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Free Browser Games rpg

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Pocket RPG

An exciting adventure is waiting for you! It's a book. It's a game. It's a gamebook.

Category:puzzle,arcade

https://play.famobi.com/pocket-rpg puzzle,arcade online game


 

Battle Wizard Attack

Use your mouse to handle the menu and move the player around. Use the shown keyboard keys to fire spells.

Category:rpg

Battle Wizard Attack online game


 

Blast RPG

How far can you launch your knight in shining armour? Slay the bats along the way and reach your goal!

Category:action

Blast RPG online game


 

Paper Craft Wars

Paper Craft Wars is a fast thinking RTS/RPG game, with deep tactic capabilities and amazing graphic in unique style. Choose one of three races and lead your people towards the victory and beat Strange monster. Battle through 60 levels (20 for race), capture 11 varieties of buildings (3 types), in 6 game mods, learn 14 skills, use 6 spells, defeat huge monster, receive 100+ achievements.

Category:strategy

Paper Craft Wars online game


 

Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock

Pick either of the weapons and see if you win. To see which weapons beat what, go to directions.

Category:rpg

Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock online game


 

EG Rpg Fight

EG Rpg Fight This is game “Action RPG”. Everyone can easily understand and can play it .

Category:Action

/goto-gd-60ec9345adf7463392fbe8b8cce3ac6c Action online game


 

Wasteland Shooters

Wasteland Shooters features fast shooters that want to dominate the wastelands.
Features:
• 4 Maps
• Up to 16 players per room
• Game modes: Deathmatch/Team deathmatch
• Multiple weapons: Knife, Deagle, MP5, Shotgun, Sniper, RPG, Grenade launcher
• Player can move fast and do higher jumps

Category:Action

/goto-gd-edd9a16b481e4274aac0328601ae24c8 Action online game


 

Shakes & Fidget

Try to reach the top in the Hall of Fame in this award-winning fantasy MMORPG in comic style!

Category:[]

https://play.famobi.com/shakes-and-fidget [] online game


 

Pixel Forces

Pixel Forces features:
• Five multiplayer game modes: RPG, Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Explore, and Battle Royale
• 5 amazing and unique maps with trampoline platforms
• Room options: max players, private, night toggle
• 12 character skins

Category:Action

/goto-gd-8abfef4ee7524ae48c7db41d5434e3f8 Action online game


 

AFK HEROES

Control the party of heroes to help them in their brave journey. Defeat monsters and bosses in this idle-RPG game but don't forget that every time you get stronger, monsters also grow more dangerously.

Category:Clicker

/goto-gd-643bb9ee47f34067a862104065e0bd66 Clicker online game

 

Anime Fantasy RPG Dress Up

Do you like manga or anime girl dress up games? Sure you do! And what's you've really missed is fantasy anime dress up in a Role Playing Games style! 6 cute anime girls are looking for a good RPG fan to dress them up!

Category:Girls

/goto-gd-90be3fa362c04b66a152346e134fc6c0 Girls online game

 

Mini Fighters : Quest & battle

The most strategic RPG war game is now available, " Mini Fighters : Quest & battle ". You must lead your mini fighters army and defeat the enemy ! Up to the victory !!! You are in charge of leading a small group of soldiers. Each of them have different characteristics and weapons. Attack, defense, special tricks... You have a vast variety of strategies to defeat the enemy. Spin the wheel to pop up your soldiers and fight against hordes of enemies, and many other scary creatures….

Category:Action

/goto-gd-7f858cc514a44f4c825cd236947d07c8 Action online game

 

Valkyrie RPG

Valkyrie RPG features:
- fun RPG gameplay
- multiple worlds
- multiple enemies
- Quests

Category:Action

/goto-gd-8cdee50c7dc3458fbbb14fa4974bc82c Action online game

 

PixelForces.io

Pixel Forces is a challenging 3D shooting online game. You can choose from five different multiplayer modes and maps and customize your character. The environment is structured like a vertical maze with trampolines. You can create a room to play, or enter in an already created room.
Features:
• Five multiplayer game modes: RPG, Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Explore, and Battle Royale
• 5 amazing and unique maps with trampoline platforms
• Room options
• 12 character skins

Category:Shooting

/goto-gd-f52f0c6bf06c48ea8839543a0a72bbe9 Shooting online game

 

Dungeon.ro

Dungeon.ro is a new 2D shooting game with RPG elements like level system and upgrades.

Category:Action

/goto-gd-e0f5b859d1bf42928e2584fc6fb3930a Action online game

 

Lion King Simulator: Wildlife Animal Hunting

The stunning RPG Lion to explore the wild jungle as a powerful Lion. Angry Lion runs in the jungle for its prey to hunt down and eat them. Enjoy the thrill of being a real Lion to show off your stalking, hunting and survival skills in ultimate Lion King Simulator 3d simulation game.

Category:Girls

/goto-gd-03fe262546934ac3ba38bb5cbaf0f3f9 Girls online game

 

Anime Fantasy Dress Up

Do you like manga or anime girl dress up games? Sure you do! And what's you've really missed is fantasy anime dress up in a Role Playing Games style! 6 cute anime girls are looking for a good RPG fan to dress them up!

Category:Arcade

/goto-gd-fb9d1f1b18b44a15a80cd40b89bcc29a Arcade online game

 

Eternal Fury

A strategic turn-based RPG in Html 5 that combines SLG action and classic interactions. Players can summon random acquisitions of different quality mercenaries and customize the base attributes of the mercenary growth system. The game with different genres perfectly combined, will definitely blow your mind!

Category:Action

/goto-gd-6f6471ecbc2447d29aa1173e591448e3 Action online game

 

Kumu's Adventure

Start your journey in a far future continent, where magic and tech rule the world. Explore the dangerous wilderness with your team of adventurers. Kumu's Adventure is a strategic rogue-like rpg with fast and fun turn-based combat and evolving exploration. Build and improve your camp and equip your leader and your heroes in order to discover the truth of the ancient Immet Empire ruins and free the land from the evil Sartre Tribe.

Category:Adventure

/goto-gd-a2b4b57bb3e04f7b90450620fc2598ba Adventure online game

 

CD Projekt RED Has No Intentions Of Shelving Cyberpunk 2077


CD Projekt RED Will Not Shelve Cyberpunk 2077








by
William D'Angelo
, posted 13 hours ago / 1,745 Views

Developer CD Projekt RED has been focused on fixing all of the issues with Cyberpunk 2077. The science-fiction action RPG launched with a multitude of problems where it was practically unplayable on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. 


CD Projekt RED CEO Adam Kicinski speaking with Reuters and transcribed by GamesIndustry stated that the developer focused on fixing the game to a point they can be proud of and it to be successful for years to come. 


"I don't see an option to shelve Cyberpunk 2077. We are convinced that we can bring the game to such a state that we can be proud of it and therefore successfully sell it for years to come," Kicinski said. 


CD Projekt RED Will Not Shelve Cyberpunk 2077


Cyberpunk 2077 released in December 2020 and sold over 13 million units before Christmas 2020. 



A life-long and avid gamer, William D'Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel dedicated to gaming Let's Plays and tutorials. You can contact the author at wdangelo@vgchartz.com or on Twitter @TrunksWD.


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Here's What's Really Going On With Cyberpunk 2077


“We can bring the game to such a state that we can be proud of,” says CD Projekt CEO Adam Kicinski.







cyberpunk 2077


The botched launch of Cyberpunk 2077 has rightly been on the receiving end of widespread criticism, and CD Projekt RED’s reputation has taken a major hit as a result. The Polish developer has started the process of fixing the game, most significantly with the recent patch 1.2, which brought about a massive list of changes and improvements. And CDPR has no plans to stop support for the game or abandon it any time soon.


Speaking to Reuters (via GamesIndustry), CD Projekt CEO Adam Kicinski said that the company doesn’t see shelving Cyberpunk 2077 as an option, and plans on bringing it to a level of quality they “can be proud of”, with plans to sell the game for years to come.


“I don’t see an option to shelve Cyberpunk 2077,” Kicisnki said. “We are convinced that we can bring the game to such a state that we can be proud of it and therefore successfully sell it for years to come.”


In addition to all the patches that are bound to be coming in for the RPG in the coming months, new content is also going to be added in 2021. Free DLC is on the way, and some leaks may have potentially revealed details on what players can expect. Meanwhile, paid story expansions are also planned, while native PS5 and Xbox Series X/S versions will launch later in the year. Recently, however, CDPR confirmed that the separate multiplayer Cyberpunk 2077 project had been cancelled. Read more on that through here.


Cyberpunk 2077 is currently available on PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Stadia. The game is still delisted on the PlayStation Store, and CD Projekt RED says it will be up to Sony to decide when it gets listed again.



 

Blizzard Opens The Floodgates On BC Classic's Best Content

While this week saw World of Warcraft's The Burning Crusade Classic Beta reach a level cap of 70, opening up Heroic Dungeons, Raids were still left on the table. Blizzard announced that raid testing will be begin next week, inching ever closer to a full TBCC launch.

The testing, which will run start on April 13th and run through April 15th will see players able to jump into the various raids in The Burning Crusade. The testing will kick off on the 13th with Karazhan and close out on Thursday, the 15th with Magtheridon. 


Blizzard will be opening a new testing realm specifically to speed along the raid process as well with level 70 character templates available for testers to create and hop in right away. 


From CM Kaivax on the forums:



Testing will take place on a new Beta realm specifically configured for getting into the raids as quickly as possible. The new Beta realm will have level 70 template characters enabled, as well as consumables and professions vendors in Shattrath.


As always, please use the in-game bug reporter (default hotkey: F6) if you come across any bugs, and look here in this forum for dedicated feedback threads once the test gets underway.



Testing will begin at 2pm PT/5pm ET and run through 8pm PT/11pm ET on the days listed. For players who don't want to jump into the raid testing, the most recently level cap release for the beta saw heroic dungeons unlock, as well as the MMO battlegrounds to test. If the live retail version of World of Warcraft is more your speed right now, the spring event, Noblegarden, is currently ongoing.

 

A Torchlight Mobile Game Is In The Works From Perfect World

A Torchlight mobile game is in the works from Chinese publisher Perfect World, but you might be surprised to learn that this isn't the first time Torchlight has launched on iOS or Android.

Torchlight 3 is the newest core release in the action RPG franchise. It gives gamers a pretty standard action RPG experience, but this wasn't how it originally planned to launch; Echtra Games was trying to make it into a free-to-play, live service game. Those plans were eventually canceled in favor of a more traditional experience.


Since then, Torchlight 3 has put out some new content and balance patches every now and again as you would expect from any other ARPG. We haven't heard much about any new games just yet — until today. Niko Partners Senior Analyst Daniel Ahmad has reported that a new Torchlight mobile game is on the way.



Torchlight mobile game Perfect World slice
Image Credit: Phone Arena

This Isn't the First Torchlight Mobile Game

Perfect World's upcoming Torchlight mobile game might not be what you'd expect — a machine translation of the subtitle (seen in our header image) says that it's a "light operation strategy casual RPG mobile game." This echoes Daniel Ahmad's assessment that it is going to be a "casual strategy RPG."


The terminology is important here: a "casual strategy RPG" might not provide the same kind of gameplay as an action RPG, so this might not be a similar situation to the somewhat chilled response to the reveal of Diablo Immortal. Shifting the game to a different genre could ease any concerns that players are getting a mobile game instead of a new core release in the franchise.


Believe it or not, this isn't the first time that Torchlight has tried to come to mobile. Torchlight Mobile was announced back in June of 2015 and featured many fan-favorite mechanics alongside the introduction of new classes like the Kitsune. This mobile game was later officially dubbed Torchlight: The Legend Continues and it got a soft launch on Android and iOS. Sadly, it didn't seem to take off and this mobile version of Torchlight has since vanished into the aether.


Unfortunately, we don't know much about what this Torchlight mobile game will look like; the only information we have comes from the splash image shown at the announcement during Perfect World's conference today. Between this and a new Persona mobile game, it looks like Perfect World has some pretty ambitious plans for the future.


Do you think this new Torchlight mobile game can live up to the legacy of its predecessors? What's your favorite mobile spin-off to date? Let us know in the comments below!


 

Cris Tales Finally Gets A Release Date For PS4 & PS5

cris-tales-finally-nails-down-a-firm-ps4-and-ps5-release-date-alongside-showcasing-new-gameplay

cris-tales-finally-nails-down-a-firm-ps4-and-ps5-release-date-alongside-showcasing-new-gameplay

Cris Tales has finally nailed down a solid PS5 and PS4 release date, with the game now set to release on July 20, 2021.

After a number of delays and vague release windows, it is nice to finally have a firm date for the exciting JRPG. As Crisbell, you explore Crystallis and the four Kingdoms in a bid to stop the powerful Time Empress and rewrite the future of the world. Along the way you team up with a group of allies who become companions helping you in combat, each with their own stories.

You can watch the Cris Tales PS5 and PS4 release date trailer below:

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After being announced for the PS5 launch window, Cris Tales was delayed shortly after and given a vague July release window. Now that the date is confirmed, we can say we got our hands on the game a while back and you can read our impressions here.

Related Content – Sony PS5 Complete Guide – A Total Resource On PlayStation 5

Cris Tales releases for PS5 and PS4 on July 20, 2021.

 

The Game All Fire Emblem Fans Need To Try

What do you get when you cross Shin Megami Tensei with Fire Emblem? Apparently, it's a game called Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore about monster-fighting idols and actors set in modern-day Tokyo. At first glance, fans of either series might find it difficult to see where either of those franchises come into the equation. For Fire Emblem in particular, the style of gameplay and setting is far from anything players of the series come to expect when they think of the strategy RPG games by Intelligent Systems.

Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore, originally announced as SMT x FE, is the recent re-release of a niche Atlus-developed Wii U title from 2015. With Fire Emblem at peak popularity and the Nintendo Switch in far more households than the Wii U, more players than ever are getting their hands on Tokyo Mirage Sessions. Looks can be deceiving, so read on and see how Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore appeals to Fire Emblem fans.


Fire Emblem characters in Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore

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Maybe people describe Tokyo Mirage Sessions as a game with Shin Megami Tensei and Persona gameplay mixed with Fire Emblem characters. This would be a mostly correct assumption, as you will find many characters from the Fire Emblem series recognizable from two specific games in the series. Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light is the first Fire Emblem game, which was re-released in 2008 for the Nintendo DS as Shadow Dragon. Characters also appear from Awakening, which released on the 3DS in 2012 and instilled new life to the then-dying franchise. These two games together take place within the same timeline, albeit thousands of years apart, so there is some meaning behind Atlus' choice to include characters from these titles.


In Tokyo Mirage Sessions, players take control of a Japanese teenager named Itsuki Aoi, as well as a party of talented entertainers with similar abilities as Itsuki. All of these characters have the power to control Mirages, which are ethereal forms of Fire Emblem characters that are bound to their Mirage Master. Mirages manifest into weapons and are used to fight against other hostile Mirages causing all kinds of havoc among Tokyo. These Mirages are the main connection to Fire Emblem. The Mirages' likeness to their Fire Emblem counterparts can be difficult to discern at first, as they appear more robotic and alien. Although some characteristics such as dialogue quirks and aspects of a Mirage's appearance mirror that of it's Fire Emblem equivalent, it is a deliberate design choice to have them subtly resemble their original forms rather than be strictly one-to-one.


It's also interesting to see how a Mirage and its master match each other in terms of personality. Itsuki, the main character of Tokyo Mirage Sessions, utilizes Chrom, the protagonist from Fire Emblem: Awakening. Chrom and Itsuki are the protagonists of their games, and they fit the leader archetype perfectly. While both characters' personalities are outshined by their supporting cast, they are quite likable and among your most competent fighters. Meanwhile, Tsubasa, another Mirage Master and secondary protagonist in Tokyo Mirage Sessions, uses Ceada. Ceada appears in Shadow Dragon and acts as the protagonist's leading lady, much like Tsubasa in her own game.


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Although the main cast of Tokyo Mirage Sessions takes up far more screen time than their Mirages, Fire Emblem fans will be able to pick up on the personality traits that defined them in the Fire Emblem games they represent. Tharja, the infamous dark mage obsessed with Robin from Awakening, is just as stalker-like and creepy as many come to expect. Navarre, the powerful swordsman from Shadow Dragon, is still so edgy that he doesn't even need a sword to shed some blood.


Many will also appreciate that all of the bosses within Tokyo Mirage Sessions are from Fire Emblem, as well. Appropriately, the first gargantuan Mirage boss in Tokyo Mirage Sessions—Garrick from Awakening—is a bandit. Bandits as the first boss is a typical trope for Fire Emblem. Early on, another boss that makes an appearance is Aversa, a dark and sultry temptress that is just as dangerous as she is obnoxiously lewd.  If you have played several Fire Emblem games, you'll notice a theme of what the final boss is; therefore, it's easy to guess what you might fight at the end of Tokyo Mirage Sessions.


Fans will be happy to see many characters from the series represented in Tokyo Mirage Sessions—there's even more beyond just Mirages. Tiki, the lovable manakete, is a pivotal player in the story. While you cannot control Tiki, she helps you upgrade your party and create new weapons. Also be sure to look at the store clerks at Hee Ho Mart for a returning popular character.


Fire Emblem Gameplay Mechanics in Tokyo Mirage Sessions

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If you're looking for a strategy game in the same vein as Fire Emblem, this is not the game for you. There are some similarities and elements borrowed from Intelligent Systems' franchise, but Tokyo Mirage Sessions is a JRPG through and through. Still, there are enough minor elements from which Atlus has cleverly incorporated into this game. Combat might be the most obvious example. One of Fire Emblem's most signature gameplay elements (which, admittedly, has since been omitted from the past two entries of the franchise) is the Weapon Triangle.


For those unaware, the Weapon Triangle is a system that operates like rock paper scissors; in this case, swords beat axes, axes beat lances, and lances beat swords. In gameplay, most Mirage enemies wield one of these weapons, which allows you to easily identify what party member is best to use against a given enemy. It delivers that same satisfying feeling of a sword unit obliterating a poor axe wielder. Other examples of this system includes bows and wind magic being particularly effective against flying units. If Fire Emblem fans are familiar with this system, they will feel right at home. This also gives players time to familiarize themselves with the strengths and weaknesses of Shin Megami Tensei's magic.


The remainder of Fire Emblem's gameplay components within Tokyo Mirage Sessions serve as subtle nods to the franchise, but not much else. For example, later in Tokyo Mirage Sessions, players can use Master Seals to upgrade the class of their Mirage, which is always an exciting moment. Many weapons share names of Fire Emblem armaments such as Durandal, which serves as the namesake of Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade. Certain musical cues—such as when you level up a party member—are also fun nods to the strategy series. All of these small details are nice ways to remind players that this is, in fact, partly a Fire Emblem game, even though it stars Japanese pop idols in the present day.


Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore doesn't feel like a Fire Emblem game, but it does offer a lot of fan service for those who enjoy the series. With Mirages taking the form of iconic units from the series, ridiculous bosses and more, Fire Emblem fans are catered to with enough elements from the franchise without feeling like they're left in the dark.



Have you played Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore? What are your thoughts as a fan of Fire Emblem? Let us know in the comments below!


 

The Highest Reviewed Games From Last Year

Not sure if you knew this, but TechRaptor does reviews. In fact, in 2019, we did a little over 300 of them. That's a lot!

But what if you just want to know the games we scored the highest? The games we gave a 9 or higher to? Well good news, this is the post for you. Contained here is every game we gave a 9 or higher to. So come take a trip down memory lane and see which games we loved playing in 2019.




Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!!

By Samuel Guglielmo


Score: 9/10


Summary:  Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! offers up a wok full of cooking fun. Once you get the controls down you'll be remembering lamb sauce with the best of them.


Kingdom Hearts II

BY Samuel Guglielmo


Score: 9/10


Summary: Having the most absolutely fantastic combat, design, boss fights, worlds, and soundtrack of the series keeps Kingdom Hearts II's slightly convoluted plot from ruining it.


Slay the Spire

By Richard Costa


Score: 9.5/10


Summary: Slay the Spire is a vertiginously challenging and infinitely replayable roguelike deckbuilder set in a highly original dark fantasy universe.


Slay the Spire


Wargroove

By Austin Suther


Score: 9/10


Summary: Wargroove is the turn-based tactics game you've been waiting for. It looks wonderful and sounds amazing, but it also plays so well. The strategy layer is deep but simple to learn. With several different modes in single-player and multiplayer, there is something for both hardcore and newcomers of the genre.


Resident Evil 2

By Dan Hodges


Score: 9/10


Summary: Resident Evil 2 is a triumphant celebration of the original that scares to the core and sets a new standard for remaking old games.



Kingdom Hearts III

By Samuel Guglielmo


Score: 9/10


Summary: Kingdom Hearts III plays up to the series' strengths, leaving one hell of a closer for fans.


Metro Exodus

By Robert N. Adams


Score: 9.5/10


Summary: Metro Exodus builds on the gameplay of the previous titles and expands it into a much broader world, adding new mechanics and expanding the narrative without padding things too much.


When the Darkness Comes

By Samuel Guglielmo


Score: 9/10


Summary: When the Darkness Comes is a surprisingly smart horror game that manages to blend in introspective narrative elements seamlessly.



Devotion

By Samantha Ooi


Score: 9.5/10


Summary: Devotion is a story about a deeply personal tragedy made both more horrific and familiar with its carefully recreated '80s setting of a Taiwanese household that successfully draws on the feelings of nostalgia of its target audience.


The Occupation

By Richard Costa


Score: 9.5/10


Summary: The Occupation is a taut investigative simulation and stealth thriller. It's infused with a realistic and multidimensional approach to mechanics, systems, and level design. This is a must-play for fans of Deus Ex and Dishonored.


Baba is You

By Brian Renadette


Score: 9/10


Summary: Baba is You offers a charming and unique puzzling experience that's certain to challenge newcomers and fans of puzzle games alike.


Devil May Cry 5

By Samuel Guglielmo


Score: 9/10


Summary: Devil May Cry 5's few minor flaws are blasted away by one of the best combat systems this side of gaming. Each fight is a treat, each boss is a challenge, and I loved every second of it.


Devil May Cry 5


Pikuniku

By Trevor Whalen


Score: 9.5/10


Summary: Pikuniku is a short-and-sweet experience that's fun, simple, engaging, and smooth. I can recommend it to just about anyone.



Islanders

By Samuel Guglielmo


Score: 9/10


Summary: Islanders is a deceptively simple puzzle game where you build little cities to score points. More importantly, it's the absolutely perfect game for making beautiful picturesque villages you can fall asleep and dream about.


Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

By Joe Allen


Score: 9.5/10


Summary: With pin-sharp combat, peerless world-building, and masterful movement mechanics, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice breathes brutal and savage new life into action gaming.


Pathway

By Austin Suther


Score: 9/10


Summary: Pathway throws in a lot of different gameplay elements, but it does everything well. The strategic combat is simple and fluid, and doesn't outstay its welcome. The vignette-like adventures are palatable and entertaining. And perhaps best of all, it's one of the best looking pixelized games in recent memory.


One Finger Death Punch 2

By Samuel Guglielmo


Score: 9.5/10


Summary: One Finger Death Punch 2 manages to take a simplistic gameplay system and turn it into one of the most bizarrely addictive score chasers I've ever played.


Katana Zero

By Samuel Guglielmo


Score: 9/10


Summary: Katana Zero's gameplay is genuinely fantastic. It's the perfect choice for someone looking for the next frantic and challenging indie darling.


SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech

By Dan Hodges


Score: 9/10


Summary: SteamWorld Quest may be Image & Form's finest game yet, presenting a charming tale and a nuanced combat system wrapped up in a wonderfully cohesive style.



Gwent: The Witcher Card Game

By Richard Costa


Score: 9/10


Summary: Months after the final release, Gwent: The Witcher Card Game is still going strong. The minigame-turned-esport continually goes through iterations and patches, shedding skins and morphing into a real beast of a card game. It has a wistful past, a solid present, and a bright future.


Figment

By Kyle Johnson


Score: 9/10


Summary: Boasting surprising depth and an engaging world, Figment is proof that something that looks geared towards a younger audience can be enjoyed by everyone.


Void Bastards

By Austin Suther


Score: 9.5/10


Summary: Void Bastards is a work of art, not only in its visuals but also in gameplay. The progression is strong and the gameplay is a blast. Exploring each derelict ship was a treat, and I can't wait to dive back into the Sargasso Nebula for more fun.


Vambrace: Cold Soul

By Kyle Johnson


Score: 9/10


Summary: Packing some serious challenge, Vambrace: Cold Soul grips you with atmosphere and gorgeous visuals, even as the combat isn't as deep as it could be.


Vambrace



Outer Wilds

By Richard Costa


Score: 9/10


Summary: Outer Wilds is a triumphant first-person exploration adventure with innovative (quantum) physics puzzles. More than that, it's a microcosm in itself that pleads to be explored and untangled in its minutiae.


Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the NecroDancer

By Austin Suther


Score: 9/10


Summary: Cadence of Hyrule is a strange spin-off between The Legend of Zelda and Crypt of the Necrodancer, but it works so well as a mashup. It's a bit too short and the replay value isn't substantial, but the remixed songs and exhilarating gameplay are too good to pass up.



Amid Evil

By Trevor Whalen


Score: 9.5/10


Summary: Amid Evil is a superb first-person shooter crafted in the classic style, and a more than worthy spiritual successor to Heretic. But it's more than either of those things: it is its own masterpiece, an instant classic for all times.


Nowhere Prophet

By Richard Costa


Score: 9.5/10


Summary: Nowhere Prophet is a unique and thoughtful single-player deckbuilding card game set in a fascinating Indofuturistic world. It features compelling convoy management with hints of The Oregon Trail, and a highly innovative 'living card' mechanic.



Fire Emblem: Three Houses

By Austin Suther


Score: 9.5/10


Summary: Fire Emblem: Three Houses excels in almost every aspect. The combat feels fresh and extremely fun. Meanwhile, the story will keep you engaged all the way to the end of its duration. It's just so close to total perfection, were it not for the lacking difficulty and the average performance on the Switch.


Ion Fury

By Trevor Whalen


Score: 9/10


Summary: Ion Fury is a high-energy, action-packed retro ride with great gameplay, level design, visuals and audio. It's a reminder that great old-school design is forever.


Control

By Samuel Guglielmo


Score: 9/10


Summary: Control combines a fantastically weird setting with fast-paced combat, awesome exploration, and impressively destructible environments. It's an absolute gem of a game. Just make sure you get it on PC or an upgraded console.



Children of Morta

By Robert N. Adams


Score: 9/10


Summary: Children of Morta serves as a fine ARPG for newbies and veterans alike. A beautiful world brought alive by beautiful pixel art, catchy music, and incredibly compelling gameplay that holds the whole package together.


Gears 5

By Samuel Guglielmo


Score: 9/10


Summary: Gears 5's campaign is the best the series has seen, and Escape mode is a brilliant new addition. It's fun to play, beautiful to look at, and full of some of the best characters the series has ever seen.


Gears 5


Kind Words (lo fi chill beats to write to)

By Samuel Guglielmo


Score: 9/10


Summary: Kind Words (lo fi chill beats to write to) has the one major goal of making the world less lonely, and it manages that exceedingly well.


Borderlands 3

By Anson Chan


Score: 9/10


Summary: Borderlands 3 improves upon the Borderlands formula in every way possible, showing what a looter shooter is capable of when the basic requirements like a coherent story and cool loot are not just fulfilled, but exceeded


Monster Hunter World: Iceborne

By Max Moller


Score: 9.5/10


Summary: Iceborne is as good as expansions get. It presents welcome tweaks to the original formula and monsters that will challenge even the toughest of hunters. If only more of the campaign explored this.


The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening

By Andrew Stretch


Score: 9/10


Summary: Link's Awakening takes everything excellent about the original release and adds a fantastic shine to it. This already might have been one of the best Zelda titles to date, and it's only improved here.



The Outer Worlds

By Robert Scarpinito


Score: 9.5/10


Summary: Obsidian created a universe that's easy to get lost in. The Outer Worlds oozes personality and charm, and the robust character creator encourages multiple playthroughs just to see how different archetypes affect the gameplay.


Disco Elysium

By Robert Grosso


Score: 9/10


Summary: An intense role-playing odyssey, despite some overstuffed writing, Disco Elysium is an experience that has to be played to be believed.


Disco Elysium



Arise: A Simple Story

By Jeffrey Lerman


Score: 9.5/10


Summary: Arise: A Simple Story tells a charming narrative with a beautiful atmosphere in both its design and soundtrack. Controlling the progression of time forward and backward is frequently used in unique ways to keep gameplay delightful.


Spirit of the North

By Courtney Ehrenhofler


Score: 9/10


Summary: Spirit of the North has much to offer, even though some of the finer points get lost in between the cracks, it's a journey well worth taking.


Sayonara Wild Hearts

By Nick Mallet


Score: 9.5/10


Summary: Sayonara Wild Hearts is easily Apple Arcade's first "killer app" and a must-play if you're a subscriber, interested in music games, or just want to try something new. The synergy between the visuals, gameplay, and music raises the bar for the genre.



Are there any games you thought deserved a 9 or higher? Shocked to see something here? Anything you didn't want here? Let us know in the comments below!


 

The Problems With The Last Of Us Part 2

As the credits rolled on The Last of Us Part 2, I was sitting on my couch feeling like Randy from the glorious "Make Love, Not Warcraft" episode of South Park when I said out loud, “What? Why? Why?!” I felt both joy and love for the game, in addition to extreme frustration and dissonance. Let’s take a deep dive into what caused me to come away feeling ultimately completely frustrated.

This entire article will be extremely spoiler heavy. If you do not want spoilers for The Last of Us Part 2, this is your final chance to click away. 


Now, to be perfectly clear, my biggest issue with The Last of Us Part 2 is absolutely not with the story itself. Rather, my issue stems almost entirely from the storytelling. That is, the way in which the story was presented was a source of immense frustration and cognitive dissonance.


The game picks up four years after The Last of Us and sees Ellie at 19 years of age. At the end of the first game, Joel saved Ellie from an operation which, while potentially would have led to a cure, would also almost certainly kill her. He kills the doctor operating on her, grabs her, and escapes. At the end of that game, I completely understood just why Joel made that choice. We had come to truly know these characters after a 20 hour emotional journey which focused pretty much entirely on them.


We saw Joel and Ellie’s relationship transform from adversarial into a father-daughter love. The impact of this was felt all the more when you consider that Joel’s own biological daughter was shot dead 25 years earlier when the pandemic hit. And as he spent the next 25 years in a depressed defeated state, he was not expecting someone like Ellie to enter his life and reignite his inherently instinctual, but unsuccessfully buried, fatherly love.


And so, it’s perhaps fitting that while the first game was about love, this second game is all about hate, as Game Director Neil Druckmann himself said at a panel in 2016. Not far into The Last of Us Part 2, you see Joel laying on the floor of a cabin having been tortured. Ellie is pinned down by several people as she watches helplessly. You see Ellie pleading for Joel to get up as he’s laying on the floor, bloodied and beaten. In his last moments, Joel opens his eyes and sees his surrogate daughter before he’s beaten to death.


The person who strikes the fatal blow is a woman named Abby, a former Firefly turned Washington Liberation Front (WLF) soldier. Throughout the game, you come to understand why Abby killed Joel. But before we get to that, let’s stick with Ellie. 


Joel’s murder naturally shatters Ellie, but this grief is superseded by a blinding rage. The entire first half of The Last of Us Part 2 follows her on  on a mission of revenge to kill all those who were involved in the murder of her surrogate father. 



These 15 hours were absolutely brilliant. I was fully invested in Ellie’s sorrow, pain, and lust for hate-fueled revenge for one very simple reason: I had spent an entire game getting to intimately know Joel and Ellie.


By the end of The Last of Us, I fundamentally understood who these characters were. I understood their motivations, their fears, their joys — everything. Therefore, when Joel made the decision to save Ellie, thus effectively dooming mankind from a cure, I understood why he made that choice. Naughty Dog had invested a lot of time to make sure that we, the players, truly understood these characters. And it paid off in spades.


To that end, the first half of The Last of Us Part 2 follows suit. You start to discover who and where the responsible parties are as you hunt them down. Interspersed through this tale of revenge are flashback moments between Ellie and Joel.


These moments recall the time between the end of the first game and present day. You see Joel take Ellie on a birthday trip to a museum as you come to understand where Ellie’s love of space originated. This entire episode did much to build the love between the two characters.



However, additional flashbacks jump forward in time as you witness Ellie growing up. There, you come to understand that the relationship between Joel and Ellie started to become more and more strained. 


The impetus to all this is when at the end of the first game, Ellie asks Joel what happened. Joel, again acting on his fatherly instincts to protect his surrogate daughter, lies to her, and Ellie simply responds with, “Ok.” As the years progress, you see Ellie question the true nature of events which transpired while she was on the operating table. She continues to press Joel for the truth, until, after threatening him that she would leave otherwise, Joel finally confesses. At this moment, a clearly heartbroken and betrayed Ellie tells Joel that she’ll stay, but she and him are done.


It is precisely because of all this character development that Joel’s murder — already an incredibly life-altering moment for Ellie — is seen in a new light. His death suddenly means so much more because Ellie felt betrayed by Joel. And that the crushing guilt of this betrayal, and not the love she feels for Joel, is what is truly fueling her revenge.


Now, imagine experiencing all of this for a glorious 15 hours, after having spent 20 hours getting to know Joel and Ellie from the first game. All this backstory and character development carry significantly more weight as you progress through the story of The Last of Us 2 as Ellie. If nothing else, I was far more invested in Ellie’s story than I was at the start of the game. I cannot stress just how utterly brilliant the first half of The Last of Us Part 2 truly is.


Enter the second half.


Remember Abby? The woman who tortured and murdered Joel? And remember the doctor Joel killed while rescuing Ellie? Well, it turns out that doctor was Abby’s dad. And there you have it: the reason for Abby hunting down and killing Joel.


The second half of the game sees you play as Abby. This means I spent the next 15 hours playing as a character I’d never heard of prior to The Last of Us Part 2, had only barely seen in the prologue part of the game, and, quite frankly, knew nothing about.


This is where the game utterly and spectacularly collapses. 


I play these games purely for the story and the characters, and the first game was truly one of a kind. I had never played a game like it before, one which was so heavily focused on narrative and character-building. As I explained above, the fact that the first game was entirely about Joel and Ellie only deepened my understanding and appreciation of those characters.


Naughty Dog goes much further by spending the entire first half of The Last of Us Part 2 providing far greater and richer characterization for Joel and, more importantly, Ellie as I laid out above. Therefore, I spent every single moment during the first half of the game completely immersed and invested in Ellie.


To have that completely halted and ripped away, and forcing you to play as this other character, is unbelievably jarring. Unlike Joel and Ellie, we players are not afforded the liberty to truly get to know Abby as a character. Unlike Joel and Ellie, we do not get one entire game and half of another to fully absorb Abby’s motivations, her anger, her fear, and her joy.



Instead, Naughty Dog crams her entire backstory through into a couple of flashbacks over the course of just two to three hours. We’re bombarded with several of her friends, none of whom have any interesting nor memorable qualities whatsoever, continually going in and out of her story. I’m not exaggerating here either. Every single one of her friends were thoroughly disinteresting in their snark and forced quips that they continually reminded me that Naughty Dog had ripped me away from the one character I truly care about: Ellie.


Naughty Dog tries to give Abby complexity by showing her helping other characters and seemingly caring about others in her camp, but again, like with Abby’s entire story, it’s so damn rushed. As a result, she simply comes off has a half-formed character.


This completely undermines the whole game. And I do mean the whole game. Abby’s characterization comes off as unbelievable. Naughty Dog’s attempt at giving her complexity and flaws comes off as desperate at best, and totally unfinished at worst.


And for what? 


Let me be blunt: I don’t care about Abby. I don’t care about her motivations. I don’t care that Joel killed her dad. I don’t care that she spent the next four years plotting revenge. I don’t care that she was once dating Owen. I don’t care about her as a character. I don’t care about her as a person. She only served to remind me that I wasn’t playing as the one character Naughty Dog spent an entire game and a half building up.



In the grand scheme of things, one could argue that in order to truly understand Ellie’s whole story, you have to understand Abby’s story. And this is a perfectly reasonable statement to make. But by forcing an entirebackstory for an entirely new character into just half of a single game only serves to completely destroy the brilliance of the first half, and is arguably anathema to the character building Naughty Dog so clearly desires.


Instead, Naughty Dog should have created two games here. One game could focus on Ellie (Part 2), whereas the other game (Part 3) could focus on Abby. Give Abby her own game. Give Abby her own room to breathe. Fully flesh out her character as was done for Joel and Ellie in The Last of Us. Make her believable. Make her human.


By forcing Abby into the entire second half of The Last of Us Part 2, Naughty Dog created an entirely avoidable cognitive wall between myself and the story and characters I had come to care about. 


And so, this is why The Last of Us Part 2 spectacularly collapses in its second half. It’s a game completely divided in its attention, forcefully crammed into one single narrative. And the way in which this was presented – that is, forcing the player to play as Abby for an entire half of the game – did nothing but completely undo the brilliance and magic and power of the first game and a half.


When I look back on The Last of Us Part 2 in a couple of years, I simply won’t remember it as the stunning technical achievement that it is. I won’t remember the beautiful music by Gustavo Santaolalla. I won’t remember the improvements to stealth, nor the much improved AI. 


I’ll simply remember just how an utterly abysmal second half of a game completely, totally, and so brutally eviscerated the narrative-focused, character-driven magnificence created by that same dev team for an entire game and a half.

 

This MMO Trend Is Raising A Major Question

With so many MMOs nowadays hitting the market propping up the fact you can play through the majority – if not all of – the content solo, it makes me wonder whether that should really be the case. The term MMO literally has the words “Massively Multiplayer” in the name – so it begs the question: Should MMOs heavily feature soloable content?

Now there is a difference here I think between having content that can be completed on your own, albeit with a bit of challenge, versus creating content with solo in mind. MMOs are one of the few genres left in game that really bring a sense of community and grouping was, at one point, an essential part of the experience.


Nowadays, though, that feels secondary. In most MMOs I’m checking out regularly, I don’t feel the urge or even a push by the game itself to group with friends. Instead I find myself going from quest to quest, knocking out the mobs and challenges with ease by myself.


In fact, as I finish up my Bless Unleashed review, I can practically count the times I grouped on one hand aside from a few moments where I had to queue for matchmaking to run a story-mandated dungeon. The Elder Scrolls Online is one of my favorite MMORPGs on the market right now, yet one of the mantras of that game is that you can solo the vast majority of the content it if you want.


This isn’t to say that I don’t think there should be solo content in an MMO, or those who prefer to play by themselves should be penalized for this. My favorite MMORPG, The Lord of the Rings Online has had content that is "soloable."  But it feels like more and more we’re moving away from the “Massively Multiplayer” part of the genre that made it great and moving towards experiences that are single player games we all see each other playing at the same time. What do you think? How would you like to see solo content handled in current, and even an upcoming MMO you’re looking forward to? Are you a solo player who likes the current state in many of these games – if so, what appeals to you and why would you like to see this trend continue?

 

5 MMO Features Game Developers Wish They Could Forget

The last decade has added both some wonderful and terrible things to the MMO genre. Now that 2020 is upon us, it is time to take a look back at the last 10 years, and see where the industry went right, and where MMOs went horribly, horribly wrong.


Best - Free to Play
 

When the idea that there would be an industry paradigm shift from subscription games to Free to Play (F2P) games was floated way back in the late 2000’s the outcry was loud and resentful. It conjured up thoughts of hefty cash shops, abundant in armor and weapons, and nickel and dime entrance fees to even seasonal content. Those fears came, and went, as the new decade brought in a series of F2P titles that provided a great value, without going over the line into “Pay to Win” territory. 


Many games from Elder Scrolls Online to Star Wars: The Old Republic have free play options. Freemium payment options exist in many cases for those that prefer to continue a monthly subscription and get a few more rewards than those who simply play without paying. We have even seen Buy to Play games, such as Guild Wars 2, allow for their entire legacy game to be played with minor restrictions, to bring in new players. Thanks to the Free to Play shift of the past 10 years, MMO gamers have more opportunities to play games, and how they wish to pay for them.





Worst – Buy to Play Ambitions
 

The opposite end of the coin, in terms of the paradigm shift in payment models, is the deceptive Buy to Play ambitions we see a lot of MMOs employ. The most detrimental of these Buy to Play (B2P) ambitions, are those of games ported to the US from other countries. In the past year alone, we have seen several releases, most notably Bless Online, that aspired to release their game with a box price, and nothing else.


In a play that often misses the mark, the influx of players may fill the coffers momentarily, but when the in-game population starts to dwindle, these MMO’s quickly transition into a Free to Play model, complete with a revamped cash shop, and incentives to placate those who spent money on the box price. The problem is, we have seen this happen to many games over the years. We have seen games like H1Z1 and Albion flip-flop on their payment models and it seems to be happening with less time in between when a game releases, and the transition to F2P. For many gamers this leaves a bad taste in the mouths of those shelling out box prices for these games.




Best – Public Questing
 

There have been instances of Public Quests for over a decade, but Public Questing has really taken shape over the past decade.  In many cases, a Public Quest before could have consisted of several players attacking the same monster and actually receiving credit for the kill. Then, Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning launched, and employed Public Questing areas that changed communal questing entirely.


If Warhammer streamlined the idea of Public Quests, Guild Wars 2 ran away with the idea, creating vast areas that are specifically defined by the collective activity of its players. It didn’t stop with Guild Wars 2. Examples of Public Questing can be seen in games like DC Universe Online, Elder Scrolls Online and many more. Public Questing truly changed the way players interacted, whether they wanted to or not, which, in actuality, is the pinnacle of Online Gaming.




Worst – Time Gated Earnings
 

There was a time in MMOs when the amount of time you put into a game correlated with the fun experiences and awesome items you earned. In the most simplistic way, that hasn’t changed. MMO gamers still get to experience exploration, progression, and loot drops. Unfortunately, some of the best items are locked away behind time-gated systems, preventing players from spending their time doing exactly what they want to do to earn the rewards they want. The problem is, when developers time-gate content and rewards, in many cases they end up diminishing the need to keep playing consecutively, or in some worst-case scenarios, locking entry to content and rewards behind a pay wall.


In some extreme cases, we have even seen time-gated PvP events, that not only bar players from entering when they wish, but it even limits the chance that players get to play at all, as player caps dictate how many people will be able to get in game during those intervals. Dungeon Tickets, Raid Limits, Daily Caps and even Energy Systems have been implemented to convince players to spend money, or come back every day, even if it’s only for a few minutes. We are told that these limits are all in the name of fairness, but in reality, this is the classic carrot-at-the-end-of-a-stick approach that only exists in lieu of any real lasting content.





Best – Cross-Platform Play
 

Are you part of the PC Master Race? Are you a Console Gamer? An MMO Enthusiast need not bicker with their brethren about where they play their MMO of choice when Cross-Platform Play has risen in popularity over the past decade. Sure, we’ve seen crossplay in online games over the years. Rocket League, Fortnite, Minecraft and Dauntless are some of the games that have risen in popularity over the years, in part due to the ability of playing together on any platform.


Some gamers may not realize that crossplay has helped keep populations high in MMO’s for quite some time too. DC Universe Online, Final Fantasy XIV, World of Warships and even the upcoming release of Phantasy Star Online 2 will have Cross-Platform play. Even Elder Scrolls Online has the possibility of Cross-Platform play in their sights, and why wouldn’t they? Long ago, titles were locked down to hardware, often giving certain platforms an edge on exclusivity. These days, locking down communication between different gaming environments is severely looked down on, as Sony found out after they lost several rounds with consumers over their stance on exclusivity.




Worst – Gender Locked Classes
 

Freedom in gaming means a lot to the MMO gamer. We often want to play a class we want, customized from head to toe with our armor. We want the ability to choose our classes, and modify our hair styles that never get seen because we always wear helmets. We want branching choices in how we build our characters, and what skills we want to use. We ask for all of this, and the developers respond in kind with combat systems, menus, and sliders to appease us. Yet, after decades of MMO’s have come and gone, and still, from the hilt of 2010 to the point of 2020 we still have games that insist on locking certain classes to genders, with no comparative class choices.


You have gamers that will argue that, gender locking a class or race to a certain gender connotates a deeper story influence. Poppycock. We aren’t talking about simply choosing between a Witch and a Wizard, who have similar skills, but different names. We’re talking about pigeonholing players into playing a female elf archer because no male archer of any race exists.  Maybe back in 2005 it made sense to limit these kinds of options, but the MMO’s of today should have learned their lesson by now. Even Pearl Abyss with Black Desert Online, who went out of their way to finally mirror male and female classes across the board on PC seemed to forget this lesson when they released Black Desert Mobile.  Don’t gender lock classes!




Best – Pop Culture Approval
 

MMO Gamers live in their parent’s basement. They hide from sunlight, talk incessantly about upgraded “power swords”, and are never seen outside of their gaming cave. In addition, it is well known that women do not play MMO games. If you at some point have heard these stereotypes, then it is highly likely you grew up in the 90s and 2000s, listening to the outsiders of the gaming world declare their conjectured clichés as they attempt to define what an MMO Gamer is.


MMO Gamers in 2020 are completely different now. Gaming is not a marginalized past time that is misunderstood by the masses. We as gamers have transcended the idea that we are the outliers of society. Gamers, dare we say it, are mainstream now. World of Warcraft became a popular feature film. Ready Player One challenged the perception of what online gaming could look like in our future. The RPGs of yesterday are becoming the fictional epics of today, in the same way that classic literature once found its way onto the silver screen.  We were the tastemakers of the last decade. We are parents, we are students, we are employees and employers, we are a community of likeminded peers, and whether you live in a basement, or in a penthouse, we have proven that we are much more than a stereotype.




Worst – Pay to Win Cash Shops
 

Most gamers, if they aren’t outright disgusted by cash shops are generally ambivalent of them. Many gamers would rather cash shops, if they must exist, to stay within the bounds of cosmetic, non-game-breaking items. Some developers believe that, their best chance of making money, is to incentivize their item malls with deals that will walk the line between fair-play and a cash-is-king mentality. Part of the argument of the “Pay to Win” cash shop is wholly dependent on the game in question, and what the definition of “winning” is. For example, in some games, specialized currency could be considered “winning” if that currency can be turned into boosts, or items, that are exceptionally tough to earn.


We as gamers debate often whether a time investment should be considered a Pay to Win circumstance. Yet while the debate rages on over the particulars of unfairness in item malls, the MMOs of today still establish cash shops with questionable items that benefit wealthier players, rather than those who put in the work. Some developers are even cognizant of their notorious cash shops. ArcheAge is one such example, that knew their cash shop had Pay to Win elements, but instead of addressing them over the years, they simply refreshed the game with ArcheAge Unchained, providing a similar game, without the questionable monetization scheme.




Best – Story-Driven Progression
 

Story in video games goes hand in hand. For MMO’s an underlying story was used more as a backdrop to various quests that sometimes fit into a greater narrative, and other times, made you feel like, if you had to kill one more slime creature you would go crazy. Eventually, various developer decided that, despite the fact that MMOs are meant to deliver a vast multiplayer experience, story elements should not be forgotten.  Sure, world building and mob hunting is important in defining the atmosphere, but a single, concentrated, driving narrative is now a standard of most modern MMORPGs.


With a singular story aiding in progressing players through various parts of the world, personal, character defining stories such as those found in Star Wars: The Old Republic and Guild Wars 2 do more than simply connect your character to the surrounding world, but these stories also level and skill check you, to ensure that you’re ready to be in the area you are exploring. There is no doubt that new MMOs will change how stories are told, but story driven progression is unlikely to go anywhere anytime soon.




Worst - Crowdfunded Theatrics
 

Crowdfunding was barely even an idea before 2008. With Kickstarter barely launching in 2009, and the high level of skepticism that followed the premise of shelling out money for a yet-to-be-created product, who would have thought that Crowdfunding would have come as far as it has. Some would say that Crowdfunding has saved the MMO genre of today, but in a weird way, it has kind of made it worse. As we sit here today, looking out over the sea of Crowdfunded MMOs, we ask ourselves, what do we have to show for it? Those of us who have funded these projects have funded a promise, and few, if any, have delivered on that promise, often reaching back to the well of supporters for more money, before their first promises have been kept.


Who could forget the backlash, and subsequent claims of fraud from the MMORPG Greed Monger, which fulfilled its goal thrice over, and delivered nothing? Where is Pathfinder Online, after it’s crash and resurrection? Despite the best of intentions, and the best of well wishes, crowdfunding has not delivered MMO fans many beacons of hope. With questions on when we can expect a release date for Crowfall, or if Cloud Imperium’s Star Citizen will ever actually stop asking for funding, or why Ashes of Creation developer Intrepid released a battle royale game, it is far more likely that Crowdfunding MMOs is a curse on the genre that must be lifted.


 

Overhyped Games That Were Never Released

At E3 2014, Microsoft debuted an announcement trailer for Scalebound, which brought in thousands of views and hundreds of comments from players excitedly awaiting its release. Scalebound, an action role-playing game for Xbox One and PC, was in development at Platinum Games. The title featured third-person gameplay, dragon companions, and a ton of customization options, like any good role-playing game. For fans who wanted a hybrid RPG experience on their Xbox consoles, Scalebound appeared picture perfect.



Then, like many other cancelled games, the studio went quiet. Speaking with IGN in 2017, a Microsoft representative confirmed that Scalebound, after "careful deliberation" at Microsoft, was cancelled. Instead, the publisher chose to focus its efforts and finances on games such as Crackdown 3, State of Decay 2, and Sea of Thieves.


Speaking about Scalebound on Twitter, JP Kellams, former producer at Platinum Games, expressed sorrow and regret in having failed to deliver a worthwhile RPG to the community. Some fans commented on his Twitter thread, asking for information, and Kellams replied, "It is none of your business, really.


Speculation as to why Scalebound was cancelled abounds. Unfortunately, the hype is gone. The game's subreddit has become nearly as quiet as the title itself.



















 

Genres Currently Dominating The Gaming Scene

If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the past two decades, it’s that premium entertainment always prevails. With that in mind, it’s no surprise to see the massive boom in the video game industry that’s occurred recently. Right now, gaming is one of the most popular hobbies worldwide. All of us can enjoy a fun game every once in a while, and luckily, there’s enough diversity in gaming for everyone to find something they like. While choices are important, a few genres have been dominating the scene completely! So, if you’re interested in giving them a try, here’s where to start.

Sports Games

Sports never seem to go out of style, and this sentiment has seamlessly translated to the gaming scene. With the newfound popularity that online betting has drummed up, people’s interest in a variety of sports is bigger than ever. Of course, it’s easy to see why so many enjoy these websites. If you visit betting sites like NetBet, you’ll find that they have offers for pretty much every sport in the world. From popular sports like football and tennis to more obscure ones like Gaelic hurling, the opportunities for placing bets on different games are endless.

Naturally, this increased interest in sports overall has plenty of people switching between watching a game on TV, placing bets online, and playing sports games on their consoles! With one glance at EA’s roster, you can tell that sports games aren’t missing anything. From boxing and MMA to FIFA and basketball, you can take control of your team through a joystick and prove your athletic prowess in a different way than you usually would out in the field!

Fantasy Games

The fantasy genre has gained a ton of traction in the past few years, and not just in gaming. From TV shows to blockbuster movies, fantasy seems to be dominating every frontier, so it’s no surprise to see it take the cake with video games as well. If we’re looking at some of the more important events that have led up to fantasy gaining the top spot in gaming, the MMORPG craze shouldn’t be glossed over.

You’ve probably already heard of now-iconic games like World of Warcraft and Runescape. These massive multiplayer online roleplaying games brought new life to the gaming scene back in the early 2000s thanks to their incredible open worlds built around epic fantasy. Their success was nearly unmatched, and while these particular titles might not be as popular anymore, other prime fantasy titles like The Witcher are thriving. Now, with PlayStation’s new efforts aimed at mobile, we might even see some of these incredible fantasy titles ready to take over the mobile platform as well!

Shooting Games

Like the other two genres mentioned in this article, this one has been no stranger to success in the past. No matter which year it is, shooting games always seem to do well. Knowing how successful long-running franchises like Call of Duty and Battlefield are is enough indication that these types of games always have a place in our hearts. While getting down and dirty and taking out enemies with expert precision always proves to be a fun time, the genre has seen a few changes recently.

One of the biggest changes shooting games have seen in the past few years is the mix of elements that goes into them. Instead of going for classic campaigns and war themes, they’ve been given a touch of creativity that expands the genre. A great example of this is the insanely popular Battle Royale uprising that everyone seems to be talking about. While not all of these games are technically classified as shooting games, most of them take the original shooting game formula and add a fun new spin to it.

 

What You Need To Know About The Vale's Action And Adventure

As the topic of accessibility in games has been brought to the forefront in the last few years, I've noticed that there isn't much innovation going on in terms of designing games for disabled people, rather than creating the game and adding accessibility options afterwards. Regardless of your thoughts on the content, the accessibility design of The Last of Us Part II last year was so impressive and robust that blind people were able to play and complete the game. But I began to think... why stop there?

Many more games are taking small steps, like creating a variety of colorblind and text options as well as customizable control sets. But where are the games designed from the ground up for blind gamers? A game called Blind Drive released earlier this year, and while it is impressive that there's nothing on the screen and a blind and sighted person could play it the same exact way, it's an arcade game that doesn't deliver something on the level of God of War or The Legend of Zelda. I began to wonder if such a thing would even be possible. And then, during an Xbox Steam festival, I stumbled onto a demo for The Vale: Shadow of the Crown. David Evans and Jamie Roboz at Falling Squirrel Studios were kind enough to sit down with me to discuss how and why they built a narrative-driven action-adventure game with absolutely no visuals.



