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Halo 5 photo
Halo 5

Master Chief won't be unmasked in Halo 5


Guardian his face
Aug 21
// Brett Makedonski
No one has ever seen the face of Xbox's most popular video game franchise. Master Chief's appearance is nothing more than a suit of armor. 343 Industries says it's staying that way for a while -- at least through Halo 5: Guar...
Left 4 Dead photo
Left 4 Dead

Left 4 Dead survivors return for Zombie Army Trilogy


Typical Valve
Aug 20
// Jordan Devore
The survivors of the Left 4 Dead series are back for a cameo in Zombie Army Trilogy on PC. Folks who own Rebellion's Nazi zombie-shooting game can download a free update through Steam that adds Bill, Francis, L...
Splatoon photo
Splatoon

Splatoon is getting the 'Flounder Heights' map today


For free of course
Aug 20
// Chris Carter
Today at 7PM Pacific, a new map will join the rotation in Splatoon -- Flounder Heights. I really like the vertical feel to it, and I dig the urban aesthetic. All things told it reminds me of one of my favorite Call of Du...

Secret Ponchos: Most Wanted is an improvement on the original release

Aug 20 // Chris Carter
The long road to Most Wanted started a few months after the original hit the PS4, notably by way of the PS+ program. Mapara and his team started working on a complete overhaul in the game, and development culminated when he took his preview build to EVO this year. "They don't hold their punches, in a good way," Mapara said. He noted how most of the attendees aren't interesting in visuals or artistic elements, but how the game plays, if your hitboxes are correct, and other technical aspects. "We always intended on having our game be catered to hardcore players, so this kind of feedback was perfect," he said. The entire experience is re-balanced around 3v3 fights to have a perfect mix of chaos and skill -- "4v4 was a little too hectic," stated Mapara. Improving Secret Ponchos is a two-layer strategy -- support features, and content. In terms of the former, Mapara mused on how they quickly shifted their philosophy after launch, saying, "We learned so much about the game at launch. This is new territory for an indie team, making a heavily online game. So we tried to base our system off of bigger games like TF2, and we learned that the model doesn't really work for us. For instance Call of Duty has millions of players at all times. We need to make our game work even if there's only 100 people playing." As a result, they've made matchmaking easier, merging lobbies together while allowing a rookie and ranked option. In terms of content, there will be 10 characters, five of which who weren't present in the PS4's launch, and four new maps. One of the new additions is "Gunman," who is described as the "[Street Fighter's Dan] of the game. He's a dumb cop who was kicked out of his town, and still thinks he's the law. After going hands-on with him it's clear that he's a support version of the Killer character, complete with a six-shooter, and the ability to mark enemies with a defense-lowering target. The Mad Trapper is another cool newcomer, who is literally all about traps and a massive amount of range. He's incredibly technical, as he has a low health pool, and can manually hide traps, luring players into all sorts of situations. Although she has been playable before I also had the chance to check out the reworked Wolf, who is one of my favorite arena shooter characters in recent memory. She's all about crits and precision, which grant her extra damage for subsequent shots, and shots right after she dodge-rolls. She also runs faster with her knife out, and can pounce on enemies, slashing them on the ground. Also included in the game is Gordo, a minigun toting maniac, and an unnamed character who wields two tomahawks. I was actually influenced to level them all up individual as well, as there's a new progression system in Most Wanted that ties into Steam achievements, and rewards players with in-game cash and content. Other additions include a tutorial, a more improved rookie matchmaking queue, AI bots, and a new mode called "Protect the Posse Leader" (think Gears of Wars' VIP). Secret Ponchos: Most Wanted will arrive on September 29 on Steam for $14.99. Much like what happened to Rovio with Awesomenauts' shift over to Steam, PS4 updates hinge on the success of the PC version. It's great to see a developer continue to support a game months down the line, and Mapara and his team seem to be incredibly invested in it.
Secret Ponchos preview photo
Coming to Steam on September 29
Back in December, I reviewed Secret Ponchos. It was a pretty interesting online arena shooter, and I saw a ton of potential in it that hadn't yet been tapped, mostly due to a lack of content. When Switchblade Monkeys' Yo...

Two month delay photo
Two month delay

Ubisoft delays Rainbow Six: Siege into December


Two months
Aug 18
// Steven Hansen
Ubisoft's upcoming improbable trailer dialogue game Tom Clancy Presents (RIP) Rainbow Six: Siege will miss its October 13 release date, the company announced. The closed beta will still start September 24, but the pushed back...
Splatoon photo
Splatoon

The next Splatoon Splatfest is Autobots vs. Decepticons!


