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    Overkill’s The Walking Dead Review – A Camp Not Worth Defending

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,
    otwd_october_2.jpg

    Sometimes a game just doesn’t work out. Despite lots of time, a strong property, and capable development talent, the experience fails to solidify. In the case of Overkill’s The Walking Dead, major technical problems and connection issues, baffling gameplay systems and controls, tedious combat and stealth, and poorly structured missions all contrive to halt the fun.  A deep and rewarding upgrade and progression path hides behind the mess, but you’re unlikely to enjoy it, as the game fails to offer meaningful engagement.

    In this four-player, first-person survival shooter, players take on new characters in The Walking Dead universe, but face gruesome challenges similar to those seen in the comic and TV shows. Working as a team, you scavenge for supplies and face off against enemy survivor groups, then defend your camp from those that would take what you have. The story is too bare-bones to hold up to scrutiny, though I appreciate the effort to surprise, including at least one cool character twist.

    While purporting to be balanced for solo players or teams of various sizes, most missions are profoundly disheartening with anything less than a full four-person team. That’s a big problem, because matchmaking is spotty, and it is often unable to find me a matching team. Load times are long, and failure in a mission means starting over from the beginning. This can result in losing 30 minutes or more of time, with paltry rewards to show for the effort. When the games does manage to find a match, I’m often thrown in halfway through with the team already most of the way to failure. I’ve also encountered many hard crashes, together amounting to hours of lost progress.

    Enemies are a mix of mindless undead and nearly mindless enemy survivors. The human enemies lack any of the tactical complexity you’d expect from any FPS of the last 10 years, often standing together in groups as you gun them down, even as they fail to animate in response to a hail of submachine gun bullets.

    Gunplay is stiff and unresponsive. More prominent and frequent are lengthy sections of unsatisfying melee engagements. Whether bashing with a baseball bat or slashing with a machete, the close-up battles lack variety or panache, and regularly devolve into long stretches of standing in a doorway and repeatedly smashing the left mouse button for minutes at a time. A lackluster stealth system may as well be absent; it lacks sufficient cues to help you be successful, and the level design and enemy placements provide too few opportunities to be sneaky. A punishing sound meter discourages the use of your more interesting weapons and abilities, since it means that the zombie horde will soon descend. Upon death, an infuriatingly long respawn timer gives you just enough time to fume about the futility and loss of your free time.

    The relatively small number of environments are confusing to navigate, with procedurally placed elements that frustrate as often as not, as you scramble around attempting to find the necessary jumper cables or gasoline. You’re encouraged to spend increasingly boring stretches scouring for additional bullets and supplies, slowing down any momentum a mission might have had.

    The lone standout success is a rewarding progression system, which offers a lot to explore and plenty of opportunities for experimentation. Classes have their own leveling trees to improve abilities, though I would have liked more flexibility to customize what weapon skills each character can improve. As it is, if you like a particular ability, like the Scout’s smoke grenade, you’re obligated to go with her crossbow and pickaxe. Additional supplies let you upgrade your camp in a variety of ways, but you must balance your expenditures against the ongoing upkeep needs of your survivors, which makes for a compelling tension. As you gather more survivors, you can alternately send them out on missions or set them to work in the camp for some handy bonuses. Finally, a wide variety of weapons can be modded and improved over time. I appreciate the feature, but it also means that you’re wielding especially clumsy weapons in the early hours. Nonetheless, the growth of your camp and characters provides a sense that your missions have meaning, and may be enough to push you back into another banal scavenging run.

    Overkill’s The Walking Dead plans to dole out content in seasons, so the current batch of missions will soon expand. But dramatic reworking of most core combat and mission systems are necessary before the game could be worthy of a recommendation. The premise sounds promising for fans of cooperative play, zombie action, and the taut survival storylines implied by the license. The execution fails to meet the needs of any of those groups. You’re better off heeding the warning – keep this menacing door closed, and leave the zombies to their gnawing hunger.

