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Found 471 results

  1. 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!
  2. 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
  3. Jack Gardner

    Review: Life Is Strange 2 Episode 1: Roads

    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!
  4. 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
  5. Namco Bandai has announced that they will be offering Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War in its entirety as a pre-order incentive for Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown. It will be available for both digital and physical editions of Ace Combat 7, though those who opt for the physical copy could miss out on a dynamic theme. Here's what's included in the pre-order bundle: Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown dynamic theme - only available for digital pre-orders A McDonnell Douglas F-4E plane and three aircraft skins Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War Ace Combat 7 will be a full $60 at launch with a season pass available for $25 that includes three extra planes, three new stages, and an in-game music player. A deluxe edition will be sold digitally that packages the game with the season pass and will include the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter plane. Presumably, this means that Namco Bandai has updated Ace Combat 5 for modern systems, which might be worth the price of admission on its own. The hightlight of the PlayStation 2 run of the Ace Combat series, 5 puts players in the middle of a fictionalized version of our world, dubbed affectionately Strangereal, that has its two major superpowers on the brink of turning its Cold War into a hot one. The characters, flight controls, and scenarios are all excellent as each mission escalates in intensity. It's one of the best arcade flight sims out there, so seeing it in the air once again will be a real treat. We got some time to play with Ace Combat 7's VR features hands-on last year and it was a really amazing experience. Despite being the seventh numbered title in the Ace Combat series, 7 will be a direct sequel to 5. Sunau Katabuchi, the writer of Ace Combat 5, will return to write for Skies Unknown and has left open the possibility that characters from The Unsung War will return to fly again. The story will focus on the political conflict over the construction of a massive space elevator that spans multiple nations. Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown will release on January 18, 2018 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. The VR version will be exclusive to the PS4 version. 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!
  6. Namco Bandai has announced that they will be offering Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War in its entirety as a pre-order incentive for Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown. It will be available for both digital and physical editions of Ace Combat 7, though those who opt for the physical copy could miss out on a dynamic theme. Here's what's included in the pre-order bundle: Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown dynamic theme - only available for digital pre-orders A McDonnell Douglas F-4E plane and three aircraft skins Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War Ace Combat 7 will be a full $60 at launch with a season pass available for $25 that includes three extra planes, three new stages, and an in-game music player. A deluxe edition will be sold digitally that packages the game with the season pass and will include the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter plane. Presumably, this means that Namco Bandai has updated Ace Combat 5 for modern systems, which might be worth the price of admission on its own. The hightlight of the PlayStation 2 run of the Ace Combat series, 5 puts players in the middle of a fictionalized version of our world, dubbed affectionately Strangereal, that has its two major superpowers on the brink of turning its Cold War into a hot one. The characters, flight controls, and scenarios are all excellent as each mission escalates in intensity. It's one of the best arcade flight sims out there, so seeing it in the air once again will be a real treat. We got some time to play with Ace Combat 7's VR features hands-on last year and it was a really amazing experience. Despite being the seventh numbered title in the Ace Combat series, 7 will be a direct sequel to 5. Sunau Katabuchi, the writer of Ace Combat 5, will return to write for Skies Unknown and has left open the possibility that characters from The Unsung War will return to fly again. The story will focus on the political conflict over the construction of a massive space elevator that spans multiple nations. Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown will release on January 18, 2018 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. The VR version will be exclusive to the PS4 version. 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
  7. Over the next few days, PlayStation Now subscribers will start seeing the ability to download PlayStation 4 compatible games onto their PS4 systems. This move will allow players to choose between streaming titles via a stable internet connection or playing them locally, though Sony is careful to point out that the system will have to "check-in" every few days to verify the PS Now subscription for games downloaded through the service. This could be a gamechanger for the service that has typically been flamed for having too much lag when used with less than ideal internet service providers. The only catch is that players can only download games that can be run locally by the PS4. That means that any PlayStation 2 classic or PlayStation 3 game that hasn't been remastered for PS4 cannot be downloaded and played locally. Every downloadable PS Now game will "support" DLC, microtransactions, and add-ons. "Support" in this case meaning that players will be able to buy all of those things for games they have downloaded. Games that have been downloaded will continue to support multiplayer without PlayStation Plus, just like their streaming counterparts. In kind of a weird decision, if you have been making use of cloud saves via PS Now and want to transfer those saves to a downloaded version of the same game, you will need a PlayStation Plus membership to enable that transition. Essentially, players will need to move the save file from their PS Now cloud saves to their PS Plus cloud saves and from there download the files to their PlayStation 4. It seems a bit of a convoluted way to go about the transfer, but maybe it's due to technological limitations and not simply a scheme to grab up some more Plus subscribers. Overall, this is a very interesting move that could further the cause of subscription gaming by opening up that model to downloaded games. However, it also seems a bit like trying to have cake and eat it too with the enabling of microtransactions and DLC on top of the PS Now subscription and a PS Plus subscription necessary to transfer saves. 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!
