Sony Morpheus Impressions: VR Inches Closer To The Living Room

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This afternoon after Sony announced its Morpheus headset will launch in the first half of 2016, the publisher gave journalists an opportunity to find out for themselves just how far the platform has progressed since its debut a year ago. The demo stations gave us a chance to check out the near-final industrial design and four Sony-designed user experiences that demonstrate the directions developers could take the technology. Here are our impressions of each.

The Headset

Most of the virtual reality prototypes we've seen so far are cumbersome goggles that weigh most heavily on the front of your face. This latest iteration of the Morpheus design takes steps to make it more user friendly. The single band design makes it easier to take off and put on than other models. A button on the back of the band allows you to tighten or loosen the headset as needed, and Sony made the smart decision to give users a way to move the screen away from their eyes with another button on the right side of the goggles. This ostensibly allows users to don the headset but then regain their bearings in the real world to grab a drink, get situated with a controller, or talk to someone without having to take off the entire device. It's also the best looking device we've seen so far, but that's not to say Sony has mastered the wearable experience.

Question Of The Month Reader Responses: Issue #264

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Question Of The Month Reader Responses: Issue #264

In issue 262, we asked readers what their most anticipated game of 2015 is. Star Wars Battlefront, The Division, and Zelda Wii U were at the top of the list, but plenty of other contenders are still in the running. Here are some responses.

What's your favorite game to play with friends? Share your pick in the comments below!

Test Chamber – Five Nights At Freddy's 3

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Test Chamber – Five Nights At Freddy's 3

The third in Scott Cawthon's jump-scare extravaganza Five Nights at Freddy's series had a surprise release this week, and turned the lights off to take a look.

There is safety in numbers which is why this Test Chamber is a packed house with Andrew Reiner, Daniel Tack, Ben Reeves, Wade Wojcik, and myself trying to keep an eye on the security cameras in an abandoned Freddy Fazbear's Pizza full of sentient animatronic mascots.

It's an adorable game, and it definitely doesn't make us all simultaneously jump in terror at any point.

Test Chamber – White Night

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Test Chamber – White Night

With a distinct art style that hinges on elements of film noir and and survival horror coming together, Osume Studio's White Night looks like an intriguing find for adventure/puzzle/horror game lovers. Armed with nothing but a box of matches, the player must delve deep into the secrets of an old house after an unfortunate car crash, in an environment where light and darkness create an atmospheric, spooky world of mystery and danger.

Join Andrew Reiner, Daniel Tack, and Kyle Hilliard in this episode of Test Chamber as they explore the first chapter of the game.

White Night is available on PC today via Steam and expected to be available on PS4 on March 4th, Xbox One on March 6th.

Review In Progress – Resident Evil Revelations 2

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Review In Progress – Resident Evil Revelations 2

Capcom's approach to the release of Resident Evil Revelations 2 is a new one for the series, as it takes an episodic form with new installments weekly. Since the wait between episodes is short, much like a TV show, we decided to provide weekly impressions, leading up to one official review and score. Our review will hit on the release day of the final episode: March 17. The following impressions are to give you an idea of how we think the experience is shaping up week to week.

Resident Evil Revelations 2: Episode 2 - Contemplation

The first episode of Revelations 2 was a decent start for Capcom’s newest adventure, but the second installment, Contemplation, surpasses it by revving up the challenge and horror. Contemplation offers more action and tense situations, making you pine for more when it’s finished.

The Very Best Indie Games Of GDC 2015

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The Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, California, is a mecca for intelligent talk about triple-A game design, but it also hosts a huge assortment of indie games. We've got boots on the ground at GDC 2015 and controllers in our hands, playing and vetting through dozens of upcoming indie games to let you know what's worth getting excited for. Check out our evolving, expanding list of the best indie gems from GDC 2015.

This story includes contributions from the GDC 2015 crew, including Jeff Cork, Kim Wallace, Matt Bertz, and me (Tim Turi)

VolumeDeveloper: Mike Bithell GamesPlatform: PS4, Vita
Release: 2015

Test Chamber – ScreamRide

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Players have had access to the ScreamRide demo for a couple weeks, but with the full game's official release, we go back and revisit the rollercoaster destruction/racing/building game from Frontier Developments.

Join Andrew Reiner and I as we take a second look at this Microsoft-exclusive title. We initially had a pretty good time with the demo, but after sinking more time into the complete experience, we started to have our reservations. Learn all about them in the video below, and get the complete breakdown in the review.

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Test Chamber - Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late

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Test Chamber - Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late

Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late is the latest fighting game from developer French Bread who are best known for the Melty Blood series. Unlike Melty Blood, which uses Type-Moon characters from series like Tsukihime, Under Night In-Birth features an all-new original universe and characters.

UNIEL came out last week and today we are finally getting to put it through its paces. Join Andrew Reiner, Dan Tack, Brian Shea, and myself as we explore this simple-to-learn and tough-to-master fighting game. Watch us debate a character's manly chest hair and have a dramatic showdown as Dan's reputation for being amazing at fighting games is once again put on the line!

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Test Chamber – The Four-Player Mayhem Of Helldivers

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Arrowhead Game Studios' new twin-stick shooter tasks four-player squads of helldivers with saving the galaxy from alien threats, one planet at a time. In this episode of Test Chamber, Matt Miller, Bryan Vore, Ben Reeves, and I jump into the fray and do our best to survive on a world teeming with hostile insects.

Helldivers serves up an intriguing mix of procedurally generated levels, a deep progression system, and demanding gameplay. Part of what makes the game so challenging is the existence of friendly fire, which forces players to choose their shots wisely in order to avoid gunning down their friends. Unfortunately for our crew, not everyone got the memo.

What the video below to get a taste of Helldiver's random objectives, the pace of combat and variety of enemies, and to see the game's deadliest foe: the team-killing Benjamin Reeves. We also discuss the community-focused Galactic Campaign, and take a look at what upgrade options are available to players.

Opinion – Battlefield Hardline Premium Typifies Problems With DLC

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Opinion – Battlefield Hardline Premium Typifies Problems With DLC

Gamers have gotten used to the idea that they might spend more than the initial sticker price on a game. DLC in various forms, season passes, and premium memberships are common, and often just easily ignored temptations – unnecessary for some and a nice thing to have for others. Although there are numerous pay-to-win titles, most console games do not let some gamers pay for an advantage over those who haven’t. Today Electronic Arts and Visceral announced the Battlefield Hardline Premium program that may cross that line.

The program includes many of the features that were in the Battlefield 4 premium program but Hardline advertises four “super” features – one of which is masks that confer “unique gameplay benefits.” I’ve contacted EA to try and find out exactly what these benefits are, but the company said it isn’t sharing any more details on the program at this time.

Furthermore, the other super features don’t sound very premium when compared to series like Call of Duty that already offer these in the base game. Visual weapon customization via a gun bench and the Legendary status (a replayability feature that sounds close to COD’s Prestige class) arguably should not be put behind a premium wall.