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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...

Assassin's Creed Syndicate reinvigorates the series with a return to basics

Aug 05 // Alessandro Fillari
Assassin's Creed Syndicate (PS4 [Previewed], Xbox One, PC)Developer: Ubisoft QuebecPublisher: UbisoftRelease Date: October 23, 2015 (PC Q4 2015) Unlike its recent predecessors, Syndicate aims to do something a bit more streamlined during its trek through the streets and over the rooftops of Victorian-era London. While Assassin's Creed has had online gameplay components since 2010, Syndicate will follow AC: Rogue's example and focus purely on single-player gameplay. While online has been pretty neat for the AC titles, the developers wanted to make a single-player experience while putting all their resources into making it the sharpest game of the series. "We really wanted to get back to the basics. Our objective was to ship the biggest and liveliest city yet with London, and it was a big challenge, and we wanted to concentrate on building a massive single-player experience," said associate producer Andrée-Anne Boisvert. "Because of that, we were able to refine the core gameplay, adding in the rope launcher for easier traversal, refining the parkour, revamping the fighting gameplay -- so with all these things, we wanted the single-player to be really amazing." Of course, the most unique aspect of Syndicate is its focus on two protagonists with the brother and sister duo Jacob and Evie Frye. While we've already seen much of Jacob and his exploits in London, this marked the first time we were able to go hands-on with Evie, and it's evident who has the brains in this operation. Much like her brother, Evie is an assassin who must find the location of the Piece of Eden, all the while debilitating the Templar's control of the city. Though unlike her brother, she is a far more calculating and cunning assassin, and tends to shy away from the all-out brawls Jacob revels in. With many of her skills focusing on long-range assassinations and stealth, Evie is essentially the scalpel within London's Assassin order. At any time during open-world exploration, you'll be able to switch between the two and engage in missions at your leisure to reassert control of England's capital city. "We found it interesting to have the dynamic between these two; they have different personalities and different narrative storylines," said the producer. "That's something we wanted to focus on. We wanted to make sure that their personalities are reflected in the gameplay with their unique skills that they have." We finally got to put Evie's skills to the test during a key mission to strike at the Templar order. During a Blackbox mission within the Tower of London, Evie infiltrates the site to assassinate the Templar operative Lucy Thorne, who also has knowledge of where the ancient artifact is. Using skills and weapons such as the Voltaic Bomb, which shocks nearby foes, and the chameleon skill, which grants limited invisibility, Evie's approach is far more subtle. Much like its predecessor, Blackbox missions are open-ended challenges that feature multiple approaches to accomplish a single goal. Unity was the first to implement this mission structure, and Syndicate definitely plans to create more unique moments during these specific events. As Evie found her way to a vantage point within the Tower of London, she was able to discover three different opportunities to infiltrate the site and assassinate Thorne. Option one was to stalk the key-bearer and procure the master-key to enter the main tower solo; option two was to work with an undercover tower-guard to sneak into the tower; and option three was to rescue the local Constable and round up a group of loyal guards to battle their way into the tower. The third option was the riskiest and loudest approach, but it also allowed for Evie to utilize her stealth skills in unique ways, so I immediately went for it. The developers felt that with the two protagonists, there was room for much more variety and experimentation with the missions. "For Assassin's Creed: Synidicate, we wanted to make it a lot more about the freedom to choose your own path and ways through missions," said Boisvert. "We want players to be able to tackle the missions in the way they want to do it. Blackboxes are the way we have them do it, which is what we base the game on, giving players choices and offering many different ways to approach an objective for their playstyle." Using many of the traditional Assassin skills, such as Eagle Vision, parkour, and aerial assassinations and takedowns, I was able to sneak into the guard house to free the Constable, and we led a group of loyal guards to assault the main tower. While Evie isn't much for brawling and tends to focus more on the calculated strokes to achieve victory, she can easily hold herself in a scrape when it comes to it. The combat in Syndicate has seen a bit of an overhaul, which the developers felt was necessary after seeing how easily players were able to win encounters by waiting for enemy attacks and using parries. It seems over time the Templar order has finally wised up to the Assassins' tricks and plays a far more defensive game. They'll only attack when they see an opening and will guard many of your attacks. Evie and Jacob will have to utilize guard breaks and dodges to counter them, and parry only when the time is right. I felt far more active during combat, and it was the right move to switch things up. As the guards battled their way through the tower, I was able to gracefully move through the carnage while using Evie's knife throwing skills to make quick work of any oncoming threats. We finally came upon Thorne with her personal bodyguards. With the carnage filling up the central room, I was able to get the jump on Thorne for a quick assassination. At this point, the mission ended in traditional AC fashion with the central character and victim sharing a final moment before their death. But I didn't stop there. Afterwards, I booted up the mission again and went for the other options. The key-bearer was the stealthiest approach, as I was able to sneak through the tower area and assassinate the target with minimal casualties. As you can probably guess from reading this, I'm into the new setting. As one of the most requested settings from fans, Victorian-era London is a stark departure from the previous titles. Not only from the stylistic standpoint, with the dark and grimy streets filled with people who represent the best and worst of what society has to offer, but it's also the first AC game (outside of the present-day narrative) with its toes dipped into the modern era. As swords and axes become antiques, revolvers and rifles are much more common, making combat feel riskier than ever. "It's the first modern-day setting for an Assassin's Creed title [in regards to the core game setting], so it's the first time where we have a city that is so huge like London," said Boisvert. "Traffic is dense, we have carriages and other people walking on the sidewalks, and you also have the police which will chase after you when you cause trouble for others. It's a whole new dynamic for us. With the also the trains and boats, it make the city much more vibrant than any other title." I was pretty impressed with Assassin's Creed Syndicate. The game ran fairly well and I didn't notice any performance hiccups like the ones that plagued the previous AC title. I got the sense that Unity represented a major shift in how Ubisoft develops the series, and with Syndicate re-evaluating its priorities to focus more on the core game as opposed to the meta-aspects and supplementary content, I feel this entry could be a great turning point. I look forward to seeing more from the Frye siblings in the coming months, though I certainly hope the devs will figure out a way to work in Jack the Ripper, Sherlock Holmes, and Charles Dickens during the Assassins' trek through the city. To ignore them would be a missed opportunity.
Assassin's Creed photo
There's no place like London
It's not often we get to see a series recognize that things may have gotten off track. As many no doubt remember, Assassin's Creed Unity got hit hard with criticisms about its technical performance and odd design decisio...

