What We Want From Pokémon Legends: Arceus

about X hours ago from
What We Want From Pokémon Legends: Arceus

The reveal of Pokémon Legends: Arceus stole the show during this morning's Pokémon Presents presentation. The upcoming open-world game launches on Switch early next year and transports players back in time to the feudal period of the Sinnoh region. Trainers are let loose to explore a seemingly vast open-world teeming with Pokémon across several generations. Per the title, the game is headlined by the legendary Arceus who, from what I understand, is basically God? So far Pokémon Legends Arceus looks great (if not a bit choppy) but what does it actually entail, and most importantly, what do we as players want to see from it?

Join Pokémon enthusiasts Alex Stadnik and Brian Shea as well as lapsed fan Marcus Stewart (that's me!) as they share their heart's desires for Pokémon Legends: Arceus and analyze the debut trailer frame-by-frame. Will we get a thorough look at the lore and story of the origins of the Sinnoh region? How will catching and battling work? Will there be an antagonistic force or will players be free to wander the landscape and explore to their heart's content? We won't know the answers until later this year, we hope you enjoy this conversation as we break down what we hope Game Freak's first venture into the open-world genre will entail.

What Is Call of Duty Zombies Outbreak And Why Is It A Big Deal?

about X hours ago from
What Is Call of Duty Zombies Outbreak And Why Is It A Big Deal?

This week, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War got a new Zombie mode, Outbreak. Well, “mode” is kind of treating this experiment lightly, because it very well could be the framework of an entirely new Zombies experience - and one that’s far more compelling for folks that aren’t already immersed in the round-based puzzle-hunting and metasolving that Zombies is known for. In short, Outbreak is an open-world, co-op romp that draws upon many, many enjoyable elements that you can find in other CoD games and modes, today’s looter shooters, ARPGs, and even roguelites. Now, I don’t think what’s there in Outbreak is the final, realized version of what this mode can be, but rather some nascent aether where a breakout, big deal mode (or even game) could one day be. Let’s dive in.

Five Reasons To Be Excited About Returnal

about X hours ago from
Five Reasons To Be Excited About Returnal

While a few cryptic early videos have teased the atmosphere and visual potential of Returnal, Housemarque’s new game has remained largely a mystery since its announcement. But after a recent hands-off demo I had the chance to check out, and its appearance at today's State of Play event, my anticipation for the project skyrocketed.

An action game like Returnal lives or dies by how tight the controller play feels, and of course, that’s one element that I can’t speak to with authority until I get hands-on. As such, I’m not ready yet to crown the game as my new shooter obsession until I play it in full on PlayStation 5 for the April 30 release. But independent of gameplay feel, Returnal has a lot in its favor as it nears release in a couple of months.

Housemarque has been around for a long time, and the team has the experience and talent to nail top-tier action. Not everyone knows the team’s games, because in recent game generations, they’ve focused primarily on downloadable arcade-style action games, including titles like Resogun, Nex Machina, and Alienation. Those were fast-paced games that didn’t immediately reveal their depth, but any player who dug in found a rich well of complexity and immense replayability, thanks to immaculate balancing, very tight action controls, and a steady ramp of challenge that allowed for constant improvement by players.

Kena: Bridge Of Spirits Locks In An August Release Date

about X hours ago from
Kena: Bridge Of Spirits Locks In An August Release Date

Last year, Ember Lab made the difficult decision to delay its debut game, Kena: Bridge of Spirits, from a planned release around the PlayStation 5 launch to a date sometime in 2021. At today’s State of Play event, the indie studio revealed when, exactly, players will be able to finally experience the delightful action-adventure for themselves. What are your plans around the end of August? 

More specifically, Kena: Bridge of Spirits is coming to PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, and PC (via the Epic Games Store) on August 24. Preorders go live starting today, giving players who get in early a crack at some special cosmetics. You get access to a pair of silly hats regardless of whether you preorder the standard digital edition ($39.99) or the deluxe digital edition ($49.99). The headwear gives you a chance to show your festive side by equipping your Rot companions with party hats or a head-mounted celebratory cake – complete with Kena’s name. 

What does the extra $10 get you if you opt for the deluxe edition over the regular one? You receive a digital soundtrack, an exclusive golden Rot, and silver staff cosmetics. You get both the PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4 versions regardless of which Sony platform you initially order for, so you don’t need to worry if you haven’t made the new-gen leap quite yet.

More Games Should Have Demos Available When They’re Announced

about X hours ago from
More Games Should Have Demos Available When They’re Announced

Everybody loves a surprise. Any gamer will tell you that part of the delight in watching press conferences is those reveals you don’t see coming. We’ve seen tears, screams, and tons of other expressions that run the gamut of utter delight to crushing disappointment. As someone who has been in the industry for a long time, announcements usually come with caveats: long release windows, little to no in-game footage, or cryptic messaging that can make what the actual game is more confusing than helpful. 

However, in the last few years, we’ve seen a shift toward shorter marketing campaigns and publishers (for the most part) putting reasonable release windows on games. I hope this continues to improve, with developers and publishers working together to develop smarter ways of presenting what’s in store. One of my favorite new methods for unveiling a game is by having a rich demo available immediately to play, like we recently saw with Project Triangle Strategy. Not only do you feel the rush of learning about this new entity that you had no idea was in existence, but there’s something special about being able to immediately take a test drive. Here’s why I hope more developers take note of this way to introduce a game in the future.

