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Tough, but fair photo
Tough, but fair

Hitman minimum PC requirements shouldn't kill you


Nor should the recommended
Feb 10
// Steven Hansen
The new Hitman boasts bigger crowds than most games, but it has some of the more reasonable minimum (and recommended, actually) required specs that I've seen in a while, according to the Steam page: Minimum: OS: OS 64-bit Wi...
SQUARE ENIX photo
SQUARE ENIX

Here's your first look at Dragon Quest Heroes II


Just as pretty as the last one
Feb 09
// Kyle MacGregor
Square Enix has shared the first images of Dragon Quest Heroes II, and it doesn't look dramatically different from its predecessor. That isn't too surprising, considering its predecessor debuted just a year ago and looked per...
Attack on Titan photo
Attack on Titan

Curious how Attack on Titan looks on PS3 and Vita?


Take a look
Feb 09
// Chris Carter
Attack on Titan is officially Koei Tecmo's first PS4-centric development project, but the game is also coming to PS3 and Vita by way of a downscaled port. While we've seen the PS4 build quite a bit since the studio went ...

The biggest secret hidden across the three Assassin's Creed Chronicles games

Feb 09 // Brett Makedonski
[embed]340170:62181:0[/embed] It's unclear exactly when this sequence takes place, but it's sometime after Master Templar Berg recovered Assassin's Creed Rogue protagonist Shay Cormac's precursor box. These boxes are a source of great interest to Abstergo because they might hold the key to what Abstero is ultimately chasing after. More on that in a minute. Berg has been assigned to take Cormac's precursor box to Álvaro Gramática, one of Abstergo's highest-ranking scientists. Gramática's ecstatic with the find because he plans to use it in order to analyze another artifact, possibly another precursor box. In closing, Gramática exclaims that this is all to support the Phoenix Project. The Phoenix Project might be a means to the Templars' end-goal. The idea is to get close to the First Civilization by decoding their DNA. However, the Phoenix Project is centered around the notion that it might be possible to create a living First Civilization member from scratch with precursor DNA, rather than trying to clone an existing person. Even though it's basically just a teaser, it seems as Cormac's box may have Gramática and Abstergo one step closer to creating someone from the First Civilization, which would allow them to understand Pieces of Eden and other precursor technology. Maybe that's why Gramática sounds so stoked. If that's the case, it very well might mean the next Assassin's Creed puts a heavy emphasis on the present day. That fits right in line with the clues we found late last year. Abstergo's up to something and it might be huge. Who would've thought the Chronicles series would bring us three new protagonists with three separate stories, yet the biggest development would be on the Templars' side? At least it looks to have set the table for more Assassin's Creed to come.
Assassin's Creed photo
A precursor to something huge?
The Assassin's Creed Chronicles titles have been criticized (and rightfully so) for their lack of emphasis on narrative. Even though these are games where the narrative stakes are just as high as the mainline Assass...


Review: Assassin's Creed Chronicles: Russia

Feb 08 // Chris Carter
Assassin's Creed Chronicles: Russia (PC, PS4, Xbox One [reviewed]) Developer: Climax StudiosPublisher: UbisoftReleased: February 9, 2016MSRP: $9.99 I was never really a fan of the modern settings in Assassin's Creed -- at least, the action sequences, because the walking simulator IT department bits from Black Flag on were cool -- but that doesn't mean they can't be done. As such, I was keen on seeing what Climax Studios could do with a tale set in 1918, this time shadowing assassin Nikolai Oreov and the quest for a Bolshevik artifact. The pulp animation cinematics are stunning, but the showstopping elements end there. The cast is simply not memorable, including Nikolai, who is doing "one last job" before he abandons the Assassins and finds a new life for his family elsewhere. It's a good hook but Russia never fully sells it, particularly given the underplayed performances. I don't need a charismatic, wisecracking Nolan North per se, just something to connect with. Russia also desperately wants you to know that "he's old," which should be meaningful, but we got a better angle on that storyline with Ezio in later core games anyway. That feeling of familiarity permeates throughout some of the other elements of the game. The Schlinder's List-esque monochrome and red aesthetics looked dope at first, but started to wear after a few levels. Outside of the blazing red and orange sky, a lot of the areas look too similar, even if it serves to differentiate all of the interaction zones (all those hidden little hovels). Though it does have the added benefit of cordoning off secret areas by purposefully not brightening them, which is rad. [embed]339981:62172:0[/embed] Beyond that, you can expect more of the same compared to the past entries in the trilogy, which is to say great things. The 2D switch-off works wonderfully. The controls are so responsive, and the tools available are not only effective, but succeed in not overwhelming the player. I love that you can approach levels with either a gung-ho or pacifist style, or anything in between, and the running slide assassination ability is still just as satisfying. Unique to Russia, yanking off grates Arkham style with a winch and using phones to distract guards is silly, but it works when juxtaposed to the serious art style. I'm a bit torn on the gunplay however, because while the art of sniping does technically fit the quiet nature of the universe, it wasn't done in such a way that elevates it beyond an arcadey shooting gallery. There are a few sequences where distraction is key, like a mini-puzzle of sorts, but in most cases you're just blasting away at folks until no one is left standing. With six challenges to do (just like India) and a New Game+ option, Assassin's Creed Chronicles: Russia has plenty to offer for a bite-sized package, but it fails to live up to the bar set by its predecessors. The loud and powerful styles of China and India simply trump the final piece of the pie, which goes out with a muted rebel yell. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Assassin's Creed review photo
Once more, with guns
Assassin's Creed Chronicles had a nice thing going on with China and India, delivering some of the classic stealth action the series is known for with a striking new art style and a shift to 2D action. Now Ubisoft i...

