The New Consoles Load Too Damn Fast

about X hours ago from
The New Consoles Load Too Damn Fast

Instantaneous load times have been one of the primary selling points for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S. How could it not be? Since gaming switched from cartridges to disc-based media, we’ve become accustomed to twiddling our thumbs waiting for games to boot up. Over time we evolved to find creative methods of filling that time. 

As great as it sounds, the near-extinction of loading may be a curse in disguise. I developed entertaining and integral rituals designed to make load times fly by, and those parts of my life will be erased forever, maybe. Granted, I don’t yet have a PS5 or Xbox Series X/S so it hasn’t happened yet. Still, anecdotes of Spider-Man: Miles Morales launching in the blink of an eye are as frightening as they are impressive. Here are some extremely general and relatable activities I won’t be able to partake in because the new consoles load too damn fast. 

Shatter High Scores In Threes

Disney Tabletop Games To Share With The Family

about X hours ago from
Disney Tabletop Games To Share With The Family

As we round the corner into the holidays, it’s a great time to find shared activities that can bring the family together. The house the mouse built has an impressive variety of tabletop properties to enjoy. Check out one of these recent releases for your next family game night, and ensure that both kids and adults have a good time.

Editor's Note: An abridged version of this article first appeared in Game Informer issue 331

If the beloved Disney park attraction is a favorite for your household, you can’t go wrong with this eerily amusing adventure. Players wander the familiar rooms (and graves) of the Haunted Mansion, socializing with the ghosts they meet along the way to earn points – just don’t let the hitchhiking ghosts follow you home!

I Love How Yakuza: Like A Dragon Humanizes Homelessness

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I Love How Yakuza: Like A Dragon Humanizes Homelessness

The Yakuza franchise has always had a strong track record regarding how it handles representation of marginalized groups, but Like a Dragon is a whole new ball game. My excitement going into the latest adventure starring a new protagonist had me anxious to dive in, but what I experienced as Ichiban Kasuga left me in tears numerous times throughout the story in the best way possible. 

The homeless community plays a significant role in the latest Yakuza narrative, and while I had faith that the goodwill would continue in Like a Dragon, it's always a hit or miss in media about how the homeless are portrayed. For me, the more negative annotations of the homeless hit particularly hard, because that was my reality for a large portion of my life growing up.

Without going into the details, many of my earlier years were predominately moving from couch to couch, sleeping in fast-food restaurants, parking garages, and (during one particularly dark year) cemeteries. Especially when I was young – a minor – and had no options as to where to go outside of shelters, that time in my life was terrifying, dehumanizing, and something that continues to color my experiences to this day. 

8 Best Xbox Series X Features To Set Up First

about X hours ago from
8 Best Xbox Series X Features To Set Up First

Powering on a next-gen console is exciting, but it can be overwhelming trying to understand all of its new menus and tools. With the release of the Xbox Series X and Series S consoles, Microsoft has brought its popular Xbox console interface to next-gen standards, and with that upgrade comes several handy features that new users should familiarize themselves with to get the most out of their Xbox experience.

So with that in mind, here are the 8 best Xbox Series X features to set up first.

The most significant feature that Xbox has been touting with the release of the Series X and Series S is the new Quick Resume feature. In short, Quick Resume allows you to jump between multiple games fast by leaving titles in suspended states. The best part is that Quick Resume is a built-in feature of the Xbox Series X or S. There are no specific settings you need to activate; it just automatically works with supported games.

Review In Progress – Destiny 2: Beyond Light

about X hours ago from
Review In Progress – Destiny 2: Beyond Light

Beyond Light has been available for just under a week as of this writing, and we’re on the eve of some important content drops. With so many changes having arrived in the game, Bungie chose to give the launch content of the expansion several days to breathe before dropping the main loop of seasonal engagement for the Season of the Hunt, scheduled to arrive tomorrow, which includes a new hunt for Hive shrines, an exotic quest for the returning Hawkmoon hand cannon, and more. Plus, only a few days after that will see the launch of Deep Stone Crypt, the new six-person raid activity. While Destiny 2: Beyond Light will undoubtedly continue to grow and include other new surprises in the subsequent weeks, we’re holding our scored review until we’ve experienced as much as we can of this early content.

Even so, after many hours exploring Beyond Light in this first week, there’s a lot that can be said about the expansion, the overall state of Destiny 2, and how the player experience has changed.

