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NHL 16 photo
NHL 16

NHL 16 pegs Anaheim Ducks as Stanley Cup champs

Not worth winning if you can't win big
Oct 01
// Brett Makedonski
It's not exactly a leap of faith, but NHL 16 has used its magical season simulating video game powers to predict that the Anaheim Ducks will win the 2016 Stanley Cup. By most accounts, Anaheim enters the season as the W...
Xbox One photo
Xbox One

Today's Xbox One holiday bundle is really two bundles

More Gears and some Kinect
Oct 01
// Brett Makedonski
Microsoft's double-dippin' in more ways than one today. For its fourth Xbox One holiday bundle, it has actually announced two different packages. That's more than we expected, but one of them is kind of a retread from earlier...
Minecraft: Story Mode photo
Minecraft: Story Mode

Meet the cast of Minecraft: Story Mode with this trailer

'I'm a PC'
Oct 01
// Darren Nakamura
Minecraft: Story Mode officially kicks off on October 13 with its first episode The Order of the Stone. Though we previewed it recently at PAX Prime, there haven't been any trailers for it since the teaser back in July. With ...
Deus Ex photo
Deus Ex

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided's awful pre-order program canceled due to fan demand

Oct 01
// Chris Carter
Recently, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided was dated, and Square Enix proceeded to launch a pretty bad pre-order campaign for it. It was called "Augment Your Pre-order," and basically, it unlocked tons of gated content if enough peop...
Assassin's Creed photo
Assassin's Creed

Welp, Assassin's Creed Syndicate will have microtransactions

Oct 01
// Chris Carter
Oy bruv, you fancy microtransactions? Ubisoft has announced, that like Unity, the upcoming Assassin's Creed Syndicate will sport microtransactions, which can be used to "save time and accelerate progress." Director Franc...
Rainbow Six Siege photo
Rainbow Six Siege

Rainbow Six Siege beta extended until October 4

Double down this weekend
Oct 01
// Vikki Blake
If you've been having difficulty joining the Rainbow Six Siege beta (*cough* which is everyone *cough*), I bring good news -- the beta is being extended until October 4, 2015. The extension also heralds a Double Renown e...
Scalebound photo

Scalebound originally starred a young, female protagonist

Was shelved twice before this version
Oct 01
// Laura Kate Dale
Scalebound is one of those games I've just been excited about since it was shown off at E3 last year. A new game from Platinum, the master of character action, about riding dragons into ancient combat while modern music blare...
Back to the Future photo
Back to the Future

Telltale is re-releasing Back to the Future

The animation hasn't aged well
Sep 30
// Jordan Devore
It's the 30th anniversary of national treasure Back to the Future and Telltale is using that as an excuse to bring back its adventure game series on Xbox 360, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. Notably, Back to the Future: The Game...
Games with Gold photo
Games with Gold

Don't forget to nab your free Xbox Live games

Last call
Sep 30
// Brett Makedonski
You might not think of us as civil servants, but we do. We're here to inform and to remind and to prevent you from forgetting to download free video games. It's a tough gig, but we're always up for a challenge. As such, we'd ...
Tomb Raider photo
Tomb Raider

Set aside almost 40 hours to completely beat the new Tomb Raider

20 or so to half-ass it
Sep 30
// Brett Makedonski
A fair contingent of game-players equate the amount of #content in a game to whether or not it's a "good deal." It's a mindset that has always struck me as odd. I'll take a streamlined shorter game over an unfocused sprawl an...
Xbox bundle photo
Xbox bundle

Third Xbox One holiday bundle focuses on the family

And comes out very soon
Sep 30
// Brett Makedonski
What? You didn't think that all five of Microsoft's Xbox One holiday bundles were going to come packed with gallons of blood, did you? We have to take a minute to think about the kids. The kids! As a quick detour from the lik...
Black Ops III story photo
Black Ops III story

