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THE Top Games Zone

The Top Games Zone aggregator - aggregated feeds in category Games
  • Game Informer News Feed: New Gameplay Trailer Offers A Glimpse At The Game's New Donk City Level

    Nintendo released a new gameplay trailer for the Switch port of Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker. The trailer showcases the puzzle game's various features, including a quick look at the New Donk City level inspired by Super Mario: Odyssey.

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    Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker comes to the Switch and the 3DS on July 13. When Game Informer's Ben Reeves reviewed the original version of the game on Wii U, he said its extensive use of the console's Gamepad almost made if feel like a handheld game. Now, it actually will be.

  • Game Informer News Feed: The Upcoming Racing-Battler From Codemasters Gets Its Modes Detailed

    Deep Silver has released a new trailer showcasing the upcoming modes in Codemasters new combat-racing game Onrush. The new title is being developed by a team created from the former members of Evolution, who were known for the Motorstorm series. Onrush seems to be a spiritual successor to those games, as it contains the same over-the-top crashes and car combat as Motorstorm.

    The trailer dives into the four main modes; Countdown, Lockdown, Overdrive, and Switch. In Countdown, players must work with their team against a timer as they pass through gates to slow the decay of the clock. At the same time, they must stop the opposing team from passing through gates and ensure their timer reaches zero to gain points. Lockdown sees king of the hill get a racing twist, as players must fight with their team for control of a moving zone, and do everything in their power to stop the opposing team from taking it. Overdrive mode is the classic Motorstorm style of racing where players earn boost by driving recklessly and causing opposing players to crash. Once enough of their meter is built up, players can use their boost to gain points. The final mode is Switch, where every time a player wrecks, they switch vehicle classes. After three crashes, they run out of switches and instead must take down opposing players who still have switches left. 

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    Alongside the trailer detailing the new modes, Deep Silver and Codemasters have released two developer diaries. The Onrush Transmission video series goes behind the scenes, focusing on the design of the game and the influences behind the crash-fueled racer. You can check those videos out on the official Onrush YouTube account.

    Onrush looks to be a different breed of racer and the influence Motorstorm has on its design shows in spades. The game comes out on June 6 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and is available in standard and deluxe editions. 

  • Gamespot News Feed: Wizard Of Legend Review: Fast-Paced Action

    Roguelike pixel-art games are so common that it almost feels like a cliché. Without a great hook, many of these would-be indie hits wind up lost among ever-filling digital storefronts. However, Wizard of Legend, despite a painfully generic title, manages to distinguish itself from its peers with fast, challenging gameplay. Despite a few missteps, it successfully delivers an engaging and endearing experience.

    After a breezy tutorial framed as a series of interactive wizard museum exhibits, you finds yourself whisked away into a new dimension--one with an ever-changing, multi-floor dungeon inhabited by three all-powerful wizards. The challenges you face in this dungeon are called the Chaos Trials, and only wizards of truly exceptional skill have ever conquered them…meaning, of course, that you need to become a wizard of exceptional skill.

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    Your wizard character has animpressive moveset, with a basic melee spell, a dash/dodge spell, and two powerful techniques with cooldowns mapped to each of the controller's face buttons. While a lot of roguelike games focus on smart usage of the random resources you find on any given run, Wizard of Legend's emphasis is more on skill-based action gameplay. By using your spells and movement skillfully, you can create powerful combos, stunlocking enemies with a flurry of melee attacks, ranged magic, and dashes. The fast, fluid movement of your character and timing-based combos make Wizard of Legend feel like classic action-RPGs of yore--a welcome change from the generally slower rhythm of similar procedurally-generated games.

    Finding and learning new arcana magic inside and outside of the dungeons can also affect your gameplay; you might have acquired a really cool and powerful spell, but it's practically worthless if you don't learn to use it well in tandem with your other skills. The process of experimenting with the magical combinations you acquire--and augmenting their effectiveness with various artifacts--allows you to personalize your wizard's playstyle to suit your strengths. Just don't get too attached to the spells and items you find inside the dungeons--most of those won't be coming home with you after death.

    As you make your way through the Chaos Trials, you'll encounter a variety of obstacles, enemies, places of interest, and treasures scattered throughout the catacombs. Defeating enemies and collecting treasure chests yields gold and gems; gold can be used to buy goods and services within the dungeon, while gems stay with you even if you're defeated and allow you to buy new spells, clothes, and artifacts in the shopping area before a new run. Only the goods purchased outside of the dungeon are permanent--with a few rare and valuable exceptions--making hunting for and collecting gems an important part of exploration. That doesn't make gold worthless, however, as you can use it to purchase temporary upgrades, health restoration, and additional, powerful spells. Yes, you'll lose all the stuff you bought with gold if you perish, but these skills and items can help make a run last a lot longer, which means more potential permanent loot in the long term. It never feels like a serious setback when a run goes bad; you just buy a few goodies, practice your new arcana, and jump back into the game.

