Take Some Time Off In April For The Release Of Vacation Simulator

Game Informer News Feed - Tue, 03/05/2019 - 19:21

After a brief announcement at The Game Awards in 2017, Vacation Simulator, the follow-up to the hugely popular Job Simulator, has finally got a release date and a slew of new information. For those of you tired of waiting for this vacation, it's not far off. The game is releasing in just over a month on SteamVR and Oculus for $29.99 and the PSVR version is coming sometime this summer.

Along with the news of when you can immerse yourself in the simulation, the developers, Owlchemy Labs, also released a trailer showcasing the different locales you'll get to lounge around in on Vacation Island: the beach, forest, mountain, and resort.

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In the year 2060, the robots have built this simulation to better understand what humans do when they aren't working. To that end, Vacation Island comes equipped with plenty to see and do. Owlchemy gave a run down of what to expect:

  • Experience Vacation Island, your destination for optimal relaxation and/or efficient memory-making!
  • Customize a virtual YOU for picture-perfect selfies!
  • Wave to interact with a colorful cast of Bots!
  • Enjoy RECREATION beyond the theoretical limit in immersion-inspiring destinations!
  • Splash in the silicon sea and bask in simulated sunlight, all without getting sand in your… hands!
  • Get lost connecting with your roots, nodes, and branches… then get actually lost on a hike!
  • Elevate your ice-sculpting skills to new heights and reach peak cozy by knitting mittens for a snowhuman!
  • Exist in a comfortable, all-inclusive VR experience — free of motion sickness AND seasickness

The game is nearly out, but it's nice to see that the game looks to be retaining some of the signature charm that Job Simulator was known for. While you wait, check out our review of Job Simulator to see what we thought.

Categories: Games

Shakedown: Hawaii Announced As Epic Games Store Timed Exclusive

Game Informer News Feed - Tue, 03/05/2019 - 18:44
Publisher: Vblank Entertainment Developer: Vblank Entertainment Release: 2017 Rating: Rating Pending Platform: PlayStation 4, Switch, PlayStation Vita, 3DS, PC

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The developer behind Retro City Rampage announced its next game today – Shakedown: Hawaii – a 16-bit open-world game where players build a "totally legitimate" business in the Aloha state.

Shakedown: Hawaii follows three protagonists: an aging CEO, his son – a DJ looking for street cred, and his armed-to-the-teeth consultant. The gameplay trailer accompanying the announcement shows the trio acquiring businesses, taking out competitor vehicles, and shaking down shops with a bat to obtain protection money. All legal activities, of course. Players can traverse Hawaii by foot, car, or boat as they complete missions to grow their empire.

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The game will launch as a timed exclusive on the Epic Games store this Spring, but is eventually slated for release for Switch, PS4, PS Vita, and 3DS. It joins the ranks of games like Metro Exodus that are leaving Steam for Epic's new digital marketplace.

Categories: Games

The Long Road To Beatdown City

Game Informer News Feed - Tue, 03/05/2019 - 17:40
Publisher: Nuchallenger Developer: Nuchallenger Release: 2019 Platform: Switch, PC

Every day it seems like there’s a new promising game concept being crowdfunded by an excited audience willing to take a chance on it. Back in 2014, Treachery in Beatdown City was one such project. A unique fusion of beat ‘em up and turned-based RPG battles, it began life as an homage to brawlers of old like Double Dragon. Former Rockstar Games alumni Shawn Alexander Allen started working on art for the project in his free time in 2009 and says he yearned for beat ‘em ups to make a comeback. Early designs for the game weren’t panning out and then he struck upon the idea to combine brawlers with another favorite genre: RPGs.

“I was dejected because things were taking longer than we had hoped to get something going,” Allen says. “After a day of work, when I was in the shower, my love of RPGs like Super Mario RPG, Hybrid Heaven, and Fallout 3 coalesced into this exciting moment where I shouted, ‘It’ll be turn-based!’”


Categories: Games

Take A Look At The One Piece: World Seeker Opening Cinematic

Game Informer News Feed - Tue, 03/05/2019 - 15:18

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Publisher: Bandai Namco Developer: Ganbarion Release: March 15, 2019 Rating: Rating Pending Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

One Piece: World Seeker comes out on relatively soon (March 15 on PS4, Xbox One, and PC), and today publisher Bandai Namco and developer Ganbarion have released the open-world action title's opening cinematic. Luffy and the Straw Hat gang have arrived at Prison Island with a plan in mind.

The movie not only introduces the crew, but also gives a glimpse of Luffy's arms in action, as well as reveals that Warden Isaac is a more than formidable opponent.

For more on World Seeker, be sure to check out Imran's hands-on impressions of the title.

Categories: Games

Fool's Gold Free Roam Event Debuts In Red Dead Online

Game Informer News Feed - Tue, 03/05/2019 - 14:40

Publisher: Rockstar Games Developer: Rockstar Games Release: October 26, 2018 Rating: Mature Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Since the beta phase kicked off last November, Rockstar has continued to chisel away at the foundation of Red Dead Online by fixing bugs, stabilizing servers, and slowly introducing new content. Today's latest news of the Fool's Gold free roam event and Evans Repeater Rifle going live carried with it a telling statement about Rockstar's ultimate intentions with the mode.

"This beta period allows us to shape and improve the fundamentals of that world before the journey of Red Dead Online truly begins," the statement reads. "As Red Dead Online evolves, we will keep adding and improving features to give you a deeper connection to the world, your character, your horse and your weapons, as well as adding new gameplay that will help players carve out their own fate across the lawless frontier."

This statement reads like an implicit promise to those unhappy with the speed at which Red Dead Online has rolled out bigger updates thus far: the content is coming. 

