Why Dishonored 2’s Selectable Protagonists Are Secretly Its Greatest Asset

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Why Dishonored 2’s Selectable Protagonists Are Secretly Its Greatest Asset

Heads up, friends: spoilers for the original Dishonored (but no major spoilers for Dishonored 2) lie ahead.

Dishonored 2 has been out for almost two months now and in that time received a great deal of (earned) praise for its gameplay systems, story, and dark world. However, one quality of the game I’ve noticed not get its due is developer Arkane’s decision to let you choose to play as either Corvo, the protagonist from the original Dishonored, or his daughter, Empress Emily Kaldwin. And so I wanted to spend some words talking about why I think letting players have that choice between these characters isn’t just a “oh neat” but instead a brilliant design decision that feels like an integral evolution of the series’ choice-oriented design. But to get there, we need to talk about how and why the original Dishonored works so well. Let's dive into it.

The Coolest Pokémon Cards We Pulled From 100 Booster Packs

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The Coolest Pokémon Cards We Pulled From 100 Booster Packs

I grew up loving Pokémon cards. Though I was never an avid player of the trading card game itself, I spent a large percentage of my allowance on starter kits, theme decks, and booster packs. Though I stopped after the base set was retired and eventually sold all of mine off, thinking they would never hold value over the years (the real money's in the 10,000 baseball cards in my basement, right?!), I've since longed to rebuild my old collection from the ground up.

Unfortunately, authentic cards from the base set have skyrocketed in value, meaning that if I want my old Charizard back, I had better prepare to pay out the nose for it. I wrote off my desire to rebuild my collection as something that would never happen unless I strike it rich, but when the Pokémon TCG announced that it would be celebrating the series' 20th anniversary with a new retro-facing expansion that enhanced and reissued a big chunk of the base set cards, I was immediately sold.

Before the aforementioned XY – Evolutions expansion released in the States, I decided to get a headstart on my new collection. I read that the Pokémon TCG: Generations expansion focused heavily on the original 151 monsters, so I bought more cards than I should have.

Super Replay – The Worst Sonic The Hedgehog Ever

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Super Replay – The Worst Sonic The Hedgehog Ever

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.

Replay – The Sims 2: Castaway

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Replay – The Sims 2: Castaway

The Sims is the rare video game franchise that appeals to both the hardcore and the non-gamer. It has spun off in a million ways, and this week we look at some of the stranger adaptations with a special guest.

Andrew Reiner, Ben Reeves, and I are joined by Michael Jaques, who donated to our Extra Life efforts in November to secure a guest spot on Replay. He's a huge Sims fan, which lead to our decision to play some of the series' more obscure spin-offs. We check out The Sims: Castaway, which places Sims characters of your creation on a desert island, followed by a much different Sims experience for part two.

Thanks for watching Replay in 2016! We're excited to keep playing old games in a new year.

Funny To A Point – New Year's Resolutions For The Gaming Industry

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Funny To A Point – New Year's Resolutions For The Gaming Industry

2016 has come and gone, which means setting aside old grudges and looking to the future. For many, that means coming up with a New Year's resolution, a personal pledge to guide them toward a healthier and happier life throughout the year (or until they come up with a good excuse to blow it off after the first week of January).

I'm something of a master at coming up with New Year's resolutions – so much so that I don't stop with myself! This year I decided to lend my expertise to the gaming industry, by writing out resolutions custom-tailored to the biggest developers and publishers. So happy holidays, and you're welcome!

On an actually serious note, thanks to everyone who read, shared, and commented on this completely ridiculous column this year. See you in 2017!

Answering Prey's Lingering Questions

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Answering Prey's Lingering Questions

We hope you've enjoyed our month of exclusive content covering Prey from Arkane Studios. We're excited about this game, and we're glad that the community submitted questions to ask the game's creative director Raphael Colantonio and lead designer Ricardo Bare. There are still plenty of mysteries to solve surrounding this sci-fi experience, but Colantonio and Bare shed some light on key details in this episode of the podcast. Check it out if you want to learn more about comparisons to Dishonored, BioShock, and the team's drive to have a smooth launch on PC.

You can watch the video below, subscribe and listen to the audio on iTunes or Google Play, or listen to this episode on SoundCloud.

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Five Easy Ways To Make Overwatch Better

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Five Easy Ways To Make Overwatch Better

Overwatch was probably the most surprising game for me this year. I didn’t play it during its beta period, and I went into the experience fairly blind upon release. Usually, my interest in multiplayer shooters fizzles out after a few intense weeks, but I’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time with it over the past few months. I love the characters and how each has his or her (or its) own role in matches, with every one of them featuring unique gameplay elements. That’s not to say that it isn’t without its flaws. I have a few humble suggestions on how Blizzard can tweak the game in small ways to make it even better for everyone. And no, that doesn’t include removing Hanzo and Bastion from the roster.

Test Chamber – Super Mario Run's Hardest Level

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Test Chamber – Super Mario Run's Hardest Level

Super Mario Run only has 24 levels, but if you find each level's 15 bonus coins, you can up the number of levels from 24 to 27.

Of those three additional levels, the final bonus level is easily the most difficult. It's filled to the brim with buzz saws, only has two mushrooms, and no enemies, surprisingly. You can check out a playthrough of the level below.

For our review of Super Run, head here. For a video detailing the highs and lows of the game, head here.

The 10 Worst Best Games Of 2016

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The 10 Worst Best Games Of 2016

The end of 2016 is upon us, and that means it’s time for everyone to lavish praise on the best games of the last 12 months. But what if the gaming industry is 100% garbage and doesn’t produce anything worth playing? Unfortunately, 2016 was another such year, with gamers being fed iterative shooters and blatant cash-grabs devoid of innovation.

Luckily, you have me to tell it like it is. Don’t believe all of the effusive praise about how this was a great year for gaming; all of the most successful and popular games were terrible, and I’m prepared to tell you why.

10. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Blood and Wine The Witcher 3 was one of the biggest games of 2015, but everyone agreed on its one major flaw: It was too short. This expansion pack fixes that by adding more of the same stuff you did before, but Frenchier. Conclude Geralt’s epic adventures by making wine, playing cards, and hunting Le Monstérs. The new releases of 2016 must have been truly awful if people sought refuge in a barely disguised regurgitation of last year’s biggest, boringest title.

Never Played Shenmue II? Watch Us Play The First 10 Hours

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Never Played Shenmue II? Watch Us Play The First 10 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.