Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Crusader Kings 3Xbox Game Pass (PC) In IGN's Crusader Kings 3 review, we called it "a superb strategy game, a great RPG, and a master class in how to take the best parts of existing systems and make them deeper and better." Its strong grand strategy mechanics are propped up by meaningful human stories that emerge as you build and sustain a dynasty. It earned a 10 in our review, which crowned it the "new king of historical strategy." Read IGN’s Crusader Kings 3 review.
Dead CellsXbox Game Pass (console and PC) Thanks to its ever-changing level design, each run of Dead Cells feels fresh. The fast and fluid action-platformer provides the promise of something new at the start of each run, creating a loop of discovery that alleviates the frustration of failure; with each death comes an eagerness to see what surprises the next run holds. Read IGN’s Dead Cells review.
Destiny 2Xbox Game Pass (console) Game Pass subscribers on console now have access to Destiny 2 and all of its current expansions, including Forsaken and Shadowkeep. It's a great time to dive into the ever-evolving shooter, as its next expansion, Beyond Light, will launch day and date on Game Pass in November. Read IGN’s Destiny 2 review. [poilib element="commerceCta" json="%7B%22image%22%3A%7B%22url%22%3A%22https%3A%2F%2Fassets1.ignimgs.com%2F2020%2F04%2F02%2FGPU1585854790416.jpg%22%2C%22styleUrl%22%3A%22https%3A%2F%2Fassets1.ignimgs.com%2F2020%2F04%2F02%2FGPU1585854790416_%7Bsize%7D.jpg%22%2C%22id%22%3A%225e86394ae4b0c8e1b49fa750%22%7D%2C%22url%22%3A%22http%3A%2F%2Fr.zdbb.net%2Fu%2Fbrs4%22%2C%22title%22%3A%22Xbox%20Game%20Pass%20Ultimate%22%2C%22store%22%3A%22Amazon%22%2C%22additionalInfo%22%3A%22%22%2C%22ourPick%22%3Afalse%7D"]
Dishonored 2Xbox Game Pass (console and PC) Dishonored 2 is all about player choice. It’s clear from the very beginning, when you’ll choose between two playable characters, and extends throughout the roughly 12-hour campaign, which allows you to tackle each mission with any combination of stealth, smarts, and violence. And it’s all set within some of the best-designed levels in recent memory. Read IGN’s Dishonored 2 review.
Doom EternalXbox Game Pass (console on October 1, PC "later in 2020") Doom Eternal is the first Bethesda game added to Game Pass since Microsoft acquired ZeniMax Media earlier in September. A sequel to id Software's 2016 Doom reboot, Eternal is one of the finest first-person shooters in recent memory. Subscribers have a lot to look forward to with Microsoft's big Bethesda acquisition, as the publisher's existing and future games, including heavy hitters like Starfield and The Elder Scrolls VI, will launch day and date on Game Pass. Read IGN’s Doom Eternal review.
Fable IIXbox Game Pass (console) One of the all-time great Xbox 360 exclusives, Fable II is filled with well-written and fully realized characters and stories, loads of quests, and moral freedom in how you interact with the fantastical world of Albion. In our initial review, we called it “a captivating, unforgettable experience,” and that still holds true to this day. Read IGN’s Fable 2 review.
Fallout: New VegasXbox Game Pass (console) Another massive open-world RPG, Fallout: New Vegas is a take on the apocalyptic wasteland painted with developer Obsidian Entertainment’s signature wit and charm. A branching main story and excellent side quests keep you moving through the Mojave Wasteland, where you’ll encounter memorable characters (its dialogue is particularly brilliant) and creatures. Game Pass also includes Fallout 4, but if you don’t mind the 360-era graphics, New Vegas is our go-to for a Fallout fix. Read IGN’s Fallout: New Vegas review.
Forza Horizon 4Xbox Game Pass (console and PC) Playground Games has established Forza Horizon as the premier open-world racing franchise. With stunning visuals (highlighted throughout its shifting seasons), remarkable sound design, hundreds of customizable vehicles from over 80 car manufacturers, and a host of events—from racing and rally to drift and drag—Forza Horizon 4 is a must-play racer. Read IGN’s Forza Horizon 4 review.
Gears 5Xbox Game Pass (console and PC) Gears 5 may be the second game in the series’ new saga, but it feels very much like a first; The Coalition’s latest shifts its story focus to new protagonist Kate Diaz, introduces a more open world, and the new Escape co-op mode. However, not all is new: Gears 5 retains (and sharpens) the excellent cover-based shooting and visceral up-close combat the series was built on. If you’re new to the series, we recommend you start at the beginning with Gears of War Ultimate Edition, as the entire series is available on Game Pass. If you’re put off by the time investment, at least start with Gears 4; it includes some important context to understanding the story of 5. Read IGN’s Gears 5 review. [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2019/09/04/gears-5-campaign-review"]
Halo: The Master Chief CollectionXbox Game Pass (console and PC) Xbox Game Pass is arguably the industry’s best value in terms of services, and within that service lies arguably the best value in terms of software with Halo: The Master Chief Collection. Compiling Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary and beautifully remastered versions of Halo 2, 3, ODST, Reach, and Halo 4, The Master Chief Collection includes one of gaming’s greatest sci-fi sagas spread across several of its best first-person shooters. Read IGN’s Halo: The Master Chief Collection review (2019 update).