Homefront: The Revolution is very different than when we last saw it

Aug 04 // Brett Makedonski
[embed]297199:59800:0[/embed] When I first played Homefront: The Revolution, the world felt lived-in. The oppressive themes were apparent, but the citizens seemed to accept it and go about their daily routines (except for the ones sparking the revolution in secret, of course). I believed that this was a city I could change the face of. I saw the potential to revolt and to do so in creative ways. The chunk I recently saw was more chaotic than that. Things are on fire and smoke billows on the horizon. All those people doing everyday stuff don't exist anymore. There are a few freedom fighters, but not many. It's mostly an empty playground for me to ramp my motorcycle off stuff. Rather than showing off a functioning city, this version of Homefront: The Revolution opted for sporadic waves of enemies. Many battles took places in warehouses, often around large crates that are meant to scream "industry!" It was all just so boring. It was like a Call of Duty where you traverse more ground before the next section of bad guys with guns. The world was still open, but the enemies acted with the scripted ways of a linear game. The player reached the top of the stairs, so it's time to charge through the door. That is to say, this demo largely erased my positive attitude toward Homefront: The Revolution. I'm not going to care about liberating a city if there's no one in that city. Its lifelessness reminded me of every shooter I've played for the past ten years and then immediately forgot about. The thing is, this can't be the true Homefront: The Revolution. Its premise is one with promise, but this slice shows none of that ambition. There's no way the game's skewed this far from concept. I guess I'll chalk this up to another misrepresentative demo, and hey -- I just broke the rule I spent the first paragraph talking about.
Homefront preview photo
But not necessarily better
Sometimes when you see a game at a preview event, you don't even want to write about it. You just know that what was shown wasn't a good representation of the final game. Malicious intent isn't always to blame, either; there ...

