Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum 'n' Fun / Drum Session Review - Rhythm Party

Gamespot News Feed - Tue, 11/20/2018 - 23:38

The Taiko no Tatsujin games are staples of Japanese arcades, and once you see them, they're hard to forget: gigantic cabinets shining with bright lights, faux-paper lanterns surrounding a screen, and two huge taiko drums you use to play. It's an experience you can't easily recreate at home, but that hasn't stopped Bandai Namco from trying with Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum Session on PS4 and Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum 'n' Fun on the Switch--the first home console versions of Taiko games to reach the West in over a decade.

This isn't the first time Bandai Namco has brought over Taiko no Tatsujin--it released Taiko Drum Master on PS2 back in 2004--but it is the first time it's made the trek overseas with its Japanese tracklists intact. It's also available as two distinct versions for separate consoles, both with different tracklists, features, and play modes. The basic gameplay, however, is the same in each.

That gameplay is deceptively simple. Beats will roll along the top of the screen, and you need to hit the drum in certain ways in order to produce different sounds; hit the center for a deep boom, the rim for a lighter clack, and use both drumsticks at once on either the center or the rim for a stronger overall noise. Having just a single instrument with simple inputs might make the game seem easy at first, but once you move on to some of the harder difficulties, you'll be challenged with rapid-fire sound switches, incredibly fast beats, and gimmicks that challenge you to whack that drum as fast and as hard as you can. It's a ton of fun once you get the knack of it, and seeing a party of cute little yokai and personified taiko spirits emerge in a cheering frenzy when you've got a massive combo going is always satisfying.

Of course, the home versions are missing something from that above description--the drum. There's a custom drum controller that can be used with the game that recreates the arcade controls somewhat, but since it's not available outside of Asia as of this writing (even though the North American game supports it), you'll need to make do with either pressing controller buttons for drum hits, tapping an on-screen drum using the Switch's touch functionality, or using the motion control function of the Switch Joy-Cons to simulate using drumsticks on a virtual drum. (For Drum Session on PS4, your options are considerably more limited; you either press the controller buttons or spend an arm and a leg importing a drum controller. There's no Move support, either.)

All of these control schemes have their ups and downs. Controller button input is very accurate but doesn't really deliver the experience of drumming, and touch-screen input results in a chunk of the screen being taken up by a virtual drum. Joy-Con input is probably the most fun in that it comes closest to the feel of drumming, but at more difficult song levels it tends to be plagued with inaccurate input readings, so it's not recommended for tracks with rapid notes.

No matter what input you choose, though, you'll be playing one of many songs from the variety-filled tracklist. You won't find much in the way of familiar American pop hits here, save for a Japanese version of Let it Go or Moana's theme song; the tracklist has been brought over straight from Japan with little in the way of alterations. That means you can enjoy covers of Japanese pop hits like Zenzenzense, Linda Linda, and One Night Carnival, along with a handful of possibly-familiar anime themes (Pop Team Epic, Evangelion, Dragon Ball Z), game music, classical remixes, Vocaloid songs, and a whole mess of original Namco music. The lack of Western songs can be a bit daunting at first, but there's plenty of variety overall, and the original Namco compositions tend to be quite good.

Overall, the PS4 tracklist is significantly more robust, offering more tunes in each category, along with a lot of optional DLC songs. However, it's disappointing that some of the best tunes, like classic Namco game music medleys and beloved Vocaloid songs like Senbonzakura, are DLC-only. The Switch tracklist is smaller and differs a fair bit, but offers exclusive Nintendo songs like the Super Mario Odyssey theme, a Splatoon medley, and a Kirby medley. Overall, though, Drum 'n' Fun's tracklist isn't quite as strong as that of its PS4 counterpart, Drum Session, even with taking into consideration a tiny smattering of DLC songs. If musical variety is your key selling point and you don’t find forking over a bit extra for DLC, you’ll probably want to look at the PS4 version first.

What Drum 'n' Fun does have that its PS4 brother doesn't, however, are plenty of mini-games and unlockables. While the core game only supports local two-player play (four if everyone brings their own Switch with a copy of the game), up to four players can join in to enjoy a huge variety of competitive and cooperative rhythm-based mini-games. These range from simple party games such as jumping rope to the theme of classic Namco arcade game Hopping Mappy or running through a side-scrolling stage picking up food to more complex challenges like preparing sushi orders or cooking on a grill to a beat.

These party games are very fun overall, taking a noticeable influence in both theming and gameplay from Nintendo's own fan-favorite Rhythm Heaven series. Plus, playing them unlocks additional content, such as songs and player-aiding avatar characters, in the main game, so there's plenty of incentive to get a bunch of buddies together and play some Taiko rhythm volleyball.

Taiko no Tatsujin in any form is a solid rhythm game package that's easy to get into and rewarding the more you play it.

The PS4 version doesn’t have these minigames; instead, it focuses on a deeper music game experience. Besides the bigger song selection, it offers an online mode where you can download other players' "ghost" input data for songs to compete against. (If you want a direct head-to-head battle, however, you’ll need to do local play.) You also have a little personified Taiko avatar you can customize with goofy costumes and collectible items, which you get from lootboxes you can buy with currency earned in-game.

Overall, Taiko no Tatsujin in any form is a solid rhythm game package that's easy to get into and rewarding the more you play it--provided you're down with a mostly-unfamiliar tracklist. The inclusion of numerous mini-games and local multiplayer support gives Drum 'n' Fun an edge over Drum Session for people who want an offbeat (pun not intended) party game to play with their buddies before busting out some Head Cha-La or Heat Haze Shadow. While the various non-drum-controller control schemes aren't always optimal, the Switch version offers many nice options to pick from--and if you just want to play a couple of standard-difficulty songs with pals before competing in four-player noodle-slurping, motion controls prove to be plenty enjoyable. But if you've been longing for a quirky, enjoyable multiplayer music game, either version should scratch the itch quite nicely.

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Game Informer News Feed - Tue, 11/20/2018 - 19:35

Bandai Namco has revealed the newest character for Jump Force, the Shonen Jump-based arena fighter bringing in characters from the magazine's long history. This time, both Himura Kenshin and Makoto Shishio from the 1994 manga Ruroni Kenshin are joining in for the crossover fighting game.

In Rurouni Kenshin, protagonist Kenshin was a former soldier/assassin renown for his swordsmanship, but was used by the military primarily to kill. As a consequence, a more adult Kenshin created a special blade with a blunt side facing forward so that he could defeat opponents without murdering them. Shishio is the primary villain from the manga's Kyoto arc, covered head-to-toe in bandages after being burned by the government.

While there is no video yet, presumably both characters will play with sword styles hewing close to their anime adaptations.

