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Get an early look at the most exciting games on the horizon as Game Informer showcases the biggest titles before they arrive.
Updated: 1 hour 18 min ago

Turn 10 Studios Gives A New In-Depth Look At Forza Motorsport

Wed, 01/25/2023 - 20:40

Last summer, Turn 10 Studios and Xbox announced a new entry in the esteemed Forza Motorsport series, built from the ground up for Xbox Series X/S. The studio made lofty promises regarding the kind of experience it would be able to deliver with the new hardware, and during today's Xbox Developer Direct, we received more information on the next entry of the sim-racing franchise, simply called Forza Motorsport.

Turn 10 Studios calls this entry "a generational leap ahead for the Forza Motorsport series." For the first time in series history, Forza Motorsport has fully dynamic time of day and weather, which impact how cars handle; track temperatures and surface conditions combine with the texture of the driving surface to ensure that each lap is distinct. 

These races take place over 20 environments with multiple track layouts available at launch. Fans can expect their favorites from past Forza Motorsport titles, as well as five all-new locations. One of those locations is Kyalami, the first South African location in Forza Motorsport history. By utilizing photogrammetry and laser-scanned images, Turn 10 is able to depict 10 times the level of detail than past games. Environments feature more detailed vegetation and overgrowth, plus tens of thousands of fully 3D animated spectators.

Of course, the stars of the show will always be the cars, and Forza Motorsport brings a ton in that regard as well. At launch, the game features more than 500 real-world cars. Each of these cars is customizable using more than 800 unique upgrades and modifications. Each vehicle features a level of detail beyond what nearly any player will notice, with context-aware damage and dirt buildup that is unique to each vehicle, down to what kind of paint is currently applied. Advanced physics mechanics also improve the realism in how cars accelerate, brake, and corner. Thanks to special partnerships with Windows Sonic and Dolby Atmos, the cars and their respective modifications also sound better than ever before.

Players can expect to slide into the driver's seat and take to the tracks at some point this year through an all new online racing mode and single-player career mode when Forza Motorsport arrives on Xbox Series X/S and PC.

At the start of this year, we named Forza Motorsport one of our most anticipated games of 2023. For that full list, head here!

Categories: Games

Minecraft Legends Launches This April With Cross Platform Multiplayer

Wed, 01/25/2023 - 20:35

During today's Xbox Developer Direct, we learned a ton of new information about Minecraft Legends, Mojang's latest Minecraft spin-off. In addition to new details on PvP, we learned the game is coming to Xbox and PC on April 18, just a few months from now. Like most first-party Xbox titles, it will be available on Game Pass day one. We also got a new gameplay trailer, which you can watch below.

If you're unfamiliar, Minecraft Legends is an action strategy game where players explore a procedurally generated world to find resources, build bases, and save the overworld. In the campaign, which can be played solo or co-op, players work together to stop Piglins from invading their world from the Nether. While traditional Minecraft gameplay has the player placing each individual block, this game allows you to build on a larger scale, placing walls, traps, and turrets. 

In the PvP mode, two teams of up to four players will face off in a battle to destroy the other team's base. Like the campaign, the world is procedurally generated, so every match is different. Throughout the showcase, developers at Mojang and Blackbird Interactive detailed their favorite strategies, like layering walls with traps in between or exploring the world to find rare mobs. Multiplayer also features cross-platform play and online matchmaking.

A blog post on the Xbox website also announced that a Deluxe Edition would be available at launch. It includes the base game and a bonus pack of skins. Minecraft Legends releases April 18.

Categories: Games

Take A First Look At World War Z's Upcoming Horde Mode XL

Mon, 01/23/2023 - 17:00

World War Z is no stranger to having lots and lots of zombies, but a new mode launching tomorrow somehow stuffs even more undead into the experience with Horde Mode XL. Horde Mode has existed in World War Z for some time, and tasks players with holding down a single location as waves of zombies invade. Horde Mode XL is functionally the same, but now boosts the number of on-screen enemies to 1,000, which is the most the game has ever managed to showcase at one time. You can check out a short gameplay clip of the new mode above, which skips the first few waves to jump right to the final XL horde.

Horde Mode XL is coming for free to World War Z tomorrow, January 24, only on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC. You can read our review of World War Z right here.

Categories: Games

EA Sports PGA Tour Preview - Driving Forward

Thu, 01/19/2023 - 16:00

Platform: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PC
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: EA Tiburon
Release: March 24, 2023
Rating: Everyone

EA Sports has been producing officially licensed PGA Tour video games since 1990, with stars like Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy lending their names to the product over the years. However, the company has not released a PGA Tour video game since 2015, meaning other franchises have had time to slide into the space once occupied by EA Sports’ mainstay series.

However, EA Sports is ready to make up for lost time with its newest title. The emphasis this time around is on realism, not only with how the players and courses look but also in how players must approach every hole. For starters, each of the 30 launch courses was created with the help of the course superintendents, state-of-the-art technology (including helicopters equipped with lasers), and even geologists to ensure the most true-to-life experience for players when they step into the course-accurate tee boxes. Licensed players and realistic crowds also received a keen emphasis, with players from both the PGA and LPGA Tours mapped using high-tech cameras in multiple poses to render them in the Frostbite Engine. In addition, actors were scanned for the crowd to make them feel like actual people on the course instead of cardboard cutouts.

The four Majors were among the highest priority for the developers, as the PGA Championship, The Open Championship, the U.S. Open, and the Masters all feature custom presentations, highly detailed in-game trophy models, and special commentary. Speaking of commentary, players can expect hundreds of hours of content from a broad analysis team to avoid repetitive chitchat when you’re working through the various courses. You can also tweak various presentation and gameplay settings, including how dense you want the crowd to be during your round.

When you finally do step up for your first drive, the gameplay leverages ShotLink and Trackman data used for real-world analytics of PGA Tour players for realistic outcomes on every shot. This data allows each bounce and roll to behave accurately across every terrain and slope, even taking into account which type of grass grows at each course. In fact, every course in the game has its own physics profile, so playing through a dreary day at The Old Course at St. Andrews Links feels different than a humid round at TPC Sawgrass.

 

After selecting your club and approaching your ball, you have 20 different shot types to choose from, letting you attack each course how you want to and how the pros do in real life; you can even adjust the shape of your shot’s arc to perfect your approach. Using the analog stick to control the swing, players must execute the backswing in a smooth and efficient manner and time their impact on the ball to maximize results. If you time it just right, you receive a Big Hit Moment, a series trademark where you get a slow-motion view with a dramatic camera angle to emphasize your mastery on that stroke. Once you’re on the green, putting is also controlled by the analog stick, with a line that shows how far back to stroke and a shot assist option to help you aim. EA Tiburon hopes to add the traditional three-click control scheme to the game post-launch.

While you can play locally or online in unranked play, tournaments, private matches, and other game modes (including one where 16 players are simultaneously on the course), the destination mode is Career. Unified RPG progression lets you make the decisions you want to make for your created player, giving you meaningful choices to build your golfer from the ground up with skills, abilities, and gear to complement the robust customization options. In Career, you can even choose where you want to start, whether that’s as an amateur, on the developmental Korn Ferry Tour, or all the way in the PGA Tour; winning championships in the amateur circuit opens invites to more prestigious tournaments, giving you a meaningful feeling of progression.

Though it’s been a while since EA Sports released a licensed golf game, PGA Tour looks to pull out all the stops in pursuit of delivering the most realistic experience we’ve ever seen. Though I’ve long since fallen off the sim-golf genre, I’m already eyeing my tee time on March 24 when the game arrives on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.

