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Found 470 results

  1. Slime Rancher is a farming sim/adventure game from indie developer Monomi Park. It released back in 2017 after spending over a year in Steam Early Access. With a colorful and friendly open-world and some subtly intriguing narrative hooks, Slime Rancher thoroughly charmed players. It offers a unique first-person perspective on the farming sim genre with the twist on the genre by making the central commodity the excretions of adorable and voracious slimes. Could Slime Rancher be one of the best games of all-time? Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: Chrono Cross 'If I Could... (Synthwave Mix)' by Jorito and JoyDreamer (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03888) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available, as well! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  2. Life Is Strange 2 has been in a bit of a limbo following the release of its first episode. Dontnod Entertainment, the developers of the Life Is Strange series as well as Vampyr, held the projected release dates of its subsequent episodes close to the chest. Episode 2 - Rules released on January 24 before the company returned to being quiet about the episodic game. However, now we know when to expect the remaining episodes of Life Is Strange 2 as well as a tiny glimpse at what Episode 3 has in store for players. Life Is Strange 2 diverges from what players might expect after finishing the first Life Is Strange, following the Diaz brothers as they begin a long and arduous journey from their once safe American hometown to a magical place they have only ever heard of from their father down in Mexico. Their pilgrimage puts them in a great deal of danger and becomes more complicated when its revealed that one of them possesses supernatural abilities. Life Is Strange 2: Episode 3 will be titled Wastelands. It is currently on track to release on May 9 on all platforms. It sees brothers Sean and Daniel Diaz continuing their journey across America. The two find themselves wrapped up in the life of a drifter community and exposed to a variety of new experiences and challenges. They have some things to figure out among the redwood forests of California before they press on toward the safety of Mexico. Episode 4 will follow at the tail end of summer on August 22. Finally, the series will conclude on December 3 with Episode 5. The first episode of the series is available through Xbox Game Pass, making it likely that the rest of the episode will be releasing via the service, too. Life Is Strange 2's episodes release for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  3. Life Is Strange 2 has been in a bit of a limbo following the release of its first episode. Dontnod Entertainment, the developers of the Life Is Strange series as well as Vampyr, held the projected release dates of its subsequent episodes close to the chest. Episode 2 - Rules released on January 24 before the company returned to being quiet about the episodic game. However, now we know when to expect the remaining episodes of Life Is Strange 2 as well as a tiny glimpse at what Episode 3 has in store for players. Life Is Strange 2 diverges from what players might expect after finishing the first Life Is Strange, following the Diaz brothers as they begin a long and arduous journey from their once safe American hometown to a magical place they have only ever heard of from their father down in Mexico. Their pilgrimage puts them in a great deal of danger and becomes more complicated when its revealed that one of them possesses supernatural abilities. Life Is Strange 2: Episode 3 will be titled Wastelands. It is currently on track to release on May 9 on all platforms. It sees brothers Sean and Daniel Diaz continuing their journey across America. The two find themselves wrapped up in the life of a drifter community and exposed to a variety of new experiences and challenges. They have some things to figure out among the redwood forests of California before they press on toward the safety of Mexico. Episode 4 will follow at the tail end of summer on August 22. Finally, the series will conclude on December 3 with Episode 5. The first episode of the series is available through Xbox Game Pass, making it likely that the rest of the episode will be releasing via the service, too. Life Is Strange 2's episodes release for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  4. Despite the divisive release of No Man's Sky that saw user numbers plummet rapidly, accuse Hello Games of false advertising, and scathing critiques, Sean Murray and his team have been hard at work over the past three years improving the game with free updates for a hopeful base of remaining fans. Recently, Murray revealed the next free expansion to No Man's Sky. Titled Beyond, the new, free expansion will expand the multiplayer options for players among other additions and refinements. Here is a compiled list of some of the biggest changes made to No Man's Sky since its launch: The Foundation Update allowed players to begin building bases, new game modes, mobile saving, and tweaks to vital aspects like inventory, and limited communication abilities with other players. Path Finder brought ground vehicles to No Man's Sky, more robust base-building options, and a graphical overhaul. Atlas Rises brought a new story line to the game, doubling the game's background content, a Stargate-like network of portals for fast travel, overhauled missions, and more. Then No Man's Sky NEXT released, allowing players to band together in-game for the first time, freed base-building in any location, third-person perspective, and character customization. The Abyss update allowed players to explore planets with oceans, build bases underwater, interact with a more vibrant ecosystem of marine life, and discover a new oceanic narrative. Finally, the most recent update, Visions, added archaeology, the ability to salvage ancient technology, and community missions. The past year has seen Hello Games observing how players are interacting in-game and listening to players. While The Abyss and Visions released with a variety of additions and improvements, more are in store for No Man's Sky Beyond. Beyond will be a compilation of three major, interconnected updates to No Man's Sky. Due to concerns about overhyping their game, Hello Games has opted to keep much of the information about Beyond under wraps until it becomes finalized. However, the biggest major component of Beyond will be No Man's Sky Online, an overhaul to the online features offered by No Man's Sky. This will, in some ways, turn the game into a true MMO, though Hello Games shies away from the label. It will not have a subscription or microtransactions, but it will support a vast number of players. both the social and multiplayer components of it's online world will get new features and tweaks. "Beyond will be our most ambitious chapter so far, and something we’ve been working ridiculously hard on. We’ll continue to support No Man’s Sky in this way for the foreseeable future," Sean Murray said in his official announcement. "To some NEXT may have felt like a natural end-point for our journey, but for us it was another step on a longer voyage." No Man's Sky Beyond will release sometime this summer. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  5. Despite the divisive release of No Man's Sky that saw user numbers plummet rapidly, accuse Hello Games of false advertising, and scathing critiques, Sean Murray and his team have been hard at work over the past three years improving the game with free updates for a hopeful base of remaining fans. Recently, Murray revealed the next free expansion to No Man's Sky. Titled Beyond, the new, free expansion will expand the multiplayer options for players among other additions and refinements. Here is a compiled list of some of the biggest changes made to No Man's Sky since its launch: The Foundation Update allowed players to begin building bases, new game modes, mobile saving, and tweaks to vital aspects like inventory, and limited communication abilities with other players. Path Finder brought ground vehicles to No Man's Sky, more robust base-building options, and a graphical overhaul. Atlas Rises brought a new story line to the game, doubling the game's background content, a Stargate-like network of portals for fast travel, overhauled missions, and more. Then No Man's Sky NEXT released, allowing players to band together in-game for the first time, freed base-building in any location, third-person perspective, and character customization. The Abyss update allowed players to explore planets with oceans, build bases underwater, interact with a more vibrant ecosystem of marine life, and discover a new oceanic narrative. Finally, the most recent update, Visions, added archaeology, the ability to salvage ancient technology, and community missions. The past year has seen Hello Games observing how players are interacting in-game and listening to players. While The Abyss and Visions released with a variety of additions and improvements, more are in store for No Man's Sky Beyond. Beyond will be a compilation of three major, interconnected updates to No Man's Sky. Due to concerns about overhyping their game, Hello Games has opted to keep much of the information about Beyond under wraps until it becomes finalized. However, the biggest major component of Beyond will be No Man's Sky Online, an overhaul to the online features offered by No Man's Sky. This will, in some ways, turn the game into a true MMO, though Hello Games shies away from the label. It will not have a subscription or microtransactions, but it will support a vast number of players. both the social and multiplayer components of it's online world will get new features and tweaks. "Beyond will be our most ambitious chapter so far, and something we’ve been working ridiculously hard on. We’ll continue to support No Man’s Sky in this way for the foreseeable future," Sean Murray said in his official announcement. "To some NEXT may have felt like a natural end-point for our journey, but for us it was another step on a longer voyage." No Man's Sky Beyond will release sometime this summer. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  6. Today, Microsoft announced that they would be bringing Xbox Live to Android and iOS devices, officially lending its support to the wider world of mobile game development. This move isn't entirely unprecedented. Xbox Live support has been available on mobile before, however it was only included in apps and games developed by Microsoft itself, like Minecraft. This new move will put Xbox Live within reach of any developer who wants to integrate their app or game into the wider Xbox Live ecosystem. Microsoft initially teased back in February that they might be making an announcement related to mobile soon. The move, revealed today, will allow apps and games across the mobile world to access the suite of services associated with Xbox Live. Developers will be able to use the tools released by Microsoft to connect as many or as few Xbox Life services with their project as needed. Now we know, thanks to The Verge, the full extent of the program and tools. Microsoft's new mobile development kit (SDK) will enable devs to add Gamerscore, open up clubs, friend lists, and include account family settings. On top of that, developers will be able to implement a single sign-in for Xbox Live and grant devs online protection for their apps and games. The new SDK will come together with Microsoft Game Stack, a collection of tool sets designed to get developers up and running with Microsoft's cloud technology, something the tech giant has been pushing across a wide variety of its services outside of gaming. A rumor has been going around the industry that Xbox Live integration will also be coming to the Nintendo Switch, though a rep from Microsoft didn't deny that it's in the works. However, even if Xbox Live comes to Nintendo Switch, it's unlikely to make its way onto Sony's flagship platform, the PlayStation 4. Microsoft, for its part, appears to be very willing to partner with companies many might consider to be rivals, but Sony's reticence makes the possible team up all but impossible. While it might seem like a similar roll out on a rival platform would be impossible, Minecraft on Switch does implement an Xbox Live sign-in. That puts the Switch in a similar position as the mobile market was prior to this announcement. The ability to put Xbox Live on Switch is already out in the wild with Minecraft; all it would take is the okay from Nintendo and some additional fine-tuning of the software for it to work well on Switch. We could very easily see the next battle for gaming supremacy take place not in hardware, but in the realm of software support and service features. If that's the case, Xbox Live just created a huge lead for itself. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  7. Today, Microsoft announced that they would be bringing Xbox Live to Android and iOS devices, officially lending its support to the wider world of mobile game development. This move isn't entirely unprecedented. Xbox Live support has been available on mobile before, however it was only included in apps and games developed by Microsoft itself, like Minecraft. This new move will put Xbox Live within reach of any developer who wants to integrate their app or game into the wider Xbox Live ecosystem. Microsoft initially teased back in February that they might be making an announcement related to mobile soon. The move, revealed today, will allow apps and games across the mobile world to access the suite of services associated with Xbox Live. Developers will be able to use the tools released by Microsoft to connect as many or as few Xbox Life services with their project as needed. Now we know, thanks to The Verge, the full extent of the program and tools. Microsoft's new mobile development kit (SDK) will enable devs to add Gamerscore, open up clubs, friend lists, and include account family settings. On top of that, developers will be able to implement a single sign-in for Xbox Live and grant devs online protection for their apps and games. The new SDK will come together with Microsoft Game Stack, a collection of tool sets designed to get developers up and running with Microsoft's cloud technology, something the tech giant has been pushing across a wide variety of its services outside of gaming. A rumor has been going around the industry that Xbox Live integration will also be coming to the Nintendo Switch, though a rep from Microsoft didn't deny that it's in the works. However, even if Xbox Live comes to Nintendo Switch, it's unlikely to make its way onto Sony's flagship platform, the PlayStation 4. Microsoft, for its part, appears to be very willing to partner with companies many might consider to be rivals, but Sony's reticence makes the possible team up all but impossible. While it might seem like a similar roll out on a rival platform would be impossible, Minecraft on Switch does implement an Xbox Live sign-in. That puts the Switch in a similar position as the mobile market was prior to this announcement. The ability to put Xbox Live on Switch is already out in the wild with Minecraft; all it would take is the okay from Nintendo and some additional fine-tuning of the software for it to work well on Switch. We could very easily see the next battle for gaming supremacy take place not in hardware, but in the realm of software support and service features. If that's the case, Xbox Live just created a huge lead for itself. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  8. The latest arcade flight sim with narrative aspirations from Project Aces, Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown exists as a bit of an odd duck. The last couple attempts to bring the series into the modern day after its PlayStation 2 heyday fell flat and failed to gain much traction. This left Ace Combat in something of a limbo, only receiving support for the PSN exclusive and microtransaction-heavy Ace Combat Infinity. Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown seeks to bring the series back to its roots by setting itself up as a canonical sequel to Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War, one of the most successful Ace Combat games to date. Despite that positioning, Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown doesn’t require players to be familiar with its predecessor or the history of the fictional world of Strangereal. There are certainly nods to events and characters that veteran fans will recognize, but for the most part, these moments aren’t necessary to enjoy the larger story. That story details a war between the countries of Osea and Erusea stemming from economic and political contention regarding a space elevator constructed using Osean funds on Erusean soil after Osea devastated Erusea in a previous war. Into this situation are thrown all manner of crazy twists and plot threads including: Prisoners forced to pilot aircraft in the war, the assassination of a former head of state, the future of unmanned drone warfare in the skies, and a survival behind enemy lines narrative. If all of that sounds interesting, it should! Unfortunately, it never comes together into one cohesive entity and then just ends. One of the biggest problems is the complete lack of a protagonist. This was somewhat solved in Ace Combat 5 by allowing the player to participate in radio conversations with pilots in their squadron. Allowing for a little bit of character development that wasn’t just, “Golly gee, [player] is really the best pilot!” And that’s a huge problem in Ace Combat 7 because the player is framed for the assassination of the former president of Osea and sent to an island to fly junk planes as a distraction for the enemy. He just happens to be such a good pilot that eventually everyone seems to forget that they all think he assassinated a former president for no apparent reason. Ace Combat 7 squanders the unique opportunity it has with the concept of prisoner pilots by very quickly hand waving away that aspect. A bunch of criminals flying airplanes sounds like it should be a great mix for the series, but it never has a tangible effect on the gameplay outside of one mission where players are denied the ability to repair and reload weapons mid-mission. Limiting the choice of planes, putting players against hopeless odds, heck, maybe having the planes the prisoners are flying literally start falling apart mid-mission – there are so many interesting ways that Ace Combat 7 could have handled the disposable prisoner-soldier aspect. Eventually, the war progresses and leaves Osea overly dependent on the squadron of prisoners – until a late-game twist cuts the squadron off from those higher up in the chain of command. This could have been a great opportunity to put the game into the player’s hands: Will the prisoner-pilots stay loyal to Osea of maybe they join the losing Erusean forces. Ace Combat 5 had several missions that diverged based on player choice and gameplay decisions. Instead, it becomes a story about survival behind enemy lines; admittedly still cool, but it doesn’t do much to revitalize the story. Many of these interesting narrative beats ultimately fail because of the disconnect between them and the main focus of the story: Unmanned drones. Ace Combat 7 really wants to be a story about the dangers of drone warfare. All of its cutscenes and several of its missions deal directly with that theme and threat. It’s the only one that actually feels tangible in the gameplay itself. The threat