The manga Rurouni Kenshin is actually still running in a different form, as creator Nobuhiro Watsuki approached Shonen Jump in the mid-2000s with the intention to remake Kenshin with a modern sensibility. In 2017, Watsuki was arrested for possession of child pornography with a number of underage DVDs so large that prosecutors assumed he had an intent to distribute, but eventually ruled that he was collecting it for himself. Watsuki himself admitted an attraction to elementary school girls in a deposition. He was fined the equivalent of $1900 and continues to work on Rurouni Kenshin at Shonen Jump today.

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Game Informer News Feed - Tue, 11/20/2018 - 14:38

Square Enix released another new trailer for Kingdom Hearts III (November 29 on Xbox One and PS4), further highlighting its partnership with Disney and Pixar, bringing in everything from Wreck-It Ralph to Frozen into Sora's battle against darkness.

For more on the game, check out the recent Winnie the Pooh trailer.

[Source: Square Enix]

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Game Informer News Feed - Mon, 11/19/2018 - 20:05

Koei Tecmo held a Dead or Alive tournament last night where the developer made new announcements for the game, including a new character by the name of NiCO. Dubbed the Lightning Technomancer, the inexplicably 18-year-old scientist shows off her story relevancy and fighting moves in the trailer. Before that, though, the footage also reintroduces Helena's half-sister Kokoro and also scientist Lisa back to the game.

Check out the trailer below.

NiCO's glasses can be knocked off during the battle, much like most accessories characters wear. She's the second new character announced for the title, after Diego was revealed earlier this year in August. Considering the proximity to launch, NiCO might be the last new character for the game, with the rest of the roster mostly being returning characters from Dead or Alive 5.

Dead or Alive 6 is releasing on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on February 15.

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New Resident Evil 2 Footage Shows Claire Sneaking Past Lickers

Game Informer News Feed - Mon, 11/19/2018 - 19:05

PlayStation Underground, Sony's official PlayStation news source, has put up new footage of Resident Evil 2, which they're calling Licker gameplay. That is definitely the most succinct name you can give it, as the 15-minute footage of Claire and Sherry stalking through the halls of the Raccoon City Police Department and meeting some real monsters beyond Lickers is a lot to take in. 

You can check out the new footage below.

One of the noticeable changes is how much the Lickers being blind seems to affect their gameplay now. In the original release of Resident Evil 2, the Lickers were blind in theory, but there was little practical way to take advantage of this. There were very few rooms where you could walk slowly without firing another shot to keep from alerting them, but the remake seems to design areas specifically to let you do this. 

The footage also shows off the interesting gore tech and how it affects gameplay. At one point a zombie comes at Claire with his arms reaching for her and she shoots his hand. The zombie puts his arms down and the shot hand falls off a few seconds later.

Resident Evil 2 releases on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on January 25.

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Game Informer News Feed - Mon, 11/19/2018 - 17:42

The third installment of the Darksiders series is coming out next week. In anticipation of the launch, THQ Nordic released a three-minute intro to prepare you for the battle. Watch the video below to remind yourself of the characters and the world before picking up the game.

Darksiders III releases November 27 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Watch our Darksiders III interview with David Adams to get the latest scoop on the game. You can also read about the two already-announced post-game DLC pieces for Darksiders III here. 

[Source: THQ Nordic]

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New Just Cause 4 Trailer Dives Into Biomes, Microjets, And Destructibility

Game Informer News Feed - Fri, 11/16/2018 - 20:04

The latest Just Cause 4 trailer has dropped, and with it, fans of the destructive, high-octane South American sandbox should have plenty of reasons be excited for the latest installment.

Set in the fictional city of Solis, the trailer showcases the new playable landmass which Avalanche Studios says will be the largest in series history, brimming with diverse biomes modeled after real-life South American geography. Built around its new Apex Engine the trailer also gives fans another glimpse into the new extreme weather systems, giving us blizzards and tornadoes, as Rico Rodriguez drop kicks enemies using his now-upgradeable grappling hook and fires off rounds with what appears to be a railgun. 

Promising more weapons, vehicles, and destructibility than ever before, Avalanche says this Just Cause will be a “landmark entry in the series,” and the way the trailer looks, this doesn’t seem too far off the mark. But you don’t have to take our word for it, check out the trailer below to see all the beautiful, over-the-top destruction for yourself.

Just Cause 4 is slated to release December 4 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. For all the latest news and info on Rico's latest adventure, be sure to grapple your way over to our Just Cause 4 news hub.

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One Piece: World Seeker Trailer Announces March Release Date, Shows Off Gum Gum Abilities And Skill Tree

Game Informer News Feed - Fri, 11/16/2018 - 17:55

Get ready to stretch and glide around as Luffy in a big open world, as One Piece: World Seeker has been slated for a March release.

The new trailer shows off Luffy's Gum Gum abilities he can use for exploration and traversal, as well as for combat. We also get a glimpse of the skill tree players can work through over the course of the adventure.

You can see these and more in the trailer below.

One Piece: World Seeker launches on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on March 15.

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Battlefield 5 Review In Progress - On The Front Lines

Gamespot News Feed - Thu, 11/15/2018 - 23:48

Editor’s note: We are waiting to finalize this review until we are able to test Battlefield V’s server stability with more players and see if certain bugs persist after initial patches upon release. While the free Tides of War updates for Battlefield V are scheduled through March 2019, we are evaluating the game based on what is currently available as of its November 2018 launch. Look out for our final review in the coming soon.

Chaos and scale have always been the foundation of the Battlefield franchise, and Battlefield V is no different. Squads of soldiers relentlessly push towards objectives with either sheer force or improvised tactics while gunfire and explosions ring throughout the beautiful, but war-torn landscapes. It's an overwhelming sensory experience and a fine execution of a familiar formula--if you play the right modes.

Battlefield V goes back to where the franchise began by using World War II's European theater as the backdrop for first-person shooting and vehicular combat in large multiplayer matches. It's not too dissimilar to Battlefield 1, where every weapon has a distinct weight and impact hat comes through vividly in both sight and sound. The core conceits of Battlefield remain mostly untouched, but small tweaks have been made to the formula, most of which are welcome.

Ground troops are even more deadly this time around, with a revamped ballistics model (random bullet deviation is gone) that results in reduced time-to-kill for skilled players; floundering in open areas is now more dangerous than ever. Navigating the maps' messy terrain has a smooth, intuitive feel whether you're mantling obstacles or scrambling for cover. All players regardless of class can revive squadmates and highly encourages sticking together and alleviates the disappointment of dying without a medic around. Since it takes a few precious seconds to perform a revive and is limited to squadmates, it doesn't negate the importance of the Medic class' instant revive. The ability to spot enemies is now exclusive to the sniper-focused Recon class by using the manual spotting scope or having the subclass perk to reveal enemies you fire upon.