Hope you enjoy this Black Ops III story trailer, last-gen players

Because it's all you're getting
Sep 30
// Jordan Devore
Call of Duty: Black Ops III will have multiplayer and the usual star-studded Zombies mode on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, but no campaign -- it's too "ambitious" for last-generation hardware. If you want Christopher Meloni (and who doesn't?), you'll need to play on PC, Xbox One, or PS4.
Fallout 4 photo
Fallout 4

Fallout 4's latest trait video is for the silver-tongued devils

Have it your way
Sep 30
// Brett Makedonski
Continuing along out Sesame Street-themed letter bent, "C" is for "Charisma" in the latest Fallout 4 S.P.E.C.I.A.L. video. That might mean persuading others to do your bidding, or simply persuading them to not stick a f...
Witcher 3 photo
Witcher 3

The Witcher 3's 1.09 patch will include PS4 performance fixes

Minor stuff
Sep 30
// Chris Carter
If you're sick of hearing of The Witcher 3, you're going to have to deal with it for quite a while longer, as CD Projekt Red is in overdrive mode with this game, even months after launch. In addition to a ton of swift patches...
MGSV save bug photo
MGSV save bug

New Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain save-killing bug affecting PS4 users

If you use multiple SEN accounts
Sep 30
// Steven Hansen
Given that no one reads the overbearing startup messages for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, let me point out a worthwhile one. Konami has identified "cases" of a new progress-killing bug affecting PlayStation 4 users. ...
Microsoft photo

12-person party chat available now on Xbox One

Did you vote for it?
Sep 30
// Vikki Blake
Microsoft is introducing 12-person party chat to Xbox One from today -- and you don't have to be in the preview programme to use it. Major Nelson confirmed that the feature, which received 2200 votes on Xbox Fe...

Review: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5

Sep 29 // Chris Carter
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 (PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One [reviewed])Developer: RobomodoPublisher: ActivisionReleased: September 29, 2015 (PS4, Xbox One) / November 10, 2015 (PS3, Xbox 360)MSRP: $59.99 (!) So let's get right into it. Just as before, you'll have the option to ollie, grind, manual, and revert your way into lengthy combos, with the added power of the "slam" mechanic. This new move will allow you to drop quickly to the ground straight into a grind. It's really gamey, but kind of cool once you actually get used to it. Personally, I tend to hold the button quite a bit to pre-load my grinds, so it was jarring at first. Everything else is still here, like spine transfers, plants, and special tricks. In the end though, it seems as if Robomodo can't be trusted to make a glitch-free game. I really liked Tony Hawk HD, but man was it a glitch-fest, filled with wonky physics and collision issues. It's the same thing in Tony Hawk 5, but worse to an extent. Revert timing and the like feels on-point, but it's mostly the objects and solid areas, some of which aren't filled in properly, that cause issues. Additionally, missions lag when they start up for a few seconds, sometimes rendering the level in real-time. There are some online issues at launch, namely causing players to stand still for periods of time or disappear entirely. That's not to say the game is fundamentally broken however, as these problems usually come up every 10 minutes or so on certain surfaces. The frame rate dips a bit on some levels, but for the most part, it is playable. It just needs a lot more polish. [embed]312863:60562:0[/embed] Career mode is par for the course, bringing you through a handful of levels with mission-based objectives, on top of the typical "find the DVD/VHS tape" and "S-K-A-T-E letters" challenges. The series has been mission-centric for a long while now (ever since THPS 4), but I've never really been a fan. I like how the first three games were literally free skate levels that just happened to have objectives in them. The unlock method is also rigid in Tony Hawk 5 -- earning stars for new levels isn't cumulative, as you'll need to earn 15 in each preceding level to unlock the new one. I do like the levels as a general rule, but they feel so middle-of-the-road, and I probably won't remember them as fondly as I remember a lot of the classic stages. With all that said, the core gameplay is there. I like how you need to beat every mission in a stage on the highest "Sick" rating to unlock new Pro challenges, and despite it working against you at times, it will test your skills as a digital skater, regardless of whether or not you're a seasoned veteran. Good lines for fun combo strings are still present, and every level will have you thinking of new ways to combo, like a puzzle. Additionally, the online portion of the game (which basically transforms levels into inoffensive social hubs) doesn't hurt anything, and you can still play the entire game solo if you want. Speaking of online play, it's also available in the form of side modes, but they're a pain to set up, and don't involve split-screen couch co-op. You can queue a round for quick match, trick attack, deathmatch, combo mambo (single combos win out over total score), big head (you have to do tricks to refresh your life bar), and king of the hill. It's a diversion for sure, and one you can skip out on entirely. In the meantime, I'm having trouble connecting to games and getting people in, possibly because versus modes are hidden in the in-game menu. The create-a-park mode is also back, and even though there are only five themes, the entire affair isn't as limited as it was in past titles. This is mostly because the Complexity Meter is a bit more lenient, allowing for players to place hundreds of different objects in a single arena before it caps out. There's sadly no "create-a-skater" option, but you can customize the pros available, and change their costumes to some sufficiently wacky outfits (like cops and robots). On a higher note, the soundtrack is actually pretty good, and although it doesn't have an iconic song like "Superman," it gets the job done and feels authentic. I didn't outright hate Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5, as it distills a lot of the franchise's good points into an arcadey modern format. There are flashes of brilliance, but much of that is piggybacking off of the foundation its predecessors have already created. Considering that Activision signed a deal with Tony Hawk for more games a while back that's set to expire soon, I sincerely hope change is on the horizon if more titles are in the cards. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Tony Hawk 5 review photo
This franchise needs a new developer
I grew up with the Tony Hawk franchise -- at least, Neversoft's vision of it. Game after game, even some of the more questionable ones, held my interest until Proving Ground led the series astray. But in 2007, ...