  8. Over the next few days, PlayStation Now subscribers will start seeing the ability to download PlayStation 4 compatible games onto their PS4 systems. This move will allow players to choose between streaming titles via a stable internet connection or playing them locally, though Sony is careful to point out that the system will have to "check-in" every few days to verify the PS Now subscription for games downloaded through the service. This could be a gamechanger for the service that has typically been flamed for having too much lag when used with less than ideal internet service providers. The only catch is that players can only download games that can be run locally by the PS4. That means that any PlayStation 2 classic or PlayStation 3 game that hasn't been remastered for PS4 cannot be downloaded and played locally. Every downloadable PS Now game will "support" DLC, microtransactions, and add-ons. "Support" in this case meaning that players will be able to buy all of those things for games they have downloaded. Games that have been downloaded will continue to support multiplayer without PlayStation Plus, just like their streaming counterparts. In kind of a weird decision, if you have been making use of cloud saves via PS Now and want to transfer those saves to a downloaded version of the same game, you will need a PlayStation Plus membership to enable that transition. Essentially, players will need to move the save file from their PS Now cloud saves to their PS Plus cloud saves and from there download the files to their PlayStation 4. It seems a bit of a convoluted way to go about the transfer, but maybe it's due to technological limitations and not simply a scheme to grab up some more Plus subscribers. Overall, this is a very interesting move that could further the cause of subscription gaming by opening up that model to downloaded games. However, it also seems a bit like trying to have cake and eat it too with the enabling of microtransactions and DLC on top of the PS Now subscription and a PS Plus subscription necessary to transfer saves. 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
  9. How does one make something new while retaining the weight of lore and history that comes with a premise that has been reborn again and again countless times in fiction? Marvel has certainly struggled with this question in their cinematic universe and various game developers have their own takes on classic superheroes. Often each iteration retells the heroic beginnings of the headlining hero or makes some connection with a popular continuity of said character. Insomniac Games seems to have been answered the question by skipping the iconic moments of the wall-crawler's origin story altogether in order to tackle the sophomore issues of being a hero. "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility" - Everyone even remotely familiar with Spider-Man knows the final commandment of Uncle Ben, Peter Parker's father figure who dies early on in his origin story. Usually, when a piece of media starts off with this, we see Parker struggle with figuring out exactly how much responsibility he has to be using his power to help others. Given that Marvel's Spider-Man takes place roughly eight years after the events that made Peter Parker into a superpowered webslinger, it needs to address a different idea. There aren't any quotes delivered on the dying breath of a beloved old man, but the game tackles the issue of what happens to people who have accepted that responsibility but find forces beyond their control pushing them, perverting that sense of duty. How does someone good go on to commit brutal and evil acts despite the goodness they displayed and what does it take to stop them? When Marvel's Spider-Man roars to life with all cylinders blazing, it captures how much larger-than-life everyday struggles can feel sometimes. Clashing with the colossal force of Rhino or dodging the blasts of a villain whose on-the-nose name is "Mr. Negative" can be seen as a fight against the worst parts inside all of us. And part of what makes that resonate so much is that Peter Parker doesn't walk away unscathed. Over the course of the game, these fights take their toll. He is slashed, burned, stabbed, blasted, and crushed. At one point he has so many broken ribs that his allies tell him he shouldn't be standing. Peter, despite all the impediments thrown into his way, continues to do his best to stand by that responsibility, sacrificing himself at every turn. All of this he does while having ample opportunities to walk away and spare himself. In many ways, the way Peter fights as Spider-Man fits into the classic mold of a hero who does what is right no matter the cost to himself. If that's all one is looking for in a game about superheroes, then Marvel's Spider-Man will fulfill that desire. If, however, you're looking for a game that has things to say about the myriad of issues that those acts of heroism touch upon, Marvel's Spider-Man might fall a bit flat. For a super genius with a heart for justice, Peter Parker seems surprisingly unwoke about the systemic issues around him, focusing on the symptoms of various problems instead of the root causes themselves. All of this would be fine if this was a story about a Spider-Man just getting the hang of the hero business, but the game makes a point to show Peter has been at this for a long while now. Of course, one could argue that this version of New York is one without any systemic issues, but the text of the game indicates that's not true. The opening scene has corrupt cops attempting to murder Spider-Man (something that isn't really seen as abnormal by anyone involved); Oscorp routinely poisons the air and water in the name of profits (which Spider-Man fixes, but also doesn't report, effectively letting the billion dollar company off the hook); and both Peter and Aunt May work at a local homeless shelter. However, during all of Spider-Man's running monologues as he traverses the city, he never talks about the systemic issues that lead to those things being problems. Where are his comments about trying to reform the police in some way so as to discourage cops taking bribes? Why doesn't Spider-Man hold the billion dollar corporation responsible for being so focused on profiting that it is willing to allow people to be poisoned? How does Peter Parker not even consider the reality of income inequality staring him in the face when he moves between the world of Norman Osborne and that of FEAST, the homeless shelter at which he volunteers? The omission of any opining