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    BioShock, XCOM 2, And More Hit Switch Today

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,

    587121-xenobladechroniclesepilogueinfo.j

    Today is a surprisingly robust release day for Nintendo’s Switch. As announced a few months back, 2K just dropped several big game collections. The first is BioShock: The Collection, which features the remastered versions of all three BioShock games. The second is XCOM 2 Collection, which includes Firaxis stellar strategy game and all four of its DLC packs. Finally, the Borderlands Legendary Collection includes the Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition, Borderlands 2, and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel.

    In addition to 2K’s offerings, the massive open-world RPG Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition also hits the Switch today. This rerelease of the 2012 Wii title features updated visuals, remastered music, and a new epilogue story sequence.

    Shantae and the Seven Sirens – the fifth entry in WayForward long-running platformer about a magical half-genie – also released yesterday, which might be worth checking out if you’re bored. Honesty, if you haven’t played some of these great games already, now might be the perfect time to catch up. But, hey, we're not trying to tell you what to do. 

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    Crucible Review - A Slow Struggle

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,

    crucible1.jpg

    Publisher: Amazon Games
    Release: May 21, 2020
    Rating: Teen
    Reviewed on: PC

    Hero shooters are all the rage these days, so games in the middle or bottom of the field struggle to compete against the lead dogs. Crucible is one of those games, where its mediocrity only earns dismissal. Crucible is like a bland and forgettable meal – inoffensive going down, but quickly passed over for something with a little more flavor and spice.

    Crucible’s heroes fail to entertain on the personality and character level, but they often have memorable and interesting moves that cater to perfection and learning. With the exception of the adorable robot Bugg, most of the cast lacks appeal. With color-by-the-numbers characters like Military Man, Beserker Lizard, and Fish Sniper, the heroes feel like they were ripped from the pages of a rejected comic book.

    On the loadout side, learning a character’s nuances is highly entertaining. For example, the militant Sazan has a set of skills that's easy to understand on the surface, but has lots of room for growth and skill. Discovering how to distance myself to juggle my assault rifle, shotgun, and throwing knife cooldowns was a fun exercise. Mastering a moveset, both partial and perfectly, is satisfying and applicable to many of the heroes.

    Click here to watch embedded media

    The map, with its event spawns that help drive the action, is a suitable environment with plenty of spaces to play in. While there is only one map, it's constantly changing with different spawns to mix things up, and you can learn the locations of various landmarks to duck behind cover or jump off a ledge. Event spawns differ from game to game, but many are simple NPC enemies. Other events like power capsules enhance your whole team, but much of the time you may not see another soul as you complete these tasks in an arena largely devoid of activity.

    Team clashing is the best part of the game, with skirmishes that pick off players and small-scale engagements taking the spotlight. True 4v4’s are interesting, but there’s a distinct lack of teamplay elements. The combat is weightless outside of a few big attacks, with little feedback or punch to most weapons and abilities. Everyone simply does the same thing they would normally be doing in a 1v1 scenario and hopes things shake out. Crucible lacks any in-game voice communication, which forces you to connect with people you already know via other services. For example, letting teammates know you're sacrificing an objective to glean an edge elsewhere is an important memo to relay, as they may go and fight otherwise and end up putting the other team even further ahead. A ping system attempts to mitigate this, but it’s not practical. Depending on the game, you may not even see the other team much, as you both farm dinosaurs and pick off stragglers in 3v1s or trade control of points of interest.

    Click image thumbnails to view larger version

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    One of the larger issues is the PvE component, which tasks you to essentially spend time dunking on dinos and spitter creatures between encounters with the other teams. The battles against these NPCs are fun for a few games, but then they become an absolute bore and a chore. The PvE component does everything it can to tear you away from fighting other players, instead forcing you to slaughter uninteresting one-note blobs of XP wholesale instead of actually playing the game.

    Of the three game modes, the only one worth mentioning is Heart of the Hives. If you’re going to play, this is the mode to check out. Two teams of four battle over PvE objectives, so you have cool decisions to make, like when to engage with the somewhat dangerous PvE entity or if you should cede a flag capture to the other team so you can grab some levels and powerups for an easier win. Like many other aspects of the game, this mode provides fun for a few games, and then fades from memory altogether. Eventually you realize that you could be doing something else or playing something more fun than being slowly dragged across the map on a dino-chain for what might be a slightly satisfying team fight.

    Crucible isn’t a bad game, but it’s not a good game either. In the context of today’s hero-shooter environment, that makes it a lost soul, struggling to find a strong sense of identity. With time, perhaps Crucible can find reasons to stay on the menu, but right now the recipe is diluted and dull.

    crucible5.jpg

    Score: 6.75

    Summary: The hybrid PVE/PVP experience has cool concepts, but many of them fail to resonate in a meaningful way.

