After two fantasy-based jaunts into the Warhammer universe, The Creative Assembly has once again turned its eye to history with the latest Total War game. Previous games have let players wage war and live out their realpolitik fantasies in historical periods like medieval Europe, feudal Japan, and the Roman empire. With Three Kingdoms, Total War is taking on a new era, The Han dynasty, as well as a few new gameplay twists.
Now let's be clear: You should not expect a radically different Total War game with Three Kingdoms, which is probably a good thing. The series has remained one of the strategy genre's most popular titles for a reason, with massive battles featuring detailed environments and troops as far as the eye can see, as well as extensive diplomacy and warfare options on a metalevel. Three Kingdoms looks to expand on all those things.
While Creative Assembly wouldn't dish out details on what new diplomatic options players would be getting, they told me it would be an expanded suite compared to previous games, and that those who loved finding a reason to justify their high-end PCs would find plenty of eye candy here. The developer also told me that those with moderate-powered PCs would have enough graphical options to make the game run well.
The biggest gameplay twist that players can expect is when it comes to the MOBA-like hero of generals (all based on historical figures like Lu Bu and Cao Cao) that...
After starting the console generation in the hole with a handicapped debut, EA’s NHL series has slowly skated back toward relevancy by rebuilding popular modes like EASHL and introducing new ways to play like NHL Threes. But despite incremental changes, the game has never felt truly next gen. Based on our early impressions with NHL 19’s new skating and physics systems, that time could finally be coming.
In addition to getting hands-on time with the title, we sat down with longtime producer Sean Ramjagsingh and new creative director William Ho, who most recently worked on the Need for Speed franchise, to talk about the big changes coming to NHL 19 both on and off the ice. Here are the standout changes.
A Revolutionary New Skating System
For years, we’ve been asking for dramatically improved player handling to give us more fidelity in moving in small spaces, more agility when making turns so it doesn’t feel like you are steering the Titanic, and better puck pickups. EA Canada thinks it can go three for three on these requests thanks to the integration of the Real Player Motion animation technology and significant changes to how players skate.
Grabbing the controller, it only took a matter of seconds to understand just how dramatically the skating system has improved. Players burst out of their stops, showing the acceleration of world-class athletes. Their edgework, crossovers, and carving looks more in line with NHL players, and it’s much easier to turn, cut, and make hard stops. Turns...
Update: The game has been confirmed for June 27, per the official Pokémon twitter account, on both iOS and Android.Your quest awaits, Trainers! #PokemonQuest is coming to iOS and Android devices on June 27: https://t.co/608bEfLba8 pic.twitter.com/DqBzVtl0dO — Pokémon (@Pokemon) June 20, 2018
The original story is as follows:
Pokémon Quest was announced a few weeks ago at The Pokémon Company's unveiling of Pokémon Let's Go: Pikachu & Eevee and came out just after the unveiling. At the time, the game was announced for both Switch and mobile platforms, but only Switch has been released so far. That might not be the case for too much longer, according to IGN.
The Japanese Pokémon Twitter account tweeted today that pre-registration for the mobile version begins soon. The Switch version has also been downloaded 2.5 million times so far. IGN discovered an app store listing that says the iOS version of the game, and presumably the Android version as well, will release on June 28.
You can find our review of Pokémon Quest right here, which takes a thorough look at the Switch version of the game.
Resident Evil 2 was revealed during Sony's E3 conference and playable on the show floor. While we got hands on time with the demo, the realities of playing a creeping horror game like Resident Evil 2 around people in a bright room on a convention floor means it's hard to sit back and take the entire game in.
Thankfully, Capcom has released five minutes from the demo containing nothing but the game audio as Leon finds his way in and through the Raccoon City Police Department. You can check out the five minute video below.
Resident Evil 2 releases on January 25 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
After nearly a decade of struggling to field a competitive basketball game, last year EA Sports finally put some proper pieces into place that signal a better future for the NBA Live franchise. NBA Live 19 looks to continue the upward trajectory with some needed changes to the on-court action and some interesting additions to The One mode. Here's everything we learned from playing a couple games and chatting with creative director Connor Dougan.GAMEPLAY
The E3 Nintendo Direct presentation largely focused on Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, but it scattered in a few surprises along the way. One such surprise was Ninjala, a new family-friendly ninja game where characters compete in battles involving bubble gum and inflatable weapons. I went hands on with the colorful title and spoke with GungHo CEO Kazuki Morishita about the new title.