Hellblade: Senua’s SacrificeXbox Game Pass (console and PC) Hellblade tells an emotional 6-7-hour story, “one of confusion, sadness, fear, and loss [that’s] punctuated by moments of beauty, and strength,” as we said in our review. Its HUD-less display immerses you in a gorgeously realized Norse hellscape as protagonist Senua, whose perception of the world infiltrates your experience in imaginative, unsettling ways. The brilliant binaural audio design makes playing with headphones a must, as the voices in Senua’s head echo through yours. Even if it’s just to prepare for the sequel on Xbox Series X, Hellblade is a must-play. Read IGN’s Hellblade review.
Hollow KnightXbox Game Pass (console and PC) One of the best Metroidvanias in recent memory (and the first of two on this list), Hollow Knight is a stylish 2D platformer that prioritizes exploration and rewards those patient (and brave) enough to venture into its depths with a surprisingly developed story, challenging combat, and plenty of secrets to uncover. Read IGN’s Hollow Knight review.
Microsoft Flight SimulatorXbox Game Pass (PC) Microsoft Flight Simulator uses real-life mapping data to turn the entirety of Earth into an aviation playground. It's a technical marvel that provides endless opportunities for exploration and discovery, with flexible settings that cater to novices and aficionados alike. IGN's reviewer Seth Macy awarded it a 10 and called Flight Simulator "the most incredible experience I've ever had on a computer." Read IGN’s Microsoft Flight Simulator review.
Middle-earth: Shadow of WarXbox Game Pass (console and PC) Shadow of War builds on its already excellent predecessor, Shadow of Mordor, resulting in a bigger and more ambitious action game set in one of fiction’s most beloved worlds. The series’ main draw, however, remains the excellent Nemesis System, which has been expanded in Shadow of War to make even more memorable enemies out of otherwise forgettable foes. Read IGN’s Shadow of War review.
Monster Hunter: WorldXbox Game Pass (console) Monster Hunter: World is an excellent action-RPG with gameplay systems as deep as its open world is expansive. While more accessible than its predecessors, Monster Hunter: World is still dense, but commit to learning its systems and you’ll discover a wonderfully addictive crafting-and-hunting gameplay loop. Read IGN’s Monster Hunter: World review.
Night in the WoodsXbox Game Pass (console and PC) Night in the Woods is a story-based adventure that explores the fears and anxieties of young adulthood through the lens of an anthropomorphic cat named Mae. It's an affecting story that balances its sadness with cartoonish charm and well-written humor. Read IGN’s Night in the Woods review.
Ori and the Will of the WispsXbox Game Pass (console and PC) Ori and the Will of the Wisps demands your attention from start to finish. It’s necessary as you dash and slash your way through its challenging platforming sections, and it’s constantly captured by the gorgeous environments, whimsical characters, heartfelt story, and excellent score. Will of the Wisps oscillates between tension and serenity, and the result is an expertly choreographed dance through the vibrant land of Niwen. Read IGN’s Ori and the Will of the Wisps review. [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/03/10/ori-and-the-will-of-the-wisps-review"]
Outer WildsXbox Game Pass (console) Outer Wilds is a true adventure game, one that requires patience and thoughtful problem solving skills. To say much would risk spoiling its unique cyclical structure, but suffice it to say that as your understanding of its world and history grows, so does the satisfaction of discovery and exploration. Read IGN’s Outer Wilds review.
The Outer WorldsXbox Game Pass (console and PC) The Outer Worlds is developer Obsidian Entertainment doing what it does best: a cleverly designed, well-written RPG. Filled with dark humor, top-tier dialogue, and a wealth of player choice in how you build your character, interact with the world, and tackle quests, The Outer Worlds is easily one of the best RPGs of the last few years. Read IGN’s Outer Worlds review.
Resident Evil 7: BiohazardXbox Game Pass (console and PC) Resident Evil 7 is one of the best horror games of this generation. By introducing a new protagonist, setting, and first-person perspective, Capcom brought the series' focus back to horror, and in doing so created its best-selling Resident Evil of all time. Game Pass subscribers will want to catch up on the story of Ethan Winters so far, as next year's Resident Evil Village will be a direct sequel to Biohazard. Read IGN’s Resident Evil 7 review. [widget path="global/article/imagegallery" parameters="albumSlug=25-scariest-games-of-this-generation&captions=true"]
Slay the SpireXbox Game Pass (console and PC) “Slay the Spire takes some of the best parts of deckbuilding games, roguelikes, and dungeon crawlers and mixes them into a wholly new and extremely satisfying package,” reads IGN’s review. Like the best strategy games, Slay the Spire is easy to pick up but difficult to master, making its hundredth hour as engaging as its first. Read IGN’s Slay the Spire review.