Taking a closer look at today's content drop, the Evans Repeater Rifle should be familiar to fans of the original Red Dead Redemption, as it was one of the best weapons in the game. This high-capacity rifle holds 22 bullets in its clip and is useful in both medium- and long-range combat. The gun comes with several customization options as well.

You can put the weapon to the test in the Fool's Gold free roam event, where the player wearing the Golden Armor can rack up kills for points while the rest try to take him or her down. Killing the armored foe is followed by a mad scramble as rivals try and recoup the Golden Armor and go on their own point spree. 

As a reward for those who have continued to play Red Dead Online through the beta period, Rockstar is also issuing a care package that comes with 60 high-velocity pistol bullets, 60x high-velocity repeater bullets, 2 fire bottles, 8 fire arrows, 2 jolly jacks, 2 potent horse medicine, and a lake lure. You can redeem the care package at your camp lockbox or at any of the post offices found in the world. 

Last but not least, fisherman take note: If you complete five daily challenges between today and March 11 you will be gifted a special spinner next week. 

Categories: Games

Kirby's Extra Epic Yarn Review - Yarn Good Game

Gamespot News Feed - Tue, 03/05/2019 - 14:00

In 2010, Kirby's Epic Yarn spun the traditional formula of Dream Land's favorite hero on its head, reimaging Kirby stuck in a world made entirely of yarn, buttons, and zippers. Extra Epic Yarn ports Kirby's sidescrolling platforming adventure from Wii to 3DS and stitches on a few new features and modes for good measure. Most of Extra Epic Yarn plays as you might remember the original game--and it still looks just as good--but the port's additions craft new, enjoyable ways for you to approach its content.

Kirby does not have his trademark abilities in Patch Land, so you need to rely on his new knitted form to find unorthodox ways of overcoming obstacles and vanquishing foes. To attack, for example, Kirby throws out a whip of yarn to unravel enemies before wrapping the material up into a ball that can be thrown. There are also moments within levels where Kirby will take on a new shape, which briefly alters gameplay--when Kirby is a fighter jet, for example, Extra Epic Yarn becomes a fixed shooter.

Epic Yarn recaptures the charming simplicity of Kirby's earliest adventures, while also reimagining Dream Land's hero in a fun new way with its yarn-based aesthetics. The game retains the franchise's focus on simple platforming challenges populated throughout cleverly designed levels as well. Extra Epic Yarn adds on to this formula by including craft-focused variations of some of Kirby's traditional transformations in the platforming sections. Certain items on each stage transform Kirby if you manage to whip them up, allowing him to attack and occasionally navigate a stage in a new way. For instance, Nylon (Tornado) Kirby can spin at high enough speeds to pull apart any enemy or damage bosses, but the attack can also be used to briefly hover through the air. These new abilities are not necessary to completing any level, but several of them allow Kirby to more easily attack and jump at the same time, which adds a nice flow to the platforming. And like previous Kirby titles, you can stick with one you enjoy and bring it from one stage to the next.

It would have been nice to see Kirby's transformations inspire new puzzles in Extra Epic Yarn. Every stage--as far as I can tell--has been faithfully replicated, so there's not one puzzle you can't figure out without a transformation. It feels like a lost opportunity to implement a more creative application of Kirby's new powers.

On top of new transformations, Extra Epic Yarn also adds Devilish mode, which is the game's version of a hard difficulty. In Devilish mode, a small devil will follow Kirby and try to attack him. Striking back will cause the devil to scurry off, but it will return eventually and you'll have to hit it again if you want to get rid of it. And you do want to get rid of it. Unlike Normal mode, Kirby can be unwound in Devilish mode from taking too many hits, which forces you to start a stage from the very beginning. Devilish mode can present quite the challenge on later stages, where longer levels present more opportunities for a misplaced jump or slow attack. The new mode never becomes frustrating, though, thanks in large part to the implementation of the aforementioned transformation abilities. Devilish mode might not have worked in the more methodical Epic Yarn, but the ability to do quick, sweeping attacks while on the move with Kirby's transformations allows for Extra Epic Yarn to be more action-oriented. It's still tough at times, but as someone who thought Epic Yarn was too easy, Devilish mode introduces the challenge I want in a second playthrough.

Extra Epic Yarn also adds two new minigames which put you in control of either Meta Knight or King Dedede. Meta Knight Slash & Bead has you cut your way through stages as you collect beads, doing your best to slice through as many enemies as quickly as possible to earn more time. Dedede Gogogo is a much faster-paced variation of the same formula, pushing you to sprint through a stage instead of fight your way through it. Each minigame only has four stages, all of which only last a few minutes. Both work as enjoyable distractions when you want to take a break from the campaign--similar to Samurai Kirby and Megaton Punch in previous titles.

Epic Yarn recaptures the charming simplicity of Kirby's earliest adventures, while also reimagining Dream Land's hero in a fun new way with its craft-focused aesthetics.

One last change that comes in Extra Epic Yarn is the loss of motion controls, which were used in certain story levels in the original game on Wii and Wii U. You only notice the motion controls are gone in a few infrequent instances: the sections where Kirby turns himself into a train. Before, you laid out the train's path by pointing at the screen and dragging where you wanted the track to go. In the 3DS port, you use the control stick or d-pad, which is just harder to do. It's possible, sure, but I can't help but think incorporating stylus support in those sections would have made them easier.

Extra Epic Yarn brings new life to a Kirby game that's nearly a decade old. Everything there is to love about Epic Yarn is still here, but the addition of traditional transformation abilities and challenging Devilish mode provide options for anyone looking for a different or more difficult platforming experience. The two new minigames aren't game-changing additions, but they're both fun to complete and provide a change of pace if you ever need a break from the campaign. Whether you're looking to relive Kirby's adventure into Patch Land or want to pick up the game for the first time, Extra Epic Yarn provides hours of good fun, all wrapped up in charming, craft-influenced visuals. This 3DS port is the best version of the game, hands down.