Ninjala gives Splatoon vibes from the very first glance. The colorful, young characters with stylish clothes and bright hair look as though they could be a part of the same universe as Nintendo’s inklings. However, despite the team’s affection for Splatoon, they wanted to make a brawler instead of a shooter.
Before you can jump into 8-player action and beat up your opponents, you must inflate your weapon. You do this by blowing a massive bubble using bubblegum and funneling that air into the weapon. Depending on which gum you choose, you get a different weapon. Weapons range from baseball bats and clubs to yo-yos. The bigger the bubble you blow, the bigger the weapon is.
Large weapons are slow, but powerful, while short weapons can be made quickly and swung fast. In addition, you can use the bubble as a projectile to stick enemies to the ground temporarily or hold it in your mouth to run up walls. If you get the drop on an enemy and charge up your swing, you can unleash a massive hit and score an Ippon – a one-hit K.O. If you don’t...
Developer Sumo Digital landed a hit with its 2012 kart-racing game Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. Now, the developer is partnering with Sonic Team, stripping away the non-Sonic characters, and adding a new layer of team-based strategy for Team Sonic Racing.
In this new kart-racing title from Sega, the developers are focusing entirely on the Sonic universe, which means no Aiai or Ryo Hazuki this time around (sorry, fellow Shenmue fans). Instead, players get a roster of 15 Sonic characters. In the build I played, I could choose between Sonic, Knuckles, Tails, Shadow, Rouge, and E-123 Omega. Each character fits into one of three classes: speed, technique, or power. Once you choose a character, you're placed in a team of three based on the character's alliances; Sonic was always placed with Tails and Knuckles, while Rouge raced alongside Shadow and Omega.
When the race begins, it plays out much like a standard kart racer. Characters drift around corners, acquire consumable items, and avoid zany obstacles in the push to be first. In addition to the tried-and-true formula, players can help their teammates; you can gift items, request items, and slingshot around teammates by following their path. The game will also include a solo mode that removes the team-based mechanics, but outside of an occasional pure kart-racing foray, I don't foresee myself playing that mode much.
At the end of the race, it assigns points for your team based on where each member finished. This...
Gamers have had a glut of interesting cooperative shooters to play in the last few years, with standouts like Destiny, Ghost Recon Wildlands, and The Division keeping squads together through various universes. But one curious absence in the current cooperative landscape is a survival-horror experience that riffs on the tension and teamplay sensibilities of the cult favorite Left 4 Dead franchise. A small team of former Payday developers at 10 Chambers Collective hopes to tap into that neglected theme with GTFO.
This universe isn't another me-too zombie game sending waves of brain-eaters at your squad. Instead, players assume the role of prisoners sent into the depths of a mysterious underground complex against their will to retrieve curious items of interest for their warden. Finding the objects is easy enough; making it out alive is the tricky part, as the halls are roamed by deadly monstrosities that look like grotesque evolutions of The Last of Us' clickers.
Before dropping into the darkened halls for a hands-on session I had a chance to check out the arsenal available to players. Each prisoner can carry two guns, a melee weapon, and a special tool like a motion sensor, area scanner that can tag enemies behind walls, sentry turret, and a glue gun that can be used to slow the advancing horde of creatures. Picking the right combination of tools can be key to making it back alive.
When we drop into the complex, its halls are eerily quiet. A squad member scans each door before we open...
The Metro Exodus E3 2018 demo was based on the same content we saw back in February for the March cover story, giving the world its first chance to see the boundary-pushing graphics, unforgiving gameplay, and ambitious transition from the linear focused Metro underground to the harsh, more open Russian countryside that convinced us to put the game on the cover of Game Informer. Running at 4K on the Xbox One X console, the game's beauty won over many. But the demo wasn't without its share of gameplay hiccups.