V1
This is all you'll see during your 8-10 hour adventure in The Vale.

"At first it was really about finding an inexpensive way to work with narrative," Evans admitted. "I have experience with actors, working with voice overs and things like that. And I thought this would be a good vehicle for advancing ideas I had cheaply, but within a few months I realized that this is something that would be interesting for the blind community. So I met up with the CNIB [Canadian National Institute for the Blind] and they put me in touch with some focus groups for some very early prototypes of the game."


It seems that the sighted community has been just as interested in the concept from when it was first conceived as the blind community, just out of pure curiosity for innovation. Over the last five years, they've worked to get grants from various charitable organizations and even Xbox to keep the project running. During that time, Falling Squirrel worked closely with the blind community in a variety of ways and couldn't be happier with the results. "It's a very welcoming community. It's virtually troll-free!" said Evans.


"We realized there was a niche that wasn't really being filled as well as it could be, with the blind and low vision community," Roboz added. "There is this almost fervent community that wants to play anything that is available or accessible... One of the most interesting things was going back and forth on making the protagonist blind."


"It's also a very diverse community," Evans said. "It needs to be readily playable by someone who's maybe never held a controller... and there's a very hardcore element of this community too, people who speedrun Zelda games and play Street Fighter. I think we've done a decent job of straddling that. I think it ultimately makes it a better game, in maybe a rare case. Sometimes you end up watering things down, but we were still able to make a very hard Hard Mode. I can't play it."



Adaptive Controller
The Xbox Adaptive Controller has made huge strides for accessibility on all platforms.

Falling Squirrel found inspiration for The Vale in the game Blind Legend, but found that a lot of games for blind gamers lacked either production value or the experience of a professional developer. While wading through a field of tech demos or less-than-high-quality games, they set out to make an experience that would be equitable to a AAA experience. "We're tried to make a quality experience where we've found that there aren't many," Roboz said.


I asked about any inspiration from Nintendo's launch title 1-2-Switch, which became popular in the blind community since it doesn't require players to look at a screen. "Very early on, we had thought of going to the Switch, because of the motion controls. Now Sony has hit that out of the park too with that amazing tactile function in the [DualSense] controller. I do have an interest in coming back to those controllers, and to the PS5 controller as well," said Evans.


The Vale is played by moving around an actual represented space, but with no visuals on screen. Instead, players utilize audio cues in a navigable space to find their way around, listening for a blacksmith's hammer or a ferry whistle and bumping into more than a few walls. In combat, players listen for tells such as the clinking of armor or the rustling of leaves to parry, block, and slash foes. This is, again, in a 3D space; different enemy types will attack from different sides, and the phenomenal sound design of The Vale provides just enough warning to duck and dodge attacks.


"[The Vale] basically follows the journey of the second-born princess, a young woman who's been exiled to the boonies by her father," Evans explained. "His dying wish was to have her set up to lord over a castle somewhere. She feels that this is connected to her blindness, that he never had an imagination for how a [blind] person could become an advisor or leader. Her caravan is attacked on the way out there, and she ends up having to make the journey home, about 500 miles... her uncle had been training her with a shield and sword, so she's an able combatant. And she has to find allies and make this arduous journey home."


I inquired if the developers come from more of a sound engineering background than from game development. "I do now," Evans laughed. "Other than being a voice actor/director in AAA games and live action, I felt comfortable and I felt [getting top tier actors] was the main thing. I'm really relying on people with way more experience than I have... We don't do a ton of foley [work], but I recorded my own dog, and I apologize for not being funny but to me it was like magic."



Dual Sense
The developers hope to work with Sony's advanced haptics and make a specialized PS5 version.

I followed up to ask about selecting and working with these voice actors. Evans found that he didn't know how to deliver a script to his two blind actors on set, and he assumed there might be a braille translator involved. He was surprised when the actors used robot-spoken audio of the written script to listen to and recite as they were saying the lines.


"Both women were absolutely phenomenal, and they both had similar methods of reading to playback. And it was relatively cold reads," he said. "I wanted to try and cast the main character in the [blind] community but I set too many requirements, like the accents and stuff. I did end up casting in London, because there were so many English accents needed. There's four actors from the [blind] community in the game and all of them play sighted characters, and the three blind characters in the game are all played by sighted actors. I think, I hope I did a decent job of representing."


Falling Squirrel intends to release The Vale on Steam and Xbox in the first half of 2021. Evans stated that they would love to explore the capabilities of the PS5 Dualsense as well as the Switch's Joy-Cons in the future with specialized versions. "And VR, I think it'd be very cool to get a VR version of the game. We've dubbed it the 'most expensive blindfold accessory,'" Roboz joked.





They're hoping to follow up The Vale with one of a few ideas they've been tossing around, such as an all-audio pinball RPG or a competitive online multiplayer game with no visuals. Further plans involve mobile ports for Android and iOS, as well as dubbing The Vale into different languages starting with German (which is almost like making a whole new game).


"People have asked me, is this a blind simulator? What is the draw for someone who is sighted?" Evans prompted as the discussion wound down. "It's very specifically not that. When you're playing this game, you're playing a character who can do incredible things. Her blindness becomes empowerment. There's an intimate nature to the game, hearing someone move close to you, hearing an enemy breathe down your neck. But there's also an exhilarating feeling being so good at fighting and just getting around... as a sighted person, you could never understand what it's like to be that character, but I think you can feel that empowerment."


I personally can't wait to get my hands on The Vale, close my eyes, hear the living world around me, and dive into an adventure as robust as blind and sighted gamers alike deserve.


 

There's No Excuse To Not Be Playing These Amazing Free PS5 Games

Best Free PS5 Games

Best Free PS5 Games

Best Free PS5 Games In April 2021 – Great PS5 Games At Zero Cost – With PS5 games costing as much as $70, the desire for cut price gaming on Sony’s next-generation console has never been clearer. So with that in mind, we’ve put together an ongoing list of all the best free PS5 games money can’t buy. Keep this page bookmarked too, as we’ll be updating it with all new free PS5 games over the coming weeks, months and years.

Best Free PS5 Games In April 2021 – A Complete List

Best Free PS5 Games In April 2021:

  • Call of Duty Warzone
  • Destiny 2
  • Fortnite: Battle Royale
  • Warframe
  • Rogue Company
  • War Thunder
  • Crsed: F.O.A.D
  • 1) Best Free PS5 Games: Call of Duty Warzone

    It was only a matter of time until the juggernaut Call of Duty franchise got its own Battle Royale spin-off – and what an effort it is. Channelling the series ultra responsive gunplay into a massive open setting, Call of Duty Warzone is quite the achievement.

    Best Free PS5 Games Call of Duty Warzone

    Best Free PS5 Games Call of Duty Warzone

    Where Call of Duty Warzone truly separates itself from the rest of the Battle Royale pack however, is in how it not only allows for up to 150 players at any one time, but also how future expansions will permit an eye-watering 200 players at once. Now with full crossplay between PlayStation, Xbox and PC platforms and 4K/60 visuals, if you play Call of Duty: Warzone on PS5, you’re playing the definitive version of one of the most popular free games ever.

    2) Best Free PS5 Games: Destiny 2

    As if Destiny 2 needed to add any more players to its millions strong number, it looks like they’re about to add a whole heap more now that its supremely popular MMOFPS has gone free to play on PlayStation 5.

    Best Free PS5 Games Destiny 2

    Best Free PS5 Games Destiny 2

    Encompassing a massive amount of PvE and PvP content, in addition to small truckload of expansion quests and storylines, Destiny 2’s free to play offering is immensely generous and now means that you now have precisely zero excuses to play Bungie’s stellar shooter.

    Related Content – Sony PS5 Complete Guide – A Total Resource On PlayStation 5

    3) Best Free PS5 Games: Fortnite Battle Royale

    On reflection, it never seemed likely that Epic Games’ Fortnite was going to succeed, much less become the global trailblazer that it would eventually end up being. Yet here we are; after a massively extended and on-going stint in Early Access, Fortnite redeemed itself in the best way possible by giving players Fortnite Battle Royale; a new take on the battle royale sub-genre that combined building with traditional third-person combat.

    Best Free PS5 Games Fortnite

    Best Free PS5 Games Fortnite

    Much more than the already attractive sum of its building and shooting parts, Fortnite Battle Royale prizes and rewards player ingenuity and emergent chaos quite unlike anything else out there right now and at the grand cost of zero bucks (pounds, euros, pence, cents, whatever), there really is no better time to jump on bandwagon than right now.

    4) Best Free PS5 Games: Warframe

    Originally releasing at the same time as the PS4 hardware did back in November 2013, Warframe was one of the very first free-to-play games you could get on the console. A third-person, space ninja action RPG that places a bespoke focus on co-op and teamworking in a vein that players of Destiny 2 will surely recognise, it’s a credit to the calibre of both the developer Digital Extremes and the game that as we approach its seventh birthday, Warframe is the best it has ever been.

    Best Free PS5 Games Warframe

    Best Free PS5 Games Warframe

    With a variety of PvP and PvE content which both in turn dovetail into Warframe’s on-going narrative, there is so much to do in Digital Extremes free-to-play effort that it is frankly unreal. From brief skirmishes to space combat, massive raids and other co-operative activities, Warframe does a cracking job of marrying hyper-kinetic, third-person combat with a rather generous free-to-play model that ensures everybody can give the game a good go without ever needing to reach into their pockets.

    And now, some seven years after its initial release, Warframe is now at the launch of the PS5 – though this time with a massively improved visual feature set and nearly a decade worth of additional content. There is no better time to get into Warframe than right now.

    5) Best Free PS5 Games: Rogue Company

    A third-person hero shooter from HiRez Studios, the same developer which brought us the heady likes of Realm Royale, Smite and Paladins, Rogue Company is a hugely entertaining piece of work to say the least.

    best free ps5 games rogue company

    best free ps5 games rogue company

    With its range of completely different, role-based heroes that each have their own weapons, skills and abilities, coupled with a variety of interesting game modes, Rogue Company is a great little third-person shooter that you can dip in and out for just a few minutes at a time. Even better still, Rogue Company on PS5 supports a super smooth 120 FPS mode too.

    6) Best Free PS5 Games: War Thunder

    Much like Warframe before it, War Thunder also released alongside the PlayStation 4 back in 2013, standing shoulder to shoulder with Digital Extremes third-person action RPG to lead the free to play revolution on PlayStation.

    Best Free PS5 Games War Thunder

    Best Free PS5 Games War Thunder

    A sprawling open-world online military sim, War Thunder comes to PS5 with native 4K resolution running at 60 frames per second and with much higher levels of environmental detail. Oh, and crossplay is enabled with PS4 players too. Bargain.

    7) Best Free PS5 Games: Crsed: F.O.A.D

    Crsed: F.O.A.D is a strange one – and it’s not just the name either. An MMORPG Battle Royale effort (now there’s a mouthful) Crsed: F.O.A.D has player using jetpacks, swords, knifes and all manner of magic against one another in a titanic struggle.

    best free PS5 games crsed

    best free PS5 games crsed

    With a constant stream of additional free content, game types and a seemingly endless bounty of gear and costumes to unlock, Crsed: F.O.A.D is as completely mental as it is deep.

     

    The Most Uncomfortable Kisses In Video Games

    Chrono Trigger remains one of the most beloved games of all time, with fans having many reasons to sing its praise. However, there's one ending to the game that might leave fans slightly uncomfortable in its awkwardness.



    Chrono Trigger has thirteen unique endingsbut one of them features a wedding, complete with kiss, between a frog and human. Officially titled "The Successor of Guardia," the wedding ending rewrites history and speculates what could happen if the aptly-named Frog felt confident enough to ask Queene Leene out. When gamers see the half-frog, half-human relatives of Marle, they'll know the answer.


    Players get to see the wedding between Frog and Leene, including the sloppy, fly-eating kiss that in other parts of the game might be mistaken as a combat move. Though the context of the kiss might be sweet and optimistic, the kiss itself is gross. While this ending is supposed to be funny, it's still a little awkward.



    Fans continuously long for another installment in the Chrono Trigger series, but they might be waiting forever. Thankfully, they can re-watch Frog's kiss repeatedly to reminisce about the weirder aspects of their favorite game.


















     

    Here's Why Star Wars Fans Are Annoyed About Revan



    One of Disney’s objectives when buying Star Wars was to open up the franchise to a wider audience. And whatever your opinions of what they produced, they’ve successfully attracted more girls and women while also maintaining their core fanbase of young men. Indeed, both the Sequel Trilogy and The Mandalorian have introduced a new generation of fans to a galaxy far, far away, but some aren’t happy.


    There’s a post going viral on Twitter at the moment bemoaning ‘casual’ viewers. The original author has been cropped out, but it reads:


    “One of the worst things about Disney acquiring SW is that now people that never cared about SW are now like ‘OMG! SW is, like, the bestest evar! I’m totally a fan, I’ve been one, since, like, 2015. Reylo forever! Baby Yoda is so cute! Wait, what’s a Revan?”


    So, what is a Revan? Well, the character debuted in 2003 Xbox and PC RPG Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, where Revan was renowned as one of the most powerful Sith Lords in the galaxy, though by the time of the game’s start has mysteriously disappeared. But – spoilers follow for an 18-year-old title – it turns out that the player character was an amnesiac Revan all along.


    Since that mind-blowing twist, he’s been frequently referenced in related media and was brought into the Disney canon after being mentioned in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary. Fortunately, there’s been a substantial backlash against the aforementioned gatekeeping, with many comments welcoming newcomers to Star Wars. The Haunting of Bly Manor‘s Rahul Kohli was particularly unhappy about it, saying:




    And here’s a selection of some of the other comments:














    I agree. How can you call yourself a fan of any franchise if you’re actively trying to discourage people from liking it? Communities like these are reliant on younger points of view and new perspectives and the way Star Wars has become more egalitarian over the last decade is something to celebrate.


    One big positive of all this is that the increased attention on Revan has caused a burst of interest in Knights of the Old Republic. In fact, Guardians of the Galaxy and The Suicide Squad director James Gunn commented that:




    A full-on remake might be coming, but if it’s not, I’d love to see this classic Star Wars game at least get a remastering to give its creaky graphics a fresh coat of paint.




    Source: MovieWeb





     

    Monster Harvest Release Date Delayed For More Features

    The Monster Harvest release date has been delayed so that the developers of the monster collecting and farming ARPG "could focus on incorporating important content." What do these additions include? Well, players can now look forward to a dungeon minimap, more crop variations, the farm size expanding, and a new female character model. There will also be variant dungeon rooms with some rare and unique encounters, unlockable Planimal attacks, new additions to the town and an overhaul of NPC's and relationships, and more structured goals and rewards for completing certain milestones in-game.

    What is the new Monster Harvest release date?

    Monster Harvest is now set to release July 8th, 2021 digitally on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. Publisher Merge Games will release physical editions on July 20th. Previously, the release date had been set for May 13th on PC and Switch, with Xbox and PlayStation releases in June.


    What is Monster Harvest?

    Monster Harvest is a pixelated farming simulator where you can mutate your crops with the Slime in order to create companions who will beat the crap out of everything that gets in your way. There are over 72 mutations, so there are a lot of different Planimals for you to get as you explore the world and take on the evil SlimeCo. in turn-based battles. There's also three unique seasons: Dry, Wet, and Dark, so you'll have to monitor your plants in order to get your preferred Planimals.



    Quick Take

    While the delay isn't an awesome thing, a lot of these things seem like basic inclusions that the game needs to have, so it makes sense that the game would be delayed in order to ensure that things such as a dungeon minimap will make it into the game. It's only about a two month delay, so it's not a huge deal. Still sucks, though.



    What do you think of this announcement? Are you planning on getting a Monster Harvest digital or physical copy? Let us know in the comments!


     

    Square Enix's Newest Game Isn't Want Anyone Expected


    Square Enix Announces Fantasy RPG Gate of Nightmares








    by
    William D'Angelo
    , posted 4 hours ago / 370 Views

    Square Enix has announced fantasy RPG, Gate of Nightmares, for iOS and Android. The game features character design and world creation by Fairy Tail creator Hiro Mashima, scenario by Jin Fujisawa, and music by Yasuharu Takanashi.


    View the announcement trailer below:


    [embedded content]


    Here is an overview of the game:


    Gate of Nightmares is a traditional fantasy adventure of swords and magic, set in both the “real world” where people live, and “Remurias,” a world of mixed up dreams made manifest. When Emma, a girl who became a “Nightwalker” and commands monsters known as “Nightmares,” which are born from bad dreams, encounters Azel, a mysterious boy the Nightmares like, she gets wrapped up in an adventure where the fate of the world hangs in the balance.


    All the characters that appear in the game are newly illustrated by Hiro Mashima, and the scenario by Jin Fujisawa is fully voiced.


    Thanks, Gematsu.



    A life-long and avid gamer, William D'Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel dedicated to gaming Let's Plays and tutorials. You can contact the author at wdangelo@vgchartz.com or on Twitter @TrunksWD.


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    This Will Totally Change How You Play Cyberpunk 2077

    The three Cyberpunk 2077 life paths have been detailed in Night City Wire Episode 2. Players will have a choice between Street Kid, Nomad, and Corporate, and each of these three life paths will determine how they get their start.

    Cyberpunk 2077 is an RPG from the same people who created The Witcher franchise. Naturally, that means that players will have some choices to make. One of these choices will be the Life Path — a sort of framework that determines how players got their start before the game began proper.


    Cyberpunk 2077 Life Paths city


    What are the Cyberpunk 2077 Life Paths?

    Players will have their choice between three different Cyberpunk 2077 life paths, each of which has its own strengths and weaknesses.


    Street Kid

    Street Kids have spent most of their time growing up within Night City and are intimately familiar with the city's underworld. A few run-ins with the law are probably in your history, but there's an upside: you'll have a good understanding of the city's gangs.


    Nomad

    Nomads haven't quite grown up in Night City. Rather, they seem to enjoy spending their time constantly traveling on the outskirts and the open road instead of settling down. Players picking this path will have started out doing just that before heading into Night City.


    Corporate

    Corporate players aren't at home on the streets or in the Badlands; rather, they've grown up in the cutthroat corporate world. The wealthiest and most powerful people are part of the corporations and that will help you, too — but you'll likely find yourself ill-equipped to understand the Badlands outside of Night City or the various lowlife gangs and criminals living within.


    Cyberpunk 2077 Life Paths cop car


    How do the Cyberpunk 2077 Life Paths Affect the Game?

    The life paths aren't just going to determine your start: your choices from the very beginning of Cyberpunk 2077 are going to have an effect on the rest of the game.


    One example is a mission where you need to steal a robot from the Maelstrom gang. Each of the three life paths will confer various different advantages to the player for different aspects of the situation.


    A Corporate player can 'read between the lines" and will have some additional options which will allow for a different approach. A Nomad would have some insights as to how the robot may have been stolen in the first place. A Street Kid, however, wouldn't have any understanding of the corporate world — but they are better equipped to deal with the gang itself.


    Cyberpunk 2077 is all about choices and it looks like one of your very first choices will have ripple effects throughout the entire game. Whether you're choosing to be a struggling Nomad or a powerful Corporate drone, players will get to experience Night City from three very different perspectives.


    Which of the Cyberpunk 2077 life paths do you think you'll pick at the start? Do you identify more with the street gangs or the corporate power brokers? Let us know in the comments below!


     

    The Massive Ups And Downs In World Of Warcraft History

    Maybe it’s just because my life has changed so drastically over the last ten years, but 2010 feels like it was a lifetime ago. Things got even murkier when I started thinking about the most significant changes which happened in World of Warcraft this decade. Then I remembered Cataclysm didn’t launch until the end of 2010. For the majority of that year, we were still doing Wrath things. For help in reminding me of when things happened, I turned to the World of Warcraft Timeline on Wowpedia. It’s a great resource to look at when things happened, but I’d like to delve a bit deeper into some significant moments here.


    Wrath of the Lich King Wind Down


    One of the first big things to happen in 2010 was the 3.3.5 Patch, which included, among other things, the implementation of Real ID. Before Real ID, the friends list was limited to your character and server. Real ID changed all of that. Players could choose friends to become Real ID and be able to chant across server, faction, and even in different games. For the most part, this was a welcome change, and the fact players had to opt into it made it pretty much perfect. The alternative system, Battle Tags, which lets players choose a name to be known by wasn’t implemented until Patch 5.0.4 (MoP pre-patch).


    The part of Real ID, which went over like a lead balloon, was the plan to force all posters on the forums to post using their Real ID. There was even an option to make your main character’s name and realm visible next to your real name. Although some people supported this change, mostly thinking it would lead to more civil discourse if people weren’t anonymous, most responses were firmly against it. While yea, I’m sure some people were sad about the idea of trolling under their real names, most concerns were about safety, especially as it relates to kids playing WoW because unlike in-game, this change wasn’t going to be voluntary. Thankfully though, Blizzard rescinded this planned change a mere three days later.



    Another critical point is the often-quoted line of “WoW was the most popular during Wrath, so that was the best expansion” is a bit off. The 12 million sub mark was reached in 2010 and happened sometime in the preceding quarter (it was announced in October of 2010). Icecrown had been added at the end of 2009 and was fully opened during January 2010. If it were really Wrath drawing people in, I would have thought the subs would spike sooner. Or heck if people were waiting around to get to fight the Lich King, a spike at the end of 2009 would have made the most sense. Not to mention we were in Icecrown for an entire year (no Ruby Sanctum doesn’t count) so it’s not as if there were all kinds of great new content in 2010 drawing people in.


    What makes the most sense is Wrath was a highly successful expansion overall (it gave us our first real in-game cinematics after all) and riding on that there was a ton of hype for Cataclysm. Because Cata gets so much flak for being a bad expansion, it’s effortless to forget how many players looked forward to it at the time. That’s also the key there. A significant portion of the disappointment over Cata had a lot more to do with how high player expectations were leading into it. Sure it’s fun to get hyped about stuff, but sometimes it just leaves an impossible to meet expectation.



    Cataclysm


    On December 7th, 2010, Cataclysm launched with all its fury and glory into our unsuspecting hands.  One of the ways Cata was different from the expansions prior was the max player level only increased five levels to a max level of 85. One of the reasons for this was as part of the pre-patch The Shattering happened and transformed both the Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor. While purists will lament the shattering, overall, it was a good thing. It made the entire world feel new again and introduced some exciting questlines to the original game. Of course, I do miss some of the old zones and questlines which were taken out, but life moves forward; it doesn’t stay stagnant. Also, the revamp allowed flying to be possible in the old zones which was not possible before.


    It feels like Firelands gets overlooked when people talk about Cata, but I have to mention it because it is still one of my favorite raids. All of the bosses were interesting and offered unique challenges, which you’d think could be said about every raid, but most bosses are the same with a slightly different mix of abilities. For example, Beth’tilac required splitting the group a bit with one group fighting her on her webs which was weird and fun. However, my favorite fight was Alysrazor because back then, I was a Shadow Priest, so I got to fly around in all the rings which was utterly different from anything I had ever done in a raid previous, and a blast. Seriously, I have no idea what people who stayed on the ground did because I just flew around that entire fight!



    While overall, the Hour of Twilight patch was pretty solid, it gets a lot of hate. One reason is we were stuck in Dragon Soul for eight months, not as bad as Icecrown, but Icecrown was a more interesting raid. Also, the Spine of Deathwing fight was a huge pita, though I do have to give them credit for unique mechanics there as well. Another reason this patch is looked down on is this is where LFR was first introduced. People love to hate on LFR, and most of the time the reasoning is pretty terrible as it only affects people who choose to do it. There was some argument for some people feeling like they had to do it to get their tier bonuses asap, but at this point hating on it just pointless.


    One excellent all-around addition that came with the Hour of Twilight patch was the addition of transmogrification. I know some people don’t like it, but personally, this was one of the best additions to WoW. I am by no means a fashionista, people who have met me in real life are laughing themselves silly at the notion, but I do love not having to have mismatched gear. Also, it allowed my warrior to use some of her old armor and weapon skins I always loved. Of course, this first round of transmogrification was very restrictive and unlocks were unique to each character. Nonetheless, it was a very welcome change and for those of us who had been hoarding items since vanilla, it was also an exciting time.



    Mists of Pandaria


    Mists rolled around in September 2012 and brought with it what felt like a new direction for WoW. Not only did an entire island appear out of nowhere, but it also seemed like it might be the beginning of a new course for Horde and Alliance. Sure, there was a whole war going on and Garrosh did terrible things. Jaina, who had previously been all about peace, was now out for blood, but there was still hope. Anduin was beginning to come into his own and had finally grown beyond his childhood. Additionally, Varian had shown some signs he was also maturing a bit and might be able to consider peace.


    One of the core themes of Mists was the idea a person’s emotions could manifest in the real world and cause real trouble for people. This kind of forced both the Horde and Alliance to step back and examine why they fight, and what’s the point. Particularly with both coming together to defeat Garrosh and then having Vol’jin as the new leader of the Horde. At the time, it felt like things might change between the two factions. Vol’jin was undoubtedly poised to be the greatest Warchief they’d ever had and things were left with an uneasy peace, but there was still peace.



    Mists also brought with it the first round of the cinematic shorts we’ve all become accustomed to. The Burdens of Shaohao tells the story of the last Pandaren emperor before Pandaria was enshrouded in mist. Sure, lore shorts were being presented outside of the game, which can be dicey for some. However, these were also artfully crafted and told a compelling story that indirectly furthered the storylines we were experiencing in-game. These were not something I ever looked for from the WoW team but once I saw them, I just wanted them to keep making these. The fact every expansion since Mists has also had shorts, and that they are expected at this point, is an indication of how positive the reception to the Shaohao story was.


    In terms of game system changes, the biggest and most impactful change was the overhaul to talent trees which came with Mists. The trees were removed entirely and replaced with the tiered talents with three choices in each row, similar to what we have now. Through these changes, some talents became baseline while others just disappeared. The main issue with the old trees was they often offered the illusion of choice. There was nearly always a correct choice and a wrong choice and very few reasons to branch out especially when doing endgame content. The new tiers were intended to offer more options and give players talents, which might be useful for one boss and a different option for a different boss. This kind of worked out long-term. I do change my talents depending on what boss we are working on, sometimes. Unfortunately, most of the time there is still always a “correct” choice.


     

    MMORPGs We'd Be Excited To See Make The Jump To Console

    As I work through my reivew on Bless Unleashed, I'm finding myself playing more and more MMOs on console these days. Even before starting Bless I was playing Black Desert on Xbox One X, checking out the cross-play functionality with friends on PlayStation 4, and before that logging into ESO occassionaly to keep tabs on my Imperial Templar collecting dust.

    For the longest time, console gamers really haven't had too many MMO options. That changed with this most recent generation of console hardware, with more and more games making the jump to Sony and Microsoft's platforms. Sure, games like Final Fantasy XI existed, and games like Phantasy Star Online on SEGA's Dreamcast, as well as EverQuest Online Adventures came to PlayStation 2, console MMORPGs really didn't start to become more prominent until the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 came onto the scene.


    With games like Black DesertThe Elder Scrolls Online and Final Fantasy XIV proving that both action and tab targeting MMOs can work - and thrive - on these platforms, it begs the question: Why haven't more MMOs, especiallly older games, made the leap over to the platforms? While it could be a combination of developing for a new platform and the cost associated with that, it's fun to speculate how this could even work. Here are five MMORPGs I'd love see make the jump to consoles. 


    Star Was: The Old Republic

    SWTOR is one of those games I could see making the jump purely because of its age. It's not the most visually flashy MMORPG on the market, and the combat could easily be suited for gamepad. Given the Old Republic history with console players, SWTOR being seen on console could see a renaissance of new players jumping into the MMO to experience more story telling in that Star Wars universe.


    [embedded content]


    However, this may never come to be, as the MMORPG would need to be ported over to the platforms from PC - taking resources away from other efforts BioWare and EA are otherwise using (to either fix Anthem or iterate on Star Wars: The Old Republic on PC). Additionally, EA likely isn't going to invest more in Star Wars unless it's to continue the timeline and games that currently are capturing critical acclaim - such as Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.


    Guild Wars 2

    Guild Wars 2 is a game I've long felt would do well in the console space. It's take on the skill system in an MMO would lend itself well to the platform (and console makers have enabled mouse and keyboard on their machines, so it's not like that can't be factored into things), and many fans already enjoy the game using a controller.


    Me, personally, would love to explore the world of Guild Wars 2 on my console with a few friends of my who have expressed interest in playing, but prefer to stay on console. With such a vast world and tons of hours of content to go through, including all of the Living World updates, there would be plenty of keep new players busy for a while as well. 


    [embedded content]
    EVE Online

    Look, EVE Online is a hard game to play anywhere, let alone with a controller on a TV multiple feet from your face. But imagine for a moment how awesome it would be to see the type of emergent and player-created stories pouring onto the internet not from just PC players, but Xbox and PS4 - and even Nintendo Switch if they get on board as well - users, thrusting New Eden into absolute chaos? A single shared shard MMO across multiple platforms would be awesome, and I fully believe EVE Online is the only game where that would have any semblance of working. 


    It's not like the full EVE experience hasn't been ported before, either. EVE Echoes brings the vast majority of the systems and gameplay offerred by the full PC version onto phones.  I would love to see what types of players emerge from consoles, as well as the types of alliances and corporations we see prop themselves up in Nullsec with an influx of new players eager to test out the sandbox they've heard about on PC.


    Besides, CCP has console experience as well, with EVE: Dust 514, so anything is possible. 


    World of Warcraft

    Hear me out. 


    World of Warcraft is a phenomenon. The modern MMO lilkely wouldn't exist in the state it does without the lessons and example Blizzard's Magnus Opus gave many studios working on their own titles. Every MMO in the 2000s seemingly wanted to be WoW, but could never quite do it as well as the venerable MMO. Even today, a decade and a half later, World of Warcraft still commands industry and consumer respect. Why wouldn't we want more people to enjoy this eperience?



    Blizzard could release our imaginary World of Warcraft: Console Edition as one fell swoop, all the DLCs to that point and give console players years and years of content to catch up with. Or, with World of Warcraft Classic being as popular as it has been, why not give console players the chance to start from the beginning and progress through WoW as PC players had to do? 


    The Lord of the Rings Online

    This is actually the game that spurred this discussion in my mind earlier this week. Middle-earth isn't really realized on console. Sure you've got the LEGO Lord of the Rings games, and the Middle-earth series by Monolith, but there really isn't a way to turn on your PlayStation, sit down and just romp around in the Shire, or check out what Elrond is up to in Rivendell. The Lord of the Rings Online on console could let you and your friends journey Middle-earth together in a way that hadn't been available to you before.


    Like many MMOs on this list, LotRO is older, meaning there is a ton of content that could be made available to console players on day one. Free to play MMOs also tend to do well on console, with games like Bless Unleashed, Neverwinter and more seeing reltatively good player counts. With Standing Stone Games in charge of their own destiny after going independent a few years back, making the move to bring LotRO to a larger audience could help keep the MMO going for years and years to come - especially when Amazon's Lord of the Rings MMORPG starts to materialize and take shape in the near future. 


    Did we miss any you'd add to this list? Let us know what games you'd love to see make the jump to console in the comments below!


    Featured image via Gadet Art Play Channel (YouTube)

     

    CDPR Has Surprisingly Doubled Down On Cyberpunk 2077

    Adam Kici?ski, the President and Joint CEO of CD Projekt RED, recently came out and stated they still plan on selling Cyberpunk 2077, “for years to come.” This and more were touched on in a Reuters interview.

    If you recall, Sony pulled the game from their digital store shelves last year after its disastrous launch in December. Kici?ski noted that they were in contact with Sony, but there’s no timetable as of now when Playstation gamers can expect to see Cyberpunk 2077 return to their store.


    However, Kici?ski did note,



    “I don’t see an option to shelve Cyberpunk 2077. We are convinced that we can bring the game to such a state that we can be proud of it and therefore successfully sell it for years to come.”



    While this doesn’t commit to a timetable, there is perhaps some hope with the most recent patch, Patch 1.2, bringing hundreds of fixes. This patch, however, was delayed from its original set release in February.


    CD Projekt RED outlined its plans for basically fixing the game and updating the now-current-gen consoles – the Xbox Series X|S and PS5 – with their own bespoke versions of Cyberpunk 2077. This roadmap included both 1.1 and 1.2 patches which have already released.


    The roadmap also included Free DLCs and the purported console update for sometime later this year. We still don’t concrete dates tied to these releases. More recently, the previously reported standalone multiplayer mode was being reconsidered. Kici?ski had stressed that their single-player vision won’t be compromised,



    "Let's stress this here: CD Projekt RED makes single-player, story-driven AAA RPGS. That is not changing. What is changing is our long-term approach to online."


     

    What Newcomers Need To Know About The NieR Replicant Remake


    nier replicant


    Square Enix is remaking the classic NieR Replicant in the form of NieR Replicant ver 1.22474487139. Yeah, it’s a bit of a strange title, but it makes sense when it comes to NieR. This is a modern re-telling of the cult classic NieR Replicant and previous fans of the series, as well as newcomers, will be able to enjoy it all the same. The upcoming release of NieR Replicant ver. 1.22474487139 is set to include many new features like fully remastered visuals, a re-recorded soundtrack and all-new voice lines, and there’s even more that will be available in the game! So what do you need to know about Nier Replicant ver. 1.22474487139? What other new features will you get to see in the game?


    What is NieR Replicant?

    According to Square Enix, “NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139… is a modern re-telling of NieR Replicant, a third-person action-RPG which originally released in Japan in 2010, and is the highly anticipated prequel to NieR:Automata™, the post-apocalyptic action-RPG that has shipped/downloaded over 5 million copies worldwide.” Essentially, the goal of NieR Replicant is to follow a brother on his quest to cure his sister of an extremely deadly disease, but who finds himself questioning everything along the way. NieR Replicant ver. 1.22474487139 is led by many talented people including acclaimed director Yoko Taro (Drakengard, NieR: Automata), composer Keiichi Okabe (Tekken, Drakengard, NieR: Automata), and producer Yosuke Saito (Dragon Quest X, NieR: Automata) to bring one hell of a re-telling of the original game to players all across the world.


    Extra Content

    Fans of NieR Replicant will be delighted to hear that Toylogic is bringing players even more content than the previously Japan exclusive predecessor. What kind of extra content, you ask? Well, we’ve got things like:



    • Extra Episode – “Players can enjoy a new scenario and exhilarating boss battle by playing through the game, in an all new “Mermaid” episode featuring a wrecked ship and a little girl.”

    • Extra Dungeons from “15 Nightmares” – Previously released as downloadable content for the original release in Japan and similar to “The World of Recycled Vessel” content in the West, fans will be able to undertake a series of challenging dungeons as the “15 Nightmares” protagonist in the world of recycled vessel. Playing through the dungeons will unlock a variety of weapons, as well as extra costumes, “Kabuki” and “Samurai.” You will also be able to change the appearance of enemy bullets to Emil’s face through the option menu after obtaining either of the costumes.

    • Soundtrack from NieR:Automata – Players will unlock an option to switch to select background music tracks from the critically acclaimed NieR:Automata after completing the first playthrough.

    • Guest Cast from NieR:Automata – The English and Japanese voice actors of 2B and 9S will be featured in the game.


    While there are also costumes that are obtainable from “15 Nightmares,” starting at launch, you’ll also be able to download a completely free “4 YoRHa” costume pack that will allow you to swap your character’s costumes and weapons to fan favorite designs from NieR: Automata, including 9S, 2B, and A2.


    Pre-Order Bonus

    As most games nowadays do, Nier Replicant ver. 1.224774487139 will include a number of pre-order bonuses available to all players across all platforms. However, it looks like you’ll get different bonuses depending on which platform you decide to purchase the game on, including:



    • PlayStation 4 – All editionswill include an exclusive PlayStation 4 dynamic theme and 14 avatar set. Pre-orders will also include a digital copy of the mini soundtrack.

    • Xbox One – Pre-orders will also include a digital copy of the mini soundtrack

    • Steam – All editions will include a special digital wallpaper collection. Pre-orders will also include a digital copy of the mini soundtrack.


    So, when it comes to pre-order bonuses, you really aren’t getting a whole hell of a lot with NieR Replicant, but hey a free soundtrack is cool, right? NieR Replicant ver. 1.224774487139 will release on April 23, 2021 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC via Steam! It’s been over 5 years since the initial release of NieR: Automata, and over 10 years since the release of the original NieR, but if you’re looking for any other new bits of NieR to get your hands on, NieR Reincarnation is out now on Android and iOS….in Japan. Unfortunately, the developers are still localizing the game’s English version and polishing up some bugs, so it looks like if you’re outside of Japan, you’ll need to wait just a little bit longer if you want to get your hands on both NieR Reincarnation and NieR: Replicant ver. 1.224774487139. Not to worry though, we’re only a few days away from getting our hands on NieR Replicant, so you won’t need to wait that much longer!





     

    The Weirdest Mario Games You Never Knew Existed

    Forget the death-defying leaps of faith, the wacky power-ups, and the pixel-perfect platforming challenges. You know what Super Mario fans really love? Real estate investment! That seems to be the thinking behind Itadaki Street DS, anyway. In this 2007 portable title, Mario, Bowser, and the rest of the Super Mario clan set their differences aside to play a board game that's kind of like Monopoly except a whole lot weirder.



    For one, in Itadaki Street DS isn't just a Mario game. As per series tradition, it also stars characters from Square Enix's long-lived RPG series, Dragon Quest. From a behind-the-scenes perspective, that makes sense. Yuji Horii, who created Dragon Quest, is also the man responsible for Itadaki Street. Thematically, it's an odd fit: Dragon Quest takes place in a medieval fantasy world, whereas Super Mario Bros. is set in, well, whatever the Mushroom Kingdom is, and neither have much (or anything, really) to do with buying and selling plots of land.


    That's just the tip of the iceberg, though. Given Mario's background, we can see why he might build a wood shop or a circus tent, but a bar where everyone can get drunk? That's not the family-friendly plumber that we know and love. It's also unsettling to see Mario read tarot cards, especially ones adorned with the Grim Reaper, and worry about bank loans. Super Mario Bros. is a wild, adventurous fantasy. Itadaki Street is fun, but it's also mundane. The whole enterprise just feels like a very odd fit.



















     

    US And UK Xuan Yuan Sword Fans Are Loving This News

    Xuan Yuan Sword 7, the Chinese mythology-flavoured RPG from Softstar and DOMO Studios, will be hitting PlayStation and Xbox formats to western markets in Summer 2021, publisher eastasiasoft has announced.

    This is pretty big news for the franchise, as it will mark its western debut after having proved a massive success and cultural touchstone in China for the past 30 years. Yuan Yuan Sword 7 will receive a physical release at major trailers in the US and Europe via Maximum Games.

    The game’s storyline deeply rooted in Chinese history and mythology, reimagining them both ‘as one fantastical and chaotic realm under the governance of a new Xin Dynasty.’

    [embedded content][embedded content]

    Xuan Yuan Sword 7 offers newcomers an accessible entry point, weaving a standalone narrative and dynamic real-time combat. The game is set 2,000 years ago in China towards the climax of the Western Han rule, with players controlling Taishi Zhao, a noble swordsman, as he follows the trail of a mysterious bamboo slip from the crypt of Marquis of Liu.

    Related Content – Sony PS5 Complete Guide – A Total Resource On PlayStation 5

    Xuan Yuan Sword 7 is slated for release in Summer 2021 for PlayStation and Xbox formats.

     

    Video Game Clones That Are Causing An Uproar

    Disc Creatures is an indie RPG that definitely wears its inspirations on its sleeve, with PC Gamer saying that it feels like "a lost Game Boy game, devoted to a very particular look and type of design." The game follows a young protagonist on a quest to collect and train numerous creatures. These creatures can be used in battles and stored in computer databases, where they will rest until they are again chosen by their trainer. As they battle, they level up and learn new skills. Sound familiar?



    This one is an interesting case in that it doesn't feel like a malicious ripoff, but rather a loving tribute to a game series that the developers clearly hold near and dear. However, its future may be a little rocky. As Bleeding Cool put it, "It's all an obvious homage. It'll be a miracle, we'd say, if it doesn't get hit with some sort of lawsuit with just how incredibly similar it is to Pokémon." 


















     

    Does The NieR Replicant Remake Really Live Up To The Hype?

    nier-replicant-review-ps4

    nier-replicant-review-ps4

    NieR Replicant Review (PS4)– When NieR was originally released back on the PlayStation 3, it was universally a hit-and-miss title. It was praised for its fantastic story, writing, and incredible soundtrack. Most people hated its combat, which felt stiff, and the characters played as if they weighed a ton, and worst of all, it was mostly unresponsive.

    Fast forward a few years, and NieR Automata releases to high praise and great success, spurring Square Enix to give the franchise more recognition. That recognition comes in the form of an updated version of NeiR: Replicant, which is a thorough improvement on the original game in almost every way.

    NieR: Replicant PS4 ReviewAn Incredible Story That Pulls On All You’re Emotional Strings

    What is NeiR: Replicant, though? Replicant was originally released only in Japan while the west received what was later dubbed NieR: Gestalt. Those who played the PS3 title may wonder what the difference between the two titles is. Well, there is only one: the main protagonist.

    NieR told the story of a father trying to save his daughter from a mysterious plague called the Black Scrawl. Replicant replaces the father with a brother trying to save his sister. For those wondering how the story connects between Gestalt and Replicant, you don’t need to worry as the story remains the same just with a different protagonist.

    NieR’s story was universally praised for its dark themes that hit close to home and painting a bleak world that may not have a good ending. It was a story of love, happiness, and loss. Much like Automata after it, players are in for some blows that leave them with gut-wrenching decisions to make that don’t have a positive resolution and that includes the game’s multiple endings.

    latest-nier-replicant-trailer-highlights-the-new-content-added-to-the-game

    latest-nier-replicant-trailer-highlights-the-new-content-added-to-the-game

    Our main protagonist isn’t alone on his journey and comes across some allies that join him on his quest. Kanie: a foul-mouthed monster killing machine who herself is infected with the Black Scrawl. Emil: A little boy who can turn organic material into stone by looking at it. Last but not least, there is Grimoire Weiss: a magical talking book. Weiss takes centre stage in the story and is the key to curing the Black Scrawl. It just doesn’t really know how to. You can’t switch between any of the allies you come across but there are sections in the game where you get to play as them for story purposes.

    The world of NeiR is a post-apocalyptic one and humanity is on its last legs. Some humans have built shelters and live in various towns, and it’s these towns where you have to gather information on how to cure the Black Scrawl while taking care of the townsfolk’s needs.

    There are a lot of side-quests to tackle. Unfortunately, most of these are fetch quests. Find a specific item or kill a certain enemy and return and report your success to the quest giver. Though most of these quests can be quite boring to get through, some of them will net you great rewards such as new weapons and items that grant access to new locations. Even a whole ending is tied to how many quests you manage to complete.

    NieR Replicant Review 01

    NieR Replicant Review 01

    The main protagonist’s village is where most of the story quests come from. Each location in Replicant is a small-sized open location for you to explore. A nice grassy field, a junk heap, and a desert area are just some locations you’ll visit.

    Each location features wildlife to hunt for materials, gathering points for metals, fishing spots, and the game’s main enemies to take down, the Shade. The open locations are easy to transverse, but the amount of Shade that appears can get frustrating, especially in the second half of the game. I couldn’t go two minutes without being attacked by ten to fifteen Shade at once, and they weren’t exactly quick and easy encounters.

    Dated Quest Design Alongside Modernized Combat

    Unfortunately, one of Replicant’s worst mistakes is the amount of back-tracking it requires and it’s particularly prevalent when it comes to the side-quests.

    There were plenty of times where I would have to travel to one town to complete a quest and report the completion of the quest to the quest giver, who then asks you to go back to the same town you just came from to complete another request and then once again return to him to report the completion of that quest.

    nier-replicants-april-fools-day-trailer-makes-the-game-look-like-a-peaceful-calm-slice-of-life-rpg

    nier-replicants-april-fools-day-trailer-makes-the-game-look-like-a-peaceful-calm-slice-of-life-rpg

    You do unlock fast travel in the way of a boat in the second half of the game, but it’s barebones at best. Most of the locations where you get dropped by the boat are in the starting locations of each region which is just a ten-second run away from your hub town, which is located in the centre of the game world. It actually takes longer to get to the boat in your village than it takes to just run where you need to go.

    The combat is the major overhaul the game has received in this updated version of Replicant. Though it’s not on the same level as Automata, Replicant’s combat has received some much-needed overhaul. No longer does it feel stiff and unresponsive. It’s fast, fluid, and damn fun. If you played Automata, you should be right at home with Replicant as the mechanics are the same.

    Deflecting attacks right as they strike you is satisfying to perform, as is dodging an attack and watching the protagonist shift behind his opponents for a quick backslash. Though the combat is greatly improved, it does suffer from a few issues still. The main one is switching weapons and even healing during combat. Replicant allows you to switch weapons with the touch of a button but instead of instantly switching to a different weapon the game opens up a menu to have you switch.

    The same thing happens when you try and heal. The game again takes you to a menu to select your healing item. It would have been nice to have a quick menu that allowed me to preset two or three items to use on the fly instead of opening up a menu all the time.

    nier-replicant-gets-a-load-of-new-gameplay-as-previews-go-live

    nier-replicant-gets-a-load-of-new-gameplay-as-previews-go-live

    Outside of the melee combat, Grimoire Weiss acts like the little droid from Automata. It provides magic support for the protagonist, and you can even customize it with different attacks. I personally used Weiss as a long-range attacker with an energy blast and spears to launch at enemies. You can also utilize it for melee combat; more importantly, it’s great for crowd control with some of the attacks you unlock later on.

    The Spirit Of NieR Lives On In This Remake

    An interesting mechanic to NieR’s combat is its Word system. This system allows you to learn passive abilities to equip on your weapons and Grimoire Weiss. By defeating Shades, you’ll unlock Words that can increase your physical damage by a certain percentage or increase your item drop rate to get the rarer items required to upgrade your weapons. It’s not the most intuitive system, but it’s a nice addition to customize your weapons outside of just upgrading them to hit harder.

    Where the game’s combat truly shines is in its boss battles. Each boss fight is massive in scale and each one also works like a puzzle while also handicapping you. It’s not just about attacking your enemy. One boss has you dodging energy attacks as if you’re playing a bullet hell shooter while another stops your physical attacks from being effective, forcing you to rely on magic attacks.

    Much like Automata, Replicant isn’t just a third-person action game. You’ll find yourself in side-scrolling action sections and, in some cases, a full-on text adventure. Yoko Taro’s use of different game genres is unique and isn’t done nearly enough in the industry. He does a great job of keeping you engaged, while keeping the experience fresh.

    NieR Replicant Review 02

    NieR Replicant Review 02

    Replicant’s sound design is probably one of the best I’ve ever experienced and the game’s soundtrack is just on another level. Every song is memorable. I found myself just stopping in the middle of the world to appreciate the music. Voice work is also top-notch and is complemented by the game’s great writing.

    Visually the game got a nice upgrade from the PS3, but it’s not anything mind-blowing either. The main characters look good, but the world still looks like a late gen PS3 title. I wish a little more were put into the game’s visual upgrade, but it’s still a decent-looking game.

    Another Chance For A Game You Absolutely Should Play

    NieR: Replicant is another chance to jump into the crazy mind of Yoko Taro and experience a fantastic world filled with memorable characters. Replicant’s story is gut-wrenching at times and hopeful in others. Though Replicant is an updated port, it is improved enough to make it feel like a brand new experience. Replicant is a “can’t miss” experience for fans who may have only played NieR Automata, but for me personally, it’s a game that no one should miss.

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    NieR: Replicant releases on April 23rd, 2021 for PS4 and is playable on PS5 via backward compatability

    Review code provided by publisher

     

    Secretlab Announces New Magnetic Gaming Desk

    Secretlab announced today that it’s adding a gaming desk to its line-up of products. The desk, called the Magnus, will feature a steel chassis and to allow for a unique ecosystem of magnetic accessories. The desk is designed to look good, promote ergonomics, and to add real functionality that benefits gamers rather than simply look good alongside your gaming setup.

    The desk certainly looks nice. It features a thin, floating tabletop design. According to the lead designer, this is to allow the desk to sit at the perfect ergonomic height without interfering with its ease of use: no more armrest bumps trying to tuck your chair in. The desk comes in at a “perfectly calibrated” 735mm tall but also supports small adjustments of 20mm for fine-tuned adjustment.


    Around the back, the Magnus includes an embedded RGB strip. What’s interesting is that this strip is made to project out and onto the rear rim of the desk which also doubles as the trench for the cable management tray. This tray opens to allow you to easily hide cables for a clear setup but has been engineered to remain flush with the rear of the desk so you can push it close against the wall without hindering its functionality.



    The steel frame of the Magnus also allows Secretlab to design magnetic accessories to expand the functionality of the desk. Magnetic desk pads, Magpads, themed to match its most popular gaming chairs, will be available to create a matching theme. The team also showed off magnetic cable management guides, metal sleeves to hide power cords, and a headphone hanger that can mount to the front of the desk. We expect more accessories to be announced in the future.


    Compared to traditional gaming desks which are little more than standard desks with minor modifications, the Magnus definitely seems to aim higher in both style and functionality. The company has not announced official pricing yet (this post will be updated as that becomes available) but the desk will be available for purchase through the official website.

     

    Games Like XCOM You'll Definitely Want To Try

    While many games aspire to be something similar to "XCOM," few games wear their influences as proudly as "Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden." On the game's official website, "Road to Eden" is described as "A tactical adventure game combining the turn-based combat of 'XCOM' with story, exploration, stealth, and strategy."



    Thankfully, this underrated tactical RPG largely lives up to the series that inspired it. "Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden" received a positive reception from critics and fans on Metacritic. It's post-apocalyptic world, inspired by the pen and paper roleplaying game "Mutant," also gives off some serious "XCOM 2" vibes. Players explore The Zone, as the world map is called, in real-time, looking for artifacts and scraps that they can use in the Ark, the last refuge of civilization.


    Once players encounter enemies, "XCOM” veterans should feel right at home. Game Informer writes, "Engaging the enemy initiates turn-based combat that will be instantly familiar to 'XCOM' fans, encouraging players to use cover, high ground, and character abilities to their advantage." 



    Players searching for a challenging but familiar "XCOM” experience with engaging characters would do well to give "Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden" a shot.


















     

    PlayStation Plus Reveals Free Games For The Month Of May

    playstation-plus-ps4-ps5-free-games-may-2021

    playstation-plus-ps4-ps5-free-games-may-2021

    PlayStation Plus Free May 2021 PS4 Games, PlayStation Plus Free May 2021 PS5 Games PS Plus May 2021 – What will be the PS Plus May 2021 free PS4 and PS5 games? Sony has announced the May 2021 PS5 PS Plus games. You can also catch the complete listing which details every PS Plus title announced to date right here. For further reading you can also see every PS5 PlayStation Plus game released this year in our handy guide. Furthermore, you can see every PS4 PlayStation Plus title released this year as well.

    The PlayStation Plus May 2021 free PS4 and PS5 games are set to be announced on Wednesday, April 28.

    In this guide:

    PlayStation Plus PS5, PS4 Free Games For May 2021

    Sony has announced the PlayStation Plus PS5 and PS4 free games for May 2021, with the following games being available on the service:

    The PlayStation Plus May 2021 free PS4 and PS5 games will be available from May 4, 2021.

    PS4, PS5 PS Plus Free Games May 2021 Predictions

    PS4, PS5 PS Plus Free Games May 2021 Predictions:

    Hades (2021) – PS5, PS4

    One of the most promising dungeon crawlers to come along in an age, with Hades masterful blend of Diablo style dungeon crawling and charismatic Greek mythological gods and monsters it’s easy to see why Supergiant Games magnum opus has gained such a strong following.

    With a PS4 and PS5 release for Hades long teased but not officially announced, we’re hoping (praying, really) that Hades will storm onto PS4 and PS5 as part of the PS Plus May 2021 free games line-up.

    You can catch the release trailer for Hades below.

    [embedded content][embedded content]

    Judgment (2019) – PS4

    A rough and ready spin-off to the Yakuza franchise, Judgment casts players as Yagami, a disgraced former hotshot lawyer who gets by as a low-level private investigator. Together with his friends and connections with the Yakuza themselves, Yagami and co set out to solve a brutal murder that looks to have far reaching consequences.

    Blending the series traditional love for real-time combat and total absurdity, Judgment isn’t just essential for Yakuza fans, it’s also one of the very best action RPGs you can buy right now. For further reading, you can read our best Yakuza games ranked feature, too.

    You can check out our Judgment PS4 review right here.

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    Further Reading – All PlayStation Plus Collection Games On PS5 – Guide

    Civilization VI (2019) – PS4

    One of the best strategy games ever made, Civilization VI stormed onto PS4 in 2019 and brought with it the sort of deep, sophisticated strategy that armchair tacticians have been hungering for.

    As the leader of a chosen civilization, you are tasked with evolving your group of folks from the stone age all the way through to the space age, as you use diplomacy, war and other strategies to deal with some of the most famous (and crafty) leaders in history. If you’re into strategy, Civilization VI is the good stuff.

    To catch up, you can read our Civilization PS4 review here.

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    What PlayStation Plus Games Are Available Now?

    At the time of writing, the April 2021 PS Plus free games have been confirmed with the following games set to be available on April 6, 2021.

