Typically truncated to eight-month development cycles, sports games are known more for granular leaps in gameplay and feature sets. But coming off NBA Live 16, yet another entry that failed to make even a minuscule dent in the market, EA realized this slow and steady progress would never close the gap to make a true contender. To speed up the process, EA Sports granted its Tiburon studio something few sports game developers are ever given - a two-year runway for creating the next game in the series.
With its newfound longer dev cycle more aligned with traditional game development, instead of continually chasing the advancements Visual Concepts makes with the NBA 2K series, the studio took off its horse blinders and looked to the wider industry as a whole for inspiration. As I sat through my first demo of NBA Live 18's new feature sets, the developers continually made reference to fighting games, shooters, role-playing games, and even MMO raids.
NBA Live 18's new The One mode serves as the centerpiece for this new approach to sports games. One the surface, The One sounds like a facsimile of the NBA 2K set-up - you start by creating a player that you then use across the NBA-focused MyCareer, 5v5 sim Pro-AM, and streetball centric MyPark modes. But once you dive into the particulars, the differentiation is clear.
Users start by choosing a play style for their create-a-player. These break down into traditional basketball archetypes like playmaker, slasher, wing shooter, rim protector, stretch four, etc. <(a target="_blank" href="https://www.easports.com/nba-live/the-one/playstyles">you can see the full list here). Each class has different rating limits on specific skills, and as you progress you can choose to specialize in particular skills to customize your play style. For instance, in the "point shooter" build we saw in action, the user had a choice between concentrating on shooting off the dribble or making contested shots. Whichever you choose then has a higher skill threshold.
Players earn two types of currency after each game. XP can be spent upgrading your skills. The skill progressions don't just follow a simple numerical path, such as spending points to increase your dunking from 75 to 76, for instance. Instead, EA has sprinkled the upgrade path with variables like a signature shoe that matches your play style (don't expect to unlock Ewings with your point guard), new animations, and the occasional major jump that boosts your skill by 10 percent. You can always see your min-max options for each particular skill and the upgrades available so you can understand your player build's limitations and plot the best way to make your player better.
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The second type of currency users earn for completing specific objectives is RP, which can be spent on Overwatch style loot crates. These crates are filled with cosmetic and aesthetic enhancements for your player. These are tiered in the RPG standard common, rare, exotic, and legendary classifications. To eliminate some of the frustration players have with randomized crates in other games, EA says you can buy specific crate tiers to improve your chances of getting the items you want. EA plans to offer branded crates for partners like the Jordan brand, and will continue to create new crates when new apparel or shoes become available.
Skills and aesthetics help define your player, but NBA Live 18 has one more element that gives you more control over how your player performs - traits. These special passive abilities are unlocked by performing various objectives across The League and The Street games. Each follows a bronze-silver-gold upgrade path so you can improve their benefits over time. "Metaphorically, the team took a lot of inspiration from FPS loadouts and literally guns - what weapons and armor would I use to go into battle," says producer Mike Mahar. "This is what allows you to extend your character's capabilities into areas that maybe aren’t core to a shooting-first point."
These trait buffs can play into strategy when forming your team. If you are playing with several strong outside shooters, choosing the playmaker trait buff would boost their catch and shoot bonuses, making your team a formidable outside threat. In classic Destiny or Overwatch fashion, each play style also as a signature ability that acts as a buff and can be unleashed during a game. Certain traits can only be earned playing in the street, pro-am, or NBA, so you may have to excel across all three disciplines to make your ideal player.
In addition to these three modes of play, EA is also creating live events that give you a chance to earn special gear. EA referenced boss battles and raids when talking about these events; for instance, you may have to take on Allen Iverson in Philly to win a unique unlock.
To create harmony between the three modes that encompass The One, EA developed a narrative wrapper that ties the experience together. The framing gives your character a backstory and includes friends, agents, and NBA players you interact with along the way. The interactions you have with them determine the types of quests and outcomes available to you in the long run. You can get your first taste of this story when the Live 18 demo drops in August.
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TAKING TO THE COURT
In addition to our deep dive with NBA Live 18's The One mode, I played a few games to get a feel for how the controls have evolved over the last two years. EA focused heavily on animation quality, animation variety, physicality, and contextual awareness, and all of these things were on display in my short time with the game. You can never get a true feel for how a game will perform in the long run with one hand-on session, but I'm confident the gameplay is taking a strong step forward in the right direction.
Animations in the paint were a big weakness of Live 16, but I saw much more variety in post moves, contact during drives to the hoop, and a level of physicality that was frankly missing last time out. ame now has shot stick support, counters, fadeaways, turnarounds, and step backs, giving your big man the tools to succeed under the hoop. Defenders have counters to all of these moves as well.
On the perimeter, EA's new approach to defense should help users prevent opponents from blowing right past them every time. Holding the left trigger for auto assistance makes it much easier to stay between the attacker and the hoop, and when they move left or right you have a small timing window to counter that move and shut down their drive. "On the perimeter, it's almost more like a fighting game now where we are going one on one and my timing versus his timing makes all the difference," Mahar says. The counter window is bigger or smaller depending on your player rating.
Offensively, the right analog stick dribble mechanics return, but feel much more fluid than last game. Stars have unique dribbling packages to differentiate themselves from bench players, and EA has created more branch points so users can move more quickly in and out of animations.
Other promising tweaks include a revamped steal system that gives you a better chance of making a wipe when the ball is showing, A.I. controlled perimeter defenders better understanding how to police passing lanes, and a revamped, skill-based shooting mechanic rewards perfect shot release timing.
EA didn't go into much more specifics about other game modes other than to say franchise mode and Ultimate Team will return. When I asked about the inclusion of the WNBA rosters, I got the classic "We are not talking about the WNBA at this time" answer.
NBA Live 18 is scheduled to release on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One sometime this September. We expect to see a finalized release date as we move closer to the August free trial.
Today we've got ourselves a new Agents of Mayhem trailer, and it's just as ludicrous as we've come to expect.
The Bombshells are the most volatile and explosive agents of the bunch, and they come equipped with big weapons and even bigger personalities. The first is Joule, a fashion model who also has a penchant for engineering deadly robot turrets. Next up is Rama, an immunologist who wields a powerful and precise armor-piercing bow. Rounding out the bunch is Redcard, a soccer-obsessed lunatic who blasts away foes with a gun called the Hooligan.
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We recently got our Agents of Mayhem at E3 2017, and had quite a bit of fun. You can check out trailers for some of the other agents and their sweet rides and .
Agents of Mayhem will be releasing on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on August 15.
We got a chance to play Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite at this year's E3, and while we weren't too impressed with its , we still had some fun playing around with the newly-revealed characters and Reality Stone. Although character models have a tendency to look plastic and lifeless in stills, they look much better in motion, and combos still move with a speed and flashiness that many fighters lack. The tag system works fluidly, too, and even though I didn't have time to learn any particular team's combos well, I was able to improvise some decent combos simply by using a mix of auto-combos, basic combos, and tagging. If you think of some cool new combo or set up, you can probably pull it off, and as a result, Infinite feels as malleable as other Marvel games, which I appreciated.