    It's plenty of fun, but there are a few annoyances. The environments are dull and lack visual variety, and in some cases it's hard to discern what things are due to the colors used and a lack of detail. The dialogue, sparse as it is, also feels like it's trying just a bit too hard, particularly when it goes for lousy puns. It's also an unforgiving game for newcomers, as enemies are relentless straight from the get-go, making the learning curve steep. But no matter how good you are, sometimes you'll just get a really terrible, unescapable battle in a room filled with hazards and projectile-slingers that feels like it's there simply to ruin your run. While the randomness in Wizard of Legend feels like less of a run-killing factor than in other games of this sort, when its RNG decides it doesn't like you, you'll know it.

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    With a buddy, however, things get easier. You can play local co-op with a friend, with the both of you sharing a common pool of permanent items and arcana picked up from all your runs up to that point. Having two players makes the more difficult enemy encounters and combo challenges feel less overwhelming, and a generous revival system that involves picking up energy from defeated enemies lets a fallen player hop back into the action fairly easily. However, one major fault is that both players must occupy the same quadrant of the screen, which makes for restricted movement in certain situations--like when one player is working to get in for melee strikes while the other is trying to zip around to set up ranged skills. Giving the camera the ability to zoom out during these situations would have been nice. (Also, as of this writing, you can only play local co-op on the Switch using the Joy-Cons, so forget about using that Pro Controller when your friend's over.)

    Overall, though, there's a lot to love about Wizard of Legend. While it does have some issues, the cycle of exploration, discovery, failing, learning, and exploring again will keep your determination to conquer the Chaos Trials high. Wizard of Legend might not look like much on the surface, but there's some good magic underneath.

  • Game Informer News Feed: Dev Walkthrough Offers A Deep Look At The Impressive RPG

    Inxile Entertainment is working on a new entry in the long-running Bard's Tale series, and the studio has released a lengthy developer walkthrough that shows just what players can expect from The Bard's Tale IV: Barrows Deep. It covers virtually everything from combat and exploration to a glimpse at the game's puzzles.

    Creative director David Rogers provides lighthearted commentary in the clip, outlining a quest that has the party exploring a dangerous castle. It's a nice look at not only the game's grid-based combat, but also how puzzles are incorporated throughout the experience – including a cog-based challenge that leads to a door opening, and a little bit of object-based puzzling that unlocks a new weapon's potential.

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    The game is coming to consoles and PC later this year. For even more on The Bard's Tale IV: Barrows Deep, take a look at our recent hands-on preview.

  • Gamespot News Feed: Conan Exiles Review: Dull And Dense

    For a game that’s based on the world of Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Barbarian, Conan Exiles has remarkably little to do with any part of that universe. It’s a big, open-world survival sim that sticks true to its initial hardcore vision to a fault. When you combine the steep learning curve of a deep but confusing crafting system with largely monotonous gameplay and a spectacularly awful UI, Conan Exiles feels like it does everything it can to push back on those curious enough to step into its admittedly intriguing but highly flawed world.

    The game opens as you regain consciousness in the scorching desert, completely naked and vulnerable. As an exile, you are trapped in a doomed and cursed land with nothing but the faint memory of being cut down from your crucifix by Conan, the giant hunk of man-meat himself. From there, you’re free to wander off into the wild yonder. The exiled lands are massive, made up of different environmental biomes that can be explored freely from the outset. Spectacular-looking sandstorms can roll in out of nowhere, forcing you to seek shelter lest they consume you. You can climb anything from mountains and trees to walls and buildings, provided you have the stamina. This adds an extra dimension to exploration, with the added payoff of some lovely views of Conan's varied world.

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    You start out small, picking up rocks and sticks and crafting simple tools. Almost everything you find can be broken down one way or another, and while it's neat to watch rocks chip apart and trees topple over as you hack into them, the humdrum motion of harvesting never feels rewarding. Eventually you’ll need to build shelter and a bed, which becomes your new spawn point. Given the game’s brutal permadeath mechanic, doing this sooner rather than later can save you some real heartache.

    Shelter can mean anything from a small stone shack all the way to a giant castle, complete with reinforced walls, towers, and even a trebuchet. Building is block-based and relatively free form, allowing for hugely elaborate base designs that can be some fun to build, provided you take the time to gather the raw materials to build everything you need. That's all well and good, except for the part where you aren’t shown how to do any of it. It’s all up to you to simply figure out or dive head first into a wiki to have anything explained in detail.

    If you aren’t motivated by curiosity, Conan Exiles' single-player mode will feel empty and largely aimless. It's more like a practice mode, with only a handful of NPC outposts and structures to find. When you do, most of them are hostile, and the few that aren’t only offer minimal interaction. Multiplayer changes this up for the better in a few ways, mainly through the addition of other human players.

