Gears 5 Articles RSS Feed | Gears 5 RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Inside Xbox April 7 Roundup: Everything Announced and Revealed Tue, 07 Apr 2020 20:37:18 -0400 Mark Delaney

The latest edition of Inside Xbox aired today, and if you missed it, fear not. We've got you covered with a roundup of everything that was shown.

After a greeting from Phil Spencer wishing everyone well in the time of COVID-19, the announcements came rapid-fire. With several new Xbox Game Pass titles announced, DLC for some of the year's latest games, as well as deep looks at what's new and upcoming in the suddenly busy Xbox Game Studios space, there's a lot to go over.

Here's everything announced at Inside Xbox for April 7, 2020.

Inside Xbox Roundup April 7: Everything Announced and Revealed

Obsidian's Grounded Gets a Game Preview Launch Date

While we need to keep waiting a few months before we get our hands on the Honey-I-Shrunk-The-Kids-like (that's a genre, right?), Obsidian did drop by the stream to show off the game's story mode, which included several hints of a looming threat besides the ants and spiders that suddenly outsize you in the survival game.   

Obsidian also revealed when players can start digging into the dirt  literally  of Grounded. It hits Xbox Game Preview on July 28. Previously, the Xbox team has hinted that Xbox Insiders will get an even earlier preview too, though if that remains the plan, they didn't touch on it today.

Major Nelson Chats Xbox Series X with Developer Jason Ronald

The tech and spec nerds had their fill once more as Larry Hryb was joined by the Xbox Series X Director of Program Management, Jason Ronald, whose wisdom was said to be as vast as his beard is long, for an in-depth discussion about what all those fancy Xbox Series X specs will mean for games.

Ronald praised features like ray tracing and the solid-state drive while gameplay b-roll showed us the differences in games like Gears 5 and even Minecraft, where you may be surprised how much ray tracing seemed to make a difference.

Major Nelson himself also emphasized that players can bring their existing external hard drives right over to Series X, even as Microsoft would still love if we all bought their proprietary "storage expansion cards" they've made in partnership with Seagate. 

Xbox Game Studios Recap

The foursome of hosts then shifted to briefly reflect on the year so far for Xbox Game Studios, reminding players that Ori and the Will of the Wisps, State of Decay 2: Juggernaut Edition, and Bleeding Edge are all available now and are a part of Xbox Game Pass.

The hosts then showed off some glimpses of what's to come for XGS, including Minecraft Dungeons on May 26 and Forza Street migrating to mobile platforms on May 5. If you missed the earlier reveal, the team also emphasized the free educational content available in Minecraft, which may help in our new age of homeschooling. For the adults in the room, Gears 5 is free to play through April 12.

New to Xbox Game Pass

As always, if Xbox is presenting, you can expect new Game Pass titles to be announced. Inside Xbox introduced several more to both Xbox Game Pass for console and the PC beta. For those playing with mouse and keyboard, you can expect Football Manager 2020, Stranger Things 3: The Game, and Mistover to land "soon." Console subscribers meanwhile will get to play January's Journey to the Savage Planet very soon. It hits the library on April 9. Next week, the comedic metroidvania also gets its first major DLC, titled Hot Garbage

As for games coming to both platforms, there are a few more. Physics playground Human Fall Flat, retro-RPG Alvastia Chronicles, and the next installment of Kiryu's adventure, Yakuza Kiwami all hit Game Pass "soon."

Lastly, for players in South Korea and Japan, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscriptions will soon be available for the first time. Those players can look to sign up beginning one week from today, April 14.

Gears Tactics Deep Dive

Though console players will need to wait until later this year to try Gears Tactics, we're just a few weeks from its April 28 launch on PC. That means it was time to see a lot more of the game, and so we did.

In today's reveal, we got a heavy dose of gameplay, including some Gears touches that keep this from being an XCOM clone (like lancer chainsaw executions, of course).

We also learned more about the story, like that it stars Kait Diaz's father, Gabe, in a story that exists as a "pre-sequel" to borrow a term from Borderlands, taking place between Marcus' original trilogy and The Coalition's revival.

In case you were hoping to learn "five badass things" about Gears Tactics, Xbox has gone and made that video for you. 

New Project xCloud Titles

It's not just Game Pass that grew larger today. The library of free Project xCloud games increased by three courtesy of EA. Players who are streaming via Android or the limited testflight on iOS can now find Unravel 2, The Sims 4, and Dragon Age: Inquisition all available to play right away. 

ID@Xbox Spotlight

More games made their debut during today's stream, including several indies making their world debut or sometimes just their Xbox debut. That includes the Hotline Miami series coming to Xbox for the first time ever as the Hotline Miami Collection. Even better, it's available now.

Other indies that got the spotlight include Atomicrops, which is similar to if Stardew Valley was hit by a nuke and irradiated the farmland, as well as The Last Campfire, the next project from Hello Games. While the former got a gameplay reveal trailer, the latter received a much deeper dive of its own, complete with developer commentary. 

Xbox Game Bar for PC Updates

While not the most exciting news of the afternoon, PC players will enjoy updates to Xbox Game Bar, including full integration from Razer and Split, making playing and especially streaming games to an audience even easier. Major Nelson stressed that while these apps are now built into the Xbox Game Bar, players can run their original apps if they still prefer to do so. While the update is scheduled for later this year, those who want to preview the features can sign up at

Sea of Thieves' Next Major Update

We're never more than a few weeks away from the next huge Sea of Thieves update, so Inside Xbox closed with an expansive look at what's all to come in the second-anniversary update named "Ships of Fortune."

