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  1. Music is such an essential component of the RPG experience. It accentuates the mood of emotional scenes, gives special places in the world like towns personality, and often pumps us up during intense battles. More and more JRPGs have received the vinyl treatment, providing cool designs and serving as a memento from our time with the game. Whether it's purely for aesthetic or for the fantastic soundtrack, here are five JRPG vinyls you shouldn't miss out on. Skies of Arcadia Coming up on its 20th anniversary, Skies of Arcadia is a beloved game that first made its way to Dreamcast, then Gamecube, and remains one of the more requested JRPG franchises for revival. Sega still hasn't made those dreams a reality. At the very least, you have this great collector's item that allows you to enjoy Yutaka Minobe and Tatsuyuki Maeda's memorable melodies and be transported right back into the life of a sky pirate. The vinyl edition includes 30 tracks from the game on three LP discs and features brand-new artwork made especially for this edition by Skies of Arcadia's original designer Itsuki Hoshi. You can find more out about it here. Persona 5 As a stylish RPG series, Persona adds even more life and personality with its fantastic music. Persona 5 is no exception. Its memorable score, filled with everything from pop to jazzy tunes, helps create Persona 5's atmosphere and explore its larger themes. The vinyl has been a hot item, selling out almost immediately whenever it goes in stock. Just a quick look at the photo above will showcase why; the impressive art and extensive detail are hard to miss. The vinyl incorporates Persona 5's school and Phantom Thief life alongside its red and black color scheme to make an impression that's as strong as its music. You can find out more about it here. Nier: Automata and Nier Gestalt & Replicant Outside of the eccentric mind of creator Yoko Taro, Nier's music is one of the most talked about and revered parts of the experience. As Taro put it so eloquently in one of our interviews: “It's almost like the game is a slave to the music in a lot of ways. The emotions that are created in the players themselves are [a result of the music] and the game just sort of follows along behind that.” For this special vinyl edition, you get four LP records with 35 tracks that were selected by composer Keiichi Okabe. The beautiful artwork on the package was drawn by Sui Ishida, the creator of Tokyo Ghoul. Interested? Thankfully, this Japanese import can be ordered off of Square Enix's official store. Xenogears Look, if you're a JRPG fan, I don't have to tell you about the brilliance of Yasunori Mitsuda. Before Xenosaga and Xenoblade, Xenogears started it all and Mitsuda lent his talents to make it truly something special. This vinyl edition was released to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Xenogears and contains remastered "Revival" tracks and songs from the arranged CDs "Creid" and "Myth." These were selected under the supervision of Mitsuda. Head to Square Enix's store if it's a must-have for you. Final Fantasy Vinyls The Final Fantasy series has graced us with wonderful music throughout the years. Everyone has their favorite tracks and games from the series, and this vinyl collection has you covered in more ways than one. Spanning across five discs, the vinyls features 30 remastered tracks, supervised by legendary series composer Nobuo Uematsu. The vinyl was released in 2012 and has music from the very first entry all the way to Final Fantasy X. It's definitely the best way to capture an iconic era of Square. View the full article
  2. Dreams has been out in early access a little over a month now, and if you haven’t read my review, I’m a big fan. Dreams doesn’t just give players a stunningly robust and flexible toolset for creating games, movies, and art – the tools are also easy and intuitive enough to make the creation process fun. No matter how dumb your ideas are. I’m no stranger to dabbling in user-created content, from the downright brilliant emblems I made for Battlefield 1, to a regrettable house of horrors in House Flipper. I’ve got plenty of ingenious ideas for video games – but not the technical knowhow to bring them to life. As I laid out in this handy feature right here (along with a little Cuthbert shaming), Dreams’ incredibly cool tools manage to overcome that hurdle. Seriously, no matter how sucky of an artist you might be, you really can make interesting things in Dreams. I know that kind of sounds like an infomercial, but even infomercial idiots could make cool stuff in Dreams. Well, maybe not that taco lady. Anyway, people are already using Dreams to make some amazing and impressive creations, but this isn’t a list of those things. Last night I set out to find the dumbest and silliest projects possible for this column, and once again, Dreams didn’t fail me. Here’s my collection of strange and funny collections that made me laugh, which you can also find and explore in the "Wonderfully Goofy" collection I made in Dreams! It’s like Inception up in here! Comedy Simulator By Kissy_Face_Mwuh What better way to open a collection of humorous game than with an official Comedy Simulator? I won’t give too much away, but it doesn’t take long to realize that Comedy Simulator really does understand comedy – the Seinfeldian bass proves it! Spongebob Horror Collectathon By Gallan_ _ Slenderman clones were inevitable Dreams, but I wasn’t expecting a Spongebob-themed take on the iconic indie horror title. What really made me laugh is that it’s not just good ole squarepants – everything about the simple adventure adheres to the Spongebob universe. Hearing your boxy predator’s laughter through the dualshock’s speaker is a little unnerving (and eventually annoying), but nightmares are still technically dreams, so it’s all good. Radical By TheOneironaut Speaking of unnerving: Radical is a profoundly disturbing animated music video that I still haven’t fully processed. I also laughed out loud several times while watching it though, so it earned a spot on the list, despite not technically being a game. Just don’t complain to me if you end up with aerobics-themed nightmares after watching it! Mario 2077 By tarsouin Plenty of people are working on Super Mario clones in Dreams, which thankfully Nintendo hasn’t seemed to figure out yet. Mario 2077 is a little buggy, and not particularly interesting from a gameplay perspective at all. If you get to the end of the level, however, you’ll find out why I included it here. I did NOT see that coming! Stepping on LEGO Simulator By Johndom1996 Stepping on LEGO Simulator is a very simple and dumb game, but it’s also the perfect example of why Dreams is so great – no one would waste their time trying to create and publish a game based on the excruciating pain of stepping on those stupid plastic blocks in, say, Unity, for example. In Dreams, however, even the silliest idea can be whipped together and shared with other players – 2,541 players at the time of this writing, to be exact! That’s a lot of aching virtual feet! PlayStation Home By iAnony I can’t say for certain that this ongoing, meticulous recreation of PlayStation Home is supposed to be a joke, but I’m going to assume it is. Otherwise it’s just depressing, and that’s like the opposite of what Dreams is supposed to be about! Cat Pile By Drifty254 and TalesSong Just in case the PlayStation Home project is unironic, here’s a hefty dose of adorable to wipe away the blues. Cat Pile is probably the most fleshed-out game in on this list. In it you control an anthropomorphic cat as you try to navigate a series of puzzles. The main mechanic is a series of cat cannons, which when funded, will shoot a stream of kittens into an ever-growing pile that you can climb to reach the next area. It may not be a laugh-out-loud experience, but it’s very quirky and has plenty of cat puns for people who like that kind of thing. Also, if that “Catbucks” in the corner caught your eye, can we take a moment and appreciate that none of the creations in Dreams are tainted by microtransactions, freemium schemes, or any other modern-day monetization horse crap? Now that’s a dream come true! Proptosis Pete By Splapp-me-do Proptosis Pete is 100-percent less adorable than Cat Pile, but nonetheless impressive. Pete has kind of an Earthworm Jim vibe going on, only he can shoot an endless supply of eyeballs out of his head. The rest of the game is equally strange, but once again demonstrates what a nirvana Dreams is for creative weirdos. The Classical Order By sdcxsfd Here’s a project that’s funny AND educational! The Classical Order teaches players all about Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian columns used in Greek architecture. Why? Because that’s what The Classical Order’s creator is into, and it's their dream for the rest of us to be less ignorant! You’ll want to pay attention during the informative bits, however, because there’s a Guitar Hero-style quiz at the end that you’ll totally flunk if you don’t. I speak from experience. Duck Quacks Don’t Echo By OgTheEnigma The most challenging game on this list, Duck Quacks Don’t Echo gives you two tasks to perform simultaneously: hold down the correct buttons on the controller as they are displayed, and catch falling ducks by moving the water basin back and forth with the DualShock's gyroscope. I struggled with just holding the right buttons, but for some reason was compelled to keep trying despite how rudimentary – not to mention completely absurd – the game is. I’m clearly not the only one either, as Dreams players have currently spent over 168 hours playing the game! Another quick aside: If you add a scoring mechanism to your game, Dreams automatically generates leaderboards that everyone who plays is listed on. This is an ingenious addition – if Mario Party has taught us anything, even the simplest challenges are fun when you’re competing against other people. Hell, even real life teaches us that – baseball is basically just a