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Warner Bros

Review: Batman: Arkham Knight: Season of Infamy

Dec 23 // Chris Carter
Batman: Arkham Knight: Season of Infamy (PC, PS4, Xbox One [reviewed])Developer: WB Games MontrealPublisher: Warner Bros.MSRP: $9.99Released: December 22, 2015 Infamy is a bit confusing. It's not an "Arkham Episode," that's detached from the story by way of a menu option. It's an actual extension of the narrative, taking place before Batman initiates the Knightfall Protocol (the ending), and it's integrated into the open-world campaign. In other words, if you've reached 100 percent completion in the game, just load up your file to start the DLC. Four new missions pop up as a result of booting up Infamy, which you can complete in any order, featuring Mr. Freeze, Mad Hatter, Ra's al Ghul, and Killer Croc. Each one is roughly 30-45 minutes long. Let's start with the Mad Hatter, the weakest link in the chain. His effectiveness as a Batman villain has always been questionable, and that goes double for his appearance in Arkham Knight. He was fine as a throwaway sidequest included in City, but the return of his presence does little to justify a premium price here. You'll be done with his bit in less than 30 minutes, running around Arkham with a minor series of fetch quests before confronting him at the Gotham City Police Department headquarters, and enduring another hallucination that amounts to nothing more than three easy combat challenges. It's a neat concept but it's so fleeting that I barely had time to digest it. Killer Croc is another of those one-dimensional foes that often functions as the muscle of an outfit -- a trope that leads you down a predictable storyline in the Infamy add-on. A prison ship has crash-landed compliments of an escape attempt by Croc, and you'll gallivant across the environment, chasing him down for a bit (with more fetch quests in tow of course). Consisting of a few platforming sequences and some combat, there's basically no thinking involved here in just about every facet of the short quest. It works better than Mad Hatter's portion though because most of it isn't comprised of re-used environments, and there is a nice brief reunion with Nightwing. [embed]328895:61630:0[/embed] Mr. Freeze on the other hand, is a villain that has always had a more interesting, nuanced characterization. He's not truly evil in the traditional sense -- rather, he sees his schemes as a means to an end, to save his wife Nora. The actual objectives for his quest aren't all that enthralling, but it's the only one that features Predator sequences, and the concept (and the exploration of his relationship with Nora) is compelling enough to see the tale through until the end. Plus, it has a Batmobile sequence that has more of a reason to exist than most of the ones in the campaign. Ra's al Ghul's quest is the other highlight of the pack, taking place mostly in Eliott General Hospital. Hush's part in Knight was extremely disappointing, especially after the buildup from City, so it's nice to see his family's legacy featured front and center to some degree. Along with some brand new zones you'll also work through a rather intriguing subplot featuring the League of Assassins (who are some of the only new enemies in the Infamy pack), and the Lazarus Pit -- one of the wackier bits of Batman lore. There's also a choice at the end that's actually pretty interesting that I won't spoil here. As a premium add-on, Season of Infamy really fails to produce much that feels like it's essential to the Arkham Knight experience outside of two tales. But on the other hand, it has a number of nice little touches, most notably a small expansion of the GCPD HQ, adding another wing (along with some easy WayneTech upgrade points), and the mission structure in the weaker two stories is competent at the very worst. If you really loved Knight and have been avoiding all the DLC thus far, Infamy is probably worth checking out at some point -- even if it's the only thing you buy piecemeal. [This review is based on a retail build of the game purchased by the reviewer.]
Batman DLC review photo
Ice to see the end of the Season Pass
I've refrained from reviewing most of the DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight outside of the Batgirl add-on, because of the short nature of the mission-based tales. But Season of Infamy has four missions, so that means it's four times as good, right?!

Dying Light photo
Dying Light

Dying Light's Legendary Levels aim to keep you playing forever


Until the light (sun) dies
Dec 21
// Zack Furniss
Techland is doing their damnedest to make sure they're on your radar for most improved developer. Most people weren't happy with Dead Island (fun co-op romp, though!), but their continued support of Dying Light and ...
Arkham Knight photo
Arkham Knight

Arkham Knight's latest PC patch is drenched with fixes


A lot of rain being the biggest one
Dec 18
// Brett Makedonski
David Cage had nothing to do with the newest Batman: Arkham Knight PC patch, but you'd be forgiven if you mistakenly believed that he did. Not Heavy Rain but heavy rain is the most notable change made to the game am...
Dying Light photo
Dying Light

