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THE Top Games Zone

The Top Games Zone aggregator - aggregated feeds in category Games
  • Game Informer News Feed: Apes A-Poppin'
    Publisher: Bandai Namco
    Developer: Arc System Works
    Rating: Teen
    Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC

    A very, very short trailer for Dragon Ball FighterZ's next character has appeared, showing off Dragon Ball GT Kid Goku's super attacks. These attacks include his transformations, including the either maligned-or-loved Super Saiyan 4 Goku.

    Click here to watch embedded media

    For his level 1 super, Goku goes Super Saiyan 3 for a short blast, but his stronger super turns him into the adult and decidedly hairier Super Saiyan 4. This form has been more or less scratched out of canon, but so has Super Saiyan Bardock and we saw that super move a billion times during Evo last year. Maybe non-canon moves will just end up being stronger for some reason.

    The newest Goku to join the roster lands on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC on May 9.

  • Game Informer News Feed: Anthem Fixes Major Problems, Delays Everything Else
    Publisher: Electronic Arts
    Developer: BioWare
    Rating: Teen
    Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

    I am not sure if it has been a bumpy road for Anthem or not. It seems like it crested the hill it needed to crest and then just sort of stalled after that. Bioware has promised to fix the major complaints about their multiplayer shooter as soon as possible and, at least as far as today's update goes, some of that is true.

    The 1.1.0 patch released today makes some much-needed quality of life changes to the game, namely having to do with how often you need to go back to Fort Tarsis or the launch bay. You can now select contracts from the mission board without needing to physically be in front of the mission board, and you can also choose a new mission right from the end of the mission you just finished. Perhaps most crucially, you now possess the ability to access the Forge during missions, strongholds and freeplay. 

    So that's all good! Unfortunately, it looks like the roadmap for the future is going to take a little while longer in the meantime. On the game's subreddit, Bioware's head of live services Chad Robertson and Anthem's lead producer Ben Irving wrote that a detour is being taken at the moment.

    "While we have delivered many of the Act 1 features on time, we are not going to hit all the goals on our Act 1 Calendar," the two said in the subreddit post. "We have been prioritizing things like bug fixes, stability and game flow over the new features of Act 1. We set aside time for this work, but the reality is there are more things to fix and improve than we planned for. While this is the best thing to do for the game, it means some items from the calendar will be delayed."

    That list of what will be delayed includes a few freeplay events, the second phase of legendary missions, guilds, the weekly stronghold challenge, leaderboards, the mastery system, and Cataclysms, the expansion-style content meant to come out every so often. It is not a small list. Bioware says that, when they have information on when these things will come, they will release it.

    Anthem is currently available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

  • Game Informer News Feed: For Honor Introduces Murderous New Combatant Sakura
    Publisher: Ubisoft
    Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
    Rating: Mature
    Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

    There was a time where it looked like For Honor may be on the short list of Ubisoft live service games that just don't make it very far and the company would eventually move past or take another run at with a sequel. But here we are, several years and updates later, and For Honor is still keeping its community fairly strong. It looks like there will be another reason for fans to keep playing, as Ubisoft reveals For Honor's newest character, a warrior named Sakura.

    With a ghostly yet demonic voice and a bloody weapon, Sakura comes equipped to the battlefield with everything she needs to defeat her foes. Check out the cinematic trailer introducing her below.

    Click here to watch embedded media

    There's not a whole lot of details about the new Japanese warrior yet, but she will be in the third year's second season, so it won't be too a wait. I just know that if I saw that at the other end of a bridge in Sekiro, my personal terror bar would probably go up.

    For Honor is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

  • Gamespot News Feed: SteamWorld Quest Review - Letting Off Some Steam

    It's easy to be immediately charmed by SteamWorld Quest's colorful fantasy world and the band of merry heroes you'll journey across it with. Their plight is simple and straightforward, making its adventure of confronting evil and its tightening grip on the kingdom around you palatable without feeling overbearing. Underneath this whimsical veneer, however, is a daunting strategy game, one which uses its clever take on turn-based card combat to create a wickedly complex system of decision-making opportunities. But it's also one that is designed intelligently enough to make each part easy to learn and engage with.