ball and a stick, people! Shrek Survival 2: The Rise By DOZZER2K13 Make no mistake, I saved my best pick for last. Shrek Survival 2 is so amazing that I’m not even going to describe it to you for fear of diminishing the experience. All I’ll say is that it has everything you could hope for: a tense and dramatic story, rich character development, and a shocking conclusion that puts lesser works like Game of Thrones to shame. If you’ve got Dreams, go play it right now! As mentioned at the beginning, I’ve added all of these creations to a collection appropriately entitled “Wonderfully Goofy,” which you should be able to find through the search option in Dreams. If you’ve come across any other funny/strange creations – or made your own – let me know in the comments below and I’ll check them out! View the full article
  3. Click here to watch embedded media In this excerpt from The Game Informer Show podcast, Ben Hanson interviews Marvel Games' vice president and creative director Bill Rosemann on the possibility of a Marvel Games Universe and the development of Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order on the Nintendo Switch. You can watch the interview above or subscribe to The Game Informer Show podcast and listen to the interview on the latest episode. Learn more about Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order on the Nintendo Switch by clicking on the banner below and checking out our overflowing hub of exclusive content. View the full article
  4. CBS has been actively working to revitalize the Star Trek brand in recent years, especially through the roll-out of a number of new series, including Star Trek: Discovery, which recently completed its second season, and ran on CBS’ All-Access streaming service. We’ve known for some time that Patrick Stewart is involved in another series, focusing on the character of Jean-Luc Picard, who he played for seven seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation, not to mention several follow-up feature films. Yesterday brought us the first look at a teaser trailer for the new series, which began to paint a picture of what to expect from the series. Check the trailer out at the bottom of this story if you haven’t had a chance to watch it yet. While it’s only a little over a minute, there are some potent details to unpack, offering some significant hints about the plot, themes, and setting of the upcoming Star Trek: Picard. Star Trek: Picard seems to have a delicate relationship with the established canon. While it’s likely that the moments depicted in the earlier TV series and the movies are sacrosanct, enthusiastic fans would be wise to not get too wrapped up in some of the other events depicted in Picard’s life in other mediums, including the novels and comics. Given Picard’s long retirement from Starfleet depicted in this trailer, not to mention his seemingly lonely life on a vineyard, it’s safe to assume that many storylines from those other mediums are being left behind. Picard left Starfleet under unhappy circumstances some time ago, and the reasons why figure prominently in the story of the show. From the dour expression on his face during the voiceover, to the looming storm clouds that set the tone of the trailer, it’s clear that the question of Picard’s departure from the organization that defined his career is important to this story. Before leaving Starfleet, Picard became an admiral. In Star Trek: Generations, during the fateful meeting of the fiction’s two most famous captains, Kirk warns Picard not to ever get promoted, because as long as he’s in the chair of his own ship, he can make a difference. Whether that memorable conversation factors in to Star Trek: Picard, and whatever unfortunate thing happened to its lead character, remains to be seen. Picard has taken up his brother’s passion as a winemaker. Early in season 4 of TNG, Picard returns home to La Barre, France, on Earth after his devastating encounter with the Borg (in which he becomes Locutus), and we meet both his elder brother, Robert, as well as his brother's wife and son. Later, in the film Star Trek Generations, Picard receives the devastating news that his brother and his brother’s son died in a house fire. Jean-Luc is heartbroken, and relays (to Counselor Troi) that he’s struggling with the news that he is likely the end of the Picard family line. The wine bottles he’s preparing in this recent trailer show that they’re being produced at Chateau Picard, so it’s clear that he is indeed at the same vineyard that was once run by his brother. His place as a vintner at that same vineyard suggests that Picard, late in life, is still struggling with the concept of family legacy. It’s clear that Picard’s involvement with the Romulans is also integral to the story. In the TNG series, his connection to Spock and the efforts for Romulan/Vulcan reunification are highlighted, and Picard’s connection to Romulus is reinforced in the film, Star Trek: Nemesis. In the complicated interplay between this timeline and the one presented