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Categories: Games

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty | New Gameplay Today

Tue, 01/17/2023 - 14:00

In today's New Gameplay Today, your hosts Wesley LeBlanc and Kyle Hilliard discuss Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty, the upcoming Soulsborne from Nioh developer Team Ninja set in ancient China. The two discuss Wesley's excitement for the game after playing through its first two chapters, how it differentiates itself from other Soulslike games, and just how difficult Wo Long is when it comes to combat. 

You can listen to the two discuss all that and more in the Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty New Gameplay Today below: 

As you can see, Wo Long is shaping up to be a unique and fun entry into the ever-expanding Soulslike genre. Fortunately, it's out in less than two months, hitting PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on March 3, 2023. You can read Wesley's full thoughts after his hands-on time in this Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty preview here

For more previews of some of the biggest games of 2022 and beyond, be sure to head over to our YouTube page for NGTs about Fire Emblem EngageVengeful Guardian: Moonrider, Gravity CircuitClive 'N' Wrench, , and more. 

Are you checking out Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty in March? Let us know in the comments below!

Categories: Games

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty Preview – Rising Through The Ranks

Tue, 01/17/2023 - 14:00

Platform: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Developer: Team Ninja
Release: March 3, 2023

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty’s public demo gave players a chance to experience a more general idea of what this fast-paced action game offers, but Koei Tecmo recently gave us the chance to go deeper and play through the first two chapters in Wo Long in full. I’m starting to understand that developer Team Ninja is aiming for a wider swath of players with Wo Long as opposed to its Nioh titles, which are some of the most demanding in games. While Wo Long still features that trademark From Software-inspired challenge, it also features a unique system that allows you to change an enemy’s difficulty in real-time, making it much more approachable. 

At the core of everything in Wo Long is its unique morale system that rises as you defeat enemies and decreases when you take damage. Take enough damage, and you can drop a full rank. You restore your morale by defeating the enemy that took you out, which feels like collecting souls after death in Dark Souls, and I love its implementation here.  

 

In Chapter two, a mini-boss with a morale rank of 20 killed me while my morale was at 17. The higher an enemy’s morale, the harder it is to defeat, but uniquely, defeating enemies in the immediate surrounding can often lower an enemy’s rank. Plus, even though I began this section around morale rank 13, by defeating each enemy on the way to the mini-boss, I got back to 17. What’s interesting here is the push and pull between the urge to quickly rush to this mini-boss at a lower rank to obtain the morale and experience I lost, and the desire to take it slow, build my morale by defeating enemies along the way, and challenge the boss with higher morale. However, in doing this, I risk dying to one of the dozen enemies along the way. I like deciding how vital my experience and morale were, and I especially enjoy that I can increase my combat power by increasing my morale. 

This system feels like a built-in difficulty scaling. If I’m craving more challenge, I can confront a boss with a higher morale rank. If I’m struggling to defeat it, I can farm smaller enemies and build up my morale to be the same as the boss’.  

The morale system is so far Wo Long’s highlight. It adds a unique new element to the challenging action genre the Dark Souls series popularized. As From Software continues to perfect its take on this formula, I like seeing developers put their own mark on it, and that’s what Team Ninja is doing again with Wo Long. 

But that’s not the only aspect of Wo Long that impressed me; its combat is slick, fast-paced, and stressful in the best way, even when up against standard mob enemies (which can take you out with ease if you miss just one deflect, block, or dodge). It’s the first game to give me the same thrill of parrying and evading since From Software’s Sekiro, and I don’t think I can praise Wo Long any higher than that. 

The action takes priority, but something surprising about Wo Long is its characters and story. Gone are the obscure “it’s there if you look for it” narrative aspects typically seen in the genre. Instead, Wo Long presents its story with hype-inducing cutscenes, characters with in-your-face personalities, and storytelling that seems to come to me rather than me to it. Perhaps this is the result of playing through the game’s opening, but I’m hoping Wo Long continues to roll out its narrative as it did in these first two sections. Fortunately, I don’t have to wait much longer to find out. 

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Categories: Games

Game Informer's 25 Most Anticipated Games Of 2023

Wed, 01/11/2023 - 20:00

Now that 2022 is in the rearview, it's time to look forward to all that the new year has to offer. While last year brought some of the best gaming experiences of recent memory, 2023 has seemingly unlimited potential. From mainstay franchises by our favorite developers to new IPs and fresh faces, this year promises a lot in the realm of video games – and we probably don't even know many of the games coming in 2023.

These games, which represent the collective excitement of the Game Informer editorial staff, span the spectrum of experiences games can offer; the only requirement is that the games need to be currently announced for a 2023 release window. Check out our list of the 25 most anticipated games of 2023, and let us know in the comments which games you're most excited to play over the next 12 months. You can also send an email to Feedback@GameInformer.com for a chance to have your pick featured in an upcoming issue of Game Informer magazine.

Fire Emblem Engage

As the second mainline Fire Emblem title on Switch, Fire Emblem Engage hopes to build on the runaway successes of 2019's Three Houses. With the same turn-based strategy combat and beautifully animated visuals fans have known and loved for years, Engage is hitting all the right notes prior to launch. Add in familiar faces – such as Marth – who can help the player in battle through powerful Engage mechanics, and this is one fans of both Fire Emblem, and strategy titles as a whole should have circled. For more on Fire Emblem Engage, check out our episode of New Gameplay Today.

Fire Emblem Engage Platform: Switch Release Date: January 20, 2023 Purchase More Info Forspoken

The second game by Final Fantasy XV studio Luminous Productions, Forspoken tells the story of a young woman transported from New York to the fantasy land known as Athia. While there, she must learn magical powers to help the people escape from under the thumb of the ruling class and find her way home. With writers like Amy Hennig (Uncharted series, Legacy of Cain series) and Gary Whitta (Telltale's The Walking Dead, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) on board, we're hopeful for an action-packed adventure and well-written narrative.

Visit our Forspoken hub for exclusive content.

Forspoken Platform: PlayStation 5, PC Release Date: January 24, 2023 Purchase More Info Dead Space

Nearly 15 years after Dead Space hit PS3, Xbox 360, and PC, Electronic Arts is bringing a remade version of the smash-hit horror title to current platforms. This new version follows Isaac Clarke along the same basic plot but leverages the latest Frostbite engine to deliver stunning new visuals. With more voice acting, fewer loading screens, and redesigned character models and environments, this new version of Dead Space has the potential to give the long-dormant franchise a much-needed shot in the arm.

Dead Space (Remake) Platform: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PC Release Date: January 27, 2023 Purchase More Info Like a Dragon: Ishin!

Though the game originally launched in Japan in 2014, the Yakuza/Like a Dragon series has seen an explosion in popularity since the success of Yakuza 0 in 2017. As such, Sega decided to not only bring the PS4 and PS3 title to the West, but rebuild it for modern platforms. This remake takes the Late-Edo Period samurai story of the original game and retells it using Unreal Engine 4. The gameplay, which veers close to the classic style of Yakuza games, remains largely the same, but the visuals and audio have received upgrades across the board.

Like A Dragon: Ishin! Platform: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC Release Date: February 21, 2023 Purchase More Info Destiny 2: Lightfall

Ever since Destiny initially launched in 2014, players have fought through the Light and Darkness Saga storyline. Now, nearly nine years later, that saga nears its conclusion. While Lightfall isn't the final entry of this arc, it promises to effectively set the table for the conclusion, The Final Shape. In the meantime, Lightfall takes us to the distant planet of Neptune and a mysterious city on its surface, even as Guardians learn about a new Darkness-infused power called Strand.

Destiny 2: Lightfall Platform: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Stadia, PC Release Date: February 28, 2023 Purchase More Info Star Wars Jedi: Survivor

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, from Titanfall and Apex Legends studio Respawn Entertainment, effectively established itself as one of the premier franchises pertaining to the famous universe. Jedi: Survivor continues the focus on Cal Kestis in the period between the Prequel and original Star Wars trilogies, where Jedi are hunted down by order of the Empire. This time, Cal must use all he's learned – including new lightsaber stances, combat tactics, and Force abilities – to escape, survive, and continue his push against the tyrannical forces of Emporer Palpatine.