    More importantly, though, multiplayer gives you more purpose and clearer goals to achieve. This includes defending your base from other players as well as The Purge, an army of NPCs that might attack and destroy your base as you gain XP. You can also join Clans, which will allow you to build collectively, either on or near clanmates' already-laid foundations. For times when you do have to leave home behind, you can create Thralls--human NPCs with specialised abilities you can knockout, bind, and drag back to base to enslave--to help protect it, and they do a decent enough job.

    Character progression in both single and multiplayer takes place in the Journey, a series of tasks grouped into chapters that, when completed, grant you attribute points to spend on any one of seven main ability slots. You also gain knowledge points to unlock new crafting recipes, of which there are a lot. The number of things you can craft is staggering; weapons, armor, survival items, and even religious altars to help to deify the gods of the world and earn their favour.

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    Once you start crafting more complex items, you get better acquainted with one of the game's worst aspects: its UI. There’s nothing intuitive about it, and like the rest of the game, there’s very little explanation given as to how it works. On top of that, it's overly complicated, requiring you to place the resources along with any fuel required into the crafting bench first, select what you want to build from the menu, and then hit the play button to actually craft it. There’s also almost no difference between the console and PC UI, so it's an absolute nightmare to do any kind of inventory management with a controller. And like in most survival sims, it’s what you inevitably spend a significant amount time doing, making it a constant source of frustration.

    When you get tired of chipping away at trees and rocks, which you will, you can chip away at creatures or other humans instead. There are all manner of things in the exiled lands for you to kill or be killed by, from animals and beasts to monstrous boss creatures like a giant black spider and a huge, spiked Dragon. But despite the sizeable enemy variety and the large array of weapons you can smith--from daggers to axes and giant mallets--combat is just plain bad. Both light and heavy attacks feel unwieldy thanks to sluggish animations, and weapon strikes lack any impact, resulting in dull and monotonous fights.

    Conan Exiles is one of the most unsatisfying games I’ve ever played.

    To top it off, Conan Exiles just feels really unpolished. The bodies of harvested enemies simply disappear into thin air, and large areas of the world can pop in and out of view at any time, clipping your character through the ground then respawning you somewhere else on the map. When the night starts to come, the moon’s light casts upwards from the ground, creating an bottomlit effect that looks atrocious. It’s also not in the most stable condition, with a number of crashes affecting gameplay randomly on both PC and Xbox.

    Ultimately, Conan Exiles is one of the most unsatisfying games I’ve ever played. Its crafting and resource systems may be dense enough that the ultra-patient could find something to enjoy here, but anyone else would likely walk away with their hands thrown up in defeat. The mind-numbing tedium of harvesting resources, woefully boring combat, and a slew of bugs left me feeling completely underwhelmed and unimpressed when it was all said and done.

  • Game Informer News Feed: Squad E Is Reporting For Duty In This Valkyria Chronicles 4 Trailer

    Sega has released the first English-voiced trailer for Valkyria Chronicles 4 today, showcasing Squad E, the upstart company that is looking to change the tide of war.

    The new trailer shows off the whole of Squad E with a mix of story cutscenes and gameplay footage to illustrate how the new characters look, act, and play. You can check out the trailer below.

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    The new squad includes Claude Wallace, Squad E's commander; Riley Miller, the Grenadier; Raz acting as the squad's Shocktrooper; Kai Schulen the Sniper; and Karen Stuart and her Shiba Inu Ragnarok as the team's medics.

    Valkyria Chronicles 4 launches on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Switch later this year.

  • Game Informer News Feed: First-Look At F1 2018 Gameplay In Monaco

    Codemasters has teased F1 2018 with the proclamation that the August 24 title (PS4, Xbox One, and PC) has renewed focus on the series' career mode, but today the action is on the track. A new gameplay trailer has been released not only showing the iconic Circuit de Monaco, but you can see the track through the eyes of Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 driver Charles Leclerc.

    Apart from Leclerc's smooth driving, you can also take in the game's revised lighting and atmospherics systems and player-managed Energy Recovery System (ERS), a new feature for this year.

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    [Source: Codemasters] 

  • Gamespot News Feed: Detroit: Become Human Review - To Err Is Human

    Detroit: Become Human posits a well-worn future, when androids have become so lifelike and so deeply integrated into human society that surely it's only a matter of time and circumstance until they break through to the other side and achieve consciousness. There isn't much time spent examining how such a seemingly preventable event might be possible; Detroit is primarily focused on androids' experiences during the process of their awakening, and their shock when looking at humanity with eyes unclouded for the first time. Ultimately, it's up to you to decide how they react in the face of adversity.

    It is a gameplay-light experience broken up into dozens of chapters with hundreds of decisions to make during cutscenes and explorative sequences. The only real challenge is to be fast, thorough, and perceptive enough to guide characters towards decisions that match your moral compass--or not, if you prefer your stories messy and chaotic. As a result of the myriad crossroads in Detroit, few players will experience events in the exact same way. Pivotal moments gone awry can lead some characters to premature deaths, but even small deviations can have a lasting impact on the state of the people, places and events you encounter throughout. Many of the decisions may seem mundane at first, but however benign a choice may seem, they add up, and gradually draw you into each character's individual experience.

