The Difficulty Of Lists

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Creating lists – the top games of a generation or a year – is something I've been asked to do many times over the years. While throwing together a list might seem easy – or arbitrary – it's an interesting exercise, forcing you to consider what elements make up the concept of "quality" and what aspects of games are more important to you.

In order to talk about this, I'm going to reveal two games that will be on my personal 2014 Top 10: Sirvo's mobile puzzle game Threes! and Naughty Dog's The Last of Us: Left Behind DLC. I selected these two examples because they represent the core of what I'm talking about. I don't think you could find two games more different in concept, purpose, and execution.

Threes! is a simple, number matching slide-puzzle game – extremely polished and very addictive. It's a game I played nearly every day of the year and I'm still not tired of it. The Last of Us: Left Behind is a brief, poignant character study that fleshes out some of the story and characters of my favorite game of 2013. I was skeptical about the idea of The Last of Us DLC, and I'm happy to say that Left Behind managed to add to the story in a meaningful and important way – while providing some pulse-pounding gameplay and even adding new dynamics in the enemy AI.

Creating The Infinite Soundtrack Of No Man's Sky

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Odds are that you fell in love with the E3 2014 trailer of No Man's Sky, and the track from the band 65daysofstatic had a lot to do with that. Not only did Hello Games license their song "Debutante" for that trailer, but the partnership between the studio and the band has blossomed into 65daysofstatic composing the entire game's soundtrack and creating a No Man's Sky album. While visiting the Hello Games studio for our January cover story on No Man's Sky, we were able to sit down and discuss the past and future of the collaboration with members of the development team and half of the band. Not only is the galaxy within the game procedurally-generated, but 65daysofstatic and Hello Games are working to create a procedurally-generated soundscape so that every planet will be coupled with a unique musical experience. It's an ambitious plan (but you should be used to that by now if you're following No Man's Sky) so watch the video to learn how they are tackling the project. We should note that the video contains footage from the band's No Man's Sky concert at PSX 2014 (which you can learn more about here) and a majority of the music is not content from the upcoming soundtrack album.

Opinion – Not Being Able To Pause Cutscenes Is Infuriating

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Opinion – Not Being Able To Pause Cutscenes Is Infuriating

I had to restart Far Cry 4 six times recently because I couldn’t pause the opening cutscene. As the soldiers appeared with their mirrors to look under the bus in the game’s opening cutscene, my daughter, who has an antagonistic relationship with bedtime, continually demanded my presence.

The start button was no help and neither were any of the face buttons. The giant rectangular button in the middle of the PlayStation 4 controller (which I’ve heard rumor is also a touchpad) did little to pause the action. I tried pressing the PlayStation button to pull me back to the home menu, but that didn’t work – the cutscene soldiered on. I tried pressing the share button assuming it would pause the game while I crafted an annoyed tweet about not being able to pause cutscenes, but that didn’t work either. The only solution I could ultimately find was to close the Far Cry 4 application and start over from scratch.

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Other Game Series That Deserve The Theatrhythm Treatment

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Final Fantasy is a huge series with lots of memorable tracks – enough tracks to fill up two rhythm games, as it turns out. It’s not the only series (and nether is Dragon Quest), however, full of enough fantastic music to merit its own dedicated rhythm game release.

CastlevaniaMuch like Final Fantasy, Castlevania has been releasing with a fair amount of consistency since the Nintendo era, and they all have great music. Even the Lords of Shadows games, which are noteworthy for reasons other than their soundtracks, could comfortably have a few songs in the game. Since most of Castlevania’s tunes are upbeat and fast, it would make especially good rhythm game fodder.

Best conceivable track: Bloody Tears from Castlevania II: Simon's Quest, basically because it’s a classic.(Please visit the site to view this media)

Replay – Dino Crisis 2

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Dino Crisis 2 is not your typical sequel. Regina is in the starring role again, but the slow-moving, survival-horror framework from her first adventure is nowhere to be found. This time around, the focus is on run-and-gun action. From the outset of play, the game empowers the player with weapons that can drop dozens of raptors in no time flat. The look of the game harks back to the original Resident Evil titles, but the action is completely different, for better or worse.

To truly see how different this entry is, we recommend watching our Replay of the first Dino Crisis title before jumping into the video below. As always, stick around for our second segment to watch the Game Informer crew put another game through its paces.