We also got to talk to producer Peter "Combofiend" Rosas about the some of finer details about the game's combat system. The biggest detail we learned was that long-winded combos of Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 are being curbed, to some degree, for Infinite. In high-level matches, it was commonplace for a stray hit to mean death for many characters. For Infinite, touch-of-death combos will be much more rare, thanks to the increased hitstun deterioration (a system where every hit causes the next hit to stun the opponent for a shorter amount of time). When it comes to longer combos, Rosas said, "You're fighting for pixels."
I then asked Rosas about whether one of his favorite characters, Spencer, would retain some his tricks from the last game. Specifically, Rosas told me that one of his signature combo tools, which involved using an airborne version of his claw-grab move to extend combos, would be much harder to use. For example, it's no longer possible to grab someone who's been hit by his Bionic Lancer super. However, due to the way tagging works, players should be able to find new ways to use that airborne claw to grab opponents using another character's moves.
Finally, we asked Rosas several of your burning questions about the series. Here are his answers.
Will there be any improvements coming to the faces for characters like Chun-Li, Dante, or Chris? We’ve heard the feedback from the community and are looking into it, but we have no specific announcements at this time.
Will we get remixes of the MvC3 character themes? Rocket Raccoons and Nova's in particular? Character themes in MvCI are different from those in MvC3 as this is a completely new game. Some are completely new, while some carry influences from classic themes.
Can nova still do his elevator combo from MvC3? Nova’s been adjusted and he can still perform fly combos, but players will have to figure out how they work in MvCI.
Does Dante still have some form of Bold-cancelling? Yes.
Can you still "Tiger Knee" certain attacks like you could with Spencer’s hook in UMvC3? Yes.
Will there be any sort of character customization (mainly cosmetic customization)? We have nothing to announce at this time.
Can you still do tri-jumps with certain characters? Indeed.
Will there be fly/unfly mechanics? Will they be as fast or have more recovery? They’re still present as the fly/unfly mechanic really opens up creativity with those characters who can fly. It’s pretty fast.
If you go into training room does the announcer say "MUH MUH MUH MAXIMUM" when the bars fill up? The announcer does say maximum when your meter is full.
Does Spencer's Up Grapple into Reel-in Punch still deal 80,000 damage? No. Damage
is calculated differently in MvC:I. Is damage still measured by the absurdly high numbers of UMvC3? No. Damage is much easier to keep track of and measure in MvC:I.
Do reflected fireballs deal the same damage as regular ones? Yes.
Are Chris’ bullets projectiles when it comes to things you can reflect with Advancing Guard? For some of Chris’ bullet based special attacks, yes, you can reflect them.
Can fireballs be reflected forever? Depends on the fireball.
Can you reflect all the fireballs from Arthur’s fireball super? No. You can’t reflect hyper combos.
Can you still rely on "chicken-blocking" to avoid mixups? Nope. You can’t block on the first few jump frames. Now, you have to properly guard mixups coming your way.
Will there be a Hot Ryu costume? We’ve made no announcements about this. That said, there is a cool Evil Ryu costume available if you preorder the game.
Are there any additional ways combo scaling can kick in more quickly, like after throws? Starting combos with light punch is a sure fire way to have your combos scale greatly.
What character has the highest health of the ones revealed so far? Lowest? Hulk has some of the highest. Rocket has some of the lowest.
Can you do any other kinds of jumps besides the high jump and wall jumps? There’s a lower super jump. By pressing down during a super jump, you can use the momentum of the super jump to close in on the opponent faster and attack from new angles.
Can you turn off the auto combos and two-button supers? Yes.
Outside of half-circle and dragon punch motions, will there be any special button combinations for certain attacks, like Wolverine’s Drill Claw or Frank West’s roll in UMvC3? Yes. There will be some attacks that will be performed by pressing two kick buttons together.
Will the final story mode have different difficulties? Will there be in-game rewards for beating it at different levels? Yes, there will be different difficulties. If a player his having a hard time with a particular fight, they’ll be able to choose whether they want to lower the difficulty or not.
Will the mission mode trials pertain to one character, or will there be two-character combos to try and learn? The mission mode trials emphasize how to utilize each character’s attacks and how they function within MvC:I. That said, as active switching is part of mastering your character within a team, there will be two-character trials present to give the player a taste of the infinite possibilities that are present.
For more specific details about the game, check out
In a new behind-the-scenes interview, Yasunori Mitsuda and Sarah Àllain detail the meaning instilled in the song, "Eternal Rest." Thematically, the a cappella song revolves around the ideas of death and fear, and the layered lyrics instill the presence of these deeper values despite a major tonal structure that evokes a sense of comfort.
Àllain, an Australian-Japanese multilinguist, wrote the lyrics in a mixture of Latin and English and adapted a religious Gregorian chant-style to further this motif of duality. Her ethereal voice stands unaccompanied, yet delivers all the warmth and texture necessary to produce an interesting and germane performance. In addition to Àllain being featured on the game's main theme, "Azure Revolution," Mitsudo stated his desire to incorporate Àllain's angelic voice into several other tracks before the composition process comes to a close.
You can check out the whole interview and a taste of "Eternal Rest" below.
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Mitsudo also solicited the help of the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra in building the Valkryia Revolution soundtrack. For more on the game's music, .
Valkyria Revolution releases for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Vita on June 27.
Over the last two years, EA Sports has continued to improve its NHL franchise, but it still has work to do to recapture the glory years of the last console generation when it was a perennial contender for sports game of the year. The gameplay is close to being where it needs to be and the 6v6 EASHL is dramatically improved over its predecessor, but the Be A Pro, Franchise, and Ultimate Team modes still lag considerably behind contemporary sports games. With NHL 18, developer EA Canada addresses some of these shortcomings, and the studio also plans to expand the game's allure with a new, more arcade-centric mode called Threes.
I recently spent some time with the game and chatted with the development team extensively about changes coming to its various modes. Here is everything we know about NHL 18 thus far.
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After years of complaining from people like me (and just about anyone else who writes about or streams NHL), EA is finally stretching player ratings in the NHL so every player isn't rated 80 and above. This year the dev team stretched the ratings so they range between 94 and 75 for most NHL teams. When a player comes out of a draft with a 76 rating now, they are truly NHL ready.
The major focus for EA Canada this year was capturing the speed, skill, and creative spirit of the NHL's great young talents like cover athlete Connor McDavid. "A lot of the stuff we're seeing on a nightly basis right now, if we would have tried to put that stuff in our game 2-3 years ago our core fans would have said, 'This is so arcadey,'" says producer Sean Ramjagsingh. "Now we're seeing that stuff every single night." This means injecting more highlight-reel dekes like one-handed moves, between the legs passes, lofted shots a la Pavel Datsyuk, and back-handed toe drags into the game.
The dev team also went back to tighten up one-to-one control of the dekes carrying over from previous years. Part of this refinement includes making it easier for animations to branch in and out of dekes to make the skill stick feel more responsive.
Defenders have full stick control even when they are skating forward and backward. You can now be skating on the backcheck, holding your stick out behind you to take away passing options for the puck carrier.
To help defenders counter the new moves at the puck handler's disposal, NHL reintroduces a defensive skill stick that lets players hold their stick out and sweep it to take away passing lanes. This becomes another tool in the defender's arsenal along with poke checks, stick lifts, and body checks.
A rewritten passing engine makes it easier for both users and the A.I. to pass pucks off the boards and pass into space. In the past, the A.I. would only consider direct passes. Now it understands how to lead teammates.
