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    Keep Newcomer-Friendly Sequels Coming

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,

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    I turned 30 this year and am experiencing a sort of quiet realization that will be familiar to a lot of folks pondering their age: time is a super valuable resource. The scarcity of the time I have to myself is after all the reason I didn’t play Kingdom Hearts 3 when it released earlier this year, mostly because everyone kept saying you had to play through 100-plus hours of content before you even started the game to get the most out of it. I was happy that long-time series fans received the quality game they had been waiting so many years for, but the cost of investing myself in the series to get to that point just wasn’t worth it. That’s not a knock against Kingdom Hearts, but more of a reflection of where I’m at in my life and what I look for in gaming experiences.

    Cue Devil May Cry 5.

    Before I loaded up DMC5, I’d only played Ninja Theory’s reboot before, and had not touched any of the mainline series games. I was intrigued by the look of the fast-paced action gameplay in the trailers for 5 and what my colleagues had been saying about the game in their various write-ups. I asked our reviews editor, Joe Juba, who reviewed the game if it was the sort of game you could just dive into without playing any of the others. I promptly picked it up and started playing it when I got home.

    After a brief video that explains the character relationships and the storyline for Devil May Cry up to this point, 5 loads you immediately into the action and it’s frantic as hell. There are gothy dudes who look like they just walked out of Hot Topic circa 2005 wielding big guns and bigger swords and fighting demons. One guy reads Shakespeare from a little notebook right before commanding his panther to rip the mandibles off of a giant demon mantis thing. Entire buildings are covered in slime and oozing blood and, well, it’s just a lot, my friends. A lot.

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    But not in a bad way. Devil May Cry 5 is so dedicated to its over-the-top antics and thrills that while it does pay respect to the narrative threads running throughout the series, focusing on Nero and Dante’s relationship of begrudging respect, it’s also essentially a standalone game in the ways that matter. I devoured the game in three sittings. As I launched foes into the air with sharp uppercuts and then blew them apart with a literal bazooka, a huge grin broke out across my face. Whatever concerns I had about being overwhelmed by DMC's hefty amount of lore evaporated. 

    I think the best point of comparison here might be The Fast and The Furious film franchise – an epic saga about family and speeding that can also be divided into enjoyable standalone films. Do you need to watch the first four Fast and the Furious movies to get the most out of Fast Five and understand the characters’ relationships to one another? Technically, yeah, but Fast Five also functions by itself as a ridiculously enjoyable movie. You can load it up, watch it without context, and have a hell of a time. And it’s that sort of setup that I appreciate in video game sequels.

    I love when it feels like a game has gone out of its way to ease me into its world and Devil May Cry 5 does just that with its intro video and focus on action over building a story that really mines the depths of who these characters are. I mean, let’s be real here: this is a game about bonking demons over the head with swords and then blasting their faces off in cool slow-mo. The barrier for entry should not be high and I’m glad that Capcom has made it so.

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    Another sequel I’ve enjoyed recently is The Division 2 (our review here). I did technically play a little bit of the first game before getting annoying by its lackluster shooting, but that amounted to an hour at the most. Alongside moving locales, The Division 2 wisely makes its story standalone. “A devastating biological terror has reduced Washington DC to a city of warring factions you need to bring to order” is a super simple premise to understand and a fantasy that the game does a great job of turning into a playground for you to inhabit.  Other recent sequels that take their designation as a chance to bring in new players as well as enthralling fans of the previous games: Resident Evil 7, Red Dead Redemption 2, Yakuza Kiwami 2, and Valkyria Chronicles 4.

    Of course, not every sequel needs to be accessible. Sometimes the very nature of where the series is at and what the entry is going for means that a game has to be pretty inaccessible. I think Kingdom Hearts III fits that bill pretty nicely. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, one of my favorite video games of all time, is also pretty inaccessible to someone who hasn’t played The New Order and I think a large part of the reason those games work well is because it’s a straight up continuation of the fascinating characters the first game introduced. To interfere with that by engaging people who didn’t play the previous entry would probably be to The New Colossus’ detriment. So please don’t think I’m saying that every sequel should be accessible.