SpiritfarerXbox Game Pass (console and PC) Spiritfarer is a gorgeous adventure that blends platforming and town management gameplay with emotional stories of life and death, joy and grief, beginnings and ends. As Stella, you're tasked with befriending spirits and providing them passage to the afterlife. Along the way you'll collect resources, learn recipes, and build homes — all while forging relationships with your passengers, to whom you'll inevitably have to say goodbye. Read IGN’s Spiritfarer review.
State of Decay 2Xbox Game Pass (console and PC) Perhaps a post-apocalyptic simulation in which humanity was decimated by a plague is not the game you need right now, but State of Decay 2 does provide a fun, zombie-filled co-op sandbox in which you and your friends can connect as you practice social distancing. With the recent release of the Juggernaut Edition, which fixes many of its bugs, overhauls its visuals, and adds a ton of new content (and tutorials) on top of all the already-released expansions, there’s no better time to dive into State of Decay 2. Read IGN’s State of Decay 2 review.
Sunset OverdriveXbox Game Pass (console and PC) Sunset Overdrive is probably the most under-appreciated Xbox One console exclusive. Developer Insomniac’s singular vision of the apocalypse is full of color, charm, and comedy. The stylistic shooter also features some of the best traversal mechanics from this generation — only outdone by Insomniac’s followup, Marvel’s Spider-Man. Read IGN’s Sunset Overdrive review. [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2014/12/17/why-sunset-overdrive-is-a-game-of-the-year-nominee"]
Tell Me WhyXbox Game Pass (console and PC) Tell Me Why is a three-chapter narrative adventure from Life Is Strange developer Dontnod Entertainment. It tells the story of twins Alyson and Tyler Ronan, who reunite 10 years after their mother's death and return to their hometown of Delos Crossing, Alaska, to prepare their childhood home for sale. Like Life Is Strange, Tell Me Why features plenty of player choice and juxtaposes a grounded, human story with a touch of the supernatural. Read IGN’s Tell Me Why review.
Wasteland 3Xbox Game Pass (console and PC) IGN's review called Wasteland 3 "one of the more memorable [tactical RPGs] to date," thanks to its "impressive freedom of choice, its dark and rough humor, and its satisfying combat." It's another strong RPG from inXile, which is encouraging news for Game Pass subscribers, as every future game from the now-Microsoft-owned studio will launch on the service. Read IGN’s Wasteland 3 review.
What Remains of Edith FinchXbox Game Pass (console) What Remains of Edith Finch is a story-based adventure in the vein of Gone Home. Clocking in at around two hours, Edith Finch’s multi-generational tale is told through a series of allegorical vignettes. While each vignette follows the final moments of a different ill-fated member of the Finch family, the way in which each story is told is singular. Read IGN’s What Remains of Edith Finch review.
The Witcher III: Wild HuntXbox Game Pass (console) CD Projekt Red’s epic is this generation's best RPGs — and arguably its best game, period. As the famed monster hunter Geralt of Rivia, you’ll explore a massive open world featuring a riveting story, worthwhile side quests, a memorable supporting cast, a bestiary full of creative foes, endless lore, and engaging combat. There’s easily over 100 hours of gameplay in The Witcher 3, and if escapism is what you’re after, this is the best Game Pass has to offer. Read IGN’s The Witcher 3 review. [poilib element="accentDivider"] Those are our picks for the best games you can find on Xbox Game Pass. Let us know in the comments what made your list that might have been left off ours! [poilib element="accentDivider"] Jordan is a freelance writer for IGN.
Every month, Sony offers two free games for those that have an active PlayStation Plus membership. As September wanes down into its final days, the free PS Plus October 2020 games lineup has been revealed and includes a nice little horror treat ahead of Halloween.
PS Plus October 2020
The two games that are being offered for October includes Need for Speed: Payback and Vampyr; one will have those cars racing while the other aims to get that blood pumping. Literally, it's a game about vampires.
As a personal recommendation, I can't recommend Vampyr enough. Created by the studio that gave us Life is Strange, Dontnod crafts an intriguing and dangerous tale set in 1918. This action RPG has resounding narrative choices that can result in hefty consequences.
Though the game itself was met with mixed reviews due to pacing perceptions and less than stellar mechanics, the story itself more than makes up for any technical issues that players experience. At least as a personal recommendation.
Need for Speed is also a great grab for those that care less about horror and just want to dominate behind the wheel. Both will be available from October 6 until November 2.