Players have the ability to join trading companies of their choosing as emissaries for brand-new questlines with new cosmetics to unlock. A fifth trading company, the combat-centric Reaper's Bones, now sails the seas too, and across the board, all companies have received new level caps which should entice even the most seasoned Pirate Legends to find their sea legs once again.

Arena mode has been given a major overhaul, making it so combatant ships now fight for a single chest at a time. Players can also revive their allies within a short window of time too. For those who don't mind spending real money on the game's pets, cats finally make their way to the game with the update, joining the already present birds and monkeys. Sorry dog lovers. Keep waiting.

Executive Producer Joe "Three Sheets" Neate tried teasing one more big secret, but he was cut off in a fun scripted moment. Like all updates for the game, Ships of Fortune will be free. It launches on April 22.  

From top to bottom, that's everything Major Nelson and company brought to the unconventional work-from-home Inside Xbox stream for April 7. What are you most looking forward to playing? 

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more on Xbox, its lineup of games, and everything Xbox Series X as it breaks. 

Gears 5 Getting Free Xbox Series X Upgrade Mon, 16 Mar 2020 15:33:30 -0400 Ty Arthur

With a new gen of consoles on the horizon, anyone jumping onto current AAA games might wonder if they need to re-buy their collection of brand-new titles. That won't be the case for at least a few Xbox Series X games, including The Coalition's Gears 5, thanks to the Smart Delivery System.

Gears 5 is now confirmed to receive a free optimized update at the launch of the Xbox Series X console. If you already own Gears 5 for the Xbox One, you get the updated Series X version at no cost.

So far we know the optimization will see a boost in visual fidelity, with the console edition to essentially present as the Ultra graphics setting of the current PC edition. The upcoming Series X version of Gears 5 is additionally set to include software ray tracing, better overall shadow effects, and a boost to 60fps for cut scenes.

While we don't have a full list yet of what games will utilize the Smart Delivery System for immediate Series X updates, CD Projekt Red recently confirmed Cyberpunk 2077 will also get a free upgrade.

Gears 5 is still currently available to play for free on Xbox One and PC for all Game Pass owners.

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more info on the impending Xbox Series X release date and a list of what games you won't need to buy a second time. For now, check out our latest look at the new hardware over here.

GameSkinny's Best Games of 2019 Tue, 31 Dec 2019 16:47:58 -0500 GS_Staff

Some truly amazing games came out in 2019. From monolithic AAAs like Gears 5 and Pokemon Sword and Shield to unassuming indies like Wattam and Disco Elysium, the last year of the decade hasn't left us wanting.

To celebrate the year that was, we've collected our highest-reviewed games of 2019 into a pseudo "best of" list. We're a small staff at GameSkinny, so going the traditional "staff voting route" didn't really make a whole lot of sense. The most democratic way to make a list like this was to include any game with a score of "8" or higher. 

Such a rubric might not be perfect as it leaves out some of the year's tentpole titles like Modern Warfare and Death Stranding, but a list like this is never perfect. It will always create some form of controversy. 

So without further ado, here is GameSkinny's "Best Games of 2019" list. We have arranged the following games in alphabetical order. Be sure to sound off in the comments at the end of the article. We're certain you will have thoughts — and we want to hear them! 

A Place for the Unwilling

Publisher: ALPixel Games
Developer: ALPixel Games
Initial Release Date: July 25, 2019
Platforms: PC
Rating: 8/10

What we said: A Place for the Unwilling offers a delightfully sinister tale of mystery and destruction with a staggering number of branching paths that guarantee no playthrough will be the same.

Read the review

Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown

Publisher: Bandai Namco
Developer: Bandai Namco
Initial Release Date: January 18, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Rating: 8/10

What we said: The VR Mode is the big draw of Bandai Namco's new flight combat simulator, Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown, but it is more limited than you might have hoped.

Read the review

Age of Wonders: Planetfall

Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Developer: Triumph Studios
Initial Release Date: August 6, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Rating: 9/10

What we said: The turn-based strategy game of the year has arrived, and the unexpected transition from fantasy to sci-fi is handled superbly.

Read the review

Ape Out

Publisher: Devolver Digital
Developers: Bennett Foddy, Gabe Cuzzillo, Matt Boch
Initial Release Date: February 28, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: There's a lot to love about Ape Out and not many glaring flaws to point to... It may be a simple game with basic controls, but that doesn't mean it doesn't still provide a challenge that rewards sound, strategic play. 

Read the review

Astral Chain

Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Platinum Games
Initial Release Date: August 30, 2019
Platforms: Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Astral Chain presents an experience that might be familiar to those familiar with Platinum Games, but there's enough to keep you engaged and excited... But even if you're just looking for a new, fairly linear story to dive into, or dying to get your hands on a game whose combat actually involves new ideas and executes them well, then this is the game for you.

Read the review

Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland

Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Developer: Koei Tecmo
Initial Release Date: May 21, 2019
Platforms: PS4, PC, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: It's more of the same Atelier, but it also takes the best from its predecessors to synthesize a fun and customizable adventure. It might not be a huge leap forward for the series, but it combines the best elements from previous Atelier games to make this new entry a contender for best of the crop and an excellent starting point for newbies.

Read the review

Atelier Ryza Ever Darkness and the Secret Hideout

Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Developer: Koei Tecmo
Initial Release Date: September 26, 2019
Platforms: PS4, PC, Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Atelier Ryza is the best Atelier game to date, with some much-needed improvements that make for a more compelling package on the whole.

Read the review


Publisher: Team 17
Developer: The Game Kitchen
Initial Release Date: September 10, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: If you love SNES platformers and aren't concerned by the possibility of an angry god pressing its "smite" button to rain lightning upon you, Blasphemous is simply a must-play.