    With regard to gameplay, SteamWorld Quest bears no resemblance to the rest of the games in the series. This is first and foremost a turn-based strategy game, with a light sprinkling of role-playing thrown into the mix in the form of character classes to differentiate each of your five potential party members. Each character features a variety of moves that deal different types of damage and inflict status effects on foes. Fire attacks will deal additional damage to enemies that deal frost, electrical attacks will have the chance to stun enemies for several turns, and poison will inflict recurring damage over time. It's easy to pick up and play, which helps SteamWorld Quest get you right into its combat without strenuous onboarding.

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    The act of deciding what moves to enact in combat is a bit more complex, though. It's governed by a deck of 24 cards, made up by your party of three who can bring eight cards each. In battle, new cards are drawn with each turn, while your deck resets automatically once depleted. Cards that represent the most basic moves in your repertoire cost nothing to play and in turn reward you with cogs once placed on the field. These cogs act as a currency that you spend to play more powerful cards--ones that inflict greater damage, target multiple enemies, or buff your party with helpful attributes--making you consider when to hold back and when to go all in.

    The process of constructing a deck that works cohesively is as engaging as combat itself. You can combine multiple character-specific cards in powerful ways; for example, simply playing all three of one character's cards in a turn will play a bonus fourth move automatically, which itself is governed by the weapon you choose to equip on the character in question. Some cards will perform better when used as a follow-up to a specific character's card, boosting damage or adding a bonus effect. Your effectiveness in combat then is not just about the decks you construct, but all the ways in which you use the hands dealt to you efficiently. All these options can initially feel overwhelming, but the restriction to just eight cards per character condenses your options down to a level that balances its complexity without sacrificing its potential depth.

    Combat is accentuated by delicately detailed character models that do a great job of retaining the signature SteamWorld look while also slickly adapting to the new high-fantasy setting. The vibrant coloring on each main character is also aptly used to inform you of what type of abilities they bring to the table. The red-hot knight's armor of Armilly alludes to her ferocious fire-based attacks, while the yellow and rose-petal adorned gown of a mysterious samurai flows with each of his fast-striking electrical attacks. Being able to tell this information at a glance is helpful, and on top of that, each design looks great.

    Stylistic and impressively detailed effects also help each combat encounter feel intense, despite having a turn-based rhythm. Blistering fireballs explode in a blaze of red and orange glory on impact, and electrifying lightning attacks bounce furiously between foes while engulfing them in static. Some moves have repeated effects, layering damage numbers and sprites atop one another furiously until the attack has ended. These often resulted in the frame rate dropping to a complete crawl at times, however, and it was most prominent when the Switch was running in docked mode. It's infrequent enough to not hinder gameplay, but it is an eyesore when it does crop up.

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    That's a shame, because SteamWorld Quest looks delightful both inside and outside of combat, sucking you into its steampunk-inspired medieval world. The bold outline that each character bears helps them stick out from the hand-drawn backdrops you explore, but none of those backdrops go unnoticed, either. Gorgeous and brightly coloured forests contrast dark and gloomy castles whose hallways are sparsely lit with auburn lanterns. Your adventure also moves you along from one intriguing setting to the next, letting you take in the sights of an abandoned sorcery school before whisking you away to snow-capped mountains with billowing winds. Each chapter of SteamWorld Quest gives you something new to look at, and it's always a rewarding transition.

    With so many combat options to play around with and captivating backdrops to accompany them, it's disappointing that SteamWorld Quest struggles to find a balance in its difficulty. Each chapter--broken up into small areas filled with either small treasure to collect or groups of enemies to fight--features increasingly varied foes to test your decks against. Despite their changing movesets and elemental defences, most regular enouncters feel too easy, rarely forcing you to consider strategic changes to your constructed decks or active party members. At a point I was simply making changes for the sake of curiosity and not necessity. This can trick you into a false sense of security, encouraging you to focus on only a subset of cards available to each character. This becomes problematic when SteamWorld Quest suddenly introduces daunting and demanding combat scenarios, while giving you few avenues to rectify poor past choices.