comments from Peter on these topics and issues certainly stems from the desire to keep Marvel's Spider-Man as uncontroversial as possible. Clearly, Peter as a character would care about all of those issues, but the game goes out of its way to avoid topics that might be touchy in the current context. Though the in-game world is presented to us as a version of New York City, you won't see Spider-Man or Peter Parker attending a rally against police corruption or breaking up a gathering of Neo-Nazis. There won't be talk about the forces that evict people out onto the street, though the game implies that rent prices are out of control and the care provided for mental health issues is inadequate. Ultimately, its desire to avoid saying anything that might be even slightly seen as controversial leaves Marvel's Spider-Man feeling a bit hollow once the dazzling feeling of swinging between skyscrappers wears off. To clarify, since this topic has become something of a sticking point for the game since its release: The decision to tiptoe around most of its relevant social issues doesn't make Marvel's Spider-Man bad. It's simply a noticeable narrative decision that might lead to its story being forgettable over time. To Insomniac's credit, that shine doesn't wear off quickly. Easily the best parts of Spider-Man are when the game leaves the player to traverse the city and do street-level hero things. Stopping a burglary in progress, disarming a bomb threat, or saving people from the wreckage of a car accident are all thrilling in their own way, but getting to the scene stands as the best part of any of these encounters. Swinging through the city, right from the beginning, feels amazing. The game knows this and has players shooting webs onto buildings within five minutes of booting up the game. As players progress along the three skill trees, new traversal abilities will unlock, making Spider-Man faster, giving him new abilities to keep up momentum, and it results in this gentle learning curve that keeps things fresh from the beginning of the game until the credits roll. However, once I hit the credits scene, complete with clips teasing what future games in this series will be about, I felt fully and totally done. The side content, while enjoyable based on the traversal mechanics alone, isn't terribly interesting. It serves as a decent distraction while going through the main game, avoiding the charge of being bloated fluff by virtue of the overall solid gameplay mechanics and the various tokens you get from doing them that can be used to upgrade gear or unlock new spider suits. However, the stories relegated to the side missions just aren't that interesting even when drawing on fun bits of lore. (Also, Insomniac, make Mysterio a proper villain, you cowards) It's a bit of a missed opportunity because one of the most intriguing decisions Insomniac made with regards to their Spider-Man game is that there are a number of missions where you take on the role of Mary Jane and Miles Morales and need to use stealth and trickery to sneak through different areas. These segments actually had a lot of potential for expansion into interesting side missions, but are only used in the main story under tightly controlled circumstances. Early on, there is a great section where Mary Jane sneaks into a facility owned by Wilson Fisk to collect some evidence and must do some sneaking and puzzle solving. It's fun and a breath of fresh air; seeing more iteration on that idea would have been really neat, maybe adding a social element to it and some more fleshed out stealth options. Miles is given some extreme hacking abilities that would make for awesome stealth gameplay, too, but that never fully pays off in any satisfying way. The little touches around the edges of Marvel's Spider-Man really give it a lot of character. Subtle musical call backs to The Avengers thrum through the most climactic moments. Gaining momentum while flipping through New York City results in a flurry of stringed instruments adding to the sense of speed and wonder. Different camera options in the obligatory photo mode (something no modern game should be without at this point) give players a lot of different options with which to play and get those perfect shots. The diverse array of suits are also really nice, and it was a great idea to tie them to specific powers that are then unlocked on every other suit. Heck, the game even has a Stan Lee guest appearance which was absolutely lovely. Conclusion: Marvel's Spider-Man might just be the best Spider-Man game ever made. It's gorgeously realized, cinematic as heck, for better and worse, and delivers a powerhouse of a final act. It also isn't perfect. Its side missions are dull, saved from mundane boredom by some rock solid traversal mechanics and adequate combat. Seriously, swinging through a city has never been as fun as it is in this particular Spider-Man game. All of that is built on a story about heroism; what it truly means to not just become a hero, but to live like one, too. While it misses the opportunity to be about a much more encompassing and larger idea of what heroes should be outside of the individual, punching-bad-guys level, that core conceit should be enough for just about anyone to enjoy Marvel's Spider-Man. Here's hoping that the sequel builds off of this simple foundation for a significantly bolder narrative that tackles some of the more grounded problems of our current times. Marvel's Spider-Man is now available on PlayStation 4. 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. Jack Gardner

    Review: Marvel's Spider-Man

