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

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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. In episode two, we make some progress by giving a hungry guy who loves naps some money, and getting a job that's almost as cool as being a forklift driver.

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

What’s It Like To Explore Rise Of The Tomb Raider’s Croft Manor In VR?

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What’s It Like To Explore Rise Of The Tomb Raider’s Croft Manor In VR?

Rise of the Tomb Raider was one of my favorite Xbox One games last year, so I could think of worse fates than playing it again on PlayStation 4. As much as I looked forward to diving back into the campaign, I decided to prioritize the new content, which is focused around Croft Manor – including a chance to visit the iconic location in virtual reality. It’s definitely seen better days, but getting to walk around its halls is still a thrill.

The Croft Manor content is split into two discrete experiences, Blood Ties and Lara’s Nightmare, and while Blood Ties supports the PlayStation VR headset, it’s not required. You can also download it on Xbox One, but you obviously won’t be able to play in VR.

Blood Ties is a story-driven adventure, which offers a relatively brief but interesting opportunity to check out the home where Lara grew up. Her father died without leaving a written will, and her uncle is making a claim on the property. That simply won’t do, so you have to conduct a search to find some kind of documentation that will let her retain the family home. There’s no combat in Blood Ties or any opportunities to flip around the place like you may have done in the past. Instead, it’s more akin to a point-and-click adventure, where you have to scour your surroundings for clues and items necessary to fully explore the manor.  

Watch Our Full 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. We recently tackled the original BioShock from Irrational Games. We want to thank everybody from the community that played along with us or wrote thoughtful emails to podcast@gameinformer.com. Please let us know what you'd like to see from Game Club in the future, either the game choices or the format. We'll be announcing our next Game Club choice soon, so stay tuned to The Game Informer Show podcast for more updates!

Part 1:  BioShock's opening up through Fort Frolic.

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The Five Best Games At Oculus Connect 3

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I recently had the chance to travel to San Jose to check out some of the games Oculus was showing off for both the standard Oculus setup (headset plus controller), and the new setup taking advantage of the upcoming touch controllers. Good news: I managed not to get motion sickness, yay! Better news: I saw some really cool games. Here are the five best ones.

Robo RecallRobo Recall, a full-fledged expansion of last year's Bullet Train demo, was revealed during the keynote speech and immediately became one of the most talked about games at the show, and for good reason. The game's colorful, vibrant action channels the aesthetic of Time Crisis and it doesn't hurt that the game will be free to anyone who owns an Oculus. I got to play through a single level of the game and had a fantastic time with it. I'm still not quite a believer in VR reaching its gaming potential, but the demo for Robo Recall is a fantastic time, and had me wowing at all of its combat options. You can read a more in-depth preview of my time with the demo here.

Replay – The Bad South Park Games

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The Stick of Truth is great, and we're confident about The Fractured But Whole, but there was a time when South Park and video games didn't get along.

We've got all kinds of features planned this month about why we think South Park: The Fractured But Whole (which is on our cover this month) will be a good game, but we wanted to take a moment to remember the South Park license back before its creators stepped in and said, "Stop it. Let us take care of this!"

We focus mostly on the Nintendo 64 South Park games where Andrew Reiner, Ben Reeves, myself, and special guests Yoda and Wade Wojcik check out Chef's Luv Shack, South Park Rally, the simply titled South Park (which we did play on a previous episode of Replay). We also play a bit of the Xbox 360 Xbox Live Arcade game, South Park: Tenorman's Revenge (which former editor Dan Ryckert gave a 2). We promise you're not going to have a bad time.

Funny To A Point – Modern Box Art Sucks: An Investigation

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Funny To A Point – Modern Box Art Sucks: An Investigation

Nowadays, most video game box art only delivers on half of its promise – it does indeed appear on a box containing a video game, but the nearly photo-realistic images of stoic characters holding guns hardly qualify as art. However, boring box art is only half the story; you can't appreciate our modern plight without first knowing how ass-kickingly awesome the box art of yesteryore was. So grab your pith helmet; you're about to embark on a decades-spanning adventure that will quantitatively demonstrate just how bad modern box art sucks.

If there's anything we can learn from old movie posters (besides the fact that all aliens, robots, and monsters are perverts), it's that great art can really sell you on a fantasy. Even a guy like Indiana Jones looks that much cooler* on a hand-painted poster – and don't even get me started on Hildebrandt's orgasmic vision of Star Wars.

Classic video game box art followed a similar tack, and was just as fantastical. In a very real sense it had to be – you can't just put a bunch of blocky crap on a cover and expect people to buy it (though to its credit, Nintendo tried its best). Some classic box art was so epic that you couldn't even feel ripped off when you saw the real game in action.

Test Chamber – Smash+Grab's Competitive Looting

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Test Chamber – Smash+Grab's Competitive Looting

Smash+Grab's looting is a bit different from what we've come to expect from video games. Instead of finding treasure in a chest, you loot the more traditional way: beating the crap out of windows and stealing the money inside stores.

Between all the modes, combat options, characters, and team options, there's a lot to dive into with Smash+Grab's Early Access iteration, so Jeff Cork and I played a couple rounds of the competitive multiplayer game to see how well we could do. We get into a lot of looting, shooting, and I can't think of a third term to rhyme those two, so I'll just say we get into a tense match with a nail-biting conclusion.

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How The Last Few Seasons Will Affect South Park: The Fractured But Whole

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Season 17 of South Park aired its season finale four months prior to the release of South Park: The Stick of Truth. Season 18 aired its premiere about five months after the game's release. Season 20 just began airing last month. This means that three seasons of South Park will have aired three full seasons between the release of Stick of Truth and The Fractured But Whole, which is planned for release early next year. We spoke with Fractured But Whole’s creators at Ubisoft San Francisco to find out how all of those episodes will factor into the game.

You begin Fractured as the new kid, affectionately nicknamed "***" by Cartman on your first adventure, still caught up in the fantasy story. Cartman, however, has decided to change games, focusing now on super heroes, which means you have to start over. For this reason, Fractured takes place only a few days after the events of Stick of Truth, but a lot has happened in the show in that time.

Destiny – Xur's Gear And Upgrades For The Weekend Of October 7

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Destiny – Xur's Gear And Upgrades For The Weekend Of October 7

Everybody's favorite merchant is back! This time Xur was some very sweet deals, so you should consider paying him a visit.

Xur opens his shop with a bevy of deals starting today. Titans and Hunters should especially take note, as two of the new exotics from Rise of the Iron are for sale. Both the Thagomizers (Titan gauntlets) and Shinobu's Vow (Hunter Gauntlets) are highly desired and haven't been sold before, and he has both for purchase at the normal price of armor – 13 strange coins. If you're looking for a new machine gun or Warlock helmet, Xur also has the Thunderlord and Light Beyond Nemesis available. Check out a list of all his goods for sale below.

Exotic Gear

Test Chamber – The First Hour Of Gears Of War 4

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Test Chamber – The First Hour Of Gears Of War 4

Gears of War 4 is arguably Microsoft's biggest launch of the year, so we're taking an extended look at the campaign. Join us as we play through the opening hour of Gears of War 4's story.

During this time, we're introduced to JD Fenix, the main protagonist of the story, and his squadmates, Kait and Del. We also play through several encounters with the new robotic enemy type introduced in Gears of War 4, the DeeBees.

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