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  1. Next Friday's got a number of Triple-A games releasing at the same time, including Super Mario Odyssey, Wolfenstein: The New Colossus, and Assassin's Creed Origins. Our July 2017 issue of Game Informer's cover story was Assassin's Creed Origins, and now is the perfect time to revisit our hub of exclusive content so you can prepare to explore Ancient Egypt. Click here, or the banner below, to be transported to our cover story hub from July. From there, you can find exclusive interviews, videos, and more about Assassin's Creed Origins. Some of these include five things you need to know about the game, an in-depth look at the new assassin hero Bayek, hands-on impressions, how Ubisoft rethinks open world design with this new entry, and our podcast that answers your lingering questions. (Please visit the site to view this media) Stay tuned for our review of Assassin's Creed Origins, which will be published this coming week. Assassin's Creed Origins releases on October 27 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. View the full article
  2. Next week, a large update is coming to Gears of War 4, which introduces two new maps, Xbox One X support, and ushers in a Halloween event. The Xbox One X arrives on store shelves this November, and The Coalition says its preparing to bring support to the game as we lead up to its launch, by allowing players to pre-download 4K files. While The Coalition didn't give specifics on what Xbox One X enhancements we can look forward to, the team says they will be providing more information "VERY soon." The Coalition, however, went into detail about what kind of maps and other content we'll see coming to the game as of next week. The two new maps are Lift Apex and Fuel Depot. Fuel Depot is a map that was featured in the first Gears of War and Gears of War 2. Now, this large warehouse setting makes its return. Lift Apex, also inspired by an earlier map, is set in an Imulsion Extraction Facility in the middle of the Serano ocean. These two maps can be played by season pass holders as of October 23, whereas all other players can join in on October 30. (Please visit the site to view this media) Gears of War 4 also has celebrations to look forward to, including a Halloween event which will feature new characters, weapon skins, and "spooky-themed events." Then, in November, The Coalition will be celebrating its 11th anniversary for the Gears of War franchise. For more on Gears of War 4, read our glowing review. View the full article
  3. Sneaking from the shadows, a cane-wielding raccoon gracefully leaps across Parisian rooftops backlit by the greens and pinks of neon signs, his footsteps locked to the rhythm of lounge jazz piano. This opening scene from Sucker Punch's Sly Cooper and the Thievius Racoonus is an indelible image for gamers, one that, much like the game itself, has kept its style and wit over the years. The Thievius Racoonus celebrates its 15th anniversary this year, and revisiting the game after all that time, it’s still clear why Sly’s first adventure was so special and creatively risky. In September 2002, the 3D platformer genre was on a hot streak, especially on Sony consoles. Naughty Dog hit a goldmine with Crash Bandicoot back in 1996, and in late 2001 they released Jak and Daxter to widespread critical and commercial success. It would be another year before Sony’s other 3D platforming behemoths – Sly Cooper and Ratchet & Clank – released. All these games are still fan favorites, but revisiting Sly Cooper and the Thievius Racoonus revealed a game that is still fun to play and holds up even after 15 years of progress in game design. A large part of that can be attributed to the bold stylistic direction Sucker Punch took with the Thievius Racoonus. With Jak and Daxter, Naughty Dog built a mysterious world in a cartoonish visual style. In Ratchet & Clank, Insomniac created a gun-filled science-fiction-meets- Pixar universe. Both games had something that young gamers, the target demographic, could latch onto. With its anthropomorphic animals and cartoon sensibilities, Thievius Racoonus was clearly made with younger players in mind. Sly and the rest of the gang – Bentley the turtle, a germophobic techno genius, and Murray the hippo, the gang’s clumsy but lovable getaway driver – fall into archetypes kids can enjoy. However, Sucker Punch used those characters to tell a revenge story that pulled from classic noir and heist films, genres that its young target demographic might not be familiar with. Players watch Sly retell the story of his father’s death at the hands of the villainous Fiendish Five in the first of the game’s many playful cartoon cutscenes. Although Sucker Punch plays it off with charm and witty writing, it’s a dark, tragic note to start an adventure on, and a sign that the game isn’t afraid to root itself in more mature thematic territory. Look carefully and you’ll find references to steroids and gambling throughout the Thievius Racoonus. Even Sly’s extremely flirtatious relationship with