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    Oxenfree Dev Announces Afterparty, A Game Where You Have To Outdrink Satan To Escape Hell

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,

    afterparty.jpg

    Developer Night School Studio has announced Afterparty, a point-and-click adventure game that sees two best friends trying to escape Hell by besting the devil in a drinking contest.

    The story follows Lola and Milo, two best friends who unexpectedly find themselves in Hell. They soon learn that drinking is the only way out, and thus begins their rowdy evening. IGN has more details in its exclusive IGN First story, including how different drinks can affect your characters, how dialogue can play out, and other things that can happen during the two friends' debaucherous night in Hell.

    Afterparty is set to launch in 2019.

    [Source: IGN, Night School Studio]

     

    Our Take
    Night School Studio demonstrated it knows how to craft a unique and interesting adventure game with Oxenfree, and Afterparty only looks to up the ante. I'm looking forward to trying this out (though I wish it wasn't so far away).

    View the full article


    Rare Reveals Sea Of Thieves' Trading Companies

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,

    TradingCo-12_2D00_13_2D00_17-610.jpg

    The world of Sea of Thieves has players sailing the high seas and collecting booty, but the game is about connecting with friends, and Rare makes that clear in its newest developer video.

    In a recent design video, Design Director Mike Chapman says the company isn’t looking to wall players off from each other with disruptive power progression mechanics, “We wanted to build a game where the value of sharing a rich and diverse world with other players is much more meaningful than ever increasing stats."

    To do this, Rare doesn’t have any barriers preventing players of different levels from playing together. Players can purchase voyages, or quests, and then all crewmembers vote on which of their voyages they want to tackle together. Majority wins in Sea of Thieves’ voting system, so no random drawing from player choices here. This system allows players who have advanced in the game to go on voyages even with the newest of players.

    Voyages are sold by a number of trading companies found in outposts throughout the world, and will award gold, titles, ranks, and cosmetic items to those skillful enough to complete them. These rewards, which are split evenly across a crew, are a part of Sea of Thieves' progression system. Players can unlock customization options and show off to friends by completing voyages, but the company isn't ready to go into much detail about other ways to unlock rewards, such as microtransactions.

    "We’re currently focusing on talking about our progression systems, the trading companies and the goal of becoming a Pirate Legend," says executive producer Joe Neate. "We will talk about our business model early in the new year."

    (Please visit the site to view this media)

    The trading companies each have different focuses, such as the Gold Hoarders’ desire for treasure. This trading company has a stash of keys, and will pay players to help them find the chests that belong to them, or may send them to solve riddles that require knowledge of the world’s islands.

    The Merchant Alliance Trading Company desires to control trade in the sea, and will pay pirates to transport items ranging from wild animals to explosive barrels. There are a number of challenges facing pirates as they try to ferry these resources, such as lightning, leaky ships, time limits, and other pirates who may want to steal the cargo.

    The last trading company Rare talks about is The Order of Souls, whose members can capture magic from the skulls of fallen pirates, and are happy to reward those who bring the skulls to them. This trading company’s voyages are more combat oriented, pitting players against skeleton crews (literal skeletons, not ships with few enemies), or sending them to attack one of the world’s many forts.

    Players can rank up in each of these trading companies by purchasing and completing voyages offered by them. The more of the trading company’s voyages you complete, the more difficult and rewarding the offered voyages become. Eventually, players will achieve the status of Pirate Legend and have access to new voyages and rewards.

    Rare is really focusing on player cooperation with Sea of Thieves, so it’s nice to know I’ll never be blocked from playing with my friends, no matter how far ahead (or behind) I get in the game. You can look forward to sailing the high seas with your friends on Xbox One and PC March 20, but in the meantime check out how Rare went about starting work on Sea of Thieves, and how feedback and data from the alpha tests changed the course of the game.

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    Is Wolfenstein II's The Adventures Of Gunslinger Joe Worth Playing?

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,

    joe610.png

    The first real piece of DLC, the opening episode in the so-called Freedom Chronicles, dropped for Wolfenstein II today. The Adventures Of Gunslinger Joe is a mini-campaign that follows a former football player Joseph Stallion as he seeks revenge against a Nazi officer who's tormented him. As our resident Wolfenstein fanatic, I played through the DLC last night and found it to be an engaging trek. But is it worth your time? Let's find out together.

