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Gaming's Summer 2020 Digital Event Schedule

With the circumstances surrounding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic causing organizers to cancel major conventions and expos and like E3, Gamescom, and Tokyo Game Show, many publishers, developers, and event organizers have turned to digital events to get the latest video game news out there. Whether you're talking platform-specific showcases, publisher-driven streams, or even third-party-facilitated schedules, the industry has a lot to look forward to in the coming months.

Check out the full digital event schedule for summer 2020 below, and be sure to bookmark this page and come back as more events are added in coming weeks!


June 4

PlayStation 5: The Future of Gaming - 1 p.m. PT / 4 p.m. ET
What It Is: 
Sony will finally pull back the curtain on its PlayStation 5 console. This digital presentation, which is said to last "a bit more than an hour" will focus on games of PlayStation 5. Sony says this is just a part of an ongoing series on PlayStation 5 and that even after this digital event, it will have a lot more to share.
Where To Watch: PlayStation on Twitch

IGN Summer of Gaming Kick-Off - TBD
What It Is: The official start of IGN's Summer of Gaming virtual event. This free digital event will include over three weeks of exclusive programming and gameplay world premieres from highly anticipated titles. In addition to showcasing various games and announcements, IGN is raising money in support of the World Health Organization's COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.
Where To Watch: IGN on Twitch

June 5

IGN Expo Day 1 - TBD
What It Is: The first day of IGN's virtual expo promises reveals from Funcom/The Outsiders, Merge Games, and more. We'll also see a new cinematic trailer for Werewolf: The Apocalypse and gameplay for Blankos Block Party, Mortal Shell, Observer: System Redux, Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time, and Spellbreak. 
Where To Watch: IGN on Twitch

June 6

Guerrilla Collective Day 1 - 10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET
What It Is: An online digital games festival featuring announcements, trailers, and game reveals from publishers and developers like Sega of America, Coffee Stain, Rebellion, Raw Fury, Thunderful, 11 Bit Studios, Larian Studios, New Blood, Versus Evil, Humble Bundle, and more. Hosted by Kinda Funny's Greg Miller.
Where To Watch: Guerrilla Collective on Twitch

Paradox Insider - 11:30 a.m. PT / 2: 30 p.m. ET
What It Is: A block of programming from publisher Paradox Interactive as a part of the Guerrilla Collective.
Where To Watch: Paradox Interactive on Twitch

The PC Gaming Show - 12 p.m. PT / 3 p.m. ET
What It Is: A digital adaptation of the annual E3 show of the same name. The show, presented by PC Gamer, will provide various updates on PC games.
Where To Watch: PC Gamer on Twitch

The Future Games Show - 2:30 p.m. PT / 5:30 p.m. ET
What It Is: An hour-long broadcast presented by GamesRadar and Future featuring exclusive trailers, announcements, and more. The event will focus on indie and triple-A titles for 2020 and beyond.
Where To Watch: GamesRadar on Twitch

June 7

Guerrilla Collective Day 2 - 10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET
What It Is: The second day of Guerrilla Collective's virtual event that promises announcements, trailers, and reveals from publishers and developers. 
Where To Watch: Guerrilla Collective on Twitch

Borderlands 3: Bounty of Blood

June 8

Guerrilla Collective Day 3 - 10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET
What It Is: The third and final day of Guerrilla Collective's virtual event that promises announcements, trailers, and reveals from publishers and developers. 
Where To Watch: Guerrilla Collective on Twitch

IGN Expo Day 2 - TBD
What It Is: The second day of IGN's virtual expo will deliver new trailers for Chivalry 2, Dual Universe, Pathfinder: Kingmaker, Wasteland 3, and XIII. Players can also tune in for new previews of Borderlands 3's Bounty of Blood DLC, a new trailer and the release date of The Waylanders, and new gameplay for Forgotten City and Second Extinction. IGN will also kick off its IGN Icons interview series with original Solid Snake voice actor David Hayter.
Where To Watch: IGN on Twitch

UploadVR Showcase: Summer Edition - TBD
What It Is: 
The latest news and announcements in the world of virtual reality. Self-described as a "Nintendo Direct-style video," but focused completely on VR. Last year, the showcase revealed games like After the Fall and Pistol Whip, and this year, the presentation will feature more than 20 VR games.
Where To Watch: UploadVR on YouTube

June 9

IGN Expo Day 3 - TBD
What It Is: 
The third day of IGN's virtual convention will give fans new looks of 13 Sentinels, Everspace 2, Guilty Gear Strive, Stronghold: Warlords, and a Humble Bundle Indies Showcase. In addition, you can look forward to new gameplay from New World, Skater XL, Solasta Crown of the Magister, Total War: Troy, and Yakuza: Like a Dragon. The team will also have exclusive previews of Blue Fire and Humankind, as well as the second entry in their IGN Icons interview series as IGN talks to Brian Fargo.
Where To Watch: IGN on Twitch

June 11

EA Play Live - 4 p.m. PT / 7 p.m. ET
What It Is: A digital version of what has traditionally been presented during E3. Fans should expect to see the latest news and trailers of games published by Electronic Arts.
Where To Watch: EA on Twitch

Night City Wire - TBD
What It Is: A stream centered around CD Projekt Red's massively anticipated game, Cyberpunk 2077. 
Where To Watch: CD Projekt Red on Twitch

IGN Summer of Gaming Streams - TBD
What It Is: 
IGN hosts exclusive gameplay and interviews for Humankind and Remnant: From the Ashes, with more to be announced.
Where To Watch: IGN on Twitch

June 15

IGN Summer of Gaming Streams - TBD
What It Is: 
Another slate of exclusive trailers, reveals, and gameplay from IGN. This time, players can expect an exclusive reveal of an unannounced game, new trailers for Ninjala and Castlestorm 2, and gameplay for Mafia: Definitive Edition, Destroy All Humans, Scarlet Nexus, SpongeBob Squarepants: Battle for Bikini Bottom, Corepunk, and Warhammer 40k: Mechanicus.
Where To Watch: IGN on Twitch

Torchlight III

June 18

IGN Summer of Gaming Streams - TBD
What It Is: Another stream from IGN featuring gameplay from Torchlight III and an unannounced game. IGN will also have two more IGN Icons interviews: Chris Avellone and John Romero.
Where To Watch: IGN on Twitch

June 22

Day of The Devs + The Game Awards Developer Showcase - 8 a.m. PT / 11 a.m. ET
What It Is: A look at upcoming projects ranging from independent to triple-A.
Where To Watch: The Game Awards on Twitch

June 23

New Game+ Expo - TBD
What It Is: An online showcase of upcoming releases from developers and publishers like Sega, Atlus, SNK, WayForward, Arc System Works, GungHo, Natsume, Spike Chunsoft, Grasshopper Manufacture, and more. 
Where To Watch: New Game Plus Expo on Twitch

Avengers

June 24

Marvel's Avengers War Table - TBD
What It Is: 
A first look at new gameplay for Crystal Dynamics' upcoming Avengers game, including cooperative play. Players can expect new trailers, as well as looks at co-op play and story missions.
Where To Watch: Square Enix on Twitch

IGN Summer of Gaming Streams - TBD
What It Is: 
IGN's June 24 stream includes the reveal of an unannounced classic revival, as well as new trailers for Dreamscaper and Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One.
Where To Watch: IGN on Twitch

June 27

BitSummit Gaiden Day 1 - TBD
What It Is: The premier indie showcase with an eye toward Japanese creations launches its first-ever digital event. BitSummit Gaiden will feature more than 75 games from Japan and the rest of the world, including streamable demos.
Where To Watch: BitSummit on Twitch

June 28

BitSummit Gaiden Day 2 - TBD
What It Is: The second day of BitSummit's digital event showcasing indie games from Japan and around the world.
Where To Watch: BitSummit on Twitch

Warframe

July 11

Tennocon 2020 - TBD
What It Is: An update from Digital Extremes on the future of its popular game Warframe.
Where To Watch: Warframe on Twitch

July 12

Ubisoft Forward - 12 p.m. PT / 3 p.m. ET
What It Is: A digital presentation similar to the E3 press conferences Ubisoft has traditionally done. Look for updates and announcements surrounding all the upcoming Ubisoft titles.
Where To Watch: Ubisoft on Twitch

July 20

Day of The Devs + The Game Awards Developer Showcase - TBD
What It Is: A second event hosted by Day of the Devs and The Game Awards, promising a look at upcoming projects ranging from independent to triple-A.
Where To Watch: The Game Awards on Twitch

August 27

Gamescom 2020: Opening Night Live Day 1 - TBD
What It Is: A daily show hosted by The Game Awards host/organizer Geoff Keighley. The show occurs over four days and delivers the latest news, announcements, and trailers for anticipated games.
Where To Watch: The Game Awards on Twitch

August 28

Gamescom 2020: Opening Night Live Day 2 - TBD
What It Is: The second day of the Gamescom virtual show hosted by The Game Awards host/organizer Geoff Keighley. The show promises to deliver the latest news, announcements, and trailers for anticipated games.
Where To Watch: The Game Awards on Twitch

August 29

Gamescom 2020: Opening Night Live Day 3 - TBD
What It Is: The third day of the Gamescom virtual show hosted by The Game Awards host/organizer Geoff Keighley. The show promises to deliver the latest news, announcements, and trailers for anticipated games.
Where To Watch: The Game Awards on Twitch

August 30

Gamescom 2020: Opening Night Live Day 4 - TBD
What It Is: The fourth and final day of the Gamescom virtual show hosted by The Game Awards host/organizer Geoff Keighley. The show promises to deliver the latest news, announcements, and trailers for anticipated games.
Where To Watch: The Game Awards on Twitch

Which RPG Is Right For You?

RPGs are a hefty investment, requiring time and dedication to delve into their complex intricacies. With a myriad of choices and divergent styles, finding the right one can be overwhelming. We’re here to help. This article breaks down our recommendations into a slew of categories, each for what’s important to you in an RPG. Whether it’s combat, story, or a preferred subgenre, it’s covered. We tried to recommend more recent games where we could, but didn’t want to completely eschew beloved classics in case you were itching for something more nostalgic. Read more...