August 28 through Aug 29
Aug 18
// Chris Carter
Uh, wow. While the previous Splatoon Splatfests were all good fun, this one actually interests me on a whole new level. Nintendo has teamed up with Hasbro for an "Autobot versus Decepticon" event! Your ink will match the colo...
Gears of War photo
Gears of War

Gears of War also redid its Mad World trailer for the re-release


We all knew this would happen
Aug 17
// Brett Makedonski
Microsoft is putting the finishing touches on Gears of War Ultimate Edition, an upgraded remake of the 2006 title. It's extending those duties a bit beyond the game, though. It's also recreating some of the original marketin...
Quantum Break photo
Quantum Break

Here's the new box art for Quantum Break


Featuring Shawn Ashmore. Naturally
Aug 17
// Vikki Blake
Now Shawn Ashmore has been confirmed as Quantum Break's Jack Joyce, Microsoft has revised the game's box art accordingly. At least, that's what this Amazon Germany image implies, anyway.
Black Ops III photo
Black Ops III

This is how Black Ops III has the moves like Jagger


Aim for the heart if you feel like it
Aug 14
// Brett Makedonski
Wait. I don't actually know how Jagger moves. That dude is super old. It's probably not like this now that I think about it. Disregard the headline, but retain all the flashy running, hurdling, swimming, and boosting you can do in Black Ops III. That's what it looks like if you're good. If you're bad, it likely looks more akin to Mick Jagger running around a battlefield.
Star Wars photo
Star Wars

EA on Star Wars Battlefront: Most people would've skipped single-player


'That's what the data points to'
Aug 13
// Jordan Devore
Do you play the campaign in games like Call of Duty and Battlefield or head straight to multiplayer? During a wide-ranging interview with GameSpot, Electronic Arts COO Peter Moore commented on the lack of a campaign mode in ...
New Splatoon mode photo
New Splatoon mode

Splatoon's Rainmaker mode looks fantastic


Launching tomorrow at 7:00pm Pacific
Aug 13
// Jordan Devore
I'm not usually one for capture the flag, and I've stayed away from Splatoon's ranked battles for the most part, but I'm loving the look of the upcoming Rainmaker mode. Teams compete to shatter the Rainmaker's shields, then s...
Rainbow Six Siege photo
Rainbow Six Siege

Breaking Bad's Gus really likes Rainbow Six Siege


Or says he does for a paycheck
Aug 12
// Brett Makedonski
Gustavo Fring, international meth lord, loves Rainbow Six Siege. That's what he said in this Ubisoft-released video wherein a handful of celebrities say a lot of nice things about the game. Maybe take this with a grain of sa...
Splatoon photo
Splatoon

Splatoon now has a nifty little web app


Japan leads the way
Aug 06
// Jordan Devore
Nintendo has launched a website for Splatoon that lets players preview the current and upcoming map selections, spy on friends, and double check their online loadout and stats. Yep, I sure do love the Krak-On Splat Roller. Th...
Rare Replay photo
Rare Replay

Rare Replay adds 'modern controls' for Jet Force Gemini


It's no longer damn near impossible
Aug 06
// Jordan Devore
I hope you're enjoying Rare Replay. I've been methodically playing Trouble in Paradise while also mixing in some of the Nintendo 64 games I missed originally. Blast Corps is one. It's so much fun! Jet Force Gemini is another....

