Balancing Survival Vs. Action In Rise Of The Tomb Raider

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Leading up to the release of the Tomb Raider reboot in 2013, Crystal Dynamics pushed the theme that Lara Croft was a survivor. While the survival aspects certainly were a large part of the story, the game didn't cross the line of becoming a systems-driven "survival game." While visiting Crystal Dynamics for our March cover story on Rise of the Tomb Raider, we spoke with creative director Noah Hughes about finding that balance, which the team dubbed "survival-action." We also discuss how things are changing for Rise of the Tomb Raider, including surviving in larger hubs and the incentives for hunting.

Watch the video below to learn more about creating an "upside-design oriented" survival system for the Tomb Raider reboot and what the team learned from games like Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater.

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‘Suck It Up,’ Says Teen Who Deleted 11-Year-Old’s Destiny Characters

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‘Suck It Up,’ Says Teen Who Deleted 11-Year-Old’s Destiny Characters

In the middle of the day on Thursday, February 19, Game Informer editor-in-chief Andy McNamara shared with me a video of a young boy who fell victim to an online predator. Henry, a fifth grade Destiny fan, handed his controller to a stranger via the PlayStation 4’s Share Play feature and watched in horror as “KirmitTHEfrog” deleted his characters and exotic weapons.

On the following Sunday, I received an email from the mother of the man that owns the KirmitTHEfrog account. For his protection after receiving hundreds of harassing messages via PSN, we’re calling him “Adam.”

Through a long trail of email correspondence with Adam and his mother, I learned about the 23-year-old’s head-on car collision (verified with a police report), his recuperation at home, and the tragic loss of his sister due to cancer in 2011 (made even more painful as some online harassers suggested that Adam “get cancer and die.”)

Test Chamber – Blasting Off With Sid Meier's Starships

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Test Chamber – Blasting Off With Sid Meier's Starships

Firaxis' Beyond Earth took the beloved Civilization formula and shot it into space where players got to terraform a planet and interact with exotic alien life. The only thing missing were epic space battles. Starships is a unique follow up that fills in that gap with more rich strategy and some highly customizable star cruisers.

Join Game Informer's Wade Wojcik, Dan Tack, and Ben Reeves as they take on the galaxy, fail to remember Star Wars quotes, and casually interact with alien life. Starships docks on PC, Mac, and iOS on March 12, for only $14.99, and you don't have to own Beyond Earth to play Starships.

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Comparing Dragon Ball Xenoverse On PlayStation 3 And PlayStation 4

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Comparing Dragon Ball Xenoverse On PlayStation 3 And PlayStation 4

After recording a Test Chamber this morning showcasing the PlayStation 4 version of Dragon Ball Xenoverse, we decided to play and capture a little bit of the PlayStation 3 version to see how the two compare.

Below you will find a video stitched together by video editor Wade Wojcik that compares the two versions of the game directly. Frankly, we struggled to see any major differences between the new-gen and last-gen version of the game, but we want to see what you think. Make sure to up the video quality with the drop-down menu on the player.

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Future Amiibo Figures We'd Love To See

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Future Amiibo Figures We'd Love To See

With its all-star cast of recognizable characters, the Super Smash Bros. line of Amiibos served as a great introduction to the figures. The nostalgic elements of each character sold the figures for many, and their success has caused demand to be dramatically more than supply in many cases.

Earlier this year, Nintendo revealed that it would be branching out the Amiibo figures into separate lines by announcing the Super Mario Bros. line. The second official line of Amiibos brings new versions of Mario, Luigi, Peach, Bowser, and Yoshi, and debuts Toad to the Amiibo collection.

While we don't know what functionality Amiibos will bring in future games (though Justin made some educated guesses), the announcement got us thinking about what other lines would make sense to include in future releases of Nintendo’s popular figures. While some of these might not be the most realistic, we can’t help but fawn over the ideas.

An Entry Guide To Visual Novels

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An Entry Guide To Visual Novels

The popularity of visual novels is on the rise in America. An increasing number of old and modern Japanese visual novels are being localized thanks to companies like Sekai Project, and Western developers such as Inkle are increasingly exploring the genre and expanding on it in the PC and mobile spaces. Visual novels are fascinating in that they rely heavily on text, but often use their visuals or design structure to engage the player and further advance their stories in ways that aren’t possible in traditional books.