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    Detroit is purposefully designed in a disorderly fashion, leaving you with mini cliffhangers throughout the game as it cycles from one character's perspective to the next at the end of every 10- to 20-minute chapter. This may sound messy, but it actually works in its favor as the main characters Kara, Connor, and Markus each bring something different to the table. That variety ensures you're never bored and almost always surprised by what happens next.

    Kara, a housekeeper android belonging to an abusive, drug-addled single father at the start, becomes a guardian on the run protecting Alice, the little girl she watches over. Kara is unfortunately naive, and as a result finds herself (and Alice) in trouble on a regular basis. The fact that danger for Kara also means danger for a young child significantly raises the stakes when push comes to shove. You strive to protect them from the worst examples of humanity gone astray, and though it's easy to identify the right choices to ensure their safety, getaways are rarely clean, and often messy.

    By comparison, Connor's chapters are more personal and inquisitive. He assists a worn-out detective named Hank who loathes his presence due to a deep-seated prejudice, and the two must work together to solve a series of murders tied to rogue androids. Connor's partner isn't very likeable. He is gruff and rough around the edges, but he is nonetheless a good foil for you to play off of. Where Kara's owner is onenote and unbelievably harsh, Hank can be swayed to trust you over time and overcome his cynicism. It's not always easy to know what will convince him of your worth. Some answers may feel "right," but Hank knows better than to listen to someone who only tells him what he wants to hear.

    Hank and Connor will regularly investigate crime scenes together where you're required to analyse your environment, gather clues, and recreate events by interpolating evidence. Not every crime scene tells a compelling story, but the process of investigation is consistently engaging. Conor's allegiance to humans (and his first hand experiences dealing with Hank's blunt hatred) gives you a chance to better understand both sides of Detroit's embroiled society. If there's one android in Detroit who deserves his own story to be blown up and given more screen time, it's Connor.

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    The most pivotal character of the lot is Markus, and while he is involved with some of Detroit's most creative scenes, he is remarkably lacking in nuance. At the start, he has the most fortunate existence. His owner is a kind, elderly painter who encourages free thought and treats Markus as though he was his son. Meanwhile, the painter's actual son is a complete jerk who runs the risk of ruining his father's and Markus' well-being. This inevitably comes to pass, and it's from here that Detroit's big-picture plot kicks off: the fight for android equality.

    The discussion is a valid one to have given the context at hand, but the way that the social disparity between humans and androids is conveyed in Detroit is such an on-the-nose series of references to the American Civil Rights Movement that it's hard not to to be taken aback. Androids are forced into the back of buses, segregated from some public areas and private establishments, and made to use the stairs instead of escalators… for some reason. When Markus rallies other rebellious androids and you get to pick their protest slogan, you are actually given the option to choose "we have a dream." These references are distracting, and at no point does it feel justified to lift from the history of actual people who've suffered--and continue to suffer--in the real world.

    These moments are unforgettably lame, but it's a testament to the story's strengths elsewhere that they don't completely drag the experience down as a whole. Detroit excels at presenting dire situations. Danger seems to lurk around every corner, and because you are expected to react quickly under stress, you can't help but feel anxious when either Kara or Markus are at risk of being discovered by humans after going rogue. These moments can be quiet, slice-of-life scenes, but that would-be serenity only amplifies the tension; sometimes one misstep is all it takes to upend an otherwise peaceful chapter, and you don't want to feel responsible for triggering a chaotic turn of events. Generally, you still have a chance to fix a bad situation, but with so many potential ramifications in the air, Detroit always finds a way to leave a scar you won't soon forget.

    Even if Detroit stumbles on a semi-regular basis, it is almost always captivating to behold.

    For as powerful as those chapters can be, it's Detroit's most dreadful and horrific scenes that leave a lasting impression. Kara faces her fair share of terror, but Markus' transition to freedom is a hellish trip into the darkest corners of this fictional version of Detroit that's truly unforgettable. Detroit wouldn't be so effective at bringing you into this world if not for its overall stellar presentation. Some NPCs and secondary characters do stand out due to below-average production values, but it's only because most characters and scenes are so beautifully rendered. Even if Detroit stumbles on a semi-regular basis, it is almost always captivating to behold.