    How does one make something new while retaining the weight of lore and history that comes with a premise that has been reborn again and again countless times in fiction? Marvel has certainly struggled with this question in their cinematic universe and various game developers have their own takes on classic superheroes. Often each iteration retells the heroic beginnings of the headlining hero or makes some connection with a popular continuity of said character. Insomniac Games seems to have been answered the question by skipping the iconic moments of the wall-crawler's origin story altogether in order to tackle the sophomore issues of being a hero. "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility" - Everyone even remotely familiar with Spider-Man knows the final commandment of Uncle Ben, Peter Parker's father figure who dies early on in his origin story. Usually, when a piece of media starts off with this, we see Parker struggle with figuring out exactly how much responsibility he has to be using his power to help others. Given that Marvel's Spider-Man takes place roughly eight years after the events that made Peter Parker into a superpowered webslinger, it needs to address a different idea. There aren't any quotes delivered on the dying breath of a beloved old man, but the game tackles the issue of what happens to people who have accepted that responsibility but find forces beyond their control pushing them, perverting that sense of duty. How does someone good go on to commit brutal and evil acts despite the goodness they displayed and what does it take to stop them? When Marvel's Spider-Man roars to life with all cylinders blazing, it captures how much larger-than-life everyday struggles can feel sometimes. Clashing with the colossal force of Rhino or dodging the blasts of a villain whose on-the-nose name is "Mr. Negative" can be seen as a fight against the worst parts inside all of us. And part of what makes that resonate so much is that Peter Parker doesn't walk away unscathed. Over the course of the game, these fights take their toll. He is slashed, burned, stabbed, blasted, and crushed. At one point he has so many broken ribs that his allies tell him he shouldn't be standing. Peter, despite all the impediments thrown into his way, continues to do his best to stand by that responsibility, sacrificing himself at every turn. All of this he does while having ample opportunities to walk away and spare himself. In many ways, the way Peter fights as Spider-Man fits into the classic mold of a hero who does what is right no matter the cost to himself. If that's all one is looking for in a game about superheroes, then Marvel's Spider-Man will fulfill that desire. If, however, you're looking for a game that has things to say about the myriad of issues that those acts of heroism touch upon, Marvel's Spider-Man might fall a bit flat. For a super genius with a heart for justice, Peter Parker seems surprisingly unwoke about the systemic issues around him, focusing on the symptoms of various problems instead of the root causes themselves. All of this would be fine if this was a story about a Spider-Man just getting the hang of the hero business, but the game makes a point to show Peter has been at this for a long while now. Of course, one could argue that this version of New York is one without any systemic issues, but the text of the game indicates that's not true. The opening scene has corrupt cops attempting to murder Spider-Man (something that isn't really seen as abnormal by anyone involved); Oscorp routinely poisons the air and water in the name of profits (which Spider-Man fixes, but also doesn't report, effectively letting the billion dollar company off the hook); and both Peter and Aunt May work at a local homeless shelter. However, during all of Spider-Man's running monologues as he traverses the city, he never talks about the systemic issues that lead to those things being problems. Where are his comments about trying to reform the police in some way so as to discourage cops taking bribes? Why doesn't Spider-Man hold the billion dollar corporation responsible for being so focused on profiting that it is willing to allow people to be poisoned? How does Peter Parker not even consider the reality of income inequality staring him in the face when he moves between the world of Norman Osborne and that of FEAST, the homeless shelter at which he volunteers? The omission of any opining comments from Peter on these topics and issues certainly stems from the desire to keep Marvel's Spider-Man as uncontroversial as possible. Clearly, Peter as a character would care about all of those issues, but the game goes out of its way to avoid topics that might be touchy in the current context. Though the in-game world is presented to us as a version of New York City, you won't see Spider-Man or Peter Parker attending a rally against police corruption or breaking up a gathering of Neo-Nazis. There won't be talk about the forces that evict people out onto the street, though the game implies that rent prices are out of control and the care provided for mental health issues is inadequate. Ultimately, its desire to avoid saying anything that might be even slightly seen as controversial leaves Marvel's Spider-Man feeling a bit hollow once the dazzling feeling of swinging between skyscrappers wears off. To clarify, since this topic has become something of a sticking point for the game since its release: The decision to tiptoe around most of its relevant social issues doesn't make Marvel's Spider-Man bad. It's simply a noticeable narrative decision that might lead to its story being forgettable over time. To Insomniac's credit, that shine doesn't wear off quickly. Easily the best parts of Spider-Man are when the game leaves the player to traverse the city and do street-level hero things. Stopping a burglary in progress, disarming a bomb threat, or saving people from the wreckage of a car accident are all thrilling in their own way, but getting to the scene stands as the best part of any of these encounters. Swinging through the city, right from the beginning, feels amazing. The game knows this and has players shooting webs onto buildings within five minutes of booting up the game. As players progress along the three skill trees, new traversal abilities will unlock, making Spider-Man faster, giving him new abilities to keep up momentum, and it results in this gentle learning curve that keeps things fresh from the beginning of the game until the credits roll. However, once I hit the credits scene, complete with clips teasing what future games in this series will be about, I felt fully and totally done. The side content, while enjoyable based on the traversal mechanics alone, isn't terribly interesting. It serves as a decent distraction while going through the main game, avoiding the charge of being bloated fluff by virtue of the overall solid gameplay mechanics and the various tokens you get from doing them that can be used to upgrade gear or unlock new spider suits. However, the stories relegated to the side missions just aren't that interesting even when drawing on fun bits of lore. (Also, Insomniac, make Mysterio a proper villain, you cowards) It's a bit of a missed opportunity because one of the most intriguing decisions Insomniac made with regards to their Spider-Man game is that there are a number of missions where you take on the role of Mary Jane and Miles Morales and need to use stealth and trickery to sneak through different areas. These segments