If you’ve never experienced a visual novel and are uncertain about what they are, know that there are many different kinds, and many of those available in the U.S. include traditional gameplay components. Pure visual novels in the traditional sense often consist of clicking through dialogue boxes (as you see often in RPGs) or auto scrolling through the text. These traditional visual novels can feature voice acting and often provide dialogue choices that send you through different routes through the story. A majority of the visual novels in this guide are hybrids that are still text-heavy, but also feature gameplay components like puzzles or action scenarios. However, the focus is usually on the story and characters.

"It's A Monster!" – The Evolution Of Resident Evil's Zombies

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Long before zombies overran video games, Capcom horrified players with their unforgettable ghouls. Since that first grisly introduction in the Spencer Mansion, Resident Evil's trend-setting monsters have mutated and changed much like its recurring viruses. To celebrate today's release of Resident Evil: Revelations 2's first episode  – along with its new zombie-like torture monster  – we're looking back at the evolution of the series' iconic enemy.

Note: This list sticks to the core entries in the Resident Evil series and lists the consoles they originally released on.

Resident Evil - 1996 (PlayStation)The Resident Evil series' mid '90s debut didn't mark the first time players had encountered zombies, but many considered it the scariest to date. Simon Belmont whipped legions of undead in the halls of Dracula's castle, and Doom Guy blasted possessed zombie marines in id Software's genre-defining FPS, but Resident Evil was different. Zombie dogs attack the S.T.A.R.S. Alpha Team in a campy yet mood-setting introductory cutscene, but players don't encounter their first walking dead enemy until a few tense moments pass.

The Tomb Raider Team Reacts To Conan O’Brien Failing At Their Game

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Conan O’Brien’s Clueless Gamer series has become infamous for its ability to entertain while showing exactly how a game shouldn’t be played. One of the earliest and most memorable episodes featured the 2013 reboot of Tomb Raider. The episode aired about a month before the game released, and featured Conan absolutely failing at the game at every opportunity. The team had been working on the game for more than four years, and though it wasn’t the first look at the new Tomb Raider for most gamers, it was one of the most viewed.

We asked the team what it was like to see the piece and how they felt about watching Conan O’Brien fail at their game and murder Lara over and over on TV.

Brian Horton, game directorThat was one of the most exciting pieces of pop-media, I think. We were so excited that it was happening. I was watching it going, “I can’t believe this is happening.” I knew when it was done that it was going to make a big splash. I just felt like, “Oh my god, that was crazy.” And it was! When it aired we were all watching it thinking, “That was insane!” And his reactions were hilarious.

A Growing Guide Of Easy Achievements For Xbox One

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I thought I was done with Microsoft's achievements. I no longer hunted down games with easily obtainable points. No longer stuck with bad games just to get the big 50- or 10-point achievements upon completing them. No longer felt the desire to stay a good 100,000 points ahead of my friends, who clearly didn't take achievements seriously enough. And then those sneaky bastards at Microsoft decided to implement an achievement leaderboard onto Xbox One's dashboard.

I'm now back into achievements just as much as I was when Gearbox's Randy Pitchford threw down the gamerscore gauntlet in 2008. I haven't quite sunk to the level of playing bad games yet (as I have plenty of good ones to get to first), but I am no longer retiring games as soon as they are completed. I first dive into the achievement list to see if if any points are there for the taking, or what kind of effort is required to land the triple-digit lunkers.

The leaderboard is a stroke of genius on Microsoft's part. A feeling of satisfaction washes over me when I look at the rankings and see my name in the number one slot. Conversely, I start pulling out my hair when I fall out of the top slot, or, as I witnessed two weeks ago, fall to eleventh place. IN NO UNIVERSE SHOULD I EVER BE IN ELEVENTH PLACE FOR ACHIEVEMENTS!

Test Chamber – Dragon Ball Xenoverse

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Test Chamber – Dragon Ball Xenoverse

Dragon Ball Z's first foray into the world of new-generation consoles launches today, and we took at look that game's opening moments and character customization options.

Join myself (an admitted Dragon Ball Z fan) and Andrew Reiner (a very, very casual Dragon Ball Z fan) as we make our own character with a hideous fashion sense and a perfect Saiyan name. We play through the game's intro, explore Toki Toki world, and fight Trunks for basically no reason.

Keep an eye out for our full review of the game soon.