Everything You Need To Know About Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward

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Ever since Final Fantasy XIV’s inception, Ishgard has been closed off to players, teasing them with its mysteries. Over the past few months, the MMO's plot has been leading players there. The upcoming Heavensward expansion provides the chance to finally step into Ishgard, and it’s packed with a ton of new content to make the trip worthwhile. Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect.

A New Storyline

As with every area, Ishgard holds its own mysteries and struggles. The new expansion places you in the Holy See of Ishgard during the thousand-year Dragonsong War. Expect lots of dragons, since Isghard is known as the “home of the dragons.” As you explore, you’ll uncover what led to this war; Square Enix is keeping a lot of the plot under wraps, so we don’t know specifics, but at the very least you can expect juicy new story content.

A Brief Look At Puzzle & Dragons Super Mario Edition For 3DS

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A Brief Look At Puzzle & Dragons Super Mario Edition For 3DS

While many of us diligently play games on PC and console, an enormous portion of the worldwide population gravitates toward mobile and social gaming. Sitting on the top of a mountain of money is Gung Ho's Puzzle & Dragons, the first mobile title to cross the $1 billion revenue mark.

The title has crossed over with a number of other games and even licensed properties, but the next one might be the most ambitious. Gung Ho is teaming with Nintendo to bring a two-pack of standalone, premium Puzzle & Dragons games to 3DS.

Launching in May, Puzzle & Dragons Z and Puzzle & Dragons Super Mario Edition are two different takes on the formula. I had a chance to play the Super Mario version, and was pleasantly surprised at the mash-up.

Learn More About The Witcher 3's Other Playable Character, Ciri

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At PAX East, I had the chance to get my hands on The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt for the first time. While the combat feels familiar, the open-world and more intimate character development that take place from the start feel like a maturity in an already outstanding series.

The game opens with a cinematic sequence that is gorgeous and gruesome. The story smartly cuts back and forth between a combat sequence and Geralt's investigation of the scene some time later. The game looks quite stunning, and I found out later that it wasn't even running at the highest settings.

Shortly thereafter, we find Geralt at the witcher enclave. His body is still scarred, but he's clearly much younger.

Hands-On With Firewatch: Humor, Frenzy, And A Ton Of Intrigue

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Hands-On With Firewatch: Humor, Frenzy, And A Ton Of Intrigue

Campo Santo holds a lot of promising talent with members who previously worked at studios such as Telltale, 2K Marin, Klei Entertainment, Double Fine, and Lionhead. Its debut game, Firewatch, has been largely under wraps with only a few clues trickled out here and there. With details so vague, many aren't sure what to expect from the game. Getting some hands-on time finally clarified a bit about the adventure, even if it still has an aura of mystery to it.

Some of the best storytelling only provides the audience a few details, letting them fill in the blanks. Firewatch capitalizes on this marvelously. When you start Firewatch, you know very little about the man whose shoes you're about to step into. The year is 1989, Henry has fallen on some hard times. His marriage is on the rocks and he's had a problem with drinking and driving. It's been a crappy year, and so Henry he needs a change of pace, taking a job as a fire lookout in Wyoming. Transported straight to the middle of nowhere, you begin your journey in first-person as Henry without even knowing if he's a good guy or not.

New Presentation Focuses On The Battle System And Character Progression

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Earlier today the 2nd Xenoblade Chronicles X Direct hit Japan and this time the focus was on the combat of the game. As I did for the Exploration Direct, I’m going to walk you through all of the information we learned from watching the presentation. This Direct was densely packed with information so let’s get started.

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The trailer begins in earnest around the 2:20 mark. Elma walks us through the basics of battle. Like Xenoblade, combat alternates between using the basic auto attacks and choosing when to unleash your arts which are on cool down timers. Unlike Xenoblade, every character can swap between close range weapons like swords and long range weapons like guns. Each of these attacks have different properties, so you’ll need to choose the right weapon for the proper situations.

