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FFXV photo
FFXV

Check out that new Final Fantasy XV driving footage in HD


Beautiful
Sep 01
// Chris Carter
New footage for Final Fantasy XV was released at PAX, and it deals entirely with the driving portion of the game. It's an overview of sorts, dealing with how the car works and what cruising around the world will look li...
Warcraft photo
Warcraft

Watch the newest Warcraft movie trailer before it's pulled


Roughly 40 seconds
Sep 01
// Chris Carter
A few months ago during San Diego Comic-Con, the first Warcraft movie trailer was live for a single morning. If you didn't get a chance to catch that extended video, you can get a quick look at the film now, by way ...

Review: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

Aug 31 // Chris Carter
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (PC, PS3, PS4 [reviewed], Xbox 360, Xbox One)Developer: Kojima ProductionsPublisher: KonamiRelease: September 1, 2015Price: $59.99 (PC, PS4, Xbox One) $49.99 (PS3, Xbox 360) [There will be no story spoilers here, though themes and gameplay elements will naturally be discussed in this assessment. I'll be as vague as possible.] Phantom Pain opens up with a brutal playable sequence that sets the tone for the game. Big Boss has woken up after a nine-year coma, and just in time, as an elite infantry unit has invaded his location, ready to kill anyone and everyone just to get to him. Looking back on this opening, it's amazing to see how well thought out everything is in Phantom Pain -- there is very little wasted time. This rapid fire mentality shines throughout the entire game. No longer will you spend hours listening to two portraits talk back and forth via codec. Instead, it's all done through a radio seamlessly integrated into regular play. David Hayter's endless monologues are eschewed for Kiefer Sutherland's more deliberate interjections, and as a result, the entire experience has a very different feel to it. That's not to say there aren't some classic conventions present, or that Kojima has abandoned his roots. There's still plenty of silliness that ensues, crazy mutated boss fights, tons of robots, and Easter eggs for days. It's the gameplay that feels a bit more grounded this time around -- one mission even provided me with flashes of Splinter Cell, but with the obvious Kojima flair to it. The main setup involves a timeline in 1984, 11 years before the first MSX Metal Gear, in which the Soviets invade Afghanistan. Your first job as a newly awakened Big Boss is to rescue your comrade Kazuhira Miller, and begin work on an entirely new Mother Base as the "Diamond Dogs" -- taking on Skull Face and his forces. From here, it evolves into a tale of espionage and deceit, complete with franchise-wide reveals and some breathtaking action sequences. Yep, it's still Metal Gear all right. [embed]305699:60106:0[/embed] But thanks to the advancements Kojima has made over the years refining his craft and the power of the Fox Engine, this is the biggest game yet in just about every regard. To accompany this huge shift is a suitable open-world focus, which allows you to explore a giant portion of Afghanistan, and another region I won't spoil here. It's interesting to see a mainline Metal Gear go this route, but after a few hours, I was used to it. The principle reason I was able to acclimate so quickly is Kojima and his team have made the game fun to play almost at all times. Nearly every situation can either be taken head-on by knocking down the front door, by stealth, or any combination therein. By researching different weapons and tools in Mother Base, you'll have the option to equip hundreds of different loadout variations, and face challenges in completely different ways. For instance, I later came back to one area, took an utterly new route, and used the Fulton extraction system to kidnap an entire base -- one member happened to be a translator who upped my force's efficacy considerably. What's even crazier is how deep the customization goes. You can choose from an assortment of "buddies" (which include the horse and wolf that have been previously revealed, among a few others) to accompany you on missions, all of whom have various costumes and loadouts themselves. You can also choose to alter the appearance of Big Boss, Mother Base, and even your own support Helicopter team. If you enjoyed the prospect of switching up camo suits in Snake Eater, you'll spend hours customizing all your junk here. Mother Base is a whole different animal as well. By using the Fulton system in the field you'll slowly acquire new soldiers, which you can