Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath Review - Friendship Never Ends

Gamespot News Feed - Sat, 05/30/2020 - 02:15

When the credits roll at the end of Mortal Kombat 11's excellent story mode, the slate has been wiped clean. After a variety of entertaining time-travelling hijinks, everyone's second-favourite Shaolin monk, Liu Kang, has ascended into godhood and is ready to begin writing an all-new chapter in Mortal Kombat history. It's as close to a perfect ending as you can get to the almost 30 years of convoluted lore this series has. But now, there's Aftermath, Mortal Kombat 11's optional expansion that tacks on a handful of new chapters to that narrative. And while the idea of a story-focussed add-on to this fighting game is an exciting prospect--and it certainly has its high moments--when the credits roll for the second time there isn't that same sense of gratification.

At the beginning of Aftermath, which immediately follows the end of Mortal Kombat 11, Liu Kang is interrupted by the nefarious sorcerer Shang Tsung. Along with the righteous wind god Fujin and badass indigenous shaman Nightwolf, the trio stops Liu Kang from proceeding with his rebuilding plans with the warning that they need to go back in time, again, to retrieve a MacGuffin in order to stop the process from going to shit. Over five chapters and a cinema-appropriate two-and-a-half-hour running time, the five Mortal Kombat characters that have now been introduced to MK11 as post-release content get to make their mark in the story. The chapters cover the hijinks of Shang Tsung, Nightwolf, and the banshee queen Sindel from the Fighters Pack 1 DLC, as well as two characters newly introduced in Aftermath: Fujin and the four-armed Sheeva.

The relatively brief running time of the whole thing allows it to be mostly filled with great moments. The blockbuster flair present in the original story mode is again in full force, as is the excellent fight choreography that makes you want to leap out of your chair. There's still that weird disconnect when an extravagant fight cinematic transitions into the more rigid nature of the game's actual one-on-one fights, but there are some good moments that lie in the gameplay portions too, like the handful of battles where you have an assist character to call on.

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Categories: Games

Crucible Review - A Prime Disappointment

Gamespot News Feed - Fri, 05/29/2020 - 22:05

It's easy to recognize Crucible's many design influences. The Amazon-published third-person multiplayer game features hero-style characters with abilities similar to those found in Overwatch. Its one MOBA-centric game mode should feel familiar to you if you've played Smite or the now-defunct Paragon. And even its light progression system echoes the one found in Gearbox's Battleborn. Crucible attempts to remix a lot of existing ideas and cohesively tie them together into something more successful, but as a result, it fails to create an identity for itself.

Crucible takes place on an alien planet primed for off-world mining, which plays host to three game modes on its single map. Heart of the Hive is as close to a MOBA as Crucible gets, with a focus on PvP and PvE play as two teams fight to secure the hearts of dangerous hives. Alpha Hunters is a spin on battle royale, with teams of two skirmishing in short matches. Lastly, Harvester Command combines traits of team deathmatch and classic point control, rewarding players for kills and the number of objectives controlled on the map. In each mode, you have a choice to play as one of 10 characters, each with a handful of unique abilities and unlockable traits.

Heart of the Hive is the main event, pitting two teams of four against one another on a large map filled with AI enemies as you hunt down periodically spawning hives and attempt to capture three of their underlying hearts. Like in most MOBAs, you kill these enemies for XP, levelling up your character to improve your health, damage, and ability effectiveness. But in Crucible, there's no challenge involved in killing these enemies; it's easy enough to tackle a large group of them alone without any risk, dancing around their slow and predictable attack patterns. It reduces the necessary farming of experience to a mindless annoyance, made even more irritating by the fact that it's predominantly how you'll spend most of your time in this mode.

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Categories: Games

Go Time

Game Informer News Feed - Fri, 05/29/2020 - 15:10

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Publisher: Motorsport Games Developer: 704Games Release: July 10, 2020 Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Developer 704Games showed off the first gameplay trailer for July 7's NASCAR Heat 5 (PS4, Xbox One, and PC), giving fans a glimpse of some of the pack racing at various tracks.

Consistently performing A.I. was one of the things the studio wanted to improve upon this year, and it'll be interesting to see how that influences passing, drafting, and the overall pack racing, which should be different at each track.

For more on the game, check out our previous preview, as well as our discussion with publisher Motorsport Games about the future of the franchise.

Categories: Games

Resolutiion Review - Asked, Not Answered

Gamespot News Feed - Thu, 05/28/2020 - 22:23

Resolutiion constantly implies there’s more going on than you realize. Its strong anti-imperialist messaging pushes you to question the nature of your mission. Its mechanics, including the fact that most enemies fall incapacitated before you kill them, suggests that maybe you should show mercy when given the choice. The concept of scholars studying the world in VR, seeking to understand things without seeing what's in front of them, challenges you to question when knowledge is useful. Walls and signs adorned with intricate symbols and filled with cryptic, interactive elements forces you to consider the possibility that you’ll need to be extremely clever and dig really deep to find the truth.

That truth is extremely hard to come by, though. Even after combing the world and finding out how many of the pieces fit, I walked away feeling that Resolutiion’s big philosophical questions stirred my mind. However, its obtuse attempts to manifest them as a deep, mysterious puzzle beneath the game’s surface-level objectives created a gap between the loose, but entertaining Metroid-style action game I played and the intellectually stimulating action-puzzle I could tell was there but had trouble parsing.

Resolutiion is a stylish game. Its smooth-moving but highly pixelated art style evokes games like Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery, Below, and Hyper Light Drifter at a glance, but it has its own thrown-together mix of cultural influences that create a unique setting. The backdrop of its world, a post-apocalyptic ruin rebuilding in the shadow of a cyberpunk dystopia, permeates every screen. The landscape blends large swaths of concrete and sand with bright, unnatural skies. Its characters range from Buddhist monk laborers to talking deer and bunnies espousing subversive anti-imperialist rhetoric.

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Categories: Games

Those Who Remain Review - Getting Hopelessly Lost

Gamespot News Feed - Thu, 05/28/2020 - 19:55

Horror is often bulging with contradictions and illogical deaths. Take, for example, the hapless victim who runs into a dead end when hounded by a machete-wielding murderer, or deeper into the unsettling darkness of the woods where unknown terrors lie in wait. On the other hand there's Edward, the everyday man you're embodying in Those Who Remain, the type of horror protagonist who is decidedly more aware of the dire situation he finds himself in. Despite being unwittingly caught up in the spooky affairs within the sleepy town of Dormont, he seems to regard the scenes of terror and panic unfolding around him with the detachment and fatigue of a man who desperately wants everything to blow over. Scenes of sheer exasperation in the game are absurdly common; Edward routinely shouts variations of “Not you again!” as he scrambles from yet another blood-thirsty demon that's frantically clambering towards him.