Replay — Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2

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Last week, Joe Juba, Andrew Reiner, and I went on a journey with Gabriel Belmont and rediscovered what made Castlevania: Lords of Shadow so great, including its absolutely bonkers ending. We had so much fun that we decided to look past the faults of the sequel and see if we could keep the good times rolling with Lords of Shadow 2.

The results? A wacky episode filled with impressions of Muppets, musings on vampire dating simulators, and a large discussion centered on America's sweetheart: Nicholas Cage.

This week's show is prerecorded, but we'll be live and chatting with you again in a mere seven days. If you can't get enough of our live shows, remember to subscribe on YouTube, Twitch, MixerTwitter, and Facebook to get notified when we go live each week!

Goosebumps Dead of Night Coming This Summer

Cosmic Forces, Sony Pictures Consumer Products, and Scholastic are bringing R.L. Stine's Goosebumps series to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC.

In Goosebumps Dead of Night you try to collect missing pages from Goosebumps stories that have been stolen, but it's not quite that easy - scary creatures like Lawn Gnomes, the Werewolf of Fever Swamp, and Murder the Clown. It's first-person survival horror, Goosebumps style. Along your journey through the macabre, you must hide, sneak, and solve puzzles to survive. 

While we don't have an exact release date, the title is expected to arrive this summer. Check out the trailer below!

Click here to watch embedded media

 

BioShock, XCOM 2, And More Hit Switch Today

Today is a surprisingly robust release day for Nintendo’s Switch. As announced a few months back, 2K just dropped several big game collections. The first is BioShock: The Collection, which features the remastered versions of all three BioShock games. The second is XCOM 2 Collection, which includes Firaxis' stellar strategy game and all four of its DLC packs. Finally, the Borderlands Legendary Collection includes the Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition, Borderlands 2, and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel.

In addition to 2K’s offerings, the massive open-world RPG Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition also hits Switch today. This re-release of the 2012 Wii title features updated visuals, remastered music, and a new epilogue story sequence.

Shantae and the Seven Sirens – the fifth entry in WayForward long-running platformer about a magical half-genie – also released yesterday, which might be worth checking out if you’re bored.

Honestly, if you haven’t played some of these great games already, now might be the perfect time to catch up. But, hey, we're not trying to tell you what to do. 

Crucible Review - A Slow Struggle

Publisher: Amazon Games
Developer: Relentless Studios
Release:
Rating: Teen
Reviewed on: PC

Hero shooters are all the rage these days, so games in the middle or bottom of the field struggle to compete against the lead dogs. Crucible is one of those games, where its mediocrity only earns dismissal. Crucible is like a bland and forgettable meal – inoffensive going down, but quickly passed over for something with a little more flavor and spice.

Crucible’s heroes fail to entertain on the personality and character level, but they often have memorable and interesting moves that cater to perfection and learning. With the exception of the adorable robot Bugg, most of the cast lacks appeal. With color-by-the-numbers characters like Military Man, Berserker Lizard, and Fish Sniper, the heroes feel like they were ripped from the pages of a rejected comic book.

On the loadout side, learning a character’s nuances is highly entertaining. For example, the militant Sazan has a set of skills that's easy to understand on the surface, but has lots of room for growth and skill. Discovering how to distance myself to juggle my assault rifle, shotgun, and throwing knife cooldowns was a fun exercise. Mastering a moveset, both partial and perfectly, is satisfying and applicable to many of the heroes.

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The map, with its event spawns that help drive the action, is a suitable environment with plenty of spaces to play in. While there is only one map, it's constantly changing with different spawns to mix things up, and you can learn the locations of various landmarks to duck behind cover or jump off a ledge. Event spawns differ from game to game, but many are simple NPC enemies. Other events like power capsules enhance your whole team, but much of the time you may not see another soul as you complete these tasks in an arena largely devoid of activity.

Team clashing is the best part of the game, with skirmishes that pick off players and small-scale engagements taking the spotlight. True 4v4’s are interesting, but there’s a distinct lack of teamplay elements. The combat is weightless outside of a few big attacks, with little feedback or punch to most weapons and abilities. Everyone simply does the same thing they would normally be doing in a 1v1 scenario and hopes things shake out. Crucible lacks any in-game voice communication, which forces you to connect with people you already know via other services. For example, letting teammates know you're sacrificing an objective to glean an edge elsewhere is an important memo to relay, as they may go and fight otherwise and end up putting the other team even further ahead. A ping system attempts to mitigate this, but it’s not practical. Depending on the game, you may not even see the other team much, as you both farm dinosaurs and pick off stragglers in 3v1s or trade control of points of interest.

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One of the larger issues is the PvE component, which tasks you to essentially spend time dunking on dinos and spitter creatures between encounters with the other teams. The battles against these NPCs are fun for a few games, but then they become an absolute bore and a chore. The PvE component does everything it can to tear you away from fighting other players, instead forcing you to slaughter uninteresting one-note blobs of XP wholesale instead of actually playing the game.

Of the three game modes, the only one worth mentioning is Heart of the Hives. If you’re going to play, this is the mode to check out. Two teams of four battle over PvE objectives, so you have cool decisions to make, like when to engage with the somewhat dangerous PvE entity or if you should cede a flag capture to the other team so you can grab some levels and powerups for an easier win. Like many other aspects of the game, this mode provides fun for a few games, and then fades from memory altogether. Eventually you realize that you could be doing something else or playing something more fun than being slowly dragged across the map on a dino-chain for what might be a slightly satisfying team fight.

Crucible isn’t a bad game, but it’s not a good game either. In the context of today’s hero-shooter environment, that makes it a lost soul, struggling to find a strong sense of identity. With time, perhaps Crucible can find reasons to stay on the menu, but right now the recipe is diluted and dull.

Score: 6.75

Summary: The hybrid PVE/PVP experience has cool concepts, but many of them fail to resonate in a meaningful way.

Concept: Play as a variety of heroes in a third-person shooter, team-based environment

Graphics: The environments can look slick and colorful, but a permeating sameness prevents the details from making an impact

Sound: The effects and music are competent, but they can’t carry the experience by themselves

Playability: Highly accessible to new players, with room to grow in terms of mastering timing, skills, and strategies

Entertainment: Crucible has genuinely interesting character movesets, but is dragged down by a lack of combat impact, PvE that turns into a rote chore almost immediately, and sluggish pacing

Replay: High

Click to Purchase

Sony Hosting Livestream Next Week Focusing On PS5 Games

Sony has announced that it's hosting a livestream next week, which will be focusing on the PlayStation 5. More specifically, it's all about the games this time.

The stream will be on Thursday, June 4, at 1 p.m. Pacific. On a post on the PlayStation Blog, Sony Interactive Entertainment president and CEO Jim Ryan outlined a few details on what to expect. "This digital showcase will run for a bit more than an hour and, for the first time, we will all be together virtually experiencing the excitement together," he said. "A lack of physical events has given us an amazing opportunity to think differently and bring you on this journey with us, and hopefully, closer than ever before. This is part of our series of PS5 updates and, rest assured, after next week’s showcase, we will still have much to share with you."

The stream will be available on Sony's official YouTube and Twitch channels.

Report: Sony Sets PS5 Compatibility Date For PS4 Titles

Backward compatibility is a big topic for gamers and the upcoming next-gen systems. Sony hasn't publicly talked about this topic as much as Microsoft has for its Xbox Series X, but Eurogamer has seen developer documents which state that developers of PlayStation 4 games which are submitted for certification with Sony on or after July 13 must make those titles "technically" playable on the PlayStation 5.

The report's qualifier of "technically" playable on the PS5 means that it's up to each developer to make sure this is the case, although Sony is working with its partners on the process.

Also, submitted is different than released, as companies must turn in their titles to Sony for approval months before they come out. This means that PS4 games releasing this summer may fall outside the July 13 start point – although Eurogamer believes that high-profile first-party summer titles Ghost of Tsushima and The Last of Us Part II will indeed play on the PS5. 

The report also reveals that PS4 titles must contain the same features between the systems, and any update or remaster of the title after the July 13 cutoff would have to retain compatibility. Updates or remasters submitted before that date would be "strongly recommended" to keep compatibility.

Sony has previously talked about backward compatibility for the PS5, but it's unknown how many PS4 titles will be playable at the PS5's launch later this year. In March, system architect Mark Cerny said that almost all of the top 100 PS4 titles based on playtime where playable at the time on the PS5.

Sony is hosting a live stream on June 4 focusing on PS5 games, so perhaps we'll hear more about backward compatibility at that time.

[Source: Eurogamer]

First Gameplay Action Of NASCAR Heat 5

Click here to watch embedded media

Publisher: Motorsport Games
Developer: 704Games
Release:
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Developer 704Games showed off the first gameplay trailer for July 7's NASCAR Heat 5 (PS4, Xbox One, and PC), giving fans a glimpse of some of the pack racing at various tracks.

Consistently performing A.I. was one of the things the studio wanted to improve upon this year, and it'll be interesting to see how that influences passing, drafting, and the overall pack racing, which should be different at each track.

For more on the game, check out our previous preview, as well as our discussion with publisher Motorsport Games about the future of the franchise.

The Witcher Series Reaches 50 Million Copies Sold

On Twitter today, CDProjekt Red announced that The Witcher series has hit a major milestone - 50 million copies sold.

While everyone waits with mad anticipation for the studios' next upcoming effort with Cyberpunk 2077, The Witcher has been slaying monsters and making trouble for quite some time, and has even transcended to other major media forms such as the popular Netflix series.

Check out our review of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt here!

Sonic The Hedgehog Movie Officially Getting A Sequel

Paramount Pictures and Sega Sammy have confirmed to Variety that a sequel to this year's successful Sonic the Hedgehog movie is in the works. The original movie currently sits at a 64 percent on movie-review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes, with a 93 percent audience-approval rating. In addition, it earned the best opening weekend ever for a movie based on a video game.