Review: Laserlife

Sep 29 // Ben Davis
Laserlife (PC, PS4 [reviewed], Xbox One)Developer: Choice ProvisionsPublisher: Choice ProvisionsReleased: September 22, 2015 (PC, PS4), TBA (Xbox One)MSRP: $14.99 Laserlife tells the story of an astronaut who died out in space, whose body drifts aimlessly along with the wreckage of a space ship. The body is discovered by "future intelligences who have no concept of humankind" as they delve into the astronaut's subconscious to extract memories in an attempt to learn of the skeleton's history and how this human ended up dead in outer space. Players control the future extraterrestrial entity in the form of two lasers. Each laser is controlled separately with the analog sticks, and they can both reach any part of the screen. Movement is very fluid and the lasers feel great to control as they spin and dance effortlessly around the screen. Each level consists of four stages. During the first stage, Memory Molecule Collection, players must move into position and press the trigger buttons at the right moment to collect memory molecules. Later levels introduce molecules which must be held in position as well as ones which must be moved to a new position. An insufficient amount of molecules collected during the first stage will reset the level, but this was never a problem for me while playing on normal difficulty. [embed]313018:60553:0[/embed] The second stage, Memory Harmonization, involves moving into position in order to hit targets. The hit boxes for the targets seem to be smaller than they are for memory molecules, so movements need to be slightly more precise, although the targets turn green once the lasers are in the correct position. These were the most difficult stages for me personally, even though they just involve moving around without having to time button presses. The final two stages are the easiest. During the Warp Phase, players must avoid colliding with red barriers, or mental blocks, by moving towards the openings. Finally, the Memory Materialization stage finishes out the level with the player moving the analog sticks as quickly as possible until the bar at the top of the screen has depleted. Once all of this has been completed, the memory will be fully extracted and appear as a physical manifestation of a significant object from the astronaut's life. If players find that the game is too challenging, or too easy, there are a few difficulty settings to choose from which will increase or decrease the amount of obstacles to deal with. There are also leaderboards to browse, with separate leaderboards for each difficulty, if that's something that interests you. Music is obviously a huge part of any rhythm game, and the soundtrack could easily make or break the game. Laserlife's soundtrack is very chill and atmospheric, which fits perfectly with the outer space setting. It's best to play this game with headphones in order to really focus on the music. I felt the soundtrack could have been a bit more varied at times, however, since all of the songs are very spacey and sometimes started to sound a bit similar after a while. Maybe they could have had some tracks that fit more with the theme of some of the memories, like a lullaby for the childhood memories, or even mixed in more spoken parts. One of my favorite tracks was used towards the end of the game, which had mission control voices being played over the music. I felt that was an idea they could have experimented with a bit more, because it worked really well for that one level. Unlike the Bit.Trip games, the sound effects from collecting memories and hitting targets don't really add much to the music itself, which was slightly disappointing. Obstacles are arranged so that they match up to the music of course, but interacting with them merely makes a dull sound which is often barely audible against the soundtrack. Having more robust sound effects might have helped make the soundtrack pop a bit more, and it would also be easier for the player to tell when they missed something. Laserlife has a lot of big ideas and an interesting premise. I love the concept of extraterrestrial life coming into contact with a human skeleton adrift in space, and trying to learn something about the strange creature's origins. The grand themes of human existence and the persistence of memory are ideas that I would like to see more games try to tackle. In this case, however, I found the overall experience to be a little underwhelming. It's fun for a short rhythm game, but with only 12 levels, it felt like Laserlife never really got a chance to fully explore the broad topics it brought to the table. [This review is based on a retail build of the game purchased by the reviewer.]
Laserlife review photo
Drifting through space
Choice Provisions is best known for the excellent rhythm-based series, Bit.Trip, a saga spanning six games (and one spin-off) which abstractly dealt with themes about a man's journey through life. The studio has been toying w...