    These encounters are predominantly made up of SteamWorld Quest's nightmarish boss battles. They are far more challenging than the foes that litter the areas around them, acting as unfair skill checks that ask you to understand your abilities in ways you're not required to elsewhere. Since you can only store a single saved game at a time, it's impossible to go back a handful of hours and better prepare your party, either, locking you into the decisions you've made and forcing you to rapidly rotate though your available options until a combination (hopefully) works. It's frustrating, too, because most of these bosses can feel like they break the rules of combat that all other enemies conform to. They can consistently pull off powerful moves one after the other without the same strict resource requirements you're confined to, bombarding you with damage you can't wrestle with effectively. Given that most of these encounters can be prolonged bouts, it's hard to work up the motivation to try again after a loss.

    The process of constructing a deck that works cohesively is as engaging as combat itself.

    Outside of its frequent and occasionally rigorous combat encounters, SteamWorld Quest plays it safe. Its narrative is framed as a story being told to characters you might be familiar with from other SteamWorld games, giving it a subtle attachment to the rest of the series. It is a simple, sometimes juvenile tale of a band of misfits coming together and vanquishing an uncomplex force of evil. It retains the same tongue-in-cheek wit of past SteamWorld games, with chuckle-worthy one-liners thrown in throughout. It keeps the narrative light and humorous, even as it eventually explores the purpose of heroes in an age where no one seems to care about society one way or the other. Although SteamWorld Quest falls short of ever saying something meaningful, it does leave the door open for even more tales in the future.

    It's difficult to ignore Steamworld Quest's missteps, especially when it transforms itself from a delightful romp through a light-hearted medieval kingdom into a grueling test against unfair enemies. Despite most encounters not pushing you to play with new party configurations, building a powerful deck of moves is still rewarding when you see your clever experiments play out. Quest gives you a lot of complex combinations to play around with while also keeping things approachable enough to not feel daunting. Its uneven difficulty saps some enjoyment out of the otherwise whimsical journey through this new and gorgeous kingdom, but it's still one that is admirably accessible while deep enough to be engaging throughout its 20-hour adventure.

  • Game Informer News Feed: Sekiro Gets A Patch Tonight That Calms That Bull
    Publisher: Activision
    Developer: From Software
    Rating: Mature
    Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

    If you're one of the many still working your way through Sekiro, From Software's recently-released ninja action game, there might be some respite coming for you soon. An update scheduled to go live tonight will make a few changes in the game and attempt to make it easier for players to diversify the way they fight enemies by using more shinobi tools.

    To begin with, the Blazing Bull has been toned down in the new update. The midboss, who appears shortly after the game's first real boss, ended up being a real wall for a lot of players. Up to that point, most enemies you fight are some manner of pragmatic human that acts with some rationality, while the Bull kind of stomps your face in with reckless abandon. The bull's posture and vitality have been "slightly" reduced, so it's not a walk in the park now, but it's a bit more manageable.

    The bulk of the other changes are centered around the shinobi prosthetic. Seemingly From has gotten feedback of players not using ninja tools because they're afraid they'll run out of spirit emblems, so a number of tools have been made more efficient. You'll be spending fewer spirit emblems to use them, because From Software really wants you to use them.

    You'll also find more divine confetti as drops from vanquished foes and information from Anayama the Peddler will decrease in cost post-patch.

    Sekiro is currently available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

  • Game Informer News Feed: Fortnite Teases A More Extensive Collaboration With Avengers
    Publisher: Epic Games
    Developer: Epic Games
    Rating: Teen
    Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC, Mac, iOS

    A few weeks ago, dataminers discovered a reference to Thanos in the game's update files, strongly suggesting a return of the Thanos mode in Fortnite Battle Royale that had appeared a year prior. That mode was made fairly quickly due to an unlikely mutual fandom between Epic Games and the Avengers: Infinity War directors, the Russo brothers, but it looks like an extra year has given Epic time to do the collaboration justice.

    A new tease on the Fortnite Twitter account isn't being subtle about the fact that Avengers content is coming to Fortnite and likely soon. The tweet simply reads "Whatever it takes," followed by the date for Avengers: Endgame's theatrical release, and the hashtag "#FortniteXAvengers" at the end.