Onimusha photo
Onimusha

Red Alert: Onimusha revival 'discussion phases' are happening at Capcom


Go on
Feb 08
// Chris Carter
According to Yoshinori Ono at Capcom, they are looking to potentially "revisit the series" at some point. Sure we've had the life-supportish PC and PS3 Onimusha Soul, but nothing significant has come out of this franchis...
Hitman photo
Hitman

The Hitman beta starts this week, get a quick look at it


Oh that Agent 47
Feb 08
// Chris Carter
Hit "don't call it a reboot" Man is set to arrive in March (but not fully, since it's episodic -- gaming!), but before then you can get a taste of the beta. It drops on February 12 on PS4, and PC on February 19. Sorry Xbox On...
Rise of the Tomb Raider photo
Rise of the Tomb Raider

First Rise of the Tomb Raider PC patch mostly just makes sure you can go 'sploring


And murdering too, I guess
Feb 05
// Brett Makedonski
Rise of the Tomb Raider is quite the good showing from Crystal Dynamics. Good enough, in fact, that we awarded it our Best Xbox Game of 2015. But, when we put it through its paces on PC, we found performance to be lackin...
Tribute Games photo
Tribute Games

Ninja Senki DX looks mega good, man


Releasing February 23
Feb 04
// Jordan Devore
Tribute Games is bringing Ninja Senki DX to PC, PS4, and PS Vita on February 23. This is an expanded version of a rather good freeware action game from 2010, which, from our prior coverage, it sounds like a number of us have ...
Rocky Horror Far Cry Show photo
Rocky Horror Far Cry Show

Far Cry Primal does the Time Warp


Oh, fantasy free me
Feb 04
// Brett Makedonski
Far Cry Primal has a new trailer and it's really well-produced. It's a reverse look at some of the major eras of combat in human history, all culminating in a showdown with a CGI sabretooth tiger. But, it also reminded me of "Time Warp," and now I've been listening to that all morning long. It's just a jump to the left, then a step to the right...
Toukiden photo
Toukiden

Toukiden 2 looks, well, like this


Devilishly good-looking
Feb 04
// Kyle MacGregor
Toukiden 2 was announced at Tokyo Game Show last fall, but little else has been revealed about Omega Force's upcoming demon-hunting game in the months since then.  That is, until now. Koei Tecmo has opened the open-world...
Zelda photo
Zelda

Nintendo confirms new Zelda: Twilight Princess HD details


Nice
Feb 04
// Chris Carter
In addition to the officially confirmed amiibo dungeon for The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD, Nintendo has shared a few new features for the game this morning. As well as inventory management, the GamePad can also be ...

