Science-Fiction Weekly – Is No Man's Sky The Most Disappointing Game Of The Year?

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Science-Fiction Weekly – Is No Man's Sky The Most Disappointing Game Of The Year?

As 2016 winds to a close, and the bickering over what game should be awarded as the year’s best heats up, it's time to reflect on the events that shaped our favorite entertainment medium over the last 365 days – from gamers taking their first steps in virtual reality to a small studio in Guildford, England creating a digital universe filled with over 18 quintillion planets. My initial thoughts on 2016 are a little worrisome – nothing really stood out as a sea-change moment other than Pokémon Go getting people to go outside to throw balls at monsters. It has been a quiet year, dominated by sequels and great indie titles. VR hasn't moved the needle like we thought it would.

One of the loudest talking points is No Man’s Sky. Never before have I seen a game hit with such a swing of enthusiasm between announcement and release. Within the span of a day, it shifted from the most-anticipated game of the year to potentially the most disappointing and controversial.

Test Chamber – Why World Of Final Fantasy Is A Love Letter To Fans

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The Final Fantasy series tries to evolve and stay modern with each new installment, but World of Final Fantasy intentionally focuses on the past. By collecting iconic characters and monsters and using a traditional turn-based battle system, anyone with fond memories of this franchise should find something to enjoy here. 

Join Final Fantasy fanatics Joe Juba and Kim Wallace as they take a tour through the major beats of World of Final Fantasy, looking at classic creatures and talking about how the old-school battle system holds up. If you've played previous Final Fantasy games, you're bound to recognize a few faces.

Warning: We used a late-game save file for this video. It doesn't spoil any key story points, but it does reveal some monsters and abilities that you only get near the end. Proceed at your own risk!

Test Chamber – See Why Civilization VI Lives Up To The Legacy

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Test Chamber – See Why Civilization VI Lives Up To The Legacy

Civilization has been around for a long time. Okay, yes, that's obvious. But I mean Sid Meier's historical strategy game series that began in 1991. The latest entry, Civilization VI, stays true to the franchise's roots but makes some important tweaks to the established formula that make it an interesting game in its own right.

If you've never played a Civilization game, they can be daunting at first. There's a lot to take in, from military management and exploration, to founding religions and establishing culture. However, once you've got the basics down it's very easy to find that you've spent several hours after planning on only playing one more turn.

Watch Ben Reeves, Dan Tack, and I search for bananas and horses in the first few rounds of the brand new Civilization VI.

Test Chamber – Why The Free-To-Play Plants Vs. Zombies: Heroes Is Worth A Look

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Test Chamber – Why The Free-To-Play Plants Vs. Zombies: Heroes Is Worth A Look

Ever since the original Plants vs. Zombies game launched in 2009, the series has expanded far beyond its humble tower defense roots. The Garden Warfare series took the franchise to the third-person shooter genre, and now Plants vs. Zombies: Heroes pushes the IP into the realm of collectible card games.

The base of Plants vs. Zombies: Heroes is a free-to-play PvP collectible card game along the lines of Hearthstone. Unlike many other games inspired by Hearthstone, Heroes features asymmetry that takes place at the mechanics and turn-based level. 

Join Daniel Tack and me as we take a look at Plants vs. Zombies: Heroes. We play a match as zombies before turning the tables and taking control of the plants.

The Sports Desk – Sports Games & The Nintendo Switch

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The Sports Desk – Sports Games & The Nintendo Switch

Nintendo recently announced more details about its next major platform, the Nintendo Switch (formerly known as the NX). Excitement is higher than usual for your average console – being able to seamlessly play high-quality games at home or away is an attractive feature.

What does this mean for sports games and those of us who play them? From what we currently know about the system (scroll down for the official reveal video), I have questions about how the Switch may handle sports titles.

The Controller & Multiplayer

Get Ready For Our 25-Hour Extra Life Streaming Extravaganza!

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Get Ready For Our 25-Hour Extra Life Streaming Extravaganza!