This news comes exactly one month after director Jeff Fowler said that there were not yet plans for a sequel. Now, Fowler is set to once again direct, with the writers of the first movie, Pat Casey and Josh Miller, returning as well. Casting decisions and production dates have not yet been determined.

For more on our thoughts of Sonic the Hedgehog, check out our video discussion about the film.

[Source: Variety]

Timelie Review – Making Every Second Count

Publisher: Urnique Studio, Milk Bottle Studio
Developer: Urnique Studio
Release:
Rating: Teen
Reviewed on: PC

When a child awakes in the middle of a mysterious facility full of hostile robots, she begins looking for a quick exit. Along the way, this innocent girl discovers she has precognitive powers that allow her to explore future timelines until she discovers the optimal route to safety. That's the premise to Timelie, Urnique Studio’s tightly designed stealth puzzle game that occasionally challenges your reasoning and critical thinking skills, but runs its course too quickly.

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All of Timelie’s levels are miniature mazes that have you dodging security drones as you make your way toward digital keypads to unlock the exit. Navigating these mazes is relatively simple, and your goal is almost always obvious, so the challenge comes from your limited windows of opportunity to dodge patrolling sentries and reach your target. Fortunately, your nameless heroine can see into the future. Practically speaking, this means that you can pause and rewind the action by scrubbing through a timeline at the bottom of the screen, which lets you fine-tune your movements through each tangle of hallways. Weaving through guard's eye lines and narrowly evading their grasp is always satisfying. Once you’ve perfectly orchestrated your escape, you can watch a real-time video of your plan in action, which is neat in concept. In execution, I was usually happy to skip these playbacks thanks to the main character’s slow movement.

In the middle of this adventure, you befriend a stray cat. This cat can squeeze through narrow vents to reach new areas and can meow to distract guards at key moments. Because this kitty can’t reach keypads, you have to bounce between control of the cat and the girl, using their skills in tandem to outwit an army of security robots. Controlling two creatures at once is a fun wrinkle that adds welcome depth to Timelie’s otherwise simple structure, and I had the most fun carefully coordinating both of my characters’ movements like they were performing a well-rehearsed dance.

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Even after the addition of the cat, Timelie’s puzzles never grow complex enough to be fully satisfying. A few sequences forced me to stop and consider all my options, but Timelie quickly runs out of tricks to throw at you, which makes the experience feel somewhat shallow overall. Additionally, during some of the late-game puzzles, I had to rewind to the beginning of a level’s timeline to correct an early mistake (which I didn’t know was a mistake at the time), forcing me to replay the whole stage. Most levels only take a few minutes to navigate, so this is a minor inconvenience, but it adds a sense of monotony to some of Timelie’s cleverest puzzles.

Several games offer players the chance to rewind time and pause the action, but I’ve never grown tired of this particular power fantasy. I appreciate Timelie’s stealth-based, tactical approach to time manipulation. But just as Timelie starts to hit its stride, I hit the credits. Timelie isn’t the most comprehensive exploration of time manipulation, but its bite-sized puzzles are a welcome distraction.

Score: 7.75

Summary: Urnique Studio’s tightly designed stealth puzzle game occasionally challenges your reasoning and critical thinking skills, but runs its course too quickly.

Concept: A young girl works to escape the confines of a robot-infested facility only to discover that she can control time

Graphics: Timelie’s environments aren’t detailed, but its smart use of color makes for a few interesting backdrops

Sound: This generic orchestral score doesn’t add much to the action of this wordless adventure

Playability: Controlling time is perfectly straightforward, but characters plod along at a snail’s pace

Entertainment: Mastering time is fun and weaving past enemies in the nick of time is a thrill, but fine-tuning some of those near misses can be monotonous

Replay: Moderate

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Fury Unleashed Review – Old-School Shooting With A Roguelike Bite

Publisher: Awesome Games Studio
Developer: Awesome Games Studio
Release:
Rating: Teen
Reviewed on: PlayStation 4
Also on: Xbox One, Switch, PC

A run in Fury Unleashed often concludes with either you or a boss falling. This epic fight often comes down to both sides just having a sliver of health left. The spoils of victory are obviously greater than defeat, but even death can be rewarding, as every run potentially unlocks a new weapon, and perhaps enough experience points to level up and upgrade abilities. Developer Awesome Games Studio has created a balanced roguelike that delivers fun run-and-gun action and challenging battles that get a little less painful each time you attempt them.

Holding true to the Contra and Metal Slug games that Fury Unleashed draws inspiration from, you zip around stages filled with enemies, rotating the analog stick every which way to open fire. The controls are responsive and fluid, allowing you to quickly dash to new positions, and alternate between firearms and melee should enemies get too close. You can even bounce on enemy heads to make them explode, bank grenades off of walls, and use special attacks to freeze foes in place. All of this nicely made action is even better when you are playing with a friend, which is sadly only offered as couch co-op. If the game seems too hard, you can always lower the difficulty. The game is easy to get into and even easier to get lost in, given just how fun and rewarding it can be.

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If you chain together kills, you hit combo thresholds that activate abilities that give you an edge, such as various damage resistances and healing. The entire game is set within the panels of comic books in which you battle a random assortment of creatures, humans, and machines (most dying within a few hits, but rare variations of enemies in a red hue play the role of mini-bosses). The variety in the enemies is a bit light, but I like how some panels explode in unexpected ways, whether it’s Venus flytraps or turrets emerging from walls to join other foes.

If you die along the way, you are sent back to the comic’s first panel, only it’s different, and every following panel is also rearranged, sometimes bringing better rewards and other times deadlier foes. A giant boss waits for you on the final page, and should you be able to take it down, you move on to a new comic book with an entirely different theme with its own set of adversaries. This setup works well for lightning-quick playthroughs, which is fantastic since you often want to level up or change gear after a run. The comics are linked and arranged in random ways, so you don’t have to finish a run when you find the last panel; you can always spend more time in a book by going back to see what each missed panel holds.

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Since weapon and armor drops are all over the place, the randomized levels almost always deliver satisfactory loot. I may not find the exact weapon I want in each run, but I never find myself sticking with something I don't like for long, and am also able to pick up plenty of armor along the way. The true challenge is risking all by taking on a side task handed to you by an NPC. They ask many things of you, such as only using melee strikes to kill specific enemies or launching yourself through a dangerous gauntlet of obstacles, all for an unknown reward. These challenges create variety in the levels and make each run a little more interesting.

Fury Unleashed’s story is its biggest surprise, as it focuses on the comic-book creator, who is down on himself and feels lost creatively. His story unfolds through text messages and social media posts that show how he and others feel about his work. When the first story moment is revealed, it’s a bit of a record-scratch moment, but once you pick up on what is happening, the story is fascinating to see unfold. It isn’t what you would expect from something that looks and plays like Contra.

Like Dead Cells before it, Fury Unleashed is one of those roguelikes that is hard to put down, as you know the next run will only give you a better shot making more progress to unlock new comics, gear, and ultimately a better chance at taking down the final boss. It’s a hell of a lot of fun, whether you’re playing solo or co-op.

Score: 8.5

Summary: Mowing down enemies for rewards that stick with you is a lot of fun, especially when it plays this well.

Concept: A roguelike that plays like Contra and doles out meaningful rewards that help make subsequent runs easier

Graphics: Stylish and bloody. The action is easy to follow, even with numerous enemies, spinning sawblades, and rockets crowding the screen

Sound: The intense soundtrack is sometimes buried by the explosions and chaos, but that’s also when the sound is at its best

Playability: The controls are responsive and surprisingly deep, allowing for quick dashes, grenade tosses, special attacks, and weapon switches to be performed as you bounce across platforms

Entertainment: The action pops and is excellently crafted. You always feel like you are on the verge of making more progress, which is a great feeling for a roguelike

Replay: Moderately High

Click to Purchase

The NFL And Electronic Arts Renew Exclusive Madden Deal

Update #2: Electronic Arts has officially announced the extension, adding that it is planning new games in "new genres with more forms of play and self-expression, available on more platforms, including expanded offerings for mobile players."

Furthermore, NFL commissioner Roger Goddell added, "The expansion of this partnership is not only about the continued success of the Madden NFL franchise but also the creation of new avenues for our fans to connect with the sport they love."

EA says that Madden NFL 21 will be previewed on June 1.

Update #1: A source has told NFL reporter Albert Breer that the NFL has indeed voted to extend the league's license with Electronic Arts, giving the Madden NFL publisher/developer the exclusive rights for sim-related football games through 2025. There is an option for the following year if the franchise is deemed a financial hit.

Original Story:
Madden NFL developer/publisher Electronic Arts and the NFL are expected to renew their exclusive deal for simulation-based football titles through the 2025 season, according to senior NFL reporter Albert Breer, with the possibility for another year after that.

NFL owners are conducting league meetings this week, where they are expected to vote to extend EA's deal, which runs through 2021. According to Sports Business Daily, a one-year extension through 2026 is also possible if EA meets "certain revenue goals."

Earlier this month, EA told investors that Madden NFL 20 had reached the highest engagement levels in the series history.

In March, EA competitor 2K announced that it was returning to making NFL games, but they were for "non-simulation" titles. The language of the upcoming renewal as reported by Breer appears to bear out this divide, stating that the deal is specifically for "NFL-themed realistic action simulation video games," while the rights for "arcade-style games, youth games, and casual/mobile games" is non-exclusive.

For more on the coming landscape of NFL video games, check out my earlier Sports Desk column regarding 2K's return to football and what it may or may not mean.

[Source: Albert Breer, Sports Business Daily via Gamesindustry.biz]

I'm not surprised by this news. Although many gamers and the Madden community itself wants to see more competition for the Madden brand, if the series is as lucrative as EA says, I would expect nothing more from the NFL owners than a continuation of the status quo.
For the NFL owners used to Madden's demonstrated revenue, opening up the simulation-based exclusivity could be seen as more of a risk than it might be worth. The fact that 2K and in-house developer Visual Concepts made great football titles a decade and a half ago is probably not as relevant to them as it is to us.