in the Abrams-helmed 2009 film reboot, we know that Romulus in Picard’s time gets destroyed by a powerful supernova in the year 2387. While unconfirmed, it seems likely that the effort to save survivors of this supernova is the “rescue armada” referenced in the trailer, which we learn was led by Picard. The musical score for the trailer features a poignant easter egg. In the final moments of the teaser, we hear the iconic Star Trek: The Next Generation musical theme, but reinterpreted through the quiet tones of what fans will likely identify as the Ressikan flute. In an episode of season 5 of TNG, Picard is overwhelmed by an alien probe from the planet of Kataan. While his shipmates aboard the Enterprise experience only a short period of time, Picard is given the memories of an entire lifetime on the planet. During his time in that life, he took up the local variant of a flute, and that same flute is left behind in the probe after Picard returns to his real life. His love of playing the flute became a running concept in later episodes, and references a melancholy but hopeful theme within the fiction. What other hints did you pick up on in the teaser? What do you think the new series will be about? Share your thoughts in the comments below. Click here to watch embedded media View the full article
  5. This past week Rage 2 released to thunderous a mild and polite smattering of applause. In spite of the game's fantastic combat system, its world, story, vehicular gameplay, and pretty much everything else outside of charging into the fray with mutants and bandits leaves much to be desired. However, in spite of those failings, it's worth expanding on just how great Rage 2's combat system is and why I hope this troubled outing isn't the last we've seen of it. When Gears Of War and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare changed the industry's approach to shooters, resulting in a years-long bombardment of the genre that was obsessed with gritty realism or embracing bleak edgy material, a lot of the more frantic shooters went away for a bit. However, to say that Rage 2's gunplay is merely an arcadey throwback to the likes of Doom, Quake, Unreal Tournament, and other fantastical retro bloodbaths is a disservice to what this surprise sequel does right. Wolfenstein reinvented itself by bearing down on a tragic, epic story featuring well thought out characters and dollops of wacky, blood-soaked shenanigans. The 2016 Doom reboot didn't really reinvent itself as much as it put its best elements forward and modernized them for a new generation, forcing players to become a constant whirlwind of shotgun-toting death if they have any hope of surviving the horrors of hell. Rage 2 is...well, it's different because its combat is about the toolset at hand, a colorful array of death-dealing weapons capable of flattening, splattering, disintegrating, and launching foes head-long into their death. Sure, you could argue that Doom is also a shooter that's about having a creative toolset. However, I would argue that Rage's flexibility sets it apart. In Doom, you constantly need to be switching weapons to stay alive, knowing which tool is the right one for the purpose. A wave of zombies and imps at the end of the corridor before you? Better whip out that shotgun and do some shell-sweeping. Giant demon? It's time for the mini-gun or the rocket launcher. At its best, Doom feels like a violent ballet, with you constantly having to switch your weapons at the right moment to overcome the hordes as they descend on you. Rage 2 doesn't require that sort of dexterity. Its toolset isn't rigid. You can blast through the entire game with only a shotgun and assault rifle combo if you so choose. While the slack in difficulty means that you're not forced as often into pulling off death-defying feats of amazement, it also means you're given enough room to get creative as hell when it comes to using Rage 2's arsenal of dastardly amusements. My personal favorite? The Grav-Dart launcher. The Grav-Dart launcher functions like a more weaponized version of the Gravity Gun from Half-Life 2. You hit your target with a number of darts and then, once you have your target stuck with the desired number of darts, you point elsewhere (say at a water tower, vehicle, gas canister, or even up into the blue sky) and click the left trigger to send that target flying into wherever you're aiming your cursor. The more darts they're stuck with, the harder the target will be flung. I've gone entire fights in Rage 2 slamming enemies into distant objects (or even other enemies) and watching their bodies erupt into gory explosions. Once, I was fighting some foes near an open road when a vehicle came back. I had just tagged a bandit with some darts and fired into the road with the left trigger. I watched breathlessly as the foe zoomed into that road and was immediately transformed into red paste by the truck as it zoomed past. Rage 2's combat is filled with amazing, emergent mini-stories like this, and learning how to string