The football season may be over, but Madden's Ultimate Team mode is still going strong with new solos, programs, and cards. Given that we're in the official football offseason, however, I thought now would be a good time to take a look back at how the mode fared this year. What better way to do that than talk to one of the people behind Madden Ultimate Team – producer Jake Stein.
What are some of the programs that did well this year?
It's important to outline how we define a successful program. For us, we really look at how much people are engaging with the content as well as what the community sentiment is. One that exceeded our expectations was MUT Heroes. That program is a great example of what can happen when you have time for iteration. The team spent a long time trying to develop the right theme for the program and landed on this concept of "superheroes" with "superpowers." It resulted in players being really strong in one particular rating and the art treatment for the program might still be my favorite of the year.
Another program I want to mention is with Gauntlet Unleashed. It was a great way for players to engage in Solo Challenges and get rewarded on a weekly basis. And players who engaged in that program from the beginning had a great reward waiting for them at the end. There's been a lot of positive sentiment...
Sony Santa Monica invited us over to its studio last week, where we got to play about three hours of the upcoming God of War. Join us for today's episode of NGT, where Joe Juba and I talk about our hands-on experiences with the game – and Leo listens.
Sony provided us with more than 15 minutes of new footage, which includes plenty of scenes of Kratos and son wrecking monsters, as well as a glimpse at some of the upgrades and crafting opportunities. There's a lot to absorb, but Joe and I do our best to provide some context for what you're seeing. And Leo is great, too!
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For more of our thoughts on God of War, take a look at our recent feature, where we discuss five of the biggest overall surprises from the demo.
Rare's open world pirate adventure, Sea Of Thieves, officially launches tomorrow, but the servers are live, so no one is going to stop us from treasure hunting.
Come back at 3pm CST to see how Andrew Reiner, Ben Reeves, and Ben Hanson fare on Sea of Theives' open waters. In the meantime, head here to watch us prank Kyle while playing the beta, or read our feature about Rare's development of the game.
The year 2014 was a simpler time. Destiny was hot off the presses and fans of Assassin's Creed were forced to decide if they should play Assassin's Creed Unity or Rogue first... since they were released on the same day. With Tuesday's release of Assassin's Creed Rogue Remastered, you can correct any mistakes from the past by playing the good one! On this episode of New Gameplay Today, I fill in for Jeff Cork and our best buddy Leo Vader is joined by the great historian Matt Miller. You can read our original review for Assassin's Creed Rogue right here!
Check out the video below to see how this last-gen game looks running on a PlayStation 4.
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Last week we kicked off our limited series Replay 300, where we play select games from our Top 300 list regardless of their history on Replay. In our first episode we played Super Metroid, and this week we're headed to a different corner of space in Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II.
So join Andy, Reiner, Joe, Tack and myself as we take look back at the pulse-pounding gameplay and beautiful FMV cutscenes of a now twenty-year-old Star Wars game. After that, we examine a much more heavily contested Top 300 pick.
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We'll see you next Friday for another peek at one of the best games of all time!
I don't think I'm alone when I say Burnout Paradise is my favorite racing game of all time. It perfectly melded the sense of open-world driving, arcade racing fun, and crashing around an intersection as a wrecked vehicle with weirdo physics.
Since it's been remastered and releasing today, I sat with Matthew Kato to talk about how the game holds up, what the remaster bundles and adds, and the thrill of crashing through things you'd normally go to jail for breaking.
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When a sequel for a video game is announced, there are typically one of two thoughts that cross our mind: A) I hope it lives up to the original, or B) how did that game get a sequel? Whether it’s because a game didn’t live up to its hype or people had already checked out on a series, sometimes sequels don’t get the attention that they deserve. Here are a few examples of some of the unsung sequels that deserve a second glance.
BioShock left us in awe after introducing us to the underwater, dystopian ruins of Rapture, but BioShock 2 expanded upon that iconic city beyond the reach of Andrew Ryan. It introduced us to Sophia Lamb, a tyrant of another type, and tasked us with exploring the slums of Rapture that were home to those who weren’t privileged enough to join the city’s aristocracy.