vulpine cop Carmelita Fox is more mature than most E-rated games. It’s not the most risqué material, but for an E-rated game in 2002, the Thievius Racoonus was pushing more mature interactions and themes for the sake of its noir-lite adventure. The Thievius Racoonus’ other strengths – the smooth animation and platforming, and moody soundtrack – all contribute to Sucker Punch’s unique vision, but its cel-shaded look is what made it stand out the most among its direct competitors. Its visuals, which hold up surprisingly well, play with shadow and light much like film noir of the 1940s. Laser grids and guards with flashlights are both platforming obstacles for the player and visual contrast for certain levels. Although 3D platformers aren’t as popular today as they used to be, the way Sly jumps and climbs are reminders of why this genre worked in the first place. Sucker Punch made a smooth, slick platformer that really makes you feel like a master thief. Like any great title, the gameplay works in concert with the narrative. Sly’s movements are a great window into his charming and, well, sly personality even as his actions prove there’s a thrill-seeking intensity beneath that calm and collected surface. The music provided a diverse sonic landscape that keyed into the rhythm of Sly’s thieving hijinks and fit the distinct feel of the game. Whether it was sensual lounge jazz, bombastic electric blues, or atmospheric voodoo swamp drone, the music helped immerse players in Sly’s cartoon noir world. It’s still impressive how all this locks in place right from the start, particularly in one memorable scene that tasks players with breaking into a vent and jumping through a laser security system. It’s a moment straight out of Mission Impossible. Sly’s graceful animations, the contrast between the dazzling laser display and dark Paris night, and subtle but tense music all work together to make a strong and lasting impression. That said, video games have come a long way in 15 years, which means not everything in the Thievius Racoonus has aged as gracefully as its visual style. The tutorials, a product of game design philosophies at the time, find Sly’s techno wiz friend Bentley spouting off control schemes rather than natural dialogue. Non-platforming sections peppered throughout Sly’s adventure certainly helped change up the action, but racing and on-rail shooting levels are more often frustrating than fun. However, the game’s biggest failure is its depiction of Carmelita Fox as an overly sexualized lust object. Carmelita Fox’s fiery relationship with Sly develops throughout the three main Sly Cooper games in interesting ways, but in the Thievius Racoonus, Sucker Punch remains mired in adolescent – and frequently offensive – depictions of its primary female character. It’s not enough to completely ruin Sly’s 15-year legacy, but it’s a reminder of where video games were – and sometimes still are – as a medium. Despite all that, Sly Cooper and the Thievius Racoonus is still a stylish, fun, and surprisingly mature experience even after 15 years. The cartoon, anthropomorphized noir that Sucker Punch delivered back in 2002 spawned three sequels that expanded the Sly Cooper universe, refined stealth, and moved the series towards open world-like levels with multi-stage heist missions. Although later games were bigger the Thievius Racoonus is the reason Sly Cooper remains Sony’s most stylish mascot. View the full article
  4. Fire Emblem Warriors released yesterday, and details have emerged that specify what to expect from the game's upcoming three DLC packs. Each pack will be themed around a previous Fire Emblem game, including Fates, Shadow Dragon, and Awakening. These bundles come with their own unique playable characters, history scenarios, weapons, and support conversations. You can purchase a $19.99 season pass to receive all three packs, or each can be bought individually for $8.99. If you buy the season pass, you also receive Lucina's bridal costume. The Fates pack arrives this December, whereas the other two will release next year. The Shadow Dragon pack comes in February and the Awakening pack hits in March. You can view the details of each DLC bundle below: Fire Emblem Fates Pack Playable characters: Azura, Niles, Oboro Three new history maps Five new costumes 13 broken-armor models Fire Emblem Shadow Dragon Pack Playable characters: Navarre, Minerva, Linde Three new history maps Four new costumes Six new weapons Nine broken-armor models Fire Emblem Awakening Pack Playable characters: Owain, Tharja, Olivia Three new history maps Three new costumes Seven new weapons Ten broken-armor models Fire Emblem Warriors released on Nintendo Switch and New Nintendo 3DS as of October 20. Our review is still in progress, but keep an eye for it in the next few days. [Source: Nintendo and Nintendo Everything] View the full article