Badland Offers Great 4-Player Co-Op Fun On PS4

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Badland Offers Great 4-Player Co-Op Fun On PS4

Back in 2013, the beautiful, silhouetted simplicity of Frogmind's Badland won the developer one of Apple's Game of the Year awards (read our review here). After over 20 million downloads on mobile devices, the game is now being updated for wider release on consoles, PC, and Vita. I got my hands on the enhanced PlayStation 4 version of the game and played around with modes like co-op and deathmatch.

Badland contains the original 100-level single-player campaign, along with 100 co-op levels and a number of bonus stages that were offered as DLC packs on mobile devices. These stages have been modified to accommodate the new control scheme. The original Badland's controls were as simple as pressing the screen to make the little round critters flap their arms and fly. Now an extra degree of control has been added thanks to the controller's analog stick. The extra movement is subtle, but helps for fine-tuning your trajectory through narrow gaps.

Blizzard Entertainment Reveals New Characters, Beta Release Next Fall

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Blizzard Entertainment Reveals New Characters, Beta Release Next Fall

Blizzard has announced two new characters for its multiplayer first-person shooter, Overwatch. The pink-haired Zarya is the game's first female tanker, and McCree is a cybernetic gunslinger. These two faces join characters we've already heard about, like Tracer and Reaper.

Zarya brute force will be a powerful asset to players, as she shoots enemies with her particle cannon. Additionally, she has the Graviton Surge special ability, which holds enemies in a gravity force barrier. McCree wields a revolver and can throw grenades at oncoming enemies. He has a unique ability called Dead Eye that can be used to target multiple enemies at one time. 

Check out the character trailers below.

Virtual Reality And The Horror Of Deep-Sea Isolation

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We took a look at Honor Code's deep-sea horror game, Narcosis, when it was first revealed last year. Today at GDC 2015 Jeff Cork and I had a chance to strap on the latest version of the Oculus Rift VR kit and explore a flooded, derelict underwater research station. We discuss our impressions of the game's scariness and the use of VR.

Tim: Jeff, had you ever tried out the Oculus Rift before our hands-on demo with Narcosis at GDC?

Jeff: Nope. For whatever reason, I've never had any demos for games that used the device, and I never got around to trying out the one we had in the office. I'm not anti VR or anything, but I'm not frothing at the mouth to stick my face in one of those things, either.

Changing The Scope And Scale Of RTS Battles

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Changing The Scope And Scale Of RTS Battles

Today at GDC, I got to see a demo from Oxide Games' newly announced RTS, Ashes of the Singularity. It features an interesting approach to unit management, nicely lit explosions, and, oh, a few thousand ships blasting at one another with lasers and missiles, thanks to the studio's Nitrous engine.

The game's set in a far-off future, where mankind has transcended its flimsy physical husks in favor of an uploaded consciousness. Those post-humans are locked in all-out war with a rival faction, the A.I. Substrate. And as I saw, "All-out war," means more than few ships circling around and taking potshots.

Stardock brand manager Adam Biessener walked me through the demo, which was appropriately focused on the game's technology. [Full disclosure: Biessener was a longtime PC editor at Game Informer before working at Stardock.]

New Gameplay Teaser For The Screen Warping Adventure Unveiled

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New Gameplay Teaser For The Screen Warping Adventure Unveiled

At GDC 2015, Curve Digital announced that it is bringing Ludo Land’s Four Sided Fantasy to Wii U, Xbox One, PS4, PS3, and Vita, in addition to the already announced PC version. The game's main gimmick is that you can toggle on and off the ability to warp from one side of the screen to the other in order to navigate the environment.

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If you want to see more of Four Sided Fantasy in action, you can look at Ludo Land’s Kickstarter page. Not only does their Kickstarter page show many GIFs hinting at how the puzzles will evolve over time, it also offers some artwork for the main character – an unnamed businessman who wants to escape from the boredom of his office job.