Categories: Games

The Deluxe Edition Will Let You Play The Game With Live-Action Cutscenes

Game Informer News Feed - Mon, 03/04/2019 - 16:06

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Publisher: Capcom Developer: Capcom Release: March 8, 2019 Rating: Mature Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

One of Devil May Cry V's stranger features is one that will be included with the Deluxe Version of the game. In the menus, there is a setting that will let you replace all the game's cutscenes with the pre-visualization versions. It's part cosplay, part mo-cap, part cheap cardboard miniatures, and all weird. You can get a taste of what it will look like in the video above.

Devil May Cry V is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on March 8.

Categories: Games

Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince Gets Gameplay Trailer & Release Details

Game Informer News Feed - Mon, 03/04/2019 - 15:42

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Publisher: Modus Developer: Frozenbyte Release: Fall Rating: Rating Pending Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC

Some fans didn't take to Trine 3 because of its length and attempt at 3D gameplay, but developer Frozenbyte says that Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince returns the series to the 2.5D gameplay that made it famous.

The game also reunites fans with the franchise's three heroes, tasking them with defeating the evil unleashed by Prince Selius' waking nightmares, via a new combat system as well as physics-based environmental puzzles. The Nightmare Prince also includes four-player co-op (local and online), new skills, and more.

In other Trine news, Frozenbyte has announced Trine: Ultimate Collection, featuring all the games in the series and extras such as a physical map of the world, a code for a digital artbook, a reversible cover sheet, and a soundtrack download code.

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Categories: Games

An RPG For Card-Collecting Enthusiasts

Game Informer News Feed - Mon, 03/04/2019 - 00:00

Publisher: Thunderful Developer: Image & Form Games Release: 2019 Rating: Rating Pending Platform: Switch

The SteamWorld universe is ever-expanding. The series’ first entry, SteamWorld Tower Defense, displayed real-time strategy mechanics, while SteamWorld Heist explored turned-based strategy from a side-scroller perspective, and the SteamWorld Dig series combined mining/crafting with Metroid-like exploration. Image & Form Games’ latest title, SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech, fuses card-collecting and turn-based RPG elements to create comprehensive deck-building combat experiences set against the backdrop of fantastical steampunk-inspired vignettes. 

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Based on my time with an early preview build, you play as Armilly, Copernica, and Galleo (including other unrevealed party members) – as they traverse various landscapes to clash against robotic adversaries and mythical creatures. These meticulous, hand-drawn environments feature dense forests with fungi-themed monsters, ravaged settlements engulfed in flames, and dark cobblestone dungeons among other locales that haven’t been unveiled. 

Navigation through each setting is simple and linear, depending on whether you decide to travel off the beaten path. Basic exploration, however, is rewarded: currency and materials hide behind secret doorways as well as within smashable crates. But most areas are littered with automaton sprites eager to assault your squad. You can initiate a preemptive strike with the push of a well-timed button. This enables instant advantages in battle: you can attack first, and enemies start fights with fewer health points. This mechanic is two-fold, since foes can attempt to engage with a preemptive strike of their own, so watch out! 

SteamWorld Quest’s core gameplay relies on carefully planned card strategies. At the beginning of combat, players draw up to six “punch cards,” but they can only play three each turn. Card abilities fall under specific categories: physical hits (strikes), healing or buff magics (upgrades), and charge-up attacks (skills). Relative to these different abilities, strikes and upgrades contribute to a steam pressure (SP) gauge. SP can then be spent to activate skill cards. Armilly, your knight, possesses high-damage sword slashes that require a modicum of SP, while Copernica can unleash skills based in elemental magics. 

Sometimes, you may not have enough SP, so skill cards can’t be placed. If this happens, you can redraw to replace individual cards in your hand. This mechanic, however, can only be used twice per turn. Between fights, I rebuilt my deck, equipping more strikes and upgrades and removing several skill cards that felt like dead weight. I appreciated this trial-and-error depth of combat; some enemy bosses are punishing in early chapters of the game if you haven’t properly formatted your card collection. 

Combos – called heroic chains – provide your heroes with the strongest bonuses. Companions have eight-card personal decks that are shuffled into a main deck at the start of battle. When three cards that belong to a single party member are placed in the same turn, you are awarded a finisher. These finishers are additional cards that imbue your team with powerful abilities. For instance, Galleo, the brawler-healer hybrid of the group, has a three-card combo that restores a modicum of the party’s health. I found heroic chains crucial during boss fights, as it gave me time to chip away at larger, intimidating health bars. 

Other than engaging the enemy, you can use your time outside of combat to purchase and equip weapons, armor, and accessories. Like most RPGs, your attire can apply buffs and bolster your party’s primary stats. Restoration items are bought from shopkeepers or looted after battles, and hero statues can be accessed to fully restore health and save progress. 

While the new deck-building elements are a departure from other Image & Form Games titles, fans of the SteamWorld universe will still be in for a treat. The quirkiness and humor in previous entries makes a return, and the latest cast of protagonists will be endearing to old and new players alike. 

SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech drops first on Nintendo Switch later this year and will be available for other consoles further down the road. In the meantime, head here, to browse our list of the most anticipated RPGs of this year. 

Categories: Games

Upcoming Tactical RPG Blends WW2 With Darkest Dungeon Gameplay

Game Informer News Feed - Sun, 03/03/2019 - 20:30

Publisher: Pixelated Milk Developer: Pixelated Milk Release: 2019 Platform: PlayStation 4, Switch, PC

Developer Pixelated Milk recently revealed Warsaw, a tactical RPG set during World War 2. With beautiful hand-painted artwork and turn-based combat, it has a strong Darkest Dungeon vibe both aesthetically and gameplay-wise. 