Read the review

Blazing Chrome

Publisher: The Arcade Crew, Limited Run Games
Developer: JoyMasher
Initial Release Date: July 11, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Rad and totally kickass, Blazing Chrome stands as one of the best run n' gun games of all time. A worthy successor to the Contra crown from concept to execution.

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Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

Publisher: 505 Games
Developer: Artplay
Initial Release Date: June 18, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night stands as one of the best Vania games of recent memory, and one of the most satisfying games of 2019 so far.

Read the review

Borderlands 3

Publisher: 2K Games
Developer: Gearbox Software
Initial Release Date: September 13, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Stadia
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Borderlands 3 is the best Borderlands has ever been. It's beautiful, funny, and frantic in the best ways. There are issues, but those shouldn't deter you too much from having an absolute blast.

Read the review

Cadence of Hyrule

Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Brace Yourself Games
Initial Release Date: June 13, 2019
Platforms: Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Cadence of Hyrule is a fresh approach to the classic 2D Legend titles that looks and sounds amazing, but it doesn't last long.

Read the review


Publisher: Versus Evil
Developer: Gambrinous
Initial Release Date: December 6, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Cute graphics, funny writing, and good gameplay make Cardpocalypse a rousing good time.

Read the review

Children of Morta

Publisher: 11 Bit Studios
Developer: Dead Mage Studios
Initial Release Date: September 3, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Children of Morta is a standout roguelike RPG with a solid central hook, satisfying gameplay, and gorgeous art style all piled on top of huge replay value.

Read the review

Code Vein

Publisher: Bandai Namco
Developer: Bandai Namco
Initial Release Date: June 5, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Code Vein is an anime souls-like featuring great customization and a wonderfully bizarre world.

Read the review


Publisher: 505 Games
Developer: Remedy Entertainment
Initial Release Date: August 27, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Control is undoubtedly Remedy's biggest and weirdest game yet. In many ways, it's also their best, all while it paves the way for a Marvel-like connected universe.

Read the review

Cooking Simulator

Publisher: PlayWay
Developers: Big Cheese Studio, Wastelands Interactive
Initial Release Date: June 6, 2019
Platforms: PC
Rating: 8/10

What we said: The simple fact that Cooking Simulator does what it says on the label makes it a must-have for anyone who loves cooking as much as they love gaming.

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Dark Devotion

Publisher: The Arcade Crew, DotEmu, Maple Whispering Co.
Developer: Hibernian Workshop
Initial Release Date: April 25, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Get ready to die with another killer 2D souls-like that flips the script in several ways for a refreshing take on the genre.

Read the review

Devil May Cry 5

Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Initial Release Date: March 8, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Devil May Cry 5 is back, bringing with it the same hack-and-slash action that made it one of the best action franchises of all time.

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Dick Wilde 2

Publisher: PlayStack
Developer: Bolverk Games
Initial Release Date: February 19, 2019
Platforms (VR): PS4, PC
Rating: 8/10

What we said: With humor, stylish visuals, and solid shooting mechanics, Bolverk Games' Dick Wilde 2 is a great little VR diversion for those that dig on-rails shooters.

Read the review.

Disco Elysium

Publisher: ZA/UM
Developer: ZA/UM
Initial Release Date: October 15, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Rating: 10/10

What we said: Looking for something even weirder than Torment and with even more character customization options? Disco Elysium is RPG of the year. Hell, maybe even the decade.

Read the review.

Doraemon: Story of Seasons

Publisher: Bandai Namco
Developers: Marvelous Inc., Brownies Inc.
Initial Release Date: October 10, 2019
Platforms: PC, Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Doraemon: Story of Seasons borrows from both franchises while managing to be a stand-out farm-sim game in its own right.

Read the review.

Dragon Star Varnir

Publisher: Idea Factory
Developer: Compile Heart
Initial Release Date: June 11, 2019
Platforms: PS4, PC
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Dragon Star Varnir could use some polishing in a few areas, but the combat, setting, and story make for a dark and compelling RPG nonetheless.

Read the review.

Dragon Quest Builders 2

Publisher: Square-Enix
Developers: Square-Enix, Omega Force
Initial Release Date: July 12, 2019
Platforms: PS4, PC, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Dragon Quest Builders 2 takes just about everything that made the original so enjoyable and improves upon it.

Read the review.

Etrian Odyssey Nexus

Publisher: Atlus
Developer: Atlus
Initial Release Date: February 5, 2019
Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Etrian Odyssey Nexus is an excellent way to end the franchise's time on the 3DS, beckoning old and new fans alike back into the labyrinth.

Read the review.

Far Cry New Dawn

Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Initial Release Date: February 15, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Far Cry New Dawn recycles the same general setting from last year's Far Cry 5, but this time with a post-apocalyptic twist and healthy injection of creative, colorful, and bombastic content.

Read the review.

Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark

Publisher: 1C Entertainment
Developer: 6 eyes Studio
Initial Release Date: August 16, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark is a deep and engrossing tactical RPG no genre fan should miss. With interesting characters and complex combat, it's a poster child for the greatest the genre can provide.

Read the review


Publisher: EA Games
Developers: EA Vancouver, EA Romania
Initial Release Date: September 27, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: For fun and realistic gameplay, FIFA 20 can't be beat, though the specter of card packs looms large over the game's Ultimate Team mode.

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Publisher: Bedtime Digital Games
Developer: Bedtime Digital Games
Initial Release Date: September 22, 2019
Platforms: PC
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Figment turns a touchy topic into an engaging puzzle adventure that's filled with heart and some excellent setting and soundtrack designs.