those stories together with your weapons like combos is incredibly satisfying. Near the last third of Rage 2, I had gathered all of the game's weapons and powers, and was strolling into enemy encampments as a nearly invincible killing machine, showering foes in fiery wrath. Where Doom delights in challenging players with lopsided odds, Rage 2 reverses that paradigm, making you the all-powerful killer. The real fun comes with how you approach taking out your foes. If you're a person with a startling deficit of imagination, you might settle for mowing down every foe with your shotgun. Boring. A real artist of death and mayhem will style things up a bit. Why not throw down a gravity vortex that sucks all your foes to a singular spot and then toss a grenade into the vortex with them as you walk on by? Not bad. Or, you could use your Shatter ability (think Star Wars' Force Push) to throw those foes into one of your barriers that you've upgraded to disintegrate enemies on touch for an impromptu barbecue. Or, if you really want to get fancy, you can run around the camp, peppering foes with rounds from your Firestorm Revolver, and doing a nifty Thanos snap to set all of them on fire. There's an uncommon kind of bloody harmony amongst all the weapons and powers that's hard to appreciate if you get distracted by the game's failings. The sheer swift, stylish nature of sliding into a foe, blasting them into the sky with the shotgun, and then Shatter-pushing them literally miles into the sky for them to fall back down to a splattery grave is so cool. When everything is coming together, I feel like John freakin' Wick, effortlessly painting entertaining scenes of masterful mayhem. I've put 15 hours into Rage 2, which is hilarious to me because it's main path takes you less than five. It speaks to just how great and unique the combat system is that I willingly spent (and continue to spend) time pursuing foes in such an uninteresting, barren world. The most tragic thing about Rage 2 is that deep down at its core, there's an incredible loop of action gameplay that just belongs in a different game. If Rage 2, for example, was a story-driven linear shooter à la Titanfall 2 or Wolfenstein, it'd be so much more appealing as a cohesive work of art. Instead, it feels like I'm playing one great game jammed into another mediocre-at-best one. Rage 2 is a sequel that I imagine few people asked for. Strangely enough, given the tepid reception the game's got, I find myself hoping for yet another one, one that throws away the uninspired open world and goes all in on that phenomenal combat system. View the full article
  6. The Sonic the Hedgehog movie has more twists and turns than a mobius strip. After teases and recoils to Sonic's design, the trailer finally came out last month. It...wasn't great. The reaction was so bad that director Jeff Fowler promised to fix the hedgehog's design as a result of that feedback. Well, now the movie is seeing a delay, likely because of those fixes, into February of 2020. The news, once again, comes courtesy of Jeff Fowler. Taking a little more time to make Sonic just right.#novfxartistswereharmedinthemakingofthismovie pic.twitter.com/gxhu9lhU76 — Jeff Fowler (@fowltown) May 24, 2019 When it was announced that the studio was fixing the design, a lot of people raised the valid concern that doing so would be a terrible strain on the VFX artists that would be tasked with fixing what was undoubtedly a higher creative team's decision to have Sonic look more human-like. That meant a lot more work (and inevitably crunch) to get the move out in time for its November release date. As alluded to in the tweet, the studio seems aware of this and doesn't want to be tarred with the poor reputation. So we're going to have to wait a little bit longer to see the Sonic the Hedgehog movie, but it being on Valentine's Day specifically setting all my irony sensors off that were excited to see the movie in the first place. I'm still cool with it. View the full article
  7. Kotaku's Jason Schreier took to Twitter today with some powerful tweets, allegedly confirming the title of Infinity Ward's 2019 installment of the Call of Duty franchise as "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare." We're dangerously close to E3, so this reveal was probably due to hit in a few weeks. I can confirm this is true, and that it's hilarious. The first one was "Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare" so obviously the fourth one is "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare." Video games are absurd https://t.co/Ghb1m2srC4 — Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) May 24, 2019 While the name may not make a whole lot of sense right now, Schreier also dropped some more information in a followup tweet - that the game is allegedly a "soft reboot". "Soft reboot" — Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) May 24, 2019 View the full article
