Firewatch Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Firewatch RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network Best Indie Games to Buy During the 2020 Steam Summer Sale https://www.gameskinny.com/dzwfo/best-indie-games-to-buy-during-the-2020-steam-summer-sale https://www.gameskinny.com/dzwfo/best-indie-games-to-buy-during-the-2020-steam-summer-sale Sun, 28 Jun 2020 15:47:46 -0400 Henry Stockdale

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Crypt of the Necrodancer

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Standard Price: $14.99
Sale Price: $2.99
Crypt of the Necrodancer review

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It’s been five years since Crypt Of The Necrodancer released, but it still makes for an excellent title, appearing on many (many) "best of" lists. And for good reason. 

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Developed by Brace Yourself Games, Crypt is another example of successfully merging roguelike mechanics with a genre typically not known for them — this time a rhythm game where you traverse dungeons in step to the beat.

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It’s another challenging affair but proves impossible to put down, and like Bastion, there’s little risk when it’s 80% off.

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Buy Crypt Of The Necrodancer on Steam

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---

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That wraps up this list of the best indie games to buy during the 2020 Steam Summer Sale. Here's to increasing our backlogs yet again! 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/b/a/s/bastion-36728.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/b/a/s/bastion-36728.jpg","type":"slide","id":"211859","description":"

Bastion

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Standard Price: $14.99
Sale Price: $2.99
Bastion review

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Supergiant Games are hard at work with finishing Hades right now, but their first project, Bastion, is one of the most acclaimed 2D action indie games in recent memory.

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Playing a nameless adventurer referred to as “The Kid," you find yourself in a post-calamity world, exploring the ruins of society. It’s a title you can complete in one sitting, but don't let that fool you. Bastion is chock full of solid combat and great narration. It’s hard to go wrong at 80% off.  

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Buy Bastion on Steam

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/h/o/l/hollow-knight-471c0.jpeg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/h/o/l/hollow-knight-471c0.jpeg","type":"slide","id":"211858","description":"

Hollow Knight

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Standard Price: $14.99
Sale Price: $7.49
Hollow Knight review

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Hollow Knight sees you playing a nameless knight, traveling through the ancient kingdom of Hallownest, now plagued by vicious insects. Much like Cuphead, Hollow Knight gained recognition for its tough, but never unfair. gameplay.

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Coming in at 50% off, Metroidvania fans will find a lot to love here. Just be prepared for a challenge.

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Buy Hollow Knight on Steam

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/l/a/slay-spire-b7b1e.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/l/a/slay-spire-b7b1e.jpg","type":"slide","id":"211856","description":"

Slay the Spire

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Standard Price: $24.99
Sale Price: $12.49

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Developed by Mega Crit Games, Slay the Spire was an overnight success. One of the latest titles to implement roguelike mechanics in more traditional genres  this time a card game Slay the Spire uniquely bridges genre gaps with stunning effect.

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Making your journey up the ever-changing Spire, no two playthroughs are alike, allowing for many distinctive deck combinations. It’s 50% off right now, so if you've been on the fence, it’s a good time to invest.

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Buy Slay The Spire on Steam

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/i/s/risk-rain-15109.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/i/s/risk-rain-15109.jpg","type":"slide","id":"211855","description":"

Risk of Rain

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Standard Price: $9.99
Sale Price: $2.49

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Developed by Hopoo Games, Risk Of Rain is a bargain at 75% off. Incorporating roguelike mechanics with 2D Metroidvania sensibilities, you face off against a near-endless swarm of increasingly difficult enemies, requiring you to locate a randomly placed teleporter within each level to move on to the next.

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The developers have since released Risk of Rain 2, also on offer at 20% off. Both are worth looking into, though, RoR2 replaces Risk of Rain's 2D style with 3D models and environments and is still in Early Access. 

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Buy Risk Of Rain on Steam

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/g/r/i/gris-efc10.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/g/r/i/gris-efc10.jpg","type":"slide","id":"211857","description":"

Gris

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Standard Price: $16.99
Sale Price: $6.79

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It’d be an understatement to say that few games are as impactful as Gris. Released in 2018, Team Nomada’s debut title is a 2D puzzle platformer overflowing with lush environments and gushing with character. 

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A story of trauma, this quest sees you restore color to the world, taking inspiration from titles like Journey. Its gameplay is somewhat minimalist but as an artistic experience, Gris is powerful and moving.

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Buy Gris on Steam

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/1/4/5/145ef72eaf396de.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/1/4/5/145ef72eaf396de.jpg","type":"slide","id":"211854","description":"

Overcooked! 2

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Standard Price: $24.99
Sale Price: $14.99

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After the success of Overcooked! in 2016, it wasn’t surprising to see a sequel two years later. Developed by Ghost Town Games, you play as chef of the Onion Kingdom, looking to defeat a new zombie threat known as The Unbread.

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Cooking in increasingly impractical kitchens, Overcooked! 2 is a frantic multiplayer experience that’s worth ordering at 40% off. If you’ve not played the original, that's on sale for 75% off.

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Buy Overcooked! 2 on Steam

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/b/u/d/budget-cuts-4d92c.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/b/u/d/budget-cuts-4d92c.jpg","type":"slide","id":"211853","description":"

Budget Cuts

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Standard Price: $29.99
Sale Price: $7.49

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Virtual Reality is an indie-dominated platform, and back in 2018, Budget Cuts was one of the earliest standouts. Combining corporate satire with an action stealth premise, you find both your job and life under threat from automation.

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It takes a few hours to complete but comes with an arcade mode too. Filled with humor and satisfying combat, it’s highly worth snatching up for 75% off. If you enjoy Budget Cuts, the sequel is 50% too.

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Buy Budget Cuts on Steam

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/o/v/e/override-cc363.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/o/v/e/override-cc363.jpg","type":"slide","id":"211852","description":"

Override: Mech City Brawl

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Standard Price: $29.99
Sale Price: $4.49

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Released in 2018 by The Balance Inc, this 3D brawler will be of interest to Kaiju/Mecha fans, reminiscent of titles like War of The Monsters and Godzilla: Save The Earth.

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Featuring a mission-based campaign mode, Override: Mech City Brawl places you against swarms of monsters known as “Xenotypes” and has fully destructible environments. Packed with local and multiplayer options, it’s an absolute steal at 85% off.

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Buy Override: Mech City Brawl on Steam

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/u/p/superhot-switch-hero-28438.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/u/p/superhot-switch-hero-28438.jpg","type":"slide","id":"211851","description":"

Superhot

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Standard Price: $24.99
Sale Price: $9.99
Superhot review

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Superhot began life in 2013’s 7 Day FPS Challenge, but after a successful Kickstarter, it launched fully in 2016. Featuring a minimalistic art style, time only moves as you move, and everything plays out in slow motion. 

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Superhot received critical acclaim at launch — and well after — bringing with it some of the most unique FPS gameplay we’ve ever seen. At 60% off, it’s well worth a look. 

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Buy Superhot on Steam

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/c/e/l/celeste-e9847.jpeg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/c/e/l/celeste-e9847.jpeg","type":"slide","id":"211850","description":"

Celeste

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Standard Price: $19.99
Sale Price: $9.99
Celeste review

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Towerfall Ascension put Matt Makes Games on the map, but in 2018, Celeste cemented the studio as one of gaming’s best indie developers.

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You play as Madeline, a girl facing her inner demons as she journeys to the top of Celeste Mountain. Featuring hundreds of levels, it’s a challenging platformer but crucially, never feels unfair. Uncovering the mountain’s mystery as you progress, it’s another strong recommendation at 50% off.

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Buy Celeste on Steam

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/c/u/p/cuphead-switch-hero-7c820.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/c/u/p/cuphead-switch-hero-7c820.jpg","type":"slide","id":"211849","description":"

Cuphead

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Standard Price: $19.99
Sale Price: $14.99
Cuphead review

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Studio MDHR Entertainment Inc. brought us one of gaming’s most unique titles when Cuphead launched in 2017 — and it's focused on boss fights. Taking visual inspiration from 1930s-era cartoons, this run-and-gun title follows the brothers Cuphead and Mugman following their deal with the Devil to retain their souls.

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Praised for its challenging difficulty, Cuphead is one of the hardest games released in the past several years. It sold 1 million units just a few weeks after launch. It's not the greatest discount at 25% off, but Cuphead is a title you won’t want to miss.

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Buy Cuphead on Steam

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/f/i/r/firewatch-56e2a.png","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/f/i/r/firewatch-56e2a.png","type":"slide","id":"211848","description":"

Firewatch

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Standard Price: $19.99
Sale Price: $4.99
Firewatch review

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Firewatch was a huge success when it dropped in 2016. Developed by Campo Santo, it takes place in 1989, and you play a man named Henry as he retreats deep into Wyoming’s forest. It’s your job to keep it safe.

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Discovering something strange from a forestry lookout tower, you are drawn into a mystery playing out across this strange environment. Firewatch is a short experience but an incredibly fun one, and it comes highly recommended at 75% off.

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Buy Firewatch on Steam

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/t/e/steam-summer-sale-091ce.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/t/e/steam-summer-sale-091ce.jpg","type":"slide","id":"211834","description":"

We’ve reached that wonderful time of year where the Steam Summer Sale is in full force, running from June 25 until July 9. Chances are that your Valve has already emailed you about cheap games on your wishlist, but there are thousands of deals to look through, bringing some fantastic offers and, almost inevitably, a renewed backlog.

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If you’re a fan of indie games, though, searching through for the best indie games on sale can be tricky; many aren’t limited to a single genre. Indie developers have brought us many of gaming’s most creative ventures in recent years and when it comes to this Steam sale, the choices can be overwhelming.

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So if you’re looking to narrow down these choices, here’s our guide to 13 of the best indie games we recommend.

"}]]]>
Love Mother Nature? Here are 7 Games that Let You Experience the Outdoors https://www.gameskinny.com/pyjex/love-mother-nature-here-are-7-games-that-let-you-experience-the-outdoors https://www.gameskinny.com/pyjex/love-mother-nature-here-are-7-games-that-let-you-experience-the-outdoors Wed, 31 Jan 2018 15:05:47 -0500 Andrew Krajewski

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Firewatch

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Platform: Xbox One, PS4, PC

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Price: $59.99

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Buy it on: The Firewatch Website

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If you love nature enough that you've ever wondered what being a park ranger is like, then Firewatch may be for you. Experience a captivating mystery through the lens of a man who seeks the solace that only nature can provide.

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---

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Well, that does it for this list of some of our favorite outdoor experiences in video games. Did your favorite landscape make our cut? Do you prefer snowy mountains or sunny forests? Let us know in the comments below!

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/t/e/steep-2016-vorschau-games-34d9d.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/t/e/steep-2016-vorschau-games-34d9d.jpg","type":"slide","id":"178322","description":"

Steep

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Platform: Xbox One, PS4, PC

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Price: $59.99

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Buy it on: Amazon

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We're now going from the bottom of the ocean to the top of the world. Steep may be a game about winter sports, but I have never seen more beautiful mountains outside of real life. I can’t even count how many times I’ve had my breath taken away by all the different snowy peaks of the Alps and Denali, and I often would stop my character from snowboarding so I could take a screenshot of the view. You can even take a break from conquering the slopes to go paragliding for more scenic views!

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/a/b/z/abzu-d92d6.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/a/b/z/abzu-d92d6.jpg","type":"slide","id":"178320","description":"
ABZU
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Platform: Xbox One, PS4, PC

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Price: $19.88 

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Buy it on: Amazon

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If you’re more aquatically inclined, then you need to check out ABZU. Now, water levels are the bane of almost every gamer’s existence, but ABZU turns this trend on its head and creates a highly enjoyable, relaxing experience that takes place underwater! Follow a great white shark in your quest to help revitalize the ancient ocean you find yourself in.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/y/a/r/yarny-unravel-80d43.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/y/a/r/yarny-unravel-80d43.jpg","type":"slide","id":"178319","description":"

Unravel

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Platform: Xbox One, PS4, PC

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Price: $19.88 

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Buy it on: EA's Website

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Arguably one of the greatest titles out of EA in the past few years, Unravel follows Yarny as he travels through memories of loved ones. The unique platforming and puzzle-solving in this heartfelt journey is complemented by the gorgeous settings, from gardens to beaches to mountains, that surround Yarny's heartfelt story.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/o/r/i/ori-94d50.jpeg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/o/r/i/ori-94d50.jpeg","type":"slide","id":"178318","description":"

Ori and the Blind Forest 

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Platform: Xbox One, PC

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Price: $19.88 

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Buy it on: Amazon

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The scenery in Ori and the Blind Forest is made even more incredible by the incredible foreground and background art. Every area feels unique in this emotional journey of a little spirit who must save his home forest from peril. This charming Metroidvania will leave a lasting impact on anyone who plays it (especially the Ginso Tree water level).

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/w/i/t/witcher-c2294.jpeg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/w/i/t/witcher-c2294.jpeg","type":"slide","id":"178317","description":"

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

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Platform: Xbox One, PS4, PC

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Price: $49.99

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Buy it on: Amazon

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Don't be intimidated by the size of The Witcher 3. Because the world is so big means that there are countless of beautiful vistas and horizons to gaze upon during your travels. There's a reason you can always see people showing off their beautiful screenshots of this game on Reddit. Follow Geralt of Rivia as he wanders this vast world in search of his adopted daughter, Ciri, and in pursuit of The Wild Hunt.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/f/l/a/flame-flood-10901.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/f/l/a/flame-flood-10901.jpg","type":"slide","id":"178316","description":"

The Flame in the Flood

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Platform: Xbox One, PS4, PC, Nintendo Switch

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Price: $19.99 (free on Xbox Game Pass)

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Buy it on: Steam

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The Flame in the Flood is a wonderful roguelite survival game that follows Scout and her canine companion Aesop as they try to survive their journey rafting down a procedurally generated river caused by a disastrous flood. During the journey, you'll be stopping in the nearby forests, campsites, and other locales to gather supplies, stay out of the rain, and try to figure out the best way to survive. The unique art style and fantastic sound design make you feel lost in nature. Never has perilously rafting down a river been more memorable. Eat your heart out, Mark Twain.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/u/n/c/uncharted-69a2c.png","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/u/n/c/uncharted-69a2c.png","type":"slide","id":"178315","description":"

Just about everyone has played or heard of Uncharted, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Horizon: Zero Dawn. These games are often praised for how stunning the worlds look, and chances are you’ve already given them a try and experienced those settings for yourself. If you love losing yourself in nature and relaxing in wondrous video game worlds, take a peek at this list of nature games you might not have tried just yet.

"}]]]>
10 Indie Games You Can Play in One Sitting https://www.gameskinny.com/unsp5/10-indie-games-you-can-play-in-one-sitting https://www.gameskinny.com/unsp5/10-indie-games-you-can-play-in-one-sitting Wed, 17 Jan 2018 14:22:12 -0500 Kengaskhan

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Nex Machina

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Time to Beat: 1.5 hours
Platforms: PC & PlayStation 4
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The shoot 'em up genre may not be as wildly popular as first-person shooters, MOBAs, and digital CCGs are these days, but one of the strengths of indie game development is that they're willing to tackle a broader variety of games, and every now and then, you wind up with a game like Nex Machina.