of coming up against an AI-controlled aircraft that can outmaneuver a human pilot feels more real than anything else the flight sim presents players. It’s unfortunate that the game that the game doesn’t then focus itself entirely on that danger, flooding the player’s airspace with mass produced drones or recurring encounters against a squadron of AI aircraft that learn from the player’s maneuvers. If prisoner-pilots and being lost behind enemy lines weren’t going to help build the story around the threat of drone warfare, they should have been cut or reworked to include them. Instead, we have a bunch of half-baked ideas that lack full function or resonance. Something odd must have been going on behind the scenes of Ace Combat 7’s development to have led to the narrative being a hot mess. The game just ends with everyone realizing that the disagreement over the space elevator was based on a misunderstanding. The campaign stands at 20 missions long, shorter than Ace Combat 5 by 7-12 missions depending on how one counts them. It’s possible that many of these lingering questions or half-formed ideas will be expanded upon in future DLC that will be supporting the title, but not enough is known about the eventual DLC to say for sure. We do know that it will touch on story content, but we can only judge based on what’s there now and it’s not a terribly satisfying narrative package. On top of that, there’s no arcade mode like previous entries in the series possessed, which featured a series of flight scenarios designed to challenge players. The only thing that makes sense is that due to budget or time constraints much of the single-player content had to be axed out of the core game. Or, to be a bit cynical, it’s possible that it was cut out to serve as DLC later down the road. Ace Combat 7’s story might be a mess, but the visual design for the aircraft, skies, and even the detailed models of structures and vehicles on the ground absolutely nail what the series has always been about. For all of the craziness of its Metal Gear-like flying drone carriers, the realism and attention to detail instantly convey that this is Ace Combat. It’s so beautiful, I often wanted to simply fly and look to at the swirling clouds, missile trails, explosions, and gorgeous chaos going on in missions. Each mission has a recap camera that follows the entire mission from a variety of angles centered on the player’s airplane and I’d often watch that for several minutes after concluding a sortie. The replay feature could be improved by the ability to fast forward through the mission at more than just 2X speed. The soundtrack created by longtime game composer Keiki Kobayashi does its best to replicate the music of Ace Combat, succeeding in some respects while falling short in others. Kobayashi has been composing since 2001 and worked in the music departments of all the Ace Combat games since Ace Combat 4: Shattered Skies. It makes sense that he would be able to nail the ambient background soundscapes of the Ace Combat series for Ace Combat 7. However, Skies Unknown desperately lacks a central theme to rally around. Even at its best, it manages to convey frantic or dramatic energy, but possesses little memorable thrust of its own. It’s good experiential music to fly to but not so much to remember after the fact. The gameplay remains largely true to the Ace Combat formula of loading up a plane with an impossible number of missiles and sending it out to do battle against a variety of air and ground targets. The mission design feels tight with every mission offering a number of exciting and unique challenges. Whether it’s altitude restrictions, flying through canyons, a time limit to do as much damage as possible, getting close enough to identify a wide field of unknown potential targets, or finding smuggling trucks in a dust storm, players should expect the unexpected when gearing up for the next mission. Dealing with a number of flying quirks on missions adds another unique wrinkle to the gameplay. High winds can make flying close to the ground or staying on target difficult. Flying through clouds can help block missiles while also threatening to ice over the engines. Rain can obscure vision in the cockpit view. The most dangerous weather condition of all stands out as lightning which can fry electronics and send a plane into a deadly tailspin. Instead of a lengthy campaign or an arcade mode, Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown boasts an online multiplayer mode with a couple different rule sets, pitting players against one another for intense aerial combat. The mode is… fine. It’s fine. It’s not fantastic due to the lack of gameplay modes and rule sets for players to choose from. This might be some player’s jam and it’s certainly necessary to include in a modern Ace Combat game. However, most people aren’t playing Ace Combat for the multiplayer and there’s not much beyond replaying the campaign for people who value that single-player experience. Conclusion: Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown feels like a game that’s not sure about what it wants to be. It wants to be a gritty war story, but lacks the punch necessary to follow-through on that desire. The gameplay frequently feels disconnected from the story itself. It’s incredibly short, clocking in at only 2/3 the size of its PS2 predecessor. However, despite these narrative shortcomings, its ultimately nails the feel of classic Ace Combat. It’s a blast to play and part of the disappointment in the shortness of the game stems from the desire to play more of it. As a starting point for relaunching consistent Ace Combat releases, Skies Unknown feels like solid bedrock on which to build. For those who love multiplayer or want a unique VR experience (yes, the VR is cool, but you probably shouldn’t buy PSVR just to experience Ace Combat 7), Skies Unknown caters directly to those cravings. It certainly isn’t the perfect Ace Combat game that sets a new standard for the franchise, but Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown stands as an enjoyable entry that fans will appreciate. Maybe just wait for it to go on sale and see how the DLC roll out goes before you buy. Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  9. The latest arcade flight sim with narrative aspirations from Project Aces, Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown exists as a bit of an odd duck. The last couple attempts to bring the series into the modern day after its PlayStation 2 heyday fell flat and failed to gain much traction. This left Ace Combat in something of a limbo, only receiving support for the PSN exclusive and microtransaction-heavy Ace Combat Infinity. Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown seeks to bring the series back to its roots by setting itself up as a canonical sequel to Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War, one of the most successful Ace Combat games to date. Despite that positioning, Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown doesn’t require players to be familiar with its predecessor or the history of the fictional world of Strangereal. There are certainly nods to events and characters that veteran fans will recognize, but for the most part, these moments aren’t necessary to enjoy the larger story. That story details a war between the countries of Osea and Erusea stemming from economic and political contention regarding a space elevator constructed using Osean funds on Erusean soil after Osea devastated Erusea in a previous war. Into this situation are thrown all manner of crazy twists and plot threads including: Prisoners forced to pilot aircraft in the war, the assassination of a former head of state, the future of unmanned drone warfare in the skies, and a survival behind enemy lines narrative. If all of that sounds interesting, it should! Unfortunately, it never comes together into one cohesive entity and then just ends. One of the biggest problems is the complete lack of a protagonist. This was somewhat solved in Ace Combat 5 by allowing the player to participate in radio conversations with pilots in their squadron. Allowing for a little bit of character development that wasn’t just, “Golly gee, [player] is really the best pilot!” And that’s a huge problem in Ace Combat 7 because the player is framed for the assassination of the former president of Osea and sent to an island to fly junk planes as a distraction for the enemy. He just happens to be such a good pilot that eventually everyone seems to forget that they all think he assassinated a former president for no apparent reason. Ace Combat 7 squanders the unique opportunity it has with the concept of prisoner pilots by very quickly hand waving away that aspect. A bunch of criminals flying airplanes sounds like it should be a great mix for the series, but it never has a tangible effect on the gameplay outside of one mission where players are denied the ability to repair and reload weapons mid-mission. Limiting the choice of planes, putting players against hopeless odds, heck, maybe having the planes the prisoners are flying literally start falling apart mid-mission – there are so many interesting ways that Ace Combat 7 could have handled the disposable prisoner-soldier aspect. Eventually, the war progresses and leaves Osea overly dependent on the squadron of prisoners – until a late-game twist cuts the squadron off from those higher up in the chain of command. This could have been a great opportunity to put the game into the player’s hands: Will the prisoner-pilots stay loyal to Osea of maybe they join the losing Erusean forces. Ace Combat 5 had several missions that diverged based on player choice and gameplay decisions. Instead, it becomes a story about survival behind enemy lines; admittedly still cool, but it doesn’t do much to revitalize