Crackdown 3 photo
Crackdown 3

Microsoft debuts Crackdown 3 gameplay at gamescom


Destruction-centric multiplayer
Aug 04
// Chris Carter
Microsoft gave us a bit of info on Crackdown 3, which is starting to take shape. It takes place in a new city which was once a "glistening metropolis now filled with crime." It's described as an ecosystem where you have more...
Terraria photo
Terraria

More frequent updates are planned for Terraria


Also Terraria 2 and mod support?
Aug 03
// Joe Parlock
In an interview with PC Gamer, Terraria’s lead developer Andrew “Redigit” Spinks announced that going forward, there will be more frequent but smaller updates to the game. Talking about the recent 1.3 update...
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...
Minecraft photo
Minecraft

Minecraft 1.9 is coming to cut your head off in The Combat Update, first snapshot released


Hope they take a good look at Terraria
Jul 30
// Joe Parlock
When not diving into their Scrooge McDuck-style pools of money, the folks over at Mojang have announced they’re working on Minecraft 1.9, dubbed The Combat Update. Three guesses as to what it’s going to be about. ...
Fallout 4 photo
Fallout 4

Pacifism is 'not necessarily a goal' for Fallout 4


It's a wasteland, after all
Jul 28
// Jordan Devore
Officially, Fallout 4 players will only be able to romance human companions. They'll also have to resort to violence to complete the story; no perfect pacifist runs, from the sound of it. "You can avoid [killing] a lot," VP o...
Just Cause 3 photo
Just Cause 3

Just Cause 3's interactive trailer drives home the agency of chaos


Project Mayhem
Jul 15
// Brett Makedonski
This isn't your typical video game trailer, because Just Cause 3 is not your typical video game. Instead of a carefully crafted sizzle reel, the audience gets to determine how the sizzle plays out. That's because Just C...
Crashlands photo
Crashlands

Building, crafting, crashing, and laughing in Crashlands


I am a poet
Jul 14
// Darren Nakamura
I'm fighting the urge to do the lazy blogger "if X and Y had a baby" thing, but I don't know if I can help myself. Crashlands looks like what would happen if The Behemoth (BattleBlock Theater) were to develop Klei Entertainm...
Metal Gear Solid V photo
Metal Gear Solid V

Konami removes all Kojima branding from MGSV: Phantom Pain cover


Shock horror what a surprise
Jul 14
// Vikki Blake
In the latest of a long line of hideously public oh-my-God-will-this-ever-fecking-end-I-love-Mummy-and-Daddy-equally-why-won't-they-stop-fighting spats since Hideo Kojima parted ways with Konami, the publisher has now removed...
Assassin's Creed photo
Assassin's Creed

Want to play Assassin's Creed at SDCC? You have to write a short essay first


Compose to be chose
Jul 07
// Brett Makedonski
Are your writing skills as sharp as your hidden blade? They'll need to be if you want to play Assassin's Creed Syndicate at San Diego Comic-Con. It's a jam-packed show, and only the most qualified of assassins get a chan...
Question photo
Question

Will you try to 100% Batman: Arkham Knight?


I'm tapping out
Jul 06
// Jordan Devore
I'm done with Batman: Arkham Knight. I have to be. After wrapping up the main storyline, which ends strong and is worth experiencing first-hand, I went after those pesky side missions. The Perfect Crime (serial killer), Creat...
The Witcher 3 photo
The Witcher 3

The next Witcher patch makes inventory much, much better


No free DLC this week
Jul 06
// Brett Makedonski
When The Witcher 3's Patch 1.07 releases later this week on all platforms, players will find changes to inventory that make the process of hauling around tons of equipment far more manageable. That includes not only the liter...
No Man's Sky photo
No Man's Sky

I'm finally starting to get No Man's Sky


Extended footage
Jul 06
// Jordan Devore
What do you do in No Man's Sky? Hello Games could spend the rest of its time leading up to release trying to answer that question and people would continue asking anyway. This "18 minutes of uninterrupted gameplay" from IGN ...
The Division photo
The Division

Celebrate the long weekend with a super bleak The Division trailer


Tom Clancy's Estate's The Division
Jul 03
// Brett Makedonski
While Americans celebrate Independence Day the only way we know how -- grilled foods, intoxication, and explosions -- watch this crazy depressing Tom Clancy's The Division trailer to bring the mood down a little bit. We...
Piranha Bytes RPG photo
Piranha Bytes RPG