Warsaw tasks you with recruiting a ragtag group of heroes so you can build an army. Each party member has a certain class, like medic, and unique skills that they can put to use in combat. You can also send them out for patrols, to scavenge for supplies, and more. As you explore, you may come across other soldiers willing to join your fight. 

Check out the reveal trailer below.

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Warsaw releases for Switch, PlayStation 4, and PC later this year. Take a peek at the gallery below for screenshots.

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Categories: Games

Boneworks Looks Like A Promising Mix Of Half-Life, Portal, And VR

Game Informer News Feed - Sat, 03/02/2019 - 21:03
Publisher: Stress Level Zero Developer: Stress Level Zero Release: 2019 Platform: PC

Developer Stress Level Zero is no stranger to making VR games. They were in on the tech early, having developed Hover Junkers back in 2016, then iterated on some of their VR techniques with Duck Season the following year. The company's latest game, Boneworks, looks to be their most ambitious game yet, seemingly taking inspiration from a couple of Valve games and throwing in what looks like a fairly sophisticated implementation of VR to seal the deal.

Taking place inside of a mysterious experimental facility called Monogon, Boneworks has you fighting a number of small, spider-like drones as you mess around a series of Portal-like test rooms, interspersed with more traditional industrial areas akin to some of the indoor segments in Half-Life 2. The hook here is the fidelity of the physics-based combat; in the trailer, a crowbar is used to grab onto a series of poles jutting out from a wall, a spear piercing a drone, and some careful maneuvering around a ledge, all of which look fairly natural compared to most games.

On its Steam page, Stress Level Zero cautions that Boneworks "demonstrates advanced VR mechanics and concepts," and so "players are recommended to have previous VR experience and understanding of common VR gameplay principles before proceeding." So you may want to brush up on your VR spear-twirling skills before the game releases on both Steam VR and Oculus sometime this year.

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Categories: Games

Picking Up The Pieces

Game Informer News Feed - Sat, 03/02/2019 - 18:00

Publisher: Rising Star Games Developer: Game Freak Release: Spring Rating: Teen Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch

Game Freak is a studio most people immediately associate with Pokémon, but it also quietly releases other games from time to time. From the complex Pocket Card Jockey to the charming Tembo the Badass Elephant, Game Freak is prone to surprise when it isn’t churning out another Pokémon sequel. Its most recent 2D platformer, Giga Wrecker, has been in Steam for about a year, and we checked out its soon-to-be-released console version, Giga Wrecker Alt. In our hands on with the game, we got to see what’s changing and what’s staying the same.

Giga Wrecker is a 2D, puzzle-platformer and its main hook is destruction. You play as Reika Rekkeiji who, after an attempt on her life, is put back together with robot parts by the enigmatic Doctor Kozuki; the two of them working together toward their own goals. Reika is grateful for Kozuki’s assistance but is more interested in escaping, whereas the doctor’s goals are much more personal. The game has a sharp, anime-inspired art style, and occasionally their character portraits pop up for some brief conversations. While quite reminiscent of Mega Man and Dr. Light, their regular chatter gives additional context to the relationship.

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The game’s levels are broken up into discrete puzzle rooms spread out over a large, interconnected map. These challenges revolve around smashing rocks that block your path to create a route to your objective. At the start, you are presented with a large “T”-shaped stone that requires you to knock out the bit at the bottom, so the top half falls and creates a bridge; it’s then just a matter of hopping your way up to reach the next room. The mechanics are easy to grasp early on, but the solutions quickly became more complex and difficult to puzzle out. Hopefully, once we’re able to spend more time with the full game, we’ll get a better sense for how the world responds to interaction, but it was often tough to see where to begin and how to get the required result without a lot of trial and error.

Giga Wrecker also features some light combat and platforming; because the combat is entirely melee-focused, it feels a bit like the 2D Castlevania series, but with jumps that are slightly floatier. You have a melee attack that you can aim up, down, left, and right, and after you smash platforms or enemies, you can collect the debris and assemble it into bigger and bigger wrecking balls that you can use to wreck the place. You’ll also eventually earn upgrades that allow you to use that ball in different ways, from creating a sword to make clean cuts through rocks or forming a cube to help you access out-of-reach areas.

This updated Alt. version of the game has plenty of new content and features. There are over 20 new levels, in addition to a hard mode and helpful assists in the form of your robot buddy, Dölma. The assists were crucial; you’ll get an image that shows you what the puzzle should look like at the end to help you piece together how to get started on tougher areas. Dölma came in very handy in a few spots, so I’m glad for his introduction.

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Giga Wrecker Alt. sets up an interesting gameplay mechanic that we’re hopeful will come together in the final version. There may be some kinks in Giga Wrecker’s puzzle design, but it has some time before it hits PS4, Switch, and Xbox One in Spring of this year. The PC version will not be gaining any of the Alt. content at this time, but is already available on Steam. 

Categories: Games

From Zero To Nero

Game Informer News Feed - Fri, 03/01/2019 - 23:10
Publisher: Capcom Developer: Capcom Release: March 8, 2019 Rating: Mature Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Capcom is gearing up for the launch of Devil May Cry 5, the fifth installment of a series that started way back in 2001. Even if you kept up on every single Devil May Cry game, it's been nearly two decades and different creators, so keeping track of the whole thing might not be easy. That's even assuming you've played all the games, including the maligned Devil May Cry 2, as everything is free game for references in the latest title.

