A Brutal Open World Playground

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A Brutal Open World Playground

Last year, Bend Studio showed off a first look at Days Gone, in which hero Deacon St. John fled and fought his way through a desperate escape from what appeared to be zombies. After that early demo, many aspects of the game remain undetailed. This year’s E3 presentation painted a far different picture, and made it clear that Days Gone is in fact an open world action and survival game, filled with brutal violence, constant danger, and a variety of solutions to any encounter. 

Bend showed off one version of its 2017 E3 demo at Sony’s press conference, but it was only after I saw the game played behind closed doors the next day that the real sense of the game emerged. That second demo showed off the same major beats of encounters as the one that was presented on stage, but a different time of day, weather, and pathing vector into the battles made the experience feel totally different.

With the cold of winter snow, the freakers (infected humans) are more powerful, and at night there are more of these freakers moving through the world. Setting off to save his friend from some marauders, Deacon rides on his signature motorcycle; Bend says that Deacon’s connection to his bike is a central aspect of the game experience, and it seems like there will be ways to improve it over time. 

Samus Looks And Feels Great On 3DS

about X hours ago from
Samus Looks And Feels Great On 3DS

Arguably the biggest surprise of E3 2017 was the announcement, finally, of a new 2D Metroid game. And not only was it announced, but it isn't too far away. Metroid Prime 4 exists in the ambiguous future of, "beyond 2017," but we will be able to play Metroid: Samus Returns on September 15.

For my hands on time with the game, I got to play the game's opening. It wasn't an isolated demo created for E3 as far as I know, as they let me play through the game's opening and quite literally had take the 3DS out of my hand in order to prevent me from progressing any further.

A few stills open the game's story, which benefit from the stereoscopic 3D. The game's producer (and director of Super Metroid) Yoshio Sakamoto says the game's story is unchanged from the original Metroid II released on Game Boy in 1991. After outlining her destination, Samus lands on the planet and departs from her ship. The game feels fantastic. Holding down the left trigger plants Samus' feet so she can aim in any direction and the X button performs a melee attack that can counter enemy attacks. The prompts to counter are clearly broadcasted with audio and visual cues, and though I missed the first few prompts, it did not take long to block and blast nearly every enemy that I attacked.

A Fun Mix Of Pinball And Adventure

about X hours ago from
A Fun Mix Of Pinball And Adventure

The idea of making a pinball game that ventures outside the pinball table isn't new. Games like Sonic Spinball, Odama, and Kirby's Pinball Land have melded the progression of a single-player game with the speed and timing of pinball to varying results. Yoku's Island Express is the latest game to give the idea a go, and from I played of it at this year's E3, it has a lot of potential.

Playing as Yoku the Dung Beetle, you land on the island of Mokumana to replace its current mailman. As is usually the case in situations like this, it's not that simple. Pushing a small boulder around, you quickly find that much of the path has been blocked off, and can only be traversed tethering yourself to the boulder and and using the many flippers and bumpers strewn around the island to move around. Though the colored pinball components look out of place on the island, moving with the analog stick and bouncing around the island feels completely natural. After a short learning period, I never felt the instinctual urge to press the A button to jump. I did, however, occasionally forget which trigger to press to activate which flipper, though the game color codes these (yellow for right, blue for left).

Hiding Depth Behind Charm

about X hours ago from
Hiding Depth Behind Charm

I came into my playtime with Mario + Rabbids with a certain degree of trepidation. After my initial surprise at seeing these two properties being mashed together, I quickly began  wondering about how well the franchises could play together, and also worried about the idea of a tactical combat game being the genre in which they would merge. 

After an extended gameplay demo, I’m happy to say that many of my concerns have been assuaged. Kingdom Battle is a charming and colorful affair, and it offers plenty of homages to the Mario fiction and gameplay for devoted fans. Meanwhile, the core combat loop is engaging and nuanced, riffing heavily off the formula established in the recent XCOM games, but adding humor and mechanics that evoke the adventures of Mario and his crew. 