the story. Many of these interesting narrative beats ultimately fail because of the disconnect between them and the main focus of the story: Unmanned drones. Ace Combat 7 really wants to be a story about the dangers of drone warfare. All of its cutscenes and several of its missions deal directly with that theme and threat. It’s the only one that actually feels tangible in the gameplay itself. The threat of coming up against an AI-controlled aircraft that can outmaneuver a human pilot feels more real than anything else the flight sim presents players. It’s unfortunate that the game that the game doesn’t then focus itself entirely on that danger, flooding the player’s airspace with mass produced drones or recurring encounters against a squadron of AI aircraft that learn from the player’s maneuvers. If prisoner-pilots and being lost behind enemy lines weren’t going to help build the story around the threat of drone warfare, they should have been cut or reworked to include them. Instead, we have a bunch of half-baked ideas that lack full function or resonance. Something odd must have been going on behind the scenes of Ace Combat 7’s development to have led to the narrative being a hot mess. The game just ends with everyone realizing that the disagreement over the space elevator was based on a misunderstanding. The campaign stands at 20 missions long, shorter than Ace Combat 5 by 7-12 missions depending on how one counts them. It’s possible that many of these lingering questions or half-formed ideas will be expanded upon in future DLC that will be supporting the title, but not enough is known about the eventual DLC to say for sure. We do know that it will touch on story content, but we can only judge based on what’s there now and it’s not a terribly satisfying narrative package. On top of that, there’s no arcade mode like previous entries in the series possessed, which featured a series of flight scenarios designed to challenge players. The only thing that makes sense is that due to budget or time constraints much of the single-player content had to be axed out of the core game. Or, to be a bit cynical, it’s possible that it was cut out to serve as DLC later down the road. Ace Combat 7’s story might be a mess, but the visual design for the aircraft, skies, and even the detailed models of structures and vehicles on the ground absolutely nail what the series has always been about. For all of the craziness of its Metal Gear-like flying drone carriers, the realism and attention to detail instantly convey that this is Ace Combat. It’s so beautiful, I often wanted to simply fly and look to at the swirling clouds, missile trails, explosions, and gorgeous chaos going on in missions. Each mission has a recap camera that follows the entire mission from a variety of angles centered on the player’s airplane and I’d often watch that for several minutes after concluding a sortie. The replay feature could be improved by the ability to fast forward through the mission at more than just 2X speed. The soundtrack created by longtime game composer Keiki Kobayashi does its best to replicate the music of Ace Combat, succeeding in some respects while falling short in others. Kobayashi has been composing since 2001 and worked in the music departments of all the Ace Combat games since Ace Combat 4: Shattered Skies. It makes sense that he would be able to nail the ambient background soundscapes of the Ace Combat series for Ace Combat 7. However, Skies Unknown desperately lacks a central theme to rally around. Even at its best, it manages to convey frantic or dramatic energy, but possesses little memorable thrust of its own. It’s good experiential music to fly to but not so much to remember after the fact. The gameplay remains largely true to the Ace Combat formula of loading up a plane with an impossible number of missiles and sending it out to do battle against a variety of air and ground targets. The mission design feels tight with every mission offering a number of exciting and unique challenges. Whether it’s altitude restrictions, flying through canyons, a time limit to do as much damage as possible, getting close enough to identify a wide field of unknown potential targets, or finding smuggling trucks in a dust storm, players should expect the unexpected when gearing up for the next mission. Dealing with a number of flying quirks on missions adds another unique wrinkle to the gameplay. High winds can make flying close to the ground or staying on target difficult. Flying through clouds can help block missiles while also threatening to ice over the engines. Rain can obscure vision in the cockpit view. The most dangerous weather condition of all stands out as lightning which can fry electronics and send a plane into a deadly tailspin. Instead of a lengthy campaign or an arcade mode, Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown boasts an online multiplayer mode with a couple different rule sets, pitting players against one another for intense aerial combat. The mode is… fine. It’s fine. It’s not fantastic due to the lack of gameplay modes and rule sets for players to choose from. This might be some player’s jam and it’s certainly necessary to include in a modern Ace Combat game. However, most people aren’t playing Ace Combat for the multiplayer and there’s not much beyond replaying the campaign for people who value that single-player experience. Conclusion: Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown feels like a game that’s not sure about what it wants to be. It wants to be a gritty war story, but lacks the punch necessary to follow-through on that desire. The gameplay frequently feels disconnected from the story itself. It’s incredibly short, clocking in at only 2/3 the size of its PS2 predecessor. However, despite these narrative shortcomings, its ultimately nails the feel of classic Ace Combat. It’s a blast to play and part of the disappointment in the shortness of the game stems from the desire to play more of it. As a starting point for relaunching consistent Ace Combat releases, Skies Unknown feels like solid bedrock on which to build. For those who love multiplayer or want a unique VR experience (yes, the VR is cool, but you probably shouldn’t buy PSVR just to experience Ace Combat 7), Skies Unknown caters directly to those cravings. It certainly isn’t the perfect Ace Combat game that sets a new standard for the franchise, but Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown stands as an enjoyable entry that fans will appreciate. Maybe just wait for it to go on sale and see how the DLC roll out goes before you buy. Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  10. Take a nostalgia trip back to the heyday of the 8-bit era with Odallus: The Dark Call, an action-platformer coming to Nintendo Switch. Odallus: The Dark Call tells the story of Haggis, an aged hero who embarks on a quest to save his son and avenge the destruction of his village. Battling demons, cultists, and eldritch beings, Haggis presses onward to spare his son from becoming a dark sacrifice. Brazilian developer JoyMasher masterminded both Odallus: The Dark Call and Oniken, which will also be receiving a Switch port. The company specializes in retro game development, with Odallus covering the Metroidvania action subgenre and Oniken representing JoyMasher's take on the old-school Ninja Gaiden. They also have a game currently in development called Blazing Chrome, a 16-bit run-and-gun action-shooter in the vein of Super Contra or Metal Slug. Odallus: The Dark Call initially released in 2015 for PC, receiving mostly positive reviews for its heartfelt send up of the Castlevania of old. It includes classic 8-bit cutscenes, a large world full of secrets, and clever gameplay twists that might trick even the most veteran of players. Now, the adventures of Haggis are coming to Nintendo Switch in February as well as PlayStation 4 and Xbox One later this spring. Odallus: The Dark Call features eight levels that can be explored for more secrets when players have acquired more abilities. Levels are populated by over fifty different enemy types and offer chances to face off against colossal bosses. Players who stick through to the end will spend, at a minimum, eight hours completing the game, only to find a veteran difficulty awaiting them for added replayability. When it launches, Odallus: The Dark Call will be available digitally. However, Eastasiasoft will be offering a limited run physical edition of the game. These physical copies will work on all systems worldwide, but may have some limitations on their online features. The following will be offered physically: Odallus: The Dark Call (PS4) Oniken + Odallus Collection (PS4/Switch) Oniken + Odallus Collection: Limited Edition (Switch) Odallus: The Dark Call releases for Nintendo Switch on February 8 and will be coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One sometime during spring of this year. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  11. Take a nostalgia trip back to the heyday of the 8-bit era with Odallus: The Dark Call, an action-platformer coming to Nintendo Switch. Odallus: The Dark Call tells the story of Haggis, an aged hero who embarks on a quest to save his son and avenge the destruction of his village. Battling demons, cultists, and eldritch beings, Haggis presses onward to spare his son from becoming a dark sacrifice. Brazilian developer JoyMasher masterminded both Odallus: The Dark Call and Oniken, which will also be receiving a Switch port. The company specializes in retro game development, with Odallus covering the Metroidvania action subgenre and Oniken representing JoyMasher's take on the old-school Ninja Gaiden. They also have a game currently in development called Blazing Chrome, a 16-bit run-and-gun action-shooter in the vein of Super Contra or Metal Slug. Odallus: The Dark Call initially released in 2015 for PC, receiving mostly positive reviews for its heartfelt send up of the Castlevania of old. It includes classic 8-bit cutscenes, a large world full of secrets, and clever gameplay twists that might trick even the most veteran of players. Now, the adventures of Haggis are coming to Nintendo Switch in February as well as PlayStation 4 and Xbox One later this spring. Odallus: The Dark Call features eight levels that can be explored for more secrets when players have acquired more abilities. Levels are populated by over fifty different enemy types and offer chances to face off against colossal bosses. Players who stick through to the end will spend, at a minimum, eight hours completing the game, only to find a veteran difficulty awaiting them for added replayability. When it launches, Odallus: The Dark Call will be available digitally. However, Eastasiasoft will be offering a limited run physical edition of the game. These physical copies will work on all systems worldwide, but may have some limitations on their online features. The following will be offered physically: Odallus: The Dark Call (PS4) Oniken + Odallus Collection (PS4/Switch) Oniken + Odallus Collection: Limited Edition (Switch) Odallus: The Dark Call releases for Nintendo Switch on February 8 and will be coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One sometime during spring of this year. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  12. Following a giveaway on Humble Bundle and a heavy discount during the holiday sales, the Lego versions of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit have been pulled from Steam as well as the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 digital storefronts. These aren't the first games to disappear from digital marketplaces recently. Following the collapse of Telltale Games, many of their high-profile adventure games also vanished from the Steam store. Reddit user SuperMoonkey first spotted the delisting. While it's still possible to access the web pages for both Lego: The Lord of the Rings and Lego: The Hobbit, neither game can be purchased on any platform. The only way to play these games now is to purchase physical copies - or wait until they return in a digital form, if they ever do. While it might seem strange that these two games would be removed, there's been some speculation as to the reasons why. The biggest cause of delistings on digital stores comes down to licensing. Publishers that put out games often have a certain time limit on how long they are able to sell products based on films or that contain certain music tracks. Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has the rights to create games based on the world of Middle-Earth, but those are different from the rights to creating games based on Peter Jackson's film adaptations of Tolkien's work. Though Warner Bros. has yet to clarify the exact situation, it's entirely possible that they have different licensing terms for the world of Middle-Earth and the Jackson films. The film licenses might have expired, leaving the publisher with the rights to the games based on the world but not the films. This would explain the removal of Lego: The Lord of the Rings and Lego: The Hobbit, but not games like Middle-Earth Shadow of Mordor and Shadow of War. We'll let you know if Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment releases an update on the situation. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  13. Following a giveaway on Humble Bundle and a heavy discount during the holiday sales, the Lego versions of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit have been pulled from Steam as well as the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 digital storefronts. These aren't the first games to disappear from digital marketplaces recently. Following the collapse of Telltale Games, many of their high-profile adventure games also vanished from the Steam store. Reddit user SuperMoonkey first spotted the delisting. While it's still possible to access the web pages for both Lego: The Lord of the Rings and Lego: The Hobbit, neither game can be purchased on any platform. The only way to play these games now is to purchase physical copies - or wait until they return in a digital form, if they ever do. While it might seem strange that these two games would be removed, there's been some speculation as to the reasons why. The biggest cause of delistings on digital stores comes down to licensing. Publishers that put out games often have a certain time limit on how long they are able to sell products based on films or that contain certain music tracks. Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has the rights to create games based on the world of Middle-Earth, but those are different from the rights to creating games based on Peter Jackson's film adaptations of Tolkien's work. Though Warner Bros. has yet to clarify the exact situation, it's entirely possible that they have different licensing terms for the world of Middle-Earth and the Jackson films. The film licenses might have expired, leaving the publisher with the rights to the games based on the world but not the films. This would explain the removal of Lego: The Lord of the Rings and Lego: The Hobbit, but not games like Middle-Earth Shadow of Mordor and Shadow of War. We'll let you know if Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment releases an update on the situation. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  14. Today marks the official release of Capybara Games' Below, which first appeared at E3 2013 and then went dark for years. Between the official announcement and Below's release, the studio released Super Time Force and OK K.O.! Let's Play Heroes, but now their highest profile game is out in the world. Capybara Games made a mark for itself when it released Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP for mobile and PC back in 2011. The title wove a magnificent soundtrack by Indie Game: The Movie composer Jim Guthrie into a mysterious RPG adventure that just felt great to play. Below seems to follow in those footsteps while relying on a set of roguelike dungeon-delving mechanics that include punishing combat and perma-death. The tag line, according to the developers, is, "Explore. Survive. Discover." Players take on the role of an enigmatic explorer of The Isle, a small island in the middle of the ocean that holds the entrance to an underground ruin and cavern system that spans an unfathomable distance into the earth. The long abandoned ruins are home to all manner of perilous traps, deadly monsters, and rich rewards. As players proceed, they'll pick up many scavenged materials that can be used to craft tools and elixirs that could prove the difference between life and death. No one knows what awaits at the bottom of The Isle's ruins, but perhaps your journey will be the one to make it there in one piece. Below has launched on Xbox One and PC. While there are no announced release dates for PlayStation 4 or Switch, it's safe to assume that those will be coming sometime in the future as Capybara has only signed a timed exclusive deal with Microsoft for the game to release on their platform first. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  15. Today marks the official release of Capybara Games' Below, which first appeared at E3 2013 and then went dark for years. Between the official announcement and Below's release, the studio released Super Time Force and OK K.O.! Let's Play Heroes, but now their highest profile game is out in the world. Capybara Games made a mark for itself when it released Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP for mobile and PC back in 2011. The title wove a magnificent soundtrack by Indie Game: The Movie composer Jim Guthrie into a mysterious RPG adventure that just felt great to play. Below seems to follow in those footsteps while relying on a set of roguelike dungeon-delving mechanics that include punishing combat and perma-death. The tag line, according to the developers, is, "Explore. Survive. Discover." Players take on the role of an enigmatic explorer of The Isle, a small island in the middle of the ocean that holds the entrance to an underground ruin and cavern system that spans an unfathomable distance into the earth. The long abandoned ruins are home to all manner of perilous traps, deadly monsters, and rich rewards. As players proceed, they'll pick up many scavenged materials that can be used to craft tools and elixirs that could prove the difference between life and death. No one knows what awaits at the bottom of The Isle's ruins, but perhaps your journey will be the one to make it there in one piece. Below has launched on Xbox One and PC. While there are no announced release dates for PlayStation 4 or Switch, it's safe to assume that those will be coming sometime in the future as Capybara has only signed a timed exclusive deal with Microsoft for the game to release on their platform first. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  16. Back in 2015, a small, four-person team based in France launched a Kickstarter with the modest goal of raising $44,000 to create a game in the classic JRPG mold. Their pitch for their dream game wound up bringing in almost four times that amount and development on Edge of Eternity began. Three years later and a team of nine people, Midgar Studio has released the Early Access version of Edge of Eternity along with a development road map - and the game certainly looks impressive as heck. Though released to the public, the Early Access version of Edge of Eternity remains very much in its alpha stages. It only includes the first chapter of the story that will bring players on a journey through the first major area of the game built around the hub city of Herelsor. The first portion of the Edge of Eternity's Early Access includes six self-contained sidequests and a number of procedurally generated quests alongside the main story. It will also contain a portion of the soundtrack composed by Yasunori Mitsuda, the man responsible for the soundtracks of Chrono Trigger, Xenoblade, and Shadow Hearts. The actual gameplay in Edge of Eternity combines classic open world roaming with turn-based tactical battles that rely on an innovative hex system. Players will explore, level up, and unlock new abilities by using a system that seems similar to Final Fantasy X's ability grids. With each major update milestone, the gameplay systems will be expanded upon and deepened with new abilities, items, and more. Edge of Eternity takes place on the fictional world of Heryon, a planet in turmoil following an invasion of technologically superior outsiders known as the Archelites. In order to survive, the nations of Heryon banded together under an organization called the Consortium and managed to trap the invaders within their mobile fortress by turning to the powerful magic found within the crystals native to their lands. The war entered a prolonged stalemate for decades until the invaders released a new weapon: The Corrosion. The plague ripped through the cities rendering those afflicted with it to develop strange mechanical mutations while slowly going mad from the agony of the disease. In an effort to combat the incurable sickness, those who brew too close to technology or made unauthorized use of it would be labelled as criminals and sent to their deaths. Edge of Eternity follows Daryon, a soldier for the Consortium who receives a fateful letter from home telling him his mother has fallen ill with the Corrosion. That knowledge spurs Daryon down a path at odds with the forces around him. Through a twist of fate, Daryon meets the renegade Selene, a young woman on the run after being found guilty of illegal use of technology. The two will need to rely on one another to survive in a world of war and monsters. Interestingly, Midgar Studio will also be including a set of modding tools for Edge of Eternity called The Eternal Forge that will come with a built-in mod manager. I wouldn't typically think of JRPGs and extensive modding, but the possibilities mixed with the solid foundations of the game itself. Following this initial release, here's what to expect coming as free updates in the near future, bearing in mind that each major update will include new zones, sidequests, monsters, items, and abilities. The Plains of Solna - Late February 2019 - Another section of the open world with a new city named Old Herelsor, the devs describe a farm "sheltering a very, very special creature," too. The Reunion - Spring 2019 - A new segment of the open world with an entirely different environment biome, a dungeon, and a continuation of the main story The Man who survived the Corrosion - Summer 2019 - A new city with expansive quest support and a new party member (it is a JRPG after all!) “As a small indie team of nine people, making an epic JRPG adventure is a huge and work-intensive task. We believe that the labor done so far and its results are already quite an achievement, but we’re still a long way away from getting the game to where we want it to be,” said Jeremy Zeler, founder of Midgar Studio. “Following on from our successful Kickstarter campaign, launching Edge of Eternity into Early Access allows us to further involve our community through the development. It allows us to get direct feedback on new story content, new areas of the game world, the general feel of the game as we expand and build towards the full, polished release our fans and followers are expecting us to deliver.” Edge of Eternity is currently available for PC players through Steam Early Access. People who buy it now will be able to help squash bugs and offer the team suggestions to shape development as the title heads for its full release on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  17. Back in 2015, a small, four-person team based in France launched a Kickstarter with the modest goal of raising $44,000 to create a game in the classic JRPG mold. Their pitch for their dream game wound up bringing in almost four times that amount and development on Edge of Eternity began. Three years later and a team of nine people, Midgar Studio has released the Early Access version of Edge of Eternity along with a development road map - and the game certainly looks impressive as heck. Though released to the public, the Early Access version of Edge of Eternity remains very much in its alpha stages. It only includes the first chapter of the story that will bring players on a journey through the first major area of the game built around the hub city of Herelsor. The first portion of the Edge of Eternity's Early Access includes six self-contained sidequests and a number of procedurally generated quests alongside the main story. It will also contain a portion of the soundtrack composed by Yasunori Mitsuda, the man responsible for the soundtracks of Chrono Trigger, Xenoblade, and Shadow Hearts. The actual gameplay in Edge of Eternity combines classic open world roaming with turn-based tactical battles that rely on an innovative hex system. Players will explore, level up, and unlock new abilities by using a system that seems similar to Final Fantasy X's ability grids. With each major update milestone, the gameplay systems will be expanded upon and deepened with new abilities, items, and more. Edge of Eternity takes place on the fictional world of Heryon, a planet in turmoil following an invasion of technologically superior outsiders known as the Archelites. In order to survive, the nations of Heryon banded together under an organization called the Consortium and managed to trap the invaders within their mobile fortress by turning to the powerful magic found within the crystals native to their lands. The war entered a prolonged stalemate for decades until the invaders released a new weapon: The Corrosion. The plague ripped through the cities rendering those afflicted with it to develop strange mechanical mutations while slowly going mad from the agony of the disease. In an effort to combat the incurable sickness, those who brew too close to technology or made unauthorized use of it would be labelled as criminals and sent to their deaths. Edge of Eternity follows Daryon, a soldier for the Consortium who receives a fateful letter from home telling him his mother has fallen ill with the Corrosion. That knowledge spurs Daryon down a path at odds with the forces around him. Through a twist of fate, Daryon meets the renegade Selene, a young woman on the run after being found guilty of illegal use of technology. The two will need to rely on one another to survive in a world of war and monsters. Interestingly, Midgar Studio will also be including a set of modding tools for Edge of Eternity called The Eternal Forge that will come with a built-in mod manager. I wouldn't typically think of JRPGs and extensive modding, but the possibilities mixed with the solid foundations of the game itself. Following this initial release, here's what to expect coming as free updates in the near future, bearing in mind that each major update will include new zones, sidequests, monsters, items, and abilities. The Plains of Solna - Late February 2019 - Another section of the open world with a new city named Old Herelsor, the devs describe a farm "sheltering a very, very special creature," too. The Reunion - Spring 2019 - A new segment of the open world with an entirely different environment biome, a dungeon, and a continuation of the main story The Man who survived the Corrosion - Summer 2019 - A new city with expansive quest support and a new party member (it is a JRPG after all!) “As a small indie team of nine people, making an epic JRPG adventure is a huge and work-intensive task. We believe that the labor done so far and its results are already quite an achievement, but we’re still a long way away from getting the game to where we want it to be,” said Jeremy Zeler, founder of Midgar Studio. “Following on from our successful Kickstarter campaign, launching Edge of Eternity into Early Access allows us to further involve our community through the development. It allows us to get direct feedback on new story content, new areas of the game world, the general feel of the game as we expand and build towards the full, polished release our fans and followers are expecting us to deliver.” Edge of Eternity is currently available for PC players through Steam Early Access. People who buy it now will be able to help squash bugs and offer the team suggestions to shape development as the title heads for its full release on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  18. You know the massive boss ships that float down from the top of the screen in classic bullet hell games? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to play as one of those for a change? Now you can thanks to Spacewave Software's Rival Megagun! Rival Megagun has two players competing against one another as they battle through SHMUP (Shoot 'Em Up) levels while trying to take one another out. When hitting certain power levels, players can cross the vertical divide to attack their opponent as a colossal boss ship - a Mega Gunship, if you will. Players can tackle the game solo against the AI, play against friends in local couch co-op, or take on all comers online. The game features a number of different playable characters each with their own strengths and weaknesses and unique Mega Gunship forms. There's also a solo play arcade mode for those who want to immerse themselves in the classic roots of the genre. As players progress through the Rival Megagun, they'll unlock new components and weapons for their various ships, enabling customizations and opening up devious tactics to spring on unsuspecting rivals. Rival Megagun is available today for PC and PlayStation 4, November 30 for Xbox One, and December 12 for the Nintendo Switch. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  19. You know the massive boss ships that float down from the top of the screen in classic bullet hell games? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to play as one of those for a change? Now you can thanks to Spacewave Software's Rival Megagun! Rival Megagun has two players competing against one another as they battle through SHMUP (Shoot 'Em Up) levels while trying to take one another out. When hitting certain power levels, players can cross the vertical divide to attack their opponent as a colossal boss ship - a Mega Gunship, if you will. Players can tackle the game solo against the AI, play against friends in local couch co-op, or take on all comers online. The game features a number of different playable characters each with their own strengths and weaknesses and unique Mega Gunship forms. There's also a solo play arcade mode for those who want to immerse themselves in the classic roots of the genre. As players progress through the Rival Megagun, they'll unlock new components and weapons for their various ships, enabling customizations and opening up devious tactics to spring on unsuspecting rivals. Rival Megagun is available today for PC and PlayStation 4, November 30 for Xbox One, and December 12 for the Nintendo Switch. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  20. Sunset Overdrive was one of the hottest games on the Xbox One shortly after its launch. Several years later, it has now found its way onto PC courtesy of THQ Nordic. Heck, it is even receiving a physical PC release, a rarity in 2018, that should be arriving at physical retailers next week. Both the physical and digital editions of Sunset Overdrive's PC release will include all of the DLC from the Xbox One version. Both versions will also retail for $19.99. Sunset Overdrive presents the player with a bouncy romp through the far-flung, post-apocalyptic future of 2027 when a contaminated energy drink turns tens of thousands into horrific mutants. Equal parts Tony Hawk and Ratchet & Clank, Insomniac's malleable adventure will keep players entertained from start to finish (I found it immensely fun at the very least). The main campaign is supplemented by two additional DLC adventures: Mystery of Mooil Rig and Dawn of the Rise of the Fallen Machines. Sunset Overdrive is now available for Xbox One and PC. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  21. Sunset Overdrive was one of the hottest games on the Xbox One shortly after its launch. Several years later, it has now found its way onto PC courtesy of THQ Nordic. Heck, it is even receiving a physical PC release, a rarity in 2018, that should be arriving at physical retailers next week. Both the physical and digital editions of Sunset Overdrive's PC release will include all of the DLC from the Xbox One version. Both versions will also retail for $19.99. Sunset Overdrive presents the player with a bouncy romp through the far-flung, post-apocalyptic future of 2027 when a contaminated energy drink turns tens of thousands into horrific mutants. Equal parts Tony Hawk and Ratchet & Clank, Insomniac's malleable adventure will keep players entertained from start to finish (I found it immensely fun at the very least). The main campaign is supplemented by two additional DLC adventures: Mystery of Mooil Rig and Dawn of the Rise of the Fallen Machines. Sunset Overdrive is now available for Xbox One and PC. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  22. Frictional Games, the developers behind Penumbra and Soma, have released a free update for their most famous title to date. Amnesia: The Dark Descent revolutionized horror with its physics-based gameplay and use of tension to make it feel like an ominous presence constantly pursues the player as they progress through a haunted castle. It was so successful that the classic first-person horror game changed the way games handled horror for years. The update adds a hard mode to the game for veterans looking for a new experience while replaying their dark descent. The hard mode disables autosaves, but don't worry! Players can still save - in exchange for four tinderboxes, the items that allow players to light the very important torches that illuminate the environment and restore sanity. In hard mode, dropping to zero sanity will kill the player. There will also be fewer tinderboxes and oil refills. Monsters will be faster, more alert, stronger, and more persistent when it comes time for them to hunt. And those hunts? They'll be more dangerous than ever with the removal of music cues announcing their presence.... If you're planning on conquering that hard mode, good luck. Since its initial announcement last week for traditional PCs and Xbox One, the update has been slowly extended across other platforms like Mac and Linux. Currently, Frictional has partnered with Blit Works to bring the mode to PlayStation 4 in the near future. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  23. Frictional Games, the developers behind Penumbra and Soma, have released a free update for their most famous title to date. Amnesia: The Dark Descent revolutionized horror with its physics-based gameplay and use of tension to make it feel like an ominous presence constantly pursues the player as they progress through a haunted castle. It was so successful that the classic first-person horror game changed the way games handled horror for years. The update adds a hard mode to the game for veterans looking for a new experience while replaying their dark descent. The hard mode disables autosaves, but don't worry! Players can still save - in exchange for four tinderboxes, the items that allow players to light the very important torches that illuminate the environment and restore sanity. In hard mode, dropping to zero sanity will kill the player. There will also be fewer tinderboxes and oil refills. Monsters will be faster, more alert, stronger, and more persistent when it comes time for them to hunt. And those hunts? They'll be more dangerous than ever with the removal of music cues announcing their presence.... If you're planning on conquering that hard mode, good luck. Since its initial announcement last week for traditional PCs and Xbox One, the update has been slowly extended across other platforms like Mac and Linux. Currently, Frictional has partnered with Blit Works to bring the mode to PlayStation 4 in the near future. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  24. If you go into Life Is Strange 2 thinking it will be a similar journey to its predecessor you are going to be in for a shock. Life Is Strange 2 retains the same humanizing sensibilities and just slightly surreal world-building that made the town of Arcadia Bay come to life, but what it does with those strengths in the first episode looks very different. This change up will leave some people reeling and others deeply invested in where this story will be going as more episodes hit digital storefronts around the world. Roads plays very much like the previous Life Is Strange episodes before it. Players can walk around gorgeous environments that manage to find the beauty often hidden within the mundane and interact with objects or people, complete with a running internal monologue. When interacting with some items or character, players will have the opportunity to make choices that could affect what happens later on in ways ranging from whether a small token appears on a backpack to whether an entire town exists or not. That framework still functions as well as it ever did, though I particularly enjoyed its incarnation in Roads. Early in the episode, players have the opportunity to gather a collection of supplies, including money. That money is then used later on to buy food and other essentials from a gas station. Based on how much money you were able to scrounge in the beginning, players will face different pressures and choices about what to buy and what decisions seem to make the most sense. The way the team at Dontnod designed the scene leaves a lot of room for players to fill in the blanks for themselves and presents a great moral dilemma, the bread and butter of any narrative-heavy adventure game, in an original way. I will also say off the bat that The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit does not have a ton of overlap with the first episode of Life Is Strange 2, though it did tease some of its inciting incident. From what Dontnod has revealed so far, we can probably expect more Captain Spirit-related events in future episodes. Whereas the original Life Is Strange focused on the struggles of a young white girl in the early 2000s and her life in an aging coastal town on the decline, the sequel takes a look at the life of a young Hispanic boy named Sean Diaz living in the Seattle, Washington of 2016. At first, things seem like they will follow the same sleepy, nostalgic setup seen in Life Is Strange. It's near Halloween and the kids at the local high school are throwing a party, complete with all the pressures and concerns that go with that scene. However, a small disagreement with a neighbor kid escalates when punches are thrown and a police officer arrives, drawing his gun. When Sean's dad comes running out to see what's going on, the officer panics and shoots, killing Sean's father in front of both Sean and his 9-year-old brother Daniel. The trauma of the event causes Daniel to lash out with some unexplained power, sending a massive shockwave through the area that destroys parts of the surrounding homes, flips cars, and kills the officer and possibly the neighbor. Upon regaining