    Sony also officially announced as part of the PS Plus games for November 2020 the debut of the PlayStation Plus Collection for PS5 owners only. The following PS Plus Collection games have been confirmed for the PS Plus November 2020 line-up are available to download now:

    Don’t forget to check out our PS5 complete guide too for everything you need to know about Sony’s PlayStation 5 console in the meantime.

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    If you’re thinking of joining PS Plus, it’s also worth taking note that Sony has increased cloud storage for the saving of PS4 and PS5 game files. With a boost from 10GB up to 100GB, there’s plenty of space to save your games in the cloud on both PS4 and PS5.

    Further Reading – PSVR 2 – Everything We Know About Next Generation PSVR

    Additionally, you also get access to exclusive games for free each month, alongside special discounts, full game trials and the ability to play online multiplayer games too.

     

    Sci-Fi RPG Dark Envoy Has A New Story Trailer

    Dark Envoy
    With a name like Dark Envoy, this sci-fi RPG was never going to be about fluffy little bunnies.

    But this title’s latest trailer really does pile on the misery. It features a pair of siblings, one toting a gun, the other favouring a magical staff, musing on the nature of the world. They bemoan how horrible and greedy everyone is, wondering whether it was always that way or they’re only now seeing it. Ultimately, they conclude it was always a terrible place but they just grew up. Maybe they just need a hug.

    Surprisingly, there’s not a hint of nu-metal, but the trailer does also offer a glimpse into the game’s visually striking top-down combat. Even better, it shows the characters roaming the deck of their flying airship, which gives us a real steampunk vibe. There’s nobody gluing gears to things but the world’s blend of science and magic is definitely intriguing.

    Advertisement

    Dark Envoy is a “a non-linear RPG where your choices matter the most”, but we’ve encountered RPGs that either disregard or steamroller over our decisions, so we’ll reserve judgement until we get our hands on the final game. Dark Envoy is set for a 2022 PC release, but you can check out the trailer below to tide you over.

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    Telltale Signs You're Addicted To Your MMO


    5 Signs You’re Addicted to Your MMO




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    Massively multiplayer online RPGs can be a blast to play. The unbridled potential of a new character in a new environment, with a series of epic quests, power increases, and a compelling endgame to undertake with friends is one of the reasons it can be so fun to jump into one of the many MMOs available.




    But at what point does the fun stop? When does the RPG become work? Habit? Addiction? Here are some signs that it might be time to retire your adventuring mantle. 



    Image Credit: raikoart














     

    Obnoxious Video Game Characters That Still Drive Us Crazy

    Hey, do you have a settlement to check on in Fallout 4? If you don't, you can rest assured that Preston Garvey of the Minutemen will fix that problem for you. After enlisting your aid and giving you a bogus promotion, Garvey spends the rest of his days sending you on meaningless quests to find a settlement, defend a settlement, or otherwise just check on settlements. It never ends. We're convinced that Fallout 4 is less of an action RPG and more of a purgatory simulator thanks to Preston and his nigh-infinite requests for settlement work. In a game that allows you freedom of choice to be a good guy, bad guy, or anything in between, Garvey's harping makes us want to go Chaotic Evil and rain nukes on every settlement he mentions.



















     

    Story Of Seasons Mobile Game To Be Revealed In May

    A Story of Seasons mobile game will be revealed by Marvelous next month at Tencent's annual game conference, but we don't yet know if the game will be coming to the West just yet.

    Story of Seasons is probably the longest-running farming RPG to date. Originally titled Harvest Moon in the west, this franchise has been entertaining players with fun on a farm since the SNES and the games have graced over a dozen different platforms to date. Now, a brand-new mobile game will be revealed next month!


    Chinese developer Marvelous acquired a license to develop the mobile version of the game from Tencent. Marvelous has been working on the game since 2019; one year later, Tencent acquired a 20% stake in Marvelous. Now, this partnership will bear fruit with the reveal of a new mobile game next month.


    Story of Seasons mobile game slice


    When Will the Story of Seasons Mobile Game Be Revealed?

    The Story of Seasons mobile game will be revealed on May 16, 2021, as part of Tencent's annual game conference.


    "Marvelous and Tencent will unveil the 'Story of Seasons' mobile game at the Tencent annual game conference on May 16," read a tweet from Niko Partners Senior Analyst Daniel "ZhugeEX" Ahmad on Twitter.


    It should be noted, however, that Tencent's conference is primarily for the Chinese gaming market. We've certainly seen some crossover from Chinese games over the years — most notably from games like Genshin Impact and Dyson Sphere Program — but there's no guarantee that it will actually make its debut in the Americas and Europe.


    That said, farming RPGs are reliably popular if they're of a good enough quality; Stardew Valley certainly has seen its fair share of success on Android and iOS. If it does make its way to the English-language market, we may have to wait a few months until a few years after it officially launches in China.


    Do you think the Story of Seasons mobile game will make its way to the West? What's your favorite game in the Story of Seasons/Harvest Moon franchise? Let us know in the comments below!


     

    Genshin Impact Makes An Exciting Update For Trophy Hunters

    genshin-impact-appeases-trophy-hunters-adding-a-platinum-trophy-and-new-list-on-ps5

    genshin-impact-appeases-trophy-hunters-adding-a-platinum-trophy-and-new-list-on-ps5

    For a while now, the general pattern of free-to-play games and trophies has been that they generally don’t get a platform. Well, Genshin Impact has become one of the first games to finally do right by trophy hunters, adding a Platinum Trophy to its PS5 version.

    Alongside a platinum trophy, Genshin Impact has a whole new list, taking the number of trophies you can earn from 17 to 38 and making the list far more stacked and fattened out than what it offered on PS4. On top of that, Genshin Impact’s PS5 trophies will auto pop if you have achieved the requirement on PS4. So, there is no reason not to upgrade. You can see the full list of trophies here.

    Related Content – Sony PS5 Complete Guide – A Total Resource On PlayStation 5

    This PS5 upgrade for the RPG is now out and available to download and we will have a review cataloguing how impressive (or disappointing) its upgrades are later this week.

    Genshin Impact is available now on PS5 and PS4.

    Source – [PSN Profiles]

     

    Fans Are Freaking Out Over A New Star Wars Franchise Game Rumor



    Xbox owners could be on course to get one hell of a Star Wars exclusive in the not-too-distant future.


    The Mandalorian, Disney’s epic series set in a galaxy far, far away, has become the talk of the digital town over the last 24 hours following rumors from a high-profile insider that a video game starring the character is currently in the works. Nick “Shpeshal Ed” Baker claimed in a recent string of Tweets that an unknown studio is already working on the title, with Microsoft supposedly positioned to publish.


    Baker had originally cited the presence of a Mando Funko in the background of Xbox boss Phil Spencer’s home as a green light from his source to mention the project only to backpedal when it became apparent that the figure in question was depicting something else altogether. With that said, the insider maintains that Din Djarin is getting his own interactive adventure, though stops short of providing anything further.


    Despite the obvious lack of verifiable details, social media has lit up in response to the leak, and you can check out some reactions for yourself below.


























    It’s worth noting, of course, that this isn’t the first time that talk of a game based on Star Wars‘ hottest property has done the rounds. Earlier this year, Daniel Richtman reported having heard similar whispers, even going so far as to posit that both Mando and fellow foundling Boba Fett would be playable throughout the campaign.


    Exciting times ahead, then, but as always, we’d recommend taking all of the above with a massive grain of salt. Should there be any truth to the hearsay, however, fans can no doubt expect to learn more during the summer reveal season. Watch this space.





     

    Black Desert Update Brings Several Improvements And Fixes

    The most recent maintenance for Black Desert has brought about several tweaks and fixes, including some pretty significant changes to Sage’s Awakening. Here are the details.

    Sage recently received Awakening not too long ago having been added to the game last month. In fact, our Managing Editor reckons it could be his new favorite class. You can read his impressions of Sage right here.


    The maintenance yesterday brought several tweaks to Succession, but the most numerous changes came to Sage’s Awakening. Here’s some of what was touched upon:



    The Black Desert patch didn’t end there, however. Plenty of other classes were also tweaked including Berserker, Valkyrie, Witch, Wizard, Kunoichi, Dark Knight, Striker, Mystic, Lahn, Archer, Guardian, and Nova. Other things touched upon on in the maintenance include items, quests, knowledge, background, NPCs, effects, cutscenes, UI, various system changes, the Pearl Shop, and more.


    You can check out the full patch notes here.

     

    Wizard101's Spring Update Brings Content For All Players

    Wizard101's major spring update is live, bringing with it new boss fights, social options and more for players new and veteran alike.

    The spring updat ehas gone live in the MMORPG, bringing new content such as changes to AOE spells, social options to get players to join you in an adventure and even more.


    Via the press release this morning:



    "Players will find new bosses to defeat, new team-based events with special rewards to acquire for all participants, and new ‘Meet Your Fellow Wizards’ socialization features that make it easier than ever to find other players."



    The Meet Your Fellow Wizards feature lets players easily find those who are looking to quest get into groups and go forward with them. According to the official notes on the Wizard101 website, the new Social button will display a list of players looking for others to quest with, showing their level, current main-line quest, school and more. Players can easily teleport to those friendly Wizards to start taking on the challenges ahead together.


    Today's update also brings with it support for Wizard101's 64-bit client, though for those still playing on older operating systems this could see some issues. Wizard101 states that the new requirements will support OS' of at least Windows 7 and macOS Big Sur and beyond.


    Wizard101's spring update also sees many new combat balance changes coming, as well new Beastforms, Skeleton Key bosses, and more. Check out the full update notes on the Wizard101 website. Seth preivewed the Spring update for us on the test realm earlier this month. Check out his thoughts.

     

    Inferior by peadar o guilin Review and Opinion

    The Inferior
    Peadar Ó Guilín
    David Fickling hardcover £12.99

    review by Gary Couzens

    Appearances deceive. Although you might guess from the publisher's imprint - if you know your imprints - this is a young-adult novel. The readership is suggested at 12+, though for reasons of length, theme and the level of reader sophistication required, I'd suggest caution with regards to those under 13 or 14. It's also the first of a trilogy, which explains the somewhat abrupt ending, but again you won't be able to tell that from the book. And although Peadar Ó Guilín's first novel comes on looking like fantasy, it's actually SF. (The blurb does contain something of a spoiler in that respect.)

    Our hero is Stopmouth, named after the stammer that makes others think him slow-witted, including his own brother. He and his tribe live by hunting other species, many of them non-humanoid and suitably nasty. They also barter their own people - the maimed or elderly - to be eaten by other tribes. Then a mysterious woman, Indrani, arrives.

    Ó Guilín plunges us directly into this world without hand-holding: we're expected to piece together the environment, the different tribes and creatures from hints and references, generally keeping pace with Stopmouth. As he makes conceptual breakthroughs, so do we. The author manages to keep us interested in a not always heroic, not always sympathetic central character - his intentions towards Indrani are certainly not entirely honourable. Stopmouth lives in a harsh world, one where the author does not shield us from scenes of violence, let alone a cannibalism theme. It's very much the survival of the fittest.

    There are occasional rough spots in the writing, but Ó Guilín keeps up a brisk pace and The Inferior should hold most readers' interest to the end.

    Inferior by peadar o guilin Review and Opinion

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    Little brother by cory doctorow Review and Opinion

    Little Brother
    Cory Doctorow
    Tor hardcover $17.95

    review by Jonathan McCalmont

    Following on the heels of the likes of China Mieville and Scott Westerfeld, Cory Doctorow (Down And Out In The Magic Kingdom and Someone Comes To Town, Someone Leaves Town) has decided to jump the fence and chance his arm in the uber-profitable young-adult market with a book called Little Brother in homage to the creation of a certain G. Orwell (deceased). As a piece of art, Little Brother conjures words such as 'workmanlike' and 'satisfactory', but to judge this work by those values alone is to ignore not only its power but also its importance as a cultural manifesto. However, to pull together a manifesto is also to set in stone certain principles and assumptions that can be easily glossed over when they exist only as conceptual feathers floating in the updrafts of the cultural zeitgeist. With Little Brother, Doctorow has not only beautifully articulated the collective values of online culture, he has also laid out many of its failings.

    The book tells the story of Marcus, a 17 year-old high school student from San Francisco. A child of the digital age, Marcus is completely at home with all aspects of digital culture including MMORPGs and hacking. One day, Marcus and his friend Darryl use their technical skill to escape their heavily-surveilled high school, and meet up with some friends in order to track down a clue that is part of some online global treasure hunt. While the kids are out searching for the clue, terrorists blow up the San Francisco Bay Bridge. In the scrum to get to a shelter, Darryl is stabbed and the gang flag down a passing humvee only to be whisked off to a secret prison run by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) who question, abuse and threaten them for a number of days, before releasing them back into a terrified America that is looking to its government to protect them from future terrorist attacks, regardless of the cost to their civil liberties. Marcus realises how invasive these measures are and he starts to set up a secret, encrypted linux-only network known as the Xnet, which rapidly becomes the social focus for San Francisco's young adults when they choose to start disrupting the increasingly monolithic apparatus of America's security state. Marcus and his new girlfriend Ange attend illegal parties, jam detection systems and escalate the stakes again and again, inviting responses from the DHS until eventually mainstream America (in the shape of the governor of California) blinks and realises what it has become.

    Little Brother has the unadorned and accessible style and structure that we have come to expect from YA titles. It is a quick and undemanding read that, aside from a couple of needless digressions, benefits from a beautifully paced and free-flowing plot that breaks down into nearly self-contained chapters each headed with a recommendation to check out a different bookshop. This is not the work's only act of advocacy.

    The book's ideas on matters technological, artistic, political, educational and social are not only inherently interesting, they are also delivered with the same intense and infectious enthusiasm that seems to drip from every word Cory Doctorow utters. Indeed, I was fortunate enough to see him speak at a convention recently and his charisma and enthusiasm were such that had he suggested that the convention march immediately upon Downing Street, I'm sure a large proportion of attendees would have followed him. In fact, it is difficult to imagine walking away from Little Brother without being affected by it in some way. Personally, after reading the book I was inspired to reread Jack Kerouac's On The Road (1951) and to take a long hard look at my Firefox add-ons. Going by the reactions of other seasoned critics, I get the impression that I'm not the only one. However, it is precisely because of the infectiousness of the book's ideas and the feeling that Doctorow has really tapped into some shared sense of cultural identity and aspiration, it is absolutely vital to not be blind to the book's faults.

    Little Brother's most obvious problem is that the back end of its plot is as repetitive as Stephen Sommers' 2004 cartoonish schlock-fest Van Helsing. Both works feature an introductory first act in which the characters are introduced and the situation defined only for the rest of the story to fall into an endless loop. In the case of Little Brother, this loop begins with a sense empowerment that is slowly asphyxiated as the walls start to close in on the protagonists. The loop then moves to an emotionally poignant breakthrough during which secrets are revealed to loved ones before the plot can regroup and move on with renewed vigour and sense of empowerment.

    Van looked like she was going to cry. She took a couple of deep breaths and stood up. "I can't do it, I'm sorry. I can't watch you do this. It's like watching a car wreck in slow motion. You're going to destroy yourself, and I love you too much to watch it happen." [page 47]

    And...
    "I was in jail. After the bridge blew. I was in jail for that whole time."

    The sobs that came then didn't sound like my voice. They sounded like an animal noise, maybe a donkey or some kind of big cat noise in the night. I sobbed so my throat burned and ached with it, so my chest heaved. [page 101]

    And...
    My own father, and the way that he had been changed by my disappearance to Treasure Island. He'd been just as broken as Darryl's father, but in his own way. And his face, when I'd told him where I'd been.

    That was when I knew that I couldn't run. [page 128]

    Unfortunately, none of these breakthroughs are particularly convincing. This is partly a reflection of the fact that Doctorow's characterisation is somewhat lacking in nuance. Marcus himself is, much like Manfred Macx from Charles Stross' Accelerando (2005), a Heinlein-style competent man who is not only astonishingly skilled and capable in matters artistic and technical, but he is also a born leader who energises an entire political movement around himself simply by handing out a few CD-ROMs. His friends and family also appear rather two-dimensional, including his girlfriend Ange who is just a female version of Marcus with the added bonus of being that holy grail of teenaged male geeks, a sexually experienced and assertive female. The lack of depth to the cookie-cutter characterisation also extends into the relationships that are not only remarkably simple but also entirely stereotypical and straightforward, mothers love their sons unconditionally, fathers do too, but are emotionally remote and male friends love each other but would never say so, obviously.

    Little Brother's plot is, much like its characterisation, simple and straightforward to the point of being repetitive. However, I suspect that the unadorned nature of these elements is intentional so as to keep younger readers onside. Indeed, a convoluted plot or a network of relationships as intense and complex as that of a French art house film would not only cost the book its accessibility, they would also completely overshadow the book's clear purpose, being a delivery vector for the values and beliefs of online culture.

    The book is unashamedly didactic, in the grand old tradition not only of YA books such as C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles Of Narnia (1950-6), but also 'grown up' works such as Jostein Gardner's Sophie's World (1991), and Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged (1957). All of these books were written in order to educate their readers. This was done by discussing philosophy in the case of Sophie's World, familiarising children with the basic concepts of Christianity in The Chronicles Of Narnia and presenting a series of political and philosophical arguments in the case of Atlas Shrugged. Little Brother is arguably a better book than any of these as it is enthusiastic without being heavy handed, instructional without being preachy and informative without being directive. Its message as the same you will find in most Internet forums and in particular at places such as Boing Boing, Digg and Slashdot, the message is one of a right to privacy, a right to not be treated as a criminal (either by the state or media companies), an engagement with the world through art, science and politics and, most controversially, the idea that a citizen has a right to use direct action in order to protect any of these liberties. Ultimately, the extent to which you are likely to enjoy Little Brother is determined by the extent to which you agree with the values of online culture and Doctorow's political manifesto, but that issue aside, the book's politics are interesting precisely because they attempt to set down a lot of the ethical principles that are just assumed to be correct in online culture, and by setting them down, Doctorow invites us to scrutinise them more closely.

    Little Brother is a work that is clearly influenced by cyberpunk. This is due in part to direct literary influence, and in part to the role played by cyberpunk in defining the emblems and semiotics of online culture. This has a number of interesting political ramifications.

    As the critic Paul Kincaid once argued, cyberpunk is the literature of America's end, an America where the state has effectively collapsed, leaving only anarchy kept economically viable only by vast multinational corporations. It was fitting that the protagonists of stories set in these kinds of worlds should be marginals and criminals. For example, in Gibson's Neuromancer (1984), Case is one job away from living on the streets, while in Stephenson's Snow Crash (1992), Hiro delivers pizzas in order to pay the rent on the cargo container he shares with a musician. However, as cyberpunk gave way to post-cyberpunk, the dystopian aspects of the genre began to focus less of marginals and more upon middle class folk. For example, Manfred Macx in Accelerando is upper-middle-class, and consorts with ministers and corporate CEOs, while the protagonist of Jon Courtenay Grimwood's Arabesk series (2001-3) is a criminal elevated to the nobility. The embourgeoisement of the cyberpunk protagonist is also visible in Doctorow's own works such as Down And Out In The Magic Kingdom (2003), starring a character that actually lives in Disney World. Even Gibson himself has taken to elevating his characters as his last book Spook Country (2007) was so clogged with smugly hip rich people that it came close to resembling Chris Morris and Charlie Brooker's Nathan Barley. Little Brother is the final step in this process of embourgeoisement as its characters are not only upper middle class, they are actually children, taking cyberpunk from marginals to Madeleine McCann in one short generation.

    Each step up the social ladder has caused the horizons of cyberpunk and post-cyberpunk to move that little bit nearer. By the time Gibson's Spook Country (a mainstream continuation of Gibson's SF writing) emerged, that horizon extended no further than the art galleries, airport lounges and hotels of a nu-media elite. Where once cyberpunk wrote about the poor to whom the rich were invisible, cyberpunk's children now write about the rich, to whom the poor are invisible and the problems of the world merely the sound of a rolling news channel blaring from a TV in the background. This is a trend continued by Little Brother.

    Despite the book's story taking place against a background of the war on terror, Little Brother has no interest at all in the details of the war. In fact, I don't think the President of Little Brother's America is ever actually named. He is a distant figure, his political battles are unknown and uninteresting. The same goes of the other side, which are referred to simply as 'Arabs' or 'the terrorists'.

    I don't remember much about the trip to the courthouse. They had me chained to five other prisoners, all of whom had been in for a lot longer than me. One only spoke Arabic - he was an old man, and he trembled. The others were all young. I was the only white one. [page 141]

    The war on terror only becomes relevant to Marcus and his friends when the government starts watching them, locking them up and bugging their computers. His objection to the surveillance state is not that the government should not be watching people, or that everyone has a right to privacy, rather it is that the government's methods of surveillance generate false positives that lead to innocent people being bothered by their government. Little Brother does not deal with the morality of the war on terror or of locking up Muslims, Marcus only gets angry when middle class kids start getting locked up by an interfering government, he is the person who, when pulled over by the police, asks why they are not out arresting 'real criminals'. Given that Marcus is the kind of can-do hero that populated works of golden age SF, it is perhaps little wonder that he shares that era's political individualism.

    Marcus is a middle class American teenager. He has no interest in what's going on in the outside world (except that his mother tells him that Britain's more civilised but apparently it's worse than America), he has no interest in poverty, the environment, race or religion. Online culture may well be sophisticated and fast moving, but it can also be terrifyingly insipid. Because Marcus has no interest in any of these issues, he has no understanding of the need for a state. He has the can-do spirit of the American settler or the space colonist but, instead of the endless horizons of the American plains or space, he sees only the endless consumer boom of American market capitalism. When the hand of the state occludes those narrow horizons, Marcus does not try to engage with the political institutions of his country or city. He does not write to the ACLU or the EFF, he goes to the mattresses and starts a revolution. His approach to solving problems is that of the cowboy or the Mafioso, he is distrustful of the state and therefore of the state's democratic institutions and therefore largely ignores them. Indeed, Doctorow portrays not only politicians but also the media as actively hostile to Marcus' civil liberties agenda.

    We were looking at a stack of newspapers we'd picked up and brought to the café. They all contained 'reporting' on the party in Dolores Park and to a one, they made it sound like a drunken, druggy orgy of kids who'd attacked the cops. USA Today described the cost of the 'riot' and included the cost of washing away the pepper-spray residue from the gas-bombing, the rash of asthma attacks that clogged the city's emergency rooms, and the cost of processing the eight hundred arrested 'rioters'.

    No one was telling our side. [page 80]

    These are problems for any political agenda that involves direct action. Direct action is inherently undemocratic and, as Deleuze and Guattari suggested in Anti-Oedipus (1972), everyone wants to be a fascist because at one point or another, everyone wants to impose their political will on someone else. As a result, it is easy to paint Marcus less as a revolutionary and more as a kind of politically spoiled child. Doctorow does recognise this problem and, despite the book's evident distrust of old media and government, the book's denouement comes at the hands of a newspaper reporter and the elected Governor of California who both make sure that Marcus jumps through the hoops of the criminal justice system as a result of his actions. Indeed, it is quite possible that, had Marcus not gone to a reporter, his direct action and revolutionary posturing might well have been a complete waste of time.

    Politically, Little Brother is a frustrating read that clearly tries to have its cake and eat it. The book glamorises direct action and speaks enthusiastically to the narrow moral concerns of online culture. However, the book also makes it clear that direct action has its limitations and might indeed be foolish (particularly when the bone of contention is something as obvious as the government locking up innocent white middle class kids). It also tries to suggest that kids should occasionally get off the Internet and read a proper book or look into their own history, thereby acknowledging that there's more to life than what is on the front page of Digg. In effect Little Brother tries to be both the sensible liberal and the romantic radical without really acknowledging that you cannot possibly be both at the same time.

    Little Brother is first and foremost a demonstration of Doctorow's skill as a political agitator. The entire book is filled with exactly the kind optimism and enthusiasm that you would hope young adults would be filled with. In fact, the book is so engaging that all but the most cynical are liable to ignore many of its problems as the niceties of plot and characterisation are washed away by the same wave of likeableness that makes any political caveat aimed in its direction seem churlish or uncharitable. However, should that desire for critical munificence falter for even a second then it becomes instantly clear that Little Brother is by no means a great book, even if it is infinitely preferable to the sinister superstition championed by books such as The Chronicles Of Narnia.

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    Rainbows end by vernor vinge Review and Opinion

    Rainbows End
    Vernor Vinge
    Tor hardcover $25.95

    review by Tony Lee

    Set in a highly computerised San Diego, in the year 2025, Rainbows End charts the recovery to stable mental health of former Alzheimer's patient, Robert Gu, an almost forgotten poet of once legendary status who finds himself excluded from the modern cyber-enhanced world, adrift in a society of geeks tricked out in wearable computing devices enabling a commonplace and ubiquitous mixture of actual and virtual reality for those in the know. Robert's son, Bob, and daughter-in-law Alice, are high-ranking career officers in U.S. military intelligence, and bookish genius Robert is a somewhat unwelcome guest in their family home, where teenage granddaughter Miri, attempts to guide her medically rejuvenated 75-year-old relative through the future-shocking rigours of remedial adult-education at the local high school.

    Meanwhile, there's an international conspiracy, concerning the widespread testing of an omnipotent bio-weapon, that steadily grows into Californian Armageddon proportions as the Marines and opposing forces lurch from data-analytical discovery to lock 'n' load confrontation, even while Robert becomes secretly (or so he imagines!) involved in a protest movement against the comprehensive destruction - for the supposed benefits of a scheme for digitising all pre-millennial literature - of a university library's books. After studying, alongside talented children, for end-of-term exams, and struggling to adapt his sadly archaic worldview to the fashionably irreverent subculture inhabiting such a formidably hi-tech landscape, the rehabilitated and upgraded Robert remains wholly unprepared for the very worst that can happen, and he faces moral dilemmas, emotional stress and mortal danger, when his entire family are drawn into, and then personally threatened by, the convoluted machinations of his old friends' elder cabal of nostalgia buffs, a sinister alliance of Euro-Asian spooks, and the mysterious entity known as 'Mr Rabbit'.

    Published a quarter century since the advent of IBM desktop computing, four-time Hugo award-winner Vernor Vinge's latest novel (his first for about five years) looks ahead two decades to envision a future of drastically politicised, social and economic changes, where every apparent freedom is closely monitored by Homeland Security's control of the 'secure hardware environment'. It's a world in which you'd rarely need to call the cops, they just "happen to you." Although this book effortlessly maintains Vinge's reputation, by delivering the full quota of ideas-per-page we have to come to expect from him since he helped lead the way for a new re-visionary space opera in greatly imaginative novels such as A Fire Upon The Deep (1992), its prequel A Deepness Upon The Sky (1999), and memorable novella The Cookie Monster (2003), the major problem with Rainbows End is that its engagingly quirky, character-based dramas, and suspenseful counter-espionage plotline fail to develop into a suitably intense SF thriller. Unfortunately, this offers Vinge's fans a technothriller lacking any particular or worthwhile thrills.

    Here, Vinge explores a fascinating, speculative near-future populated by some keenly sympathetic characters, and even the bad guys are interesting. But the trouble is that Rainbows End lacks the literary style of a William Gibson, the finely tuned narrative pacing and philosophical theorising of Bruce Sterling, or the sheer wackiness of Rudy Rucker. Vinge serves up a post-cyberpunk novel where the 'cyberpunks' are (perhaps more convincingly?) presented as merely techno-geeks (RPG action and VR backdrops abounds), and tends to view the youngsters' adventuring through the eyes and ears of disapproving parents or the yet more jaundiced eyes of isolated geriatrics all similarly disenfranchised by advanced computech gear that's worn by its users. Intriguing, and trendily named, as the wearable 'Epiphany' operating system is, the book mistakenly displays its science fictional communications' wares in obviously boring hyper-textual notation (like... Me --> You: < sm > silent messaging < /sm >) when many of today's SF readers would doubtlessly prefer a more attractive optional extra from the varied typographical styles available (hell, there's PDF list content here, anyway!)... Hmm, perhaps the book's designer or editor vetoed that idea for being overused in print magazines, or too postmodern?

    Either way, typesetting is not the worst problem with Rainbows End. There's also an inevitably sour predictability, especially in the book's all-wrapped-up neatly happy-ending (suggestive of a novel ready for easy Hollywood adaptation), which brings its own disappointments, and the welcome amusements of Robert's initially perplexed response to encounters with virtuality are somewhat undermined when he proves to be so dislikeable and cruelly antisocial before tiredly getting over his arrogance and ego problems in the closing chapters. Another deficiency in this book is marked by Vinge's timidity in not offering any examples of the world-renowned poet Robert Gu's celebrated work. Well, I've said elsewhere and often that it's extremely hard if not impossible for an SF writer of any calibre to create main characters of believable genius, without first being a true genius himself. Vinge sidesteps the daunting complications of this by only alluding to Gu's world-class literary skills. We don't get any excerpts, just descriptions of the other characters' reactions to reading Gu's poetry.

    Never mind the literary quality, then. Feel the bandwidth. Rainbows End is bursting with ecstatic views of the exciting cyber future probably awaiting us when, or if, all the government spooks, mega-corporate R&D mercenaries, and open source development gurus can reach consensus about the innovative shape and (hopefully) user-friendly manner of early 21st century's reality that consumers and techies alike really, really want.

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    The Big Problems With 'The Last of Us Part 2'

    A tale of two games

    By Poorna Shankar on July 01, 2020 | Editorials | 0



    As the credits rolled on The Last of Us Part 2, I was sitting on my couch feeling like Randy from the glorious "Make Love, Not Warcraft" episode of South Park when I said out loud, “What? Why? Why?!” I felt both joy and love for the game, in addition to extreme frustration and dissonance. Let’s take a deep dive into what caused me to come away feeling ultimately completely frustrated.


    This entire article will be extremely spoiler heavy. If you do not want spoilers for The Last of Us Part 2, this is your final chance to click away. 


    Now, to be perfectly clear, my biggest issue with The Last of Us Part 2 is absolutely not with the story itself. Rather, my issue stems almost entirely from the storytelling. That is, the way in which the story was presented was a source of immense frustration and cognitive dissonance.


    The game picks up four years after The Last of Us and sees Ellie at 19 years of age. At the end of the first game, Joel saved Ellie from an operation which, while potentially would have led to a cure, would also almost certainly kill her. He kills the doctor operating on her, grabs her, and escapes. At the end of that game, I completely understood just why Joel made that choice. We had come to truly know these characters after a 20 hour emotional journey which focused pretty much entirely on them.


    We saw Joel and Ellie’s relationship transform from adversarial into a father-daughter love. The impact of this was felt all the more when you consider that Joel’s own biological daughter was shot dead 25 years earlier when the pandemic hit. And as he spent the next 25 years in a depressed defeated state, he was not expecting someone like Ellie to enter his life and reignite his inherently instinctual, but unsuccessfully buried, fatherly love.


    And so, it’s perhaps fitting that while the first game was about love, this second game is all about hate, as Game Director Neil Druckmann himself said at a panel in 2016. Not far into The Last of Us Part 2, you see Joel laying on the floor of a cabin having been tortured. Ellie is pinned down by several people as she watches helplessly. You see Ellie pleading for Joel to get up as he’s laying on the floor, bloodied and beaten. In his last moments, Joel opens his eyes and sees his surrogate daughter before he’s beaten to death.


    The person who strikes the fatal blow is a woman named Abby, a former Firefly turned Washington Liberation Front (WLF) soldier. Throughout the game, you come to understand why Abby killed Joel. But before we get to that, let’s stick with Ellie. 


    Joel’s murder naturally shatters Ellie, but this grief is superseded by a blinding rage. The entire first half of The Last of Us Part 2 follows her on  on a mission of revenge to kill all those who were involved in the murder of her surrogate father. 



    These 15 hours were absolutely brilliant. I was fully invested in Ellie’s sorrow, pain, and lust for hate-fueled revenge for one very simple reason: I had spent an entire game getting to intimately know Joel and Ellie.


    By the end of The Last of Us, I fundamentally understood who these characters were. I understood their motivations, their fears, their joys — everything. Therefore, when Joel made the decision to save Ellie, thus effectively dooming mankind from a cure, I understood why he made that choice. Naughty Dog had invested a lot of time to make sure that we, the players, truly understood these characters. And it paid off in spades.


    To that end, the first half of The Last of Us Part 2 follows suit. You start to discover who and where the responsible parties are as you hunt them down. Interspersed through this tale of revenge are flashback moments between Ellie and Joel.


    These moments recall the time between the end of the first game and present day. You see Joel take Ellie on a birthday trip to a museum as you come to understand where Ellie’s love of space originated. This entire episode did much to build the love between the two characters.



    However, additional flashbacks jump forward in time as you witness Ellie growing up. There, you come to understand that the relationship between Joel and Ellie started to become more and more strained. 


    The impetus to all this is when at the end of the first game, Ellie asks Joel what happened. Joel, again acting on his fatherly instincts to protect his surrogate daughter, lies to her, and Ellie simply responds with, “Ok.” As the years progress, you see Ellie question the true nature of events which transpired while she was on the operating table. She continues to press Joel for the truth, until, after threatening him that she would leave otherwise, Joel finally confesses. At this moment, a clearly heartbroken and betrayed Ellie tells Joel that she’ll stay, but she and him are done.


    It is precisely because of all this character development that Joel’s murder — already an incredibly life-altering moment for Ellie — is seen in a new light. His death suddenly means so much more because Ellie felt betrayed by Joel. And that the crushing guilt of this betrayal, and not the love she feels for Joel, is what is truly fueling her revenge.


    Now, imagine experiencing all of this for a glorious 15 hours, after having spent 20 hours getting to know Joel and Ellie from the first game. All this backstory and character development carry significantly more weight as you progress through the story of The Last of Us 2 as Ellie. If nothing else, I was far more invested in Ellie’s story than I was at the start of the game. I cannot stress just how utterly brilliant the first half of The Last of Us Part 2 truly is.


    Enter the second half.


    Remember Abby? The woman who tortured and murdered Joel? And remember the doctor Joel killed while rescuing Ellie? Well, it turns out that doctor was Abby’s dad. And there you have it: the reason for Abby hunting down and killing Joel.


    The second half of the game sees you play as Abby. This means I spent the next 15 hours playing as a character I’d never heard of prior to The Last of Us Part 2, had only barely seen in the prologue part of the game, and, quite frankly, knew nothing about.


    This is where the game utterly and spectacularly collapses. 


    I play these games purely for the story and the characters, and the first game was truly one of a kind. I had never played a game like it before, one which was so heavily focused on narrative and character-building. As I explained above, the fact that the first game was entirely about Joel and Ellie only deepened my understanding and appreciation of those characters.


    Naughty Dog goes much further by spending the entire first half of The Last of Us Part 2 providing far greater and richer characterization for Joel and, more importantly, Ellie as I laid out above. Therefore, I spent every single moment during the first half of the game completely immersed and invested in Ellie.


    To have that completely halted and ripped away, and forcing you to play as this other character, is unbelievably jarring. Unlike Joel and Ellie, we players are not afforded the liberty to truly get to know Abby as a character. Unlike Joel and Ellie, we do not get one entire game and half of another to fully absorb Abby’s motivations, her anger, her fear, and her joy.



    Instead, Naughty Dog crams her entire backstory through into a couple of flashbacks over the course of just two to three hours. We’re bombarded with several of her friends, none of whom have any interesting nor memorable qualities whatsoever, continually going in and out of her story. I’m not exaggerating here either. Every single one of her friends were thoroughly disinteresting in their snark and forced quips that they continually reminded me that Naughty Dog had ripped me away from the one character I truly care about: Ellie.


    Naughty Dog tries to give Abby complexity by showing her helping other characters and seemingly caring about others in her camp, but again, like with Abby’s entire story, it’s so damn rushed. As a result, she simply comes off has a half-formed character.


    This completely undermines the whole game. And I do mean the whole game. Abby’s characterization comes off as unbelievable. Naughty Dog’s attempt at giving her complexity and flaws comes off as desperate at best, and totally unfinished at worst.


    And for what? 


    Let me be blunt: I don’t care about Abby. I don’t care about her motivations. I don’t care that Joel killed her dad. I don’t care that she spent the next four years plotting revenge. I don’t care that she was once dating Owen. I don’t care about her as a character. I don’t care about her as a person. She only served to remind me that I wasn’t playing as the one character Naughty Dog spent an entire game and a half building up.



    In the grand scheme of things, one could argue that in order to truly understand Ellie’s whole story, you have to understand Abby’s story. And this is a perfectly reasonable statement to make. But by forcing an entirebackstory for an entirely new character into just half of a single game only serves to completely destroy the brilliance of the first half, and is arguably anathema to the character building Naughty Dog so clearly desires.


    Instead, Naughty Dog should have created two games here. One game could focus on Ellie (Part 2), whereas the other game (Part 3) could focus on Abby. Give Abby her own game. Give Abby her own room to breathe. Fully flesh out her character as was done for Joel and Ellie in The Last of Us. Make her believable. Make her human.


    By forcing Abby into the entire second half of The Last of Us Part 2, Naughty Dog created an entirely avoidable cognitive wall between myself and the story and characters I had come to care about. 


    And so, this is why The Last of Us Part 2 spectacularly collapses in its second half. It’s a game completely divided in its attention, forcefully crammed into one single narrative. And the way in which this was presented – that is, forcing the player to play as Abby for an entire half of the game – did nothing but completely undo the brilliance and magic and power of the first game and a half.


    When I look back on The Last of Us Part 2 in a couple of years, I simply won’t remember it as the stunning technical achievement that it is. I won’t remember the beautiful music by Gustavo Santaolalla. I won’t remember the improvements to stealth, nor the much improved AI. 


    I’ll simply remember just how an utterly abysmal second half of a game completely, totally, and so brutally eviscerated the narrative-focused, character-driven magnificence created by that same dev team for an entire game and a half.


     

    Opening Levels So Terrible They Nearly Ruined Legendary Games

    The sequel to Bioware's 2003 Star Wars RPG, The Sith Lords had a lot to live up to. For the most part, it succeeded, capturing the epic feel of its predecessor while swapping out a lively tale of war and triumph for a brooding examination of the obscured line between good and evil. This darker vision — which came courtesy of Obsidian Entertainment this time around — kicked off early following a skippable tutorial prologue, with an eerie opening reminiscent of a survival horror title like Dead Space. 



    Awakening in a life support tank in the Peragus Mining Facility medical bay, supposed last Jedi Meetra Suric discovers that she's been pulled from the Ebon Hawk, a freighter ship, after a deadly battle aboard the vessel left her the sole survivor. Turns out the mining station houses its own fair share of the dead, thanks to crazed droids and toxic fumes that picked off every last miner.


    A creepy, abandoned environment littered with bodies? Check. An intriguing mystery to uncover via computer terminals? Check. Murderous, malfunctioning droids? Check! The premise seems promising — and it is, until you realize that corpses, data logs, and repetitive robots are all you have to look forward to for the entire first hour of the game (with the occasional insufferable exposition-spouting hologram cropping up every so often). Not only that, but the enemies are repetitive, the Mining Facility's layout makes it easy to get lost, and you're forced to run around in your undies until you finally stumble onto a miner uniform and some two-bit gear. 
















     

    Here's What You Definitely Won't See In 'Biomutant'


    Biomutant Will 'Definitely Not Have Microtransactions'








    by
    William D'Angelo
    , posted 1 day ago / 472 Views

    Developer Experiment 101 studio head Stefan Lungqvis in an interview with Well Played said their upcoming open world action RPG game, Biomutant, will not have microtransactions.


    "Our focus is to finish the main game and realise our vision to the quality we want first and foremost – then we hopefully deserve the right to add more content," Lungqvis said. "One thing we can say about this though – we’ll definitely not have micro transactions in our game."


    Lungqvis was also asked about the story and the world of Biomutant. "The story primarily revolves around you as a player and your relation to the world and your history as a character rather than what happened and what is currently happening to the World itself (you are playing as the world is dying).


    "Basically, there’s three main parts to our story – who you are as a character, your relation to the survivors and six tribes of the world, and how your actions affects that and the state of the world, as represented by the Tree of Life at the center of the world which is currently under attack by five World Eaters gnawing at its roots.


    "The way you choose to interfere and interact with all of the above dictates the fate of the world. Will you make a stand and try to save it? Or will you help to bring it down? The state and combination of these three main parts will determine your personal ending of the game."


    Biomutant has no release date, but it is in development for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.


    [embedded content]


    Here is an overview of the game:


    Biomutant is an open-world, post-apocalyptic kung-fu fable RPG, with a unique martial arts styled combat system allowing you to mix melee, shooting and mutant ability action.


    Key Features:




    A life-long and avid gamer, William D'Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel dedicated to gaming Let's Plays and tutorials. You can contact the author at wdangelo@vgchartz.com or on Twitter @TrunksWD.


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    'Assassin's Creed Valhalla' Gets 30 Minutes of Leaked Gameplay


    Assassin's Creed Valhalla Gets 30 Minutes of Leaked Gameplay








    by
    William D'Angelo
    , posted 3 days ago / 1,618 Views

    A 30 minute video of leaked gameplay footage of Ubisoft's Assassin’s Creed Valhalla have been posted online. The gameplay is of a "Work in Progress" build of the game. 


    View it below (If the video gets pulled a download link is available here):


    [embedded content]


    Here is an overview of the game:


    In Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, you are Eivor, a fierce Viking warrior raised on tales of battle and glory. Explore a dynamic and beautiful open world set against the brutal backdrop of England’s Dark Ages. Raid your enemies, grow your settlement, and build your political power in your quest to earn your place among the gods in Valhalla.


    Key Features:



    Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will launch for Xbox Series X, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows PC, and Google Stadia in Holiday 2020. The game will support Smart Delivery on the Xbox. This means if you purchase the game on the Xbox One or Xbox Series X, you will automatically gain access to the other version of the game. 


    Thanks ResetEra.



    A life-long and avid gamer, William D'Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel dedicated to gaming Let's Plays and tutorials. You can contact the author at wdangelo@vgchartz.com or on Twitter @TrunksWD.


    More Articles





     

    10 Games Every PlayStation 4 Player Needs

    In 2013, the PlayStation 4 blitzed the then-new console generation to become the hottest video game machine on the market. By capitalizing on the Xbox One's misguided, television-focused debut, the PS4 trumped its direct rival. Sony went on to release a more powerful version of the system, the PlayStation 4 Pro, that delivers 4K graphics, HDR, and improved frame rates (depending on the game). Yet, there was a problem. Where were the great games?

    The Top PS4 Games

    It took a while for the great games to arrive. Bloodborne, for example, was exactly the type of exclusive the PS4 needed, and the Lovecraftian action-horror game is still one of the best games the PS4 has to offer.

    That's not all. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain offers excellent stealth action, despite being a semi-disappointing conclusion to the MGS saga in terms of narrative. Likewise, Samurai Showdown is another fantastic multiplatform title worth grabbing on the PS4, especially if you're on the hunt for a good fighting game.

    Sony's catalog of titles has expanded this past year to include some truly excellent exclusive games. For example, Odin Sphere Leifthrasir delivers dazzling 2D sprites and terrific side-scrolling action. And Marvel's Spider-Man brings thrilling, wall-crawling action to Sony's boxes.

    The PS4's lack of backward compatibility was an issue when the console launched, so Sony created PlayStation Now. The streaming service lets you play hundreds of PS2, PS3, and PS4 titles. It's also available on PC. Naturally, once you stop paying for access to these games, you can no longer play them. The $9.99-per-month PlayStation Plus adds online multiplayer and two free games per month.

    Game On

    Long story short, there's a lot to like about the PlayStation 4. Check out the list below for the full rundown of our favorite PS4 games and let us know your favorite picks in the comments below.



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    Bloodborne





    4.0


    Editors' Choice




    Bloodborne

    Bloodborne, the successor to FromSoftware's Demon's Souls and Dark Souls games, steps away from the sword and sorcery that defined those action-RPGs. Instead, Bloodborne delves into the macabre, alien, and grotesque, with aesthetic and story parallels to H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard's fiction.

    Bloodborne's controls are similar to the Souls games, except that they feature enhanced evasion, a health-regeneration system, and abundant healing items; the game's a very different beast than its predecessors. Plus, Bloodborne's Gothic and horror inspirations create fantastic world lore.




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    Doom

    Doom

    Do you hate demons? Are you inclined to rip and tear unholy abominations into piles of bloody goop? Well, you and the Doomslayer have a lot in common. Join him on his journey to purge Mars of its infernal denizens once and for all in this frantic first-person shooter.

    Forget what you've learned about cover-based shooting, linear maps, and regenerating health: Doom offers labyrinthine maps and white-knuckle action that hearkens back to the glory days of shooters. It's one of the best games on the platform.




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    Final Fantasy VII Remake





    4.0


    Editors' Choice




    Final Fantasy VII Remake

    Developer Square Enix rose to the challenge and reimagined an icon. Final Fantasy VII Remake takes players back to the depressing and eccentric city of Midgar, where a group of eco-terrorists wage war against a ruthless power company hellbent on destroying the planet for profit.

    You follow ex-SOLDIER Cloud and his misfit allies through the pseudo-futuristic cityscape, fighting security grunts, robots, and mutant monstrosities using an all new hybrid turn-based/action-combat system. Of course, the RPG's versatile Materia skill system is back, delivering dozens of ability options to choose from for tremendous character build variety.

    Final Fantasy VII Remake also boasts outstanding presentation, with visuals and music that are second to none. It may only be episode one of a much larger story, but it delivers a hell of a package in spite of it.












    God of War





    4.0


    Editors' Choice




    God of War

    The God of War franchise is Sony's premier action-adventure series, one that has delivered over-the-top action, a free-form combo system, and inspiring fantasy settings for multiple console generations. The series was never particularly technical in terms of combat, but the games offered enough abilities for players to fool around with without being too overwhelming or demanding.

    The new God of War reboots the series. It streamlines the combat and controls, while also radically expanding the scope of the game world. God of War doesn't reinvent the action genre, but its polished gameplay borrows elements from popular action-RPGs to create something unique, yet pleasantly familiar.












    Horizon Zero Dawn

    Horizon Zero Dawn

    Guerilla Games' action-RPG follows Aloy, a hunter in a machine-riddled, post-apocalyptic world who sets out to learn about her past. Horizon puts Aloy's hunting and gathering skills in your hands, as you take down the mechanical monsters that roam the wilds.

    As you explore the vast and dynamic game world, you meet plenty of NPCs to interact with and aid, as well as challenging ruins to explore. Horizon also has an expansion, The Frozen Wilds, which adds new abilities, machines, and game regions.




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    The Last of Us Remastered

    The Last of Us Remastered

    With The Last of Us, you'll play for the zombie shooting, but stay for the captivating characters and heartstring-tugging narrative. A mutant fungus has ravaged mankind, transforming humanity into cannibalistic, spore-bearing vessels. The infection has fractured the country, forcing survivors into isolated quarantine states and hostile nomadic bands eking out a living however they can, morals-be-damned.

    You play as Joel, a smuggler hired to escort a young girl named Ellie across the post-apocalyptic American wastes to safety. Shooting, stealth, melee, and crafting are all crucial to your survival in The Last of Us, as the scavengers and infected souls you encounter are brutal and ruthless. Don’t let that stop you, however, as the story only gets more engrossing the closer you get to your goal.












    Marvel's Spider-Man

    Marvel's Spider-Man

    Peter Parker, since his debut in the 1960s, has endured as one of the most beloved characters in pop culture history. After all, who can't relate to a down-on-his-luck kid who rises above his circumstances to become a hero?

    Marvel's Spider-Man, a PlayStation 4 exclusive title, captures the essence of the web-slinging hero. It boasts an engaging story, new spins on a familiar cast of characters, and a fun combat system that sees Pete punching, flipping, and webbing in a open-world version of New York City.




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    Nioh 2

    Nioh 2

    Nioh is an action-RPG set near the tail-end of Japan’s Sengoku period. The story depicts the struggles of various warlords as they attempt to conquer and unify Japan, but with a supernatural twist that pervades every gameplay facet.

    Nioh 2 improves upon the original game in virtually every way. It expands and streamlines skill growth, introduces new weapons and gives returning ones new moves, greatly fleshes out weapon and armor customization options, and adds numerous Japanese monsters to the already beefy enemy roster. The result is a complex, engaging action game that contains various RPG elements.




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    Persona 5 Royal

    Persona 5 Royal

    Persona 5 Royal is an update to the vanilla Persona 5 that follows Joker, a delinquent teen who transfers to a new school due to probation. He and several other students awaken to special powers and form Phantom Thieves, a group that ventures into adult minds to remove the malice they contain.

    Everything from the turn-based combat to everyday schoolwork oozes style and personality, and the unique Japanese school atmosphere makes for a great change of pace from your standard save the world plot. This Royal edition includes a longer campaign, as well as new characters, mini-games, and dungeons. 




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    Odin Sphere Leifthrasir

    Odin Sphere Leifthrasir

    Graphical fidelity has come a long way, especially when looking at some of the visual powerhouses on this list. But sometimes it's nice to sit back and enjoy some of the more artistic games the PS4 has to offer, and the gorgeous Odin Sphere Leifthrasir is definitely one of those games.

    Leifthrasir is a remake of Odin Sphere, an apocalyptic action-RPG that gained a cult following on PlayStation 2. It contains numerous fresh features, including stages, offensive skills, evasion techniques, and enemy AI. That said, the new game carries its predecessor's wonderful, painting-like visuals.




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    Red Dead Redemption 2





    4.0


    Editors' Choice




    Red Dead Redemption 2

    Last generation, Rockstar Games struck cowboy gold with Red Dead Redemption, an Old West, open-world action game. So, it was inevitable that the developer would produce a sequel, and what a sequel it is!

    Red Dead Redemption 2 expands many of its predecessor's gameplay mechanics, including gunplay, hand-to-hand combat, and Honor System. New features let you dual-wield pistols, hunt for sustenance, and swim across bodies of water. If you ever wanted to live the life of a cowboy, Red Dead Redemption 2 is as good as it gets.












    Resident Evil 7: Biohazard





    4.0


    Editors' Choice




    Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

    The haunting Resident Evil 7: Biohazard evokes the harrowing frights and methodical gameplay of the first game in the long-running franchise, rather than the series' more action-oriented sequels. The result is a survival-horror game that's both fresh and nostalgic.

    Resident Evil 7 could use a greater diversity of enemies and weapons, and the lack of additional game modes is disappointing. But on the whole, Resident Evil 7 is a survival-horror game that dials back the action in exchange for white-knuckle thrills, and is all the better for it.












    Samurai Shodown





    4.5


    Editors' Choice




    Samurai Shodown

    SNK revived its cult classic fighting game franchise for current-generation consoles, giving the new game a stylized graphical look, while retaining the series' brutal and unforgiving simplicity.

    Samurai Shodown's warriors hit hard, and the combat has a heavy focus on singular, well-aimed weapon strikes rather than multi-hit combos in games like Dragonball FighterZ or Street Fighter V. But the truth is, you don't need long combo strings here, as a single chunky strike can eat 30 percent of your opponent's health and super attacks can take as much as 70 percent.




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    Shadow of the Colossus

    Shadow of the Colossus

    Simple, haunting, and beautiful, Shadow of the Colossus is a Sony classic. The game was remade from the ground up for the PS4, delivering spectacular high-definition visuals while retaining the simple movement, climbing, and fighting mechanics of the PS2 original.

    You play as a nameless warrior who trespasses through a forsaken land in search of a sealed power. To earn it, you are tasked with destroying sixteen stone colossi that roam the lands. With nothing more than a sword, a bow, and your trusty horse, you set out to explore these vast environments and defeat the behemoths.

    Combat is relatively simplistic, but the action is demanding all the same, pushing you to master the climbing and platforming systems to scale the giants and earn your victories. 




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    Street Fighter V


    Street Fighter V

    Street Fighter V arrived on PlayStation 4 with many flaws that detracted from the stellar gameplay, including awful server instability, no true single-player mode, and a surprisingly limited multiplayer Battle Lounge. However, over the course of the last few years, developer Capcom released several updates that addressed (most of) those issues while also adding new stages and playable characters.

    Street Fighter V, with its fresh and returning characters, new fight systems (like the cool V-Skills and V-Triggers mechanics), interactive stages, Cinematic Story Mode, and cross-platform play with PC owners, finally makes the one-on-one fighting game a title to pick up even for gamers who don't have Evo dreams.












    Tekken 7

    Tekken 7

    Tekken 7 is an incredibly tense game of jabs, feints, reversals, and sidesteps that sees combatants delivering the series' renowned meaty strikes and spectacular juggling combos. However, this series entry stands out from its predecessors by offering some truly fascinating crossover DLC that may attract people who aren't typically Tekken fans.

    Where else can you pit Heihachi against Street Fighter's Akuma? Or, Final Fantasy's Noctis against The Walking Dead's Negan? And Fatal Fury's Geese Howard has never been as good as he is here. Simply put, Tekken 7 is aging like a fine wine.




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    Yakuza 0

    Yakuza 0

    Yakuza 0—the prequel story that shows how series protagonist Kazuma Kiryu rose through the ranks to become the big boss of a Japanese crime syndicate—is more than just knuckles, guns, illegal rackets, and vendettas. At the heart of the gangsterism is empathy and honor, be it between bro and bro, an orphan and his surrogate father, or well-dressed hoodlums and the desperate strangers they meet.

    Yet, Yakuza 0 is also an action-packed beat-'em-up game title that sees you wrecking goons and bosses in a small open-world environment. As you progress through levels, you select new moves and weapons for the two playable characters to customize the violence as you see fit.