    While definitely expository, the tweet doesn't give us a whole lot of information, as is typical of Epic's Fortnite teases. The shield in the picture is obviously Captain America's, so there will probably be Avengers-themed items in the mix this time around. Will you be able to don the Iron Man suit? Can you swing around buildings like Spider-Man? Will you have to gather infinity stones? There's a lot of different possibilities.

    Fortnite is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC, and mobile devices. Avengers: Endgame releases on April 25 in theaters.

  • Gamespot News Feed: Mortal Kombat 11 Review In Progress

    The new big bad in Mortal Kombat is named Kronika, and she's causing a ruckus by messing with time and rewriting history. Characters are getting erased or colliding with their past selves, while alliances are reverting and new ones are being made--it's the kind of chaos that's ripe for conflict. Nothing that happened with Mortal Kombat before really matters anymore; the series is giving itself a clean slate, and not just with the lore in the story. Netherrealm's multifaceted fighting system has been streamlined, and comprehensive tutorials and practice functions are focussed on making sure no matter where you're coming from, you're well-equipped to dive deep into Mortal Kombat 11.

    It's hard not to get excited about the story mode in a Netherrealm game given the studio's history of crafting involved narratives, and Mortal Kombat 11 unsurprisingly delivers an entertaining and polished blockbuster-style cinematic experience with its tale of Kronika's time-bending antics. Combat is woven in with a number of cutscenes, though you'll probably spend more time watching well-choreographed action rather than participating. But the story is a great primer for some of the series' more popular characters nonetheless, and the joys of Kronika's time manipulation means that even if you're a passing fan and aren't up-to-date with all of the wacky stuff that's happened in the universe lately, you can still get a kick out of seeing classic versions of familiar faces, who are just as baffled as you about what's happened to their future selves since.

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    Watching the character interactions between young and old selves are a highlight, and with the exception of a somewhat flat Sonya Blade, the solid performances are endearingly sincere with some unexpected moments of introspection. By the time it ended I was eager for more--more of Johnny Cage being embarrassed by his younger self, more of the bromance between Liu Kang and Kung Lao, the sappy dynamic between parents and children. But the story mode hits that perfect balance of being just enough and not overstaying its welcome. The plot conceits are regularly ridiculous, especially when family members and lovers get into fatal tiffs, but it's a delightfully bombastic and outlandish visual spectacle if nothing else.

    Mortal Kombat 11's eclectic roster includes a solid selection of the series' iconic fighters, along with some of the great additions from Mortal Kombat X, like gunslinger Erron Black and the grotesque insectoid D'Vorah. Three brand new characters do their best to help the lineup branch out--Geras is a tanky character with the ability to rewind and manipulate time, Cetrion is an elder god with flashy elemental powers, the Kollector has a wonderfully unsettling, six-armed demonic design--and they all add an inspired diversity to the familiar roster of magical ninjas and military hard-asses. Character variations also help to keep things diverse. A returning concept from Mortal Kombat X, each character can select between different sets of special moves that alter their playstyle. You can now customize these loadouts in MK11, but only two predetermined movesets are acceptable for serious competitive play. Even so, it means there are a few things to consider when picking which fighter to use.

    Some key changes streamline the mechanics of MK11, resulting in a fighting system that somehow feels more active and aggressive than its predecessors. The special meter system has been simplified to allow for amplified offensive and defensive maneuvers to be used at almost any time--gone is the idea of needing to hold back and save up two or three bars of a meter to perform a particular kind of technique. Dedicated meters for defensive and offensive techniques, along with rapid recharge rates mean amplified techniques can be used a little more liberally. "Fatal Blows" replace MKX's X-Ray techniques, serving as a last-ditch comeback mechanic that can be activated once per match when your health is nearly depleted, adding a heightened tension when things get down to the wire. Significant block damage discourages you from being overly defensive, while learning the perfect-timing demands of the "flawless block" system is encouraged to mitigate some damage and open up turnabout opportunities. Running and stamina meters have been removed and dash distances feel shorter, honing MK11's focus on always being within striking distance of your opponent. All of these tweaks mean there is rarely a low moment in a Mortal Kombat 11 fight.