Another new mechanic introduced in Battlefield V is Fortifications, which consists of building predetermined structures--like sandbag walls, barbed wire coils, and Czech hedgehogs--within the environment. There are no resources tied to your ability to construct them, though the Support class builds much faster than other classes and can prop up a stationary gun in certain spots. Overall, building fortifications feels a bit tacked on and inconsequential given the pace of some modes, but there's no denying their effectiveness in the right situations. Something as simple as improvised sandbags for a little cover can go a long way by turning a sitting duck into a well-positioned defender who can better hold down an objective when every other building's been reduced to rubble.

As impactful as Attrition sounds, it's not so overbearing as to drastically shake up Battlefield's core, though it does make going rogue less viable.

Above all else, Battlefield V truly shines in Grand Operations, a series of three consecutive matches (or rounds) intertwined by brief narrative bits inspired by WWII events. Each round, presented as one in-game day in the same theater of war, is a specific game mode, and teams can earn reinforcement bonuses for certain rounds depending on the outcome of the previous one. The narrative dress-up is a nice touch, but the real reason Grand Operations works is because it keeps up the momentum from round to round and packages a variety of the game modes into one long match, encouraging you to see it through.

The success of Grand Operations should be primarily accredited to the more focused, well-executed modes like Airborne, Frontlines, and Breakthrough. Frontlines in particular plays out like a tug-of-war; teams fight over varied objectives in sequential order within defined sections of a map, depending on the phase of the match. Teams will struggle to hold capture points in sequence to push the other back, and other phases may be demolition-style attack/defend skirmishes. The opportunity to push back a phase also makes it so you can regain ground if your back is against the wall; by the same token, you can't get too comfortable with a lead.

These game types aren't entirely new; Frontlines was seen in Battlefield 1 DLC and borrows elements from Rush and Conquest, and Grand Operations is a variation--albeit improved--on the original Operations in Battlefield 1. However, the tools and mechanics built around Battlefield V along with how map dynamics shift at each phase make them an absolute thrill to play. It accentuates the best features of the map roster, and also makes the moment to moment firefights distinct since they're concentrated across different sections. The structure of modes like Frontlines naturally ushers a team's attention to a handful of clear objectives at a time and provides a method to the madness, creating a satisfying push-and-pull where success feels earned.

As great as Grand Operations is, the series staple of Conquest has become the weakest link. This traditional mode has devolved into a match-long carousel of flag captures, easy kills, and cheap deaths. Maps like Twisted Steel and Arras function well enough for Conquest, but that leaves a majority of the eight available maps lacking. Narvik, Fjell 652, and Devastation feel too condensed for the high player count and mechanics of Conquest; the action hardly ever stops, but cramming everyone together in compact, circular maps means you're often caught from behind or flanked by enemies that simply stumbled upon that fruitful opportunity. It goes both ways, as you'll frequently find yourself catching enemy squads with their backs turned because you lucked into a certain spawn and ran off in the right direction.

The success of Grand Operations should be primarily accredited to the more focused, well-executed modes like Airborne, Frontlines, and Breakthrough.

Battlefield V is also rough in spots. A few bugs are forgivable, like wild ragdoll physics, but some are more problematic. On rare occasions, the map goes blank when enlarging it, or health packs just don't work. Very rarely would you have to revive a squadmate by a door, but when this happens, you're likely to only get the prompt to interact with the door, leaving your friend to die. Thankfully, these issues are not enough to overshadow the game's best parts.

Regardless of your preferred mode of play, you'll be earning XP for a number of separate progression paths. There's overall rank, class rank, individual weapon rank, and for good measure, each tank and plane has its own rank as well. There isn't a whole lot to unlock for weapons given the WWII setting, but leveling up weapon proficiencies lets you customize them to your play style, like choosing greater hip-fire accuracy, faster reload, quicker aim-down-sights, or less recoil in ADS. Various weapons and pieces of equipment (such as the spawning beacon for Recon or the anti-tank grenade for Assault) unlock as you rank up classes. It's a fairly sensible system, though the same can't be said about vehicle progression. Vehicles are tough to come by in Battlefield V as it is and since each one ranks separately, it takes an extra-concerted effort to level them up. There are some useful perks to obtain for vehicles that can provide a slight disadvantage, but it can be a struggle to acquire them.

The structure of modes like Frontlines naturally ushers a team's attention to a handful of clear objectives at a time and provides a method to the madness, creating a satisfying push-and-pull where success feels earned.

Aside from weapon skins, you'll customize each class's appearance for both Allies and Axis. It's the cosmetic aspect where you can fit yourself with different parts of uniforms, though it doesn't bear much fruit since this is a first-person game that moves so fast, even your enemies won't really notice the 'rare' uniform you're wearing. Cosmetic customization is also how Company Coins, the in-game currency that you earn through completing challenges (daily orders or assignments) or completing matches, comes into play. Most cosmetics can be bought with Company Coins, which can be a grind to earn. You should note that unlocking weapon and vehicle perks are also tied to Company Coins, but at least they are relatively low-cost. There are no microtransactions at the moment, but they are said to coming in the future, and for cosmetics only.

Battlefield V isn't solely a multiplayer endeavor. War Stories returns as the single-player component that attempts to present a brutal conflict with a more earnest tone. The campaign highlights lesser-known parts of WWII, like the Norwegian resistance, and the Senegalese Tirailleurs who fought for the French Army amid racial discrimination. The effort is admirable, especially when it comes to the Tirailleur campaign as it sheds light on piece of history that has nearly been forgotten; the scale of Battlefield comes through in and the story speaks to the horrors of war. However, the campaign doesn't quite stick the landing in the end. Nordlys boils down to a mix of stealth and combat that casts you as a one-person army that's enjoyable at times, but doesn't go beyond lone-wolf skirmishes--at least it showcases some of the game's best setpieces. And the Under No Flag campaign for the English side is an eye-rolling series of tedious missions that goes for a lighthearted note that doesn't work. War Stories has its moments but is all over the place in tone and style.

The effort is admirable, especially when it comes to the Tirailleur campaign as it sheds light on piece of history that has nearly been forgotten.

Currently, Battlefield V still has features to implement as part of its game-as-a-service approach (designated Tides of War), but there's enough to chew on for now given the quality of the better modes. It's an exciting prospect that there's more to come at no additional cost, but you can't help but feel that the launch package could've been a bit more dense considering there's only eight maps. Additional modes (including co-op), new maps, another Grand Operations mission, and the Firestorm battle royale mode will be rolling out intermittently between now and March 2019. All that could make for the most feature-rich game in the series; unfortunately, we won't be able to evaluate those parts of the game until they arrive.

The Battlefield series has a winning formula that Battlefield V doesn't deviate far from, at least for now. Conquest and the map roster don't mesh well together, however, Grand Operations-- and the other modes within it--steal the show and foster some of the greatest moments the franchise has offered. You might be surprised by the impact of the slight changes made for Battlefield V, especially when you're deep into pushing objectives in Frontlines alongside teammates fulfilling their roles. That's when Battlefield is at its best.

