11 Games To Plan Your Summer Around

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Summer was once known as a dry season for video game releases – a time to get through before the fall flood of games. Nowadays things are different, with a wider market of games releasing all year long thanks to a booming indie scene and a constant drip of triple-A titles.

For some, summer is a time to get outdoors; for most gamers, it's a time to unwind and tackle new virtual adventures. Whether you have time off or just need new games to immerse yourself in, we looked at the summer release schedule and noted some games that you might want to put on your radar (or plan your life around).

The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine Expansion Release: May 31 Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Get Reacquainted With Emily Kaldwin From Dishonored 2

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Sequels are usually the place for studios to refine the backstories of their main heroes. While Dishonored’s original assassin is returning for the sequel, Arkane took the opportunity to turn Empress Emily Kaldwin into a playable protagonist as well. Last time we saw Emily she was a young princess in need of rescue. In Dishonored 2, she’s grown into a capable assassin who can stand toe-to-toe with even the toughest of the royal guard. Here’s how she grew from feeble princess to fearless empress.

Quick Stats

Head here for a deeper dive into Corvo and Emily's powers.

A Collection Of Doom Easter Eggs

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Doom hasn't even been out for 24 hours yet, and fans have already stumbled upon a handful of awesome Easter eggs. As always, here is your big SPOILER warning.

The videos below show off new sections of the game. Some of the secrets people are finding are callbacks to the Doom games of yesteryear, and a few reference Bethesda games. One of the funnier secret pays homage to Terminator 2: Judgment Day. We'll continue updating this list is more Easter eggs are unearthed. 

Terminator 2: Judgment Day(Please visit the site to view this media)

Test Chamber – A Brawling Introduction To One Piece: Burning Blood

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Burning Blood is the next entry in the One Piece franchise's ever-expanding library of games, and we took a look at its demo on Xbox One.

The game is developed by Spike Chunsoft and is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Vita, and PC on May 31, but a demo for the game released today on new-gen consoles. The demo features four fighters that can face off in standard versus, or versus the computer modes. There's not a lot to dig into in terms of gameplay, but Ben Hanson and myself discuss the show and what makes it cool. I am far from watching the entire series, but I have watched a lot recently and consider myself a new fan.

For more on One Piece: Burning Blood, head here.

NHL 17 Wishlist – 29 Changes We Want On And Off The Ice

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After stumbling onto the ice with its first entry on Playstation 4 and Xbox One, EA's NHL series bounced back with a much improved second shift last year. Last week we got our first glimpse at the company's plans for the next entry in the series via a trailer that teased promising new features like international competition, team customization, franchise relocation, team celebrations, and net battles. As bigtime hockey fans, our wish list is slightly longer.

Getting all of our proposed improvements into NHL 17 (or even 18/19) is unrealistic, but we'd love to see these deficiencies addressed in the coming years as the series strengthens its position in the ranks of sports games. Hockey's never been the most popular sport, but if EA smartly caters to the hardcore fans of old-time hockey and entices some new players into the fold, it could reclaim the glory of past entries.

Here are 29 changes we think could drastically improve the franchise.

Blog Herding – The Best Blogs Of The Community (May 12, 2016)

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Blog Herding – The Best Blogs Of The Community (May 12, 2016)

It's been a good week of blogging for the herd, though I'm surprised there weren't more blogs about the fire cat and owl Nintendo unleashed upon the world this week. Oh, but I do expect some Uncharted blogs to come our way next week with the series' final game out.  

Community Blogs For May 5 – May 11:   

Top 5 Villains That Make You Want to Kill Them... StarterPack has a pretty good list of baddies here. Handsome Jack alone is worthy of all five slots (really, that dude is just one big jerk with a dash of nasty). What are some other villains that really grind your gears?  

23 Observations From The Pokémon Sun & Moon Trailers

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23 Observations From The Pokémon Sun & Moon Trailers

Nintendo and Game Freak offered up a number of new details this morning with English and Japanese trailers for the new Pokémon. The three new starters were revealed, as well as the new legendaries and the release date: November 18. Outside of those details, however, a number of tiny reveals were included. If you blinked, you might have missed them, but not us.

For whatever reason, the new starters will be presented to you on a stage.

One of them seems less thrilled than the others to be up for grabs.

Your Favorite Pokémon Starters Ranked

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Yesterday, we posed an important and undeniably difficult Pokémon question to readers: Of the 22 different starters from the 27 different Pokémon games, who is the best? You can find the results below.

As is the case with these sort of roundups, this is miles from being anything resembling a scientific poll. I looked at the comments and tallied up the votes on this reader discussion, and for the surprisingly few that picked up to three starters because they couldn't bring themselves to decide, I counted all their votes. It's more about figuring out the general tone and seeing who is rising to the top of a cast of great Pokémon starters.

Litten, Oshawott, Piplup, Popplio, Snivy and Tepig were the big losers from the poll, with not a single person raising their hand for any of them. No readers selected these as their favorites. Litten and Popplio have a good excuse – they are the upcoming starters from Sun and Moon, and all we know about them is their type and what their initial forms look like. Surprisingly, Rowlet did get a vote. Someone has already claimed the owl as their favorite, despite not having played with them yet. This actually goes against our poll (which you can currently find on our homepage) asking who among the new starters is the best.

Test Chamber – 10 Minutes Of Intense Cyberpunk Action With Ruiner

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Ruiner was one of the stand-out indie titles on showcase at PAX East 2016, and we were able to play through the game's challenging demo and showcase what makes it special.

Ruiner is the first title from Polish developer Reikon, which is made up of former members of CD Projekt RED. The game takes place in an oppressive future heavily inspired by '80s Cyberpunk and anime like Akira and Ghost in the Shell. The gameplay, which you can see in the video below, is reminiscent of games like Hotline Miami and other twin-stick shooters, but easily establishes an oppressive identity all its own. This is the build of the game that appeared at PAX in April, so it's worth noting that this is far from the final version.

For some of our written impressions on Ruiner from PAX, head here. The game is set for release this year on PC.

Get Reacquainted With Corvo Attano From Dishonored 2

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For Dishonored 2, the supernatural assassin Corvo returns to do what he does best. However, this isn’t the same Corvo fans of the first game remember; the stoic hero is 15 years older, making him more grizzled and experienced than before. He also has a voice this time around, which means fans will get an even deeper look into what makes this assassin tick.

Vital Stats

Head here for a deeper dive into Corvo and Emily's powers.