    If you're new to the series, learning all those intricacies of the fighting system, special moves, and combo strings for characters can be intimidating. Fortunately, Mortal Kombat 11 does a lot to help onboard you to almost all of its concepts. Following the good work seen in Injustice 2, Mortal Kombat 11 features a comprehensive series of fantastic practical tutorials, with everything from teaching you basic attacks to more advanced lessons on managing the ebb and flow of a match, strategies on how to change or maintain the dynamic of a fight (like dealing with corners or projectile spam), and how to approach building your own combos. What's more, there are also a series of tutorials that succinctly break down expert-level concepts, such as one that shows you what frame data is and how it works in clear, visual terms. Not only that, there are lessons on how to interpret that information and use it in a practical scenario--it'll teach you what makes a move "safe" or "unsafe," how to create pressure in a fight, and even how to perform frame traps. It's an impressive resource that doesn't just give you a better understanding of Mortal Kombat 11's systems, but a deeper understanding of fighting game mechanics in general--knowledge that you can take to any other title.

    Character-specific tutorials exist, too, and are more than just a simple rundown of all available techniques. These helpful lessons focus on the most useful and practical abilities and combos for a particular character and give you suggestions on when to use them, the pros and cons of doing so, and what you could follow up with. Furthermore, the in-game move lists are incredibly comprehensive, providing all sorts of helpful data for each move's properties, so you can easily discern something like which of your character's moves has the quickest startup. It's valuable information and knowledge which Netherrealm has been building upon in its last few games and is presented at its best in MK11. Of course, if you're the kind of player that couldn't care less about the advanced stuff and just wants to jump in and see blood spilled, Mortal Kombat 11 can certainly be just as entertaining. Predetermined combo strings, flashy special moves, and humorously over-the-top barbarity means that the game is a joy to watch and participate in, whether the players are just messing around or taking it seriously.

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    In addition to the game's story mode, MK11 sees the return of Klassic Towers, a more straightforward single-player mode where you fight a series of opponents before eventually facing big boss Kronika. But the real meat of the single-player offering is the Towers Of Time, MK11's version of the limited-time ladders seen in other Netherrealm games, which feature unique modifiers that can affect the playing field, combatants, and mechanics. The idea is that the Towers Of Time provide you with an ever-rotating palette of different single-player challenges to take on for various rewards, but the downside is that here, the odds are nearly always stacked against you.

    Some modifiers in the Towers Of Time can affect both you and your opponent equally, like a tilting stage that drains the health of whoever is lower. But more often, the challenges I took on featured negative modifiers that solely affected me, which means they felt horribly cruel and unbalanced. No matter how good you think you are at Mortal Kombat (or how bad you think I am), trying to fight an opponent where you're constantly being targeted and shot and frozen in place by devastating lasers from the sky, or being chased by missiles that turn your screen pitch black if one hits you, is a rotten experience. Being the loner in a 2vs1 match, or fighting a much hardier opponent whose attacks can't be interrupted, is more of an exercise in frustration than it is a hearty challenge.

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    To overcome the more challenging Towers Of Time, MK11 encourages that you make liberal use of "Konsumables," a large variety of limited-use items that you can equip and activate during a fight. These have their own individual properties, whether it be countering a particular modifier effect, or giving you access to an additional ability. The catch is, the way that you obtain these Konsumables is through luck, perhaps earning one through completing other towers, or spending "Koins" you've accumulated from the game's activities to open one of hundreds of randomized chests in the Krypt, MK11's third-person quasi-puzzle-adventure mode designed for unlocking collectables like cosmetics, concept art, and countless other bits and pieces.

    So, there's no guarantee you'll have the right item to help you out on a particular tower, and if you don't, it's going to be a steep uphill battle. But in my experience, even if I did have a suitable item, using it really didn't feel like evening the odds. In the example of the aforementioned blinding missiles, using the item to counter the effects of darkness modifiers meant I could only mitigate one or two missiles before the effect wore off, at which point I would have to wait for the item to come off a long cooldown timer and then manually reactivate it in the middle of the fight, which opens me up to severe punishment from my opponent.

    I've only seen four days worth of Towers during the pre-release review period, so their behavior and difficulty may well change in the future. I'll continue to monitor the challenge varieties in the Towers Of Time during the week of launch to see whether the feeling of overwhelmingly unbalanced odds continues. While MK11's "Premium" microtransaction store wasn't live during the review period, the reliance on Konsumables to help even the odds in Towers Of Time, as well as the random nature of their acquisition, certainly makes me curious as to how you'll be able to spend the game's virtual currency, "Time Krystals," when the store goes live.