  5. Over the last couple weeks, Crystal Dynamics has been tweeting content related to its action adventure series Legacy of Kain. While purely speculation at this point, these tweets hint that either a new entry is in the works or that a remaster is on the horizon. Though one tweet is related specifically to the #Inktober art challenge, the others heavily hint that Raziel will make his return in one form or another. You can view the tweets below: "I am Raziel, first-born of His lieutenants. I stood with Kain and my brethren at the dawn of the empire." pic.twitter.com/bRTHhxIaAo — CrystalD (@CrystalDynamics) October 20, 2017 "Raziel. You are worthy." Joanna Wolska's #Inktober entry features our favorite wraith Raziel. Check out more here: https://t.co/lH7fqgXQS4 pic.twitter.com/A0EoG2tlHy — CrystalD (@CrystalDynamics) October 13, 2017 Published in 1996 by @CrystalDynamics, Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain was the first of a legendary series introducing fans to Nosgoth. 🧛‍♂️🦇 pic.twitter.com/zForq2LB7q — CrystalD (@CrystalDynamics) October 12, 2017 Legacy of Kain: Defiance is the latest game of the series, which released in 2003. A sixth game, Legacy of Kain: The Dark Prophecy, was in development at Ritual Entertainment in 2004 but was later canceled. Legacy of Kain: Dead Sun, another attempt to continue the series, was planned for PlayStation 4 until it too was canceled in 2012. In an interview with Australian website Finder in 2015, lead designer at Crystal Dynamics Michael Brinker said that there was a "50/50 chance" that a new Legacy of Kain game would come to current generation consoles. “It’s a 50/50 chance. We have in-house developers who really want to make that game," Brinker told Finder. "It’s interesting because people look back at our history and our franchises and see that we have some really great iconic IPs. So gamers wonder; ‘where are they and what are they doing?’ Well we’re always tossing around and talking about ideas [of bringing them back]. It really is 50/50.” Last year, alleged images and details from the canceled Dead Sun game emerged, which you can take a look at here. You can also check out this informative video to learn more about the vampiric world of Nosgoth and its lore. Our Take I wouldn't be surprised if these tweets point to a remaster rather than a full-fledged new game. Crystal Dynamics has a lot on its plate right now, such as a partnership with Marvel Entertainment to create an Avengers game alongside Eidos Montreal and also (probably) developing the rumored Shadow of the Tomb Raider. Hopefully an announcement is on the way to let us know what's to come for Legacy of Kain. View the full article
  6. As tournament giants like League and Dota hold steady, we get some new seasonal blood this weekend as Madden, Halo, and Rainbow Six get major tournaments. You can check out the last day of the Madden 18 Classic today, as the players of the game most deserving of the title of "esport" compete for a $100,000 prize pool. (Stream / Schedule) Red Bull is having its Street Fighter V Proving Grounds tournament, in which amateur teams of regional players are pitted against each other and compete for first place in Chicago. (Stream / Schedule) You can catch Super Smash Bros., Tekken 7, Hearthstone, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Quake, and Halo 5: Guardians. more at this weekend's Dreamhack Denver event. (Streams and Schedule / Halo Stream) Dota 2 is in Bucharest, Romania this week as the game's best teams attempt to squeeze the last bits of competitive hype out of a months-old patch while waiting for an exciting new one to drop on November 1. (Stream / Schedule) We finally get some weekend Rainbow Six: Siege action, as the third season of the APAC seriese wraps up tomorrow. Two teams from across four regions play in Australia for a big cash prize but more importantly, a spot in the Finals in Brazil. (Stream) The League of Legends World championship moves into its Knockout stage this week, as Royal Never Give Up takes on Fanatic for a spot in the championship. (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 below. View the full article
  7. Bandai Namco offered up a huge collection of Dragon Ball FighterZ screens this morning showing off new characters, online modes, story details, and more. We've divided up the collection images into different sections of the story so follow the links for Captain Ginyu screens, Nappa screens, and story screens. First up, is Cpatain Ginyu. Here is Captain Ginyu on his own. And here he is with the Ginyu Force, who can assist him in battle. That must be the Recoome boom. Ginyu is also apparently able to body-swap with his opponents. Captain Ginyu | Nappa | Story | Additional Screens For more from our month of Dragon Ball coverage, including new details for FighterZ, click the banner below. View the full article
  8. Replay – Civil War: Week Two

    Another week, another set of bodies at the feet of the Replay Machine. Did we ever mention the Replay Machine kills the losers? Maybe it does. Who cares. Enjoy the competition! Tense battles and shocking moments abound. If you missed it, check out last week's series of brutal eliminations. To see every contestant announce the game they're playing for, check out the back end of our Atari Replay. And for the full cut of all the lore leading up to this once in a lifetime cinematic event, watch the compilation here. (Please visit the site to view this media) We'll see you next week for the thrilling conclusion to the lore of Replay, at least for a good long while! View the full article
