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Winter is still coming for Minnesota as a snow storm is poised to keep most of us homebound this weekend. Will we survive the siege of snow that’s heading our way? Will the storm last a fortnight, or just as long as a battle royale in Fortnite? Let’s see how the Game Informer staff plans to stay warm this weekend. Let us know how you’re spending your weekend in the comments below!
Ben Hanson (@yozetty) – Happy weekend, y’all! Hmmm, what to play … I think I’ll keep rolling with Metal Gear Survive. The game is fascinating and there’s a good game buried somewhere in there, I’m just having a tough time finding it consistently. Last night I hit several fail states after playing for a long time and was devastated by the checkpoints, but still! Other than that, I’ll probably mess around a bit with Alto’s Odyssey on iOS. Have a good weekend!
Robbie Key (@RobbieKeyV) – This weekend I will be wrapping up the first video in a series I’m calling “Shenanikins.” It’s three- to five-minute videos that basically show the stupid and hilarious things that happen when me and my cousins (hence the “kins” part in the title) play games on Xbox. I’m hoping to post a Shenanikins video at least once a month, so be sure to keep an eye out for that and more on the YouTube channel I made this past week! As for gaming, I’m trying to debate starting one of a few different titles I have in mind. I’ll probably continue watching JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, and maybe get started on Altered Carbon. I hope everyone has a great weekend!
Leo Vader (@leovader) – I’m gonna be snowed in so I’m looking forward to a nice cozy weekend of Siege! I’ve graduated from a Blitz main to a Buck main on attack and it has been incredibly fun utilizing his shotgun gadget to blast through walls and flank defenders during shootouts. Still trying to find a defender I absolutely love, gonna try and fool around with Valkyrie some more and see if I get to a good place with her. Besides that I’ll maybe try and play some games that aren’t three years old because it’s part of my job to know what’s going on in the industry or whatever but I probably won’t. LOVE YOU
Kyle Hilliard (@KyleMHilliard) – I finally achieved my platinum trophy in Shadow of the Colossus and now I feel… empty. What should I do with my life? Play Monster Hunter: World, I guess? Or maybe Owlboy? I think that would make Suriel happy. Other than that, no big plans. Maybe convince a babysitter to go let my wife and I see Black Panther.
Jon Bowman (@MrGameAndWrite) – It finally happened. I’m into Fortnite now. I’m still a fatally slow builder, but I’ve finally turned the corner and started having fun with the game. Our three-man squad got so close to a Victory Royale and I helped, which was pretty neat! I’m hoping we can add a fourth and bring home the W. Other than that, I’ve finally started Assassin’s Creed: Origins and I have a soft goal to beat that before the end of March when I’m bombarded with Sea of Thieves, Far Cry 5, Ni No Kuni II, and Detective Pikachu (I’m slowly climbing aboard the hype train for that). Fortnite might throw a wrench into that plan though, as well as any other social plans I have for a while.
Kristin Williams (@kristincreate) – Pretty much the same plans as last weekend – Overwatch, Olympics, and some Final Fantasy X if we get snowed in and I have extra time. And doing a second session of Starfinder on Sunday!
Joey Thurmond (@DrJoeystein) – With an unexpected snow storm sweeping in over Saturday, it seems that my travel plans for the weekend have been canceled. In lieu of that, I’ll be testing my mettle in Shadow of the Colossus’ Time Attack mode and play some more of Call of Duty: WWII’s Prop Hunt mode with friends. God of War II is in the pipeline along with some personal writing I’d like to work on, too.
Jeff Cork (@gijeff) – I just got back from a Disney World trip, so I’ve got all that Disney crap on the brain. It only seemed appropriate that I download the PS4 Kingdom Hearts remaster. It’s been 15 years since I played the first one, and … wow. Games sure have come a long ways. I still like a lot about the game, but the early hours have felt a lot like a homework assignment. True, it’s one that I assigned myself. And it’s definitely better than homework, but I’m excited to blast through it and continue to the sequel. Secret shame time: I never played Kingdom Hearts 2, because once the opening cinematic ended and the game went from a 16:9 to 4:3 aspect ratio, I was out out out. So yeah. That’s my weekend.