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    More Video Game Goodness

    More Video Game Goodness



    Further Reading

    Sony PlayStation Game Reviews

     

    Games Released Years After the Original Release Date

    Would you have ever guessed that Shenmue, a highly acclaimed RPG, has its humble origins in Virtua Fighter? It's true. In fact, the creator of the series was more known for arcade hits, not elaborate RPGs. Yu Suzuki wanted to go beyond the limits of short-term arcade gaming and create a more involved and expansive story-driven game. And a character from his Virtua Fighter series would help him make that transition. 



    Dating back to 1996, Suzuki began work on a Virtua Fighter RPG for the Sega Saturn that followed Akira as he ventured out to confront his father's murderer. Suzuki was determined to do his RPG right and thus involved film writers and directors to help him craft his narrative. His plans included open-world exploration, professional voice acting, and extensive cut scenes, which meant his project was fated to sit in production longer than your average game. He desired to produce an RPG without limits, both in its scope and its development.


    In 1997, due to the Saturn's technical limitations and poor financial performance, the game was delayed to make its way over to the upcoming Dreamcast, later rebranding under the title Shenmue. Losing all connections to Virtua Fighter, Shenmue launched on the Dreamcast in 1999, and the results were quite marvelous.
















     

    'WoW: Shadowlands' Makes a Once-Pricey Feature Totally Free

    Poorna Shankar

    A highly opinionated avid PC gamer, Poorna blindly panics with his friends in various multiplayer games, much to the detriment of his team. Constantly questioning industry practices and a passion for technological progress drive his love for the video game industry. He pulls no punches and tells it like he sees it. He runs a podcast, Gaming The Industry, with fellow writer, Joseph Bradford, discussing industry practices and their effects on consumers.


     

    Here are All PS2 Classics Currently Available On PSN


    PlayStation has a rich catalog of titles through out its four main home consoles. Many have longed to go back and play a lot of the classic titles that helped put the PlayStation brand on the map and propel Sony to the heights it has achieved. We’ve already looked at all the PlayStation Classic titles available on PSN, so now we’ll take a peek at the catalog of PlayStation 2 classics available on the PlayStation Network via PS4, PS3 and the PlayStation Now streaming service.


    All PS2 Classics Currently Available
    A

    Ark The Lad Twilight of the Spirits 01











    B

    BloodRayne 2 02



    C

    Castlevania Lament of Innocence 03



    D

    Dark Cloud 2 04











    E

    F

    Fatal Frame 2 05



    G

    GTA: Vice City 06



    H

    I

    J

    Jak 2 07



    K

    L

    M

    Maximo Ghosts to Glory 08











    N

    O

    P

    Primal 08



    Q

    No titles


    R

    Resident Evil: Code Veronica X 09



    S

    Shinobi 10











    T

    The Mark of Kri 11



    U

    W

    Wild Arms 12



    X

    No Titles


    Y

    No Titles










    Z

    No Titles


     

    Great Free PS4 Games You Can Get Right Now

    Best Free PS4 Games 01


    Here at PlayStation Universe we believe that not having any money shouldn’t be a barrier to playing good games. So, with that in mind we’ve done some digging to unearth the best free PS4 games and the best free to play PS4 games you can get for your console. Don’t forget, time spent on these games we won’t be lost when the PS5 releases in 2020 either, as Sony has confirmed that the PS5 will not only play PS4 games, but will also use the same save data too.


    Starting with five great examples, and to be updated on a regular basis, here are the best free games and the best free to play PS4 games you can get right now. All these games can be download from the PlayStation Store, and as they’re free it’s a good reason to try them! Love a good action game, like to roam the open world shooting down the bad guys? Check these out – there’s something for everyone.




    Added Call of Duty Warzone – 13/03/2020


    Best Free PS4 Games: Call of Duty Warzone

    It was only a matter of time until the juggernaut Call of Duty franchise got its own Battle Royale spin-off – and what an effort it is. Channeling the series ultra responsive gunplay into a massive open setting, Call of Duty Warzone is quite the achievement.


    Call of Duty Warzone 200 playerCall of Duty Warzone has already proven to be one of the most popular free games ever made.

    Where Call of Duty Warzone truly separates itself from the rest of the Battle Royale pack however, is in how it not only allows for up to 150 players at any one time, but also how future expansions will permit an eye-watering 200 players at once. It also doesn’t hurt that Call of Duty Warzone is one of the most popular PS4 titles ever made – with six million players registered within 24 hours!




    Best Free PS4 Games: Realm Royale

    Developed by Hi-Rez Studios, who have previously given us the superb Smite and Paladins, Realm Royale is a colorful fantasy take on the Battle Royale template that has been pioneered by the likes of PUBG and others.


    Best Free PS4 Games Realm RoyaleRealm Royale is a colorful fantasy take on the Battle Royale formula that all ages can enjoy

    Though Realm Royale has a wide range of different classes and abilities for players to choose from, it’s really the forge that sits in the middle of every map that makes this game different from the rest, since here players can craft all manner of powerful weapons and gear to best their foes.


    Best Free PS4 Games: Growtopia

    Published by Ubisoft, Growtopia is a charmingly colorful sandbox MMO where there are no real goals – instead, players are free to do whatever they want as they craft, build and take part in events across an infinite number of customisable worlds.


    Best Free PS4 Games Growtopia Growtopia is vibrantly colorful and entertaining sandbox MMO that anybody can play

    Already boasting a massive following thanks to a prior release on PC and mobile, Growtopia is quite the attractive time-waster for anyone who wants to jump, craft and adventure through a smattering of colorful worlds.




    Best Free PS4 Games: Dauntless

    Developed by the talent folk at Canadian developer Phoenix Labs, Dauntless is a free-to-play take on the Monster Hunter craze that has been most recently pretty much perfected in Monster Hunter World.


    Best Free PS4 Games DauntlessDauntless is a superbly polished, playable and long lasting Monster Hunter style affair that is completely free. Praise the sun!

    Boasting some gorgeous visuals, absolutely tons to do and a finely tuned microtransaction model that is geared towards the bolstering of cosmetic items rather than that of meaningful progression, Dauntless tops things off by having seamless cross-play with PC and Xbox One players too. It should come as little wonder then that the game managed to get five million players in just the first week.


    Best Free PS4 Games: Apex Legends

    A complete surprise, Apex Legends was released in early February 2019 with little or no fanfare. However, it soon turns out that this latest game from Titanfall developer Respawn Entertainment didn’t need a massive marketing campaign anyway, as players have flocked in droves to play Apex Legends since its release just a few days ago.


    Best PS4 free games Apex LegendsApex Legends is perhaps the single best Battle Royale title available on PS4.

    A cross between Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’s Blackout mode and Overwatch, Apex Legends combines the hero shooter sensibilities of the latter with the fast-paced Battle Royale excellence of the former to fashion perhaps the best take on the genre that we’ve seen to date. Horrendously addictive, beautifully presented and with a real focus on teamwork and longevity (it takes more than one shot to kill you, here), Apex Legends is simply essential.




    Best Free PS4 Games: Switchblade

    Switchblade is a game of firsts. Not only is it the first vehicle-based MOBA on the market, but Switchblade has a neat mechanic that allows players to effortlessly switch between different classes of vehicles on the go.


    Best Free PS4 Games SwitchbladeSwitchblade is the first vehicle-based MOBA – and it’s a proper riot.

    Generously stuffed with arenas, vehicle types and objectives, it also doesn’t hurt that Switchblade is quite the looker too – with highly detailed environments and vehicle models rounding out what is quite an attractive package. If you’ve a hankering for free, vehicular MOBA based action with an ambitious roadmap for future updates, you’ll find yourself well served by Switchblade indeed.


    Best Free PS4 Games: Defiance 2050

    Defiance 2050 free-to-play is an online sci-fi shooter that’s all about action. Choose from multiple classes, abilities and a host of explosive weapons. Then, set out into the post apocalyptic world and team up with friends ready to battle!


    Best Free PS4 Games Defiance 2050Defiance 2050 is a neat take on the sci-fi action MMORPG template

    Complete with loadout customization and smooth character progression, become an Ark Hunter and get ready for some fast-paced third-person shooter action. If you played the original game, you’ll hopefully be pleased that Defiance 2050 has had a lot of content improvements. Check out the release trailer below to see the video game in action.




    Best Free PS4 Games: Fortnite Battle Royale

    On reflection, it never seemed likely that Epic Games’ Fortnite was going to succeed, much less become the global trailblazer that it would eventually end up being. Yet here we are; after a massively extended and on-going stint in Early Access, Fortnite redeemed itself in the best way possible by giving players Fortnite Battle Royale; a new take on the battle royale sub-genre that combined building with traditional third-person combat.


    Best Free PS4 Games 02It’s no exaggeration to say that Fortnite Battle Royale is the biggest game in the world right now.

    Much more than the already attractive sum of its building and shooting parts, Fortnite Battle Royale prizes and rewards player ingenuity and emergent chaos quite unlike anything else out there right now and at the grand cost of zero bucks (pounds, euros, pence, cents, whatever), there really is no better time to jump on bandwagon than right now.


    Best Free PS4 Games: H1Z1

    Heralding the arrival of the Battle Royale craze on PS4, H1Z1 makes its mark as a snappy and satisfying take on the formula that already has some 4.5 million downloads under its belt during the first week of release. Boasting three different modes, Solo, Duos and Fives, H1Z1 Battle Royale allows players to choose whether they want to go all against all, or, team up with some friends on the battlefield. Where H1Z1 really does its best work however is in the subtle nips and tucks that it makes to the traditional Battle Royale formula.


    Best Free PS4 Games 08H1Z1 Battle Royale is a fun and eminently satisfying take on the Battle Royale formula.

    For example, the map is smaller than would you would expect to see in other like-minded efforts which means there is far less aimless wandering as players are thrown together with much greater regularity than in other games. Likewise transport is clearly marked on your mini-map so you don’t have to go far to find a set to wheels to get yourself out of Dodge when you need to. And finally, by placing an emphasis on framerate over visual detail, H1Z1 feels hugely responsive and satisfying to play – and the best bit? It’s completely free. Now is the time to jump in if you haven’t already.




    Best Free PS4 Games: Neverwinter

    A full-blown, full-fat MMORPG set within the fantastical confines of Wizards of the Coast Dungeons and Dragons universe, Neverwinter is absolutely stuffed to the brim with quests to do, lore to discover, monsters to mash and of course, loot to collect. Specifically set in the Faerûn, the same world in which Baldur’s Gate and Sword Coast Legends takes place, Neverwinter presents players with a sprawling world that is utterly rife with possibility.


    Best Free PS4 Games 03With a fantastically generous F2P model, players can literally plough hundreds of (non-grindy) hours into Neverwinter without paying a penny.

    Once you’ve picked out your race, class and customised your hero Neverwinter ruthlessly thrusts you into the midst of an undead invasion and never lets up with its frenetic pace.


    With large free expansions being released multiple times a year, a supremely generous free-to-play model that lets you play for hundreds of hours without dropping a penny and challenging quests and dungeons that are stupendous fun when played through with friends, Neverwinter is a grandly generous offering that everyone should try.


    Best Free PS4 Games: Paladins

    Very much along the lines of Blizzard’s Overwatch, Paladins from Smite developer Hi-Rez Studios is a colorful free-to-play hero shooter whereupon players choose from a variety of very different heroes and use them to clash in a number of different objective-based game modes. Ranging from siege, survival, co-op PvE and payload modes to name just a few (the latter should be especially familiar to Overwatch players), Paladins certainly offers a lot bang for practically zero bucks.




    Best Free PS4 Games 07Paladins is a colourful and well-balanced FPS that costs precisely nothing to play.

    At the core of the Paladins experience however are cards that can be used to affect ability cooldowns and provide buffs to allies and debuffs to enemies. The kicker with this however, is that these cards can be upgraded with experience points and by completing special objectives and so there is always a reason to keep on playing – again, without even having to spend a dime to do so. Essentially, if you’re looking for a good team-based hero shooter at zero cost to yourself than Paladins could be just the ticket.


    Best Free PS4 Games: Smite

    Though MOBAs are seemingly ten a penny these days, very few of them are as polished or as accessible as Smite from Hi-Rez Studios. Bringing together gods and powerful figures from a whole range of mythologies in a series of epic, tactical clashes, Smite is one of the most frequently updated games on PS4 with the developer releasing new content for the game every two weeks without fail.


    Best Free PS4 Games 04Smite is one of the most enjoyable, accessible and well balanced MOBAs out there.

    Beyond the frequency of its updates, Smite is just great fun to play too. Whether you’re playing as Thor, Anubis or Kali, Smite’s great tutorials, colourful visuals, fast matches and well-balanced, easy to grasp gameplay makes it a worthwhile prospect not just for MOBA generals but also for newcomers too.


    Indeed, despite being sworn off for the genre before its release, we found that Smite was able to get us excited about the prospect of defending towers and capturing territories in a way that no previous entry in the genre was able to achieve.




    Best Free PS4 Games: Warframe

    Originally releasing at the same time as the PS4 hardware did back in November 2013, Warframe was one of the very first free-to-play games you could get on the console. A third-person, space ninja action RPG that places a bespoke focus on co-op and teamworking in a vein that players of Destiny 2 will surely recognise, it’s a credit to the caliber of both the developer Digital Extremes and the game that as we approach its fifth birthday, Warframe is the best it has ever been.


    Best Free PS4 Games 05Despite being one of the very first free-to-play PS4 efforts, Warframe has matured and evolved into one of the most played games on the console.

    With a variety of PvP and PvE content which both in turn dovetail into Warframe’s on-going narrative, there is so much to do in Digital Extremes free-to-play effort that it is frankly unreal. From brief skirmishes to space combat, massive raids and other co-operative activities, Warframe does a cracking job of marrying hyper-kinetic, third-person combat with a rather generous free-to-play model that ensures everybody can give the game a good go without ever needing to reach into their pockets.


    Oh, and it doesn’t hurt at all that numerous updates since launch have ensured that the game looks frequently stunning – a fact that is exacerbated yet further when seeing the game played on PS4 Pro.


    Best Free PS4 Games: World of Tanks

    Sometimes you just want to hop into an armored coffin with a gun and go off and blast other folk who have decided to do the game – such is the baseline appeal of World of Tanks. Peer beneath its pleasingly simplistic premise however, and a craftily designed and often compelling squad based shooter soon manifests itself.




    Best Free PS4 Games 06World of Tanks on PS4 is a neat mixture of arcade combat and battlefield strategy.

    With a frankly glorious range of different tanks to both purchase and upgrade and a wealth of maps to show them off on, it’s fair to say that World of Tanks isn’t lacking in content whatsoever. That said, looking past its muscular offering and accessible tank battle shenanigans also reveals a game which demands a tactical mind as it does so the reflexes to carry out the end result.


    If you’ve been sleeping on World of Tanks for this long, you should probably give it a try, we were surprised when we did and best of all, it will cost you precisely nothing to do so.


    We’d love to see a free fighting game on PS4, but sadly no fully fledged ones exist yet! We’d recommend checking out Gwent, the card game, too if you’re a fan of the Witcher, which is free with optional microtransactions. Also, check out Let It Die, which is a free-to-play Dark Souls style dungeon crawler featuring an especially brilliant character in Uncle Death!


    Also, you should subscribe to PlayStation Plus. Each month you get multiple free games. Recently, players have enjoyed the likes of Steep and Portal Knights, for starters.




    If you enjoyed this feature on the best free PS4 games, why not check out some of our other ‘best of’ features, such as the best 2019 PS4 games, best FPS games, best PS4 exclusives, best PS4 indie games, best PS4 fighting games and best PS4 PSVR games that money can buy.


     

    PS4 Exclusives That Every Gamer Needs to Play

    The Last Of Us Part 2 Review Screenshot 8


    All PS4 Exclusives, Best PS4 exclusives – Arguably, easily one of the best things about owning a PS4 is the ever growing selection of PS4 exclusives that you can get for it. From the likes of God of War to Uncharted 4 and everything in between, the sheer variety of exclusive titles on PlayStation 4 is matched only by their caliber. Make no mistake – these PS4 exclusive games are certainly a must play.


    So whether you’ve just found yourself in possession of a shiny new PS4, or, if you’ve had one for a while and simply want to keep up to date on all the exclusives available for the console, we’ve got a comprehensive list of the best PS4 console exclusives. In the following list, we haven’t included any PSVR exclusive titles. You can view the Best Games For PlayStation VR in our separate guide, while our PS5 FAQ meanwhile looks to the future of PlayStation. Let’s get started!




    Best PS4 Exclusives: Ghost of Tsushima

    Ghost of Tsushima elevates the existing open world adventure template with a fantasy-free Samurai adventure that deftly pays loving homage to the Samurai cinema of old.


    Best PS4 Exclusives Ghost of Tsushima


    While your mileage may vary according to your level of open world fatigue, Ghost of Tsushima undoubtedly remains not only one of the best open world romps money can buy and a stunning PlayStation 4 exclusive, but also Sucker Punch Productions finest effort to date.




    Best PS4 Exclusives: The Last Of Us Part 2

    The Last of Us Part 2 is a frankly incredible achievement. Intertwining deep, richly written characters, cementing themes of consequence and loss all the while widening a world that was so well established in the first game, Naughty Dog have crafted one of the finest action adventures of all time and one that invariably stands as the most opulent jewel in an already glittering crown of first-party PlayStation 4 exclusives.


    The Last Of Us Part 2 Review Screenshot 5Best PS4 Exclusives: The Last of Us Part 2 is the game of a generation, without a doubt.

    A rip-roaring and emotional masterpiece that will be talked about for years to come, *this* is why more than 110 million people own a PlayStation 4.


    Best PS4 Exclusives: Dreams

    Announced all the way back at 2013 PlayStation Meeting, Dreams has almost spanned the entire lifespan of the PS4. Now, some seven years later, Dreams has finally arrived and within it, developer MediaMolecule has fashioned a practically boundless sandbox of creativity where the only limiting factor is width and breadth of your own imagination.


    Best PS4 Exclusives DreamsBest PS4 Exclusives: Dreams is a boundless sandbox of creativity quite unlike anything else.

    The first 10/10 scoring PS4 title of 2020, Dreams truly feels like a game-changer in every sense. From the beautifully designed toolset that is both reassuringly powerful and easy to use, to the mountains of cheerful MediaMolecule polish that oozes from every digital pore, Dreams is a bountiful creation suite that every PS4 owner should dive into without hesitation.




    Best PS4 Exclusives: Bloodborne

    Only FROM Software could fashion a PS4 exclusive like Bloodborne. A grim third-person action adventure very much in the mold of its Dark Souls series of games, Bloodborne whisked players away to the nightmarish realm of Yharnam, a sprawling Gothic city where bleak nihilism reigns and where horrors spawned from the depths stalk its blood soaked streets.


    Best PS4 Exclusives 19Best PS4 Exclusives: The Gothic city of Yharnam in Bloodborne is home to a great number of unspeakable horrors.

    More than just a change of scenery when compared to the Dark Souls games, Bloodborne excelled on account of a brand new combat system that prohibited the use of shields in favour of an evasion based approach where incoming attacks must be dodged rather than blocked.


    Though the setting and combat system were both somewhat separated from that which fans had seen in the Souls games previously (the combat perhaps less so), Bloodborne nonetheless employed many of the same hooks that had made those games so compelling int he first place such as the intuitive wrap-around level design, subtle narrative and boundlessly inventive bosses. Bloodborne wasn’t an easy recommendation for fans of Dark Souls, it also, even now, happens to be one of the very best exclusive games you can get for your PS4, too.


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    Best PS4 Exclusives: Concrete Genie

    Marking the sophomore PS4 outing for Californian studio Pixelopus, Concrete Genie is a work of wonder and visual splendor. Taking place in the small, crumbling town of Denska, Concrete Genie is an affecting artistic adventure where a young boy named Ash must use art to overcome the bullies tormenting him and restore vivid, bountiful color to his hometown in the process.


    Best PS4 Exclusives Concrete Genie


    Using the DualShock 4 controller, players guide Ash through the winding streets of Denska, avoiding bullies and using the motion controls to create puzzle-solving art in one of the PS4’s best looking efforts to date. Beautiful, heartfelt and deeply resonant, there’s nothing quite like Concrete Genie on PS4, or indeed, anywhere else for that matter.


    Best PS4 Exclusives: Days Gone

    The first proper PS4 AAA debut from Sony Bend Studios – for whom the PS Vita was their primary domain previously, Days Gone is a visually lush, gargantuan open-world jaunt that casts players as Deacon St. John an outlaw biker who, together his road buddy Boozer, must ascertain the fate of Deacon’s wife Sarah in the midst of a turbo-zombie apocalypse.




    Best PS4 Exclusives Days GoneBest PS4 Exclusives: Days Gone interweaves a compelling story with some superbly engineered horde AI.

    Though Days Gone adheres perhaps a little too closely to the traditional open-world template, it demands attention on account of its massive offering, great performances (Sam Witwer as Deacon St. John puts in a particularly intense turn) and solid melee and gunplay mechanics.


    Oh and the horde is an especially terrifying spectacle too – requiring tactics and strategy in equal measures in order to be surmounted, while cruising along the winding expanses of rural Oregon on a massive, hefty feeling bike is also deeply satisfying to say the least.


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    Best PS4 Exclusives: DriveClub

    Before Gran Turismo Sport roared onto PS4 at the end of 2017, the first-party racing game honors belonged to DriveClub and despite a somewhat rocky initial release period, Evolution Studios polished effort would soon evolve into a sublime racer that stands, even today, as one of the best racing games money can buy.




    Best PS4 Exclusives 01Best PS4 Exclusives: The weather effects in DriveClub are unmatched.

    Boasting a bevy of cars to choose from, many hugely detailed tracks to race on, a rewarding progression structure and a beautifully tuned handling model, DriveClub still remains one of the premier racers on Sony’s home console. Oh, and it still has the best weather effects of any racer on the market too.


    Best PS4 Exclusives: Everybody’s Golf

    Since the release of the very first Everybody’s Golf for the original PSOne back in 1997, Sony’s whimsically charming golf effort has held a justified permanent place in the hearts of PlayStation gamers around the globe.


    Best PS4 Exclusives 21Best PS4 Exclusives: Everybody’s Golf on PS4 is the most welcome and eminently playable the series has ever been.

    Fast forward some 20 years and Sony’s first-party golfer arrives on PS4 in rude form; boasting accessibility and character by the bucketload and reminding gamers that you don’t need a super serious licensed golf simulation to create a genre effort that will appeal beyond its demographic. Easy on the eyes and easier still to play, Everybody’s Golf does justice to its PlayStation lineage on PS4 and offers up a superlative bit of golfing that everybody can enjoy – hence the title!


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    Best PS4 Exclusives: God of War

    By the time Sony Santa Monica had milked the myths of ancient Greece dry with their previous six PlayStation God of War titles, players were interested to see where the series could potentially go next, and in April 2018, the trajectory for Sony’s most brutal franchise became all of sudden beautifully clear. Moving the action to a new setting of Norse mythology, God of War immediately reassured fans that Kratos’ newest stomping grounds would be fresh, though it would be a new level of subtlety and nuance that would meaningfully separate God of War’s latest effort from those previous.


    Best PS4 Exclusives 23Best PS4 Exclusives: God of War marks a triumphant new beginning for the long running series.

    Sporting a truly hefty beard, a new magical axe to replace his swirling Blades of Chaos and most surprisingly of all a son by the name of Atreus, God of War’s inaugural incursion into Norse mythology was as close to perfection as you can possibly get. Neatly intertwining themes of parenthood and responsibility into the well-worn (though not any less bombastic) violent spectacle that has defined the series for years, God of War proves itself not only as the best entry in the series to date but also the most hands-down visually impressive game you can buy on PS4 right now.


    With the promise of many more games to come which will also be set in this new Norse setting, God of War lays down a tantalizing road map for where the series will go to next. It’s time to be excited by God of War again.


    Best PS4 Exclusives: Gran Turismo Sport

    Speaking of premier racers, Gran Turismo, Sony’s longtime racing franchise, finally made its debut on PS4 at the end of 2017 and much like DriveClub before it, it’s fair to say that it didn’t release in tip-top form. Weeks later however, and diligent patching by developer Polyphony Digital has not only resulted in a more polished experience, but a much more content rich one too as a great deal of additional single-player races and tournaments were added to bring Gran Turismo Sport in line with fans expectations for the series.




    Best PS4 Exclusives 02Best PS4 Exclusives: Gran Turismo Sport thrusts the long-running racing series into 4K and HDR.

    With beautiful HDR-powered visuals (especially so on PS4 Pro where a higher resolution can be enabled), that timeless Gran Turismo handling model, more polish than seems eminently reasonable and generous PSVR support, you end up with a racer that is right up there with DriveClub in the ‘must-have’ stakes. You can own both y’know.


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    Best PS4 Exclusives: Gravity Rush 2

    Sadly, the Gravity Rush 2 multiplayer servers have been shut down by Sony Interactive Entertainment. However, there’s still an enthralling single player mode to play. The gravity control mechanics are superb as you jump and speed through the air.


    best ps4 exclusives gravity rush 2Best PS4 Exclusives: A stunning and beautifully produced effort.

    The game map is huge meaning there’s plenty of opportunity for exploration. There’s also tons of missions to get involved in with a game that will take you 30 hours+ to complete.




    The stunning anime art-style is just one of the appealing things about SIE Japan Studios action-adventure. Progression feels smooth, combat is thrilling and the slick gravity-defying movement of Kat in the game is slick.


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    Best PS4 Exclusives: inFamous: Second Son

    One of the earliest indicators of the level of graphical fidelity that PS4 would usher in over Sony’s last generation console, inFamous: Second Son, Sucker Punch’s first PS4 title simply looked incredible, with all manner of boundlessly impressive lighting and shadowing effects that still remain eye-opening to this day.


    Best PS4 ExclusivesBest PS4 Exclusives: Even today, inFamous Second Son just oozes visual style.

    More than just a technical showcase however, inFamous: Second Son more crucially took the third-person superhero action that was the series trademark into weightier and grittier waters, with characters that you care about and a well-crafted narrative that provides ample incentive for players to see it through to the end.




    Best PS4 Exclusives: Nioh

    On paper, Nioh should never have been released. Teased for the launch of the PS3(!) more than ten years ago, Nioh from Dead or Alive 5 developer Team Ninja seemed like the very definition of vapourware; a technopoetic promise of smoke and mirrors that would never amount to anything.


    Best PS4 Exclusives 05Best PS4 Exclusives: Nioh is beautiful to look at, satisfying to play and very, very hard to beat.

    Fast forward to 2017, and not only did Nioh get released, but it also confidently staked its claim as a toweringly brilliant action adventure, and one which arguably takes the Dark Souls formula to new heights against a Feudal Japanese backdrop. There’s no getting around it, if you love action adventures and fancy a staunch challenge you need Nioh.


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    Best PS4 Exclusives: Persona 5

    The 2017 Game of the Year in the eyes of many, Persona 5 brought the offbeat and thoroughly brilliant JRPG series kicking and screaming onto PS4 with astounding results. Largely regarded as the best entry in the series, Persona 5 elevated the series traditional marriage of dungeon crawling and slice-of-life school shenanigans to new heights with hand-crafted dungeons, a new stealth system and a game world that is set in the very much real world realm of Tokyo.




    Best PS4 Exclusives 06Best PS4 Exclusives: Persona 5 is easily the most stylish game of the PS4 generation so far.

    Encompassing a brash, colourful and loud aesthetic that instantly catches the eye in addition to hundreds of hours of JRPG gameplay, Persona 5 isn’t just at the apex of the JRPG genre, it also happens to be one of the very best exclusives you can buy on PS4.


    Best PS4 Exclusives: Ratchet & Clank

    No PlayStation platform would be complete without Ratchet & Clank and so it’s with good news that I can confirm that not only does the PS4 serve as the home for the space duo’s latest adventure, but it also happens to be one of the best installments in the series, too. A remake of the first game in the series, Ratchet & Clank on PS4 not only looks like a Pixar film in places from a visual standpoint, but it also weaves a number of improvements into the fabric of the base title to bring it bang up to date, too.


    Best PS4 Exclusives 07Best PS4 Exclusives: Ratchet & Clank has never looked so good.

    From additional weapons and gadgets to the much-needed ability to perform strafe attacks, there can be little doubt that Ratchet & Clank on PS4 stands as perhaps the best entry in the long-running series to date. Furthermore, it also remains an obvious entry point for newbies and veterans alike into the action platforming adventures of PlayStation’s most mischievous duo.


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    Best PS4 Exclusives: Shadow of the Colossus

    Arguably the PS2’s game of its generation, Shadow of the Colossus comes to PS4 in magnificent form thanks to the boundless talents of porting studio Bluepoint Games. In every way the definitive version of what is arguably Team Ico‘s magnum opus, Shadow of the Colossus has been completely remade (not remastered) for PS4 as it boasts all new art and visual effects that serve to drive its distinctly minimalist style to even grander heights than ever before.


    Best PS4 exclusives 08Best PS4 Exclusives: Bluepoint Games have done a stellar job in remaking Shadow of the Colossus for PS4.

    A timeless action adventure gem that staunchly rejects the modern day busywork that infests so many games while also embracing a narrative that eschews expected ethical convention in favour of something far more darkly ponderous, it’s perhaps fitting that one of the greatest games of PS2’s generation now also becomes one of the greatest games of the PS4 generation, too. Make no mistake, this is a true PlayStation classic reborn and reforged in its ultimate form – you owe it to yourself to include Shadow of the Colossus in your collection.


    Best PS4 Exclusives: Spider-Man

    For the longest time Spider-Man has languished somewhat when it came to his depiction in videogames. Arguably surpassed by Rocksteady’s Batman games in the past, the pride of New York City has deserved better – and now, at last, Spider-Man is better and in being so reaches beyond his peers in the process.


    Best PS4 Exclusives 30Best PS4 Exclusives: Insomniac’s Spider-Man is one of the best superhero games ever made.

    A wondrously cinematic affair that combines a great story, some of the best open-world traversal ever and some of the best visuals seen on PS4, Spider-Man is nothing less than an essential triumph. I mean, you simply feel like Spider-Man and as such, I cannot think of any higher praise to bestow upon the wonders that Insomniac Games have wrought here.




    Best PS4 Exclusives: Tearaway Unfolded

    Few would have thought that despite a stellar debut on PS Vita, Tearaway on PS4 would be able to replicate anything remotely approaching the same magic as its handheld counterpart, and yet, that’s exactly what happened with Tearaway Unfolded. Less a sequel and more a director’s cut of the PS Vita original, Tearaway Unfolded is a platforming adventure that whisks players away to a whimsical paper craft realm where they must deliver a message to a mysterious portal that has opened in the sky.


    Best PS4 Exclusives 09Best PS4 Exclusives: It’s impossible not to fall in love with Tearaway Unfolded.

    Beyond its seemingly twee premise, Tearaway Unfolded proffers itself as a masterful take on the platforming genre. Much more than a straight-laced effort, Tearaway Unfolded makes inspired use of touchpad on the Dualshock 4 controller; enabling players to create objects allowing them to progress through the game world and permitting them to affect the environment in unprecedented ways. Absolutely bursting with character and presenting itself as a shining example of how you port a PS Vita classic to PS4, Tearaway Unfolded is beautifully charming and involving title that really stands apart from anything else on the console.


    Best PS4 Exclusives: The Last Guardian

    In a manner akin to Nioh, The Last Guardian was originally destined to release on Sony’s last-generation console but due to a series of haggard events, never made the cut. Finally finding a home on PS4 in 2017, Fumito Ueda’s masterpiece provided all the spectacle and understated awe that we would expect from a Team Ico title. However, as any fan of that studio’s output should know, there are a multitude of layers that exist under the astounding veneer for each of the studio’s efforts and The Last Guardian is certainly no different in that regard.


    Best PS4 Exclusives 10Best PS4 Exclusives: The long wait for The Last Guardian was more than worth it.

    Cast as a boy who befriends as massive chimera amusingly named ‘Trico’, the two must work together to escape the dark forces that pursue them, with the young lad leveraging the gargantuan size of his companion to break obstacles and create paths of escape. The kicker here, is that Trico himself is governed by a highly sophisticated AI whereupon you must gradually build a rapport with him before he fully obeys your commands. Beautiful, poignant, haunting and boundlessly inventive, The Last Guardian emphatically makes a hatrick for Team Ico while also doubling up as one of the PS4’s must have games.




    Best PS4 Exclusives: The Last of Us Remastered

    Without question the definitive version of the PS3 ‘Game of the Generation’, The Last of Us Remastered comes to PS4 with a veritable raft of visual improvements and a not too subtle reminder that Naughty Dog‘s last gen swansong still remains one of the very best action adventures available.


    Best PS4 Exclusives 11Best PS4 Exclusives: The Last of Us Remastered is the definitive edition of PS3’s game of the generation.

    A grimly nihilistic post-apocalyptic tale of mankind struggling to survive after being decimated by a parasitic virus which turns folk into murderous, flesh-eating monsters, The Last of Us Remastered masterfully combines emotional storytelling, engaging characters and hugely satisfying third-person combat to fashion an effort that simply has to be played by every PS4 owner. There is a reason why The Last of Us: Part II is so highly anticipated – this is it.


    Best PS4 Exclusives: The Order: 1886

    Though The Order: 1886 might not have the best Metacritic score, it bears inclusion here for a number of reasons regardless. Set in an alternate Victorian era where technology has leaped far beyond the constraints of that time, The Order: 1886 casts players as the member of a group tasked with uncovering a conspiracy behind a flood of monsters that have invaded good ol’ London town.


    Best PS4 Exclusives 22Best PS4 Exclusives: The Order 1886 is one of the most atmospheric and underrated third person shooters around.

    A polished third-person shooter with some of the finest visuals on PS4, The Order: 1886 might have clunky stealth sections and an all-too brief campaign length, but the sheer spectacle of it all combined with the tremendous world building and accomplished cover shooter mechanics, ensures it remains one of PS4’s most under appreciated gems. A sequel is most certainly needed.




    Best PS4 Exclusives: Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection

    A value busting compilation of Nathan Drake‘s PS3 adventures, there is arguably no better starting point for folks who have yet to experience the Uncharted series. Encompassing a series of globe-trotting third person adventures that combine the cinematic qualities of the Indiana Jones films with the trinket-chasing shenanigans of the Tomb Raider games, the Uncharted games have enthralled players the world over with its action heavy set pieces, quick witted characters and stunning visual presentation.


    Best PS4 Exclusives 12Best PS4 Exclusives: Uncharted: The Nathan Drake collection is arguably the best way to relive Nathan Drake’s PS3 era career.

    And now, thanks to the stellar remastering efforts of Bluepoint Games and Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection, fans can relive those adventures in their most pristine form with each of the three games benefitting from a new sheen of technical paint that includes higher resolution visuals, new textures and added effects to name just a few of the improvements.


    Best PS4 Exclusives: Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

    In retrospect there was perhaps no grander way to close out the Nathan Drake story on PS4 than Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. The epic culmination of the series to that point, the subtitle of the fourth entry in the series provided a foreboding clue about how developer Naughty Dog sought to bring an end to the adventures of Nathan Drake and simply put, Uncharted 4 remade the DNA of the modern videogame blockbuster in ways that we didn’t think it could.


    Best PS4 Exclusives 13Best PS4 Exclusives: Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is one of the finest cinematic experiences you can have anywhere. Anywhere.

    At turns embracing and heightening the series penchant for Hollywood bombast while juxtaposing such sequences against more tender moments that meaningfully add to these characters that we’ve spent the better part of the last ten years with, Uncharted 4 isn’t just one of the most technically impressive games on PS4, it’s also a more than fitting end for one of the enduring icons of the PlayStation brand.




    Consistently stunning, deftly paced and stuffed with more action than a Die Hard convention, Uncharted 4 marks an exceptional and emotionally resonant end to the core of one of PlayStation’s greatest franchises.


    Best PS4 Exclusives: Uncharted: The Lost Legacy

    A roaringly punchy and action-stuffed spin-off from the mainline Uncharted IP, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy takes the two most badass ladies from the series, frequent Nathan Drake partner/antagonist Chloe Frazer and Uncharted 4’s mercenary soldier Nadine Ross, and pairs them up as they set out to find the legendary tusk of Ganesh, the son of Hindu god Shiva.


    Best PS4 Exclusives 14Best PS4 Exclusives: Uncharted: The Lost Legacy provides players with an enticing glimpse into a post-Nathan Drake Uncharted franchise.

    Though markedly shorter than Uncharted 4 (and with a budget price to match), Uncharted: The Lost Legacy nonetheless gives a grand account of itself as provides players with whopping great dollop of the witty dialog and explosive action that they’ve been used to, all the while creating a pair of fantastic leading ladies in Chloe and Nadine. If this is an indication of what a post Nathan Drake Uncharted universe looks like, you can count us in.


    Best PS4 Exclusives: Until Dawn

    On first inspection, the cheese-filled teen slasher genre would seem to be difficult to replicate effectively in the confines of a videogame, and yet, in 2015, that’s just what Supermassive Games achieved with Until Dawn. An interactive adventure not unlike Telltale Games The Walking Dead or Quantic Dream’s Heavy Rain, Until Dawn doubled down on the non-linear aspects of those games by employing the Butterfly Effect mechanic which allows players to create numerous different scenarios and exponentially numerous outcomes.




    Best PS4 Exclusives 15Best PS4 Exclusives: The motion captured performances in Until Dawn are always entertaining.

    Truthfully though, what Until Dawn gets the most right is how fully it embraces its fabulously schlocky premise as players struggle to keep a group of mostly annoying, yet always entertaining college teens alive in the face of deranged serial killer whilst staying at an isolated mountaintop residence. Naturally, the first time you’ll fail to save everyone and it’s here that Until Dawn lays its hooks into you as you attempt repeated playthroughs and try different choices to get everyone home in one piece.


    Best PS4 Exclusives: Wipeout Omega Collection

    The stylish poster child of the PSOne era with its neon lit visuals, pulse-pounding techno music and face-tearingly fast races, Wipeout has always been synonymous with the PlayStation brand and in the Wipeout Omega Collection, a trio of the series best entries have been given a fresh coat of paint for newbies and veterans alike to enjoy.


    Best PS4 Exclusives 17Best PS4 Exclusives: Wipeout Omega Collection looks absolutely tremendous running in 4K on PS4 Pro.

    Including remasters of Wipeout HD, the Wipeout HD Fury expansion and Wipeout 2048, the Omega Collection offers up 26 unique tracks, 46 different craft to race on them with and showcases the whole thing with a boatload of extra detail all rendered at 1080p (4K for PS4 Pro owners)and 60 frames per second. Look, it’s quite simple; if you have a thing for racing sci-fi craft at extremely high speeds across a variety of gorgeous looking tracks then Wipeout Omega Collection will be your bag, ridiculously so, in fact.


    Upcoming PS4 Exclusives

    Let’s not forget all the great video games coming exclusively to PS4 soon. Further down the line, we can look forward to such as Ghost of Tsushima, and many others!




    If you enjoyed this feature on the best PS4 exclusives, why not check out some of our other ‘best of’ features, such as the best PSVR games, best PS4 indie games and best PS4 FPS games and best PS4 fighting games that money can buy.


     

    Ranking the Best Battle Royale Games Currently On the Market

    Between Fortnite, Apex Legends, Call of Duty: Warzone, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, and a dozen other old, new, and upcoming games, the battle royale genre is still exploding in 2020. If you like chaotic multiplayer free-for-all gameplay and you haven't picked up at least one battle royale game yet, you're missing out. Here's our best battle royale games ranked list to help you pick out one that's the best for you.



    It wasn't that long ago that the success of PUBG and Fortnite looked like it would touch off one of those waves of imitation that you see every so often in the video game industry. Both fans and pros had their teeth clenched waiting for a new wave of battle royales from every direction, nation, company, and genre.


    As it turned out, that didn't really happen, at least not yet. There are more battle royale games out there than a lot of players realize, since the top three take up a lot of the oxygen in the room, but we never reached that theorized crisis point where every shooter with more than two fans launched its own last-man-standing mode. Thankfully, due to that uncharacteristic restraint by the larger video game industry, battle royales are a healthy sub-genre that just keeps getting better over time. Here are our picks for the top battle-royale games available now, with one newcomer that we’re particularly excited about. 


    Call of Duty: Warzone

    Activision announced recently that Warzone had surpassed 60 million downloads in its first two months of operation, because of course it did. Call of Duty already sells like crazy once a year; when you staple one of the most addictive sub-genres in the business on top of it, you can't help but pull people in. Local stay-at-home orders just accelerated the process.


    The advantage of Warzone over other battle royales is that it's a polished first-person shooter, made as a collaborative effort by some of the best FPS developers in the world today. It's remarkably stripped-down compared to many other games, without player inventories and with a low "loot ceiling"; it's all about that adrenaline kick, and getting you to it as fast as possible. 


    If you like high-lethality, fast-paced shooters, Warzone is made for you. Death doesn't feel like much of a penalty, between the ability to buy respawns for your teammates and being able to return to the fray if you win a duel in the Gulag. On the negative side, it does still have killstreaks, which are obnoxious in Modern Warfare's multiplayer and borderline game-breaking in Warzone's steadily tightening close quarters. A lot of matches end up coming down to waiting until the map's the size of a postage stamp, then buying a cluster strike and kicking back.


    Pros: it's a jam project for some of the most experienced developers in the FPS game right now, and it shows
    Cons: someone will claim to have "360 no-scoped" you even when that is visibly untrue


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    Apex Legends

    Apex is on the other end of a curve from Warzone, with smaller squads and much larger health pools. Unusually for a battle royale, the "Legend" you pick defines both your individual and team strategy, as it would in a hero shooter or MOBA; your character isn't just a random cipher in a funny hat, but offers multiple unique tactical and mobility options. Strategy and team composition count for a lot more than twitch reflexes here. That, and its high general level of polish, won it an instant following that took everyone, including EA, off guard.


    Because Apex has a higher time-to-kill for most characters than is the standard in the genre, you have to get creative on the fly to secure your wins. Matchup knowledge can go a long way--that team has a Gibraltar, don't go on a full offensive until his shield's gone down--as can mastering the ping system for effective field communication. If you just want a mindless shoot-and-loot, Apex isn't exactly what you're looking for, but it's got raw speed, creativity, and a broad range of characters on its side. 


    Pros: you're harder to kill, so the game's easier to learn
    Cons: the the reduced but not eliminated risk of getting wrecked by an adorable emoticon robot 


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    PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds

    Now in Season 7, good old PUBG is still out there doing the work. It's sold over 60 million units across platforms as of December 2019, with 600 million downloads of PUBG Mobile, and it's why we're even talking about "battle royale" as a genre right now. PUBG enjoys a dedicated fanbase, a solid Twitch following, and its own esports league, with the Continental Series Charity Showdown planned for May 14th to the 31st. By any standard, PUBG is a major success, and still has a pool of regular players that's comfortably in six digits... but in 2020, it's consistently overshadowed on all sides by the games that it inspired.


    Playing it now, PUBG already feels like a time capsule. Fortnite's crazier, Apex has better movement and loot handling, and Warzone's got better gunplay, but PUBG's still the baseline for the battle-royale experience, stripped down with limited gimmicks. You can argue with some of its developers' recent moves, like adding bots, but this is still the whole genre's foundation stone. Every other battle royale has a bunch of stuff grafted on top of it to make it look like it isn't a PUBG clone, and that counts for something.


    Pros: it's weird that a three-year-old game can be said to have "old-school flavor," but here we are
    Cons: constant cravings for chicken


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    Cuisine Royale 

    Like PUBG, 2018's Cuisine Royale is still releasing updates and catering to a relatively small but fervent group of fans; Cuisine Royale's is an order of magnitude lower, sure, but it's there. It began as an April Fools' joke by the creators of an MMO World War II shooter called Enlisted that's still in development, but Cuisine Royale rapidly grew into a project in its own right. The "Cuisine" in question comes from the ability to use pots and pans as makeshift armor as you explore the map, with refrigerators instead of lootboxes. 


    Since leaving Early Access last December, Cuisine Royale has flown the rest of the way off into post-Fortnite craziness. Black magic is now a thing, letting you gather souls from killed players to fuel spells and mystic signs, on top of the firearms and vehicles you'd expect from a more mundane sort of shooter. The primary draw of Cuisine Royale, then, is that at any moment in time it can change from a slightly goofier PUBG clone to some weird hell-blend of Unreal Tournament, Hexen, and Dying Light: Bad Blood. While a few of the Signs just do regular old battle-royale things like spawning grenades or hard cover, enough of them are appropriately weird--zombie summons, jump pads, the unnerving but seemingly useless "brown note" spell--that it's a big change of pace.


    Having said that, Cuisine Royale is the product of a relatively small team with an occasionally shaky grasp on both English and humor. Including it on this list at all probably earns us some hipster points. The mystic signs go a long way towards elevating it from the pack, however, particularly given how blatantly out of step they are with the rest of the game's looter-shooter feel.


    Pros: a perfectly fine battle royale shooter that can and does change genres on a dime
    Cons: a little too wacky for wackiness's sake, even by comparison to Fortnite, and that is saying something


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    Early Access: Last Tide

    This one is an acquired taste, and yes, that is a shark pun, and no, I'm not sorry. The sophomore project from the New Zealand-based Digital Confectioners, Last Tide bills itself as an "aquatic royale," where you play as divers hunting one another underwater. The weapons are all based off of current tech, including harpoons and custom firearms, and the environments are surprisingly varied, with plenty of shipwrecks and picturesque ruins to fight through and hide in. It does play a weird trick on you where it's easy to think that it's just another first-person shooter, but you can always swim up to get around obstacles, hide above doorways, and take advantage of the verticality.


    The keynote feature here is that it's not just divers vs. divers. You're in shark-infested waters, with a collapsing "shark shield" taking the place of the typical battle-royale shrinking environment, and can employ the sharks against opponents with weapons like chum rounds. While Last Call is missing an opportunity here by not letting you play as a shark--ideally as a Friday the 13th: The Game kind of thing--there is a unique satisfaction to feeding that one guy to a Megalodon the size of a sedan.


    Pros: hunting one another through a suspiciously intact sunken ship is the kind of adventure-movie stuff this genre was made for
    Cons: if you're scared of sharks, I have some bad news for you


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    Up-and-Comer: Spellbreak

    We're excited about Spellbreak specifically because you get to be a wizard. Guns are officially over; it's magical gauntlets time now. 


    Currently in closed beta on PC and PS4, Spellbreak puts players in the role of feuding magic-users, who can pick from a list of classes that includes Pyromancer, Frostborn, Stoneshaper, or Toxicologist, as well as four different abilities to socket into your gauntlets. You can fly, conjure walls of flame, unleash massive shockwaves, go invisible, throw lightning, and use dozens of other spells, based upon your class and gauntlets. You're hyper-mobile, with massive area-of-effect spells and a huge number of ways to get around the battlefield. Spellbreak in motion looks like how you're supposed to imagine a match of Magic: The Gathering playing out: a bunch of enormously powerful wizards tearing the landscape in half to get at each other.


    Spellbreak has been in development for almost two years by Proletariat, a mobile developer made up of talent from Harmonix, Turbine, and Insomniac. Its previous games include World Zombination and StreamLegends.


    Pros: both robe and wizard hat explicitly available
    Cons: it's been unnervingly quiet for a while


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    Fortnite 

    If we ever get around to having an award category for "Most Evolved From Its Roots," Fortnite will take it in a slow walk. First it was a co-op fort-building zombie game, then its free-to-play Battle Royale mode took over all of explored space, and now it's warming up to a new act as a non-violent virtual concert venue. It's officially impossible to know what Fortnite is going to do next, besides make giant heaping piles of pure cash money.


    There's a lot about Fortnite that no one else has even tried to imitate, even now. Other companies are willing to challenge it strictly as a battle-royale game, but Fortnite's base-building mechanics and colorful cartoon aesthetic are still uniquely its own. It became a big hit with kids for a reason, and Epic's consistent schedule of events, new items, and promotions keeps it fresh and evolving. 


    Fortnite may not be quite as all-consuming in 2020 as it was last year, but it's still the 800-pound gorilla in this particular room, and the only officially-sanctioned way to get Deadpool to fight Harley Quinn. It's made megastars out of streamers, changed the face of the video game industry, has over 350 million registered players, and will likely remain relevant for years to come. If you're planning to jump into the battle-royale genre, this should be your first stop. Fortnite might not hit for you, especially if you hate kids, but it still guides a lot of the conversation around the genre.


    Pros: 5% of the entire human population can't all be wrong
    Cons: getting even more owned by 10-year-olds than usual 


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    Here at Prima, we're always up for getting airdropped onto a rapidly shrinking island with several dozen idiosyncratic murderers. Check out some of our daily coverage, including tips, tricks, guides, and news, such as:



    If your favorite battle royale didn't make it onto the list, trust us, it's not personal. There are so many that it's nearly impossible to give them all the time they deserve. If there's one that you think deserves more love than we've shown here, let us know via our official Twitter, @PrimaGames.



     

    Why 'Persona 5 Royal' Might Be Too Familiar For Fans

    Ever since the Japanese release of Persona 5 Royal in October, western fans have waited with bated breath to step into the role of Phantom Thieves once more. With a list of updates both big and small, Royal gives the original Persona 5 a makeover in this sort-of sequel.

    With that in mind, if you’ve never played the original 2017 release and have an interest in stylish JRPGs, Persona 5 Royal should be on your radar, without question. It’s the ultimate version of this story, and all of the little tweaks go a long way to perfecting an luxuriously robust turn-based experience. For the beautiful red cherry on top, it features an aggressively catchy soundtrack with even more bangers than the original.


    However, people who already played Persona 5 might have a tougher time sinking their teeth into Royal. Generally, the new features are more than welcome, and some are so well implemented that I questioned my memories from April 2017. When it comes to the overall package, though, you’re still playing a lot of the same story beats for the first dozen hours. A sense of blasé deja vu will wash over you, now matter how much you love the Phantom Thieves.


    Returning to the Phantom Thieves

    Persona 5 Royal Ryuji Summons Captain Kidd
    Every diehard Persona 5 fan on March 31, 2020.

    If you have a vested interest in Persona 5 Royal, chances are you already have some familiarity with the original game. Whether you stopped playing in the middle of a dungeon or have beaten the 2017 release, Royal has a lot of reasons for you to dive back in. The new characters—Kasumi and Maruki—flesh out the story, and the slightly tweaked combat mechanics keep things fresh.


    In the first 25 hours, you’ll come across more than a handful of changes Atlus made for Persona 5 Royal. Perhaps the best one is the updated Baton Pass system. Unlike the original, the mechanic isn’t tied to social links, letting you pass your extra turn to a party member from the start. Furthermore, there’s extra incentive to passing the baton across your entire party. Aside from the damage boosts, the third pass lets that party member use any skill for free.


    Kichijoji, a new location in Tokyo, houses a recreational lounge called Penguin Sniper. By bringing party members here, you can play darts and billiards with them, improving the effectiveness of their Baton Pass while you’re at it. The location remains in line with what makes Persona fantastic: well-written friendships underscoring meaningful dungeon upgrades. Outside the lounge, Kichijoji offers a slew of new stores with healing items and equipment, and it’s a refreshing avenue for novel social outings and Mementos requests.



    Persona 5 Royal Mementos Jose
    A weird kid named Jose will sell special items to you in Mementos.

    Additionally, some small tweaks to Mementos makes the super dungeon feel like less of an unrewarding chore to get through. Flowers are littered around every floor, while stamps are hidden in certain locations. Both are easy to collect and provide you with tangible bonuses. Stamps alter Mementos, letting you earn bonus experience, money, or items from every encounter. Flowers, on the other hand, can be used to buy rare items that actually feel useful.


    There are lots of other small changes I noticed by the time I beat the second dungeon, including small tweaks to confidant ranks, added scenes, and new social activities. Overall, these little updates pile up, elevating the Royal experience while presenting a familiar experience—almost too familiar an experience.


    Persona 5 Royal Comes with Some Caveats

    Persona 5 Royal Kasumi Joker
    The in-media-res beginning gets a small revamp, introducing Kasumi within the first 10 minutes of Persona 5 Royal.

    Unfortunately, if you don’t have an unhealthy obsession with Persona 5, it might be hard to justify playing Royal. While all these additions are nice, it’s hard to say that the experience feels completely new. The changes in Kamoshida’s and Madarame’s palaces aren’t quite mindblowing, either. For the most part, expect a few new rooms and shortcuts that justify the grapple hook. It's flashy, but lacks the sort of justified substance I expected. and the holistic story remains the same.


    I found myself clinging to and longing for the new scenes. Moments with Maruki and Kasumi were the highlights of my first 25 hours into Royal, with the engaging combat system keeping me afloat. Unfortunately, it’s hard to feel comfortable skipping a lot of the dialog, just in case I’m skipping through something new. Solving the same old dungeon puzzles and watching the same cutscenes can feel like a slog.



    Persona 5 Royal Penguin Sniper
    The Penguin Sniper lounge seems like it could be a cool home for all sorts of new dialog, at least.

    If you’ve beaten the original, it’s easy to feel like this pseudo-sequel doesn’t respect your time. When you boot up the game, it checks your hard drive for a Persona 5 save file, giving you some healing items and in-game money as a bonus. Outside of that, you’re starting a fresh save file, all the way back at square one. It doesn’t do anything to tailor the experience to fans who know the original well. It can be a hard sell for people who don’t have the time for another 100-hour game, especially when the first quarter of those hours have only marginal transformations.


    Ultimately, yes, Persona 5 Royal is more Persona 5, which is enough justification for the most diehard fans. The brand new third semester makes the perfect carrot on the stick too, ushering players further into the Phantom Thieves’ journey. Some might also appreciate the Thieves’ Den, an in-game space that lets you listen to the soundtrack, watch animated cutscenes, collect character models, and even customize the area’s décor. Nonetheless, it’s hard to deny that a displeasing sense of deja vu can wash over you in the early moments.