The A.I. is also savvier at using the rest of the skills at its disposal, including the new dekes and defensive skill stick.
NHL adopts the 3v3 overtime rules implemented by the league last year.
Doing so required the dev team to rewrite much of the puck support in the game to make sure players understand space and positioning. Ramjagsignh says this has paid dividends in 5v5 situations as well, as players move around more to make themselves available for a pass, better position themselves in the neutral zone, and have a better sense of when to rush to the puck. I noticed defenders in particular were more active rushing the sideboards to keep a puck in play in the offensive zone.
With the array of new dekes, the developers are tweaking the goaltenders to make sure they don't overcommit to the first moves.
Devs are addressing legacy issues to player-controlled goaltenders to get quicker drops to the butterfly position, as well as quicker transitions from butterfly position to hugging the post.
EA continues to tweak the puck pickup logic, which despite improving last year still had problems with players locating pucks at their feet and turning the correct way to receive the puck. They are adding more range and animations for pickups, as well as players being better at gaining possession of rolling/bouncing pucks on easier difficulties.
The same board play system is returning from the past several years, but EA is tweaking to better allow players behind the scrum to dig the puck out. They are also tweaking the physics to change how close to the boards your player can get during puck retrieval.
Net battles should largely be the same, but EA is trying to chance the interaction window so you can get in and out of contact more quickly.
Don't worry about having to deal with the offsides reviews that plagued the real NHL last year - EA Canada isn't touching them.
The team is also changing the frequency of goal review sequences to make them less annoying.
The injury system is largely the same as last year, but the devs are adjusting how long players are out for particular ailments.
A Hockey Training Mode helps onboard those new to the sport (or the game).
Expect to see new camera angles throughout the game to better reflect modern NHL television broadcasts.
Doc Emrick and Eddie Olczyk return to the broadcast booth, as does Ray "Chicken Parm" Ferraro for ice-level commentary. Expect to hear more from Ferraro this year that taps into his insight.
EA is adding "create a mascot" to the creation suite when designing or tweaking your team.
This new arcade mode is built off the new 3v3 overtime foundation, but amps up the dekes and hits.
This pick-up-and-play mode is built to be easily approachable, while still giving hardcore players the fidelity of control they expect.
The rink for Threes is 75 percent the size of a regulation NHL rink and features colorful new ice textures.
The only faceoff you take is at the start of each game or period. From there out when a goalie freezes the puck his team is given possession for a new rush up ice.
Before you start the game you can adjust the rules to play with the traditional three periods or change it to a "first to score X amount of goals wins" setting.
You can also adjust the number of money pucks that will rotate into play during the game. These power-ups come in variances of +1, +2, +3 and -1, -2, or -3. So if the game is 3-3 and you score a -3 goal, you earn one more goal for your team and take away three from your opponent, making the new score 4-0.
A new commentator, who is essentially a guy in the stands, takes the place of the NHL broadcast team.
You can play Threes in Play Now, Online Versus, or take on the single-player Circuit campaign. This mode features five circuits to beat.
When playing the circuit, you take control of a team called the Fridgerators featuring six randomly selected players. As you play through the circuits and beat teams, you can earn new players for your roster, including mascots that can take to the ice in competition.
A star system judges your performance in each game in circuit mode, and the more you get, the more new players, uniforms, and mascots you unlock.
You earn specific rewards based on the teams you play, as well, For instance, if you play the junior team the Prince George Cougars, Cougar alumni Dan Hamhuis may join them on the ice. Beat the team, and Hamhuis becomes available to use on your own roster.
The centerpiece of franchise mode is the new team expansion functionality, which lets you take control of the Vegas Golden Knights or a 32nd NHL franchise and walk them through the expansion draft. Players that the real NHL teams choose to protect will be untouchable in the expansion draft as well.
If you decide to add a 32nd team to the league, you can customize their arena, team name, logo, jerseys, and mascots.
For those who hoped to play through a few years before expanding your league, you are out of luck. You can only add the 32nd team at the beginning of a new franchise mode.
The addition of the expansion draft can also be played out from the other side as one of the other 30 teams. You can set your protected player list and see who the Golden Knights pluck off your roster.
In welcome news for hardcore sim fans, EA Canada finally got around to adding mid-season contract extensions. These negotiating windows follow the real CBA rules.
To reflect the youth movement in the modern NHL, expect to see a lot more NHL-ready players in the top 10 of drafts. You may also be able to find more gems in later rounds than in previous years.
EA did a lot of work fine-tuning player picking, potential, and player progression. They hope the draft classes will mature more organically as a result.
CPU-controlled teams now have a better understanding of their future cap, which will govern its decision to re-sign restricted free agents or potential unrestricted free agents. If they know they probably can't resign an RFA, don't be surprised to see him on the trade block.
EA did a lot of work to create more blockbuster trades, especially in the weeks leading up to the trade deadline. CPU teams are now more open to trading highly regarded prospects like Jonathan Drouin.
Player morale has been tweaked to better account for player and team performance over team chemistry. Struggling players will have morale problems, or players who are driven by winning missing the playoffs. This may affect their willingness to re-sign.
EA Canada completely reworked the franchise mode hub to surface a lot more frequently used menus. Going to the propose trade screen required clicking through two menu systems last year. Now you simply need to click over to the Upgrade Team blade.
Given the heavy focus on EASHL the last two years, EA didn't put as much work into the mode this year.
The biggest change is adding the option to play 3v3 games with your EASHL team. EA says the majority of EASHL games were played with 2.1 players last year, so this should be a popular option for those who want to minimize A.I controlled players' involvement or prefer a more wide-open play style.
The 3v3 games take place within the same ecosystem as the 6v6 games, so you can swap between them.
Though EA would like to add the feature in the future, you cannot carry over your stadium, jerseys, or banners from NHL 17.
The new Threes arenas will be available to unlock in the EASHL progression system.
Don't expect any new player classes out of the gate. However, EA is going to analyze how player selection changes in 3v3 modes and if they see a play style unrepresented they could revisit this in an update.
One new equipment option users have is mouth guards. You can choose your color and how your player interacts with them.
BE A PRO
No, Be A Pro isn't turning into a story-focused mode like Madden's The Longshot and FIFA's The Journey.
The biggest change coming to Be A Pro is the return of trade requests. If you don't like how a team is using you, feel free to tell them you want out.
EA added a few new coaching proficiencies around new features like the revamped dekes and defensive skill stick.
The devs also played around with the call-up/send-down logic to hopefully make these decisions more believable.
Given the attention EA paid to puck support and player positioning, expect your teammates to be more effective this year.
HOCKEY ULTIMATE TEAM
Like Madden and FIFA before it, NHL 18 brings solo challenges into the mix that let you complete objectives for currency and unique rewards.
Synergies are returning, but EA plans to take a brand new approach in NHL 18. Stay tuned for details in the coming months.
Sets are still a major focus for the card collection, and EA plans to introduce more master items as well as easy to turn in sets.
No changes are coming to the auction house.
If you played a lot of HUT in NHL 17, expect to get some extra incentives based on your activity and engagement.
NHL 18 comes to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on September 15. If you want to check out the game before it comes out, EA once again plans to offer a public beta starting July 25. You can register for the beta .