It's not difficult to empathize with Edward's circumstances--and by that, I mean the exhaustion of going through, over and over again, the onerous cycle of looking for the right object to unlock the next objective with, and painstakingly searching for clues that will move the plot along, while eluding a freakish behemoth that's screeching for your blood. To put it plainly, Those Who Remain is essentially a three-dimensional version of a find-the-hidden-object game, where flinging furniture about and peering into every single desk drawer you spot are par for the course. Edward wanders about a lot just to look for things--into a luxurious mansion, the town's post office, the national library--and even traverses through into a parallel, alternate dimension to hunt down more keys, letters, and in one instance, weed killers.

Like many horror games, Those Who Remain is also draped in shadows, which piles on the growing tedium and frustration of searching for these items. Even in the midst of looking for these in murky corners, Edward also has to constantly seek refuge in illuminated spots against glowy-eyed specters, which can be seen silently observing him from the pitch darkness of the abandoned town. The notion of giving your enemies such a distinct form seems like a novelty in a genre that usually presents them as some wispy, unknowable force, but the ruse soon wears thin after you realize there's not much more to this idea. In the end, the impenetrable darkness simply functions as an invisible barrier that prevents you from wandering into places you shouldn't be in just yet, while hardly posing any real, active danger.

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Categories: Games

Check Out Nearly 30 New Minutes Of Outriders In Action

Game Informer News Feed - Thu, 05/28/2020 - 17:30

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Publisher: Square Enix Developer: People Can Fly Release: 2020 Platform: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

People Can Fly and Square Enix have released the first Outriders Broadcast, a special video series designed to give players a deeper look at the upcoming loot-based shooter. Today’s video has nearly 30 minutes of new footage, and a ton of information to digest. Some of it’s new, much of it has been known since our cover story on the game, but it’s definitely worth checking out.

One of the biggest bits of information shown comes in the form of the Perforo. What the heck is a Perforo? Well, they’re an indigenous life form on Enoch, the planet the game is set on. Apparently, they’re not particularly thrilled at the players’ presence. We fought some human enemies and a large ape-like creature in our earlier hands-on time with the game, but this is the first time we’ve seen these humanoids. They come in several different types, but they all seem to share the same twisted, inside-out appearance.

The encounter with the Perforo comes in a new mission, where the players are tracking down an abandoned truck that may contain some important tech. It’s mostly used as a backdrop for showing off a variety of the game’s systems. For instance, we see various UI elements toggled on and off, giving players a fair amount of granularity for their HUDs. Don’t like visible damage indicators, minimaps, or other indicators cluttering up your screen? You can easily turn them off as you see fit.

World tiers also get called out in the Outriders Broadcast. As you kill enemies, you level up the overall world difficulty, which can optionally be increased. Higher tiers are more challenging, but they’ll provide better rewards. There’s an interesting element to it, in that you lose a small amount of world XP when you die. Because of that, it’s possible to get knocked down a world tier if you keep failing. It’s both a way to balance things out better as well as prevent people from grinding out areas beyond their abilities.

The video ends with a look at the Trickster class, one of four classes in the game. As we showed in our video, this class manipulates time and space to dominate the battlefield. Another small detail was shown, in that characters have two different melee attacks. One is activated while standing still, and another can be activated while the player is running toward enemies. The latter has a particularly powerful effect, rewarding players who decide to get in close.

The video ends with some short answers to several community questions. People Can Fly reiterated that Outriders isn’t a games as service, it won’t contain microtransactions, and it won’t use Denuvo DRM software. 

Outriders is coming to PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in 2020.

Categories: Games

Naughty Dog Shows Tantalizing New Glimpse At The Last Of Us Part II

Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 05/27/2020 - 21:32

Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment Developer: Naughty Dog Release: June 19, 2020 Platform: PlayStation 4

Naughty Dog vice president Neil Druckmann narrated a new look at The Last Of Us Part II, offering some in-depth details about how the game plays.

Part II picks up the story several years after the end of the first game, when Ellie and Joel have settled in a protected community in Jackson, Wyoming. Ellie is now 19, and just as she is beginning to gather a life for herself, disaster strikes in a form that that will likely wait until the game’s release to discover. Ellie sets out alone in pursuit of retribution and justice.

While the game includes varied locales including snowy areas near Jackson and lush forest zones in the Pacific Northwest, the bulk of the story is told in the old quarantine zone of Seattle. There, we see that Ellie has a host of new navigation options, including jumping gaps, and using ropes to swing to new platforms or for tactically bypassing enemies. She also regularly makes use of horseback riding and a motorboat to get around.

Seattle is a warzone between competing factions. The Washington Liberation Front (WLF) is one of the two factions, made up of militaristic and well-equipped soldiers who often use guard dogs to track down their targets. The other major human faction are the tribalistic Seraphites, or Scars, who ritualistically scar their bodies and faces, and use more stealth-oriented combat methods.

In addition, the Infected also fill the area, including old and familiar types from the previous game, like Clickers, Runners, and Stalkers, along with new types, like the armored Shamblers, which explode when they come near.

To navigate all these threats, Ellie has new options for navigating encounters, including hiding in tall grass, breaking glass to open up new paths, and crawling through tight spaces. She also has a wide array of crafting and customization options for her equipment and weapons, and after using a workbench, her items reflect the changes in their cosmetic appearance. She’ll also have allies that help out in a fight. Whether it’s her, or her friends, the takedowns exhibited reveal that Naughty Dog is certainly not shying away from brutal, harsh violence. Ellie’s battles are visceral and often gruesome.

After walking us through some of the details, the State of Play presentation opened up into a single uninterrupted gameplay sequence.

We see Ellie swimming in a forested area with the city in the background. She is being hunted.

She swims underwater and emerges in an industrial basement of some sort, swimming up behind seemingly helpless enemy woman, extracting info on the woman she’s trying to find, and then killing her when the woman pulls a knife. Ellie climbs out into the open, into the grounds of what turns out to be a hospital. She kills some more of her foes on her path through the area, staying stealthy for a time before the alarm is raised. She preps a Molotov cocktail and then flings it down onto a passing guard and dog, and then makes a run for it. By using her last known location as a reference, she sneaks behind yet more of her foes and mercilessly drops them. After some brutal throwdowns using a variety of weaponry, she blocks off a stairway, and reaches her target – the upper area of the hospital. Climbing through some air ducts, she eventually tracks down the girl she’s looking for – Nora – and they recognize each other, presumably from a dramatic event earlier in the game. And then the demo fades out.