in turn visit at your base at any time. It's similar to the Farmville-esque Garrison system from World of Warcraft, but much more rewarding. While I usually tend to ignore mechanics like this, your crew is integrated into the game in a number of ingenious ways. New weapons rely on the R&D team's efforts, for example, and the Intel team can inform you of incoming weather, as well as nearby enemy patrols if they are sufficiently staffed. The rewards are both tangible and poignant. You can also visit some more important NPCs, partake in a few target practice minigames, hit the shower to wash off the blood of your enemies, and generally just explore the base's nooks and crannies for collectibles. As I touched on a tad, the Fox Engine renders this all beautifully. It's insane to see a portion of the game and realize that it's not a cutscene, but actually done with in-game visuals. Although I've only had access to the PS4 version of Phantom Pain, it's run flawlessly, with minimal load times and no major framerate issues during my time. Another huge thing I noticed was the impeccable sound direction, which may be the best I've ever witnessed in a game to date. It's especially delightful if you're wearing headphones, as you can hear every clomp of your horse as the wind rushes behind you, bullets darting past your head. In terms of my assessment of the plot from start to finish (which all told took me roughly 40 hours to beat), it's definitely not one of my favorite entries, but it does a good job of closing a number of storylines and providing us with a few revelations of its own. As a fan it was tough to forget Hayter at first, but Sutherland really works here, especially with how different Phantom Pain is tonally. Which again, isn't to say that it's all serious all the time, as plenty of absurd characters and storylines pop up fairly quickly. For those of you who are curious, you won't be completely lost if you haven't played previous games in the series, but Snake Eater and Peace Walker knowledge will definitely up your enjoyment of the narrative. But as satisfied as I was with the story, there are a few inherent issues with the way the missions are structured. For starters, a number of levels are uninspired, and force a degree of backtracking, usually for a menial task you've already completed multiple times. This is especially evident later in the game, as it's required to redo some missions with either the "Subsistence," "Extreme," or "Full Stealth" modifiers in tow. The former drops you in with no items or assistance, Extreme ups the amount of damage you take considerably, and the latter ends a mission automatically if you're spotted. Series regulars will probably remember playing a lot of these higher difficulty levels on their third or fourth optional playthrough, but now they're incorporated into the game itself. I have a feeling these objectives are going to be incredibly polarizing, especially since a few of them took me at least 30 tries to complete. It's a level of dedication that hasn't really been seen lately in the gaming arena, but to me, it's classic Kojima. I powered through these tough and sometimes aggravating sections, and was sufficiently rewarded, both in the sense of storyline progression, and the acquisition of completely new tactics. As a note, I couldn't test the online features of the game, including the base-to-base combat sections (FOB). The story calls for at least one scripted invasion, but I was required to play the game in its entirety offline. Once Phantom Pain launches we'll provide some impressions of this feature, and we'll provide a separate review for Metal Gear Online, which has been delayed until October 6. Rest assured, the entire campaign can be played offline, beyond the reach of microtransactions or pre-order bonuses. Despite the fact that I hit a few snags along the way, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain feels like a simultaneous celebration of the series, and a decidedly new chapter. It's equal parts tough and flashy, and it's fitting that if this is Kojima's last Metal Gear, he goes out on a high note. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher. We did not attend the review event.]
Metal Gear V review photo
Happy trails, Kojima
Despite the fact that most of the spinoff Metal Gear games are good in their own right, they just don't get me excited the same way the mainline console editions do. Every core Metal Gear entry has something new, and offers up some sort of revelatory storyline event that has fans talking for years on end. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is no exception.