A new Micro Machines game was announced , and now we have a better idea of how close it will feel to the classic Micro Machines games.
The trailer show plenty of gameplay, a multitude of customizable cars, and one sequence where nine cars drive into a toaster and get launched into the air. It's pretty crazy.
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Micro Machines World Tour is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on June 30.
Three years after Crytek originally debuted The Hunt: Horrors of the Guilded Age, the project has re-emerged looking quite different. Now titled Hunt: Showdown, the game retains the gothic-horror-shooter motif, but through many iterations, the game has found a unique niche in the "winner take all" competitive survival genre currently dominated by games like PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds and H1Z1: King of the Kill.
Rather than mimic the popular battle royale formula beat for beat, Hunt remixes concepts like Evolve's monster hunting, The Dark Zone's unsteady alliances in The Division, and the horror setting to create a game unlike any we've seen before. Here are five reasons why fans of the survival genre should pay attention to the Crysis creator's new shooter:
Rounds Begin By Tracking Monsters Hunt begins with a central goal shared by all 10 players in the map - hunt down one or many A.I. controlled monsters across its sandbox map. To do so, you need to use detective vision to track down clues that may reveal the location of the monster. By touching one of the dark-energy pools you find, you get a brief glimpse of the monster's whereabouts via a momentary vision. If you still haven't pieced together its location by the third clue, the monster's location is marked on your map. Since everyone is searching for the same targets and stumbling across the same set of clues, you occasionally run into other players while tracking. This creates uneasy moments similar to The Division's Dark Zone, where you're not sure if you should trust the other team. Do you keep to yourself and slide by undetected or take them out before they have a chance to train their sights on you?.
You need to use caution when engaging other players or the legions of A.I. monsters littering the map because sound carries far. The second you fire your weapon, other players will have a rough idea of your location, so sometimes it's smarter to use stealth kills.
Players Team Off In Pairs Rather than leave you to your own devices during the monster hunting, Hunt pairs you off into five teams of two. This creates an interesting new dynamic, as you can coordinate flanking moves, create diversions, and better defend entrenched positions should all hell break lose. If one of you goes down in combat, you have a window to revive them as well. This is especially important because the rounds are permadeath. Once you lose your hunter, you lose all their weapons, gear, and skills. Escaping with your partner also imparts a valuable team bonus. Crytek says you could try to play solo as well, but it's much tougher.
Once The Monster Is Vanquished, The Round Becomes PvP After locating the target, the team we watched in our demo made its way to a barn where the monster was holed up. The gigantic tarantula scurries quickly, darting through windows and climbing along walls to avoid gunfire. After the frantic battle, the players made the killing blow. But vanquishing the monster isn't the end game of Hunt: Showdown, it's just the appetizer.
After killing the monster, players must banish its evil spirit. Once this timed process starts, a beacon goes out that broadcasts your location to every player on the map. The incentive for other players to hunt you down? They can grab the bounty from you and claim the reward. Some may choose to engage head on, but others may just booby trap the doors to take you out if you try to flee. After the banishment concludes, then it's time to head toward one of the exit points on the map. This chaotic skirmish is ripe for stream broadcasts, as the high tension is palpable whether you are playing or viewing.
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The Atmosphere Drips With Tension Using the excellent CryEngine, Hunt: Showdown is gorgeous, leveraging its high-resolution textures and lighting system to create creepy swamps, forests, and villages in the one-kilometer map. Set in the darkness, it's hard to know whether that movement up ahead is simply the wind blowing foliage, an A.I. zombie, or a team of players tracking the enemy. Because sound carries far in this world, players are encouraged to stay in the shadows. For instance, if you accidentally brush by a chicken coop, their clucking may alert enemies and other players to your position.
Hunt Is Permadeath, But You Don't Lose Everything Knowing you're going to lose your beloved character, weapons, and skills during a survival game amps up the tension, but that doesn't mean it's not frustrating to start from scratch every round. Hunt: Showdown introduces a "bloodline" concept to alleviate some of this irritation. Any passive skill that you have unlocked with a hunter (like speed shooting, being able to carry more supplies, and dual wielding) can be passed down to your new hunter as a purchasable skill using the in-game currency. You can also keep a stable of hunters with different skill loadouts.
Hunt: Showdown has no planned release date yet, but Crytek plans to involve the community in fine-tuning the game. Whether that means early access, closed alpha, or pubic beta is yet to be known, but expect to hear the coming months.
South Park: The Fractured But Whole has seen , but it's finally coming this October. This follow up to 2014's The Stick of Truth parodies Marvel, where the kids form a superhero group called Coon and Friends that rivals with another group, the Freedom Pals. At E3 2017, Ubisoft showed off more gameplay, and I was able to get my hands on a rather raunchy part of the game.
The demo I played takes place in a strip club. Protagonist the New Kid and Captain Diabetes (also known as Scott Malkinson), sneak into a strip club through a window. The two are in search of a dancer with a crude tattoo, who will help lead them to their next goal. Trying to speak to the stripper, however, becomes an adventure of its own. You begin by having to converse with the different dancers, in search for the right one. As you do so, you can explore the club at your leisure. A lot of amusing interactions occur simply by talking to customers, and you can also get interesting reactions by farting or throwing firecrackers.
The jokes are lewd and often involve toilet humor, but it feels right at home in the South Park universe. You can create explosions by mixing farts and firecrackers, and crude collectibles can be found in creative ways, such as making a condom fall from the ceiling. Most dancers and customers treat you with disdain, as if they have no time for your childish nonsense, but that's what makes creating havoc that much more fun.
At one point, you try to squeeze information out of two men, but to find out the answers to your questions, you have to entice them with a lapdance first. But this isn't any kind of lapdance; this one plays out like a minigame, where you time your moves correctly to give your unfortunate victim a fart-fueled lapdance. You manage to interrogate them to find out the name of the dancer you're looking for, but this also forces you to engage in combat with them.
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The combat system is -depth this time around, leaving behind The Stick of Truth's more simplified approach. I really enjoyed The Stick of Truth's turn-based system, which was reminiscent of Paper Mario. Although I felt the combat system was on-point in the first game, the reinvented system is refreshing and volved. While still turn-based, you now move around on a grid. During combat, there is a fair bit of movement that happens across the board. Some attacks can push a foe backward, others can cause status effects. Each character in your party has different skill sets, such as Captain Diabetes acting as a tank who can deal a lot of damage. Your attacks have various effects and ranges, which requires tactical thinking and trying to predict what the enemy will do in response to your moves. It's a short fight which only gives a glimpse at how combat works, but from our , we have felt that some characters can be overpowered.
Afterwards, you must search around for ingredients to make a gin and tonic. This isn't just your average gin and tonic, however: it has some "special" ingredients, such as rat poop. The demo ends following giving the drink to the DJ.
South Park: The Fractured But Whole is outrageous, comical, and ridiculous. The combat system is volved this time around, and just how well it plays in the full game remains to be seen, but we enjoyed seeing more of what ludicrous adventures our favorite wannabe superheroes get up to. For more on The Fractured But Whole, click the banner below to check out exclusive features, videos, interviews and more.
When I first played LawBreakers last year, I thought it was
a fun shooter that I wasn't certain would hook me over the long-term. I had a
chance to play the recently announced PS4 version, and came away more positive
on the experience.