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Housemarque's Nex Machina is an arcade-y, twin-stick shoot 'em up set in a vibrant and colorful cyberpunk world where AI machines have all but exterminated humanity. The game has more or less the same fast-paced core gameplay loop that most other shoot 'em ups have, but it's packaged in a highly detailed and stylish world with a fantastic soundtrack, beautiful visuals, and great enemy and weapon variety.

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In short, if shoot 'em ups are your thing, then Nex Machina's your game.

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---

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Hopefully, you found a game or two in this list that piqued your interest. If you know of any other short but awesome indie games that could fit on this list, let us know in the comments!

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Or, if you're interested in what we have to say about other indie games, you can find some of our other indie content here!

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/g/o/n/gone-home-a22ca.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/g/o/n/gone-home-a22ca.jpg","type":"slide","id":"177676","description":"

Gone Home

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Time to Beat: 2 hours
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
\n

Gone Home is a walking simulator -- a really good walking simulator. While Gone Home may not transcend the genre the same way The Stanley Parable might, it's definitely much more representative of it.

\n

Playing the role of Kaitlin Greenbriar, the player will return home from a semester abroad in Europe, only to find the house empty. The player will have to explore the house in search of clues that'll help them figure out where the rest of Katie's family is, which more or less constitutes the entirety of Gone Home's gameplay.

\n

Gone Home isn't exactly the most groundbreaking game ever, but it's short, it's sweet, and it's got a great story and atmosphere. You can't really go wrong with that. (Although you might want to pick the game up at a discount if you don't think two hours of entertainment is worth $15.)

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/l/o/n/lone-survivor-511ea.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/l/o/n/lone-survivor-511ea.jpg","type":"slide","id":"177675","description":"

Lone Survivor: The Director's Cut

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Time to Beat: 4 hours
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Wii U
\n

Lone Survivor: The Director's Cut is a post-apocalyptic survival horror game where the player controls an unnamed, masked survivor (referred to simply as "You") who must wrestle with both the mutant horrors that roam the city and his deteriorating mental state.

\n

Lone Survivor bears many similarities to the Silent Hill series, with many likening it to a 16-bit SNES Silent Hill game. One of the most prominent features that Lone Survivor shares with the Silent Hill series are its multiple endings. As the player explores the surrounding area, they'll encounter various NPCs and objects that they'll be able to interact with, and how the player chooses to carry themselves in the post-apocalyptic world determines which ending they'll get.

\n

There aren't many indie survival-horror games on the market, but if that's what you're looking for, then you're in luck: Lone Survivor is a fantastic instance of that niche.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/t/i/t/titan-souls-30d58.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/t/i/t/titan-souls-30d58.jpg","type":"slide","id":"177643","description":"

Titan Souls

\n
Time to Beat: 3 hours
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Android, PlayStation Vita
\n

Part Shadow of the Colossus, part Dark Souls, Titan Souls is a game that’s all about boss fights in a beautifully imagined fantasy world.

\n

In a way, Titan Souls is like a puzzle game, though instead of having to solve quaint little environmental riddles, the player has to identify and figure out how to exploit each boss’s unique weakness while simultaneously dodging everything thrown their way (because you die in one hit).

\n

Boss fights tend to be the highlights of many action-adventure/RPG games, and if you're one of those players who prefers quality over quantity, then Titan Souls is definitely worth checking out.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/m/o/o/moon-55216.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/m/o/o/moon-55216.jpg","type":"slide","id":"177642","description":"

To the Moon

\n
Time to Beat: 4 hours
Platforms: PC, iOS, Android
\n

To the Moon is an adventure game developed by Freebird Games, where the player takes on the role of a doctor employed by Sigmund Corp., which offers a wish fulfillment service using a futuristic piece of tech that can create artificial memories. There's just one twist: the doctors have to use the machine to explore their patient's memories Inception-style.

\n

In To the Moon, the player must use the machine to fulfill the last wish of a dying old man: to fulfill his lifelong dream of going to the moon. However, aged as he is, he doesn't remember why, and it's the doctors' job to delve backwards in time through his memories to discover why he wanted to go to the moon before they can fulfill his dream.

\n

If you're looking for one of the best stories that gaming has to offer, then To the Moon is the game you're looking for. You might want to hold off playing it, though, if you're not in the mood to shed a few tears.

\n

(Also, Finding Paradise, To the Moon's slightly lengthier sequel, is now available!)

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/i/n/s/inside-0797a.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/i/n/s/inside-0797a.jpg","type":"slide","id":"177641","description":"

Inside

\n
Time to Beat: 3.5 hours
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, iOS
\n

Puzzle games, platformers, and puzzle-platformers are some of the most popular indie game genres, and it can be overwhelming trying to pick out the polished gems from the rough. Playdead’s Limbo was one of those gems -- but it’s also a seven-year-old critically acclaimed title, so chances are you’ve probably already played it. (And if you haven’t, well, you may as well stop reading now.)

\n

However, if you’ve been looking for a new indie game to scratch that puzzle-platformer itch, then you might be happy to learn that Playdead delivered on that front a second time.

\n

Inside, like Limbo, is an atmospheric puzzle-platformer set in an unsettling, washed-out world. Inside's excellent sound and visual design really help bring the world to life (as alive as a dystopia can be), and while the puzzles are challenging, they should rarely ever frustrate the player. Better yet, the puzzles tie into the narrative in a way that helps to drive the story forward as the player solves them.

\n

Whether you're looking specifically for a puzzle-platformer or just a great game in general to play, you can't go wrong with Inside.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/u/p/superhot-16f9f.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/u/p/superhot-16f9f.jpg","type":"slide","id":"177638","description":"

SUPERHOT

\n
Time to Beat: 2 hours
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
\n

SUPERHOT is one of the most innovative shooters released in years!

\n

Most, if not all, AAA FPS games that feature bullet time only offer it as a tool that the player can use to enhance their fighting ability, generally no more than once or twice per firefight. In SUPERHOT, bullet time is always active -- time moves when you do, and it slows to a near halt when you stand still.

\n

This incredibly stylish first-person shooter proves that there’s a lot of design space to be explored in gameplay mechanics that we more or less take for granted nowadays. You probably won’t find any other first-person shooters that encourage you to plan out your moves like you’re playing some sort of strategy game the same way SUPERHOT will.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/h/e/r/her-story-09c5e.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/h/e/r/her-story-09c5e.jpg","type":"slide","id":"177636","description":"

Her Story

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Time to Beat: 2 hours
Platforms: PC, iOS, Android
\n

Given how popular crime drama is in film and television, it’s a little strange that games rarely ever touch the genre. Maybe the scarcity of crime games explains why game designer Sam Barlow took such an unconventional approach to Her Story, which many might consider to be more of an interactive film than it is a game.

\n

Her Story delivers a non-linear narrative through the screen of an old computer from the '90s, with a database containing several police interviews with a woman named Hannah regarding the death of her husband. The twist is that the interviews were somehow corrupted, and the player must find and sift through the fragmented interview clips in an attempt to piece together the whole story and to discern what actually happened to Hannah’s husband.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/t/a/stanley-parable-01e34.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/t/a/stanley-parable-01e34.jpg","type":"slide","id":"177635","description":"

The Stanley Parable

\n
Time to Beat: 1.5 hours
Platforms: PC
\n

Many indie games innovate by iterating or expanding upon gameplay and narrative elements found in AAA titles. The Stanley Parable challenges them.

\n

The Stanley Parable is a short narrative game that calls into question the nature of choice and player agency in gaming. With a Gla-DOS-like narrator as their guide (at least in terms of humor), the player takes the role of Stanley, navigating an office complex, following the narrator’s commands ... or disobeying them.

\n

What sets The Stanley Parable apart from more or less every other game in existence is the way in which the narrator will account for every one of the player’s choices, making it a very thorough investigation of the limits of interactive storytelling.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/f/i/r/firewatch-8be94.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/f/i/r/firewatch-8be94.jpg","type":"slide","id":"177634","description":"

Firewatch

\n
Time to Beat: 4 hours
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
\n

Say what you will about “walking simulators”, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a mystery game with a story as riveting as Firewatch’s. The game takes place in the Shoshone National Forest, with the player guiding Henry, a forest ranger recruit, through both the forest and his conversations with his supervisor Delilah.

\n

One of the things that elevates Firewatch above many other walking simulators is the game's focus on dialogue as a way to keep things engaging for the player. The majority of the game's dialogue happens between Henry and Delilah by way of walkie-talkie, giving the player ample opportunity to grow attached to them as the mystery unfolds.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/i/n/d/indie-gaming-header-1d099.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/i/n/d/indie-gaming-header-1d099.jpg","type":"slide","id":"177633","description":"

Whether you're an indie game aficionado, you're dissatisfied with the state of AAA gaming, or maybe both or even neither, independent games have a lot to offer the medium as a whole.

\n

Indie game devs have a bit more freedom in how they approach development compared to AAA devs, and sometimes that'll result in games with innovative new mechanics, unusual approaches to storytelling, or even both.

\n

However, indie games are also typically shorter than many AAA titles (most likely due to budget constraints), which isn't necessarily a good or bad thing -- where some players may prefer games that last for dozens of hours, others might be looking for games they can finish in one sitting.

\n

If you're part of the latter group, you're sure to find what you're looking for in the indie scene -- and here are some of the best games it has to offer.

"}]]]>
Feast Your Ears on the Fascinating Audio Commentary in These 11 Games https://www.gameskinny.com/t06i8/feast-your-ears-on-the-fascinating-audio-commentary-in-these-11-games https://www.gameskinny.com/t06i8/feast-your-ears-on-the-fascinating-audio-commentary-in-these-11-games Tue, 21 Nov 2017 13:56:02 -0500 Sergey_3847

[{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/8/9/2/8925e368eeec9315b86d93165a763b45-650-3e492.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/8/9/2/8925e368eeec9315b86d93165a763b45-650-3e492.jpg","type":"slide","id":"174212","description":"

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

\n

Alas, Hideo Kojima, the creator of the famous Metal Gear Solid series, never took to the task of recording a single line of developer commentary on his games. However, the fourth game in the series, Guns of the Patriots, includes such a commentary by Ken Imaizumi, the game's producer, Aki Saito, Konami international product manager, and Sean Eyestone, one of the writers.

\n

This audio commentary is available in the game on Snake's iPod. So if you haven't had the chance to listen to it yet, maybe now's the time.

\n

---

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What's your favorite developer commentary track? Let us know in the comments below!.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/adb4162f1b7ddef3d37effc39e7af946.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/adb4162f1b7ddef3d37effc39e7af946.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"11647","description":"

Grim Fandango Remastered

\n

Tim Schafer is one of the world's most renowned and consistent game designers. His titles have garnered huge fan followings, and his new games are anticipated by millions of gamers everywhere every year.

\n

Grim Fandango is definitely one of his finest moments. That's why Sony decided to release a remastered version of the game just a few years ago. It was a great decision to include the developer commentary, too, as it reveals the massive amounts of talent Tim Schafer wields.

\n

Fortunately, the entire commentary has been leaked online, so grab a pack of popcorn and immerse yourself in the world of mesmerizing game development of Grim Fandango.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/1bf53f22b06f1d8d2243b8e5b26fd8dd.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/1bf53f22b06f1d8d2243b8e5b26fd8dd.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"11646","description":"

Deus Ex: Human Revolution Director's Cut

\n

The Director's Cut of the first Deus Ex introduced a number of revamped gameplay elements, a fantastic series of developer commentaries, and a whole documentary showcasing the behind-the-scenes creation process.

\n

Even if you've never played the game or have no interest in the Deus Ex series but want to know what it takes to develop a modern AAA title, then be sure to check the entire audio commentary section of the game. Be warned, though, it's long. Seven hours long.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/1470bf62141850fb708aab406e612e00.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/1470bf62141850fb708aab406e612e00.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"11642","description":"

Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2

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This survival horror franchise from Valve was another massive success for the company. So it's no surprise that the dev team opted to provide audio commentary in the same fashion as both Half-Life 2 and the Portal franchise: as interactive nodes that could be activated by players during the gameplay.

\n

The sequel, which came out only a year later, had the same team record their thoughts on the development process, too, making it one of the most encompassing game design commentaries you will ever hear.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/e229b73427633b86113de39933bebd5b.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/e229b73427633b86113de39933bebd5b.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"11640","description":"

Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary World Tour

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Here is another cult title from the 90s -- a true blast from the past: the one and only Duke Nukem 3D. The upgraded version of the original title was released just a year ago to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the series.

\n

Allen Blum and Richard Gray, the original designers of the game, return to their progeny and not only deliver additional content to the original game, but also discuss what went into the process of reviving the old files from the ashes.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/73e684a627a75d5b479876590a9a61c8.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/73e684a627a75d5b479876590a9a61c8.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"11639","description":"

Tomb Raider: Anniversary

\n

The very first game that launched the epic Tomb Raider series was released in the mid-90s. Ten years later, Crystal Dynamics released a remastered version of that first game based on the new Legend engine.

\n

Fast forward to the Tomb Raider: Anniversary bundle, and you'll find game developer commentary featuring Jason Botta, the creative director of the remastered version, and Toby Gard, the original game's lead designer. 

\n

They discuss each segment of the game as you play through it, and reveal why certain decisions were made in the process of the creation of those particular levels.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/650e4e9b2569990c9d64861e4bf6c3d4.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/650e4e9b2569990c9d64861e4bf6c3d4.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"11638","description":"

Firewatch

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Firewatch offers a developer commentary as a part of its free DLC, which adds an Audio Tour mode to the game. It's designed in such a way that allows players to pick up audio players in the beginning of the prologue, and then pick up audio cassettes that are placed in special spots throughout the game.

\n

Each cassette contains a recording from a Firewatch development member who discusses how that particular part of the game was designed. The best thing about this approach is that the recordings are relatively short and don't distract from the actual gameplay too much.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/9ba0b6685d94b0eac63400c18a07d19b.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/9ba0b6685d94b0eac63400c18a07d19b.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"11637","description":"

Portal & Portal 2

\n

After the smashing success of Half-Life 2, Valve released another title that is considered to be one of the most original game concepts ever devised -- the Portal series.

\n

As usual, Gabe Newell, the founder of Valve, was joined by the development team behind the Portal games and recorded an accompanying audio commentary for the series. In order to access all of the commentary episodes, players must first complete the game. Afterward, the developer commentary mode will be unlocked, offering over a hundred audio segments for your listening pleasure.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/7d48afc345565016508d915419a79886.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/7d48afc345565016508d915419a79886.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"11636","description":"

The Last Of Us Remastered

\n

The Last of Us was a PS3 exclusive and international hit. A year later, it was remastered and ported to the PS4 -- bringing with it developer commentary by Neil Druckmann, creative director, Troy Baker, who plays Joel, and Ashley Johnson, who plays Ellie.

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This commentary can be accessed through an in-game menu, which shows all of the game's cutscenes in succession -- with audio commentary on top -- making the experience very similar to watching films with director commentary. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/d2a7ef130bd09d5e35b1e70af8c97014.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/d2a7ef130bd09d5e35b1e70af8c97014.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"11633","description":"

Half-Life 2

\n

Half-Life 3 is undoubtedly the most anticipated sequel to any game ever released. The first two games have set the bar of the quality so high that it will be hard to achieve the same level of intrigue as before.