It's not too late to also scoop up September's games with Street Fighter V and PUBG, though it is important to note that an active PS Plus membership is required for all of the aforementioned titles. The membership for Sony's online services includes free games each month, exclusive sales on select titles, and unlimited access to game online with friends!
Thoughts on the free PS Plus October 2020 games lineup? How do you feel about PS Plus in general? Sound off with your thoughts in the comment section below!
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War embraces the full multiplayer experience with a suite of traditional offerings, Warzone for battle royale, and a tentpole of Treyarch, Zombies. Today, Treyarch unveiled details regarding the upcoming 4-player co-op experience. You'll play as part of Requiem, a CIA-backed international response team helmed by Grigori Weaver (you may remember this charcter from Black Ops!) to check out a WWII bunker. It sounds a little like the 2008 British horror film Outpost so far, but let's keep digging in...
As is often the case when going back to examine the Third Reich in Call of Duty Zombie fare, occult machinations are part of the horrible discoveries that players are set to make. Requiem also encounters The Omega Group, a rival team of Russians that are looking to uncover the same surreal secrets for their own purposes. What will these conflicting bands of soldiers and scientists find when they start poking around where they don't belong? I don't need to spell it out for you, but yeah. It's zombies. It's always zombies!
Pack-a-punch mechanics return, weapons feature rarities, and your Zombie playtime counts toward your battlepass progression. Weapon rarities mean that even uninteresting rote wall buys at the beginning of a game could be awesome and carry you all the way to the later rounds. That's great news for the undead enthusiasts out there. You can also use your Gunsmith crafts from other modes in Zombies via loadout choices. And of course, there's plenty of perks to fuel the insanity like Juggernog and Speed Cola.
Looking for extra rewards? You don't just have to play until you die anymore. When an attempt starts to get too spicy, you can call an escape chopper to get out. You must take out a massive amount of zombies to successfully escape, but you receive better rewards for getting away instead of just waiting around to be overwhelmed. Check out more on the official blog here.
Check out the Zombies first look trailer here!Click here to watch embedded media
Even as the popularity of both tabletop and digital gaming continues to rise, the links between the two grow ever stronger. With every year, we see more board games adopting app-aided designs and other features from the digital world, while the video game milieu has had a long practice of borrowing tactical elements, storytelling concepts, and leveling from the board game and tabletop role-playing sphere. The two mediums are inextricably linked.
A new event is coming this October 21st through 26th, a joint venture between Valve and Auroch Digital, aiming to curate and celebrate this crossover between physical and digital gaming. Announced today, the event aims to highlight several big-name designers, including the likes of Steve Jackson (Munchkin, Ogre), Elizabeth Hargrave (Wingspan), Ian Livingstone (Games Workshop co-founder), and Sandy Petersen (Call of Cthulhu RPG).
Events include a livestream highlighting the next big update coming to the Gloomhaven early access release on Steam, a panel on games about Mars, a panel on Cthulhu games, and a comparative look at the physical and digital design of Plague Inc., hosted by the designer of both versions.
Tabletop and video gamers who wish to learn more about the live-streamed and VOD event can check out Steam’s official page for the event. For more on Game Informer’s coverage of the tabletop gaming world, check out our Top of the Table hub.
A voucher code for Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered is included with the upcoming Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales: Ultimate Edition on PlayStation 5. This next-gen remaster takes advantage of all that next-gen has to offer and also brings with it some additional cosmetic bonuses like three new suits.Click here to watch embedded media
One of the biggest changes is that for some reason, they've recast the face of Peter Parker. From the PlayStation Blog: "We loved working with John Bubniak on the original game; however, to get a better match to Peter Parker/Spider-Man actor Yuri Lowenthal’s facial capture, we have cast Ben Jordan to be the face model for Peter Parker on the PS5 console. He looks incredible in-game, and Yuri’s moving performances take on a new life."
The PlayStation 5 offers a targeted 60 FPS performance mode, which you can check out in a clip below! There's also much faster loading and a new photo mode. You can read more about Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales: Ultimate Edition on the official PlayStation blog.Click here to watch embedded media
From Assassin’s Creed Odyssey to Gods & Monsters to Immortals Fenyx Rising[ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/09/15/how-ac-odyssey-became-gods-monsters-and-finally-immortals-fenyx-rising"] Immortals Fenyx Rising is the game formerly known as Gods & Monsters, which Ubisoft first announced at E3 2019. Originally set to be released in February 2020, it was delayed for several months, and in that time it has become Immortals Fenyx Rising. We chatted to game director Scott Phillips to learn more about how the Assassin’s Creed Odyssey team took their love of Greek mythology and turned it into this new game, and why the name changed along the way.