A Beautiful And Familiar Thrill

about X hours ago from
A Beautiful And Familiar Thrill

E3 has provided our first chance to get hands-on with the standard non-VR version of Ace Combat 7 on PS4. The game had previously teased out some first looks on PSVR. For players who’ve been longing for a return to form for Bandai Namco’s arcade-leaning flight combat game, I’ve got good news. For better or worse, the gameplay returns to what we’ve seen before in this newest numbered entry. At the same time, the gorgeous plane, cloud, sky, and ground visuals may be enough to charm even returning air warfare veterans. 

After a minor departure from both setting (into the real world) and gameplay with Assault Horizon, Ace Combat 7 returns to the fiction and gameplay conceits that have characterized the prior games in the Ace Combat series. I was struck during my playthrough of a mission how quickly I fell back into familiar patterns of banking turns, firing off missiles, and dropping flares to dodge enemy fire. In fact, that sense of familiarity is perhaps the biggest challenge facing Ace Combat 7; the game feels wrapped up in a play paradigm that has remained largely unchanged for many years and multiple iterations. 

Encounter Space Giants In Virtual Reality

about X hours ago from
Encounter Space Giants In Virtual Reality

Star Child is a space-themed sidescroller played in virtual reality. Rather than utilizing VR as a way to immerse the player from a first-person perspective, Star Child instead opts to use virtual reality as a way to enhance its third-person camera.

Star Child’s E3 2017 announcement trailer follows the player character as she navigates past towering mechs and mystical interstellar creatures. Towards the end of the trailer, she is gently picked up and comes face-to-face with a gigantic machine. It'll be interesting to see if developer Playful can magnify the player's sense of scope by utilizing virtual reality.

Star Child will release on PlayStation VR. No release window was given.

The Adorable Action Adventure Is Coming To PlayStation VR

about X hours ago from
The Adorable Action Adventure Is Coming To PlayStation VR

Moss is a new action-adventure puzzle game coming to PlayStation VR. 

You play as an ephemeral being that helps a lovable mouse named Quill by helping her battle enemies, move objects, and manipulate the field of play. Over the course of the game you'll solve puzzles, travel to fantastic environments, and battle enemies in an attempt to save Quill's uncle from a distant evil. 

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Knack Is Back

about X hours ago from
Knack Is Back

The action-platformer developed by SIE Japan Studio returns, looking to reinvigorate the franchise with improved combat and platforming mechanics.

Poor combat variety plagued the original installment, restricting players with limited attacks, finite health, and frequent deaths. Knack emphasized the action portion heavily, leading to little diversity and subsequent monotony. The developers seem intent on resolving these shortcomings, focusing on increasing the range of combat mechanisms to include charge attacks, aerial slams, blocking, and more. In addition, Knack 2 accentuates the platforming aspect of the game, creating environments with significant verticality and obstacle variety.

Another big draw for players comes in the form of cooperative mode, which offers even more gameplay options with unique attacks and additional incentives.

The New Multiplayer Thriller Comes To PS4 Later This Year

about X hours ago from
The New Multiplayer Thriller Comes To PS4 Later This Year

The creators of Until Dawn just announced a new thriller where your choices matter. The difference? So do your friends'. 

Hidden Agenda has you and your friends controlling the decisions of a homicide investigator and a district attorney who are currently involved in the case of a serial killer called The Trapper. With Until Dawn, Supermassive noticed that many people played in groups and made collective decisions, so in Hidden Agendas, they allow you and up to five friends to vote on decisions via your phones.

The second-screen functionality doesn't stop there. Occasionally a hidden agenda will be secretly passed to a player's phone. It's up to the group to figure out who has the agenda and what it is while that player tries to remain hidden and get the group to vote his or her way.

Cartoony Golf Action Hits PlayStation 4 In This New Trailer

about X hours ago from
Cartoony Golf Action Hits PlayStation 4 In This New Trailer

The long-running arcade golf series Everybody's Golf is making its way to the current generation this summer. Beginning on the original PlayStation in 1997, the series was formerly known as Hot Shots Golf in North America.

This entry still retains the same three-click shot mechanic fans have grown to expect from Everybody's Golf, and will include character customization, a number of online modes, and bonus games like fishing, buggy racing, and treasure hunting.

Whether you enjoy real golf or not, you'll likely find something to keep you occupied in this irreverent golfing simulator. Everybody's Golf is coming to PlayStation 4 on August 29 for $39.99. Check out the trailer and screens below.