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Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Publisher: Nintendo
Developers: Intelligent Systems, Koei Tecmo
Initial Release Date: July 26, 2019
Platforms: Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Fire Emblem: Three Houses is the definitive Fire Emblem experience, with a compelling story, streamlined gameplay, and a staggering amount of content.

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Gears 5

Publisher: Xbox Game Studio
Developer: The Coalition
Initial Release Date: September 10, 2019
Platforms: Xbox One, PC
Rating: 9/10

What we said: The Coalition has set a new benchmark for Microsoft's first-party campaigns. By taking huge risks, subverting expectations, and delivering a visual spectacle, Gears 5 is the best in the series.

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God's Trigger

Publisher: Techland
Developer: One More Level
Initial Release Date: April 18, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Heaven's under new management. It takes a little while to come into its own, but God’s Trigger is a decent weekend’s worth of splatterpunk entertainment.

Read the review


Publisher: Devolver Digital
Free Lives
Initial Release Date: August 24, 2019
Platforms (VR): PS4, PC
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Gorn is challenging, horrifying, hilarious, and a genuine joy to play. It manages to be brilliant in both short bursts and long sessions.

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Publisher: XSeed Games, FuRyu, Marvelous Inc.
Developer: FuRyu, Netchubiyori Limited
Initial Release Date: December 3, 2019
Platforms: PS4, PC, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Heroland offers a hilarious take on working life, RPGs, and fan culture, wrapped in a clever combat system.

Read the review.


Publisher: 505 Games
Developer: Lab Zero Games
Initial Release Date: October 8, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Indivisible brings its own mix of genres, packed with the best group of characters in years.

Read the review.

Ion Fury

Publisher: 3D Realms, 1C Company
Developers: Voidpoint LLC
Initial Release Date: February 28, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Ion Fury mixes old and new in a throwback FPS that deftly builds its own enduring identity.

Read the review.

John Wick Hex

Publisher: Good Shepherd Entertainment
Bithell Games
Initial Release Date: October 8, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Rating: 8/10

What we said: John Wick Hex puts you in the well-trained shoes of a master assassin, but without a lot of planning, you'll find yourself no more use than a kid with a water pistol.

Read the review.


Publisher: Sega
Developers: Sega, Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio
Initial Release Date: June 25, 2019
Platforms: PS4
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Though there are some hiccups along the way, Judgment proves without a doubt that Ryu Ga Gotoku studio doesn't need Kazuma Kiryu to sell a great game.

Read the review.

Katana Zero

Publisher: Devolver Digital
Developer: Askiisoft
Initial Release Date: April 18, 2019
Platforms: PC, Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: If I have one complaint about Katana ZERO, it's that there's not already a sequel.

Read the review.

Kingdom Hearts 3

Publisher: Square-Enix
Developer: Square-Enix
Initial Release Date: January 25, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Kingdom Hearts 3 delivers an amazingly fun and intense experience in a long-awaited title that lives up to the hype.

Read the review.

Luigi's Mansion 3

Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Next Level Games
Initial Release Date: October 31, 2019
Platforms: Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Luigi's Mansion 3 is almost non-stop fun and is another must-have for the Switch's library.

Read the review.

Madden NFL 20

Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: EA Tiburon
Initial Release Date: August 2, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Madden NFL 20's major new features are good on their own, but they are even better as a foundation for the years to come.

Read the review.

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order

Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Team Ninja
Initial Release Date: July 19, 2019
Platforms: Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 is a more-than-solid release that will interest most Switch owners. While some fans of the original games might have gripes, it's still likely to be a solid choice.

Read the review.

Metro Exodus

Publisher: Deep Silver
Developer: 4A Games
Initial Release Date: February 15, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Stadia
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Metro Exodus, 4A's new first-person shooter, is almost a perfect game, introducing exciting new elements while still offering the classic Metro experience.

Read the review.

Mini-Mech Mayhem

Publisher: FuturLab
Developer: FuturLab
Initial Release Date: June 18, 2019
Platforms (VR): PS4
Rating: 8/10

What we said: If you want a new, randomized strategy title for the PSVR that you can sink dozens of hours into, Mini-Mech Mayhem should be on your wishlist immediately.

Read the review.

MLB The Show 19

Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: SIE San Diego Studio
Initial Release Date: March 26, 2019
Platforms: PS4
Rating: 8/10

What we said: The Show is back with the latest, but just barely the greatest addition to the world of baseball video games.

Read the review.

Mortal Kombat 11

Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Developer: NetherRealm Studios
Initial Release Date: April 23, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch, Stadia
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Almost three decades since the original, Mortal Kombat 11 proves the fighter's might is still strong.

Read the review.

Need for Speed: Heat

Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Ghost Games
initial Release Date: November 8, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Though it still can't match the scope of Forza Horizon 4, Need for Speed: Heat is a great racing game in its own right.

Read the review.

NHL 20

Publisher: EA Sports
Developer: EA Vancouver
Initial Release Date: September 13, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One
Rating: 9/10

What we said: NHL 20 delivers an enjoyable simulation of the NHL experience, with new modes and features adding additional fun to the strong framework provided by prior years' releases.

Read the review.

Night Call

Publisher: Raw Fury, MonkeyMoon
Developers: BlackMuffin, MonkeyMoon
Initial Release Date: July 17, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Night Call is an intriguing ride through Paris full of intriguing tales and conversations. Too bad its detective elements aren't as compelling.

Read the review.

One Finger Death Punch 2

Publisher: Silver Dollar Games
Developer: Silver Dollar Games
Initial Release Date: April 15, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: One Finger Death Punch 2 is a deep, rhythmic fighting game that attempts to replicate the feel of classic kung fu movies.

Read the review.

Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth

Publisher: Atlus
Developer: P-Studio
Initial Release Date: June 4, 2019
Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
Rating: 9/10

What we said: New Cinema Labyrinth is a brilliant combination of game mechanics with a heap of Persona charm and style that's sure to keep you busy for a long time to come.

Read the review.

Planet Zoo

Publisher: Frontier Developments
Developer: Frontier Developments
Initial Release Date: November 5, 2019
Platforms: PC
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Planet Zoo is a deep management sim featuring some beautiful animal recreations. It's a must-have for any animal lover.

Read the review.

Pokemon Sword and Shield

Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Game Freak 
Initial Release Date: November 15, 2019
Platforms: Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Pokemon Sword and Shield breathe a joyous breath of life back into the series, with great improvements and a stellar batch of new 'mon.

Read the review.


Publisher: Bandai Namco
Developer: Double Fine
Initial Release Date: August 20, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: RAD is a fantastic roguelike that creates a world worth fighting for and a game well worth playing over and over again.

Read the review.

Rebel Galaxy Outlaw

Publisher: Double Damage Games
Developer: Double Damage Games
Initial Release Date: October 20, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Despite a few stumbles, Rebel Galaxy Outlaw is one of the best space sims of recent memory, with strong characters, fast-paced combat, and amazing music.

Read the review.

Remnant: From the Ashes

Publisher: Perfect World Entertainment
Developer: Gunfire Games
Initial Release Date: August 20, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Remnant: From the Ashes is a tough-as-nails cooperative shooter that brings together the best elements of games like Dark Souls and Left 4 Dead.

Read the review.

Ring Fit Adventure

Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo 
Initial Release Date: October 18, 2019
Platforms: Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Ring Fit Adventure may be the best exercise video game, blending strength and aerobics training into an impeccably designed package.

Read the review.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Publisher: From Software, Activision
Developer: From Software
Initial Release Date: March 22, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Rating: 10/10

What we said: Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is probably the best game From Software has ever made, and it's worth every second of your time playing.

Read the review.

Shenmue 3

Publisher: Deep Silver, Shibuya Productions
Developers: Ys Net, Yu Suzuki
Initial Release Date: November 19, 2019
Platforms: PS4, PC
Rating: 8/10

What we said: For better or worse, Shenmue 3 is a blast from the past. It's a beautiful world marred only by its insistence to stay the same.

Read the review.


Publisher: Merge Games
Developer: Red Blue Games
Initial Release Date: November 14, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Sparklite is a good example of how creativity and sharp game design can elevate a genre even if you thought you'd seen everything it has to offer.

Read the review.


Publisher: James Patton
Developer: James Patton
Initial Release Date: February 1, 2019
Platforms: PC
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Spinnortality is tightly focused on the bleak but shiny transhumanist megacorp side of cyberpunk, putting it in unique territory.

Read the review.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Respawn Entertainment
Initial Release Date: November 15, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order has some technical issues and poor pacing but is still an amazing single-player Star Wars game.

Read the review.

Steel Division 2

Publisher: Eugen Systems
Developer: Eugen Systems
Initial Release Date: June 20, 2019
Platforms: PC
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Steel Division 2 proves to be a much better game than its predecessor in terms of graphics and mechanics, even if it still needs to solve a few balancing problems before it can be called "definitive."

Read the review.

Stranded Sails

Publisher: Maple Whispering Co
Developer: Lemonbomb Entertainment
Initial Release Date: October 17, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Though it's a bit more survival-focused than other games of its kind, Stranded Sails is still a mostly quaint and worthwhile farm life sim any genre fan will enjoy.

Read the review.

Stranger Things 3: The Game

Publisher: BonusXP
Developer: BonusXP
Initial Release Date: July 4, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch, Android
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Stranger Things 3 has taken over the pop culture world like it always does when a new season hits Netflix. If you've binged it already and need more, the console game is a fun adaptation worth any fan's time.

Read the review.

Super Mario Maker 2

Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Initial Release Date: June 28, 2019
Platforms: Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Super Mario Maker 2 fulfills just about everything it set out to do, making it a must-play for Mario fans.

Read the review.

Team Sonic Racing

Publisher: Sega
Developer: Sumo Digital
Initial Release Date: May 21, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch, iOS
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Team Sonic Racing is closer to a 3D Sonic game to a kart racer, and we love it. Sonic Heroes Racing, anyone?

Read the review.

The Blackout Club

Publisher: Question
Developer: Question
Initial Release Date: July 29, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Stranger things have happened, but they're rarely as scary or as fun as The Blackout Club, a dynamic co-op adventure that beckons with its bellowing song of hypnosis.

Read the review.

The Church in the Darkness

Publisher: Fellow Traveler
Developer: Paranoid Productions
Initial Release Date: August 2, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: The Church in the Darkness is an ambitious game and delivers on its premise almost all the way. It's worth sipping this Kool-Aid.

Read the review.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel 3

Publisher: NISA
Developer: Nihon Falcom
Initial Release Date: October 22, 2019
Platforms: PS4
Rating: 10/10

What we said: Trails of Cold Steel 3 is a masterclass in storytelling that improves nearly everything in the franchise's history.

Read the review.

The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening

Publisher: Nintendo
Developers: Grezzo
Initial Release Date: September 20, 2019
Platforms: Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: With a host of enhancements that more than make it worth playing for newcomers and old fans alike, The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening remains a brilliant example of impeccable design.

Read the review.

The Outer Worlds

Publisher: Private Division, Take-Two Interactive
Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Initial Release Date: October 25, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: The Outer Worlds is a goofy, full to the brim RPG that liberally samples from other giants in the genre. It's a fun romp through a neon universe.

Read the review.