\n

However, if you want to know how the development of this incredibly popular series began, then be sure to check the developer commentary of Half-Life 2: Episodes 1 & 2.

\n

Unfortunately, the development team didn't record commentary for the first game, but there is more than enough material to study from the two episodes of the sequel. Commentary includes anecdotes and behind the scenes stories from team members such as Gabe Newell, Greg Coomer, Jay Stelly, and many more. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/e4257f866fcd4cdbc8352e18b3b7fec7.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/e4257f866fcd4cdbc8352e18b3b7fec7.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"11632","description":"

BioShock: The Collection

\n

Every fan of the BioShock series simply ought to have BioShock: The Collection. Not only does it inlcude the remastered versions of all three games, but it also adds to the experience an exciting commentary track from Ken Levine, the series' creative director, and Shawn Robertson, the lead artist. 

\n

Interestingly, the commentary for Bioshock: The Collection is part of the franchise's world. Throughout each of the stories, players are able to find collectible items that activate new episodes where the developers discuss the design process behind the series.

\n

The commentary uncovers many previously unknown details about the risks and challenges that the development team had to take in order to deliver one of the most praised video game franchises in history.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/u/n/t/unt-e303b.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/u/n/t/unt-e303b.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173797","description":"

While audio commentary from directors and filmmakers is typical for most Hollywood movies, commentary from video game developers discussing their creative process on a separate audio track attached to your favorite game is relatively new.

\n

It took some years before game developers decided to adopt the same approach as their Hollywood counterparts. The first game that appeared with such developer commentary was 2000's Star Wars: Episode I: Battle for Naboo.

\n

After that first experiment, other developers also wanted to share their experiences with gamers, and many games followed suit. Here you will find 11 of the most inspiring video game developer commentaries that will not only let you see the the machinations behind your favorite games, but also what drives your favorite developer to keep making great games. 

"}]]]>
5 Video Game Worlds that Should be Expanded into Novels https://www.gameskinny.com/w1att/5-video-game-worlds-that-should-be-expanded-into-novels https://www.gameskinny.com/w1att/5-video-game-worlds-that-should-be-expanded-into-novels Wed, 08 Nov 2017 16:35:33 -0500 Lauren Harris

Video game stories and adventures are just as good as any book we’ve read or are currently reading. For some of these games, I think their story should be continued or created into heart-warming and courageous novels. Most video games stories deserve to be written and expressed meticulously to the reader and these are some of the best RPG adventures about survival, mystery, and hardship that should be published in a good book.

Firewatch

Firewatch was one of those first-person RPGs that stayed with me after I completed the game. The intense fear of being by yourself in the Wyoming wilderness with only a walkie-talkie to communicate with your supervisor is a compelling premise. The game really gave you the feeling of actually being the character. Creating a book around Firewatch would be a good way to expand the story and bring out a lot more detail. It would be exciting to display to the reader how scary it can be when you're on your own in the wilderness and highlight the story of survival and friendship found within the game.

Gone Home

This nostalgic mystery exploration game gives you that classic 90's feel. The player returns home after a year overseas. You get home, and no one’s there. This interactive story lets you comb through each part of the house to pick up objects and find clues. You discover the events of the lives of your family members in the items they left behind. A book adaptation for this game would really bring out the story of the characters. It’s a story about discovering one’s self. Books bring out detail in every story, and a book for Gone Home would bring the story to life on another level. This game would be an amazing mystery book for all ages to enjoy.

Heavy Rain

Quantic Dream has created some of the best life-like games that I've ever seen. Their video games should be made into movies if you ask me. Heavy Rain was one of the most emotional games I've ever played.

This action-adventure and cinematic psychological thriller revolves around multiple characters. Each character has different agendas in the story. The player's decisions affect how the game progresses. This could be a good interactive book. This game covers the struggles and consequences associated with the decisions each character has to make. Readers could relate to some of their stories and feel the pain of the result of their actions. The story of Heavy Rain is heartbreaking, but it has profound potential to be written into multiple stories or become one thrilling novel.

Horizon Zero Dawn 

This exciting action/adventure RPG takes place in a vast post-apocalyptic world where deadly machines have taken over what’s left of the ruins. The civilization of humans is primitive and almost extinct. 

The game has great potential as an in-depth fantasy book if written by a good author--someone who can bring the ruins of this once thriving world to life and illustrate that surreal feeling to the readers. The story is an exhilarating action adventure about survival--the struggle to survive and co-exist with machines. Writing a book about this game would be a new chapter to keeping the video game's story alive and it could also build more stories from the game to extend the adventure. 

Infamous:First Light

Sucker Punch created a standalone game which allows the player to control Abagail Walker. Abagail and her brother Brent ran away from home because of an accident in school that involved injuring a student. They both turned to drugs to deal with their struggles, but Brent eventually got clean. He wanted Abigail to get clean as well, so he would hide her stash. He even ended up working for gangs to get enough money to cross the border to Canada by boat.

First Light could be a novel about the struggles that both siblings had to face from society and in their everyday life. Although the story-line of the game was short, it has the potential to become a powerful fantasy novel. This story could be expanded to delve deeper into the characters' lives and show how resourceful they both had to be to survive. The story of this game could definitely be an interesting novel. 

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Everyone has their own opinion about video games and how they’re portrayed in movies. I have to say most movies don’t do the video games they are based upon any justice because they don’t stick to the story or the characters they portray. Extending the story in a good book gives the game life and actually takes the reader on a journey into the life of the characters. We all know books are far better than any movie. So, to create a novel about any of these amazing characters would be an exciting adventure I’d want to be a part of. 

Do you think video games should also become novels? Which video game stories would you like to see in a book? Let’s hear your opinions in the comments below. 

 

 

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Get The Look: Firewatch Inspired Home https://www.gameskinny.com/6qk7x/get-the-look-firewatch-inspired-home https://www.gameskinny.com/6qk7x/get-the-look-firewatch-inspired-home Mon, 20 Mar 2017 12:00:02 -0400 Pip Simon

If you are like me, then you probably love the aesthetic of some of your favorite games and wish that you could incorporate their style and décor into your own living space without making your home look like an arcade. Throughout this series I'm going to discuss the overall aesthetic used in in games and how you might integrate these looks into your own home.

Today we are going to look at Firewatch by developer Campo Santo. Firewatch follows the story of Henry, a fire lookout in Shoshone National Forest. It's a story of loss, healing, and discovering oneself in the wild. Its story is powerful and compelling, but its environments are just as commanding.

To get a Firewatch aesthetic would be different depending on the location in the game that you choose. For example if you feel inspired by the sprawling canyons then the overall look of the room would be very different then it would if you chose a more forested area. As these locations are more abstract, today I am going to focus on Henry's lookout, which is the easiest space to translate to a real world living space.

So to start I would recommend answering a question.

What do you like about this aesthetic?

It's easy to get lost when you think about this question, but ask yourself what aspects of the environment do you want to emulate in your space. You might find out that you just like the color palette, or you just like Henry's 80's retro items. Overall, you want to know the extent to which you want your space to look like the game and work from there.

For the sake of my tips and tricks, I'm going to pretend that you want a space that looks almost completely like Henry's lookout.

Get inspired

This is where making a Pinterest board or collecting a folder of images will help you stay focused on the look that you want. You can take screenshots of the game itself or you can search for rustic, woodsy inspired spaces. Tumblr is great for this, and you might consider watching films about the great outdoors. My top choice is Into the Wild which is based on a true story of wanderlust. Doing this will help you narrow down what you like, and it will keep you focused on creating a cohesive space where everything feels connected and nothing is out of place.

You can also check out my Pinterest board that I made for my lookout inspired bedroom.

Choose a color palette

There are many tricks when coming up with a color scheme. Generally, my trick is to take the largest piece of furniture or pattern in the room and match pieces with it. This will help to tie each item in the space together.

If you were to want a room that matches the aesthetic of Henry's lookout, then you have to think about the most prominent feature of the lookout.  To me, the thing I notice first is his windows, and how the sprawling landscape fills those windows. This is a lookout after all, so the outdoors are very much a part of the overall look of the room. The color palette of Henry's room mimics the outdoors. Henry's space has a mix of pale greens and browns. He has a mixture of earth tones in his room which tie it to the outdoors. The environment also uses small pops of red and orange which prevent the space from looking too boring without being overbearing; and still these colors are reminiscent to the lookout at daybreak and sunset. To model a room after Henry's you should stick to earthy colors and work from there.

Incorporate textures and patterns

Texture is often forgotten when the average person begins decorating a space. Textures may refer to wood grains, metallic features, furs, fleece, silk, and stone, to name a few. My trick is to pick one main texture that will be used the most throughout the room, and one or two others that will be used sparingly.

In Henry's lookout there are different kinds of natural woodgrains, metallic objects and soft fabrics. Wood is certainly used the most, in the painted wood paneling, raw wood floors, and wooden furniture. You may not have a space that naturally looks like this, but you have options. You can paint the walls an earthy color or hang wood paneling. A more cost-effective option may be to get faux wood paneling wall paper which is cheaper and easier to put up and take down than you might think. It's a great option to give your walls some extra flair, and is perfect for renters or people who are unable to make major modifications to their home.  If you are unable to change the walls and floors, I would recommend concentrating solely on having lots of wooden furniture. Aim for unpainted wood to give it a raw look.

Henry's room is a very warm, cozy space. So incorporate comfy blankets and pillows that appear soft to the touch. Fleece is good choice, and having a few plaid items isn't a bad idea either. There are a few metal objects in Henry's space too. Metals can often look modern, but if you stick to a metal like tin, enamel, or weathered, aged metals then you can give your space an overall rustic vibe.

Purposeful clutter

Cluttering a space effectively really helps bring a place to life. If a place feels too empty, then it's difficult for an audience to identify with it. The objects in a room should tell a story, so think about this when choosing key items.

The objects found in Henry's room are the perfect mixture of camping gear and 80's inspired décor. The items I notice first are his poster prints and artistic landscapes. While many of the official Firewatch posters are sold out, you can still get smaller postcard prints of them from the Campo Santo store page, and from time to time I have seen them floating around on eBay. I would also really recommend following Olly Moss who created the posters for Firewatch so that you can stay up to date on his work.

In Firewatch Henry arrives at the lookout with the space already decorated by the people before him. I recommend thrifting or buying some of your items secondhand. You can get things much cheaper this way, and the worn look of the objects will really help your room tell a story while getting the added benefit of being eco-friendly. Henry's room is very functional, so think about buying items that you think you'll actually use. Maybe you don't need lots of camping equipment for backpacking or rock climbing. That's fine. You can still get the same feel buy getting tin mugs that you would use around a campfire or old maps so you can dream up a new adventure. Definite look for army surplus stores in your area, and check out etsy and ebay where you can find unique and interesting pieces.

Bring the outdoors inside

My last tip for making Henry's lookout your own, is to bring the natural world indoors. As I mentioned earlier, Henry has large windows that connect him to the outside. Unlike Henry, you probably don't have windows like this, or you have curtains and blinds that create disconnect between you and the outside. Definitely consider filling your space with greenery. If you don't have a green thumb, you should get cacti or succulents as they are relatively easy to keep alive. Fake plants are an option too, just remember to dust them off from time to time. Also consider how much natural light your room gets. Get sheer curtains or wooden shades that you can pull back to let more light in. If this isn't an option get daylight bulbs that mimic the look of natural light.

If you follow these tips you will be well on your way to having a Firewatch inspired space. By simply breaking down the different elements of an environment, you can easily and constructively mimic the look of a space and make it your own.

Next up we'll be taking a look a Nathan Drake's home in Unchartered 4.

What other elements strike you about Firewatch? Let me know in the comments.

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The 10 Best Indie Games of All-Time https://www.gameskinny.com/us8ll/the-10-best-indie-games-of-all-time https://www.gameskinny.com/us8ll/the-10-best-indie-games-of-all-time Fri, 05 May 2017 08:00:02 -0400 Curtis Dillon

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Well that's it for our list, and I'm sure you're all happy and agree with every game on here. All jokes aside, we want to hear what your favourite indie games are. Feel free to drop your personal Top 10 in the comments below and let us know where we went horribly wrong!

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There are so many amazing indie games it was super difficult to narrow this list down to 10 - hence the overlong honourable mentions. It pained me personally to leave out games like Oxenfree, Rogue Legacy, and Guacamelee, but that's part of the fun. The gaming world is so vibrant right now, with amazing titles coming out on a weekly basis. It's incredibly encouraging that six of the games in this list, came out in the past three years!

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Gaming is alive and well in every spectrum, the least of which is the indie scene. Games like Shovel Knight prove that what's old can be new again, while Everybody's Gone To The Rapture show immense beauty and a narrative that can only be told in a game. There's so much breadth and diversity that everyone can find something to love. And on that note, we also want to hear which of those 10 is your favourite! So get chatting in the comments and be sure to stay tuned to GameSkinny for all your gaming coverage!

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Honorable Mentions:
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  • Bastion
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  • Limbo
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  • Dear Esther
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  • Braid
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  • Super Meat Boy
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  • Hotline Miami
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  • OlliOlli
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  • Spelunky
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  • Rogue Legacy
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  • Oxenfree
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  • Thomas Was Alone
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  • Don't Starve
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  • Tokyo Jungle
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  • Actual Sunlight
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  • Three Fourth's Home
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  • Guacamelee
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  • Her Story
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  • Nidhogg
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  • The Beginner's Guide
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Stardew Valley
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Stardew Valley is a phenomenon. Similar to Undertale, it has a rabid fan base and everyone that plays it falls in love. And there's a very simple reason why: it's addictive.

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I'm not a fan of farming simulators, games like Animal Crossing never appealed to me. Yet I kept hearing reverent praise for Stardew Valley, so eventually I picked it up on a PSN sale and figured I'd play a few hours before deleting it. 94 hours later I finished Stardew Valley.

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Why? Never before had I played a game with a better carrot on the end of the stick. Every day cycle in Stardew Valley lasts one hour, and in that hour you might water your crops, chop down some tree's, run into town and go fishing, and go to the bar to talk to the locals. Of course you could turn it off there but tomorrow you want to go to the blacksmith and crack open an ore, run down to the forest to see if the gypsy with the travelling cart is back, then maybe go up to the mines where you accidentally run out of stamina and pass out. You wake up the next morning and someone stole your money, so now you have to make it back, as well as check out the community centre, and maybe you have your eye on a villager so you'll want to bring them a gift. That's a quick example of how you could easily lose three hours to Stardew Valley.

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Stardew Valley is a really special game that is every bit as charming and fun as it is life-consuming. It's so much more than a farming simulator; Stardew Valley is like Animal Crossing meets The Sims, with a dash of Zelda thrown in. Even now that might not sound like it's for you, but I bet if you give it a couple of hours, you will be caught, hook, line and sinker.

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Shovel Knight

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Shovel Knight was a game funded on Kickstarter and one of the true success stories to emerge from the platform. Carrying-on the lineage of classic platformers like Super Mario World, Mega Man, and CastleVaniaShovel Knight didn't reinvent the wheel but it might have perfected it.

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Of course, in the world of gaming it comes as blasphemy to say anything is better than those that pioneered the way, those that people hold the most nostalgia for, but the reality is that Shovel Knight combined the best elements of all of those classic games to make the perfect action platformer. Even though it is an amalgamation of those games, taking the world map, inventory, and combat from NES classics, Shovel Knight was a success because it has a personality of its own.

