As predicted, Sony's excellent father/son adventure title God of War is back on top of the UK Charts, in a week that saw some of last year's titles return for one last run at the Brass Ring.
E3 week saw Assassin's Creed Origins, Fallout 4 and Call of Duty: WWII all make waves in the Top Ten. In my time spent working in gaming stores, I would always see franchise' previous entries sell out within days of their new sequels receiving mainstream press coverage, so these re-entries are to be expected.
Focus Home Interactive's Vampyr, though knocked off its impressive number one debut spot, manages to remain in the Top Ten at number eight, while, amazingly, Sony's PlayStation VR Worlds continued to climb, shooting into the number five slot. This week also marks the first time since release that Ubisoft's Far Cry 5 has not been featured in the Top Ten. A very solid run for the open-world shooter.
Zipping around in Spider-Man (PS4) for the first time at E3 brings back memories of Batman: Arkham Asylum, and I mean that in all the best ways. Rocksteady raised our collective expectations for superhero games in 2009; Insomniac is on track to do the exact same thing this year.
Yes, Spider-Man looks impressive, and it has since day one. The more story-centric (and villain-packed) trailer that premiered on-stage at E3 was not short on spectacle. The studio also seems to have a genuine affection for these characters, their world, and how they fit into it without leaning too heavily on old material or retreading overly familiar ground. The developers have their own vision.
But, above all else, the thing Insomniac nails arguably better than anyone else before is the feeling of being Spider-Man. It's hard to convey that feeling into words without losing something in translation, so I'll just say this: web slinging and wall crawling and goon busting feels natural. Everything works as it should, meaning you won't need to fight with the controls to make our nimble neighborhood hero perform the kinds of amazing cinematic feats he could and should be able to pull off effortlessly.
Spider-Man is a slippery little rascal and that's precisely how you feel when you play this game. It's such a simple-sounding goal, but I can't fathom the tireless work that went into achieving it.
This video is representative of my experience with Spider-Man and...
This is such a little thing, but I'm happy it exists. Nintendo's mostly deflated My Nintendo program hasn't had anything of real value shortly after its two big launch bonuses hit, but occasionally there's something cool that pops in.
Collectors are probably annoyed that they can't really snag a physical edition of the new Splatoon 2 Octo Expansion, but Nintendo has provided an alternate piece of box art through the aforementioned service. For 30 Platinum Points -- and really, what else are you spending them on -- you can get a full-sized rendition of the box art in the link below.
Use your original Splatoon 2 box or the shell of anything else you may have chucked into a voidless bin somewhere -- like 1-2 Switch.
Printable - Splatoon 2 Octo Expansion box art cover [My Nintendo]
E3 is a rather lousy place to play Dragon Quest XI for the first time. Sessions are limited to just 15 minutes, and with two small maps to explore with a bevy of points of interest, a single session isn't even a proper amount of time to scratch the surface of the game.
In my lone hands-on with it, I don't think I saw a tenth of everything the demo had to offer. But even with just a tiny bit under my belt, I'm enthralled by nearly every facet of Dragon Quest XI.
Dedicating 25 minutes to a single game in an E3 presentation is a sign of confidence. It shows a company is proud of a game, excited even, and it wants to share everything it can with fans, hopefully igniting their excitement as well. For Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, that 25 minutes was spent on the minutia of play, breaking down the small and large changes we can expect from its massive roster. It was spent detailing new characters, reintroducing those we lost over the years, and establishing the concept of Echo Fighters. It was spent on new stages, new Final Smashes, new assist trophies, and new Pokemon.
Mostly, that 25 minutes was spent getting me the most excited I've been about a new Smash since Brawl on the Wii. 25 minutes was all Nintendo needed to blow-out E3, and 10 minutes with the game was all I need to know when Nintendo applies the word "Ultimate" to this entry in the franchise, it means it.
More bad news has been unearthed concerning strained developer Telltale Games, well known for their episodic adventure titles such as The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us.
Kevin Bruner, former CEO and co-founder of the Californian company, filed suit against his former place of employment after being given the shove from the Board of Directors, replaced with former Zynga executive Peter Hawley.