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor Platform: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PC Release Date: March 17, 2023 Purchase More Info Resident Evil 4

Capcom continues its classic Resident Evil remake series with perhaps the most beloved game in the franchise. Resident Evil 4 remains a benchmark for third-person action and horror games. The original is often praised as one of the best games of all time (we ranked it #34 when we put out our Top 300 Games of All Time feature in 2018), so naturally, we're beyond excited for a remake. This new version still features the over-the-shoulder gameplay style it helped popularize but brings the gameplay, visuals, and audio into more modern conventions. If Capcom can deliver as great of an experience as it did with its recent remakes of Resident Evil 2 and 3, we're fully on board for another tense, grotesque helping.

Resident Evil 4 (Remake) Platform: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, PC Release Date: March 24, 2023 Purchase More Info Dead Island 2

At long last, Dead Island 2 appears ready to launch. The game, which was first revealed and demoed at E3 2014, has experienced a tumultuous development cycle, with the game jumping from studio to studio over the last nine years. Fans of the first game are champing at the bit to get their hands on this title, and we are too, now that we came away impressed by our time with the game as part of our recent cover story. 

Visit our Dead Island 2 hub for exclusive content.

Dead Island 2 Platform: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Stadia, PC Release Date: April 28, 2023 Purchase More Info The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild completely revolutionized one of the most beloved gaming franchises of all time, all while crafting one of the greatest experiences many of us have ever played. Tears of the Kingdom has the monumental and daunting task of following that game up, not only as the next mainline Zelda game but also as a rare direct sequel in the Zelda franchise. With an increased emphasis on verticality, including an entire world in the skies, Tears of the Kingdom takes big swings, and we are beyond excited to revisit our favorite version of Hyrule and uncover more of its compelling mysteries.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Platform: Switch Release Date: May 12, 2023 Purchase More Info Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League

From 2009 to 2015, Rocksteady Studios was the king of the superhero genre in video games thanks to its Batman: Arkham series. However, aside from a VR spin-off experience in 2016, the studio hasn't released a game since the conclusion of its renowned trilogy starring The Dark Knight. That changes in May, as Rocksteady is not only poised to release a new game but also explore another corner of the DC Universe. Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League puts you in the shoes of the lovable team of villains. Players take control of Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Captain Boomerang, and King Shark as they are on a seemingly impossible task from Amanda Waller: killing the heroes of the Justice League, who have been brainwashed by Brainiac. Players can step into the characters' shoes solo or as part of a four-player team, but from all the footage we've seen, this looks to be a fun, irreverent blast no matter which approach you take.

Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League Platform: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PC Release Date: May 26, 2023 Purchase More Info Street Fighter 6

Following the missteps of Street Fighter V's launch, Capcom changed its approach and, over the subsequent years, righted the ship on its most recent flagship fighter. With Street Fighter 6, the team behind the course correction held the reins from the earliest stages of development, and they seem to have learned plenty of lessons from the tumultuous launch of the previous game. With those lessons in tow, Capcom has created a title that is as functionally solid as it is flashy. Thanks to a large roster of new and familiar faces, three distinct control schemes, and a wealth of content at launch, Street Fighter 6 looks to be the grand return of the industry's most successful and beloved fighting franchise.

Visit our Street Fighter 6 hub for exclusive content.

Street Fighter 6 Platform: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, PC Release Date: June 2, 2023 Purchase More Info Diablo IV

More than a decade removed from its direct predecessor, Diablo IV has some big shoes to fill. While some were left cold by the free-to-play Diablo Immortal, Diablo IV hopes to turn up the heat by returning to the classic style of Diablo gameplay and structure. This new mainline game retains many features and mechanics that made the franchise an industry leader while offering new open world and PvP features in a knock-down, drag-out fight against the return of Lilith. You had better start conditioning your loot-retrieving muscles now.

Diablo IV Platform: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC Release Date: June 6, 2023 Purchase More Info Final Fantasy XVI

Anytime there's a new mainline Final Fantasy game on the horizon, it's a reason to celebrate. As a preeminent RPG franchise for more than three decades, players have come to expect a high level of quality in the gameplay, presentation, and storytelling. Final Fantasy XVI looks to carry on the series' pedigree in those regards, with an involved action-RPG combat system, stunning visuals, and a dark storyline rife with political intrigue and high stakes. Final Fantasy XVI also sees Naoki Yoshida, the man largely credited with the turnaround of the now-wildly popular MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV, stepping into the producer role for this single-player Final Fantasy title. 

Final Fantasy XVI Platform: PlayStation 5, PC Release Date: June 22, 2023 Purchase More Info Alan Wake 2

Hot off its 2019 Game-of-the-Year winning effort in Control, Remedy Entertainment announced a long-awaited sequel to its fan-favorite 2010 game, Alan Wake. While 2012's Alan Wake's American Nightmare served as a competent spin-off, fans have been pining for a true sequel ever since that initial title arrived as an Xbox 360 exclusive. Following Control's success, we learned that the game takes place in a shared universe with the Alan Wake series, with the eponymous author even appearing in one of the pieces of downloadable content. At The Game Awards 2021, we finally received an official announcement for Alan Wake 2, seemingly thanks to a multiplatform publishing deal between Remedy and Epic Games. We can't wait to see what new horrors await players and the often-verbose protagonist when Alan Wake 2 launches sometime this year.

Alan Wake 2 Platform: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PC Release Date: 2023 Purchase More Info Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon

Speaking of recent Game of the Year winners, From Software is already going full-speed ahead with its next game after Elden Ring took home top honors in 2022. This revitalization of the Armored Core franchise is the first entry in the franchise in 10 years. While the Armored Core identity remains intact, From Software says it has learned lessons from its success on Soulslike titles. With Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice lead designer stepping into the director role for this title, fans of From should certainly be excited for this long-awaited return.

Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon Platform: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC Release Date: 2023 Purchase More Info Assassin's Creed Mirage

While we loved our time in Egpyt, Greece, and the British Isles with Assassin's Creed Origins, Odyssey, and Valhalla, the ambition and scope of those games began to feel overwhelming. With Assassin's Creed Mirage, Ubisoft hopes to return to the series' roots with more linear narrative beats and a greater emphasis on stealth gameplay. In Mirage, players step into the role of Basim, a street thief in ninth-century Baghdad who was first introduced in Assassin's Creed Valhalla. Under the mentorship of Roshan, Basim learns to become a Hidden One and fight for a meaningful cause within the formula of the Assassin's Creed franchise. We're excited for Mirage on its own merits, but we also look at it as the start of a new era, which includes a slate of games announced last year.

Assassin's Creed Mirage Platform: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, PC Release Date: 2023 Purchase More Info Baldur's Gate 3

Baldur's Gate 3 is more of a known quantity for us than nearly every other game on this list, thanks mostly to its more than two years in Early Access. Larian Studios used that time to listen to the community and adapt its plans en route to a full launch. The result has been more than 50,000 user reviews with a "Very Positive" rating on Steam. Now that we know the game is scheduled to arrive in a 1.0 state in August, it's safe to say that those 50,000-plus fans are eagerly anticipating the conclusion of the main story arc.

Baldur's Gate 3 Platform: PC Release Date: 2023 Purchase More Info Final Fantasy VII Rebirth

The first part of the remade Final Fantasy VII wowed us back in 2020, making the wait for part two all the more excruciating. While Final Fantasy XVI is set to arrive in the first half of 2023, barring any delays, we should be able to round out the year with the second part of the three-part Final Fantasy VII remake project. Final Fantasy VII Rebirth carries on the story of Cloud, Tifa, Aerith, Barret, and the rest of the iconic cast. With Square Enix making changes to the established lore through this remake series, fans don't quite know what to expect narratively, but if the gameplay and quality are similar to Final Fantasy VII Remake, count us in.