actually had a lot of potential for expansion into interesting side missions, but are only used in the main story under tightly controlled circumstances. Early on, there is a great section where Mary Jane sneaks into a facility owned by Wilson Fisk to collect some evidence and must do some sneaking and puzzle solving. It's fun and a breath of fresh air; seeing more iteration on that idea would have been really neat, maybe adding a social element to it and some more fleshed out stealth options. Miles is given some extreme hacking abilities that would make for awesome stealth gameplay, too, but that never fully pays off in any satisfying way. The little touches around the edges of Marvel's Spider-Man really give it a lot of character. Subtle musical call backs to The Avengers thrum through the most climactic moments. Gaining momentum while flipping through New York City results in a flurry of stringed instruments adding to the sense of speed and wonder. Different camera options in the obligatory photo mode (something no modern game should be without at this point) give players a lot of different options with which to play and get those perfect shots. The diverse array of suits are also really nice, and it was a great idea to tie them to specific powers that are then unlocked on every other suit. Heck, the game even has a Stan Lee guest appearance which was absolutely lovely. Conclusion: Marvel's Spider-Man might just be the best Spider-Man game ever made. It's gorgeously realized, cinematic as heck, for better and worse, and delivers a powerhouse of a final act. It also isn't perfect. Its side missions are dull, saved from mundane boredom by some rock solid traversal mechanics and adequate combat. Seriously, swinging through a city has never been as fun as it is in this particular Spider-Man game. All of that is built on a story about heroism; what it truly means to not just become a hero, but to live like one, too. While it misses the opportunity to be about a much more encompassing and larger idea of what heroes should be outside of the individual, punching-bad-guys level, that core conceit should be enough for just about anyone to enjoy Marvel's Spider-Man. Here's hoping that the sequel builds off of this simple foundation for a significantly bolder narrative that tackles some of the more grounded problems of our current times. Marvel's Spider-Man is now available on PlayStation 4. 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. Jack Gardner

    A Bunny Conquers Bloodborne's First Boss

    Brazilian Twitch streamer Luality has been on an epic quest (or at the very least a sidequest) to see what her pet bunny can accomplish in the PS4 action-RPG Bloodborne. If you're wondering how exactly a bunny might play through an action-RPG known for its difficulty, the answer seems to be, "not well, but well enough to win." With significant coaxing, the little rabbit hops around on a repurposed Dance Dance Revolution dance pad to laboriously move its in-game avatar. The project kicked off with the attempt to kill a single enemy about a week ago, with the deadly encounter lasting under a minute. However, the next logical challenge was going toe-to-toe with the Cleric Beast, Bloodborne's first boss. The fight seemingly took place on a New Game + character that possessed a large amount of health and a weapon only obtainable later on in the game. So, capable of taking numerous hits, beast fought Beast. Take a look at their tense (and adorable) battle below: Amazing and inspiring. Good job, bunny! ❤️ 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!
  12. Brazilian Twitch streamer Luality has been on an epic quest (or at the very least a sidequest) to see what her pet bunny can accomplish in the PS4 action-RPG Bloodborne. If you're wondering how exactly a bunny might play through an action-RPG known for its difficulty, the answer seems to be, "not well, but well enough to win." With significant coaxing, the little rabbit hops around on a repurposed Dance Dance Revolution dance pad to laboriously move its in-game avatar. The project kicked off with the attempt to kill a single enemy about a week ago, with the deadly encounter lasting under a minute. However, the next logical challenge was going toe-to-toe with the Cleric Beast, Bloodborne's first boss. The fight seemingly took place on a New Game + character that possessed a large amount of health and a weapon only obtainable later on in the game. So, capable of taking numerous hits, beast fought Beast. Take a look at their tense (and adorable) battle below: Amazing and inspiring. Good job, bunny! ❤️ 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. Known for his work creating the Dragon Ball franchise, artist Akira Toriyama's iconic designs take the spotlight in the latest Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age trailer. The famed artist's signature designs have given life to the Dragon Quest series since its origins in 1986. This fall, the latest entry in the Dragon Quest series will finally see a worldwide release. In a recent statement issued in the Dragon Quest 30th ~ And Now Towards a New Legend ~ TV special and translated by Crunchyroll, Toriyama addressed his work on the Dragon Quest series: Really, if I had known that it would still be going on after 30 years, I don't think I would have taken the job! Honestly, if I had known how long it would last, I would have politely declined. I'm not good at doing the same thing over and over again. Designing characters for Dragon Quest is fun but difficult work. Nowadays, there are a lot of people working on the series, and all of the ones responsible for designing characters are good and serious people, so I don't have to do as many designs. I'm personally not terribly interested in designing wholesome characters, so I don't have many variations to offer. [...] But don't worry. I've undertaken this work with the full principle of my being, and so this time with Dragon Quest 11, I'm also endeavoring to design with all of my might. It will be a little while still before it's ready to be released into the world, but please look forward to it. Take a look at Toriyama's designs in motion in the latest Dragon Quest XI trailer. The eleventh entry in the mainline Dragon Quest series, Dragon Quest XI, much like its sister RPG series Final Fantasy, serves as a standalone experience. It tells the story of a young man who learns that he might be the reincarnation of a hero who saved the world from the forces of darkness in ages past, forces which once again seem poised to invade the lands of Lotozetasia. In an effort to learn more, he departs to the capital to learn more of the ancient hero and his own potential future. Unfortunately, the king seems to have other plans for would-be heroes.... From there, the story takes off with all of the flourishes one might expect from a seasoned JRPG. Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age releases for PS4 on September 4. 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. Known for his work creating the Dragon Ball franchise, artist Akira Toriyama's iconic designs take the spotlight in the latest Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age trailer. The famed artist's signature designs have given life to the Dragon Quest series since its origins in 1986. This fall, the latest entry in the Dragon Quest series will finally see a worldwide release. In a recent statement issued in the Dragon Quest 30th ~ And Now Towards a New Legend ~ TV special and translated by Crunchyroll, Toriyama addressed his work on the Dragon Quest series: Really, if I had known that it would still be going on after 30 years, I don't think I would have taken the job! Honestly, if I had known how long it would last, I would have politely declined. I'm not good at doing the same thing over and over again. Designing characters for Dragon Quest is fun but difficult work. Nowadays, there are a lot of people working on the series, and all of the ones responsible for designing characters are good and serious people, so I don't have to do as many designs. I'm personally not terribly interested in designing wholesome characters, so I don't have many variations to offer. [...] But don't worry. I've undertaken this work with the full principle of my being, and so this time with Dragon Quest 11, I'm also endeavoring to design with all of my might. It will be a little while still before it's ready to be released into the world, but please look forward to it. Take a look at Toriyama's designs in motion in the latest Dragon Quest XI trailer. The eleventh entry in the mainline Dragon Quest series, Dragon Quest XI, much like its sister RPG series Final Fantasy, serves as a standalone experience. It tells the story of a young man who learns that he might be the reincarnation of a hero who saved the world from the forces of darkness in ages past, forces which once again seem poised to invade the lands of Lotozetasia. In an effort to learn more, he departs to the capital to learn more of the ancient hero and his own potential future. Unfortunately, the king seems to have other plans for would-be heroes.... From there, the story takes off with all of the flourishes one might expect from a seasoned JRPG. Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age releases for PS4 on September 4. 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. No Man's Sky was one of the most hyped games of this generation. Many people who got their hands on it felt profoundly disappointed when it didn't fully live up to their expectations (though I was not one of those people). Despite a massive backlash that included attempts to sue Hello Games for false advertising, the studio continued their work on the title with the help of its small, but strong community. Updates since its launch have added base-building, ground vehicles, more music, additional weapons, a camera mode, new world types, over 30 hours of story content, increased resolution support, and more. The Next Update will be the most game changing alteration to Hello Game's infinite universe yet as it will bring true multiplayer to the previously mostly single-player game. Friends will be able to travel the galaxy together, building and surviving as a group rather than as a solo player. This opens up all kinds of possibilities like space piracy and player-made galactic hubs for communal living and trade. The No Man's Sky Next update will also herald the release of the title on Xbox One. So, when does all of this hit players? Those who own the title will be able to download the free update next week on July 24! 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. No Man's Sky was one of the most hyped games of this generation. Many people who got their hands on it felt profoundly disappointed when it didn't fully live up to their expectations (though I was not one of those people). Despite a massive backlash that included attempts to sue Hello Games for false advertising, the studio continued their work on the title with the help of its small, but strong community. Updates since its launch have added base-building, ground vehicles, more music, additional weapons, a camera mode, new world types, over 30 hours of story content, increased resolution support, and more. The Next Update will be the most game changing alteration to Hello Game's infinite universe yet as it will bring true multiplayer to the previously mostly single-player game. Friends will be able to travel the galaxy together, building and surviving as a group rather than as a solo player. This opens up all kinds of possibilities like space piracy and player-made galactic hubs for communal living and trade. The No Man's Sky Next update will also herald the release of the title on Xbox One. So, when does all of this hit players? Those who own the title will be able to download the free update next week on July 24! 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. Dontnod, the developers of Vampyr and Life Is Strange, released The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit for free just a few days ago. The narrative adventure follows Chris, a young boy who lives with his dad, throughout an afternoon of his life. It has a lot of heart, occasionally channeling the spirit of Calvin & Hobbes, and also quite a bit of darkness. It walks a thin line between the joyful attitudes of youth and the stark realities of adulthood, with all of the trauma and pain that entails. Sit down, kick back, and listen as we parse out the details of this interesting lead up to Life Is Strange 2. A correction: At the end of the episode, there's some mention of this free piece of content being the first episode of Life Is Strange 2 - that is not the case. It's a free prequel to the events of the five episodes that comprise the full game. The first episode of Life Is Strange 2 will release on September 27. Outro music: Kirby's Epic Yarn 'Blue Lava, Grass Landing' by The Hit Points (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03754) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! 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!