GI Show - The Last of Us Part II State of Play, Minecraft Dungeons, and Monster Train

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On this week's episode of The Game Informer Show, we discuss The Last of Us Part II's recent State of Play where we finally see some uninterrupted gameplay, and we cover the recent reviews of Minecraft Dungeons and Monster Train. Of course, we end this week's show with a fun community segment full of emails and games. So please join me, Alex Stadnik, Jeff Cork, and Dan "The Jacket" Tack for another great show.

We continue to do this show from our homes as we hunker down in quarantine, so please forgive us for any audio or video hiccups as we deliver content outside the studio.

Thanks for listening! Please make sure to leave feedback below, share the episode if you enjoyed it, and follow me @therealandymc to let me know what you think. 

You can watch the video above, subscribe and listen to the audio on iTunes or Google Playlisten on SoundCloudstream it on Spotify, or download the MP3 at the bottom of the page. Also, be sure to send your questions to podcast@gameinformer.com for a chance to have them answered on the show.

Our thanks to the talented Super Marcato Bros. for The Game Informer Show's intro song. You can hear more of their original tunes and awesome video game music podcast at their website.

To jump to a particular point in the discussion, check out the time stamps below.

The Last of Us Part II State of Play Reactions: 6:32
Minecraft Dungeons Review Discussion: 21:39
Monster Train: 39:11
Community Emails: 51:23

Harvest Moon: One World Coming To PS4 In Addition To Switch

Earlier this month, Natsume announced that its Harvest Moon series is receiving a new entry later this year. At that time, the Switch was the only confirmed platform – but today the company revealed that Harvest Moon: One World will release on both PS4 and Switch this fall.

The story of One World involves exploring an entire world (rather than just your quaint hometown), managing a farm while restoring a variety of familiar fruits and vegetables to the world.   

It's worth noting that what we know as "Harvest Moon" in North America is a bit complicated. It was originally the name for the series called Bokujō Monogatari in Japan. Today, that series is called Story of Seasons in North America, while Natsume has continued developing its own farming/life simulations under the Harvest Moon banner.

Even if this isn't the same series as the Harvest Moon you remember from titles like Friends of Mineral Town and A Wonderful Life, One World still has plenty of potential to deliver a pleasant, peaceful simulation on modern hardware.

Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath Review – Kombative Continuation

Mortal Kombat 11

Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive
Developer: NetherRealm Studios
Release:
Rating: Mature
Reviewed on: Xbox One
Also on: PlayStation 4, Switch, Stadia, PC

Since the Mortal Kombat series received a soft reboot in 2011, it has stood shoulder to shoulder with the most elite fighting franchises thanks to superb 2D fighting mechanics and consistent post-launch support. However, NetherRealm Studios’ Fatality-filled fighter reigns supreme in its story mode. Since the reboot, the series has delivered three cinematic stories that have expanded the franchise’s universe in interesting and absurd ways. Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath adds a new tale that picks up right where the base game left off, giving you yet another exciting adventure featuring the expanding cast of Mortal Kombat characters.

As Aftermath begins, series antagonist Shang Tsung emerges from a portal to inform Raiden and Liu Kang that they need the destroyed Crown of Kronika to rewrite time without destroying the universe. After the duo agrees to form an alliance with the devious sorcerer, players are treated to an entertaining time-travel story starring several characters that were previously only available as DLC, including Nightwolf, Shao Kahn, Sindel, and Shang Tsung himself.

As you work through five new story chapters, you experience a tale of deception and betrayal rife with superbly choreographed fight scenes, fun character interactions, and plenty of bloody battles. I love how Aftermath’s story shines a light on characters that previously weren’t a part of this narrative; seeing Sindel and Shao Kahn wreak havoc is enjoyable, and I enjoyed watching Shang Tsung try to convince everyone he’s not the snake they know him to be.

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Between fights, Aftermath carries on the series’ legacy of incredible cinematic sequences. Characters clash, limbs are severed, souls are stolen, and alliances crumble in the most bombastic ways; these cutscenes hold nothing back. The impressive motion- and facial-capture tech is on full display, with battles that would feel at home in a modern action movie. Believable facial movements sell the character interactions, whether they are reacting to dialogue or getting dealt a devastating blow. However, the tale is anchored by the performance of its main character: Shang Tsung as portrayed by Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa. Tagawa is best known for his portrayal of the evil sorcerer in the 1995 Mortal Kombat movie, and he slides effortlessly back into the role in a starring capacity.

Also returning to a familiar role is Peter Weller, the star of the 1987 movie RoboCop. While RoboCop doesn’t appear in the story, Weller performs aptly as the character three decades later, and it’s fun to see him back as the cybernetic police officer as one of the three new characters included in the Aftermath bundle. The technology-based bruiser is formidable; I had fun combining RoboCop’s heavy shoulder charges, flamethrower, and Auto-9 pistol for creative combos that bullied my opponents.

Longtime Mortal Kombat fans also see the return of two familiar faces in Fujin and Sheeva. Sheeva’s heavy-hitting grappling approach gives her all kinds of powerful ways to toss her opponents around a stage, and the Shokan queen’s Dragon Drop move can cause trouble for players trying to stay out of her grabbing range.

Fujin has been a less prominent character in the franchise recently, but because of his limited role, his story chapter is particularly interesting. It gives the player insight into his history and dynamic with other characters, including his brother Raiden. Fujin’s playstyle is much more agile than RoboCop and Sheeva, and using the wind to manipulate your enemy is a blast. His Fatal Blow, where he uses his godly powers to throw around his katana, is among my favorites.

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In addition to the premium story, characters, and skins in Aftermath, NetherRealm released a free update that adds multiple offerings for all Mortal Kombat 11 owners. The biggest inclusion is the return of Friendships, over-the-top, goofy finishing moves introduced in Mortal Kombat II. These hilarious finishers offer friendly gestures in stark contrast to the gory mutilations in Fatalities, ranging from Sub-Zero wheeling out an ice-cream cart to Noob Saibot performing an energetic jump-rope routine. Each Friendship is hilarious in its own way, and I always looked forward to seeing the silliness that ensued when one was initiated.

Also included in the free part of the update is a suite of new stages and Fatalities associated with them. I loved returning to the acid-filled Dead Pool, but the Retrocade is my favorite addition. That stage delivers a ‘90s arcade complete with change machine, cardboard standees of past Mortal Kombat games, and even Primal Rage and Rampage arcade cabinets. Plus, it has classic, pixelated stages projected on the wall behind you.

While you’re able to play through the story in a single evening, Aftermath gives you a deeper look into the Mortal Kombat universe as seen through the eyes of characters who aren’t typically stars of the show. When combined with three additional characters, Aftermath delivers a strong package for fans of the latest iteration of the bloody fighting franchise.

Score: 8.5

Summary: Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath delivers a fun story to play through and three unique characters, making this a strong package for fans of the latest iteration of the bloody franchise.

Concept: Continue the bonkers story of Mortal Kombat 11 and add three fighters to the ever-growing roster

Graphics: Some of the impressive cinematics feel ripped straight out of a Hollywood blockbuster, and the detailed facial animations put an exclamation point on every painful blow

Sound: Hearing Peter Weller reprise his role as RoboCop is a treat, but the star of the show is Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as Shang Tsung

Playability: The three new characters flawlessly fit into the existing playstyles, and the story does a great job of putting you in control of various post-launch characters not in the original story

Entertainment: Seeing a continuation of the bonkers Mortal Kombat 11 story is thrilling, and the new characters are solid additions

Replay: Moderate

Click to Purchase

Fortnite Chapter 2 - Season 2 Extended, Season 3 Hits June 11

Epic Games has announced a one-week extension to Fortnite Chapter 2 - Season 2 in preparation to launch Season 3. The season, which began in February, will now give way to Chapter 2 - Season 3 on June 11.

To signal the transition, Fortnite will host a one-time-only live event called The Device on Saturday, June 6 at 2 p.m. Eastern. This event is said to progress the game's story, and will only happen one time, so Epic Games recommends you arrive 30 minutes early since space will be limited. 

Prior to the event and start of the new season, you can still complete your Battle Pass challenges to lock in appearance choices for several characters including Brutus, Midas, TNTina, and Meowscles. Once the new season begins on June 11, the Battle Pass characters' appearances are locked in.

Check Out Nearly 30 New Minutes Of Outriders In Action

Click here to watch embedded media

Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: People Can Fly
Release: 2020
Platform: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

People Can Fly and Square Enix have released the first Outriders Broadcast, a special video series designed to give players a deeper look at the upcoming loot-based shooter. Today’s video has nearly 30 minutes of new footage, and a ton of information to digest. Some of it’s new, much of it has been known since our cover story on the game, but it’s definitely worth checking out.

One of the biggest bits of information shown comes in the form of the Perforo. What the heck is a Perforo? Well, they’re an indigenous life form on Enoch, the planet the game is set on. Apparently, they’re not particularly thrilled at the players’ presence. We fought some human enemies and a large ape-like creature in our earlier hands-on time with the game, but this is the first time we’ve seen these humanoids. They come in several different types, but they all seem to share the same twisted, inside-out appearance.

The encounter with the Perforo comes in a new mission, where the players are tracking down an abandoned truck that may contain some important tech. It’s mostly used as a backdrop for showing off a variety of the game’s systems. For instance, we see various UI elements toggled on and off, giving players a fair amount of granularity for their HUDs. Don’t like visible damage indicators, minimaps, or other indicators cluttering up your screen? You can easily turn them off as you see fit.

World tiers also get called out in the Outriders Broadcast. As you kill enemies, you level up the overall world difficulty, which can optionally be increased. Higher tiers are more challenging, but they’ll provide better rewards. There’s an interesting element to it, in that you lose a small amount of world XP when you die. Because of that, it’s possible to get knocked down a world tier if you keep failing. It’s both a way to balance things out better as well as prevent people from grinding out areas beyond their abilities.