    Newcomers – Take Your Time with Persona 5 Royal

    Persona 5 Royal Main Menu
    It's one stylish main menu though, that's for sure.

    Let me be clear though: If you never played Persona 5, there’s no question that you should pick up Royal, assuming you like turn-based JRPGs. You have an excellent story to dive into, and while it may seem complex to juggle the various systems, they all come together in satisfying ways. There’s a reason the original title made it to second place on our list of best games in 2017.


    Persona 5 Royal is the definitive package for all things Phantom Thieves. The combat feels better than ever, and the new story beats—while few and far between—enrich the overall web that the original weaved. Unfortunately, it’s a web that many might already know all too well.


    TechRaptor played Persona 5 Royal on a PlayStation 4 Pro with a code provided by Sega. It releases in the west on March 31, 2020.


     

    Latest 'LOTR Online' Update Adds Much Needed Features

    Joseph Bradford

    Joseph has been writing or podcasting about games in some form since about 2012. Having written for multiple major outlets such as IGN, Playboy, and more, Joseph started writing for MMORPG in 2015. When he's not writing or talking about games, you can typically find him hanging out with his 10-year old or playing Magic: The Gathering with his family. Also, don't get him started on why Balrogs *don't* have wings. You can find him on Twitter @LotrLore


     

    10 Souls-Like Games You Probably Never Played

    In 2009, FromSoftware – better known for the Armored Core series – released Demon’s Souls. It was available exclusively for the PS3 and offered an altogether different kind of action RPG experience. The dark fantasy setting gave way to a brutally difficult experience, where players could customize their own character extensively. A stamina meter loomed over combat, dictating nearly each and every move; death would reset one to the level’s beginning while causing them to lose their “souls”. And who could forget the multiplayer, whether it was messages left by other players to invading other players’ worlds to fight them.


    It was unlike any other RPG released at the time. While somewhat underrated in Japan, Demon’s Souls became a huge hit in the West and FromSoftware would use it as the base for creating Dark Souls. The rest is history as they say but it’s interesting to look back at the titles that had Souls-like elements before the term “Souls-like” even became a thing. Let’s take a look at them here.


    King’s Field


    King's Field


    Before Dark Souls, there was Demon’s Souls and before that, there was FromSoftware’s King’s Field. Released in 1994 for the PlayStation One, King’s Field was a first person RPG that saw players traversing dungeons and killing monsters. Its difficulty put many people off at the time, further accentuated by the stamina meter which drained with attacks. Still, the emphasis on exploration and first person combat stood out especially since consoles didn’t have many games like it. Antiquated as it may have been, King’s Field is where it all really began for the Souls series.





     

    6 Marvel Superhero Games We Want To Play

    Marvel and DC fans don’t agree on much these days. However, one thing that everyone can attest to is that the Batman Arkham series revolutionised the superhero genre. While DC has had huge success with Batman, unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the rival studio. While there have been some great Marvel superhero games in the past, most of them based around Spider-Man, nothing has come close to matching Warner’s success with Arkam. Insomniac’s Spider-Man was a great start, but which other Marvel superhero games would you like to see?

    1. Doctor Strange

    6 Marvel Heroes Who Deserve Their Own Game

    Before the release of Marvel’s Doctor Strange film, not many people out there were familiar with the Sorcerer Supreme. However, thanks to modern technology, the studio was finally able to translate Steve Ditko’s trippy visuals from the comic books to the big screen. But imagine this world was recreated for a game.

    With his various magic abilities and access to weird and wonderful relics, such as the Eye of Agamotto and the Book of Vishanti, a Doctor Strange game would work best as an open-world RPG, similar to Witcher III.

    Doctor Strange could travel between the real world and the mirror dimension while facing off against some familiar and unfamiliar foes. The game could be both a visual and narrative treat.

    2. Rocket & Groot

    6 Marvel Heroes Who Deserve Their Own Game

    Marvel’s weapon-obsessed Racoon and living tree bark make one heck of a team. Focusing on the relationship between the fast-talking quick-witted Rocket and the “I am Groot” spouting Groot could make for a fun, and possibly hilarious, game.

    With Rocket being an explosion-loving weapons expert and Groot being a durable lumbering piece of muscle, each could use their unique abilities to solve certain environmental puzzles.

    Naturally, the writing for a Rocket and Groot game would have to be spot-on as most of the dialogue would be driven by Rocket, with Groot only chirping in with “I am Groot” every once in a while.

    3. Moon Knight

    6 Marvel Heroes Who Deserve Their Own Game

    Many out there might ask, “Isn’t Moon Knight Marvel’s version of Batman?” While both are billionaire playboys and both employ an arsenal of technologically advanced tools and weapons to fight crime, this couldn’t be further from the truth. One of the main differences between the Dark Knight and Moon Knight is that the latter wouldn’t mind killing or beating his opponents to a bloody unrecognisable pulp.

    Moon Knight, as written by Charlie Huston, has three distinct personalities vying for control of his mind. He also has an unhealthy obsession with Khonshu, an Egyptian god.

    Exploring Moon Knight’s mental instability would not only ensure an interesting narrative but also be a visual treat.

    4. Gambit

    6 Marvel Heroes Who Deserve Their Own Game

    Back in the ’80s when the X-Men animated cartoon burst onto our TV screens, the one mutant that quickly became a fan-favourite was the pink armour wearing rogue, Gambit. As one of our favourite Marvel superheroes, Gambit surely deserves a game, or games, of his own.

    Think about this for a second. An object of great importance is locked away in an impenetrable fortress and only a group of ragtag mutants lead by the charismatic Gambit stand any chance of retrieving it.

    Raised by the Thieves Guild in New Orleans and having incredible acrobatic skills, along with the ability to charge non-organic material with kinetic energy, makes Gambit the perfect guy to lead a team of unlikely mutants on a mission.

    With a mixture of action, branching conversations and espionage, the game could give players an experience rarely touched on by current releases.

    5. Iron Fist

    6 Marvel Heroes Who Deserve Their Own Game

    After the release of his terrible (and painful to watch) Netflix series, Iron Fist is ready for some redemption and maybe, just maybe, a game based on the hero is just what the doctor ordered. While there has been a sore lack of martial art based games (at least good martial art based games), one of my all-time favourites still remains BioWare’s Jade Empire, a game that focused as much attention on ancient myths and lore as it did on kicking butt and mastering various martial arts.

    As the worlds greatest martial arts master, a game featuring Danny Rand could follow his transformation from rich kid to a living weapon.

    It would most probably need to be a mixture of open-world brawler and RPG, allowing the game to focus on both Danny’s fighting prowess and his mastery of the ancient fighting styles. It would also need to delve into some of the ancient lore that has featured in the comics and see him facing off against The Hand, as well as some more obscure villains.

    6. Iron Man

    6 Marvel Heroes Who Deserve Their Own Game

    Iron Man might be the most well know superhero on the list, especially since the first film is credited with kicking off what has become MCU. As far as Marvel superheroes go, this is a character that most deserves his own game series – better than the awful ones currently available.

    Instead of just having Tony don the armour and fly around shooting anything that flies and moves, a new Iron Man game could instead incorporate a more open-world experience, similar to the GTA series (minus all the senseless killing), and let players play both as a playboy and all-around smart ass, Tony Stark, and Iron Man.

    Of course, there will be loads of shooting, fighting and flying around as Iron Man will need to prevent various forces from destroying the world. The game could even include the odd cameo from an Avenger or two.

    Which other Marvel superheroes games would you like to see? Let us know in the comments.

     

    We Finally Have the Details on 'Elder Scrolls Online's Next DLC


    Two dungeons, and much more

    By Poorna Shankar on July 13, 2020 | News | 0



    Zenimax Online Studios has released patch notes for their recently revealed Stonethorn DLC now on PTS in Elder Scrolls Online.



    Stonethorn is the star of the show, introducing two new dungeons called Stone Garden, located in the depths of Blackreach, and Castle Thorn, ruled over by Lady Thorn in Western Skyrim. You can actually take a 360 tour of Castle Thorn in a new tool released by the team on Facebook. Check it out here.


    A host of new item sets are released as well. For example, Castle Thorn receives Talfyg’s Treachery (Light), Unleashed Terror (Medium), Crimson Twilight (Heavy), and Lady Thorn (Monster Mask). Stone Garden, meanwhile, receives Elemental Catalyst (Light), Kraglen’s Howl (Medium), Arkasis’s Genius (Heavy), and Stone Husk (Monster Mask).


    A bunch of new achievements and titles, in addition to new dyes and collectibles, are also part of the PTS patch. The base game also receives several stability and performance improvements. New furnishing, outfit style cost reductions, and much more are touched on as well.


    For a full list of the very extensive patch notes, check out the official forum post here.






    ShankTheTank


    Poorna Shankar

    A highly opinionated avid PC gamer, Poorna blindly panics with his friends in various multiplayer games, much to the detriment of his team. Constantly questioning industry practices and a passion for technological progress drive his love for the video game industry. He pulls no punches and tells it like he sees it. He runs a podcast, Gaming The Industry, with fellow writer, Joseph Bradford, discussing industry practices and their effects on consumers.






     

    How Combat Works in 'Paper Mario: The Origami King'

    Paper Mario hasn’t been the most consistent series over the years, but if there’s one thing you can count on it’s unconventional combat. And that’s exactly the case with the battle system in Nintendo and Intelligent Systems’ latest, Paper Mario: The Origami King. After the last few entries fans have really been jonesing for some more RPG conventions, and to its credit, Paper Mario: The Origami King relents a bit in that direction. But only a little. So what’s the deal with the ring stuff? Do you still have limited resources for only basic attacks? Does Paper Mario still know about timed hits? Here’s a rundown on the basics in how combat works in Paper Mario: The Origami King to answer those questions.


    How Combat Works in Paper Mario: The Origami King

    Combat in Paper Mario: The Origami King is turn-based, and you may be stoked to know the basic attacks such as jumping and hammer are always available. Upgrades such as Iron Boots are temporary in a “durability” kind of way, but you can always count on having the fundamentals available. You can also expect the usual timed hits or mini game-style attacks, as Paper Mario does get bonus damage based on visual prompts and timing when he’s bopping Goombas and delivering blunt force trauma to the Origami horrors of the Mushroom Kingdom. The core here is the puzzle-like ring system in combat, which players have to navigate before the ESRB-friendly “Mild Comic Violence” can pop off.



    Like other Paper Mario games, Origami King’s battles take place in an entertainment venue, this time an outdoor coliseum surrounded by bleachers. In the middle is a set of four segmented rings forming a larger circle, almost like a dartboard. Mario stands on the “bullseye” spot, while enemies occupy ring segments, clumped together. Your first goal is to move parts of the board, either by rotating the rings or pushing/pulling segment lines in order to group enemies together. If you do it right, you’ll get a 1.5x damage boost for your attacks. Things get more complicated for boss fights, but against normal baddies you’ll either be grouping enemies in straight lines of four, or in huddled groups of two (making a square of four). The format dictates what attack you’ll use; jumps are for lines, and the hammer swats the 2x2 clusters. In most cases, solving the initial puzzle leads to a guaranteed one-turn finish, but if you’re having trouble the game does what it can to help you out.


    For more information on Paper Mario: The Origami King, you can check out Nintendo's in-house work too!


    [embedded content]


    As you find hidden Toads throughout Mario’s travels, and there are a lot of those suckers, the Mushroom Kingdom punching bags will fill up those bleachers we mentioned earlier. At the start of the fight, you can hold the Y button to toss out some money, and the Toads will rush the stage to take your cash and help you out. They’ll throw garbage at the baddies, heal Mario, and even adjust the rings a little to give you a head start. Alternatively if the timer ticking down during the puzzle phase is making you sweat, you can hold the + button to feed the meter with coins and get more time. And even if you mess up and have to take an extra turn, you’ll still get that 1.5 bonus once you take down a couple enemies so you can mop up on your next turn.


    But that’s not all! You can also press X to ask Olivia for help, just like you can in the overworld. You can also click the R3 button to get a bird’s eye view of the whole board, which can be helpful especially when the boards get busier. The ring puzzles are heavy on the geometry, and not everyone has the same capacity for that stuff. So if you do struggle, there’s an option in the settings you can toggle for extra visual aids. Finally, the B button helps you back out of things, so if you click the wrong ring or don’t want to commit just yet you can do so, and you can even try running from battle by holding it. We don’t recommend running unless you’re really in a hurry, because every coin counts.


    We’re just getting started with our Paper Mario: The Origami King coverage, but you can check out what we have so far. Just check out the links below for our other guides for this adorable adventure. And we’ll toss in some other Nintendo content for good measure:



    Are you mastering the puzzle-like combat in Paper Mario: The Origami King? How do you feel about it overall? Give us a shout on Twitter or Facebook for your thoughts on Mario’s newest, papery shindig.


     

    Nintendo Delivers Exciting News for ‘Shin Megami Tensei’ Fans

    shin-megami-tensei-5-slice


    In today’s Nintendo Direct, the first in a series of online presentations focused on Nintendo Switch games from the company’s development and publishing partners, ATLUS was pretty much the center of attention. Since launching in 1992, the company’s post-apocalyptic RPG series Shin Megami Tensei has enjoyed tremendous success. Nintendo aims to further tap into that with both a remastered edition of a classic title coming to the Switch, and a highly anticipated new sequel title that will also arrive on the platform next year.


    First up, Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne will be getting an HD Remaster for the Switch in Spring 2021. That’s great, but the more jaw-dropping news for SMT fans came with the announcement of the 2021 release of Shin Megami Tensei V, a title previously teased with the launch of the Switch itself (alongside Nintendo’s other launch titles like Super Mario Odyssey; yeah, it was that long ago!) Looks like it’ll actually be here to play at long last!


    Other highlights of the event included:


    Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the NecroDancer Featuring the Legend of Zelda



    Rogue Company



    WWE 2K Battlegrounds



    But let’s be honest, you’re here for the SMT, so here’s what we got:


    Check out the new trailer for Shin Megami Tensei V, bound for the Nintendo Switch in 2021:


    [embedded content]


    The time for creation has come, follow your will and decide the world’s fate. The newest entry to the classic RPG series from Atlus, Shin Megami Tensei V, arrives exclusively on Nintendo Switch as a simultaneous worldwide release in 2021!




    And, not to be outshined, here’s the trailer for the HD remaster of Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, also coming to the Switch in Spring 2021:


    [embedded content]


    17 years following its original release, the apocalyptic legend returns in a full high-definition remake. Shin Megami Tensei III Nocturne HD Remaster arrives on Nintendo Switch in Spring 2021!





     

    The 5 Most Annoying Boss Fights In Video Games


    Five Most Annoying Boss Fights








    by
    Patrick Day-Childs
    , posted on 21 November 2019 / 2,628 Views

    Video game bosses can create some great memories; taking down a gigantic tyrant can be pure ecstasy. But when the formula is wrong it can leave a really bad taste in your mouth. I found myself thinking back over some of the most painfully annoying bosses I've come across recently and thought I'd make a little list. 


    Note that these bosses are annoying - they aren't necessarily difficult. Finally, a quick disclaimer before I get onto the list: this is obviously just my opinion - feel free to chime in with your own in the comments section. 



    RuneScape - TzTok-Jad


    TzTok-Jad, or simply Jad, is the boss of the fight pits in RuneScape. It's one of the strongest enemies in the game, but that isn't why it's featured on the list. Reaching Jad requires defeating over 250 enemies back to back without coming out for supplies - what you take in is what you can use for the battle and those resources will be whittled down even before you face Jad. You can't use any summoned familiars either, and if you die then you have to start the whole run again.



    On the upside, as soon as you've have killed Jad once you'll probably find yourself much more capable of handling the boss fight in future, since the reward for killing him is a much-coveted fire cape that makes the fight much easier.



    Dead Rising - Convicts


    Who can forget opening the shopping centre doors in the original Dead Rising to be greeted by a small group of convicts armed with a jeep, a heavy machine gun (with pinpoint accuracy), and a baseball bat? The convicts on the face of it aren't really all that fearsome, because the driver usually rams into something and has to reverse, providing you with an opening to take them down. Unfortunately, you're likely to encounter them pretty early on in the game, meaning that you're probably armed with basic items and have limited character upgrades.



    After you take them out you'll probably feel great and will let out a huge sigh of relief... right up until the first time you re-enter the courtyard to discover that they respawn. The disappointment of discovering that they respawn is a real kick in the teeth after that initial hard-fought victory. You'll likely become pretty adept at avoiding them as a result. The one good thing about the fact that they respawn is that they essentially provide access to an infinite supply of heavy machine guns.



    Lost Planet 2 - Red Eye


    Lost Planet 2 took the Lost Planet series in a new direction, by focusing on a four player co-op experience, which is a key reason that this particular boss fight is such a chore.


    Red Eye is a huge worm-like akrid that you battle while driving a train. That train is equipped with a huge artillery cannon, a weapon so large it's separated into six sections:




    The turret comes with no instructions, so working out all of the above is a case of trial and error. The Red Eye also quickly digs up and down into the desert sands, meaning that you have to turn the turret pretty quickly to keep on track of it. If you don't have any human companions along for the ride then things become doubly difficult because you have to rely on the AI, which it turns out is only programmed to stand and shoot the beast with flimsy machine guns, rather than help you load, aim, or power up the turret.


    This fight is without a doubt one of the most epic battles in the entire series, but if you're playing solo then it's also likely to be the most frustrating ones, and even with human teammates it'll try your patience.


    The icing on the cake is that there's one final attack after you kill the creature that requires you to realign the turret; if you're not prepared for this eventuality in advance then you will die and will have to do the whole level again.



    Sekiro - Guardian Ape


    Those of you that have played Sekiro will know that the majority of bosses can usually be taken down with some dirty tactics and/or perfect parrying. The Guardian Ape is no different in that respect, and I definitely had more trouble with other bosses, but it stands out as annoying for a couple of reasons.



    To defeat the Guardian Ape you enter the boss arena, fight the beast, and then decapitate it. There's a still silence for a few moments while you pat yourself on the back. So far so good. The ape then gets up and carries its head around. 


    It's those few seconds, between thinking you've done it and realising that it's about to get a lot worse that really mentally screw with you. In his second form, the Guardian Ape sprays blood at you, which can cause death from terror. He also has some really weirdly timed combos that are difficult to deflect. But above all it's his reanimation that makes the Guardian Ape most frustrating.



    Everquest: Kerafyrm (AKA The Sleeper)


    Kerafyrm is a godlike dragon from Everquest, an online MMORPG. It took 200 players around three hours to kill it. Now, clans banding together to kill giant bosses online is nothing special or that surprising, especially nowadays, but Kerafyrm was slightly different in that it was literally impossible to kill him because at roughly 25% health the dragon despawned. .



    This was an intentional move on Sony Online Entertainment's part, with the development team stating that its removal was due to a potential bug exploit:



    "Over the weekend several guilds gathered on Rallos to fight with the Sleeper. Unfortunately, their encounter was cut short due to an apparent bug. . . The bug concerned an NPC in the zone that appeared to have been causing the Sleeper to not focus on the player characters. The decision was made at the time to end the event. Further investigation has only served to make it unclear if this was a real issue or not.”



    Everquest had around 400,000 players at the time, many of whom wanted to know what would happen if they managed to kill Kerafyrm. They were understandably grumpy to discover that it didn't matter how hard they'd tried or how well they'd played together as a group, all that effort was in vain because SOE made it impossible to achieve. In response to the inevitable backlash SOE respawned Kerafyrm and clans were finally able to team up and kill it.


    More Articles





     

    'Battlefield V' Might Be Even Worse Than You Remember

    Following DICE’s announcement last week that Battlefield V (also called Battlefield 5) will be getting “one more” standalone content update and that’s it, the Battlefield community has — understandably — voiced their displeasure at this news.

    With no new Battlefield game announced, it seems that for better or for worse, Battlefield fans will either need to come to grips that no new content is coming to Battlefield V after the next content drop and be happy with it, or just go back and play the older titles in the series. Having said all that, we here at MP1st decided to take it a step further. We’ve reached out to Battlefield YouTubers to seek their sentiment on the current situation, how we came to be in this state in the first place, and more.

    Joining us for this Battlefield V dissection of sorts and what went wrong are: DannyonPC, TheTacticalBrit, and Westie.

    battlefield v, Battlefield V: What Went Wrong?, MP1st, MP1st

    battlefield v, Battlefield V: What Went Wrong?, MP1st, MP1st

    Why do you think Battlefield V ended up the way it did now?

    DannyonPC: Lack of devtime, far less than two years, and absolutely no direction. Also the bad PR didnt help. While it isn’t wrong to think if you dont like it dont buy it, its not smart to say it out loud if you try to sell a game.

    Also, trying to please multiple people at the same time, one part wants the game to be more realistic and the other side wants it to be more fun and like BF3 .

    TheTacticalBrit: The saying goes if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Battlefield V for me kept trying to fix until it found itself in a predicament that was untenable, probably resulting in the decision to shelve the game a little earlier than expected. Early when the game launched it had a core identity as a more hardcore WW2 experience, guns were punchy, the TTK was fast but ultimately the gameplay loop felt decent. It needed tweaking and tuning but there was something there to come back to. But as we have seen with DICE, the mantra is dial it up 200% or half it. There is no in-between tuning which arguably does work more effectively at finding the middle ground solution, but when patches take so long, it simply isn’t worth doing. The game seemingly was being tugged into many directions, lower TTKs, trying to make the game feel more sandbox-like, authenticity versus something different and it ultimately, in my opinion, left the game lacking an identity, a master of none. It started out as an excellent core gameplay and gunplay loop and self-sabotaged into a mess. It had bright points, but those weren’t enough to redeem damaged community trust.

    Westie: There are many reasons Battlefield V ended up this way. I think it begins with a significantly shorter development window, where the team simply didn’t have the time to properly build and implement the systems they needed or wanted. Shortcuts were taken, making things harder to work with and ultimately fix in the long run. Take Ribbons for example: the whole system has been disabled because a fix would require a complete rebuild. Assignments is another: only four can be tracked at once and you have to back out of servers to track new ones. These choices aren’t normal and they lack common sense in their implementation. These are choices made under pressure and time constraint.

    battlefield v, Battlefield V: What Went Wrong?, MP1st, MP1st

    battlefield v, Battlefield V: What Went Wrong?, MP1st, MP1st

    Could the game still be “saved?” in its current state?

    DannyonPC: Not really, atleast not for me due to some really poor gameplay decisions DICE doesnt want to get rid of. But I honestly think it should have been fixed because this will reflect very poorly on the next game. They couldnt even finish BF5, who says they will do the same with BF 2021?

    Also, do you really think BF1 would’ve sold as much if BF4 was never fixed?

    TheTacticalBrit: No, I feel the man-hours would be better served with a new title. In order to build and save a title, you need a core philosophy and direction to make strides toward a greater end. BF4 did that exactly, a fun sandbox experience with solid land, air and sea elements. BFV lacks that identity, a core structure of what it wants to be and you can only bend something so far until it breaks. I personally would love to see the development team move over to BF 2021/2 and really craft a refined vision of battlefield with a stronger identity.

    Westie: In it’s current state, yes, if we were still in November 2019. The launch of the War In The Pacific chapter marked a big change for Battlefield V, bringing a content expansion into a new Theatre of War that actually felt like it could have been based on World War 2. The invasion fantasy, more authentic uniforms for the American and Japanese factions, iconic weaponry, recognisable locations and a focus on reigniting the Battlefield sandbox. However, after another botched attempt to change the weapon balance and TTK of the game, I don’t feel Battlefield V could have been “saved,” and by that I mean hold a consistent player base and potentially expand it with new players. The mistakes, backtracks, cancelled features and delays, they weren’t going away.

    battlefield v, Battlefield V: What Went Wrong?, MP1st, MP1st

    battlefield v, Battlefield V: What Went Wrong?, MP1st, MP1st

    What’s the main hurdle devs and players went through with BFV?

    DannyonPC: No direction, bad PR, confusing statements about everything, I remember DM’ing one of the CM’s (Community Managers) with many straight up errors in their blogposts, also overpromising and under delivering, All the time, From tank customization, to crash landings, to other things.

    TheTacticalBrit: The lack of direction and identity. Battlefield is about big Battlefield moments, doing stuff that no other game can do. Battlefield brings the replayability of a BR (battle royale) into a sandbox arena. The only game where you can take down buildings and skyscrapers, launch a jeep into the air with C4, hit an RPG shot on a jet from hundreds of meters away. These are the core things that make Battlefield special and arguably, the only time that level of fun and return to a battlefield experience came in the pacific launch pre-TTK changes. Aside from that the switch to a live service certainly hurt Battlefield. It was a move that benefitted the community financially and installed a level of trust in the game, but was badly mishandled and took far too long to produce content and in some cases like the 5v5 maps that were ported in TDM maps, a mess.

    Westie: I think it was franchise identity. The development team tried to pivot the franchise in a more hardcore, tactical direction. Initially, players appeared to respond positively to that, but when those things were put into action, I found that the experience was largely worse. Battlefield is an inherently casual, large-scale warfare shooter, and when you try and implement tactical features into that, the result is more frustrating than beneficial. For example, by removing passive health regeneration and implementing healing pouches, players would be able to instantly undo all the damage they just took for an enemy by diving into cover. That elongated gunfights and made gunfights feel less rewarding. Scarcity of ammo only sought to make gameplay more frustrating because you could only engage in one or two gunfights before needing to disengage and spend time trying to find bullets. Over time, DICE gradually walked back on most these ideas to where we are today, where most features have been returned closer to their Battlefield 1 or Battlefield 4 implementation, however there are still elements left that feel jarring: entry & exit animations on vehicles leaving you completely vulnerable to attack; Medic revive animations that leave you open to attack; the lack of a soldier dragging animation to alleviate the previous point… the list goes on. DICE tried to bring order to the Battlefield chaos, and the result was a watering down of the sandbox experience we know and love Battlefield for.

    battlefield v, Battlefield V: What Went Wrong?, MP1st, MP1st

    battlefield v, Battlefield V: What Went Wrong?, MP1st, MP1st

    Why do you think Battlefield 5 deviated so much from the past BF games?

    DannyonPC: Following trends of super niche games? Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2019 did the same with more ”hardcore” gameplay.

    Great for franchises build on it (Insurgency) bad (IMO) for more arcade/casual franchises.

    TheTacticalBrit: I think each Battlefield creates those “wow” moments that make you fall in love with the franchise. Battlefield Bad Company 2, a bold new destructible infantry experience, BF3, Land, Air and Sea (The same with BF4). Battlefield Hardline, a fun urban shooter. Battlefield 1, the experience and atmosphere of all-out war. The list goes on really. For me, BFV never had that moment, that grand thing about it that made you go “wow” other than the visuals and that doesn’t constitute a good game.

    Westie: DICE tried to take direct control of the emergent gameplay that Battlefield offers, and unfortunately you cannot take control of something that only occurs when left to its own devices. DICE has been trying since 2016 (Battlefield 1) to offer a clearer experience for players, an “official” experience if you will. This is in response to games like Battlefield 3 and Battlefield 4, where (depending on the server you joined, with whatever settings were running) you could have a wildly different experience. By trying to take more control, what DICE has done is shift all responsibility onto themselves; previous games like Battlefield 3 and 4 allowed the community to dictate what Battlefield was by applying modifiers to servers, running their own game mode and map rotations, implementing weapon rules to change the experience. I think DICE is trying to fix a problem that doesn’t need to be fixed. Battlefield is a sandbox; crazy things happen and they happen because of the unpredictable ways that 64 players combine, all doing their own thing. DICE tried to implement rules and controls into that environment, because they thought Battlefield didn’t have a clear experience to the end use… but the experience is clear: it’s chaos. Chaos in most cases would be considered a bad thing, and perhaps DICE convinced themselves of that. But in the context of Battlefield, chaos isn’t a bad thing. It’s a defining element of the franchise.

    Do you agree with their statements? How do you think Battlefield V ended up the way it did? More importantly, what went wrong that it took DICE less than two years to stop pumping out new content for the game?

    Note that aside from spelling and brevity, the answers remained as is from each individual.

     

    Games That Definitely Went On For Far Too Long

    We all want the game we play to give us plenty of bang for buck, and often, that boils down to length and the amount of content they have on offer- which is why so often developers these days tend to favour live service models, or open worlds, and in many cases even both. But sometimes, these long games can feel like they’re a bit too long, like they’re stretching on for longer than they needed to. Often, games that aren’t even terribly long can feel this way because of uneven pacing.


    In this feature, we’ll be talking about fifteen such games, which started feeling – to us, at least – like they were a bit too long. Before we get started, it bears mentioning that all fifteen games that we talk about are games that we like (and in many cases, absolutely love), and them being on this list isn’t supposed to be a slight on their quality as much as it is a observation about one very particular thing.


    With all that said, let’s jump right in.


    PERSONA 5 


    persona 5


    Persona 5 was a game that we all waited for for a long time, which also included a couple of heartbreaking delays, but boy was it worth the wait. Not only one of the best RPGs of this generation, but probably of all time, Persona 5 still isn’t a game without its flaws. For instance, its 90 hour-runtime is perhaps a tad too much. One arc in particular – looking at you, Haru – feels like it’s padding the game out more than anything else. The upcoming Persona 5 Royal is supposed to be even longer, but hopefully, with all that extra content, it’ll manage to accomplish better pacing than the base game did.





     

    Everything We Know So Far About 'Skyrim's Long-Awaited Sequel

    The Elder Scrolls VI release date, rumors, and news updates

    The Action Role-Playing Game, “The Elder Scrolls VI” by Bethesda Game Studios started in 1994 is a worldwide famous game among the RPGs. There have been 4 main renewals of the game after the first one in 1994 along with some expansions of the different games in the series.


    Currently the fifth installment “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim” is available along with many expansions that were originally launched in 2011. In addition to the fifth game, there are several expansions like the “Online”, “Blades”, “Greymoor”, etc. in order to provide different challenges to the players that make the game more interesting instead of being boring.


    The lovers of “The Elder scrolls” are waiting for the sixth edition of it as there has been no renewal to the game since the last 8 years after the fifth installment. As per the news from the officials of the game the gamers will have to still wait for it to release as the developers have been busy in the series like Fallout and The Elder Scrolls for a long time.


    In an interview, Todd Howard explained that there will be a renewal to the game but we will have to wait for a long time as it is not feasible to launch the game with the current technology that makes us think that the game will be quite interesting.


    It will make the game full of new adventures and along with the new technology, it will provide challenges to the games. The game will surely bring evolution in the history of role-playing games.


    During the E3 2018, Todd Howard launched the teaser of the game that merely contains any information regarding the game. But just the picture with the name of the game “The Elder Scrolls VI” without giving the title of the game like it was given before.


    After the launching of the teaser, Todd said that the gamers will have to wait for a long time for the game. While asked for the expected time he said that it could be years. But he assured that the game will be there for sure in the future. So, the renewal of the game is pretty sure with no information regarding the release date.



    The Elder Scrolls VI Release Date: When will the new sequel become available for play

    Lastly, the fifth series was launched in 2012 later some of the expansions were there for the game with some new adventures and technology in order to keep the game up to date. Talking about the sixth assignment of the game, it is quite impossible to know about the release date.


    As Todd Howard itself stated that it will take longer to launch the new game as they are busy with some other assignments or it may be said: “Bethesda is busy with some other games like Fallout, Starfield, etc.”


    Also, in an interview, Todd said that if I will explain the game no one will believe me as the game is based on the technology that is not present now but will be available in the future. Only then, the game will be renewed. (Also check: Bayonetta 3 release date, trailer, gameplay and everything we know so far.)


    It might be possible that with new technology he meant PS5 or some other new gaming software. Also, Due to the current pandemic conditions created by the deadly COVID-19, E3 2020 was also canceled. It will surely make a further delay in the renewal of the game. We can hope for the game to be launched somewhere after 2022.


    What’s new in The Elder Scrolls VI?

    As per the news from Todd Howard, some new technology will be required to play the game. It can be concluded that a number of things can be changed in the new game of the series.


    We can expect a change in the powers of the characters, some changes in the settings, controls, plot. Some new tasks can also be assigned to the players with more challenges. The location is most likely to be changed in the new game; some music may also be added to the game.


    The Elder Scrolls VI Rumors: What everybody is talking about?

    There have been several rumors regarding the game like the locations, names, and the plot. It was earlier assumed by professional photography actions that the location will be Hammerfell along with its cities, desserts, glaciers, etc.


    The next thing was the term “Redfall” that was in news during 2018 after the launching of the teaser of the game and is focused by Bethesda. It was rumored that the name of the new game will be Redfall. (Also read: ‘Diablo’ 4 Release Date, Trailer, Gameplay, Characters, Storyline And Everything You Need To Know.)


    These rumors may or may not be true. The main thing we know is that gamers will have to wait a long for it. For further updates, keep connected to us as we provide the latest information as soon as it is available to us.


    Stay tuned with TheCourierDaily (TCD!) for more news.


     

    10 Video Game Traps That Gamers Fell For

    Games love blindsiding their players, and players love being blindsided. That moment when a game perfectly lays a simple but effective trap for you, and you foolishly walk right into it- it can be really frustrating. But in a good, “I’m glad this game is keeping me on my toes” way. Sure, the law of diminishing returns very much applies to things like this, but springing such traps the very first time can lead to cool moments of discovery. In this feature, we will talk about a few such traps.


    MIMIC CHESTS (DARK SOULS)



    The poster boys of traps in video games that players keep falling for. Mimic chests are by no means the exclusive domain of Dark Souls, but FromSoftware’s RPG uses it better than most out there. Walking up to a chest with anticipation of what treasures it might hold, only for it to open its mouth wide and try to swallow you whole can be a terrifying feeling. And sure, the more you play, the less you fall for it, and the more used to it you become- but those first few times are unforgettable.


     

    The PS5 Launch Titles That Have Us Hyped for Next-Gen Gaming

    All PS5 Launch Titles


    Just what are all the PS5, PlayStation 5 launch games?– Whilst we now know for sure that Sony is lining up the PlayStation 5 for a release in holiday 2020, and while the console maker hasn’t been shy about sharing details about its capabilities, one key thing we don’t really know much about are the PS5 launch titles.


    Still, we have an idea of what to expect from Sony’s next-generation behemoth on release when it comes to games, and as we get official confirmation we’ll be sure to update this article for you. For now, here’s our predictions for the PS5 launch games as they currently stand.




    Updated 28/07/2020 – Added Watch Dogs: Legion


    PS5 Launch Titles Confirmed – Day One PS5 Games
    Watch Dogs: LegionPS5 launch games watch dogs legion

    The third entry in Ubisoft’s open world tech-hacker adventure series, Watch Dogs: Legion goes full cyberpunk and embraces a glittering near-future London setting where players must recruit agents from every corner of society – from former SAS officers to angry old ladies, in order to overthrow a corrupt regime. Watch Dogs: Legion on PS5 will boast a massive visual leap over the PS4 version of the game with higher resolution and much more richly detailed visuals. Additionally, owners of the PS4 version of the game will get a free upgrade to the PS5 version, too.


    Planet Coaster




    Letting player’s imaginations run wild, Planet Coaster will allow you to build your very own theme park at an insane level of detail. Look, this is basically a brand new Theme Park for an all-new generation of gamers and we can’t wait to play it on day one of the PlayStation 5’s launch.


    Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales

    PS5 Launch titles Spider Man 2


    Sony and Insomniac Games have confirmed that Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales will be a PlayStation 5 launch title this holiday season. Rather than a full-blown sequel, Spider-Man: Miles Morales is instead a standalone adventure in the template and scope of Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. Look, we’ll take any more Spider-Man we can get, and if the trailer was any indication at all, we’re in for a treat.


    Related Content – Every PlayStation 5 Game Revealed To Date




    DEATHLOOP

    deathloop ps4


    The next title from the geniuses that gave us Prey and the Dishonored games, DEATHLOOP is a single-player, narrative driven, physical world shooter where players take the role of an assassin who is trapped inside of a timeloop that resurrects them each time they die. Boasting beautiful visuals, a radically innovative premise and action creativity for days, DEATHLOOP already looks like an essential title when it arrives alongside Sony’s next-generation console this holiday season.


    Astro’s Playroom

    Astro's Playroom PS5


    A bundled in title embedded into the OS of every PlayStation 5 (think how Playroom exists on the current PlayStation 4), Astro’s Playroom is a charming platform adventure featuring everyone’s cheerful little PlayStation robot. Built as a showcase of the PS5’s 3D audio and DualSense controller, Astro’s Playroom looks like it’ll be quite the treat indeed!




    Kena: Bridge Of Spirits

    kena-bridge-of-spirits-news-reviews-videos


    Jaw-dropping spiritual adventure Kena: Bridge of Spirits has been confirmed to release alongside the PlayStation 5 later this year. Honestly, this is one to keep an eye on for sure.


    JETT: The Far Shore

    jett-the-far-shore-for-ps5-is-a-cinematic-interstellar-trip-across-space


    JETT: The Far Shore is an intergalactic narrative adventure shrouded in mystery. Despite how little is known about the game, we do know that JETT: The Far Shore will be a PS5 launch title all the same. One to keep an eye on, that’s for sure.




    Bugsnax

    bugsnax-news-reviews-videos


    The cheerful food and bugs adventure Bugsnax from the same developer that brought us Octodad, will arrive alongside the PlayStation 5 when it launches sometime this holiday season.


    NBA 2K21

    nba-2k21-in-engine-gameplay-showcased-for-ps5


    NBA 2K21 was confirmed to be a launch title during the PS5 games showcase, boasting photo-realistic visuals and a slew of yet to be announced features. Expect to hear more soon!




    Fortnite

    Fortnite PS5


    Though hardly a surprise, the news that one of the largest and most popular games on the planet would be PlayStation 5 bound is still hugely welcome all the same. In addition to launching alongside Sony’s new console, developer Epic Games has also said that sometime during 2021 Fortnite will make the leap to its new and highly advanced Unreal Engine 5 technology too.


    DIRT 5

    Dirt-5-announced-for-ps5-and-xbox-series-x


    Codemasters rally racing series gets a next generation facelift with DIRT 5, a world spanning rally effort that looks to take full advantage of instant loading times and improved visual fidelity to deliver a superlative experience. DIRT 5 is slated to release alongside the PlayStation 5 in holiday 2020.




    Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla

    Where And When To Watch The Assassin's Creed Valhalla Trailer Premiere


    Confirmed to release on PlayStation 5 alongside the console in holiday 2020 and developed by the same team behind Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and Origins, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla whisks players away to 9th century Saxon Britain where payers take control of Eivor, a deadly Viking raider who will do anything he can to triumph.


    With the ability to build their own Viking settlement and wage war across a lush depiction of England in the Dark Ages, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is looking like a must-have PS5 launch title to say the least.


    Call of Duty Warzone




    According to comments from Infinity Ward, Call of Duty Warzone will be available day and date at the launch of PlayStation 5. Of course if you’re Activision, when you’ve soared past 50 million users with over the half the year to spare, it makes sense that you’d want to put the game on as many platforms as possible, right?


    Observer: System Redux


    Due to arrive on PlayStation 5 at launch, Observer: System Redux is a full-throated remaster of first-person cyberpunk horror Observer which was developed by Layers of Fear studio Bloober Team and released on PlayStation 4 back in August 2017.


    On PlayStation 5, Observer: System Redux not only boasts a native 4K resolution experience running at 60 frames per second, but it also includes a wealth of story content that wasn’t present in the original game.




    Godfall

    PS5 Games Godfall


    Something of a surprise reveal at the 2019 Game Awards, Godfall is a Gearbox published effort that has been described by the company as a ‘loot slasher’ and will use the very latest iteration of Unreal Engine 4.


    More than that, Godfall is the first title to be confirmed for a day and date release with the PS5 itself – making it the first of the PS5 launch titles that we officially know about.


    Related Content – PS5 Confirmed Specs – CPU, GPU, SSD, Storage, 8K & More




    Rainbow Six Siege

    Rainbow Six Siege PS5


    One of the most popular adversarial multiplayer shooters available, Ubisoft has confirmed that Rainbow Six Siege will make the leap to the PS5, arriving on ‘day one’ of the new console’s launch later this year.


    With full cross-play supported between PS4 and PS5 versions of the game, Ubisoft is doing everything they can to ensure that early adopters of the PS5 will be able to carry on their Rainbow Six Siege careers without any interruption. As to new features for the PS5 version of the game, nothing has been announced as yet, but the usual technical improvements such as massively improved visuals and practically non-existent loading times both seem like a safe bet.


    WRC 9

    WRC 9 PS5




    With the news that Nacon and KT Racing have extended its agreement with the WRC through to the end of 2022, comes the confirmation that WRC 9 will arrive on current gen consoles in September this year.


    More than that, is the confirmation that a PS5 version of WRC 9 is in the works and if it doesn’t make the PS5 launch a couple of months later, I’ll eat my hat.


    PS5 Launch Line-Up Predictions
    Destiny 2 – Likely Due Holiday 2020

    Destiny 2 Season Of The Worthy Patch Notes


    Confirmed by developer Bungie after the Inside Xbox 2020 briefing, we now know that it’s super popular, sci-fi loot-shooter Destiny 2 will indeed release for PlayStation 5. While we don’t have a release window as yet, a release around the launch of Sony’s next-generation console certainly seems likely, allowing players to seamlessly transition their Destiny 2 careers onto the new hardware.




    Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 – Due Late 2020

    vampire-the-masquerade-bloodlines-2-gamescom-2019-gameplay-released


    Based upon the Vampire: The Masquerade World of Darkness tabletop setting, Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 is a first-person, non-linear adventure that thrusts players into the shoes of a newly made vampire caught up in the middle of a civil war.Previously announced for PS4, Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 is set to release on PS5 by the end of 2020.


    Outriders – Due Holiday 2020

    Outriders PS5


    Confirmed as a PS5 title in February 2020, Outriders from Bulletstorm developer People Can Fly is a sci-fi, RPG shooter that supports drop-in and drop-out co-operative play.




    Published by Square-Enix Outriders is set to to release in ‘Holiday 2020’ which makes a simultaneous release with Sony’s next-generation console extremely likely.


    Quantum Error – Due Holiday 2020

    quantum-error-targeting-4k-60-fps-and-ray-tracing-on-ps5


    Made official during March 2020, Quantum Error is a cosmic horror first-person shooter that combines Lovecraftian story riffs and survival horror mechanics to great effect. It also looks set to boast ray-traced visuals and will run at native 4K/60, too.


    An official release date has yet to be confirmed.




    Oddworld: Soulstorm – Holiday 2020 Release Likely, Not Confirmed

    A full tilt remake of Abe’s Exxodus, Oddworld: SoulStorm has been reimagined from the ground up for PlayStation 5, boasting all new physics puzzles, platforming and much more.


    Apparently releasing later this year, a holiday 2020 release has not been explicitly confirmed.



    The Last Of Us: Part 2 – TBA




    Naughty Dog‘s post-apocalyptic sequel is coming out for the PS4 in February 2020, making it an obvious candidate for a PS5 launch game. While Sony’s next-gen system is obviously backwards compatible, chances are the format holder will want something as massive as The Last of Us bolstering the PS5 launch lineup, likely with spruced up visuals and frame rate.


    Remember how Naughty Dog said that The Last of Us: Remastered was a valuable experience for the then-new PS4 hardware? Well, it’s the same thing here, only for PS5.


    Related Content – The Best PS5 Indie Games That We’re Stoked For


    Dying Light 2 – TBA




    Techland‘s zombie sequel hasn’t even got a concrete release date yet, but we know that the studio is planning on bringing the game to PS5 and Xbox Scarlett. As such, there’s almost no reason why Dying Light 2 won’t be with Sony’s new telly box come release day.


    Related Content – How Much Will PS5 Cost – What Price Will You Pay For PlayStation 5?


    Ghost of Tsushima – TBA


    Sucker Punch Productions‘ upcoming blood-splattering samurai title has been keeping pretty low profile over the past year or so, with the latest rumours suggesting Ghost of Tsushima will be a PS5 game. As such, we reckon that Sony is quietly positioning the much-anticipated title as a launch game for its upcoming next-gen home console.




    Gran Turismo 7 – TBA


    The Gran Turismo series is notorious for its arduous development cycles, but with any luck, Polyphony Digital has been prepping this one for a while in time for launch. We know GT7 (or whatever it’ll be called) is in the works, and what better title to have on PS5’s release than a fresh entry in Sony’s best-selling first-party franchise?


    Humanity – TBA


    Unveiled during Sony’s September State of Play event, Humanity is the latest project from the creators of the critically acclaimed Tetris Effect, and we’re convinced it’s being prepped for PS5’s launch. Due out in 2020 (note a proper release date hasn’t been confirmed yet), Humanity is all about, well, crowds, and is one of those oddball titles that would definitely help complement PS5’s day one triple-A treats.




    Related Content – Best PS5 Games That We Are Looking Forward To


    Cyberpunk 2077 – TBA


    Cyberpunk 2077 isn’t out until next April on PS4, and we know that CD Projekt RED has flirted with the idea of bringing the game to next-generation systems. It’s certainly an ambitious project, and we’d be surprised if it wasn’t spruced up and repackaged with DLC for the PS5 launch window.


    New Call Of Duty – TBA (Likely Holiday 2020)


    This is almost guaranteed. Whenever a new console cycle begins, there’s always a new Call of Duty game waiting in the wings. This’ll most likely be cross-generation, but Call of Duty 2020 – which is rumoured to be in the works at Treyarch and will be a new Black Ops game – has ‘PS5 day one’ written all over its mug.


    Battlefield 6 – 2021


    DICE has been alternating Battlefield and Star Wars titles for a good few years now, so 2020, shakeups notwithstanding, will be Battlefield’s turn in the spotlight. With World War I & II under its belt with Battlefield 1 and Battlefield 5, respectively, we don’t have any news about where the military franchise will head next. However, much like BF4 was a launch game for PS4, we can expect the new entry to grace Sony’s next-gen console on release date – no doubt bringing the franchise’s trademark sumptuous visuals with it.


    Related Content – Best PS5 Remasters We Are Most Excited For


     

    Here's Everything We Know About Next Generation PSVR


    PSVR 2 Price, PSVR 2 Release Date, PSVR 2 Specs, PSVR 2 Games – Though the Sony PlayStation 5 release is around six months away, we still don’t know too much about the console other than the a brief technical overview that was provided by Mark Cerny earlier this year. However, we do know that the PS5 will be compatible with existing PSVR headsets. However, there’s been rumours to suggest that Sony has been quietly beavering away on a next-generation virtual reality headset, PSVR 2, which looks set to incorporate a range of new features.


    We’ve decided to compile all details we know about Sony’s new PSVR headset to date in order to keep you informed – from the PSVR 2 spec to the PSVR 2 price, we’ll keep you up to date.




    PSVR 2 – What Sony Says

    Sony Interactive Entertainment’s official stance on PSVR 2 is pretty clear right now, with the format holder revealing it has ‘nothing to say’ right now on a successor to the PSVR.


    We have nothing to say about any potential next-gen VR product at this stage. We continue to believe that VR has the potential to be a really meaningful part of the future of interactive entertainment.


    PSVR 2 Specs

    Most of the info regarding a possible PSVR 2 is speculation based off patent filings unearthed online. One of the biggest likely features is haptic feedback, which is a tech manufactured by Immersion Corp, who Sony recently partnered with.


    This also ties in with a VR Glove that was patented by Sony, which is set to utilise haptic technology, suggesting Sony is looking to evolve its VR headset for the next-generation.




    Another recently released patent provides in-depth information on how the PSVR 2 will use full facial tracking to map a player’s facial features onto an in-game character model, too.


    Elsewhere, another patent even talks about a see-through display:


    Systems and method for providing a see-through screen in a head-mounted display (HMD) includes a display screen having a front side and a back side. The display screen is configured for rendering media content. First optics is provided adjacent to the front side of the display screen and configured to provide a focus for viewing the media content.


    However by far the most interesting (and verified) piece of information is that the PSVR 2 will use a new kind of motion controller that is similar to Valve’s Index controllers. More than that, a recently released video has illustrated how the new PSVR 2 controllers will support finger tracking too.


    More recently, a new patent has indicated that the PSVR 2 will reduce sickness and provide a more immersive experience for its users. Specifically, it talks about a new info processing system that will “provide a user who views a virtual space with a viewing experience with high entertainment characteristics.”




    PSVR 2 Price

    So far, no price has been released regarding PSVR 2. However, by boasting updated tech such as an improved display and finger tracking capable motion controllers, we would expect the PSVR 2 to cost as much, if not a little more, than the $249.99 asking price for the original PlayStation VR headset.


    PSVR 2 Games

    A strong rumor points to the fact that the studio which developed the superb Blood & Truth for the current PSVR headset is working on new, next-generation title for PSVR 2. Also, we have our first confirmed PSVR 2 title in the form of LOW-FI an immersive cyberpunk adventure.


    PSVR 2 Release Date

    Hold your horses! Sony hasn’t even announced PSVR 2 yet, so a release date is obviously speculation at this point. However, one developer has said not to expect the PSVR 2 until at least one year after the release of PlayStation 5 – a fact that makes considerable sense when you think of all the logistical hardships that are inherent in just getting a console to market – let alone a massive accessory such as PSVR 2.


     

    Every Core 'Final Fantasy' Game Ranked From Worst To First


    Final Fantasy has had an historic run since its inception in 1987. Created by Hironobu Sakaguchi in what was supposed to be his final project before heading back to school, Final Fantasy was a huge success and launched a franchise that is still admired and talked about to this day.


    The Final Fantasy series spans fifteen core games, but there are a lot more titles under its belt, including spin-offs, sequels, and even prequels. We’ve decided to rank all fifteen titles in the franchise so let’s take a look at what we think are the best Final Fantasy games.




    The Best Final Fantasy Games
    15. Final Fantasy II

    Final Fantasy II tried to fundamentally change how the RPG genre plays. Instead of having a traditional levelling system, Final Fantasy II plumped for a system that increased your party’s stats by the actions they preform. For example, the ‘Defend’ action during combat would raise your defence stat while using Magic will increase your magic attack stat. This system was different from many RPGs at the time, but it ended up being a very controversial one, dividing the fanbase on the title. Final Fantasy II also introduced a lot of the staples for Final Fantasy such as Chocobos and the recurring character of Cid.


    Depending on what you did in combat it would determine the type of stats that would increase on each character
    14. Final Fantasy

    The game that started the franchise should be experienced by everyone who’s a fan of the series. Final Fantasy was a simple RPG that capitalized and perfected the formula of what the franchise would become. Final Fantasy began with you selecting the class of each of the four Warriors of Light out of the six available. This was the first glimpse we received at the class system that would become a staple in the Final Fantasy series for years to come.


    Final Fantasy IThe beginning of the franchise set up the premise for what a lot of the final fantasy titles would follow including the importance of the crystals which become a fundamental story block for at least half the games in the franchise
    13. Final Fantasy III

    Fans outside of Japan never got to experience Final Fantasy III until it was remade for the Nintendo DS in 2006, 16 years after its original release. The remake brought the game into the 3D realm, and featured a fully reworked script. The Class System that the franchise is known for made a return with some additional classes added for the remake, bringing the total to 23 different jobs. Despite this, it didn’t really capture the hearts of fans as it was so similar in story and scope to other titles. As such, Final Fantasy III is easily one of the more forgotten in the franchise.




    Final Fantasy 3Released outside of Japan as a remake on the Nintendo DS Final Fantasy 3 brought back the class system with as many as 23 different job classes
    12. Final Fantasy XI

    The first MMO in the franchise, FFXI went a long way into making the Final Fantasy experience playable with other people. So much so that they made the game almost impossible to get through without using a party. Even some of the most basic of tasks couldn’t really done alone, such as random encounters in the field forcing almost everyone to team up.


    Besides the PC, Final Fantasy XI was also one of the few console MMO’s to release during the time of its release. The PlayStation 2 and Xbox servers have since shut down, but the PC version continued to receive updates and expansions some 15 years after its initial release. Amazing, FFXI is getting a new lease of life, as Square has announced a mobile version of the game will be released soon in its entirety.


    Final Fantasy 11Final Fantasy 11 was the first foray into the MMO genre for the franchise and it was a successful with content updates and expansions releasing for up to 15 year
    11. Final Fantasy XV

    The last core Final Fantasy title had a troubling development cycle. Planned as a spin-off to Final Fantasy XIII for the PS3 (where it was known as Final Fantasy Versus XIII), it was later moved to a new console generation and re-branded as Final Fantasy XV. It also changed directors after its reintroduction, which in turn changed a lot of the game’s core features from its original premise.


    FFXV succeeded in a lot of aspects but it was clear a lot of the game’s content was cut to make release. The portions that suffered the most was the story, which showed plenty of promise but was never fully realised. It wasn’t all bad though, as the combat and music were a stand out. Most importantly, Final Fantasy XV brought back the massive open-world players had been clamouring for, and some of the enemy encounters felt like massive boss battles due to their scale.




    Final Fantasy 15With a troubled development Final Fantasy 15 did the best it could to deliver a groundbreaking title. Unfortunately, it disappointed in its story presentation and lack but at least the combat and music were superb
    10. Final Fantasy VIII

    Coming off the heels of FFVII, Final Fantasy VIII had big shoes to fill but it was always up against the wall. The massive change to the character designs and the modernization of the world brought it closer to a contemporary setting than the series had seen up to that point.