Daniel Tack (@dantack) – Baked brie wedge wrapped in puff pasty served with capicola, jalapeno garlic aioli, Carolina reaper sauce, and fresh naan bread. It’s an eclectic and electric little appetizer to stoke the fires before the main course. Move on to some beer-battered fries loaded with cracked black pepper – the real stuff – as the side dish to an epic mac’n’cheese entrée. This one is loaded with pulled pork, fried egg, chorizo, bacon, and jalapenos and topped with roasted chicken and Tack’s signature Sourdough Sidekickers.
Fear Effect Sedna, the third installment in the Fear Effect series, is releasing on pretty much everything on March 6.
The game is developed by Sushee, a French indie developer. Fear Effect Sedna is being created under a fairly unknown Square-Enix initiative, called Square-Enix Collective, where the company lends out licenses it is unlikely to ever use but picked up here and there to indie developers for new titles. So, if someone wanted to make a new Gex, it would be under the Square-Enix Collective banner.
You can check out a trailer of the game below. Fear Effect Sedna is releasing on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Switch March 6.
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Jump Point Now Available!
Attention development subscribers: the February 2018 issue of Jump Point is now available in your subscription area. You’ll learn about the development of the Nyx planetside location, meet the environment team, learn about the Terrapin in an extract from Whitley’s and more!
Interested in becoming a development subscriber? You can learn more here.
Since 1974, players have been gathering around tables to live out adventures in the many worlds of the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game. Across multiple editions of the game, players and DMs craft emergent stories and live out the lives of heroes and their adventures. D&D spawned an entire medium of other tabletop role-playing games, but the franchise has also spread into other arenas of tabletop play.
This week, we’re taking a look at some of the great Dungeons & Dragons board, card, and miniatures games. Tapping into the campaign settings, concepts, and flavor of the brand, these games nonetheless aren’t role-playing games. Rather, they offer fascinating twists on the familiar fiction, sometimes emulating the feeling of a classic dungeon crawl but without the need for a DM, and at other times exploring entirely different genres of play, like worker placement or deck-building.
If you’re a big fan of Dungeons & Dragons, or even if you’ve always been intrigued with that universe but have never felt ready to confront the complexity of the role-playing game, these are releases worth checking out.
Lords of Waterdeep
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
A personal favorite in my game collection, Lords of Waterdeep transports players to the most famous of D&D communities – the sprawling city of splendors known as Waterdeep. Players are the mysterious masked lords of the city, endlessly conniving against one another for control of the fantasy urban sprawl. Excellent worker placement mechanics demand players think carefully about where to devote resources, expressed as adventurer cubes of different colors that represent different D&D classes. Lords of Waterdeep is a deep and rewarding strategy game, but it also boasts a relatively short play session time; that’s a rare combo. Several years ago, I wrote a more extensive piece about the game, which you can check out for more info.
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
Deck-building card games function on an intriguing loop; cards in your hand are played, which leads to new cards being shuffled into your deck, gradually growing the potential power at your disposal in an ever-expanding circle. That core principle is applied to Dragonfire, a fully cooperative card game that emulates the flow of a D&D campaign, but with a focus on tactical cooperation and card-suit matching rather than role-playing. Even so, the Dungeons & Dragons universe is fully on display, especially thanks to excellent artwork and graphic design on nearly every component in the game. Players have tremendous flexibility to shape their character, choosing unique race and class combos, and then building out a deck of cards. Leveling up improves your character’s potential, as do special magic item cards that can turn the tide of a fight. Dragonfire is a deep and complex deck-builder, and its interwoven cooperative elements and leveling might be overwhelming to newcomers to this style of card game. It’s also clearly designed to be played by the same group over many sessions; if you have a group that loves this style of card game, I highly recommend giving it a shot.