Thankfully, Capcom has released a "Story So Far" trailer for DMC5. You can remind yourself a bit about the story so far, after Capcom's insane and wrong retcon that Devil May Cry 4 takes place after Devil May Cry 2, but that's fine. I'm not bitter. Not bitter at all.

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Surprise! The trailer actually just straight up ignores Devil May Cry 2, which is pretty funny on its own.

Devil May Cry 5 releases on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on March 8.

Categories: Games

Lord Drakkon Shows His Might In New Power Rangers: Battle For The Grid Trailer

Game Informer News Feed - Fri, 03/01/2019 - 16:55

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Publisher: nWay Developer: nWay Release: April 2019 Rating: Teen Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC

Mobile developer nWay (Power Rangers: Legacy Wars) has released a new trailer for Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid, heralding the nefarious designs of Lord Drakkon as well as giving fans a glimpse of the fighting game's combat.

The trailer shows off some of Lord Drakkon's combos, which the developer is saying range from "beginner-friendly" to complex, and he also has an uppercut special attack – a rarity in the game.

Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid is a digital download-only title ($19.99) coming in April to PS4, Xbox One, and Switch, with a PC release later in 2019.

Categories: Games

Dead Or Alive 6 Review In Progress - Battle Ready

Gamespot News Feed - Fri, 03/01/2019 - 14:00

In the cutthroat world of fighting games, Dead or Alive has consistently proven that it's a solid contender. From its arcade debut in 1996, the series has made a name for itself with striking visuals, fun and memorable characters, and engaging fighting action, carrying the series along through some of the genre's darkest days. Now, Dead or Alive finds itself in one of the most crowded markets the genre has ever seen. Dead or Alive 6 still has the chops to stand out after all this time--though it does slightly stumble along the way.

When you first boot up Dead or Alive 6, you're greeted by a close-up of one of the game's many characters, staring you straight in the face as you navigate through the initial set of menus. It's an early glimpse at DoA6's graphical prowess, as you get to see one of the cast members before they step into the ring and turn into a bruised and battered brawler. The way the fighters themselves sustain visual damage during a fight is quite impressive. There's dirt, torn clothing, and flying sweat--even some of the heavier hits leave a little bit of blood, transforming every match into a fierce brawl. Thankfully, if you find these effects distasteful or distracting, there's also the option to turn them off. Combined with the flashy character costumes and colorful, elaborate arenas, DoA6 is a game with a distinct visual flair.

But the game's appeal is more than surface-level. DoA6 delivers solid, satisfying combat with its own twists. New to the franchise is a Break Gauge that fills as you deal or receive damage with your blows--a mechanic that's been seen in many other fighting games. There are a few things you can do with this shiny new gauge, thanks to a newly added "special" button that puts it to use: An offensive sidestep into an attack by pressing up or down in tandem with the special button, do a "Break Hold" universal hold counterattack by pressing back and the special button. Finally, you can execute a powerful "Break Blow" by either pressing towards the opponent and the special, or automatically at the end of a four-hit special button auto-combo, assuming the Break Gauge is full. These Break Blows are incredibly flashy, packing a serious punch both in lifebar and visual damage to the opponent. It's hard not to feel a bit demoralized when you're watching your fighter get physically wrecked by a secret ninja skill or a fist to an extremely vulnerable face--but it's super rewarding to push that same humiliation onto your foe.

The Break Gauge is a great addition to the game, as it's easy to understand and doesn't require a lot of execution beyond knowing when to use each special technique. All of these techniques are useful; the sidestep attacks can screw up somebody fishing for you to mess up a hold counter, the Break Hold can take some of the guesswork out of hold counters (and counter an opponent's Break Blow), and Break Blows just look cool and satisfying as hell… well, provided you can land them.

But the Break Blows aren't the only flashy thing about DoA6's combat. The series is known for having some pretty wild combat arenas, and DoA6's lush battlefields might be some of the craziest yet. They include a dilapidated theme park overrun by dinosaurs, a moss-encrusted battleship being assaulted by an angry kraken, and a multi-car pile-up with some very volatile vehicles that might go kaboom when someone touches them. These stages are littered with specific danger zones that both play an amusing cinematic and deal extra combat damage to an enemy when you send them flying into one with a well-placed blow. In some cases, you can even pull off unique combos with the aid of danger zones; the aforementioned dinosaur stage features an angry pterodactyl mama who will hoist a fighter into the air before dropping them again, setting them up for a big juggle combo. Alas, while the really nutty stages are quite memorable, most are a lot more sedate, and the stage selection as a whole feels somewhat lacking.

DoA6 also offers plenty of minor tweaks to the moment-to-moment gameplay, and options to make the game more beginner-friendly (such as simplifying the game's hold counterattack system inputs), but the most important thing is that the fighting just feels good. The rock-paper-scissors element of the holds-throws-attacks balance works nicely into gameplay with smooth animation that feeds into a seamless flow of combat. Every character offers something unique in terms of their fighting style, but once you have the basics down, it's not too hard to learn another character if you're not feeling who you're currently playing with. And while I'm not terribly fond of the designs of the two new characters (street brawler Diego is terribly generic, and blue-haired anime teen scientist NiCO looks like she belongs in a different game entirely), they both bring something new to the table in terms of their combat abilities.

Where DoA6 falters, however, is in its single-player content. Story Mode isn't too bad; the cinematics mostly use the in-game graphics engine, further showcasing DoA6's strong visuals, and the game wisely has an optional tutorial feature that teaches you basic strings for each character you'll assume control of so you're not thrust into blind combat. However, the weird multi-timeline presentation is a mess both in terms of interface and storytelling, leading to a confusing series of events that oscillates wildly between serious drama and goofy comedy.

