Never Played Shenmue II? Watch Us Play The First Hour

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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.

In the first episode we explore the city a little bit, make a friend with a fellow capsule toy collector, and get all our stuff stolen. There's also a lady who forgot to finish getting dressed who really likes her motorcycle.

Stay tuned for more episodes at some point, and leave us lots of comments! We'll probably read yours on the next episode.

100ft Robot Golf's Dan Teasdale On PSVR And Rock Band/Destroy All Humans' Origins

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One of the most unique launch games on PlayStation VR is No Goblin's take on an arcade golfing game called 100ft Robot Golf. On the latest episode of The Game Informer Show podcast, we Skyped in No Goblin's Dan Teasdale to learn more about what it's like to create an ambitious comedic game that's also playable with PlayStation VR. In the interview, we also dive into the past and talk to Teasdale about his work designing Destroy All Humans at Pandemic and the earliest days of creating Rock Band at Harmonix.

Watch the interview below, or listen to it by subscribing to our podcast on iTunes or Google Play, to learn why Teasdale loves making independent, absurd games and hates Weezer.

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Top Of The Table – Codenames: Pictures

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Recent readers of Game Informer’s tabletop coverage know that I’m a big fan of Codenames, which I named one of my top games from 2015. This winner of 2016’s coveted Spiel des Jahres award is a brilliant game of deduction, word play, and shared associations, published by Czech Games Edition. In recent weeks, I’ve been exploring the follow-up; Codenames: Pictures uses the same intriguing formula, and can even be cross-played with the original game at the same time. Nonetheless, the new dynamic of surreal picture cards instead of words adds a whole new vibe, and is well worth your attention, as a standalone game or as an add-on to make your Codenames games even more intriguing. 

To understand what makes Codenames: Pictures so engaging, it’s worth looking at the core concept behind Codenames. Two rival teams of spies are each trying to find their agents in the field. One member of each team is the spymaster, who knows where those agents are located. They must send coded clues about those locations to their team operatives, in the hope of contacting all of their team’s agents before the opponent team. 

Join Our Game Club Discussion Of BioShock

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This year on The Game Informer Show podcast, we kicked off GI Game Club that has us playing through games and discussing them in detail with our community. The new game that we're tackling, thanks to the remastered collection that's available now, is the original BioShock from Irrational Games. We've played through the first half of the game, and we'll be posting the final discussion on the October 6th episode of The Game Informer Show podcast that will cover everything through to the end of the game. We'd love for the community to play and experience the game alongside us, so send all your thoughts and feedback on the experience to podcast@gameinformer.com. Is Fort Frolic where the game peaks? How well do the player abilities ramp up throughout the game? What do you think of the twist? What do you think of the game's ending? Send it all in to podcast@gameinformer.com.

Watch the video below to hear our and the community's thoughts on the first half of BioShock, we look forward to reading your emails for the second half!

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Editor Roundtable: Let's Talk About Virginia

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Editor Roundtable: Let's Talk About Virginia

We're going to be talking all about Virginia, so MAJOR SPOILERS for the entire game basically.

Javy Gwaltney: Hey everyone! I played Virginia for review a few weeks back and absolutely adored the game for its surrealness and strong character relationships, as well as the the decision to have the characters interact with one another without a single line of dialogue. My fellow editors have had some time to play it, and we’ve decided to have a chat about Virginia’s strengths and flaws, and what makes the game so interesting. Let’s start from the ground up. What did you think of the game?

Elise Favis: I think Virginia does a lot of things that I admire. For one, even though it’s an interactive experience, what stood out to me was how cinematic it felt. The game utilizes jump cuts so that you quickly cut from one scene to the next, which I found added to the tense and at times troubling sensation the game provides. Similar to ‘90s TV shows like Twin Peaks, it also relies a lot on ambiguity and mystery, but I think that I at times also found that frustrating. I enjoyed the mix of realism and surrealism, but nearing the end it began to feel more convoluted, leaving me with more questions than answers.

Test Chamber – Who's The Best Clustertrucker?

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Test Chamber – Who's The Best Clustertrucker?

In this episode of Test Chamber, Kyle and I enter a deadly showdown in the frantic new truck-hopping action game, Clustertruck.

Developed by Landfall Games, each level in Clustertruck entails jumping between a series of semi-trucks as they barrel towards your objective – or into obstacles and other trucks, as is often the case. Your task is to make it to the finish line as quickly as possible, though not falling to your doom is always the more immediate goal.

Kyle and I decided to make things more interesting by setting up a spiteful playful rivalry between the two of us to see who is the best Clustertrucker – though in hindsight, Kyle may have thought the goal was to see who could die the fastest. If that's the case, Kyle definitely won.

Game Informer's Top Scoring Game Reviews Of 2016

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Game Informer reviews tons of games every year, but only a select few are able to obtain special commendations reserved for the highest scoring titles. Games that earn an 8.5 or 8.75 obtain a Game Informer Silver award, while a score ranging from 9 to 9.5 earns that game a Game Informer Gold award. While most of the best games of the year fall into that range, the most elite titles ascend to the next level to earn a Game Informer Platinum award (9.75 or 10 score).

To help you keep track of the best of the best, we've compiled all of the top scoring games of 2016 here. Check out the games we've thought are the best of the year so far, and if you want to learn more, you can read the full review with a simple click-through. Also, be sure to save this page so you can check back each month to see which new games we think should be added to your "must-play" list.

For more of our favorite games from recent years, head to the links below.

10 New Things We Learned About The NES Classic Edition Console

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Back in July, Nintendo announced its intentions to release a standalone NES plug-and-play console with 30 built-in NES games (you can find the full list of games at the end of this feature). It’s a smart piece of hardware that we’re excited about, because it’s a greatest-hits compilation of the NES Virtual Console without all the messy need of buying and connecting a Wii or Wii U to the internet. Nintendo recently gave us a look at the thing, and we learned some new details.

The NES Classic Edition console will be available on November 11 for $59.99.

It’s Smaller Than You ThinkWe knew the thing we would be small with its early promotional pictures showing the hardware in the palm of somebody’s hand, but we didn’t get a real sense of its size until seeing it placed next to the 1985 NES. The Classic Edition is about 1/8 the size of the original console. The little flap in the front doesn’t open as it is just there for show. The power button works like it did in the past though, where it clicks in and out. The power cable is not proprietary, meaning it should be easy to replace if it gets lost.

Test Chamber – How Much Is Paladins Like Overwatch?

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In the world of competitive games, you don't want to be a clone. Players' time is too valuable to waste investing it on a me-too product. But that's the rap Paladins has been getting in its Early Access phase; people are comparing it (not so favorably) to Overwatch, so Dan Tack and I decided we'd give the game a shot and see just how similar the two titles were.

As it turns out, it does feel like Overwatch, but it also borrows from several other popular competitive games, like Counter-Strike, Dota 2, and Heroes of the Storm. But don't all games borrow from others in some way?What's that saying about good artists versus great ones?

Anyway, you can watch us play a match of Paladins and take a look at the game's systems and options in the video below.

Blog Herding – The Best Blogs Of The Community (September 29, 2016)

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We've got a blog on how odd it is that Mario is Usain Bolt fused with Lionel Messi, and enough variety in this week's other posts to rival the number of sports Mario has participated in.

Community Blogs For September 22 – September 28:

What's Gone Wrong In Game Development? Maybe Education. For Marco Polo, games have been a little iffy lately. Not that they aren't good exactly, but suffer from basic process issues that keep them from being great. He has an idea as to why, and what could alleviate the problem.