The main crux of the lawsuit, filed in February this year, appears to be that communication between Telltale Games and Bruner has ceased. Thus Bruner has not been given insight to the company's financial and management standings, disabling him from being able to accurately gauge the value of his remaining shares in the developer.
Telltale's lawyers have responded, stating that Bruner's suit is "an apparent means of extracting revenge on a company already under financial strain". Even going as far as to state that "The Company is now working to turn around the decline that it experienced under Plaintiff's stewardship." An official case management conference will take place on July 17.
The last year has seen a string of bad news for Telltale, who were involved in unwelcome controversies, had release dates slip and, last November, unfortunately had to let go of a quarter of their workforce. None of this has stopped the team from pushing forward, however, as just last week they announced a new episodic series based on Netflix smash-hit, Stranger Things.
Remedy is finally breaking free of the linear narrative formula that it has damn near perfected over the past 20+ years. For its seventh game, Control, it's wading into the waters of the open-world genre.
We were shown a 20-some-minute hands-off demo that elaborated upon how exactly Control is structured. The most notable takeaway is that it's open-world, or at least open-ended. There's a large(ish) environment that you can move about freely, eventually revisiting places and accessing new areas thanks to some abilities that are acquired further on in the story. It's seemingly a metroidvania-like bent although that term was never brought up.
The reason open-world feels like a slightly-off description is because it appears as though the majority of Control will take place indoors. Protagonist Jesse Faden has been promoted to director of the Federal Bureau of Control after the previous director died in an attack by the "otherworldly" Hiss group. Although there are other locations, Remedy confirmed that most of the game is set inside the FBC building which is hilariously named "The Oldest House."
I like to jot down a few notes before I write about a game. It helps me get my mind in the right place. After spending some hands-on time with Killer Queen Black, I immediately took out my notebook and started writing.
It wasn't until I sat down to turn those half-formed thoughts into a formal preview that I realized the only note I'd written down is "Killer Queen Black slaps."
I stand by that entirely.
It's easy to assume the heart of the Metro series lies in the tunnels that snake below Russia's irradiated surface. They're the capillaries through which both Metro 2033 and Last Light's story unfolded, claustrophobic veins occupied by mutants, heavily guarded outposts, and otherworldly anomalies that defy rational explanations. Metro's tunnels are a character unto themselves; dimly lit passages traveled by only the bravest -- or most dedicated -- people in a time where surviving is never a given.
But with Metro: Exodus, the fan-favorite franchise is finally moving up from the underground.
After a long wait, Wizards of the Coast has mostly unveiled its newest Magic: The Gathering set by way of a spoiler weekend -- Core 2019.
A lot of classi cards return in a sort of interim release before the announced fall set, and now you can get a look at what's coming on the official site. Boxes (36 boosters), boosters, bundles, toolkits, and Planeswalker decks are now on sale, all set for a July 13 release date (or if you prefer, early access events on July 7-8). It's going to be a busy time for Magic standard deckbuilders from July through October 5 -- as the Khaladesh and Amonkhet blocks don't rotate out until the latter date.
For those who are interested the preliminary story is also up on the official site, and events through September have been scheduled. Right now I'm sitting on nine standard decks -- up from...zero just several months ago. I'm probably going to crack a box of Core 2019 and hope for the best!
Core 2019 [Wizards of the Coast]
I love it when developers can succinctly describe their game and capture its tone in an original way. Ninjala, a newly-announced Nintendo Switch title from GungHo Online Entertainment, belongs to the "ninja gum action" genre. Trust me, it makes sense once you've played it. Kinda.
Players control ninja kids who can blow giant bubblegum bubbles (which can be shot off like projectiles to trap foes in goo), create weapons out of said gum bubbles, and wail on one another with chewing-gum baseball bats while running around city blocks and even straight up the sides of buildings. I think that's the gist of this multiplayer action game, anyway. It is, as they say, "ninja gum action."
In the case of the demo I played this week at E3, only bats were available, but there will be other weapon types in the full version of the game launching next spring.