From this 20-minute presentation, Naughty Dog clarifies much of what we already expected from the game. That is to say, the technology on display is remarkable, the tension and intense violence in encounters is hard to watch, and the storytelling is taut and exciting. It’s great to see more of the game in action. And unless the extreme violence is more than you want from your games these days, there’s every reason to expect that the high caliber we’ve come to expect from both the studio and the franchise are on track to continue with this new game.

The Last of Us Part II launches June 19 on PlayStation 4. 

Categories: Games

High Stakes & Speed

Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 05/27/2020 - 15:37

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Publisher: Bandai Namco Developer: Slightly Mad Studios Release: August 7, 2020 Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Fast & Furious Crossroads from racing experts Slightly Mad Studios was originally planned to come out this month, but due to the global pandemic, is now slated to release on PS4, Xbox One, and PC on August 7.

Today's new trailer gives us the first glimpse at the title's single-player gameplay through some epic encounters that look to liven up the normal chase-and-destroy and escape missions found in other action-racing titles.

You can also hear snippets of actors like Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez as they reprise their roles in the franchise.

Fast & Furious Crossroads also features three-person multiplayer, which Slightly Mad says it will discuss in the future.

Fast & Furious Crossroads Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC Release Date: August 7, 2020 Purchase
Categories: Games

Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition Review - I'm Really Feeling It

Gamespot News Feed - Wed, 05/27/2020 - 14:00

Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition is just as vast and fantastical as it was in 2010. While not every aspect has aged gracefully, Monolith Soft's lengthy role-playing game has withstood the test of time and further cements itself as one of the most memorable JRPGs in the last decade.

Although Xenoblade Chronicles' opening hours may seem standard fare for JRPGs story-wise, what sets it apart right from the get-go is its setting. Years before the events of the game, two massive titans, Bionis and Mechonis, were locked in a devastating battle of unfathomable proportions. One day, the titans froze, and life started to pop up on the backs of these enormous figures. To put things into perspective, Colony 9--where protagonist Shulk lives--and the sprawling plains and lake surrounding it are located near the Bionis' ankle.

Despite Xenoblade Chronicles's age, its sense of scale is still impressive. Throughout your journey you explore wide-open plains, dense forests, snow-capped mountains, and vast lakes. All the while, Mechonis looms over you as you explore every corner of Bionis.

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Categories: Games

If Found Review - Call Me By My Name

Gamespot News Feed - Wed, 05/27/2020 - 02:33

A little empathy goes a long way. Especially when it comes to those we seek unconditional love and support from, it can mean the difference between spiralling into a black hole of depression and having the comfort to simply exist free of judgment. It's one of the many themes If Found so vividly represents in sketchbook-style visual novel form. Through expressive minimalist illustrations, ethereal sound design, sharp writing, and thematic coherence, the chaos and serenity of young adulthood jumps out of its pages for a story that's heartbreaking, heartwarming, and wholly affecting.

With a diary and eraser, we recollect and move past the memories of main character Kasio during a pivotal time in her life. It's December 1993 in County Mayo of Ireland, and having come back to her small hometown of Achill from Dublin for the holidays, she's kind of lost. With two higher-education degrees to her name and a lukewarm desire to pursue a Ph.D, she gets the "why don't you get a decent job and start a decent life" spiel from her mom--a conversation that some of us are all too familiar with. But underlying in this early exchange is a hint that a source of pain comes from her own mom seeing right past who Kasio really is.

Tension between Kasio and her mom can paint painful scenes.

In real life, not everyone has a place to go, a network to build off and help spring you into adulthood, or even a loving home to fall back on--such is Kasio's life. As you literally erase each scene on screen with your cursor to move through the day-by-day events, all of her introspections and interactions are laid bare. Erasure is a simple gameplay mechanic, making you peel layers upon layers of vivid memories, and one with powerful implications.

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Categories: Games

Minecraft Dungeons Review - A Cuter Looter

Gamespot News Feed - Tue, 05/26/2020 - 23:11

Minecraft represented a massive paradigm shift in games, having served as a popular proto-example of both early access releases and unstructured, creation-based gameplay. More than a decade later, Minecraft Dungeons doesn't strive toward revolutionary, but it may just use the now-familiar trappings of its namesake to introduce a new generation of players to old-school tropes. The dungeon-crawler is a light, breezy introduction to the genre for newcomers and a friendly, low-impact callback for veterans.

Those experienced with games like Diablo or Torchlight already know the basic gist. You venture from a hub area into various environments, battle enemy hordes, occasionally fell some larger-than-life boss monster, and then spend time laying out and sorting through your new loot like a kid who just opened a pack of baseball cards. Rinse, repeat.

Within that framework there is some simplification in Minecraft Dungeons, which helps to make it more inviting. You only have six gear slots--melee, bow, armor, and three artifact-based abilities. You won't find specialized classes or complex skill trees here. Everything is tied to your gear, and the level-ups mostly matter in that they determine the quality of your loot drops.

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Categories: Games

Putting Together A Good Run

Game Informer News Feed - Tue, 05/26/2020 - 20:00

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Publisher: Easy Day Studios Developer: Easy Day Studios Release: July 7, 2020 Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC

A skateboarding game needs to be as simple as, “See rail; do trick on rail.” Boiling everything down to this essence, however, isn’t as easy as it sounds. Controls, objectives, and the other structures we rely on as gamers can get in the way, even if they’re necessary. Skater XL from Easy Day Studios is trying to bridge the gap, letting players pull off the tricks they dream up without being hampered by its own controls. We’ve been watching the game’s progress through development, and with its July release on the horizon and a recent update to its public beta, it looks like its freeform philosophy is intact and guiding the game well.

We looked at the new Easy Day Academy, which is both an introduction to the world (including tutorials) as well as a great level. It’s a sprawling campus containing the greatest hits of southern California school design – or at least as we imagine it as skaters. Concrete banks, benches, planters, rails, bike racks, and stairs are all in abundance, and the spawn-drop tool is handy if you want to explore a spot more out-of-reach, like the top of the school. 

Skater XL’s downtown L.A. environment contains its own runs and possibilities, from the plazas around the Staples Center to the possibilities of Koreatown. Overall, downtown’s skateable objects are more compact than the academy, representing a more real-world street skating geography. At the time of this writing, Easy Day hinted at as-yet-unannounced locations which represent different aspects of skating beyond just street, so perhaps we’ll see the inclusion of plywood or concrete pool parks.

Although these areas are not physically linked to each other, each one includes challenges and objectives that serve as nominal guides, showing off cool lines and some of what the environment has to offer. Nevertheless, all of the locations are unlocked from the beginning.

Easy Day has continued to layer on more tricks as well as new structures to do them on. Powerslides and reverts were added this year, and mini-ramps and vert will be included. The team has also added coping grinds – seamless grinds you transition to on a ramp without having to ollie.