An Ode To Anthem And What Could Have Been

about X hours ago from
An Ode To Anthem And What Could Have Been

Electronic Arts and BioWare have confirmed that plans for Anthem 2.0, also called Anthem Next, have been canceled. While this news was not a surprise, especially given how quiet the team has been about its progress on Anthem Next, I can't help but lament the missed opportunity here for an adventure that held a lot more promise than so many gave it credit for. Now that the future of Anthem is forever at a standstill, here are my thoughts on the game, the launch, and what could have been. 

When I first dove into Anthem, it was pre-launch during a press event. There were bugs, but that was to be expected with early access to an online game. While noted in my coverage, it didn't dampen the pure joy I felt when taking to the sky in my custom Javelin that very first time. Anthem has some of the smoothest flight and combat mechanics I've ever seen in a game (and this is a hill I will die on), especially when looking at the detailed animations that showed off a love for the craft from the moment those boots left the ground. 

The Best And Worst Pokémon Collectibles Money Can Buy

about X hours ago from
The Best And Worst Pokémon Collectibles Money Can Buy

Adorable Pikachu products are everywhere. Most collectibles manufacturers want a piece of this electric rodent, and have plastered his yellow hide and rosy cheeks on plushies, statues, action figures, and nearly everything you can put on a shelf. Some manufacturers have gotten creative with Pikachu and his ever-expanding herd of Pokémon friends to create collectibles that will make you gasp, both in delight and horror.

In my shopping for Pokémon gifts for my daughter and friends, I've come across a number of items that made me do a double take – but not necessarily because I thought they were cool. As you read on, you'll see what I've deemed to be the BEST and WORST of the Pokémon products you can throw your money at.

BEST Battle Action Figures

Can’t Get Enough Zelda? Rogue Heroes: Ruins of Tasos Might Be For You

about X hours ago from
Can’t Get Enough Zelda? Rogue Heroes: Ruins of Tasos Might Be For You

Do you ever lay in bed at night wondering how to get those old-school Zelda vibes again? The ones where you’re suddenly transported to the Dark World in Link to the Past? Well, Rogue Heroes: Ruins of Tasos probably isn’t going to get you there – but it might conjure up some of those SNES-era adventure feelings. Maybe, just maybe, it might satiate your hunger for a hero's journey until we get some more news on the Breath of the Wild sequel.

Rogue Heroes: Ruins of Tasos released yesterday on PC and Switch, and the features and mechanics on paper are compelling. Concepts old and new come together to create a playful, adventurous landscape to explore. You get to build up a town to scratch your Stardew Valley itch, unlocking classes along the way, use resources that you’re piling up to permanently advance your stats, and explore a big world with a variety of tools and unlocks. It’s kind of like Rogue Legacy meets classic Zelda… and that’s pretty cool. I’ve got a couple hours under my belt so far, and it’s holding my attention admirably.

What’s more, and I haven’t tried this out yet, there’s local and online co-op for up to 4 players, which seems like it could be a fun social outing instead of tackling another round of Among Us, Valheim, or Jackbox.

Developers Share Their Thoughts On Resurrecting Ghosts ‘N Goblins

about X hours ago from
Developers Share Their Thoughts On Resurrecting Ghosts ‘N Goblins

Ghosts ‘n Goblins: Resurrection is out soon, giving fans of Capcom’s tough-as-nails platformer an excuse to suit up again. It’s not a remake of the arcade original, its sequel, or various console ports. Instead, it’s a great homage to those classics, drawing heavily from what made them so memorable while providing an all-new experience. In other words, you’re getting a new experience whether you’re a hardcore fan or someone who’s completely new to the series. On the eve of its release, we spoke with series director Tokuro Fujiwara and chief producer Yoshiaki Hirabayashi about the original games (and their notorious difficulty), what it was like to revisit the series, and what players can expect from Resurrection.

How I've Used Gaming To Improve My Lockdown

about X hours ago from
How I've Used Gaming To Improve My Lockdown

As we approach the one-year anniversary of the world being changed by the COVID-19 pandemic, I've begun reflecting on the ways I've also changed in that time. As someone who was newly living alone when the lockdown orders came through, the transition from my old life to my current reality was a harsh one. To combat those struggles many of us have faced during this difficult time, I've made a concerted effort to focus on my physical and mental health, and part of that was achieving goals I've long had for myself.

The pandemic has allowed me to learn how to be a better cook and a better mixologist (finally nailed that old fashioned recipe), but one of my goals going into the lockdown was to relearn guitar; I was pretty okay at it back in high school, and with some extra time to myself, I figured now was as good a time as any to dust off the ol' axe. I tried using apps and the internet to mixed results, so when I saw that Rocksmith 2014 was on sale for $4 on Xbox late last year, I jumped at the chance to have a game-based way to brush up on my rusty skills. Unfortunately, I didn't anticipate that the cable would cost another $30 and that I'd want a ton of DLC songs, but you know what? All in all, it's not such a bad deal when you consider the upside and the typical cost of an interactive guitar instructor.