    A massive gameplay change was introduced in FFVIII that fundamentally changed how battles would work. Characters couldn’t perform magic spells unless they “Drew” spells from enemies. By drawing during combat characters would receive specific spells as items to use. The Junction system also saw you equip a specific summon and gave you the option to call on them without any consequence


    The Triple-Triad card game was also introduced in FFVIII. This card game has since gone down as one of the best mini-games in the franchise, and was released as a stand alone game on the PS Vita in Japan and has also been featured in Final Fantasy XIV.


    Final Fantasy 8 Remastered SquallWe’ll re-enroll in SeeD sometime later this year!
    9. Final Fantasy XIII

    Final Fantasy XIII divided the fanbase. Some thought it was the end of the franchise while others thought it was the perfect step forward for the series. FFXIII changed the formula in more ways than one. Combat became a lot faster and utilized the “Paradigm” Shift, allowing party members to switch from offensive attacks and skills to more defensive tactics. This became important as some enemies can only be damaged by specific types of attacks.




    FFXIII was also a much more linear experience than past titles, with early locations seeing characters run through corridor after corridor, much to the lament of fans. Fortunately, the game opened up a lot more in the later portion of the adventure.


    Final Fantasy 13Utilizing the Paradigm shift, Final Fantasy 13 set up a unique take on battles forcing you to change your fighting stance to form offense to defense, or even magic to win battles.
    8. Final Fantasy XII

    Set in the world of Ivalice Final Fantasy XII was the first core entry in the franchise to be set in a world created from a spin-off (Final Fantasy: Tactics) Final Fantasy XII was a unique entry utilizing the gambit system, a tool that allowed players to customize how their A.I. partners would act in combat. The Gambit System set parameters for your partners to act appropriately when certain conditions were met during combat.


    The Zodiac Job system also removed the traditional leveling mechanic and instead gave the party points that they would be able to use to unlock new skills and increase their stats. It was a controversial system, however, as it made each character feel the same without any real skills or classes to distinguish them as they all can learn the same skills and abilities.


    The Gambit system set 12 apart from every other Final Fantasy game. Allowing you to set up commands for your A.I. companions to follow allowed you to create the ultimate team.
    7. Final Fantasy X

    The first Final Fantasy to release on the PlayStation 2, it was also the first in the series to feature fully voiced characters. Final Fantasy X eschewed the Active-Time Battle System, instead bringing back the traditional turn-based combat.




    In addition, FFX also distanced itself from the darker tones that the franchise was becoming known for and settled on a more vibrant cast of characters and a tropical world setting. FFX also featured one of the best mini-games in the franchise in Blitzball, an underwater football game that was so in-depth it could have been its own individual game.


    Final Fantasy 10Final Fantasy 10 was the first game in the franchise to utilize voice work. It also put you in a tropical world with vibrant colors and great scenery.
    6. Final Fantasy IV

    The story of Cecil and Kain is a memorable one. At times, the dynamic between the two felt almost Shakespearean-like. However, what made Final Fantasy IV stand out was the move away from the class system that had been a staple for the franchise.


    FFIV also introduced the Active-Time Battle System, which meant you had to think quick about your actions as you couldn’t simply wait around to formulate a plan. Final Fantasy IV was such a beloved entry in the franchise that it was remade on the Nintendo DS with full 3D graphics, and a sequel followed to continue on the story with the descendants of the game’s cast.


    Final Fantasy 4The first major departure for the franchise, Final Fantasy 4 told a darker story then previous titles and also introduced the Active-Time Battle System
    5. Final Fantasy V

    In Final Fantasy V, Bartz and his pals must team up to stop the evil sorcerer Exdeath from being released into the world and harnessing unlimited power from another dimension. Yes, it’s not the most original story for Final Fantasy, but it got the job done.




    Bartz and co were a fun group of characters to play with and the groundbreaking Final Fantasy Class System made a triumphant return here, too. Letting your party change their character class was a staple for the franchise for some time, and in FFV it allowed you to keep the skills you earned from one class and use those skills with another.


    Final Fantasy VReturning to class based system Final Fantasy V was the last game directed by Sakaguchi and it was also one of his favorites.
    4. Final Fantasy XIV

    Final Fantasy XIV itself is a miracle. When the MMO originally launched back in 2010, it was considered one of the worst examples the genre had to offer. With so much time and money thrown into the game Square Enix refused to let it die; instead, it put a new team together to salvage what they had and completely overhaul it. Final Fantasy XIV re-released as A Realm Reborn and was a marked improvement over its previous incarnation in every aspect. With millions of players behind it, FFXIV has managed to recapture the magic of a Final Fantasy MMO, and with constant content updates being rolled out, the world of Eorzea continues to evolve and bring players together to this day.


    Final Fantasy 14Final Fantasy 14 got a second lease on life and is now one of the most profitable games not only for Square Enix but also one of the most profitable MMo’s on the market.
    3. Final Fantasy IX

    Final Fantasy XI is a nostalgia-packed classic. Harkening back to the roots of the franchise, FFXI put a huge smile on my face simply because I loved the world I was allowed to explore. Revisiting the fantasy-esque landscapes brought back a lot of great memories and allowed the development team to create fantastical characters rather than being restricted to the concepts of a modern offering like Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VIII.


    The story of FFXI was very much a fairy tale, focussing on love, magic, and adventure. It was almost like watching an animated movie from Dreamworks, but one you actually got to play.




    Final Fantasy 9Final Fantasy 9 returned to the fantasy settings that started the franchise. It’s story of romance and conflict was very Shakespearean
    2. Final Fantasy VII

    Final Fantasy VII is an undisputed fan favorite, and for most people was their introduction to the Final Fantasy franchise, which helped popularise the series in western markets. With the franchise moving to the PlayStation, Square was able to evolve the franchise significantly with the 1997 series entry, which originally started out life on a Nintendo 64. It was the first 3D Final Fantasy and it incorporated animated cinematics to tell its story.


    Final Fantasy VII adopted a modern time setting, with the sprawling RPG combining modern technology with fantasy elements, and it worked like a charm. FFVII introduced some of the most memorable cast of characters the franchise has ever seen, and its success spawned numerous other projects, like a movie, spin-off games, and a prequel.


    FFVII also incorporated the Materia System, which allowed you to equip specific attacks and magic skills to your party. In fact, the Materia System was so impressive that, in my opinion, Square hasn’t been able to create anything anywhere near as engaging since.


    Final Fantasy 7FF7 was the first Final Fantasy for many fans of the franchise. It became a phenomenon so much so that Square is now remaking it for new audiences. It’s easily one of the best in the franchise.
    1. Final Fantasy VI

    Final Fantasy VI was the first title not directed by Hironobu Sakaguchi, but that didn’t stop it from being the quintessential Final Fantasy title. Considered by many as the greatest entry in the series to date, FFVI moved away from a lot of the standards and tropes set up by its predecessors.




    FFVI told a dark and gruesome story that a lot of people thought too mature for a video game at the time, delving deep into issues like slavery, war, and how we as a species are slowly destroying the world that is precious to us to survive. These themes still hit pretty close to home today, but at the time developers typically avoided touching on them.


    It wasn’t just the darker story and steampunk world that FFVI delivered on. The combat system saw some unique improvements that allowed you to not only play traditionally but also let the player input button combinations to pull off special attacks. With 14 playable party members, there wasn’t a real protagonist as each character had a huge stake in the world and had an equal amount of time to shine in the story.


    There’s a lot more to say about why Final Fantasy VI made the top of our list, but we could go on for days. Even though it was originally released on the SNES, it easily stands the test of time and should be experienced by any fan of the RPG genre.


    Final Fantasy VIConsidered by many to be the greatest Final Fantasy if not the greatest RPG ever made. Final Fantasy 6 stands the test of time with an incredible story and unique turn-based combat

    There you have it. That’s our ranking of the core Final Fantasy games. It’s a hard list to rank with so many phenomenal titles in the franchise and that doesn’t make any of them any less better then the others. Unless of course you’re talking about Final Fantasy VI. Let us know some of your favorite Final Fantasy titles in the comments below!




     

    Paper Mario Proves That Video Game Franchises Must Evolve or Die

    Video games let you act out many different wild and zany fantasies, and the risks developers take with their strange ideas should earn them some admiration.

    The creativity of the new games I played just this week impressed me. The oh-so timely Gerrrms is a multiplayer party game where players bash each other as cheery microorganisms. Rock of Ages III continues the franchise’s kooky combination of tower defense, historical parody, and giant rock destruction, but now with an added level editor. Neverending Nightmares turns the experience of living with severe mental illness into a self-harm horror game. The wriggling mass of bloody tentacles you control in Carrion is too horrible to think about, but the havoc you unleash as the monster makes for a uniquely predatory action-adventure game. 


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    These are just a few examples of the kinds of fresh ideas that keep the industry thriving. They are games you may not have heard of, which should encourage you to seek them out. However, to foster innovation we shouldn’t just seek out entirely unfamiliar games, we should also give the series we already love the space to grow and evolve. Video game franchises change, and that’s okay. In fact, it should be celebrated.

    Paper Tiger

    Of course this opinion is inspired by discourse surrounding Paper Mario: The Origami King on Nintendo Switch. This isn’t a review of that game; we already have one. I didn’t mind the puzzle combat, the idea of “folding” the battlefield itself fits nicely with the origami theme, and I got plenty of use out of coins. I also enjoyed the Zelda-like structure, but thought the mechanics could’ve allowed for more player progression and expression.

    You can think whatever you want about the ultimate quality of the game. What I condemn is the idea that the only way this game could’ve been good is if it stuck to the JRPG formula Paper Mario games controversially abandoned more than 15 years ago in favor of more experimental entries. I condemn strict dogma that says game series are never allowed to mix things up.    


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    One of the worst stereotypes of Nintendo fans, and I say this as a huge Nintendo fan, is the idea that we’re immature. That we’re brainless sycophants who only want to consume the same games with the same characters from a company that reminds us of our childhood. This isn’t true. The reason Nintendo earns so much acclaim is because it masterfully creates entirely new kinds of experiences, smuggling these boundary-pushing games through the Trojan Horse that is it's beloved lineup of mascots. This is the company that saved console gaming by bundling the NES with a robot toy, invented handheld gaming off the power of Tetris, and took over the world again with motion-controlled bowling.

    How many people would’ve even played a JRPG like the original Paper Mario with its action-tinged, turned-based battles and funny, but wordy, script if not for the plumber’s familiar face? Unfortunately, when I see Nintendo fans actively resist bold change, it makes me wonder if they even understand why they love this company. Refusal to change is how we end up with rote, boring, plastic New Super Mario Bros. games.


    New Dimensions

    We can argue whether or not Paper Mario is the best example of this trend. As someone easily bored by slow JRPGs, I’ve never enjoyed the traditional Paper Mario games. However, some of the best games in beloved franchises emerged when developers weren’t afraid to blow up their own conventions. 

    Making any 2D games work in 3D requires serious reinvention. Super Mario 64 isn’t exactly like Super Mario Bros., but it’s still a masterpiece in its own right, with the same core spirit. Donkey Kong Jungle Beat proved how a pair of bongo drums could make for an immensely satisfying platformer control scheme. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of Wild tossed away the familiar Zelda formula to create an open-world adventure that’s the decade’s best game.

    I’m not only talking about Nintendo games, either. Just when folks started getting burnt out on Assassin’s Creed games, along came Assassin’s Creed: Origins, a title that introduced a vast, new RPG style that continues this fall with Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla. The 2018 God of War reboot turned one of the most angry, violent, and over-the-top Sony franchises into a soulful reflection on fatherhood, of all things. Resident 4 traded haunted mansions and fixed cameras for third-person shooting in European villages, and it still hasn’t been topped.

    Experiments never work 100 percent of the time. Beyond the contentious Paper Mario example there are instances when messing with a formula too much leads to a broken final product. Think Star Fox Zero’s unwieldy motion controls, Fallout 76’s misguided multiplayer, and the nightmarish 3D Sonic the Hedgehog games. New isn’t always better, but that doesn’t mean new isn’t worth trying. 


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    Besides, it’s not like the existence of new styles means that old styles will never return, so why be so angry and afraid? Origami King reintroduces its own spins on several classic Paper Mario ideas, such as interconnected worlds and battle partners. Bug Fables is a recent indie game that’s old-school Paper Mario in all but name only.

    I’ve been playing Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2, and just as Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night recalls Castlevania: Symphony of the Night’s nonlinear exploration, Curse of the Moon 2 brings back Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse’s brutal gauntlet gameplay. Ubisoft’s upcoming open-world Far Cry 6 strays far from the focused, original Far Cry, but Crytek continued that evolutionary branch with Crysis, which you can now enjoy as a gorgeous remaster. The recently revealed Balan Wonderworld and Bomb Rush Cyberfunk harken back to a pair of beloved old Sega properties—Nights: Into Dreams and Jet Set Radio, respectively.


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    Combat Evolved

    At its recent Xbox Series X showcase, Microsoft finally showed real Halo Infinite gameplay. As many suspected, this hotly anticipated first-person shooter sequel moves the action to an open-world environment for the first time. Maybe it’ll be great, and Halo will save Microsoft hardware once again. Maybe it’ll suck, and we’ll just be thankful to play older Halo games on PC. But whatever happens, it’s cool to see the team take a risk with one of the surest bets in gaming. Let’s have more of that, please.


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    Further Reading



    Game Reviews


     

    10 PS4 Games That Totally Deserve a Next-Gen Face Lift

    Bloodborne 2 PS4


    With PlayStation 5 backwards compatibility seemingly capable of enhancing older PlayStation 4 titles when it comes to resolution, framerate and load times, it doesn’t take long before a wish list forms in the mind of titles that would need such improvements the most. So with that in mind, we’ve got 10 PlayStation 4 games that we believe would benefit most from the PS5’s enhanced backwards compatibility capabilities. So without further ado, let’s get started!


    PS5 Backwards Compatibility – 10 PS4 Games That Need Enhancing Most
    Ark: Survival Evolved

    Something of an unoptimised mess even today, it’s clear that open-world sandbox survival effort Ark: Survival Evolved would benefit from brute force processing power and time consuming nips, tucks and other optimisations to improve its presentation. With a truly shocking level of performance on base PS4 that lurks around the 640p/720p range with variable performance, and comparable higher 720p/1080p resolution framerates on PS4 Pro, it’s clear that Ark: Survival Evolved would gain hugely from a PlayStation 5 sized boost in both resolution and framerate.




    Ark Survival Evolved PS5


    Assassin’s Creed Unity

    Rightfully regarded as one of the most visually astounding Assassin’s Creed games ever made, six years on Assassin’s Creed Unity still remains a visual marvel with its hugely detailed and evocative depiction of 18th century Paris that boasts the largest crowds ever seen in the series. Because of that, the game often strugglse to maintain a constant framerate in crowded places – even when played on PS4 Pro. Imagine then, how Assassin’s Creed Unity might look on PS5 – running at 4K resolution and 60 frames per second. The mouth waters!


    Assassins Creed Unity PS5




    Related Content – Sony Announces DualSense Controller For PlayStation 5


    Black Desert

    Perhaps the most visually appealing MMORPG made to date, there’s no denying that Black Desert is a massive drain on any system that it runs on. Though still attractive in its own right on PS4 and PS4 Pro with detailed environments and exceptionally handsome character models, it’s clear that the mammoth amount of additional processing power that the PlayStation 5 will bring could be used to make the popular MMORPG look much more akin to its truly gorgeous and high end PC counterpart.


    Black Desert PS5


    Bloodborne

    Arguably more than any other game in this feature, it is FromSoftware’s Bloodborne that stands to benefit most from PlayStation 5 powered backwards compatibility enhancement. With a framerate that often dips below 30 frames per second on both base and Pro PlayStation 4 consoles, not to mention some lengthy loading screens and a best case resolution scenario on PS4 Pro, Bloodborne running on PS5 could be a revelation. Again, just imagine it – practically non-existent loading times, a buttery smooth 60 frames per second and a much improved screen resolution that would allow Bloodborne’s eye-catching aesthetic to really sing.




    Bloodborne PS5


    Related Content – PS5 Vs Xbox Series X Specs Comparison – What We Know So Far


    Control

    One of the most visually impressive titles of this current console generation, Remedy’s Control’s impressively sophisticated lighting, shadows and physics based gameplay all came at a price. On both PS4 and PS4 Pro, Control’s framerate routinely dips during busier scenes, so a big boost in this regard would prove to be very welcome indeed to say the least. Oh, and a much higher resolution wouldn’t hurt either!


    Control PS5




    DayZ

    There’s no getting around it – DayZ is quite the ugly duckling in ways that a boost to resolution and framerate wouldn’t comprehensively improve. That said, DayZ would still benefit greatly from both the improved responsiveness that a higher framerate would bring as well as the extra clarity that would result from a higher resolution too.


    DayZ PS5


    Related Content – Best Free PS4 Games – Great Games At Zero Cost


    Dead By Daylight

    Similarly to DayZ, Dead by Daylight is hardly a PlayStation 4 title that is renowned for its visual presentation and yet, the sorts of improvements that PlayStation 5 could bring to it through backwards compatibility would be very welcome all the same. Though a bump in resolution wouldn’t really do a whole lot for Dead by Daylight, a much more stable framerate would as the game frequently fluctuates at times when you really don’t need it to fluctuate.




    Dead by Daylight PS5


    Kingdom Come: Deliverance

    A sprawlingly ambitious Skyrim style open-world RPG, Kingdom Come: Deliverance remains something of a stunning looking title on both PS4 and PS4 Pro, with sweeping rural valleys, busy city hubs and towering stone castles. However, the usual caveats seemingly apply here – as the Warhorse Studios developed product frequently experiences drops in framerate where the game is taxing the humble PlayStation 4 hardware the most. With some PlayStation 5 juice behind it however, players could finally get the 4K/60 presentation that Kingdom Come: Deliverance so richly deserves.


    Kingdom Come Deliverance PS5


    Related Content – All PS4 Crossplay Games – A Complete List




    The Last Guardian

    Fumito Ueda’s stunning PlayStation 4 exclusive is unrivalled masterwork simply on the strength of its artistic direction alone, but on the current generation PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro consoles, that vision finds itself somewhat tarnished by an unsteady framerate on the base system, and a compromised resolution on PS4 Pro. With the power of PlayStation 5, Ueda’s vision could be fully realised at last with an eradication of loading times, higher display resolution and the sort of super smooth framerate that The Last Guardian really needs to underscore its grand showcase of PlayStation hardware.


    The Last Guardian PS5


    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

    Even though CD Projekt RED made great strides in optimising The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt for both PS4 and PS4 Pro, the results still remain someway short of what the Polish developer achieved on PC and Xbox One X. With PlayStation 5 that should change, allowing the adventures of Geralt and company to really shine with almost instant load times and the sort of improved resolution and frame rate that we’ve craved all along.


    The Witcher 3 PS5




    Related Content – Best PS4 Indie Games – Excellent Games Everyone Should Play


    Honorable Mention: Red Dead Redemption 2

    An already stunning, generation defining title in its own right, few would dispute that Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption 2 is perhaps the most technically advanced PlayStation 4 title on the market right now. Nonetheless, the notion of having Red Dead Redemption 2 on PlayStation 5 with essentially no loading times, 4K resolution and a 60 frames per second presentation is a very, very enticing one to say the least.


    Red Dead Redemption 2 PS5


     

    The Real Reason We Love to Hate Super Hard Video Games


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    In the past, there has been a lot of discussion around the nature of difficult games. In a way, very difficult games almost serve as a genre of their own and we see them in all sorts of forms. There are bullet hell games which honor a timeless genre that’s been around for decades. There are platformers that can be absolutely bonkers. And then there are “soulsborne” games that are a relatively new genre. At the very least, the name is relatively new. Their roots go back a bit and with an upcoming remake of Demon’s Souls, one of the earliest titles in the genre, and the first in a franchise that inspired the name, the discussion around these games might crop up again. So why do gamers have such a love hate relationship with the genre?



    For one, they’ve always been present although the difficulty of the games was motivated by different design philosophies. The lifespan of a console game could, for example, be extended by difficulty and progressing to the final levels would be a sign that the game has been mastered in some capacity. And after beating the game, many titles allowed players to set goals in the form of a scoreboard. Then there are arcade titles. It seems fair to say that maintained interest in certain games came from their difficulty. The more quarters they ate, and the more obstacles put in a player’s way, the better the likelihood that they would play more and, therefore, spend more.






    Nowadays, the difficulty of games seems to be its own reward and the difference in design is apparent. For one, they usually feel fair and a player’s defeat is usually their own fault. Not always, but usually. The difference, I find, is they want the player to win, the player just has to figure out the way to overcome the game. This is true of the classics, of course, but the progress lost is limited and the focus is on the player getting right back to the obstacle they are trying to overcome.



    This leads to a feeling of mastery that is satisfying. The development of skills also comes in different levels. On a smaller scale, players learn how to fight different bosses. After that, they learn how to upgrade their character or come up with an optimal build, assuming RPG elements are present in the game. Then, mastery might mean learning the best path through the game. Perhaps the player moves onto speed runs. But this sense of growth is a huge part of what makes these games work.



    Then there is the pure excitement of it. A player in peril is a player on edge. This is an emotional engagement that might seem easy to manufacture but it is often missing from games. The Dark Souls games, in particular, increase this sense because you lose “souls,” when you die. Souls are the currency used in the game, both for buying items and improving your character. The player is then offered one chance to recover their souls. If they die on that journey, the initial souls disappear. This can be even more perilous if grinding stats is the route the player finds most useful.





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    Of course, this isn’t for everybody, which can be a bit sad. Not everybody has time to grind stats or learn a game that begs for a pretty big commitment. Unfortunately, that bars them from experiencing the rest of the game. This can be frustrating when you consider how unique the lore, story, and tone of these games can be. That might be the part of the game they want to experience.



    Then there’s the question of accessibility. These games don’t often include easy modes which means there are gamers with disabilities who might not be able to experience the game in the same way they can partake in other genres. There could be a fix to this, but it hasn’t happened in any significant way at this point.



    So, in a way, the problem with difficult games is their difficulty. They can be frustrating, inaccessible, or otherwise unappealing because of their mechanics and those mechanics might be the only thing keeping someone from enjoying the rest of the game. For others, the rewarding feeling of overcoming these obstacles is a huge part of the appeal. But might there be a way that both parties can get what they want? It’s not like their individual experiences need to affect one another.






    Benjamin Maltbie





     

    A Game All 'Fire Emblem' Fans Need To Try

    What do you get when you cross Shin Megami Tensei with Fire Emblem? Apparently, it's a game called Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore about monster-fighting idols and actors set in modern-day Tokyo. At first glance, fans of either series might find it difficult to see where either of those franchises come into the equation. For Fire Emblem in particular, the style of gameplay and setting is far from anything players of the series come to expect when they think of the strategy RPG games by Intelligent Systems.

    Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore, originally announced as SMT x FE, is the recent re-release of a niche Atlus-developed Wii U title from 2015. With Fire Emblem at peak popularity and the Nintendo Switch in far more households than the Wii U, more players than ever are getting their hands on Tokyo Mirage Sessions. Looks can be deceiving, so read on and see how Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore appeals to Fire Emblem fans.


    Fire Emblem characters in Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore

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    Maybe people describe Tokyo Mirage Sessions as a game with Shin Megami Tensei and Persona gameplay mixed with Fire Emblem characters. This would be a mostly correct assumption, as you will find many characters from the Fire Emblem series recognizable from two specific games in the series. Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light is the first Fire Emblem game, which was re-released in 2008 for the Nintendo DS as Shadow Dragon. Characters also appear from Awakening, which released on the 3DS in 2012 and instilled new life to the then-dying franchise. These two games together take place within the same timeline, albeit thousands of years apart, so there is some meaning behind Atlus' choice to include characters from these titles.


    In Tokyo Mirage Sessions, players take control of a Japanese teenager named Itsuki Aoi, as well as a party of talented entertainers with similar abilities as Itsuki. All of these characters have the power to control Mirages, which are ethereal forms of Fire Emblem characters that are bound to their Mirage Master. Mirages manifest into weapons and are used to fight against other hostile Mirages causing all kinds of havoc among Tokyo. These Mirages are the main connection to Fire Emblem. The Mirages' likeness to their Fire Emblem counterparts can be difficult to discern at first, as they appear more robotic and alien. Although some characteristics such as dialogue quirks and aspects of a Mirage's appearance mirror that of it's Fire Emblem equivalent, it is a deliberate design choice to have them subtly resemble their original forms rather than be strictly one-to-one.


    It's also interesting to see how a Mirage and its master match each other in terms of personality. Itsuki, the main character of Tokyo Mirage Sessions, utilizes Chrom, the protagonist from Fire Emblem: Awakening. Chrom and Itsuki are the protagonists of their games, and they fit the leader archetype perfectly. While both characters' personalities are outshined by their supporting cast, they are quite likable and among your most competent fighters. Meanwhile, Tsubasa, another Mirage Master and secondary protagonist in Tokyo Mirage Sessions, uses Ceada. Ceada appears in Shadow Dragon and acts as the protagonist's leading lady, much like Tsubasa in her own game.


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    Although the main cast of Tokyo Mirage Sessions takes up far more screen time than their Mirages, Fire Emblem fans will be able to pick up on the personality traits that defined them in the Fire Emblem games they represent. Tharja, the infamous dark mage obsessed with Robin from Awakening, is just as stalker-like and creepy as many come to expect. Navarre, the powerful swordsman from Shadow Dragon, is still so edgy that he doesn't even need a sword to shed some blood.


    Many will also appreciate that all of the bosses within Tokyo Mirage Sessions are from Fire Emblem, as well. Appropriately, the first gargantuan Mirage boss in Tokyo Mirage Sessions—Garrick from Awakening—is a bandit. Bandits as the first boss is a typical trope for Fire Emblem. Early on, another boss that makes an appearance is Aversa, a dark and sultry temptress that is just as dangerous as she is obnoxiously lewd.  If you have played several Fire Emblem games, you'll notice a theme of what the final boss is; therefore, it's easy to guess what you might fight at the end of Tokyo Mirage Sessions.


    Fans will be happy to see many characters from the series represented in Tokyo Mirage Sessions—there's even more beyond just Mirages. Tiki, the lovable manakete, is a pivotal player in the story. While you cannot control Tiki, she helps you upgrade your party and create new weapons. Also be sure to look at the store clerks at Hee Ho Mart for a returning popular character.


    Fire Emblem Gameplay Mechanics in Tokyo Mirage Sessions

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    If you're looking for a strategy game in the same vein as Fire Emblem, this is not the game for you. There are some similarities and elements borrowed from Intelligent Systems' franchise, but Tokyo Mirage Sessions is a JRPG through and through. Still, there are enough minor elements from which Atlus has cleverly incorporated into this game. Combat might be the most obvious example. One of Fire Emblem's most signature gameplay elements (which, admittedly, has since been omitted from the past two entries of the franchise) is the Weapon Triangle.


    For those unaware, the Weapon Triangle is a system that operates like rock paper scissors; in this case, swords beat axes, axes beat lances, and lances beat swords. In gameplay, most Mirage enemies wield one of these weapons, which allows you to easily identify what party member is best to use against a given enemy. It delivers that same satisfying feeling of a sword unit obliterating a poor axe wielder. Other examples of this system includes bows and wind magic being particularly effective against flying units. If Fire Emblem fans are familiar with this system, they will feel right at home. This also gives players time to familiarize themselves with the strengths and weaknesses of Shin Megami Tensei's magic.


    The remainder of Fire Emblem's gameplay components within Tokyo Mirage Sessions serve as subtle nods to the franchise, but not much else. For example, later in Tokyo Mirage Sessions, players can use Master Seals to upgrade the class of their Mirage, which is always an exciting moment. Many weapons share names of Fire Emblem armaments such as Durandal, which serves as the namesake of Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade. Certain musical cues—such as when you level up a party member—are also fun nods to the strategy series. All of these small details are nice ways to remind players that this is, in fact, partly a Fire Emblem game, even though it stars Japanese pop idols in the present day.


    Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore doesn't feel like a Fire Emblem game, but it does offer a lot of fan service for those who enjoy the series. With Mirages taking the form of iconic units from the series, ridiculous bosses and more, Fire Emblem fans are catered to with enough elements from the franchise without feeling like they're left in the dark.



    Have you played Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore? What are your thoughts as a fan of Fire Emblem? Let us know in the comments below!


     

    Valve Reveals its Numerous Canceled Games From Last Decade


    The recent Half-Life Alyx – Final Hours documentary has revealed a number of titles that were scrapped at developer Valve, including the much-requested Half-Life 3, a new Left 4 Dead, and a Dark Souls-esque RPG. All of the games were given the chop over the past decade at Valve, the company confirmed.


    Valve Confirms Scrapped Games Including Half-Life 3

    First up, the RPG title – which also apparently borrowed elements of Monster Hunter – didn’t get make it past the conceptual stage, hence why it was never given a proper title. Valve apparently wanted to create a game that they were able to continuously add content to over time, but the project sadly never got off the ground.




    Many of the games were shelved after the developer realised that its Source 2 engine was running out of steam and couldn’t handle the titles. One of the games Left 4 Dead 3, would have been set in an open-world Morocco.


    Half-Life 3 on the other hand saw one version entering the prototype stage in 2013-2014, before Valve scrapped it. The sequel would have included procedurally-generated story sections, resulting in players experiencing something a little different each time they fired it up. Furthermore, Frank Sheldon also showed up to the studio to have his face scanned for the project — in a suit and tie, no less.


    Elsewhere, Valve also flirted with a Half-Life VR shooter that would have been quite different than today’s Half-Life Alyx. The project had only gained a codename, shooter, and was designed with Valve’s VR-based The Lab. The company were utilising pre-existing Half-Life assets presented in an ‘arcade-style shoot-‘em-up’ where players took on the role of an unknown resistance member.




    If you fancy checking out the documentary it’s up for sale now on Steam for £7.19/$9.99.


    [Source – Rock Paper Shotgun]


     

    This Is Why You Should Never Cheat In Video Games


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    Cheating in games is a contentious topic for whatever reason. But not always. It’s just one of those weird things where you don’t know who is going to care and who is going to be laid back about it. There was a time, though, where cheat codes were social currency and people would trade both cheats and rumors alike around the playground. Then access to this very site opened up a world of guides and cheats to a larger audience. But what is cheating and when does it matter?



    I’ve heard multiple arguments about whether or not a strategy guide constitutes cheating. In fact, I was once bullied for using one and then I turned right around and mocked others for using one. But the thing about strategy guides is, more often than not, they’re not cheating. Of course, context is going to matter. If you’re using a strategy guide for a game like Mega Man X, I would argue that you’re not cheating. The game is, largely, about navigating problems and reflexes. The biggest benefit to a guide is that it helps you find items and provides the ideal order to encounter bosses. In that way, it feels more like a recipe book. Instead of investing time into learning the ins and outs of the game, you use a reference. The same could even be said about Dark Souls, where a guide can help you with builds and such. If a guide for Dark Souls were cheating, then a Dark Souls subreddit might also be considered cheating. But how about a strategy guide for a puzzle game? One that provides all the answers. Now that is most certainly cheating, in the same sense that copy someone else’s test answers is cheating. It flagrantly undermines the spirit of the experience. But it’s also harmless.








    Now, the most obvious forms of cheating are cheat codes, which is cheating by their very definition, and hacking. Both of these have rich histories and are often applied in different ways. Cheat codes tend to be put there by developers, either for consumers or for debug modes. Hacking, which could include things like the Game Genie or Action Replay, usually allow for things outside of the developer’s intent. How these two forms of cheating are wielded are worth considering.



    Cheat codes have a myriad of effects. Putting one in secretly for a local game against a friend is probably bad form, but also probably just a goof between friends. Cheat codes tend to have a local effect rather that don’t reach across the world through the internet. Some of them even enhance games. Some make games more difficult. Some make them comical. Some give avatars huge heads. One code, in particular, stands out to me because it both makes the game easier and also exponentially more enjoyable. In Diddy Kong Racing for the Nintendo 64, players can input the code JOINTVENTURE which unlocks an otherwise inaccessible co-operative story mode.





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    Hacking and modding can go multiple ways, but have more potential to do harm. Because they can often be implemented online, they can utterly destroy the experience of other players. “Bots,” in MMORPGs that automatically claim rare resources, robbing players of opportunity, are particularly sinister and there was an entire economy set up around selling in-game currency and items for out of game money. Some hacks make characters incredibly strong, allowing the player to hunt down other players which I guess gives them a power trip or something? It’s not a mentality I totally understand. Some hacks are just trolling. Then there are the ones that just allow a player to have more control over their experience of a game and whatever form that takes is probably fine. I’d even argue that it’s probably nobody’s business how people game alone.



    Then there are the forms of cheating that are more a matter of social contract. Take local shooters, even though they aren’t common anymore. In games like Halo 2 or GoldenEye 007, players shared a screen. It was hard not to see what the other players were doing in your peripheral vision but if you agreed to “no screen cheating,” then it was your duty to try your best. Of course, nobody could really prove anything, even when it was pretty obvious. If, however, there wasn’t a rule against “screen cheating,” then looking at someone else’s screen becomes part of the strategy. In all honesty, “screen cheating” arguments are some of the most heated discussions I’ve seen on the topic in all my. Life. Well, except that infamous “you cheated not only the game, but yourself” which may have been a bit tongue-in-cheek, but did give rise to a pretty big debate over how people experience particularly difficult games.



    In the end, it’s all pretty simple. You probably know what’s cheating and what’s not. Some people will be passive aggressive or maintain some sort of plausible deniability but I really believe that a great majority of people know when they are taking actions that lack integrity. Now, I’m not saying cheating itself lacks integrity. But when you use it at the expense of another, you lack integrity. When you use it to enhance your own solo gaming experience, that’s fine. If you defy the spirit of the game, be honest with yourself. Don’t lie to people about whether or not you beat a game legitimately because lying is cruel, but also you shouldn’t feel the need to lie in the first place because video games are meant to be fun. In the grand scheme of things, beating games isn’t all that important.










    Benjamin Maltbie





     

    'Stardew Valley' Fans Can Finally Rejoice After Years Of Demands

    Stardew Valley Collector's Edition is on the way and up for pre-order after literally years of demand. For the first time ever, fans of farming RPGs can pick up a physical copy of this great game for Nintendo Switch — and the Collector's Edition has a ton of cool goodies included!

    If you don't know what Stardew Valley is all about, then I'm sorry to say that we can't be friends. I like having friends, so that's why you should check out the trailer for the Stardew Valley Collector's Edition to get a feel for this game's vibe:



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    Stardew Valley is a farming RPG in the finest of forms that follows many conventions of the genre. You inherit a farm from your deceased grandfather and leave the drudgery of your office job behind to start a new life in this small, peaceful town.


    Players can farm crops, raise animals, fight monsters in the mines, fish, and make friends in town! You can do none of these things or all of these things at your own pace. Or, you can be an idiot like me and min/max yourself to death for many sleepless nights in a row as you amass a fortune. It's cool to play either way!


    Now, the game's creator Eric "ConcernedApe" Barone has announced that FanGamer has cooked up a physical edition of the game for Nintendo Switch.


    Stardew Valley Collector's Edition slice


    What Do You Get in the Stardew Valley Collector's Edition?

    If you'd just like to get a physical copy of the game, you can pick up the Stardew Valley Standard Edition for PC or Nintendo Switch. That'll net you a game case and either a Nintendo Switch cartridge or a disc with the game and all of its Content Update 1.4 content. (Naturally, future updates must be downloaded over the Internet.)


    The physical edition will cost you $29–$34, but springing for the Collector's Edition will get you a ton of cool physical goodies. Here's what you can get with the Stardew Valley Collector's Edition for $64–$69:



    As a bonus, pretty much everything in this Collector's Edition is responsibly sourced, using renewable and recyclable products where possible. All of the Collector's Edition components are manufactured in the United States, UK, and Japan with minimal usage of plastic, too.


    If you're a super-fan of Stardew Valley (or you just haven't yet picked up the game for some reason), this upcoming release would be a great way to play it! You can pre-order the Stardew Valley Collector's Edition on Fangamer starting at $29 or your regional equivalent. You can expect this game to ship on November 6, 2020.


    What do you think of the Stardew Valley Collector's Edition? Is having responsibly-sourced materials important to you? Let us know in the comments below!


     

    The 'Avengers' Game Beta Raises Many Concerns









    If Hulk can do this, why does it take so many punches to take out a regular human?


    If Hulk can do this, why does it take so many punches to take out a regular human?


    Image: crystal dynamics / square enix



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    A superhero video game should make players feel like they’re embodying that superhero. The Marvel’s Avengers beta does not do that, and that’s worrying.


    I played several hours of Marvel’s Avengers in a three-day closed beta on the PlayStation 4, which included the prologue and the beginning of the game’s main story, primarily starring Kamala Khan and the Hulk, along with a sprinkling of disconnected missions.


    The beta is disappointingly boring. The combat is monotonous even with the variety of characters to play as, and the lack of enemy variety doesn’t help there. There are so many hordes of robots that I feel like I’m up against the Trade Federation’s army of droids in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. The random gear drops strewn around the world don’t feel appropriate for the setting. The missions selected for the beta are very generic.


    I was completely underwhelmed. But this is a beta. The experience in the beta can’t reasonably be extrapolated into a review of the full game.





    So many robots in this game.


    So many robots in this game.

    Image: Crystal dynamics / square enix

    After playing the beta, I was able to ask Crystal Dynamics senior producer Shana Bryant and game designer Lauryn Ash about some of these points and get their take on what they’re trying to accomplish with the whole Avengers game and the beta. Their answers weren’t exactly reassuring.


    I played as Hulk quite a bit in the beta, punching through a seemingly endless ocean of nameless guards and robots. As the giant green beast who earlier smashed a tank with ease, I felt like my punches were weak, taking three or four hits to take down a regular human. I asked whether some heroes had to be weakened as a gameplay concession to level the playing field a bit.


    “I wouldn't say that at all,” Ash said. “Every super is just as super as each other but all in their own unique ways. When you look at Hulk for example, Hulk is a massive damage dealer and he can take a ton of damage. All of his moves are super powerful.”


    She compared him to Black Widow, and noted that she’s more agile, evasive, and faster than Hulk. That may be true, but it still doesn’t feel right that Hulk’s punches don’t just immediately send smaller enemies flying.


    The issue of variety comes up a few times in this beta


    Another facet of the game that pulled me away from feeling like a real superhero were the RPG-style gear drops. In comics, movies, and TV shows featuring superheroes, most of these heroes don’t get new gear, or if they do it’s usually a pretty big deal. Costumes will change from year to year, artist to artist, or story to story, but that’s generally a purely aesthetic choice. The gear drops only change a hero’s stats, not their appearance.


    It feels odd for Kamala Khan to meander through a decrepit facility and stumble upon some bracelets that barely improve her stats. It feels even more odd for Hulk to open a chest and pick up a genetic mutation that changes his bone structure to give him a little more power. Yes, this is a popular method of allowing players to power up and customize their characters in RPGs, but it really doesn’t fit Marvel’s Avengers.


    The idea for having loot like this stems from one of the team’s design philosophies, Ash explained.


    “The biggest design philosophy was about character customization,” she said. “This isn't just you playing Hulk, it is you playing your version of Hulk. If you look at the comic book series for Hulk himself, there are so many versions of Hulk.”


    To get that kind of variability of powers in the game while adhering to the idea of customization for players, Ash said that gear made sense. From my experience, I disagree, but perhaps that was just due to the small variety of gear in the limited scope of the beta.





    How often is Thor really picking things up off the ground and putting them on?


    How often is Thor really picking things up off the ground and putting them on?

    Image: crystal dynamics / square enix

    The issue of variety comes up a few times in this beta. With unsatisfying combat and a lack of diversity in enemies, encounters in missions become tiresome quickly and all blend into a bland string of same-ness. A question was asked from another reporter in the interview about what the developers are doing to make other missions in the full game stand out.


    “What we provided in the beta is just a small taste of what the game has or has to offer,” Bryant said, a point that she iterated a few times in the conversation.


    She said there will be more locations in the full game and pieces of dialogue between characters, but that doesn’t really get to the heart of the issue. Ash mentioned that missions can be repeated and there are modifiers in the game that change what kinds of enemies spawn and what loot drops, but you’d still be repeating a mission so that isn’t exactly a win for variety.


    Even without a ton of variety in gameplay, a game can stand strong if it has a strong narrative core. In the beta’s prologue, playing as Thor, Iron Man, Hulk, Black Widow, and Captain America in the midst of a crisis in San Francisco, the story feels really strong. But immediately after the Avengers’ helicarrier crashes and Captain America is allegedly killed, the story really takes a dip and feels tenuous at best.


    With so many playable characters, I asked whether we’d have strong character development for lots of different heroes or if the game would be more focused on just a few characters.


    “We have a really tight, really well-crafted narrative within the campaign mode,” Bryant said. “You play as all of the Avengers but you really follow the path of Kamala Khan. She's our narrator.”


    In the beta, Khan is funny, she’s bright, and she’s motivated. Bryant said Khan is her favorite character in the game and it shows. The other characters, comparatively, feel like wet rags. Maybe that’s because they didn’t get enough of a spotlight in the beta. In the full game, some missions will focus on individual characters and their stories, but Bryant said that will be outside of the main campaign.


    Ash mentioned several times that when developing characters for Marvel’s Avengers, the team thought about what a game for that specific character would feel like and how they could do that character justice.





    Hulk only gets to do this kind of thing for a couple minutes, the rest of the time he's doing pretty generic combat stuff.


    Hulk only gets to do this kind of thing for a couple minutes, the rest of the time he's doing pretty generic combat stuff.

    Image: crystal dynamics / sqaure enix

    It’s an interesting idea, because Marvel’s Avengers isn’t a game for a specific character, like, say, 2018’s Spider-Man. It’s a game built for lots of different superheroes, right? I asked whether there would be missions designed for specific characters, and Ash said, “Absolutely,” but elaborated in a way that made it sound like these missions were only related to certain characters story-wise, not necessarily gameplay-wise.


    “A good example of this type of moment for emotional storytelling is both in the campaign but also you'll have access to another sect of those hero missions and war zone missions that kind of feature around a certain hero as well,” she said. “What's more of their story in our world?”


    After my time with the beta, I’m concerned that the game being designed to work with so many different characters with different abilities turns the world into a broad, generic denominator. If anyone can fit into the world, then the world starts to lack any discernible personality.


    As the beta opens up to more players over the month of August, perhaps feedback will drive Crystal Dynamics to make some changes. Bryant noted that they’re excited to hear what people think and can tune and adjust the game to make it as good as possible.


    Marvel’s Avengers is scheduled to release on Sept. 4











     

    20 Video Game Sequels To Look Forward To On PS5 & Xbox Series X

    There’s presumably plenty of games coming out for the PS5 and Xbox Series X in the next year or so that are yet to be revealed, but we know about quite a few already. And while new franchises and fresh ideas are always exciting, there’s something about getting to play the next big game in your favourite franchises that feels comforting- and there’s going to be no shortage of those on the next-gen consoles, of course. From direct narrative sequels to new instalments doing completely different things, from cross-gen games to next-gen exclusives, from multiplats to exclusives, quite a few major sequels have already been announced for the PS5 and Xbox Series X, and here, we’re going to talk about the 20 biggest ones. So without further ado, let’s get started.


    HORIZON FORBIDDEN WEST


    horizon forbidden west


    Guerrilla Games knocked the ball out of the park with Horizon Zero Dawn, their first ever open world action RPG, and considering how good that was, we can’t wait to see what they do with the sequel now that they have more experience to lean on. Horizon Forbidden West has only had one trailer so far, but it’s already looking exciting, not just from a visual perspective, but also the new locations we’ll be visiting in the game, and how it’s going to follow up on its predecessor excellent story. And, of course, there’s going to be new mechanical monstrosities to take on- who can say no to that, right?





     

    The Difference Between 'Cyberpunk 2077's 3 Life Paths

    cyberpunk-2077-corporate-street-kid-and-nomad-life-paths-detailed


    CD Projekt Red has just discussed Cyberpunk 2077‘s Corporate, Street Kid, and Nomad Life Paths, detailing what you can expect from each one and how they differ from one another.


    The new gameplay shows us how your story begins as a Corporate, Street Kid, and Nomad and what you can expect in each one. As a Nomad, you patrol the outskirts of the city living away from the hustle and bustle Night City has to offer. A Corporate was born into a life of luxury and business, with you moving from skyscraper to skyscraper and engaging in business deals with other companies and individuals. Finally, a Street Kid lives entirely within Night City and you know your way around and who to talk to.




    The path you pick will affect how your story begins and your initial ability to interact with individuals within Night City. For example, a Street Kid knows the slang and the gangs, whereas a Nomad has to work out how to get into Night City and live at the start of the game. Opportunities to use your life path further into the game arise in optional dialogue options and ways to approach different missions and situations within them.


    You can watch the life path gameplay section of the latest Night City Wire stream below:


    [embedded content]


    This information was revealed in the second Night City Wire event which was held today. The event went over some more details about the upcoming RPG. You can find out more about what else was revealed today here.




    Cyberpunk 2077 releases for PS4 on November 19, 2020. The game is also coming to PS5 next year.


     

    Huge Moves Video Games Made Out Of Pure Desperation

    The Elder Scrolls is arguably Bethesda's most important franchise. It's certainly the one the company pushes the most, right? Take a look at how many systems you can play Skyrim on, for instance. It's on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. There's even a version adapted to work with Amazon's Alexa. With all that love, you'd assume anything with the Elder Scrolls name would be a slam dunk.



    Not so fast, bucko. The Elder Scrolls Online would like a word with you.


    The Elder Scrolls Online had a bunch of problems from the get-go. For starters, it was developed by ZeniMax Online Studios, and didn't quite have the feel of your typical Elder Scrolls title. Then the game launched at a full $60 price point, which didn't exactly get people in the door. Add that $60 retail price to the fact The Elder Scrolls Online also had a monthly subscription, and you can see where things might've started to go awry for Bethesda's MMORPG.


    Fortunately, Bethesda knew a serious shakeup was needed. After some rough early days on the continent of Tamriel, The Elder Scrolls Online dropped the monthly subscription in favor of charging for later DLC. Over time, the base price for the title dropped, as well. This helped bring more players into the world of The Elder Scrolls Online, which is still very much alive and kicking to this day.
















     

    This New RPG Can Help You Learn Japanese

    If you're like me, you've often thought about learning a new language but are unsure about what is the best way to start. While perusing Japanese learning tools for when this pandemic gets under control, I came across a stunning new RPG called Shujinkou that aims to help all learn this beautiful language in a way that will stick. 


    From the studio Rice Games comes Shujinkou, a 2-D JRPG that is coming out next year and aims to help gamers learn how to both speak and write in the below traditional Japanese languages: 



    Each of the above writing languages will be used as weapons in-game with text in Japanese, Romaji, and English, which will allow for easier association and retention. 


    [embedded content] 


    The game is designed to help with both speaking and writing the Japanese language in a way that will help make pros out of each gamer that tries it out. According to the studio, Shujinkou will provide over 50 hours of gameplay for its core narrative and will offer various ways players can take on this title in a way that makes learning the most accommodating.


    There will be missions, combat, and a progression that will ensure that what is being learned sticks, which is vital when looking to become proficient in any language, much less Japanese. 


    According to the game's official description, "With an art style influenced by modern JRPGs and a modernized style of Ukiyo-e, a Music Team led by Brian LaGuardia, a formal apprentice to The Avengers' Alan Silvestri, and Programmers that attended prestigious universities like UCLA, Stanford, Cornell and have work experience at companies including Panasonic, Unity, and Microsoft, the team at RICE GAMES is gearing up to provide the ultimate language-infused gaming experience to gamers around the world that are passionate about everything Japanese."



    We don't have a release date at this time for Shujinkou, but we do know it will be coming out early next year, but you can check out the website right here to keep tabs! 



    What do you think about using a game to learn a new language like Japanese? Does Shujinkou have any interest for you? Sound off with your thoughts over on Twitter @PrimaGames, we'd love to hear what you think! 


     

    How Nintendo Changed Everything With 'Paper Mario' 20 Years Ago

    Nintendo booth at E3 2014 (Photo credit: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

    It’s undeniable that Nintendo masters whatever genre it tries. The company essentially invented the platformer both in 2D and 3D, not to mention the action-adventure with Legend of Zelda, the kart racer and more. But for much of its early life, one type of game eluded it.

    In Japan, role-playing games like Squaresoft’s Final Fantasy and Enix’s Dragon Quest were culture-defining hits, selling massive amounts and captivating players with deep, long adventures. Those games were such hits that Nintendo published them as first-party titles in the States, but surprisingly never mustered company resources to make its own for the NES.

    There was one exception—Shigesato Itoi’s quirky Mother, which came out in Japan in 1989 but didn’t hit the US until a Wii Virtual Console release in 2015. But for the most part it looked like the company just didn’t know how to compete in the role-playing market.

    In the 16-bit era, Nintendo tried to make inroads with Super Mario RPG, but it’s telling that it didn’t develop that game in-house. Instead, it loaned its franchise to Square and let Shigeru Miyamoto oversee the production. The end result was fantastic, combining the charm and character of the Mushroom Kingdom with Square’s rich narratives, clever mechanics, and hidden secrets.

    When the time came to make another Mario RPG for the Nintendo 64, Nintendo no longer had Square to kick around. The company had signed an exclusive deal with Sony to bring the next Final Fantasy to the PlayStation. It instead turned to a developer much closer to home.

    Signs of Intelligence

    [embedded content]


    Intelligent Systems has been one of Nintendo’s not-so-secret weapons for decades. The company hired programmer Toro Narihiro in the early 80s as part of the R&D1 team to port Famicom Disk System titles to cartridge format. It quickly realized he had a knack for the NES hardware, and set him up with a team in Nintendo’s Kyoto Research Center. The group, under the supervision of Gunpei Yokoi, incorporated as Intelligent Systems in 1983 and they started taking on more and more work until they were programming entire games, starting with the Famicom Wars and Fire Emblem series.

    The company has been inextricable from Nintendo ever since. Its strategy titles for the Super Nintendo showed that it was capable of producing experiences with a lot of narrative and mechanical depth, so it wasn’t a surprise when the parent company asked Intelligent Systems in 1996 to create a role-playing game for the Nintendo 64.

    It was obvious that, with the defection of both Square and Enix, Nintendo was on the back foot. Role-playing games were big in Japan and starting to get big overseas as well, and it didn’t have anything in development that could compete. The console’s cartridge-based storage system was also a problem, preventing it from delivering high-end CGI cutscenes and orchestral music that CD-ROMs could do in their sleep. Less than a dozen RPGs came out for the N64 across the platform’s entire life, and most of them were junk like Quest 64.

    Superflat

    [embedded content]


    Nintendo got Intelligent Systems working on a next-generation RPG shortly after the console’s Japanese release. Originally, the game was just going to be Super Mario RPG 2, taking the visual style and fantasy approach that Square deployed for more of the same on the 64DD, the ill-fated disk drive add-on for the N64. But the company struggled with making the transition from 2D sprite-based art to 3D.

    It’s not certain who came up with the idea for the game’s unique visual hook, where backgrounds are polygonal 3D and characters are flat “paper” sprites. In a Japanese interview, Nintendo producer Hiroyasu Sasano noted “The reason we went this direction is we thought players might be getting tired of the 3D CG look on the Playstation and other consoles. It’s hard to bring out cuteness with characters made from polygons, right?”

    This seems like a little bit of a coping answer, but it also fits with Nintendo’s overall aesthetic. The game’s look also hearkens back to Yoshi’s Story for the Super NES, which featured a similar flat storyboard look, as well as Sony’s Parappa the Rapper, the quirky music title that pulled a similar 2D/3D split. That visual approach informed the tone of the whole game—while humor had been an essential part of Mario’s world, now it was foregrounded. Cuteness became the core element of the franchise.

    Paper Mario was in development for a whopping four years, going through numerous working titles. By the time it finally came out, the Nintendo 64 was already on its last legs, with the Gamecube nearing release. Finally, Mario Story hit Japanese store shelves on Aug. 11, 2000. The name would be changed for the US release next year.

    In the Fold

    [embedded content]


    Much like other late-cycle Nintendo smashes like Donkey Kong Country, Paper Mario breathed a little life back into the flagging system. The game sold well in Japan and abroad, with gamers responding to the clever dialogue, exciting timing-based battle system and familiar characters. 

    The battle system was one of the biggest changes from a traditional RPG. Those games typically featured players choosing attacks from a text-based menu, then waiting as opponents took their turn. Outside of boss fights, they typically didn’t require a lot of attention. Intelligent Systems took the timing-based attacks of Super Mario RPG, where button presses could inflict more damage, and made it the core of battles. Now a well-timed tap could help you both attack and defend, with different controller inputs for your allies as well. It turned combat, often the most boring part of the genre, into something that required your constant attention.

    What really made Paper Mario such a success, though, was its casualness. By this point, the role-playing genre had earned a reputation for being something players needed to immerse themselves in, memorizing and internalizing reams of information, or consulting thick strategy guides on the monsters, weapons, and secrets hidden in their worlds. In contrast, Paper Mario was remarkably transparent and simple. Instead of massive four-digit health bars, attacks did damage in the single digits. Mario didn’t have to juggle equipment upgrades and manage D&D-derived stats. 

    More than any game before it, Paper Mario really pushed the message that role-playing wasn’t just for hardcore grognards. Anybody could enjoy the adventure and master the battle system. It’s a short line from that franchise to Pokemon and other RPG hybrids that helped the genre evolve into one that all audiences could enjoy.

    Paper Mario is back in a charming, but frustrating, adventure. Check out our review of Paper Mario: The Origami King (for Nintendo Switch).