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth Platform: PlayStation 5 Release Date: 2023 Purchase More Info Forza Motorsport

The eighth entry in the simulation-facing Forza Motorsport racing series breaks naming convention by ditching the 8 in favor of simplicity. Developed with the Xbox Series X in mind, Forza Motorsport claims to fully capitalize on the increased power of the flagship console, rendering in 4K resolution at 60 frames per second. In the time since Forza Motorsport 7 launched in 2017, the spin-off Forza Horizon series has flourished, delivering two critically acclaimed titles in Forza Horizon 4 and Forza Horizon 5. Forza Motorsport is set to jump off the starting line this spring, so we anticipate hearing and seeing more about the next evolution in the racing-sim franchise soon.

Forza Motorsport Platform: Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC Release Date: 2023 Purchase More Info Hollow Knight: Silksong

There's no way to overstate how anticipated Hollow Knight: Silksong is at this point. The first game became a massive hit in the Metroidvania space when it launched in 2017, but following this sequel's announcement in 2019, developer Team Cherry has been frustratingly quiet. Thankfully, during last year's Summer Game Fest, Xbox revealed that Hollow Knight: Silksong is among a large list of games arriving prior to the midway point of 2023. With Hornet stepping into the protagonist role for Silksong, as well as various other improvements and additions, Silksong easily slots in as one of our most anticipated games of 2023.

Hollow Knight: Silksong Platform: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC Release Date: 2023 Purchase More Info Marvel's Spider-Man 2

In 2018, Insomniac Games delivered one of the greatest superhero games of all time with Marvel's Spider-Man. In 2020, it followed that up with the excellent Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales, giving us another good excuse to web-sling and wall-crawl through Manhattan. With the second numbered entry in Insomniac's Spider-Man series, players face off against new threats, including Spidey's most iconic foe, Venom. The narration in the reveal trailer also seems to indicate the presence of Kraven the Hunter, which would only further complicate things for the duo of webheads in this true sequel to that smash hit. Either way, Insomniac has a lot of hype to live up to, but nothing about that studio's history would make us think it isn't up to the task when the game arrives on PS5 this fall.

Marvel's Spider-Man 2 Platform: PlayStation 5 Release Date: 2023 Purchase More Info Sea of Stars

Sea of Stars dropped our jaws with its gorgeous art style immediately upon its announcement in 2020. Since then, developer Sabotage Studio (known for 2018's The Messenger) has drip-fed fans information on its upcoming RPG. Sea of Stars draws inspiration from classic games like Illusion of Gaia and Chrono Trigger (even going as far as including works created by Chrono Trigger composer Yasunori Mitsuda in its soundtrack). Additionally, Sea of Stars serves as a distant prequel to The Messenger. While there's still so much we don't know, the turn-based combat, diverse cast of six playable characters, and continually gorgeous visuals have us eyeing its mid-2023 release window with great anticipation.

Sea Of Stars Platform: PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Switch, PC Release Date: 2023 Purchase More Info Starfield

Starfield will be the first game Bethesda Game Studios has released without "Fallout" or "The Elder Scrolls" in the title since 2006. Now, since that time, the studio has churned out myriad blockbusters within those franchises, including all-time classics like The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Fallout 3, and, of course, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, but we're excited to see director Todd Howard and his team flex their creative muscles with an all-new IP. Described by Howard as "Skyrim in space," and by another developer on the team as "a Han Solo simulator," Starfield has piqued our interests since the early days of its marketing push. With a massive playable area to explore and a narrative that promises to explore what it means that man now lives amongst the stars, Starfield holds the potential to be Bethesda's next classic title.

Starfield Platform: Xbox Series X/S, PC Release Date: 2023 Purchase More Info Tchia

With stunning visuals that harken back to Zelda games like Wind Waker and Breath of the Wild, Tchia brings a gorgeous tropical adventure to you from the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Inspired by the island of New Caledonia (the homeland of developer Awaceb's co-founders), players interact with a diverse cast of characters inspired by the culture and explore a gorgeous archipelago that uses the landscapes, music, languages, and folklore to create a compelling story within a fictional world. Tchia, the main character, can soul jump, allowing her to control any animal or object, with more than 30 playable animals and hundreds of controllable objects. Tchia first caught our attention at The Game Awards 2020, but it was our trip to New Caledonia to learn about the inspirations of the game that cemented this as one of our most anticipated for 2023.

Tchia Platform: PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PC Release Date: 2023 Purchase More Info Witchfire

Drawing inspiration from both Dark Souls and Destiny, Witchfire, from The Vanishing of Ethan Carter studio The Astronauts, is a single-player first-person shooter described as "a roguelite for people who hate roguelites." Following the onset of a war with witches, players step into the role of a Church-hired witch hunter with the mission of finding the witch of the Black Sea and retrieving a mysterious artifact that can help win the war. Gorgeous graphics, smooth gameplay involving both gunplay and magic, and a compelling premise make this 2023 Early Access title one we cannot miss.

Witchfire Platform: PC Release Date: 2023 Purchase More Info

Which 2023 games are you most looking forward to playing? Sound off in the comments section or email Feedback@GameInformer.com to let us know the games you can't wait to get your hands on!

Categories: Games

Fire Emblem Engage Preview – Consider Me Engaged

Thu, 01/05/2023 - 14:00

Platform: Switch
Publisher: Nintendo
Release: January 20, 2023

I had always observed the Fire Emblem series from a distance, worried its strategy gameplay wouldn’t be for me or stressed determining where best to start and how to play through the franchise’s various entries. Fire Emblem Three Houses was the first I gave a good try and 80-plus hours later, it’s one of my favorite games on Switch and turned me into a Fire Emblem fan. Since its reveal, I’ve looked at Fire Emblem Engage as a test bed: am I actually a Fire Emblem fan, or did I just really like Three Houses and its engaging Hogwarts-like school mechanics? If the 10 hours I’ve put into Engage so far are any indication, I’m happy to say it’s the former. 

Engage isn’t doing anything I haven’t seen before in the fantasy storytelling realm. There’s a hero who saved the world, then they were in a slumber for a long time, and now they’ve awakened to find the once peaceful realm they saved in potential disarray once more. They also can’t remember a thing, with memories of their past slowly mushing their way into the hero’s brain. That hero is the Divine Dragon and he, in my case, is the main protagonist of Engage. He holds an Emblem Ring that allows him to tap into the strength and battle intelligence of past Fire Emblem hero Marth. However, Marth isn’t just a tool to use on the battlefield, though, as I talk with him and strengthen the bond between us, just as I do for the various allies I’ve already recruited into my Divine Dragon team-up. 

Since those opening introductory moments, I’ve met new allies wearing Emblem Rings and have seen how those past Fire Emblem heroes come into play, both as a battlefield tactic and as a personality to engage with outside of combat. Engage’s strategy gameplay isn’t reinventing the wheel – it’s Fire Emblem through and through – but the game’s namesake, Engage, is the mechanic that allows an ally or the Divine Dragon to summon their Emblem Ring hero, be it Marth for me or Celica for another. Each character with a ring has an Engage form that looks different, can typically move more spots on the battle map, and is significantly more powerful or, in some cases, more supportive with full-team healing abilities. I love turning the tides of a battle with the Engage mechanic, and in small skirmish battles, I can mop up enemies quickly by activating three Engage characters at once. 

