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    A Spoiler-Free Overview Of The Last Of Us Part II

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,

    tloupii_demo_screen_03.jpg

    The Last of Us Part II is easily one of the most anticipated PlayStation 4 games of the generation, and we’re only weeks away from experiencing Naughty Dog’s post-apocalyptic epic from start to finish. The full game hits June 19, and it sounds like the perfect way to kick off the summer. But don’t go into this dystopian world unprepared; as you patiently wait to get your hands on a copy, we’ve compiled this spoiler-free recap of everything you might need to know about The Last of Us Part II.

    Who is the developer?

    Let’s start with the basics. The studio is called Naughty Dog and it has a long history in the industry, working on fan-favorite series like Crash Bandicoot, Jak and Daxter, and Uncharted. Recently the studio has become renowned for its focus on polished storytelling and larger-than-life setpiece moments. Expect plenty of those in Part II. 

    What happened in the first game? 

    The first part of The Last of Us launched in 2013, and established a dystopian future where a mutant Cordyceps fungus ravaged the United States, turning humans into zombie-like monsters, better known as the Infected. Years after this initial outbreak, a gruff, no-nonsense man named Joel must chaperone a girl named Ellie across the country. Ellie is immune to the Cordyceps fungus, and some believe she is the key to finding a cure. Much of the original game recounts Joel and Ellie’s harrowing journey across the country, and it explores the familial bond that slowly forms between the two. The story is full of touching moments and brutal action – a modern classic worth playing if you haven’t already.

    What’s the story setup for Part II?

    Set five years after the events of the original, Part II picks up Ellie’s journey after she turns 19. Ellie and Joel have both settled into a community in Jackson, Wyoming, and they've eked out the closest thing to a normal life that the world has seen in over 25 years. However, tragedy soon finds Ellie again, as a rogue group of survivors does something that destroys the happy home Ellie has helped build. Naughty Dog has been incredibly cagey about this incident (but the internet is full of story spoilers, so be careful out there). The one thing we do know is that this incident sets Ellie on the course for revenge. This journey takes Ellie to Seattle where she goes head-to-head with a ruthless group of survivors. Overall, Part II will greatly expand on the world of The Last of Us, and Naughty Dog promises to grapple with tough choices as it philosophically muses on hate and revenge. 

    Do you play as anyone other than Ellie? 

    No, at least according to Naughty Dog. However, during the development of the first game, Naughty Dog said that you wouldn’t play as Ellie, which wasn’t true, so maybe the team is keeping something a secret this time, too. 

    Will Ellie travel across the U.S. like in the original game? 

    Part II is set across several different locations and seasons, but Naughty Dog is not as focused on the journey across states this time around. Instead, most of the game takes place in either Jackson or Seattle. In fact, most of the game has you exploring a Seattle that's divided by warring factions. That said, Naughty Dog says this is its biggest game to date and some of the environments are truly massive. At certain points, you traverse these locations on a horse or via boat. 

    Woah, woah, who are those warring factions you casually mentioned back there? 

    Seattle is divided by two factions who are fighting over the city’s dwindling resources. The first group is called the Washington Liberation Front. The WLF is a resistance group that formed to combat the military occupation of Seattle in the early years of the outbreak. This group is highly trained, well-organized, and heavily armed thanks to the supply of weapons they “procured” from the army. Sadly, the WLF won’t hesitate to kill any trespassers they bump into, including Ellie. 

    The group on the other side of this conflict isn’t much better. The members of this religious group are called Seraphites. They are also sometimes called Scars, because of the deep, self-inflicted wounds on their faces. This group is also very territorial, but are stealthier than the WLF, preferring the silence of arrows to bullets. The Seraphites occasionally practice ritualistic sacrifices and hang their victims from the neck before disemboweling them, believing that they are “nested with sin.”

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    If humans are this nasty, how bad are the Infected? 