The latter is an example of how the game’s tricks, animations, and level design come together to create skating that flows together. Although the controls (each foot is represented by an analog stick) seem daunting at first, the game is not as strict about its trick execution as Skate (where a trick demands a specific series of inputs), but controlling your legs and manipulating your board isn’t physics run amok. Speaking of which, your skater’s overall body seems to have more weight compared to earlier demos. This makes your body less bouncy when biffing on a rail, for instance.

The game has also made strides in its customization options. First and foremost, real-life skaters Tiago Lemos, Brandon Westgate, Tom Asta, and Evan Smith are playable (with more possible in the future), and they come with a few of their actual product sponsorships. While some of their real-life gear is locked to them, other gear can be used by any skater. At the time of this writing, Easy Day says it has a large roster of skate brands, including DC shoes, Element, Primitive, Blind, Independent, and many more, and overall you can select your skater’s gender, hair style, outfits, grip tape, wheels, skin tone, and more.

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The pre-release modding community has taken skater customization into its own hands with a number of fan-made creations, but whether the final release actually uses mods (which is complicated on home consoles) remains an open question. So far, modders have greatly expanded the game by creating their own skate spots, among many other additions, so getting some percentage of the current 15,000-plus mods in the final product would be a big win.

The crucial question of mods is underscored by the fact that currently the game’s online multiplayer is possible thanks to a mod. Easy Day has been in contact with its creators, and it may use the mod for multiplayer until Easy Day implements its own offering at a later date. For the game as a whole, the studio is weighing several post-release plans, and stresses that it wants to add free content first, before the possibility of paid packs.

Skaters make pulling off tricks look easy, but it’s not effortless, and making a skating game is a harder task still. Starting with an understandable and fluid control scheme, Easy Day has surrounded its core gameplay with level designs filled with trick possibilities and customization elements to further augment players’ creativity. If the latter is infinitely boosted by mod support, Skater XL could be a canvas for untold possibilities. 

If you want to see how the game's coming along for yourself, you can check out the public beta on steam, which includes the transition grinds, a test miniramp, customization options, and more.

Categories: Games

Maneater Review - See Food And Eat It

Gamespot News Feed - Fri, 05/22/2020 - 14:00

Toward the middle of my time with Maneater, my shark, now the size of a sedan and sporting glowing blue fins and whiskers to help it channel bioelectricity into the water around it, leaped out of a canal and onto the cobblestone dais filled with drunken revelers. As the folks enjoying the shoreline of Port Clovis screamed, my shark flopped after them, deterred by neither lack of limbs nor lack of oxygen as it chased down and chomped partier after partier unfortunate enough to think they could enjoy a gathering this close to Dead Horse Lake.

As I gained bloody vengeance against the residents of Port Clovis for their abuse of the marine ecosystem, actor Chris Parnell's voice-over narration filled in some interesting details about the horse monument my prehistoric killing machine was defiling. One year, he explained, a Port Clovis-born horse placed 20th at the Kentucky Derby, creating a new holiday since the local population, known for public drunkenness and petty crime sprees, was eager to celebrate.

Maneater provides a lot of these kinds of moments, mixing ridiculous ichthyological carnage and reality-show absurdity to create something hilarious. It's an uneven experience, due largely to technical glitches, frustrating marine predator combat, and repetitive missions. But the longer it goes on, the more fun Maneater becomes, and its presentation keeps it from getting stale.

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Categories: Games

Mortal Kombat Co-Creator Ed Boon Talks Aftermath's Story, RoboCop, Next Gen, And UFC's Fight Island

Game Informer News Feed - Fri, 05/22/2020 - 00:29

Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Developer: NetherRealm Studios Release: May 26, 2020 Rating: Mature Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, Stadia, PC

With the announcement of Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath, players of the latest iteration of the classic fighting franchise have a lot to be excited for. Not only does the paid expansion bring players an all-new story and three new characters to add to their rosters (including RoboCop as played by original actor Peter Weller), but every Mortal Kombat 11 player gets new Friendship finishing moves and some classic stages to add into their rotation free of charge. 

With the biggest expansion the series has ever done coming next week, I caught up with series co-creator and Mortal Kombat 11 director Ed Boon to talk about the thinking behind this expansion and what fans can expect in the future from both Mortal Kombat and gaming in general.

Why did you decide that an expansion was the right route for Mortal Kombat 11 instead of waiting to continue the story by way of a sequel like we've seen in the past?
Ed Boon: 
At the end of the day, when we finished Mortal Kombat 11, we kind of left it like a, "Hey, this story's over," kind of thing. Our past few games we've had, we've always released what some people refer to as like a "Game of the Year Edition" that repackaged everything throughout the year in one package. With Mortal Kombat XL, we tried something new where we added four more characters like Alien, Predator, and some MK characters. And that was huge for us! That was an unexpected like, "Oh wow! That was really, really big!" So from that standpoint, our first reaction was, "Oh! Let's one-up that. Let's do that, and then some!" 

Story was the area that... a lot of our fans love that part of Mortal Kombat: the story mode, the narrative, and all that stuff. So that was kind of like, "Oh, let's do that! Let's just hit really hard with a great addition – almost like an epilogue – final conclusion to the story. And so our main thing was we really wanted to drop this crazy bomb of content on the player. As we had that discussion about the story, we saw there's more that we can tell for this, so we came up with a little bit of a Back to the Future Part II synopsis; you go back in time and you see the events of it, and then you're changing the course of history. It ended up very cool.

And this isn't the first time we've gone back in time, especially in this current trilogy starting with Mortal Kombat 9. Why make the decision to more or less take things back to square one once again?
Well, when you think about it, we kind of reached the end of time with MK 11. It's like reaching the virtual end of the universe... which I guess doesn't exist. But we were feeling like, if you drew a visual timeline, you'd see the dot at the end like, "Okay, I guess we've hit that." Then with the story jumping back to the beginning of time, it kind of made sense to – again, the Back to the Future approach. We wanted to continue with the same story; we didn't want to tell a new story, because it is still MK 11. It's kind of like reaching the Pacific Ocean as Forrest Gump and then turning around and then running back, kind of retracing his steps in some respects. Timeline-wise that just seemed like the way to go, and also for the player who's into MK 11, there's going to be a lot of cool nostalgia like, "Oh I remember where we are now!" 

Will the callbacks be limited to MK 11's story, or will we see moments from other Mortal Kombat games as well?
It's mainly the MK 11 stuff. There's other stuff that has happened that's referenced and has influence on it, but it's not like we go back to Deadly Alliance and see that.