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    There's another issue in the way that the game handles its customizable gear for each character. Taking cues from Netherrealm's previous release, Injustice 2, each fighter in Mortal Kombat 11 has three interchangeable pieces of equipment that you're able to receive as a reward, level up, and equip with "augments" once you've done so. The problem is, there's not a lot of motivation to care about that stuff at all. With a few exceptions, gear parts are usually small and aren't a focal point of your character model. You're changing out weapons and pieces of flair rather than entire costume pieces--alternate costumes are predetermined and are unlocked through performing activities like Towers Of Time--so there's little motivation to change them up early on, especially when you'll likely have been earning experience on the default set you've already got equipped. Accruing experience to level up gear for specific characters is a slow process, especially if you like to use multiple fighters; the augments you can equip drop rarely, and the buffs they add for single-player activities are mostly meager. In Injustice 2, even if you didn't really care about the abilities a piece of gear had, they were at least interesting cosmetic parts that you could mix and match to customize a character in your own way for competitive play. Gear in MK11 by comparison just doesn't feel as interesting or meaningful to toy around with.

    MK11 also features a range of online multiplayer modes, including ranked and casual matchmaking, as well as private options like lobbies and the ability to practice with a friend. I'll be testing the performance of these modes over the next week once the game is widely available to the public. Additionally, GameSpot was not provided copies of Mortal Kombat 11 on PC or Nintendo Switch during the review period, and I'll be aiming to spend some time with those versions of the game--the PC release of Mortal Kombat X was certainly not without issues, and I'm curious to see how the game performs in the Switch's handheld mode. This review will remain in-progress until I've had adequate time to get a feel of these aspects, on top of keeping an eye on the Towers Of Time.

    MK11 isn't just a sequel for series fans and Netherrealm devotees, it's a gateway into the realm of fighting games for anyone who has a passing interest in watching ruthless warriors beat each other silly. Streamlined mechanics keep the act of fighting furiously exciting no matter what your skill level, and comprehensive tutorials encourage you to dig into the nitty-gritty. There's a diverse roster of interesting characters and playstyles, and the story mode is an entertaining romp. The unfulfilling approaches to the game's dynamic single-player content and progression may feel like they've totally whiffed (at least at this early stage), but Mortal Kombat 11 hits where it matters.

  • Game Informer News Feed: Adventure Academy Is An Educational MMO Teachers And Students Will Love

    Developer: Age of Learning
    Platform: PC, iOS, Android

    As an elementary school student, I loved computer class for the video games our teachers worked into the curriculum. One game taught me typing skills. While we played, our teacher covered up our keyboards with orange, plastic slips that shrouded the keys, but when she wasn’t looking, I would lift the slip to peek underneath, giving me an edge over the other students on the leaderboard. Playing these games, and the competition that spawned from them, gripped me much more than sitting in a classroom, listening to a teacher drone about math and geography.

    Adventure Academy takes these types of learning games and presents them within the context of an MMO. You still practice your typing skills, read in-game books, expand your vocabulary, and solve basic math problems, but you experience all this within the context of an MMO developed by Age of Learning, the team behind ABCmouse. We spent some time with the game’s beta learning about Beowulf and Joan of Arc while exploring a charming 3D campus.

    Each wing features an exhibit for players to interact with. In the library, students can read about the printing press and learn about Joan of Arc.

    Character creators are part and parcel of many games today, but its inclusion in an educational game might feel novel to a third grader. After sculpting a Lara Croft-inspired character with brown pants and a long braid, the game dropped me into the titular academy. You’re encouraged to explore the campus, featuring wings for each major discipline: science, literature, history, and math. One thing kids will appreciate in Adventure Academy is that it allows them to focus on activities they enjoy. Don’t like math? You can read full-length books like Titanicat. Does history bore you? There’s a library of videos you can watch to learn science.