Review: Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4

Feb 04 // Laura Kate Dale
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 (PC, PS4 [reviewed], Xbox One)Developer: Cyber Connect 2Publisher: Bandai NamcoReleased: February 9, 2016MSRP: $49.99 Much like the previous Ninja Storm games, this is a combination of 3D multiplayer fighting with a truncated re-telling of the story of Shippuden. Starting in the midst of The Great Ninja War, Ultimate Ninja Storm 4's story mode tells the same tale as the manga and anime, cutting out any side action and pruning what’s left to the bare essentials. Where did Kakashi get his Sharingan? Who is the guy in the orange mask? Will Naruto ever convince people to “believe it”? As a reminder of the story’s progression and to round off my enjoyment of Naruto, Ninja Storm 4 was a solid, satisfying experience. Featuring full English and Japanese voice tracks from the cast of the anime, the story mode tends to switch between ten-minute chunks of anime cutscene and short fight sequences as appropriate. There's an awful lot of watching compared to playing, but as someone looking to get through the story, that suited me just fine. The combat, which remains unchanged between the single-player story and multiplayer modes, favours style over substance. Characters use the same combo button presses and control in much the same way as each other. The primary difference between the cast is in visual flourish, the speed at which they move, and the type of over-the-top special attack they employ. It's designed so that once you have wrapped your head around controlling one character, you can switch and play as another with very little additional practice needed. [embed]338210:62087:0[/embed] In versus mode, you pick three characters from which to build a team. While you can switch characters mid-battle, the most interesting aspect of team selection is that pairing together characters with pre-existing narrative ties can result in the ability to perform special combination moves unique to the game. Put Sasuke and Naruto together, for example, and you'll see a pretty cool-looking lightning Chidori Rasengan combination attack. This simplification of combat mechanics is, in many ways, a welcome blessing, as the roster in Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 is enormous. There are multiple variants of the main cast with unique move-sets, everyone from end-of-the-story villains to minor characters. I spent hours with the game just trying to see every character's top-end skills pulled off, and am well aware there's a whole bunch of combination attacks I still have not seen. Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 is fairly simple as a fighting game, and has evolved little mechanically over past iterations. Thankfully for me, it really didn't need to do either of those things. It's an extravagant, over-the-top spectacle where you get to watch teenage ninjas blow up chunks of the planet using magic attacks, and that's pretty cool. If, like me, you fell off the Naruto bandwagon during the early parts of Ninja War, it's a great way to put a few hours in and still know how the whole narrative ended up playing out. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Naruto photo
Simple, flashy, over the top
Almost a decade ago, in my mid-teens, I was hugely into Naruto. As a socially awkward nerd who had just discovered that Dragon Ball Z and Sailor Moon were part of a larger media genre, I spent years avidly following the adven...

PS4 photo
PS4

Doujin hack-and-slash coming to PS4 this month


Mitsurugi Kamui Hikae
Feb 03
// Kyle MacGregor
Doujinsoft studio Zenith Blue's Mitsurugi Kamui Hikae is coming to PlayStation 4 in North America on February 16, Japanese indie game publisher Playism announced today via the PlayStation Blog. A word of warning, as someone w...
Gravity Rush PS4 photo
Gravity Rush PS4

Dang, I need to get on Gravity Rush Remastered


Lookin' good
Feb 03
// Jordan Devore
Perhaps I shouldn't have watched this Gravity Rush trailer yet. I mean, I fully intended to play the new PlayStation 4 remaster some day soon. Just not, like, right now. Not while there's The Witness to wrap up, XCOM 2 and Fi...
Dark Souls III photo
Dark Souls III

New Dark Souls III gameplay comin' in hot!


And rollin' all over the place
Feb 03
// Brett Makedonski
April isn't that far off on the horizon, but it might as well be an eternity when you're eagerly awaiting a new game. For many, that game is Dark Souls III, a franchise that has the pedigree to make waiting unbearable. If a ...
Hitman photo
Hitman

Square Enix unveils Hitman's PS4 exclusive mission plans


First mission arrives at launch
Feb 03
// Chris Carter
Sony has locked up some more exclusive content for yet another shooter -- Hitman. In fact, when the game's beta launches on February 12, PS4 owners will be able to play it a week before PC and Xbox One players. It has also co...
One Piece photo
One Piece

One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 pushes one million copies, sold worst in North America


Europe came close to Japan!
Feb 03
// Chris Carter
It's pretty well known that there are a lot of European One Piece fans out there (which is why they got this EU-specific special edition), and now hard data from Bandai Namco supports that fact. According to the publishe...
Knights and Bikes photo
Knights and Bikes

Former Tearaway, Ratchet and Clank devs team up for action RPG Knights and Bikes


EarthBound sensibilities
Feb 02
// Darren Nakamura
I could write up a basic synopsis of Knights and Bikes right here, but honestly, readers will benefit most from just watching the video below. If you want to skip the obligatory "two dudes sitting in front of a camera talking...