Can you give me a sense of the scope of the story? How does it compare to the base MK 11 story?
It's not as big. It's five very thick chapters. Traditionally we'll have four fights in a chapter per character. This one, some have six. They're much thicker chapters and longer. We're really trying to focus mainly on these new characters: Fujin and Sheeva. RoboCop is not in the story in case you're asking! [Laughs] But this kind of reveals their role in MK 11's overall story.

What about this story is something players should look forward to that maybe we didn't get with the original MK 11 story?
To me, Shang Tsung, Cary Tagawa coming back voicing him – having him presented in a story mode again – I think a lot of people, they visualize Cary Tagawa as Shang Tsung from the 1995 movie as the Shang Tsung they remember. When you see that visual and you hear his voice and the nuance that he puts into it, there's something very special about that. 

Additionally, Fujin and Sheeva are characters that haven't really had as much of the spotlight over the years. Fujin in particular, he just showed up in Mortal Kombat 4 and Armageddon, but he never had a big starring role, so we really dig deep into his history and his relationship with his brother Raiden, and all of that stuff, so that's very cool. And then the added back and forth between Sindel and where eventually is she going to end? Is she good? Is she bad? We're really trying to tease that a lot as well. 

But for me, the Cary Tagawa as Shang Tsung and the constant expectation throughout the whole thing and suspense of "When is he going to turn on these people?" is very fun. [Laughs]

And obviously having Cary Tagawa back as Shang Tsung is awesome, but we'd be remiss if we didn't mention Peter Weller reprising his role as RoboCop in that same breath. I know he's not in the new story mode, but what was it like working with him?
A lot of us grew up watching '80s action movies, so there's something so cool about... when he actually came to our studio, I was like, "Oh my God! RoboCop is in our studio! This is the coolest thing ever!" Getting the original actor voice just lends that much more authenticity of it. It's a subtlety. I always think of RoboCop as the bookend to Terminator. There's a comic book made of RoboCop versus Terminator. So this is a bucket-list thing. We have these lists of people and we've been talking about RoboCop since MK 9. We've kept him on the list for the longest time and finally checked it off.

There are definite themes to your DLC guest characters: Mortal Kombat 9 was horror movies, Mortal Kombat X was sci-fi action, and now it seems like the theme with MK 11 is '80s action. Are there any other guest characters you'd be interested in adding?
Like I said, we literally have a list that we move people up and down on. Obviously, it's not just a matter of who do we want and then boom we get them. There's a ton of hoops you've got to jump through to make these things happen. But if you saw a really huge '80s or '90s movie, it's probably on our list!

When you're working with these third-party licensors, how do you make sure you're not crossing any lines when they get their heads blown off, or you're collaborating to make sure their movesets are as authentic as possible?
Well, the discussion of, "We don't want to see their head blown off" never happens. [Laughs] Like, just the prerequisite is, "These are the things we're going to be doing to your character," and if they sign up on there, it's kind of like there's no limits. As far as what the character does in fighting, we send them concepts all the time. We send them write ups, we send them literally the preliminary animation of what we motion captured and how it's going to feel and all that stuff. They have feedback they give us and there's a lot of back and forth, especially with these high-profile... you know, Terminator was a big one. RoboCop is a big one. Spawn was great because Todd McFarlane was just like, "Go crazy!" so there was no, "Oh we'll back off there." He was just like, "Just go crazy! I wanted to see this for so long" and he was just in celebration mode.

And I'm sure that some of these people who work for these movie properties in 2020 grew up as fans of Mortal Kombat.
Yeah, and when you think of, let's say, RoboCop: RoboCop was a long time ago, and so it's not like we're talking to the person who created RoboCop; we're talking to a person who was also a kid, and so they have the same level of, "Oh, this is going to be so cool!" You know, that's the conversation. It's not them saying, "Well, you have to make sure RocoCop never does this." That's not the theme of the conversation. It's more like, "Yes! And then we can also do this!" You know? They'll make suggestions. Nostalgia and childhood memories drive the majority of the conversations, and enthusiasm and excitement. Restrictions are the much more rare topic of discussion that we have.

Outside of RoboCop, Aftermath also adds Fujin and Sheeva. While you rightly point out that they have both been unsung in their roles in the MK stories, I think it's safe to say Fujin has been far less prominent. I think even in MK 4, it wasn't actually confirmed that he is Raiden's brother, only implied. Why was it so important to add him in particular?
I think over the years, we have about 80 Mortal Kombat characters in some capacity. The reason we added Fujin was because he hasn't been seen in a game in so long. Quite frankly, I think a decent number of players will be like, "Who's Fujin?" If we just did Mileena, Kitana, Jade, Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Rain, you know, all these characters, I think it would get stale after a while. We do need to give characters a rest every once in a while. Then, when they do return, it's a big deal. It's a novelty, and so we're just kind of spreading it. Fujin was one of the things that our designers were like, "Hey, I think we could do something really cool with this character with wind and running on the wind and doing stuff with his sword." When the designers say they could make something really unique with gameplay, that weighs a lot in terms of a decision of who to bring back.

Click here to watch embedded media

Let's get into Friendships. We've seen a good chunk of the new Friendship moves being added to the game, but I'm curious what your favorites are.
The Noob Saibot one – it might have been the first one we did – just set the bar with just how stupid we're going to get with them in a good way. God, there's so many! Jax playing the saxophone is just genius... the Kung Lao with his toy trains is just so childish. It's just the opposite of a Fatality, which is so cool. Our Fatalities have gotten so over the top that it's like, "Let's go 180 degrees and go as far in that direction with these silly Friendships."

I've spoken with you and members of your team in the past about the process of designing Fatalities, but how does that process differ with Friendships? Is it similar where you draw them out and throw them up on a board to see what sticks? Do you still have the set number of beats you want to hit with each one? Or are the rules completely different?
The rules are very different. They don't have the same criteria of beats just like you said; we do talk about that with Fatal Blows and Fatalities. We go, "What are the beats? What are the big moments?" But this is just, "How silly can we get?" And they're usually themed around the character, like Fujin has wind abilities, so you think of a kite and you think of him flying a kite.

Noob Saibot is with friends, so all of a sudden that's the jump rope. The motion-capture talent that we have adds so much nuance to that. Some of the nuance you see when Noob Saibot was bouncing on his hands and doing stuff, it's not like we said to do this and then do that; he just went off and it turned out to be just gold. 

There's not as many meetings with Friendships as much as somebody would write up a paragraph, and we'd send it around and then the ones that kind of get us to say, "Oh, we've got to do that one!" Like the Kano barbecue and stuff like that, it's almost a given we would do that.

Were there any that were left on the cutting-room floor?
Yeah, there were a ton of them. Some of them were so big in production that we had to dial them down. And then some of them were not as funny or entertaining or too short or something. The Sub-Zero one went through a couple of iterations. I love where it ended up with the bicycle ice cream truck.