Revel in the mystery that's cast by Dying Light: The Following's eerie teaser


When there's nowhere else to run
Dec 16
// Brett Makedonski
Dying Light shelves the parkour and the zombie bashing in the story teaser trailer for its next add-on, The Following. Instead, it wonders aloud exactly how the survivors might go about escaping this hellhole and if a c...
Dying Light photo
Dying Light

Dying Light: Enhanced Edition will be free for owners of the base game (minus the expansion)


$60 otherwise if you want the expansion
Dec 06
// Zack Furniss
Chris liked Dying Light well enough, and I did too, back at the lovely Rely on Horror. I haven't played it since it released earlier this year, but the way Techland is handling the new Enhanced Edition is compelling...
Holy Team Fortress Batman photo
Holy Team Fortress Batman

Team Fortress 2 is getting a bunch of Batman inspired items


Arkham 2fort
Dec 05
// Nic Rowen
Who said Halloween was over? Team Fortress 2 will soon have a new line of community made items inspired by Batman: Arkham Knight that will let your favorite blood thirsty mercenaries dress up as various heroes and villains fr...
Batman photo
Batman

Telltale is making a Batman game


Because of course they are
Dec 03
// Kyle MacGregor
In an inevitable move we should have all probably seen coming a mile away, Telltale has secured the rights to make a new  series based on Warner Bros. and DC Comics' iconic Batman franchise. The episodic adventure game factory made the announcement tonight at Geoff Keighley's The Game Awards in Los Angeles, only revealing plans to release the series sometime next year.
DC Comics photo
DC Comics

The Arkham Origins developer is working on two new DC Comics games


Oh, what could they be?
Nov 30
// Brett Makedonski
WB Montreal, the developer most well-known for 2013's Batman: Arkham Origins, looks like it's again focusing on comics for its second big project. And its third too, actually. A call for a fair number of new employees outed t...
Dying Light photo
Dying Light

Dying Light's next DLC gets jacked-up in price, but you can make the most of it


Season pass to the rescue
Nov 25
// Brett Makedonski
In a surprisingly transparent moment, Dying Light developer Techland has decided to be upfront about raising the price of the game's next add-on, The Following. Back in August, it was originally announced that the DLC would c...
Batman PC woes photo
Batman PC woes

Arkham Knight won't support multiple GPUs


Sorry, SLI and Crossfire users!
Nov 19
// Jordan Devore
The PC version of Batman: Arkham Knight went back up on Steam a few weeks ago. There are still issues even after the re-listing, and the developers are still trying to address them, but there are some they "cannot fix." One s...
Batman: Arkham Knight photo
Batman: Arkham Knight

Batman: Arkham Knight on PC will never be fully fixed


So get your refund while you can
Oct 31
// CJ Andriessen
Early last year, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment announced that it would no longer attempt to squash the bugs that plagued Batman: Arkham Origins. In doing so, the publisher ensured that game would never fully be fixed...
Jason photo
Jason

Jason terrorizes more Mortal Kombat X players today


Some of them will be teens
Oct 30
// Brett Makedonski
Like a mall Santa without any other prospects, Jason Voorhees lives for one time of year. (Or maybe he's dead? I don't know.) Regardless, Halloween is kind of Jason's bread and butter because then he can show up, scare some ...
Arkham Knight photo
Arkham Knight

Digital Foundry on Arkham Knight PC: 'No improvements from interim patch in September'


Except for provisions for DLC
Oct 29
// Chris Carter
Well, this is awkward. Although Batman: Arkham Knight has returned to Steam, all is not well with the game even after multiple patches, and a giant interim patch last month. In fact, investigating further, Eurogamer's Di...
Arkham Knight photo
Arkham Knight

Update: Arkham Knight Steam reviews are being tagged 'Pre Release'


No they ruddy well aren't pre-release
Oct 29
// Laura Kate Dale
[Update: Since the story was posted, the pre release tag has begun to be removed from these reviews]. Boy, Arkham Knight really is the gift that keeps on giving. Yesterday Batman: Arkham Knight finally returned to Steam after...
Arkham Knight photo
Arkham Knight

Arkham Knight is still broken on PC for many people


Good ol' Warner Bros...
Oct 29
// Joe Parlock
Four months after its half-arsed and broken PC port, Batman: Arkham Knight has finally been opened up for sale again on Steam. Except there are still major problems with the game. Because of bloody course there are. In its pa...
Batman photo
Batman