  8. Click to watch embedded media What if Red Dead Redemption II was done in the style of The Magnificent Seven? YouTuber USNIM has a channel dedicated to creating film-inspired trailers out of popular video games, and Red Dead Redemption II is the most recent to receive the Hollywood treatment. The trailer, inspired by the 2016 blockbuster The Magnificent Seven, perfectly captures tone of the film through scenes and dialogue from the game. USNIM also gave Red Dead Redemption II a Logan-inspired trailer that is a bit more melancholic, showing a different side to the game. Both look like they would make great movies. USNIM's channel is filled with trailers, from a Mission Impossible: Fallout-inspired Uncharted 4 trailer to a Spider-Man: Homecoming-inspired trailer for 2018's Spider-Man, among others. View the full article
  9. Click to watch embedded media It's no secret that fans have been clamoring for an N64 Classic to follow Nintendo's popular NES and SNES Classic consoles. However, YouTuber Madmorda has skipped the 64-bit console and jumped right to the following generation with a "GameCube Classic." The miniaturized console actually uses a Wii motherboard, since it's smaller than the GameCube's and has backward compatibility. Madmorda then trimmed the motherboard down to the size of a GameBoy Color cartridge, which she details on her blog. The four controller ports are compatible with GameCube controllers through a headphone jack adapter, but the console is also compatible with the Wii U and Switch GameCube adapter through a USB port. There's also a USB port for game data, serving as the memory card. For the console's shell, Madmorda found an old gummy candy case in the shape of a GameCube. The project took around nine months, and the work to fit all of the necessary components into this tiny gummy case is insane. Even the Wii motherboard wasn't small enough to neatly fit in the case, so Madmorda had to cut parts of it and reassemble it like Frankenstein's monster. The final product definitely seems worth the work, however. The tiny console can play any GameCube game without lag, has a working power button, and features an orange LED light showing when the console's powered on. Nintendo, take notes. [Source: Madmorda, BitBuilt via Nintendo Life] View the full article
  10. Publisher: Gun Media Developer: Bloober Team Release: May 28, 2019 Rating: Mature Reviewed on: PC Also on: PlayStation 4, Xbox One In horror, mystery and uncertainty are useful tools. However, when properly deployed, knowledge and context have even more power to transform simple scares into pure terror. Imagine you’re walking through a haunted house. Doors spring open every few steps, each one hiding a faceless corpse, and in the background you can vaguely hear the singing of a creepy voice. That’s pretty scary. Now imagine that all of those faceless corpses are replaced by the bodies of your friends and family, and the creepy singing is the voice of your first-grade teacher. Suddenly, your personal investment makes predictable horror elements compelling and chilling. This is a lesson Layers of Fear 2 never learns. It may excel at jolting you with quick scares, but the narrative and stakes are so obscure that real horror can’t take root. This first-person experience sends players through a linear series of corridors and rooms that are ostensibly in a luxury ocean liner – but the aesthetic doesn’t hold its form for long. That’s not a bad thing; like the original Layers of Fear, a big highlight of this sequel is how it toys with your perception of your surroundings. Sometimes you’re in a forest, sometimes you’re in a house, and sometimes you’re in a dreamscape. Doors slam behind you, and when you turn around to check, new hallways appear where blank walls were before. This instability is exciting and the visuals can be striking, producing a few well-designed moments that I won’t spoil here, along with plenty of jump scares. Click here to watch embedded media If you’re content with the shallow thrills that come from unexpected loud noises and quick flashes of disturbing images, then Layers of Fear 2 might be satisfying. If you want an oppressive atmosphere and creeping dread, those things never quite develop. You control an actor aboard the ship to star in a film, but your unraveling sanity blurs the line between reality and imagination. This setup raises questions I was eager to have answered, but the answers don’t enrich the tension. Instead, you scour the environment for collectibles like drawings and notes, and use those to assemble a fuzzy outline of a narrative – a process that doesn’t arm you with the relevant information at the right times. Stories don’t always need to be explicitly communicated. Some games benefit from an ambiguous delivery, but Layers of Fear 2 isn’t one of them. It feels like a six-hour trailer for a real game, teasing significance with vague foreshadowing and ominous dialogue like, “There shall be a vast shout. And then, a vaster silence.” But those threads don’t converge in a compelling way, so at moments that seemed important, I was often left wondering what was