  9. It was a busy week here at Game Informer, but the weekend is finally close at hand. As we enter the eleventh hour before the release of some of this season's biggest titles, the G.I. crew is hard at work getting everything ready for readers. As such, a lot of the editors were busy making last-minute touches to stories and reviews, but a few still shared their plans for the weekend. Javy Gwaltney (@Hurdyiv): Barreling through Fire Emblem Warriors and trying to build the grandest farm of them all in Stardew Valley. Leo Vader (@leovader): Me and some friends made the pivotal discovery last night that Discord’s group video calls include lag-free screen sharing! Meaning of course that we can get a Jackbox game going across the world with pretty much zero effort. Plus Jackbox Party Pack 4 might be the best one yet, zero clunkers in the whole bunch. So I’m gonna be playing a lot of that! HAGS everyone! Matthew Kato (@MattKato): I’ve been very busy with “work” games the past few months (I have been so lucky), so my personal gaming time has been limited to an NHL or PES game here and there. This weekend, however, I want to crack open Shadow of War and hopefully take a look at NBA 2K18’s MyGM mode. I’m not a natural basketball fan per se, but the story-based approach to GM sounds interesting. As much racing as I’ve been doing with GT Sport and Forza 7, I actually want to go back and play some Dirt 4. Nothing like rally racing. In non-gaming game news, I’m going to the Vikings/Ravens game this weekend, and I sense a Case Keenum regression to the norm. That’s fine though, because it’s another step towards Teddy getting back on the field… Have a good weekend! C’mon City! Jeff Marchiafava (@GIJeffM): While my obsession has waned a bit, I'm still digging Destiny 2, and haven't done my weekly Milestones yet this week, so I'll for sure be playing some of that. My gaming time has also been split between South Park and Shadow of War, which has entailed me sparing more orc captains than actually defeating them. What can I say? I'm a big ol' softie! Brian Shea (@BrianPShea): I’m just about finished with Middle-earth: Shadow of War, so I’m going to continue playing South Park: The Fractured But Whole and Golf Story. Dan Tack (@dantack): Artisanal charcuterie platter served with a cheese tray. Grain mustard, 5 types of meats and cheeses served with fresh baked breads, jam, and nuts _______________________________ Cody Mello-Klein (@Proelectioneer) – I just discovered that my housemates have a guitar they don’t play very often, so I’ll probably be playing that all weekend. For games, I plan on spending some more time in Shadow of War now that I’m past the absurdly long and slow tutorial section. I also want to try out the Flame in the Flood on Switch. Also, as usual, more Witcher 3. George Ash (@GeorgeEAsh) – This weekend I’m heading south to the University of Missouri to attend my first homecoming as an alumnus. I won’t be playing many video games, but while tailgating I’ll be playing plenty of beer pong and beer darts. Keenan McCall (@KEeNanMcCall525): I’ll be diving head first into South Park: The Fractured But Whole over the weekend. I also want to go back to Cuphead for a little while and really get the hang of some of my favorite bosses. View the full article
  10. Life is Strange: Before the Storm brings players back to the town of Arcadia Bay, though it isn’t exactly as they remember it. Set three years before the original Life is Strange, the first episode of this prequel series successfully leveraged players’ familiarity with the characters and their future circumstances, but also established interesting new conflicts. The second episode, Brave New World, follows up on those narrative threads, but its biggest strength is how it continues to help us understand and empathize with Chloe as her world gets even more complicated. Facing academic consequences for their actions in the last episode, Chloe and her newfound friend Rachel start the episode in hot water, which spirals out to create new opportunities for them to deepen their bond. Though the general setup is the same regardless of what you do, I appreciate how developer Deck Nine creates moments of decision that balance short- and long-term repercussions. For instance, I took the blame for the day of school that Chloe and Rachel missed, which had an immediate impact on Chloe – but a big benefit for Rachel later. Of course, you also get the satisfaction of seeing characters reference things you did in the first episode. Whether you sabotaged a student’s homework or stole some money, expect those actions to have consequences. This kind of payoff structure sounds standard for the genre, but like the first episode, your choices