The bigger your bubble, the bigger the weapon you can fashion from it (hopefully while no other players are within swinging distance of you). Blowing a comically large bubble to make a ridiculously long baseball bat kept me entertained during both of the rounds of Ninjala I played at E3. I would've liked to have tested out more weapon types (like the grayed-out yo-yo), and I struggled with a lack of good lock-on options, but there's something to this gum-loving ninja concept for sure.
It's always tough to beat Nintendo at its own game -- in...
So it turns out we all really like Pixar movies and we all really like superhero movies so when you put the two together it makes a boatload of money. Literal boats could be filled with the amount of money Incredibles 2 made this weekend thanks to its $180 million box office. That, by the way, is the best box office for an animated film ever by a damn long shot ($135 million was the previous record). This movie didn't just open, it kicked the door in, blew up the living room and then banged your mom.
I'm going to mention Tag here because I loved that movie and everyone should go see it, but its third-place opening wasn't anything to crow about. Not a flop for a film of its ilk, but hardly the hit it deserves to be.
More impressive, and telling of what is about to hit U.S. shores, is the international cume for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Paramount knows that the franchise has had massive legs outside of the U.S. and debuted the movie two weeks early internationally, and is reaping the benefits as its box office is massive. It's pulled $370 million in just two weeks meaning the studio could recoup its costs without even opening in the U.S. Play on, dino player.
Those of you who have big-time fancy-pants displays and PCs might want to check out this video, hosted by graphical giants Nvidia. The clip features gameplay footage from Bandai Namco's upcoming fighter sequel Soulcalibur VI, running on PC in 4K.
Among the fighters shown dishing out beatdowns with perfect clarity are stealthy ninja Taki, troubled knight Siegfreid and bad-boy Maxi, as well as guest stars Yoshimitsu (from Tekken) and Geralt of Rivia (from The Witcher series). Also putting in a rare appearance is all-new superstar Grøh.
I gotta admit, brothers and sisters, that things are looking pretty crisp. The game seems to be running super-smooth and couldn't really be much crisper without pushing forward into the next gen of gaming. Although I haven't had the chance to play Soulcalibur VI since I tried its first build back in December, I'm practically chomping at the bit to get my hands on the finished game.
Soulcalibur VI launches on PS4, Xbox One and PC on October 19.
Six hours after my hands-off hour-long demo of Cyberpunk 2077, I finally got a chance to sit down to write out my thoughts. That quarter of a day, those 360 minutes, have done nothing to quell how goddamn fucking excited I am for this game.
It helps a lot that we've known next to nothing about Cyberpunk 2077 for years and now we suddenly know a ton about it. There's an information overload capable of frying circuits -- and that's so perfectly appropriate. I'll try to coherently convey everything I learned today.
The demo starts with the character creation menu and it's our first introduction to the many ways that Cyberpunk 2077 is so very big. There's basic character stuff like hair, skin color, and facial attributes. But other tabs paint a deeper picture of who you play as. There's birth record, background check, biometric scan, and biostates. Life events like "death of a sibling" and "ran away from home" are said to influence your demeanor and maybe how others perceive you.
We knew that Death Note's Light and Ryuk won't be playable in the upcoming crossover fighter Jump Force, but now thanks to a statement from producer Koji Nakajima, we know why. Speaking to Game Informer, Nakajima stated:
There are a few things we consider. We want to choose characters that will be recognizable to everyone in the world, both in Japan and outside. We also consider how well-suited the character is to fighting, and whether they would be getting involved in fights in their series. Right, not everyone is suited to fighting, but might have a part in the story. The question of how all these universes came to ours will involve characters who aren't necessarily selectable characters who are used to hitting each other.
Welp, it's not happening for now at least. Yet, Arc System works pulls off unconventional fighters (especially light/dark and companion fighters) all the time, and Capcom has been known to put non-traditionally violent characters in -- with the right designer it's possible!
What can you do when you run a disgustingly popular and profitable mobile game? Almost anything you like, apparently. That seems to be the logic driving the latest event in Cygames' Granblue Fantasy, which sees its skybound fantasy setting play host to the scourge of Tokyo's scumbag adults, Persona 5's Phantom Thieves. That might seem like an odd fit, but keep in mind that Granblue Fantasy's setting is such that the whole area of Attack on Titan canonically exists within it, not to mention a place visited by key folks from Idolm@ster, Street Fighter, Cardcaptor Sakura, and more.