Inside the Vaults of Tartaros[ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/09/17/inside-immortals-fenyx-risings-vaults-of-tartaros-ign-first"] The world of Immortals Fenyx Rising is littered with puzzles. Many of these are hidden beneath the surface of the land, in pockets of the Greek underworld known as the Vaults of Tartaros. We spoke to associate game director Julien Galloudec to learn about how the team was influenced by Zelda, World of Goo, and Portal while making these puzzle dungeons.
A Tour of the Golden Isle[ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/09/21/immortals-fenyx-rising-a-tour-of-the-golden-isle-ign-first"] The world of Immortals is known as the Golden Isle, and is split into seven regions, each dedicated to one of the gods of the Greek pantheon. Game director Scott Phillips and art director Thierry Dansereau gave us some insight into how the team designed and built these areas, and what players can expect to do in them, as part of a tour of the Golden Isle.
Meet Zeus and Prometheus[ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/09/23/immortals-fenyx-rising-meet-zeus-and-prometheus-ign-first"] While Fenyx is Immortals’ main character, they’re not the one who’ll be doing the most talking in the game. That honour belongs to Zeus and Prometheus, a bickering odd couple who commentate your gameplay like godly shoutcasters. We spoke to narrative director Jeffrey Yohalemto learn more about the game’s narrators, and how they bring comedy to the story.
The Mythological Creatures of Immortals Fenyx Rising[ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/09/25/the-mythological-creatures-of-immortals-fenyx-rising-ign-first"] Fenyx's enemies are all pulled from the ancient Greek myths. You can expect to see plenty of harpies, gorgons, and minotaurs on your travels around the Golden Isle. To learn more, we spoke to game director Scott Phillips and art director Thierry Dansereau about how the creatures were adapted from the myths, and what kind of gameplay challenges they pose players.
Exclusive Hands-On Preview[ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/09/28/immortals-fenyx-rising-2nd-hands-on-preview-ign-first"] When Immortals Fenyx Rising was re-revealed with its new name at Ubisoft Forward, we were able to bring you a hands-on preview of The Forgelands region of its open world. But, as part of IGN First, we’ve also been able to play an exclusive section of the game that no other press outlet has been able to try. You can learn about what we played in the Aphrodite zone of the Golden Isle in our exclusive hands-on preview. [poilib element="accentDivider"]
The word is out that some publishers are changing that once-sacrosanct price point of $60 to $70 for the next-generation. The waters since the days of pulling a paper slip off the wall at a retailer and walking it up to the cash register have been muddied quite a bit. Often you're not even getting the "full game" anymore with that initial price tag, as DLCs, battle passes, and other cash-gated experiences are part of a full-price title.
So where does it end? If you could know for sure that you could get an "entire game" for $100, would that be a good price? How about $150? Is it better that the initial cost of the game is kept down under the $100 price tag to keep them affordable, keeping addons and additional content available for purchase? The future is rife with possibilities where technology becomes its own arbiter of content and control, so perhaps there are other alternatives to simple price increases.
The beast of microtransactions has been wild and loose for years now, and I doubt any kind of tranquilizer can put it back in its cage, but the hypothetical price tag for a full experience is a fascinating topic. No DLC, no loot boxes, no bonus pack content, everything comes on day one. What does that price tag look like to you? $200? Would anyone even consider paying such a thing for a game or are we far more comfortable with other monetization options layered on the upfront cost?
In 2017, we saw the release of blockbuster titles like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Horizon Zero Dawn. Because of this, Nier: Automata flew under my radar. Nevertheless, this past spring was the perfect time for me to finally traverse Automata’s desolate and beautiful open world. If someone had told me three years ago that Platinum Games’ thought-provoking action/RPG would play a large role in influencing my decision to pursue a master’s degree in game design, I wouldn't have believed them. And yet, here I am – back in school, and discovering all the ways Automata continues to influence my creative process.
Last week, we finally got a release date and new trailer for the upgraded version of the original Nier. Nier Replicant ver. 1.22474487139 (yes, that’s its real name), is a remaster of the first game – except it’s based on a version that never released in North America. The events of Replicant connect to the sequel's bleak-yet-thoughtful story, so if you haven’t played Nier: Automata already, here’s why now is the perfect time to give it a chance.
Click image thumbnails to view larger version
Nier: Automata is a philosophical game that probes the complexities of compassion when there is none to be found, the lingering traumas of war during peacetime, and the pursuit of freedom within a system of surveillance. As elite android-soldier 2B (a twist on the famous “To be, or not to be” Hamlet quote) and ever-curious sidekick 9S, you set out to protect an abandoned Earth from an alien-robot army hellbent on fulfilling their centuries-long goal: Eradicate all humans and establish total sovereignty. While conducting missions, you interact with a colorful ensemble cast, from a pacifist robot named Pascal, to a nefarious marionette-machine called Simone that skulks in the shadows of a haunted theme park. Automata subverts expectations by showing the same story events through the eyes of three different characters, and only once you see every arc is the game complete. There are a number of different endings, with the most important finales focusing on character motivations and even player choice.