I played the Blitzball mode, which is a similar mode to
Capture the Flag, but with one flag that teams must fight over. The object is
to escort the ball to the enemy spawn point into their goal. If you kill the
ball carrier, they drop the ball. It's a simple mode, but when you combine the
two teams comprised of the various classes, it's a fun and frantic experience.
I enjoyed the different characters I played, but I
gravitated toward the gunslinger class, which gave me two different kinds of
pistols (one revolver and one burst-fire gun), as well as a blink ability like
Tracer's speedy maneuver in Overwatch. I liked using the right trigger to fire
my revolver for precision shots, while using the left to layer on the damage
with the burst-fire. When my character's ultimate comes ready, both of his
pistols turn into machine guns for a short period, dealing massive damage to
anyone in my path.
While the comparisons to Overwatch are inevitable, director
Cliff Bleszinski says that there are a number of differences between his hero-based
shooter and Blizzard's. "Overwatch is a great game," he says. "[It] did a lot
of things to deliberately expand the market with regards to allowing a more
casual user to get in. A lot of the ultimates feel like 'Press 'Q' to win.'
Ours you actually have to aim. It's one of those things where I'm not going to
freeze the player, I'm not going to have Roadhog's hook, I'm not going to have
Hanzo's arrow collision. We're very much a one-to-one ratio where what you see
is what you get. What I like to say is that this is a shooter that also has
abilities and characters, and Overwatch is a great game that has characters and
abilities that's also then a shooter. We are very much gunning for the
Of course, one of the selling points of LawBreakers is its
leniency with the laws of gravity. The center part of the map I played had very
little gravity, which means characters fly through the air, providing unique
gameplay moments rarely found in other shooters.
Initially, Bleszinski was concerned about how gamepads would
handle this, but he has since figured out ways to make it work. "if you play
the game on PC, it's bats--- insane," he says. "That actually might be a bit
much for people. The console version is still pretty crazy, but it's about 85%
as crazy. So it's one of those things where you can only have an FPS be so
crazy with a controller."
While I was not particularly hot on the game at first,
LawBreakers has slowly won me over more with each time I've played it. Bleszinski
says that this was the impression many players had due to the team taking the
game too public too early. "We wanted to be very transparent with our
development, however we found out that's not very good for PR and press beats,"
he says. "If I could go back in time, I would have the alpha that we did not be
public because it was okay, but it wasn't really what the full game turned out
to be. But we did learn a lot of things from it."
Though other hero-based shooters make it so LawBreakers has
an uphill battle, I'm excited to get more time with the game when it
launches on PS4 and PC August 8.
Nintendo had a few surprises up its sleeve at this year's E3, even after their thirty-minute spotlight ended. During their Treehouse livestream, they announced a new 3DS Metroid title, . They also announced Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido, a game whose look and gameplay look to be as ridiculous as its title.
Developed by indieszero (Electroplankton, NES Remix), the game has players building match three-style combos out of plates of food, then using the plates earned from those combos to attack their opponent. IT also looks to have a single-player mode with light exploration and dialogue.
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There is no shortage of Lego games, so I wouldn’t blame you for feeling burned out on them by now. But if you only dive into the series occasionally, you might want to check out Traveller's Tales' next exploration of the Marvel universe. Here are five reasons that Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 should be an epic superhero romp.
A Fun Time-Warping Story Marvel Comics has a lot of heroes, so TT Games needs an epic story that will bring all its characters together. For Marvel Super Heroes 2, TT Games has teamed up with award-winning comic author Kurt Busiek <(i>Astro City, Marvels, other good comics) to tell a story loosely based off comics series like Avengers Forever and Kang Dynasty. In the game’s story, Kang the Conqueror - a warlord from the 30th century - travels back in time, attempting to conquer the planet and rewrite history.
Dream Location Mishmash As part of Kang’s master plan, the warlord has ripped pieces of various cities from across the time stream and quilted them together to create one massive city called Chronopolis. This allows TT Games to incorporate some of their favorite Marvel locations into one place. Fans can expect to explore various versions of Manhattan as well as the mountains K'un-L'un, the planet Sakaar, and the space hub Knowhere. But this just scratches the surface; TT Games estimates that Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2’s hub world is around four or five times bigger than the one in its last Marvel game.
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All-ages Humor Everyone knows that the Lego games are filled with good clean humor. This one is no different. Nuff said.
You Get To Play With Time Time travel isn’t simply a story conceit; TT Games is incorporating time-manipulation into the gameplay as well. We got to play with time during an E3 demo, where we led the Guardians of the Galaxy into a fight with a Celestial. During the battle, we encouraged the skyscraper-sized Celestial to destroy a few machines scattered around the environment. We were then able to use the remaining machine parts to build a device that rewound time within a localized area. We rewound time near a destroyed ship, which cause it to revert to its previously functional state and the used the ship to help take out the Celestial. We’re not sure how often these time-manipulation moments will pop up in the full game, but it was a fun gameplay system that we hope to see explored more.
Play As Everyone’s Favorite Marvel Characters, The Inhumans Just kidding. No one cares about the Inhumans. But you can play as several other noteworthy Marvel heroes. If you thought the last Lego Marvel game had a big roster, this one blows it out of the water. We got to play as several members of the Guardians of the Galaxy, but we’ve also seen other fan favorites from Marvel’s various realities, such as Spider-Gwen, Spider-Man 2099, Ragnarok versions of Thor and Hulk, and the Inhumans. Sorry, did I mention the Inhumans again? I meant to say M.O.D.O.K.
Rather than trickling out a series of smaller downloadable mission packs as it did with Dishonored, Arkane Studios is thinking bigger for expanded content for Dishonored 2. Death of the Outsider is a standalone adventure placing players in the shoes of Billie Lurk (a.k.a. Meagan Foster), the apprentice to Empress slayer Daud. The duo is attempting something many believe to be impossible - to assassinate the meddlesome deity who originally bestowed Daud, Corvo, Emily, and Delilah with supernatural powers. We spoke with Arkane co-founder Harvey Smith about how this expansion differentiates itself from its predecessors. Here are the biggest takeaways.
You Do Not Play As Daud Given that the last game featured two playable protagonists, many speculated or assumed that Daud would join Billie as a playable character in Death of the Outsider. This is not the case - this is Billie's mission. Daud still plays a critical role in the tale, but he's more of a mission giver.
Billie Bears No Mark Of The Outsider The three characters we have controlled in the Dishonored series so far - Corvo, Daud, and Emily - all bore the Mark of the Outsider, which bestowed unique supernatural powers to each. Already a formidable assassin without access to these otherworldly skills, Billie instead gains an edge on her opponents with an arsenal of powerful artifacts. The knife she wields is the same blade that originally sacrificed The Outsider. She gains the Foresight ability to scout the surrounding area with an artifact called the Sliver of the Eye. This is a fragment of the Eye of the Dead God, which Arkane implies is the divinity that came before The Outsider.
A talisman from her childhood sweetheart Deirdre gives Billie the ability to hear the whispers of rats. A powerful artifact gives Billie the Displace power. After placing this marker anywhere in the environment, she can snap back to the location instantly provided she is still in the marker's line of sight when she activates the power. She also has the Semblance skill, which lets Billie assume another person's identity, and a Void Strike charge attack that knocks enemies back.