The Sinking City

Publisher: Bigben Interactive
Developer: Frogwares
Initial Release Date: June 25, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Rating: 9/10

What we said: With a distinct lack of hand-holding, in-depth investigative mechanics, and a solid mix of open-world design with mythos monsters, The Sinking City is the standard for Lovecraftian games.

Read the review.

The Sojourn

Publisher: Iceberg Interactive
Developer: Shifting Tides
Initial Release Date: September 20, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One
Rating: 9/10

What we said: The Sojourn elevates simple mechanics and creative level design to create a thoroughly enjoyable puzzling experience and a game any fan of the genre should play.

Read the review.

The Surge 2

Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Developer: Deck 13
Initial Release Date: September 24, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Rating: 9/10

What we said: With more options, more weapons, and a much bigger environment to play with, The Surge 2 improves on everything from its predecessor.

Read the review.

ToeJam & Earl: Back in the Groove

Publisher: HumaNature Studios
Developer: HumaNature Studios
Initial Release Date: March 1, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: ToeJam & Earl: Back in the Groove isn't a blast FROM the past, it's a blast TO the past.

Read the review.

Tom Clancy's The Division 2

Publisher: Ubisoft
Developers: Massive Entertainment
Initial Release Date: March 15, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Stadia
Rating: 8/10

What we said: The Division 2 is an improvement on the first game in almost every way, and it's both a fun game and a satisfying investment.

Read the review.

Trine 4

Publisher: Modus Games
Developer: Frozenbyte
Initial Release Date: October 8, 2019
Platforms: PS4, PC, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: The puzzles and banter are as good as they've ever been, though Trine 4 has a hard time overcoming some dodgy combat mechanics.

Read the review.

Trover Saves the Universe

Publisher: Squanch Games
Developer: Squanch Games
Initial Release Date: May 31, 2019
Platforms: PS4 (VR), Xbox One, PC (VR), Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: A surprisingly entertaining platformer smothered in Roiland-brand humor. Trover Save the Universe is a title well worth playing whether you have a VR headset or not.

Read the review.


Publisher: Headup Games
Developers: btf GmBH
Initial Release Date: March 12, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Truberbrook has a few faults, but its engaging characters, enjoyable narrative, and fantastic atmosphere make it easy to recommend.

Read the review.

Vambrace Cold Soul

Publisher: Headup Games
Developer: Devespresso Games
Initial Release Date: May 28, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: If you don't mind being actively abused and tortured for hours on end, Vambrace can become extremely addicting for fans of either Darkest Dungeon or classic SNES RPGs.

Read the review.

Void Bastards

Publisher: Humble Bundle
Developer: Blu Manchu
Initial Release Date: May 28, 2019
Platforms: Xbox One, PC
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Void Bastards is a roguelite shooter that encourages experimentation and smart thinking in outer space, and it mostly works to great effect.

Read the review.


Publisher: Annapurna
Developer: Funomena, SIE Santa Monica Studio
Initial Release Date: December 17, 2019
Platforms: PS4, PC
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Wattam is a rare wonder of a game, full of hope, charm, and poop. But it's also one of the kindest games to come out all year.

Read the review.

We. The Revolution

Publisher: Klabater
Developer: Polyash
Initial Release Date: March 21, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: All told, We. The Revolution comes together to make a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

Read the review.

What the Golf? 

Publisher: Triband
Developer: Triband
Initial Release Date: October 1, 2019
Platforms: PC, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: What the Golf? is a funny hole-in-one success of a game that keeps surprising and captivating with unfiltered creativity.

Read the review.


Publisher: Devolver Digital
Developer: Moon Kid
Initial Release Date: August 15, 2019
Platforms: Android, iOS
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Witcheye is the most fun you can have as a floating eye in a mobile game.

Read the review.

Yoshi's Crafted World

Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: good-Feel
Initial Release Date: March 29, 2019
Platforms: Switch
Rating: 10/10

What we said: Don't let the green dino's mid-tier status fool you. With fluid platforming, incredible attention to detail, and a huge variety of content, Yoshi's Crafted World is a must-have Switch game.

Read the review.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution

Publisher: Konami
Developer: Other Ocean Interactive
Initial Release Date: August 20, 2019
Platforms: Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution is the most complete Yu-Gi-Oh! title to date, with a great price tag for its infinitely replayable content.

Read the review.


That's it for our list of the best games of 2019. What were your favorite games? Sound off in the comments below. 

Gears 5 Guide: Potential 0x8b050033 Error Fix Tue, 17 Sep 2019 14:19:19 -0400 Ty Arthur

Gears 5 might have been the biggest launch in the franchise's history (thanks, Ultimate Game Pass), but that doesn't mean it hasn't suffered from a few bumps along the way, including an ugly error code: 0x8b050033

The latest problem reared its ugly head this morning as players worldwide have had trouble launching the game at all. Many receive the error message "You need this update, but we can’t get it right now. Try again in a while. (0x8b050033)."

Xbox Live completely crashed the night Gears 5 went live, and a steady stream of issues have popped up since the Dave Bautista skin event launched last week.

How Do I Fix the Error? 

Unfortunately, the issues is that there's no Xbox One console update to actually download. The game is searching for an update that isn't there yet.

Uninstalling and re-installing doesn't solve the problem as of now, so don't bother, especially considering the bulky install-size of Gears 5!

While it isn't sure-fire, the most frequent fix for the largest number of users is to:

  1. Log out of your profile
  2. Log back in
  3. Completely close the Gears 5 app
  4. Re-open it
  5. Check if the error code pops up

Some players have successfully circumvented the update error message that way, but it isn't guaranteed to work in all cases.