In my experience, what puts Automata in a narrative league of its own is how it not only poses packed questions to its protagonists about their place in the world, but how it also breaks the fourth wall and forces players to confront their own socially-conditioned anxieties: Can we love, genuinely, in spite of stark differences? How much pain can we tolerate or forgive? Are we brave enough to denounce conformity and forge an identity all our own?
I think Square Enix’s RPG soundtracks are gaming's gold standard. Nier: Automata’s music, composed by Keiichi Okabe (of Tekken fame) is in the upper echelon of my favorite video game music, joining the likes of Nobuo Uematsu’s Final Fantasy VII and Yasunori Mitsuda’s Chrono Trigger soundtracks. Automata’s score isn’t mere ambience. Instead, it’s directly involved in the game’s design: Songs transform depending on plot progression. Pascal’s theme, for example, is one of Automata’s more upbeat tunes, mirroring the peaceful robot’s childlike exuberance and cheery disposition. However, during more solemn story moments, the same song plays again but with different sonic components like a melancholy chant or contemplative piano notes. In Automata, dialogue and player choice are integral pieces of the narrative, but instrumental melodies and vocal harmonies spin complex stories of their own.
Additionally, Okabe relies on “chaos language” – a blend of two or more languages (in Automata’s case, mainly German and Japanese) that create undecipherable, but oddly familiar conlangs. This approach reflects the state of Automata’s setting and time-period: 2B and 9S’ futuristic, post-apocalyptic Earth is, all at once, eerily foreign and familiar.
I could talk all day about Nier: Automata’s sprawling plotlines and epic score, but what good would that be if the game wasn’t engaging or fun to play? Automata’s combat is simple: Vanquish the robot horde with well-placed, devastating jabs or full-auto laser beams. But what makes the game so captivating is its wacky mix of genres. Automata is part RPG, part side-scroller, part hack ‘n’ slash, part bullet-hell – the list goes on and on. At its core, Automata is a masterful homage to an extensive list of preeminent and overlooked classics, from well-established arcade titles like Galaga to hidden-gem shoot-‘em-ups like Ikaruga.
Platinum Games often employs a dynamic camera to signify changes in gameplay mechanics. For instance, when the default third-person camera switches to a bird’s eye view, you know you might be in for an explosive aerial warfare segment. Similarly, a side-view camera indicates platforming sections that emphasize spatial awareness and cautious navigation. Moment-to-moment gameplay shifts are always unexpected, and consequently, refreshing.
Since playing it earlier this year, Nier: Automata has emerged as one of my most beloved action/RPGs. Even as I dive into other unrelated narrative-based games, Automata’s transcendental themes, remarkable soundtrack, and mercurial gameplay are never far from my thoughts. I missed the chance to play the original Nier when it came out a decade ago, but footage of Nier Replicant’s characters and combat are wonderfully reminiscent of the hallmarks that make Automata such an affecting and unforgettable experience.
Nier Replicant launches for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on April 23.
In Blightbound, players form parties in the classic trinity (Tank, DPS, Healer) to take on a variety of dungeon delves. Until today, that meant using matchmaking or asking your friends to come with you to take on bosses and battles.
Now, if you can't find anyone else to play with, A.I. fills those positions and lets you keep crawling. The Helping Hands update also includes a variety of smaller enhancements. Blightbound is currently available in Early Access on Steam. Check out the trailer below for more details.Click here to watch embedded media
As well as launching Wasteland 3 for PC, Xbox One and PS4 on August 28 this year, The studio has also been hard at work on Frostpoint VR, which recently launched in Open Beta on the Oculus Store and Steam. Some will be hoping that Fargo's future projects will be in some way related to Microsoft's acquisiton of Bethesda. InXile is also owned by Microsoft and, with Fargo's role in creating Bethesda's Fallout series, some have hoped for a crossover. In a similar vein, many have already requested an Obsidian-Bethesda crossover for Fallout: New Vegas 2. You can check out our review of Wasteland 3 here. We scored the game an 8, calling it a "memorable RPG" offering "choices with major consequences." If you're playing through the game at the moment and on the lookout for all of the game's followers and companions, check out our handy guide. [poilib element="accentDivider"] Jordan Oloman is a freelance writer for IGN. Follow him on Twitter.
I should probably clarify that our second RPG is in the infancy of pre production.— Brian Fargo (@BrianFargo) September 26, 2020
Tuesday, September 29, 2020
Among Us released over two years ago, but the jellybean/astronaut online game is currently seeing a massive surge in popularity that began in early September. The world may have started out quarantine by playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons, a wholesome game about friendship and taking care of our islands, but after many months of pandemic life, we're hungry for the void of space filled with chaos and deceit. That’s what Among Us is all about.