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Left Alive's Character Trailer Shows Off The Interplay Between Protagonists

Game Informer News Feed - Thu, 11/15/2018 - 01:35

Square Enix dropped a new Left Alive trailer today, the newest game in the Front Mission universe that seems to be incredibly influenced by the Metal Gear Solid games. The title features multiple protagonists, survivors of a major military excursion in the city of Novo Slava, and interweaves the story between them, which the trailer does its best to show off.

You can check out the Survivors trailer below.

You also get a pretty good look at both the on-foot and mech gameplay of Left Alive, the first games of its type with the more strategy-based other Front Mission games. If the art reminds you of Metal Gear Solid as well, that's because Yoji Shinkawa of Metal Gear fame designed the characters.

Left Alive will be releasing on March 5 on PlayStation 4 and PC.

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God Eater 3's Intro Emphasizes Its Art Style

Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 11/14/2018 - 21:00

Bandai Namco has released the intro for God Eater 3 as its own separate trailer, so if three God Eater games down the line you still don't have a good sense of the series tone, this intro trailer will likely dispel all doubt for you. The intro was animated by animation studio Ufotable, which did the actual God Eater TV series. It's set to a track titled Stereo Future by idol group BiSH. 

Check it out below.

God Eater 3 is the first title in the series to be made entirely for console graphical standards, where previous games also included Vita versions, as well. The title is also the first game in the series to be developed by Marvelous, as the God Eater team from the previous games is currently working on Souls-like action game Code Vein, which has been delayed into 2018.

God Eater 3 releases on PlayStation 4 and PC on February 6.

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Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 11/14/2018 - 19:35

It would be difficult to set out to make a game like Contra and not have it look exactly like Contra, so why not just lean into it instead? That's pretty much what Blazing Chrome is setting out to do and it was obvious when we first took note of it at PAX East earlier this year, but every new trailer completely reinforces it. The developer has announced that you'll be running and gunning in early 2019 and have officially announced a Switch version will come in tow.

Check out the new environments trailer below.

Developer JoyMasher has announced that the game will be releasing in early 2019, just missing its 2018 target date. However, this does give time for the newly-announced Switch release to launch alongside the other versions, so you can take it on the go from day one.

Blazing Chrome releases on PlayStation 4, Switch, and PC early next year.

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Overkill's The Walking Dead Review - DOA

Gamespot News Feed - Wed, 11/14/2018 - 01:00

Despite appearances and obvious inspirations, Overkill's The Walking Dead often doesn't feel like a shooter at all. It takes the rules established by Robert Kirkman's comic series and its subsequent TV adaptation to heart in the wrong ways, imposing unbalanced rules on its missions that heavily restrict how you're able to play. Combined with a dizzying assortment of survival mechanics buried in unintuitive menus, meaningless customization options, and non-existent incentives to improve your gear, The Walking Dead feels unrefined and unfocused.

This iteration of The Walking Dead features a new cast of characters and little to no ties to the rest of the series' mythos. It's set in the heart of Washington D.C. as you establish a camp and attempt to survive as one of four playable characters. These characters are borderline lifeless, with no real stories of their own aside from previously released promotional material. Nothing about their personalities materializes through the game's story, and neither do stories between survivors within your own camp. The Walking Dead forces you to engage with your camp and its inhabitants between missions but gives you absolutely nothing to do or say to them, which makes it a struggle to care about their fates at all.

The overarching story is equally thin on details, with only slideshow animations and voiceovers providing context for each of your missions. The voice acting is monotone and dreary, the writing vague and uninteresting, merely existing only to give veiled purpose to the missions they precede without weaving a captivating story through them. Overkill plans to add more story content in the form of seasons, but its heartless premiere doesn't instill much confidence for where this story might go in the future.

In action, The Walking Dead presents itself as a first-person shooter, with the familiar trappings of cooperative play that games like Left 4 Dead and Payday successfully capture. But even though you might be equipped with two firearms and a melee weapon, The Walking Dead only encourages the use of the latter. Each main mission bears a meter that fills up whenever you make noise. Firing a weapon, triggering one of the many near-impossible-to-see traps, and even unavoidable enemy actions all contribute to this, and eventually summons waves of undead enemies towards you without reprieve.

The strength and scale of these waves is determined by one of three tiers that the meter bears, with each tier pushing you further towards insurmountable odds of failure. In fact, simply hitting the first tier makes most missions too difficult to continue, as the constantly spawning enemies can clutter the narrow linear walkways of most mission areas to the point of comedy. It's not uncommon to see doorways entirely blocked by hundreds of enemies, forcing you and your team to mindlessly chip away at the crowd only to have the same issue arise at the next chokepoint. It's wildly unbalanced and overly punishing, making most missions tediously long and frustrating.

Missions are diluted into more stealthy affairs as a result, which can be mildly entertaining when you're working closely with teammates. As part of a well-organized team you can keep noise to a minimum and circumvent enemies entirely, but it usually only takes one player not sticking to the script to ruin a run. Making matters worse, there's no support for voice chat in-game nor any other ways to communicate aside from text chat.

If The Walking Dead didn't make it feel mandatory to play with other people, this might not be as big of a problem as it seems. Missions are unnecessarily difficult to begin with but borderline impossible to play alone. The number of enemies doesn't scale and mission objectives don't change based on party size, making even early easy missions a chore to slog through without friends in tow. This is exacerbated by unreliable matchmaking; it's tough to find matches with other players currently, which can bring your progress through the game's story to a complete halt until you manage to find others to play with.

Even when you've overcome the technical hurdles of matchmaking and unnecessary difficulty spikes, The Walking Dead is just not engaging to play. Its missions all follow identical designs, populated by scores of undead enemies and sparse camps of armed human foes. You'll have to fight or avoid a group based on your strategy, then hunt for objects around the area to solve simple puzzles to progress. These puzzles never change beyond hunting down specific items and bringing them back to a location and are used as a poor method of pacing that just adds tedium to every mission. There are also no objective markers or other indications that would make these items easier to find, adding to the unnecessary frustration as you attempt to hunt down a single electrical fuse while enemies continually spawn around you.

In between standard story missions are simplistic wave-based survival modes where you'll have to fend off humans or the undead back at your home camp. This is the only mission type where you're free to work with the weapons you've unlocked, as noise isn't a factor. Gunplay emphasizes headshots, especially against zombie foes, and it can be exhilarating to pull off a string of them to down a small horde in no time. Outside of that, gunplay is mostly unremarkable, as are the weapons you'll find along the way. You're able to customize them with modifications, increasing range, damage, stability, and an abstract power value. These stats feel superfluous, and The Walking Dead never feeds them into its gameplay in a tangible way. It makes your starting weapons feel as effective as ones you've collected 10 hours in, which just makes the hunt for better loot meaningless.