PlayStation 5 Has A Great Launch Lineup For Kids

about X hours ago from
PlayStation 5 Has A Great Launch Lineup For Kids

The PlayStation 5 era kicks off with a surprising focus on kids and families, offering four great games to dive into on day one. As a parent, I'm always on the hunt for games I can play with my daughter. Given how heavily Nintendo caters to this market, we usually game on Switch, a system that is flush with amazing experiences that we can both enjoy. PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have a handful of great kids games like Roblox and Minecraft, but this market hasn't been a strong focus for Sony and Microsoft. Sony's buyer's guide for kids and families weighs heavily on games from yesteryear.

New gaming generations often bring different ideas and perhaps even a shift in who games are being made for. I reached out to Sony to see if PlayStation 5 is putting more of an emphasis on family-friendly gaming, but did not receive a response in time for this story. That doesn't change the fact that some of the best games on PlayStation 5 right now are designed for a younger demographic.

If you happen to get your hands on a PlayStation 5, one of its best kids games is free and already loaded up for you to play. Astro's Playroom is an absolute delight. Yes, it's designed as a celebration of decades of PlayStation gaming and is a tool to show you what the new DualSense controller can do, but it's also a hell of a game with lighthearted action and excellent level design.

The Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. Might Be The Most Portable Way To Play Mario

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The Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. Might Be The Most Portable Way To Play Mario

Announced as a part of the Super Mario Bros. 35th Anniversary Nintendo Direct in September, the Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. system is a nifty, beautiful little handheld that simultaneously pays homage to Nintendo's classic Game & Watch portable devices from the '80s and the company's flagship game franchise, Super Mario Bros.

This new handheld system from Nintendo gathers the first two Super Mario Bros. games (Super Mario Bros. and the Japanese Super Mario Bros. 2, known as the Lost Levels in the U.S.), as well as the classic Game & Watch game Ball, with Mr. Game & Watch swapped out for Mario. I don't need to run down the features of the Mario games – you likely already own these classics multiple times across myriad devices – but for those new to Game & Watch, Ball is a simple title where you focus on juggling multiple balls without letting them fall to the floor. Ball gives you two variants, with the number of balls serving as the differentiator between the two versions.

Five PS5 Launch Titles You Should Play

about X hours ago from
Five PS5 Launch Titles You Should Play

The PlayStation 5 debuted today alongside a slew of new games. If you were lucky enough to pick up Sony's new console, you might be wondering what you should play first. Luckily for you, we've already spent extensive time with the PlayStation 5 and its games. Here's what we think you should play on day one.

The next game from developer Giant Squid, maker of the underwater adventure game Abzû, The Pathless proves this independent studio can’t be held down by silly things such as land and sea. When we reviewed The Pathless, we were struck by its beauty and the way it interweaves its narrative and open-world world exploration, all before throwing us against terrifying fiery beasts. Truly, Giant Squid is a master of the elements.

The Pathless runs at 4K resolution, and its simple painterly aesthetic does a lot to make this graphical enhancement really pop off screen. Sure, it's not the biggest tentpole release of the year, but we still recommend you give this shorter experience a try.

Assassin's Creed Valhalla Settlement Guide

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Assassin's Creed Valhalla Settlement Guide

Your main hub in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is a settlement you establish early in the game. Over the course of your journey, that small collection of tents slowly grows into a bustling city. Seeing the fruits of your labor is incredibly rewarding, but if you’d like some tips on how to maximize your effort, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some tips on what to prioritize when expanding your settlement.

The first thing you want to do to upgrade your settlement actually requires that you leave your settlement. I know that sounds counterintuitive, but to construct new buildings you need raw materials, which you acquire by completing raids. Therefore, the best thing you can do in the early game is to take time to sail around Ravensthorpe and strip the local monasteries for goods (they don’t really need them). There are several easily completable raids within a quick sail from your settlement; their difficulty corresponds to the recommended power level of the region they are in. Completing these and using those resources to build a few new buildings will upgrade your colony to level 2, or even level 3, in no time. As your settlement levels up you gain access to more and more services.

Godfall: Review In Progress

about X hours ago from
Godfall: Review In Progress

Godfall lives up to its "looter-slasher" billing. You hack away at bosses until they explode into a shower of glowing orbs that contain weapons and trinkets. At any given time, you could be hauling around an army's worth of gear, diving into the menus frequently to equip your character with a sword that deals a little more damage or has an attribute that will work better against a particular enemy type. Developer Counterplay Games handles the loot well, delivering satisfaction and the feeling of power growth with most drops.

The process of gaining said loot is not as enthralling and falls victim to bland environment exploration and repetitive combat encounters. The hack-n-slash action has a nice bite to it, and while it doesn't have much depth to each weapon type, it delivers a nice mix of actions, such as the ability to alternate between heavy and light sword strikes, while sewing in Captain America-like shield tosses and lightning quick special attacks. It feels good, and looks good too, showcasing fluid animations and next-gen particles galore.