Path Of Exile Ascendancy Impressions: Fun Features, Terrible Traps

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Path of Exile: Ascendancy adds some significant things to the ever-evolving ARPG in the form of Ascendancy classes, a smattering of new skills, items, and abilities, enchantments, and the Lord’s Labyrinth – a sort of roguelike challenge that you only get one life in before you have to  start the whole thing over. The Labyrinth’s layout changes daily, so in essence players get a unique, challenging experience against Emperor Izaro and his dangerous allies each day.

In addition to these core features, along with Ascendancy comes some new leagues that players can start in, the Perandus Challenge Leagues. These are available to both new standard and hardcore characters, and make the leveling and exploration process significantly more entertaining. Players will encounter Perandus chests and caches as they explore, often guarded by dangerous minions. These treasure troves contain various loot, but all contain some amount of Perandus coins.

When Celebrities Attack: The Ugly Battles Between Game Publishers And The Rich And Famous

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With video games getting bigger every year, several celebrities have embraced them as an effective way to market themselves. Unfortunately, the mutually beneficial relationships between game publishers and celebrities can go sour, leading to publicly hostile interactions and even lawsuits. In many cases, the lawsuits are downright outlandish. Check out some of the more famous feuds between video games and celebrities.

Ellen Page – The Last of Us, Beyond: Two Souls

During a 2013 Reddit AMA, the actress accused Naughty Dog of ripping off her likeness for the character of Ellie. “I guess I should be flattered that they ripped off my likeness,” she said. “But I am actually acting in a video game called Beyond: Two Souls, so it was not appreciated.” The relationship with Beyond: Two Souls developer Quantic Dream also grew problematic when a debugged PlayStation 3 allowed a player to view Ellen Page’s character from different angles during shower scenes. Sony quickly moved to have the images and videos taken down and confirmed that the body shots were not of Page, but rather a digital model.

How Modern-Day Difficulty Masters Create Challenging Games That Are Still Fun To Play

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For most game designers, homing in on the right degree of difficulty is akin to discovering the Holy Grail. Make a game too easy, and players breeze through its forgettable challenges with little sense of accomplishment. Make it too difficult, and players may quit out of frustration or feel too intimidated to pick up the controller in the first place. Finding the right balance is an art form in its own right, and for most modern games, the perfect difficulty setting blends seamlessly into the background as players steadily and successfully fight their way to victory. Not every designer follows this playbook, however.

Over the years, a growing number of games have opted for the punishing difficulty old-school games used to dole out with impunity, and a particular segment of players have embraced these demanding titles with open arms. From the tortuous locales and towering bosses of the Dark Souls series to the deadly labyrinths of Super Meat Boy, we spoke with a number of modern-day difficulty masters to find out how they maintain the player's enjoyment while still plying them with sinister challenges.

This feature originally appeared in Game Informer issue #274, under the title "The Difficulty Of Difficulty."

Liked That, Play This: Five Adventure Games You Might Have Missed

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Last year was one of the best for adventure gaming in recent memory. While more straight-laced, serious titles like Life Is Strange and SOMA gave players something to think about, lighthearted romps like Broken Age and Tales from the Borderlands harkened back to the humor of the genre’s LucasArts-dominated heyday. 

A slew of hotly anticipated titles like Telltale’s Batman, the recently released Firewatch, and this Fall’s Tacoma prove adventure games show no sign of slowing down in 2016. The adventure renaissance may be in full swing, but it’s hard for newcomers to sift through the duds and find the genre’s gems. Fear not, weary traveler. Like the wizened old sage you’d encounter in the typical adventure-game tutorial, we have a map to help guide you toward the essential adventure games from the last few years.  

Did You Like Tales From The Borderlands?

Four Reasons World War I Works For Battlefield 5, And Two Reasons It Doesn’t

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Four Reasons World War I Works For Battlefield 5, And Two Reasons It Doesn’t

Over the weekend, a retailer may have accidentally leaked the setting for Battlefield 5. It could have been a typo or a joke gone awry, and was promptly removed from the site after people started buzzing. Still, the thoughts of a World War I Battlefield game is rattling around our brains. Would a game set in a war known for trench warfare, years-long stalemates, and poor military tactics that led to ridiculously large casualties really work within the Battlefield paradigm? The more we read about the war, the more we think there is a way DICE could make it work for its venerable multiplayer shooter series. 

Contrary to prevailing sentiment, World War I wasn't just all chemical warfare from entrenched positions. Over the course of the four years of conflict involving six continents, the Great War featured large-scale naval battles, romanticized aerial dogfights, tank battles involving hundreds of armored vehicles, and aggressive technological innovation – plenty of fodder for DICE to make an interesting multiplayer shooter. 