The video ends with a look at the Trickster class, one of four classes in the game. As we showed in our video, this class manipulates time and space to dominate the battlefield. Another small detail was shown, in that characters have two different melee attacks. One is activated while standing still, and another can be activated while the player is running toward enemies. The latter has a particularly powerful effect, rewarding players who decide to get in close.

The video ends with some short answers to several community questions. People Can Fly reiterated that Outriders isn’t a games as service, it won’t contain microtransactions, and it won’t use Denuvo DRM software. 

Outriders is coming to PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in 2020.

Lucasfilm Announces Star Wars: Tales From The Galaxy’s Edge VR Experience

You might not be able to visit Galaxy’s Edge in Disney right now, but you may soon be able to bring a piece of those parks into your home. Oculus Studios, ILMxLAB, and Lucasfilm are working on a new VR experience that ties into the Disney’s Galaxy's Edge theme park at Disney’s resort parks. We don’t know much about the VR experience at the moment, but the studios were careful not to call it a game, which is interesting.

“The rich storytelling in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge has redefined what a Disney park experience can be, and we are thrilled fans will have an opportunity to discover new stories, meet new characters and explore new regions of the planet Batuu in Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge,” said Scott Trowbridge, Walt Disney Imagineering Creative Executive. “Now our guests can immerse themselves in these stories both inside and outside our parks.”

What we do know about this new VR project is that it features an original story starring both new and iconic characters from the Star Wars universe, is set on the planet of Batuu, and takes place between the films The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker.

This all sounds like a fun complement to the Vader Immortal series, which wrapped up late last year, and we’re all for more VR experiences that help us explore our favorite franchise and push the VR medium forward. Hopefully this project turns out well.

Microsoft Further Details Xbox Series X Backwards Compatibility

A huge talking point going into the upcoming console generation centers on compatibility. Players have already invested a ton of money on games and accessories, and many are crossing their fingers that those investments won't be completely canceled out when new systems hit store shelves this holiday season. Xbox has already said that Xbox One, Xbox 360, and original Xbox games that run on Xbox One through that system's backwards compatibility initiative will work on Series X, and that accessories will also carry forward into the next generation of hardware. Today, the team at Xbox gave more insight into the backwards compatibility features of the upcoming Xbox Series X.

With more than 600 games from previous generations working on Xbox One, as well as the massive library of games released for Xbox One available, the Xbox Series X will have thousands of compatible games at launch. This feat required Microsoft to clear major hurdles when it comes to system and chip architecture to allow games from multiple generations to be played on the newest hardware. In addition, Microsoft has put in more than 100,000 hours of playtesting to make sure that Series X is not only compatible with your current libraries, but also delivering an optimal performance in ways past systems couldn't. 

According to Xbox, all backwards compatible games run natively on Xbox Series X hardware, utilizing the full power of the CPU, GPU, and SSD. This enables older games to achieve performance that is at least what was delivered on the game's original system, while sometimes performing in ways that were impossible on lesser hardware. Some backwards compatible games running on Xbox Series X could see improvements in higher and more steady framerates, higher maximum resolution, better visual quality, and shorter load times. Xbox Series X also uses new technology to automatically add HDR support to games with no impact to that game's performance. Additionally, the new Quick Resume feature of Xbox Series X, which allows you to jump right back in to a game where you left off across multiple titles, works with backwards compatible games as well.

On top of that, Xbox is working on methods to deliver new innovations to a small list of older games to update them to modern standards of image quality, resolution, and performance while still respecting the original artistic intent. For example, a method the team is using allows them to update older games to 4K resolution, or even double framerates from 30 fps to 60 fps or from 60 fps to 120 fps.

Microsoft also mentions achievements, game progress, and friends lists carrying forward. We'll continue to learn more about Xbox Series X, its capabilities, and its games in the coming months ahead of its holiday 2020 launch.

A Spoiler-Free Overview Of The Last Of Us Part II

The Last of Us Part II is easily one of the most anticipated PlayStation 4 games of the generation, and we’re only weeks away from experiencing Naughty Dog’s post-apocalyptic epic from start to finish. The full game hits June 19, and it sounds like the perfect way to kick off the summer. But don’t go into this dystopian world unprepared; as you patiently wait to get your hands on a copy, we’ve compiled this spoiler-free recap of everything you might need to know about The Last of Us Part II.

Who is the developer?

Let’s start with the basics. The studio is called Naughty Dog and it has a long history in the industry, working on fan-favorite series like Crash Bandicoot, Jak and Daxter, and Uncharted. Recently the studio has become renowned for its focus on polished storytelling and larger-than-life setpiece moments. Expect plenty of those in Part II. 

What happened in the first game? 

The first part of The Last of Us launched in 2013, and established a dystopian future where a mutant Cordyceps fungus ravaged the United States, turning humans into zombie-like monsters, better known as the Infected. Years after this initial outbreak, a gruff, no-nonsense man named Joel must chaperone a girl named Ellie across the country. Ellie is immune to the Cordyceps fungus, and some believe she is the key to finding a cure. Much of the original game recounts Joel and Ellie’s harrowing journey across the country, and it explores the familial bond that slowly forms between the two. The story is full of touching moments and brutal action – a modern classic worth playing if you haven’t already.

What’s the story setup for Part II?

Set five years after the events of the original, Part II picks up Ellie’s journey after she turns 19. Ellie and Joel have both settled into a community in Jackson, Wyoming, and they've eked out the closest thing to a normal life that the world has seen in over 25 years. However, tragedy soon finds Ellie again, as a rogue group of survivors does something that destroys the happy home Ellie has helped build. Naughty Dog has been incredibly cagey about this incident (but the internet is full of story spoilers, so be careful out there). The one thing we do know is that this incident sets Ellie on the course for revenge. This journey takes Ellie to Seattle where she goes head-to-head with a ruthless group of survivors. Overall, Part II will greatly expand on the world of The Last of Us, and Naughty Dog promises to grapple with tough choices as it philosophically muses on hate and revenge. 

Do you play as anyone other than Ellie? 

No, at least according to Naughty Dog. However, during the development of the first game, Naughty Dog said that you wouldn’t play as Ellie, which wasn’t true, so maybe the team is keeping something a secret this time, too. 

Will Ellie travel across the U.S. like in the original game? 

Part II is set across several different locations and seasons, but Naughty Dog is not as focused on the journey across states this time around. Instead, most of the game takes place in either Jackson or Seattle. In fact, most of the game has you exploring a Seattle that's divided by warring factions. That said, Naughty Dog says this is its biggest game to date and some of the environments are truly massive. At certain points, you traverse these locations on a horse or via boat. 

Woah, woah, who are those warring factions you casually mentioned back there? 

Seattle is divided by two factions who are fighting over the city’s dwindling resources. The first group is called the Washington Liberation Front. The WLF is a resistance group that formed to combat the military occupation of Seattle in the early years of the outbreak. This group is highly trained, well-organized, and heavily armed thanks to the supply of weapons they “procured” from the army. Sadly, the WLF won’t hesitate to kill any trespassers they bump into, including Ellie. 

The group on the other side of this conflict isn’t much better. The members of this religious group are called Seraphites. They are also sometimes called Scars, because of the deep, self-inflicted wounds on their faces. This group is also very territorial, but are stealthier than the WLF, preferring the silence of arrows to bullets. The Seraphites occasionally practice ritualistic sacrifices and hang their victims from the neck before disemboweling them, believing that they are “nested with sin.”

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If humans are this nasty, how bad are the Infected? 

Real bad. A lot of the classic Infected types return from the first game. Runners are newly infected humans who barrel at you in full rage. Naughty Dog says that Runners are even more aggressive than before. Meanwhile, Clickers are the blind enemies who chase down anything that makes a sound. Stalkers hide in the dark, waiting for the right time to strike. Naturally, Part II introduces a few new enemies’ types, such as Shamblers. These bloated enemies are covered in pustules that spit acid whenever they are attacked. This monster is essentially a tank that absorbs a great deal of pain before hitting the ground. This doesn't cover The Last of Us’s entire bestiary, because Naughty Dog has promised that the final game includes a few new types of Infected, some of whom are deadlier than anything we’ve seen before. 

Can you pit enemies against each other? 

Yes, just like the last game, all of these various factions hold grudges, and you can pit them against one another – just be careful that you don’t get overrun in the ensuing chaos. 

What are the new gameplay mechanics? 

Ellie is nimbler than Joel was in the first game. She can jump on top of objects and go prone to crawl through tight spaces. These tools come in handy when Ellie explores her environment, but they also invaluable during combat since Ellie can dodge attacks and even hide the grass. However, you aren’t completely hidden in grass. Naughty Dog calls this analog stealth because the closer enemies get to you the more likely they are to spot you … and even then dogs can catch your scent and hunt you down.

Dogs?!?!?

Oh yeah, did we forget to mention the dogs? Some of the human factions now employ dogs that follow your smell. You can actually see Ellie’s scent trail when you enter hunter vision, so you want to keep moving to avoid those pups. We don’t know if you can pet any of these dogs, but they sure don’t seem friendly.

What about multiplayer? 

The original The Last of Us launched with a multiplayer mode, called Factions, which was surprisingly fun. Part II won’t launch with a multiplayer mode, but Naughty Dog has promised that it is working on a follow-up multiplayer experience. This mode will release sometime after the launch of the single-player experience. 

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What’s new with crafting? 

Another big pillar of The Last of Us series is crafting. Much like the first game, Ellie can scavenge rundown buildings for useful components that can be combined into new tools, medical supplies, and weapons. One of these new gadgets is a trap bomb, which works a bit like a landmine. 

How do you upgrade your skills?

In the first game, Joel collected pills that let him level up his abilities, improving the effectiveness of health kits, among other things. Ellie can also use pills, but it is a little more involved than last time. As you rummage through old shopping districts and homes, you find magazines that unlock skill trees to dump your pills into. These trees come in a variety of different flavors, so you can upgrade Ellie’s survival, stealth, or combat skills, or try to evenly distribute her talents, making her a well-rounded survivalist. 

Does the workbench from the original game return? 