Halo 5 has some changes that longtime fans will have to get used to

Aug 06 // Brett Makedonski
Longtime Halo players might find this change jarring or even possibly off-putting. There are people who pride themselves on getting their way through the story on legendary difficulty, trying again and again until they finally hit the next checkpoint. Halo 5 could render that sensation largely moot thanks to a new revival system that's akin to the one in Gears of War. It gives second chances, something that Halo hasn't really done before. Design director Brad Welch says he doesn't think that will be the case. He commented that those who are playing on those higher difficulties will find a familiar level of challenge. "We've approached Halo from a completely new perspective," he said. "It might take people a little while to adjust, but we've worked for a long time on the balancing," he offered as he explained that being careless with your teammates will just lead to everyone dying rather quickly. Once that happens, it's right back to the checkpoint. There's a similar AI implementation in multiplayer that's a departure from what everyone has been used to. The 12-on-12 Warzone mode will feature computer-controlled bosses and defenders, as opposed to humans dictating all of the action. Again, Holmes and Welch say it'll take some getting used to, but this expanded game is their vision for Halo 5. [embed]297354:59849:0[/embed] Warzone's particularly significant in that it's one half of 343 Industries' initial multiplayer push. Classic four versus four arena play is available for purists, but Warzone is the mode for those who want action in larger numbers. Holmes explained that they designed these two kinds of multiplayer with two different types of player in mind -- that's why they're distinct styles. In fact, Warzone is such a priority that 343 is launching Halo 5 with it in place instead of Big Team Battle. However, Holmes clarified that Big Team Battle would be implemented within weeks of release. This is rather indicative of the developer's approach to post-launch content. Halo 5 will ship with 20 maps, but it'll eventually grow to around 50 -- all of those being added for free. Holmes elaborated that he wanted to get away from paid map packs because those do nothing but segment the community. He wants everyone to be able to play with whomever they want without putting that access behind a paywall. It's ambitious for sure, but everything about Halo 5 is ambitious. The sheer scale of it all tips its hand about that. 343 Industries and Microsoft are both on a mission to make a lot more Halo, and it looks like they'll accomplish that goal in the short-term -- even if it means players will have to make some small adjustments.
Halo 5 preview photo
There's a lot of the familiar, though
It was one year ago when I sat with 343 Industries as key developers told me all about the studio's plans for The Halo Channel. At the time, Halo 5: Guardians was more than a year on the horizon, and Halo: The Master Chi...

Call of Duty photo
Call of Duty

Sony has stolen the Call of Duty eSports scene from Microsoft


In addition to the timed DLC releases
Aug 06
// Chris Carter
I've played every Call of Duty online since 4, and have experienced every DLC pack to date. I know, it's insane, but I like most of them (Treyarch is my boy, blue), and a lot (a lot) of my friends play it, so I like hang...
Metal Gear Solid V photo
Metal Gear Solid V

The Phantom Pain lets you sneak into players' bases and steal their men with wormholes


Mother Base and FOBs explained
Aug 05
// Jordan Devore
The Mother Base side of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is detailed enough to necessitate a half-hour demonstration out of gamescom, and I'm loving it. There's a lot to parse, but thoughtful editing and delivery keeps t...

Review: Galak-Z: The Dimensional

Aug 05 // Chris Carter
Galak-Z: The Dimensional (PC, PS4 [reviewed])Developer: 17-BitPublisher: 17-BitRelease Date: August 4, 2015 (PS4) / TBA (PC)MSRP: $19.99 The way Galak-Z presents itself is by way of "seasons," which are supposed to be set up in a way that mirrors a television show of sorts. Players must complete five missions per season without dying, otherwise they'll be forced to start over from the beginning of that season. It's a way to justify the roguelike elements of the game (notably permadeath) and provide players with some respite for failure. While the idea actually works from a narrative standpoint, I found this style to be a bit more frustrating than it should be. Rogue Legacy handled progression brilliantly, allowing players to slowly accrue upgrades and "lock" maps into place when they wished. Similarly, Spelunky's shortcuts felt organic, like you were exploring a giant labyrinthine maze that was seemingly connected. Here, seasons feel isolated and disconnected -- you're essentially just completing randomly generated levels one after another. This is easier to swallow because of the endearing anime style of the game. It's a love letter to classic franchises like Gundam, but it manages to pack in a ton of 17-bit's signature look, from the decals plastered on the ships to the delightful VCR-styled menu screens. I also love the minimalist approach to storytelling, as each level may provide you with unique tidbits on the game's world, which are remixed, so to speak, after death. Having said that, I think the voice acting is dreadful, and not in a "so bad it's good way." Thankfully there isn't a whole lot of it. In terms of gameplay, this isn't a standard twin-stick shooter -- it's much deeper than that. After a quick tutorial, it's fairly easy to get the hang of the forward and reverse thrusters, the latter of which allow you to moonwalk (moonboost?) backwards to continue engagement. Pressing both of them allows you to brake, which provides pinpoint movement, as well as the ability to thrust cancel whenever you feel like it. Oh, and you can also press square to "juke," which has a little effect of your ship coming out of the screen and dodging bullets. It's really cool. Check out the full control scheme here. [embed]297236:59841:0[/embed] Sound plays a factor in the game as well, as a blue ring around your ship displays how far enemy units can hear you. Yep, your goal is going to actually be avoiding combat as often as you can, because again, death is a big deal in Galak-Z, and it sort of plays into the Last Starfighter vibe that the story is going for. It's also good then that shields can withstand environmental impacts for the most part and regenerate after a few seconds, so you won't have too many frustrating deaths. While permadeath is hard-hitting, you can earn temporary upgrades that will help you avoid your demise, exchange "Crash Coins" for instant upgrades, and locate blueprints, which grant the in-game shop permanent fixtures for future playthroughs. Note that while that blueprints are stocked for every session, you will still have to buy them with scrap (currency you'll find in the world), so you truly are restarting with nothing to your name most of the time. That right there is probably going to scare a lot of people away. While I generally don't mind a learning curve, there is some tedium involved -- more-so than most roguelikes. While many games don't have clear "objectives," and would rather see you explore at your own pace, the chopped-up level scheme doesn't always gel in terms of pacing. For some missions, I was able to fly right into a really unique area like a lava cave, blow up some bugs, and escape with a jump point relatively close to the objective. For others, I had to fly through a long network of caverns, find a boring box, blow it up, and then fly back for upwards of five minutes just to complete that stage. But for every randomly generated disappointment, there's an array of fun moments. Since multiple factions will attack each other in-game, it's a joy to pit them against one another, and slowly reap the benefits from afar with your missiles and all of the wonderful toys you've acquired through your current season. I don't want to spoil the transforming mech bit too much, but suffice to say it adds yet another layer on top of everything, and is just as satisfying as it sounds. Getting through a season and learning all of the tricks involved over time provides a clear sense of accomplishment, and you'll need to put in some work to reap those benefits. I wish Galak-Z: The Dimensional wasn't so fragmented, because the core experience is a treat for roguelike and space combat fans alike. Even 15 hours through I was still seeing new items and upgrades, which is a testament to its lasting power, warts and all -- I just need to take breaks from the tedium every so often. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the developer.]
Galak-Z review photo
Amuro Blu-ray
There aren't enough mech games out there. I mean sure, I grew up with Mechwarrior, G-Nome, Armored Core, and Heavy Gear, among countless others over the years, but it's still not enough. It's never enough. While Galak-Z does have some issues, it does manage to keep the dream mostly alive.

