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    The Watch Dogs: Legion Digital Issue Is Now Live

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,
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    Digital subscribers of Game Informer can now read our huge cover story on Ubisoft's ambitious Watch Dogs: Legion. Following today's cover reveal, our digital issue is now live to subscribers on web browsersiPad/iPhone, and Android devices. Individual issues will be available for purchase later today. You can download the apps to view the issue by following this link. All of these digital options are included in a standard subscription.

    The issue launches later this week on our third-party subscription apps including Kindle and Nook.

    Not a digital subscriber yet? Convert your existing print subscription here or start a new subscription here.

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    Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Season 5 Content Details

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,

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    Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Season 5 arrives tomorrow, August 5. While there are a smattering of content offerings coming across the board, some of the biggest chunks of change are slamming into Warzone. The Acropolis National Arena (the big stadium!) in Warzone is poised to become a huge theater of battle, whether you're blasting it out in the stands or getting wild in the parking structure, it's a big new battlezone.

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    The train station is also getting some interior elements. Oh, and there's a giant freight train that rolls through the zone now so expect that to be an absolutely insane highlight for battle royale action. For a full list of the extensive changes coming to Warzone, check out the official posting here.

    Four new multiplayer maps are coming to standard Call of Duty: Modern Warfare multiplayer. Livestock lets you take Gunfight down on the farm with hay bales and scattered tractors providing cover. Don't worry, all the farm animals are safe. Petrov Oil Rig, Suldal Harbor, and Verdansk International Airport flesh out the new environment offerings.

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    Of course, it wouldn't be a season without some new mode options. Bare Bones lets you play with no killstreaks, no field upgrades, and no perks - just raw gunplay. This one sounds awesome to me!

    Of course, there is a a battle pass to work on, new operators, new weapons, and a lot more as well. Get full details here.

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    Cover Reveal – Watch Dogs: Legion

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,
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    Ubisoft recently showed off more of its upcoming Watch Dogs: Legion, shining the spotlight on a game that had been lurking in the shadows. We got to play it for several hours, and shared some of our thoughts and impressions on the open-world action. As it turns out, that was only a small part of the story. In the next issue of Game Informer, we take a deeper dive into the systems that make the game possible – and memorable – with insights from the team at Ubisoft Toronto.

    The big twist with Legion is that nearly everyone in the open world can be recruited to join your team, from spies and police officers to beekeepers, bartenders, and barbers. Not everyone has a skillset that lends itself to helping DedSec free London from the grip of private-security firm Albion, but figuring out what each person can bring to the fight is half the fun. Over the course of 14 pages, we explore how players will be able to recruit everyone by exploiting their fully modeled routines, transforming them from your run-of-the-mill NPCs to your secret weapons against tyranny in this near-future nightmare.

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    Even if you haven't been following the Watch Dogs series so far, based on what we've played, Legion is a great starting point – particularly if you're into immersive sims or enjoy poking around the boundaries of a game's systems to see just how far you can push the simulation. There's a lot to absorb, and we've got some great stories of in-game heroism (and mayhem) to show what's heading your way this October 29.

    Of course, that's not all that's coming this issue. We have an extensive look at Crystal Dynamics' upcoming Avengers title, which explores how the team has been working to make the game better following its initial (and divisive) first few showings. Brian Shea talks to the team to learn what they have in store not only for the launch, but how the team plans on supporting the title in the long run. We've also got a lengthy look at what's ahead for Xbox Series X, highlight some must-have collectables, and bring you some great reviews and previews for the games you'll be talking about over the next few months.

    Print subscribers can expect their issues to begin arriving in the coming weeks. The digital edition of this issue launches later today for PC/Mac, iOS, and Google Play. You can also get the latest issue through third-party apps on Nook and Kindle later this week. To switch your print subscription to digital, click here, or to create a new subscription, click here.

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    What We Want From Ghost of Tsushima 2

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,
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    If it hasn't become apparant by now, Ghost of Tsushima has been a huge success both critically and commercially for Sucker Punch and Sony. And while no such sequal has been announced by either party at this time, it's safe to assume we're witnessing the dawn of another first-party franchise for the house of Kratos, Aloy, and Ellie.

    In that spirit, Matt Miller, Joe Juba, and I went over all the story beats and additions we'd love to see Sucker Punch make whenever the next game graces our PlayStations in our spoiler-filled discussion about Ghost of Tsushima 2.

    If you enjoyed this video, be sure to check out the full episode of Spoiled where we breakdown the ending, our favorite characters, and more. Thanks for watching!