Autumn is a special time for the gaming community, where an event known as Extra Life brings together gamers everywhere to raise money for children's hospitals. This year Game Informer will be live streaming dozens of fun games for 25 hours from 8am to 8am CT November 5th-6th on our Twitch and Youtube channels to raise money for Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare.

Last year our incredible community raised over $38,000, setting a new record for all of us and propelling us to push even further. It was an amazing experience for everyone involved (even those editors tortured by ghost peppers) and we can't wait to do it again. 

We have a mountain of gaming items to auction off, including limited edition systems, figurines, controllers, and full games. Seriously, we have a lot of games to give away. More than all other years combined. We're also going to be playing some really great games and throwing in shocking surprises and revelations along the way. If you'd like to help raise some money for the kids, you can join Team Game Informer right now and start asking for donations, and when the stream kicks off head to our donation page to be eligible for some awesome rewards .  So come hang out with us on Nov. 5th and let's do some good. For the kids!

Beyond Brown Notes – The Sounds Of South Park

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Beyond Brown Notes – The Sounds Of South Park

The children of South Park have changed their game for The Fractured But Whole, and the soundtrack has changed along with it. Whereas Stick of Truth looked to games like Skyrim and the soundtracks of the Lord of the Rings films, Fractured But Whole is looking toward the super hero genre. It is also expanding how much music and how many sound effects are part of the game by a huge degree.

Nicholas Bonardi is the lead audio designer for South Park: The Fractured But Whole, leading a team that works closely with long time South Park composer, Jamie Dunlap, to craft the sound of the game. For Stick of Truth, Obsidian mostly pulled music directly from the show, and worked with Dunlap to fill in the gap. Here Dunlap, as well as Bonardi and the rest of the sound team, are crafting more original sound.

Replay – The Saboteur

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The loss of United Front Games this week reminded us of another successful open-world developer that left us too soon. Pandemic Studios, the team behind Star Wars Battlefront and Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction, closed its doors in February 2009, as part of a massive 1,500-person layoff at Electronic Arts. Pandemic has 228 employees at the time of the closure The studio's last game was The Saboteur, a generally well received open-world game that breathed new life into video games' exploration of World War II.

This open world game used a stylish neo-noir aesthetic to paint Nazi-controlled regions, making them look like cold and oppressed places. When a zone was freed, the color came back to it and the people too to the streets again. We explore the opening moments of this unique open-world game, and find ourselves amazed by the small touches; mostly those dealing with cows.

Our second segment takes a look back at one of the earliest western games, something we thought was appropriate with Red Dead Redemption 2 being revealed earlier this week.

Ten Monster Hunters To Play While You Wait For Pokémon Sun & Moon

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Pokémon has become a household name in the 20 years since its release, sparking one cultural phenomenon after another. As the release date for the Generation VII looms ever closer it can be difficult to contain the excitement to new monsters to search for far and wide. With over 279 million units sold, it's no wonder that other developers have followed suit. While some of the worst ones were blatant cash grabs, others didn't get released in time or outside of Japan.  These games may not be exactly the same as Pokémon, but they add a little spice to the already amazing formula, sometimes even improving upon it.

The Order: 1886's Developers Reflect On Failings And Potential Future For The Series

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The Order: 1886's Developers Reflect On Failings And Potential Future For The Series

On this week's full episode of The Game Informer Show podcast, Ben Hanson spoke with Ready at Dawn co-founders Ru Weerasuriya and Andrea Pessino about the new direction for the studio behind Daxter, the God of War games on PSP, and PlayStation 4's The Order: 1886. We wanted to post the interview separately to let more people hear the duo's insightful thoughts on the modern state of game development. Three years ago we posted this full look at the history of the studio, so you can think of this interview as a continuation of that discussion. As discussed in our review, The Order: 1886 ended up having some real highs and lows, so it makes for an interesting discussion with Weerasuriya and Pessino about what the final days of development and dealing with the mixed reaction was like for the team.

Check out the interview below to learn more about what it takes to run a large, independent studio after releasing a game like The Order: 1886.

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