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7:00 PM on 03.31.2015

Review: Evolve: The Hunt Evolves Update

More than a month ago Evolve came out to tepid reactions and muted fanfare. Today's release of the game's first major content update, delivering on the Hunting Season Pass and the pre-order Monster Expansion Pack, might have ...

Nic Rowen



Review: Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare: Ascendance photo
Review: Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare: Ascendance
by Chris Carter

I've come to really enjoy Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare's multiplayer months down the line. It's withstood the test of time, and although I was skeptical of Sledgehammer Games' first Duty outing, it has done a decent job at differentiating itself from Treyarch and Infinity Ward, and in most ways, it has already surpassed the latter.

The latest pack is Ascendance, which brings in a few extras outside of the typical four-map, one-zombie level delivery system. It's a better effort than Havoc thanks to the injection of some grappling hooks, but for $15, not every piece of the puzzle carries its load.

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Review: Paperbound photo
Review: Paperbound
by Chris Carter

I don't think I'll ever get tired of arena battle games. I can see myself as a grandfather one day, playing my favorite character in a future iteration of Super Smash Bros., reminiscing with my progeny about how great the old games were, and how overpowered Meta Knight was decades ago. It's those kinds of people who will enjoy Paperbound, the newest arena kid on the block.

While it doesn't have the panache of many other recent arena games like Samurai Gunn or TowerFall, it's still a decent way to spend an afternoon with friends gathered around the couch.

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Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China gives the series a fresh perspective photo
Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China gives the series a fresh perspective
by Alessandro Fillari

It's not often we see a major player in the big leagues of yearly releases reinvent itself in a more modest and distinct way. With Assassin's Creed titles expected every year, it's been a bit of a challenge for Ubisoft to keep things interesting for players. And after last year's rough launch for its first true current-gen outing with Assassin's Creed Unity, the company now plans to try something a bit different with its popular brand.

Though there's still another major release coming this year, Ubisoft has hopes that the Assassin's Creed Chronicles trilogy will switch things up. At a recent press event, we got to learn more about this surprising smaller-scale reinvention of Assassin's Creed, and how it has echoes of classic titles such as Prince of Persia. Speaking with the developers from Climax Studios, they seek to reinvigorate the AC experience in the 2.5D perspective while retaining the tried-and-true action-stealth gameplay the series is known for.

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Review: Axiom Verge photo
Review: Axiom Verge
by Conrad Zimmerman

It seems like a foregone conclusion when looking at Axiom Verge that comparisons are going to be made to Metroid. It is, without doubt, similar in more ways than it differs from Nintendo's iconic franchise.

The differences matter, though, and Axiom Verge merges classic environment design with new mechanical twists, producing a game that feels both familiar and fresh at the same time.

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Review: Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel: Claptastic Voyage photo
Review: Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel: Claptastic Voyage
by Darren Nakamura

With Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, I like and dislike different parts of it in almost equal measure. The combat is exciting and the characters are likable. On the other hand, the environments are a little dull and it suffers from a host of obnoxious bugs.

Claptastic Voyage, the first and only "big" piece of downloadable content had the opportunity to fix a lot of what was broken with the base game. For the most part it succeeds in that endeavor, but it still seems like 2K Australia has a bit to learn about making the loot-shooter truly great.

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Weekend Deals: $10 Skyrim Legendary, 25% Off GTA V PC photo
Weekend Deals: $10 Skyrim Legendary, 25% Off GTA V PC
by Dealzon

Whether its fighting random dragons or avoiding helicopter spawns, there's lots of solid deals this weekend for PC gamers.

If you know for sure you're going to buy Grand Theft Auto V on PC on release day next month, you can snag 25% off this weekend via our special code here. [Edit: The code is dead, but you can get a 22% discount on this page after login or account creation] For $45, you'll get to enjoy RockStar's DRM and play a 1.5 year old game. Seriously, best deal of the century.

The same digital retailer is running a sale on a ton of Bethesda titles including the Elder Scroll V: Skryim Legendary Edition for only $10. The deal is so good that the title is currently "out of stock" - but GMG is guaranteeing that every purchase thru the weekend will receive a copy by March 31st.