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Test Chamber – We’re Hilariously Bad At The Halo 5: Guardians Beta

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Test Chamber – We’re Hilariously Bad At The Halo 5: Guardians Beta

We got an early peak at The Halo 5 multiplayer Beta, and while it took us over 12 minutes to get into our first match, now that we've started playing we can't stop. The beta officially opens on December 29 and runs for three weeks. If you bought a copy of Halo: The Master Chief Collection, then you’re already signed up.

Watch Wade Wojcik and myself as we enthusiastically dive into the beta. We're not the best people on the team, but we are the worst. Check out what we think of the game so far in the video below.

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The Secret Story Behind No Man's Sky

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No Man’s Sky has captured imaginations since it was first announced at last year’s VGX awards. The space-exploration game is incredibly ambitious, with an entire galaxy of procedurally generated worlds to explore. It’s especially impressive considering how small Hello Games is, hovering at about a dozen employees. During our cover story trip to their Guildford, England, studios, we spent a considerable amount of time talking about the project’s origin. As it turns out, it’s a story that’s even weirder than we expected.

Judging by the scale of the game and the size of the team, you might assume that work on No Man’s Sky began as an all-hands-on-deck effort following the release of Joe Danger 2. Instead, it began several years before that, as a splinter project within the studio. For a year, a four-person group worked in isolation within the walls of Hello Games, in a secret space with its own entrance and a mirrored window that peered into the rest of the office. They recognize how odd it may seem to outsiders, but there was a definite method to their apparent madness. Here’s the story of the secret development of No Man’s Sky.

Zampella Discusses Titanfall's Future And Respawn's Mystery Project

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We caught up with Respawn CEO Vince Zampella to talk about the first year of Titanfall, the future of the franchise, and what affect the hire of God of War III director Stig Asmussen has had on the studio. Zampella, as always, was candid, and if you pay attention there is always something to read between the lines. 

Respawn just completed its season pass for Titanfall, so overall how are things going?

I think they're going well, the game was obviously pretty successful. I think we announced 7 million units a month ago or so or whatever...We're obviously still selling so we are closing in on 8 million now. So for us, as an early launch on a limited platform we're pretty happy. I think the DLC has been pretty successful especially the last one - Frontier's Edge - has been very well received. I don't know what are you hearing about it? I would be interested to hear your take.

Five Slam-Dunk Telltale Collaborations After Minecraft: Story Mode

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Five Slam-Dunk Telltale Collaborations After Minecraft: Story Mode

Today Telltale announced their collaboration with Mojang for Minecraft: Story Mode. This narrative-driven spin-off isn't an add-on to the crafting and exploration phenomenon; rather it's an episodic standalone title in the vein of Telltale's The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us series. Minecraft is known for fostering unique, player-crafted experiences rather than scripted narratives, which makes the pairing really weird at first glance. But upon further examining Telltale's recent move, we've thought of a few other games that would be perfect fits with the developer's choice-driven narrative formula.

Tales from Gran Turismo 7The connection between Sony's premiere racing/car-tuning series and Telltale's storytelling style is obvious right out of the gate. Unlocking new cars by winning races is okay, sure, but true fans want to lift the helmet off the anonymous automaton driver. Why is he driving so fast, and what is he driving away from? Finding an exhaust pipe that makes your Honda Civic slightly better would mean so much more if you knew about the factory workers who assembled it, and whether or not they're hungry for a granola bar.

Test Chamber – The Final Super Smash Bros. 8-Player Spectacular

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Test Chamber – The Final Super Smash Bros. 8-Player Spectacular

We've threatened to stop playing 8-player Super Smash Bros. on multiple occasions – but this time we mean it. This is definitely the last time (probably).

Join Andrew Reiner, Wade Wojcik, Ben Hanson, Jeff Cork, and myself and no other editors as we play one final set of of 8-player Super Smash Bros. Wii U rounds to give interns Matt Stolpe, Jason Dafnis, and Sam Stewart the send-off they deserve – one where they go flying off the stage and lose a precious stock.

This is the last time we plan on gathering a Wii U, a copy of Super Smash Bros., two GameCube adapters, eight GameCube controllers, and eight players to battle on video, but if you want to witness more of the insanity, you can find episodes one, two, three, four, five and, six by following the links.