forge a powerful connection with Chloe, helping to build a bridge to the person you know she becomes. The story makes you feel like you are influencing the characters and their trajectories in meaningful ways between the major narrative convergences – something it implements better than most other episodic titles on the market. How does Chloe get along at home? Where does she draw the line between right and wrong? Almost like a page in a coloring book, the big picture is the same for everyone, but the individual shades and tones can create unique experiences. For example, is Chloe pursuing a romantic relationship with Rachel? The answer to that question doesn’t necessarily change what happens, but it dramatically impacts the context surrounding the events of this episode in ways I won’t spoil. (Please visit the site to view this media) As this tale unfolds, Deck Nine’s decision to remain grounded in reality rather than integrating supernatural elements proves to be a smart one. The everyday activities feel authentic, and even the climactic moments are relatively mundane; many of your choices culminate in how well the school’s production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest goes. The trade-off for this approach is a lack of high-stakes conflict, since you aren’t rooting out a serial killer or avoiding a reality-destroying storm. By its nature, Brave New World doesn’t end on a dramatic cliffhanger that leaves the fate of the town in question – but since I’m more invested in the characters than an external mystery, that worked for me. My biggest complaint is a carryover from the previous episode; the speed with which Chloe and Rachel’s friendship solidifies is so fast that it sometimes feels forced, undercutting the believability of their developing bond. Brave New World also reuses some of the series’ old environments, like the dorms and junkyard. The recycled backdrops themselves don’t bother me as much as the gameplay parallels within them, like having your access to the dorm’s front door denied. Also, considering the universal criticism leveled at the junkyard bottle-hunt in the original Life is Strange, I was surprised and disappointed to find another fetch quest in the exact same location, sending Chloe off scrounging for items to repair and improve a broken-down truck. After finishing the first episode of Before the Storm, I was impressed at how well it retains the essence of the original Life is Strange, despite being handled by a different developer. That feeling doesn’t change with this episode; it draws you in with interesting characters, then builds them through quiet moments and big decisions. Even knowing the eventual fate of Chloe and Rachel, I am eager to see how the next (final) episode of this arc explores their legacy in Arcadia Bay. View the full article
  11. As Civilization VI developer Firaxis explained last week, the game's fall update is bringing big changes to how religion functions. Rather than just speculate on how that will affect play, you can see for yourself since the content is now live. The update includes (but is not limited to) new Pantheons, revamped combat, new beliefs, as well as two new religious buildings and a combat unit. The goal is make a religion-focused playthrough a more viable and enjoyable approach for players. The team has also implemented broader tweaks to the game, like general interface improvements and bug fixes. To read more about Civ VI (in its pre-update form), check out our review. [Source: Eurogamer] View the full article
  12. The online multiplayer mode for Final Fantasy XV, which was originally supposed to launch this month, has been delayed. In a post made to Twitter by Square Enix's official Final Fantasy XV account, the company states the expansion will now release in early November to make final adjustments and create the best possible experience. No specific date has been given at this time. Due to final adjustments & to create the best possible experience, the online expansion #FFXVComrades will now be released in early November pic.twitter.com/0DV08nRpv8 — Final Fantasy XV (@FFXVEN) October 20, 2017 Announced this past summer, Comrades is set between chapters 13 and 14 of the main game. With their own custom made characters, players can collect meteor shards to power generators, which expand the available roster of activities, complete side quests for NPCs, and populate towns with different NPC civilians and leaders. Players can also earn experience to level up their characters, collect loot, and communicate through preset phrases and voice chat. Our Take This was definitely a good move for Square Enix. The game's beta testing back in August was plagued with server and matchmaking errors to the point that some players couldn't even log on. The mode has potential though, so taking the time to make it work is more than welcome. View the full article