Yes, at workbenches you can use salvage to upgrade your weapons, so they hold more ammo, reload faster, and suffer less recoil. These changes are even represented visually. For example, if you add a new scope, you see that scope added to the weapon when Ellie straps it over her shoulder. 

How does the music sound? 

Great. Gustavo Santaolalla returns to score this game. Santaolalla wrote the soundtrack to the first game, and he is a renowned composer who won Oscars for his work on the films Brokeback Mountain and Babel. If you loved The Last of Us’ haunting-yet-intense score, you won’t be disappointed with the sequel. 

Anything else cool about this game? 

Yes, I didn’t know where else to put this, but each enemy has their own name and they will call out to each other during combat. You can even hear them using their names when they discover the bodies of their fallen friends as you sneak through their camps. 

This all sounds awesome. Remind me when The Last of Us Part II launches?

June 19. 

Naughty Dog Shows Tantalizing New Glimpse At The Last Of Us Part II

Naughty Dog vice president Neil Druckmann narrated a new look at The Last Of Us Part II, offering some in-depth details about how the game plays.

Part II picks up the story several years after the end of the first game, when Ellie and Joel have settled in a protected community in Jackson, Wyoming. Ellie is now 19, and just as she is beginning to gather a life for herself, disaster strikes in a form that that will likely wait until the game’s release to discover. Ellie sets out alone in pursuit of retribution and justice.

While the game includes varied locales including snowy areas near Jackson and lush forest zones in the Pacific Northwest, the bulk of the story is told in the old quarantine zone of Seattle. There, we see that Ellie has a host of new navigation options, including jumping gaps, and using ropes to swing to new platforms or for tactically bypassing enemies. She also regularly makes use of horseback riding and a motorboat to get around.

Seattle is a warzone between competing factions. The Washington Liberation Front (WLF) is one of the two factions, made up of militaristic and well-equipped soldiers who often use guard dogs to track down their targets. The other major human faction are the tribalistic Seraphites, or Scars, who ritualistically scar their bodies and faces, and use more stealth-oriented combat methods.

In addition, the Infected also fill the area, including old and familiar types from the previous game, like Clickers, Runners, and Stalkers, along with new types, like the armored Shamblers, which explode when they come near.

To navigate all these threats, Ellie has new options for navigating encounters, including hiding in tall grass, breaking glass to open up new paths, and crawling through tight spaces. She also has a wide array of crafting and customization options for her equipment and weapons, and after using a workbench, her items reflect the changes in their cosmetic appearance. She’ll also have allies that help out in a fight. Whether it’s her, or her friends, the takedowns exhibited reveal that Naughty Dog is certainly not shying away from brutal, harsh violence. Ellie’s battles are visceral and often gruesome.

After walking us through some of the details, the State of Play presentation opened up into a single uninterrupted gameplay sequence.

We see Ellie swimming in a forested area with the city in the background. She is being hunted.

She swims underwater and emerges in an industrial basement of some sort, swimming up behind seemingly helpless enemy woman, extracting info on the woman she’s trying to find, and then killing her when the woman pulls a knife. Ellie climbs out into the open, into the grounds of what turns out to be a hospital. She kills some more of her foes on her path through the area, staying stealthy for a time before the alarm is raised. She preps a Molotov cocktail and then flings it down onto a passing guard and dog, and then makes a run for it. By using her last known location as a reference, she sneaks behind yet more of her foes and mercilessly drops them. After some brutal throwdowns using a variety of weaponry, she blocks off a stairway, and reaches her target – the upper area of the hospital. Climbing through some air ducts, she eventually tracks down the girl she’s looking for – Nora – and they recognize each other, presumably from a dramatic event earlier in the game. And then the demo fades out.

From this 20-minute presentation, Naughty Dog clarifies much of what we already expected from the game. That is to say, the technology on display is remarkable, the tension and intense violence in encounters is hard to watch, and the storytelling is taut and exciting. It’s great to see more of the game in action. And unless the extreme violence is more than you want from your games these days, there’s every reason to expect that the high caliber we’ve come to expect from both the studio and the franchise are on track to continue with this new game.

The Last of Us Part II launches June 19 on PlayStation 4. 

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Season 4 Arrives June 3

The next big Call of Duty: Modern Warfare season is just around the corner.

The action kicks off next week on June 3, and there's a spiffy new trailer to catch you up on exactly what's going on in the larger story.

Yes, there's a story going on outside of those Shoot House 24/7 matches! Check out the new trailer below.

Click here to watch embedded media

 

Monster Train Review – Delightfully Devious Deckbuilding

Publisher: Good Shepherd Entertainment
Developer: Shiny Shoe
Release:
Rating: Not rated
Reviewed on: PC

Monster Train owes much to Slay the Spire for popularizing the roguelike deck-builder RPG, both at a high level and in some of its features and mechanics. But don’t dismiss Monster Train as a mere clone or derivative work like so many other games today attempting to capture the deck-building magic.

In Monster Train, your mind goes into overdrive like a locomotive ripping through hell as you determine the most decadent, degenerate combinations of cards and combos. At first, the experience is an easy task that requires little effort to complete, but subsequent runs and customization unlocks add serious complexity to the mix, making Monster Train a game that makes hours – even days – melt away in a masterful moment.

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The action all happens on a three-story train, where enemies come in on the bottom floor. If they make it to the top, they bash your life points away. When your life points are gone, your run is over. The goal is simple: through a variety of monsters and spells, stop them from stopping your train. Some bosses are the same every time, but they come with a different mix of abilities and cronies that help keep things feeling fresh.

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Different selectable factions form the basis for your decks and champion each run, consisting of core cards and an upgradeable leader. While you can liken some of them at the base level to mage, healer, or aggressive melee archetypes, there's a lot more going on here. Each faction plays quite differently, and you combine two different factions in each run to determine your spell, monster, and artifact pools. These synergies lead to a ton of fun experiments, and each faction feels unique on its own as well. From the candle-creatures that boast incredible power but burn out over time, to the umbral race that feeds upon little morsel-monsters that look like they escaped the forges of Spirited Away, the choices are distinct and a blast to concoct curious alchemy with. 

You can weed out unwanted cards from your deck as well as add and modify new ones. Combining your cards with artifacts that have persistent global effects can make or break a run, like an object that randomizes the play cost of all your cards, potentially letting use your high-cost options for free. Each little synergy you discover is a joy, and then putting multiple concepts together to tackle a high-difficulty run is incredibly satisfying, stacking many layers of strategy on top of each other.

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However, runs can start to feel too much the same after you discover the various ways you can break things extra hard by stacking multi-strike effects or armor incantation. On the mega difficulty modes, you are forced to seek out the most brutal and broken combos each time, and although the core bosses change a bit, the game can feel like you’re simply playing against yourself and some randomization each time instead of any real enemy.

Monster Train is a pleasant, mind-blowingly addictive exercise that’s well worth your time, especially if you’re a fan of roguelikes, card games, and deck-building fare. Hours of entertainment await, often chained back-to-back like a crazy card combo.

Score: 9

Summary: Get on the train, we're taking back hell!

Concept: Steer a train into the depths of hell to reclaim it from the forces of heaven

Graphics: Animations and assets bring a surprising amount of life to waxen combatants and overgrown vine monsters

Sound: A stirring score keeps your mind chugging along with the train as you ponder your turns

Playability: Easy to pick up and understand, with considerable complexity for players who want to dive into progressively more challenging runs

Entertainment: Monster Train may seem simple at first, but hours melt away with disturbing ease as you attempt to break the game – then break it even more as the challenge rises

Replay: High

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Minecraft Dungeons — Video Review

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Minecraft Dungeons may be the perfect starting point for newcomers looking to dip their toes into the action RPG genre or for someone looking to have a relaxed playthrough in a game world they know and love.

But, according to our own Jeff Cork's thorough and well-written review, hardcore fans of games such as Diablo and Path of Exile may want to look elsewhere if they're craving a deep loot-driven experience.

Join us as we analyze Mojang's latest foray into a new world with Game Informer's latest video review.

As always, your feedback has been instrumental in improving each video and I can't thank you enough. Please reach out in the comments below or on Twitter if you have any constructive feedback. I look forward to hearing from everyone. If you can't get enough Minecraft Dungeons, be sure to check out our New Gameplay Today as I play co-op with some of your favorite GI editors.

New Anime, Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai, Revealed Alongside Action/RPG, Mobile, And Arcade Games

Square Enix had a big day with a stream that showcased some big news for Dragon Quest fans. The beloved and mega-popular Japanese series is getting an anime based on an early '90s manga spin-off: Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai. Not only did we get our first look at it,  but Square Enix also took the opportunity to announce an action/RPG, mobile title, and arcade game to support it. 

The anime is set to debut this October in Japan, and you can watch the trailer below:

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The other big announcement was several games, including a mobile game (iOS, Android) hitting some time next year and an arcade card game coming this fall. But perhaps the biggest reveal was an action/RPG for consoles called Infinity Strash – Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai, where players freely control characters using flashy moves to takedown iconic monsters from the series. Square Enix is publishing and Game Studio is developing it. The exact consoles have yet to be announced. You can watch the trailer below.

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We haven't heard word on the status of any of these ventures for North America, but will update the story if we do. With Dragon Quest XI propelling the series' popularity and the recent Netflix move, there's a chance we at least see the anime and/or action/RPG. Here's hoping!

Fast & Furious Crossroads Gets Release Date & Gameplay Trailer

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Publisher: Bandai Namco
Developer: Slightly Mad Studios
Release:
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Fast & Furious Crossroads from racing experts Slightly Mad Studios was originally planned to come out this month, but due to the global pandemic, is now slated to release on PS4, Xbox One, and PC on August 7.

Today's new trailer gives us the first glimpse at the title's single-player gameplay through some epic encounters that look to liven up the normal chase-and-destroy and escape missions found in other action-racing titles.

You can also hear snippets of actors like Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez as they reprise their roles in the franchise.

Fast & Furious Crossroads also features three-person multiplayer, which Slightly Mad says it will discuss in the future.