Mad Max review? photo
Mad Max review?

Where is our review for Mad Max?


Soon (tm)
Aug 31
// Chris Carter
It's midnight, and Mad Max has arrived on the PC, PS4, and Xbox One platforms. As you may have noticed, our review isn't up yet. So what gives? Well, we obtained a PS4 copy today. So, as is the case with all of our ...
MGS V photo
MGS V

Metal Gear Solid V's mobile app is rolling out, are you getting Phantom Pain at midnight?


On Android now
Aug 31
// Chris Carter
[Update: Sony is reporting that "some PS4 owners" who pre-ordered digitally will have to wait until 12:00 AM Pacific. This is my reaction.] Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is launching in just a few hours. Are you g...
Metal Gear Solid V photo
The first hit is free
Having obtained a retail copy of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, I've had a chance to test out the online functionality a bit, as the servers have been switched on in preparation for the game's midnight launch. You may ...

X-COM photo
X-COM

ESRB rates X-COM: Enemy Unknown Plus for Vita


Zuh
Aug 31
// Chris Carter
An ESRB rating has popped up for X-COM: Enemy Unknown Plus, which is being listed as a Mature game for the PlayStation Vita. It's important to note that the listing is for "Unknown," which is the base game, and not the "Withi...
Street Fighter V photo
Street Fighter V

Capcom details Street Fighter V pre-order bonuses, Collector's Edition


So many CEs today!
Aug 31
// Chris Carter
Today is just the day to unveil Collector's Editions, guys. Capcom is the latest to join the craze, with details for Street Fighter V. It'll come with the game, a 10-inch "fully painted" Ryu statue, a 48-page hardco...
Uncharted 4 photo
Uncharted 4

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End will be released on March 18, DLC detailed


A Collector's Edition, too
Aug 31
// Chris Carter
Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, which I really hope is better than the disappointing Uncharted 3, will be released on March 18, 2016, on PS4. Collector's ($119.99), Special ($79.99), and Digital Deluxe ($79.99) editions have been...
King's Quest photo
King's Quest

King's Quest's second episode will be out 'soon'


Love this game
Aug 31
// Chris Carter
Back in July, the first episode for the new King's Quest series was released, and it was pretty fantastic. The second episode has been revealed as "Rubble Without a Cause," and will heavily feature the goblin horde. Rub...
Tropes vs. Women photo
Tropes vs. Women

New Tropes vs. Women episode deals with 'Women as Reward'


Kicking off with Metroid
Aug 31
// Chris Carter
A new episode of Tropes vs. Women is out today, involving "Women as a Reward." The start heavily references Metroid before working its way into some other retro titles like Double Dragon, and modern games like Ride to Hell: ...
Mega Man photo
Mega Man

Archie's Mega Man series is getting another massive compilation


'Master Edition'
Aug 31
// Chris Carter
Archie has already been putting out collections of several issues of the Mega Man comic, but according to a new listing, it looks like this compilation series will be collections of those collections -- comic-ception, if...
Microsoft photo
Microsoft

Microsoft unveils new Xbox One Elite bundle, exclusive GameStop controller


$499 and $64.99 respectively
Aug 31
// Chris Carter
Microsoft has announced the new Xbox One Elite Bundle, which will come with a 1TB Solid State Hybrid Drive and an Xbox Elite Wireless controller. It's priced at $499, on sale in November at GameStop and the Microsoft Store. W...
Destiny photo
Destiny

Oh for goodness sake, Destiny's Taken King raid won't be in at launch


Bungie...
Aug 31
// Chris Carter
When the last Destiny expansion hit, we got the recycled, poor excuse for endgame content -- the Prison of Elders -- instead of a real raid. Bungie claimed that a raid would be "coming later," leading many to believ...
Cave shmups photo
Cave shmups

Cave shmups are coming to Steam this year


Published by Degica
Aug 31
// Chris Carter
An ominous teaser site has popped up on the web, titled caveshmups.com. According to the landing, publisher Degica will assist Cave in bringing iconic shooters to the Steam marketplace, which will go down sometime in winter o...
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided photo
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided dated, with a whole mess of pre-order nonsense


'Augment your pre-order,' haha
Aug 31
// Chris Carter
Square Enix and Ubisoft sure know how to do a terrible mean Collector's Edition! Deus Ex: Mankind Divided will launch on February 23, 2016, and with it, multiple "tiers" of pre-order bonuses and a Collector's Edition tha...
Metal Gear Solid V photo
Metal Gear Solid V

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes just got an update to allow save uploads


To bring into Phantom Pain tomorrow
Aug 31
// Chris Carter
Everyone look under your Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes chairs! The game has just been updated on the PS3 and PS4 to allow for a save data upload. This comes a day before the release of The Phantom Pain, which has the...

Guild Wars 2's base game goes free-to-play today, no purchase needed

Aug 29 // Chris Carter
Opening up the conversation, O'Brien talked a bit about how the core message of the game is staying the same, despite the move to free-to-play. "We don't want to ask for more money, and all of the additional purchases will stay the same" he stated. Going on, Mike noted, "What we looked at after the release of the core game, is things like 'how can players catch up with their friends' and this new model makes that easier to do. We've always said 'if you wan't Guild Wars 2, just buy the game, and we'll provide free updates for it for months.' We'll continue to do that for Heart of Thorns: just buy the expansion, and you'll get every update for free." Another big new change is the addition of raids, which will make their debut in Heart of Thorns. Speaking on this new adventure, Colin Johanson, keeping with the spirit of the game, insists that "this is our way of doing things differently, even with the traditional format of raids with other MMOs. We're getting rid of barriers to entry. The way Heart of Thorns is built is by way of masteries, which will upgrade your character beyond the typical gear-based setup of other games. In that regard, raids will still be relevant six months later, and won't be completely replaced by a new tier of gear." Going on, Johanson stated that "although you can't necessarily PUG (pick-up-group) these raids, they are skill-based. In other words, you can use any combination of characters to complete them." Upon probing him a bit, asking whether or not it was difficult to design raids around the lack of a trinity (healer, tank, and damage), he responded with, "it's not necessarily tougher but balance them within our game, but they will be more fun since everyone can fulfill any role. You don't have to wait 40 minutes for your healer to get online, and you can use any class you want to play. It really is all about skill." If ArenaNet and their team can follow through with these promises, an accessible yet challenging raid scheme would be an enticing prospect for players old and new. I'm anxious to see what they come up with when Heart of Thorns finally comes out.
Guild Wars 2 F2P photo
Heart of Thorns still a paid expansion
Nearly three years after the release of Guild Wars 2, the base game is going fully free-to-play. Instead of following a method where users are required to purchase the core package before they are greeted with a subscrip...

