The Sports Desk – Everybody's Golf Beta Reaction, PES Mobile & NBA Live 18

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The Sports Desk – Everybody's Golf Beta Reaction, PES Mobile & NBA Live 18

The Hot Shots Golf franchise has been a mainstay on Sony platforms since the original PlayStation, so it's been disappointing we haven't had one since 2012. For the series debut on the PS4, it's not only being renamed Everybody's Golf (aligning it with the franchise's traditional Japanese title) but it's also opening its course to full exploration.

The game recently held a closed online beta (similar to what Sony just did for GT Sport), and it's made me excited for an aspect of the game that I was previously skeptical about.

Note: This is only a slice of what will be in the final game, and content in the beta may change for the final release.

Question Of The Month: What Should Microsoft And Sony Learn From Nintendo?

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Question Of The Month: What Should Microsoft And Sony Learn From Nintendo?

In issue 289, we asked readers what idea Microsoft and Sony should steal from Nintendo's playbook. Now it's your turn to sound off.

When it comes to comparing and contrasting the big three console manufacturers, much of Nintendo's share of the conversation is often focused on criticisms, from lackluster online support to the constant hardware shortages. However, the company wouldn't still be in business if it wasn't doing something right, and our readers were more than happy to point out the positives. A greater focus on couch co-op, more daring hardware, and games that appeal to broader audiences are all areas where Microsoft and Sony could learn a thing or two from Nintendo, according to our respondents.

But now it's your turn – what features or focuses from Nintendo's decades-long business plan would you like to see the other two system sellers copy? Share your thoughts with your fellow readers in the comments below! 

Examining Microsoft's First-Party Library Problem

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Examining Microsoft's First-Party Library Problem

What a difference a handful of years can make. During the Xbox 360 era, Microsoft enjoyed an extraordinary run of first- and second-party content, expanding its library of console exclusives with major successes like Gears of War and Left 4 Dead. If you wanted to play the critically acclaimed titles from the Halo, Forza, or Fable, you had to buy a 360. Just four years after the platform launched, Microsoft had five exclusives rated 90 or above on Metacritic, and 13 games rated 85 or above. It also became the de facto platform for most Japanese RPGs, which had traditionally called PlayStation consoles home.

As we approach the four-year anniversary of the Xbox One, the stark difference in game exclusives astounds. Only one title, Forza Horizon 3, cracked the 90 mark on Metacritic thus far, and only three exclusives are rated 85 or above. The early attempts to energize the platform with compelling new IPs like Sunset Overdive, ReCore, and Quantum Break either underperformed or didn’t do enough to convince Microsoft to make sequels. The rest of the announced 2017 slate, which includes Crackdown 3, Sea of Thieves, and State of Decay 2, may also struggle to bring new players to the platform. 

Opinion – Video Games Should Embrace Politics

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Opinion – Video Games Should Embrace Politics

This editorial was originally published in issue 290 of Game Informer magazine.

As you roam through the world of Mafia III, you are constantly aware of the color of Lincoln Clay’s skin. Walking down the street, people stare at him warily, and upon entering segregated stores, shop owners order him to leave. In poorer neighborhoods, police take longer to show up to emergencies. Playing as a mixed race protagonist in 1968 New Orleans, you’re treated by the rest of the world with what feels like unjustified distrust. Forcing you to face this racial discrimination makes for powerful empathy, and without its politics, Mafia III would lose much of its impact.

A common sentiment seen through the gaming community is that politics are unwanted in games. This view is held so strongly by some that it’s embedded in radical movements such as GamerGate. Their argument is the real world has its share of grievances and antagonism over politics, so why should our entertainment, a prime tool for escapism, also feature these views? The answer is simple: Politics don’t only matter, but they also make for better games and better stories.

Looking Back At The Only Entry That Isn't Legendary – Zelda II: The Adventure Of Link

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Looking Back At The Only Entry That Isn't Legendary – Zelda II: The Adventure Of Link

This feature originally appeared in issue 287 of Game Informer magazine.