Once you complete The Death of the Outsider, you unlock Original Game Plus, which grants you Blink and a couple other classic powers from the first two games for subsequent playthroughs. Contrary to some speculation, you do not get access to the full trees of Emily and Corvo; you get three to replace Billie's powers.
Visit New Areas Of Karnaca And Beyond Taking place roughly six months after the events of Dishonored 2, Death of the Outsider returns to the southern island city. This time, however, you can look forward to seeing new parts of the city. In addition, you may return to some familiar parts of the city, but Arkane is changing the time of day and putting in new details that communicate the passage of time. Smith says players will journey to new locations outside of Karnaca as well that the studio isn't talking about just yet.
Don't Expect Corvo Or Emily Cameos Having successfully reclaimed her throne, Emily Kaldwin has a lot of work to do to restore public confidence in her and wipe any last trace of Delilah's scourge from Dunwall. With so much on her plate, don't expect to see Corvo or Emily join the fray in Death of the Outsider. "From our perspective, they are off stage," Smith says. "They're dealing with the reconstruction of Dunwall." That said, the duo won't be unaffected by the outcome of the story. Should Billie vanquish The Outsider, anyone who bore the mark will lose their supernatural gift.
This Tale Wraps The Jessamine Kaldwin Story Arc Killing off the deity who bestows the main characters with the supernatural powers that make Dishonored such a joy seems like a strange move if Arkane and Bethesda have future plans for the series. So I asked Smith if the Death of the Outsider is the final chapter of Dishonored. "Going all the way to the end with the Outsider, who's kind of a sad figure, and letting players deal with him one way or another way and resolve that whole arc, it does feel like the book is closing on at least this part of Dishonored," Smith says. "Now there may be another part, or not - I don't know. And I don't know whether I'll be involved with it."
Dishonored 2 is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on September 15.
Tokyo RPG Factory is a studio devoted to creating new titles in the style of the classic role-playing games of the ‘90s. The company’s first project, I am Setsuna, was an interesting first step toward capturing the essence of games like Chrono Trigger. However, as I noted in , some elements of the formula could use some adjustment.
is the next game from Tokyo RPG Factory, and from what I could tell during my demo at E3 (and a conversation with director Atsushi Hashimoto), the studio has clearly heard the feedback from players. It still looks and plays a lot like I am Setsuna, but with some important improvements. These are the areas of concern from the last game that The Lost Sphear appears to be addressing directly.
Combat Positioning Certain combat skills have a defined target area or trajectory, but if you can’t control your characters’ positions, you can’t optimize those attacks to land where you’d like. The Lost Sphear fixes this problem, letting you manually maneuver your characters around the battlefield. For example, if you have an energy wave that shoots forward in a straight line, you can now move into the best place to strike as many enemies as possible. This should eliminate the frustration stemming from moments where your characters are just a few pixels shy of landing a big attack.
Varied Environments I am Setsuna was unified by snowy visual theme. Though the icy surroundings were consistent and often beautiful, they did not offer much variety, and many areas and dungeons felt the same. The environments you visit in The Lost Sphear will offer more diversity, since the world is composed of different cultural regions. For instance, one is based on machinery, while another is focused on magic. Even so, Hashimoto tells us that the imagery of the moon is still an consistent visual theme tying the game together.
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Skill Acquisition I am Setsuna’s skill system was intriguing, allowing you to trade your spoils from battle in order to obtain new abilities. But if you failed to fight enough of a particular enemy, you might not earn enough of a particular item, which means you would miss out on the associated skill. Though we don’t have specifics on how this system is changing, the team is aware this system created problems for some players, and it is working on ways to make the process friendlier.
Inns This may sound like basic RPG material, but towns have inns where you can rest to restore your health and magic. This was not in I am Setsuna, which instead had players using tents in the field (or at save points) to replenish resources. Though they are similar concepts, enough players apparently had problems with the absence of inns that the team decided to integrate this familiar feature into The Lost Sphear.
Of course, the game isn’t just about fixing old issues. Square Enix says that the game also has unannounced new features, but those details will have to wait for another time. But even from what I’ve seen so far, I’m excited for another dose of old-school role-playing.
The Lost Sphear is releasing on PlayStation 4, Switch, and PC in early 2018.
Pro Evolution Soccer has been improving since a slow start to this console generation. , but the development team at Konami is not taking anything for granted. For example, PES 2018 does not feel like 2017. Considering the quality of that game, this is no small risk in the name of progress. So far the team's desire to push forward feels like the right move.
There is still more news to come for PES 2018 - including what licenses are being added - but for now, there's quite enough to contemplate and get excited about regarding its gameplay. Here are a few things I noticed.
Dribbling & Feel
PES 2018 ups the ante in the series' longstanding quest for making gamers feel like they're in total control. Watching players dribble, it seems like you can see more touches of the ball and there is a corresponding level of fine control when moving around with just the left analog. Players feel like they're appropriately addressing the ball with both their feet, as if you're watching them move as people and not collections of animations.
Perhaps to accommodate this control, the game as a whole is slower than last year. Overall, it's more deliberate - but not clunky. While you feel your player's movements more, the tradeoff is knowing when you can or cannot take an extra touch (and with which foot) or have the time, space, and ability to dribble your way out of a situation. There were times when I simply would lose the ball because I was being too ambitious or took too big of a touch of the ball that forced it to roll out of my possession.
I'm not sure what it's a factor of, but shorter passes feel a little slower as well, but in my time with the game I didn't notice a big difference in how shots, corners, or free kicks felt.
One new aspect of the game that goes hand-in-hand with ball control is how seamlessly PES 2018 integrates its new auto-shielding. This means that players are constantly dribbling while fighting off other players. The best part is that it all feels natural and not like you're just watching this canned sequence or that everything's already been pre-determined. This is a huge feature that doesn't sound earth-shattering, but is one that is an important step forward.
Animations Going along with the new way that players feel when they move and dribble, players overall show new animations in how they handle the ball with parts of their body other than their feet. I've seen new traps off the chest, pulling the ball down with a leg high in the air, and other ways to try and snare the ball. There were a couple times when I honestly wasn't sure how my player was going to control the ball, and then I 'd see a new animation that made total sense and allowed me to corral it.
A Concern I enjoyed my time with the game, and still have much more to comb over the next time I play it. One of the things that I want to check out next time are ball pickups. There were times when my player was very close to the ball without another player near - close enough that I expected my player to gain possession of the ball - but it rolled by instead. Not sure if this is due to the slower pace of the game and that I expected my player to get there in time or if it's due to something else. It didn't happen a lot, but it did a few times.
For more on the game, check out its as well as for this year's game (written before E3).
PES 2018 comes out on September 12 for PS4, Xbox One, PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.
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Actor Terry Crews Crackdown 3's showing at Microsoft's press conference (he will also play a character within the game), but star power isn't the biggest thing that this open-world game has going for it. Freedom is front and center, since Crackdown 3 gives players a variety of weapons and skills, then places them in a world that rewards their choices. During my demo of Crackdown 3, I saw how the game responds to what you do, but in ways that can vary from one player to the next.
Gangs Fight Back The gangs of New Providence don’t take kindly to being systematically weakened and killed. As you destroy their infrastructure and shoot your way through their hierarchy, they generally respond in one of two ways. First, they might go on the attack, sending strike forces after you that can result in intense firefights at just about any location across the city. Second, they might fortify their existing strongholds, which would naturally amp up the game’s difficulty as your progress. These events don’t happen after every single thing you do, but still give you something to consider as you prepare an offensive push.