Then there's the other big single-player mode, DOA Quest: a series of themed battles that offer in-game rewards, like parts for new character costumes and in-game money used to purchase and view extra story content. By completing sub-objectives in these battles-- like landing a specific attack a certain number of times or beating a quest within a time limit--you earn additional rewards and unlock more quests to attempt.

DoA6 also offers plenty of minor tweaks to the moment-to-moment gameplay, and options to make the game more beginner-friendly, but the most important thing is that the fighting just feels good.

DOA Quest isn't a bad idea on its own, but the game's grindy, frustrating unlock system turns a fine little challenge mode into an absolute chore. The main thing you'll want to use DOA Quest (and other single-player modes like Arcade Mode) for is unlocking character costumes and customization options, of which there are many. However, you'll soon discover that when you earn points that go towards unlocking new outfits, you have absolutely no say in where they will go. You could earn 300 costume points in a quest featuring Zack, for example, and those points you earn would go towards unlocking a random costume for Hayabusa instead--meaning you invested time and effort to earn partial rewards for a character you potentially don't care about. This happens a lot. To add insult to injury, even when you do get enough points to open up a costume for a character, you still have to pay earned in-game money to actually buy and wear it. It's an extremely ill-thought-out grind that sucks all of the reward out of playing single-player.

As of the time of this writing, the game's online servers haven't gone live, so we are waiting to see how the game's netcode and online interface stacks up before finalizing the review. For the time being, though, we can say that DoA6 is a fun, engaging fighter with great-feeling, easy-to-pick-up combat, a strong sense of visual style, and a lot of personality. If you're looking for a new fighting game to learn the ins and outs of--or perhaps a nice entry into the 3D side of fighting games--DoA6 is a fighter of choice.

Categories: Games

Devotion Review

Gamespot News Feed - Thu, 02/28/2019 - 22:17

The most effective horror can seep its way into the mundanity of our everyday lives, ruminating beneath the surface before wrapping its malevolent tendrils around our sense of comfort and familiarity. Years after it was removed from sale, the bite-sized slice of P.T. we were privy to still manages to evoke those trembling feelings of unease more potently than almost any other horror game since--making each trip around that unremarkable L-shaped corridor an intimidating test of nerves. Devotion, a new psychological horror game from Taiwanese developer Red Candle Games, evokes P.T.'s terrifying spirit to paint an inventive, thought-provoking, and insidious portrait of family life within the claustrophobic confines of a small Taiwanese apartment.

Set throughout the 1980s, Devotion focuses on a strained family of three: struggling screenwriter Du Feng Yu, retired singer and movie star Li Fang, and their sickly young daughter Mei Shin, who aspires to be like her mother. The game predominantly takes place within the five rooms of their modest apartment, with a narrative that takes you on a distressing tour through the years and various configurations of this intimate space. The attention to detail in each facet of the apartment is striking, as every nook and cranny is thoughtfully assembled to replicate an authentic, lived-in home. There are old newspapers being used as makeshift tablecloths, pencils and discarded scripts messily strewn across desks, a corridor that's extravagantly decorated with the haphazard art of Meh Shin and her litany of crayons, and a calendar hung above the CRT TV that notates significant dates in the family's lives. Each detail, no matter how meaningful or insignificant, establishes and effectively reinforces Devotion's disconcerting sense of familiarity. This nuanced sense of place ensures that whenever your eyes are averted elsewhere and the apartment begins to shift and transcend its limitations--sometimes dramatically, other times subtly--it's all the more unnerving when you turn around and come face-to-face with a surreal distortion.

Click image to view in full screen

All of these details, from the apartment's transforming arrangement of rooms, its varying lighting, the tempestuous weather rattling away at the windows outside, and the way the building mutates around you, are all in service of Red Candle's profound storytelling. The central tale is intimately focused on the family of three, but Devotion manages to weave a tangled web that deftly examines the impact that mental illness, societal pressure and expectations, and religious fanaticism can have on a beleaguered family. For as much as Devotion is about its characters and the fantastic way their development coalesces with that of the ever-changing apartment--with the increasingly dishevelled rooms acting as a poignant metaphor for the family--it's also about a specific time and place; delving into the role of women in 1980's Taiwan, feminine beauty standards, the infancy of mental health research and the stigmas attached to it, and the sometimes dangerous faith desperate people will place in religion. Explorations of Taoism and Buddhism might not completely resonate with a Western audience, but the story is told in such a way that it's relatively easy to read through the lines and understand the awful, heartbreaking extremes people are willing to go to for those they love.

Taiwanese developer Red Candle Games, evokes P.T.'s terrifying spirit to paint an inventive, thought-provoking, and insidious portrait of family life

Impassioned voice acting brings Devotion's limited number of cutscenes to life, but most of the story is told through the myriad items you gather, read, and manipulate as you traverse through different variations of the family home during 1980, 1985, and 1986. Puzzle solving is relatively straightforward, with any items you find inevitably being used to solve a particular conundrum. All of your interactions are geared towards unravelling the mystery of exactly what happened within the unassuming walls of this family home. A note you found earlier might inform a scene later on, while coming to understand the family's relationship with one another will gradually evolve the context and meaning of certain trinkets aside from the revelations discovered in its most gut-punching moments. Devotion might be mechanically simple--knowing to put a camera on a tripod isn't going to wrack your brain, for example--but its strengths come from simply immersing you in a place with an engaging story you'll want to see through to its conclusion. There are a couple of jump scares, but they feel earned within the oppressive atmosphere achieved through ominous music, sounds, and unsettling imagery, with striking motifs tracing everything back to the family's shattered lives.