Not a Hero nearly broke me

Feb 02 // Jordan Devore
I wasn't sure how I'd like cover-based shooting in a 2D game, going in, but in the case of Not a Hero, I'm quite fond. This isn't so much standing still, popping out to take a few shots, and retreating back into hiding as it is shuffling between safe spots to close the gap, sliding right next to (or into!) enemies, and racking up split-second kills. Think Vanquish more than Gears of War. Cover is plentiful, but you won't stick to it for long unless you're nervously waiting on your few precious health points to restock or your gun to reload. Death comes quickly and repeatedly, both for you and for the hundreds of criminals you're meant to wipe out across three city districts. A single hit can be enough, especially in the later Yakuza-ish levels with samurai chasing you down. That's where I started to lose my cool over the lack of checkpoints. It's also where Not a Hero almost broke me with two overly long, overly demanding levels. (The exact same ones Steven struggled with.) By the time I hit the credits, I felt exhausted, not accomplished or elated. Getting up to that point was great fun, though. Still an experience I'd recommend. The story isn't as successful. Basically, you're helping an anthropomorphic rabbit claim his rightful spot as mayor by, uh, killing loads of people. The tone is Internet Silly to the point of going way overboard, at times, and the humor didn't consistently land for me. But on the whole, I admire the effort that went into the presentation -- particularly the funny graphics in the interludes. Great tunes, too. The story is there, if you want it, but otherwise you're only a few button presses away from getting into that next level. As far as this specific port goes, I don't have much to say. Despite being a PC/Mac exclusive until now, Not a Hero has always struck me as something of a console-style, couch-sitting experience meant to be played with a gamepad. Aside from a couple instances of glitches (my character going invisible once; the occasional floating dead body), there wasn't anything out of the ordinary. Existing fans won't find meaningful extras in this version to warrant double dipping, but it is a solid port of a surprisingly fresh little game. I'm glad I found my way to it. Shame about the canceled PlayStation Vita port, though. Not a Hero would've fared well there. [This impressions piece is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Not a Hero PS4 photo
Impressions of the PS4 port
Thank you, Roll7, for reminding me what an utter joy it can be to slide around in video games. I'm not sure what I was so wrapped up playing last May, but it wasn't Not a Hero, the studio's cheeky side-scrolling take on cover...

RE4 on Wii U photo
RE4 on Wii U

Resident Evil 4 hits Wii U in North America this week


A re-release of the stellar Wii Edition
Feb 01
// Jordan Devore
How many ports does Resident Evil 4 warrant? All of them. Forever. Those of us in North America will have another chance to nab the best-playing version, Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition, when it comes to the Wii U eShop this Thursday, February 4. I'm not sure what took so long, as European players have had it since last October. Weird.
Odin Sphere trailer photo
Odin Sphere trailer

Storybook time! Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir's first English trailer


Die art, die
Feb 01
// Steven Hansen
Now that Odin Sphere's Leifthrasir remake is out in Japan, Vanillaware can focus on the areas that really matter: the Americas. We're getting the 2D action-RPG on PS3, PS4, and PS Vita in the Americas on June 7, 2016 and so ...
Ghostbusters photo
Ghostbusters

New Ghostbusters game reportedly in the works, I hope we get to be the ladies


Let's change it up in here
Jan 30
// Zack Furniss
2009's Ghostbusters: The Video Game was a pleasant return to the ghoul-infested New York City, and it sounds like we'll have another chance to get bustin' this year. What remains unclear is whether it'll feature the cast...
Twilight Princess HD photo
Twilight Princess HD

A story trailer in case you forgot what Twilight Princess is about


Howl lovely
Jan 29
// Brett Makedonski
Twilight Princess is the Zelda game with the wolf and the orcs and the shadow monsters. There's a good chance you already knew that because Twilight Princess is nearly ten years old and was widely beloved. A l...
Hellblade photo
Hellblade

Watch Ninja Theory make this mocap lady do silly shit for Hellblade


Still seems like a fun job
Jan 29
// Zack Furniss
I'm quietly anticipating Ninja Theory's Hellblade, and its transparent development videos have been stoking that fire. I always enjoy watching how games are made, and confirming that I know dick about the process. In this lat...