In the console department, things are a bit more light but there's a pretty good deal on a Mario Party 10 + amiibo combo for $52 at Newegg - though uh, the title hasn't exactly won raving reviews.

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Review: Pillars of Eternity photo
Review: Pillars of Eternity
by Conrad Zimmerman

Pillars of Eternity is a sort of game which appeared unlikely to exist again in any meaningful way. Isometric, party-based role-playing games certainly seemed like the sort of thing people made, "back in the day," something to be fondly remembered as products of their era's limitations that we've since moved on from.

Yet, here we are. People can still make these games, and these games can still be great.

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EVE Online's new focus is putting power in the players' hands photo
EVE Online's new focus is putting power in the players' hands
by Brett Makedonski

The developers at CCP face a unique challenge with EVE Online that other studios don't necessarily face. Its players expect an incredibly deep and detailed experience, which means that evolving the game is particularly difficult. In the past, CCP accomplished this by holding the reins tight. Player freedom was a necessary sacrifice.

Moving forward, EVE Online pilots will find that they're going to have more options. That's not a one-off change; that's something that according to executive producer Andie Nordgren is a concerted effort from CCP -- something that will hopefully define the EVE Online experience from now on.

The two most evident examples at Fanfest 2015 were the announcements of untethered structures and a wealth of ship skins. The former is something that will greatly vary the gameplay in EVE Online, as starbases could previously only be built around moons. Now, that those can be positioned anywhere, it opens a world of possibilities for players.

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Review: Game of Thrones: A Telltale Game Series: The Sword in the Darkness photo
Review: Game of Thrones: A Telltale Game Series: The Sword in the Darkness
by Darren Nakamura

Telltale seems to be getting into the swing of things with Game of Thrones, in more ways than one. For starters, it only took seven weeks since the last episode for this one to come out. If Telltale can keep up that pace, the season should conclude this August.

More importantly, this is the first episode to really capture the essence of A Song of Ice and Fire. Where Iron From Ice was mostly setup and The Lost Lords felt a little like filler, The Sword in the Darkness finally starts to get the members of House Forrester moving toward something that feels like progress. The situation is still dismal, but faint flickers of light at the end are just now coming into focus.

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Review: Life is Strange: Out of Time photo
Review: Life is Strange: Out of Time
by Brett Makedonski

I just finished episode two of Life is Strange, and I've spiraled down a playlist of Ben Folds songs. Out of Time is Kate Marsh's story, but "Kate" is too cheerful; this tale isn't about daisies, dandelions, and butterflies. The weighty subject material is more in line with the hopelessness that defines "Carrying Cathy," but alas, that's a different name, although not far off.

That being said, Out of Time does what episode one couldn't: it makes the audience care about character arcs other than main protagonist Max's. After a Max-centric first chapter, it's the other citizens of Arcadia Bay who get a share of the spotlight. We're given some quiet moments with Chloe to begin to understand her struggle. We're introduced to Chloe's mother, who may be the most reasonable and believable character in Life is Strange. Andof course, we grieve with Kate as her entire world turns against her.

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EVE: Valkyrie wants to be the leader in VR eSports photo
EVE: Valkyrie wants to be the leader in VR eSports
by Brett Makedonski

It was almost a year ago (ten months, more accurately) when I sat down with EVE: Valkyrie's developers, and they told me "We're ready to ship when Oculus is ready to ship." At the time, Valkyrie was considered a flagship title for virtual reality, but it's unclear if that's still the case. There are a lot more entrants in the arena now, after all. However, EVE: Valkyrie's developers have their sights set on a more aggressive goal.

"We just extend our ambitions," Valkyrie executive producer Owen O'Brien told me when asked what it's like to stretch out the production schedule an extra year on a title that has been technically ready for quite some time. O'Brien elaborated "A year ago, I don't think I would've stood up and said 'I want to be the best multiplayer game in VR,' but now I feel completely comfortable saying that. So, I think an extra year in the production cycle, it's fine because we're not a huge team. We're working on bleeding edge technology that is still developing. CCP as a company kind of knew what they were getting into. That's something that was to be expected with VR, and we're still very happy to be at the forefront of it."