Developed by InnerSloth, the foundation of Among Us is simple: a social deduction game where a player is either a crewmate or the lone imposter. The imposter must pretend to do the assigned daily tasks in the game while stealthily killing off each crewmate one by one. If a body is discovered, a crewmate can call an Emergency Meeting to have a group chat trying to figure out who the imposter truly is.
There is only one level aboard a spacecraft where players see sectioned rooms where daily tasks are. Using basic vertical and horizontal movements, the imposter and crewmates move from room to room to accomplish their respective goals without giving any other players cause to vote them out. Each Emergency Meeting discusses who is suspicious and who is not, and the player that has the most votes against them is effectively gets the boot. Players that are killed then become "ghosts" to see how the rest of the match plays out.Click here to watch embedded media
This is where the game gets hilarious. Picture this: It's my first time playing Among Us, and I am the imposter. I don't know the tasks or where they are; I am just a blundering 2D astronaut bumbling around looking for stealthy ways to try to eat my crewmates. I'm confused, but I use that to my advantage.
One crewmate suspects me, "purple," and hurls out the most offensive accusation ever seen in-game: "Purple is sus" (a popular slang version of "suspicious" that is the root of all Among Us memes). I panic, but then try to see myself through their eyes. "I'm sorry, I was just following you guys," I reply. "This is my first time playing, I'm not really sure what I'm doing." My response lands the way I need it to, the rest of the players now feel the need to teach me instead of suspect me. Little do they know it's the last thing they will ever do – at least until this match is over.
This is the level of intrigue that makes Among Us so fun despite having basic visuals and only one level. Another charm is that it also has meme-quality features as seen in its comedic art style and low-budget animations. Friends turn against one another, bonds are broken, and the chat is absolutely comedic.
Among Us takes meme culture to its highest peak with parody costumes, my absolute favorite being the sticky note for your face that has "dum" written on it. That, or the toilet paper. The costumes add a personal touch to gameplay in addition to several color options, skins, and even pets. Does this add stat value? No, but it adds customization that allows players to immerse themselves fully in a way that stays inline with the "don't take this too seriously" feeling that Among Us offers.
What makes this game such a hit for me is that a lot of online games today are set up in a way that you have to play with friends, otherwise the entertainment value can decline drastically. One aspect of online gaming that turns me off when I want to play solo is the severe level of trolling that can turn hateful and malicious at the drop of a hat. While it's easy to just turn the other cheek, sometimes I don't want to have to do that, I just want to enjoy the game. The entire nature of Among Us is basically one giant troll, so the usual suspects in the online gaming community really lose their power here; you're encouraged to troll, making it an ingrained mechanic, removing the feeling of satisfaction from people acting in bad faith.
Another refreshing aspect that makes Among Us worth checking out is the minimal time investment it requires. Some online games are built to keep you playing for months on end; I often joke that Destiny 2 and Apex Legends are second marriages because of the grind for the former, and the desire to be the best in the latter. With Among Us, you can play as much or as little as you want and still have a good time. When I want to stream for a few hours, this is a good fit because of the type of interactive content it produces, but I can also pick up the free mobile version and play for 10 or 15 minutes during my lunch break. There are no levels, there is no Battle Pass; there is no penalization for playing as little or as much as I want, which makes it easy to return to again and again.
As much as I enjoy playing Among Us, I have just as must fun watching it. Its simplicity makes it easy to boot up for streamers, and the conversations about who is sus are great entertainment for active livestream chats.
Diving into Among Us, I see the charm despite its simplicity, and I can't help but to love the way this game makes me look at everyone as if they are super sus. Among Us is what it is, and unapologetically so. This year may be bad, but having fun experiences definitely isn't; Among Us provides a much-needed reprieve from reality without taking itself too seriously.
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Summary: Among Us is hitting its stride two years after launch, and is the perfect representation of how integrated memes are within our entertainment infrastructure.
Concept: Complete assigned tasks as a crewmate or kill your way to victory as an imposter
Graphics: Minimalistic graphics that appeal to meme culture while inspiring insanely realistic fan art
Sound: No voice acting and sparse sound effects help facilitate the suspicious atmosphere that Among Us thrives on
Playability: Though simple and one-track, this s an experience that has unlimited replayable potential due to its hilarious and unpredictable in-game chat feature
Entertainment: A clever take on the "whodunnit" genre while a tapping into what makes meme culture so relevant and universal
Netflix has delivered several animated series based on video games in recent years, adapting projects like Castlevania, Dragon’s Dogma, Resident Evil, and (probably) Splinter Cell. That’s a good start, but some major contenders are conspicuously absent. That’s why we’ve put together this list of 10 games that we think deserve their own animated series.