    However, I am pleased that the vast majority of sequels I’ve played over the past year or so, including sequels to games I’ve never touched, have been very newcomer friendly. It’s a wise move for developers and publishers too. After all, I’m already carving out precious time next month to go back and play through Devil May Cry 4 because of how much I enjoyed 5.  Making games accessible on all fronts is a great, smart trend that helps build an audience for franchises and one that I hope the industry doesn’t stop embracing anytime soon.

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    Report: Apple Considering Monthly Gaming Subscription Service

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,
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    While Google is making waves in the gaming market with its Stadia streaming service, another tech giant is also looking how it can expand within the space: Apple.

    Bloomberg reports the company, who is looking for new ways to capitalize on its enormous install base as its hardware sales begin to slow down, may reveal new subscription services to keep users spending after they've invested in their Apple hardware, and this could include a gaming subscription service.

    The service would be less Stadia and more Xbox Games Pass. It would take several paid games (so no free-to-play games like Fortnite) on its iPhone and iPad app stores and bundle them together every month for a flat fee, letting users slowly build a library of games they don't own. The service would pay out to developers based on the amount of time players spend with their games.

    According to Bloomberg, Apple could announce the service as early as this Monday, March 25. We'll see if that's the case. The company is also expected to roll out new video and news subscription services at that time, which makes a gaming subscription seem likely.

    [Source: Bloomberg via Eurogamer]

    For it users, The App Store has become synonymous with a philosophy of "pay as little for as possible, if anything at all." The appeal of many mobile games, even paid-for ones, is that they're low-investment; if you hate a game, you'll usually be out around five dollars at most. And with the deluge of microtransaction-laden games on the store, people try and then they buy. A subscription service is the opposite of that; you invest a monthly fee before you're given anything, and it's expected that you'll be into most of what you get. But while I'm not confident about the service's appeal, Apple likely has enough users to make the concept appealing even if just a sliver of them get into this. I'm also wary of paying developers based soley on time spent, since it could harm short-but-sweet games like Florence in the long run.

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    What To Watch This Weekend: Dota 2, Halo 3, And Overwatch

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,

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    This weekend we have some majors wrapping up, but also a charity event themed around a classic competitive game.

    The Dota 2 Dreamleague major concludes this weekend. Will Team Secret and Virtus Pro make it to the grand finals match, or will China reign supreme no matter what? Find out! (Stream / Schedule)

    The Super Smash Bros. community gathers in Bloomington, Indiana for Full Bloom 5, which features tournaments for both Ultimate and Melee. (Streams and Schedule)

    Meanwhile, the rest of the fighting game community has two international events going on. First, the Southeast Asia major will host events for Street Fighter VThe King of Fighters XIV, Soulcalibur VI, and more. (Stream) Second, the Japanese tournament Toushinsai will host events for all kinds of anime games, like Guilty Gear XrdFighting EX LayerBlazBlue: Central Fiction, and more.  (Stream)

    You can also catch some PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds action this weekend, as the Relegation of the NPL's first phase concludes this weekend. (Stream / Schedule)

    Counter-Strike: Global Offensive's competitive scene is having a quick pit stop in São Paulo, Brazil for the BLAST Pro Series tournament. (Stream / Schedule)

    The Halo 3 scene is giving back this weekend with its Gamers for Giving 2019 tournament, which is partnering with the Gamers Outreach charity for the event. (Stream)

    The Overwatch League stage one finals come to a head tomorrow, so watch the matches leading up to it today! No Shanghai Dragons though. (Stream / Schedule)

    If you thought the League of Legends LCS circuit was stopping this weekend, well... you were wrong. Why did you think that? There are ten more matches this weekend. (Stream / Schedule)

    That's it for this weekend! Let us know if we missed an event, or if there's a scene you'd like us to cover, in the comments.