This Year's Pokémon Go Fest Will Be Held In Your Backyard

This year's Pokémon Go Fest will be held on July 25 and 26, and you don't need to travel to any particular location in the world to play it. Developer Niantic is turning this year's Fest into a global event that can be played anywhere by anyone. Tickets will be made available to as many players as possible.

The previous years' Pokémon Go Fests that were held in Chicago and other places around the world only allowed players to participate for one day. This year, players can play on both days.

If this year's Fest plays out like those in the past, this will be a great time to catch shiny Pokémon and possibly a new mythical tied to a quest. For more details on what the event may be like, check out my impressions of last year's Fest.

Deep Rock Galactic Review – Off To Work We Go

Publisher: Coffee Stain Publishing
Developer: Ghost Ship Games
Release:
Rating: Teen
Reviewed on: PC
Also on: Xbox One

The great triumph of Deep Rock Galactic is transforming drudgery into something thrilling, repeatable, and fun. You work for a corporation that cares more about minor profits than your survival. You are sent into dark caves to hack away small quantities of minerals. And your rewards are paltry compared to the risk you face, squaring off against massive alien bugs that hunger for your flesh. Yet as a stalwart space dwarf doing what he does best, you’re having a grand time, because the game’s systems contrive to transform that work into something magical.

One big reason for that is the smartly structured approach to cooperative play. Deep Rock Galactic may be played solo, with the help of an A.I. drone to aid in your mining efforts, but it’s profoundly less enjoyable. The game is at its best with a full four-person team of miners working together, ideally with a full spread of the available classes. Thankfully, a fast and responsive backend allows for quick joining or hosting of sessions, so good grouping is possible even if your friends aren’t around.

The four classes are thoughtfully balanced and play well together, complementing each other’s skill sets. The Scout’s speed, flare gun, and grappling hook get him quickly to where he needs to be. The Driller’s tunneling capabilities expedite any endeavor or escape, and his flamethrower is a crowd control boon. The Gunner’s weaponry holds the line in any fight, and his zip lines make team navigation manageable. And the engineer’s platform creation enables the mining of spots that might otherwise seem impossible to reach, even as his automatic turrets help hold specific control zones. Taken together, each adds something invaluable to the group, and I enjoyed my time with each.

In any given mining run, your space mining crew is sent hurtling into the depths of a mineral-rich behemoth of a planet, which also just happens to be overrun by hostile alien bugs. Sometimes you’re just there to collect a particular type of rock, but other objectives keep things interesting, from eliminating particularly nasty foes to retrieving the goods left behind by a previous mining crew that didn’t make it out. Secondary objectives lend an interesting risk/reward dynamic, adding time and danger in the depths, but with significant boosts to your payout. And as you climb the ladder of harder missions, there are other secrets to uncover, from hidden cosmetics in long-lost collapsed caves, to challenging “machine events” that throw in an extra challenging combat exchange. With a pickaxe in hand, there’s a satisfying balance in each mission between figuring out how to reach that elevated gold vein, and then switching gears to stave off a horde of attackers. Battles are intense and challenging, and demand constant teamwork.

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Regardless, the procedurally generated cave systems are fascinating and expansive. The game encourages a focus on discovery and exploration – the mapping and objective markers are limited. That’s frequently a ton of fun, leading to moments of excitement as you smash through a dirt wall to find a massive crystalline chamber just beyond. However, at times the focus on freeform wandering can lead to a sense of aimlessness. Likewise, the game makes great use of light, as the dwarves send out rechargeable flares (or the scout’s longer-lasting flare gun blasts) to survey the area. But the overriding sense of oppressive darkness can wear thin after a time, and the shifting light sources mean that it’s easy to get lost.

In between work shifts, your time back on the space rig features some fun interjections, especially when shared with others. You upgrade a beer brewing license with newly discovered materials, letting you toast each other before a number of silly effects take over, like lighting you on fire, or changing your size. Some drinks can even offer a buff for the next mission. You’ve got a place to dance a dwarven jig to the nearby jukebox, and a button to turn off gravity in the station for a time. Or how about you just kick some barrels around? It’s all frivolous and amusing.

This space station is also where you gradually upgrade your miner’s equipment as they climb through the levels. Consistent play leads to an array of perks, but most of them have only minor effects on the chance of success. A few unlockable weapons await each class, and an array of upgrades for armor and the rest of your arsenal. However, many of the most important upgrades are acquired in the early hours, and the focus shifts to a very slow cosmetic unlock path. I found myself wishing for some more meaningful options and customization after a time; the game demands many hours of investment to tweak your look to exactly the way you like, and more gameplay-affecting upgrades would have been welcome. You eventually open up “promotion,” which adds some new extended missions and a few additional upgrade options. With that said, the leveling curve is relatively flat, and characters of disparate levels can generally play just fine with one another, except on the hardest settings.

Minor quibbling about progression or navigation frustration aside, Deep Rock Galactic is consistently a great time, and highly replayable. The dwarves grumble and shout at each other, complaining about their lot, but happily tackle each new challenge with dogged determinism. It’s immensely satisfying to have your whole team empty out into a new cavern, and then immediately set to work chipping away at rock and bug alike. Even transplanted from their popularization in Tolkien or Snow White and into a dark corner of space, the essence of the dwarven fantasy is richly realized here, and consistently makes me smile. Bring some friends, a handy pickaxe, and a cantankerous attitude, and you’ll be smiling as well.

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Score: 8.5

Summary: Tightly balanced between resource gathering and fierce shooting exchanges, this dwarven mining expedition is a great time – especially with friends.

Concept: There’s a planet to mine, and it’s filled with deadly alien bugs. You’re space dwarves –  get to it.

Graphics: The star of the show is the lighting from your flares, as the balance between darkness and light in the deep caves adds a lot to the gameplay.

Sound: Foul-mouthed and grumpy dwarves make you laugh with their boisterous shouts, and the occasional high-octane musical riff lets you know things are about to get real.

Playability: Each of four classes is thoughtfully balanced and fun, with solid options for difficulty selection. The limited mapping and waypoint options are purposeful, but can frustrate at times.

Entertainment: A fantastic cooperative experience that delves deep into one narrow corner of fantasy tropes – the dwarven love of hard work and pretty rocks.

Replay: High

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Grand Theft Auto VI Release Speculated For Before March 2024

Rockstar Games parent company Take-Two Interactive recently submitted a 10-K SEC filing that may have tipped off when Rockstar plans to release Grand Theft Auto VI. Industry research analyst Jeff Cohen (for investment firm Stephens) noted that the planned marketing budget for the fiscal year ending on March 31, 2024 is twice that of the years leading up to that period. The cause? Cohen speculates it could be Grand Theft Auto VI.

"We are not sure how much we should be reading into this shift," said Cohen in a note to investors, "but we would note that this disclosure accurately predicted the launch of Red Dead Redemption 2 prior to that game’s announcement.”

In the meantime, Rockstar can certainly keep making money off of Grand Theft Auto V sales as well as lucrative microtransactions through Grand Theft Auto Online. Waiting until 2023/2024 also increases the installed base of the coming next-generation home consoles.

Of course, a lot needs to happen to make the stars for 2023 align – the game hasn't even been announced yet – and the marketing projection has shifted at least once already. So, we'll have to keep an eye on this for the time being. 

[Source: Venture Beat]

This Year's BlizzCon Is Canceled

BlizzCon is officially canceled. After much uncertainty due to the current state of things with COVID-19, executive producer Saralyn Smith finally made things official today on Blizzard's website.

Smith said she and her team evaluated many different paths to potentially make the show work within the national and local health guidelines, but with still so much uncertainty, there just wasn't an ideal solution for having the show go forward as planned. "We're feeling deeply disappointed about this decision," she said in a blog post.

While the show is canceled, Smith said the team is searching for ways to celebrate Blizzard, perhaps in an online venue. "We’re talking about how we might be able to channel the BlizzCon spirit and connect with you in some way online, far less impacted by the state of health and safety protocols for mass in-person gatherings," she wrote. "We’d want to do this as soon as we could, but given that this is new-ish territory and the different factors involved, it will most likely be sometime early next year." 

The show has been running since 2005, and the only two years without Blizzcons were 2006 and 2012.  

You can read the full blog post here.

Taking A Tour Of Skater XL's New Skate Spot

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Publisher: Easy Day Studios
Developer: Easy Day Studios
Release:
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC

A skateboarding game needs to be as simple as, “See rail; do trick on rail.” Boiling everything down to this essence, however, isn’t as easy as it sounds. Controls, objectives, and the other structures we rely on as gamers can get in the way, even if they’re necessary. Skater XL from Easy Day Studios is trying to bridge the gap, letting players pull off the tricks they dream up without being hampered by its own controls. We’ve been watching the game’s progress through development, and with its July release on the horizon and a recent update to its public beta, it looks like its freeform philosophy is intact and guiding the game well.

We looked at the new Easy Day Academy, which is both an introduction to the world (including tutorials) as well as a great level. It’s a sprawling campus containing the greatest hits of southern California school design – or at least as we imagine it as skaters. Concrete banks, benches, planters, rails, bike racks, and stairs are all in abundance, and the spawn-drop tool is handy if you want to explore a spot more out-of-reach, like the top of the school. 

Skater XL’s downtown L.A. environment contains its own runs and possibilities, from the plazas around the Staples Center to the possibilities of Koreatown. Overall, downtown’s skateable objects are more compact than the academy, representing a more real-world street skating geography. At the time of this writing, Easy Day hinted at as-yet-unannounced locations which represent different aspects of skating beyond just street, so perhaps we’ll see the inclusion of plywood or concrete pool parks.

Although these areas are not physically linked to each other, each one includes challenges and objectives that serve as nominal guides, showing off cool lines and some of what the environment has to offer. Nevertheless, all of the locations are unlocked from the beginning.

Easy Day has continued to layer on more tricks as well as new structures to do them on. Powerslides and reverts were added this year, and mini-ramps and vert will be included. The team has also added coping grinds – seamless grinds you transition to on a ramp without having to ollie.