Kicking off today and lasting until June 29th, the Persona 5 event is titled Thievery in Blue (likely a reference to Granblue's heroine Lyria, who is often called "the girl in blue") and will feature Morgana, Ann, Ryuji, and Yusuke, and Joker as they score sweet loot and beat up raid bosses. Participants will come away with a permanent, playable SSR-rank Joker for their roster, and can also earn a "Morgana Car" summon attack and other goodies for their regular grid.
Even if one's not interested in getting into Granblue Fantasy, I'd wager the event is a net gain for all, as it helped bring about some fantastic character art of the Persona 5 cast from Granblue's team. Check out a quick trailer for the event below.
Nintendo’s E3 threw me for a loop. I was hoping for detailed breakdowns on most of the Switch reveals we got last year, but we don’t really know anything new on most of them, nor have we seen many new reveals. And yet, the new games and Treehouse streams we got did a lot to pique my interest. Overall, the Switch seems to be having a slower year, but it seems "party game" fans were given a lot more to look forward to.
The Switch’s initial reveal stood out to many of us because it emphasized the new console's social/party aspects, but most of its biggest hitters thus far are games without local multiplayer. It was inevitable that Nintendo would tackle the party game market, it’s one of their biggest niches, but the Switch’s first year only made a few big pushes for them. This E3, however, showcased many more prominent party games, more than enough for Nintendo to be ready to lead that charge once again.
(Editors Note: Flixist and Destructoid are not immune to this issue. Despite actively searching we suck at recruiting women. It's an issue we take seriously. If you're a woman and enjoy writing about movies or video games we'd love to give you a chance. Please reach out to email@example.com with a little about yourself and some writing samples.)
A recent study (unironically written by a white guy) has confirmed what we already know: film criticism is pretty much a white-male-dominated place. As a woman of color working as a film critic, I get that diversity is a problem. It remains, as always, a question of access, though I think that with #MeToo and Time's Up right in the public eye, the awareness of women in film and entertainment is much more on the rise this year.
Although I agree that there are loads of really respectable, entertaining and worthy male reviewers out there (I work with an awesome team here at Flixist and over at Destructoid, and I'm a loyal Wittertainee, too), I simply want to throw out the names of a few prominent WoC critics today and share their work, because they're worth celebrating. Here are five of the best you can follow:
Speedrunning is a hobby that requires a lot of patience and a lot of hard work. Playing the same game over and over again sounds like a recipe for boredom, particularly if the slightest mishap can ruin an otherwise perfectly good run. In spite of all these hurdles, there are plenty of people who enjoy improving their times and playing a part in building a supportive community, in which people work together to discover various strategies to run a game as fast as possible.
With SGDQ and ESA just around the corner, I asked three speedrunners with different interests and levels of involvement in the community about their experiences and their various insights into the activity of speedrunning. Overall, what they had to say painted the picture of a community that, particularly in Europe, seems to be flourishing year on year.
Right now, I'm overcome with an immense feeling of joy. I'm happy, content even, because after seven, long days of running around the crowded hallways of the Los Angeles Convention Center and sleeping in an apartment so cold Ice Man would ask that we turn up the heat a little bit, I don't have to go to E3 anymore. Seriously, I am so glad E3 is a thing of the past. I don't know if it's because I was there in person this year, because the lead-up to the show seemed like it was four months long, or because a PR guy with 505 Games put up some information about Bloodstained that got a bunch of people mad at me, but I'm happy to be done with it and moving on to more interesting things.
I can't be too upset about the past week. Afterall, I got to play Resident Evil 2 and that kick-ass Starlink game. This year may not have been the blow-out 2017's show was, but there was still so much to love about it. I can't wait to see what "Best of E3" posts we have coming our way.
This post is not about the best though. Like last year, I thought we should take a moment while E3 is still fresh in our minds to celebrate the aspects of the show that probably won't get their recognition. I call it the Dumbstructoid Awards, and this year, there was plenty of shit to "honor." I asked our staff to keep a...