    Further Reading



    Nintendo Game Reviews


     

    You Have No Hope of Beating These Brutal Video Game Bosses

    The whole point of the cyberpunk action-RPG Deus Ex is that, if you can try it, you can probably do it. While developing the game, veteran designer Warren Spector created a set of rules to guide Deus Ex's development team, which included nuggets like "no forced failure" and "players do; NPCs watch."



    For the most part, Ion Storm met (and, often, exceeded) those goals. The game's Battery Park segment, however, comes up short. After the protagonist JC Denton turns on the United Nations Anti-Terrorist Coalition, he and his brother become public enemies number two and one, respectively. UNATCO goons, led by the cybernetic assassin Gunther Hermann.


    So far, so good. But JC's showdown against Gunther in Battery Park only has one outcome: JC surrenders, and Gunther remains alive. While JC can wipe out Gunther's UNATCO soldiers, the big man himself is invincible. Fight too long, and he'll just kill you. Escape isn't an option, either. While clever fans discovered a way to jump over the barricades designed to keep players fighting, there's no way to progress the story without giving in to Gunther's demands. Deus Ex might be a game based on player choice, but in this scenario, there's only one ending—and for JC, it isn't a good one.
















     

    The Most Popular Classes In Dungeons & Dragons May Surprise You

    We’ve been talking about superheroes a lot today, so now it’s time to pivot over to something different. It’s Dungeons & Dragons time, folks. Tabletop isn’t the most on-brand topic for us at Prima Games, but we do have an innate interest in gaming stats. So when we came across some intriguing player data from the game’s official online platform D&D Beyond, we had to drop in for a quick minute. D&D Beyond often runs developer update streams on Twitch, and shares its various findings about its userbase in addition to work and upcoming changes to the platform. So if you’ve ever wondered how popular each different class and subclass is in the Dungeons & Dragons community, we have that data to share with you!


    The Most Popular Classes in Dungeons and Dragons

    The information we saw is technically broken down by subclass, but it still provides a rundown of what percentages of the D&D Beyond userbase choose which starting class. You can check out the full infographic further down this article, but it’s also worth noting this is data based on regular players who have unlocked all possible player options. So this data presumably doesn’t include players who are newer, and don’t have all the choices in front of them yet.



    We’ve listed the classes below in the order of popularity. After that, we’ll talk about the subclasses:



    The data is probably what you might expect, even as an outsider. Dungeons & Dragons is a fantasy role-playing game, so it makes sense that the top of the charts reflect the classic RPG party you’ll always think of. But there’s one major exception, and that’s with Warlock at the number one spot. The playerbase of Dungeons & Dragons must be really into forging pacts with unknowable, cosmic entities.


    [embedded content]


    If you take a look at the back half of the list, it makes as much sense as most of the top half. You have the more standard, straightforward classes on top, then the more specialized, harder to define options at the bottom. You would think Warlock would also be down there with the Wizard and Druid, and definitely not above Sorcerer. But yet, there it is. We suspect there are metagame reasons for this, but considering how unconventional the Warlock is in D&D, perhaps it’s a simple matter of raw appeal.



    If you take a look at the subclass percentages, it looks like there’s a clear winner for each class, with one subclass being the clear popular choice while the other two sit around a similar, low range. Each popular subclass also seems to be the more textbook options, such as with Path of the Berserker for Barbarians, and Life Domain for Clerics.


    We also need to give a special shout-out to the Artificer players, comprising only 1% of the playerbase. Of that small margin of players, is a much more even split of subclass choices compared to everything else on the board, which is a strange result to be sure.



    Do you play a favored class in Dungeons & Dragons, or do you prefer to roll new kinds of characters whenever you start a new game? Do you like any of the classic D&D games, or are you looking forward to new ones such as Baldur’s Gate 3? Let us know over on the Prima Games Facebook and Twitter channels!



     

    Confirmed AAA Holiday 2020 Games You Should Put on Your Radar

    We’ve officially crossed over into August, so that means we’re one month closer to the most wonderful time of the year. While most people can’t wait for cooler weather, I can’t wait for the onslaught of must-buy games. So, without further ado, here’s my top six most anticipated games for the holiday season. Note: we’ve only included games that have been confirmed to hit later this year, though there is always the chance of any game being pushed back, but as of today, these titles are all confirmed to ship out this holiday 2020!

    (Ed’sNote: The opinion expressed here is that solely of the author’s and doesn’t represent the entirety of MP1st and its staff).

    1. Cyberpunk 2077

    cyberpunk 2077 release date

    Let’s kick things off with a game that we should already be playing: Cyberpunk 2077. Originally scheduled to release on April 16, developer CD Projekt RED first delayed the futuristic RPG to September, then delayed it again to November 19.

    Based on the fact that Microsoft is releasing a limited edition Cyberpunk 2077 themed Xbox One X, I can’t help but think that the delay to November 19 might line up pretty closely to the launch of the Xbox Series X. If that’s the case, what better way to start a new generation. Fans of CD Projekt RED’s other highly successful RPG The Witcher 3 will surely want to sink their teeth into this one. Cyberpunk 2077 allows you to customize your character in more ways than you might think (if you know, you know).

    In addition, the game completely wraps itself around the choices you make. For example, based on how you create your character will directly affect where you start in the game. Oh, and did I mention that Keanu freakin’ Reeves is in it? And he’s not just a normal NPC; his role as Silverhand will play a crucial part throughout the entire game. The neon lights of Night City awaits us.

    Release date: November 19 on PS4, Xbox One, PC (also coming to next-gen plaforms).

    Read more about Cyberpunk!

    2. Halo Infinite

    halo infinite nerf

    It’s been five long years since last we saw of Master Chief. At times, Halo 5’s campaign seemed a bit convoluted with the Forerunners and evil Cortana, so that might explain why Halo Infinite looks like a soft reboot for the franchise.

    During the Xbox Games Showcase on Jul 23, 343 Industries finally revealed real gameplay footage of Halo Infinite. Master Chief is back taking it to the Covenant, but will also have to deal with the Banished. The Banished appeared in Halo Wars 2 and will be front and center as the main antagonists of Halo Infinite. Regardless of how you felt about the most recent Halo titles, Halo Infinite is poised to breath new life into the franchise. And more importantly, Halo Infinite will be available on Game Pass and the multiplayer will be free-to-play. It’s almost time to suit up, Spartan.

    Release date: Holiday 2020 for Xbox One, Xbox Series X and PC

    Read more about Halo Infinite

    3. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

    Confession time: The first Assassin’s Creed title I played was Origins, and honestly, it didn’t hit for me. A year later, I decide to give Assassin’s Creed Odyssey a try and thank goodness I did. Traversing through ancient Greece as Kassandra (who should’ve been the only main character, Alexios sucks) was incredible. Visiting places like Athens, fighting mythical creatures such as Medusa and the Minotaur, conversing with Socrates, all of that made Odyssey such a breathtaking experience.

    So what can we expect from the next installment, Valhalla? Well, first, the main character Eivor can either be male or female, but the difference between Valhalla and Odyssey is you can switch genders anytime throughout the game. Valhalla will focus on Norse Mythology, so it’s a safe bet that a certain thunderous Avenger might show up. Although I’m not too keen on the Vikings theme (sailing in Odyssey was the worst), I’m very much on board with exploring Norse Mythology. Odin be with us!

    Release date: November 17 for the PS4, Xbox One and PC (also coming to next-gen).

    Read more about Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.

    4. Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales

    We’re currently in the Golden Age for Spider-Man. Insomniac delivered a masterpiece in 2018 with Marvel’s Spider-Man, and I’m confident that title would’ve won Game of The Year across the board if not for a certain an axe-wielding god killer.

    It was only a matter of time until Insomniac announced its follow-up project and I’m stoked it’ll be a Miles Morales-focused adventure. It’s unfortunate that the standalone Miles game won’t be a “true numbered sequel” and apparently will only be around 7-10 hours, this is a massive indication that Miles will be a prominent figure in the eventual Spider-Man 2.

    Given the extremely high praise that Into the Spider-Verse received, Insomniac dedicating an entire side adventure to Miles is a slam dunk. Not to mention the recent Black Lives Matter movements across the country, I can’t overstate how important this game will be for a lot of people. Representation in media is so important, so to see a young Black man as a superhero (let alone Spider-Man) will inspire many other young Black kids and give them someone to look up to.

    Remember, anyone can put on the mask.

    Release date: Holiday 2020 for the PS5

    Read more about Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales

    5. Watch Dogs: Legion

    new watch dogs legion gameplay

    Ubisoft’s second big holiday title hopes to make headlines in its own right. Following the “hacker brings about social reform” theme, Watch Dogs: Legion takes that sediment and dials it way the hell up. For most games that involve recruiting and forming a team, there’s always one main protagonist. Ubisoft’s decided to completely flip the script on that and make everyone their own main character. That’s right, you’ll have the ability to recruit and control any NPC in the game. What does that mean exactly? Well, each individual NPC will have their own set of cut scenes, dialogue, and overall unique feel to them.

    Set in post-Brexit London, a mysterious organization called Albion is tasked with policing the United Kingdom citizens essentially by “any means necessary”. Armed with a slew of technological weaponry, it’s up to you to fight the system and protect your freedoms. But remember, it’s not political.

    Release date: October 29 for the PS4, Xbox One, and PC (also coming to next-gen).

    Read more about Watch Dogs Legion.

    6. Marvel’s Avengers

    Alright, I understand that a September release date might not count as “holiday” for some people, but time is a social construct, so bear with me. When it was announced that Square Enix of all developers would helm an Avengers AAA game, I think we all collectively squealed with excitement. Fast-forward to when Square Enix unveiled the first look of its Avengers and I think we all collectively re-evaluated our excitement meter.

    Now, Square Enix has always been transparent about its Avengers game being completely separate from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But when placed side-by-side, it’s jarring to look at. It’s like when you go grocery shopping and you’re choosing between the store brand and name brand. The MCU is the name brand and Square Enix is the water downed store brand. Don’t get me wrong, an Avengers game sounds rad as hell, but it’s going to take some time to adjust to these new Avengers, especially fresh off Avengers Endgame. Yet, there’s reasons to still be optimistic about Avengers. Although you’ll switch between the various members of the Avengers, the main focus will be centered around Kamala Khan.

    Recently, it was reported that Khan will make her MCU debut in the next few years, so this’ll be a good introduction to the character before her silver screen appearance. In addition to Khan, Square has tabbed a new villain in the sinister MODOK. Gameplay footage suggests an action-filled adventure with a surprisingly deep customization and upgrade system. As long as we hear someone yell “Avengers Assemble” I’ll be one happy camper.

    Release date: September 4 for the PS4, Xbox One, and PC (also coming to next-gen).

    Read more about Marvel’s Avengers.

    So, there you have it. My six most anticipated games for Holiday 2020. But what about you? What games are you most looking forward to? Let us know down in the comments below.

    Featured image credit: ScreenRant

     

    Here's What 'Cyberpunk 2077' Does Better Than 'The Witcher 3'


    Cyberpunk 2077 is a Much Deeper Roleplaying Experience Than The Witcher 3








    by
    William D'Angelo
    , posted 6 hours ago / 326 Views

    CD Projekt RED's senior level designer Miles Tost in an interview with YouTube channel Netrunner 2077 discussed the depth of the game and how it has a much deeper roleplaying experience than the developers previous game, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.


    "I don’t know, there’s a lot, there’s a ton of weapons," said Tost. "How I would summarize this is… I think people tend to forget that Cyberpunk 2077 is an RPG first and foremost. Right? So customization and equipment choices, making choices in the skills you have, the talents, how your character looks, how you choose dialogue, it’s the center stage of this experience.


    "I think some people look at this game and think ‘Oh man, it’s first-person and has guns! It’s a shooter!’ and that’s a very surface-level assessment. I think in many ways, it’s a much, much deeper roleplaying experience than The Witcher 3."


    Tost also discussed blocked doors in Night City, which he says the overall amount of doors in Cyberpunk 2077 will "dwarf" the amount seen in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.


    "Not everywhere is like that. We can’t put a bouncer in front of every door in the world. But in areas we feel it’s super obvious, like if there’s an area in the main quest with a door you can’t enter, in that context, we’ll try to put something extra there.


    "But the amount of doors we have in Cyberpunk 2077 will completely dwarf the amount of doors we have in The Witcher 3. At one point in The Witcher 3’s development, I counted the amount of doors we have. We have around 2,500 doors for that game. Naturally in a game like this, compared to The Witcher 3, there are far more doors in the world of Cyberpunk."


    [embedded content]


    Here is an overview of the game:


    In the most dangerous megacity of the future, the real you is not enough. Become V, a cyber-enhanced mercenary outlaw going after a one-of-a-kind implant — the key to immortality. Customize your cyberware and skillset, and explore a vast city of the future obsessed with power, glamour and body modification. The choices you make will determine the story and shape the world around you.


    Become a cyberpunk, an urban mercenary equipped with cybernetic enhancements and build
    your legend on the streets of Night City.


    Enter the massive open world of Night City, a place that sets new standards in terms of visuals, complexity and depth.


    Take the riskiest job of your life and go after a prototype implant that is the key to immortality.


    Cyberpunk 2077 will launch on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC on November 19. It will have backwards compatible on launch day for the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5. 



    A life-long and avid gamer, William D'Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel dedicated to gaming Let's Plays and tutorials. You can contact the author at wdangelo@vgchartz.com or on Twitter @TrunksWD.


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    The Real Reason Endless Games Are So Popular

    The dominance of video games in popular culture has been clearly established in the modern world. Now surpassing even the profit of the film box office, video games have solidified as one of the forms of entertainment perhaps most indicative of our technological age. Of these, there are some experiences which quickly burn out, only to fade from our memories.

    There are others, though, that stick with us, which offer seemingly endless entertainment, even when the systems themselves are apparently simple.

    Why are these neverending games so popular, and which examples best reflect the society of today?

    Many endless games find their inspiration in traditional forms of gaming. Cards, for example, can be used in a wide variety of games. Despite the relatively simple set of 52 classic playing cards from which we work, there are many players who derive near endless enjoyment from just one or two card game variants.
     

    The appeal is here is not an endlessly expansive world of opportunities, but rather a base system which engages us in a way we continually find enjoyable. Today, even in the age of complex online MMORPGs, these systems ultimately reign supreme. On certain sites, we can play live casino games online which offer similar systems in their variants of blackjack, baccarat and poker. We can also play games like gin rummy and hearts with friends or family, or even enjoy a game of solitaire by ourselves endlessly; such is that personal level of appeal.

    While this means that a high level of complexity is not at all a necessity for continued engagement, more complicated systems can be used to help bridge the gap between appealing base systems and fresh content. MMORPGs like World of Warcraft are a strong example of this, as a bridge between the appeal of old and the capabilities of new.

    The basic systems of Warcraft are one much like cards with added twists.

    Some people enjoy playing cards, whereas others prefer the cycle of hunting, leveling up, and tackling increasingly difficult challenges. In this way, the enjoyment from the base levels of these systems might not hold up on the same level as cards, but ever-developing additional content alleviates this issue. This means the limitations can be overcome, and the overall experience is that much more enjoyable for it.

    The other side of this is that there are components of both of these modern and traditional types of games which benefit from experience. For traditional games like cards, there is the skill part of the equation. A newer player and an experienced veteran might be playing on the same table, but a difference in experience means that they aren’t necessarily playing the same game.

    For the MMO example, this still exists, though it also offers the benefit of character building. With each hour spent within a virtual world, a player character can become more powerful, reflecting both the growth of the player and the total experience of a time spent adventuring.

    Endless experiences appeal to us because they represent our capacity as humans for infinite growth. Whether on a strictly skill-based level or holding a digital representation of this growth, endless games add another element to gaming which we value so much – that of progress.

     

    Devs Reveal How 'Cyberpunk 2077' Stacks Up to 'The Witcher 3'


    Miles Tost, the senior level design for Cyberpunk 2077, has said dispelled concerns that the upcoming sci-fi title won’t deliver on its role-playing chops, saying that in many ways the will offer a ‘deeper experience’ in this respect than The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.


    CDPR On Cyberpunk 2077 Role-Playing

    Speaking with a new video interview, Tost noted that some folk forget that Cyberpunk 2077 is an RPG at its core simply because it has guns and is set from a first-person perspective.





    I don’t know, there’s a lot, there’s a ton of weapons. How I would summarize this is… I think people tend to forget that Cyberpunk 2077 is an RPG first and foremost. Right? So customization and equipment choices, making choices in the skills you have, the talents, how your character looks, how you choose dialogue, it’s the center stage of this experience.


    I think some people look at this game and think “Oh man, it’s first-person and has guns! It’s a shooter!” and that’s a very surface-level assessment *chuckles* I think in many ways, it’s a much, much deeper roleplaying experience than The Witcher 3.



    Cyberpunk 2077 is due for release on November 19 for PS4, PC, and Xbox One, with a free upgrade for PS5 and Xbox Series X available for launch. In addition, a separate next-generation release will arrive at some point in 2021.


    [Source – CDPR interview via WCCFTech]


     

    Top Role Playing Games of 2020 and Beyond

    If the next few years and generation of consoles tells us anything, it’s that role-playing games are still very much in demand. From action RPGs and turn-based strategy to tactical combat and even shooters, the sheer amount of variety on offer is insane. Let’s take a look at 15 RPGs to look out for in 2020 and beyond.


    Granblue Fantasy: Relink


    Granblue Fantasy Relink


    Based on Cygames’ popular mobile franchise, Granblue Fantasy: Relink is an action RPG for PS4. Featuring music by Final Fantasy series composer Nobuo Uematsu, it includes familiar characters like Gran and Katalina but takes place in a different location. For now, all we know is that PlatinumGames handled the combat part of the game and four player co-op is supported (though you can also play solo with three AI squad-mates). Granblue Fantasy: Relink releases sometime in 2020.





     

    7 Underappreciated Classics For the Sega Dreamcast


    Video game fans of a certain generation will never forget the date 9/9/99—that's the day the Sega Dreamcast launched in the United States, and it's the day we all got an early peek at the future of console gaming.


    The Dreamcast came packed with personality: It combined a custom high-capacity GD-ROM drive, an early second-screen concept of the VMU that doubled as a removable memory card, analog triggers on the controller, VGA output support, battery-backed clock, modem and broadband support (true online console gaming), and playful peripherals galore (network camera, microphone, or fishing controller, anyone?) into an endearingly quirky but capable console that in some ways technologically surpassed the PlayStation 2.


    Of course, Sony's console ended up drastically besting the Dreamcast in sales—and third-party support—curtailing the lifespan of Sega's final console. And although many think the Dreamcast died too soon, it still received its fair share of world-class games. Titles like Sonic Adventure, Shenmue, ChuChu Rocket!, Phantasy Star Online, Crazy Taxi, Skies of Arcadia, and many others are deservedly at home on many best-of-Dreamcast lists.


    But we're here today to take a look at a handful of wonderful Dreamcast games that few people remember today. These are underrated classics that are still worth playing in 2017, with a particular preference for Dreamcast platform exclusives. And since this list is not a comprehensive survey of the best underrated Dreamcast games, I'd love to hear about some of your favorite Dreamcast games in the comments.



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    1. EGG: Elemental Gimmick Gear (2000)

    EGG: Elemental Gimmick Gear (2000)

    Publisher: Vatical Entertainment LLC

    Elemental Gimmick gear combines gorgeous, colorful hand-drawn backgrounds with a competent action-RPG formula similar to 2D Zelda games. It probably fell under the radar in the US because of its quirky EGG robot suit-wearing protagonist that can retract its limbs and spin around like a top. It also has challenging, fully polygonal-3D boss battles. But it's a blast to play, and a must for any Dreamcast fan.








    2. Fire Pro Wrestling D (2001)

    Fire Pro Wrestling D (2001)

    Publisher: Spike Co., Ltd.

    Fire Pro Wrestling is a famous and long-running series in Japan, although it has received very little attention in the US. This Japanese-only entry in the series for the Dreamcast features over 200 wrestlers from American and Japanese wrestling leagues in an incredibly smooth and fun but deep wrestling experience. It's worth importing if you have the capability to play Japanese Dreamcast games.








    3. Record of Lodoss War: Advent of Cardice (2001)

    Record of Lodoss War: Advent of Cardice (2001)

    Publisher: Conspiracy Entertainment Corp.

    If you're a fan of Blizzard's Diablo series and you're also a Dreamcast fan, you absolutely cannot miss Record of Lodoss War, a deep and fun Diablo-alike set in the universe the Japanese fantasy novel series of the same name. But you don't have to be a fan of the Lodoss franchise to enjoy this game: all the standard Western-style fantasy RPG goodness can be found here, including an innovative weapon-leveling system. Get it.








    4. Toy Commander (1999)

    Toy Commander (1999)

    Publisher: SEGA of America, Inc.

    Toy Commander manages to combine the playful innocence of childhood with visceral, sweaty-palm video game combat in a way that betrays neither concept. You play as a kid that takes control of cars, planes, and other vehicles in a suburban house-like setting that makes for a refreshing change from other vehicular combat games. There is a certain joy that comes through in this game that I think has rarely been replicated in other video games, so it still holds up well as a unique experience today.








    5. Cannon Spike (2000)

    Cannon Spike (2000)

    Publisher: Capcom Entertainment, Inc.

    What a strange and wonderful game. This arcade run-and-gun title from Capcom combines Smash TV and Robotron: 2084-like fluid shooting sensibilities with a cast of stars from Capcom's other games (like Arthur from Ghosts 'n Goblins, Cammy from Super Street Fighter, Mega Man, and more). It pits these characters in an unlikely war against zombies and ghastly monsters for reasons I still do not understand. But it plays smooth as butter, and as a two-player co-op title, a buddy can join in the carnage.








    6. Armada (1999)

    Armada (1999)

    Publisher: Metro3D, Inc.

    Armada is one of those unique gems you can only find on the Dreamcast. It combines an Asteroids-like space combat shooter with an action-RPG-like system of ship upgrades, AI ships, and quests (missions). Coolest of all, this game supports four-player local co-op, making good use of the Dreamcast's four built-in controller ports. Upon its release, the press generally derided it—especially since it lost its planned and hyped online component shortly before launch. But in retrospect, I think Armada deserves a special place in the Dreamcast pantheon.








    7. Draconus: Cult of the Wyrm (2000)

    Draconus: Cult of the Wyrm (2000)

    Publisher: Crave Entertainment, Inc.

    Of all the games on this list, Draconus: Cult of the Wyrm surprised me the most when I first played it (several years after its release). On the surface, it looks like a brain-dead-brutal hack-and-slash, but it actually packs fun action RPG elements and wonderful graphics into a fun 3D experience that is definitely one of the most underrated games on the Dreamcast. It also has a unique live animation engine that renders character movement based on physics rather than pre-rigged animations. There's nothing else quite like it, which makes it a must-play for Dreamcast fans.




    Further Reading

    Gaming Reviews

    Gaming Best Picks

     

    Ways Gaming Still Doesn't Respect Its Fans


    91919 so many games 1.jpg


    On September 16, 2019, the official Dragon Quest Twitter account posted that the first three Dragon Quest games were all coming to the Nintendo Switch at the end of the month. My first reaction was, “That’s so cool! I never had a chance to play the original games!” It was shortly followed by, “Wait, I don’t have time to play those games. Does anyone?”



    Keep in mind that these Dragon Quest titles originally released in a time where a “good game” released for consoles/handheld every six months. There was not a weekly release schedule for anything, so we all had the time to sink into these games. The next good game wouldn’t be out for another three to six months, giving people ample opportunity to get everything out of one game before the next appeared on store shelves. In the case of these DQ games, each one can easily rack up well over 100 hours. When you have this much of a stopgap between releases, this time commitment is nothing.






    Naturally, there was a double-edged sword to this. Depending upon what games you liked to play, you may have had to wait a year or so before a game that appealed to you released. Nowadays, AAA games release almost every week, not counting the numerous indie titles that always crop up. Every week, there’s a chance of something you’ll enjoy. 



    We have traded quantity of games for quantity of time.



    I don’t know which is better, but I do know my backlog says this current state of the gaming union is not working for me or my time.



    It is appalling how many games I still have in wrappers. Part of it is because I keep getting games to review (I know, pity poor little me), but another part of it is that I don’t have enough hours in the day.



    I run my own business. I teach yoga. I have two young kids. Fitting in even a couple of hours for video games sounds like a pipe dream. If I attempt to devote my time to a massive JRPG like these, that’s what I’ll be doing for the next few years. In that amount of time, how many other amazeballs games will release that I will have to play right now? This is exactly why I haven’t started The Witcher 3—I’m afraid of the time commitment.





    91919 so many games meme 2.jpg


    For those of you who are scoffing at me because you’re still young, single, and kid-less, just you wait. The time is coming when you will realize the video game industry does not respect your time. 



    You too will wake up one day and look around at the unopened games surrounding your dusty console, wondering when you find time to fit this one game into your schedule. Oh wait, but there is this other game releasing next week that I really want to play with my friends. I should get that and then work out when we can get together and play, when there aren’t sports practices or scout meetings. But then what about this first game I really want to play? Can I do both?



    And that’s when you’ll collapse in a sobbing heap, because while your love for video games hasn’t diminished at all, your time greatly has. Then, a few months down the road, you’ll do this all over again. Rinse, and repeat.



    No respect, I tell you. No respect.






    Keri Honea





     

    The Legendary 'Star Wars' Masterwork That Changed Gaming Forever

    Star Wars has always been a marquee property in media. The popularity of the movies to the widespread love for the formerly-extended universe has not waned for over forty years. Like any multi-media franchise, some adaptations stand out more than others, nostalgic memories overflowing us in our rosy-colored glasses that define our expectations.

    Playing Roles hopes to analyze the history and culture of video game RPGs, looking at tropes, mechanics, the philosophy of design, and even some retrospectives of classic RPG titles. You can find more of them here.


    The movies were always the primary focus for original fans. For those who grew up in the shadow of Star Wars, however, it sometimes comes from the unlikeliest of places, like a video game. Many games have been made for Star Wars before, but very few take a gamble to allow the player to play in the sandbox of the Galaxy Far, Far Away. For many, that nostalgic memory is strongest with one of arguably the best Star War games ever made, the classic RPG Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.

    Now celebrating its 15-year anniversary, Knights of the Old Republic was unique as it was one of the few points in the Star Wars fandom to not focus on the current or future events of the films. It instead looked back to the far past—over 4,000 years in fact—to an age where the Empire never existed. LucasArts at the time was expanding, thanks in part to the success of 1999’s The Phantom Menace, and was looking to increase production on Star Wars media into new territories with video games.


    Enter BioWare, who at the time in 1999 were in early talks with LucasArts for delivering a game. In 1999, BioWare was a rising star on the PC market after the success of Baldur’s Gate. The faithful adaptation of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Rules, along with their team working on two concurrent projects—Baldur’s Gate II and Neverwinter Nights—gave them enough clout to correspond with LucasArts, who asked the company to help co-develop an RPG.

    star wars knights of the old republic screenshot dialogue One of the major decisions was to create a branching storyline based on character dialogue, which in 2003 was unheard of for big-budget RPGs, especially on consoles.

    Famously, LucasArts gave BioWare a choice between setting it during Episode II: Attack of the Clones or in the far past of the Star Wars universe. The team chose the far past, primarily because it allowed for more creative freedom to develop the game with a custom cast of characters. BioWare was also given little restrictions in terms of the game design, with former CEO Ray Muzyka noting that almost all concept art sent to the Skywalker Ranch for approval was accepted, with minor alterations.

    At the time of its release in 2003, few properties delved deeply into Star Wars lore. One of the few examples at the time were the Tales of the Jedi comic series by Dark Horse, which covered the Great Sith War among other events in the early timeline. Knights of the Old Republic would add onto this thread, taking place just after the Great Sith War, expanding on the rise of the Sith fleet against the galaxy. The continuity with Tales of the Jedi would have seen a character from the comics, Vima Sunrider, make an appearance as a main character in the game. However, issues with the Sunrider name forced her out of the game, with replacing her character with Bastila Shan.

    The game's production officially began in 2000, as development was wrapped up on Baldur’s Gate II. The team at the time was working on a new gameplay engine, titled the Aurora Engine, which was used primarily for the development of Neverwinter Nights. LucasArts was impressed by the graphical engine and pushed for BioWare to incorporate the high 3D style into Knights of the Old Republic.

    This proved to be one of the game's biggest challenges during development. The game's director, Casey Hudson, noted that the level of graphical detail was not up to par with the large set pieces planned for the game. Giant hub worlds, such as Taris, were infinitely more complex than anything the team had developed before. Hudson also pushed for a more cinematic-style for Knights of the Old Republic to closely match the movies, including the use of widescreen and sprawling vistas, frame wipes, and other camera tricks to help enhance the viewing experience of the game.


    star wars knights of the old republic screenshot combat While clunky by modern standards, the challenge of marrying a tabletop rules set with a cinematic point of view was met with Knights of the Old Republic.

    The Aurora engine also had to accommodate this cinematic style with the combat mechanics. Knights of the Old Republic was based on an OGL version of the 3rd Edition Dungeon and Dragons game system, which was first released in the Star Wars universe in 2000 by writers Andy Collins, JD Wiker, and Bill Slavicsek. Knights of the Old Republic would be one of the first third-party properties to feature a d20 system in video game form, incorporating numerous feats, talents, skills, and more to fully customize a character into one of six classes.

    For BioWare, much of the overall development process for Knights of the Old Republic was to modify the Aurora Engine to allow for a more cinematic experience. By the time Neverwinter Nights was released in 2002, BioWare had already transitioned to the Odyssey Engine, a heavily modified version of Aurora, for these changes. The Odyssey Engine, at the time, accounted for a high level of graphical detail on character models, along with smaller touches, such as swaying grass in the wind or footsteps kicking up sand on a beach.

    BioWare also had to contend with one final obstacle: bringing the game to the Xbox. BioWare had experience with console releases before, but LucasArts early on wished to release Knights of the Old Republic onto the original Xbox along with the PC without many alterations. At the time, LucasArts believed the original Xbox would be powerful enough to fit such a massive game on the system. Ultimately, some limitations for the Xbox version still needed to be made. Major changes included limiting the number of NPCs on screen and a whole area of the game was exclusive to the PC version. Otherwise, the game was a faithful version of the PC title.


    Between all this though, the biggest contribution Knights of the Old Republic had would be the use of moral choice. As a gameplay mechanic, it was designed partially to have a physical alignment system incorporated into the game, harking back to the tabletop roots of the game's ruleset. This allowed certain powers and abilities to be unlocked exclusively to one’s alignment, regardless of their class, further customizing the experience for the player.

    Alignment also tied into the game's narrative, which was critically acclaimed at the time of release. This is partially due to the massive twist towards the end of the game regarding the relationship between the two primary Sith, Revan and Malak.  It is not an understatement when much of the game's reception and success was from this twist. So much so, LucasArts quickly commissioned a sequel, with BioWare suggesting Obsidian Entertainment helm the sequel due to the strict mandate of a year’s development time.

    star wars knights of the old republic alignment The games morality system, directly tied with light and dark-side choices, became one of its enduring features.

    For BioWare, Knights of the Old Republic would go on to sell an estimated 3.7 million units by 2007, making it BioWare’s most successful title at the time. Despite this, BioWare still struggled as an independent developer. The overall development costs, tied with LucasArts marketing for the game, ballooned to a high amount in 2003. Official numbers are unknown, but by 2005, the multiple projects the team were working on would begin to bleed the company, until the intervention of Microsoft Game Studios who pledged to publish their next title, their first original I.P Jade Empire, in 2005.  Eventually, Microsoft would give the company support for what would arguably be BioWare’s biggest franchise to date; the first Mass Effect in 2007.

    The legacy of Knights of the Old Republic, however, lives on. Not only was it influential in delivering a cinematic style to Star Wars games, but it was able to do so without the star power of recognizable characters, proving that there is a market for more expanded lore in the Star Wars universe. Many of its mechanics would be utilized in future role-playing games throughout the early 2000s. Of particular note is the incorporation of a binary morality system in most RPGs to this day. The game's cinematic style would be improved on by BioWare over the years, becoming one of the hallmarks of their own design philosophy. It would also be the last BioWare game to be fully engrossed in a rule set based on a tabletop setting.

    BioWare would eventually go back to Star Wars with the now successful MMORPG, Star Wars: The Old Republic, a game that would cost nearly $200 million to develop. The Old Republic is also the last active part of the Star Wars expanded universe after the acquisition of the Star Wars brand by Disney erased the expanded universe to implement their own canon.

    The legacy of Knights of the Old Republic is one of taking a chance and expanding beyond what is expected by the fanbase. Fifteen years on, the game still provides the same excitement and aesthetics you would expect from a Star Wars property, and being an RPG, allows players to fully participate in the sandbox more actively than other parts of the franchise. Most importantly, it showed that big budget RPGs for the PC can also be made for consoles, something unheard of in the early 2000s.

    While time has weathered it for sure, Knights of the Old Republic is often cited as one of the most important RPGs of all time due to its innovations and marrying of role-playing mechanics to a cinematic style. It was the game that put BioWare on the map and to this day has fans asking for more games and stories in the Old Republic period. It is a heritage that will never be forgotten.

    It's been a long time since I did a Playing Roles article. I figure if were going to revisit this series, might as well start by doing a short retrospective on one of the most popular RPGs of all time. 


    I hope you did enjoy this retrospective. Any other RPG's you want to see us cover? Leave your comments below. 

     

    The Strange, Sci-Fi 'Legend of Zelda' We Never Got to Play

    The Phillips CD-i Zelda games really didn't have to be as terrible as they turned out. It all started when Nintendo and Sony got into a messy fight about developing a CD-based video game system and brought Phillips into it. That was entirely Nintendo's fault. Thing is, acquiring some Legend of Zelda character properties wound up being Phillips' consolation prize for basically being the hot boytoy Nintendo used to make Sony jealous, not realizing it would lead to a messy divorce that would screw everyone over except for Sony.




    The Zelda game properties for the Phillips CD-i actually started out promising, despite the almost total lack of involvement from Nintendo. Philips brought in Dale DeSharone, a developer famous for the critically acclaimed RPG adventure game Below The Root. Then things went to crap.



    The release of the Phillips CD-i system kept getting pushed back. DeSharone's supervisor, Steve Yellick, took his own life during the early development stages, which made him now the lead of a project he wasn't really planning on investing years into, but now couldn't escape. Philips insisted on sticking with 1987 technology, despite the release date inching closer and closer to 1991. Budget constraints meant the cut-scene animation for two of the three games was farmed out to Russia, leading to the histrionic flapping mess of a "plot" that the internet has made fun of ever since.




    Phillips justified screwing over DeSharone and the rest of the game design team because they wanted the CD-i to be a "multimedia system" rather than just for games, which they practically sneered at. In the end, however, Phillips lost a billion dollars with the CD-i experiment, which serves them right for dragging these classic characters through the mud.















     

    Best Games That Are Actually Based on Books


    Top 10 Best Games Based on Books








    by
    Taneli Palola
    , posted on 19 October 2018 / 4,219 Views

    Books have, historically, not been the most popular medium when it comes to adapting existing works into video game form. Countless movies and TV shows have received their own video games, but books have never been quite as popular. Perhaps the reason is that books are inherently more difficult to adapt into video games than other, already visual mediums like films. However, that's not to say that there aren't any great video game book adaptations out there.


    The one criterion I have for this list is that it's not enough for the game to be set in the same world as the book or take inspiration from it. Rather, it has to share a significant number of characters, storyline details, and other elements to make it onto this list. For example, Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor and its sequel do not count as book adaptations. The games can differ in one or more aspects, but have to have clear and strong connections to the source material to be valid. With that in mind, here are the ten best video games based on books (in my opinion, of course).



    10. Dune II: The Building of a Dynasty/Battle for Arrakis


    (Based on Dune by Frank Herbert)


     Dune II


    We start the list with a game that is in many ways responsible for the rise of the RTS genre in the early to mid 90s. However, it is also a slightly tricky entry, as the argument could be made that Dune II is actually inspired more by the film Dune rather than the original book by Frank Herbert. Still, there are still a lot of direct connections to the original novel in the video game to justify its place on this list.


    Taking place on the desert planet of Arrakis, the only place where a valuable drug called Melange (more commonly as ”the spice”) exists. On the planet three competing noble houses - Harkonnen, Atreides, and Ordos - battle over control of the planet and its spice reserves in order to gain favour with the emperor.


    Overall, Dune II is a fairly loose adaptation of the novel, taking the setting, important themes, names, and other such elements including the basic premise from the book, but then telling its own self-contained story from that point on. This is mainly due to the fact that the game has three different playable factions, each with their own storyline, whereas the book is mainly focussed on the point of view of House Atreides.



    9. Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth


    (Based on The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett)


     The Pillars of the Earth


    The Pillars of the Earth is likely not the kind of book that most people would think to make a video game adaptation from. A historical novel about the building of a cathedral in a fictional English town of Kingsbridge in the 12th century doesn't really strike one as the kind of story you could make a video game about. Yet that's exactly what Daedalic Entertainment did with this point-and-click adventure game that released in 2017.


    This one is definitely a very particular kind of game that requires the player to be in a specific frame of mind to enjoy. It's a very slow-paced, narrative-heavy title that isn't really interested in high tension drama or fast-paced action. The Pillars of the Earth certainly takes its time weaving its narrative, which covers several decades and features several playable characters.


    For any fan of well-written historical fiction The Pillars of the Earth should be on their list of games to play. It captures the feeling of the era and the location it depicts, and contains just enough actual historical facts while still telling a largely fictional tale to come off as genuinely authentic. It's also an absolutely gorgeous game, with beautiful backgrounds and character designs, which certainly helps in making the world feel real and authentic.



    8. I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream


    (Based on I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison)


     I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream


    I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream is one of those games that a lot of people generally seem to know by reputation, but few have actually taken the time to play it, which is a shame because it truly is an excellent (and quite disturbing) point-and-click adventure game. It's also an unusual adaptation, especially for a video game, as the writer of the original story, Harlan Ellison, was heavily involved in the development process, writing much of the script and even voicing the game's main antagonist, the supercomputer AM.


    It's set on a post-apocalyptic Earth where a highly intelligent supercomputer annihilated most of the human race after developing sentience and absorbing two other supercomputers into its programming. Now calling itself AM, the supercomputer has spent the last 109 years torturing and modifying five human subjects, altering their minds and bodies however it saw fit, and is now presenting them with a game to play. AM presents the characters with their own personal psychodramas, praying on their deepest fears and personal demons.


    The game takes the story premise, the characters, and a lot of the events straight from Ellison's novel, but alters certain details and aspects, while also adding new elements in to the mix, including making the story open-ended with seven different possible endings players can reach depending on their actions. However, it's very much in the bleak spirit of the original story; only one of the endings can be considered a positive outcome, while the rest involve varying degrees of hopelessness. It's certainly not the most joyful of experiences, but it's very much worth playing nonetheless.



    7. Parasite Eve


    (Based on Parasite Eve by Hideaki Sena)


     Parasite Eve


    In the early-to-mid 90s horror experienced a huge resurgence in popularity in Japan, with numerous books and films driving this rise. One of these was Hideaki Sena's 1995 science fiction horror novel Parasite Eve, which alongside other releases such as Ring in 1992 made Japanese horror hugely popular during the decade.


    Of course, with these books came adaptations, Parasite Eve alone getting a film, two manga series and, of course, three action RPG video games. The first Parasite Eve, released in 1998 on the original PlayStation, came out just as horror video games were pushing their way into the mainstream with the likes of Resident Evil finding huge success. Parasite Eve was more of an RPG than a true horror game, but the novel's influence is easy to see nonetheless.


    As an adaptation Parasite Eve is actually a sequel to Sena's novel, taking the novel's premise as its basis and using it as the backstory for its own narrative. Besides that, the most significant shared element between the book and the game is Eve, the main villain born out of mitochondria that has evolved to the point of sentience and is now seeking to supplant humans and other similar life forms as the dominant species on Earth. The video game does an excellent job capturing the foreboding atmosphere and sense of fear found in the novel, and in general is an excellent adaptation.



    6.The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy


    (Based on The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams)


     The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy


    Another game where the author of the book it was based on was heavily involved during development is The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which is based on the novel of the same name by Douglas Adams. Being a text-based adventure game, it presents arguably one of the most accurate portrayals of the style and tone of the source material out of any game based on a book. This is a very good thing as these kinds of games live and die almost entirely based on the quality of the writing.


    Naturally, the main reason behind this was Adams himself writing most of the game's text and dialogue, as well as designing much of it with Steve Meretzky. This made for a very authentic experience that genuinely felt like it was the actual book you were reading. It's also a rare case of a game that is intentionally funny, leveraging the nihilistic, often surreal style of humour Adams is known for.


    Of course, since this is a text adventure game there are likely very few people reading this who have actually played it, as the genre isn't exactly popular these days. However, for any fan of Adams' books, or just fans of well written and funny stories in general, this should be on your list of games to play, especially as it's free for everyone to play online.



    5. Metro 2033


    (Based on Metro 2033 by Dmitry Glukhovsky)


     Metro 2033


    Some people may have expected to see Metro: Last Light here, but that particular title doesn't actually share that much in common with the novels these games are based on, outside of the main character Artyom and the post-apocalyptic setting. Metro 2033, on the other hand, is a fairly faithful adaptation of Glukhovsky's original novel, taking the setting, many of the characters, and storyline details directly from the book.


    As the name suggests, Metro 2033 takes place in the year 2033 in the Moscow metro tunnels, after a nuclear war 20 years prior devastated the world and forced people to move underground to survive. A group of mysterious creatures known as the Dark Ones attack one of the stations, prompting Artyom to seek help in dealing with this threat from the rest of the communities living in the metro tunnels.


    The greatest achievement of Metro 2033, in my opinion, is how it successfully builds tension and mystery surrounding the Dark Ones. A lot of this also comes from the game's world, which almost becomes a character in its own right as the game progresses. The dark and claustrophobic tunnels always loom around the player, and this in turn make the areas where people still live havens of safety that nonetheless have a hint of uncertainty to them.



    4. Enslaved: Odyssey to the West


    (Based on Journey to the West by Wu Cheng'en)


     Enslaved: Odyssey to the West


    Out of all the games on this list Enslaved: Odyssey to the West is perhaps the one that is the furthest away from being a direct adaptation of the original novel, and because of that I almost left it out of the list completely. In the end, though, it does share enough of the story it was adapted from – the 16th century Chinese epic novel Journey to the West - that I decided to include it.


    Of course, the main difference between the novel and the video game is the setting. The game takes the classic Chinese tale and places it in a post-apocalyptic North America, hundreds of years in the future. Various plot details have also been changed, but the central concept and the main characters still retain similar roles as in the novel. Still, of the games on this list it is by far the loosest adaptation, going more towards preserving the themes and tone of the original, while taking a much more liberal approach to the rest of the source material.


    As a game, Enslaved is the title that made me a fan of Ninja Theory. Prior to this the company was best known for the PS3 launch title Heavenly Sword, but I've always considered Enslaved to be a vastly superior game. Ninja Theory has always been excellent at telling stories and creating interesting and nuanced characters, and Enslaved is no exception. It's a great game in my opinion, and while it takes liberties with its source material, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West is one of the best book to video game adaptations ever.



    3. Spec Ops: The Line


    (Based on Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad)


     Spec Ops: The Line


    Basing the story of a video game on a literary classic is always a rather thankless undertaking. Even at best of times video games are still often not taken as seriously in mainstream media, and deciding to adapt a beloved work into a video game, especially one that has already been adapted into a highly regarded film, can lead to heavy scrutiny and derision towards the developer.


    Fortunately, this didn't deter Yager Development when the developer decided to take Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness and use it as the basis for the game Spec Ops: The Line. It was a brave move, but one that paid off hugely in the end. While the game changes certain elements and details, like moving the story to the devastated city of Dubai and changing the names of characters, the major elements are still intact and executed wonderfully.


    However, what truly makes the game stand out from other titles is how it uses features unique to the medium of video games to slowly erode the player's confidence in themselves and what they see in the game. It lets players make seemingly important choices throughout the story, but the further the player gets the more uncertain things around the main character become, to the point that it's almost impossible to say what is actually real and what is not until the very final twist in the story.



    2. The Witcher III: Wild Hunt


    (Based on The Witcher series by Andrzej Sapkowski)


     The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt


    Probably the most obvious entry on this list, and one that most people are likely familiar with at least to some degree. Based on The Witcher book series by Andrzej Sapkowski, the trilogy of games made by CD Projekt Red between 2008 and 2015 are essentially a continuation of the story from the books, with the first game taking place two years after the novel The Lady of the Lake, which is, at least so far, the final book in the series chronologically.


    While all three games have their fans, it's the third one that is often considered the peak of the series, and in general one of the best games released in recent years. Naturally, as it's a sequel rather than a retelling of the story from the books, The Witcher III is able to take what it needs from the original stories and use those as a foundation for the story it wants to tell without being shackled by any pre-existing boundaries.


    Sapkowski's books are some of the best fantasy literature written in the last 30 years and are also among my personal favourites within the genre. Fortunately the games have lived up to that high standard, not only staying faithful to the tone and style of the original novels, but also creating a gorgeous and enticing original story around the existing characters and world. It's without question one of the best book to video game adaptations ever.



    1. Suikoden II


    (Based on Water Margin by Shi Nai'an)


     Suikoden II


    I would guess that most people aren't even aware of the fact that the entire Suikoden series is loosely based on a Chinese novel called Water Margin, from which the idea of the 108 Stars of Destiny that runs through the core of the entire Suikoden franchise comes from. The novels tell a story set during the Song dynasty (960-1279), about a group of 108 outlaws that set up their own army and fight against a corrupt government.


    While the entire Suikoden series is at least loosely based on the novel Water Margin, the game I decided to pick here is Suikoden II. One of the many excellent JRPGs on the original PlayStation, Suikoden II differentiated itself from other games of its genre with its focus on political themes and warfare. While most other JRPGs usually go for a fairly fantastical approach with their stories and settings, the Suikoden series has generally felt more mature and grounded by comparison.


    In the end, Water Margin serves mostly as a thematic origin point for Suikoden II, providing many of the basic ideas running through the center of the game's narrative, as well as serving as the main inspiration for the setting but not necessarily sharing characters or locations with it. In fact, as far as adaptations go, the first Suikoden is the closest to the original novel in terms of story, but Suikoden II is the better game, so it gets to top the list.


     Suikoden II Art


    There are of course countless other video games that have been adapted from books since the early 1970s, and there's no way I could include all of them on a list of just ten, not to mention that I am probably not even aware of some such games even existing. So, if I happened to miss your favourite book-based video game for one reason or another, please share it in the comments below.


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    These Disney PlayStation Handheld Games Take Us Way Back


    A Look Back at Disney Games on PlayStation Handhelds








    by
    Adam Cartwright
    , posted on 23 February 2019 / 2,612 Views

    There are few brands out there that have anything like the appeal and recognition of Disney. Thanks to decades of beautiful and critically acclaimed animated films, the company is a household name that has expanded beyond just movies to include a variety of other ventures, including videogames. Disney has also grown its lineup considerably in recent years by acquiring Marvel, Pixar, and Star Wars (although for the purposes of this article, I’ll only be covering Disney/Pixar output).


    Thanks to their broad audience, Disney games usually show up on every viable platform out there, meaning that despite the brand’s affinity with Nintendo’s younger-skewing audience, both the PSP and Vita received a number of titles throughout their lives. Some of this was through Disney's own developer/publisher (Disney Interactive Studios), but the firm also licensed out its IPs for other companies to try their hand at – with somewhat mixed results.


    The very first time I wrote about a series of games on the Vita, it was for the LEGO franchise – a collection of licensed tie-ins often using platformer gameplay and quirky references to appeal to both younger and older audiences. So it felt right to return to a comparable series here, because even if the titles aren’t all necessarily related in story or setting, many utilise the same sense of Disney wonderment that make the company's animated films such a success.



    Portable Classics

    Probably the best place to start this article is to go back to the beginning of Disney games on PlayStation hardware, with the release of the very first PlayStation, when a number of different publishers were trying their hands at making tie-ins to classic Disney films. Many of the titles which landed on that console came to the PSP (and by extension Vita) with the launch of the PS1 classics program in 2006, which allowed them to be downloaded and taken on the go.



    Among the titles offered through the program were things like 102 Dalmations, A Bug’s Life, Atlantis, Toy Story 2, and Lilo & Stitch – early outings into the 3D platformer genre (which had flourished on the PS1), which usually had you running around finding dozens of collectible items and jumping on the heads of bad guys. Of them, Toy Story 2: Buzz Lightyear to the Rescue! was seen as one of the better entries in the genre (sadly the TV show tie-in Buzz Lightyear of Star Command didn’t receive the same acclaim), while the others were a bit more forgettable, although they could generally be fun if you were a fan of the source material.


    Just as common were 2D platformers designed around older sensibilities, such as the beautifully animated Hercules: Action Game or Tarzan, both based on the moderately popular films, as well as Mickey’s Wild Adventure, which was an original platformer starring the firm’s mascot. There was also a further game based on Pixar’s biggest IP in Toy Story Racer, which aped Mario Kart‘s design for a fairly enjoyable time. All of the aforementioned titles are available on Vita through backwards-compatibility.



    My personal favourite of the bunch is Monsters Inc: Scare Island, a game which has you running around as Mike and Sulley practicing their intimidation skills in a training course designed for monsters. It was a first foray into the Disney licensed arena for Sony – something the company would revisit many years later for its handhelds.



    The THQ Era

    Throughout much of the seventh generation (which is when Sony introduced its handheld PSP console), one publisher seemed to have a monopoly on family-friendly software, including Disney/Pixar games. That was THQ, whose titles remain on the PlayStation Store despite the company itself going bankrupt in 2012.



    THQ's debut effort on Sony portables was a tie-in game for Pixar’s Cars. In contrast to the 3D platformers Disney games were known for up until that point, this was a racing title that had you playing as Lightning McQueen and friends. It was actually fairly solid, capturing the feel of the film while still being enjoyable to play. It proved to be a successful formula that THQ would attempt to emulate years later with Cars Race-O-Rama, but sadly this wasn’t quite as well received.


    Following this, THQ went in a more familiar direction. Ratatouille was a very traditional 3D platformer that had you playing as Remy, following the events of the film, in a game that was far from essential but was nonetheless a decent amount of fun. Then there was Wall-E, which was based on a PS2 version of a multi-platform release spanning generations.



    A further tie-in to Up was released in 2009 and it included some interesting character-switching mechanics. Sadly, THQ’s license quickly ran out after this and it would be the last of its Disney titles. The company bowed to financial pressures and exited gaming altogether soon thereafter.



    Disney’s Own Efforts

    While Disney would continue to license out its Pixar films to publishers such as THQ during most of the seventh generation, it also continued to produce content through its own subsidiary - Disney Interactive Games - providing an even broader range of content for Sony’s handhelds.



    For example, there were multiple games based on the popular Pirates of the Caribbean film series (which itself was based on a ride at Disneyland, amusingly). Dead Man’s Chest was an action-adventure title that released in 2006, quickly followed by another tie-in to At World’s End in 2007. Both are available on PSN as a double pack, and although neither is particularly memorable, they can provide a good swashbuckling distraction. Disney also worked with Warner Bros. to create LEGO: Pirates of the Caribbean in 2011, which was a tonne of fun, even if the PSP port was merely an up-ressed DS game.


    Disney continued to work in partnership with other publishers beyond this, such as with Square-Enix on the-then latest entry in its long-running crossover RPG series Kingdom Hearts, entitled Birth by Sleep. It was seen by many as the best handheld entry in the franchise to-date, as well as being a return to form following a number of questionable releases. Sadly, due to licensing issues, Birth by Sleep was never made available on PSN, meaning you’re unable to play it on Vita without hacking it.



    Elsewhere, in 2010 the company worked on Toy Story 3 (a 3D platformer) and Tron: Evolution (a bizarre combat/platformer/racing hybrid), neither of which were particularly well received on Sony’s handheld thanks to their stripped-down content (for example on consoles, Toy Story 3 included a toy box mode that allowed you to create your own levels, something that would be a template for their later series Disney Infinity). This low effort was a precursor to what would follow which was dropping support completely, but an unexpected source stepped in to continue bringing Disney games to Sony handhelds.



    Sony Steps In

    An odd partnership was struck in 2011 between Disney and Sony, where the Spanish developer Virtual Toys was commissioned to make games based on a variety of Disney’s IP’s for Sony’s handheld lines, likely as part of a broader attempt to engage younger gamers with Sony's platforms (this also included things like the new IP Invizimals).



    This first happened for Cars 2, based on the Pixar sequel from 2011. Rather bizarrely, instead of being a port of any pre-existing version, Cars 2 was a bespoke experience built specifically for the PSP, shifting the racing mechanics to an isometric perspective reminiscent of Micro Machines. This was followed in 2012 by a direct port of Phineas & Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension, again for the PSP, although by this point it was clear that the initiative would have to shift over to a newer platform, not least because Phineas had some major performance problems.


    This happened a couple of years later in 2014 when Muppets Movie Adventures released on PlayStation Vita, Sony’s handheld replacement for the PSP. Another bespoke experience, and one that attempted to make use of the console’s unique inputs, it unfortunately was a bit of a boring mess that isn’t really worth playing. That was a shame, given previous Muppets titles had proved in the past that they could be pretty fun.



    Virtual Toys worked on one last Disney game on Vita in 2015, which was Phineas & Ferb: Day of Doofenshmirtz. An expansion of the gameplay basis that had been developed in Across the 2nd Dimension, it offered some enjoyable if uninspired 3D platforming action that thankfully was a big improvement over Muppets.