Batman: Arkham Knight is back on Steam


Players are getting some free games
Oct 28
// Jordan Devore
Warner Bros. has begun selling the PC version of Batman: Arkham Knight again after pulling it from the Steam store in June due to widespread performance issues and bugs. It's currently $49.99. As an apology, the publisher is ...
Batman PC port photo
Batman PC port

Batman: Arkham Knight returns to Steam Oct. 28


But does anyone still want it?
Oct 24
// Kyle MacGregor
Batman: Arkham Knight will resurface on Steam next week, Warner Bros. announced today. Four months after it was initially released (and was subsequently pulled the following day due to a mess of performance issues), the PC ve...
Batman photo
Batman

WB reveals what's left in the Batman: Arkham Knight Season Pass


Two episodes, four missions, and junk
Oct 16
// Chris Carter
I can't believe we're still talking about Batman: Arkham Knight. I mean, that's what an elongated Season Pass will do you to, I guess. Anyway, so far the Season Pass has been a massive disappointment. All three of the "episod...
WB wins photo
WB wins

Broken ass PC versions didn't hurt Batman, Mortal Kombat sales


Arkham Knight, MKX do 5 million
Oct 13
// Steven Hansen
Both Mortal Kombat and Batman: Arkham Knight launched with busted, largely inoperable PC versions. In the case of Batman, it was so extreme that the game was delisted for sale on Steam and is still being patched and worked on...
Batman: Arkham Knight photo
Batman: Arkham Knight

Batman: Arkham Knight back on sale for PC later this month


Are you gonna buy it?
Oct 02
// Vikki Blake
Warner Bros. has confirmed that Batman: Arkham Knight will be back on sale for the PC later this month. The PC version of Batman: Arkham Knight was withdrawn back in June when the game was deemed unplayable. A post ...

Review: LEGO Dimensions

Oct 01 // Chris Carter
LEGO Dimensions (PS3, PS4, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One [reviewed])Developer: Traveller's TalesPublisher: Warner Bros. Interactive EntertainmentReleased: September 27, 2015MSRP: $99.99 (Starter Pack), $29.99 (Level Pack), $14.99 (Fun Pack) Yet again, I'll explain how the toys are factored in, especially since LEGO Dimensions in particular can get confusing. For $99.99 you'll get the Starter Pack (reviewed here), which consists of the core game, three physical characters (Gandalf, Batman, and Wyldstyle), a physical Batmobile, and real life LEGOs to build the portal (called a Toy Pad). There are two major things to factor in here -- it's pricier than most toys-to-life games by at least $20, augmented by the fact that you're actually getting an actual miniature LEGO set. Straight-up, a lot of your enjoyment for LEGO Dimensions hinges on how much you enjoy playing with LEGOs as a whole. For example, to build the base, my wife and I spent roughly an hour. If you have a kid who plays with toys on a regular basis, this is a no-brainer -- for everyone else, that prospect may seem like too much of a task, and you're basically paying the premium for that. On the other end you have two additional purchasing options, Level Packs and Fun Packs, which are essentially DLC. The former unlocks a hub for $29.99 and comes with a character and two objects, and the latter unlocks a mission and one object. Oh, and then there's the Team Packs for $24.99, with two characters and two objects. Confused yet? Yeah it's all a bit much, and if you weren't averse to toys-to-life before, you probably will be now. But for everyone else, here's the rub -- you can play the entire story with just the Starter Kit, and for each franchise you buy a toy for, you'll unlock additional worlds. So for Portal, the only way to gain access to that DLC set is through a sole Level Pack, but some franchises (like Ghostbusters and The Simpsons) may have multiple Level or Fun Packs. No one ever said LEGOs or figure-based games was a cheap hobby, and now they've been Frankensteined together. [embed]313069:60565:0[/embed] But despite all that, LEGO Dimensions is one of the more interesting Traveller's Tales titles in years. As it turns out mixing up all of these properties involves some hilarious results, mostly thanks to the wit of the writing staff. Of particular note is Homer Simpson's breaking of the fourth wall to comment on cross-branding, and Batman's interactions with various characters like the Wicked Witch of the West. It surpasses the "that's so random!" realm of comedy and succeeds in melding all 14 (!) IPs together. The campaign's story is dead simple -- an evil entity wants to rule all worlds -- but the journey is where it excels. Due to the nature of the three starter characters you'll mostly play through the three hub worlds (Lord of the Rings, DC Universe, and the LEGO Movie), but you'll also cross paths with other worlds briefly, like the aforementioned Oz, Springfield, and Scooby Doo's realm. It's refreshing, and you never linger in one zone for too long. With this setup, it's far more fun than most of the other LEGO games, which tend to overstay their welcome over time with just one theme. LEGO Dimensions' use of the physical toys and portal is also a step ahead of its competition. For one, you can place up to six characters (most only allow two), one vehicle, and other objects all at once. Another cool mechanic involves the placement of the toys themselves during boss fights. Some encounters will actually force you to move your figures on the physical base to avoid attacks -- that's some serious Metal Gear Psycho Mantis-like stuff right there. Traveller's Tales succeeds in mixing up that type of gameplay all throughout the experience, and I never felt like I was missing out with just the Starter Kit. However, I couldn't help but feel like it was still an above average $60 LEGO game with $40 of additional baggage. Again, you're getting real LEGO blocks here, but I would have preferred a smaller premium to get them. Also, WB has planned out DLC and content packs all the way through May 2016, which leaves them plenty of room to develop another potential sequel next year. I'm sort of torn in LEGO Dimensions. It's one of the most expensive propositions in all of gaming right now, but the gameplay is there and the Starter Pack stands on its own. While the campaign can be a bit uneven at times, the always reliable LEGO charm and the innovation of the physical aspect of Dimensions allows it to excel. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher. Only the Starter Pack was provided.]
LEGO Dimensions photo
An expensive, but fun hobby
As I've talked about in the past, I'm usually the go-to person for the toys-to-life genre. I'm a kid at heart, and occasionally, I can enjoy a silly kids movie for the fun of it. No series has encapsulated that silliness more...