 

To that end, though, Engage is lacking in the difficulty department. Because of this Engage mechanic, I rarely feel threatened. If enemies are closing in on an ally for the kill, I can Engage and get there quickly to defend the allies. If enemies are swarming me, same thing. That said, I’m still enjoying every battle, be it story-related or more minor skirmishes. I’ve lost an ally here or there – I’ve opted to go the Casual playstyle where allies defeated in battle return after I’ve won because I want to learn more about the various characters I’ve met – but I haven’t yet lost a mission’s primary objective. I’m hoping the difficulty begins to ramp up here soon and based on where the story’s headed, I imagine it will. 

When I’m not engaged in battle, I explore the game’s central hub, Somniel. It’s the Divine Dragon’s castle, and it’s where you can purchase new outfits, armor and weapons, general items, and more. It’s also where you can hang with the dogs, cats, sheep, and birds you’ve adopted out in the world of Elyos, and you can interact with everyone on your team to raise bonds, listen to support conversations, and train. When I’m not selecting my next mission on the Elyos world map, I’m at Somniel. Much like I did with the monastery in Three Houses, Somniel has become a check-in pit stop of sorts. After completing a chapter, I head there and run through my list of routine visits to the various shops, the dining cafe, the training facilities, and more. I could see Somniel becoming monotonous for some, but it’s scratching that checklist itch that empowers me to view my Divine Dragon as the one in charge. 

 

Fire Emblem Engage hasn’t captivated my every waking thought, but everything I’ve encountered ranges from great to excellent thus far. The story has been exciting enough, but having not experienced any of the twists, turns, or true drama I know the Fire Emblem series is known for, it’s nothing remarkable at the moment. I fear (for my team) that those things are coming, and I can’t wait. But even if Engage’s story remains as by the books as it seems right now, it’s shaping up to be a fun Fire Emblem game, and that’s something I’m excited about for my Switch.

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Categories: Games

Fire Emblem Engage | New Gameplay Today

Thu, 01/05/2023 - 14:00

Your hosts, Wesley LeBlanc and Brian Shea, have played Fire Emblem Engage, and in today's New Gameplay Today, the two discuss their thoughts on it thus far. The two talk about their feelings on the game's combat, how it's similar and different to prior entries, the story and characters, and why it's absurd that you can't pet the dogs you can adopt in it. Enjoy!

As you can see in the video above, Fire Emblem Engage has both Wesley and Brian impressed so far. Be on the lookout for Wesley's final thoughts in his Fire Emblem Engage review later this month. 

For more previews of some of the biggest games of 2022 and beyond, be sure to head over to our YouTube page for NGTs about Clive 'N' Wrench, Inkulinati, Outer Terror, and more. 

Categories: Games

Street Fight 6 Cover Story – The Dawn of a New Era

Wed, 12/28/2022 - 20:00

Each mainline entry of the Street Fighter series is an important milestone in the fighting game genre. Though every numbered entry received critical acclaim, Street Fighter V sticks out among fans as the outlier of the series; the game experienced perhaps the most tumultuous launch of any Street Fighter game to date. But out of that trouble emerged something great. Thanks to the team’s persistence, post-launch roadmap, and an injection of new blood into the project's leadership, Street Fighter V drastically improved its core gameplay, online play, content offerings, and more throughout its six-year lifespan.

With the benefit of those lessons learned, many team members that righted the ship are back to develop Street Fighter 6. The latest entry delivers myriad improvements, new features, and a sleek new aesthetic while simultaneously acknowledging and paying homage to each entry before it. Street Fighter 6 feels like yet another evolution of the fighting game genre ushered in by the franchise that pioneered it in the first place. Read more...

Categories: Games

Clive 'N' Wrench | New Gameplay Today

Mon, 12/26/2022 - 20:00

In today's installment of New Gameplay Today, hosts Wesley LeBlanc and Marcus Stewart discuss Clive 'N' Wrench, an upcoming 3D platformer inspired by games like Banjo-Kazooie, Spyro the Dragon, and more. You can watch roughly 15 minutes of gameplay alongside their discussion, including exploration in one of the game's multiple themed worlds and a fight against one of the early bosses. Enjoy!

As you can see in the video above, Clive 'N' Wrench is shaping up to be a fun 3D platformer to keep your eyes on ahead of its release next year. Speaking of which, Clive 'N' Wrench hits PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Switch, and PC (via Steam and GOG) on February 24, 2023. 

For more, check out this Christmas World trailer for Clive 'N' Wrench

Are you going to check out Clive 'N' Wrench next year? Let us know in the comments below!

Categories: Games

Star Wars: Jedi Survivor Preview - A Wealth Of New Details

Tue, 12/20/2022 - 16:00

Platform: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PC
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Respawn Entertainment
Release: March 17, 2023

The sequel to Star Wars: Fallen Order, Star Wars: Jedi Survivor, was announced some time ago, but developer Respawn Entertainment has remained mostly silent on what to expect. That changed earlier this month when a new gameplay trailer pulled the veil back on several new gameplay features, not to mention an impending March release date. We followed up with game director Stig Asmussen to learn more details about the anticipated title.

One of the most notable additions is the arrival of several new fighting stances for Cal Kestis as he goes into battle. “We have five fully realized stances in the game,” Asmussen shares. “A lot of it depends on the enemy that you’re coming across. It’s advantageous to use certain types of stances against certain types of enemies, and it’s up to the player to figure that out. It requires the player to break down the enemies and figure out what the best weapon of choice is.”

The new stances include a dedicated dual blade option, showing Kestis flipping and spinning his two separate blades at high speed. A separate new stance finds the Jedi wielding a blaster and lightsaber simultaneously, adding a new ranged dynamic to his moves. “It really speaks to where we find Cal in this part of the story,” Asmussen says. “It’s five years since the first game, and the dark times are still in full swing. He’s an unconventional Jedi, and he has to do unconventional things. So, something that would be frowned upon during the height of the Jedi Order? Cal’s finding he’s going to do whatever it takes.”

Players also get a new heavy stance leveraging the crossguard-style lightsaber, made familiar by Kylo Ren. “It’s a more confident approach,” Asmussen says. “It’s weighty; it’s beefy. But you have to be very measured on how you use it because the timing windows are longer with the blade.”

In addition to the return of well-received characters like BD-1 and Cere Junda, Respawn is introducing new faces, including a mercenary named Bode Akuna. “He and Cal form a special bond,” Asmussen says. “It’s almost like they’re brothers. And they’re not exactly the same, but they really do complement each other.” Beyond story considerations, Bode plays a role as a buddy A.I. character who aids in both combat and traversal.

Jedi Survivor embraces several new traversal mechanics, allowing for much greater flexibility in exploration. That includes using an ascension cable for climbing and crossing distant points and Kestis’ ability to tame and ride mounts. “It’s much of a wider Metroidvania approach,” Asmussen says. “Cal can cross huge gaps by chaining several types of skills together. But it’s also about how we approach these mounts and how they’re used to negotiate and dominate the world.”

It’s clear we’re just scratching the surface. There’s a new gang of enemies Cal must contend against. We also know Cal is visiting a new planet in the Star Wars fiction, which Asmussen says will be a central proving ground and place of exploration, alongside visits to numerous other worlds. The action and visuals (with some particularly impressive ray-tracing) look phenomenal. All signs point to a sequel that is more than ready to step up from the role of Padawan to that of a true Jedi Knight.

Star Wars: Jedi Survivor is set to arrive on March 17 for PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.

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Categories: Games

One Piece Odyssey | New Gameplay Today

Mon, 12/12/2022 - 15:05

Join hosts Wesley LeBlanc and Kyle Hilliard as the two discuss all things One Piece Odyssey, an upcoming One Piece JRPG based on the hit anime and manga series. 

Wesley recently went hands-on with the game for a couple of hours, exploring One Piece Odyssey's first two chapters, and he had a blast. In today's New Gameplay Today, the two discuss the game's narrative, its combat and what it's doing different in the JRPG genre, and why One Piece makes for such a fun world to play around in. Enjoy!

