Amnesia: The Bunker Review - Shellshocked

Gamespot News Feed - Mon, 06/05/2023 - 14:00

2010's Amnesia: The Dark Descent altered the horror genre forever as the breakout game made in a particular hide-and-seek style. It's one which relies on a lack of combat, putting players in horrifying situations they can't win, and demanding they run and hide instead. Through countless imitators and even a few sequels, Frictional Games has had its formula repeated, but Amnesia: The Bunker is not the latest in that lineage. It plays quite differently, though it still feels like a classic Amnesia game in vital ways, and it's this combination of old and new that helps make it the studio's scariest game since The Dark Descent.

Amnesia: The Bunker is, in some ways, the Amnesia you may know already. You'll play in first-person as a character who is suffering from memory loss and must piece together their own history, as well as that of the unnerving locale in which they inevitably find themselves. In The Bunker, that character is Henri Clement, a French soldier during World War I who loses consciousness while rescuing a fellow soldier from harm's way, then awakens in the titular bunker seemingly all alone--though he will soon wish that were truly the case.

Out of the frying pan...

Through scattered notes, the story of the labyrinthine bunker will come into focus. It's an entertaining, albeit detail-light, saga that seems to tie directly to other games in deep-cut ways that some players will appreciate. But it's just as easy to play it and not have any context for the story at all, or take it as a standalone horror story about a man trapped in a maze with a monster. It works well enough in each case, but it does feel like there's less narrative to unpack than past games in the series.

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Categories: Games

Diablo 4 Review - Mother Knows Best

Gamespot News Feed - Tue, 05/30/2023 - 17:00

With Diablo 4's release now here, it's sometimes difficult to reconcile that Diablo III is over a decade old. Its release was polarizing for a number of reasons, but its evolving formula of action role-playing endured, enjoying a resurgence with its post-launch expansion that carried through years of ongoing seasonal updates. It shouldn't come as a surprise, then, that each of those years helped inform the design of Diablo IV, a game which confidently delivers gameplay that has been carried forward and refined from both Diablo II and III, while also establishing a strong foundation for the franchise's future.

Diablo games have always contained stories for their single-player campaigns, but you'd be forgiven for thinking of past storylines as merely contextualization for the game's primary focus: dungeon-crawling. That's where Diablo IV makes one of its most striking changes: It not only takes its story far more seriously, but it tells one that's far more engrossing than ever before. As a traveling wanderer, you come across a small town of villagers on a snow-capped mountain range looking for some aid. After killing some creatures and returning, you're welcomed as a hero and given food and shelter, only for the villagers to try to use you in a ritual sacrifice to Lilith, co-creator of Sanctuary and recently resurrected antagonist of this tale, moments later. This encounter links you to Lilith, driving you forward on a quest to stop her plan of amassing an army for her own nefarious purposes.

Much of that sounds like standard Diablo fare. There's a big, bad demon, and you're the only one who can stop it. But Diablo IV makes intelligent use of Lilith, layering her motivations slowly to the point where you can't help but consider her side of the argument. She's not driven solely by the lust for destruction. Instead, she's grieving, with the place she once created to escape the endless cycle of war between heaven and hell now being used as a staging ground to continue it. She's an antagonist that has been slighted by those she trusted at every turn, and while her means of exacting justice provide the reason for your entire crusade in the first place, it's surprising and equally welcome when Diablo IV forces you to slow down and consider the true goal of your struggle.

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Categories: Games

Street Fighter 6 Review - Battle Hardened

Gamespot News Feed - Tue, 05/30/2023 - 08:01

In one play session, I'm honing my skills with my main man Zangief. In another, I'm walking a fully customized avatar through a bustling city, its streets lined with AI-controlled strangers I can challenge to battle at my leisure. In a third, that same avatar is dropped into a massive room filled with arcade cabinets and other players looking for a fight. Street Fighter 6 learns an immediate lesson from the content-bare release of its predecessor, as it offers a variety of significant features and modes right out of the gate. It is a robust, fighting game that is of a premiere quality. Street Fighter 6 is incredible; a return to form for the franchise that welcomes both new fighters and seasoned pros.

SF6 splits its content into three hubs: Fighting Ground, which most closely emulates the classic SF experience; Battle Hub, where players can congregate to challenge each other and compete in tournaments; and World Tour, which is a sprawling, globe-trotting story mode with an open world and RPG hooks. Each format centers around the classic Street Fighter style of 2D fighting gameplay, and that excellent core experience is what drives everything.

Mechanically, Street Fighter 6 doesn't fall far from previous games in the series: You have multiple normal attacks, special attacks, Super Arts, and movement techniques specially designed for each of the roster's 18 characters. Some have an in-your-face style with heavy strikes and damaging throws, while others are better suited to keeping their distance and picking moments to strike. What distinguishes SF6 from previous iterations are the core universal mechanics shared by all characters. While the effects and execution are the same for each fighter, these mechanics have their own distinct flair and flourish of personality depending on the character you choose. These universal mechanics are also where much of Street Fighter 6's gameplay depth is.

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Categories: Games

Alone in the Dark Preview – A Forefather Of Survival Horror Returns

Game Informer News Feed - Fri, 05/26/2023 - 01:00

Platform: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PC
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Developer: Pieces Interactive
Release: October 25, 2023

Before Resident Evil and Silent Hill, 1992’s Alone in the Dark helped lay the foundation for 3D survival horror before the genre even had a name. Players explored a haunted building laden with elaborate puzzles and scary monsters, with gameplay emphasizing thoughtful management of scarce resources. It even featured two playable characters with separate scenarios, an idea later adopted by Resident Evil 2. Numerous sequels of varying quality followed, but it’s been many years since the series was culturally relevant. 

