People always talk derisively how yearly sports titles don't iterate enough. Well one year Madden developer EA Tiburon gave gamers a new feature that showed them a future they frankly weren't prepared for: QB Vision. Lasting only three years starting with Madden NFL 06 (cover star: Donovan McNabb), the vision cone was an optional feature that for the most part was not well liked, but which I think adds a gameplay wrinkle that gamers deserve to grapple with. Having played a bit with it recently, I'm just as convinced as I was back then that QB Vision is a Madden feature that should return.
QB Vision projected a cone of light onto the screen that represented where on the field the QB was looking. Gamers used the right analog stick to move the cone across the screen, simulating the QBs eyes as he scans the field. Accuracy bonuses and penalties were applied if you tried to throw to receivers inside and outside of the cone, respectively. The idea was based on real life, in that good QBs could go through their read progression and scan the field, while lesser ones would tend to focus only on their primary receiver. Before the snap, the vision cone centers on the selected play's primary receiver and automatically shifts to that side of the field once the ball is hiked. This can be changed, however, to default to the center of the screen if you like.
When I decided to turn the 12.31 Super Replay into an annual event, I knew the focus needed to be on bad games. People enjoyed watching us suffer; that was the hook that stood out. We used Overblood as the foundation for the type of game we were looking for each year. Blue Stinger, Illbleed, And Martian Gothic were all games that delivered a similar stench. They were perfect selections for the annual Super Replay.
When Tim Turi left Game Informer to work at Capcom, I realized this Super Replay event wouldn't be the same without him. He played through all of these bad games, and, well, I don't think it would have been fair to continue on without him. Out of respect to Tim, we are moving away from the survival-horror angle, and are falling back on my original pitch: it needs to be a bad game period.
As it turns out, there are many different flavors of terrible video games, and I think we found another example in Sonic the Hedgehog that is every bit as enjoyable, campy, and unbearably bad as the original Overblood. The game is simply titled Sonic the Hedgehog, but it's often referred to as Sonic '06. It's developed by Sonic Team for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and is another failed attempt to give the blue speedster new life.
The stylish and enjoyable puzzle/adventure horror anthology Stories Untold came out last week. I dug the game a lot, so I tracked down the Scotland-based developers No Code at this year's GDC and had a chat with them about the spooky collection. I talked with studio founders Jon McKellan and Omar Khan about developing the entire anthology in less than six months, working on Alien: Isolation, and if we're likely to see more games from the studio like Stories Untold in the future.
Game Informer: So The House Abandon, one of the stories in the anthology, came out half a year ago as a standalone prototype. Was Stories Untold meant to be an anthology from the outset?
McKellan: No. The House Abandon was a Ludum Dare game we had created like over a weekend. We put it out there and honestly didn’t expect anything to come of it. I mean, two thousand games get made that weekend, right? But it suddenly blew up and went viral, and lots of people were asking more and we had some time to kill, so we thought we’d take a chance. For the next couple of months, we just started making some more and were already talking to Devolver Digital [the game’s publisher –Ed] at time. So we just decided to go for it and put something cool together within the next six months.
Believe it or not, there was a time before Minecraft made cube art cool. Cubivore was before that time.
Released as a GameCube exclusive in 2002, Cubivore: Survival of the Fittest combines all the fun of natural selection with weird, endearing block creatures. Join Andrew Reiner, Kyle Hilliard, Jeff Cork, and intern Manon Hume as we escape Rainbow Heaven, attract all the ladies, and experience the beauty and brutality of the cubiverse's eat or be eaten mentality.
After we've had our fill, we unearth the ghost of Jeff Cork's past with yet another relic of the GameCube era. Gotta collect 'em all!
Nintendo has always been experimental. Sometimes the company's gambles pay off in big ways (Wii), and sometimes they stumble in the market (Wii U). Ether way, consumers are always eager to see the company's next big step forward in the gaming space. The Switch is Nintendo's latest experiment, and it is full of fun ideas. We love the system's clean user interface and overall design, and moving between televisions and traveling with it is incredibly easy. On the other hand, the controller that makes all of this possible is a bit of a mixed bag. We put the Switch through its paces to find out how well the final product stacks up to its promise.
Everything In The Box
The HardwareFor the last several console generations, Nintendo has come up short on horsepower, relying more on unique mechanics and system features to sell its consoles. The Switch is no exception. A custom Nvidia Tegra processor makes the Switch more powerful than the Wii U, but still underpowered compared to the PS4 and Xbox One - even though those consoles are more than three years old.
Amid a busy schedule of gaming releases this week, inXile launched their latest video game, Torment: Tides of Numenera. I reviewed the game, and also shared some additional thoughts in a quick video on the project and on our podcast; peruse any of those articles, and I think you’ll be able to tell that I’m an enthusiastic fan of the setting. That’s because Numenera, the tabletop role-playing game upon which the video game is based, is an absolute treasure trove of stellar world-building – a virtual master class in how to defy expectations while still keeping a fiction grounded and understandable.
Since its launch in 2013, Numenera has continued to grow its universe and whether you’re a tabletop RPG player or not, it’s worth exploring. If you’re a fan of heady, unusual, speculative fiction, this is a world that should be on your radar. And if you discovered Numenera through the recently released video game, these are the books that can let you continue your adventures into the broader universe of Numenera’s Ninth World.
We have spent a lot of time with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on Switch, and it’s a very good game. Though that version is getting the most attention, the title is also available today on Wii U. If you don’t want to invest in Nintendo’s new console, is Breath of the Wild worth picking up on Wii U?
We spent an hour and a half with the Wii U version of the game, playing through the beginning and entering the larger open world. After completing the tasks of the opening plateau, we headed southeast to a densely forested area where I encountered some minor slowdown on the Switch version in order to take a comparison. In this area of the map, the performance of the two games was as identical as my naked eye is capable of perceiving. I did notice some slowdown in the Wii U version that was not in the Switch version, like when I encountered a larger group of bokoblins in the opening area. The slowdown passed by quickly, and from my time on Wii U, did not appear to be a persistent problem. Applying assorted framerate trackers and direct side-by-side comparisons might deliver different results, but the the game still feels great based on my playtime.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild's story is completely optional, but it's a good one worth seeking out. You will encounter a number of story moments by simply pursuing the dungeons and following the main path, but for the complete picture, you will need to find a number of hidden cutscenes throughout the land of Hyrule. You won't see any of those cutscenes below, but it's not a bad idea for me to include a spoiler warning here, just in case.
Below you will find the reference picture for each of the story moments, a larger map picture, a zoomed in map picture, and a picture of exactly where the moment is.
Sacred Ground Ruins
Nintendo’s launch lineup is a little thin, but it is padded out with several notable games that you might have missed when they originally released on other consoles. If you’re looking for something to play between breaks from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, check out some of the rereleases hitting the Switch tomorrow. We rounded up our old reviews for each game.
I Am SetsunaOriginal release: July 19, 2016
GI's score on PS4: 7.5
Excerpt: "I Am Setsuna has lots of nods to Chrono Trigger, from its general combat framework to specific references to skills like X-Strike and Luminaire. However, it doesn’t capture why most players connected to that seminal title. Even though the combat is entertaining, I Am Setsuna’s characters are dull, the environments are repetitive, and the story is predictable. I would like to see more games inspired by the golden era of 16-bit RPGs, but you can’t recapture the spirit of innovation and experimentation that pervaded those titles through mimicry alone." (Full Review)