  13. Gran Turismo developer Polyphony Digital has slowly developed the series' online component through the years, but now it's focusing on online play. GT Sport goes beyond the predominantly single-player past of its numbered installments, but doesn't go so far as to carve out an entirely new identity. The game uneasily tries to straddle these two poles, but thankfully the excellence of the driving is a comforting totem amidst some of the confusing structural choices. The titular online mode isn't just about racing against other real-life opponents (the online lobbies are suited for that kind of free-for-all), it funnels players into specific competitions. Daily races are preset by Polyphony and they open up at specific times through the hour. This focuses the community, but the fact that these "daily" races are only being changed weekly means I soon tired of putting down qualifying times and challenging for a podium finish on the same three tracks. The marquee FIA GT Nations Cup, Manufacturers Series, and Polyphony Digital Championship competitions are all similarly time-gated, creating further choke points, and the online-only save structure – no matter what mode you're in – is also a hurdle. It auto-saves at intervals, but progress can be lost if there's a blip in the interim. I like GT Sport's solemn attempt at a sense of occasion and propriety – even the earnestness of the etiquette rating that rewards you for not running into people. I feel the satisfaction of racing the right way. This isn't conveyed through the reckless driving penalties, which can be levied unfathomably, but by the cars themselves. The racing demands an understanding of the limitations and strengths of the cars, from the lateral stiffness of a low-end car to trying to harness the horsepower and braking prowess of a better one. I smugly enjoyed taking a corner crisply and thereby passing a faster car in lesser hands. Overall, the fact that car collision is disabled when someone re-enters from off the track or spins out of control thankfully prevents all hell from breaking loose during online races. In another concession, even shots from behind don't automatically send you careening. Cars, credits, and various rewards like decals and arcade mode track unlocks flow easily, and cars can be tuned and upgraded (through a simplified system, since you don't buy parts), allowing them to compete across different performance categories. Your garage is useful as you get a feel for which ones you like on which track, but this endearment is stunted by the limited single-player campaign mode. (Please visit the site to view this media) Putting aside the usual driving school lessons and the track tutorials in the Circuit Experience section, GT Sports' campaign mode largely consists of 64 mission challenges ranging from overtake tests to full-on races. The mode is admirable and nets you credits and various rewards, but it doesn't offer the cohesive journey of a normal career mode containing series of multi-race championships (which I acknowledge could also be done better in the other Gran Turismos). Instead, it's a series of disparate, smaller tasks often involving loaner cars. GT Sport is an online-focused title for sure, but a side effect of the campaign mode as it stands is that it lessens the emotional investment in your garage cars. Finally, the entire game suffers from too few tracks and no dynamic weather to go along with them (currently rain is only in a later mission challenge). No matter the mode, you churn through the likes of Brands Hatch and Suzuka more times than desirable, and I don't know why Polyphony elected to use multiple ovals/near-ovals when they bring little to the table and there are other, more attractive real-world tracks out there. Regardless of its foibles, let this installment be the start of a real commitment by Polyphony Digital to online racing – one that is folded into the main series' career mode and which is not just a temporary dabble like the track creator of GT 5 or the dynamic time/weather and race clubs of GT 6. GT Sport has enough qualities that it should be the start of something better and not just a detour for the franchise. View the full article
  14. The long-anticipated board game adaptation of Capcom's classic survival horror sequel continues to reach new heights. In the project's latest update, the creators congratulate backers on successfully reaching £650,000 (or $857,285). The game will now include Raccoon City Police Chief Brian Irons, who players can choose for an alternative play style as a survivor hunter. Steamforged Games Ltd., the team behind the project, provides a brief description of the new character and how his play style came about: When we sat down to design the Chief, we brought a wide variety of concepts to the table. Amongst others, we discussed his appearance as an NPC, as a mini-boss, and even as a type of card in the Tension Deck. But then we found an idea which really fit the character better than any of the above… Players using the Police Chief as a playable character during their games of Resident Evil™ 2 – The Board Game will have a very different win condition to the other players – they’ll be trying to hunt the other survivors down and eliminate them! The first of our ‘Bad Guy’ player characters, Brian Irons can attack the other survivors, steal items, and bait enemies. Launched September 25, the Kickstarter project had an initial goal of $196,648. This goal was met within the first day and has continued to rise since, with Steamforged rolling out several stretch goals for backers to meet. Steamforged is the same team that created the Dark Souls Board Game, which raised a grand total of $5,417,610. [Source: Kickstarter] Our Take If nothing else, Steamforged Games has the firm support of Resident Evil's fan base for this project. Hopefully it turns out well when it launches in September of next year. View the full article