Last year, developer Pieces Interactive announced its plans to revisit the celebrated first game and reimagine it for a modern audience. Alone in the Dark rides the recent wave of survival horror remakes, and a dedicated showcase gave us our first look at how the classic is being rebuilt from the ground up.  

This new vision of Alone in the Dark largely sticks to the blueprint of the 1992 game. After receiving a disturbing letter from her uncle, Jeremy Hartwood, Emily Hartwood enlists the aid of hardboiled detective Edward Carnby to figure out what happened to him. They visit the haunted Decerto countryside hospital, where Jeremy checked himself in after claiming to be plagued by an evil entity called the Dark Man. Emily is also grappling with a mysterious family affliction known as The Hartwood Curse, and their visit soon spirals into a fight for their sanity and lives. Pieces is going all-in on this remake by enlisting actors Jodie Comer (Killing Eve, Free Guy) and David Harbour (Violent Night, Stranger Things) to lend their voices and likenesses to Emily and Edward, respectively.

Like the original, Alone in the Dark has two separate campaigns for Emily and Edward, and though the story has the same setup, events unfold in a different manner. People behave differently around each character, and they’ll also visit exclusive areas, encouraging players to experience the game twice to see everything. Pieces also teases that progress from the first playthrough, such as the items you find, will have a subtle impact on the second. Fans should expect new twists on the original tale while also keeping an eye out for copious references and easter eggs littered about. 

As you explore Decerto and beyond, you’ll be assaulted by all manner of supernatural monsters, from strange insect-like critters to grotesque humanoid creatures made from vines. You can blast them apart with firearms, but ammo is limited, so you’ll have to pick your battles and use your resources, and your environment, wisely. That means relying on melee weapons, hurling stray objects, and triggering hazards such as shooting pools of gas to ignite enemies into flames. Alone in the Dark also places heavy emphasis on puzzle-solving. Decerto is laden with strange contraptions and riddles, and you’ll need to wear your detective hat to find clues pointing to the right direction. 

Alone in the Dark is coming to PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC in time for Halloween on October 25. You can get a taste of what’s to come by playing a free downloadable prequel chapter called Grace In The Dark. Launching today, this brief demo is inspired by Alone in the Dark 2’s Jack in the Dark prologue game and stars the young Grace Saunders exploring Decerto weeks before the main game begins. 

With Resident Evil helping usher in a survival horror renaissance with quality new titles and Silent Hill making a comeback, now’s as good a time as any for Alone in the Dark to awaken from hibernation. We just hope Pieces can recapture its magic and remind players why the series was once so highly regarded among horror fans.

Categories: Games

Days Of Doom Is A Turn-Based Tactical Roguelite From Atari

Game Informer News Feed - Thu, 05/25/2023 - 13:00

Atari and developer Sneakybox have announced Days of Doom, an apocalyptic turn-based tactical roguelite. The game hopes to subvert the expectations of those who are tired of the brown and gray color palettes of other apocalypse settings by placing the action over vibrant and colorful backdrops as you battle through hordes of zombies, raiders, and mutant lizards. 

Navigating the wasteland to reach a sanctuary will require strategy, as you must combat the encroaching mutated forces using your group of distinct survivors. Beyond the turn-based tactics at play, you must also manage your scarce collection of resources and keep your wits about you as you maneuver through the hordes of the undead.


Each of the eight survivor classes features unique abilities that can be used to shift your fortunes in battle. For example, the Pyro class allows you to burn enemies and leave them with residual damage each turn while combining the Hydromancer with the Thrasher can drench enemies with water before electrocuting them for a devastating synergy. Players will need to use these abilities to their advantage and think strategically with these abilities to overcome the seemingly insurmountable odds.

And, of course, with it being a roguelite game, players can expect each run to feel unique. More than 50 randomly occurring events present risk-reward scenarios for players during their runs, while more than 70 collectible items and runes can help you turn the odds in your favor in your given run. However, as you play several runs and make progress, you unlock permanent upgrades, such as party size increases and resource accumulation speed.

If you'd like to learn more, you can check out the reveal trailer below.

Days of Doom arrives on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC, and Atari VCS later this year.

Categories: Games

The Lord Of The Rings: Gollum Review - We Don't Wants It, We Don't Needs It

Gamespot News Feed - Thu, 05/25/2023 - 09:00

When it comes to art, I'm something of a masochist. I listen to music that the average listener might describe as "unlistenable." I relish in the skin-crawling cringiness of the major motion picture musical Cats. I gravitate toward games that make me beat my head against the wall, for better or for worse. However, every pain junkie has their limit, and The Lord of the Rings: Gollum pushed me to mine--and then some.

The long-delayed stealth adventure from Daedalic Entertainment, centered around one of Middle-earth's most iconic (if not exactly likable) characters, does not simply miss the mark here or there: It's an unbridled disaster of truly epic--like, Tolkien-level epic--proportions. Beyond its overly simple level design, jarringly dated graphics, and deeply uninteresting gameplay, The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is broken to the point where it's nearly unplayable, making it one of the worst uses of a licensed property in recent memory.