The latter is an example of how the game’s tricks, animations, and level design come together to create skating that flows together. Although the controls (each foot is represented by an analog stick) seem daunting at first, the game is not as strict about its trick execution as Skate (where a trick demands a specific series of inputs), but controlling your legs and manipulating your board isn’t physics run amok. Speaking of which, your skater’s overall body seems to have more weight compared to earlier demos. This makes your body less bouncy when biffing on a rail, for instance.

The game has also made strides in its customization options. First and foremost, real-life skaters Tiago Lemos, Brandon Westgate, Tom Asta, and Evan Smith are playable (with more possible in the future), and they come with a few of their actual product sponsorships. While some of their real-life gear is locked to them, other gear can be used by any skater. At the time of this writing, Easy Day says it has a large roster of skate brands, including DC shoes, Element, Primitive, Blind, Independent, and many more, and overall you can select your skater’s gender, hair style, outfits, grip tape, wheels, skin tone, and more.

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The pre-release modding community has taken skater customization into its own hands with a number of fan-made creations, but whether the final release actually uses mods (which is complicated on home consoles) remains an open question. So far, modders have greatly expanded the game by creating their own skate spots, among many other additions, so getting some percentage of the current 15,000-plus mods in the final product would be a big win.

The crucial question of mods is underscored by the fact that currently the game’s online multiplayer is possible thanks to a mod. Easy Day has been in contact with the creator, and it may use the mod for multiplayer until Easy Day implements its own offering at a later date. For the game as a whole, the studio is weighing several post-release plans, and stresses that it wants to add free content first, before the possibility of paid packs.

Skaters make pulling off tricks look easy, but it’s not effortless, and making a skating game is a harder task still. Starting with an understandable and fluid control scheme, Easy Day has surrounded its core gameplay with level designs filled with trick possibilities and customization elements to further augment players’ creativity. If the latter is infinitely boosted by mod support, Skater XL could be a canvas for untold possibilities. 

If you want to see how the game's coming along for yourself, you can check out the public beta on steam, which includes the transition grinds, a test miniramp, customization options, and more.

Note: The original text mistakenly attributed the user-made multiplayer mod to a group of creators when in fact it is the work of a single person. I regret the error, and the text has been changed.

Silent Hill Characters Invade Dead By Daylight

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Behaviour Interactive’s asymmetrical 4v1 survival game, Dead By Daylight debuted a few years ago to favorable reviews, and since then the studio has added a number of notable DLC characters from franchises like Halloween, Left 4 Dead, Evil Dead, and Stranger Things. The latest franchise to join that list is Konami’s Silent Hill.

Silent Hill 3’s protagonist Cheryl Mason is Dead By Daylight's new survivor. If you’re more into tormenting your victims, Cheryl will be hunted by Silent Hill 2’s version of Pyramid Head, who is called The Executioner here. Dead By Daylight is also getting a new map called Midwich Elementary School, a hunting local that was first seen in the first Silent Hill game.

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“Seriously, no matter how you cut it, Silent Hill is one of the most significant horror video games that's ever been made,” game director Mathieu Cote told us. “It is important in the culture of video games, so being able to work with Konami on such an iconic, legendary license and having them trust us to faithfully bring – in some cases – PSOne era assets into 2020, is incredible. We've been allowed to bring back Silent Hill, and bring all of this to players who may not have even experienced Silent Hill themselves, which is incredibly humbling and thrilling.”

Dead By Daylight’s Silent Hill content is available now on the public test build, so you can go try it for yourself. Everyone else can check out this Silent Hill content when it releases on PC and consoles on June 16. This isn’t a brand new Silent Hill game, which is what fans have been begging for since the cancellation of P.T., but it's nice to see that the license is still in use. Hopefully, this is just the beginning of something terrifying.

New Funko Pops Dive Into Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic And PlayStation Legends

Funko continues to explore video games in fun and unexpected ways. The toy manufacturer's next line of game-inspired Pops highlights key characters from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Star Wars Battlefront, as well as some of PlayStation's most recognizable heroes. Each figure in both lines retails for $11.99 and are sold exclusively at GameStop. Preorders are open now, with the release set for July 20 for the Star Wars line, and August 18 for the PlayStation line.

The Star Wars line consists of awesome sculpts of KOTOR's Darth Revan and Darth Malak. This series is rounded out with two figures from Star Wars Battlefront: a new hooded Yoda Pop, as well as a Shadow Trooper. You can get a good look at all four figures below:

Disclaimer: GameStop is the parent company of Game Informer

DARTH MALAK

DARTH REVAN

HOODED YODA

SHADOW TROOPER

The PlayStation line, which is just the first of three, includes Joel from The Last of Us, The Hunter from Bloodborne, Jin Sakai from Ghost of Tsushima, and Kratos from God of War, who has glowing blades. All of these figures come in blue PlayStation-themed boxes (which you can see in the Jin gallery below).

JIN SAKAI

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KRATOS

JOEL

THE HUNTER

 

Check Out This Rare Footage Of Steven Spielberg’s Cancelled Alien Game, LMNO

In the mid-2000s EA and Spielberg announced a three-game collaboration. The Jenga-style puzzle game Boom Blocks was the first and only game that actually came out of this collaboration, but a couple other studies also worked with the director on unreleased projects.

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In a recently Noclip docuseries on Arkane, the team talked about their codename project LMNO, which would have had players chaperoning an alien across the country.

LMNO seems like it would have been a bit ahead of its time, as the game featured first-person combat and parkour elements before Assassin's Creen or Mirror's Edge. Spielberg insisted that the game wouldn’t contain any gunplay. The graphics look dated now, but are especially detailed considering the era of development.

Throughout LMNO, players would interact with an alien named Eve, and guide her through the world. Eve spoke an unintelligible Alien language, but she also had an aura that altered the color of the world around her, which players would use to asses her needs and mood. Check out the video above for the full look.

The Wasteland 3 Digital Issue Is Now Live

Digital subscribers of Game Informer can now read our cover story on Wasteland 3. Following the cover reveal earlier today, our digital issue is now live to subscribers on web browsersiPad/iPhone, and Android devices. Individual issues will be available for purchase later today. You can download the apps to view the issue by following this link. All of these digital options are included in a standard subscription.

The issue launches later this week on our third-party subscription apps including Kindle and Nook.

Not a digital subscriber yet? Convert your existing print subscription here or start a new subscription here.

Wasteland 3 – New Gameplay Today

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Wasteland 3 is Game Informer's latest cover story, and today we're showing off forty minutes of early gameplay. I take the controls while Dan Tack and Ben Reeves help explain what's new to the title and what makes the CRPG series so special. We start off with a couple extended battles, and end with an important decision.

I was playing the Fig backer build for this video, but we had access to an early copy of the complete game for our cover story. So enjoy the video above, but be sure to check out the latest issue of the magazine for much more exclusive content!

Cover Reveal – Wasteland 3

Wasteland is the spiritual predecessor to Fallout, but this original post-apocalyptic RPG is often overshadowed by Bethesda’s blockbuster series. In this month’s cover story, we dive into the history that entwines these two legendary series and explain why Wasteland deserves its time in the spotlight. We speak with industry luminary Brian Fargo about his role in the creation of franchises like The Bard’s Tale, Wasteland, Fallout, and Baldur's Gate. Then, we go hands-on with an exclusive build of Wasteland 3 before talking with several members of inXile’s Entertainment that explain how their living world is shaped by every choice you make.

Our celebration of CRPGs continues with a brief primer on the history of the genre. If you’re new to this RPG subset, we have several pages dedicated to the best examples on the market, which acts as a handy guide that will help you find the perfect game to fit your mood. Finally, Daniel Tack takes a good hard look at the current state of computer role-playing games and prognosticates on its promising future.

Did you think that was all we had in this issue? Of course not. If you’re not an RPG fan, we’ve still got something for you. Andrew Reiner put together a massive roundup of all the games that have been announced for Microsoft’s new Xbox Series X console. Then we have two great features on a couple of promising games. First up are Daniel Tack’s hands-on impressions of Torn Banner Studios’ bloody first-person medieval action game, Chivalry 2. Then Kimberly Wallace takes a closer look at Bandai Namco’s colorful Scarlet Nexus, a sci-fi RPG that lets you tap into an array of wild mental powers to defeat an assortment of deranged mutants.

To round out the issue, we have previews on Assassin's Creed Valhalla, The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope, Torchlight III, and Ghost of Tsushima. And don’t forget to page through our Gear section where we’ve compiled a roundup of game-themed survival gear, preview the new Pandemic board game, and review the TurboGrafx-16 Mini console. Enjoy the issue.


Print subscribers can expect their issues to begin arriving in the coming weeks. The digital edition of this issue launches later today for PC/Mac, iOS, and Google Play. You can also get the latest issue through third-party apps on Nook and Kindle later this week. To switch your print subscription to digital, click here, or to create a new subscription, click here.

Xbox Game Pass and Games With Gold Queues Up Summer Fun

For many gamers, the combination of Xbox Game Pass and Games With Gold offers a stellar way to get in on strong games in the backlog that they never got around to playing. As June rolls around, those players have several enjoyable releases to look forward to checking out.

On Game Pass, the big arrival is No Man’s Sky. After a bumpy start some years ago, No Man’s Sky has seen tremendous effort on the part of developer, Hello Games, to offer new features, changes, and updates. The game as it exists today is profoundly different from the original, including new multplayer options and tons of new customization, story, and mission options. In June, the game will become available on Xbox Games Pass, opening up its space exploration options to a host of new players.

Players who partake in Xbox Live Gold also have some new options to look forward to checking out. Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse will be available from June 1 through June 30 on Xbox One. The original Destroy All Humans (the version that released on the original Xbox) will be available June 1 through June 15, in advance of the remake release in July. Sine Mora will be available from June 16-30 on Xbox One and Xbox 360. And the relaxing fantasy barista game called Coffee Talk will be on offer from June 16-July 15 on Xbox One.

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