  18. Dontnod, the developers of Vampyr and Life Is Strange, released The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit for free just a few days ago. The narrative adventure follows Chris, a young boy who lives with his dad, throughout an afternoon of his life. It has a lot of heart, occasionally channeling the spirit of Calvin & Hobbes, and also quite a bit of darkness. It walks a thin line between the joyful attitudes of youth and the stark realities of adulthood, with all of the trauma and pain that entails. Sit down, kick back, and listen as we parse out the details of this interesting lead up to Life Is Strange 2. A correction: At the end of the episode, there's some mention of this free piece of content being the first episode of Life Is Strange 2 - that is not the case. It's a free prequel to the events of the five episodes that comprise the full game. The first episode of Life Is Strange 2 will release on September 27. Outro music: Kirby's Epic Yarn 'Blue Lava, Grass Landing' by The Hit Points (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03754) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! 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
  19. The gameplay reveal of The Last of Us Part II was one of the highlights of Sony's entire lineup during E3. It eased into the return to an incredibly savage world with a lovely, human scene set during a wedding being held in a post-apocalyptic world. Ellie, the young girl from the first game who has since become an adult, shares a dance and some words with an unnamed woman with whom she appears to have a romantic history. After exchanging some smile-inducing banter, the two share a kiss. From there, the reveal transitioned to the actual gameplay with Ellie coming up against a group of survivors. She witnesses them execute a man, brutally ripping out his intestines. They then begin combing the area, and we see how the stealth mechanics work. Players are able to sneak through tall grasses and bushes to elude search parties. On top of that, the apocalypse seems to be lousy with abandoned cars. Players will be able to slide under vehicles to hide from enemies. Players who are able to land killing blows with arrows or melee weapons while avoiding detection are rewarded with continued non-detection. One slip-up immediately ratchets up the drama by turning things into an all-out struggle for survival. We see Ellie battling with multiple enemies at once, each one well realized and different - they don't seem like cookie cutter character models. One of the new additions to combat seems to be the ability to disarm adversaries mid-combat and immediately pick up their gear, smoothly transitioning between weapons in a fight with fluid motion. Crafting seems to have been streamlined, as at one point Ellie crafts an explosive arrow on the fly to take out an enemy and serve as a distraction. Oh, and players can still take enemies hostage to use as human shields. One thing that seems obvious from the combat on display: Players will have to move when things get hairy. Limited ammo and melee weapon durability force players to move to different areas to scavenge supplies to continue the fight. Getting backed into a corner could lead to death if you don't have enough gear to stand your ground. Little details really make the violence that much more visceral and real. While sneaking next to a car, Ellie instinctively puts her hand out to steady her crouch and a small sound effect of putting slight pressure on a car hood plays. Injuries that Ellie takes will persist over time. At one point in the fighting, she took an arrow to the chest. The shaft stuck out painfully as she continued to fight, blood slowly staining her shirt, until she was able to take cover behind a counter a minute later and pull out the arrow. Ellie and enemies react naturally to receiving injuries, grabbing the sites of stab wounds and holding wounds as time goes by and they keep moving. Overall, The Last of Us Part II seems to be shaping up to be Naughty Dog's finest and most detailed work to date. 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. The gameplay reveal of The Last of Us Part II was one of the highlights of Sony's entire lineup during E3. It eased into the return to an incredibly savage world with a lovely, human scene set during a wedding being held in a post-apocalyptic world. Ellie, the young girl from the first game who has since become an adult, shares a dance and some words with an unnamed woman with whom she appears to have a romantic history. After exchanging some smile-inducing banter, the two share a kiss. From there, the reveal transitioned to the actual gameplay with Ellie coming up against a group of survivors. She witnesses them execute a man, brutally ripping out his intestines. They then begin combing the area, and we see how the stealth mechanics work. Players are able to sneak through tall grasses and bushes to elude search parties. On top of that, the apocalypse seems to be lousy with abandoned cars. Players will be able to slide under vehicles to hide from enemies. Players who are able to land killing blows with arrows or melee weapons while avoiding detection are rewarded with continued non-detection. One slip-up immediately ratchets up the drama by turning things into an all-out struggle for survival. We see Ellie battling with multiple enemies at once, each one well realized and different - they don't seem like cookie cutter character models. One of the new additions to combat seems to be the ability to disarm adversaries mid-combat and immediately pick up their gear, smoothly transitioning between weapons in a fight with fluid motion. Crafting seems to have been streamlined, as at one point Ellie crafts an explosive arrow on the fly to take out an enemy and serve as a distraction. Oh, and players can still take enemies hostage to use as human shields. One thing that seems obvious from the combat on display: Players will have to move when things get hairy. Limited ammo and melee weapon durability force players to move to different areas to scavenge supplies to continue the fight. Getting backed into a corner could lead to death if you don't have enough gear to stand your ground. Little details really make the violence that much more visceral and real. While sneaking next to a car, Ellie instinctively puts her hand out to steady her crouch and a small sound effect of putting slight pressure on a car hood plays. Injuries that Ellie takes will persist over time. At one point in the fighting, she took an arrow to the chest. The shaft stuck out painfully as she continued to fight, blood slowly staining her shirt, until she was able to take cover behind a counter a minute later and pull out the arrow. Ellie and enemies react naturally to receiving injuries, grabbing the sites of stab wounds and holding wounds as time goes by and they keep moving. Overall, The Last of Us Part II seems to be shaping up to be Naughty Dog's finest and most detailed work to date. 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