happening and why. Players can eventually find those answers through new game+ and thorough exploration, but nothing kills a scary moment like relying on after-the-fact clarification to explain why the moment should have felt scarier than it did. Click image thumbnails to view larger version Beyond that narrative disconnect, Layers of Fear 2 also has some gameplay issues that are far more aggravating than fun. While you’re usually walking and poking around, a half-formed monster chases you at multiple points. These sequences are exercises in learning through failure; you can expect to die several times as you flee, and when you finally escape, it’s with a sense of resignation rather than victory. I was also frustrated by the conclusion, which factors in your actions to determine which of three endings you get. However, when you are making significant choices (or what you are even choosing) is poorly communicated, so the final scenes feel arbitrary – not like the end of a path you’ve decided to travel. Watching people react to fright can be funny, and the original Layers of Fear found an audience among streamers because of its abundance of jump scares. This sequel has many similar moments, and they are more interesting and paced less aggressively, so players aren’t desensitized so quickly. At the same time, Layers of Fear 2 shares its predecessor’s narrative shortcomings; it drops multiple clues that hint at a unifying story, but the bungled delivery and atmosphere prevented me from connecting to anything beyond the surface scares. Score: 6 Summary: Layers of Fear 2 may excel at jolting you with quick scares, but the narrative and stakes are so obscure that real horror can’t take root. Concept: The past and present converge as an actor explores a ship that isn’t bound by the rules of reality Graphics: Though many rooms and hallways look similar, several areas are gorgeously foreboding Sound: Creepy effects help the jump-scares land, and the few key voice performers (including "Candyman" star Tony Todd) do good work Playability: Navigating the world is simple, but environmental interactions (like opening doors) can be inconsistent – which is a problem if you’re being chased by a monster Entertainment: Surprising moments succeed at sending occasional shivers down your spine, but the game doesn’t bring you deep enough into its world to inspire fear Replay: Moderate Click to Purchase View the full article
  11. When Overwatch first released, there was a big problem people who didn't play Bastion had where getting Play of the Game was actually pretty hard. Blizzard explained it's really hard to fix what a computer thinks is cool, so it had to mostly go by numbers. Now it seems like Blizzard is putting the power in your hands by giving players camera tools and the ability to do a replay of the match they were just in. Announced by Blizzard today, the new feature is given the greatly simplistic name of "Overwatch Replays." The tools will let you speed up, slow down, change camera angles, spectate specific players, and more. It seems a lot like their spectator tools for the Overwatch League, but now in your hands. This could be useful if you wanted to know exactly how you managed to die in the chaos of that last match, you're analyzing your competitive play for weakness, or perhaps you just did a cool or funny thing and want to show your friends using the in-game editing tools. The blog post says not to abuse dramatic slowdown, but I think you should use it as much as you want and set it to a singing chorus. Other people will just have to deal with your creative vision. The replays are currently on the game's Portable Test Realm, but will presumably filter out to the main game in time. The feature will be coming to all versions, including the consoles. View the full article
  12. Of all the Star Wars licensed titles in video game history, Bioware's Knights of the Old Republic might be the most venerated. The 2003 RPG put players into a Star Wars universe 4,000 years before the movies and was well-loved for its strong character writing and exploration of the Star Wars mythos. The game is so well-liked that it reportedly influenced director J.J. Abrams during concept meetings for bringing the series back with The Force Awakens. It makes sense, then, that Disney and Lucasfilm would consider adapting the title as a Star Wars movie. According to a report from BuzzFeed, that's exactly what they're doing. BuzzFeed's sources report that the movie is currently being written in preparation for next steps. Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm, has told reporters that an adaptation is being looked at, but BuzzFeed's report states that it is currently in active development. The same story identifies Laeta Kalogridis as the writer, who is best know for her work on Shutter Island, Alita: Battle Angel, and the Netflix show Altered Carbon. Disney recently recoiled a bit after Solo: A Star Wars Story failed to perform at the box office, deeply cutting back the bench of currently scheduled Star Wars title and mostly leaving movies from Game of Thrones showrunners Benioff and Weiss, but still has other announced movies in development. With the decision to back off more planned spinoffs like Solo, a space is left open for a KOTOR movie to come to fruition. [Source: BuzzFeed] View the full article