Here are a few reasons why World War I could work for Battlefield, and a few reasons why it it wouldn't, for good measure. 

Not Thrilled About SNES Games Only Appearing On New 3DS? You’re Not Alone

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Nintendo announced yesterday that Super Nintendo games were finally coming to its handheld systems via the Virtua Console. There’s a catch, though: Only owners of the New 3DS would be able to play through games like Super Mario Kart, EarthBound, and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past again. Today, three of us are sharing our thoughts on the news, now that we’ve had a little time to digest it.

Jeff Cork: Nintendo’s announcement that Super Nintendo games were coming to the 3DS seems to be rubbing people the wrong way. I should clarify: Super Nintendo games are coming to the New 3DS, which leaves a significant chunk of the fanbase on the sidelines... 

Dan Tack: Well, I guess I’ll be the one to say it. This is ridiculous for a number of reasons. Are you trying to tell me that the “regular” 3DS can’t handle SNES games? Because I don’t believe that for a second. That’s actually ridiculous. Is this just some kind of bid to get folks to pick up yet another piece of hardware? Yes, yes, it is. And then you add the cherry on top to this lunatic sundae, which is the fact that many gamers have probably already purchased these titles, and here they just get an “opportunity” to pay for them yet again.

10 Characters Who Should Be In Star Wars Battlefront Before Nien Nunb

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10 Characters Who Should Be In Star Wars Battlefront Before Nien Nunb

Following today's surprising announcement of Nien Nunb and Greedo joining Star Wars Battlefront's minuscule roster of playable heroes, we dove into the Star Wars archives to see if we could come up with a list of 10 characters who make more sense for Battlefront's fast-paced combat than the temporary co-pilot of the Millennium Falcon and the bounty hunter who died sitting at a bar table.

Greedo and Nien Nunb are strange choices on DICE and Electronic Arts' part, especially when you look at the wealth of recognizable characters not yet in the game, but we'd be lying if we said we weren't excited to play as them. What we know about Greedo and Nien Nunb is based solely on their motion-picture appearances. We'll have to wait to see what DICE does with them on the Battlefield before complaining too much about their inclusion.

Regardless though, seeing them get the call before any of the characters in the list below is worth complaining about. Here's who we'd like to see in the game next:

Ranking All 151 Original Pokémon From Dumbest To Coolest

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Ranking All 151 Original Pokémon From Dumbest To Coolest

Pokémon is celebrating 20 years this year, and Red and Blue are finally releasing on the 3DS Virtual Console. In honor of the occasion, we decided to rank all 151 of the original pocket monsters and write about what makes each one so great/lame. It was a decision we immediately regretted once we started putting together the list, but one we're happy to share with you.

As the headline implies, we start with what we consider to be the dumbest of Game Freak's original offerings, and slowly make our way to the best of the best.

Kyle Hilliard, Jeff Marchiafva, Ben Reeves, and interns Joe Buchholz, Connor Trinske, and Luke Walaszek all contributed to this exhaustive list.

MMORPGs To Watch In 2016

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MMORPGs To Watch In 2016

While the influx of new MMORPGs has slowed to a trickle in comparison to the market of years ago, continual support, new content, expansions, and renovations continue to make the genre one of the most compelling offerings on PC. 

This feature was originally published on February 22, 2016.

While some of today’s best offerings are also available on console, the roster of titles available on PC is deeper than ever and allows players to pick a title that syncs up perfectly with their own personal playstyles and interests. While this list is by no means an attempt to track every single MMORPG out there – there are so many right now – we’re looking at titles that we think are worth watching this year. Titles are listed in no particular order or ranking.

Looking Back At Zelda: Link’s Awakening With Its Director Takashi Tezuka

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The Legend of Zelda is celebrating 30 years this year, which is as good a reason as any to look back at one of the stranger entries in the series: The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening. This feature originally appeared in issue 269 of Game Informer magazine.

Link’s Awakening for the Game Boy was more than just a handheld offshoot of a popular franchise. It established important Zelda staples in terms of story, humor, and a focus on character development that the series still uses to this day, all while carving an identity that remains distinct more than 20 years later.

Link’s Awakening was the first Zelda to feature fishing, allow Link to grab cuccos, and highlight musical instruments as more than just another item in Link’s inventory. The game also had extended side quests, like the mission to find all the secret seashells and a trading game with the world’s inhabitants. Link’s Game Boy adventure was a huge success for Nintendo, dramatically boosting handheld sales in 1993 and selling more than 5 million copies over its lifetime. It sits comfortably at number three on Game Informer’s top 25 Game Boy games of all time list, and also cracked the top 100 on our Top 200 Games of All Time list.