    Writer and director David Cage is known for crafting these sorts of games (Heavy Rain, Beyond: Two Souls), but Detroit marks the first time you are presented with an explicit breakdown of the choices you made at the end each brief chapter--or during the chapter if you look in the pause menu. This is positioned as a feature, one that allows you to reflect on your actions and realize what you could have done differently, and if you so choose, to immediately go back and make different decisions. But in effect, this feedback methodology is ultimately detrimental, destroying your immersion by reminding you of the game you're playing, and reducing your influence to a point score that can be traded in for unlockable character models and documentaries. So far as I can tell, there's no narrative or meta significance to justify thrusting this information to the forefront before the game is finished. It's useful if you want to chase trophies or shy away from facing the consequences of your actions, but it sucks to be treated as if that's your default approach. There's no way to disable these flowcharts, and I really wish there was.

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    These unavoidable flowcharts, like the blatant and cheap appropriation of American history, drag down Detroit's otherwise gripping tale. It has the makings of a truly memorable game, and in many ways, pieces of it will stick with me for a long time. It is too beautiful, too haunting, and too impressive to forget.

    Despite being built for multiple playthroughs, it's difficult to imagine jumping back in to fix "mistakes" or exhaust every possible outcome for the sake of completionism. I played with my best intentions. Things didn't always go the way I wanted, but that was a burden I chose to bear, and the story benefitted from my commitment, flowcharts be damned. After completing the game, I tried to go back and fight my instincts to see what would happen if I chose a darker path. It never felt justified nor worthwhile. Detroit is well worth playing, but it struggles to strike the right balance between giving you freedom of choice and reminding you that it's all a game in the end. Cage and Quantic Dream are getting closer to nailing this style of game, but it's obvious that there's still room to grow.

  • Game Informer News Feed: 12 Things You Need To Know About Battlefield V

    Sixteen years after Battlefield 1942 changed the landscape of competitive first-person shooters with its large-scale land/air/sea battles, the series returns to the same setting with Battlefield V. Today DICE dropped a kiloton of information on its eager fan base, revealing dramatic changes to some core Battlefield tenants, exciting new modes, and a new approach to its post-launch plans. Here's what we know about the game so far.

    Battlefield Returns To World War II

    Yes, Battlefield is going back to the place where it all started for the series. But DICE isn't interested in retreading the most famous battles of World War II. "To be frank, we've all played it – we've all been there," says senior producer Andreas Morell. "We've all stormed the beaches of Normandy and cleared every bunker in France. I think some of us can probably navigate the countryside by muscle memory alone. And we've also seen the movies. So for us, we really wanted to give our players something new."

    What does that mean for a war that's been retread in games and films so many times? The studio created this edict: Take players to unseen locations, tell untold stories, and have them fight unplayed battles. DICE teased a few of these during the event, including arctic battles in Norway, airborne operations in Rotterdam, and tank battles in North Africa. We also saw concept art for the French countryside, so not every location will be off the beaten path.

    Battlefield 1942 featured some of the most memorable maps of all time, so I asked design director Daniel Berlin how DICE plans to leverage those classic maps. While he said they aren't ready to announce anything, you can tell they have some plans to capitalize on that game's legacy. "I can't say anything about yet, that but there are ideas around these things – there is a lot of good stuff," Berlin says. "I can also say we are drawing inspiration from those old maps. We know that people will play this game and look back to 1942. To certain degrees we want them to be at certain locations and go, 'Oh! I'm getting that feeling that I had [in 1942].' Playing the game, you will definitely get those nostalgic vibes."

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    Operations Returns, With A Grand Renovation

    After the success of Battlefield 1's new Operations mode, a long-form match that took place over multiple maps, DICE is doubling down on the concept in Battlefield V. Now called Grand Operations, the modular experience now switches between different modes as well as maps. In the example DICE gave us set in Rotterdam, you may start the battle as part of an airborne invasion in a new mode called Airborne. The attacking team must drop behind enemy lines and take out the long-range artillery so their invading force can advance. In the beginning, every soldier must spawn in the aircraft and pick where they want to jump as the plane moves across the map. Defenders in AA cannons can target these carriers and rack up crazy kill counts if they manage to down one with several soldiers waiting to deploy. 

    On day two, the battle still takes place in Rotterdam, but now the invading force is moving in to capture points in the classic Operations fashion, which is now a mode called Breakthrough. The number of troops and vehicles is determined by how quickly the paratroopers took out the long-range artillery in the last round. 

    When day three begins, the map changes to a bombed-out version of Rotterdam where the players see the destruction from the early bombing runs. This operation could end on this day if the attackers achieve a decisive victory. But if the battle is close, it extends into day four, which in this case is a new Last Stand mode.

    Last Stand is the ultimate war of attrition. Ammo is low (you may only start with one magazine), vehicles are scarce to nonexistent, and if a squad is wiped they cannot come back into the match. This puts heavy emphasis on squad coordination to resupply and revive each other.

    This is just one example of how DICE could construct a Grand Operation. The developers can modify the modes included, the number of vehicles, and types of weapons at teams' disposal every time they introduce a new one. DICE also plans to use this mode to introduce all the new maps and content coming to Battlefield V over its lifespan, but that content will eventually migrate over to the classic modes like Conquest, Domination, Frontlines, and Team Deathmatch. New (or renamed) modes like Airborne, Last Stand, and Breakthrough will also be available as standalone experiences. We'll play Grand Operations for the first time during EA Play at E3.