And in addition to the Friendships, which are free for all MK 11 players, everyone gets access to some returning classic stages and Stage Fatalities. How did you modernize these returning stages?
Right. The Stage Fatalities, the Friendships, and the new stages are all just a part of a free update. I remember in MK X, we brought back The Pit and it's cool to do a more modern representation of these classic environments that we've had over the years. It's always fun to reenvision them, and the environment team, the concept guys, they have field days because they have memories in their heads of what it was like to play, so it's like, "Let's add this nuance. Let's add that." So it's fun to see them going crazy with that.

And the Stage Fatalities are also modernized.
Yeah, that was almost like a prerequisite. Of course we're not going to just duplicate the exact events of the last one. We have to turn the knob up a bit.

It seems like with every Mortal Kombat or Injustice game, your team iterates on the gameplay and feature sets. With MK 11, it felt like you found a sweet spot for gameplay in particular. Do you view this as a perfect opportunity to treat Mortal Kombat 11 as a platform instead of just a game that exists and spawns a sequel? Does that play any role in your thinking of releasing an expansion of this magnitude?
I do think we have something that's solid. I've said this before, though: I do feel like there's room for further loosening of the reins. Ideally, I still would like to, and we are certainly still exploring, the notion of allowing the custom variations that players make to be used in competitive play. It's a huge balancing undertaking, but we are absolutely examining it. If I get my way, it'll be something that we're going to release in a future patch or something that will just give the player that much more freedom. We really just want to say, "Here's some more toys to play with. Come up with your favorite one!"

So I can't help but notice that earlier you mentioned a contentious word within the MK community: Mileena. Is there a Kombat Pack 2 coming after Aftermath? 
[Laughs] I can not confirm or deny anything that's after Aftermath.

On the topic of Mileena: Was that just a total troll job to put her as a guest in a Friendship?
No, the idea was just to be this kind of schoolgirl thing. And who else are we going to do that with Kitana? [Laughs]

Well are there any plans to continue to keep this game alive following Aftermath? 
Yeah, at that highest level, obviously we want to support the game for as long as players are with us, so to speak. I certainly would love to continue exploring that. Although, in what capacity is a much bigger conversation, like whether it's additional characters or new features, new modes, whatever. 

A still from last week's Unreal Engine 5 tech demo from Epic Games

Did you have a chance to watch Epic's Unreal Engine 5 tech demo last week?
Yes! I was riveted. It's so, so impressive. You almost question it. You almost go, "No, it can't be that." Like, and if that's the case, then they've done a great job, like, it's raised the bar so high. And you know, the timing of it – Unreal 5, PlayStation 5, this new generation – it's like the timing has been amazing as far as just from a marketing launch window. So that's great.

If what we're seeing and hearing about these capabilities is true, do you have any indication about what it would mean for players going forward?
One of the things I think people are underestimating is the impact that this theoretical no load time will have on games. A lot of games design things that some players might perceive as the boring part of the game, but it serves a function: loading. Now, the load time isn't zero, but if it goes from 10 seconds to half a second or one second, that's significant. I think that will allow people to do things that we, as in our understanding of moving data in and out of the game, when we remove that limitation that we've been kind of mentally thinking about for 15 or 20 years now, it's going to open the doors. I don't think we've seen a peek of the potential of what that's going to be.

Official "Fight Island" merchandise currently available on

Let's end on this: I don't know if you've been watching the news surrounding the sports world, but the UFC has this private island they're planning on using to put on international fights during the pandemic. Obviously, one of the first parallels many people, including myself, drew was to Mortal Kombat. Have you heard of "Fight Island"?
I have, and I see how they came up with that parallel. [Laughs] I'm guessing that the words "Mortal Kombat" were uttered in their discussions about when they created that, as just "just like" or something like that. But it's exciting to think about it. I think of it as one of those examples of Mortal Kombat being in pop culture and affecting other mediums. So I think of it as a compliment to us.

So one of those situations of life imitating art?
Exactly. Well, and you know, when you think about it, Enter the Dragon, Bloodsport, they had a huge influence on Mortal Kombat, so it's all part of the ebb and flow of things.

Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath launches on May 26. For more on what exactly the expansion adds, head to our in-depth coverage of the announcement. To see some of the oddball Friendships in action, head to our exclusive look here. For more on the history of the series' iconic Fatalities, head here.

Categories: Games

Can You Play Grounded If Spiders Make You Want to Die?

Game Informer News Feed - Thu, 05/21/2020 - 20:00

Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios Developer: Obsidian Entertainment Platform: Xbox One, PC

Spiders are one of those things that can conjure up strong reactions. For some people, just the sight of one of the eight-legged creatures is enough to cause a panicked exodus from the room. Others may be relatively fine with seeing a spider in real life, but freak out when they have to face a giant one in a game. Obsidian’s upcoming survival game, Grounded, has the potential of being the worst possible scenario for arachnophobes: not only are there spiders in the game’s backyard setting, but you’ve been shrunken down to a scale where they can fill your entire field of view. Rather than shrug and move on, the team decided to do something for players who just can’t deal with spiders. 

Grounded technical director Jerrick Flores says the team had an inkling of an idea that spiders could be a problem while they were working on the game, but they didn’t initially appreciate by how much. “Those concerns that we had really came to a head when we released the initial trailer for the game, and there was a spider reveal toward the end,” he says. “We watched a lot of trailer-reaction videos, because as someone working on the game you’re really interested in how people respond to your game. It was kind of interesting but also concerning that when that spider reveal happened, there were a number of people who in the reaction videos they had all this interest in the game but when that came up, all that interest just completely evaporated. They’d say things like, ‘I can’t play this game.’ It’s not like ‘I won’t,’ but ‘I can’t.’” 

Programmer Brian MacIntosh empathized with those sentiments. “I wouldn’t say that anyone on the team is phobic, but some of us maybe avoid that dungeon in Skyrim with the giant spider – we just didn’t go there,” he says. “That started us talking about how it’s actually a phobia that people have, and I’ve seen people complain about it on our forums occasionally, like, ‘could you guys replace the spiders, because I can’t play this game because I’m really afraid of them?’ I started thinking, ‘This is a thing we can do.’"

What did they do? Obsidian created a special arachnophobia mode for Grounded, which can be accessed in the game’s options menu. When toggled, spiders are rendered differently, as a way of making the creatures less, well, spidery for people who have an aversion toward the creatures. It’s still very much a work in progress, but its current implementation has the models replaced with large orange orbs. It’s a strange abstraction, especially when put up visually against the other bugs that are prominently featured in the game, but Obsidian is hoping that it will allow arachnophobes to play with everyone else. It’s activated client-side, meaning that in multiplayer sessions only those who want to see spiders that way will; everyone else gets the critters in all their glory.