As you can see, One Piece Odyssey is shaping up to be a great time, especially for pirates. While we only got to experience the game's opening hours, we're excited about the full release in January. In the meantime, read Wesley's full thoughts on this preview here

One Piece Odyssey hits PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on January 12. 

For more previews of some of the biggest games of 2022 and beyond, be sure to head over to our YouTube page for NGTs about Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion, Inkulinati, Dragon Quest TreasuresSave RoomPokemon ScarletResident Evil Village: Shadows of RosePersona 5 Royal on SwitchScornLEGO BricktalesGod of War RagnarokMario + Rabbids Sparks of HopeSaturnaliaBetrayal at Club Low, and more.

Are you excited to check out One Piece Odyssey next month? Let us know in the comments below!

Categories: Games

One Piece Odyssey Preview – A Promising Maiden Voyage Through Well-Charted Seas

Mon, 12/12/2022 - 15:00

Platform: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Developer: Ilca
Release: January 13, 2023
Rating: Teen

I finished the Arlong Park arc of the One Piece anime this year and took a break to watch some other shows on my lists and play through some games I’ve been meaning to finish. That’s to say, I went into a hands-on preview session with One Piece Odyssey with just a dash of One Piece knowledge, knowing there are still 1000-plus episodes for me to watch to catch up on the series. After roughly two hours of playing Odyssey, I am rearing to jump back into the anime, and that’s the best compliment I can give the game. It doesn’t hurt that Odyssey is shaping up to be a great JRPG with some unique systems that will make playing easier for newcomers to the genre and more dynamic for fans of these games. 

I was worried about my lack of knowledge heading into this preview, but it’s clear in One Piece Odyssey that it was important for the team to design an RPG that appeals to all players, not just One Piece fans. 

Logs within Odyssey fill in the spaces for players like me, too. When I reach Nanohana in Alabasta, these logs help me understand the location’s importance. They don’t provide the full story of Alabasta, though, which I think is great. I don’t even feel spoiled of that arc; Odyssey gives me just enough information to understand the importance of reaching this place in the game. Games based on popular anime sometimes fall into the trap of retelling stories from said anime, but not nearly as well. That’s not the case with Odyssey, though, and I think it’s a great foundation upon which this story builds in-game. That’s because instead of retreading classic tales fans already adore, Odyssey uses those arcs to tell new stories in familiar places. 

For example, upon reaching the sandy desert city of Alabasta, the Straw Hat crew – captain Monkey D. Luffy, Brook, Franky, Roronoa Zoro, Vinsmoke Sanji, Nami, Nico Robin, Usopp, and Tony Tony Chopper – is aware of their adventures here. They talk about past experiences, Luffy remarks about his love for the Spice Bean Restaurant, and more. It reflects what One Piece has done in the past, and the new adventure builds on that. 

Before reaching Alabasta, though, Odyssey sets up quite a disastrous situation for the Straw Hats crew and the Thousand Sunny ship it sails aboard. A cinematic reveals a mighty storm has knocked the Thousand Sunny off course, crashing it into the shores of a mysterious island. The shipwreck splits the Straw Hats up, and I control Luffy while attempting to find everyone. It’s here that Odyssey introduces its unique, flashy, fun, and surprisingly in-depth combat system to me. 

 

At this point, the entire crew is level 40, meant to demonstrate their prowess as pirates. And each member has nearly a dozen skills at their disposal, too, like Luffy’s various Gum moves. At its core, Odyssey as a turn-based RPG, and people familiar with the genre will quickly pick up on how the game’s combat works. But looking deeper at its systems, I find mechanics inspired by Pokemon and dynamic scenes and menus inspired by the Persona series. 

You encounter each enemy in a Scramble Area Battle, a system that spreads enemies out based on field placement. Luffy might be dealing with two enemies directly in front of him, and Sanji might not have an enemy in his zone, but his long-range moves allow him to attack those by Luffy. Nami can ignore the enemies closest to her to help Luffy as well, or she can focus on those in front of her. I pay attention to every enemy on the field not just because they can strike at me from any position but because each has weaknesses and strengths dictated by a Pokémon-esque, rock-paper-scissors-like system. 

Power-type characters and enemies, and subsequent Power attacks, are strong against Speed, and Speed is strong against Technique, with Technique being most effective against Power. The game demonstrates effectiveness by using red arrows pointing up when aiming for an enemy with a specific move type or blue arrows pointing down to let you know that move isn’t effective. Some actions carry status effects, too, like paralysis, bleed, and faint, which renders foes temporarily unconscious. Skills, which utilize the moves fans of the manga and anime will likely recognize, use up Tension Points, but a super effective move can easily score you enough TP for another skill if you run out quicker than expected. 

 

The combat is taken a step further with Dynamic Scenes, which are objectives that battles can introduce at the start of an encounter. In one story instance, enemies paralyze Usopp with a surprise attack, and the Dynamic Scene tasks me with defeating the enemies before they defeat the paralyzed Usopp, who can’t do anything to fight back or defend himself. The enemies focus almost exclusively on him, meaning I have to act fast to defeat his attackers. Completing a Dynamic Scene comes with extra experience and rewards, too, and it seems worth attempting to achieve with each instance. 

All of this translates to a highly energetic combat system that hooked me just halfway through my first encounter. It’s fast-paced, easy to understand, and features minor tweaks like being able to swap party members on the fly without a cost that makes combat frantic and exciting in a way that I think will keep genre newcomers enticed. The UI and menus, especially in presentation, are seemingly inspired by Persona, too, making Odyssey’s combat a feast for the eyes. Each move carries inspired animation that looks great and dynamic, and the menus pop with color and style. Even the post-battle summary screen is reminiscent of Persona 5, with characters appearing on screen in a stylish way while a catchy tune plays to signify success. 

On the note of music, it’s fantastic; perhaps even the stand-out feature of this entire preview for me. It’s adventurous, piratical, and precisely what you’d expect from One Piece. It’s no surprise, though, considering Dark Souls composer Motoi Sakuraba, who also has credits within the Tales and Super Smash Bros. series, is composing Odyssey’s score. Sakuraba’s score that I’ve heard thus far in Odyssey is a significant departure from what I know of him best – the Dark Souls series – but it wraps up everything going on in the game in the same sense of adventure the anime’s score does. I’m excited to hear other tracks within the game. 

The game’s opening moments are about teaching you its combat system, but shortly after, you’re free to explore the starting areas of this mysterious island, which Robin determines is Waford, a location new to this universe. It’s shrouded in mystery, naturally, because the crew has never been there, and only Robin has heard of it, but it’s home to strange relics and artifacts covered in ancient-looking symbols. 

I soon learn that these are attached to a new character created by One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda named Lim. This character is introduced just before the introduction of Adio, another new Oda creation. Lim determines the Straw Hats to be pirates and, before introductions, uses her strange power to take the crew’s skills and strength and turn them into cubes that she mysteriously scatters around the world. At this point, the cushy level 40 characters I used to crush enemies are now level 2, and their powerful skills are gone, too. All I can do now is use my standard attacks, and I chuckle, watching enemies previously take hundreds of damage points now take maybe a few dozen. 

It’s a fun spin on the typical “how do we make this strong party no longer strong” formula seen in RPGs, and I like that it’s woven directly into the story. It also makes collecting these cubes, which is at the story’s core, fun because with each successful mission might come the prospect of a new cube and, subsequently, some of my previous skills and strength. I have to explore the World of Memories to find more of these cubes. While I don’t get to see how this world works, it seems to be a portal of sorts that transports me to famed places from One Piece history, like the aforementioned Alabasta. 

Lim takes the Straw Hats’ powers because she fears they’re criminal pirates, the kind she has problems with, but she soon discovers that they’re “good” pirates and regrets what she’s done, informing them of what they need to do to return to their former selves. Enter the World of Memories. 