    Squad Cooperation Matters More Than Ever

    As the waning rounds of Grand Operations demonstrated, you really need to work together to emerge victorious in Battlefield V. This is the reasoning behind why players automatically spawn into a squad when joining a match in Battlefield V. You can still opt out of the squad and go lone wolf, but the design stresses cooperation more than ever before, and if you go lone wolf you'll miss out on some tide-turning weapons.

    This renewed focus on team play begins with the squad leader, who has more power than ever before. If the designated squad leader isn't issuing orders and another player is continually requesting an assignment, the job will automatically switch to the person showing an interest in getting objectives. As the team performs actions together, they earn squad-reinforcement points over the course of the match. Once they hit certain thresholds, the squad leader then has powerful new tools at their disposal that they can deploy to benefit the team. This includes special vehicles only your squad members can spawn into, supply drops, a smoke barrage to supply cover, and even a V1 rocket you can drop on a tough-to-crack frontline to punch a hole in the defense. The squad leader must weigh this decision and determine whether they want to spend these points early for an immediate benefit, or save them in hopes of unleashing one of those deadly rockets later in the match. 

    One of the most significant changes to Battlefield V relates to revives. For the first time in the series, all squad members can revive each other, regardless of what class they are using. These "body revives" take much longer, and they leave the saved player with much less health than they would have if a medic did the job. If your downed squad member is out in the open, you can now drag them behind cover before attempting a revive, as well. 

    The squad spawn revamp lets you page through over-the-shoulder looks at each of your comrades to get a better understanding of what you are getting yourself into. You come to this screen by default instead of going back to the full deploy screen every time – unless your squad is wiped. In that case, new indicators tell you where your teammates plan to spawn so you can more quickly get back on the same page. 

    Scarcity Changes The Way You Play

    In another move to force team play, DICE is taking a new approach to loading out soldiers when they respawn. You still get a few clips of ammo and a grenade, but unless you're an ace shot, don't expect that supply to last very long. You also don't regenerate your full health after taking a bullet, so staying by a medic is going to be key to survival. To help with the resource scarcity, you can always resupply ammo, gadgets, and health on a flag position – provided one has been built there. Bold soldiers can also run to collect ammo off the corpses of their downed enemies as well, keeping them in the fight a bit longer. We're curious to see how these changes affect the scout class. Snipers who like to camp are going to need an ample supply of ammo before they go perch on the ridge. Maybe this will convince more player to PTFO. DICE hopes this new scarcity creates more micro-lulls in the action where squads regroup before pushing forward, lending the play a more measured and tactical rhythm. 

    Major Gameplay Changes

    The list of gameplay changes coming to Battlefield V is long, but let's start with the tool everyone uses the most in the game – guns. DICE is changing how weapons work to reduce the randomness while firing and give each gun a more predictable burst pattern that players can learn over time and eventually master. Where you aim is now where you shoot – no random bullet trajectories going left or right. DICE demoed this new technology on a test range and the variant between burst patterns was dramatically more reliable. This should increase the viability of LMGs for the support class, which can now rip through cover thanks to a new bullet-penetration ballistics system.

    Those who like to go heavy have a fun new toy at their disposal in Battlefield V – towing stationary weapons. Now you can attach an AA gun or stationary .50 cal to the back of your tank and drag it to a more strategic location. You can even have one person firing the AA gun on the go while the tank driver is lobbing shells, turning the duo into a mini armored train of sorts. 

    Grenade spam has been a constant topic in the Battlefield community, and DICE has finally addressed it in a meaningful way by adding the ability to shoot grenades out of the sky or throw them back. Hopefully, this mitigates some of the shrapnel-filled death corridors that have a tendency to develop during battles. 

    DICE also changed how soldiers move through the environment, adding a layer of realism to wading through water or running through mud. If a player is trudging through shallow water, the soldiers will now lift their legs higher. Running on mud or rocks may cause your soldier to slip slightly, and they now charge into cover with full physicality, violently banging their bodies on the cover when running to the position. The environment also reacts to soldier movements in realistic ways. If you are moving quickly through high grass or shrubbery, enemies may see the blades or bushes moving. 

    Soldiers have more varied options when going prone as well. Dropping quickly to prone, you can now land on your side to keep your aim in a particular direction. You can backpedal while prone, and even turn 360 degrees. This will be handy when you are positioned in a building but need to get a look at who is approaching up the stairs. 

    The last major change DICE teased is a revamped spotting system. You can no longer just spam the spotting button to reveal icons all over the map. DICE isn't explaining how the new system works exactly, but we'll get our first look during E3. 