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With whimsical characters, fairytale setting, and flawless mechanics, Shovel Knight did was so few other modern platformers were able to achieve: originality and peerless quality. Available on pretty much every platform imaginable, there's no excuse not to play Shovel Knight. Personally I played it on the PS Vita, where it feels right at home. Furthermore, Yacht Club Games, developer of Shovel Knight, has released two full-length DLC's, the most recent being a brand new game from head-to-toe, and there's more to come. Oh, and all of it has been free if you already own the game. That's fan service like no other. So, what are you waiting for?

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Journey

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Journey is often considered the crown-jewel of indie games. A break-taking voyage through a scorching desert in order to reach the shining peak of the mountain ahead; a deceptively simple premise.

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Journey celebrates the majesty of nature and offers-up an adventure that is as unforgettable as it is beautiful. The game clocks-in at around two hours and takes you through the full spectrum of emotions, from the awe of climbing your first dune and seeing the vista ahead, to the dread you feel when traversing the dark underground locales.

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And, perhaps most importantly, along the way you might meet a friend. As you play Journey you can encounter another traveller, who joins in your trek to the mountain top. This partnership formed the core of many Journey experiences, especially when the game ends and you realise it was another player and not just an AI. In all the online gaming house I've played, none has been as unique and touching as my solitary Journey playthrough.

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There's a reason Journey is revered to the extent that it is. It is a masterpiece of storytelling and visuals that manages to tug on all the right strings while not uttering a single word. When people say video games cannot be art, point them in the direction of Journey.

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Gone Home

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What can I say about Gone Home that hasn't already been said? The game launched in 2013 on PC and set new standards for environmental storytelling and progressive topics in gaming.

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Gone Home, from The Fullbright Company, tells the story of Katie, a college student who returns from a summer abroad to her family's new home in Oregon, set in 1995. The family is still in the process of moving, so there's a lot boxes and disarray around the home, and her parents and sister are nowhere to be found. Once again it's hard to say much more without spoiling the game for anyone.

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Gone Home, in a way, put "walking simulators" on the map. Even though the term is often used in a derogatory fashion, the sub-genre is alive and well, in large part thanks to the brilliance and success of Gone Home.

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Inside

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Playdead was always going to have a very hard time attempting to follow-up its smash-hit Limbo. However it did something much, much better; the team eclipsed every single element of Limbo and crafted a game so stylish and weird that it demands to be played. They crafted Inside.

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Not quite as grayscale as Limbo, Inside added a little red to the proceedings and some excellent lighting, to create a really stunning game. It's difficult to talk about the plot, or even mechanics, of Inside without delving into spoiler territory in some fashion. I will say that it plays a lot like Limbo but much improved, and I guess that kind of sums-up everything about Inside: it's Limbo on steroids.

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In short, Inside is a fantastic game that you should play. It's the modern evolution of the puzzle platformer, which uses all the facets of the genre to perfect it.

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Everybody's Gone To The Rapture

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Set in a perfectly recreated 1980's English village, in which every single person has disappeared, Everybody's Gone To The Rapture tells a story of everyday life coming to an abrupt end.

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As a voiceless wanderer, you are guided through the picture-perfect village of Yaughton by an ethereal ball of light that seeks to reveal to you the mystery of what happened to the locals. The people have left behind literal traces of themselves, which, when prompted, take form and act out some of the last moments of their lives like a message from beyond the grave. You can follow these particular people and watch exactly what they did: who were they with? Or were they alone when they met their demise? Did they at least get a goodbye?

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The answers to those kind of questions are what pushes you through the game, while unravelling the much-larger mystery at hand. You become connected the the villagers, while never actually meeting any of them. Everybody's Gone To The Rapture is a testament to well-written dialogue and a perfectly created setting. These elements come together to weave a story that will tug at your heart strings as much as it makes you scratch your head and wonder.

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Undertale

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When you talk about beloved video games, you think Pokemon, Zelda, Skyrim, but you can definitely add Undertale to that list.

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Emerging from obscurity in 2015, there was a long ground swell of devotion and fanfare for Undertale. It seemed that everyone who played it, fell in love with it, and rightfully so; Undertale masterfully created a game that weaved typical RPG elements with original Pokemon-style graphics, and a fairly simple story. Then it took all of those elements and flipped them on their head; the story twisted into something much darker and revelatory (while still making you laugh), and the battle system changed, continuously kept you on your toes.

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Undertale is the perfect storm of mechanics, characters, art-style, plot, etc., melding together to create a masterpiece. It's an example of every single element of a game being utilised to further the experience and keep players engaged. Undertale is an adventure like no other and one I implore everyone to take - and you can play it on your standard laptop for $10!

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The Unfinished Swan

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Giant Sparrow is a games developer that was signed by Sony literally out of college, and the first thing they created was a plain white room, in which the player would splash black paint around. Eventually, after years of development, that rudimentary idea formed into The Unfinished Swan.

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Standing toe-to-toe with Journey as the best indie game on the PS3, The Unfinished Swan portrayed the adventure of Monroe, an orphan, who was only allowed to retain one painting from his mother's collection, after she sadly passes away. One night, Monroe wakes-up to find the swan missing, and so he leaps into the canvas and finds himself in a completely white world.

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The mechanic of the game sees Monroe throwing paint, which splashes on surfaces to reveal the world and help you navigate. The sheer sense of wonder that comes from throwing every blob of paint to find a mundane object, such as a park bench or a wooden crate, is equalled by the touching story of Monroe searching for place in the world. The game is a beautiful, serene journey, narrated by a soothing voice, that will stick with you long after it's over.

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Firewatch

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The first game from developer Campo Santo, Firewatch had lofty expectations ahead of its release in 2016. With a development team that worked on The Walking Dead and Mark of the Ninja, and art courtesy of Olly Moss, it's easy to see why this game was so highly-anticipated.

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Firewatch puts you in the shoes of Henry; a middle-aged man who needs a break from his difficult life, so impulsively takes a job as a forest lookout in the Shoshone National Park, Wyoming. The game takes place in 1989, a year after the horrible Yellowstone Fires. Playing as Henry, you have a walkie-talkie that connects you to the other nearest lookout, Delilah, who guides you through the first days on the job.

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Firewatch is sheer beauty. From the jaw-dropping art by Olly Moss, to the emotionally-charged voice acting, Firewatch is everything a narrative-driven experience should be. The gameplay aims to serve the story, and the overall package is so finely crafted that it's impossible not to become immersed in the gorgeous world that Campo Santo has created.

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FEZ

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Fez was arguably the first big-hit of the indie scene. Created almost entirely by Phil Fish, Fez is a marvel of game design.

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With mind-bending level design, in which you rotate the levels to progress, beautiful pixel-art, and pleasant sound design, Fez is simply a joy to play. Sure it might look like a Super Nintendo game but your SNES would have a stroke if it tried to play Fez.

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Fez begs you to explore its world at your own pace and it's a testament to the design that you can do so without getting frustrated. The first time you jump into the blocky world and the entire perspective shifts, you'll have a smile on your face and be hooked to the brilliance of Fez.

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What defines an "indie game"? That is the question... that I will not be answering here today. That's right: I'm not about to answer the tired debate of what actually constitutes an indie game and what doesn't. Truth be told, the word has lost all meaning in the current development landscape of Kickstarter and Steam Early Access.

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For the sake of this list, we can agree that indie simply means downloadable title made on a low budget by a small team of developers. That, too, is redundant considering all games are available to download -- but I digress.

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Anywho, the world of indie games exploded onto the scene way back in 2008, with Braid. Back then, downloading a game onto your console was still a foreign concept and few gave the idea a second thought. Fast forward almost a decade and these games are making up two-thirds of the games released on PS4 and Xbox One.

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It took a long time, too long, for these games to get the recognition they deserve, with a lot of gamers clinging to the ignorant idea that if it isn't on a disc, it isn't worth their time. Thankfully that mindset is all but gone today, and most gamers use the valuable time between AAA titles like Resident Evil 7 and Mass Effect: Andromeda, to catch-up on many smaller games that can be completed in a single sitting.

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The best thing about the "indie" games, is that they are filling the void left by mid-tier developers like THQ. Such B-level video games have been replaced by passion projects that don't have the same requirements as a full-release title would -- for example, had Outlast released in 2007, it would have been 10 hours longer, you would have had a gun, and it would have been less impressive.

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The "indie" scene allows developers to be artistic and branch out, spreading their wings without pressure. Furthermore, we may have once considered an indie to be a side-scrolling, 2D game that could run on an SNES, but now it can be anything from Limbo, to Firewatch. There is no pigeon-holing or defining this aspect of gaming and I for one love it.

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So here we are, about to celebrate the ten best indie games you can possibly play. This list is in no particular order and it's important to remember that there is always a level of partiality, so do not be offended if your favourite title is merely an honourable mention. So, without further ado...

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Naughty Dog Takes Platinum in the 2016 PlayStation.Blog Game of the Year Award https://www.gameskinny.com/jicrb/naughty-dog-takes-platinum-in-the-2016-playstationblog-game-of-the-year-award https://www.gameskinny.com/jicrb/naughty-dog-takes-platinum-in-the-2016-playstationblog-game-of-the-year-award Thu, 12 Jan 2017 23:29:41 -0500 TL Bickler

Over half-million fans took part in Sony’s 2016 PlayStation.Blog Game of the Year Awards and we have the results! Out of fourteen categories voted on one game company soared above the rest: Naughty Dog. Naughty Dog snagged seven platinum awards -- including the game of the year and the studio of the year.

Naughty Dog’s Hero: Uncharted 4

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End claimed 40% of the total votes and stole most of the platinum awards. Uncharted came in on top for game of the year, best story, best performance with Nolan North taking platinum and Emily Rose taking silver, best soundtrack, and best visuals. But Uncharted didn’t stop there; they also won the gold for best post release game content. With six awards just with one game, it’s no wonder they took the platinum for studio of the year.

The Last of Us Part II

But Uncharted wasn’t Naughty Dog’s only star. The Last of us Part II brought home the platinum for most anticipated game of 2016. Since The Last of Us took platinum for Naughty Dog back in the 2013 PlayStation.Blog Game of The Year Awards, it’s not a real shock it won most anticipated game of 2016.

Here is a quick rundown of the other Platinum winners for the 2016 PlayStation.Blog Game of The Year Awards.

Best PS Vita Game

World of Final Fantasy

Best Independent Game

Firewatch

Best Use of PS4 Pro & Best Multiplayer

Battlefield 1

Best PlayStation VR Game

Batman Arkham VR

Best Post-Release Content

The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt

Most Innovative

The Last Guardian

]]>
The 10 Best Indie Games of 2016 https://www.gameskinny.com/vi54x/the-10-best-indie-games-of-2016 https://www.gameskinny.com/vi54x/the-10-best-indie-games-of-2016 Sun, 18 Dec 2016 01:59:15 -0500 Damien Smith

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And there you have it, our 10 Best Indie Games of 2016. From the dark and horrifying world of Darkest Dungeon to the gripping adventure of Avadon 3 to all your farming needs with Stardew Valley and the magical, cheerful and addicting musical that is Tadpole Treble, iIt truly has been an amazing year for indie games.

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What do you think of our list? What are yourfavoritee indie games of 2016? Let me know in the comments below!

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/t/a/d/tadpole-treble-4086f.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/t/a/d/tadpole-treble-4086f.jpg","type":"slide","id":"145262","description":"

1. Tadpole Treble

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Developer: BitFinity

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Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux and Wii U

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Oh, how I said "hmm, ha, um" and grunted and groaned attempting to decide between this and Darkest Dungeon as the number one indie game of 2016. In the end, the musical Tadpole Treble took the spot. It is a relatively unknown title compared to most on this list, but my goodness, is it a magical experience.

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You take on the role of Baton, a tadpole who swims too far into the river and get scooped up by a pelican and brought far away. She must find her way home while avoiding the many dangers along the game. What is it that makes the game so magical you might be wondering?

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Everything in each level acts as a part of the song that plays along with your actions. It makes it feel like you are a part of the song on every level, which each have a unique song in a different genre. 

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Even now, months on from its release, this game still makes me laugh and smile just as it did when I first played it. Not only that, I still enjoy it just as much too. 

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/d/a/r/darkest-dungeon-52fca.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/d/a/r/darkest-dungeon-52fca.jpg","type":"slide","id":"145266","description":"

2. Darkest Dungeon

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Developer: Red Hook Studios

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Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, PS4 and PS Vita

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Oh my! I bet you weren't expecting Darkest Dungeon to be second on this list. It was a very close and tough decision but yes, Darkest Dungeon takes second place on the 10 Best Indie Games of 2016. This hardcore turn-based combat RPG is absolute genius.

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It takes a different approach to how the stress of adventuring affects its many heroes. There are no all mighty and indestructible heroes. As stress builds, they begin to become afflicted with all forms of psychological problems. 

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Darkest Dungeon is a dark world and one where you will have to commit horrible acts in order to succeed in your goal to restore your family estate. What heroes will you keep and what heroes will you send on suicidal missions where you know they will likely meet their doom.

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It is a brilliant game and easily one of the best titles to release this year. It is one of those games that once you start playing, you don't want to stop.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/o/w/l/owlboy-bf8ef.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/o/w/l/owlboy-bf8ef.jpg","type":"slide","id":"145261","description":"

3. Owlboy

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Developer: D-Pad Studio

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Platforms: PC

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The once questioned "will it ever release" platformer finally made its way to the PC this year after nine years in development. Owlboy is a real love letter to the '90s platforming era of gaming. From its visuals to its plot to its gameplay, Owlboy is a game that oozes '90s gaming chic.

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You take on the role of Otus, who belongs to a clan of owl and human hybrids known as the Owls. When his village is attacked by a band of pirates, he sets out on a journey to save it. 

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With a charming cast, brilliant and varied level design and excellent Metroidvania style gameplay, Owlboy is an absolute classic.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/s/t/a/stardew-valley-4756b.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/s/t/a/stardew-valley-4756b.jpg","type":"slide","id":"145259","description":"

4. Stardew Valley

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Developer: Concerned Ape

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Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, Xbox One and PS4

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What can I say about Stardew Valley that hasn't already been said by practically every other video game journalist out there? At first glimpse, it looks like nothing more than Harvest Moon on other platforms that don't belong to Nintendo.

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That alone would be enough for many to instantly buy it -- but it is far more than just another Harvest MoonOnce you get deeper into the game, you begin to realize just how much depth and gameplay is really there. So much so, in fact, that it goes beyond that of the series it takes inspiration from.

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Farming and rebuilding the run-down old farm are but only two activities available to the player. The player can also fish, cook and craft just to name a few of the game's mechanics. If you love Harvest Moon or any form of a game that involves farming and want something with depth, Stardew Valley is as good as it gets.

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"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/h/y/p/hyper-light-drifter-ee197.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/h/y/p/hyper-light-drifter-ee197.jpg","type":"slide","id":"145257","description":"

5. Hyper Light Drifter

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Developer: Heart Machine

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Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, Xbox One, PS4 and Ouya

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Hyper Light Drifter is a 2D action RPG that has similarities to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP. You take on the role of The Drifter, who has access to long-lost technology and is suffering from an unspecified illness.