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    The Ten Most Interesting Things We Learned At GDC 2019

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,
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    All week long we've been rolling out interviews, previews, and features from the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. The conference is filled with dozens and dozens of panels from the game industry's leading developers and features loads of interesting little tidbits about game development. After the final panel wrapped up, Ben Hanson, Imran Khan and Ben Reeves gathered together to unload a week's worth of facts and little moments that stood out to them. Watch the video above and let us know what moments from the last week of GDC stood out to you!

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    Replay – Sleeping Dogs

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,
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    United Front Games' Sleeping Dogs had a long and troubled development cycle before release. When Sleeping Dogs was first pitched to publisher Activision it was called Black Lotus. Activision thought it should be an extension of an existing franchise and decided to call it True Crime: Hong Kong. The game then ran into a number of delays and was eventually canceled in 2011. United Front laid off 120 employees and appeared to be heading toward closure. At this point, most games and studios don't get a second chance at life, but for whatever reason, Activision decided to release the publishing rights of True Crime: Hong Kong, and Square Enix swooped in to save the project. The game was renamed Sleeping Dogs and development continued with another 60-plus employees being added to the team.

    In this episode of Replay, we show off the opening moments of play in Sleeping Dogs' Definitive Edition for PlayStation 4. This brief look gives a good snapshot of why this game is special and why you should play it if you haven't already. We dedicate the entire episode to this one game, and are joined by two guests that fit the theme perfectly.

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    Weekend Warrior – The Way Of The Ninja

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,

    sekiro_1.jpg

    Last weekend was all about shootin' and lootin' in The Division 2. And while that game will still be gracing our television screens, we now have From Software's Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice to sink our teeth into. For those of you who will also be roaming the frustratingly difficult landscapes of Sengoku Japan, we wish you the best of luck. Trust us: you're gonna need it.

    Brian Shea (@BrianPShea) – I’m going to attempt to play Sekiro this weekend, but chances are I won’t last long and will want to go do something relaxing. Overwatch and Marvel Strike Force are always my go-tos, but I may fire up something like Anthem. 

    Kyle Hilliard (@KyleMHilliard) – Sekiro has made a strong first impression, so I plan on still going strong on that. I am also still dabbling with Crackdown 3 and Kingdom Hearts 3. Otherwise I need to watch the new episodes of Arrested Development and I have been making my way through One Piece. I might grill something, too. It’s still cold in Minnesota, but waaaaay less cold than it has been. It might be time.

    Suriel Vazquez (@SurielVazquez) – Banking motes and dying twice on the streets of D.C. while I think about Her.

    Nathan Anstadt (@NathanAnstadt) – I finally finished Final Fantasy Tactics (which was amazing!), so now I’m onto the brave new world of Persona 5. Otherwise I’m going to try and find some good retro video game stores around Minneapolis, which is always fun.

    Andrew Reiner (@Andrew_Reiner) – I am now into The Division 2’s endgame and I can’t wait to see what lies ahead. I also want to watch Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse again on UHD with my family. Now that the weather is warming up, I may even go outside to exercise with a nice little run. As I think about the pain that will likely put me in, I’ll probably just play more Division 2 instead.

    Ben Hanson (@yozetty) – This weekend I’ll still be in San Francisco after GDC 2019, so I’ll be seeing some old friends and hopefully playing some fun board games! Other than that, on the flight home I’m sure I’ll continue to stare at and be stumped by Baba is You on my Nintendo Switch. I like it a looooot. Have a good weekend!

    Hunter Wolfe (@Hunter_Wolfe) – Jay and I will be starting The Division 2 together. It’s my first loot shooter, so I’m really excited to try something new. Play games outside your comfort genre – I promise you’ll find love you weren’t looking for!

    Jay Guisao (@GuisaoJason) – The Division 2 for sure. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, if I have the patience for it, of course. 

    Daniel Tack (@dantack) – Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice!

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