Unlike a lot of contemporary horror games, Devotion also resists the temptation to dabble in frustrating trial-and-error stealth sections or monotonous conflicts with monsters in an attempt to heighten any perceived sense of excitement. There is one regrettable chase scene late in the game, which is undeniably Devotion's lowest point, but it's also brief and easy enough that it doesn't overstay its welcome. At three hours in length it's feasible to reach the end credits in one sitting, and that might be the ideal way to experience it. The pacing is almost immaculate aside from a plodding stroll towards the game's final act, but even this is easy to push to the back of your mind once you've reached its stunning conclusion.

Devotion doesn't quite match the anxiety-inducing frights that permeate each cautious step forward in games like P.T. and Amnesia: The Dark Descent, but its domestic terror burrows deep inside your psyche long after the final credits have rolled. The sorrowful story it tells meshes malice with tenderness, metaphor with stark truths, and achieves it all with the nuanced kind of environmental storytelling other games can only strive for. There are moments when it jumps out of the genre completely, surprising you with a sudden tonal shift, and others where the oftentimes clichéd presence of a children's doll is used to signal a character's poignant detachment. Everything Devotion does is in service of this story and its character development; you learn about these people's lives, empathize with their plight, and come to understand their actions, even if you don't agree with them. Home is where the heart is, and Devotion is a shining example of what the horror genre is capable of.

[Editor's note: At the time of publishing Devotion is not available to purchase on Steam. The game was pulled by Red Candle Games, which stated this was due to "technical issues that cause unexpected crashes and among other reasons." The game was also caught up in a controversy surrounding art in the game which looked to be based on a meme of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Addressing this, Red Candle Games said "our team would also review our game material once again making sure no other unintended materials was inserted." The game is expected to be made available again in the future.]

Categories: Games

New Details On The Odd Licensed Title

Game Informer News Feed - Thu, 02/28/2019 - 22:00

Publisher: Sony Pictures VR Developer: Tequila Works Release: 2019 Platform: PlayStation VR, Rift, Vive

That Groundhog Day: Like Father Like Son exists is an enigma. The 1993 film starring Bill Murray, who plays a character trapped in a one-day time loop, is beloved, and creating a sequel to that story more than two decades later – in the form of a video game, mind you – was no small feat, requiring a rare confluence between both the games industry and Hollywood. We got to chat with the teams creating the follow-up to that story about their vision for the game.

Groundhog Day VR is set about two decades after the 1993 film. Players take on the role of Phil Connors Jr., the son of the movie's protagonist, who is stuck in a one-day time loop just like his father. Tequila Works, the developer behind games like Rime and The Invisible Hours, is helming the game’s production, and creative director Raúl Rubio knew early on he wanted to tell the story of the son instead of the father.

“We decided to tell Phil Jr.’s story, because Phil Sr. is kind of an amazing person,” Rubio says. “He’s loved by everyone. In his little universe, he’s God. For your children, that must be the worst experience ever, because you are growing up in the shadow of a perfect man. Phil Jr. has daddy issues.”

While Groundhog Day VR tells an original story, the team still intends to retain the film’s core themes. Tequila Works spent a lot of time early in production talking with Danny Rubin, one of the film’s writers, trying to understand the core of the original script.

“We asked all the fanboy questions we wanted to ask,” Rubio says.

When we asked what causes Connors Jr.’s time loops, the team was hush hush, but it did explain a little more of the game’s design.

Phil Jr. is an “a--hole” at the beginning of the game, according to Rubio. To break out of his time loop, which starts at 6 a.m. and resets at midnight, he has to explore the town of Punxsutawney, interacting with the residents to learn their dreams, goals, and fears, to ultimately help them solve their own problems. The team describes the game as a Metroidvania – interacting with the world each day teaches you new things that allows you to make progress during the next loop.

“We’re playing with the idea that the player is evolving as they learn about the world that they’re in,” says Jake Zim, the senior VP of virtual reality at Sony Pictures Entertainment who first identified the film as a good opportunity for a VR experience. “When we looked at Groundhog Day, we thought, ‘What is this about?’ It’s about this character’s evolution from being a piece of sh-- to turning into someone who really cares about the world and people around him. There’s something fun about playing with the evolution of a player – how a player goes through a game, and learns new things, and solves puzzles, and becomes more aware of their world.”

There is a day/night cycle in Groundhog Day VR, but time only moves forward when players participate in certain scenes and setpieces. Your in-game phone tracks the time certain events take place and maintains records of the Punxsutawney denizens you interact with, so you too can reference new information in each time loop that follows. Scenes happen in real-time, too – Rubio says characters won’t wait around for you to do something, so you need to be mindful of how you spend your free time.

You can spend some of that free time learning new skills, like playing the piano. Rubio explains minigames aren’t menial and require actual skill. In the case of the piano, it will require players to actually learn and understand music.

We asked about potential returning cast members from the film that inspired the game, but the team was particularly tight-lipped on this topic. 

“There are obviously challenges with bringing cast [members] back to a certain degree. We’re really focused on the new cast and the new generation that we have here… all the kids,” Zim says. “There are callbacks, but the real focus is on driving forward this new cast. I don’t want to make any promises. We think we have a great game and a great cast, and everything is really packaged to be what we want it to be. But you never know…”

We also asked if I Got You Babe, the song that played on the radio every time Phil Connors woke up in Groundhog Day, would make it into the game. Tequila Works says there is a licensed song that plays every time you wake up, but wouldn’t reveal the title, except for that it’s part of Sony’s catalogue.

Groundhog Day: Like Father Like Son is a strange fusion of games and film that we never would have predicted. While it plays on an established narrative trope – being stuck in a nightmarish time loop until the protagonist confronts their moral shortcomings – we’re excited to put on our headsets and explore Punxsutawney ourselves; to experience that trope in a way that hasn’t been explored before.