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The Drifter wields an energy sword and can gain additional modules to expand his weapon and abilities. Much like games from the SNES era, the game has no spoken dialogue and instead tells it story through visuals and music.

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It is very much a game that fans of the 16-bit era of gaming will love. It has a good story, great gameplay and solid mechanics. Overall, it is a beautiful and magical experience.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/f/i/r/firewatch-8e29f.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/f/i/r/firewatch-8e29f.jpg","type":"slide","id":"145239","description":"

6. Firewatch

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Developer: Campo Santo

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Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, PS4 and Xbox One

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FIrewatch is one of those games I decided to give a chance despite its genre being something I generally wouldn't have an interest in. You take on the role of Henry, a man who has taken a job as a fire lookout in the Wyoming woodlands. Something strange grabs your attention and you head out to investigate.

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Your only contact is your supervisor, who you communicate with through a small handheld radio. You must explore an environment that is unknown to you, face hard questions and make difficult decisions. The major highlights of the game are its story and beautiful design. 

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If you are looking for something that isn't all guns and violence with a gripping plot, then Firewatch is definitely worth checking out.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/p/o/n/pony-island-e9b81.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/p/o/n/pony-island-e9b81.jpg","type":"slide","id":"145237","description":"

7. Pony Island

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Developer: Daniel Mullins Games

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Platforms: PC, Mac and Linux

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To call Pony Island anything less than genius would be an insult, as quite frankly this is one of the most creative and clever games to come out not just this year, but in recent years. Pony Island is a puzzle game where you are in limbo trapped in a malevolent and malfunctioning arcade machine made by the devil himself.

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The problem is the devil isn't the best of programmers, so in order to escape, you must hack through the game's programming and figure out his puzzles. If I was to say anything more about the game we would be going into spoiler territory. If you are looking for something very different and a bit strange, this is worth a try.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/t/h/u/thumper-abc7b.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/t/h/u/thumper-abc7b.jpg","type":"slide","id":"145236","description":"

8. Thumper

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Developer: Drool

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Platforms: PC and PS4

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I actually feel bad putting this weird title so far down this list, but it just goes to show how strong the indie scene has been this year. Thumper is a psychedelic rhythm game where you take on the role of a space beetle braving a hellish void to confront a maniacal giant head from the future. 

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In its own right, this game is horrifying as there is nothing else like it out there. The lack of familiarity causes a great unease in the player, not to mention the sights and the bosses. To say any more would give away what exactly Thumper is, but one thing I will say is this: The less you know going in the better. It is one hell of an experience.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/a/v/a/avadon-f2c89.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/a/v/a/avadon-f2c89.jpg","type":"slide","id":"145235","description":"

9. Avadon 3: The Warborn

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Developer: Spiderweb Software

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Platforms: PC, Mac, and iOS

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The highly anticipated sequel to Jeff Vogul's Avadon 2: The Corruption, Avadon 3, like all of Vogul's games, is a real call back to the classic RPG genre and titles like Baldur's Gate and Planescape: Torment. 

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You take on the role of a Hand of Avadon, a bringer of justice that only answers to the Keeper of Avadon, a Medieval Judge Dread -- just on a bigger scale. The game has a brilliant plot where the player has to make many choices throughout that actually make a difference in the world.

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Its gameplay is solid and well balanced and its character development is simple but deep. Avadon 3 is a game that will keep you hooked from the very beginning to the end and it is a cracker of a finale to the series.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/h/y/p/hypersensitive-bob-ec357.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/h/y/p/hypersensitive-bob-ec357.jpg","type":"slide","id":"145231","description":"

10. Hypersensitive Bob

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Developer: Sieidi Ltd

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Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux and Steam OS

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Hypersensitive Bob is one of those hidden gems that you sometimes find among the many bad games on Steam. It is a roguelike, similar to the Binding of Issac. The main difference? Hypersensitive Bob takes a much more casual and child-friendly approach. You take on the role of Bob, who is allergic to absolutely everything. Armed with his InHaGun 2000, he sets out to overcome his allergies. 

Hypersensitive Bob is a wonderful title that's a whole lot of fun for the whole family. Both its theme and design are very much something of the '90s, with colorful visuals and an awesome and mello soundtrack.

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In an industry that is now full of games that focus on nothing but realism, Hypersensitive Bob is a breath of fresh air. It has been a game that I came back to time and time again throughout the entire year.

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"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/o/w/l/owlboy-23ab1.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/o/w/l/owlboy-23ab1.jpg","type":"slide","id":"145215","description":"

The end of another year is upon us and the beginning of a new one is just on the horizon. It is time to sit back and remember the many wonderful video game titles that released throughout 2016. The indie scene has been most awe-inspiring and some of the best games this year have come from indie developers.

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Today we are going to take a look at The 10 Best Indies Games of 2016. So without further ado, let's count down the absolute best that indie developers have given us this year.

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The Best Indie Sleeper Hits of 2016 https://www.gameskinny.com/dpxo3/the-best-indie-sleeper-hits-of-2016 https://www.gameskinny.com/dpxo3/the-best-indie-sleeper-hits-of-2016 Fri, 25 Nov 2016 07:00:01 -0500 Damien Smith

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And that is the best sleeper hits of 2016. From the weakest link in the slasher race Dead by Daylight to a video game within a video game with Pony Island, to a boy that spent too much time with owls with Owlboy. There is something on the list to peak everyone's interest.

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What are your thoughts on the list? Are there any games you feel should be on it? What are your favourite indie sleeper hits of the year? Let me know in the comments below!

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/o/w/l/owlboy-3cb86.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/o/w/l/owlboy-3cb86.jpg","type":"slide","id":"142123","description":"

Owlboy

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Developer: D-Pad Studio
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The final game on the list is the excellent platform adventure Owlboy. Its development began all the way back in 2007 leading to many questioning as to whether it would ever see completion. Everyone was finally given the answer with the game releasing this month, swooping in and grabbing massive critical acclaim like a field mouse in a cornfield.

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According to Steam Spy, within less than a month of releasing, already the game has sold over 40,000 copies. A number that is sure to grow over the coming months. It just goes to show, sometimes the best things in life come to those who wait... for nine years.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/s/t/a/stardew-valley-0ad37.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/s/t/a/stardew-valley-0ad37.jpg","type":"slide","id":"142070","description":"

Stardew Valley

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Developer: Eric Barone (ConcernedApe)
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I don't think anyone expected a first-time developer to create such a monumental game. Nevertheless, sole-developer Eric Barone achieved what many indie developers dream of, creating a title that receives an overwhelming positive reception and sells extremely well.

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To date, Stardew Valley has sold over one million copies. While the idea of creating a farming game similar to Harvest Moon was always going to be big, nobody expected it to receive the critical praise that it did. It really is one of those games where you keep telling yourself, just five more minutes -- after almost an hour. Forget Farmville, Stardew Valley would be that on an overdose of steroids.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/p/o/n/pony-island-13534.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/p/o/n/pony-island-13534.jpg","type":"slide","id":"142069","description":"

Pony Island

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Developer: Daniel Mullins Games
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I am sure you already guessed this would be on the list. If I was to describe Pony Island in one word it would be 'genius.' What started as a project for a 48 hour game jam, turned into one of the biggest mind bombardments this year. While most of the game's mechanics and design were already present from the time of the game jam, Mullins added in quite a few twists for the Steam release.

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While Pony Island's sales aren't as high as a lot on this list, currently standing at just under 140,000, it is a game that very much just appeared out of nowhere outside of the game jam. 

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Pony Island is one of those games that very little can be said about without spoiling the entirety of the game. It is a game you have to experience without knowing what you are going into, otherwise, it will lessen the impact of its genius.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/l/a/y/layers-fear-56510.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/l/a/y/layers-fear-56510.jpg","type":"slide","id":"142061","description":"

Layers of Fear

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Developer: Bloober Team
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I am going to admit straight off the bat, I didn't like Layers of Fear. For me, it was more along the lines of Layers of Snore. Personally, it felt like one of those haunted houses rides you would find at a carnival and the predictability of one to boot. My thoughts aside, the game was a hit among the community. 

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While there are no sales figures released, according to Steam Spy, the game has sold over 150,000 copies, that is not including Xbox One and PS4 sales. It also has a 93% positive review score from 4,901 reviews on Steam so it has done pretty well for itself.  Not bad for a game that is essentially P.T. Not bad at all.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/f/i/r/firewatch-a3403.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/f/i/r/firewatch-a3403.jpg","type":"slide","id":"142060","description":"

Firewatch

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Developer: Campo Santo
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Next up is the astounding adventure game or as some call it "walking simulator,Firewatch. While the game always had the promise of being a fine title, I don't think anyone expected it to become the massive hit that it did. As of September, seven months after release, Firewatch has sold over one million copies.

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Those sales are just across PC, Mac and Linux and are not including the Xbox One sales that came after. The game was praised for its choice-based dialogue, voice acting and beautiful visuals. It just goes to show, sometimes the most mundane things like exploring a forest while talking to someone on a walkie-talkie can still be entertaining.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/d/b/d/dbd-d2fd3.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/d/b/d/dbd-d2fd3.jpg","type":"slide","id":"142036","description":"

Dead by Daylight

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Developer: Behaviour Interactive
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The first title on the list is the survival horror Dead by Daylight. Last year it was considered the weak link in the slasher race. Many believed it would end up picking the scraps left from Friday the 13th and The Last Year. Instead, it stuck the middle finger up at everyone's thoughts released in June and within two months sold over one million copies. 

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While Dead by Daylight may not have wowed critics to any great degree, it has become a hit. It may have issues but a lot of people still enjoy the game. On average the game, according to Steam Charts, has a peak total of over 20,000 people playing simultaneously on a daily basis.

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It looks like the tides have turned and Friday the 13th and The Last Year will have will have to pull out all the stops if they are to compete against this.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/9/5/5/9558359295338c9.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/9/5/5/9558359295338c9.jpg","type":"slide","id":"142035","description":"

Here we are nearing the end of yet another year where we begin to look back on what the game industry has offered us, grumble at the fact that we are a year older and in my case level up one point in grumpiness. Aside from that, the indie scene has had quite some surprises for us this year.

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From titles that literally appeared out of nowhere to become overwhelming hits, to games that had a questionable release possibility. Today, we are going to give some indie games a bit of extra love and take a look at the best sleeper hits of 2016.

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What is it about Open World Exploration Games that makes them so Popular? https://www.gameskinny.com/a5m5i/what-is-it-about-open-world-exploration-games-that-makes-them-so-popular https://www.gameskinny.com/a5m5i/what-is-it-about-open-world-exploration-games-that-makes-them-so-popular Sat, 10 Sep 2016 12:09:58 -0400 Richard Sherry

People’s desire for exploration and drive for adventure are as old as humanity itself. Open world exploration games invoke that innate sense of curiosity and discovery by using variety, beauty, and innovation to light the spark. These are games that focus on giving the player choice to tread their own path through a large world with few barriers or limitations, allowing us to shape our own story.

No Man’s Sky is the most recent and high-profile open-world exploration game, while other examples include the masterpiece Shadow of the Colossus, Firewatch even the less-remembered Endless Ocean. The genre has continued to grow and become more diverse, creating more and more interesting experiences to draw in gamers.

Open world games have begun taking over the AAA industry, spurred by the successes of games such as Skyrim and GTA V. Nowadays you’d be harder pressed to find a Ubisoft game that isn’t open world; so clearly the popularity of exploration within games is paramount.

Exploration is one of the pillars of gaming and game design; because developers know as well as anybody that people love to explore, learn and engage with the world around them in both real life and games. By achieving this, open world exploration games make you feel like you’re really a part of the world you’re traversing, rather than a detached observer experiencing someone else’s story. And by truly putting you into the shoes of your character/avatar they can elicit deep emotional responses from the player.

Exploration games, when done well, create a level of immersion that is hard to rival elsewhere. When a large, organic and detailed world is built -- full of interesting characters, locations, and objects to uncover and interact with -- it’s hard not be drawn in. From the sprawling Texan deserts of Red Dead Redemption to the prehistoric wilderness of Far Cry Primal, appreciating the levels of detail and variety is paramount to enjoying one’s time exploring huge worlds.

This variety can come in many forms. From questing and collecting to platforming and traversal, a good range of activities helps to populate large worlds with interesting and rewarding things to spend your time with outside of the main story progression. This variety keeps players engaged for longer with something for everyone to enjoy.

Instead of simply following a single set path laid out before you through waypoints, linear level design and singular narrative (which is not a bad thing in the right situations of course), masterful exploration games open up all sorts of new avenues. They create unique levels of freedom, choice and player agency, letting us fully participate in the world and make it our own.

Don’t want to follow the main narrative and talk to that quest-giver right now? Feel free to wander off the beaten path into the dense forest instead, happening upon a hauntingly beautiful ruined monastery and a pack of ravenous wolves. Escaping by the skin of your teeth, perhaps you’ll find yourself scaling a mountain or reading long-lost documents that shed new light on the world and its history. Or you could be forging uncharted paths through space, discovering new planets and lifeforms, surviving run-ins with space pirates and trading your resources for new technologies.

Smaller games like Firewatch and ADR1FT are also refreshing for their abilities to innovate and throw out the standard rules and stereotypes that games often rely on. Quite a few, for example, do away with combat and shooting, which can be a very welcome change of pace in an industry that so often seems to rely on those mechanics to stay relevant. While some people dislike such games that become little more than “walking simulators”, they provide experiences that aren’t to be found anywhere else in gaming and that many people find novel.

While we can’t necessarily forge new frontiers all too often in the real world nowadays, we can still get those feelings of intrepid adventure while exploring fictional worlds (or even fictional representations of our own world). Open world exploration games can fulfill these spiritual itches as an innate part of the human condition. The joy of diving into another world, spending hours upon hours wandering its environments, means that open world exploration will likely maintain its popularity for some time to come.

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Why Firewatch and Life Is Strange Are the Best Examples of Narrative-Driven Games https://www.gameskinny.com/oykyr/why-firewatch-and-life-is-strange-are-the-best-examples-of-narrative-driven-games https://www.gameskinny.com/oykyr/why-firewatch-and-life-is-strange-are-the-best-examples-of-narrative-driven-games Tue, 05 Apr 2016 10:35:20 -0400 Pierre Fouquet

Narrative-driven games, often incorrectly called walking simulators, have given me some of the most existential crises I've had. Having to deal with sacrifice in Life is Strange, learning that I just shouldn't be a privileged white boy in Acceptance, or wondering if I should even be playing the game in the first place with The Beginners Guide, these are some of the best experiences I've had in games.

Narrative gold over gameplay

While many argue games are all about gameplay and fun, I disagree. Games are also about having an experience, sharing a story, expressing an emotion or idea, or existing as an art form. Narrative-driven games which do one or more of these succeed the best. No games are better at being narrative-driven than Life is Strange and Firewatch. While they don't have the intricate gameplay of Grand Theft Auto 5 or Dark Souls 3, they both tell beautiful stories with simple interaction. But how do they do this?

firewatch dear forest

Watch out for the fires, but watch out more for your emotions

Firewatch, developed by Campo Santo, follows the story of Henry as a fire lookout in the wilds of Wyoming. Henry isn't completely alone however, Delilah is on the other end of your only form of communication: a radio.