A Changing Skyline One of the first features of Crackdown 3 we learned about was the extreme, cloud-supported environmental destruction. However, that’s (disappointingly) only present in competitive multiplayer. According to the Crackdown 3 team, you can’t fulfill the campaign’s goal of saving the city and citizens if you are toppling buildings and obliterating city blocks. Even so, some structures will change based on your progress in single-player or co-op. For example, the gang kingpins’ hideouts might change in various ways after you take them out, leaving a permanent reminder of your exploits in the skyline.
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"Skills For Kills, Agent" Your agent’s actions within the world it are what produce skill orbs - your key to progression. Performing kills with different skill categories (like guns, explosives, and strength) earns you more experience in those particular areas. As you use them, you unlock greater capabilities in each field. So, how you choose to tackle objectives may not directly impact the world, but it does affect your ability to interact with it.
Chipping Away Crackdown fans should be familiar with the idea of gradually wearing down their enemies’ defenses and exploiting openings. That is also part of Crackdown 3; the more gang leaders you take down, the better your chances of survival become throughout the city. For instance, my demo focused on eliminating Liv Sorenson, the head of the city’s enforcer squad. If you successfully take her out, her force will be left without a strong leader, making it easier to take out other bosses and strongholds.
Territory Interactions The bosses’ territories in Crackdown 3 aren’t neatly split into distinct sections of the map. Instead, various structures and objectives are scattered across the city, and each one is associated with a particular boss. For instance, monorail stations are under the supervision of an A.I. named ROXY. However, right next door could be a depot controlled by Sorenson’s forces. The advantage here is that you can play these forces against each other. I saw an agent take over the monorail station first, then establish a mobile turret on the track - which just so happened to pass above a depot. When the agent went to assault Sorenson’s asset, the turret provided assistance from above. So, before you go charging toward an objective, make sure you scout around to see what advantages you can establish.
Crackdown 3 release on November 7 for Xbox One and PC.
I was left disappointed with the ending of Shadow of Mordor when I played it at launch in 2014. After a promising start to that game, the final hours of the adventure felt rushed and sometimes ill-conceived, and the early excitement of the Nemesis system didn’t pan out into the meaningful encounters I had hoped to find.
A lengthy demo of Shadow of War isn’t enough to lift all the concerns left behind by the prior game’s issues, but it went a long way to reigniting my enthusiasm for Talion’s adventures beyond the Black Gate.
No system seems untouched when compared to Shadow of War’s predecessor. Every moment-to-moment gameplay mechanic is revamped or has seen improvements, from more responsive melee to a traversal and travel system that is faster and more responsive.
The vaunted Nemesis system was the most revolutionary feataure of the first game, and the sequel has what appears to be a much deeper and more nuanced approach. Individual orc enemies have more distinct personalities and gameplay perks, so it’s even more important to pay attention to strengths and weaknesses. Talion is also building up his own army throughout the game, and it pays to recognize how to deploy your captains to counter specific threats.
That dynamic is on full display in the new fortress assaults. Prior to starting the battle, smart commanders will take extra time to choose how to deploy troops, and what bonuses to apply to those troops in order to best conquer specific enemy fortifications and leaders. Talion’s involvement in those assaults is also key to victory, and I had a blast exploring my many options for breaching enemy defenses. I climbed the wall and took out archers. I dominated a massive stone throwing beast on the walls, mounted him, and leaped down into the courtyard to clear a control point. I shadow struck up onto a passing drake, and then flew flame strafing runs across the enemy troops lines. And then I broke down the doors to the inner keep to do battle with the orc leader holding the fort. The sense of command and control outstrips what we saw in Shadow of Mordor, and helps this new game evoke a sense of being in a real war.
I was also impressed when I stepped away from the big battles and tried out a couple of story missions. Without spoiling their contents too much, I can say that both felt like they had more meaningful character interactions, dialogue threads, and crafted objectives than what I recall from the last game. One involved a quest deep into a forest, and a confrontation with a forest spirit hidden within the trees. Another allowed me to meet up with an elven assassin in a stealth-oriented quest to uncover information about Mordor’s use of the all-seeing Palantir artifacts. If those two missions are an indicator of the campaign’s general flow, I’ll be very happy.
Talion’s equipment and skill progression also intrigued me. Players can pick and choose among five major skill paths - combat, predator, ranged, wraith, and mounted - while a sixth path of abilities unlocks naturally through the course of the story. Tons of cool abilities lay hidden within these upgrade paths, from new melee takedowns to increased stealth attack options. Similarly, the new inventory system boasts significant customization potential. My favorite feature is that some more highly powered equipment can gain even more strength if you complete a specific task while having it equipped, like a certain number of ground takedowns on enemy captains.
The surrounding environments appeared to offer more variety and interest than I remember from the first game, with more lush and vibrant colors, but the small area of the open world in which I was able to play wasn’t enough to let me get a true sense of the full environment. As a Tolkien fan, I’m also more than a little bit at a loss as far as where the story and themes of the story are going at this point. The increasingly dark and world-changing nature of Talion’s adventures feel increasingly at odds with the core fiction, but perhaps it’s best to not get too caught up in parity with the original books or movies. As it is, the storytelling certainly seems strongly tied to elements of Middle-earth lore, but at times tonally dissonant from the source material.
Even with those concerns, I came away from my time with Middle-earth: Shadow of War greatly heartened as to the direction of the gameplay in particular, and enthusiastic about the game’s potential when it releases on October 10.
With Tropico 6, Limbic Entertainment is bringing back fan
favorite features and combining them with their own personal touches in hopes
of creating the most fully featured entry yet. As with the previous entry, you
play through four eras (Colonial, World War, Cold War, and Modern) in this
city-builder with a totalitarian twist. I checked out an early build of Tropico
6 and came away impressed by what the developer is doing with the title.
In Tropico 6, you once again assume the role of El
Presidente as you build your fledgling nation up. The goal of the game is to
stay in power long enough to complete 1 of 15 single-player missions or to see
your nation become a powerhouse.
You can accomplish this through either acting as a
benevolent patron or a ruthless dictator. Do you hold elections? Do you only
open them up to the wealthy? Do you try and attract tourists? Do you invest in
the weapons industry? Do you test nuclear weapons? These factors all affect how
your citizens view you and how much they'll tolerate your reign.
This time around, you control an entire archipelago rather
than just one island. The grouping of islands I saw featured one that was rich in
agriculture, while one was host to a massive volcano, and the other was a
beautiful beachy island. Each area varies with resources, with accessible
overlays showing where you can find resources like oil, fish, and iron. One
island was rich in coal, so we built a coal mine and a port so that boats could
transport it to the other islands.
At the mid-way point of my demo, a message pops up that my
citizens are demanding an election. I can choose to appease them or test their
patience. We decide to give them what they want and hold an election. Prior to
the vote, you can give your speech with promises and even point the blame at
other variables for your shortcomings. Once you reach the election, you can opt
to let the votes speak for themselves or you can try and manipulate the vote
after the fact.
A new aspect of Tropico allows you to perform raids. Each
era requires you to build a specific landmark before you can complete raids.