The same can be said for the four playable characters. Each one has a unique gameplay mechanic, be it the ability to deploy medical kits for healing or flashbangs to blind enemies. Beyond physical items, each character also has their own unique skill tree that feeds into their type of playstyle. Aidan, who I spent most of my time playing, has skills that increase the amount of damage you can output when low on health, for example. But like the modifications to weapons, these skills never surface in a tangible way. No matter how many improvements to my personal stats I had unlocked, or which melee baseball bat I had equipped, zombies always required the same two light attacks or single heavy attack to kill.

From its restrictive mission structures, unbalanced difficulty and frustrating means of progression, The Walking Dead struggles to justify the time it requires from you.

The Walking Dead could easily be described as a management simulation as much as it can a first-person action game. Despite your camp feeling desolate and lifeless, you'll need to provide resources for upkeep costs, which impact your ability to progress. Your map is restricted by certain upgrades you've made to your camp, which can halt your progression and force tedious grinding to just continue with story missions. There's a frankly ridiculous number of upgrade trees to manage, pertaining to weapons training, medical facilities, radio outposts, and more. It's overwhelming trying to micromanage every aspect of your camp and frustrating that progression demands you engage with it regularly just to continue with missions. Coupled with unintuitive menus and a lack of teaching tools to guide you through all these subsystems, The Walking Dead doesn't make its secondary focus on survival management easy to parse or entertaining to engage with.

From its restrictive mission structures, unbalanced difficulty and frustrating means of progression, The Walking Dead struggles to justify the time it requires from you. It's a collection gameplay blueprints stacked upon one another without thoughtful consideration on how they might cohesively work together, wrapped up in a dull presentation and mundane combat that very rarely excites. The Walking Dead is a mess of scattered ideas and a lack of direction, and there's no reason to make sense of it all.

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Game Informer News Feed - Tue, 11/13/2018 - 23:50

Battle Princess Madelyn, a retro indie platformer that was Kickstarted in March 2017, has been eagerly anticipated by classic platforming fans that feel unheard by Capcom ignoring the Ghouls 'n' Ghosts series for so many years. The title doesn't hide its inspirations, though it does one-up Arthur by giving the titular main character a stronger motivation: her dog died and she's going to get some revenge. There's also some stuff about saving her family and her kingdom, but her dog seems to be more important.

You can check out the release date trailer below.

The title is developed by Casual Bit Games, who is best known for Insanity's Blade. Creative designer Christopher Obritsch's daughter, named Madelyn, enjoyed watching him play Capcom's classic platformer, but wished it was her in the game fighting the "Green Head" enemy, the Shielder. This inspired Obristch to actually feature his daughter in a game in pink armor she wanted to wear.

Battle Princess Madelyn is releasing on PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC on December 6. Rather remarkably, Vita and Wii U ports will follow sometime in 2019.

Categories: Games

Spyro Reignited Trilogy Review - Fan The Flames

Gamespot News Feed - Tue, 11/13/2018 - 20:36

Many would-be mascots have come down the pike over the years, trying to capture just the slightest hint of Mario-level stardom. Spyro the Dragon never quite got there, but he did manage to star in some of the most charming and accessible platformers of the PlayStation era, and the Reignited Trilogy is a grand testament to the little guy's staying power.

The trilogy includes the first three--and best--titles in the series: Spyro the Dragon, Ripto's Rage (also known as Gateway to Glimmer in Europe and Australia), and Year of the Dragon. His adventures are simple but delightfully cartoonish fare. The first game has him traveling through the five dragon realms freeing his bigger, badder brethren from Gnasty Gnorc. The second has Spyro attempting to take a vacation after his previous adventure, but winding up getting dragged into a realm being invaded by effete warlock Ripto. The third has him facing off against the evil Sorceress, who has stolen over 100 dragon eggs with the help of her rabbit apprentice, Bianca.

Ignore the graphical overhaul, and these are very much the games that released the first time around on PS1. The fact that they stand up so well mechanically against more recent games is the most pleasant surprise of the package. Movement and attacks are one-button affairs, and the simplicity works in the collection's favor. If there's a learning curve to be found, it's in the fact that it's all too easy to use Spyro's charge attack too recklessly, sending him flying off cliffs or missing the enemy he's aiming for by inches.

Thankfully, Spyro’s moveset need not do much heavy lifting, especially in the first game. Every area has a number of crystallized dragons to find, and once enough of them have been freed, you take a balloon off to the next dragon realm, and repeat until you reach Gnorc's trashy fortress. There's some minor puzzle solving, and an enormous amount of treasure to be found, and that’s about it. If anything, the first game's biggest weakness is that there's so much other stuff to collect, between the hundreds of gems, hidden treasure chests, and dragon eggs stolen by hidden--and super annoying--Egg Thieves, but only freeing the dragons really matters in terms of progress.

The sequels are much better in that regard. Each stage has its own little tale of animated hijinks that plays out, from a tribe of Himalayan telepaths being terrorized by a Yeti, to my personal favorite, helping superspy moppets Hansel and Gretel stealth their way into a heavily guarded fortress of nomadic lizards so they can use their psychic powers and take over. There's a slew of unique challenges within each stage for you to do, usually involving super-powered versions of Spyro's current abilities or sequences where you have to take to the skies and firebomb specific objects for gems. The third game brings new playable characters into the fray, all with their own specific movesets and bonus stages, giving you a very good reason to run around collecting shiny stuff to unlock it all. The linear repetition of the first game never rears its head again for the rest of the collection.

As mentioned, it speaks well of the originals that the Reignited Trilogy doesn't change a thing mechanically and all three games are still a joy to play. The audio has gotten a bit of remixing and reworking but remains fairly true to the original soundtrack, which can be switched to on the fly. But the Reignited Trilogy goes above and beyond here, giving all three games an impressive visual overhaul, essentially making all three games close to a Dreamworks animation. More than just new lush-looking foliage, skin and scale textures, and warm, blissful lighting, hundreds of tiny new details are here, giving each character and enemy more personality. There are a bunch of visual gags and quirks every character will run through if you leave them alone for a moment. The generic gruff dragons from the original are all unique creatures with their own personalities when imparting knowledge to Spyro, same for the dragon babies in Year of the Dragon, who each react like delightful, rambunctious toddlers when they hatch. The Spyro trilogy already felt timeless to play. Now, it’s much more dazzling to look at.

The Reignited Trilogy is the best kind of collection that not only brings a beloved series up to current visual standards but also proves just how well-built the original titles were. Granted, the originals were done by a little studio called Insomniac, and it's not exactly surprising something that team did is a fine example of the genre. But the Reignited Trilogy's developer, Toys for Bob, deserves major kudos for bringing Insomniac's vision to life in the way we could've only dreamed in 1998.