    Real bad. A lot of the classic Infected types return from the first game. Runners are newly infected humans who barrel at you in full rage. Naughty Dog says that Runners are even more aggressive than before. Meanwhile, Clickers are the blind enemies who chase down anything that makes a sound. Stalkers hide in the dark, waiting for the right time to strike. Naturally, Part II introduces a few new enemies’ types, such as Shamblers. These bloated enemies are covered in pustules that spit acid whenever they are attacked. This monster is essentially a tank that absorbs a great deal of pain before hitting the ground. This doesn't cover The Last of Us’s entire bestiary, because Naughty Dog has promised that the final game includes a few new types of Infected, some of whom are deadlier than anything we’ve seen before. 

    Can you pit enemies against each other? 

    Yes, just like the last game, all of these various factions hold grudges, and you can pit them against one another – just be careful that you don’t get overrun in the ensuing chaos. 

    What are the new gameplay mechanics? 

    Ellie is nimbler than Joel was in the first game. She can jump on top of objects and go prone to crawl through tight spaces. These tools come in handy when Ellie explores her environment, but they also invaluable during combat since Ellie can dodge attacks and even hide the grass. However, you aren’t completely hidden in grass. Naughty Dog calls this analog stealth because the closer enemies get to you the more likely they are to spot you … and even then dogs can catch your scent and hunt you down.

    Dogs?!?!?

    Oh yeah, did we forget to mention the dogs? Some of the human factions now employ dogs that follow your smell. You can actually see Ellie’s scent trail when you enter hunter vision, so you want to keep moving to avoid those pups. We don’t know if you can pet any of these dogs, but they sure don’t seem friendly.

    What about multiplayer? 

    The original The Last of Us launched with a multiplayer mode, called Factions, which was surprisingly fun. Part II won’t launch with a multiplayer mode, but Naughty Dog has promised that it is working on a follow-up multiplayer experience. This mode will release sometime after the launch of the single-player experience. 

    Click here to watch embedded media

    What’s new with crafting? 

    Another big pillar of The Last of Us series is crafting. Much like the first game, Ellie can scavenge rundown buildings for useful components that can be combined into new tools, medical supplies, and weapons. One of these new gadgets is a trap bomb, which works a bit like a landmine. 

    How do you upgrade your skills?

    In the first game, Joel collected pills that let him level up his abilities, improving the effectiveness of health kits, among other things. Ellie can also use pills, but it is a little more involved than last time. As you rummage through old shopping districts and homes, you find magazines that unlock skill trees to dump your pills into. These trees come in a variety of different flavors, so you can upgrade Ellie’s survival, stealth, or combat skills, or try to evenly distribute her talents, making her a well-rounded survivalist. 

    Does the workbench from the original game return? 

    Yes, at workbenches you can use salvage to upgrade your weapons, so they hold more ammo, reload faster, and suffer less recoil. These changes are even represented visually. For example, if you add a new scope, you see that scope added to the weapon when Ellie straps it over her shoulder. 

    How does the music sound? 

    Great. Gustavo Santaolalla returns to score this game. Santaolalla wrote the soundtrack to the first game, and he is a renowned composer who won Oscars for his work on the films Brokeback Mountain and Babel. If you loved The Last of Us’ haunting-yet-intense score, you won’t be disappointed with the sequel. 

    Anything else cool about this game? 

    Yes, I didn’t know where else to put this, but each enemy has their own name and they will call out to each other during combat. You can even hear them using their names when they discover the bodies of their fallen friends as you sneak through their camps. 

    This all sounds awesome. Remind me when The Last of Us Part II launches?

    June 19. 

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    Patch 2.6.9 PTR Begins 5/28!

    DiabloFans
    By DiabloFans,

    Patch 2.6.9 PTR Begins 5/28!

    After having been delayed last week due to last minute issues, the patch 2.6.9 PTR will begin on 5/28. The PTR is expected to go live in the afternoon (PDT)!

     

    Originally Posted by PezRadar (Official Post)

     

    Patch 2.6.9 PTR Begins (Week of 5/24)

     

    Hi everyone

     

    Back with that update I promised. It’s a good one!

     

    We are aiming to have PTR up tomorrow afternoon (Pacific Time). We will update the blog posts and have threads up when things go live tomorrow.