Groundhog Day VR will launch on PSVR, HTC Vive, and Oculus Rift sometime in 2019. You can listen to our full interview with the team in this episode of The Game Informer Show. In the world of VR, there's a new Angry Birds game for you to wreak havoc in. And hilariously, a VR game called Apex Construct is seeing a boost in sales thanks to players mistaking it for Apex Legends.

Categories: Games

A Mountain Biking Game Designed For Speedrunners

Game Informer News Feed - Thu, 02/28/2019 - 21:00

Publisher: Thunderful Developer: Megagon Industries Release: 2019 Rating: Rating Pending Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC, Mac

Trials Rising might come to mind when thinking about biking games in 2019, but the upcoming Lonely Mountains: Downhill is taking a quieter approach to the genre. The third-person experience opts for pedal mountain biking rather than motorized power, forgoing Trials’ fireworks and bombastic setpieces. Instead, Lonely Mountains drops you at the top of stylized versions of real-world mountains, tasking you with a simple goal: reach the bottom.

The paths down each mountain are not straightforward – every slope offers branching paths that convene at checkpoints where you save your progress. If you crash, you restart at your last checkpoint at the time you initially reached it. You can take the clearly defined, safer routes where you’re less likely to crash, or try to find hidden shortcuts by prayerfully hopping down the sides of cliffs. Shortcuts aren’t always easy to discover and require some experimentation (a.k.a. crashing), but they significantly cut down the time it takes to reach each checkpoint. Lonely Mountains: Downhill will be a paradise for speedrunners who enjoy the challenge of finding fast routes.

Your main goal is always to reach the bottom of the mountain, but each location has an assortment of side objectives. Some are goal-based, like One-Life-Mode, which reduces you to one life; others are time-based, challenging you to race down the mountain as fast as possible. Completing these side objectives unlocks different bikes with varying stats. Some have lower stability and agility but offer higher shock absorption, which allows you to land trickier jumps when navigating shorter, off-the-beaten-path routes. Others can reach higher acceleration but have lower grip. 

Completing each mountain’s side objectives rewards you with new bike parts, and you also unlock outfits for your avatar, paint jobs for your bike, and new mountains to descend. We tested our mettle on a whitewashed Alps mountainside, in addition to a sun-soaked, rocky path in Redmoor Peaks, Colorado. Unlike the Trials series, Lonely Mountains’ environments are quiet spaces. There are no spectators – no camera flashes. There’s no music, either, which helps build the game’s sense of solitude.

For as many moments of meditative ambience we experienced in our hands-on time, there were as many moments of intensity: we’d cheer when our bikes survived drops down cliff faces, and our muscles would tense when, instead of hitting the brakes every few yards, we’d flirt with acceleration down paths that we should have crashed on. Several times, we burst into laughter after crashing into a cactus or tree we thought we could avoid. Crashing and having to restart at checkpoints never felt punishing, but since we only experienced the game’s first two mountains, we’re curious to see if the difficulty at other locations feels equally fair.

Lonely Mountains Downhill launches later this year for PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC, Mac, and Linux.

Categories: Games

Newest Destiny 2 ViDoc Explores Season Of The Drifter And Gambit Prime

Game Informer News Feed - Thu, 02/28/2019 - 20:30
Publisher: Activision Developer: Bungie Release: September 6, 2017 Rating: Teen Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Bungie has released a ViDoc going into details on their next planned content for Destiny 2, some of the biggest new content for the game since the studio split with Activision and brought Destiny 2 with them in the process. It looks to spell out new lore for an existing character and make some exciting changes to Gambit mode.

The upcoming updates focus on Season of the Drifter. The enigmatic character will get his chance to shine after his introduction in Forsaken as players get to understand the Drifter and his motivations better. We'll also learn more about  "The Nine," and their emissary with new details promised by Bungie.

Two new Gambit maps are going into circulation as the mode itself is evolving. A higher-tier, more competitive version of the mode called Gambit Prime is being introduced. Gambit Prime will have boss-like encounters and let Guardians play more structured roles as dictated by the type of armor they're wearing.

A new PvE mode called The Reckoning is being introduced for players who are looking for a bit of extra challenge, as the chaotic and fast-moving gameplay will pit you against hordes of enemies spawning around you constantly. Guardians have to survive the countdown to get to higher difficulty tiers and unlock the armor that you'll use for the Gambit Prime mode.

Check out the ViDoc below for more details.

Click here to watch embedded media

Seasons of the Drifter starts in just a few days on March 5.

Categories: Games

Even A Devil May Spoil

Game Informer News Feed - Thu, 02/28/2019 - 19:15
Publisher: Capcom Developer: Capcom Release: March 8, 2019 Rating: Mature Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

We're a week out from the launch of Devil May Cry 5, Capcom's first numbered sequel in the series in over a decade. The stylish action game is shaping up to be the magnum opus of the series, both playfully referencing and fundamentally integrating every game in the main series so far. Ahead of the game's launch, Capcom is releasing an incredibly spoiler-heavy release trailer. Many, many parts of this trailer come from after the game's midway point and should not be watched by people looking to come into the game fresh.

I'm not kidding, don't watch this trailer if you don't want to be spoiled on Devil May Cry 5's story.

For everyone else, I'm posting this in case you don't care about the spoilers or need to be pushed off the fence. You can find the final trailer for the game below.

Click here to watch embedded media

The final trailer shows a bit of (presumably) Dante's backstory, multiple confrontations with the villainous Urizen, characters pleading for final wishes, and the return of a character important to the Devil May Cry series. It definitely goes whole hog in showing off most of the game's dramatic moments.

Devil May Cry 5 releases on March 8 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

Categories: Games