10 Modern Games That Are Challenging Yet Rewarding

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The release of Dark Souls III is only a few weeks away, and with it comes an uptick in the discussion about challenge and difficulty in games. When most people talk about these factors in modern video games, they seem to equate everything to the Souls series. This can marginalize the Souls games in a way (especially when they aren’t really that punishing), but more importantly, it neglects the many other titles that still provide a good challenge in an industry that often favors mass-appeal experiences.

With that in mind, we've created a list of modern games that rival Dark Souls in terms of challenge, but also maintain a similar sense of reward and accomplishment. It's important to note that these titles are in no particular order. 

The Banner SagaDeveloper: Stoic StudioPlatform(s): PC, PS4, Xbox One, iOS, Android

Test Chamber – Disney Infinity 3.0's New Marvel Battlegrounds Playset Ruins Office Civility

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Test Chamber – Disney Infinity 3.0's New Marvel Battlegrounds Playset Ruins Office Civility

DIsney Infinity 3.0 recently launched its latest playset, which is based in the Marvel universe. Marvel Battlegrounds is an old-school brawler that lets up four player fights in Powerstone-like matches. It also breaks several of the conventions that the Disney Infinity franchise has established, and it does so in some interesting ways. Watch as Kyle, Wade, and I play a couple rounds and push our relationships to the limit.

Four players can compete, but the Infinity Base only supports two figures at a time. How does that work? We show you how to import characters into the roster one by one, which are then added to the character-select screen for the duration of the gameplay session. You can also use trial tokens, which are earned by playing the game, to test characters out before spending the cash on the physical toy. 

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Test Chamber – Who Is Linkle And How Does Hyrule Warriors Legends Perform On 3DS?

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Hyrule Warriors Legends releases on Friday, and we took a quick early look at the game to meet Linkle and see how the game performs on 3DS.

Hyrule Warriors Legends works pretty well on New 3DS, keeping up with the Wii U version of the game in some respects, but when played on the original model 3DS or the 2DS, the game takes a serious hit. In the video below, Jeff Cork and I play the game on an original 3DS noting the disparity by placing some footage from one of the game's trailers right next to it, and playing through some of the new Linkle story content.

Hyrule Warriors Legends releases on 3DS on Friday, March 25. Our review of the game will be online soon.

Over 100 New Screenshots Tell The Story Of Destiny’s Return To The Reef

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We just posted an interview with Bungie’s Ryan Paradis, the live events lead designer who has been in charge of the Destiny update coming on April 12. In addition to those details, you can now feast your eyes on a bevy of screenshots that show off the new content.

The screens below show off several new game elements. Screenshots from the Prison of Elders show off how the Taken will be joining the arena-based mode. Additional screenshots reveal a new story mission that is a part of the At The Gates quest line. New Reef screenshots show off that the abandoned quest kiosk and the Eververse Trading Company will now be accessible while visiting the Vestian Outpost social space. And new strike screenshots show off both the entirely new Blighted Chalice strike, as well as the redux version of Winter’s Run, now with the inclusion of Taken enemies.  

To keep things manageable, we've included 15 of our favorite screens in the media gallery below. Almost 90 additional new screens are available on our Destiny: The Taken King central page. Enjoy the new images! 

The New Direction For Gears Of War 4's Story

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We've touched on how Gears of War 4 is tweaking the gameplay to the beloved series, but with this feature we want to focus on the game's story and The Coalition's approach to storytelling for the new generation of Gears of War. While visiting the studio for our Gears of War 4 cover story, we spoke to Gears of War 4's creative director Chuck Osieja and studio head Rod Fergusson about updating the series' tone, avoiding character archetypes, and the goal of launching a larger Gears of War universe.

Watch the video interview below to learn more about The Coalition's ambitions and the story fans will experience in Gears of War 4.