Categories: Games

Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu / Let's Go Eevee Review In Progress

Gamespot News Feed - Tue, 11/13/2018 - 14:00

Editor's note: As of November 13 at 6 am PT, the Pokemon Go-compatible features in the Let's Go games are not yet available. We will update this review in progress when those features, which include transferring Pokemon from Go to Let's Go, are live and we've had a chance to test them.

Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu and Let's Go Eevee are gorgeous--albeit lean--reimaginings of one of the series' most beloved adventures. While some features fans have come to expect are missing--like abilities, breeding, and held items--Let's Go has an admirable amount of depth for a game aimed at a younger audience that has never played a Pokemon RPG. Both games may not have the same lasting appeal as previous entries, but revisiting Kanto and catching some of the series' most iconic creatures makes the journey worthwhile.

Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu and Let's Go Eevee take you back to Kanto, the home of Pokemon Red, Blue, and Yellow. Not much has changed structurally, but the previously 8-bit region has been realized in vibrant detail. Revisiting some of the series' most memorable locations like Viridian Forest and Saffron City on a big screen is an absolute joy. Areas that were once composed of lines and simple shapes are now colorful forests and detailed cities. Pokemon both big and small roam the wilds, giving personality to the region--you can watch a tiny Horsea speed through the waves or a massive Onix slink through a dark cave. The catchy original soundtrack has also been remastered, and it sounds better than ever.

Those familiar with the originals or their remakes, FireRed and LeafGreen, should have no trouble navigating the world. After you're introduced to your partner Pokemon (Pikachu or Eevee depending on the version you choose) you set out on an adventure to collect Gym badges, defeat the Elite Four, and put an end to Team Rocket. While there are a few surprises, the layout of the region and your progression through it is nearly identical to the originals. Fortunately, Let’s Go sheds some of Red, Blue, and Yellow's more archaic designs. For example, HMs--"hidden moves" that allowed you to get past certain obstacles--are replaced with "Secret Techniques" that fulfill the same purpose without taking up one of a Pokemon's move slots. As a result, you can focus on team composition and complementary move sets instead of figuring out how to divvy up HMs between your party Pokemon.

Let's Go also does a much better job at guiding you through the world and story. After you made your way through Rock Tunnel in the originals, you had little direction through Lavender, Celadon, Fuschia, and Saffron and could do certain Gym battles and events out of order. It was easy to miss key items and wind up fighting Pokemon much stronger than your own, which led to frustrating backtracking with little idea of what to do next. While you still can complete certain beats out of order, Let's Go ensures you don't miss anything crucial. For example, after you beat Erika in Celadon City, a character gives you a key item that will let you enter Saffron City. Previously, you had to buy a drink from an inconspicuous vending machine on the roof of the department store and give it to a city guard, and if you failed to do so, you wouldn't be able to fight the sixth Gym Leader.

One of Let's Go's most fundamental changes is how you catch Pokemon. Instead of the random encounters and wild Pokemon battles of previous mainline games, Let's Go adopts Pokemon Go's catching mechanics. Pokemon roam the wilds in real time, and you have to walk into one to initiate catching it. Then, rather than battling it to whittle down its health, you just have to throw a Poke Ball at it, and the timing and accuracy of your throw increases your chances of a successful catch.

The new catching mechanics are a welcome change to the formula that breaks up the pace of traditional trainer and Gym battles. Although catching wild Pokemon doesn’t require as much strategy as it did before, the act of catching is far more engaging. You don't need to worry about accidentally defeating and therefore failing to catch a rare or one-time Pokemon, and if there's a Pokemon you don't want to catch, you simply avoid it. The absence of random encounters also makes traversing caves a lot less tedious. Yes, that means you can even avoid Zubats.

Let's Go encourages you to catch Pokemon more so than any other mainline Pokemon game, and it's better for it. Sure, catching every single species has always been the overarching goal, but I've never felt more inclined to complete my Pokedex. Catching Pokemon is the most efficient way to level up; with each successful catch your entire team is awarded a generous dose of experience. This alleviates the need to spend significant amounts of time grinding and makes it easier to experiment with different party compositions.

Let's Go also introduces Catch Combos, which occur when you catch the same species of Pokemon multiple times in a row. As you build your combo, your chances of running into rare and powerful Pokemon increase. You can even find Pokemon you typically wouldn't find in the wild. Catching repeat Pokemon is both useful and satisfying--it's great knowing that luck is not the only factor involved when trying to catch a rare Pokemon, and it's very hard to stop when you're deep into a combo, knowing something good could spawn.

However, the new catching mechanics don't come without issues. The Joy-Con motion controls are inaccurate at best and unpredictable at worst. Over the course of my journey, I never found a reliable way to throw a Poke Ball to the right or left. In most cases, I would just wait for the wild Pokemon to return to the center of the screen before throwing a Poke Ball, and even then, the ball wouldn't always go where I wanted it to.

The Poke Ball Plus controller, an optional Poke Ball-shaped accessory, is a bit more precise, but because there are only two physical buttons on the controller, navigating menus and interacting with the world can be a pain. As novel as it is to see Kanto on a big screen, handheld mode is the best way to catch wild Pokemon. You can either use the Switch's gyroscope sensor or the left control stick to line up a throw. It's far more precise than the other methods, but you do have to consider the Pokemon’s size and distance.

Despite changes that make the Pokemon experience more accessible than ever, Let's Go is surprisingly deep. It does an excellent job at easing new players into some of the more complex mechanics without being bogged down by tutorials. Each Pokemon still has six base stats and one of 25 natures, and the game seamlessly presents all that information to you. For example, whenever you switch Pokemon during a battle, you are shown its stats. You can get through the entire game without paying attention to a Pokemon's stats, but it's helpful to see that information presented clearly and often. Early on, you even get the ability to "judge" a Pokemon, which lets you see its base stats (also called IVs). While this may not be super useful for beginners, it's presented in a way that's easy to understand and it gives veterans the opportunity to check for Pokemon with good stats early on.

Unfortunately, those invested in the competitive side won't have as much to sink their teeth into. The absence of abilities, held items, and breeding limits the potential for highly competitive play. You can farm for Pokemon with higher stats through the aforementioned catch combos, but even if you do manage to catch a Pokemon with the stats you want, you won't have much to do with it.

If you do decide to build a competitive team, the online features are limited. You can trade and battle, and that's about it. There are no ranked battles, the Global Trade System is nonexistent, and there is no Wonder Trading. The barebones trading features may be disappointing at first, but given the smaller roster of Pokemon, I never felt that I needed the GTS or Wonder Trade to complete the Pokedex. However, the inability to matchmake and battle with other trainers online is a bit of a letdown.

Despite changes that make the Pokemon experience more accessible than ever, Let's Go is surprisingly deep.