  13. There aren't enough animated game trailers out there and I genuinely appreciate that Dead Cells provides them at weirdly regular junctures that are pretty fun. This one is to celebrate the release of the Rise of the Giant DLC, a free semi-expansion that has been available on PC for some time. It's now on PlayStation 4 and Switch, so players can enjoy the new bosses and new areas it provides. You can check out the animated trailer below. Click here to watch embedded media In addition to the trailer and the DLC, Motion Twin has confirmed that Dead Cells has sold two million copies across all systems. This is a pretty unqualified success for Motion Twin, which functions somewhat experimentally as a developer with a flat structure in terms of hierarchy. In absolute terms, two million in the indie market is huge, and speaks to how a critically successful idea can take off. Dead Cells is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC, and soon mobile platforms. Rise of the Giant will also be coming to Xbox One, but a last minute bug in the certification process delayed the release on that platform, which Motion Twin says will "come a bit later." View the full article
  14. Publisher: Nintendo Developer: Team Ninja Release: July 19, 2019 Rating: Rating Pending Platform: Switch You might have noticed that we have Marvel fever this month at Game Informer thanks to our cover story of Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3, the upcoming Nintendo-published Switch exclusive. We've already had a bunch of exclusive features, footage, and discussion of the game, but Nintendo's also supplying some new trailers, like this one focusing on the X-Men. You can check out the latest Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 trailer below. Click here to watch embedded media While we've known Wolverine is in the game since its initial reveal trailer at The Game Awards last year, but Marvel's recent attempts in the last few years to tap down on publicizing the other X-Men made their appearance in Ultimate Alliance 3 somewhat dicey. Thankfully, this trailer confirms that a number of the mutants are making it in, including Nightcrawler and Psylocke. You can check out our coverage hub of all things Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 right here, which has the roster so far and a few exclusive character reveals like Ms. Marvel and Hawkeye, not to mention our gameplay impressions. Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 releases exclusively on the Nintendo Switch on July 19. View the full article
  15. The saga of Telltale's closure, which was done abruptly and without paying severance to its 500 employees, seems to be as episodic as the developer's games were when they were operating. This time, it looks like expiring licenses have caught up to Telltale's library and the games are likely to disappear from digital shelves soon, with GOG already announcing this to be the case. In a statement on GOG's forums today, the digital distribution store did not mince words about what is happening. "Sadly, we need to inform you that, due to company’s closure, all the remaining Telltale titles will be delisted from our catalog on Monday, May 27, 10am UTC. The titles are as follows: the Wolf Among Us, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Hector: Badge of Carnage, the Batman series, Sam & Max series, Puzzle Agent series, Tales from the Borderlands, and Strong Bad’s Cool Game for Attractive People. For everyone who purchased any of said titles prior to delisting, the games will remain in their GOG library." Tales from the Borderlands, a collaboration with Gearbox set in the Borderlands universe and has direct ties to the upcoming Borderlands 3, has already been removed. 2K Games has told Eurogamer that they are working to get Tales from the Borderlands back up, but a number of other licensed products are unlikely to have someone in their corner to fight for them to stay up. While GOG has announced this, it seems exceedingly unlikely that the CDPR-owned store is the only service affected by these expiring licenses. While Valve has not said anything yet, Tales from the Borderlands has also been pulled from Steam, meaning the store is certainly not immune to this. This is only the remainder of Telltale's games that are disappearing, as a number of licensed titles like Jurassic Park and Back to the Future disappeared soon after Telltale's forced liquidation last November. If there are any Telltale games you wanted to get but never had the chance, now is your last opportunity to grab them or hope you can find a physical copy somewhere down the line. View the full article

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