece per week, some cosmetic items, and a random mystery box. There's no real charm to it, you just grind out wins, and you get the gear that the NPC shows you in the Reef. Again, it's only available to play at certain times, which just feels like an incredibly odd choice. After all, why limit one of your only real pieces of new content to just a few days at a time? Surely Prison of Elders isn't supposed to last us until the weekend. It's also important to note that Trials is only running on one map per week. After the fifth round in the same arena, it started to get boring. It's a very cool idea that heralds in the first real competitive PVP mode to Destiny, but it needs work. I used to play Destiny every week with my large group of friends, who would often hang out in PS4 party chat as we ran through the two six-person raids, cycling people in and out. Not only has Bungie made the once massive scope of the game smaller with the two new three-person maximum events, but they've also lost the interest of many of my once-fervent comrades. Heck, to add insult to injury, Xur came today and only had old items for sale outside of helmet engrams -- I bought 20 of those and didn't get anything new. Destiny feels just as smooth as ever as a shooter, but at this point you should wait until after "Year One," as they are calling it now, to see if Bungie is going to come up with something new. I really hope the rumored "2.0" version of the game has completely new areas and enemies. But at this rate, we may even get a Destiny 2 announcement at E3, which will all but confirm the "beta test" status of the original game. Bungie took a rooster, slicked its hair back, and dressed it up as a human. House of Wolves is the Chicken Boo of video game DLC. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Destiny DLC review photo
Den of puppies
I am convinced that somewhere, all of the new assets for the Destiny: House of Wolves expansion were lost, forcing Bungie to restart the entire process all over again. Why else would almost the entire $20 premium DLC be a reskin?

Review: Nom Nom Galaxy

May 22 // Chris Carter
Nom Nom Galaxy (PC, PS4 [reviewed])Developer: Q-GamesPublisher: Q-GamesReleased: May 12, 2015MSRP: $9.99 Nom Nom takes on the concept of capitalism head-on, with one major resource sought after across the galaxy: soup. You fill the shoes of an Astroworker on behalf of Soupco, a company hellbent on dominating the universe with market share. So hellbent, in fact, that you'll sabotage enemy competitors, and defend your base from deadly onslaughts. So a lot like real life. Jolly capitalism! It's a silly plot, but it sufficiently motivates you for the events that unfold over the course of the story. As for the gameplay, think Terraria. It's a platformer at its core, but it also features a hefty amount of exploration on uncharted planets, seeking out resources, building new structures, and battling the hostile inhabitants within. To survive you'll have to covet pockets of air and utilize weapons like a buzzsaw to chop up foes. The Astroworker also has a number of tricks up its sleeve, like the power to build ladders, and so on. It's pretty open-ended, even in story missions that have succinct objectives. Your ultimate goal in most cases is to build soup machines, gather ingredients, craft the soup, and then ship it out on soup rockets to the rest of the galaxy. A part of the HUD in the top-right corner is dedicated to tracking to your competitors, who are also working "behind the scenes" to ship out more soup than you. It all meshes with the story, and although it gives the proceedings a sense of urgency, it never evokes feelings of dread. [embed]292558:58618:0[/embed] Building out a base is often times an enjoyable experience, as you can design elevators to get around easier, and turrets to defend your base at specific chokepoints. Think of the latter strategy like defending the WWE Championship Belt -- sure, you're at the top, but now you need to keep it that way. It's definitely fresh and rewarding the first few times you do it, but by the 10th or so invasion, it starts to lose its luster. Exploration is often filled with new experiences, including boss fights, but base defense is usually a static affair. This is especially true in sandbox mode, where mission parameters cannot be met, bringing about an end to the cycle of repetition. In addition to the campaign there's also multiplayer on any given map, though I haven't had much success with getting it to work a week after launch on the PS4. Whether this is a result of poor netcode or a lack of community is up in the air, but suffice to say that you likely won't be enjoying this feature that often. There's also a selection of weekly challenges, from straight-up races to combat challenges. Races can feature gadgets like pogo sticks, and are actually pretty fun to play when you're not wrestling with the jumping physics. It's one thing to have weak jumps in an easy-going open world format -- another in a pinpoint-precision challenge. Since they feature online leaderboards and two-player co-op (four online if you can muster them up), they serve as a nice distraction. Nom Nom Galaxy isn't particularly exciting, but it's a whimsical little journey that does a decent job at world building. Despite the fact that people are probably clamoring for "more PixelJunk Monsters" as we speak, I'm glad that Q-Games continues to try new things. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Nom Nom Galaxy photo
The great soup war
You really have to give it to Q-Games. With the notable exception of PixelJunk Shooter 2, it has tried something different with pretty much all of its releases, from slot car races, to tower defense, to music visualizers. Not every game is a smash hit, but they all have something unique to offer, including the newly minted Nom Nom Galaxy. 

FFXIV photo
FFXIV

Nobuo Uematsu unveils his beautiful new Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward theme


Also, have some expansion footage
May 22
// Chris Carter
One of the best parts of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is the music. Most people don't consider it a "real" Final Fantasy because of the MMO tag, but let me tell you -- it's probably my favorite main entry sinc...
DMC 4 photo
DMC 4

Check out the femme fatales of Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition


So...many...characters
May 22
// Chris Carter
Trish, playable in the new Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition release next month, is shaping up to be one of the coolest DMC characters to date. Thankfully, Lady doesn't seem like a slouch either, as her gun-based gameplay looks pretty amazing. I was always a fan of the Kalina Ann weapon. Despite the fact that it's digital-only in the west, I'm still excited to give this a test run.
Utawarerurmono: False Mas photo
Utawarerurmono: False Mas

Utawarerurmono: False Mask is a visual novel, strategy RPG hybrid


3D!
May 21
// Steven Hansen
Aquaplus has released its first trailer for Utawarerurmono: False Mask, the unexpectedly 3D hybrid visual novel and strategy game coming to PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and PS Vita in Japan on September 24.  
More Dying Light photo
More Dying Light

Dying Light dev cancels dark fantasy tale Hellraid


To make more Dying Light content
May 21
// Steven Hansen
Hellraid was announced as a Dead Island follow up in 2013. We finally got a good look at it late last year following a delay for current gen and PC exclusivity. It was meant to come out this year, but that's not happening, H...






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