Without the competitive mechanics fans are accustomed to and the limited Pokedex, it can be difficult to come back to Let's Go after the credits roll. While there certainly are reasons to revisit Kanto once you have finished the game, like completing the Pokedex and grinding for Pokemon with perfect stats, the pull isn't quite as strong. There aren't many surprises and what's there isn't all that enticing. The last thing I need to try is the Pokemon Go connectivity, which isn't available as of this writing.

Despite these concessions, Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu and Let's Go Eevee are delightful reimaginings of the series' origins and a deep RPG in their own right. It makes a lot of smart improvements on the original Red, Blue and Yellow while holding on to what made them so special in the first place. Fans of the series might be let down by the lack of features they've come to expect, but Let's Go Pikachu and Let's Go Eevee take the Pokemon formula in some exciting new directions.

Categories: Games

11-11: Memories Retold Review - Modernist Warfare

Gamespot News Feed - Tue, 11/13/2018 - 05:00

Timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the armistice treaty signed on November 11, 1918 that ended World War I, 11-11: Memories Retold follows the stories of two men swept up in terrible events (mostly) beyond their control over the course of two years on the Western Front. A collaboration between Aardman, the animation studio best known for the Wallace & Gromit TV series and films, and DigixArt, a fledgling French game development team, it's a visually striking adventure game that foregrounds its occasionally moving, occasionally ludicrous narrative atop a layer of light puzzling and collectible gathering.

The intertwining story sees you play as both Harry (voiced by Elijah Wood), a young photographer from Canada who finds himself in France shooting film--not foe--for propaganda purposes at the invitation of a British major, and Kurt (Sebastian Koch), an older German electrical engineer who enlists when he receives word that his son's unit has gone missing. Their tales are connected, of course, and at key moments in each chapter your control will switch from Harry to Kurt and back again, often multiple times. Later, there are even scenes in which you are free to switch between them, and a third character, whenever you wish.

Each man's journey plays out across a France (and bits of Germany and Canada) that is rendered like an oil-on-canvas painting, the thick individual brush strokes and contrasting colours an obvious nod to the Impressionist style that was still en vogue in the early 20th century. It feels like each scene is being painted in real-time as you walk around, as the brush strokes flicker in a manner suggesting an artist constantly reapplying paint on canvas. From the crackling ember reds of a battlefield to the dappled whites and yellows of an idyllic farmstead, the unique art direction succeeds in setting the emotional tone of each scene. The overall effect is quite startling and very often beautiful.

What you're actually doing inside each scene is rather more conventional. Harry and Kurt walk--and occasionally crouch or run--around a series of mostly small locations, talking to people and picking up dozens of collectibles. Helpfully, you always have a specific objective to accomplish; in Harry's case it's typically whatever task Major Barrett has ordered him to perform while Kurt's pursuit of his son's whereabouts is often derailed by the whims of his own superiors. Regardless, most objectives are easily completed by simply walking to the desired destination, interacting with a certain object or talking to the right person. Sometimes there's even a box to push out of the way or a couple of levers and dials to fiddle with, but absolutely none of it is in any way taxing.

This is for the best, perhaps. At least, it means the story takes center stage and you're not in any danger of getting stuck on a puzzle and finding yourself unable to see that story to its conclusion. More than that, though, it also works because the story 11-11 tells is genuinely good. Sure, it's a romanticised version of World War I that doesn't really confront the senseless brutality of trench warfare or the sheer scale of human loss and suffering that resulted--there's but one scene where you don a gas mask, for example, and when Harry is finally called upon to go "over the top" he's more focused on getting a few good pictures than whether he'll survive the mad dash into no man's land. But the story works because Harry and Kurt are convincing characters whose flaws and motivations remain all too real no matter what the war throws at them. The plot may contrive to see the lives of the two men intersect in unlikely fashion, but they themselves are utterly believable and empathetic until the very end.

Further, the story works because you are given choices to make at critical junctures. Each choice feels weighty and full of consequence. I didn't replay scenes to see how things could have played out differently--and perhaps the rippling effects are minimal--but I didn't want to. What matters is that the import of the decisions I made was felt in the moment I made them, and ultimately I was more than satisfied with how my version of the story ended.

Where the story undermines itself, however, is in its pacing. Or, to be more accurate, in how certain pieces of the story are locked behind collectibles, the search for which sees you get bogged down in scouring every area for hidden documents and items rather than keeping the plot ticking over. Not to mention that it's quite silly when Kurt's ordered to quickly fix a radio during an attack while you're thinking, “Hang on, let me just check if there's anything I've missed down the other end of this trench….” You can ignore the collectibles, but you'll also be missing out on story content.

When it comes together, whether in moments of high drama and urgent choices or in the quiet interludes that follow, 11-11 draws you deep into the lives of these men. When it misses the mark, whether through an implausible coincidence, a throwaway puzzle or tedious collectible, it can push you away and cause the surrounding narrative beats to fall flat. It's uneven, yes, but there's undoubtedly more good than bad, and there are poignant scenes, tense moments and breathtaking images that will resonate long after the end credits have rolled.

Categories: Games

Capcom Shows Off Devil May Cry 5's Void Mode, Mega Buster

Game Informer News Feed - Sat, 11/10/2018 - 21:00

As part of the XO18 livestream presentation, Capcom showed off a new mode for Devil May Cry 5, as well as a few new Devil Breakers. 

The new mode, known as The Void, allows players to practice combos at their leisure. Unlike other "waiting areas" in games like DmC: Devil May Cry and Bayonetta, this is a dedicated mode and lets you modify a number of parameters in order to cook up some seriously creative combos and share them online, similar to the training modes in fighting games. You can experiment with different moves, display the amount of damage different combos deal, and use whatever Devil Breakers you want, and give them infinite uses.

Speaking of Devil Breakers, we got a look at a few new ones, including a few deluxe ones. The Gerbera GP01 sacrifices the original's ability to repel projectiles, but increased mobility options, allowing you to instantly dash up or down, depending on your position. The Past Breaker, which is a metallic arm with a fork on its business end, allows you to cycle your other Devil Breakers. Sweet Surrender allows you to heal three bars of health if you can pull off its break gauge move. Finally, we got to see the previously-announced Mega Buster allows you to shoot energy bullets like the Blue Bomber, and also changes most of Nero's animations - his dodge, for example, turns into a Mega Man's iconic slide. Catch all of these new tools in action in the extended trailer below.

Devil May Cry 5 launches on March 8.

Categories: Games

Full Metal Furies Review - Puzzle-Brawler

Gamespot News Feed - Sat, 11/10/2018 - 01:26

It's difficult to define which exact genre Cellar Door Games' Full Metal Furies belongs to. On a cursory glance, the co-op game appears to be no more than a well-structured brawler, and you'd be forgiven if you completed its 15-hour campaign thinking that's all it is. However, if you dig a little deeper into the optional hidden content, there's another five to seven hours of complex, multi-layered riddles to find. There's a fascinating meta narrative interwoven into Full Metal Furies' puzzles, and journeying to its end makes for a satisfying cooperative experience.

