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Assassin's Creed photo
Assassin's Creed

Assassin's Creed Syndicate's going to be a bit late to the party on PC

Taking precautions
Aug 26
// Brett Makedonski
Almost four weeks after PS4 and Xbox One players have been zipping and stabbing around Victorian London, PC users will finally get their chance with Assassin's Creed Syndicate. Until then, they have to lurk in the shadows, wa...
Phantom Pain photo
Phantom Pain

The Metal Gear Solid V launch trailer is bittersweet

One week to go
Aug 25
// Jordan Devore
The first half of this launch trailer for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is a short, incomplete reminder of designer Hideo Kojima's legacy. It's sad, knowing what we know. Touching, even. Then a giant-ass mech with a gun on its crotch transforms a fiery whip into a sword and slashes cars.
Assassin's Creed photo
Assassin's Creed

Groundhog Day: Has the Assassin's Creed series become too boring?

Aug 20
// Zack Furniss
With Assassin's Creed Syndicate coming out later this year, the series will have another chance to prove that it can shake its current malaise. Will grappling hooks, vehicles, and a (pretty cool-looking, though unfortuna...
Witcher 3 photo
Witcher 3

Witcher 3 dev wants free DLC to be an industry standard

But it won't
Aug 20
// Brett Makedonski
CD Projekt Red released The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt in May, but it didn't stop offering content there. Over the course of three months, the developer continually put out free add-ons -- 16 in all. That's a trend that it'd l...
Wingsuit photo

Just Cause 3 has Super Monkey Ball style challenge mode

Also wonton destruction, natch
Aug 18
// Steven Hansen
Curious: does anyone pronounce Just Cause like Just 'Cuz? Just wondering. Why? Just 'cause. Hah. But seriously. I know some of you must've started with that pronunciation and it stuck, right? I mean, it works, too. That was ...
I choose Metal Gear photo
I choose Metal Gear

Mad Max gets a choose-your-own-trailer

I choose Metal Gear
Aug 17
// Steven Hansen
"See that mountain? You can walk to it." The audience, hushed, is stunned. The presentation script writer leans back, whiskey in hand and a hunk draped around her like a fur. The audience, catching up to the transcendent rea...
Mad Max photo
Mad Max

On the fence with Mad Max? Here's over an hour of gameplay

Imperator? I hardly even know her
Aug 14
// Steven Hansen
As much as I loved the recent Fury Road, I've had a tepid response to Avalanche's (Just Cause 3) Mad Max game, which has looked bland and lacked all the vitality of the film. It's basically looked like the first Borderlands ...
The Phantom Pain photo
The Phantom Pain

Metal Gear Solid V 1080p PS4, 900p Xbox One and PC system requirements

4K Phantom Pain on PC
Aug 10
// Steven Hansen
Buried in last last week's PS4/PS3/360/One/PC comparison shots of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (they all look great!) are the underlying technical performance of the five versions. The PS3 and 360 versions both run at...
Yakuza 5 photo
Yakuza 5

Still excited for Yakuza 5 this fall? Watch this developer interview series

Lots of hostess club talk
Aug 07
// Chris Carter
The PlayStation team visited Tokyo earlier this year to chat with a pair of Yakuza developers (General Director Toshihiro Nagoshi and Producer Masayoshi Yokoyama), in anticipation for Yakuza 5's digital worldwide releas...

Grand Ages: Medieval brings open-world strategic gameplay to PS4

Aug 05 // Alessandro Fillari
[embed]297244:59819:0[/embed] Grand Ages: Medieval (PC, PS4 [previewed])Developer: Gaming MindsPublisher: Kalypso MediaRelease Date: PC September 25, 2015 / PS4 September 29 Much like its predecessor, Grand Ages: Rome, Medieval allows for total freedom in how you build your empire and expand your reach. Though Rome itself was a major player during its heyday, the empire's time has passed, and now the kingdoms throughout Europe, the British Isles, Northern Africa, and the Middle East aim to leave their mark on the world. With both a narrative campaign and free mode to tackle, players can build their kingdom in any way they see fit. Dubbed as an "open world grand strategy economy' game by the developers, they were very adamant about this title being something more than a traditional RTS game. With the freedom in how you engage with allies, tackle challenges, initiate trade and wartime agreements, and eliminate the opposition all up to your own playstyle, you're given an enormous amount of leeway in how you stake your claim throughout the land. In the campaign mode, players take on the role of Leon Versselios, a young ruler in central Europe who must take over his kingdom after the death of his father. Essentially, this campaign serves as the tutorial and teaches players how to establish towns, trade with neighboring cities, gather resources, scout nearby lands to expand reach, negotiate alliances, and prepare for war against foes when negotiation fails. As you build your nation, Leon will encounter many allies that seek alliances with him and his kingdom, but over time, many events could sour relations and turn neighboring kingdoms to seek out what is yours. As you expand, you're treated to animated cutscenes showing recent relations with allies and the morale of family members and citizens of the kingdom. While there is freedom to be had, you are guided along to an extent in the campaign. According to the developers, the narrative mode can take upwards to 10-15 hours to complete, and features many twists and turns that will keep you guessing. However, once you've reached a certain point in the campaign, which concludes Leon's core story, you're allowed to continue his rise to power at your leisure and continue with your expansion. This also serves as a great segue into where the true game begins. In the open world mode, you can choose a custom character and starting location, and begin your expansion as you see fit. This mode is where most players will spend their time in Grand Ages, as it allows for your to create your story and show the neighboring civilizations how your empire will shape the known world. During my session, I was dropped into a 20+ hour save file. I was initially a bit overwhelmed by how much data there was to keep track of. With many different kingdoms, many of which were allies, and some neutral or hostile, you'll have to keep a close eye on which ones need assistance or require swift action against. But it's not just people you'll have to worry about -- the kingdoms will have to contend with mother nature as well. Earthquakes, thunderstorms, volcanoes, famine, and even the bubonic plague are major threats that will call for immediate action. While these sorts of games are home on PC, the PS4 was able to hand everything quite well. The user interface has been slightly modified to accommodate the controller setup, but overall it's largely the same game as its PC counterpart. While it's very menu intensive, I found it easy to get into once I went through the motions and learned all the tricks needed to engage. There's truly no other game like this on PS4, and it'll definitely please the more hardcore-minded strategy gamers looking for a new title on console.
Grand Ages: Medieval photo
Don't call it an RTS
Last year, I went hands-on with Grand Ages: Medieval, a civilization builder set during the Medieval era. Coming from the developers of Port Royale 3 and Rise of Venice, they've moved onto a bigger stage of Europe. During a t...

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

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 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

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

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

Dying Light takes jab at Destiny, rehydrates userbase

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...

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