What's The Verdict On Destiny: House Of Wolves?

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What's The Verdict On Destiny: House Of Wolves?

Since its launch in September, Destiny has always encouraged social engagement as the key to full enjoyment of the game. Raids and Nightfall strikes acted as end-game experiences squarely targeted at group play, but demanded you do your own work to form and solidify the teams that would enter those spaces. With House of Wolves, Bungie has doubled down on this strategy, offering two brand new gameplay modes that are a ton of fun, along with some of the most interesting gear and weapons yet seen, but the best of the new content demands a pre-formed group.

House of Wolves opens with several new story missions, taking Guardians into some pitched battles that nonetheless unfold in mostly familiar locales. While several of these missions reuse old areas, it’s often in compelling ways – particularly a memorable descent into the Vault of Glass, this time with different goals than the last time you visited. We also finally get to explore a few long-locked new areas, like Kings’ Watch and the top of the Vex Citadel, both of which made my list a few months back of locations we most wanted to visit in the game. The story mission battles are smartly paced, with some fevered combat encounters against large numbers of Fallen foes, and these encounters are friendly to both lone wolf Guardians and fully formed Fireteams.

Take This (But Not That): Where The Witcher 3 Triumphs And Stumbles

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Take This (But Not That): Where The Witcher 3 Triumphs And Stumbles

Over the past week, I’ve spent the bulk of my gaming time on The Witcher 3. What can I say? I’m hooked. It provides a wonderfully detailed world to explore, and it’s the first Witcher game to truly win me over. I’m still several dozen hours away from finishing the game, but I’ve already grown attached to what it does well. CD Projekt Red certainly wasn’t the first studio to discover these elements, but they’ve done a great job of implementing them. Here are some things I’m hoping that we see more in a post-Witcher 3 world, as well as a few missteps that should be left by the wayside.

Meaningful side missionsI’ve gone on a lot of adventures over the past few decades, and oh brother am I ever tired of collecting pelts, herbs, ore, letters, ears, mittens, yo-yos, kites, or whatever it is that NPCs so desperately need. I get it; they’re almost always rooted to one place, so if they want to pad out their yo-yo collection, they need a little help. I’m just tired of being a volunteer deliveryman. Fetch quests are easier to implement in a game than spending time designing fully formed adventures, but that doesn’t make them interesting. 

The Fall And Resurrection Of Licensed Games

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While our June cover story on Disney Infinity 3.0 covers Avalanche Software's next big release, while visiting the studio we spoke to its general manager John Blackburn about the turbulent history of licensed games based on animated films. The studio was put in a relatively dire situation around 2008 as the market for licensed games was drying up and before the toys-to-life genre of games took off, but things shifted after their bold pitch for a game based on Toy Story 3. While Disney Infinity has placed some secure ground under the studio's feet, Blackburn is looking to change things up and experiment with future releases in the series taking on "a different form" from an annual cycle.

Watch the video below to learn about the difficulties of developing licensed games, the mistakes the team thinks it made with the release of Disney Infinity 2.0, and why he sees Star Wars as "the last major product family" to be incorporated into the Disney Infinity universe.

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6 Steps To Becoming A World-Class Video Game Villain

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6 Steps To Becoming A World-Class Video Game Villain

Video game heroes get all the press, as well as all the love and most of the limelight (though I prefer lemonlight, anyway). But some people feel that those who scheme from the shadows, manipulating people and events to get what they want are the more captivating characters. And who doesn’t want to get what they want? If you’ve ever felt the urge to wear the black hat, you’re in luck; we’re detailing all the steps you need to take to become a world-class video game villain.

Step 1: Develop your tragic backstoryAll great villains have an interesting, even sympathetic backstory. You might have been an average kid born in the suburbs, but it’s never too late to start crafting your super villain persona. Consider dabbling in strange experiments that might drive you crazy or try injecting yourself with radioactive soaps in hopes that it will transform you into a mutant. You could also try to put your family in dangerous situations hoping they’ll get knocked off, giving you a great revenge story. On the off-chance that you’re a severed hand, you should try to graft yourself onto some other villain à la Metal Gear. Remember some of the best villains are fallen heroes, so you could try doing some good for a while and see if that corrupts you.

The Witcher 3's Card Game Gwent Is Fun, Here's How To Get Started

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If you’re playing The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt, you’ve probably run into some annoying merchants that want to suck you out of the immersive yet somehow still-open world experience with a couple of hands of Gwent, a lightweight mini-game that can take even more of your time. It’s fun and easy, and there are a number of associated and incredibly lucrative questlines, so if you want to get started with Gwent there’s an easy way to do so.