     

    Thanks for all your patience on this. We are looking forward to the feedback!

    View the full article


    Naughty Dog Shows Tantalizing New Glimpse At The Last Of Us Part II

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,

    125eb30bfab1d345.45012376-tloupii_narrat

    Naughty Dog vice president Neil Druckmann narrated a new look at The Last Of Us Part II, offering some in-depth details about how the game plays.

    Part II picks up the story several years after the end of the first game, when Ellie and Joel have settled in a protected community in Jackson, Wyoming. Ellie is now 19, and just as she is beginning to gather a life for herself, disaster strikes in a form that that will likely wait until the game’s release to discover. Ellie sets out alone in pursuit of retribution and justice.

    While the game includes varied locales including snowy areas near Jackson and lush forest zones in the Pacific Northwest, the bulk of the story is told in the old quarantine zone of Seattle. There, we see that Ellie has a host of new navigation options, including jumping gaps, and using ropes to swing to new platforms or for tactically bypassing enemies. She also regularly makes use of horseback riding and a motorboat to get around.

    Seattle is a warzone between competing factions. The Washington Liberation Front (WLF) is one of the two factions, made up of militaristic and well-equipped soldiers who often use guard dogs to track down their targets. The other major human faction are the tribalistic Seraphites, or Scars, who ritualistically scar their bodies and faces, and use more stealth-oriented combat methods.

    In addition, the Infected also fill the area, including old and familiar types from the previous game, like Clickers, Runners, and Stalkers, along with new types, like the armored Shamblers, which explode when they come near.

    To navigate all these threats, Ellie has new options for navigating encounters, including hiding in tall grass, breaking glass to open up new paths, and crawling through tight spaces. She also has a wide array of crafting and customization options for her equipment and weapons, and after using a workbench, her items reflect the changes in their cosmetic appearance. She’ll also have allies that help out in a fight. Whether it’s her, or her friends, the takedowns exhibited reveal that Naughty Dog is certainly not shying away from brutal, harsh violence. Ellie’s battles are visceral and often gruesome.

    After walking us through some of the details, the State of Play presentation opened up into a single uninterrupted gameplay sequence.

    We see Ellie swimming in a forested area with the city in the background. She is being hunted.

    She swims underwater and emerges in an industrial basement of some sort, swimming up behind seemingly helpless enemy woman, extracting info on the woman she’s trying to find, and then killing her when the woman pulls a knife. Ellie climbs out into the open, into the grounds of what turns out to be a hospital. She kills some more of her foes on her path through the area, staying stealthy for a time before the alarm is raised. She preps a Molotov cocktail and then flings it down onto a passing guard and dog, and then makes a run for it. By using her last known location as a reference, she sneaks behind yet more of her foes and mercilessly drops them. After some brutal throwdowns using a variety of weaponry, she blocks off a stairway, and reaches her target – the upper area of the hospital. Climbing through some air ducts, she eventually tracks down the girl she’s looking for – Nora – and they recognize each other, presumably from a dramatic event earlier in the game. And then the demo fades out.

    From this 20-minute presentation, Naughty Dog clarifies much of what we already expected from the game. That is to say, the technology on display is remarkable, the tension and intense violence in encounters is hard to watch, and the storytelling is taut and exciting. It’s great to see more of the game in action. And unless the extreme violence is more than you want from your games these days, there’s every reason to expect that the high caliber we’ve come to expect from both the studio and the franchise are on track to continue with this new game.

    The Last of Us Part II launches June 19 on PlayStation 4. 

    View the full article


    Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Season 4 Arrives June 3

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,

    mw-campain.jpg

    The next big Call of Duty: Modern Warfare season is just around the corner.

    The action kicks off next week on June 3, and there's a spiffy new trailer to catch you up on exactly what's going on in the larger story.

    Yes, there's a story going on outside of those Shoot House 24/7 matches! Check out the new trailer below.