Raids are missions you send to neighboring countries. You can perform tasks
like espionage, manipulate the stock market, or intimidate your neighbors.
Instead, we decided to steal the Statue of Liberty. We sent special ops off
into a plane and they went off on their mission.
After some time passes, a dialogue box pops up saying my
team needs more support. I can send them oil, give them more time, or do
nothing. My choice affects their chances for success. The mission ends a
complete success and four planes fly in shortly after hauling the Statue of
Liberty. It was a goofy moment that sticks out in my mind as the exact kind of
tongue-in-cheek moments that sets this apart from the other city-builder
I've never been a massive Tropico player, but this sixth
entry looks promising. I'll be keeping my eye on Tropico's development as we
get closer to its 2018 release.
Absolver is hands-down the most complex melee combat system I’ve encountered in a game, and the game will live or die by its ability to communicate that complexity to its players in a clear and steady learning curve. That’s my prognosis after a lengthy demo of the online martial arts action game, in which one to three players team up to explore the ruins of a city destroyed long ago. Plenty of AI enemies are scattered throughout the world, but, PvP is also enabled throughout the world, so there’s a constant need to improve your skills and be ready for anything. The combat system includes options for multiple stances switchable mid-combo, combo chains with multiple alternative finishers, dodges, blocks, feints, an active-reload style timing system for connecting moves, and distinct abilities for every potential class.
Between battles, you can meditate to completely customize your own combos; develop a particularly great set of moves, and you might even found a martial arts school, and other players will adopt your style. Beyond in-world competitive or cooperative play, you can also opt in to dedicated game modes like 1v1 duels or 3v3 domination-style play styles. As you play, NPCs and players who use a particular attack on you begin to teach you - get attacked by a certain move enough times, and you learn it yourself.
When you start to nail the flow of movement and attacks, Absolver really nails the martial arts vibe it is shooting for; in a couple of battles I marveled at the slick animations as they connected to my opponents. But at other times, I felt completely confused by the options at my disposal.
Austin Wintory composed some gorgeous music for the game, and the visual presentation is smooth and stylistic. I also really liked the new stagger martial arts style (drunken master) which was introduced for the first time at this show; it has a wild sense of constant motion about it that is thrilling to both watch and play.
Absolver has a lot of innovative and exciting ideas at play; here’s hoping Sloclap can make the learning curve accessible and engaging, and we get an amazing martial arts epic out of the deal.
I get it. I was as skeptical as anyone. When Konami that Metal Gear would be continuing (without series creator Hideo Kojima) as a zombie/survival game, I was not interested. However, after playing Metal Gear Survive at E3, I've changed my tune a bit. Though a 20-minute demo isn't enough time to offer a full endorsement, I no longer question the game's right to exist - and neither should you. Here's why.
Familiar Foundation Metal Gear Survive generally uses the same control systems Ground Zeroes and The Phantom Pain - meticulously polished and executed games. After being refined during the course of Metal Gear Solid V's development, this control scheme still feels great. If you're familiar with MGS V, you'll be comfortable with Metal Gear Survive almost immediately. Responsive and intuitive gameplay is something that studios struggle to achieve, so starting with that already in place gives Metal Gear Survive a leg up.
Cool Gadgets I played a team-oriented defense mode, and during breaks between waves, players have the chance to fortify the base with various traps including barricades, oil slicks, and spinning blades. You also have weapons like remote-activated C4, which helped me eliminate several groups of enemies rushing our base. My favorite, however, was a Walker Gear that I obtained by running out to do a side objective between waves. Just like in MGS V, Walker Gears are highly mobile, and mine came with a powerful machine gun and melee attack that made me feel like a one-man army.
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It's Fun I had a surprisingly good time with moment-to-moment gameplay in Metal Gear Survive. It controls well, provides more tactical options than I expected, and has potential for interesting teamwork among allies. Because I only had a short time with the game, I can't speak to the long-term progression or other ways that it could keep players interested, but the one round I spent defending a generator from encroaching waves of zombies was a lot of fun.
Single-Player Though Konami has only highlighted the multiplayer experience so far, the game will also launch with a single-player mode. I didn't get to see it in action, but the company says it will focus on players using a variety of survival techniques, including building a base camp and collecting resources.
But... Even considering all of that, I'm still not completely sure who this game is for. As a longtime Metal Gear fan, I'm not particularly drawn to the story or the apparent focus on multiplayer. But I'm also not sure that Metal Gear Survive's vision for its world and modes is going to pull in fans of shooters or survival games. I can't ignore the baggage and expectations that come along with the Metal Gear name, but the fact that it faces an identity crisis doesn't negate Metal Gear Survive's solid mechanics.
Metal Gear Survive is scheduled to release in early 2018 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
I've played Forza Motorsport 7 on Xbox One X, and there's a lot to like about it - it looks great, it feels good, and its got some cool features. That's not unusual for a Forza title. However, there are some constituent aspects of the title that are under the radar which help set this entry apart from the others in the series as well as the rest of the pack.
For the first time in a Forza title you can see your avatar (male or female) outside of the car, and there are over 300 firesuits that you can select to put them in (you'll even see your friends' drivatars in their suits). While the helmets aren't a separate, selectable part of the look, the firesuit/helmet combos span racing history. As you can see from the shot above, everything happens trackside in the pits. Thus, there isn't a different showroom to check out your car via Forzavista.
What you can't hear from the screen above is the game's music. You can use your own tunes and hear them in the game. Moreover, when you're out on the track you'll hear the music as if it's coming from the track speakers. Similarly, during race days it'll be like it's being piped through the grandstand. Developer Turn 10 talked about importing the music via a One Drive playlist, but they declined at the time to talk about other ways to import music into the game.
The Forza series changes up its career format seemingly every year. Sometimes it's about freedom, other times it's a more curated journey. Thankfully Forza 7 is more open than some years. There are six major championships in the game within which there are a multitude of series based around the vehicles in your garage. Hot Hatches, trucks, stock cars, historic vehicles, it's all covered. Showcase races return hosted by various as-of-now-unannounced racing celebrities, and beating some of these Showcases are the only way to unlock some of the game's cars.
I asked Forza 7's creative director Bill Gies why the series keeps changing its career format, and he said, "We reinvent it every year based on the content that we have and the stories we want to tell. And with this one, we wanted to reimagine everything to be more human, more thrilling, and again going to the PC and these bigger markets, we wanted players to have more fidelity to be able to control it how they want. It's more open, players can choose their path to mastery, choose the cars they want - again, it's more authentic."
THE CARS & YOUR REWARDS
Forza 7 has an unbelievable 700+ cars, and what the team says is the largest collection of Porsche, Lamborghini, and Ferrari cars in any video game. If that wasn't enough, Forza 7 continues to heap on the rewards. I've always thought the rewards and cars you earn for leveling up your avatar was a great part of the title. This time around there's an added wrinkle: The more cars you have in your garage gives you greater rewards when the time comes.
Forza 7 comes out on Xbox One and Windows 10 on October 3.
You'll have to free the citizen restrained by the autorities, localise and then infiltrate into control centers of the anti video games propaganda, retrieve gaming consoles confiscated from the population to dethrone the new Mayor, who is the cause of all that mess. Beware, some new security drones are patroling the city and you'll have to be vigilent at the cost of being chased and having to shake them off.