Hive Jump photo
Hive Jump

Hive Jump, coming in 2016 on Wii U, has amiibo support


Looks like a cool shooter
Aug 28
// Chris Carter
Watching this trailer for Hive Jump brings me back to old school shooters like the ones based on the Aliens franchise. I'm really loving the art direction, focus on multiplayer, and gunplay, but it appears as if we...
Odin Sphere photo
Odin Sphere

This Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir Japanese package looks amazing


A Vita pouch and a charm
Aug 28
// Chris Carter
Although it's only been announced for Japan so far, Amazon has a pre-order listing up for Odin Sphere package for 3,298 yen, and it looks great. In short, it comes with a PlayStation Vita pouch, lens cloth, and a materia...
Guilty Gear photo
Guilty Gear

Haha, Guilty Gear is in Phantasy Star Online now


Following BlazBlue
Aug 28
// Chris Carter
Back in July, BlazBlue invaded Phantasy Star Online 2. Now, Guilty Gear Xrd is getting a turn. Costumes for Sol, Ky (both male and female), Millia, May, and Elphelt are available as of the next update, scheduled for...
Hover photo
Hover

Yep, Jet Set homage Hover: Revolt of Gamers is still looking good


Now in Alpha 3.0
Aug 28
// Chris Carter
Even though I backed Hover: Revolt of Gamers back when the campaign launched, I didn't really dig into it until last month -- and man was it worth it. Now the development team has updated the game into the 3.0 alpha build, and the improvements are looking great. If you're into the Jet Set Radio series, you owe it to yourself to at least watch the trailer.
Mega Man Tribute photo
Mega Man Tribute

Check out Mega Man Tribute's updated cover art


Reprint is on the way in December
Aug 28
// Chris Carter
The Mega Man Tribute artbook is a pretty wonderful little tome, and it's getting a reprint later this year. You can check out the awesome new cover art above, compliments of the amazing Hitoshi Ariga, and Jeffrey Cruz. The re...