The game begins in Cirith Ungol, the Orc-infested outskirts of Mordor, some 60 years after Bilbo Baggins stole the One Ring from our slimy, frail protagonist, Sméagol--or Gollum, as he's come to be known. Taking place not long before the events laid out in The Fellowship of the Ring, the crux of the story is instantly recognizable to anyone even peripherally familiar with the series: Gollum must find Bilbo and take back his "precious" at any cost, while avoiding the wrath of Sauron along the way.

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Categories: Games

Humanity Review - What Is A Man?

Gamespot News Feed - Thu, 05/25/2023 - 00:30

Some days you wake up, put on your clothes, and head to work or school. Some days you sleep in and enjoy a hard-earned day off. And some days your consciousness emerges from slumber in the form of a tiny ethereal Shiba Inu, and mysterious glowing orbs instruct you to guide a seemingly unending stream of human souls through winding geometric constructs to a radiant square of light. You know, normal things.

This is the premise of Humanity, a new spatial puzzle game from developer Tha and publisher Enhance Games. Players familiar with the Enhance Games library of titles like Rez and Tetris Effect likely have some idea of what to expect: an artsy experience with chill vibes, minimalistic yet striking visuals, intuitive gameplay, experimental music, and an undercurrent of positivity and warmth. Humanity ticks all of those boxes off easily, while also establishing itself as a unique and charming puzzle game that both calls back to old favorites and adds interesting new innovations.

As the nameless meme-dog, you are tasked with guiding the stream of humans that emerges from a mysterious portal "into the light"--a specially marked square on the field. To accomplish this, you place directional commands on spaces where the flow of humans are walking. If they need to turn left to avoid careening into a pit, you bark and leave a marker to tell them to turn left. Simple! It's a little bit of Lemmings, but perhaps more akin to Dreamcast sleeper classic Chu Chu Rocket.

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Categories: Games

Watch Marvel's Spider-Man 2's First Explosive Gameplay Sequence

Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 05/24/2023 - 22:33

To close out today’s PlayStation Showcase, Sony and Insomniac pulled out the big webs for a new look at Spider-Man 2. The long-awaited sequel is now targeting a release this fall, and an extended gameplay sequence showed us what we can expect.

An opening cinematic reveals some insight into the villainous Kraven the Hunter. Tired of easy prey in the deep jungle, one of his minions suggests a move to a new hunting ground in New York, where the likes of Spider-Man, Black Cat, and Tombstone promise more challenging targets.

The action jumps to six months later in Queens, as a black-suited Peter Parker bursts from a basement to battle some of the Hunter’s goons. The gameplay sequence that follows is impressive, showing off Spider-Man’s new symbiote abilities, which allow for an array of tentacle attacks that can often bring down many opponents at once.

After the battle, Peter learns Kraven’s team is hunting Doctor Connors, otherwise known as the Lizard. And since the hunt is happening in Harlem, he won’t be able to get there in time. He immediately calls Miles, and the perspective changes, suggesting the game (while single-player) allows for change-ups between the two Spider-Man leads.

Miles has some new tricks of his own, including some slick wingsuit capabilities that send him zipping at high speed between buildings, and web lines that let him chart his own path to taking down foes from above during stealth passages.

After a sequence trying to track down the Lizard, we learn that Connors has shed his skin and is clearly growing into a larger reptilian form, with an equally larger appetite. After linking up with his friend, Ganke, and the ominous arrival of Peter in his black symbiote suit, a thrilling chase sequence ensues down the East River, where Peter and Miles are taking down drones, jet skis, and boats as Kraven’s team chases the Lizard.

While it’s not clear why Peter and Miles are so interested in saving the Lizard (traditionally a villain in the stories), there seems to be some information they need from him, making his survival a must.

The rest of the gameplay sequence is equally exciting, from a crash into the water to a headlong escape along the water as The Lizard tries to attack from below. From animation to pacing to camera work – the entire sequence looks like it wouldn’t feel out of place in the next Marvel Cinematic Universe film. Except, of course, Spider-Man 2 is a fully interactive experience where players control the two Spider-Men along the way.

As the extended demo winds down, we see Peter acting in a very un-Peter way, doubling down on aggressive and dangerous tendencies he’s been showing throughout the sequence, leaving Miles worried about his friend and mentor.

Amid several notable reveals and new videos over the course of the PlayStation Showcase this afternoon, Spider-Man 2 stood out for its remarkable polish, taut action, and a focus on complete and uncut gameplay sequences. The game looks fantastic and is one to watch closely in the lead-up to its launch later this year.

Categories: Games

Assassin’s Creed Mirage Coming In October

Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 05/24/2023 - 21:46

Ubisoft showed off a new look at Assassin’s Creed Mirage at today's PlayStation Showcase. The trailer shows protagonist Basim as he leaps, slides, and fights his way across the ancient streets of Baghdad.

Basim was introduced to Assassin’s Creed players in the earlier release of Valhalla, but this new game jumps back to an earlier time in the character’s life.

The action on display looks slick and modern but strongly calls to mind the flow of gameplay that longtime players may recall from early games in the series, controlling the likes of Altair and Ezio as they moved through large urban cityscapes. The new combat system, in particular, features some especially impressive animations and combat moves. The trailer also suggests that players will have a number of choices in how to approach a given mission, with clear decisions outlined in pre-mission briefings and then the chance to execute on a chosen plan.

Assassin’s Creed Mirage is targeting release on October 12 for PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, and PC.

Categories: Games

Giant Squid Reveals Sword Of The Sea

Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 05/24/2023 - 21:29

Today’s PlayStation Showcase brought the reveal of Sword of the Sea, a new game from Giant Squid, the development team behind Abzu and The Pathless.