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    EA Sports UFC 4's New Approach To Create-A-Fighter

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,

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    Publisher: EA Sports
    Developer: EA Vancouver
    Release: August 14, 2020
    Rating: Teen
    Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One

    Just as career mode is the most popular mode in the EA Sports UFC franchise, created fighters are far and away the most popular characters in the game. That's been the talking point used by developer EA Vancouver as the team members discussed why they've scrapped modes like Ultimate Team and doubled down on innovating and evolving gameplay, career mode, and Create-a-Fighter. We caught up with EA Vancouver one last time ahead of launch to chat about what changes were made in the Create-a-Fighter space.

    The big change this time around is that rather than going in and tweaking every single aspect of the fighter's attributes and skills, you now choose from 12 distinct archetypes. According to creative director Brian Hayes, this is less about restricting player choice and more about ensuring that the online experience is balanced. "Previously, we had a system where most people would just create a fighter and give them 100 everything and level five everything, and they'd all be very O.P.," he says. "We're taking an approach where we want to make sure people can use their created fighter in as many modes as possible because it's a very popular fighter for people to use. We needed to find a system that makes these fighters fair, competitively balanced against other licensed fighters in the game. That's why we came up with the archetypes."

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    Early on, the studio toyed with the idea of a point-allocation system, where the higher you raised attributes, the more costly they would be, but the team figured out that a system like that is highly exploitable. "We had considered doing other things like a development-point limiting system," Hayes says. "What you end up having is people will find a way to min-max the system and find the way that is the most slightly O.P., so everybody will go do that. It's not the same as having 100 OVR created fighters everywhere, but you still end up with basically every created fighter being just one thing. We could still end up in a situation where the game comes out and we find out week one or week two that these two or three archetypes are a little bit O.P. Well then we have the ability to go in and tune those things like we would with a licensed fighter. So we're going to bump these archetypes up, we're going to turn these other archetypes down so that those 12 archetypes still have great variability, but competitive balance, which is a positive for people using created fighters against licensed fighters or against other created fighters online."

    The Archetypes

    EA Sports UFC 4 brings 12 distinct archetypes into the mix for its Create-a-Fighter suite. First, you choose a primary style, then within each style, you select the sub-style archetype you want to use. Check out the full list below.

    Kickboxer

    • Acrobat
    • Pressure
    • Showboat

    Boxer

    • Sniper
    • Powerhouse

    Balanced

    • Top Dog
    • Engine
    • Razor

    Wrestler

    • Dominator
    • Smasher

    Jiu-Jitsu

    • Shark
    • Vanguard

    Another positive side effect from the archetype system is it makes the fighter-creation process much more streamlined. No longer do you have to go in and tweak every last attribute for each fighter you create. Now, you simply go in, choose the fighter's type, enter their vital information, and craft what they look like. However, just because the process of defining a fighter's skillset is more efficient doesn't mean the cosmetic side has been pared down.

    In fact, the sculpting tools from UFC 3 made the trip to this fourth entry, plus there are more hairstyle and facial hair options, as well as new body types, hair colors, and tattoos. In addition, UFC 4 adds new categories for clothing and emotes. Clothing ranges from tame items like custom shorts and gloves to over-the-top cosmetics like animal masks, heavy chains, "anime hair," superhero masks, unicorn t-shirts, and royal crowns. The emotes let you give your fighter a bit more personality in the pre- and post-fight sequences, as well as in-fight taunts.

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    As you create your stable of fighters (up to 20 total, according to Hayes), you can designate one fighter to be your Universal Avatar. That fighter follows you across modes and can conform to whatever weightclass you are playing. That means that if you create a fighter at 170 pounds, if you set him as your Universal Avatar and want to use him in a 135-pound bout, he'll shrink proportionately to that size and associated skillsets. Universal Avatars are also able to swap out their archetypes on the fly, meaning that if you're a kickboxing archetype and you want to counter a jiu-jitsu or wrestling specialist, you can swap out your skills with ease.

    For more on EA Sports UFC 4, check out our in-depth look at the game as a whole, or learn more about career mode through our recent deep dive. EA Sports UFC 4 hits PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on August 14.

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    EA Sports UFC 4

    Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One Release Date: August 14, 2020 Purchase More Info

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    Three Big Gameplay Improvements Coming To FIFA 21

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,

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    Publisher: EA Sports
    Developer: EA Vancouver
    Release: October 9, 2020 (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC), TBA (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X)
    Platform: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

    Like any competitive team, FIFA 21 is looking to consistently improve and shore up its weaknesses. Sometimes, that means looking at the core fundamentals and making some adjustments in order for the team to function in better harmony. EA Sports turned to two key places for inspiration on what to tweak for its game plan: the real-life sport and community feedback. This resulted in bettering the creativity, responsiveness, and fluidity of its gameplay for FIFA 21. 