          This is a whole mood for Gears 5 players right now

That's all you need to know about the 0x8b050033 Error for now. The good news is that a patch is supposed to arrive later today, so this is likely a limited-time problem. Check back later tonight, and we should (hopefully) see an official fix from The Coalition.

Have you found a workaround besides logging out and back in? Let us know what you did!

Looking for relic weapon locations or want to unlock that killer new Bautista/Fenix replacement skin? Check out the rest of our Gears 5 guides here.

Gears 5 Multiplayer Review: A Greater Arsenal, But Not Without Issues Tue, 17 Sep 2019 10:49:46 -0400 Mark Delaney

While we delivered our Gears 5 campaign review ahead of the weekend, we wanted a few more days with the expansive multiplayer suite before passing our final judgment on that side of The Coalition's blockbuster.

As it turns out, we didn't need a heck of a lot more time anyway. Even a week post-launch, the game's multiplayer component is plagued by connectivity issues.

When it is working, the component's modes are phenomenal, and in time, Gears 5's multiplayer will likely deliver a best-in-series experience just as its story mode has. But as of now, there are too many issues plaguing it to be anything better than decent. 

Bugs in the Sawmill

For a game that launched to some players on September 6 and to the rest of the world four days later, Gears 5's stability is still inexcusably poor.

Maybe it's a sign that the game's launch was bigger than anyone expected, which, considering the numbers coming out, may mean Game Pass is having a hell of a month, but none of that matters outside of Microsoft's corporate offices.

For fans, Gears 5 multiplayer is a brilliant experience, but only when it's working  and that's currently not often.

Several of my play sessions both before and after launch were hit by connectivity flaws, including disconnects and false starts when heading into new rounds. These hiccups don't happen all of the time, or else I wouldn't have so much forthcoming praise to share, but it is more common than anyone should find permissible.

To their credit, the development team has been extremely vocal on forums and social platforms like Twitter, as well as on the game's website, keeping players updated with how fixes are progressing. Once these issues are ironed out, it looks likely Gears 5's multiplayer will join its campaign as being the new benchmark for the long-running franchise.

Hero Shooter-Lite

While several fan-favorite modes return with little tweaking, like Arms Race, Dodgeball, and TDM, these are supplemented by completely new modes that give Gears one of the most robust multiplayer offerings in the industry.

Arcade mode is what The Coalition has called a "hero shooter-lite," where players load into a battlefield with their preferred character and abilities they can customize. Meant to be played a bit faster and wackier than the standard modes of old, Arcade offers game-changing mid-match upgrades that feel like totally new ideas for the series.

Properly balanced out of the gate, you'll quickly find your own playstyle as you learn to work with others to maximize effectiveness just like you would in something like Overwatch

The Great Escape

The greatest addition to Gears 5 is the new Escape mode. A three-person PVE experience, Escape drops you into a Swarm hive where you detonate a bomb before charging as fast as you can to find the exit in a long, labyrinthine interior. Your only clue as to where to go next is often to follow the trail of bodies you've left ahead of you.

With safe rooms on the way and an emphasis on resource management, it's often the case that you don't have what you want in terms of ammo or weapons when things go down, but as a true survival experience, that's perfect. You rely on teammates and well-timed item drops from corpses to keep charging ahead until you find salvation in the outside world.

Charting Your Own Way

Escape is an excellent mode all on its own, but it's made even better because players can make and share their own maps. The Coalition hopes to expand this map-making ability to Versus and Horde modes later, but even for now, it's an interesting tool that gives the whole suite the feeling of a studio going above and beyond.

Featured maps from The Coalition will welcome players to the Escape menu each week, but the best and most played user-generated content will be highlighted too, and you can search for specific maps that you've heard are good or maybe your friends made. There are even some already designed to boost achievements.

"If It Ain't Broke ..."

Versus and Horde, meanwhile, return their familiar elements to Gears 5 and don't add a whole lot new. For many players, this makes for an "if it ain't broke" proposition, though it should be noted that it's not all just shotgunners so far in the early days. 

It's obvious that the devs gave more attention to bettering other gun classes, meaning firefights should be more varied than the old days where enemies wall-hugged from room to room until they were in your face with a Gnasher.

All of this comes on the foundation of the deepest customization and ranking system ever seen in the franchise.

Unlocking skill cards improves characters across all modes and allows you to craft your exact character to a level that I can't recall seeing in any other shooter. Add to that the most content, be it characters, maps, or many cosmetics, will be free or earnable with in-game currency, and you've got a player-friendly system that still leaves space for the "whales" to buy into some content and keep the studio working for the betterment of the whole.

  • The deepest Gears online experience yet
  • Escape mode is a fantastic new addition to the series
  • Tweaks to gunplay make it more worth playing without a Gnasher
  • Arcade is a faster, looser take on Gears with hero shooter inspirations
  • Connectivity issues continue to plague the game at the time of writing

If this review was written a few weeks from now, I'd bet the score you see below and the words written within would contain more praise. Sadly, it's too unstable even 10 days after the Game Pass Ultimate launch day to earn those higher marks.

It feels safe to assume The Coalition will iron out the problems found here, and Gears 5's multiplayer will join its story mode as the best in the franchise. For now, you can see how great it will be, but that doesn't hide how troubled it is today.

Gears 5 Campaign Review: Gears Has Never Been Better Fri, 13 Sep 2019 11:39:08 -0400 Mark Delaney

We're still a few days out from handing down our final verdict on the expansive Gears 5 multiplayer suite, but in the meantime, we want to weigh in on the campaign.

Unlike many popular multiplayer games, the Gears series has always attracted a large number of campaign players as well, and that's never felt more justified than it does with Gears 5.