But, not only does O'Brien want Valkyrie to be a heralded multiplayer title, he wants it to be the pinnacle of VR competition. Thinking about his ultimate goal for Valkyrie several years down the road, he offered "I would love this to be the eSports of VR."

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CCP's found the best use for Xbox One's Kinect so far photo
CCP's found the best use for Xbox One's Kinect so far
by Brett Makedonski

It’s no secret that virtual reality is quickly making its mark on the videogame industry. If that weren't evident before, GDC 2015 kicked the door wide open. That's why, with numerous developers turning their attention to the new technology, it's remarkable that the developers for EVE Online have been at the forefront of VR for years now.

EVE: Valkyrie, the spaceship dog-fighting game, has been pinned by Oculus as a flagship title for whenever the Rift ends up launching. That's coming along nicely, but its origin story is particularly noteworthy. It was created by CCP as a tech demo for convention-goers at Fanfest in 2013. It basically boiled down to a treat for coming out to the show. However, the reaction was so strong and positive that CCP turned it into a fully-realized game – one that obviously caught the attention of Oculus.

CCP is casually trying to recapture that lightning in a bottle. It directed its Atlanta and Shanghai studios to work on VR experiences. The instruction ended there -- no mandate that they do something that fits into the EVE universe. The four demos that the studios collectively came up with are wonderfully experimental and, most importantly, fun. They're all united under the banner of "VR Labs" for now, and CCP stresses that none of them are official games. But, as we've seen in the past, maybe that'll change after this weekend.

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Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima expected to split with Konami after The Phantom Pain photo
Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima expected to split with Konami after The Phantom Pain
by Jordan Devore

"After we finish [Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain], Mr. Kojima and upper management will leave Konami," a source within Kojima Productions told GameSpot today amidst speculation that some real crazy shit is happening at the publisher. "They said their contract ends in December."

There have reportedly been a "fallout" and "power struggles" between Kojima Productions and Konami, which have led to some senior Metal Gear staff, including series creator Hideo Kojima, to be designated "essentially [as] contractors, not permanent employees," according to the source.

Staggering. Just staggering. And there's more: Kojima is no longer listed as an executive of Konami. Kojima Productions Los Angeles is now named "Konami Los Angeles Studios," and its @Kojima_Pro_Live Twitter account has "moved" to @metalgear_en. Lastly, online marketing materials for The Phantom Pain have excised the standard "A Hideo Kojima game" descriptor.

In a statement to press, Konami said it is "shifting [its] production structure to a headquarters-controlled system..." and added that "Konami Digital Entertainment (including Mr. Kojima) will continue to develop and support Metal Gear products."

Welp, I'm worried about Silent Hills.

Kojima Expected to Leave Konami After MGS5, Inside Source Confirms [GameSpot]

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Review: Bladestorm: Nightmare photo
Review: Bladestorm: Nightmare
by Josh Tolentino

Bladestorm: Nightmare is not a Dynasty Warriors game.

That bit of information might be good or bad news, depending which side of the fence one falls on with regard to Tecmo Koei's long-running brawler series.

At the same time, though, the game does manage to capture just enough of the essence of Dynasty Warriors to drive away those who dislike it, while disappointing those who come in hoping for a more conventional entry into the franchise. 

Which is a shame, as despite being an almost eight-year-old design, Bladestorm still has a few tricks its more popular cousins could stand to crib.

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Jackbox Games talks You Donít Know Jack, Twitch, and the future photo
Jackbox Games talks You Donít Know Jack, Twitch, and the future
by Chris Carter

Jackbox Games has been busy. In addition to reviving the You Don't Know Jack franchise for modern consoles, it's also built an intriguing online infrastructure from the ground up. As an innovative way to solve the "controller problem" for fairly new platforms, Xbox One and PS4 owners can use their mobile devices (or anything that has internet access) to tap in and play with seven other people.

It's a really cool concept, and now Jackbox is poised to integrate it with Twitch for a full-on virtual party. Since the company is launching a Kickstarter for a brand new game that uses the same tech, I decided to reach out and pick CEO Mike Bilder's brain a bit.

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