    A Last Few Handheld Disney Games

    Between 2008 and 2012, Disney Interactive Studios reportedly lost over $200m per year, causing some deep restructuring of the company and shifting priorities. This is undoubtedly one of the reasons the company never really pledged any support for Vita. However, beyond its work with Virtual Toys, Sony also engaged other developers to bring this missing content to its handheld.



    For example, one of Disney’s biggest titles of the seventh generation was Epic Mickey, a sweeping 3D platformer which aimed to tell the tale of Disney's mascot and his history throughout the years. It spawned a sequel in 2012 (Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two), which Sony paid to be ported to Vita a year later. It was a bizarre decision, and the game itself received a very lukewarm critical reception, but it did at least provide a nice bit of variety for the console’s library.


    Sony also got involved in bringing Disney’s even bigger gamble to the handheld - Disney Infinity. Disney Infinity was an ambitious entry in the toys-to-life genre which allowed gamers to play in the fantastical worlds of Marvel, Pixar, and eventually Star Wars, as well as build their own levels using in-depth creation tools. The second entry, Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Super Heroes, received a belated port in 2015 which included an exclusive Black Suit Spider Man figure, but it failed to set the sales charts alight due to its tardy appearance and the toys-to-life concept not fitting all that well with a portable platform.



    This led to the third entry – Disney Infinity 3.0 – skipping Vita altogether, although by this point it was becoming clear that the franchise was failing to hit its sales targets and support would soon be pulled altogether.



    Future Disney Games on Vita

    I’ve already written extensively about Vita now ending production worldwide and, unsurprisingly, younger-gamer-friendly titles like those based on Disney IPs are among the first to go when a console is reaching the end of its life. Virtual Toys (the developer of numerous Disney games from 2011 onwards) moved on to a PS4 MOBA after Phineas & Ferb launched and since then appears to have shut down, while Sony itself rapidly withdrew support for its own handheld. The latter in particular was a shame because at one point tie-ins to Monsters University and Mickey’s Haunted Mansion were announced by Sony’s Spanish division.



    In fact, Disney games on consoles in general seem much less prevalent these days – instead they’ve shifted over to mobile as the AA market has somewhat fallen through. The odd title to slip through the cracks here and there, such as Cars 3: Driven to Win, haven't release on Vita, which is unsurprising but a little disappointing all the same.



    Conclusion

    Despite often being aimed at younger gamers, there’s a lot of fun to be had with some Disney titles, making them a nice addition to any console’s library. While this meant they’ve naturally gravitated more towards Nintendo machines over the years, due to a better audience match, there’s still a nice selection of games available on both PS1 & PSP, including some solid 3D platformers such as Monsters Inc: Scare Island and Wall-E.


    As for the Vita, the bankruptcy of THQ and heavy restructurings at Disney Interactive Studios left the handheld without much representation, but for whatever reason Sony stepped in and decided to start paying for ports of these titles by itself; a bizarre move given Sony's lack of support elsewhere in the handheld’s library. While Disney Infinity 2.0, Epic Mickey 2, and Phineas & Ferb: Day of Doofenshmirtz may not go down as among the best games ever made, they nonetheless helped broaden the platform's library.


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    6 Great Cyberpunk Tabletop Games to Keep You Going Until 2077

    The release of Cyberpunk 2077 is 6 months away so we decided to list our top 6 Cyberpunk tabletop products to keep you going until release. Cyberpunk 2077 is the video game adaptation of the Cyberpunk RPG by Mike Pondsmith, which was first published in 1988. 2077 is a first-person, open-world RPG and is set for release on 16 April 2020.

    Cyberpunk 2020 / Cyberpunk RedCyberpunk 2020 / Cyberpunk Red - Roleplaying Game

    The most obvious place to start in getting your Cyberpunk fix is where it all began. But you don’t need to track down a 30-year-old rulebook to experience it. R. Talsorian Games have re-released the 2020 Rulebook, and most expansion sourcebooks are still available in print.




    If you want something more recent, Cyberpunk Red is a brand new release of the Cyberpunk system and is a prequel to the 2077 video game. The Jumpstart Kit contains everything players need to get started with Cyberpunk Red, including a quickstart rulebook, sourcebook, dice, card stand-ups, and some maps.



    The Jumpstart Kit will be followed up with a full Cyberpunk Red RPG release, which will have lore covering the time between 2020 and 2077.





    Why play Cyberpunk 2020 / Cyberpunk Red? - To get right into the feel of 2077. The system is fast, brutal and stylish, just like you’ll need to be to survive in Night City.




    What do you need? - Get the Cyberpunk 2020 rulebook and some 10-sided dice (D10s) and you’re good to go, or you can get the Cyberpunk Red Jumpstart Kit which has everything you need to start your first few games.



    infinityInfinity - Skirmish Game

    Infinity is a Sci-Fi miniatures skirmish game. Skirmish games are different from full-blown wargames in that you control a small number of individuals and units, rather than large fighting squads or ranks of soldiers. This makes the games relatively quick and easy to get in to.




    Infinity has several factions available, and a few 2-player starter sets to help get you into the game. The latest set, Operation WildFire, sees the security force of the O-12 battling against an alien covert unit. The pack has everything you need to get going with Infinity.



    If you really want to go full Cyberpunk, my faction of choice, the JSA are for you. The JSA faction starter has 2 characters that may be familiar to fans of Ghost in the Shell, along with a scythe-wielding bike rider, a Daiyokai and a cyber ninja. You can read our full report on the JSA starter pack here.



    You can also go full hacker with the Tunguska Sectorial army. They not only look ridiculously Cyberpunk, but hacking is their strength and it can be used for taking out enemy equipment, or defending against other hackers.




    Why play Infinity? - Infinity has a lot of Cyberpunk elements, and not just in looks. Hacking and protecting against hacking is hugely important. It does have a steep learning curve, but the starter packs have an awesome onboarding process to get you playing quickly, as well as everything you need to play in a handy box.




    What do you need? The Infinity Starter Packs and Army Packs have everything you need to play, which are starter rules, dice, scenery, tokens and templates, and some incredible miniatures. The full rules are available for free in their entirety online and the profiles for all units are available for free on Infinity Army, so you can get going with just some miniatures and a few 20-sided dice (D20s).




    There is also an Infinity RPG produced by Corvus Belli and Modiphius. You can read our review of the core book here.



    NetrunnerAndroid Netrunner - Card Game

    Android Netrunner, which is now unfortunately out of print, is included here simply because of how good it is. The original Netrunner was released by Wizards of the Coast and was based in the 2020 setting. Android Netrunner was a Living Card Game released by Fantasy Flight Games and set in their own Android universe. The game featured cyber combat between hackers and mega-corporations.



    A Cyberpunk 2020 supplement, Brainware Blowout, included the rules for using the original Netrunner cards instead of the RPG rules for hacking.



    Fantasy Flight’s Android Netrunner, based in their own Android setting, shares a lot of similarities on theme with Cyberpunk but is set in different cities (universes) due to the licenses between the companies.





    Why play Android Netrunner? - It’s an incredible, deep and exciting card game. Its grasp of theme is awesome and it’s reported that some of the development team of Cyberpunk 2077 are fans of the game.




    What do you need? - If you can get hold of some of the original Netrunner, you’d need some starter decks to get going. If you want to play Android Netrunner, getting hold of the full experience now is difficult now it’s out of print, but the secondhand market has them available. You can start with just the core set and build up your collection from there if you like it.



    It’s worth noting that FFG have their own Android RPG, called Shadow of the Beanstalk, within their Genesys rules system. We covered it in an On The Tabletop article here.



    Human InterfaceHuman Interface Be A Better Human - Board Game

    Human Interface Be A Better Human is the 2nd Kickstarter for Human Interface. The first, Nakamura Tower, is available through the second hand-market, but Be A Better Human is the most up to date release. Both, however, are compatible with each other.



    Be A Better Human is a cooperative board game that’s extremely Cyberpunk. The miniatures and equipment have a firm grasp on the setting. It also blends the hacking phase with the real world phase extremely well. You can read our On The Tabletop report for it here.



    Human Interface has several different playstyle options. You can play solo or co-operative against the AI. One player can take control of the NPCs and play it like an RPG with the other players working together against them, or you can play a skirmish mode, with players building their own forces and fighting against each other. Hacking in all modes has an impact on the game, and securing doors, infecting enemy systems and controlling the TAC value, which has a direct effect on combat effectiveness, is all integral to the game.




    Why play Human Interface Be A Better Human? - It’s a system that as a lot of options for how you want to play it. The Cyberwarfare phase is directly linked to the real world phase and it has a great grasp of the Cyberpunk theme. The miniatures are also incredible.




    What do you need? The core Be A Better Human set is available through Postindustrial Game’s website, but for the full experience, get the Blood on the Floor and Kickstarter Exclusive’s as it has some incredible miniatures and extra options.



    Core SpaceBattle Systems Cyberpunk Scenery / Core Space - Scenery/Board Game

    If you want some scenery for your Cyberpunk tabletop games, Battle Systems have you covered. Their modular Cyberpunk scenery set is extremely versatile and easy to set up as well as being full of detail and very durable.



    The walls for their scenery easily clip together and can be combined with their other sets. There are also spaces on the walls for clip-on accessories like signs and girders. The other scenery that comes in the set—the bunks, lockers, and computers—also clip onto the walls as well to give you a secure battlefield scene. The doors and windows for the set pop out and can be replaced for control of entry points and line of sight blocking terrain.



    Battle Systems' own Core Space game comes with the same Cyberpunk Scenery set included, so if you’re looking to pick up the scenery, for a little extra, you get can get an incredible game on top. Core Space is a sci-fi game of salvage and survival. Each player controls a team of traders, trying to gather equipment and complete missions while avoiding the Purge, a cybernetic force of harvesters collecting organic matter. Games are semi-cooperative and a lot of fun.




    Why play Core Space? - As well as coming with a great amount of versatile Cyberpunk-esque scenery, it’s an incredibly versatile game. It can be played solo against the AI, semi-cooperatively, cooperatively, a player can control the enemies like an RPG GM, or you can just play skirmish against each other if that’s what you want. The game is as versatile as the scenery and there are creation tools available for you to create your own crew, missions, enemies, or you can use those available in the sets. The rules are simple, allowing you to concentrate on the action in-game.




    What do you need? The Core Space starter set has 2 crews, some civilian non-player characters (NPCs), a range of enemies, a neoprene gaming mat, loads of incredible scenery, all the tokens, cards and boards you need to play and the rulebook. There are also several expansion packs available to add more crews, enemies, NPCs, and missions. If you want to get further into Core Space, a Deluxe rulebook, that has an expanded rules system, along with a detailed campaign system is available, but the rulebook in the starter set is enough to get you going.



    Reality's EdgeReality’s Edge - Skirmish Game Rulebook

    Reality’s Edge is a Cyberpunk skirmish game rules-set. It doesn’t have its own range of miniatures or anything pre-determined beyond the rules it details. As long as you adjust the scale (it’s designed for 28-32mm miniatures) to suit, you can play it with anything. You can mix the miniatures from any of the above games we’ve talked about, or any system of your choosing if it suits the characters you want to put in your crew.



    What Reality’s Edge does, is give you a simple but effective skirmish system, followed by a huge amount of detail about weapons, cyberware and gear, along with skill details and apps that hackers can use in-game to have an effect on the real world.



    The system requires a single D10 for tests, with players rolling off and adding their traits and any modifiers, which keeps the system fast-paced and straight-forward to run.



    Games of Reality’s Edge can be played as one-off battles, but a full campaign system is included so that you can build your crew from an entry-level group of hopers to a high-level corporate powerhouse.



    The setting for Reality’s Edge details all the Cyberpunk you need but keeps it vague enough that it can be set nearly anywhere, giving you a truly open system to explore and adapt for your own experience.




    Why play Reality’s Edge? - It’s a fast and simple system, that lets you focus on the details of your crew. The weapons, equipment and apps details in the book give a huge amount of crew design flexibility and are great if you’re looking for a system that doesn’t constrict you to predetermined miniatures or forces.




    What do you need? - You need the Reality’s Edge rulebook, a D10, a D6 and then miniatures to represent yours and your opponent’s forces and possibly those of any non-player characters you want in your games.





    What's your favorite Cyberpunk tabletop game? Have you played any on our list? What are you doing to prepare for 2077? Let us know in the comments below.

     

     

    This Cyberpunk RPG Has a Really Cringeworthy Obsession

    Gamedec, a Kickstarter from Anshar Studios, promises to be an isometric cyberpunk detective RPG. That's a lot of info to take in as it is, but what I didn't expect is just how much much of this game made me physically cringe. Gamedec's complex RPG systems, branching dialogue trees, and dialogue skill checks remind me a bit of detective RPG Disco Elysium, but it all ends up fading into the background as all dialogue devolves into a 13-year-old boy's understanding of sex. Three hours with the Alpha Build for Gamedec left me feeling equal parts gross and disappointed.

    An Interesting but Tired Setting

    GD1
    This was the fourth individual prostitute I had to proposition to progress the plot.

    Gamedec has a few strengths to discuss before I get into all that, though. The artwork is intriguing right away, for one. This is a bit of a reach, but imagine a 2020 version of the long-forgotten 1997 point-and-click game The Longest Journey, and you have the exact aesthetic of Gamedec. Anshar Studios 100% commits to their cyberpunk aesthetic and even hints at the larger "punk" theme of their setting. Similar to Ready Player One or Snow Crash, the world of the far-future sees an entire virtual world that anyone can choose to live in. This kind of setup isn't new for a sci-fi world, and especially for a cyberpunk game, but it's one of those things that keeps being used because it works.


    There are a near-infinite number of worlds to visit; some are for exploring, some for shopping, some for video games and some to just escape into until you die (or even after you die, Black Mirror style). Gamedec mentions all this in passing and then lifts to curtain to reveal that the only thing it's really used for is virtual sex. The corporate overlords run every piece of everyone's life, and it's up to you, the scrappy down-on-his-luck detective, to crack some of the worst cyber crimes imaginable. But again, they are all very concentrated around sex.


    A Combat-Free RPG

    GD2
    The neuron-like layout of the story map was confusing and often left me unsure of what I had done or was supposed to do.

    Gamedec has no combat, much like the aforementioned Disco Elysium. Instead, the protagonist picks a class at the beginning and has a skill tree that can be filled out by navigating through dialogue trees. Each class only gives the player a boost in that specific skill set, rather than locking them into it; if you choose to be a hacker, you can still apply earned skill points to charisma and conversation-based stats. Clicking through specific dialogue options is usually pretty freeform, but occasionally you'll say something to lock you into a specific timeline. A story map will appear to warn you that the decision you're making will have further ramifications. I want to note that there were a ton of spelling and grammar mistakes in this Alpha build. I counted several dozen. In a text-based adventure game with nothing else going on, it's pretty sloppy to not even get the text right.


    In practice, most of my time with Gamedec was just clicking through every possible option in each dialogue tree to try and progress the story. Gamedec has a small window that tells the player their next mission, but it's often vague with no real explanations. It ends up being a lot of clicking everything you can find until something happens. Each of the characters I met were, to put it mildly, reproachable, including the protagonist. None of them were interesting, all of them were pathetic in some way and at least half of them were on-duty prostitutes. Every single woman I met was a prostitute and carried herself in a way so demeaning to women I cannot for a moment believe a single woman was involved in the production of Gamedec. Which leads into my next point.


    Gamedec is Unbelievably Horny

    GD3
    What could I possibly caption this with?

    Gamedec is so obsessed with the idea of sex that I have trouble finding words to convey it. Starting right from the beginning as you take your first mission in the Alpha, you're assigned to investigate a billionaire's underage son who has hired an adult prostitute to have sex with him and his friend in the virtual world. The dialogue almost immediately devolves into what I can only describe as a 13-year-old boy who has never talked to a girl thinks flirting is. Gamedec's idea of "flirting" is an adult man telling an adult woman that her boobies are big and squeezable. It's not a one-time gag - the dialogue got even more cringey as the Alpha build went on. Gamedec is quite serious about how excited it is about the prospect of sex. The complete dedication to making Gamedec a male power fantasy was surprising to me, as I have seen no indication that this is what the game was supposed to be on the Kickstarter page.


    Once I hopped into the virtual world to start game-decking, I found that all ten of the individuals available to talk to only wanted to talk about sex. Most of them were completely focused on propositioning my own bland, emotionless protagonist for sex, either in exchange for money or for free. There was a very horny unicorn (har har) that kept making inappropriate sexual advances on my character, and by the time I was tied up in an alley in a sub/dom experience with a dominatrix I was wondering how my life had taken me to this point. I guess I locked myself into the dominatrix timeline, because I had to grovel, lick her boots, and call her mistress in order to continue progressing. I made it through that sequence extremely uncomfortable. Again, checking Gamedec's website and Steam page gives absolutely no indication that this is what the game is.


    A Wildly Uncomfortable Experience

    GD4
    Of the 20 or so characters I met, every single woman was a prostitute. No exceptions.

    I want to know if Kickstarter backers are happy with what this product became, or if they're going to feel misled and cheated.  Overall, the basic RPG aspects of Gamedec could have delivered a cyberpunk experience similar to Disco Elysium. Instead, it chose to hone in on cringe-worthy sex sequences, domination sessions, awkward flirtations, and a frankly disgusting treatment of women. To be blunt, I'm appalled by Gamedec. If you are looking for a non-anime hentai game, well I've got just the thing for you. If you're looking for a cyberpunk RPG, well, Cyberpunk 2077 is just around the corner. You can wait.


     

    First Look at Co-Op Action Game 'Gotham Nights' Is Here














    [embedded content]




    Our first look at the recently teased Batman-verse game from Warner Bros. Montreal is... maybe not what you were expecting?


    The studio behind Batman: Arkham Origins is set to return to Gotham City in Gotham Knights, announced in a trailer at DC FanDome. In a first, cinematic look at the game, we learn that Batman is dead and four of his fellow Gotham City crimefighters are picking up the mantle: Robin, Batgirl, Nightwing, and Red Hood.


    The first look at the Gotham Knights gameplay hints at an action game that's similar in style and pace to the Arkham games, though perhaps with more of an RPG-style twist. Batwoman and Robin (wearing some funky-looking armor, it's worth noting) take on a series of enemies that eventually lead to a Mr. Freeze boss fight. The RPG vibes come from the enemy health bars and damage numbers that are visible on screen as Gotham's defenders beat down their foes.


    There's plenty of time for WB Games to reveal more. Gotham Knights will be out sometime in 2021.













     

    The First 'Gotham Knights' Gameplay Reveal Has Stolen the Show



    x

    [embedded content]




    It’s been a long wait, but we’re finally going to step back into Gotham City with Gotham Knights. Developed by Arkham Origins‘ WB Games Montréal, the story takes place in the wake of Batman’s apparent death (yeah right) and sees his sidekicks teaming up to bring peace back to the streets. These will be Nightwing, Robin, Batgirl and Red Hood, who’ll unite their talents to bring down various villains.


    One aspect that’ll separate this from previous games is a focus on co-operative play. According to recent reports, Gotham Knights will allow players to team up online as two of the heroes and battle in tandem with one another. The presence of four heroes has led many to believe that it could feature four-player co-op, too, but it seems to be limited to just two at any one time.


    This is very much in vogue at the moment and will be seen in the distinguished competition’s Marvel’s Avengers very soon. And up above, you can get a taste of how it’ll all work in Gotham Knights.


    Gotham Knights


    This looks like it has the potential to be very fun, though there’s some disquiet in the gaming community about how important the online component will be. One major worry is that the game features heavy RPG elements, including levelling, scaled damage and in-game currencies, all of which usually point the way towards the dreaded “games as a service” model. If that’s the case, I just hope that any microtransaction or pay-to-win stuff is minimized as much as possible.


    Anyway, the short sequences in Arkham Knight when you got to take on a predator room as Batman alongside Robin were one of the most fun parts of the game. Fingers crossed we get something along those lines with Gotham Knights, then.





     

    'Gotham Knights' Rumors Confirmed at DC FanDome


    Warner Bros. Announces Gotham Knights, Launches 2021 for Xbox Series X, PS5, PS4, Xbox One, and PC








    by
    William D'Angelo
    , posted 1 day ago / 1,512 Views

    Publisher Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and Batman: Arkham Origins developer Warner Bros. Games Montreal at DCFanDome has officially announced third-person action RPG, Gotham Knights, after teases and rumors. The game will launch in 2021 for the Xbox Series X, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.


    "With Gotham Knights, the team at Warner Bros. Games Montréal is bringing the Batman Family of characters to life in a unique way to delight both fans and new players," said David Haddad, President, Warner Bros. Games. "As we embark on a new era of interactive storytelling, our development team has been diligently working to create a new, in-depth experience within DC’s Batman Universe."


    Warner Bros. Games Montréal Creative Director Patrick Redding added, "The team is thrilled to announce Gotham Knights and share our work in bringing a different story of the DC Super Heroes to the forefront. We’re looking forward to fans playing and enjoying a lot of action as this new guard of strong DC Super Heroes in Batgirl, Nightwing, Red Hood and Robin, while solving an original mystery set against a living, breathing Gotham City."


    View the world premiere trailer below:


    [embedded content]


    View the official gameplay walkthrough below:


    [embedded content]


    Here is an overview of the game:


    Batman is dead. It is now up to the Batman Family—Batgirl, Nightwing, Red Hood, and Robin—to protect Gotham City, bring hope to its citizens, discipline to its cops, and fear to its criminals. You must evolve into the new Dark Knight and save Gotham from chaos.


    Gotham Knights is playable either solo or as a two-player, online cooperative experience and will be available in 2021 for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 4 Pro, the Xbox One family of devices including Xbox Series X and Xbox One X and PC.


    Your legacy begins now. Step into the Knight.


    Get a glimpse of open-world Gotham City where Batgirl and Robin join forces to take on Mr. Freeze in one of several Villain encounters found within the city. They’ll use a variety of abilities, weapons, and unique combat moves to neutralize their foes.


    Here is an overview of the four playable characters:





    View the first set of screenshots below:


    Warner Bros. Announces Gotham Knights, Launches 2021


    Warner Bros. Announces Gotham Knights, Launches 2021


    Warner Bros. Announces Gotham Knights, Launches 2021


    Warner Bros. Announces Gotham Knights, Launches 2021



    A life-long and avid gamer, William D'Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel dedicated to gaming Let's Plays and tutorials. You can contact the author at wdangelo@vgchartz.com or on Twitter @TrunksWD.


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    How Minigames Get You Hooked on a Video Game


    A Game Within the Game: The Instant Appeal of Minigames








    by
    Craig Snow
    , posted on 16 July 2020 / 2,498 Views

    The following article was produced in cooperation with MB Peco Medija.



    If there's one thing that the video game industry is constantly on the lookout for, it's more ways to engage players. With an amazing array of gaming titles released every year, competition is getting harder and developers are constantly improving their games. More detailed graphics, engaging gameplay, and added features like bonus playable characters or weapons are all part of the race – along with fun minigames hidden within the main game.


     
    The Purpose of Minigames


    When done right, minigames are one of the best ways to generate extra hype for a title. They're considered the perfect blend between an Easter egg and an extra game, which is usually received with excitement by players. It's also a chance for a studio to showcase the talent and skills of its developing team, as well as test run some elements they might be considering for separate release or heavier incorporation, especially within a multi-title gaming franchise.


    Most importantly, minigames offer an opportunity for gamers to unwind for a bit outside of the intensive struggle to meet the main game objectives. That's why they're usually a stark departure from the main gameplay and as a rule rely on widely established rules – more often based on puzzle logic, a popular sport like Super Mario Party’s mini baseball, or well-known card games. This approach is certainly not new; popular RPG minigames like Triple Triad, the 3x3 grid card game featured in Final Fantasy VIII that saw many fan-made variations, dates back to the 2000s.



    The Minigames That Made Us


    Perhaps the most well-known example of this kind of spin-off franchise that largely relies on minigames is the Mario Party series, which dates back to 1998, with the latest instalment Super Mario Party releasing in 2018 for Nintendo Switch. Able to be played by up to four players and including a 2 vs 2 and a 3 vs 1 mode, the Switch title is loaded with no less than 80 different minigames, including battle tanks and mini baseball. Banana Blitz is another beloved minigame compilation title, with the new revamped edition featuring 10 of the series' most popular ones, including Monkey Target and Whack-a-Mole.


    [embedded content]


    Pazaak, the card game featured in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, is another classic. A perfect blend between blackjack and deck building, it added an extra RPG spin to the gambling genre. In regular blackjack, you're allowed to hit for another card or stand when you're happy with your hand, in order not to bust by reaching more than 21 points. As explained by Betway, some variations allow the player to split when they're dealt two of the same card, to double their bets or place a sidebet on the dealer’s potential blackjack as insurance. Meanwhile, Pazaak, true to its deck-building origins, also added a side deck of special cards like Plus or Minus Cards and Flip Cards to make things more interesting.


     


    The Future of Minigames is Seamless


    Yet minigames are at their best when they can be seamlessly incorporated within the wider game narrative. It's no coincidence that some of the most popular representatives of the mini-genre are found in Red Dead Redemption 2. First released in 2018, the popularity of RDR2 shows no signs of decline. As Rockstar Games has announced, RDR2 sold a whopping 29 million units across the globe by the end of 2019, which rose from 26.5 million units sold in the previous quarter. By contrast, Rockstar Games’ most popular title, Grand Theft Auto V, sold 20 million units in 2019, to reach a total of 120 million since it was released in 2013.


    [embedded content]


    Among the many things that make RDR2 so popular is the fact that the four minigames it has incorporated stay true to its western theme. Any outlaw worth their salt will spend some time gambling at a saloon, and Arthur Morgan is no exception. Poker and blackjack – in their regular mode, unlike Pazaak – are a staple of the game, while you can also take your chances with Five Finger Fillet or go for something more relaxed and play dominoes with your buddies. The minigames in RDR2 signal the best way forward for the genre; they're based on well-known real games, tie in well to the main story, and offer some necessary respite from the violent Wild West open world of the game.


    These are necessary qualities for any minigame aimed at entertaining players without disrupting gameplay too much – so any developers out there, take note!


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    How 'Gotham Knights' Fits Into the 'Arkham' Game Universe

    Over the weekend during the livestreamed DC Fandome event, Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment revealed two new video games set in the DC Comics Multiverse. The first game, teased now for several years by WB Montreal, is Gotham Knights. The second, from Rocksteady, is Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League. One question has been coming out of the Fandome woodwork since both reveals, as fans are wondering if both, or either of these games are connected to the Arkham series.


    Is Gotham Knights a new Arkhamverse Game?

    While Rocksteady has confirmed its Suicide Squad game is indeed a continuation from Arkham Knight, WB Montreal has confirmed the opposite. The development studio has released a statement cementing Gotham Knights an original story that isn’t connected to any other established timelines. So while we’ll undoubtedly be familiar with these characters in terms of their personalities and whatnot, they aren’t going to be the same people who appeared in the Arkham games.



    There was some confusion or speculation over this, as the Gotham Knights trailer opened with a posthumous message from Bruce Wayne, which seemed like a natural connection to Arkham Knight’s ambiguous ending. At the same time, other factors such as Barbara Gordon back to being Batgirl (instead of Oracle) and Jim Gordan’s ostensible death conflicted with the events of Arkham Knight. So it’s good to have that confirmation, especially this early on so fans can adjust their expectations appropriately.


    [embedded content]


    Gotham Knights was revealed through both a reveal trailer and a nearly ten-minute gameplay demonstration, showing off the game’s combat systems and two-player co-op. While it seems like Gotham Knights is a bit more of a statsy action-RPG compared to the Arkham series, it doesn’t go as far in the other direction as, say, Marvel’s Avengers. That said, we do see things like damage numbers, critical hits, and possibly alternative costume options. But as far as we know Gotham Knights only supports up to two players, and is totally built around a single player experience.



    Are you looking forward to both of these new DC Universe games? Or is one more enticing to you than the other? Are you looking forward to playing as a particular character in either Gotham Knights or Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League? Let us know over at the Prima Games Facebook and Twitter channels!



     

    RPG Mini-Games That Are Even Better Than the Main Story

    The world is ending. 

    Monsters have overrun the continents. The towns are burning and in ruins. The king is dead. As a huge meteor/demon/intergalactic catastrophe looms over the horizon, threatening to end all life as you know it, you know that there’s only one thing to do—one thing that takes precedence over everything else, one thing that only you have to power to achieve, because you’re the Chosen One and you’re the hero and you’re on an epic hundred-hour quest to preserve all of existence. So you puff up your chest, brace yourself, and put your meanest game face on.


    And you play a card game. Because who wants to save the world when you can place bets and win prizes and stuff, right?


    RPGs are notorious for mini-games that keep things interesting when the whole save-the-world thing gets boring. Why be extra when you can just chill and play ball? Here are six of the most intense mini-games in RPGs worth neglecting the main quest for (because riding an oversized yellow bird is more exciting than figuring out some weird Jenova shiz).


    1. Chocobo Racing - Final Fantasy VII

    Who hasn’t stepped into the Golden Saucer and forgotten the concept of time? This lively place in Final Fantasy VII is chock-full of mini-games to get lost in (and can probably merit a whole list of its own), with chocobo racing tournaments as the cream of the crop. Betting on the poor chocobos for sport may not be the best use of your time when there’s a ticking time bomb on the horizon, but it’s just too darn fun. From capturing the best-performing chocobos in the wild, you can breed the chocobos and maximize their stats to your advantage, and you have to be really good at handling the iconic series steed to acquire the Knights of the Round summon Materia. 


    The world is pretty bleak, so go ahead and indulge at the Golden Saucer and forget all of your sorrows—huge world-ending meteors included—for a day or two. 


    final fantasy VII chocobo racing
    2. Cooking Competition - Suikoden II

    Suikoden II remains to be one of the most celebrated old-school RPGs in history. Is it because of the gripping tale of friendship and betrayal that puts all other games in the series to shame? Is it having the 108 Stars of Destiny as the most insane number of characters you can choose from to be your party mates on your epic quest? Or is it because there’s this thing where you can pit the cook of your castle against a brave challenger for the dish of all dishes that’s one for the ages?


    It’s the cooking contest. Obviously.


    The competition essentially involves you cooking up a storm (an appetizer, a main dish, and a dessert) to be judged by judges randomly picked from the pool of recruited characters in your castle. Every judge from the 108 characters each has his or her own taste preference, so you have to cater your meals to their very picky palate. But you can’t simply whip up dishes that please just one judge, because what’s one judge’s favorite can’t possibly be the same thing for the rest. There can’t be any favoritism here.


    Before you think that it’s just another cooking competition, what actually makes it even more entertaining is the fact that it plays out like a TV show parody, complete with intricate backstories for every character involved in the “show." Building your castle alone and recruiting the 108 Stars of Destiny can already take up a huge chunk of your time, and the cooking competition isn’t helping. Its fun factor definitely distracts way too much from the main quest of the game—and that’s totally okay.


    3. Blitzball - Final Fantasy X
    final fantasy x blitzball

    Divisive enough that it splits hardcore Final Fantasy X fans into two, Blitzball is a combination of football and some kind of water polo with a twist. Elevating Tidus and Wakka’s careers to unimaginable heights as Blitzball champions takes priority over saving the world, really, because signing contracts is more important than grinding on the World Map. 


    Two teams of five fight over a ball and try to score goals in a huge aquatic sphere, but it’s not all brawn, because to win at Blitzball, you have to be really, really good at math. And it’s all about emotional impact too, because Tidus eventually discovers that his father has a secret Blitzball move—and that’s way more dramatic than any love story. 


    4. Battle Arenas - Star Ocean series, particularly Star Ocean 2

    From the name itself, Fun City offers players fun like no other, so much so that all the fun takes you away from the main story. The Battle Arenas are pretty prevalent in the Star Ocean franchise, where party members fight monsters to win prizes and really cool stuff. In particular, the arena in Star Ocean: The Second Story takes place in Nedian Fun City, where you can choose between team battles and solo battles plus a survival mode where you get to fight off 50 enemies non-stop. 


    You can choose fights from Rank E to Rank A and pay a 2,000-Fol participation fee for each battle, but the prizes you get after each fight make registering totally worth it. It’s not just about using brute force, either—you have to pick which character suits every fight best, and know how to use your equipment to your advantage. 


    By the way, in the northern section of Fun City, you can also participate in Bunny Races, where—yep, you guessed it—you pit bunnies with different stats against each other and bet on which bunny you think will trump all the others. Nothing beats having to save the world than betting on a fast bunny in exchange for awesome prizes.


    5. Triple Triad - Final Fantasy VIII
    final fantasy viii squall

    It wasn’t the first of its kind, but Triple Triad from Final Fantasy VIII probably launched the RPG card game to fame. You play on a three-by-three grid and take turns with your opponent in placing cards on the board. It’s not just about which card has a higher value, because you really have to be mindful of the placing of your cards—your card has to have a higher value than the adjacent card to gain possession of said opponent card. You can also keep things spicy by using combos and chains inside the card game, because why the heck not? 


    To be honest, what makes the mini-game more compelling is the idea of being able to collect them all (because more cards = more fun). Who cares if Ultimecia wants to possess Rinoa and compress time and all that crap? There’s nothing more exhilarating than grabbing that Bahamut card, so by all means, let SeeD handle it; you’ve got better things to do.


    6. Gwent - The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

    In the midst of the horrible landscape of The Witcher 3, the idea of playing cards with barons and crime lords just sounds all too enticing. But while Gwent looks like an ordinary card game at first glance, the mini-game actually has one of the most well-thought-out mechanics I have ever encountered. You can win, buy, and even steal cards to buff up your own deck, and because you can challenge so many NPCs to a game across the wide open world, the possibilities are endless.


    Yes, yes, we know Ciri is in danger, and the Wild Hunt is after her, and you’re on this wild goose chase trying to figure out where she teleported to and stuff—but wait, is that a new merchant selling wares? While you definitely “wouldn’t mind a look at his stock,” you’d also love to see if he’s got any good cards on him, wouldn’t you? Go ahead; scratch that itch. Challenge him to a round of Gwent; Ciri can take care of herself. 


    gwent card game the witcher 3 wild hunt

    It’s a basic who-has-more-points card game, but the extra twists and turns—not to mention the idea of a brooding Geralt playing cards instead of looking for that Elder Blood girl who may or may not cause the end of the world—make Gwent worth investing way too much time on with every playthrough. Plus, it's so engaging that it actually has its own game—if that's not a clear sign that a mini-game isn't so mini after all, then I don't know what is.



    Did I miss any awesome mini-games from your favorite RPGs? Do you agree with this list, or do you have your own handful of welcome distractions you'd gladly neglect the main quest for? Let us know what you think!


     

    Free Games That Are Actually Pretty Entertaining

    Life is busy, and sometimes you don't have as much free time as you'd like for your gaming fix. That's where InnoGames comes in, with its series of free-to-play city-building, strategy, and RPG games for browser and mobile. There's something here for everyone, and it's tough to pick just one. If strategy is your thing, try Warlords of Aternum, Tribal Wars, or Tribal Wars 2. Miss the days of sinking hours into Civilization? Try Forge of Empires for a brilliant game that lets you guide your civilization through the eras.



    And speaking of city-building, they definitely have you covered there. Grepolis is a Greek-skinned version of the concept, and Elvenar is a fantasy one. There's way more to do than just set your people to a task and come back an hour later to harvest, too. Join fellowships, trade with other players, work together in tournaments, or participate in events that last weeks at a time. These games are hugely flexible when it comes to a time commitment, and that makes them perfect for sneaking a bit of gaming into a busy schedule. Win!















     

    Sega's Dreamcast Is the Unsung Gaming Hero of the 2000s











    We wouldn't be where we are today without the Dreamcast.


    We wouldn't be where we are today without the Dreamcast.


    Image: bob al-greene / mashable









    Welcome to 2000s Week! We're exploring the pop culture that shaped us at the turn of the millennium, and examining what the films, shows, and games from the era say about us then and now. It's a little #tbt to the days before #tbt was a thing.



    At the turn of the millennium, Sega’s Dreamcast emerged.


    Like the sun cresting over the eastern horizon heralding a new day, the Dreamcast’s North American release in September of 1999 heralded a new era of gaming. It was the first console with online capabilities, even including a web browser. It supported file management and data transference. It was a bastion for creativity and experimentation in games. In many ways, it was ahead of its time.


    But perhaps it was too far ahead of its time. For all its innovations, the Dreamcast also marked the end of Sega’s storied run in the console wars. Over 18 years, Sega went toe-to-toe with Nintendo in an arms race over ever-improving graphics, iconic mascots, and outright aggressive marketing. Sega was already slipping with the Sega Saturn’s failure in the mid-90s and the introduction of Sony’s PlayStation around the same. The Dreamcast couldn’t stand its ground in the new millennium against the hype behind the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Nintendo GameCube that would release over the following two years, giving way to the trifecta’s console competition that has remained constant for the last 20 years. The only official Sega hardware you can find these days is for resale on places like eBay.


    In the days since its demise just two years after its launch, the Dreamcast has largely been derided as a failure. It’s a punching bag for jokes and ridicule. To the vast majority of gamers, it’s about as good as a brick.



    While many criticisms of this console are valid, it also brought a lot things to the table that, due to its commercial failure, have been swept under the rug. We cannot deny the impact it had on the 2000s and its delicate usherance of a new generation of gaming.


    Going online

    Sega’s Dreamcast was the first console to come with an internet modem, allowing players to connect the console to their network and play certain games online in real-time, including the first-person shooter Quake III Arena, a handful of sports and racing games, and Phantasy Star Online.


    Before the Dreamcast, the only way to play most games online was on computers. Even as the internet proliferated throughout the ‘90s, online gaming options were pretty limited and figuring out how to play them was sometimes convoluted, sometimes even impossible outside the West.


    But with the Dreamcast, options for gamers who wanted to play online began widening. The ease of connecting through a console with built-in internet capabilities opened up this newer avenue to more people who weren’t hardcore enthusiasts. It took a few years before developers really picked up the baton with which the Dreamcast started running.


    The first Call of Duty game in 2003 wasn’t on consoles. The first Halo game in 2001 didn’t have built-in online multiplayer. Quake III Arena was the first first-person shooter with online multiplayer on consoles in 1999, and while that series has largely fizzled over the last 20 years, that Dreamcast game planted the seeds that allowed competitive FPS games like Call of Duty, Halo, Overwatch, Battlefield, and Rainbow Six to thrive on consoles. Now those series are synonymous with online multiplayer on consoles.


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    Meanwhile Phantasy Star Online opened up online role-playing games outside of western PC players. Although the Dreamcast’s online support was killed just two years after its release, Phantasy Star Online had staying power and branched into a thriving series of games, coming to PC, Xbox, and Nintendo consoles. Other multiplayer RPGs followed with wide success, including games from the Monster Hunter and Final Fantasy series.


    Not to mention, the Dreamcast was the first home console to support downloadable content. Sure, the content was pretty small due to hardware limitations, like Jet Set Radio’s downloadable graffiti artwork, but the implications were huge. It meant that developers could create new content or alter their games after release, which happened more and more throughout the 2000s until downloading updates for games became a normal part of the gaming experience.


    Without the Dreamcast taking the plunge into the murky depths of online gaming, we wouldn’t have seen the 2000s progress the way that they did, eventually leading to the gaming landscape we see now.


    Creative outlet

    Every new game that comes out is an experiment. Whether from the smallest, most under-funded indie developers or the biggest multi-million-dollar corporations with thousands of employees, each game is an attempt at crafting an experience that lives up to its developers’ visions.  Whether those experiments are successful is unknown until the public gets its hands on it.


    Some games are more experimental and innovative than others. With the Dreamcast, there were a handful of games that explored some really unique ideas, and while many of them didn’t achieve much notoriety, they stand as these beacons of creativity that helped shape game experimentation in the 2000s.


    ChuChu Rocket! is one such game. This chaotic, competitive, multiplayer, puzzle game is a testament to the freedom that Sega gave developers. Players have to direct mice around a board and into their rocketship while trying to block cats from pulling them out of their rocketship. It’s weird, it’s hectic, and it’s an unexpected approach competitive multiplayer.


    Games don’t need to be straight-forward or broadly appealing


    Jet Set Radio, one of the best games of its generation, was a fountain of creativity in a different way. Not only was this anarchist, graffiti-forward game a refreshing theme for gaming, it was also one of the first games to use the bold, cel-shaded art style that inspired the art styles of legendary games of the 2000s like The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, No More Heroes, and Sly Cooper.


    The Dreamcast also helped bring Sonic the Hedgehog into a new space, transitioning from 2D to 3D with Sonic Adventure. This change completely altered the trajectory of the series, giving way to one of the best Sonic games, Sonic Adventure 2: Battle, while simultaneously opening the floodgates to some atrocious entries like the dubious 2005 action game Shadow the Hedgehog, the reviled 2006 game Sonic the Hedgehog, and the bizarre 2008 game Sonic Unleashed.


    And then there are the games Rez and Seaman, each of which digs into its own bizarre space. Rez is a rail shooter that has pretty familiar and straight-forward mechanics but blends it with some surreal, trippy visuals and rhythmic sound elements that makes each piece of the game bleed into the next. Seaman is a game where players use a microphone peripheral to chat with a fish that has a human face, taking the Tamagotchi craze of the mid-’90s and twisting it into this visually unappealing and gameplay-lite experience that almost seems like it never should have released. But it did.


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    Even if they weren’t exactly successes, games likes these on the Dreamcast helped push the medium forward into new directions. Games don’t need to be straight-forward or broadly appealing, they can be weird as hell and the Dreamcast was an early adopter of that idea.


    Yes, the Dreamcast failed commercially, but without the Dreamcast we may not be where we are today. The proliferation of online gaming throughout the 2000s, the abundance of weird experiments from game developers both in and out of the indie space, the way gaming looks as we know it just wouldn’t be the same without this humble console.


    Long live the Dreamcast.



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    The 'Gotham Knights' Trailer is Causing an Uproar



    WB Games Montréal was long rumored to be working on a new Batman game and last week, the developers of 2014’s Batman: Arkham Origins confirmed our suspicions when they revealed the first trailer for their upcoming title, Gotham Knights, at DC FanDome. While the project was highly anticipated, however, fans have taken to disliking the gameplay video by the thousands.


    In case you’re not familiar with it – which is pretty likely considering it was only revealed a few days ago – Gotham Knights will be a standalone Batman title that won’t be a direct sequel to Rocksteady’s Batman: Arkham trilogy. Put simply, the story will take place after Bruce Wayne’s death, and see Robin, Batgirl, Nightwing and Red Hood team up to save Gotham City from destruction.


    That plotline was outlined neatly in the cinematic trailer, but in addition to that, the company also uploaded a lengthy gameplay video taking players through a mid-game mission complete with commentary from the project’s creative director. Unlike the cinematic trailer, this one was far less well received, amassing just 1.9K likes compared to a whopping 3.5K dislikes, at the time of writing.




    Based on the comments, it appears that fans are upset with the overall design. Seeing how Gotham Knights won’t be a direct sequel and all, it makes sense that the gameplay received a drastic makeover. As far as gamers are concerned, however, this makeover might not have done the title much good.


    Specifically, folks are upset over the co-op elements, looting systems, “bullet sponge” type enemies and other RPG mechanics that the developer has decided to include in the project. When taken together, these elements make for a drastically different experience than Rocksteady’s immersive Batman: Arkham games, and more resemble Assassin’s Creed or Fortnite than anything else.


    How did you feel about the Gotham Knights gameplay trailer, though? Let us know in the comments section below.




    Source: GameRant





     

    These Were Hands Down the Best RPGs of 2019


    Best RPG of 2019








    by
    Ben Dye
    , posted on 29 December 2019 / 4,376 Views

    Welcome to the first in our series of Game of the Year articles for 2019! The winner was determined by a combination of community and staff voting. Before you proceed, note that the banner image for all of our articles does not indicate the winner; it will be an image or artwork from one of the shortlisted titles but not necessarily the winning one.


    The RPG genre has had decades of glory. For years, games in which you play a crucial role as a central character have been released, generation after generation. The genre isn’t going anywhere and is only continuing to evolve from its more simplistic roots into something that can be overwhelming for some and pure joy for others. Side quests, open worlds, the removal of invisible walls, and the introduction of more player choice and agency than ever before are just some of the areas where RPGs have evolved over time. With that evolution, wonderful looking and playing RPGs have continued to be enjoyed all over the world. Here are this year’s nominees.



    The Shortlist:



    Kingdom Hearts III


     



    The Outer Worlds 




    Pokémon Sword & Shield


     



    The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III 


     



    Disco Elysium







    The Winner:




    The Outer Worlds 


    Talk about out of left field! I think, if you'd asked most gamers back in the middle of 2018 what the best RPG would be in 2019, very few would have picked Obsidian's then-unrevealed new IP. But then it was revealed at The Game Awards 2018 in December of last year and it struck a chord with many, especially following the disappointing launch of Fallout 76 just a month prior. A Fallout-like game, from the team behind New Vegas and Pillars of Eternity, set in outer space, which plays like something based in the Wild West? I was sold on it from that point on, and the game’s storylines, which were a blast to play through, more than justified the hype it gained following its reveal.


    More Articles





     

    The Real Reason We Need a New 'ThunderCats' Game

    Thundercats Platinum Games

    Thundercats Platinum Games

    After crawling around the internets for all manner of pointless things, I finally stumbled upon the work of Mike Booth; an extraordinarily talented artist who has re-imagined the entire opening from the ThunderCats television show from the mid 1980s in full CGI – and it looks incredible. After my first thought which was “GIVE THIS MAN A BUDGET TO MAKE A WHOLE SHOW”, another revelation followed soon after; why don’t we have a ThunderCats title for contemporary gaming hardware?

    But beyond that – would there be any finer, more better suited developer to take up the mantle than Nier: Automata developer Platinum Games?

    The third-person, action RPG hack and slash goodness that the legendary Japanese developer is known for would be a perfect fit for bringing the popular mid-80s television show back into the minds of gamers everywhere.

    Aside from the obvious hack and slash trappings that leading man (cat?) Lion-O would enable, with his extending sword dagger and massive defending claw-arm, other characters would fit perfectly into this sort of template too. Panthro’s deadly nunchuck style of combat, Tygra’s whip attacks, Cheetara’s staff attacks and all their special abilities would all make for a potentially excellent action title.

    Related Content – PS5 Backwards Compatibility – 10 PS4 Games That Need Enhancing Most

    Equally too, beyond the basic hack and slash elements, Platinum Games could conceivably weave in some neat action RPG elements in there as well, allowing players to unlock new skills, abilities, moves and more besides.

    Throw in highly detailed visuals in the style of the CGI video mentioned at the top of this article and you’ve got sale. Oh, and if you haven’t seen the ThunderCats opening remade with CGI you really, really should. You can catch it below and I mean, seriously – just look at it; on visual style alone, Mike Booth has 100% captured the feeling of the original television show.

    What about you guys though? Would you like to see a new Thundercats video game for PS4 or PS5 and if so, would you want Platinum Games at the reins, or a different outfit altogether? Scratch out your good and bad takes in the comments below!

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    Image & Video Source: Mike Booth on Youtube

    Previous Checkpoint Articles

     

    Abrupt Video Game Endings That Gamers Couldn't Get Over

    It’s always a shame to finish a game, whether it’s a long-winded RPG or a short but sweet first person shooter, only for things to just end. Not all abrupt endings are terrible (see The Last of Us) but some stand out as offering an underwhelming payoff as opposed to a strong emotional finish. Let’s take a look at 15 more of these endings here. Spoilers abound for recent games so you’ve been warned.


    RAGE 2


    rage 2


    For all intents and purposes, RAGE 2’s story is stupidly simple. You meet the members of Project Dagger, fight General Cross and corrupt him with a virus that prevents more of his clones being made. The virus happens to be lethal to Walker, the protagonist, as well. But lo and behold, his friend Lily saves him, there’s a rendezvous with the Project Dagger members again and…that’s it. It’s not a terrible cliffhanger like RAGE 1 but that’s not saying much.





     

    The Video Game Sequel That's Getting Vampire Fans Excited


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    In 2004, Troika Games and Activision released a bit of a forgotten gem of an RPG with Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines (VtMB). The game received generally solid reviews that acknowledged the flaws, but ultimately labeled it a masterpiece while paying special attention to the graphics, character creation tool, and the strength of the narrative due to its diverse and adaptive writing backing a rich story. The game highlighted a conflict between the three major factions of vampire society in post-9/11 Los Angeles. The game garnered a sizable cult following despite the flaws, but it has been growing since more information has come out regarding the upcoming sequel.



    What information we currently know is the fact that the similar power struggles have continued. You are embraced and created in an act of vampiric terrorism in Seattle. The setting and the set up already opens a wealth of possibilities for storytelling. That alone leaves a lot of ground to look forward to as Brian Mitsoda is returning as Narrative Lead for the upcoming game. He showed a great understanding of the world and material that he was working with in the original, while also using enough social awareness to create amusing as well as relevant social commentary. Also returning from the original production is composer Rik Schaffer, who did a great job building mood through music. So, on those two fronts alone, I’m expecting great things from VtMB2.






    As stated earlier, one of the original game’s highlights was the in-depth character creation tool. This is partially because of the fact that, at least in the original game, your clan played a huge role in how the world perceives you and could make things either more interesting, easier, or more difficult before you even start playing. For example, playing a Nosferatu in the original game makes the game harder, especially if you suck at stealth. It’s mostly because even the physical form of a Nosferatu is a breach of the Masquerade, which will likely kill you. In terms of VtMB2, it seems like they’re changing stuff up where there’s even more possible customization. You’re a thinblood vampire who can work into any of the five playable clans though. Your chosen background as a human may also affect starting stats and resources. If implemented well, this will offer both higher levels of customization and more personal experiences within the story.





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    To build off the character customization, there’s one other thing to hope for. One of the most interesting things about the original VtMB were the clan specific dialogue options. Most of them were similar, but, in the case of the Malkavians, entirely new dialogue options were written and recorded because Malkavians are completely insane. Aside from the new dialogue options (including font), scripted hallucinations, and new interactions where you can get into arguments with inanimate objects including stop signs and the tv. Hopefully, VtMB2 uses clan-specific touches like this again.



    These are just some of the reasons that I’m excited for VtMB2. Hopefully, we get something as unique and darkly beautiful as the original game. If they emulate the strengths while shoring up the weaknesses, it will be a great game to be bridge across generations. Judging from the Gamescom 2019 gameplay reveal, it seems like they’re making good progress on shoring up the biggest weakness (combat and vampiric skills use).






    CheatCC Team





     

    This 'Mass Effect' Parody Game Has Fans Rolling

    Look, we know there will eventually be another Mass Effect game, though we do know it will not be in the near future. Following the Mass Effect Andromeda debacle and the team's focus on new IPs and Dragon Age 4, various BioWare and EA reps alike have said that Mass Effect is not done but it's not happening this year or even next. So while we wait for more news on that front and until BioWare gifts us with a remaster, Mass Effect fans (hey, it me) must bide our time in other ways and what better way to do just that than with this hilarious Mass Effect parody game that was just revealed! 


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    This lovely gem is called Minimal Affect and it's coming to PC in 2021. This game isn't meant to be a rip-off, instead it's designed to be a love letter to a game, especially with the trilogy, that is renowned for its incredible narrative, memorable characters, and a community fanbase that continues to dance to a very passionate drum to this day. 


    “​Minimal Affect​ is our homage to some of the greatest sci-fi RPGs, movies, and shows that we absolutely love," Rasmus Davidsson, Creative Director on ​Minimal Affect​ said to TheSixthAxis. "While the story is ridiculous, the gameplay certainly is not – this is a fully-fledged action-RPG created in the art-style of adult animation you know and love. It’s a super galactic tale of space adventure, comedy and questionable morality.”


    The Mass Effect parody is a narrative-driven space RPG that has a cast of humans and aliens alike, not unlike that of Mass Effect. The characters must race against the clock to save the galaxy, sound familiar, while learning new skills and exploring every nook and cranny that can be uncovered in the great unknown. It's everything Mass Effect fans can expect just done in a more playful cartoon design. 


    Minimal Affect is being developed by Toadman Studios and published by Sold Out. The team also mentioned that this Mass Effect parody will eventually be making its way to consoles at launch as well, but definitively it's set for a PC release sometime next year. The team also mentioned that "more platform details will be revealed at a later date," which makes us wonder if this could potentially see a Nintendo Switch version as well! 



    What do you think about the Mass Effect parody game, Minimal Affect? Love it or leave it? Sound off with which side of the spectrum you're leaning towards by hitting us up over on Twitter @PrimaGames. You can also check out our Mass Effect hubs here for more about everyone's favorite Commander. 


     

    The 'Final Fantasy VII' Scene That Broke Robert Pattinson



    Final Fantasy VII might look like a relic from some bygone era by today’s standards but back in 1997, Square Enix’s acclaimed RPG captured the hearts and minds of all who experienced the adventures of Cloud Strife and his friends in their quest to put the tyrannical plans of Sephiroth to an end.


    One particularly memorable scene – and one that’s since achieved legendary status among fans – that unfolds during the original game’s story shows Aerith, the last Ancient, murdered in cold blood by Sephiroth in an attempt to thwart the heroes’ only hope of victory. For a game developer to not only kill off a primary protagonist but to do so in such an explicit way was a watershed moment for the medium and one that undoubtedly caused tears to flow for millions who witnessed it.


    As per a recent interview with GameSpot, Robert Pattinson reveals that he was among those who had a good cry over the tragic scene, claiming it to be “probably one of the only times I’ve ever cried in my life.”