    Destruction Gets Physical

    Destructibility has always been a hallmark of Battlefield, and DICE is introducing some impressive physics-based tweaks to the system in 2018. When shredding buildings to pieces with heavy ammo, you will see it react naturally. Exploding a wall from the inside will send the debris outward, and the decimated parts are now all real pieces of the building, not just pre-rendered chunks. Similarly, blasting a building from the outside will send the debris inward. Some pieces may end up hanging by a thread, eventually succumbing to gravity a bit later should another blast shake it free.

    Fortification Counters Destructibility

    One of the most interesting new mechanics Battlefield V introduces is fortification. We've all been hiding in a house, only to have a tank shell rip it to pieces and leave us with no cover. Now, soldiers of any class can make fortifications and rebuild parts of these structures. The fortification mechanics even work out in the open – you can deploy sandbags, anti-tank obstacles, barbed wire, resupply centers near flag points, etc.  

    Support class builds faster and can create more fortifications than the other classes, including stationary machine guns. They can also repair these types of weapons. 

    EA Choses Live Service Over Paid DLC

    The new Tides of War live service replaces the Premium Pass approach from past Battlefield games. Design director Daniel Berlin says DICE has ambitious plans to keep this service evolving. Most content will come in the form of chapters that advance to new fronts of the war, giving the player a deeper context on the breadth of World War II and introducing new modifications to existing modes, new narrative experiences, new cooperative missions, new maps, and new rewards. 

    The big question this raises: Does this new approach mean a dramatically reduced number of maps? "I can't say anything in terms of numbers, but we are really f---ng dedicated to making sure that this journey in Tides of War is something we're really leaning into," Berlin says. "I can't talk specifics, but there's going to be tons of stuff for you guys."

    Dramatically Expanded Customization

    For the first time in the Battlefield series, you can now customize your characters from head to toe. As the screenshot above indicates, this even extends to gender – expect to see a lot more female soldiers in the field. Customization options include facial features, hair, face paint, upper torso, pants, and accessories like goggles and gloves. The trailer shows a woman with a mechanical arm, so expect to see some unique offerings.

    Guns and vehicles also have dramatically expanded customization options that extend beyond skins. Weapons each have five-to-seven different visual parts you can customize, including the chassis material, muzzles, stocks, scopes, and trinkets. We saw some guns decked out with immaculate marble stocks, and others that looked more DIY, like having foliage bent over the muzzle. 

    Customization extends beyond the cosmetic and includes perks. Each character class has different archetypes you can purchase with the grind currency to unlock new play styles, and the same goes for tanks. Maybe one of your Tiger tanks is outfitted with heavy armor plating to take more damage, and your other one is outfitted with upgrades that improve its speed and handling.

    All your various class characters, weapons, and vehicles can be accessed via your Company page. This is the all-in-one customization hub where players will spend a significant amount of time. 

    Yes, EA plans to allow players to buy a currency to unlock customization options, but some items will only be achievable by completing specific tasks in-game. DICE also assured us there are no pay-to-win microtransactions that could give a player a leg up on their competition.

    This new system spells the end for battlepacks. Instead of these random loot drops, you can buy what you what when you want it. 

    The expanded Assignment system gives you a lot of ways to earn more currency, including daily orders and more time consuming special assignments. Since not everyone always had the skill to meet special assignment objectives in previous Battlefield games, DICE offers multiple ways to meet the objectives. 

    Players can show off their customized look in more places than the killcam in Battlefield V. Now when you go in for a melee kill, your opponent sees the whites of your eyes (and your immaculate fashion sensibilities). You can also get an up-close look at your teammates when they rush to revive you. 

    War Stories Return

    Battlefield 1's approach to single-player content won over fans and critics alike with its focused, short-story-style war missions that gave you a deeper glimpse into the lives of the various soldiers fighting the good fight across many fronts. War Stories return in Battlefield V as well, though DICE isn't going into much detail about the breadth of content available just yet. All we know is they are inspired by real events and intended to "make people feel something," as senior producer Lars Gustavsson says. We did get a brief tease of one story featuring a Norwegian woman who puts her life at risk to save her family. Expect to hear more about War Stories as we get closer to launch. 

    Introducing Combined Arms, A New Cooperative Mode

    For years, DICE has searched for a new way to onboard players to its impressively deep but sometimes hard to understand intricacies of Battlefield multiplayer. This year, the studio hopes to bridge the gap between single player and multiplayer for good with a new four-player cooperative mode called Combined Arms. DICE built a mission generator that allows the team to customize new experiences quickly in a variety of environments. One mission may have you parachute behind enemy lines and try to stay undetected as your squad moves through objectives. When the mission gets hairy, you will have a tough decision to make: Do you extract to keep everything you have gained to that point, or tough it out to try and retrieve the big reward at the final objective?

    By introducing squad mechanics in a PvE space, DICE hopes this properly acclimates new players, while giving veteran soldiers a fresh experience at the same time. All the things you unlock in Combined Arms feed into your company. 