In terms of gameplay, BioShock 2 had the smoothest combat experience of the entire franchise. BioShock 2 nailed the feeling of playing as a Big Daddy, finally giving us the ability to wield our own drill and stomp around Rapture as the nightmarish titan that terrorized us in the original. That is, until we heard the terrifying screech of one of the most difficult enemies in any BioShock game, the agile and dangerous Big Sister.
Those looking for the narrative jolt of the original BioShock needed look no further than BioShock 2’s Minerva’s Den...
Our Top 300 Games Of All Time list is a collective work. We introduce, argue for, and cement games as "The Greatest Of All Time" based on a number of factors like impact, cultural importance, and sheer quality. But sometimes, it's hard to make conclusive cases for our personal favorites, whether that means placing them higher on the list (where they rightfully belong), or putting them on the list at all. Sometimes we argue they should have made it on the list, while other times, we acknowledge the subtle difference between "best" and "favorite."
So without further ado, The Game Informer crew have compiled their personal lists of their favorite games of all time. You'll find a lot of crossover with out 300 list and see where our top picks came from, as well as slivers of disappointment when you see a top pick that didn't make our list.Andy McNamara (@GI_AndyMc) 10. The Last of Us9. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim8. Grand Theft Auto V7. BioShock6. Red Dead Redemption5. Mrs. Pac-Man4. Super Mario World3. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past2. World of Warcraft1. Metroid Andrew Reiner (@Andrew_Reiner) 10. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas9. BioShock8. Chrono Trigger7. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time6. Grand Theft Auto IV5. Overwatch4. Super Metroid3. Super Mario Bros.2. Final Fantasy...
EA Sports' announcement that UFC President Dana White was coming to the roster of UFC 3 is the latest in a line of special playable characters in the series. White joins other non-UFC fighters like boxer Mike Tyson, martial arts legend Bruce Lee, and UFC color commentator Joe Rogan, who appeared in UFC 2 as special fighters.
The outspoken UFC President set some time aside to chat with us about how EA Sports is doing with the UFC license to this point, as well as his thoughts on being included in the game's roster. For a video message from White about his inclusion in the roster, check out the announcement of the downloadable character here. For our review of UFC 3, head here.
The deal with EA Sports to handle the UFC license was a long
time coming. Now that we're three games in, how satisfied are you with the work
the team has done?
EA has done a great job of bringing everything it takes to become a mixed martial artist and UFC athlete to life, virtually through their video games. These guys are really passionate about the sport and they've done an amazing job of recreating some of the iconic events, like weigh-ins and press conferences in UFC 3.
You're obviously a very busy man, particularly with the
stretch of events UFC has put on this year, but how much have you seen or
played of this game?
I'm not really a big gamer, but I have played the game...
Metroidvanias and Super Smash Bros.? This might be the best Blog Herding edition ever.
Community Blogs For March 8 – March 14:
Verge: Metroidvania At Its Finest
Brendon Curzio writes a short blog on what makes Axiom Verge so good. Really, you should have read Metroidvania in the title and knew right away that it's quite good. "New weapons lead to new areas, new areas lead to new discoveries, and with each new discovery secrets abound." That's really all you need to know.
Uncharted 4's Elena is the subject of Buswaxer25's blog. The writer's take is that Elena is quite selfish, and Drake is not. Debate away in the comics.
The Perspective of a Souls Beginner
Timothy Repasky is here to write about Blooborne as a complete newbie, which is pretty cool. He didn't think he would like it but fell in love. This is his story of getting sucked into the world of Bloodborne.
Biblical Origins of Dormin and the Curse of the Horns
Uesugi-done wrote this for the Shadow of Colossus fans. This is for sure a deep dive and a fun read if you're a fan of the game and mythology.
a Piano and Tifa's Underwear
MATASTIG is here to write about one of the most important games ever made: Final Fantasy VII. This is a short blog, but it's significant because I did not know you could, uh, do something crude. I had played the piano,...
Minor spoilers for Batman: The Enemy Within ahead.