It's this radio which sets Firewatch apart from what many call a "walking simulator." You are not just walking around having things happen to you; you feel far more directly involved in the action, as if you are involved. Using the radio, you can talk to Delilah, or not. See something? You can tell Delilah about it, or not. You have real choices. Your relationship with Delilah can change depending on what you tell her, and the finale can completely change depending on how much you interact with her.

On the subject of interaction, Life is Strange is only about interacting

In Life is Strange, you play as Max Caulfield, a photography student at Blackwell Academy. Max discovers she can turn back time, this is the feature which takes Life is Strange from TellTale rip off, to something "totally rad." -- That's something "kids these days" would say isn't it?

Much like with Firewatch, your actions can affect how people interact with you, but with the addition of being able to turn back time. You can now creepily snoop around someone's room -- like you do -- to find all the dirt you can on them, but now turn back time and effectively erase everything you have done from the other person's mind. It allows for a "I did something you don't know about" mindset. In real life that can lead to some very scary outcomes, but in the context of the game it can allow you to appease some very angst ridden teens and absolve them of their angst.

The term "walking simulator" get's applied to any narrative-driven game. When this term is used for games like Dear Esther, The Stanley Parable, or even The Beginner's Guide -- which was my game of the year in 2015 -- I can understand, as the interaction you have with those games is limited. Having said that, you shouldn't because they are not simulating walking.

Having a journey through a world is a narrative. Take a look at books and films; they do not offer interactivity at all. A film is not called an interaction simulator, and a book isn't a word simulator, so no game can be a walking simulator (unless it's simulating the act of walking). If anyone were to say Firewatch is a walking simulator, I would refute that with the reasons provided above. There is a person and a world for you to interact with, even if the interaction is limited, you still make an impact on the people in that world.

These sorts of games should be called "narrative-driven." There are some which give little interaction like The Beginners Guide, or the game which arguably spawned the genre Dear Esther, or those that give you a lot of choices for how you speak to characters such as the aforementioned Firewatch and Life is Strange.

These are the best examples of narrative-driven games, as they offer a near perfect balance of interactivity and story, but do you agree? Share your thoughts in the comments below. 

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5 games that prove video games can be art https://www.gameskinny.com/3evrp/5-games-that-prove-video-games-can-be-art https://www.gameskinny.com/3evrp/5-games-that-prove-video-games-can-be-art Thu, 24 Mar 2016 15:43:35 -0400 Eric Adams

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Outrage?

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You probably are sitting there saying ‘ugh but this game is so much prettier than that game!’ Truth be told, plenty of games deserve spots on lists like these. There just isn’t enough time in the world to go over all of them. Make your own list and bring attention to games that you think people should be aware of. The beauty of gaming can be found in any console or on any platform. These games can be used as further proof that the definition of art should include video games.

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Think I am wrong? Prove it; write me a note in the comments below. Why do you think video games are not art? Judging from the games I have provided, I think you would find it hard argue otherwise.

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Red Dead Redemption

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As gamers, we all know what Rockstar is capable of. Grand Theft Auto continues to be a groundbreaking franchise every time a new installment is released -- and rightfully so. However, as beautiful as GTA is, Rockstar has never truly created a viewing spectacle with a setting worth writing about. That is, until they released Red Dead Redemption. The sequel to Red Dead Revolver was a huge success, and the way Rockstar perfectly captured the viewing pleasure of the American Old West is a big reason why.

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From the horses kicking up dust to the mountains in the distance, Red Dead Redemption was perfect right down to the tumbleweeds. The western action-adventure game gave Rockstar yet another critically acclaimed gaming series and further proved that they are cut above the rest in terms of developing masterpieces.

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Now, if you are waiting for a sequel to this beloved game, don’t hold your breath. Many rumors have caused a stir among fans but there has yet to be any confirmed plans in the works. While Rockstar could certainly make a sequel, they may just rest on their laurels and end the series there. Here is to hoping they get complacent and decide to make this series a trilogy.

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Bioshock Infinite

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What is the best-looking BioShock game? This has been debated for quite some time, and all of the arguments are certainly compelling. You could make a case that any of the three BioShock games are the best looking, but BioShock Infinite is the winner for me. I mean, how could you not to choose the game with the floating city in the sky as a setting?

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Yes, the flying city of Columbia is a fascinating setting. For a first-person shooter, BioShock really went above and beyond to offer something this genre usually doesn’t lend much merit to. Not only is BioShock Infinite a phenomenal game, but also it is so gorgeous that you can really get lost in the world you are playing in. News of a possible remastered collection has been on the minds of fans of the series, and to see the series on the new consoles with updated graphics would be a real treat. Here is to hoping that rumor becomes reality.

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Skyrim

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The land of Skyrim continues to astonish until this day and rightfully so. Not only is the game a tour de force in action role-playing games, but it is one of the largest worlds to be explored in gaming. Right before Fallout 4 released, details of how large the map was leaked and the Skyrim fan boys came crying with ‘but Skyrim was much bigger’. Well, that is because we have never seen anything like Skyrim before.

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Bethesda has been known to put out extremely massive projects that really wow gamers, but they outdid themselves with this Elder Scrolls offering. Any game that perfectly incorporates the Northern Lights Sky into a video game deserves to be recognized. From the snowy caps of Winterhold to the fall foliage found in The Rift, Skyrim was a spectacle and continues to be a beloved video game masterpiece.

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Firewatch

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Holy crap, what a view! This is what I said constantly throughout my play through of Campo Santo’s Firewatch. As a fire lookout in Wyoming, this game relies on the lush Wyoming wilderness to really wow the gamer. You’re supposed to be solving some mysteries around Shoshone National Forest but the real treat is simply exploring the area.

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One of the better features to be added with this game is the camera you find early on. Once you have the camera, you are able to take pictures of the sunset and anything else you deem worthy of your photography skills. You are able to look back on these photos at the end of the game and there is even a way to have these photos printed out and sent to you.

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The forest setting alone is the one reason to play this game. The landscape is so peaceful that you will be questioning whether or not you are still playing a video game. That is how you know the developers did a great job, and Firewatch certainly accomplishes that.

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Bloodborne

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What better way to start off an article about beautiful views in video games than with the most gloom and doom landscape of them all? Bloodborne and the world of Yharnam really wowed gamers when it released back in March of 2015. Who knew a nightmare could look so sweet?

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 Without getting into the difficulty of this game, the artwork of the settings alone were enough to make gamers marvel at FromSoftware’s latest offering. From Central Yharnam to Fishing Hamlet, each area in Bloodborne got progressively more and more astonishing. The landscape of the game is something out of a dream, which makes the fact that you are slaying monsters in a nightmare a little more satisfying.

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 For those who search for graphical masterpieces in video games, Bloodborne is a fantastic place to start. Hunting beasts has never been so beautiful.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/fl_lossy,q_80/c_limit,f_auto,h_360,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/b/l/o/bloodborne-0b609.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/fl_lossy,q_80/c_limit,f_auto,h_85,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/b/l/o/bloodborne-0b609.jpg","type":"slide","id":"108595","description":"

I guess the first thing I should say is that this article IS NOT A RANKING. By that I mean I am not ranking the top 5 most beautiful video games. There are probably better-looking video games out there than the few I am about to mention. However, the ones I am going to mention are pretty beautiful in their own right.

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I wanted to write this article because video games ARE art. If you don’t believe in that statement, then take the next few games for example. The games that make you ooh and ahh as a gamer are the ones where you know, deep down, video games should be considered art. Let us take a moment to admire the beautiful side of the gaming world.

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Indie Game Firewatch is a Burning Success https://www.gameskinny.com/dxxyu/indie-game-firewatch-is-a-burning-success https://www.gameskinny.com/dxxyu/indie-game-firewatch-is-a-burning-success Wed, 23 Mar 2016 17:08:11 -0400 Nikki and Sydd

Firewatch is a first-person adventure game that is centered on its dialogue. In its opening month, it sold almost a whopping 500,000 copies, bringing in around $10 million in revenue.

 

 

 

Say what?! I thought this was an indie game!

Well, it is. It was also the first game for both maker, Campo Santo and the Oregon, US-based publisher, Panic.

"Of course, we wanted to make the best possible game we could, but we also had made an investment we really hoped to recoup," Panic said in a statement. "How'd it go? Firewatch's budget, while huge for us, was modest for a game of its quality and scope, but we made our investment back in about one day."

Citing the 5 lakh sales figure, Cofounder Cabel Sasser added: "As an indie game, or heck, even as a "real" game, ok fine but not as a Call of Duty or Star Wars game, Firewatch can be considered a sales success."

The game had a bit of a frame rate issue on PS4 when it launched, but it was quickly fixed and didn't seem to stop the game from making an impact. Sasser said that developers "worked like crazy" finding every little detail that suggested a bug, and are still trying to improve its overall performance.

 

I am not a huge fan of getting lost, and I find it so easy to do in first person games, but I did not mind getting lost in Firewatch. It was filled with beautiful, vast scenery and coupled with a surprisingly fast-paced story line that kind of made me wish I had gotten lost more often.

Henry is our troubled protagonist; we follow him as he takes a summer job as a fire-spotter at a national park. It feels kind of like an isolation game, but with an open world feel. His only regular contact is his boss, Delilah, who tends to be flirty and very complicated. She radios him throughout the game from her lookout across the park. Thought to be alone, he and Delilah start to wonder just how alone they are, as strange and ominous events begin to occur.

The introductory text gives branching paths to choose from, revealing, to a degree, the reasons for his descent into the woods. Firewatch engages with you emotionally. With each time you speak to Delilah, you are given a set amount of time to choose a response. Depending on what you choose, you can either draw her closer or push her away.
The game pays close attention to these choices and changes your relationship with Delilah, giving Firewatch high replay value.

The graphics are well balanced between realistic and stylized, but that does come with a tax on your computer, but not to worry it still looks fantastic on lower settings. Now for the breakdown!

The Good

  • Gorgeous scenery and effective use of lighting highlights and shadows play well with the realistic/stylized graphics, making it more immersive.

  • Sharp writing and excellent vocals between our two primary characters. This helps keep us engaged in the story at a deep level than some other games.

  • The building tension of the game adds to the anticipation as mystery and conspiracy unfolds around Henry and Delilah.

The bad

  • The main storyline has a rather weak conclusion. I would recommend taking the time to enjoy the story and worry less about how fast you get there.

  • The game ends just as you finally get a proper grip on the world. What I mean by that is it is a very fast paced main story, and it doesn't give you enough time to figure out the world you are in before the end comes.

The ugly

  • The animation stuttering that was initially an issue on the PS4, though they quickly fixed it.

  • Unfortunately, Firewatch does fall short, as its overall gameplay can be rather dull, and not may not appeal to the 'average' gamer.

  • You can beat the game in as little as 4 hours. For most that is just not long enough.

The verdict

  • Overall, Firewatch is a great game that I would recommend to anyone who doesn't require a gun for their first-person gaming experience.

Cover Photo: Courtesy of Campo Santo/Panic

 

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How Firewatch Plays With Your Emotions To Deliver A Strong Experience https://www.gameskinny.com/24zwv/how-firewatch-plays-with-your-emotions-to-deliver-a-strong-experience https://www.gameskinny.com/24zwv/how-firewatch-plays-with-your-emotions-to-deliver-a-strong-experience Sat, 27 Feb 2016 13:44:14 -0500 A Guy And His Games

Isolation, relationships and the fear caused by letting your imagination run wild. These are themes rarely explored in video games, especially outside of the horror genre. They were, however, used to great effect by the team at Campo Santo in the recently released Firewatch to evoke unique emotions within the player.

Warning: This article contains spoilers.

The Marketing

I believe that this was a deliberate move on the developer's part so that they could fully exploit the players lack of expectations. Like many gamers, my first contact with this game was the E3 trailer; a great video that made the plot seem extremely tense whilst keeping details minimal. This instantly generated discussion as to what the plot would encompass. The folks over at Campo Santo were extremely ambiguous in regard to the details of the game. This led to the majority of consumers having little idea as to what the game actually entailed. Despite being announced in 2014, gameplay details were very sparse and story details sparser still. 

"It was also refreshing that in an age of trailers giving away everything, (looking at you Hitman movie) restraint was used to great effect."


More importantly, it meant that even I (someone who tried to go in blind) had expectations that something nefarious was afoot. This feeling carried on throughout the game causing me to over-analyse every small detail. It made me care about the story in a way that games haven't managed to do in a long time. It was also refreshing that in an age of trailers giving away everything, (looking at you Hitman movie) restraint was used to great effect.

The Intro

Firewatch's opening was completely different to anything else I've played in a long while. For those who don't know, the game opened like a text based adventure where the player creates a backstory by making choices as to how their character's marriage occurs from the first date to the onset of his wife's dementia. The intro avoids being a complete exposition dump and through its moral choices and minimalist style, it creates a truly emotional beginning. 

Subtle yet engaging

This is partly due to that fact that the game doesn't show you what's going on. It starts as it means to go on, by using the highest end processor -- the imagination. By picturing the events in your own head, you have a much more personal, emotional response to what you are reading. I was completely sucked in.

Despite the short intro, it got me fully emotionally invested. At one point, the player chooses whether to put their wife into a care home or to care for her himself. I chose the latter and justified this by thinking that I didn't want to abandon her. I was so invested, I wouldn't leave a made up person who I'd never seen. These morally grey choices create a realistic backstory that hooks the player into the narrative.

The Isolation

By far one of the game's biggest strengths is its unique setting and the loneliness that accompanies it. At a time when games seem to be full of clutter, it was refreshing to be left alone. The game really played on this feeling of loneliness as there were no other humans in the game other than silhouettes and of course Delilah (who we'll get onto later). 

Firewatch is a video game and as such, you expect that when you are put into a large map like the forest, things won't be run-of-the-mill. Firewatch knows this and so creates items of apparent intrigue such as the disappearing teens and the mysterious fence. The isolation feeds this as you become scared and vulnerable latching on to anything that seems out of the ordinary. 

The game does this so well that it doesn't need to create an intricate story. Instead you create your own web of conspiracies. Finding out that Henry wasn't at the centre of this mystery was surprisingly grounding and was one of the most satisfying story moments I've experienced in a game thus far. This was mainly because it subverted my expectations and made me feel like a real person, not a plot device.

The Relationship

Henry and Delilah's interactions were some of the most realistic I've engaged in as a gamer. This is partly due to the excellent writing and the stellar performances from Rich Sommer and Cissy Jones. They created characters full of life and realism that really made you care about their relationship. I agonized over every choice I made; not wanting to ruin this friendship. By giving the player choice over the frequency with which conversation occurred, it felt more natural resulting in the player getting more invested and taking the game seriously.

The greatness of the story is highlighted by the fact a friend of mine intended to experience the game through a let's play. However, he felt that such disconnect arose from his lack of control and promptly bought the game. 

 

Fiewatch is a brilliant example of a game that uses subtle and engaging mechanics to draw you into its world and affect the way you think and feel. By taking you on a roller-coaster ride of emotions from depression to companionship and from fear to relief, it subverted expectations and created a unique experience I'll remember for a long time.

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Firewatch: Why it's Worth Playing https://www.gameskinny.com/g931s/firewatch-why-its-worth-playing https://www.gameskinny.com/g931s/firewatch-why-its-worth-playing Mon, 22 Feb 2016 17:04:28 -0500 Eric Adams

This past Tuesday, Firewatch was released for PC and PS4. A first-person adventure game developed by Campo Santo, Firewatch relies on its lush scenery and beautiful vistas to keep the player distracted for hours. You play as a fire lookout named Henry, tasked with finding out what is causing some weird occurrences in the area. Your only other companion is a girl by the name of Delilah. She and Henry communicate via walkie-talkie.