The most striking visuals of the new game come from a vast desert that brings to mind thatgamecompany’s Journey. That’s not coincidence, since Giant Squid’s founder is Matt Nava, who was previously art director at thatgamecompany. But while this new game is destined to draw strong comparisons to that classic title, there were some notable differences on display. First, the desert itself looks much more like a flowing sea, and the character you control like a surfer moving through the water. In certain sequences, the desert seems to actually transform into water, suggesting a mystery at the core of the game.

In the footage shown, we see a focus on flow movement for the protagonist as they ride across the sand and trick off of half-pipes. From surrounding descriptions about the game, we know that you control a character named the Wraith, who was brought back to life to restore life to a ruined world, while facing off against vast leviathans that attempt to block progress.

Sword of the Sea is coming to PS5, but no word yet on a release date.


Categories: Games

Planet Of Lana Review - Mutual Dependency

Gamespot News Feed - Wed, 05/24/2023 - 02:38

Planet of Lana begins in the quaint fishing village its titular protagonist calls home. As you chase after your older sister, stumbling at times--which elicits laughter from big sis--you're afforded time to get to grips with the game's 2D platforming, jumping and climbing over the wooden docks, platforms, and rooftops that make up this small but dense town. After passing through a bustling market where people are selling strawberries and freshly-caught fish, you sneak past a chef chopping up vegetables amid plumes of steam before passing by empty boats moored in the crystal-clear waters the town is built upon. It's a moment of serenity that could be mistaken for a rural location on Earth, were it not for the all-encompassing moon dominating the sky. As you gradually make your way out of town and into the verdant hilltops nearby, this fleeting tranquility is shattered by the ominous sight of dozens of drop pods tumbling into the planet's atmosphere.

Darting back through the village in the opposite direction is a harrowing experience, as an apocalyptic army of tinted-black robots begins rounding up any signs of life. The peaceful sound of waves crashing against the shore is violently replaced by people screaming and the unnatural bleeps of faceless colonizers, establishing a sharp contrast between tranquility and chaos. With her entire world turned upside down, Lana sets out on a seemingly impossible quest to rescue her captured sister and village, taking you on an enchanting four-hour adventure that's inspired by cinematic puzzle-adventure games like Another World, Inside, and the Oddworld series. You can see bits and pieces of each of these games reflected in Planet of Lana's gameplay, from its deliberate platforming to its logic and physics-based puzzle-solving. Yet it's the animated movies of Studio Ghibli that serve as the primary influence for Swedish developer Wishfully--something that's apparent right from the game's first few seconds.

Opening up on a shot of the daytime sky, the vivid hand-painted art style immediately pulls you in and evokes movies such as Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro without trying to replicate their exact style. Objects closer to the screen are coated in finer detail, for instance, while the vibrant backgrounds use broader, thicker brush strokes, creating a layered image that makes it feel like you're inside an interactive painting. Just glancing at screenshots sells the game's gorgeous aesthetic, but it looks equally stunning in motion, with trees swaying in the breeze, critters scurrying out of sight as you traverse through woodland, and ancient structures whirring to life after being dormant for decades--the world feels alive. The sense of scale is noteworthy, too, not just from a visual standpoint, but because of the way it gives perspective to the scope of Lana's task. The giant robot mothership that initially looms in the distance gradually consumes more and more of the horizon as you inch closer to its foreboding structure, providing a visible landmark for your journey's progress.

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Categories: Games

After Us Review - Abstract Dystopia

Gamespot News Feed - Tue, 05/23/2023 - 19:05

Nothing quite compels you to buy into a game's stakes like happening upon the decaying carcass of a dog who's starved to death. This is the first of several emotional moments in After Us. The surrealistic set dressing of this 3D platformer is regularly morbid but it makes for quite a compelling dystopian world to explore, if only to satiate an innate curiosity--how did the Earth end up like this and is there anyone left? The simple combat and good-but-not-great platforming mechanics bog down the experience a bit but After Us' incredible environmental storytelling of a doomed world clinging to a feeble hope more than makes up for it.

In After Us, you play as Gaia, a young spirit tasked with tracking down and salvaging the souls of the last creatures on Earth. These include animals like the aforementioned canine, the last dog who died of hunger, and coming across others lead to plenty of somber moments of human cruelty--the last eagle caged and plucked, for instance, and the final whale to be harpooned. There's a present-day storyline that runs parallel that isn't all that interesting as it's difficult to relate to the mostly-silent Gaia, who displays small signs of emotion during certain cutscenes but seems to largely view the world around her with passivity. The history of this Earth's past, which you uncover in your pursuit of the lost animal souls and optional collectibles, is far more captivating and works as a strong narrative backbone for the platformer.

Running and jumping are Gaia's primary ways of navigating the world, and these actions are complemented by other platforming staples like hovering, rail-grinding, wall-running, and dashing. She's a bit too floaty and loose to control in certain platforming segments--there were quite a few moments where a frustrating mistiming meant I accidentally leaped over a floating chunk of freeway and plunged to my death or sprinted a step too far and skidded off the top of a skyscraper. Most often, failure was the result of the controls working against me, not my own mistakes. Thankfully, the checkpoint system in After Us is relatively forgiving so even the most irritating of deaths are only small setbacks.