Let's make no bones about it. Telltale is a developer with a spotty record when it comes to quality. While it certainly has champions like The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us, and Tales From The Borderlands in its catalog, for every great game, comes a couple of clunkers (Guardians Of The Galaxy, Game Of Thrones). And then you have games in the middle, like the developer's take on Batman, which completely upends Bats' universe by giving familiar characters' new origins, twisting fan's expectations of character relationships, and carving out its own unique version of The Dark Knight's universe. While some of the choices don't pan out (like The Riddler basically being turned into a weird version of Jigsaw for some reason?), there's no denying that Batman is likely one of, if not the, boldest work when it comes to Telltale taking liberty with creative license.
Among the biggest, most interesting creative choices in Telltale's Batman is the Joker. The Joker is obviously a character with a huge history and a lot of characterizations. From Crazy-For-The-Sake-Of-Crazy clown prince of crime to the sympathetic and downtrodden misfit we see in The Killing Joke, a lot of versions of the Joker exist, which is fitting given that one of his most famous lines is, "If I'm going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice." However, even with that grand tapestry in mind, Telltale's version...
There was a time when Lara Croft was poised to take over the world as a brand unto herself, gracing the cover of every magazine, gaming or otherwise, on the newsstand. This fame naturally parlayed itself onto the silver screen with Angelina Jolie taking on the role of Lara Croft, getting two movies in before the cinema train stalled completely.
Much like with the video games themselves, the powers that be decided to reboot the movies as well to be more in line with the more modern Lara Croft. Crystal Dynamics and Square-Enix decided on a survivalist Lara Croft who does more shooting than side-flipping in the video games, so it only made sense that a new Tomb Raider movie would follow in the same mold. Alicia Vikander, the Swedish-born actress best known for her role in Ex Machina, stepped into the role of a new Lara Croft for a new age.
As an idea on paper, this all sounds totally fine. In practice, the idea is let down by virtually every aspect of the script and execution.
Tomb Raider is at its best in its opening story beats, establishing Lara as more of an urban explorer than a jungle-weary treasure hunter. She knows how to fight because she trains to defend herself, she's naturally athletic but not preternaturally so, she enjoys thrills and excitement as one would expect of a character who would eventually dash around the Earth raiding tombs. When these brief moments of character establishment are over, however, Tomb Raider starts to weigh itself down in its own self-indulgent...
Our debates for which 300 games were the best of all time were intense. When all is said and done, we produced a list we feel confident in and proud of. That said, nearly all of us have favorite games that didn't make the staff list. Here are the omissions we're the most upset about and why.
Hyper Light Drifter – Kyle Hilliard
Heart Machine’s throwback indie action game released in 2016 making it a pretty young potential entry compared to most games on our list, but it’s one I think deserved a spot. On my 2016 personal top 10 list it came in second losing the first place spot to Inside (which is rightfully on our list). The action is fast and challenging without being complicated, its art direction and music are both amazing, and its text-free story and world building create an intriguing universe that I have eagerly visited multiple times. As we move further away from the game’s release, I see more people finding Hyper Light Drifter and recognizing it as an indie great.
It didn’t make Game Informer’s top 300 games of all time list, though, and the arguments made against it were hard to counter. For everything it does so well, it’s undeniable that Hyper Light Drifter is not particularly innovative. It’s incredibly well done, but it’s a familiar experience if you’re a fan of old-school Zelda, or comparable pixelated action games....
Wolfenstein II's DLC seemed promising when it was announced: three episodes, each centered around a new character, fighting against the Nazi regime in America. Getting away from B.J. Blazkowicz's story was a fresh idea and, to be fair, the first episode, starring a former quarterback utterly destroying nazi scum, was pretty great. Unfortunately, as a single package there's no way around it: The Freedom Chronicles blow. The series just wrapped up with the final episode, The Deeds of Captain Wilkins, and instead of telling you blow-by-blow why that DLC is bummer, I think it's more worthwhile to tell you why you should probably steer clear of the whole DLC package if you're looking for more of Wolfenstein II's fantastic campaign.