Assault of the Giants
Flipping the script on the classic D&D experience, Assault of the Giants puts three to six players in charge of competing clans of giants as they attempt to consolidate power and rise to new heights within the hierarchy of giant folk, often at the expense of small people like humans and elves that might get caught in the crossfire. Through some especially clever design work, every one of the playable races features different victory conditions (from reviving an ancient titan to eating the most halflings), and yet I’ve found the game to be exceptionally well balanced every time I’ve played. The strategic depth is significant, but event cards also do a great job of communicating an unfolding narrative. For experienced groups eager for a novel perspective on the Forgotten Realms D&D world, you can’t go wrong with this one. Read my complete review for more detail.
Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate
Publisher: Avalon Hill/Wizards of the Coast
Betrayal at House on the Hill is a perennial favorite for many gaming groups. That horror-themed semi-cooperative original sent you into a haunted mansion, with the full knowledge that one of the other players might be working against you the whole time. Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate is a spin-off that trades the horror theme for fantasy, and the modern-day visitors are transformed into hearty adventurers skulking through the dangers of Baldur’s Gate. The scenario-based approach to play ensures that every time you play is different from the last, and several unique features make the D&D makeover more than just cosmetic, including some fun character abilities/powers that can help you confront the inevitable danger that crops up. This one is ideal for gaming groups that enjoy the tension of a potential traitor, and the nods to D&D spells, classic magic items, and specific monsters are plentiful.
Next Page: Enact midair battles with fierce dragons, and control a dark elven house vying for supremacy
A new mobile Ghostbusters game titled Ghostbusters World is coming, with the first teaser hitting almost every piece of imagery designed to tickle that Ghostbusters part of your brain.
"Ghostbusters World gameplay will enable players to battle and capture hundreds of ghosts from all dimensions of the franchise, including the films, TV shows, comic books, theme parks, and video games," reads the press release. "The game will also feature new and unique ghosts to the franchise."
It sounds like the game resembles other AR hunting titles, a la Pokemon Go, but with capturing ghosts. Check out the teaser trailer below.
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Who ya gonna call? No one, because you're not using the phone app.
Alicia Vikander stars as Lara Croft in the newest cinematic adaptation of the Tomb Raider series. Following in the footsteps of Angelina Jolie in the early 2000s movies, Vikander is assuming the role of a very different kind of Lara Croft based on the more recent Tomb Raider titles. More survivalist than action hero, Vikander's Croft is more at home with a bow and arrow than dual pistols. We got a chance to sit down with her ahead of the movie's March release and talk about the long history of the character.
How did you feel about getting the Lara Croft role? Have you played the games before?
Vikander: I have! I was probably around 10-ish when I probably walked in – I didn't have a PlayStation at home, very sadly – and I walked into my friend's house and I remember that I saw the screen of the TV and I had never seen a female protagonist in a video game. I was really curious and I asked those older boys in that family if I could get a chance to play. I think I got to Peru and then there were some wolves and I just freaked out and didn't get to play more, but I did play the Anniversary version later on in my teens when that came out. Then I played the rebooted games before I started to do the film and realized then how time-consuming it is, but mostly ... when I grew up, I was a big computer games fan, a lot of point-and-click games like Broken Sword and Monkey Island, things like that. I was very aware of Lara and also due to Angelina Jolie and her films.
We're talking about four different Lara Crofts here – the original, the reboot, Angelina Jolie's, and yours, as well. What do you think connects all of them?
I think it's a wonderful character that has been with us for like 22 years. She's become a great role model and I love the fact that she's been able to take such a big place as a female character in the gaming world and in cinema. I think there's definitely room for this character to evolve, and it felt like it came out in '96, and I think it reflects a strong woman with the same kind of essence still as a smart, very curious, feisty, vulnerable woman. It's almost like she has changed due to how society has changed, she has become more a woman of now, of the time.