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Exclusive Interview Dives Deep On Destiny Spring Update

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Exclusive Interview Dives Deep On Destiny Spring Update

Bungie is rolling out info about its Destiny April Update through a series of three live streams, the first of which just concluded. Ahead of the stream, we were able to ask some questions of Ryan Paradis, the live events lead designer who has been in charge of preparing the update, and he provided additional detail about what’s on the way. If you missed the live stream, or you want to learn a little more about what you can expect, dive on in.

This week’s content reveals zero in on new activities, so we’ve focused on those in our questions. Specific details about gear, Crucible updates, and other facets of the Destiny experience won’t be explored until later. Read ahead to learn more about the April Update’s story, what you’ll be doing as you aim to hit the new light cap of 335, changes to King’s Fall, a major update to Prison of Elders, and more. 

What is the goal for the April Update? When you began development on this new content, what were the most important objectives for your team?

The Big 2015 Parents' Guide To Skylanders: SuperChargers, Disney Infinity, And Lego Dimensions

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The Big 2015 Parents' Guide To Skylanders: SuperChargers, Disney Infinity, And Lego Dimensions

Over the past five years, the unlikely success of Activision’s Skylanders franchise has blossomed into a full-blow genre. This year, there are three major entrants in toys-to-life space (not counting Nintendo’s own spin on things with Amiibo).

As a service to parents, we’re breaking down everything that’s coming for the three different games. Below, you’ll find complete checklists for the toys and accessories we know are coming to Skylanders: SuperChargers, Disney Infinity 3.0, and Lego Dimensions

We’ve also detailed some things to know about each of the games as you're considering what you might already own (and what your kids say they need). 

Infinite Arms Escalates The Toys-To-Life Arms Race With Articulated Figures And Physical In-Game Purchases

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It's hard not to be skeptical when you hear the term "toys-to-life." Skylanders sales were down this year. Disney Infinity is taking a year off from an annual release. Some retailers are heavily discounting Lego Dimensions sets.

The market is still growing, though. The latest player, Jumo, is upping the ante with higher-end figures and an innovative (and slightly scary) in-game purchase model. 

The company's upcoming product, Infinite Arms, features heavily articulated and posable figures. These were designed in part by Yasuo Takahama, who has played a crucial role in the Transformers toy line and was the designer of Tamagochi pocket pets.

Test Chamber – Comparing The Ratchet & Clank Reboot With The Original

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Test Chamber – Comparing The Ratchet & Clank Reboot With The Original

The Ratchet & Clank series has been around for quite a while, with new games coming out almost every year since its inception. This year, however, the dynamic duo are getting rebooted with a movie and game both releasing this spring.

Watch Ben Reeves, Kyle Hilliard and intern Connor Trinske as they reminisce about the history of Ratchet & Clank while taking a look at its new incarnation. After taking a look at the remake's opening, we pull up 2002 original and play the games side by side starting at the 11:00 mark to show off the similarities and the differences between then and now. You might be surprised by how the two games compare.

Ratchet & Clank is coming exclusively to PlayStation 4 on April 12. You can get the deeper details about the reboot in our written preview.

The 10 Greatest Versus Rivalries In Video Games

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The 10 Greatest Versus Rivalries In Video Games

The upcoming release of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has us thinking about some of the memorable confrontations in gaming. We’ve chosen these one-on-one contests not just because they made for great fights, but because the conflict between the two individuals in each case defines our memory of the game. Sometimes a powerful rivalry is as potent and engaging as the most romantic of love stories or enduring of friendships. Here are our picks for the greatest video game match-ups in history.

NOTE: Most of the games on this list are older classics, but they do discuss SPOILERS about the major conflicts and characters of those games. You have been warned.

Little Mac has fought his way up through one boxer after another, learning their moves and mastering different offensive strategies. At long last, the Dream Fight beckons, and the diminutive Mac steps out into the ring opposite the greatest fighter of his generation: Mike Tyson. Dynamite punches begin to fly, and the David vs. Goliath battle is on. Mac’s confrontation with Mike Tyson was the definitive video game battle for a whole generation, and the dynamic between the two boxers is a classic underdog tale, presuming you can ever land that final punch.