    Concept: Play as a variety of heroes in a third-person shooter, team-based environment

    Graphics: The environments can look slick and colorful, but a permeating sameness prevents the details from making an impact

    Sound: The effects and music are competent, but they can’t carry the experience by themselves

    Playability: Highly accessible to new players, with room to grow in terms of mastering timing, skills, and strategies

    Entertainment: Crucible has genuinely interesting character movesets, but is dragged down by a lack of combat impact, PvE that turns into a rote chore almost immediately, and sluggish pacing

    Replay: High

    Click to Purchase

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    Sony Hosting Livestream Next Week Focusing On PS5 Games

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,
    ps5.jpg

    Sony has announced that it's hosting a livestream next week, which will be focusing on the PlayStation 5. More specifically, it's all about the games this time.

    The stream will be on Thursday, June 4, at 1 p.m. Pacific. On a post on the PlayStation Blog, Sony Interactive Entertainment president and CEO Jim Ryan outlined a few details on what to expect. "This digital showcase will run for a bit more than an hour and, for the first time, we will all be together virtually experiencing the excitement together," he said. "A lack of physical events has given us an amazing opportunity to think differently and bring you on this journey with us, and hopefully, closer than ever before. This is part of our series of PS5 updates and, rest assured, after next week’s showcase, we will still have much to share with you."

    The stream will be available on Sony's official YouTube and Twitch channels.

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    Report: Sony Sets PS5 Compatibility Date For PS4 Titles

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,
    ps5logo3.171500.jpg

    Backward compatibility is a big topic for gamers and the upcoming next-gen systems. Sony hasn't publicly talked about this topic as much as Microsoft has for its Xbox Series X, but Eurogamer has seen developer documents which state that developers of PlayStation 4 games which are submitted for certification with Sony on or after July 13 must make those titles "technically" playable on the PlayStation 5.

    The report's qualifier of "technically" playable on the PS5 means that it's up to each developer to make sure this is the case, although Sony is working with its partners on the process.

    Also, submitted is different than released, as companies must turn in their titles to Sony for approval months before they come out. This means that PS4 games releasing this summer may fall outside the July 13 start point – although Eurogamer believes that high-profile first-party summer titles Ghost of Tsushima and The Last of Us Part II will indeed play on the PS5. 

    The report also reveals that PS4 titles must contain the same features between the systems, and any update or remaster of the title after the July 13 cutoff would have to retain compatibility. Updates or remasters submitted before that date would be "strongly recommended" to keep compatibility.

    Sony has previously talked about backward compatibility for the PS5, but it's unknown how many PS4 titles will be playable at the PS5's launch later this year. In March, system architect Mark Cerny said that almost all of the top 100 PS4 titles based on playtime where playable at the time on the PS5.

    Sony is hosing a live stream on June 4 focusing on PS5 games, so perhaps we'll hear more about backward compatibility at that time.

    [Source: Eurogamer]

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    First Gameplay Action Of NASCAR Heat 5

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,
    nascarheat55.29800.jpg

    Click here to watch embedded media

    Publisher: Motorsport Games
    Developer: 704Games
    Release: July 10, 2020
    Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

    Developer 704Games showed off the first gameplay trailer for July 7's NASCAR Heat 5 (PS4, Xbox One, and PC), giving fans a glimpse of some of the pack racing at various tracks.

    Consistently performing A.I. was one of the things the studio wanted to improve upon this year, and it'll be interesting to see how that influences passing, drafting, and the overall pack racing, which should be different at each track.

    For more on the game, check out our previous preview, as well as our discussion with publisher Motorsport Games about the future of the franchise.

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    The Witcher Series Reaches 50 Million Copies Sold

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,

    witcher.jpg

    On Twitter today, CDProjekt Red announced that The Witcher series has hit a major milestone - 50 million copies sold.

    While everyone waits with mad anticipation for the studios' next upcoming effort with Cyberpunk 2077, The Witcher has been slaying monsters and making trouble for quite some time, and has even transcended to other major media forms such as the popular Netflix series.

    Over 50 million adventurers joined Geralt on his journey from Kaer Morhen to Vizima, through Flotsam and Vergen, Velen and Novigrad to Skellige Isles and Toussaint, and many, many more places, time and time again…

    Thank you and may we meet on the path again! ⚔️ pic.twitter.com/cZwOup9CEc

    — The Witcher (@witchergame) May 28, 2020

    Check out our review of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt here!

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