The shooting felt good, and all of the game's systems were online, but we noticed a few rough spots as well. Collision issues made moving across the countryside more burdensome than it should be, framerate drops disrupted the gameplay, and the rowboat Artyom uses to explore the Volga River region outside Moscow was tough to steer. When we brought these issues up to executive producer Jon Bloch, he said the team is keenly aware of the current build's shortcomings and the team has more than enough time to hone the experience.
"We've never shown Metro on a console this early before, and we felt like it was appropriate for showing off this content on Xbox One X in 4K – it's already there," Bloch says. "Yes, we have some polish to go, and yes, there's still some performance stuff to nail, but it's already in good shape, so trust us when we say this extra time really is focused on...
TT Games has been steadily releasing Lego titles for more than a decade now, bringing notable franchises like Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Marvel and DC comics to life in charming, family friendly games. While the frequency of releases has been reliable, its quality has occasionally slipped. If you were frustrated with the state of Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 at launch, you’re not alone, either. TT Games has been examining how to revitalize its games moving forward, starting with the upcoming Lego DC Super-Villains. I played the E3 demo and chatted with Arthur Parsons, head of design at TT Games, about what the studio is doing to make the best possible game – for both returning players and newcomers.
There’s a lot to unpack with this game, so I’ll focus on the big things first. Lego DC Super-Villains is the first time that players will get to play through a campaign centered around the best part of most stories: the bad guys. “Everyone loves playing as Vader or Voldemort, or whoever the bad guys are,” Parsons says.” And because of the wealth of source material here, TT Games had a lot to work with. “DC’s villains, I think they out of every IP we’ve ever touched, they’ve got the best roster of villains. By a long way.”
Players have been able to play as the baddies in free play in the DC games, with one exception. “In Lego Batman 1 we...
Hunt: Showdown was one of the most promising titles of last year's E3, and in the year since our first look at the reworked competitive survival horror shooter from Crytek, the studio has slowly been refining the technology driving the game in Steam Early Access. The logistical work has paid off, and the game has mostly very positive user reviews since the last big patch (bringing the total user review rating up to the mostly positive category).
Now that the developer feels more comfortable with the game's performance, the team is starting to further expand the content for the game. We sat down with Crytek at E3 to hear about its plans.New Weaponry
Hunters can look forward to wielding several new weapons in the near future. In the early moments of each round, most hunters equip their melee weapons to move silently and avoid detection. Crytek plans to expand the melee options to include a throwable tomahawk ax and throwing knives, both of which are retrievable.
Two new types of grenades are also being introduced. The Hive Bomb unleashes a torrent of wasps on enemies in the vicinity, and the Sticky Bomb sticks to its target before detonating.
Crytek also plans to add two new crossbows. The vintage version is a classic two-handed weapon, and can be modified with explosive arrows that pack a serious punch. The hand crossbow is a faster loading one-handed model.New Enemy
The water is typically one of the safest places in the Hunt...
Sekiro is a major departure from what has been seen in From Software's Souls series, and mastermind Hidetaka Miyazaki's next game is not just Bloodborne or Dark Souls set in feudal Japan. There are a number of reasons why this is the case, and you can expect to find something different compared to previous titles using the Souls formula. Lets take a look at 10 things we noticed about Sekiro that separate it from the other Souls games and how these changes could help Shadows Die Twice entice new players and old fans alike.
1. A Jump Button:
None of the games in the Souls series feature a jump button, and the only way a player can go airborne is to sprint and leap together. It is unwieldy, imprecise, and frustrating, and the world is not designed with verticality in mind outside of ladders and elevators. The rare "platforming sections" in the Souls games are the weakest parts of the series. Sekiro has a dedicated jump, which is used to traverse the world, dodge enemy attacks, and explore the more varied level design.
2. A Grapple:
Sekiro features a grapple mechanic that is used to pull yourself quickly and closer to enemies for attacks, and to have more freedom to explore the world. The grapple, mixed with the ability to jump, makes the act of traversing feudal Japan in Sekiro different from anything you experience in a Souls game.
HB Studios' The Golf Club franchise took its career mode forward in a big way when it signed the PGA Tour license. The tour – including preambles Q School and the Web.com Tour – culminates in the FedExCup Playoffs, but there's more to the career mode than just a sponsorship.