  15. Game of Thrones is getting in on the mobile craze with Conquest, the newest in the ever-growing lineup of Game of War-style games. If you haven’t played Game of War, the concept is simple: Start a castle (a ‘house,’ in Conquest), build and upgrade military and resource plots (ad infinitum), build military units, create or join an allegiance, and pillage those weaker than your allegiance until they flee or join your side. While this sounds exciting on paper, in both Game of War and Conquest this is all done through an often boring system of clicking and waiting. Upgrading buildings takes a few minutes in the beginning of the game, but upgrades soon take hours to complete. If you want to attack your neighbor, you click attack on their keep, select which units you want to attack with, then wait. Then, if you damaged their wall and kept most of your soldiers, you can attack again. Repeat until their wall is destroyed and pillage their resources. Allegiances help make pillaging quicker, thankfully. Working as a team, an allegiance of players can destroy a wall quicker than a lone player. To start an allegiance, you must find someone willing to be your Bannerman. Each allegiance owner can have up to five Bannermen, with each of them having five as well, all the way down to fourth-tier Bannermen, who cannot have any of their own. This allegiance system is a good way of keeping straight who is in charge and passing orders down a chain of command. Unfortunately, it also requires asking strangers to bend the knee if they want to team up with you. This can be fun if you’re powerful enough to be a threat, or it can be frustrating if you’re being harassed by an allegiance wanting you to kneel. Allegiances fight over Seats of Power such as Winterfell and Casterly Rock. These seats of varying power (King’s Landing is the hardest to take but gives the most benefits) are mostly inactive in the preview build of the game, but allegiances can take active ones, for glory and the tangible benefits they bequeath members of the allegiance, such as increased march speed or resource collection. The setting and characters you’re surrounded by in a game can make or break the experience. Unfortunately, Conquest’s setting fails to put my mind in the Game of Thrones universe. It feels more classically medieval than Game of Thrones-inspired. My castle only features one building distinctly from Game of Thrones, the Maester's tower, which can be used to research upgrades. The upgrades in the Maester’s Tower, which fall under one of four categories (military, city defense, logistics, and economy), go back to having no relation to the universe, however helpful they are gameplay-wise. Conquest does feature some of the series’ most popular characters, but they don’t feel like those characters. They mostly pop up in a microtransaction advertisement or to teach a new mechanic, but with no voice acting and written dialogue that breaks the fourth wall more than it tries to stay in-universe, there’s very little connection between the characters in Conquest and the characters on HBO or in the books. From renting extra workers or Maesters to work on more buildings and research, to buying packs of boosts and currency, microtransactions are hard to avoid in Conquest. What’s most tempting to buy are speedups, which allow you to finish construction, research, or train troops faster. Instead of waiting an hour for a farm to upgrade, a speedup can upgrade it immediately so you can get started working on something else. These speedups are given away for free occasionally, but those who spend money will be able to progress through the ranks much faster than those who try the free-to-play route. Game of Thrones fans should temper their expectations before diving in, as the game released yesterday, October 19. The setting and characters offer nods to the broader fiction, but what I experienced in the preview version of the game is mostly rooted in a familiar and established mobile game structure. Fighting over Westeros’ Seats of Power with an organized allegiance might fulfil some people’s fantasies, but the fear of microtransactions deciding the fate of those Seats is real. If the game ever manages to capture that Game of Thrones feel however, it has a chance to suck a lot of people in. View the full article

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