    You participate in these activities by interacting with kiosks in each wing of the academy, and they take the form of simple flash games. I tried a number of games myself – they’re mechanically simple, and they don’t look as flashy as the game’s 3D world, but each one plays differently, which is another great way the game caters to different players. Some will like the drag-and-drop matching games while others enjoy Jeopardy-style vocabulary activities.

    Most of the exploration-based quests we tried took the form of easy fetch quests, like this one that tasked us with planting trees in the garden.

    A teacher oversees each area, and they issue you a variety of quests to explore on campus. Some take the form of fetch quests, like finding the missing finger bone of the T-Rex on display in the history wing or planting trees in a hidden mulch bed. One interesting quest asks players to locate pages of lore detailing the academy’s history, which are scattered around the building. While these quests were the type of mission I don’t like to see in MMOs, I think their inclusion might excite kids the most. Other players mill about completing quests, and there’s an in-game chat feature that third-grade-Hunter would have loved to use in a classroom. My best friend Jimmy’s assigned seat is across the classroom? Ha! I’ll just message him on Adventure Academy!

    I expect the game to be some players’ first exposure to video game progression systems. You earn experience for completing each activity, and new quests open when you level up, as well as entirely new areas for kids to explore. New wardrobe options, like butterfly wings, backpacks, academy-branded sweaters, and infinity scarves, unlock at higher levels, which are incentives for kids to complete the game’s more educational activities at the kiosks. I was thrilled to see I could unlock a sword for my Lara Croft-themed avatar, and I know with certainty that, in elementary school, I would have obsessed over earning new cosmetic items long after class time.

    Cosmetic items get more unique at higher levels. We saw top hats, cowboy hats, and every type of backpack in the marketplace.

    While the bevy of unlockable cosmetics will stir competition within classrooms, I’m surprised Adventure Academy doesn’t include leaderboards for its skill-based games. The ability to rise through the ranks of your peers is a feature that lends itself naturally to a game that’s otherwise pretty social. Another head-scratcher is the decision to make the game download while kids play; traveling to new wings or hub spaces for the first-time requires long load times. These moments weren’t unbearable, but I imagine they could be for a teacher with a class of twenty students who just want to play the game. I’m curious to see if players can download the game entirely at launch instead of having to confront these first-time loading screens.

    Gripes aside, I think Adventure Academy has the potential to be a great educational tool for classrooms or a fun kid-friendly MMO that parents could introduce to their children. There’s course material for every type of student – from the bookworm to the kid who just wants to earn a bunch of experience watching science videos. Adventure Academy launches on May 1 for PC and on Android and iOS devices. You can purchase a monthly subscription for $9.99 or an annual subscription that comes out to less than $5 per month when you pay up front.

    Many of our editors at Game Informer are parents themselves. Read Javy’s column on what it’s like to be a gaming parent in a gaming world, or Matt Miller’s column on great tabletop games to play with your kids

  • Game Informer News Feed: Mad Mad World
    Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
    Developer: SIE Bend Studio
    Rating: Rating Pending
    Platform: PlayStation 4

    With Days Gone only days away from release, there are still a lot of questions about how the world functions. The open-world zombie game is meant to be freely traversed on a bike, but there's always danger around every corner, and behind every tree.

    The newest Days Gone video is meant to convey that world and how it was created straight from the developers.

    Click here to watch embedded media

    You get a good look at all the various things that will kill you, including the various types of Freakers out there, but also humans who worship the Freakers and try to act like them. The video also explains how something as simple as the current weather might make or break your entire escape strategy, so having contingency plans will be important for Deacon St. John.

    Days Gone releases on PlayStation 4 on April 26.

  • Game Informer News Feed: One Piece: World Seeker's First DLC Makes Zoro Playable

    Click here to watch embedded media

    Publisher: Bandai Namco
    Developer: Ganbarion
    Rating: Rating Pending
    Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

    Bandai Namco announced ambiguous DLC and free update plans for One Piece: World Seeker late last month, but today it has provided some more concrete details for the first piece of paid DLC.

    The Void Mirror Prototype will make Zoro a playable character and you will be able to, "engage in intense battles using his Santoryu battle style as he works to uncover the secrets behind a mysterious robotics factory." It will be available early summer and is part of the game's season pass, but can also be purchased standalone for $9.99.

    For our review of One Piece: World Seeker, head here.

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