consciousness, Sean takes in the situation and realizes that there's no explaining any of this away; running becomes the only thing that makes sense. So it is that Life Is Strange 2 becomes about hitting the road in the modern United States. As they travel, they encounter a small slice of people from across the socio-political spectrum. The first game painted a clear picture of Arcadia Bay, Oregon, but Life Is Strange 2, at least from the first episode, holds the larger ambition of reflecting the entire country. And that reflection doesn't pull punches. Perhaps most unexpectedly, the fluff of nostalgia that permeated the first Life Is Strange (and perhaps made some of its more disturbing moments palatable) has been replaced by a more immediate and applicable sense of time and place that, frankly, we aren't used to seeing in video games. It's surreal to hear characters throw slurs mixed with rhetoric about building a wall between the United States and Mexico or demonstrate a nonchalant attitude toward marijuana that reflects its legalization in Washington state. The veracity of these attitudes hits home as I have seen people act the same way in the real world. Especially when it comes to the uglier topics Roads touches on, the experience does not feel comfortable, but that's precisely the point. In some ways, it feels as though Life Is Strange 2 Episode 1 is having a conversation with the player. The developers must have been aware that some people would fall into the category that firmly believes games should be meaningless fun and wanted to subtly make the case that maybe some games should have more substance than just fun. Roads hits several extremely polarizing issues right off the bat, from police violence to racial prejudice, in such a way that it might shock people who aren't used to games that have pointed things to say about those subjects. Then, near the end of the episode, a character comments that, "Everything is political," both to the characters in their scene and also as if to directly address the player. And what are we supposed to do with that information? One of the closing conversations of the episode asks just that question. And the answer seems to be to continue pushing forward, whether that's for truth or for some kind of safe haven. Because that's all anyone can ever do. Conclusion: Life Is Strange 2's first episode blew me away. It manages to both be a heartfelt examination of the relationship between two brothers while unflinchingly engaging with incredibly weighty and difficult topics. It also doesn't leave the player with any easy answers or ways to address those issues in the real world. I suppose those might be coming in future episodes, but if I had to guess from how Roads played out we won't be presented with feel-good solutions. The story of the Diaz family left me constantly wondering what would happen next. While the episode ends with a somewhat concrete plan, I wouldn't be shocked if it veers off in completely unexpected directions. This episode manages to be equal parts gorgeous, funny, and searing all at the same time; gripping in such a way that you'll finish it in one sitting. It's going to be a long wait for Episode 2. Life Is Strange 2 Episode 1: Roads was reviewed on PC and is currently available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  25. If you go into Life Is Strange 2 thinking it will be a similar journey to its predecessor you are going to be in for a shock. Life Is Strange 2 retains the same humanizing sensibilities and just slightly surreal world-building that made the town of Arcadia Bay come to life, but what it does with those strengths in the first episode looks very different. This change up will leave some people reeling and others deeply invested in where this story will be going as more episodes hit digital storefronts around the world. Roads plays very much like the previous Life Is Strange episodes before it. Players can walk around gorgeous environments that manage to find the beauty often hidden within the mundane and interact with objects or people, complete with a running internal monologue. When interacting with some items or character, players will have the opportunity to make choices that could affect what happens later on in ways ranging from whether a small token appears on a backpack to whether an entire town exists or not. That framework still functions as well as it ever did, though I particularly enjoyed its incarnation in Roads. Early in the episode, players have the opportunity to gather a collection of supplies, including money. That money is then used later on to buy food and other essentials from a gas station. Based on how much money you were able to scrounge in the beginning, players will face different pressures and choices about what to buy and what decisions seem to make the most sense. The way the team at Dontnod designed the scene leaves a lot of room for players to fill in the blanks for themselves and presents a great moral dilemma, the bread and butter of any narrative-heavy adventure game, in an original way. I will also say off the bat that The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit does not have a ton of overlap with the first episode of Life Is Strange 2, though it did tease some of its inciting incident. From what Dontnod has revealed so far, we can probably expect more Captain Spirit-related events in future episodes. Whereas the original Life Is Strange focused on the struggles of a young white girl in the early 2000s and her life in an aging coastal town on the decline, the sequel takes a look at the life of a young Hispanic boy named Sean Diaz living in the Seattle, Washington of 2016. At first, things seem like they will follow the same sleepy, nostalgic setup seen in Life Is Strange. It's near Halloween and the kids at the local high school are throwing a party, complete with all the pressures and concerns that go with that scene. However, a small disagreement with a neighbor kid escalates when punches are thrown and a police officer arrives, drawing his gun. When Sean's dad comes running out to see what's going on, the officer panics and shoots, killing Sean's father in front of both Sean and his 9-year-old brother Daniel. The trauma of the event causes Daniel to lash out with some unexplained power, sending a massive shockwave through the area that destroys parts of the surrounding homes, flips cars, and kills the officer and possibly the neighbor. Upon regaining consciousness, Sean takes in the situation and realizes that there's no explaining any of this away; running becomes the only thing that makes sense. So it is that Life Is Strange 2 becomes about hitting the road in the modern United States. As they travel, they encounter a small slice of people from across the socio-political spectrum. The first game painted a clear picture of Arcadia Bay, Oregon, but Life Is Strange 2, at least from the first episode, holds the larger ambition of reflecting the entire country. And that reflection doesn't pull punches. Perhaps most unexpectedly, the fluff of nostalgia that permeated the first Life Is Strange (and perhaps made some of its more disturbing moments palatable) has been replaced by a more immediate and applicable sense of time and place that, frankly, we aren't used to seeing in video games. It's surreal to hear characters throw slurs mixed with rhetoric about building a wall between the United States and Mexico or demonstrate a nonchalant attitude toward marijuana that reflects its legalization in Washington state. The veracity of these attitudes hits home as I have seen people act the same way in the real world. Especially when it comes to the uglier topics Roads touches on, the experience does not feel comfortable, but that's precisely the point. In some ways, it feels as though Life Is Strange 2 Episode 1 is having a conversation with the player. The developers must have been aware that some people would fall into the category that firmly believes games should be meaningless fun and wanted to subtly make the case that maybe some games should have more substance than just fun. Roads hits several extremely polarizing issues right off the bat, from police violence to racial prejudice, in such a way that it might shock people who aren't used to games that have pointed things to say about those subjects. Then, near the end of the episode, a character comments that, "Everything is political," both to the characters in their scene and also as if to directly address the player. And what are we supposed to do with that information? One of the closing conversations of the episode asks just that question. And the answer seems to be to continue pushing forward, whether that's for truth or for some kind of safe haven. Because that's all anyone can ever do. Conclusion: Life Is Strange 2's first episode blew me away. It manages to both be a heartfelt examination of the relationship between two brothers while unflinchingly engaging with incredibly weighty and difficult topics. It also doesn't leave the player with any easy answers or ways to address those issues in the real world. I suppose those might be coming in future episodes, but if I had to guess from how Roads played out we won't be presented with feel-good solutions. The story of the Diaz family left me constantly wondering what would happen next. While the episode ends with a somewhat concrete plan, I wouldn't be shocked if it veers off in completely unexpected directions. This episode manages to be equal parts gorgeous, funny, and searing all at the same time; gripping in such a way that you'll finish it in one sitting. It's going to be a long wait for Episode 2. Life Is Strange 2 Episode 1: Roads was reviewed on PC and is currently available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
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