Gothic creator working on a science fantasy RPG


Mutated creatures, you say?
Jul 02
// Jordan Devore
Piranha Bytes is known for Gothic and Risen, but it's stepping away from those series to create a new role-playing game, ELEX. That's "eclectic, lavish, exhilarating, xenial." Got it? Me neither! We can't actually see the gam...
Terraria 1.3 photo
Terraria 1.3

Time to boot up Terraria again


Version 1.3 is here
Jun 30
// Jordan Devore
Everything I knew of Terraria's 1.3 update was shown in that mine cart video. Looking over the vast changelog, there are hundreds of additions, tweaks, and fixes. It's here and it's huge! Multiplayer is easier to set up, for ...
Uncle Jack photo
Uncle Jack

Let We Happy Few's Uncle Jack tuck you into bed tonight


Definitely not creepy
Jun 26
// Darren Nakamura
It's getting late. Have you applied the minty paste to the exposed part of your skeleton? If so, let good old Uncle Jack read you a bedtime story. It will be fun! You won't have nightmares. Probably. One of the neat things a...
H2O photo
H2O

Dying Light takes jab at Destiny, rehydrates userbase


#DrinkRightDyingLight
Jun 24
// Brett Makedonski
Techland is doing its damnedest to take the piss out of Destiny. You know, that "wow, this is really yellow, actually it's almost orange; this cannot be good for my kidneys" piss. It's running a similar drink-based promo...

It's truly fun traversing Assassin's Creed Syndicate's London

Jun 16 // Brett Makedonski
As these things go, our E3 demo was free of any sort of missteps that would hint at a repeat performance. No surprise there; these showings are almost always incredibly polished even though they're all in "pre-alpha." What is worth noting is that Ubisoft actually let us have hands-on time this year. In 2014, it was a one-on-one hands-off session while a developer played. That could be a small indicator that the publisher has more faith in this year's iteration. I was turned loose in a very small section of London, and I immediately felt a knowing comfort. Assassin's Creed isn't going to change that much, after all. Having just walked out of a pub, protagonist Jacob was on the ground and surrounded by three story (or so) buildings. Rooftops are the much preferred method of getting around, so it's time to start ascending. This is where Syndicate made its open-world pacing apparent. Rather than climbing the face of every structure, Jacob can shoot a grappling hook that will almost instantaneously transport him to any summit. It may seem like it wouldn't be all that noteworthy, as several titles have implemented the same feature in recent years. But, it does such a great job of opening up the Assassin's Creed traversal, it's impossible to ignore its significance here. [embed]294140:59097:0[/embed] Once on the rooftops, it was simple to shoot ziplines across to even further destinations. It's no longer necessary to go from roof to ground and back up when trying to cross a city. Now, pathfinding is incredibly simple because it just requires a quick tap of a button to fire across the chasm. These ziplines serve another purpose too, though. Partway between two points, Jacob can decide that whatever's underneath him needs a quick blade in the back of the neck. Performing air assassinations while gliding along proves to be quite satisfying, not to mention efficient. This particular demo tasked me with clearing out a relatively small compound, which was a great opportunity to test out the only new weapon I was shown. Jacob has hallucinogenic darts at his disposal, which make enemies easy to deal with. What's more, shooting them into a fire gives them an area-of-effect radius instead of only harming one target. I took out three people with one dart and then threw a knife to drop some cargo on the head of a fourth. It was a pretty great way to quickly and creatively dispatch a handful of enemies. That's when the faction leader began fleeing, necessitating commandeering someone's buggy to chase them down. With a terrified horse pulling me around with all the grace you'd expect from a panicked animal, I eventually caught up. This initiated a "gang war" where I fought alongside approximately ten others to kill those on the other side, which concluded the demo. For the few takeaways I had, I was left with more questions. What role would Evie play opposite of Jacob? Will either be playable under any circumstance, or do they each have scenes dedicated to them? How will gameplay differ between the two? What are Ubisoft's plans for the modern story? How will the boroughs of London seem unique? I had a lot of inquiries, but the developers were tight-lipped about almost everything, simply stating that oft-repeated line "We're going to be talking about that later." Frustrating as it is, it's par for the course. Information's always locked down until the publisher's ready to reveal. From what we saw, everything about Syndicate is very Assassin's Creed. That's not much of a revelatory statement, but it is what it is. The grappling hook -- the one thing that isn't very Assassin's Creed -- was undoubtedly the finest feature. It's not the type of change that will be at the forefront of someone's mind when they think about the game, but it's an improvement that will keep traversal from becoming too much of a slog. That's a welcome addition if I've ever heard of one.
AC Syndicate preview photo
And a whole lot quicker
Ubisoft finally had all the perils that come with annual franchise installments come crashing down on it last year with Assassin's Creed Unity. It was the most ambitious Assassin's Creed title to date -- with its insanel...