Six real-life courses are licensed (Summerlin, Scottsdale, Sawgrass, Southwind, Deere Run, and Boston), with more planned for after launch, but the tour's 32-course schedule also includes user-created courses. User-created courses are the foundation of the series, and it's cool that some talented creators are going to see their courses as part of the game's career mode in events big and small. HB Studios even talked to them in order to get information the developer could use to inform the commentary during the course flyovers at the beginning of an event.
Unfortunately, the courses themselves are set for a single PGA Tour season even though stats are kept for up to five seasons (you can play beyond that) and the golfers on the leaderboard will fare differently from year to year.
While you're playing on the tour you'll form rivalries with individual golfers. Points are accumulated for each event based on more than five categories. Whomever is the first to 20 points wins the rivalry. You can add some extra emotion to these rivalries and the tour in general by renaming the 300 golfers on the circuit.
HB Studios says it would like to add license real pros,...
Pro Evolution Soccer’s gameplay has captivated in past years, and after my hands-on with the game at E3 2018 I’m happy to say that realistic but eminently fun gameplay is still the series’ bedrock in PES 2019.
The main thing that strikes me about PES 2019’s gameplay is the ball itself. I’ve always liked the way PES’ ball has felt when shooting and for deliciously weighted through balls, and this year you can definitely see players reacting to it differently from last year. It may take an extra second for a player to bring down that chest-high lofted pass on the touchline or take an extra touch in order to get the ball under control.
PES 2018 made a point to slow the game down, and ironically, the free movement of the ball makes the action tick along briskly even though PES brand manager Andre Bronzoni told me that nothing had been done to the game’s actual speed per se. PES 2019 features snow in appropriate stadiums, and although it does not accumulate, Bronzoni says it and rain will affect the ball.
Elsewhere on the gameplay front during my hands-on time I perceived that players got headers off quicker (requiring less of a windup) and fouls occurred when expected (for both teams) without it being a parade of yellow cards. This was a point of contention last year, and Bronzoni says that some leagues should be more strict about fouls (like in Brazil) than others (such as in Scotland).
The Last of Us: Part II opened Sony’s press conference with a bang. Not only did we meet a new character named Dina who’s obviously important in Ellie’s life, but we also saw a slice of the combat. As with any follow-up title, the next game always looks to improve on its predecessor, and true to Naughty Dog, it’s set on taking things to the next level. During E3 2018, I got the opportunity to sit with co-directors Kurt Margenau and Anthony Newman to discuss how combat has evolved and what we can expect from it the highly anticipated sequel.
Proving More Stealth Options
According to Newman, when the Naughty Dog team sat down to think about the game, it explored what worked well and what would be appropriate for this game and expand on what was done previously. “The Last of Us has always been about the natural world and reclaiming society and civilization, so a natural evolution of Last of Us 1 was to increase the vegetation in the world,” he explained. “That obviously plays into the stealth game that’s super important, so that pushed us to create this analog stealth system where based on your stance, whether you’re crouched, standing, or prone in the thickness of the vegetation you’re in, enemies have an easier or harder time seeing you. There’s this sliding the scale of how susceptible you are. It’s more appropriate to the tension of the world of The Last...
During PlayStation's E3 2018 press briefing, Remedy wowed attendees and viewers with the first trailer of its upcoming game, Control. The trailer was exciting but left more questions than answers. Thankfully, I met with Remedy to see the game in action and learn more about the company's mysterious new world.
Remedy has always been known for narrative-driven experiences, but creative director Sam Lake says the team wants to expand beyond what the studio is known for. “Coming out of Quantum Break, I was concepting this with Mikael Kasurinen, who is our game director,” he says. “We wanted to, first and foremost, create a deep and mysterious world – a many-layered world that players would be drawn back to even when they have played for a long time to explore, find secrets, and piece things together.”
In Control, you play as Jesse Faden, a person who had a traumatic encounter with the unexplainable as a child. The encounter changed her and left her with questions about what she is and what is possible in the world. In search of...
Despite the overabundance of zombie games on the market, the original Dying Light stood out from the undead horde thanks to its first-person parkour mechanics, gritty melee combat, and dynamic day/night cycle (you really didn’t want to get caught outside after the sun went down). For the sequel, Techland is not only improving upon these pillars, but also introducing a wealth of narrative choices that will shape the very city you find yourself in. Here are five big takeaways from our hands-off demo.
