Replay Versus – Super Street Fighter II

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In the first few episodes of Replay: Season 3, we've debuted a number of new segments, including a weird spin on You're Doing It Wrong. Versus will be familiar to anyone who has watched our annual Super Replay Showdown series. It's meant to be a lead-in for the next Super Replay Showdown, which will start soon.

In this episode, Andrew Reiner and Brian Shea commentate a series of Super Street Fighter II rounds between Ben Reeves, Dan Tack, Jeff Marchiafava, and myself. If you watched our Super Mario Galaxy 2 episode of Replay, then you've already seen the outcome, but we wanted to separate the segment and post it on its own because we had so much fun putting it together and someone may or may not rip their shirt off.

In the segment, you get to see who wins the Andrew Ryan-er trophy and earns a buy in the first round of Super Replay Showdown. You can also check out the video on our YouTube channel here.

Zelda Producer Eiji Aonuma Talks Creating Majora's Mask And His Personal Hobbies

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We recently had the opportunity to speak to Zelda series producer Eiji Aonuma following the release of The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D. We asked him questions about developing one of the most divisive games in the Zelda series, some absurd questions about the fiction of the Zelda universe, and even himself.

There are a lot of reused character models and assets from Ocarina of Time in Majora’s Mask. Was that just a time and money saving decision, or a stylistic choice?

Really, it was a little bit of both, whether it comes down to the decision of saving time in the schedule or it being more of a stylistic decision. I think a lot of it comes down to those character models having the ability to express something that they couldn’t in the setting of Ocarina because we had this very different image for the world where Majora’s Mask takes place. You know we described it as being a nearby land, but in feel, it’s almost like another dimension. Even though these characters have a similar appearance to the version of them that appeared in Ocarina, they express something different in a different world.

Replay – Tomb Raider II

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Crystal Dynamics' forthcoming Rise of the Tomb Raider is featured on Game Informer's cover this month, so we thought we'd take a look back at Lara Croft's first sequel, Tomb Raider II. For those of you who didn't grow up in the PlayStation era of games, Lara's original adventures didn't unfold through cover-based shooting or hunting. She relied mostly on acrobatic leaping to navigate underground caverns and rocky landscapes to uncover long-lost treasures.

If you watched our Replay for the original Tomb Raider title, in which Megan Marie (who now works at Crystal Dynamics) showed us how Tomb Raider should be played, you're about to watch how Tomb Raider shouldn't be played by Tim Turi. To say Tim struggles is an understatement. It takes the entire brain power of Tim, Jeff Cork, Ben Reeves, and me to figure out how to kill a tiger. This is very much a Replay of trial and error.

Our second segment is for you, the fans. You've been asking for a Replay of this game since the show started five years ago, and, well, now that we have cameras, we feel we were able to do the game justice.

Test Chamber – Offworld Trading Company

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Test Chamber – Offworld Trading Company

Mohawk Games' fast-paced real-time strategy title Offworld Trading Company is currently in early access on Steam, shooting for an official launch sometime next year. We couldn't wait that long, so we've taken a quick dive into the economical RTS to see what it's like playing Wall Street on Mars!

Players scramble to collect, sell, and refine materials as they move toward the end goal of buying out the opposition, battling for choice resource nodes and messing with each other via pirates, EMP, and bidding wars. While you won't be creating units and laying siege like many other titles in the genre, there's definitely plenty of conflict as players jockey for power and position in this giant offworld auction.

Join Daniel Tack and Jeff Cork as they survey the surface of Mars for opportunity in this episode of Test Chamber!

A Breakdown Of Lara's Gear In Rise Of The Tomb Raider

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Want to know what Lara is really made of? Check out our handy gear guide for a closer look at the gear Lara will be bringing with her to Siberia for her next expedition in Rise of the Tomb Raider.