In Alabasta, I do some standard questing – defeat an enemy holding a mission item, return it to this person, collect some ingredients so crew cook Sanji can whip up a tasty soup for a local, and more. The individual objectives aren’t the most exciting, but looking at the beautifully-rendered world of Odyssey makes it easy. Being able to control various crew members at different times keeps things exciting, too. Some players likely won’t agree with the 3D aspect of the game, but it works for me, as does the odd but quaint painterly visual style. It runs well, too.

 

Side content in Odyssey isn’t doing anything groundbreaking, although I admittedly only dabbled in it during my hands-on time. But I don’t necessarily need it to be groundbreaking, and the same goes for even the golden path. Odyssey is the first One Piece turn-based RPG of this caliber, breaking the mold of typical anime games that either go the route of 2D or 3D fighting, or action, and that alone is refreshing.

Even with my relatively little One Piece knowledge, it’s easy to see how much care developer ILCA has put into taking this franchise into RPG territory. Whether it ends up being a hit in the fandom remains to be seen, and the same goes for how authentic to One Piece as a franchise Odyssey is. But if my two hours of hands-on time demonstrate anything, it’s that Odyssey is shaping up to be a unique and exciting JRPG, and one players should keep an eye on, One Piece fans or not.

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Categories: Games

Forspoken Preview – Cuffing Season In Athia

Mon, 12/12/2022 - 14:00

Platform: PlayStation 5, PC
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Square Enix
Release: January 24, 2023

I’ve been excited about Forspoken since its reveal as Project Athia in 2020. The fish-out-of-water game set in a medieval fantasy realm is developed by Luminous Productions – an internal Square Enix team that helped develop Final Fantasy XV, a game I quite enjoyed despite its problems. It also features the talents of Uncharted series creator Amy Hennig and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story writer Gary Whitta on the narrative side, which makes me interested in playing through protagonist Frey Holland’s journey. 

On paper, it’s precisely the type of RPG I like to spend my time playing. After going hands-on for a few hours and talking with some of the team about decisions behind Forspoken’s design, I’m even more excited for January, even if I still have some reservations about this studio’s first new IP. 

This preview session was focused solely on the story, with the team encouraging me to worry less about exploring Athia and more about finding out what happens on the main path of Forspoken’s second, third, and fifth chapters. In Chapter two, Frey has just arrived in Athia, still unaware of how or why she ended up there –  questions that remain unanswered through the chapters I play. Frey is a woman from New York City with a history in and out of foster homes. She struggles to trust anyone as a result. 

In fact, she struggles to trust anything, including the talking vambrace on her arm she calls Cuff. The dynamic between Frey and Cuff stands out for me, namely in how hilarious it can be. 

There is a moment when Cuff is getting on Frey’s nerves, and she tells him to shut up, adding, “You’re f***ing stupid,” and I laughed out loud. Frey’s fish-out-of-water personality is mainly by the books, but her initial apathy in this foreign fantasy realm is sometimes funny. Over the few chapters I played, she grew attached to Athia and its plight against the corruption, or the Break as Frey calls it, that’s turning what was once a peaceful and protected land into a place filled with mindless and dangerous monsters. But her apprehension about getting involved when she first arrives is understandable. 

One of the biggest surprises for me is the dialogue, mostly void of the shotgun blasts of cringe, Joss Whedon-esque lines many criticized in a 30-second trailer released in August. A few lines here and there retain that tone, but unlike that trailer, Luminous Productions spreads them out enough in Forspoken that it feels organic. And getting to know Frey as a character, these types of lines make sense, love it or hate it. 

I asked creative producer Raio Mitsuno about this trailer and the subsequent backlash. 

“I’m really glad you brought it up,” Mitsuno tells me at the preview session. “It was a social media post that took a bunch of pieces of dialogue that we’ve used in previous trailers and put together for a new video. We knew that once people had a chance to really play the game and get introduced to Frey and see what she goes through [and] the interactions… her personality just comes across as a natural representation of the character that we wanted to create. It has been pretty difficult, to be perfectly honest, to portray this complex dynamic character in our promotional campaign because we do have limited time. We also don’t want to reveal everything about the story, so we’re trying to keep things under wraps, but we want to drive intrigue and interest for the character.”

Mitsuno says the team believes in Frey, loves her personality and what she represents, and that people will understand her when they play the game. But the team is also aware of how missing context might portray her. Ultimately, Mitsuno says that moment was a learning experience. 

After playing through a tutorial to learn how Forspoken’s magic-based combat works, I make my way toward Cipal, Athia’s central capital and the last secure bastion of the realm, still untouched by the Break. I fight a few mob enemies before encountering a dragon boss, and the combat is quite challenging at this point. Getting used to a fighting system that only uses magic is strange initially, and it takes some time to click. But it does click when the spells at my disposal open up, and I realize that while every combative move is magic, each of these spells translates to a mechanic I’m familiar with in other games. One of my spells is a medium-range string of rocks that shoot from my hands, like a machine gun. Another is an explosion of stones – a grenade. I have a shield spell, too, that blasts enemies backward upon implosion. 

And later, when I unlock new fire-based magic, I gain access to a fiery sword that gives me the short-range attacks I feel I need and a spear imbued with flames that provides great long-range coverage. The combat feels unnatural at first, but in due time, it clicks, and I can see the dozens of spells at Frey’s disposal turning into a fun and strategic system that rewards various playstyles. That’s what the team expects, too. 

“In particular, because we have an open world on our hands and we have 100 spells at our disposal, it really opens up to a variety of gameplay as mentioned earlier,” co-director Takefumi Terada tells me through a translator. “Strengthing and enhancing one [spell] may open up and lead to others, so if there are 100 different people, he really hopes in the end that there are 100 different builds that players are enjoying.” 

Mitsuno adds that while “builds” can be used to describe what players might make of their Frey, the team doesn’t mean “builds” in the traditional sense, like what you might find in Destiny 2 or an MMO. It’s more so that you can choose which spells to utilize at any given moment. If you prefer earth-based spells, you can invest in that, and the same goes for fire magic. But know that you can switch gears at any moment to refocus on a different magical tactic. 

Soon after defeating the dragon and arriving at Cipal, Frey is dubbed a hellspawn heretic, likely the one behind the corruption, and placed in a prison cell. But Auden Keen, a local whose father had been studying the phenomena that brought Frey to Athia, breaks me out of jail. Auden tasks me with finding more of her father’s journals. 

After leaving to do that, I return to Athia to discover that Tanta Sila, a former protector of the realm who is now seemingly evil, is threatening to kill Auden for freeing me. This ends with a boss fight against a valkyrie-esque being that feels like a typical arena-style fight against a lowly boss. It’s quick and easy, and soon after, I’m en route to Sila’ castle to fight the real deal. 

On the way, I gain new parkour abilities that unfortunately fail to strike additional interest in this traversal system within me. The parkour looks cool and flashy, but it feels detached. You essentially hold the circle button while moving, and Frey climbs up small cliffs, jumps off hills, dodges enemies, and more. It may become more hands-on, but the parkour struggles to instill excitement in me beyond its visual flare when moving. 

I initially worried that parkouring through Athia’s vast lands would result in me missing key points of interest on the map. While there weren’t many points to discover this early in the game, Mitsuno did say the team took great care to ensure the world remains enticing while traversing through it using Forspoken’s parkour system. 

“We wanted to ensure that people were able to fully enjoy the magic parkour action, so the open world is built around that concept,” Terada says. “We first started off by testing out how the magic parkour feels and the controllability and playability of that as far as the speed and elevation differences and jumps between different terrains and heights and so forth.” The team made sure to focus on that early in development and then built the world specifically to take advantage of the movement abilities they created for Frey.