Sam Lake explains Quantum Break's television show tie-in

Aug 05 // Steven Hansen
[embed]297184:59794:0[/embed] What's weird, though, is that while my suspicion and low expectations haven't changed even as the game has, there's some magic in hearing Remedy's Sam Lake tell it. Few can string together scripted nonsense like "intense story-driven action game spectacle" and still seem genuine with a kind of unassuming, unironic grin. It's adorable At one point Lake noted that the team destroyed yet another giant ship in the demo we were shown. "We are destroying another ship here as we did at last gamescom," Lake said, explaining that Remedy doesn't hate ships or the shipping industry. "We love shipping. Shipping games." Pause. "Hah hah." That was a "hah hah," not a laugh, and a perfectly delivered one. So we've seen "I'm a super badass baby-faced dubstep killer" wreck house on crews of heavily outfitted corporate military already and it's a little goofy as the guy in jeans and a Guess jacket brushes off assault rifle fire. He's aided by the time powers granted by a failed time travel experiment that is bringing about the end of time (hah). Time Rush allows Jack to run forward with time stopped, either to avoid environmental obstacles in platforming sections or to combo into running punches. Time Dodge is a quick dash out of harm's way or into an enemy to bump them a bit. Time Blast is an offensive projectile, Time Shield is a bubble shield, and Time Stop freezes time in one focused area. Some of Monarch's soldiers are outfitted with fancy backpacks that give them some of these powers, too, so you're not just up against folks shooting you. Quantum Break is "a story about warring philosophies," Lake says. The fatalist antagonist thinks the future can't be changed or fixed no matter what, the protagonist thinks that's bogus. The game focuses on the perspective of the latter, while "the show is about villains," focusing on the Wire half of the cast and what's happening at evil Monarch. So how does it work? "You first play through an act of the game, Lake says. "It culminates in a special scene that is the junction moment, where you make a choice," which opens up an episode of the show "based on the choice you make." So you get roughly 22 minutes of programming tailored to your decisions. And all of Quantum Break is "shaped by your choices." The given example of a junction moment is where evil corporate bad guy Paul Serene has to either: 1) kill a student activist who's witness to some shady things or 2) threaten to murder her family to bend her into submission. Both bad, one less bad, I suppose. Her death, should you choose, is reflected in the protest scene from last year's trailer. On the other hand, should she live, she becomes Jacks ally, helping to dig up dirt on Monarch. Sometimes these two parts of the game weave even closer. A live-action conflict between Monarch folks who've captured Jack ends at an anticlimax as their guns disappear and Jack is shown to have gotten away. On the game side, there's a cutscene of Jack waking up in the back of the van, noticing the conflict outside, and escaping (and gun jacking) during a time skip. With Xbox having killed its original programming arm, Lake also clarified that, "the game and the show ship together as one item."
Not skippable photo
'[They] ship together as one item'
It's been over two years since I first side-eyed Quantum Break, the television show and third-person shooter hybrid from Remedy (Alan Wake, Max Payne). Quantum Break finally has a release date it probably won't be delayed out...