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Categories: Games

Lego 2K Drive Review - Oh Snap

Gamespot News Feed - Tue, 05/23/2023 - 18:13

Lego thrives on versatility and variety. The brand has become associated with everything from model towns to outer space to licensed franchises like Star Wars to original IP like Bionicle and Ninjago. Lego 2K Drive is relatively narrow compared to the wide array of Lego iconography, but that laser-like focus works in its favor. The team at 2K and Visual Concepts has made a great racing game first, allowing the Lego elements to organically add both an astounding amount of customization and flavorful visual flourishes to make a lively and enjoyable open-world driving experience.

Under the hood, Lego 2K Drive is a combination of open-world racing games like Burnout Paradise or Forza Horizon and kart racers like Mario Kart or Sonic All-Stars. The main campaign has you exploring three big biomes, each with their own wide variety of activities and events, punctuated by kart races against rival drivers who run these regions. But part of what makes both exploring and racing so fun is how toy-like it feels, thanks to some smart systems that remove any possible friction from exploration.

When driving around in a typical open-world racer, you may have to set a waypoint to your next objective and spend a few minutes making your way over by following the roads. In Lego 2K Drive, your vehicle auto-switches from roadster to off-road vehicle to boat based on whatever you need at a given time. The click-clack of your vehicle instantly reconstituting itself into something new when you hop from a road to a river just feels great every time. A generous nitro boost and a dedicated jump button mean you can hop over obstacles and scale hills with ease. Other cars or small buildings in the way? No problem, just smash right through them and they'll explode into a thousand Lego bricks, building your boost meter in the process. This effectively makes the whole world your playground, letting you carve paths through it. There's almost never a hard barrier between you and the fun.

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Categories: Games

Warhammer 40,000: Boltgun Review - Purge And Tear

Gamespot News Feed - Tue, 05/23/2023 - 16:00

The Boltgun is perhaps Warhammer 40,000's most iconic weapon, yet it took until now for a video game to really nail its pulverizing impact. The Space Marine's Bolter (as it's commonly known) is not the machine gun equivalent it's often portrayed as in other games. This powerful firearm is essentially a rapid-fire rocket launcher, capable of penetrating almost any armor and then blowing up the Imperium's enemies from the inside out. Developer Auroch Digital clearly understood the assignment with Warhammer 40,000: Boltgun, as the eponymous weapon is tremendously fun to use as you rip and tear your way through eight hours of '90s-inspired first-person shooting. The Bolter roars with an emphatic racket, and each pull of the trigger packs an almighty punch, ferociously propelling these explosive rounds through flesh and bone until the battlefield is little more than a crimson pile of viscera and sinewy chunks.

Classic retro shooters like Unreal Tournament and Quake are obvious inspirations behind Boltgun's fast-paced and frenetic combat, but it's the original Doom that feels like the principal source of reverence. The use of 2D sprites alongside 3D environments, color-coded keycard hunting, and garish, over-the-top violence all harken back to id Software's seminal title. Boltgun is unashamedly a Doom clone with a Warhammer skin, but Auroch has sprinkled in some modern touches, too, from the dizzying amount of particle effects on screen at any one time, to the intricate level of detail found on each and every weapon, to the sheer scale of some of its environments. Verticality is also heavily emphasized, with a jump and mantle animation giving you the chance to scramble and leap off ledges, much like in 2016's Doom reboot. All of this leads to Boltgun managing to capture a tangible sense of nostalgia while also tapping into the fluidity and pacing of a contemporary shooter. It's a familiar but potent mix, resulting in a viscerally satisfying game that's relatively easy to pick up and play.

The story is suitably paltry, however, providing just enough setup to explain why you're on a distant planet mowing down anything that breathes in the name of the Inquisition. As battle-hardened Space Marine Malum Caedo, you're dispatched to the Adeptus Mechanicus Forge World of Graia to investigate some concerning goings-on. As it turns out, the Ad Mech were running experiments that have predictably gone awry and spawned a Chaos invasion. After a botched landing leaves you as the lone survivor, you're put to work cleansing the forces of Chaos armed with an ever-expanding supply of powerful weaponry.

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Categories: Games

Exoprimal Preview – Long-term Storytelling

Game Informer News Feed - Tue, 05/23/2023 - 08:01

Platform: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Release: July 14, 2023
Rating: Mature

Exoprimal’s time-traveling, dinosaur-blasting premise firmly positions it as one of the strangest multiplayer shooters on the horizon. Players have gotten to sample its insanity in a previous open beta, but a recent hands-on preview gave me a chance to peek into the game’s storytelling structure and customization. 

As a quick primer, Exoprimal tasks you and four other friends to team up to battle waves of invading dinosaurs. Outfitted in specialized exosuits, you’ll blast apart velociraptors, triceratops, and mighty T-Rexes in a race to finish missions before a rival squad of players completes the same tasks. Similar to Overwatch, exosuits promote specific roles and playstyles, such as various attackers, tanks, and healers. My favorite became the Zepher, a swift, melee-focused suit wielding a sword. Players can swap suits anytime, allowing teams to shift strategies to adapt to changing objectives. In addition to facing the extinct predators, missions also put you in direct conflict with the other team, leading to firefights aimed at sabotaging each others’ progress. 

The action is wild, and the plot isn’t too far behind. The story follows a small band of soldiers from the year 2040. You control a custom-made avatar helping your squad leader, the tough yet jovial Lorenzo, and your teammates: Alders, the sassy brains of the operation, Majesty, a no-nonsense fighter, and Sandy, the crew’s robotic helper. The cheesy banter, humor, and overall B-movie vibe give me strong Binary Domain vibes; Exoprimal knows it's silly and doesn’t pretend to be anything else.