In Rise of the Tomb Raider, Lara has moved well beyond the rookie explorer she was in the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot. While she still has a lot to learn, at least this time she's heading off well-equipped. Check out the images below to get a closer look at the gear and clothing Lara will take with her in Rise of the Tomb Raider. Click on each image below for an expanded view of each image:

Remember to click on the image below to see a high rez image of Lara's entire gear:

Opinion – Why Conventional Thinking About Mobile Game Design Isn’t Smart Thinking

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Opinion – Why Conventional Thinking About Mobile Game Design Isn’t Smart Thinking

This opinion column from Fireproof Studios co-founder Barry Meade originally appeared in the February issue of Game Informer.

In the games industry, we talk about mobile platforms opening gaming to the mass market, but the real accessibility revolution was in the development community. Before digital stores, publishing a game required hilarious amounts of cash, and big money invariably means small creative ambition. Triple-A games began to look the same. Thousands of sweating employees were warehoused in giant offices cranking out versions of whatever shooter/racer/RPG their bosses thought was big at the time.

Then mobile came along and changed everything. You couldn't make full-fat games like on Steam, but its digital stores enabled any broke-ass developer to self-publish a game and, for a minimal fee, upload it directly to a mass audience. Together with cheap off-the-shelf game engines, mobile took a baseball bat to the balls of the entrenched industry and the bureaucracy of retail, publishing, and bosses. Or so many triple-A employees thought as they excitedly packed their bags and left.

Test Chamber – Kirby and the Rainbow Curse

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Kirby finally returns to his line-riding antics after a decade. Kirby: Canvas Curse was an early hit on the Nintendo DS and an early pioneer of touch screen gameplay. Now Kirby and the Rainbow Curse brings the unique system back on a home console. You can read Kyle Hilliard's review here to learn more.

Kyle Hilliard, Andrew Reiner, and myself teamed up for a co-op session to check out its clay-themed look and to see if the stylus-focused gameplay lived up to our fond memories.

Oh yeah, and Ben Hanson yells at us from time to time.

Destiny - Xur's Gear And Upgrades For The Weekend Of February 20

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Destiny - Xur's Gear And Upgrades For The Weekend Of February 20

Happy Xursday! The Agent of the Nine (the nine what we still don't know) is back in the Tower and he's loaded up his bindle sack full of things you might want.

This week, he's brought the long-absent heavy ammo synth packs. This is good news, as the long-awaited fix to the heavy ammo bug is en route soon, according to Bungie's weekly update. Unfortunately, he also has what is widely considered the worst exotic in the game. You win some, you lose some. Here's everything he's got with him this weekend:

No Land Beyond (exotic sniper rifle - The Dark Below) - 17 strange coins

Test Chamber – The Order: 1886

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Test Chamber – The Order: 1886

Ready at Dawn’s new shooter is finally out, and players can make up their own minds about whether the cinematic adventure is right for them. There has been a lot of debate ahead of the game’s launch about its distinct creative direction, which puts a high value on cinematic presentation, and a lesser focus on active gameplay. 

To help you make up your mind whether The Order: 1886 is for you, you can check out our review. However, if a visual look at the game is more up your alley, our Test Chamber should be just the thing. Andrew Reiner, Ben Reeves, and I hopped into a couple of different chapters to get a good look at the flow of combat, exploration, and the meeting point between cinematic style and action. 

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Opinion – Getting What You Pay For: Quality And Value In Gaming

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Leading up to The Order: 1886, a complete playthrough appeared on YouTube that clocked in at approximately five hours. This relatively short completion time sparked skepticism and outrage among many gamers who insisted that a $60 title needs to be longer. Setting aside the concerns about The Order specifically, the situation highlights the bizarre relationship between quality and value in the world of gaming.

When it comes to buying games, we expect certain things in terms of how much content we get in exchange for our money. However, those base expectations change over time. I remember buying some NES and SNES games (costing between $50 and $70) that I easily beat in a few hours, and those were generally linear action games with practically no incentive to replay them. Unless you were into role-playing games, spending 30-plus hours on a single playthrough was rare.

These days, the landscape is different. When a $60 game sits on the shelf beside the likes of Skyrim and Red Dead Redemption, it has a higher bar to clear. Not every game needs to be a sprawling open world or offer endless hours of multiplayer matches, but the general trend has shifted in that direction, which makes it harder to entice gamers to buy a title that offers less content – regardless of how good that more compact experience may be.