The Lara Croft in the new movie is more of an urban explorer than the traditional heiress...
Yeah, she hasn't been on an adventure yet.
For your Lara Croft specifically, how did you consider what way you should approach the character or did you want to hew as close to the game as possible?
It's probably the biggest nerve I've had of taking on this part, which has also been my inspiration, of wanting to give people who love this character and who have been following her for all these years to feel like it's the essence of her. Then I think, I know myself, you do want to get something new. It's like, "Why another film?" You want to see a new perspective and I love that it was an origin story, that this is much more of a girl set in a reality maybe even closer to our world. I was 20 when I came to London with my roommates. I enjoyed that she was a very physical being and showed ways that were plausible that she became the kind of survivor that she turns out to be in the film. I love that we got to see the sort of steps of her becoming the action hero we know her to be. If you have a character that you love, if you get the chance to see them grow up in a coming-of-age story, then you get so many more levels and perspectives of the character that you love.
The original Lara Croft was kind of a lone wolf in her adventures, the reboot Lara is somewhat defined by her relationships with other characters.
Oh, you think?
She has the relationship with her father that's kind of driving her in the film.
Yeah, but that she had already in the original. In the beginning of the film, it's more that thing of how she doesn't know what happened, it's more difficult for her to mourn. I don't know if I agree that her character is defined by other characters in the film. I think she is, when I first read about her, I thought she was a very strong character by herself. She does have relationships, which is the difference when you get more time to tell the story around her, then you do have time to see what her world is like. When you actually look at somebody's world you always find the elements of the people surrounding you.
They're both fiercely independent, but it does seem like the reboot Lara has more of an attachment to other people than the original did, who was kind of defined by her tragedy versus being driven by hope.
Oh, that's good, I like that. It's nice that you say hope now we have more possibility to explore things like that. I love the fact that she's always been put through quite harsh times, dear Lara, and yet she always managed to pick herself up. I think that kind of stubbornness and excitement and capability to always see things from the good side and always stand up again, are very much the essence of her, too.
The movie kind of echoes Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade with the missing father and the forbidden land, how do you feel Lara Croft compares to Indiana Jones?
I grew up with those films, I love adventure films, so this of course – I got the chance to go on to the most gorgeous built sets, which made me feel like a kid, like temples and tombs. So of course it's kind of similar, it's an adventure genre, but then I think it's important to try and make something that is its own and fresh. I feel like Indiana Jones and Lara Croft as characters are quite different. Hopefully we'll be taking quite different journeys due to that.
The original Lara Croft from twenty years ago was a product of her time and was marketed with a heavy emphasis on her sexuality. The current Lara Croft by contrast focuses on her survival skills above all else. Why do you think that has changed?
I think that is due to society changing. I think it's just different. If you were to walk out and ask any young girl or boy, man or woman, really what they find attractive and sexy, it would be very different today than what it was twenty years ago. The view on people and ladies in general is just different. I think that's why the rebooted game, it's just my thought, but maybe that's why it came about. You have this character that has been so groundbreaking and has such a cool essence that a lot of people have already, from the beginning, just seen that and now they've brought that character with them into our time. I think that's the difference.
Let's say you have carte blanche to make your own Tomb Raider game. How would you go about making it your ideal title in the series?
How I would go about doing one myself? I think when I played the last two games, I loved them because of the focus on the story. That's why I was drawn in to my point-and-click games when I was young. I love leaving reality behind and just kind of getting absorbed into adventures where I dreamt being able to go to myself. So I would be fine really trying to continue what they've done and make it a lot about the writing. Then from there you can put in the great action beats and thrills, but I think it all comes down to having the essence of a good story meaning everything.
Tomb Raider releases in theaters on March 16. Square-Enix has announced a new Tomb Raider game to be revealed later this year.