In Full Metal Furies, each player takes control of one of four adventurers. If played solo, the game puts you in control of two and you can switch between them at will. There's Triss, the leader whose penchant for sassily drinking tea often leads to hilarious spit-takes; Meg, the lazy, nearsighted sniper with a poor sense of direction; Erin, the brainy tinkerer who desperately wants to be cool; and Alex, the air-headed soldier who wholeheartedly believes bashing in the skulls of the arrogant men she and her friends run into should be both a first and last resort to solving all their problems.

Collectively known as the Furies, the four girls are on a quest to cross the monster-infested wasteland that humanity once called its home in order to find and destroy god-like entities known as the Titans. The sons and daughters of the mad tyrant Cronus, each of the four Titans desires a better world, and their conflicting ideologies as to how to bring about that dream have led to a war that threatens to destroy all life.

This seemingly straightforward battle between good and evil hides a surprising number of twists and turns. With every step forward, the Furies notice more signs that their efforts might be actually causing more problems than they're solving. But the team keeps pushing onwards, hoping that in the long run, their efforts will have a positive effect on the world. The narrative plays out in a series of sprite-based conversations, both during and in between combat missions. For the most part, these are tongue-in-cheek skits--some even throw in the occasional pun or reference to the fact that this is all a video game--but a few also focus on Triss' growth. Despite putting on airs, she struggles with the responsibilities of leadership and the morality of the Furies' quest. Unfortunately, her teammates don't receive the same treatment, and are fairly two-dimensional throughout the main campaign.

In combat, each of the four ladies handle and attack in their own way. For example, Meg can use a grappling hook to maneuver out of danger and snipe opponents from afar, while Triss can defend her teammates and herself with a near indestructible shield and also clear out enemies by screaming at the top of her lungs. Each of the girls fulfills a unique role seen in many other team-based brawlers--with Triss as the tank, Alex as the fighter, Meg as the archer/sniper, and Erin as the summoner.

Full Metal Furies supports couch co-op and online multiplayer. As of publishing this review, the Switch servers are fairly empty, but we did manage to test online play using two copies of the game and can confirm it works relatively smoothly. There were some brief stutters at the start of a few levels, but none of them negatively impacted gameplay. However, my game did completely crash at one point.

It's unfortunate the servers are so empty as playing with an incomplete team puts you at an immediate disadvantage. So unless you recruit some friends for couch co-op, you're in for a fairly tough time. Even Erin and Meg are crucial, as Triss and Alex rely on their teammates' supportive attacks to give them both time to recharge their special abilities. Button-mashing with the two melee fighters can be an effective strategy early on, but it will only get your team so far. Mid- and late-game enemies and bosses require a certain degree of tactical assessment, and chaining together each character's abilities is the ideal path to success. For example, when confronted with a mob of jumping werewolves that are too quick for the slower fighters, your team might rely on Triss' area-of-effect shout to stun a few, use Alex's dive bomb jump to launch the weakened wolves into the air, and then have Meg shoot their leader out of the sky. All the while, Erin's portable turret and her mid-range pistol can finish off the members of the pack not caught up in the combo.

Combat in Full Metal Furies is constantly evolving, with new enemy types appearing almost every third level. It keeps the game from descending into a grindfest of similar foes, while leaving room for you to experiment with new strategies on enemies you've encountered before. Sections of certain levels can get brutal, resulting in dozens of game over screens. But checkpoints are numerous, cutscenes you've seen are skippable, and it's typically very clear which careless mistake resulted in the failed mission. If anything, the game's combat seems content to really only punish those who play with less than four people, which presents an interesting way of making the game easier or more difficult for yourself at any point in the game. If things are still too hard with a full team of four, or you can't scrounge up a full team but don't want to make the game more difficult, there's an easier Story Mode too.

Despite being labeled as a brawler, only about half of Full Metal Furies is regulated to combat. The other half is a series of interlacing puzzles and riddles, and it's here where the co-op nature of Full Metal Furies truly shines.

None of the puzzles or riddles in Full Metal Furies are obvious to find, and the game doesn't teach you how to solve them either. It's completely dependent on the player to be curious enough to wonder if the symbol-covered stones hidden throughout about two dozen of the game's levels are more than meets the eye. Finding the stones themselves is a challenge, and once discovered, each stone's riddle is typically even tricker to figure out.

Eventually, the main campaign reveals that solving these riddles is necessary for gaining access to the game's final area and true ending. The riddles grow more meta as you discover additional stones, some even requiring you to do things outside of the main game, such as watching a YouTube video for a clue or adjusting the game's accessibility settings to perceive colors and sound in a new way. Teaming up with friends to overcome a challenging boss fight is fun, but the most satisfying moments in Full Metal Furies are when you have a eureka moment and are able to figure out the next piece of the overarching mystery. Several of the solutions to certain puzzles and riddles rely on a particular Furies' unique skill as well--some answers even require multiple Furies or the full roster of four--so every player gets to enjoy being a part of the process of figuring something out at some point. Completing this game is very much a team effort, and it successfully makes sure no single player feels left out or useless.

So yes, Full Metal Furies is primarily a brawler, and a good one that promotes teamwork instead of button-mashing. But it's also a very hard puzzle game, one that challenges you to perceive each level, as well as the game's mechanics and characters, in new ways. It's a shame most of the Furies are so two-dimensional throughout the main campaign--especially Meg, who's arguably the most lovable of the bunch--but the story is consistently witty with its humor and an absolute joy to watch unfold. And while coming up with strategies to handle new enemies and piecing together the clues for each puzzle is fairly difficult at times, it's a rewarding and deeply satisfying challenge.

Categories: Games

Battlefield V's Launch Trailer Is An Action-Packed Ride

Game Informer News Feed - Fri, 11/09/2018 - 18:50

With its original date, Battlefield V would have already been out by now, but EA and DICE decided to hold the game back a few weeks for polish. That means we're getting the launch trailer for the game now as we wait for DICE's newest foray into World War II. You can check out the launch trailer, in which the action comes fast and frantic, below.

The trailer is mostly made up of CG with bits of interspersed game footage and outlet accolades for the game. It does give you a decent idea for what you'll be doing in the new game, with seemingly a pretty heavy focus on the multiplayer aspects. 

Battlefield V's battle royale mode, dubbed Firestorm in the internal vernacular, is not expected to launch until March according to DICE's content roadmap for the game. That is also around the time where virtual currency will be purchasable for the game's cosmetics.

Battlefield V releases on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on November 20.

Categories: Games