     

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    God Eater 3's Intro Emphasizes Its Art Style

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,
    godeater3.jpg

    Bandai Namco has released the intro for God Eater 3 as its own separate trailer, so if three God Eater games down the line you still don't have a good sense of the series tone, this intro trailer will likely dispel all doubt for you. The intro was animated by animation studio Ufotable, which did the actual God Eater TV series. It's set to a track titled Stereo Future by idol group BiSH. 

    Check it out below.

    God Eater 3 is the first title in the series to be made entirely for console graphical standards, where previous games also included Vita versions, as well. The title is also the first game in the series to be developed by Marvelous, as the God Eater team from the previous games is currently working on Souls-like action game Code Vein, which has been delayed into 2018.

    God Eater 3 releases on PlayStation 4 and PC on February 6.

    View the full article


    Explore Warcraft III's Origins In This Rare Concept Art Gallery

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,

    Samwise Didier was working in a movie theater when he answered an ad in a paper to make video games. The first two games Didier worked on at Blizzard (then Silicon & Synapse) were Rock n' Roll Racing and The Lost Vikings for the SNES.

    Didier's exaggerated physiques and vibrant color palette ultimately shaped the style of Warcraft III and eventually World of Warcraft. During our trip to Blizzard last month, the artist shared some background on this Warcraft III concept art, which was drawn by himself and Chris Metzen.

    thrall_face.jpg

    Before Warcraft III, Blizzard worked on a game called Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans, an unreleased point-and-click adventure starring a young orc named Thrall who was on a quest to reunite his race after their defeat by the human Alliance. Even though the project was canned, Blizzard was able to repurpose many of these concepts for Warcraft III.

    “I remember, we made a couple of trips to Russia to work with an animation house,” Didier says. “It was cool, but one of the reasons we pulled back on doing it was because I don’t think we really found the fun. At that time, other games were coming out that were already doing that and then some. By the time we would be set to come out, it would have just seemed dated.”

    dwarven_mortar_team.jpg

    Early in development, Blizzard experimented wildly with Warcraft III. Some early designs involved having a dragon race that featured only a single unit. Before the game was even called Warcraft III, Blizzard even experimented with moving the camera closer to the ground – creating a third-person perspective behind the player’s heroes. “We wanted to sell the world a bit more,” says Didier. “We wanted to have more RPG elements. We wanted to make something showing off a 3D engine. But, like with new tech, people tend to go overboard on that, so we kept slowly nudging the camera back up.”

    assassin_swordmaster.jpg

    “The first thing everyone wanted to do was make Warcraft III more realistic,” says Didier. “So everything was smaller. Then we saw it in game, and we were like ‘Everything looks dumb.’ So we started making the colors simpler, decreasing the shading, adding flat colors. We scaled the characters back up and made them bigger and bulkier so they read from that top-down camera. That’s one of the reasons we started doing that style, because it read better, but also because everything felt huge. Everything felt heroic and mightier.”

    elf_heads.jpg

    Warcraft III was the first game where Blizzard experimented with 3D, which forced the team to change its approach to art. “We were used to texturing things a certain way,” says Didier. “In 3D, you weren’t able to touch up each individual pixel like you were before. You had to make it look good on the 3D model, so we had to keep simplifying our style.”

    nightelf_demonhunter.jpg

    “One of the great things about Warcraft III is that this is where everything comes from,” says Didier. “Jaina was born in Warcraft III, and Arthas, Uther, and Illidan. All these characters. There weren’t even Night Elves or Taurens before Warcraft III. We brought every character and race that we had sort of roughly talked about in the other games and fleshed them out.”

    Over the years, Blizzard has taken a lot of risks, but the company spends time itterating on those ideas and rarely settles for second best. Warcraft III was technically the thrid game in the series, but it was a pivitol entry for the franchise and for Blizzard. The upcoming Reforged remaster will give fans – both new and old – a chance to experience what made Warcraft III so special.

     

    Click on our banner below to enter our constantly updating hub of exclusive features on Warcraft III: Reforged.

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    Contra-Inspired Shooter Blazing Chrome Arriving In 2019, Also Coming To Switch

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,
    blazingchrome.jpg

    It would be difficult to set out to make a game like Contra and not have it look exactly like Contra, so why not just lean into it instead? That's pretty much what Blazing Chrome is setting out to do and it was obvious when we first took note of it at PAX East earlier this year, but every new trailer completely reinforces it. The developer has announced that you'll be running and gunning in early 2019 and have officially announced a Switch version will come in tow.