 photo

Assassin's Creed Syndicate gets PS4 exclusive missions, Dreadful Crimes


DON'T MESS WITH EVIE
Jun 15
// Nic Rowen
The PS4 is getting some exclusive Assassin's Creed Syndicate missions based on the works of some of Victorian England’s most famous authors (although curiously, they didn't name which ones). The Dreadful Crimes exclusi...
Ghost Recon Wildlands photo
Ghost Recon Wildlands

Ghost Recon goes open world with Wildlands


Eww, bloody cocaine
Jun 15
// Jordan Devore
Ubisoft showed an intriguing new open-world game about taking down a Bolivian drug cartel during its E3 2015 press conference and, oh, it's just a new Ghost Recon. That's our Ubisoft! Ghost Recon Wildlands is a third-pe...
Mirror's Edge Catalyst photo
Mirror's Edge Catalyst

Mirror's Edge Catalyst release date is February 23, 2016


Play Faith's origin story
Jun 15
// Darren Nakamura
At EA's press conference today, Sara Jansson showed off a trailer for the upcoming Mirror's Edge Catalyst. Before getting it started, she dropped the release date: February 23, 2016. That's less than a year before we can (fi...
Minecraft Hololens photo
Minecraft Hololens

Wow, Minecraft on Microsoft's HoloLens looks hot


The power of Microsoft money
Jun 15
// Darren Nakamura
We have seen snippets of Minecraft on HoloLens in the past, but at Microsoft's E3 press conference today, a couple of presenters showed off something that had us putting up the respect knuckles. With a special camera showing ...
Fallout 4 screenshots photo
Fallout 4 screenshots

Fallout 4 screenshots fresh from the Bethesda showcase


Looking good, Boston
Jun 15
// Darren Nakamura
Bethesda spent a lot of time on Fallout at its E3 showcase. Though the video presentation is probably the way to go for those hungry for Fallout 4 information, fans short on time might prefer a quick browsing of screens. Thou...
Fallout 4 photo
You can play Donkey Kong on your Pip-Boy
Tonight at Bethesda's E3 2015 press conference, game director Todd Howard demonstrated Fallout 4, which begins before the bombs fell. The character creator takes place in a mirror and adjustments happen in real time. And, yes...

Diluvion Kickstarter photo
Diluvion Kickstarter

Manage an ornate submarine in the open world of Diluvion


2D and 3D gameplay
Jun 10
// Darren Nakamura
Sure, big name Kickstarters like Bloodstained and Yooka-Laylee are in the spotlight right now with their campaigns winding down having made millions of dollars. But don't forget that there are others out there looking for th...
Terraria photo
Terraria

Terraria is coming to Wii U and 3DS


Eyeball shall cast all sinners asunder
Jun 08
// Joe Parlock
It's looking as though Terraria is coming to 3DS and Wii U, if a recent Amazon listing for the game is anything to go by. Now I know, Amazon has a pretty bad habit of just listing any game it can think of in the hopes it...
Fallout sale photo
Fallout sale

Steam has all the Fallout games on sale right now


What a (Brotherhood of) steal!
Jun 04
// Brett Makedonski
With yesterday's reveal of Fallout 4 (finally!), the nuclear apocalyptic role-playing series is the talk of the gaming world. Valve's trying to turn some of that hype into money by putting all the Fallout games on sale. ...

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