Before you even start hammering on the quest chain (conveniently located in your quest log under secondary quests), you’re going to want to pick up Northern Realms Siegemaster as your general from the innkeeper in White Orchard. This will make life a lot easier, because weather cards require thinking and planning, and we’d like to eliminate that from our strategy whenever possible, yeah? Siegemaster can double the value of your siege row and will win you quite a few rounds.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5: The Return Of Old School

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Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5: The Return Of Old School

Skating is about evolution and adaptation. A trick is built upon and takes new forms. The McTwist becomes the 900. Someone does a 360 flip to a grind, and another skater does the trick down a flight of stairs. It's about community – in spiring others and learning from them. Skateboarding is also a survivor. Its popularity may wane and cities may enact anti-skating ordinances, but it just re-emerges even stronger.

The Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series hasn't been the only game to represent the sport, but the brand has become synonymous with skateboarding video games through its long and eventful career. Skaters have used it for inspiration; transforming the fantastical on TV screens into amazing feats in reality. Now, after 13 years of detours and hibernation, the series is reaffirming its commitment to the gameplay essence that started it all.

This article first appeared in the June issue of Game Informer (#266). 

Don't Forget These Cult Classics From Last Generation

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Don't Forget These Cult Classics From Last Generation

Happy Memorial Day weekend from all of us here at Game Informer. Even though you're spending time with family and friends, you might still be able to squeeze a little game time into your day off. Consider diving back into a few classics from last generation.

A few years ago we put together a list of some of the best cult classics from the last generation of consoles. Sure, some of these only tiptoe into the realm of "cult classic," but none of them reached the level of popularity (or sales success) that we think they should have. Today would be the perfect time to dive back into these old favorites. How many of these have you played?

Readers Respond: Mass Effect, Fallout 4, And EA Lead E3 Anticipation

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Readers Respond: Mass Effect, Fallout 4, And EA Lead E3 Anticipation

Our readers are getting excited for E3, and they aren’t shy about letting us know what has them most hyped. We already tallied the results from a poll about press conference anticipation. Now we look at games and publishers.

With so many games mentioned by our readers, we split things into two different categories. We also aggregated the mentions to identify which publishers are responsible for the most pre-E3 excitement.

Unsurprisingly, the announced but yet to be detailed Mass Effect game is leading the first list. With Dragon Age: Inquisition out in the wild (and responsible for an enormous amount of player and critical praise), fans are excited for what BioWare can bring to its space-based RPG franchise.

Five Shooters That Don't Rely On Bullets

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Five Shooters That Don't Rely On Bullets

Splatoon launches this week, and it's a colorful take on a familiar genre. In the game, players paint the floor to gain points and attack other players in a shooter setting. It's a strange premise, but it's not the first in the genre to shy away from typical ammunition. Here are five games that decided bullets weren't necessary.

The Unfinished SwanTo be fair, placing The Unfinished Swan in the shooter genre may not be accurate. It does, however, take place from the first-person perspective, and has players firing off projectiles into the environment. Like Splatoon, it uses ink (among other liquids) to help with environmental exploration and puzzle solving. You can find our review here.

Plants vs. Zombies: Garden WarfareIn the surprising Plants vs. Zombies spinoff, you do often fire what are basically bullets, but called by another name (peas, seeds, etc.). But there are plenty of other bizarre weapons, especially on the plant side, that shoot sun rays or other strange non-bullet weapons. You can read our review here.

Super Replay – Conker's Bad Fur Day Episode 7

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Super Replay – Conker's Bad Fur Day Episode 7

Conker's Bad Fur Day tells the story of a foul-mouthed squirrel journeying across farms, poop mountains, and into space to earn money and save the love of his life. You voted for Conker's Bad Fur Day to be our next Super Replay a few months ago, and we couldn't be happier to dive back into this Nintendo 64 classic! We anticipate this will be one of the longest Super Replays yet, so grab a tasty beverage, sit back, relax, and prepare for the journey of a lifetime with Ben Reeves, Tim Turi, and Andrew Reiner.

As acclaimed as this game is, it almost didn't happen. Long before Conker was a drunkard, he was a happy-go-lucky red squirrel who was designed to appeal to kids, in a game called Conker's Quest. The press didn't like what they saw of Conker's Quest, saying it was uninspired in design. Rare went back to the drawing board, renaming the game Twelve Tales: Conker 64. That vision too came under scrutiny, and Rare scrapped everything "kiddie" or "cute," and opted to make a dark game for a mature audience. The switch worked, and launched Conker to the same heights as Rare's other hits, Banjo-Kazooie, GoldenEye 007, and Perfect Dark.

You can check out episode 7 below, but if you're looking to catch up, you can find episodes 1-6 here.