MacIntosh says that developing the abstraction has been an iterative process, thanks in part to the studio’s collaboration with Microsoft User Research Lab. “We want to try to see how little we can change the spider, like how little we can take away to fix that problem, but have it still be a big, scary creature. We’re putting together different samples of different alternative looks, and they’re going to test it to see which ones elicit the phobia response.” He says part of the problem is that different people are triggered by different things. Their research contact, Blake Pellman, told him that it wasn’t the legs or the eyes that activated the phobic response – “As long as there’s enough evidence for them to say, ‘That’s a spider,’ that seems to be what triggers it,” MacIntosh says.

Spiders are a big part of Grounded – there’s a reason they were the big reveal in the trailer, after all. They’re one of the yard’s apex predators, and game director Adam Brennecke says there’s a lot of gameplay that’s connected to the creatures, such as combat and the gear that players can craft from their various parts. There’s also the issue of sound. “The clickety-clack sounds, even though spiders don’t really make that sound, it’s something that we just think of a spider; it’s clicking and clacking around the yard. That’s another thing we’re looking at.”

Incorporating these optional changes has been a fair bit of work, but the team sees it as effort well spent. “In a game like Skyrim, you can avoid spiders – you just go somewhere else,” Brennecke says. “In our game, you can’t avoid them. It’s so hard to avoid a spider in the game. I think that’s where, as a developer, I draw the line. Why don’t we try to do it to make sure that as many people can play the game as possible? That’s ultimately what we want as developers, people playing the game.”

Grounded is coming to Xbox One and PC via Game Preview and early access on July 28, whether or not you use arachnophobia mode.

Categories: Games

Means Of Survival

Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 05/20/2020 - 20:02

Click here to watch embedded media

Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment Developer: Naughty Dog Release: June 19, 2020 Platform: PlayStation 4

The latest in-depth video for The Last of Us Part II, courtesy of developer Naughty Dog, goes through some of the title's survival gameplay and the philosophies behind it. Ellie is going to have her hands full, but she's also not going down without a fight.

The video covers a lot of ground, from some of the physical actions Ellie can perform, as well as combat, the layout of the environment, crafting, and upgrading Ellie's abilities.

For more in this series, check out this previous video where the studio discusses its approach to the game's story.

The Last of Us Part II Platform: PlayStation 4 Release Date: June 19, 2020 Purchase
Categories: Games

What The Golf Switch Review - Under Par (In A Good Way)

Gamespot News Feed - Wed, 05/20/2020 - 01:28

What the Golf, 2019's hilarious anti-golf golf game, is at its best on Switch. Everything that was good in the Apple Arcade and PC versions, which we reviewed last year, remains good here, but the additions and improvements that the Switch version brings make it the definitive What the Golf experience.

The game arrives on Nintendo's hybrid console with a new two-player "Party Mode" that wasn't included in the PC or Apple Arcade releases. This mode, which sees you and another player each picking up a Joy-Con and facing off in a series of competitive levels, is an absolute hoot. Both players are made to compete across 11 random levels, each based on levels from the campaign, to see who can get to the hole first. There's a great diversity across Party Mode's levels, with some levels feeling more like puzzles, some purely based on skill, and others that could only work in multiplayer, like when you're both controlling separate items that are tethered to each other or trying to goad the other into tipping over a tower of boxes that the pin is sitting atop. There are lots of levels here, and I still saw new ones pop up after playing for several hours.

In keeping with What the Golf's style, very few of Party Mode's levels really feel like golf, which is part of the fun. After you've played through 11 stages, you and your opponent compete in one final competitive arena-based game, and the number of lives each of you has depends on how well you did in previous rounds. There are only three types of final competition, but they're all fun, particularly the combat-based game where you fling around in an office chair, trying to pick up and fire explosive beach balls at your opponent. Your victory depends on how you perform in this final game, and how many lives you have--if you won seven of the previous rounds, you can take up to six hits in the final competition, whereas your opponent can only survive three. A full round of games in Party Mode rarely takes more than 10 minutes, and you only ever need the analog stick and the A button. These are less mini-games, more micro-games, often lasting just a few wild, hilarious seconds.

Continue Reading at GameSpot
Categories: Games

The Life Of The Samurai

Game Informer News Feed - Tue, 05/19/2020 - 22:13

Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment Developer: Sucker Punch Productions Release: July 17, 2020 Platform: PlayStation 4

Sucker Punch's recent 18-minute presentation on Ghost of Tsushima revealed a lot, particularly aspects of the game's combat and environment. The footage also gave rise to questions about Jin's defense of the island of Tsushima against Mongol invaders.

We talked to director Nate Fox, diving into more facets of the game, from Jin's progression as a warrior to some of its secrets.

The Ghost Warrior

Honor is a big part of the samurai trope, but principle alone isn't going to defend the island. During the presentation, Fox referred to Jin's stealth combat moves as "dishonorable," consisting of "dirty tricks." However, deception and stealth assassinations are not forbidden, but additional tools the player can use as they see fit, depending on how they want to approach a situation.

"Our hero is a samurai brought up in the code of the samurai, trained to fight enemies by looking at them straight on," Fox says. "And then the Mongols invade, and all of his fellow samurai, most of them, all get wiped out. Now he's finding himself radically outnumbered by the enemy, and the people that he loves are all threatened. So we have to let go of some of the things that he was trained to do throughout his entire life, in order to figure out new ways to fight back."

As the game progresses and Jin's legendary status increases through the completion of mission objectives, layering on more stealthy attacks (from dagger throws to smoke bombs and well beyond) to his already honed sword skills, which also continue to grow. How you build out Jin's skill tree and utilize his combat skills is entirely up to you, and the tree also unlocks non-combat aspects such as being able to use a grappling hook to aid traversal. Furthermore, some combat skills can be learned and adapted from enemies themselves, and charms and different armor pieces also contribute to his prowess by providing stat bumps.

One of the combat techniques Jin can use is the standoff command. This is pure samurai style, skill, and bravado. You stride up to your enemies, intimidating them before you even draw your sword. Standoffs are about precise, minimal movements, and the gameplay and controls around standoffs are different than normal swordplay. As effective, fun, and dramatic as these can be – enabling you to take out multiple enemies in a single flurry – Sucker Punch doesn't want them to be overpowered. Once regular melee starts, standoffs can't be initiated.

In general, the enemy A.I. attempts to coordinate its attacks, utilizing not only their numeric advantage, but their technological one as well – including gunpowder. "If you think that you can roll up and sword fight an entire camp," Fox says, "you will die."