    Classes Are Being Rebalanced

    Battlefield V introduces some significant changes to the class system because of the new systems being introduced in the game. "We're adding stuff to the sandbox, meaning the fortification system and towing, and we're adding more abilities to the player – how they can interact with the world and they can shoot grenades in the sky or throw them back, or backpedal and all these things," Berlin says. "With these new ingredients added to the sandbox, we are doing a rebalancing phase as well to make it fit this new formula."

    The Battlefield V Play First trial begins October 11 on Xbox One and PC. Players who buy the deluxe edition can join the fray on October 16, and the standard edition launches on October 19 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

  • Gamespot News Feed: Runner 3 Review: A Bit Of A Trip

    Out of the numerous games to spring up under the Bit.Trip umbrella, it's not exactly a surprise that the most accessible of the bunch, Bit.Trip Runner, would be the one to transcend its retro-styled roots. In bringing the Runner games' mechanics to a fancier playground on the Switch, developer Choice Provisions has made its most ambitious game yet--but in doing so, may have revealed the limits to how far it can push the concept. It's also the most difficult, and if you haven't already invested in a good sturdy case for the Switch that might stand up to having the system thrown at terminal velocity out of a living room window, now would be a good time.

    On paper, the gameplay is as deceptively simple as it's always been. Your character runs forward automatically, and it's up to you to jump, duck, slide, and kick down obstacles until you reach the finish line. The secret sauce of the Runner series is that every action and every item in a stage is plotted to work with its music, a whole game trekking along to simple melodies. Stages can be unpredictable, but if you have any sense of rhythm whatsoever, losing yourself to the music can get you through the tougher moments.

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    None of Runner 3’s tunes are terribly catchy, and quite frankly, it makes me wistful for the innovative chiptunes that accompanied the original Bit.Trip Runner. Most of the tracks settle for rudimentary and quirky when they could’ve absolutely gone big and eclectic. The furthest Runner 3 branches out in that regard is in the Danny Elfman-like haunted house tunes that accompany much of the second area of the game. At most, the music does the bare minimum: providing a beat for you to follow.

    Most people will be able to blast through the first few stages easily, but Runner 3 ramps up the difficulty early on. Around the halfway point of the first area, stages start changing perspectives to an angle, but the shifts in viewpoint can make some of the jumps trickier than they need to be and obscure some obstacles. At its most aggravating, it's difficult to suss out where it's safe to land or what the timing needs to be to kick something out of your way. There are also moments where the game is too complex for its own good; for example, a machine that builds platforms as you run along, making anticipation impossible except through sheer trial and error--which can feel immensely cheap, especially as you get closer to the finish line.

    That problem is made worse by the sheer length of each level. Although there are fewer stages in Runner 3, they go on longer than ever--a perfect run with no deaths can sometimes stretch on for four or five minutes. There are still checkpoints at the midpoint of each stage (and as before, if you like living dangerously, skipping the checkpoint gives you a ton of points), but each stage is so densely packed with obstacles this time around that those two minutes to get to safety can feel like an eternity. On top of that, the difficulty is wildly inconsistent; you might get stuck on an early stage that throws bizarre off-kilter obstacle patterns at you, and the next two stages could be walks in the park.

    Compared to the relative austerity of the previous titles, Runner 3's environments go full-tilt wacky, overloaded with comical flourishes. The very first stage has you running through a breakfast island, a place where the palm trees are slices of cantaloupe and grapefruit, the rivers flow with milk and cereal, and the high roads are paved with waffles and toast. Later, another stage in Foodland sends you running through a giant refrigerator, bouncing off Jell-O cubes and jogging past some of the most outlandish and gross fake food products imaginable (personal favorites: Fish Errors, Beefmilk, and Cup O' Lumps in Milk Brine). Runner 3's levels are so immensely packed full of random amusements that you're equally likely to fail because you were busy staring at some visual gag happening off in the distance.

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    For those who do want more of a challenge, there are Hard variations of each stage, and ironically, there's a more gradual climb in difficulty with these than in the normal stages. In addition, the branching Hard routes tend to be where most of the game's collectibles are hiding, giving even more incentive for multiple playthroughs of an area. Said collectibles unlock a sizable amount of content, from the truly infuriating Impossible stages to new runners--with recurring characters from previous games rubbing shoulders with Shovel Knight and, for some reason, Eddie Riggs from Brutal Legend--to Retro stages which are built on a Hanna-Barbera aesthetic.

    The greatest compliment to be paid to a game like Runner 3 is that after feeling the urge to toss a controller, it's hard to think of anything else except trying again. Runner 3’s greatest strength is in rewarding that perseverance. Getting through each stage means more jokes to see, more characters to play around with, and more secret stages to explore. Runner 3, over time, reveals itself to be a veritable buffet of weird and whimsical environments, and thrilling, precision-based gameplay, but make no mistake: you will have to work for your meal.