    Check out the new environments trailer below.

    Developer JoyMasher has announced that the game will be releasing in early 2019, just missing its 2018 target date. However, this does give time for the newly-announced Switch release to launch alongside the other versions, so you can take it on the go from day one.

    Blazing Chrome releases on PlayStation 4, Switch, and PC early next year.

    View the full article


    Command & Conquer And Red Alert Remastered Announced

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,
    commandconquerremastered.jpg

    Last month, EA announced an intention to bring Command & Conquer back in the form of remasters, rather than the mobile endeavor the company showed off at E3 earlier this year. Far quicker than anyone thought, EA is seemingly ready to announce exactly what it has been cooking up, today announcing remasters for Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn and Command & Conquer: Red Alert, with all the expansions in tow. 

    Tiberian Dawn is the working title for what was simply released as Command & Conquer, the original 1995 PC game from Westwood Studios. It makes a lot of sense for the first game in the series to be chosen, but EA have also heard from the community that Red Alert is a more well-loved game, so that is also getting the remaster treatment.

    "We have decided to remaster Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn," creative director Jim Vessella writes in a blog post for the announcement. "And while this is incredibly exciting on its own, we’re also aware of how passionate the community is about the Red Alert universe. So, we will also remaster the original Command & Conquer: Red Alert™.  But what about the classic expansion packs you may ask - Covert Ops, Counterstrike, and Aftermath?  Well, C&C and Red Alert wouldn’t be the same without them, so all three expansion packs will be bundled with the base games into one remastered collection - without microtransactions."

    Additionally, EA is contracting Nevada developer Petroglyph Games for the remaster, a studio made up of former Westwood staff that got together when EA shut Westwood down in 2003 to assimilate into EA Lost Angeles, which is now called DICE Los Angeles. Basically what this means is that the two remastered games will be made by many of the developers who worked on the titles originally.

    "Joe Bostic is known as the co-creator of C&C, having also served as the Lead Programmer on Tiberian Dawn and Red Alert. Steve Tall joined Joe as a Lead Programmer on Red Alert, and Mike Legg contributed to all forms of audio systems at Westwood, having been an employee since 1986! All three members helped start Petroglyph Games in 2003 after the closure of Westwood and are joined by a veteran group of RTS developers from the past 15+ years. And don’t think we haven’t noticed the #1 request from the community in all the comments from the past month...  You want Frank Klepacki. So as a cherry on top for the fans, we are thrilled to announce that Frank will be re-joining Petroglyph Games to be our Composer and Audio Director for the remaster collection!"

    EA notes that the Command & Conquer Remastered Collection has yet to even start development, so it might be some time before we see anything from this, but they do seem to be handling it appropriately for a company that was once stringently against remasters of any kind.

    View the full article


    Guilty Plea In Deadly Swatting Crime

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,
    codA.jpg

    Tyler Barriss has pleaded guilty in a case related to calling in false claims to police, which led to a SWAT team being dispatched, and the accidental killing of an innocent man who lived at the designated address.

    The fatal situation initially arose because of a paltry $1.50 bet between two men in Call of Duty: World War II, Shane Gaskill and Casey Viner. Gaskill dared Viner to send the SWAT team to his house because of a disagreement over the bet. Viner then convinced Barriss to make the call.

    Gaskill had given a previous address, and the SWAT team instead descended on the current home of Andrew Finch, who had no connection to the disagreement, and who was killed in the ensuing incident.

    This was clearly not the only time that Barriss has been involved in these sort of false claims. He has also pled guilty to dozens of other false reports and bomb threats.

    Barriss has not yet faced sentencing. Viner and Gaskill are also facing charges, but have not yet faced trial.

    [Source: GamesIndustry.biz]

     

    Our Take
    The unfolding legal cases around this event offer ample evidence of the real-world consequences of false crime reporting, and swatting in particular. Everything about the initial event is infuriating. 

    View the full article


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