    Click here to watch embedded media

     

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    Monster Train Review – Delightfully Devious Deckbuilding

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,

    monster1.jpg

    Publisher: Good Shepherd Entertainment
    Developer: Shiny Shoe
    Release: May 21, 2020
    Rating: Not rated
    Reviewed on: PC

    Monster Train owes much to Slay the Spire for popularizing the roguelike deck-builder RPG, both at a high level and in some of its features and mechanics. But don’t dismiss Monster Train as a mere clone or derivative work like so many other games today attempting to capture the deck-building magic.

    In Monster Train, your mind goes into overdrive like a locomotive ripping through hell as you determine the most decadent, degenerate combinations of cards and combos. At first, the experience is an easy task that requires little effort to complete, but subsequent runs and customization unlocks add serious complexity to the mix, making Monster Train a game that makes hours – even days – melt away in a masterful moment.

    Click here to watch embedded media

    The action all happens on a three-story train, where enemies come in on the bottom floor. If they make it to the top, they bash your life points away. When your life points are gone, your run is over. The goal is simple: through a variety of monsters and spells, stop them from stopping your train. Some bosses are the same every time, but they come with a different mix of abilities and cronies that help keep things feeling fresh.

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    Different selectable factions form the basis for your decks and champion each run, consisting of core cards and an upgradeable leader. While you can liken some of them at the base level to mage, healer, or aggressive melee archetypes, there's a lot more going on here. Each faction plays quite differently, and you combine two different factions in each run to determine your spell, monster, and artifact pools. These synergies lead to a ton of fun experiments, and each faction feels unique on its own as well. From the candle-creatures that boast incredible power but burn out over time, to the umbral race that feeds upon little morsel-monsters that look like they escaped the forges of Spirited Away, the choices are distinct and a blast to concoct curious alchemy with. 

    You can weed out unwanted cards from your deck as well as add and modify new ones. Combining your cards with artifacts that have persistent global effects can make or break a run, like an object that randomizes the play cost of all your cards, potentially letting use your high-cost options for free. Each little synergy you discover is a joy, and then putting multiple concepts together to tackle a high-difficulty run is incredibly satisfying, stacking many layers of strategy on top of each other.

    Click here to watch embedded media

    However, runs can start to feel too much the same after you discover the various ways you can break things extra hard by stacking multi-strike effects or armor incantation. On the mega difficulty modes, you are forced to seek out the most brutal and broken combos each time, and although the core bosses change a bit, the game can feel like you’re simply playing against yourself and some randomization each time instead of any real enemy.

    Monster Train is a pleasant, mind-blowingly addictive exercise that’s well worth your time, especially if you’re a fan of roguelikes, card games, and deck-building fare. Hours of entertainment await, often chained back-to-back like a crazy card combo.

    monster4.jpg

    Score: 9

    Summary: Get on the train, we're taking back hell!

    Concept: Steer a train into the depths of hell to reclaim it from the forces of heaven

    Graphics: Animations and assets bring a surprising amount of life to waxen combatants and overgrown vine monsters

    Sound: A stirring score keeps your mind chugging along with the train as you ponder your turns

    Playability: Easy to pick up and understand, with considerable complexity for players who want to dive into progressively more challenging runs

    Entertainment: Monster Train may seem simple at first, but hours melt away with disturbing ease as you attempt to break the game – then break it even more as the challenge rises

    Replay: High

    Click to Purchase

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    Minecraft Dungeons — Video Review

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,
    site-image.jpg

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    Minecraft Dungeons may be the perfect starting point for newcomers looking to dip their toes into the action RPG genre or for someone looking to have a relaxed playthrough in a game world they know and love.

    But, according to our own Jeff Cork's thorough and well-written review, hardcore fans of games such as Diablo and Path of Exile may want to look elsewhere if they're craving a deep loot-driven experience.

    Join us as we analyze Mojang's latest foray into a new world with Game Informer's latest video review.

    As always, your feedback has been instrumental in improving each video and I can't thank you enough. Please reach out in the comments below or on Twitter if you have any constructive feedback. I look forward to hearing from everyone. If you can't get enough Minecraft Dungeons, be sure to check out our New Gameplay Today as I play co-op with some of your favorite GI editors.

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