Cutscenes occur between multiplayer matches (there’s no traditional single-player campaign) and gradually tell a time-traveling plot in which our team finds themselves transported a few years into a future parallel reality where they encounter alternate versions of themselves. The only way to see how they stop the dinos and save Earth is by completing matches, which unlock new scenes in a web called the Analysis Map. This large flow chart contains individual story cinematics beginning in a circular outer rim that, when unlocked, opens connected scenes that weave towards what appears to be a finale at the center. Although I managed to unlock several scenes in a row after just a few rounds, the nodes are numerous enough to suggest you’ll need to spend hours playing matches to see how this wacky adventure concludes.

I also explored the Hangar, where you can customize exosuits with new Modules and cosmetic skins. Modules are purchased with in-game currency upon meeting level requirements and can increase health, augment abilities and alter their performance. You can equip up to three, with each slot holding a specific type. Slot 1 holds Suit Modules, and Slots 2 and 3 hold combat-focused Action Modules. More generalized Base Modules fit into any slot, such as one that raises moments speed at critically low health. These effects are upgraded by spending more currency, and you can equip the same Module across multiple exosuits. You can further customize a suit by equipping a Rig, a piece of equipment that adds a singular ability, such as a special attack or a repair function. Conveniently, a suit can be set as a favorite, so you’ll automatically start matches wearing it. 

I’ve played well over a dozen matches of Exoprimal at this point, and it continues to be a fun and often-chaotic good time, especially alongside some good buddies over chat. Though it plays exceptionally, I’m still unsure if the game can sustain interest in the months after release. The story will only hook players for so long (if at all), so we’ll see if there’s enough meat on these fossilized bones to keep players returning for more.

Exoprimal arrives on July 14 for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. The game will also be available on Xbox Game Pass at launch. 

Categories: Games

Final Fantasy 16 Preview 2 – I Am Just An Eikon Living

Game Informer News Feed - Mon, 05/22/2023 - 14:00

Platform: PlayStation 5
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Square Enix
Release: June 22, 2023
Rating: Mature

I played Final Fantasy XVI during a recent preview event in February, but it was focused almost entirely on combat. I enjoyed the combat a lot – you can read my thoughts here – but my latest hands-on with the game happened during my cover story trip to Square Enix’s Tokyo, Japan, offices. I played a few hours of the game, which is what everyone who’s part of this latest wave of previews played, and that’s what I’ll be talking about here. 

But I also saw never-before-seen gameplay, received an exclusive tour of some areas in FFXVI, learned about its endgame, and more for this month’s Game Informer cover story. That story goes live today so check it out for exclusive details about the game. Be sure to check back in for even more exclusive articles and video interviews in the coming days and weeks as part of our FFXVI exclusive coverage hub. In the meantime, check out our cover reveal from last week. 

My hands-on with FFXVI for this preview begins in the game’s opening hours. The game quickly thrusts me into a dramatic and scene-chewing fight between the two Eikons adorning the title treatment for developer Creative Business Unit III’s latest: Phoenix and Ifrit. In the various times I’ve spoken with producer Naoki Yoshida about the game’s Eikon combat, he’s explained that each fight will be different. In an earlier preview, I played as Ifrit and fought Garuda in all-out brawl-style combat. This time, however, I control Phoenix and the battle plays like an on-rails, third-person shooter. 


With Phoenix, I aim a reticle to shoot fireballs at Ifrit as these two Eikons crash through a massive underground cavern. Ifrit fights back, of course, and I dodge their attacks in flashy, cinematic fashion. The action here is frenetic, and vibrant flames pop on screen. But soon after, I transition to protagonist Clive Rosfield, a soldier tasked with finding and assassinating a Dominant, who is someone that can transform into an Eikon. In this case, it’s Shiva. 

Without spoiling much, Clive is eventually dubbed a traitor by those he works for. While on the run, he meets Cidolfus Telamon, or Cid for short (because it is a Final Fantasy game, after all). Together, Clive, Cid, and Clive’s companion dog, Torgal make their way to Cid’s hideaway, one of the main hubs in the game. This hideaway features a lot – a pub, a blacksmith, an item store, and more – and it looks like a great point to rest, check in with characters, and prepare Clive for what’s next in his journey. 

CBUIII has spoken before about how FFXVI takes place across three decades of Clive’s life – his teens, his 20s, and his 30s. Up until now, Clive is 28 years old, but much of what I experience in the game for this preview happened 13 years prior, when Clive was 15. In what seems like a crucial moment for both Clive’s life and the crux of FFXVI’s narrative, I see Joshua transform into Phoenix. It’s agonizing to watch, and it’s clear he’s not yet comfortable doing so like other Dominants who do this more regularly. This flashback sequence is where the fight between Phoenix and Ifrit takes place.

My hands-on time with young Clive culminates with him watching Joshua brutally murdered by a mystery assailant. It’s gory, heartbreaking, surprisingly bloody, and fantastically sold by the character’s voice actor, whom you might recognize as Logan Hannan, the voice behind Hugo de Rune of the Plague Tale series. 


Unable to fight back, Clive harbors a deep desire for revenge and this revenge seems to be a driving force for the narrative throughout FFXVI, or at least a starting point. 

Later in the game’s narrative, I run around one of the open areas near where the Rosarian duchy once resided for about 20 minutes. It’s a gorgeous, picturesque landscape with ruins, a scenic waterfall, marshy land, and plenty of monsters to defeat. There are quests here, but I’m not allowed to interact with them. However, I enjoy fighting the various enemies in the area and discover some hidden chests, too. What I experience seems to be roughly an eighth of this entire open field area, and the scale is impressive. There are multiple of these in the game, and I’m excited to explore each and see how they vary.