    After going hands-on with FIFA 21, we experienced additions that put you in more control of the action on the pitch, and they’re all for the better. Don’t expect any drastic changes to the formula, but these are welcome improvements and address some nagging issues. Whether it’s new techniques or improved A.I., FIFA 21 is making sure you’re better able to create the plays you want. Here’s what stood out for us. 

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    Agile Dribbling Takes The Game To A More Competitive Level

    Dribbling is a fundamental part of the game, and this skill can be make-or-break when it comes to achieving victory. We’ve seen players’ fast footwork trick defenders, providing an opening for them to blow past their cover for a satisfying scoring chance. In FIFA 21, the standard dribbling has been improved to be more responsive and quick, but a new, more refined technique called “agile dribbling,” is also being added to your arsenal.  

    Agile dribbling gives you more advanced ways to outsmart your defender and assert yourself on the pitch. All you need to tap into it is press the right bumper while moving the left stick in the direction you want. This allows you to move the ball side to side and back and forth with ease, and it’s a great tool to have to prevent yourself from getting tackled and blowing past a defender when they overcommit in a certain direction. However, keep in mind, the dribbling attribute of the player you’re controlling will determine how successful you will be with this technique. Players known for their dribbling like Mbappé and Messi will be much faster and effective than most. 

    Testing this during our hands-on proved this much; the controls are easy enough to activate, but agile dribbling does require some mastery. It’s easy to lose the ball if you’re not careful, but it’s also satisfying to boot when you outsmart a defender with your sweet moves. This is one technique we expect to really see shine in competitive play, especially those who are just gunning for their big stars to embarrass their opponents.

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    Improved A.I. Intelligence Makes For More Realistic Interactions

    A lot of effort has gone into elevating the A.I. and ensuring it’s making more realistic and intelligent decisions on the field. One of the most promising new features is called “positioning personality,” which strives to make players feel different depending on their position and skill attributes. From striker to fullback, every position plays differently and requires different intelligences, and likewise, every player has their own personal strengths and weaknesses.

    For some examples of how this functions in FIFA 21, top forwards are less likely to get caught offside and recognize when they need to create a passing lane. Defenders are overall more likely to cut off passing lanes and the more skilled ones will recognize runs earlier, giving them a better chance to break it up. “This means that players that are good tactically are going to have a bigger impact in FIFA regardless of their pace, dribbling, and shooting attributes, which for years have been the most impactful ones,” says lead gameplay producer Sam Riviera.   

    EA Sports also worked on its collision system to make the physical action on the pitch much more natural. Now players won’t run directly into other players, trying to avoid unnecessary contact, like jumping over a sliding player. If there is a collision, EA worked to improve the physics so players wouldn’t get stuck together in large groups like in previous entries. This may seem like a minor improvement, but it does create more space and less pileups, making for a smoother experience.

    For players looking for a challenge but feel like the CPU has been too predictable and easy in the past, a new competitor mode, which replicates the playstyles of some of the best FIFA professionals in the world, is for you. In this difficulty mode, teams will use all their skill moves, aggressively pass, and find the best ways to score. Expect the A.I. to pull out all stops, and it’s a lot of fun trying to stay one step ahead of them. 

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    Creative Runs Is A Difference-Maker

    Of all of the tweaks and additions, the one that felt the most impactful and promising is creative runs. You now have more control over telling your A.I. players where you want them to go. This is a godsend for getting your players in the best spaces to execute on your game plan. Now right after a pass, you can flick the right stick in any direction and the passing player will start moving there, such as sending them to the wing or requesting they do a diagonal run. This is the first time you have 360-degree control of the run, giving you plenty of options for ways to create chances. 

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    Before, we often felt at the mercy of our A.I., but being able to ensure they go where we need them with ease really lessens this frustration. With directed runs, you can send your player to a better area with more space in the heat of the moment. This allows you to create a lot of different types of plays that weren’t possible before. 

    Another way to better create the plays you want is the ability to stay locked to a player, so after you make a pass, you aren’t automatically swapped to that player. This is great if you want to stay on the attack and spot an opening, but need to make a pass before you can get there. All you need to do now is press both sticks at the same time to stay locked to a player, and the CPU will take control of the player you just passed to.

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    Final Thoughts

    FIFA 21 is giving players more options and control to ensure they can play how they want. During our hands-on we noticed a slew of tweaks, such as more consistent blocking, accurate tackles, and improved player passing, which just made everything on the pitch feel much better. Having the ability to tap into new tactics like agile dribbling and creative runs provided more spectacular ways to create plays, resulting in those special moments where you feel like you’ve earned a play on the highlight reel. None of this rewrites the formula, but they are all positive changes. We can only hope that these tools give players even more unique and creative ways to have success on the pitch. Time will tell, but the improved A.I. alone makes for a better experience.

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