    Here's the good and the bad of The Adventures Of Gunslinger Joe

    Good: The Story Is Unexpectedly Good
    Marketing materials for the Freedom Chronicles suggested that the entire DLC package would be a campfest, filled with homages to pulp fiction rather than the heavy storytelling of The New Colossus. While the Adventures Of Gunslinger Joe is certainly more light-hearted and adventure-focused than the somber storytelling the marks The New Colossus, there are still unexpectedly bleak moments.

    You are, after all, playing a black man who's escaped nazi enslavement and is fighting back. The way that Nazis react to Joe outside of combat is markedly different than how they interact with BJ, who is white, and there are several sequences that center around Joe's character as a black man living in a Nazi-world that make the story feel different enough from the base game to check out.

    Bad: It's Short
    While there's a lot that happens in Gunslinger Joe, the adventure is pretty short. It took me two hours to get through the entire DLC. I wasn't unsatisfied, but it could have had a few more combat encounters.

    Good: Joe's Abilities Are Fun
    For the most part, Gunslinger Joe's combat is essentially Wolfenstein II with some new moves thrown in. However, those new moves are really fun, like Joe's ability to pitch tin cans into the heads of Nazis at whirlwind speed, killing them instantly.

    (Please visit the site to view this media)

    Bad: Only One Way To Play
    One of Wolfenstein II's strongest features is that it lets you play how you want to play: sneaking through levels and slitting throats, or going in guns blazing. Joe isn't that sneaky, and there isn't much opportunity to stealth your way through levels, so you're only really going to be able to play the loud, messy offensive through this DLC.

    Good: The Setting Is Cool
    The Adventures of Gunslinger Joe is set in Chicago and, outside of some obviously reskinned objects and buildings from Roswell, uses the setting well with colorful environments and entertaining combat encounters.

    Bad: Some Repetition In Level Design
    For the most part, Gunslinger Joe features new environments, but one chapter is essentially just a level from the base game.

    For more on Wolfenstein II, be sure to check out our review.

    View the full article


    Doom VFR Review – Not The Doom You Know

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,

    DOOM-VFR610.jpg

    When I think of Doom, two things come to mind: its colorful, over-the-top violence and its ridiculous speed. If you take either of those things out of the equation, what you have isn’t id Software’s infamous shooter but something lesser. This creates an interesting problem since virtual reality isn’t made for fast speed due to its ability to make people nauseated. Doom VFR tries to circumvent VR’s locomotion issue by giving you a teleporter function, but at the end of the day, this mini-campaign feels like a hobbled stroll through an amusement park instead of the frenzied, fantastic fight-or-die dance that makes Doom so special.

    A series of combat arenas spread over four hours, VFR puts you in the shoes of a mostly-dead scientist who talks way too much as he tries to shut down a portal to hell with a combat suit he’s piloting from beyond the grave. Your left controller functions as your movement control, letting you slow down time to hop from place to place, while the right controller handles both your weapon wheel and combat functions. The control scheme is straightforward but takes getting used to, especially when it comes to secondary weapon functions. Even once you understand the controls, technical niggles still disrupt the experience. For example, sometimes you won’t jump to a spot you’ve marked due to the finicky controls, so you have to go through the same process again and hope you actually teleport this time. The delay means instant death during certain encounters. The weapon wheel is also problematic since it likes to spin past the weapon you intend to select, often disrupting the rhythm of combat.

    The combat arenas are mostly levels from the 2016 reboot, like the reactor room or Titan’s Realm, and many of these levels don’t feel like they’re made for your teleporting function. Bars, computers, and giant spikes sticking in the ground often block your path. This makes escapes and daring maneuvers, which should feel exciting, like a chore. The game also lack ammo, including the ammo you rarely get from killing enemies, meaning unless you’re sharpshooting, it’s easy to end up just with your pistol to take on enemies that can devastate you in one hit. Despite these shortcomings, combat does have some nice moments. Slowing down time when you use your teleporter to watch the rocket you just fired turn an imp into fine paste is satisfying but the flip side of this is Glory Kills, that were an essential part of Dooms’s finely tuned combat, have been replaced by you simply teleporting inside weakened enemies and making them explode. Gory, sure, but it lacks the bone-crunching variety and thrills of the Glory Kills.