I won’t spoil more of what I experienced – you can read a lot more about what I played, including exclusive details you won’t find anywhere else in my cover story that’s live right now and in the coming weeks via Game Informer’s FFXVI coverage hub – but it’s clear FFXVI is aiming to be one of the darkest, most mature, and most action-forward games in the series’ entry.

Categories: Games

The Last Case Of Benedict Fox Review - Fair Deal

Gamespot News Feed - Thu, 05/11/2023 - 18:10

Like my favorite metroidvania games, The Last Case of Benedict Fox is built around solving a mystery. It can go too far in its efforts to be deeply mysterious, especially in its first half, but engaging puzzles and unsettling art direction pull you along, even when mediocre combat and platforming mechanics get in the way of the fun. There's an interesting story in The Last Case of Benedict Fox, one wrapped up in an interesting world of supernatural intrigue that I want to know more about. It just takes a while to fully uncover its best parts.

In The Last Case of Benedict Fox, you play as the titular detective, who breaks into a strange manor in order to investigate a ritual he wants to perform. The answers he seeks, unfortunately, reside in the minds of a young couple who are now dead. Thankfully, Benedict is connected to an eldritch-like demon who grants him supernatural powers, including the ability to go into the minds of those freshly dead. Going into Limbo--as Benedict calls it--transports you into a space of sprawling mind palaces, each filled with the deceased's worst nightmares, insecurities, and traumas transformed into physical monsters. As you explore further and farther, you find the necessary memories to unlock new parts of the manor in the real world and piece together the steps to the ritual.

If all of that sounds a little convoluted and leaves you with many questions, that seems to be what The Last Case of Benedict Fox is going for, simply dropping you into a densely layered situation without the necessary build-up to fully grasp what's going on. The game holds its cards too close to the chest, unfortunately--going so far as to hide for the entire first half of the game what exactly the ritual that Benedict is researching even does and why he's looking for it. The plot swings way too far past intriguing and mysterious into confusing territory for the first half of its runtime. This makes for a deeply unwelcoming opening, which sets up a story and character motivations that are difficult to parse, with names, dates, lore, and jargon quickly thrown at you with little in the way of explanation. Once you manage to get a ways into the game, The Last Case of Benedict Fox graciously begins answering a few of the questions it poses, giving you more of a reason for wanting to explore its riveting Lovecraftian-inspired world, but it still just takes way too long to get there.

Continue Reading at GameSpot
Categories: Games

The Legend Of Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom Review

Gamespot News Feed - Thu, 05/11/2023 - 13:00

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is so much more than a sequel to Breath of the Wild. While this newest entry in the Zelda franchise is most recognizably similar to that 2017 game, it builds upon the foundation so thoroughly and transformationally that it feels like a revelation. This is The Legend of Zelda at its finest, borrowing the best pieces and qualities from across the franchise's history and creating something new that is emotionally resonant, captivating, and endlessly rewarding.

Breath of the Wild upended the Zelda formula by presenting a vast and lush open world to explore--a reenvisioning of the unguided experience of the original Legend of Zelda for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Tears of the Kingdom follows in its predecessor's footsteps with a similarly naturalistic setting, but the world has changed in subtle ways. Not everything is exactly the same or where you'd expect it to be, and the map is marked with myriad opportunities for exploration and curiosity. Once again, you'll hardly ever round a corner or crest a hill without finding something else to do or engage with. Hyrule feels serene even as it bustles with life and activity. The score is as majestic as it is unintrusive, accentuating a dire battle or narrow escape with an exciting up-tempo rendition of the theme and then easing off with softer tones to let you breathe in the atmosphere.

Much of the reason that the world feels so different this time is that your tools for engaging with it are so much more flexible. Like the Great Plateau in Breath of the Wild, you don't even enter the open world until you've found four key abilities in a tutorial area. Together, these abilities are the engine that drives Tears of the Kingdom--in the same way Breath of the Wild was centered on exploring wilderness using your slate of abilities, these new tools center Tears of the Kingdom around building and experimenting to overcome obstacles in inventive ways. It's a beautifully implemented evolution of what made Breath of the Wild so special. While it's more ambitious than Breath of the Wild in how much you can express your own creativity, it also manages to do this without buckling under its own weight.

Continue Reading at GameSpot
Categories: Games

Super Mega Baseball 4 Arrives Next Month With Hundreds Of Legends In Tow

Game Informer News Feed - Tue, 05/02/2023 - 17:00

The Super Mega Baseball franchise is gearing up for its fourth entry to step into the batter's box, and this time, it's bringing a large suite of upgrades and enhancements, likely thanks to its new publisher, EA Sports. Electronic Arts acquired developer Metalhead Studio a year after the launch of Super Mega Baseball 3, meaning that the developer had the benefit of creating this fourth entry with the added resources of its new parent company.

The result appears evident. For the first time in series history, more than 200 legends of the sport (including cover star David Ortiz) are included in the roster alongside the fan-favorite cast of players from the earlier games in the series. You can take the new roster and enjoy the various modes in a variety of ways, including a league of baseball legends with teams organized by era. You can also use the new Shuffle Draft feature that lets you draft a unique roster featuring real-life legends and Super Mega All-Stars.