Batman photo
Batman

Warner Bros: 'The possibilities are endless with a character like Batman'


What's next for Batman?
Sep 29
// Vikki Blake
Warner Bros. has confirmed that while it has nothing to say publicly about a new Batman game at this time, "the possibilities are endless with a character as dynamic and beloved as Batman." Writing on the PS Blog, Ames K...
Portal song photo
Portal song

'You Wouldn't Know' is the third Portal song by Jonathan Coulton


From LEGO Dimensions
Sep 25
// Darren Nakamura
The reveal of LEGO Dimensions earlier this year was kind of bizarre. How can Traveller's Tales get all those different licenses? Jurassic Park, Scooby Doo, Batman, and Portal 2? It's like every kid's toy chest in video game f...
Sexy storytime photo
Sexy storytime

Please send Dying Light devs your zombie apocalypse erotica


This is a call to arms
Sep 24
// Brett Makedonski
If you want to accuse me of thinking that Techland tries waaaaay too hard sometimes, I'm guilty, guilty, guilty. Lock me up and throw away the key. For every fine example of continued support for the community, there's a...
Mortal Kombat X photo
Mortal Kombat X

New Mortal Kombat X patch live on PS4


PC and Xbox One roll out date still TBC
Sep 22
// Vikki Blake
A new Mortal Kombat X patch is now live on PlayStation 4. A tweet from director Ed Boon, which linked to a patch information page on the WB site, didn't offer any further information on when the update would be rolling out on...
Arkham Knight photo
Arkham Knight

The interim patch for Arkham Knight on PC has been released


Halfway to how it should've been!
Sep 04
// Joe Parlock
Oh Arkham Knight, you were a trainwreck and a half, weren’t you? When it released on PC a few months ago, it was slammed for it’s terrible performance, bugs, and overall rushed production. The game was pulled from...
Arkham Knight photo
Arkham Knight

Batman: Arkham Knight PC patch pushed early, seems to work


Still not fully live yet
Sep 03
// Chris Carter
You all know the story by now -- the PC version of Batman: Arkham Knight launched, and for most people, it straight-up didn't work, or bugged out at the attempt to run it on higher settings. Thankfully WB pulled the game...