The direct sequel to 1986’s groundbreaking Legend of Zel da is a divisive entry in the series. Zelda II: The Adventure of Link is the only core Zelda game without the words, “The Legend of…” placed before the title, and to this day it still marks the hardest turn from established Zelda mechanics the series has ever seen, even 30 years after its release. But its position as an oddball entry doesn’t mean it was devoid of value. It also marked a number of firsts for the Zelda series that went on to become recurring staples, introducing the concept of the magic meter, featuring the first battle against a dark version of Link, expanding the role of NPCs, and offering a story conceit for why Link is always saving a princess named Zelda.

Zelda From A New AngleZelda II: The Adventure of Link released in 1987, 11 months after the first Zelda in Japan. It set itself apart from the original legend in its opening moments by moving the perspective to a side view of the action. Link still explores an overworld from above, but combat, interacting with NPCs, and exploring dungeons has more in common with side-scrolling action games like Castlevania.

What The Heck Is This? Episode 8

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What The Heck Is This? Episode 8

We cover a lot of big, well-known games here at Game Informer. Thanks to these efforts, you (hopefully) know all about the next big franchise, or the highly-anticipated new game from that notable indie developer What about those random games that fly under the radar? The one among the dozens that release every day on Steam? Or that Xbox One game with the weird title? This new video series is an attempt to highlight those games – for better or worse.

We see these type of games all of the time. The game that we look at and say, "What the heck is that?" This is our chance to play them and decide, on the spot, if we want to keep playing them, or move on to to something different.

For episode eight we took a look at an early access strategy with a great soundtrack called Greymen: A Post-Apocalyptic Band Reunion and a platformer with a cool twist called Embers of Mirrim.

Top Of The Table – The Best Bluffing Games

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Top Of The Table – The Best Bluffing Games

Many board games on the market allow for careful teamwork and cooperation, while others focus on strategic decisions and carefully orchestrated competitive battles. But another branch of games focus their gameplay purely on the social dynamic between players, with a particular focus on deception and conversations. Many bluffing games virtually demand that you lie to the faces of your friends and family with whom you’re playing, setting up sometimes complex webs of deceit. Others are faster, all about split-second decisions where you must decide if your fellow player is trying to pull the wool over your eyes. In addition, many bluffing games can support much larger groups than other tabletop games, allowing eight, twelve, or even thirty people to join in on some party fun. 

The genre of bluffing games is surprisingly thrilling for many players, often appealing to individuals who simply can’t get into more traditional tabletop games. But give them a chance to play in an intricate web of social interactions, and they become immediately engaged. 

We Show Off Everything New In Ultra Street Fighter II

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We Show Off Everything New In Ultra Street Fighter II

Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers has a hill to climb. As a retail, $40 version of a game people bought and played ages ago, it needs to have some bells and whistles to convince players to pony up their hard earned cash yet again.

Ultra does have some bells and whistles, but they may not be worth the asking price. Ben Hanson and I took a quick tour of the game's new features, including the first-person Way Of The Hado, two-on-one Buddy Battle, and color edit modes, as well as the two new characters. (Please visit the site to view this media)

Never Played Shenmue II? Watch Us Play The First 27 Hours

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Never Played Shenmue II? Watch Us Play The First 27 Hours

Last year, over the course of four months, we played through Shenmue for the Dreamcast in its entirety. It was an experimental video series, with an undefined schedule that allowed us to take in all the feedback for each episode by reading and responding to comments in (almost) real time. The experiment was a success! So we immediately decided (after playing through Dark Souls III, Tex Murphy: Under A Killing Moon, Shadow of the Colossus, and Resident Evil 4) that there was no time like the present to return to Yu Suzuki's masterpiece. For the sequel, we're playing the Xbox version that was published by Microsoft in 2002.