“When we were initially creating this game experience where we were trying to direct people to the main story path, we did come across the challenge and issue where players might miss certain things within the world map, so as you mentioned, that was quite a difficult aspect,” Terada says. “However, we did conduct numerous user tests and analyzed gameplay from those and assured that additional work and balance and adjustments were made to arrive at where we currently are.” 

I parkour my way to Sila, fighting various mob enemies along the way. I also pick up a new set of Nails to equip to Frey. You can equip different markings on her nails inspired by the power of the Tantas and the magic of Athia, and each set provides various buffs. For example, I have the Blue Flash Nails on Frey’s right hand, which buffs all damage by 5% and allows attack spells to charge more quickly. On the left hand, I equip the Slay Nails, which increase spell damage by 5% and make support magic deal more damage in certain conditions. Other upgrades to Frey include an expansive set of skill trees, different types of gear such as wearable cloaks, and more.

I also try out some side content on my way to Sila, like a race. In the race, I parkour across the terrain, defeating certain enemies at checkpoints along the way, before a timer runs out. It was fun, and the various item rewards and experience seemed worth the four-minute excursion. I also ran into a boss far too powerful for me to fight, but I’m now intrigued about these tough battles scattered around Athia. I continue up the cliffside to finally make it to Sila’ castle. I learn a bit more about the four Tantas and their roles in Athia before entering Sila’ throne room. 

My fight against Sila is fun, but like the dragon and valkyrie boss before her, par for the course. The fight’s not doing anything new, but Frey’s parkour abilities and various magical spells are a fun addition to this typical arena-style boss fight. Visually, it’s great – Frey’s purple earth-based spells clash well with Sila’ fiery orange magic, and I’m excited to see what other magical combos will come from fighting the other three potentially corrupt Tanta protectors. 

I wish the rest of Forspoken’s visuals excited me as much, though. Athia, or at least the starting area I played around in, is uninspired, coming off as generic. The characters look strange, too, more mannequin than human. There are still a little under two months to go before Forspoken’s release, so I’m hopeful the final product looks better than this preview. At the very least, if the visuals struggle at release, there’s fun to be had with Forspoken’s combat and characters.

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Categories: Games

Idris Elba Stars In Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty

Fri, 12/09/2022 - 03:52

While the new trailer for the upcoming expansion of Cyberpunk 2077 starts out with some voice lines from Keanu Reeves, the surprise appearance comes from a newly revealed character. Solomon Reed appears as a new figure played by Idris Elba.

Few concrete details are apparent from the trailer, but the spirit and visual styling of Cyberpunk 2077 remains in clear evidence. We know that Phantom Liberty is built as a spy-thriller set in a new district of Night City and that V somehow works together with the government of the New United States of America, and presumably alongside the newly revealed Solomon Reed.

Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty is set for release in 2023 on PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.

 

Categories: Games

Diablo IV Arrives In June

Fri, 12/09/2022 - 03:00

This evening’s presentation of The Game Awards brought us a new cinematic look at Diablo IV. The long-in-development action/RPG is finally nearing release, and we got a confirmed release date this evening. You’ll be able to confront demons to your heart’s content beginning on June 6, 2023.

While the trailer didn’t offer a wealth of new details about the game, it did show off a pretty epic battle between the forces of Heaven and Hell. The forces seem to be led by Tyrael on one side and Lilith on the other side, and two massive armies clash over the course of the battle.

Check out the full trailer for a glimpse of Blizzard’s top-notch cinematic storytelling.

Categories: Games

The Force Is Strong With The New Star Wars: Jedi Surivor Trailer

Fri, 12/09/2022 - 02:00

Star Wars: Jedi Survivor has remained quiet for much of its development cycle, but a leak earlier this week suggested that we don’t have long to wait for the big sequel. That info was confirmed in this evening’s trailer at The Game Awards, so we now know with confidence that the game is targeting a launch on March 17.

The trailer was accompanied by a visit from Cal Kestis himself, Cameron Monaghan. The actor is returning to play the beleaguered Jedi in the sequel, and he was around to follow up after the trailer to discuss his enthusiasm for the game. 

For fans eagerly anticipating new details, the trailer offers a lot over which to muse. We see that Cal looks like a more grizzled and powerful Jedi than when we last saw him training to become a knight. That truth is denoted perhaps most powerfully by the presence of a stubbly beard – a sure sign of force mastery in the Star Wars universe, if ever there was one.

As depicted in the trailer, Jedi Survivor picks up some five years after the adventure described in Fallen Order. Returning companions include droid BD-1 and Cere Junda, but we also meet a new mercenary named Bode Akuna. In one sequence, we see Bode attacking in tandem with Cal, suggesting some sort of team-up dynamic may be present.

The new video also reveals that Cal has access to several new ways to navigate the game world, including an ascension cable that seems to replicate what we’ve seen from grapple guns in many other successful games in recent years. The Jedi also appears to have embraced his love of nature, as we see him tame and ride mounts.

In another sequence, we see Cal embracing new combat techniques, including some exciting, agile moves with dual lightsabers in hand. In another notable moment near the end of the trailer, he pops the blade of a crossguard lightsaber, suggesting Kylo Ren isn’t the first Force user to have rediscovered that particular ancient blade design.

The trailer also gives us a look at what appears to be two dangerous new foes for Cal, one of whom looks as if they might be wearing at least some parts of Mandalorian armor.

We also witness Cal crashland on a planet that doesn’t appear to be a familiar Star Wars locale, so it’s possible that we’re getting the first glimpse of a new planet in the fiction.

A one-armed man is seen near the beginning of the trailer in a bacta tank (which was replicated on stage for The Game Awards); it’s clear that Respawn is playing its cards close to the chest regarding precisely who this figure is – odds are it’s someone pretty central to the story that will play out.

The trailer leaves lots of questions open to debate, but there’s no doubt that Respawn’s sequel is looking like a visual treat and suggests that the game should offer a smorgasbord of new Star Wars storytelling to munch on when it releases in a few months.

Star Wars: Jedi Survivor is coming to PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC on March 17.

Categories: Games

Supergiant Games Announces Hades 2

Fri, 12/09/2022 - 01:35

Helping to ramp up an evening of world premieres at The Game Awards this evening, Supergiant Games revealed its newest game. Hot on the heels of the wild success of Hades, Supergiant is doing something it’s never done before: crafting a sequel.

After its previous work on titles like Bastion, Transistor, and Pyre, the studio’s new game takes us back to the roguelike playstyle of the original game, but with a new female lead fighting their way through hordes of enemies.

Instead of Zagreus’ attempted escape from Hades, Hades 2 sees players attempting to descend to fight against the titan named Kronos. The character is dubbed the “Princess of the Underworld” but given the previous game’s nod to Greek mythology, there’s a good bet that this new character has some interesting ties to the big players in that well-known pantheon.

Beyond the intriguing trailer, there’s no word on release date or console platform plans, but we do know to expect new details on Early Access in 2023, and that the game is coming to both Steam and Epic Game Store on PC.

 

Categories: Games

Dragon Quest Treasures | New Gameplay Today

Tue, 12/06/2022 - 21:00

Dragon Quest Treasures is a prequel to Dragon Quest 11. It follows the exploits of Erik and his sister, Mia, well before they met up with The Luminary and follows them on their adventure to find treasure, escape vikings, and jump on top of the heads of monsters in order to reach higher platforms. Unlike Dragon Quest 11, Treasures is an action game with open environments and a focus on collecting valuables. It releases December 9 on Nintendo Switch and we will have a review for the game on gameinformer.com soon.

For more previews of some of the biggest games of 2022 and beyond, be sure to head over to our YouTube page for NGTs about Inkulinati, Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion, Save RoomPokemon ScarletResident Evil Village: Shadows of RosePersona 5 Royal on SwitchScornLEGO BricktalesGod of War RagnarokMario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope, and more.

Categories: Games

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