    Between arena combat sequences, you have several chores to complete, like fetching keycards and new hacking sequences that failed to draw me into the setting and left me feeling irked more than anything else. Those just looking to be immersed by being inside the UAC facility, Mars, or Hell will also be disappointed. Despite playing the game on a high-end machine, the graphics for Doom VFR are blurry, both from afar and up close, and the textures are muddy – worse even than the Switch version’s visual downgrade. I spent far more time wincing at how bad everything looked than being immersed inside the creepy, demon-infested sci-fi base.

    As a huge fan of Doom and someone interested in the possibilities of virtual reality, I came away from VFR immensely disappointed. Outside of some nifty moments involving the slo-mo mechanic, VFR just isn’t compelling. The finicky teleporting mechanic hinders movement, the levels don’t accommodate VR well, the protagonist is annoying, and the combat isn’t fun. The biggest selling point for VFR is that it’s a full campaign in virtual reality, but with stiff competition in the genre like Robo Recall and Superhot VR, it’s hard for me to recommend Doom VFR to anyone.

    The PSVR Edge
    If you have the option, it’s definitely best to play DOOM VFR on PSVR with the VR Aim Controller.  The game’s visuals look equally bad on Vive and PSVR so you’re not really sacrificing anything except for load times, which are faster on Vive, and the VR Aim Controller is much more elegant than either the Vive or PlayStation Move controllers. 

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    Blog Herding – The Best Blogs Of The Community (December 14, 2017)

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,

    BlogHerding_2D00_610.jpg

    I accidentally took a week off (working late!) when I forgot about Blog Herding, but we are back! And it seems everyone is thinking about awards, EA, and money. This is one of the more eclectic collections of blogs we've had in a while, so dig in!

    Community Blogs For November 31 – December 13:

    Ineffective Commercialism
    StarterPack writes about Battlefront 2 and how EA really messed up one of the biggest IPs in, well, everything. Maybe things will get better in due time, but I haven't enjoyed this sequel nearly as much as the first game and previous iterations of the franchise before EA got a hold of it.

    aliveoverwatch_5F00_610.jpg_2D00_610x0.j

    A Vision for the Next Overwatch Character
    I haven't played Overwatch yet, but I recognize quite a few of the characters. Here Brendon Curzio breaks down the character he'd like to add, and he had me at ninja. This may sound odd, but I'm way more interested in these characters and their stories than the actual game.

    Why Do People Spend Hundreds of Dollars on a Video Game?
    I ask the same question, MikComposer. I rarely spend money on games unless it's for DLC, and even then, I try to buy that on sale. But throwing down bones for something like Pokémon Go coins? Not a chance. Kudos to you if it makes you happy. I just can't justify it.

    The Game Awards 2017 Special – Gaming At Its Best
    I'm not one for video game awards shows, but GerardoExber's account seems to be a mostly positive one. Like FIFA each year, the awards show seemed to make some positive strides while also regressing in some ways.

    Wolfenstein5610.jpg

    The Best Five Games I Played in 2017
    Doctor Apozem writes up a little recap of the best games from 2017. I was surprised to see what made the list (partly because it's not all games made in 2017), but it's a pretty solid one. Resident Evil 7 and Wolfenstein (one of my favorite games this year and my favorite in 2014), are all fantastic. Oh, and Mass Effect: Andromeda made the list, sort of. It received the Golden Poo award.

    Community Reviews:

    Doki Doki Literature Club Review: A Niche Masterpiece
    Boo is on the same page as a lot of gaming Twitter. Apparently, Doki Doki has a huge twist and is a must-play. I've seen one video game journalist say it's quite the slog in the beginning before quitting, so I'm not sure I really want to put myself through that. But everyone keeps writing about this twist! I guess it's kind of terrifying.

    Writing Challenge:

    StarterPack has a challenge for everyone in this blog. It's an interesting and tricky one, so check it out!

    I hope you enjoy the blogs! Please contact me via my Game Informer page or on Twitter at @LouisGarcia12 with any blog news or playdate suggestions.

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    Pokémon Crystal Coming To 3DS Next Month

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,

    pokemoncrystal1214_2D00_610.jpg

    Nintendo has announced it is bringing Pokémon Crystal to the Nintendo 3DS' eShop next month. The game is launching near the end of January, and it will feature full Pokémon Bank support. It will be available on January 26 for $9.99.

    If you're not entirely familiar with Pokémon Gold and Silver – the games that Pokémon Crystal expanded upon – or you could use a refresher, check out our feature on the game's development, based on our conversations with its developers at Game Freak.

    View the full article


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