Tony Hawk 5 photo
Tony Hawk 5

You should probably hold off on buying Tony Hawk 5 for now
Sep 29
// Chris Carter
As you may have heard, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 is a bit glitchy. Now, this shouldn't come as a complete shock. Developer Robomodo, who has handled the series since 2009, hasn't had the best track record with Ride, ...
Fun with glitches photo
Fun with glitches

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 is buggy junk, even with the huge patch

Don't buy it, maybe
Sep 29
// Steven Hansen
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 is out today. The game is 4.6GB and there's a 7.7GB day one patch. It didn't help, if this video, captured by Eurogamer in just an hour's worth of play (with the patch), is any indication. The game launched today and Chris is working on the review. It does not look good.
Xbox One bundle photo
Xbox One bundle

Next Xbox One holiday bundle goes nostalgic

Gears of Capitalism
Sep 29
// Steven Hansen
Microsoft is announcing one new Xbox One bundle every day this week, starting with yesterday's Rise of the Tomb Raider set, which is only available in Best Buy and Microsoft stores, at least in the US. Next is the Xbox One 1T...
Xbox One photo
Xbox One

Xbox exec believes Scalebound will boost Xbox One sales in Japan

Which is currently outsold by PS3
Sep 29
// Chris Carter
Although Microsoft managed the Xbox 360 situation in Japan, the Xbox One's fate is less clear. Just a few months ago it was outsold by the PS3, and it seems as if the only answer Microsoft has is exclusives with big-ticket Ja...
Hitman delay photo
Hitman delay

Delayed Hitman out March 11, rest of the game in April, May and June

Staggered release
Sep 29
// Steven Hansen
Hitman is releasing on PC, PS4, and Xbox One, unfinished, on March 11 after being delayed from its December launch. It was always going to release unfinished, though, by design. The Hitman website explains. March 11's launch ...
Shovel Knight photo
Shovel Knight

Shovel Knight sales were dominated by PC, Nintendo platforms

32% on PC, 30% on 3DS
Sep 29
// Chris Carter
Recently at an event called Gaming Insiders, Nathan Vella of Capybara Games shared some indie sales figures with us, in an effort to shine a light on the indie industry. Apparently, Shovel Knight sold best on PC, with 32...
Destiny photo

There's a secret chest in Destiny's newest Vault of Glass mission, but don't open it yet