The ability to climb, jump, and slide your way through the city of Harran gave players a fighting chance in the original Dying Light, and Techland is literally doubling down on mobility for the sequel – players have twice the number of parkour abilities at their disposal compared to the first game. During our demo, we saw the player slide under railings, hop across the tops of lamp posts, swing around corners on a rope, and slide down a banner Errol Flynn-style by slicing through it with a knife.
Dying Light 2 also introduces parkour attacks and parkour puzzles. Parkour attacks allow players to take down enemies while navigating...
Avalanche Studios has been delighting E3 ongoers all week with an action-packed demo of Just Cause 4, and if you’re looking for a traditional preview of what they showed, Javy has you covered. However, he’s not the only one who saw the tools of destruction that Rico Rodriguez is packing this time around. Jeff Cork and Jeff Marchiafava also sat in on the demo, with a laser focus on the kind of stupid fun in-game pranksters can look forward to. Rather than keep their ruminations to themselves, they decided to memorialize their thoughts about Just Cause 4 in a text conversation, which you can conveniently view below. You’re welcome!
Jeff Cork: Hello, Jeff Marchiafava! Remember when we saw the Just Cause 4 demo together? What was the biggest surprise for you? Personally, I wasn’t expecting to learn that the tornadoes that were highlighted in the reveal trailer are being controlled by various factions in the game through some kind of weird array of high-powered fans. And no, I am not making that up. The tornadoes in the game are, indeed, being controlled through some kind of weird array of high-powered fans.
Jeff M: Conspiracy theorists rejoice – the government really is controlling the weather! I think the biggest surprise for me was that apparently Avalanche can read my mind and decided to tailor-make Just Cause 4 into exactly what I want from the series – a big dumb playground for me to mess with NPCs in ridiculous ways.
Dead or Alive 6 was announced last week, the first full sequel in the series since Dead or Alive 5 released in 2012, and Dead or Alive 4 in 2006 before that. The series does not treat full sequels lightly and tends to try and interpret the wishes of its community through their own development lens with new features and characters and overall focuses with each new game. With Dead or Alive 6, Team Ninja and KOEI Tecmo are trying to fit the 22-year-old series into a more modern mold while not leaving what fans like about the series behind.
The new big addition to Dead or Alive 6 is the Fatal Rush button. Much like a lot of other modern fighting games, Dead or Alive 6 adds an auto-combo button, but places it as its own separate skill. Gone is the Power Blow from the previous game, with the button replaced by a combo that does fairly significant damage to the enemy. If the meter is full, a Fatal Rush culminates in a move similar to what a Critical Blow in Dead or Alive 5 ended with.
Unlike with most auto-combo functions in fighting games, DOA focuses heavily on reversal mechanics, making Fatal Rushes difficult to use against someone who knows where attacks will be coming from. As a method to make their game friendlier for casual players, the Fatal Rush seems to put a hard ceiling on how far a new player can go with...
My Hero Academia is my favorite new anime. There's not much I don't like about the show, which made me excited to play its first video game adaptation to make its way to North America. Unfortunately, I didn't have much fun playing it.
The hands-on demo had nine playable characters available: All Might, Shoto Todoroki, Izuku Midoriya, Katsuki Bakugo, Ochaco Uraraka, Tomura Shigaraki, Stain, Dabi, and Himiko Toga. I played as Himiko Toga just because I think she is weird as hell. There we six stages available: Gran Torino Residence, U.A. High School Building, U.A. High School Classroom, The Beast's Forest (Day), Hosu City Urban District (Day), and Hosu City Alleway. I went with Gran Torino Residence, because I liked the idea of fighting in someone's home.
You can take two characters with you as back up. The hero and villain mix doesn't matter so I took All Might and Stain with me. The first game I thought of while playing was Power Stone, which may be an exciting comparison for some, but I tired of the combat pretty quickly. The hits lacked a profound sense of impact, which is a big shortcoming considering many of the characters in My Hero Academia will out all of their strength into a single blow. The characters were also too floaty, which didn't feel great mechanically, and it is also at odds with characters. Seeing Shoto Todoroki float a little bit as he moved in for...