And, of course, the standard Exhibition, Franchise, Pennant Race, Season, and Online Leagues are present in Super Mega Baseball 4. However, they include various new improvements, including cross-play on all platforms for Pennant Race and Online Leagues. The suite of modes also includes expanded player traits, a new team chemistry system, automatic walks, two-way players, expanded bullpens, customizable free-agent pools, and more. The audio and visual aspects also receive an upgrade, with new crowd sounds, voiceovers, sound effects, licensed and original music, better lighting, and new cameras.

Super Mega Baseball has proven to be a less serious but just as fun alternative to the MLB The Show series for years now, and it seems as though EA Sports and Metalhead Studio are really making a push with this year's entry. We'll have to wait and see how much of an impact these changes have on the series' popularity without the actual MLB license, but the strong foundation from the past couple of entries appears alive and well, and the improvements all seem like awesome steps in the right direction. 

Super Mega Baseball 4 arrives on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC on June 2.

Categories: Games

Street Fighter 6 World Tour Preview – Like A Dragon Punch

Game Informer News Feed - Tue, 05/02/2023 - 08:01

Platform: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, PC
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Release: June 2, 2023
Rating: Teen

Street Fighter 6 may feature thrilling 1v1 fights, but one of its most exciting features is its World Tour mode. This single-player sandbox story mode is a dramatic shift in what the series has offered, and players recently got to sample a small slice in a recent demo. On a trip to Capcom’s U.S. headquarters in San Francisco, I ventured beyond the demo for a more comprehensive look at what World Tour has to offer.  

World Tour gives players robust tools to craft a custom fighter, then take them to the streets of Metro City and other locations on a journey to create the ultimate world warrior. The demo stopped at the end of Chapter 1, but I was allowed to play up to the beginning of Chapter 3. 

Upon starting my adventure, I’m tickled by World Tour’s almost Like a Dragon-esque absurdity. Nearly every citizen, be it an office worker, school student, or even a shop vendor, can be challenged to fights (which the game seamlessly transitions to without load screens) to gain XP and other rewards. Other times, silly hoodlums such as the Mad Gear Gang from Final Fight targeted me, and I picked fights with Roomba-like robots and other non-human combatants. World Tour doesn’t take itself seriously in the slightest, and it’s better for it. 

Though some areas were inaccessible for my preview, Metro City seems larger and denser with detail than I expected. Don’t expect a massive space; what I played feels closer to exploring an average-sized chunk of Like a Dragon’s Kamaroucho in scale. Metro City has several main streets, hidden alleyways, and even explorable rooftops accessible by ladders. While most of the NPCs aren’t anything to write home about, the world looks pretty nice, which is impressive given that this is ultimately a side dish to Street Fighter 6’s main offerings. 

Improving my skills involves becoming a student of the main characters. Those who played the demo began under Luke’s tutelage, allowing them to adopt his moveset, including special attacks. Chapter 2 tasks me with seeking out Chun-Li to study under. I find the legendary warrior surrounded by her students, pupils that she challenges me to defeat in combat before she can agree to train me. I wipe the floor with her disciples, who are kind enough to lay out additional tutorials in response to my punching them in the face. I also played a fun minigame where I had to break wooden boards held by four fighters standing on each other's shoulders. Minigames like these appear to offer additional methods of earning Zenny. 

With the task complete, Chun-Li welcomes me to her school, and I acquire her Kikoken and Spinning Bird Kick attacks for my own. Studying under new masters gives you more movesets and special moves to mix and match, and your proficiency increases as you use them. Completing missions for your teacher raises your bond with them, and you’ll learn more personal stories about them over time. You can also bring them gifts purchased from vendors alongside consumables such as health and stat-boosting items you can use during fights. 

Additionally, you can use a character’s signature move for exploration. I utilized Spinning Bird Kicks to shatter physical obstacles like barrels, crates, and signs to clear paths and uncover hidden areas. Exploring thoroughly is encouraged as World Tour has plenty of rewards, secrets, cameos, and amusing oddities littered amongst its streets. At one point, I climb to a rooftop and encounter a ridiculous-looking Capcom-themed superhero named The Watcher, who lectures me about the true meaning of fighting for justice (and rewards my attention by giving me a tasty energy drink). At a street corner, I challenged and defeated a Chun-Li cosplayer named Chuli and obtained red dye to customize my outfits. Collecting clothing from chests or defeated opponents or buying them in stores raises your character’s stats RPG-style. It feels strange to worry about what beanie to wear so that my avatar can punch a little better in a fighting game, but I'm always up for playing goofy dress-up. 

Next, Chun-Li asks that I speak to Li-Fen, a promising tech-savvy pupil who may be too consumed with her computer hacking to focus entirely on fighting. Li-Fen assigns me the job of taking down members of the Canary Crate gang, a local band of violent buffoons who wear cardboard boxes on their heads. They’re not far from me and are easy to spot, but as I approach, they attempt to take cheap shots by throwing roundhouse kicks and punches as I pass. Nailing preemptive hits like this provides an advantage in the resulting fight, which I take advantage of by drilling a baddie with a Spinning Bird Kick. 

World Tour feels like a fun diversion from Street Fighter 6’s main offerings that leverages its characters and universe in a cool way. I’m curious to see how it evolves; does every teacher feature unique missions for earning a place in their school? How many familiar faces and easter eggs await? How does this adventure factor into Street Fighter 6’s other plot threads? I still have some questions but so far, World Tour is scratching an itch I’ve had for an open-world fighting game story since finishing Mortal Kombat: Deception’s Konquest mode nearly 20 years ago, and I’m excited to take my fighter on what’s shaping up to be an absurdly goofy adventure.

Categories: Games