  21. Jack Gardner

    Unravel Two Announced and Released Today

    EA both announced and released Unravel Two today in a fun twist on how long it usually takes E3 games to reach the consoles and PCs of the general gaming community. The sequel to the well-received indie platformer aims to foster a spirit of friendship and adventure with its new focus on co-op/dual character mechanics. Coming to us courtesy of Coldwood Interactive, Unravel Two takes the physics platforming from the first game and adds in an interesting wrinkle with co-op. Having lost everything in a terrible storm, Yarny manages to connect with another creature like itself and the duo set out for adventure. This connection allows the two Yarnys to fuse together or split apart to accomplish tasks independently. If you're not a fan of co-op, don't worry - it's not mandatory to play the game with someone else. EA assured everyone that solo players will be able to enjoy the game, too. The stage demo showed the two yarn creatures helping one another to traverse a wilderness setting while pursued by a wild pheasant (it might not be a pheasant, but I'm not on an expert on those fowl creatures). The co-op feature was used to distract the pheasant while one or the other Yarny navigated a puzzle or escaped to safety. The game will support both online and local co-op play. And, again, this is one E3 announcement that's available right now for about $20 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
  22. EA both announced and released Unravel Two today in a fun twist on how long it usually takes E3 games to reach the consoles and PCs of the general gaming community. The sequel to the well-received indie platformer aims to foster a spirit of friendship and adventure with its new focus on co-op/dual character mechanics. Coming to us courtesy of Coldwood Interactive, Unravel Two takes the physics platforming from the first game and adds in an interesting wrinkle with co-op. Having lost everything in a terrible storm, Yarny manages to connect with another creature like itself and the duo set out for adventure. This connection allows the two Yarnys to fuse together or split apart to accomplish tasks independently. If you're not a fan of co-op, don't worry - it's not mandatory to play the game with someone else. EA assured everyone that solo players will be able to enjoy the game, too. The stage demo showed the two yarn creatures helping one another to traverse a wilderness setting while pursued by a wild pheasant (it might not be a pheasant, but I'm not on an expert on those fowl creatures). The co-op feature was used to distract the pheasant while one or the other Yarny navigated a puzzle or escaped to safety. The game will support both online and local co-op play. And, again, this is one E3 announcement that's available right now for about $20 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. View full article
  23. Let's go back to the game that kickstarted the trend of weighty indie games relying on small kids in big, scary worlds. Limbo thrilled, chilled, and grilled players around the world when it launched. As a nameless young boy in a world weaved together of monochrome shadows and a vintage filter, players embark on a journey filled with death and symbolism. Playdead's indie darling received massive praise when it released in 2010, but has that charm remained intact over 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: The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening 'Mysterious Gold Edition' by Rukunetsu, Anton Corazza, and Yusef Kelliebrew (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03738) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! 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
  24. Jack Gardner

    The Best Games Period - Episode 101 - Limbo

    Let's go back to the game that kickstarted the trend of weighty indie games relying on small kids in big, scary worlds. Limbo thrilled, chilled, and grilled players around the world when it launched. As a nameless young boy in a world weaved together of monochrome shadows and a vintage filter, players embark on a journey filled with death and symbolism. Playdead's indie darling received massive praise when it released in 2010, but has that charm remained intact over 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: The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening 'Mysterious Gold Edition' by Rukunetsu, Anton Corazza, and Yusef Kelliebrew (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03738) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! 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!
  25. This tease seemed to come out of nowhere. Russian developer Mundfish announced a very slick looking game called Atomic Heart earlier this week. Players will explore a research lab/military base (that might also double as a theme park?) during the height of the Soviet Union. Dr. Stockhausen has been conducting unholy experiments in the heart of the facility that have had an effect on both machines and the bodies of the dead that they have left in their wake. What exactly the nature of those experiments might have been remains a mystery for players to uncover as they delve into the secrets of Atomic Heart. The name seems to reference a bit of lore teased by the team back in March - a picture of two human hearts hooked to machines and a cryptic message about the love of two employees in Facility #3826. Players get drawn into this alternate history version of the Soviet Union as investigator P-3 who has been dispatched to investigate 3826. They find the facility in a state of decay and chaos as a wide variety of machines run amok alongside resurrected soldiers, some of whom have been creepily painted as clowns. As players explore, they'll find a variety of insane, mind-bending experiments still in progress, like people made of blood or strange, seemingly sentient pockets of air under water. Beware of making too much of a scene, though. Drawing the attention of the rampaging machines by running afoul of their patrol drones can lead to a quick, messy death. Atomic Heart seems to have an in-depth crafting system for weapons that will allow players to gear up as they progress and make weapons that suit their playstyle. While the trailer doesn't hint at an official release date, Mundfish expects to release Atomic Heart sometime this year for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
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