No one wants a show that just tries to follow the events of a game exactly; something is bound to get lost along the way, leaving fans upset and newcomers confused. So what makes a game a good candidate for this sort of adaptation? The world should be full of characters and stories worth telling, and have a distinct visual vibe that would look great in an animated format. It doesn’t need to replicate the exact magic of playing the game – the show can be its own thing. Different media do different things well, and that’s okay. So here’s what we’re thinking would work well for our games of choice.
People who play a lot Destiny and Destiny 2 know that the universe has a lot of interesting stories. The problem is that you need to invest so much time to see what makes Bungie’s world interesting – and even then, it’s handled largely through written text. An animated series would let Bungie bring those journal entries to life, telling the tales of long-dead guardians and the origins of legendary weapons. One episode doesn’t need to be connected to the next; it would work great as a collection of unrelated stories add color to the bigger picture.
The world behind Blizzard’s smash-hit shooter has plenty of lore – but you just don’t get much of it in the game. You can read the companion comic books and watch video shorts for extra context, but Overwatch’s roster is too cool for the minimal narrative we’ve seen so far. We want a full show that finally gives a shape to the larger story that has been in the background all this time, delving deeper into the characters’ backstories and relationships. What happened before the Omnic Crisis? What’s the deal with Blackwatch? It’s about time we found out.
The Legend of Zelda
The franchise is called The Legend of Zelda, so it’s time to put Zelda in the leading role. Link is great as a silent avatar for players to connect with, but he doesn’t exactly have the personality to propel a story. We’d love to see a show with a visual style along the lines of Breath of the Wild, but featuring a version of Hyrule that hasn’t been seen in any game. That would give Zelda the chance to encounter familiar locations, characters, and creatures without being bound to any predetermined events.
Earlier games in the Assassin’s Creed franchise almost had an episodic structure already, with heroes like Altair and Ezio tracking down and killing specific targets in sequence. That format would work great for an animated series; each season could focus on a different assassin and time period, while each episode would have the hero taking out a different mark. Plus, historical dramas are notoriously expensive to make as live-action shows, but an animated approach could still convey all of the majesty and wonder of Assassin’s Creed – especially when the plot veers into the series’ sci-fi elements.
Many people are currently playing and enjoying Hades from Supergiant Games, but we’re going to pick one of the studio’s earlier projects for an animated adaptation. Transistor has a haunting combination of music and art that make its world feel both alluring and dangerous. However, even though Transistor’s isometric perspective works well for its combat system, it can keep you at a distance. We want a series that closes the gap, giving us a closer at the technology-filled city and its denizens, telling the same breed of melancholy story that has become Supergiant’s signature.
Kentucky Route Zero
Kentucky Route Zero is a narrative-driven game that starts out weird and only gets weirder – and that’s one of its best qualities. The fascinating characters and bizarre dream logic would be a great fit for an adaptation, taking players across an inter-dimensional highway to unpredictable locations. Each episode could be another stop on the road trip, with the core cast of misfits encountering mystifying things like androids, giant birds, and glowing skeletons. To capture the spirit of the game, the Kentucky Route Zero show doesn’t need a traditional narrative arc; it’s all about the journey, not the destination.
Post-apocalyptic stories are common, but the Nier games blend philosophy, desolation, and hope to give this universe a unique vibe. It would be hard to get right, but an animated show could be a powerful way to bring even more people into Nier’s destroyed world. This series would not be an uplifting one; episodes would focus on different sentient inhabitants – humans, robots, or otherwise – finding meaning in different ways. With hulking machines and the ruins of lost civilizations everywhere, the potential for visual splendor is undeniable, and the accompanying music would need to come from composer Keiichi Okabe.
Disco Elysium drops tantalizing hints about the broader history of its world, including old wars, strange technology, and inexplicable phenomena. The game only shows you a tiny sliver of the massive world, and all of those threads on the periphery would be perfect material for an anthology series that fleshes out the intriguing teases. Maybe one episode involves a character traveling through the Pale, while another is focused on a servant of Dolores Dei. This universe is just full of things we want to know more about.
Night in the Woods
A bunch of friends hang out, have band practice, and do crimes. That’s basically what happens in Night in the Woods, and like many other coming-of-age stories, the relatable characters and snappy writing would transition wonderfully to a show. Don’t let the cartoony visuals fool you; the series would deal with complex themes while also presenting characters who are believable (despite looking like animals). After all, who wouldn’t want to spend more time with Gregg? Gregg rulz ok.
Here’s the key to a good Animal Crossing show: low stakes. You know how sometimes villagers in Animal Crossing get mad because they disagree with each other about soup or something? That’s as intense as this animated show should get: no death, no destruction, and no high drama. Just give us cute, upbeat adventures about a bunch of animal friends who catch bugs, go on walks, and buy suspicious art. Maybe that’s too close to the experience of playing the game, except the show wouldn’t make you wade through so many menus.
What games would you like to see get animated adaptations? Share your thoughts in the comments below!