Or do. I'm not your mom
Sep 28
// Alissa McAloon
If you care about spoilers in Destiny's newfound story, specifically the bits about Praedyth, you might want to skip this one. A group of Destiny players have found a way to glitch themselves into a previously unknown instanc...
Project Spark photo
Project Spark

Project Spark is dropping microtransactions

Players can earn Microsoft Store credit
Sep 28
// Jordan Devore
Project Spark didn't catch on the way Microsoft hoped it would. The game-creation sandbox is now moving from its free-to-play, microtransaction-supported model to a "free incubation engine." The developers will make one final...
Metal Gear Solid V photo
Metal Gear Solid V

Phantom Pain Hardcore mod ups Metal Gear Solid's difficulty

Big Boss Extreme
Sep 28
// Steven Hansen
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is real accommodating. That's not to say there aren't bouts of frustrating mission failures and humiliating chicken hat offers, but all things considered (even without the time-slowing Reflex mode), it is way more forgiving than past Metal Gear and other stealth games. Almost too easy. This TTP Hardcore Mod does the following:

Review: Skylanders: SuperChargers

Sep 28 // Chris Carter
Skylanders SuperChargers (3DS, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One [reviewed], Wii U)Developer: Vicarious VisionsPublisher: ActivisionReleased: September 20, 2015MSRP: $74.99 (Starter pack, two characters, vehicle, base, game) To be frank, I was worried about the state of Skylanders after Trap Team. I mean, sure, it was a great action game and still had its charms, but I was starting to think that Activision had been scraping the bottom of the barrel with its newest gimmick. With the vehicular-based focus however, Vicarious Visions has turned the formula on its head again, going back to basics with old-school, sensible tendencies. The focus here is vehicles, and not just cars. Land, sea, and air-based transportation is at the crux of the experience, with the Starter Pack providing the former. To be clear, there are elemental gates for ancillary content (forcing players to use certain toys to access some areas), but the fact that the entire core game can be completed with one land vehicle, and the vast majority of sidequests are accessible with just one sea and air toy respectively is a massive step up from past titles. Yes, you will have to spend a bit of extra cash to get everything, but I was completely satisfied with the main campaign on its own terms. Speaking of the toys themselves, they're still at the top of their game. All of the vehicles sport moving parts, and take me back to my Micro Machines days, racing cars across a table with glee. There are fewer new characters this time around in favor of the vehicles, which is fine in my book, as they're much easier to wrap your head around with three distinct varieties. Just like before, two players can play together on the same console with two different Skylanders -- here, a vehicle can be added to the mix with the new portal. Yes, that's one vehicle. While I initially thought it was a limitation, it actually feels like a more deliberate design choice, as sharing a ride is much more fun as a co-op experience. [embed]312286:60536:0[/embed] One person drives, and the other shoots -- it's that simple. With the touch of a button you can switch roles, should someone else want to take the driver's seat. Movement is intuitive, as the driver is only focusing on traversal, and the shooting bits cleverly make use of a reticle to avoid the need for the driver to always be in sync with their partner. In short, it allows everyone a ton of freedom, but it isn't too overwhelming of a prospect to hop from car to car. The story this time around doesn't require any prior knowledge of the series, which simultaneously works in its favor and hurts the setup. Once again, Kaos (who is still charming as "Not Invader Zim," but is getting a bit old at this point) reigns supreme, it's just that this time he's taken the noble Eon captive, leaving your ragtag team of Patrick Warburton and company to save the day. It's a plot that belongs in a Saturday morning cartoon, but the sleek visuals and upbeat performances sell it well enough. During the 10-hour campaign, you'll find plenty of variety when it comes to mission types, enemy patterns, themes, and gameplay. One moment you might be diving underwater in an obstacle course of sorts with a submarine, and the next, you're up in the air dogfighting, Star Fox style (yes, you can barrel roll). The pacing is excellent, and boss fights are seen in a whole new light as vehicular confrontations. But this time you'll have Mario Kart-esque races as a distraction as well, which are easily the best pieces of side content yet for the series. The entire affair feels thoroughly integrated into the game itself, without feeling like a tacked-on "me too" mode. One race for instance features a level populated by two giant dragons, who constantly are visible throughout the track, and occasionally pop out to cause havoc for the participants. Each level feels like it was given a sufficient amount of love, to the point where I'd put many of them on par with classics like Diddy Kong Racing and some of the best Mario Kart games. That's not to say that it completely measures up to its contemporaries. The item system feels limited, and the combat system in general (all cars can use their standard attacks during races) is disjointed, as some elements from the campaign don't quite work in this gametype. Plus, you'll need to buy a certain number of toys to access every track. No, it's not perfect, but again, as a side mode, it does its job and then some. Online play for the campaign and racing modes also don't hurt its case, on top of the revamped Triple Triad-like Skystones mini-game. I'm utterly surprised that Activision hasn't run this franchise into the ground yet. Skylanders: SuperChargers reinvigorates my interest in the series, and I'd go so far as to say that I wouldn't mind a full-on SuperChargers racing spin-off in the same vein as a proper Mario Kart game (note that the Wii and 3DS editions are racing games, essentially). After all, a little competition never hurt anyone -- maybe they can put that Crash Bandicoot license to good use. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher. The Starter Pack and a few additional toys were provided as well.]
Skylanders review photo
Back to business
Year after year, I can generally count on the Skylanders games. I had zero hope for Spyro's return back in 2011, but every single iteration has been a competent brawler. While Activision can be accused of running franchi...