Review: LEGO Marvel's Avengers

Jan 29 // Chris Carter
LEGO Marvel's Avengers (3DS, PC, PS3, PS4 [reviewed], Vita, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One)Developer: TT Fusion, TT GamesPublisher: WB Interactive EntertainmentReleased: January 16, 2016MSRP: $29.99 (3DS, Vita), $39.99 (PC) $49.99 ( PS3, Wii U, Xbox 360), $59.99 (PS4, Xbox One) Marvel's Avengers is the latest beat-'em-up in a long line of Traveller's Tales LEGO joints, a subseries that has hosted roughly 30 games since 2005. It follows the same rough format as past titles, with a few added bits of panache (like more cinematic attacks and sequences) for good measure. You probably know the drill by now -- multiple characters are on-screen at a time, all of which sport several attacks, but they have slightly different ways of going about it. For instance, Captain America and Hulk are both melee fighters, but Cap will be able to reflect beams, and Hulk can smash through giant machinery. Iron Man and Thor excel at range and can fly, but the former can melt metal with his beams. You get the idea. Playing with a partner will enhance your experience tenfold as you can operate in tandem with one another, as going at it solo puts a damper on things by forcing you to switch characters often. That's even more true for Avengers, where the two-person synergy attacks (like Thor slamming into Cap's shield for a shockwave) are that much more satisfying. The best part, the LEGO franchise's signature silly humor, is intact. Interactions and events play out in a similar manner, so there aren't a lot of surprises, but additional jokes and a general sense of lightheartedness actually elevate a few dud portions of the films. As such, every cutscene brings a smile to my face, and helps break up the repetition a bit. I never really minded the shift from the gibberish "LEGO speak" of the past into full voice acting, as Traveller's Tales has always maintained the same tone successfully. [embed]337320:62048:0[/embed] That cavalier, cartoony attitude can go a bit overboard, though. While including over 200 characters is a cool notion, especially for kids who are fans of some of the more obscure heroes, you end up with an overwhelming number of clones and a general sense of vanilla loadouts. They're also inherently limited by the plotlines put forth in the MCU so they can't deviate too much, compared to a wholly original game like Dimensions. So where does LEGO Marvel start to really falter? Its inability to stick to one script at at time. It jumps around so many films that it fails to tell a cohesive story, and assumes you've seen every movie. If you haven't, you'll probably be a mite bewildered as to what's going on. In fact, the game kind of just jumps into Age of Ultron's intro with no rhyme, reason, or setup, before moving onto scenes from both Captain America movies, Thor 2, Iron Man 3, and more. And don't think there's some overarching "Galactus is narrating the story" device -- it just happens as it comes. The open world hubs are a welcome respite from the constant bang bang action, in that sense. As for me, I've experienced every bit of the MCU outside of the comics, so it did mostly make sense. Some is good, some is bad (Agent Carter, which just returned to TV, is pretty good!), but the vast majority of it is easy to follow. It's not like you're going to be scratching you head trying to decipher poignant plotlines -- the game just mostly lacks context, and suffers from fanservice-itis. The latter especially comes into play when the game splices in direct quotes from the film, some of which feel forced, with an odd audio mix to boot. Does your kid constantly go on about Chris Hemsworth and Robert Downey Jr. while they run around the room in their Hawkeye outfit? Pick up LEGO Marvel's Avengers and add it to the massive pile of LEGO games you likely already have. It's a fun mindless romp through a couple of interesting setpieces, but not a whole lot more than that when it comes down to it. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.] 
LEGO Marvel's Avengers photo
WB always finds out, bro
The MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) is intimidating, to say the least. In addition to all of the feature films there's also official tie-in comics, one-shot short films, multiple sequels that set up sequels, and now, eight separate television shows with multiple seasons across two networks. If you haven't been at least following the movies, LEGO Marvel's Avengers probably isn't for you.

Conan photo
Conan

Funcom announces 'Conan Exiles,' with yes, that Conan


PC Early Access this summer
Jan 28
// Chris Carter
Funcom has been busy! In addition to maintaining The Secret World, experimenting with games like The Park, and even dabbling into LEGO a bit, they're taking another crack at the Conan license. They've announced Conan Exiles f...
Dark Souls 3 screens photo
Dark Souls 3 screens

Hot new Dark Souls III screens include eerie tiny king


New Dark Souls locations, characters
Jan 27
// Steven Hansen
Ah, screenshots. Some real classic, old-school video game journalism. More than anything I want to know what it is that compelled Bandai Namco to put out new Dark Souls III screens on a Wednesday night. Maybe something's fun ...
Hyrule Warriors Legends photo
Hyrule Warriors Legends

Hyrule Warriors Legends is adding a save data reset option in a patch


You can't do it now
Jan 26
// Chris Carter
Hyrule Warriors Legends came out last week on 3DS in Japan, and people are already clamoring for a pretty basic feature -- save data reset. Yep, if you just want to replay the game from a fresh file or resell your game with n...
The Division photo
The Division

Beta codes for The Division just went out


Check your email
Jan 26
// Chris Carter
If you're excited to give The Division a go (you can read all about it here compliments of our own Zack Furniss), check your inboxes -- Ubisoft is sending out codes for the beta now. Of course, the actual event doesn't s...

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