Review: Mad Max

Sep 02 // Chris Carter
Mad Max (PC, PS4 [review], Xbox One)Developer: Avalanche StudiosPublisher: Warner Bros. Interactive EntertainmentReleased: September 1, 2015MSRP: $59.99 Mad Max is, at its heart, a revenge tale. You aren't going to get much high commentary here (like Beyond Thunderdome's exemplary exploration of the power of language and speech), just a good old fashioned showdown between series protagonist Max Rockatansky, and Scabrous Scrotus (which, as silly as it is, is par for the Mad Max course), who happens to be a son of Fury Road's Immortan Joe. That's about where the link with the film series ends, though, as the game is not a direct tie-in, and mostly benefits from that fact. Max is scorned by Scrotus, who takes everything he owns and destroys his prized car. Teaming up with the psychotic, yet harmless Chumbucket, it's up to the player to hunt down Scrotus, and rebuild your ride in the form of the greatest car known to man, the Magnum Opus. What I like about this setup is that it allows Avalanche to tell a new tale of the wasteland without having to retread on certain areas. I mean yes, there are a few re-used locations like Gas Town, as well as some familiar thematic elements, but for the most part, this is an encapsulated tale. The enhanced Avalanche Engine is quite the achievement, and I can see why the developer opted to shuck the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game. Screens simply don't do this game justice, especially when you're scouting out far away locations high up in a hot air balloon while the scorching sun beams down on you, or when vicious sandstorms pop up. A built-in camera capture mechanic (on top of the PS4's standard capabilities) is the cherry on top. Taking a different approach to the typical open world formula, Mad Max's core gameplay is built around driving. Any racing game fan will instantly find themselves familiar with the control scheme, and the vast majority of the vehicles operate similarly to some of the best racing titles out right now. Car combat is handled well, since your companion Chumbucket rides along with you, repairing the car and using weapons in real time -- so it's both cinematic and functional. While the "slo-mo" feature is pretty much dead at this point, it allows players to actually get some hits in while aiming vehicle-centric weaponry, and blowing out enemy tires or harpooning them right out of the driver's seat is satisfying in all the right ways. The customization aspect also feels justified here, since changing up your car will significantly alter how it functions. There's hundreds of options here, from ramming grills, to spikes that protect your car from boarders, to new paint jobs and bodies, to explosive harpoons. The way the concept of the Magnum Opus is presented actually fits inline with this bit of the game, and I never felt pressured or compelled to go out and seek other cars to use. You can basically just drive and switch up your own custom car from start to finish, and it's easy to get attached to certain elements of your ride. Where Mad Max starts to falter is the on-foot sections, or more specifically, how these areas were designed. Combat is basically a carbon copy of the Batman: Arkham games, albeit with more brutal finishers, so that works well enough, but it's the actual zones -- where you can't bring the car mind you -- that often feel uninspired and bland. Since Max can only climb on certain surfaces, and only exhibits a pathetic GTA-style "hop" when pressing the jump button, on-foot sections feel out of place and gamey. It reminds me of the Prince of Persia reboot, which gave you this awesome-looking, sprawling world, and forced you to only explore it within a rigid set of rules. There are also a few other issues I had with these sections, like collision detection problems while climbing, and annoying mechanics like the fact that Max limps for a few seconds after falling the smallest distances. Exploring these zones simply isn't as satisfying without say, the aerial prowess of Talion, or the wonderful toys of Batman, to use direct comparisons to similar open-world WB titles in recent memory. While the story is engaging enough to string you along, a lot of the other activities aren't all that intriguing. It's like the team took the typical Ubisoft blueprint and stuck with it -- radio towers (balloons), fortresses, collectibles, sidequest races, smaller towers to knock down to lower "influence" -- it's all there. That's not to say that the game is mostly boring, far from it actually, as driving around is always a joy given how great the vehicular mechanics are, and there are a lot of naturally occurring events out in the wild to keep things interesting. I went back and forth in terms of my assessment multiple times throughout my time with Mad Max. I'd be having a blast in the car, and then I'd get to a particularly samey part on foot, and so on. But ultimately, I did enjoy my time in the wasteland, even if it doesn't offer up a whole lot that we haven't seen before. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Mad Max review photo
Who run Bartertown?!
I grew up with Mad Max. It was one of the first R-rated film series I viewed as a child, and naturally, I saw Fury Road, and enjoyed it like everyone else on the planet. My infatuation with the films is mostly due to George M...

Batman: Arkham Knight photo
Batman: Arkham Knight

Batman: Arkham Knight Crime Fighter pack DLC is out


Part of the Season Pass
Sep 01
// Chris Carter
The next batch of Batman: Arkham Knight DLC is out today -- the Crime Fighter Challenge Pack #1. In short, you're basically getting six AR missions, featuring Robin, Catwoman, Batman, and Nightwing. If you bought the Sea...
Lego Dimensions photo
Lego Dimensions

Lego Dimensions Scooby Doo looks delightfully campy


Where are you? In a hella-expensive game
Aug 18
// Chris Carter
I have no idea what to expect with LEGO Dimensions. So far it seems like a "me-too" type situation, and hot damn, the add-ons look expensive as hell. But of course, the properties involved (14 in all so far) are just insane....

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