The opening sequences are click-and-choose moments that will set up the story of the game. Depending on what you choose, your story will set you down a certain path, and there are a few different ways it can end -- so choose wisely.

 

Just walking around the Wyoming woods from the viewpoint of Henry is reason enough to give the game a try. A beautiful mix of orange and yellow give sunsets a really gorgeous glow and the trees are eloquent in their own right. Everywhere you look, there is a beautiful landscape that can easily cause a players mind to drift. Your character mostly just talks to Delilah and roams the area, so the gameplay may not pull in a ton of gamers. But it still stands up as a very good story driven game.

 

Usually games that rely on beautiful landscapes don’t have much substance, but that is where Firewatch proves different from those types of games. When playing the first time through, you will find yourself wanting to know more about what is going on. You want to know more about Delilah. You want to know if you can build a relationship with her and whether or not there is something fishy going on. You want to know every little detail about the story. Firewatch succeeds in creating a mystery that gamers will want to solve.

Now, with all of that good stuff said, I am not saying you MUST play Firewatch.

It is a beautiful game, but it does have its shortcomings. The story, for one, is extremely short. While the price of $20 for the game is reasonable, I am sure there will still be a group of gamers ready to complain. Also, there were points where it generally felt like a chore to go from one part of the map to the other. I may be nitpicking, but this is what I found wrong with the game.

My final verdict is that this game is worth your time. The story is engaging, and you generally care about what happens. You want to know what the ending is and you want to answer the questions the game asks.

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Firewatch's story will only be "maybe 5-6 hours," says game designer https://www.gameskinny.com/pl22y/firewatchs-story-will-only-be-maybe-5-6-hours-says-game-designer https://www.gameskinny.com/pl22y/firewatchs-story-will-only-be-maybe-5-6-hours-says-game-designer Mon, 11 Jan 2016 11:02:38 -0500 Eric Adams

Firewatch is an upcoming adventure game developed by Campo Santo and published by Panic. It will release on February 9th, 2016 and most of the substantial information surrounding the title has been kept under wraps.

Minus a few gameplay videos, there is not much currently known about the game. However, an interview conducted by WCCFtech.com has revealed some information about the longevity of the game.

Nels Anderson, who worked on the game, commented on several aspects of the game including how many hours gamers will spend wandering the Wyoming wilderness. Anderson commented on the longevity of Firewatch by saying, “It’s pretty hard to say since there’s actually quite a lot of “off the beaten path” areas in the game that players won’t have to visit. On average, I’d say maybe 5-6 hours.”

While the short 5-6 hours of main story may be a turn off for some gamers, the excerpt about there being quite a bit of ‘off the beaten path’ areas to optionally visit should win back some gamers. Firewatch will launch February 9th, 2016 and will be available for PS4 as well as PCs containing the programs Linux, Microsoft Windows or OS X.

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10 PS4 games you need to play in 2016 https://www.gameskinny.com/ekg6u/10-ps4-games-you-need-to-play-in-2016 https://www.gameskinny.com/ekg6u/10-ps4-games-you-need-to-play-in-2016 Tue, 05 Jan 2016 12:52:10 -0500 Curtis Dillon

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And that's just 10 of the biggest PS4 games coming in 2016. There's quite a bit of diversity on that list, from giant open-world RPG's with mech dinosaurs to an intimate tale of a boy and his bird-dog, and everything in between. The year starts with Firewatch on February 9th, and then comes the exciting return of Ratchet & Clank, and then the monumental final chapter of Uncharted in April. We don't know many release dates beyond that, but we're sure to get some in the coming weeks and months. And you'll find all that news here on GameSkinny.

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There are tons more games coming to the console this year, not to mention the very exciting launch of the new platform, PlayStation VR. All in all, 2016 promises to be the biggest year for PlayStation in quite some time, if not ever! But until then, be sure to check out our list of the best-reviewed games of 2015, as well as the worst reviewed games.

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What game are you most excited for? Do you think 2016 will be the best year for PS4 yet? Let us know in the comments and stay tuned to GameSkinny!

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Horizon Zero Dawn

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Release Date: TBA 2016
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What else could it have been? Horizon Zero Dawn from Guerilla Games is one of the most exciting new IPs we've seen in years.

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Guerilla Games worked on the Killzone franchise from about 2003 to 2013. Killzone: Shadowfall was a launch game on PS4, but truth be told the studio began working on Horizon Zero Dawn back in 2011, just after Killzone 3 released. Horizon is a far cry from the Killzone series, in just about every way.

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The game is an open-world RPG set 1000 years after the apocalypse, and nature has all but reclaimed the Earth. You play as Aloy, a member of a tribe who must hunt and salvage the remains of machines that resemble dinosaurs. Sure it sounds like something a 10-year-old came up with but that is in no way a bad thing; this game looks and sounds incredible.

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Horizon Zero Dawn is scheduled for release in 2016, most likely a fall release. We're hoping this game doesn't get delayed, and it shouldn't considering it will be well into its five-year development by then. This is easily one of, if not the, most exciting things 2016 has to offer!

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Firewatch

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Release Date: February 9
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Firewatch is the first game from Campo Santo and features the truly mind-blowing art direction of Olly Moss. In Firewatch, you play as Henry, a volunteer fire lookout in Wyoming, shortly after the Yellowstone fires of 1988. Henry's tower is ransacked while he is out patrolling and he must search the forest for clues, and his only interactions are with his supervisor via Walkie-Talkie. You choose what you say, or don't say, to the supervisor, which in turn affects your relationship with her.

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Running on the Unity engine, and under the art style of the amazing Olly Moss, Firewatch is one of the best looking games ever. Moss has become famous for his great Star Wars posters, as well as countless others, but he also made the box art for Resistance 3 - one of the best box arts ever. The dialogue tree in the game is said to be influenced by Telltale's: The Walking Dead, while the walkie-talkie aspect is inspired by Bioshock.

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Firewatch is a very interesting game that should be a joy to play through. It takes the evolving dialogue trees of Telltale Games and mixes it with the puzzle-solving of classic adventure games, as well as offering semi-open world exploration. The best part is, we don't even have to wait long for Firewatch, it releases on February 9th!

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Hellblade

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Release Date: TBA 2016
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Hellblade is from Ninja Theory, the same team that brought you Heavenly Sword, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, DmC, and worked on some Disney Infinity 3.0. Ninja Theory is a very talented studio that thrives in creating unique, colourful worlds, with fascinating characters.

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Enter Hellblade. This game was revealed back at Gamescom 2014 and is being described as an "independent AAA" game. And independent it really is; you can watch a series of developer diary videos from Ninja Theory on YouTube that give you amazing insight into game creation and Hellblade itself. Check out that link if you want to know more about the game, and are interested in the creation process.

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Hellblade is the story of Senua, who is trapped in a "hellish underworld" which is manifestations of her own broken psyche. Senua is mentally ill and the game reflects that in a way that few others even attempt to. It's a very stylised, dark and beautiful game, with much more close, brutal combat than Ninja Theory's previous titles. Watching the dev diaries you can see the incredible visuals the studio is striving for, which will hopefully be realised in the final product - due for release on PlayStation 4 sometime in 2016.

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No Man's Sky

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Release Date: June 2016
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If there's a single 2016 game with higher expectations, loftier ambitions, and the biggest chance of failure, it's No Man's Sky. Now I'm not being negative or a downer - I'm very excited for this - it's just that this game has insanely high expectations surrounding it.

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Coming from a team of 12, 12, people at Hello Games, No Man's Sky is a procedurally-generated universe that you explore using your upgradable ship. There is an almost infinite amount of planets in the game, all of which can be visited and with no loading to boot! You will find alien planets, filled with bizarre creatures, rare resources, and exotic fauna and flora. Off of planets, you can trade resources for supplies, which help you venture further into the universe, or you can get yourself a badass ship and just bully others. This is a game all about options and potential.

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The thing that worries me most about No Man's Sky is that it's being made by Hello Games, the team behind Joe Danger. Now I'm not knocking the team, or Joe Danger (best on Vita btw), but to go from a small game like that, to the biggest game ever, is a gargantuan task for 12 men and women. That being said, nothing they've shown so far has given me reason to worry, and the fact that Sony are so behind it make me think it really must be everything it claims it is.

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And if that's the case we could be looking at one of the coolest games ever made and a universe that will be explored for years, maybe decades, to come.

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The Last Guardian

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Release Date: TBA 2016
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Of all the games without specific dates on this list, this is the one I really wish had a date. We're all well aware of the development hell that surrounded The Last Guardian, and so a concrete release date would give us a lot more faith that this game might actually be released. That being said, I highly doubt Sony would have re-revealed the game without knowing it is near completion.

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It's hard to disassociate The Last Guardian with its 5-year disappearance, although it's interesting that nobody brings that up about Ni-Oh. The Last Guardian is the spiritual successor to Shadow of the Colossus, which in turn, is a spiritual successor to ICO. Those two games, from genius creator Fumito Ueda, are some of the most beloved in all of PlayStation history, so it's no wonder that fans were supremely excited about The Last Guardian, and extremely disappointed when they thought it dead.

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So, it was with open arms that the PlayStation community welcomed back The Last Guardian at E3 in June. The game was re-revealed with a gameplay demo that showed a nice section that should represent the moment-to-moment gameplay of the entire experience. Much like What Remains of Edith Finch, we know surprisingly little about The Last Guardian but, hopefully, we hear some news, including a release date, very soon. 

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What Remains of Edith Finch

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Release Date: TBA 2016
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If you need only one reason to be excited for What Remains of Edith Finch, it's the simple fact that it is being made by Giant Sparrow, the developer of The Unfinished Swan. The debut game from this very young studio was an incredibly unique experience about a young boy, whose mother has died and he follows her unfinished swan painting into an empty canvas. It's a very beautiful game in which you throw paint and water to unveil the world and guide your way. Easily one of the best PlayStation exclusive indie titles.

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Since The Unfinished Swan launched, Giant Sparrow has been hard at work on What Remains of Edith Finch. The game is described as "a collection of short stories about a cursed family in Washington State." You play as Edith, who returns to her family home and relives the memories of her family members who all tragically died.

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What Remains of Edith Finch looks like Gone Home but more stylised and with a few horror elements. It's a striking game that is overflowing with mystery and intrigue. Giant Sparrow has been fairly secretive when discussing and showcasing the game, which seems like the best way to keep this game interesting.

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No specific release date as of yet but Giant Sparrow has been working on What Remains of Edith Finch for about 3 years, and this is 2016, so official news should be arriving any day now!

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Ratchet & Clank

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Release Date: April 18
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The Ratchet & Clank series both peaked and regressed during the PS3 era. With the second trilogy - Tools of Destruction, Quest For Booty, and A Crack in Time - the series reached new heights of awesomeness. But as quickly as it rose to prominence (again), the series began to dwindle due to games like All 4 One and Full Frontal Assault. It seemed like Insomniac lost sight of what Ratchet & Clank was.

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A few years away and the impending release of a movie has seemingly refreshed Insomniac's view of the series, and they're wisely bringing it back to basics in 2016. The new Ratchet & Clank started out as a simple remaster but during development, Insomniac decided to take it further and expand the original classic into a much bigger title.

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Ratchet & Clank is being marketed and treated by Insomniac as a brand new game. Even though the story beats will be mostly the same, the "re-imagining" will feature bigger and more open worlds to explore, Clank-focused gameplay, strafing, ship-flying sections, and plenty of zany new guns - including the Pixelizer, which turns enemies into 8-Bit versions of themselves. Throw in the incredible, movie-like visuals on display and you've got yourself a back-to-basics Ratchet & Clank that is a must-play.

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Ni-Oh

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Release Date: TBA 2016
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Ni-Oh is an action role-playing game that we don't know a whole lot about. Amazingly, this game was actually first announced in 2004, by Koei Tecmo, and it was titled Oni. The game was then re-titled Ni-Oh and scheduled for a 2006 PS3 launch. It missed the launch date and wasn't heard from again until 2009, when it revealed to be still in development but no longer by Koei Tecmo, it was under the tutelage of Team Ninja.

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Presumably, Team Ninja began development from scratch, because the game looks quite different than it did in 2006. The visuals in the two PS4 trailers thus far are incredible, and the protagonist looks a lot more like Geralt of Rivia, than he did in 2006. Despite the development hell that Ni-Oh endured, there is a lot of reasons to be excited. First and foremost, it's being made by Team Ninja, the people behind Ninja Gaiden, Dead or Alive, Toukiden, and Hyrule Warriors. Ni-Oh is perfect for Team Ninja.

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The game follows a Samurai in 16th century Japan, during the Warring States period, and is loosely based on real-life people and events. The game will have a fascinating story because the blonde-haired protagonist, William, is based on real-life William Adams, who was the first ever Western Samurai.

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And another reason to be excited is that this has been hailed as Team Ninja's "take on the Souls series." This is pretty evident when watching the trailers, in which combat is heavy, brutal, and fairly realistic. It will also feature big boss battles with characters of Japanese mythology. It's Dark Souls meets Ninja Gaiden, meets Onimusha....' nuff said.

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Street Fighter V

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Release Date: February 16
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Landing Street Fighter V as a PlayStation (console) exclusive is a huge deal for Sony. Unlike Rise of the Tomb Raider on Xbox One, this game is guaranteed to bring players to the PS4 because it has a die-hard following. The game also allows for cross-play between PS4 and PC gamers, similar to Rocket League. This was a very smart coup.

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But business aside, Street Fighter V looks like another excellent entry in the series. Street Fighter IV received critical acclaim, and so the newest iteration has a lot to live up to. But based on the revealed characters, gameplay tweaks, and DLC plan, have so far made fans very happy.

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The game will feature 16 playable characters at launch, with a further 6 to be released throughout 2016. The roster includes four new characters to the franchise; Necalli, F.A.N.G, Laura and Rashid. All DLC characters can be purchased via real money, or in-game currency earned through playing - a popular, gamer friendly initiative.

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Xbox One has had the fairly niche success of Killer Instinct, which has an old-school fan-base. 2015 saw the release of Mortal Kombat X, which was a massive success and brings in tons of more casual fighting fans. However, 2016 will see the release of the "purist's" fighting game, Street Fighter V, only on PS4. Tekken 7 will also be a console debut on PS4, presumably in 2016. So, fighting game fans have really only one destination in 2016: PlayStation 4.

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Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

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Release Date: April 26
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While this is probably the most anticipated game for PS4 owners, for good reasons, we're all acutely aware of it and it's coming relatively soon - hence, it's high placement in this list.

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Uncharted 4 is the alleged end of Nathan Drake's adventures. We obviously have no idea how the game will end, thus the story of Drake, but Naughty Dog is definitely suggesting our hero may meet his demise. However that seems unlikely; the Uncharted series is rarely that serious and dark in tone, and it's a series in which the heroes always make it out alive. I don't think anyone wants this series to end with Drake's death.