Review: One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3

Aug 28 // Chris Carter
One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 (PC, PS3, PS4 [reviewed], Vita)Developer: Omega ForcePublisher: Bandai Namco GamesRelease: August 25 2015MSRP: $59.99 Pirate Warriors 3 is a reboot of sorts (within the confines of the Pirate series that is), taking us all the way back to the beginning. Players will get a recap of Gold Roger the Pirate King, and how his death sparked the search for the great One Piece treasure, ushering in the Great Age of Pirates. After briefly showing us a Young Luffy, stoked by the fires of adventure, the game jumps 10 years into the future as our hero begins to gather his crew, starting with the ruffian Zoro. It's ambitious, starting over like this, but it's a great starting point for players who enjoy Warriors games, and have no prior knowledge of One Piece's narrative. You'll even get all caught up with the Dressrosa arc, the most recent bit of story (albeit with a different ending). With all that in mind, this is a very brief recap indeed, with entire arcs condensed to a single mission. In that way it spreads itself thin in many ways, not to mention the odd design choice of starting all over on the third game in the series. Battles still follow the same Warriors beat 'em up formula you know and love, with light and heavy attacks that can be chained into combos. What's crazy this time around though is the introduction of the Kizuna system, which lends itself well to One Piece's insane over-the-top style. Here, you'll be able to call out teammates for attacks on a constant basis, as well as unleash gigantic supers with multiple crew members, culminating in an explosion that usually kills hundreds of people at once. It's a mixed bag though, because while said explosions look really cool, they're ultimately all the same despite what crew members you have in the mix. So while it's entertaining for the first 100 times, it loses its luster eventually. Also, the regular Kizuna attacks are a bit clunky, as there's a half second delay for your party members to jump in and do their thing. It's not a huge deal, but it definitely could have been handled better. [embed]308138:60166:0[/embed] As for the rest of the combat mechanics, they're rather on point, and as usual, I like to make the point that the system is much deeper than the "button mashing" scheme non-fans accuse the Warriors series of. For instance, Luffy, your first playable character, starts with 14 combos, all of which have a purpose when you're playing on higher difficulty levels. Plus with nearly 40 playable characters in all, the amount of variety on offer is nothing to sneeze at. You'll want to play on a higher difficulty too, because without it, the actual story scenarios will likely start to wear on you. Without a local partner to play with enemies tend to blend together throughout stages, and despite the mixing up of themes (military, rural), they all function basically in the same manner, with the same types of weapons. The dialogue is also poorly written at times, and doesn't do a great job of drawing you into the world beyond the out-of-mission cutscenes. But hot damn, is that world beautiful on PS4. The only time I ever saw a framerate hit was when Kizuna moves were being done in local co-op, but other than that, it's silky smooth. No matter how many enemies are on-screen the game is relatively stable, and it's easy to dash around an entire map and lay waste to hundreds of enemies at a time. While the mission objectives aren't innovative in any way, they nailed the hectic feel of the anime. The story follows the typical Warriors format of roughly 15 hours of gameplay, with 50 or more to try to max out every character. Of course, there's more modes available, including free play, and "Dream" mode, which is basically a remixed version of the story. The latter sees you jumping from island to island, fighting off enemies in unique scenarios and gaining new characters and bonuses in the process. As a note, online play is only available for story mode, but local co-op is enabled for every game type. One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3, from a gameplay standpoint, is simply "more Pirate Warriors 2." It doesn't really do anything new outside of the slightly different Kizuna system, and veterans will likely favor the Dream mode instead of the retreading story. Despite its Frankenstein-esque shortcomings, Pirate Warriors 3 is a beautiful game, and still a lot of fun to play locally. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
One Piece review photo
From Straw Hat to Dressrosa
I haven't kept entirely up to date with One Piece, but I do read the summaries, and have caught most of the earlier arcs. It's a daunting task (the series has been running since 1997) in terms of the anime, and there's lots o...

amiibo photo
amiibo

What other indie amiibo would you like to see now that Shovel Knight is confirmed?


A Binding of Isaac amiibo would be rad
Aug 28
// Chris Carter
Now that the Shovel Knight amiibo is officially official, the floodgates have presumably been opened for other indie collaborations. While we aren't 100% sure that he'll appear in Super Smash Bros. as a guest character, ...
Mighty No. 9 photo
Mighty No. 9

Mighty No. 9 is getting a 'trial version' as an apology for the delay


Four levels, six challenges
Aug 28
// Chris Carter
As you may have heard, Mighty No. 9 was delayed recently into 2016. As an apology of sorts, backers will be able to access an "exclusive trial," which will run from September 15, for a full month on PC. It will include f...
XCOM 2 photo
XCOM 2

XCOM 2 delayed into 2016


Well, it was just announced...
Aug 28
// Chris Carter
Welp. Just a few months after XCOM 2 was announced as a PC-exclusive bound for a 2015 release, 2K Games has relayed the news of a delay. It is now coming worldwide on February 5, 2016. The reason for the delay? According...
Metal Gear Solid V photo
Metal Gear Solid V

Bizarre Metal Gear Solid V commercial features cardboard box wedding


I know, screw Konami
Aug 28
// Chris Carter
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is less than a week away, but for now, you can enjoy a really strange commercial involving a cardboard box wedding. It's more like an homage to the series, showing touching moments throug...
Mario Maker photo
Mario Maker

Get a better look at the different styles available in Super Mario Maker


The 'World' style still rocks
Aug 28
// Chris Carter
Nintendo is still feeding us information for Super Mario Maker, and this time, it's a quick look at the different styles available. As most of you know by now, the game has the original Super Mario Bros. 8-bit theme ava...
Final Fantasy XIV photo
Final Fantasy XIV

Final Fantasy XIV's 'Rising' event kicks off this week


Lasts until September 7
Aug 28
// Chris Carter
Starting this week and running until September 7, 2015, Final Fantasy XIV will run the "Rising" event, complete with rewards and a few "guest appearances." The items include two minions, and celebratory fireworks. The ev...

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