Dying just makes Super Rude Bear Resurrection easier

Sep 28 // Brett Makedonski
[embed]312542:60542:0[/embed] After any given death, the titular Rude Bear's body will by lying across the trap you just succumbed to. There's a fair chance it was a spike trap; Super Rude Bear has a lot of spike traps. On the next attempt, you can platform on the corpse which shields you from those pesky spikes. Super Rude Bear just got easier, albeit for only the briefest of moments. For a game about a rude bear (curiously, we haven't seen any ill-behaved mannerisms apart from a backward hat and a permanent scowl), this isn't as light-hearted and blithe as one may expect. Actually, it's quite entrenched in the macabre. Coffins serve as checkpoints and are even more appreciated than coming across your freshly dead body. There are some extra mechanics offered up to guide along the platforming. Rude Bear is forever followed by a wizard, as he's the one who actually transported you back to medieval England and put you in this dire situation. It's possible to take control of him and scout ahead. How thoughtful, Guy Who Is Directly Responsible For Me Dying Thousands Of Times. Likewise, in the event that your corpses pile up too high to clear some sections (yes, that will happen), he can clear them one-by-one or with a single powerful blast. Again, how thoughtful. This is actually the second time we've seen Super Rude Bear -- originally, it had the "Resurrection" withheld from the end. The first was at Tokyo Game Show 2014. There was obvious care put into the controls, but everything was made up of placeholder art. Also, the jumping on your past failures part is new, which is why we've seen the game fittingly re-titled. Super Rude Bear Resurrection has come a long way in the year that has passed. Now, it's a game that I'm actually excited to play, even as infuriating as it's likely to be. The game's site currently lists projected platforms as PC, PS4, PS Vita, and Xbox One. Wherever you find yourself playing, don't be afraid to die; it's all part of the process.
Super Rude Bear photo
Expect to do a lot of it
A corpse is typically not a welcoming sight, but in Super Rude Bear Resurrection it absolutely is. That decomposing body (which is yours from seconds ago, by the way) means that maybe you can skirt a particularly challen...

Witcher 3 photo
Witcher 3

Here are 22 Witcher 3: Hearts of Stone screens to tide you over

Just two more weeks
Sep 28
// Brett Makedonski
I write, you read -- that's the arrangement we have here. It has worked fabulously for the past three years (except for those of you who hate me). As if a substitute teacher were in class, I'm going to take it a bit easy on y...

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