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Regardless of ending, though, the game looks unbelievable. Just like it did the last generation, Naughty Dog is pushing the limits of the PS4 in terms of graphics. The water, the mud, the sunlight, and, of course, Drake and his clothes, all look mind-blowing. Naughty Dog is also throwing in some new features, including driving, a rope for climbing/swinging/killing, and much more open areas.

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There's a reason the Uncharted series is as beloved as it is, and the fourth installment looks set to take its place at the top of the mountain. A way too early prediction: Uncharted 4: A Thief's End is a serious 2016 game of the year contender here. We cannot wait.

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2016 is going to be a banner year for the PS4. Last year Sony had some fantastic games in Bloodborne, Rocket League,  and Until Dawn, but its big fall release, Uncharted 4, was delayed to 2016. That left the latter half of last year a little barren on the exclusive front, which proved to be a fairly inconsequential problem given the mass of high-quality, highly-anticipated third-party games. Not to mention the fact that Microsoft's big exclusives all but failed to equate to sales.

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So the delay of Uncharted 4, and the overt quietness of Sony on the exclusive front, has led to 2016 becoming a massive year for the PS4. As of now, January 2016, there are over 120 games scheduled to release on PS4 this year. How many of those actually get released is a question I cannot answer, but the number is sufficient enough for me to say good times are ahead for Sony's record-breaking platform.

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This list will showcase the top 10 games coming exclusively to PS4 in 2016. The games on the list all look amazing and should finally put an end to the nonsensical argument that the PS4 "has no exclusives." Sure there are tons of games that didn't make this list, and it really wasn't easy to choose, but these 10 highlight the insane depth of diversity and quality coming in 2016. So let's get to it!

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Firewatch release date confirmed: headed to PS4 and PC early next year https://www.gameskinny.com/izuc8/firewatch-release-date-confirmed-headed-to-ps4-and-pc-early-next-year https://www.gameskinny.com/izuc8/firewatch-release-date-confirmed-headed-to-ps4-and-pc-early-next-year Mon, 12 Oct 2015 12:14:39 -0400 Steve_Lowbrow

Developers of the indie title, Firewatch took to Twitter in the early afternoon to officially announce the long-awaited release date for Firewatch. The game will be released on both PlayStation 4 and PC on February 9, 2016.

Additionally, the company also confirmed that Firewatch would also release on Mac OSX and Linux platforms, the company is aiming for a universal release across North America and Europe.

Developed by the small team at Camp Santo, Firewatch garnered a lot of attention at this year's E3 conference, winning many awards, and being placed at the tops of many gamers' radars, all despite the game's unconventional art style and gameplay.

That being said, the month of February is often a crowded game release period being filled with titles that opt out of the craziness of the crowded Holiday season. Among the titles currently scheduling to launch in February are Mirror's Edge: Catalyst, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Far Cry Primal, and Mighty No. 9. There will likely be more releases pushed back to 2016 as well, as each year, publishers inevitably lose their nerve to compete in the December release window, and instead delay to the new year last minute.

Hopefully, the originality and stunning visuals of Firewatch will be enough to set it apart in a saturated market of AAA games.

There's only 120 days remaining until Firewatch launches, and while pre-orders are not yet available, keep your eyes closely peeled to firewatchgame.com for more information.

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Sony's E3 2015 Conference - A Critical Look and Evaluation https://www.gameskinny.com/x4ddi/sonys-e3-2015-conference-a-critical-look-and-evaluation https://www.gameskinny.com/x4ddi/sonys-e3-2015-conference-a-critical-look-and-evaluation Mon, 22 Jun 2015 10:41:59 -0400 Ford James

Everyone and their aunt has an opinion on the various conferences and announcements at this year's E3, which really is part of the charm of the gaming world’s biggest event. Conversations, debates, jokes, snark, hype, you get it all whether you use Twitter, Reddit, or another social media site. I’m writing this to simply voice my opinion on what Sony did well, what could’ve been improved, and what wasn’t so great. I think I’m relatively impartial as I primarily game on PC. But I also had an Xbox 360 since its release - up until the latest gen when I switched to PS4. So I don't really belong to any particular camp.

A nice surprise

Sony’s conference started out as strong as it possibly could. The Last Guardian had become a myth, a video game spoken about only in legends. Everyone had given up hope. They went out and kicked things off with a bang, showing actual gameplay of the boy running and jumping across wooden structures with the Guardian, the dog-bird-cat thing, saving him from precarious situations. 

While the announcement of The Last Guardian returning was nice, what they showed of the game wasn’t as impressive. If you guys cast your minds all the way back to E3 2009 when they first revealed The Last Guardian, they showed a cinematic trailer mainly in the same location shown in the E3 2015 gameplay demo. Graphically, it didn’t look that much more impressive.

While it was nice to see actual gameplay, not much has changed. Considering that The Last Guardian has been in development for over six years at this point, that’s a little disappointing. You can see the trailer from 2009 below along with the 2015 one above.

Nature vs. Technology

Horizon: Zero Dawn was also announced, and oh my it looks phenomenal. Developed by Guerilla Games, the same guys behind Killzone, Horizon is an open-world RPG with robot dinosaurs. Freaking ROBOT DINOSAURS! Guerilla has supposedly hired some of the same guys that worked on The Witcher 3, which is easily one of, if not the best, open-world RPG game to date. Horizon appears to be a mix between Disney’s Brave, The Witcher 3, and Jurassic Park, plus robots.

That sounds like a recipe for success.

Play Part 1 on the PS4, Part 2 on the Xbox One!

Next up was the latest installment to the Hitman franchise, simply titled Hitman. I won’t be focusing on the game itself, since it’s not PlayStation exclusive. What does irritate me with the Hitman announcement, however, is the exclusive DLC and beta, which is not a ‘feature’ of Hitman alone. 

Unfortunately, most of Sony’s conference was full of extras meant to draw gamers to their system. Hitman, Street Fighter V, Firewatch, Destiny, Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, Final Fantasy VII remake, Batman: Arkham Knight, Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 and Disney Infinity 3.0 were all confirmed to have PlayStation exclusive content, whether it be in the form of DLC, betas, or timed releases. All this does is split the console player base and slow down the growth of the games industry.

Microsoft and Sony should instead be competing with their exclusive first-party games, hardware, and the services they can offer (e.g. PS Now for Sony, backwards compatibility for Microsoft) rather than cheating gamers out of certain features/parts of a game with exclusive DLC.

Abstract defined

Media Molecule (the guys behind LittleBigPlanet) showed their new game next, called Dreams. A rather vague title for a similarly vague presentation. I still have no clue what you do in the game. They said you could create worlds and play games in those worlds, but they didn’t give any clue as to how.

The only aspect they showed off was the art style, which does look gorgeous (albeit very abstract). I'll leave you guys to see if you can figure out what it's about.

Mystery with a hint of comedy

Firewatch also looks phenomenal. They didn’t show off a lot more than what we already knew. Aesthetics-wise, it looks similar to The Long Dark, whereas gameplay-wise it appears to be a little more hands-on than a point-&-click in the same vein as Life is Strange. We still don’t know if there are any more gameplay mechanics involved other than pick up/use. Firewatch seems to be going for innovative storytelling rather than innovative gameplay.

Overpriced DLC and stale gameplay

Sony didn’t stop their train there. They kept showing game after game. Destiny came next with another pricey expansion pack of little substance. Not really worth a spot at E3, if you ask me, as everyone who wants to play Destiny, has done by now (except for PC gamers, but they didn’t announce a PC version, so it’s irrelevant) but it was there anyway.

Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate was next on the list with the announcement that you can now play as Evie, a welcome addition in a world filled to the brim with male protagonists. Multiplayer is also now non-existent in Syndicate, which is a decision I don’t quite understand. I spent a lot of time playing the multiplayer in Brotherhood, and I had an absolute blast, the ‘you hunt someone while someone hunts you’ mode led to some incredibly tense moments.

I wouldn’t have expected them to remove something that doesn’t seem too tricky to put in, even if they didn’t work on it and just ‘copy and pasted’ the multiplayer from an older title. Nevertheless, Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate is going to have to do something impressive to warrant my purchase, mainly not being bug ridden a la Unity.

Final Fantasy meets chibis?

Final Fantasy came up next, specifically World of Final Fantasy. Not much announced for this, only that it is exclusive to the PS4 and Vita and will be coming in 2016. It has a chibi art style, which gives the impression it will be tailored toward the younger generation to get them interested in the Final Fantasy universe.

Sticking with the Final Fantasy theme, the Final Fantasy VII remake is going to be a thing. For real. Now, I’ve never played a Final Fantasy game before in my life, although I have seen many comments and tweets claiming that Final Fantasy VII is the best one of all time. No gameplay was shown, which is a big disappointment, although the cinematic trailer they showed was rather pretty.

There are also rumors floating around that Square Enix will be redesigning the traditional battle system, although that hasn’t been confirmed. There’s also a rumored timed exclusive deal between Square Enix and Sony, but so far Final Fantasy VII hasn’t been confirmed for any platform other than PS4.

2D retro!

Devolver Digital, a publisher popular for lots of indie games such as Hotline Miami, Serious Sam, and Broforce was up next. They showed a montage for four games coming to PS4 and PS Vita: Ronin, a 2D side-scrolling stealth slash-em-up; Eitr, an isometric fantasy pixel-style action game; Mother Russia Bleeds, a 2D violent fighting beat em up, and Crossing Souls, a game I’m not too sure how to describe. It has some cartoon cutscenes straight out of the '90s with some pixel retro style gameplay. All of the games look unique, which is really what Devolver Digital is known for. So, four titles to keep an eye on.

Hopefully not the start of a trend...

Sony then did something never seen before at E3. They announced the Kickstarter for Shenmue 3, a sequel to Shenmue 1 and 2,  which released on the Dreamcast in 1999 and 2001 respectively. This announcement was completely out of the blue, people thought they’d seen all the surprises with The Last Guardian and the Final Fantasy VII remake, but nope. Yu Suzuki announced the Kickstarter project live on stage and that they were looking for $2 million.

Now, that’s quite a lot compared to a lot of Kickstarter projects and the goal was actually reached in just 9 hours. However, there is no way in a million years $2 million is going to fund Shenmue 3 by itself.

Shenmue cost $47 million to fund in 1999, which is the equivalent of $67 million today. It was one of the most expensive games to fund, ever. It is highly likely that Sony used the Kickstarter project to test the waters and gauge interest on how well received a third Shenmue installment would be. Sony has now come out and explained, after the project was fully funded, that they will be assisting with the budget of the game. However, the fee is still undisclosed. A misleading practice by Sony, but one that was easily foreseeable.

More exclusive content...

Batman Arkham Knight was showcased next, which was relatively surprising as the game actually releases so soon. Nevertheless, sticking with the theme that was consistent through most of their conference: it was simply to announce some exclusive content, specifically some missions titled ‘Scarecrow Nightmare’ along with some skins.


Virtual reality mech-ball!

Guerilla Games returned to the stage next but not to show off more Horizon: Zero Dawn footage. Instead, they’ve announced a game exclusively for Sony’s virtual reality headset Project Morpheus. RIGS is the name and has the tagline ‘Mechanized Combat League’.

The snippet of gameplay we saw showed an arena with multiple players, implying it’ll have online capabilities and not just split screen or AI, fighting in their mechs trying to score ‘goals’ with the commentator saying things like “he’s through on goal!” and “great defence!” Not much to go off yet, although it looks like it could be fun.

More subscription services for your media box

One aspect surprisingly vacant from Microsoft’s conference this year was the mention of other media services on the Xbox One. Previously, they’ve focused a lot on sports and TV streaming, however, this time it seemed like they listened to fan feedback and eliminated that entirely. Sony almost did the same, but they did announce a service called PlayStation Vue. Rolling out in San Fransisco and Los Angeles initially with more to follow, PlayStation Vue is a subscription-based service to individual channels that will come at a discount to PS Plus members. I suppose going through the entirety of E3 focusing just on games was too much to ask.


Sony shelled out the big dollars for this

Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 followed which was a big surprise as the Call of Duty franchise has always been a Microsoft favorite. This time around though, it seems like Sony have shelled out more cash for the Call of Duty contract than Microsoft were willing to cough up, resulting in a timed exclusive DLC along with the beta that launches in August. 

For followers of the Call of Duty eSports scene, this is a big change as since Modern Warfare 3, competitive Call of Duty has always been played on Xbox consoles. This change will likely see Major League Gaming switch their focus to the PlayStation 4, as the Call of Duty World Championships are funded by Activision, which means they’ll want to promote the game on the console they’re supporting.

A much more preferable option would be to have both consoles receive the content at the same time and let MLG decide which console is best for the future of Call of Duty eSports, but that’s obviously a completely absurd idea. Right guys?

Yay!... oh wait, nevermind

What followed seemed rather exciting at first with Star Wars being the logo on screen… then it turned into Disney Infinity 3.0. Laden with exclusive content, I’ve personally never encountered anybody who plays the Disney Infinity games and I’m sure that won’t change with 3.0.

Surprisingly not too similar to Battlefield

Star Wars: Battlefront came next. Not a lot to talk about here, there was no exclusive content announced for PlayStation 4, it seemed like they had it in there simply to beef up their conference a little. The game itself is looking solid; nothing revolutionary, but nobody was expecting 'revolutionary'. It simply looks like a Star Wars shooter, nothing wrong with that.

When it works, it looks good

Sony concluded with what everyone knew was going to appear: Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. The person playing the demo live on stage had a few issues with getting it running at the start but when things finally got underway, it looked pretty impressive. A beautiful environment with some fantastic dialogue between Nathan Drake and Sully as they fought their way through a colorful middle eastern town.

The demo concluded with them chasing a mysterious character called Sam as he drove away from a convoy in pursuit while Nathan and Sully avoided their own antagonists. It looked fairly scripted but, then again, Uncharted isn’t famed for its non-linearity. As far as linear action games go, it’s a damn sight more impressive than Rise of the Tomb Raider.

My biggest gripe with Sony's conference is their focus on exclusive content.

It only applies to the minority of people who pre-order games, instead they should have centered on actual features of the game. Another piece of feedback I have would be that even though the announcement of The Last Guardian is a very welcome one indeed, I can’t help but feel it would have had a much larger impact if they closed the show with it, rather than opening it. The Last Guardian would have been a phenomenal send off to what was already a solid conference compared to Uncharted 4, which everyone was expecting anyway.

Sony’s conference was impressive. As far as game announcements go, I’d say they smashed every other conference into the ground except for maybe Bethesda’s, but the disappointing side of that coin is most of the games won’t be out until 2016. What was missing in terms of games? I'm disappointed no Ratchet & Clank was shown and deep down in my heart I was hoping for The Last of Us 2, although I knew the chances were slim given Naughty Dog are working on Uncharted 4. A new Crash Bandicoot would've fulfilled all my hopes and dreams too, but it wasn't to be.

One thing I do need to praise them on though was their tendency to skip the crap. What I mean by that is a lot of the conferences, namely EA, Square Enix and Ubisoft, had a LOT of talking and not enough showcasing of the games. Sony went the complete opposite route, they showcased game after game after game. The Sony hype train well and truly didn’t stop until the end, whereas comparing it to a conference, or should I say lecture, like Square Enix’s, the hype there never really began. A solid showing from Sony and it makes me very happy to be a PS4 owner. Unfortunately, Microsoft didn’t show anything that made me want to purchase an Xbox One. Recore looked cool, I guess.

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