An Island Alive

Jin's quest to rid the island of invaders naturally takes him far and wide (Fox notes that if you can see a location you can go to it), and exploration is just as big a part of the game as putting Mongols to the sword.

Apart from some areas gated off for story reasons, Tsushima is open for investigation. This can reveal side quests and resources, and like other accomplished open-world titles, Jin can engage in random encounters to further flesh out the experience. The game runs on a dynamic day, night, and weather system, and animals and encounters follow their own routines so they aren't locked into a time and place, giving a natural flow to events.

"Along the way," Fox says, "particularly as you go out there and explore Tsushima, you're going to meet all of these different people who are struggling to survive in this wartime environment. And all of those stories bring the invasion to life..."

Surprises of Tsushima

Discovery is a key part of Ghost of Tsushima, and accordingly, there were things that Fox wouldn't tell us, preferring to leave them as surprises. In the distance, during the presentation, we noticed a harbor with some boats docked and floating in a bay and one mission tasks Jin with destroying a Mongol vessel. Fox wouldn't reveal, however, if we ever get to take control of a ship during our adventure, so hopefully that's an indirect way of saying yes.

As far as combat goes, more secrets remain, such as a particularly tantalizing stealth combat action prompt called "slaughter." This option (as well as the ability to perform chain assassinations) appeared when Jin sneaks up on some unaware enemies in a camp. Kills add to a meter at the bottom-left of the screen, seemingly culminating in an action performed by hitting L1 and R1 simultaneously. Whatever this unleashes, Fox would only say, "There are moves that the hero can do that are really pretty neat that you find by exploring the world of Tsushima."

Finally, in one of the presentation's many bucolic moments, Jin peacefully plays a flute. Does this lead to something else, or is it simply for player enjoyment? Fox told us that it has a "specific role" in the game.

The Way of The Samurai

The story of Ghost of Tsushima is based on real events, but not bound by them – the defense of the island in 1274 was a failure. Still, the game is centered on the island and Jin's actions as a samurai, rather than supernatural stakes. You won't fight monsters or dragons, for instance.

Instead, the game leans into our perception of samurai through movies and pop culture, using the films of Akira Kurosawa such as Seven Samurai and Yojimbo and comics, as inspiration.

"Everything was selected because it was another prop into the fundamental identity of being a samurai, right down to the foliage moving with the wind so heavily," Fox says. "We did that early on because, in these classic samurai movies, you often see the wind thrashing leaves and trees, but there's one stoic samurai not moving with his sword up. And it's that juxtaposition of a still individual with a dynamic environment that really makes them feel powerful."

The visual tenets of samurai battles and their fighting skills come together throughout the game, and none more striking than in so-called boss battles when two legendary swordsmen come together. The action is dramatically prefaced through cinematic, letterbox framing, and the combat requires knowledge of your adversary's tactics so you can effectively chain together the right attacks.

The game might also inform our vision of samurai through the characters Jin meets along his journey. Although Fox didn't elaborate on this point, the Jin we've seen so far easily conjures the vision of legendary actor Toshiro Mifune as a master-less samurai in a classic Akira Kurosawa film. Kurosawa's Seven Samurai, among other things, brings up the theme of class differences between samurai and peasants, and Yojimbo presents Mifune as the wily, enigmatic samurai as he expertly plays two rival gangs off against each other to help a town.

It'll be interesting to see how Jin interacts with those around him and if any side missions, for instance, tell us more about Jin as a person apart from his combat prowess.

Perhaps Jin as a character and a warrior could be contrasted by gamers controlling another person altogether, but when asked about this possibility, Fox only said, "I can't tell you that, because I might ruin the experience for you."

Click image thumbnails to view larger version



For more on Ghost of Tsushima (out on PS4 on July 17), look at our recent video podcast regarding the game, as well as more info we've learned so far.

Categories: Games

Sims-Inspired Paralives Shows Off First Character, Customization Options

Game Informer News Feed - Tue, 05/19/2020 - 18:23

Developer: Alex Massé Rating: Teen Platform: PC, Mac

Paralives, the in-development life-simulation game that draws heavy inspiration from The Sims, has revealed its first character. In addition to giving prospective players a glimpse at "Maggie," developer Alex Massé and his team also give a quick rundown of some of the character customization options available.

Click here to watch embedded media

As shown in the video above, players can customize height, parts of the body individually, outfits, and change hair color down to specific parts using a versatile color wheel. This video also gives a quick look at the latest visuals in the home environments.

You can see a gallery of character and customization images below.

Click image thumbnails to view larger version



Paralives is currently in development using funds raised from the indie team's Patreon account. While no release date exists yet, you can learn more about the team's ambitions through an interview we did with Massé here.

Categories: Games

Everything You Need To Know About The Mafia Trilogy Definitive Editions

Game Informer News Feed - Tue, 05/19/2020 - 17:00

It's official: All three Mafia games are receiving definitive editions. Publisher 2K Games confirmed the details today after revealing the project last week. However, the Mafia Trilogy isn't quite as straightforward as other rereleases. All three of the games are getting different degrees of attention for their updates, so we're breaking down all of the major points. If you want to know what to expect (and when), then this list is for you.

Click here to watch embedded media

    What They Are
    • You can see screens and trailers for all three definitive editions here.
    • Mafia: Definitive Edition is remake of the 2002 original. It is being rebuilt from the ground up, and will have new dialogue, cutscenes, and features.
    • Mafia II: Definitive Edition is a remastered version of the 2010 original. In addition to new HD visuals, it also has all of the post-release add-ons.
    • Mafia III: Definitive Edition includes all of the DLC and bonus content for the 2016 original, but has not otherwise been significantly changed.
    • Each game unlocks unique items in the other two. You can also get additional exclusive items by pre-ordering Mafia: Definitive Edition or buying the Mafia Trilogy early. 
    When They Release
    • Mafia II and Mafia III definitive editions are available now digitally. You can get them on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
    • If you buy the bundled Mafia Trilogy digitally, you can access Mafia II and III now, and will gain access to Mafia: Definitive Edition when it releases.
    • Mafia: Definitive Edition releases on August 28, 2020. At that time, a physical version including all three games will also be available.
    What They Cost
    • Buying all three games together as the Mafia Trilogy costs $60. Otherwise, Mafia: Definitive Edition is $40, and Mafia II and III are $30 each.
    • If you own Mafia II on Steam, you will be automatically granted Mafia II: Definitive Edition at no cost.
    • If you own Mafia III on PS4, Xbox, or Steam, it will automatically upgrade to Mafia III: Definitive Edition at no cost.
    • If you already own a combination of Mafia titles, you can get a special upgrade offer to complete your trilogy at a discount.
    Categories: Games