Mighty No. 9 photo
Mighty No. 9

Comcept finally confirms that the Mighty No. 9 2016 delay is REAL


Told you
Aug 05
// Chris Carter
Late last week, Mike Futter at Game Informer and I broke the news that Mighty No. 9 might be getting a last-minute delay. It was set for a September release date, but rumblings suggested that it would be pushed into 2016...
Garden Warfare 2 photo
Garden Warfare 2

Garden Warfare 2 gets interstellar as Grass Effect


What even is this?
Aug 05
// Laura Kate Dale
Sooooooo, we all know that Garden Warfare 2 is Plants Vs Zombies' attempt to parody big budget Call of Duty shooters, but apparently the game is also going to feature content inspired by the Mass Effect series. If you pre-ord...
Quantum Break photo
Quantum Break

New Quantum Break trailer has a hobbit and military violence


April 5, 2016
Aug 04
// Steven Hansen
Those extreme sound cues whenever a time travel power is used are real loud watching live. I somehow missed one of Lords of the Rings' hobbits ending up in the game -- this is still half a television show? Making an extreme ...
Splatoon photo
Splatoon

Next week's Splatfest is a campfire debate


Two new weapons in Splatoon tonight
Jul 31
// Jordan Devore
I linked news of the next American Splatfest in our staff chat and it snowballed into a discussion about condiments. Leave it to Splatoon to get us talking about the real issues, like whether ketchup is too boring and what's ...
Ghost Recon Wildlands photo
Ghost Recon Wildlands

Ghost Recon Wildlands trailer needs to be more careful with the yayo


That stuff is expensive, I've heard
Jul 31
// Brett Makedonski
Look at all these nice people saying nice things about Ubisoft's Ghost Recon Wildlands. The compliments aren't the reason we're sharing it, though; we just figured maybe you wanted to watch a guy walk menacingly toward a pig...
Velvet Dark photo
Velvet Dark

Rare was going to make Velvet Dark, a sister title to the N64 Perfect Dark


Too bad this didn't happen
Jul 30
// Brett Makedonski
Perfect Dark -- or, as it's called on my block, "the game that fixed everything bad about GoldenEye" -- told the story of Carrington Institute's Joanna Dark as she attempted to thwart dataDyne's evil intentions and all t...
Battlefront photo
Battlefront

Star Wars Battlefront has a team deathmatch mode, too


Blast off! Up to the stars we go
Jul 30
// Brett Makedonski
There's an explanation for nearly all action in the Star Wars universe, but sometimes you don't want to lean on reasoning as an excuse to shoot first. Sometimes you do it because it feels right (and because you want to a...
Zombi photo
Zombi

ZombiU hits PC, PS4, and Xbox One next month


Is it too late?
Jul 30
// Jordan Devore
Early Wii U owners should know all about ZombiU. Depending on who you ask, it was a decent to great zombie survival game and a much-needed one at that. Years later, Ubisoft is bringing it to other platforms -- PC, PlayStatio...
Gears of War photo
Gears of War

Devs 'aren't trying to fix gameplay' with Gears of War remaster


But things are being smoothed out
Jul 29
// Brett Makedonski
Even though it'll release almost nine years after the original, Gears of War players won't feel a lot of difference between 2006's game and the remaster. Sure, they'll notice a ton of differences, but they won't feel&nb...
Splatune photo
Splatune

Stay fresh and listen to Splatoon's new music


Gimme that new update
Jul 28
// Jordan Devore
Splatoon players already have a huge update to look forward to next week with new matchmaking modes (including private battles!), a substantially higher level cap, two new weapon types, and lots more gear. This game disc isn'...
Splatoon photo
Matchmaking and more
Earlier this year, Nintendo promised a big update for Splatoon in August, and we now have official confirmation that it will arrive on August 5. It'll bring Squad Battle and Private Battle matchmaking modes -- the former...


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