Most Episodes Waste Their Storytelling Potential
As I mentioned earlier, The Adventures Of Gunslinger Joe is rad, and offers another perspective into Wolfenstein's harrowing world. Where B.J. is white and can often pass as one of the Nazis' own, Joe faces brutal discrimination at every turn, obstacles that he overcomes with ease. However, the latest two episodes, The Diaries Of Silent Death and The Amazing Deeds Of Captain Wilkins, are poorly written. Not only do they lack the character-driven drama of MachineGames' main Wolfenstein titles, but they're also poor homages to the pulp novels of the '50s and '60s, with eye-roll worthy puns and cardboard-character personalities.
Every Episode's Structure Is The Same
Every episode follows the same structure: starting with a setting that wasn't...
If you've read the most recent issue of Game Informer, you know that we celebrated our 300th issue by ranking the 300 greatest games of all time. It's an enormous list that can take hours to read through and took weeks for us to make. If you read that giant list and wondered how certain developers performed or which genres were most prevalent, then wonder no more!
I've combed through the list of 300 games with excruciating detail to spot some of the more interesting trends on the list. Check out some of my findings below, and if you haven't done so already, check out our full list of the top 300 games of all time in our current issue.
Click to enlarge any of the following images.
*Games that released prior to the ESRB, but received rating upon re-release have been included.
When Josef Fares and Starbreeze released Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons in 2013, fans and critics alike praised the game, but expressed bafflement at the strange story of a rising star in the film industry suddenly pivoting to design video games. The Lebanese-born director has a compelling biography both behind and ahead of him, having fled the Lebanese Civil War as a child and winning film awards alongside his brother, Fares Fares. After winning the Nordic Council Film Prize for his 2005 film Zozo, Josef Fares directed his attention to a narrative game about controlling two brothers with separate analog sticks with Starbreeze, which we described as "akin in spirit to arthouse games."
Now, Fares and his studio Hazelight are working with Electronic Arts on A Way Out, a story of two men meeting up in and subsequently escaping from prison. It is, in many ways, a ridiculous experiment in narrative gaming, forcing players to only play it co-op in either local or online permutations, to the point where the game comes with extra copies to gift to a friend. You can read our brand new impressions of the game here.
Those who watched The Game Awards in 2017 might remember Fares holding the microphone next to host Geoff Keighley, ostensibly to announce the extra copy feature of the game, launching into a swear-filled rant about the Oscars, which Fares reflects back on as "s--- happens."
Fares is charmingly eccentric in a way...
MLB the Show 18 developer Sony San Diego has released new info about the upcoming title's Road to the Show mode. The mode puts gamers in the shoes of a mid-level prospect for an MLB franchise who must work his way up into the big leagues – complete with a narrator telling your tale. Along the way, you may be moved to a new position, train with teammates, and interact with coaches via a conversation system.
The game features a new player archetype system and attribute caps, so naturally, we wonder how much freedom players will have to shape their characters compared to past years. Sony San Diego says you can change your player archetype if you move your position, which hopefully allows some flexibility in making your player more well-rounded if you want.
Watch Brian Shea and I discuss what's in the mode, where it could go, and what we hope gets addressed this year.
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Have a suggestion or comment? Put it in the comments section below, send me an email, or reach me on twitter at @mattkato.
Art Credit: Robbie Trevino.
Earlier this week, I had the chance to play and watch others play Artifact for a few hours at Valve’s HQ in Seattle. To learn how the game works both from a mechanical and financial perspective, head you can read my write-up here.
Before any of that, however, Gabe Newell gave a presentation about the company’s history, the purposes behind each of their games, and what they hope to do with Artifact. It’s an illuminating look at the company, and I recommend you watch it.
Then I had the chance to sit down and chat with a few of the people behind the game, including Magic: The Gathering designers Richard Garfield and Skaff Elias, and ask them a few questions. Read for details about how the game will handle its economy, how Valve gauges success, communication, and balance, and how tournaments will be an integral part of Artifact.
Coming off of Gabe Newell’s talk about some of the stuff he wanted to introduce us with for Artifact, what left me most curious is about your business model with how the game wasn’t going to be free-to-play and that the market would be heavily involved. How much can you tell me about how you expect players to interact with the game financially? What is the buy-in, and how does the marketplace roll into that?
Brandon Reinhart: There will be packs that look a lot like you would expect. You can buy, sell, and exchange...