By taking some stunning risks, delivering a better script, and putting on an audiovisual clinic, Gears 5 offers the best campaign in the series. Ever. 

Gears 5's biggest shift  that being its move to Kait as the main protagonist is apparent in all its marketing materials, but that change doesn't come until Act II. Before that, it's JD, Marcus' son and the flawed hero of Gears of War 4who remains the still-imperfect playable character. 

These first few chapters look and feel a lot like what series veterans are used to, even as it still bears the style of The Coalition's more colorful makeover. City streets and corridors re-invite players to the Gears we've had for so long, where you can chainsaw ugly monsters or cut them down from a distance with loads of firepower. After an unsettling story moment at the end of Act II, one that represents this script's best-in-series writing well, the tone abruptly shifts to something that feels quite different.

Kait's saga is the most personal in the series to date, even literally, as we often see inside her own unwell mind. However, it's the best in the series for reasons that go beyond just that introspection. Gears 5 makes a welcome habit out of subverting expectations over and over again throughout the 12-hour campaign.

Moments big and small are upended by surprises, like the ebb and flow of combat and dialogue, which has for so long been metronomic in this and other shooters but now cleverly unravels in Gears 5. Character moments will be interrupted by chaos when you least expect it, while the game lets things breathe more than Gears is known to do.

Gears 5 cares more for its characters, too. Even as many fans were invested in the likes of Dom, Baird, and Marcus in the original trilogy and scoffed at JD, Del, and Kait in 4, the latest in the series does more for all the living characters, both past and present, than ever before. Beneath the bulky exterior, Gears has fully-fledged human beings in its starring roles now. I even got goosebumps a few times. That's new.

The series once dedicated to gravel-voiced testosterone junkies is no longer afraid to cry, and it's a beautiful thing. It's so affecting in Gears 5 that it's made me retroactively care more for the series' earlier narrative shenanigans. 

It's especially daring how Kait is promoted to the starring role, and even more so when you realize she's likely to be the pivotal character in Gears 6, too. I can't think of other series that have pivoted from one hero to the next mid-trilogy like this, and it seems unlikely any similar moves would've been successful. From a storytelling view, it feels unfathomable almost improper that the story could unfold as it does in The Coalition's first two outings as Gears caretakers, but they've nailed it, and I'm excited for what's ahead.

The final scene of Gears 5 has the pitch-perfect summer blockbuster cliffhanger mood they're going for, and I now find myself a bigger fan than ever thanks to Kait's motivation.

It's one of many sweeping changes that The Coalition has made since taking over with Gears of War 4, and the handoff looks even more secure here in Gears 5. New enemy types in basic combat and boss battles are to be expected from any shooter, but the cover-shooting heart of the franchise still doesn't miss a beat. Supplemented with new environmental tactics, like shooting the ice beneath enemies, as well as the returning storm mechanics from 4 make Gears 5 a game that always feels great.

The Coalition's north star seems to be paying homage to what worked before but not fearing big changes. They've made many in this game alone and most of them work well.

A pair of open-world hubs have their ups and downs, though. With one main objective in each of the two areas, players are left to their wind-sailing skiff to explore for more blips on the map. Twelve side missions and some collectibles round out the optional content in total, while the bookend sections surrounding Acts II and III don't offer any similar areas, making the move to open-world feel half-baked.

Stuck between a linear past and a future potentially more vast, Gears 5  feels like a trial run for an even more expansive Gears 6 in a few years, and that move will be a smart one as the side missions are a fun addition to the series. But for now, players may be wondering why they have so few toys for so much sand.

But at least that sand is gorgeous. Environments in Gears 5 make it the best looking Xbox game to date. It instantaneously becomes the new benchmark for their first-party titles and will help usher in the next generation with this pretty of a picture. Act III's red sand screams of The Last Jedi, but Gears makes it work for itself just as memorably. Before that, the crystalline blue tundra helps diversify the battlefield like never before for the once grey-brown franchise.

Character models have always been inflated, though The Coalition slimmed them down a bit when they took over. However, by imbuing the world with a wider color palette and using some amazing lighting effects, Gears 5 is visually flawless, even as sawing Swarm monsters in half doesn't tend to be the most portrait-ready scene.

It also sounds great thanks to awesomely designed audio, including the return of Ramin Djawadi, of Westworld and Game of Thrones fame, as composer. The Coalition has found their sonic soulmate in Djawadi and can't let him out of the building until he scores the finale to this new trilogy.

As this review arrives post-launch, I didn't experience some of the issues reported elsewhere regarding progression bugs, though I did encounter some that required checkpoint restarts. Given how unforgiving the checkpoints often are in Gears 5, those were annoying. Thankfully, they never persisted and some have already been patched out, too.

Still, this is Xbox's biggest game of the year and the flagship launch for its holiday rush Game Pass initiative. It would be silly to say Gears 5 is unpolished since it does so much so impressively, but several of the bugs, like an interact prompt that never seems to work the first time, have the feeling of QA reports deliberately overlooked.

  • Revitalizes the series with a new emotional core
  • Environments are more varied and interesting than ever before
  • Takes big risks in the story and gameplay and most of them pay off
  • Frequently subverts expectations 
  • Some bugs cause annoyances and force restarts
  • Open-world sections feel half-baked

Before Gears of War 4, the series felt like its future was up in the air. For some, that feeling grew stronger after a polarizing debut for The Coalition. 

Gears 5 not only puts that debate to rest, it delivers a new benchmark for Xbox Game Studios. When Master Chief returns next Christmas, it's Gears 5 he'll need to contend with to claim the top spot among Microsoft's first-party campaigns. 

[Note: A copy of Gears 5 was provided by Microsoft for the purpose of this review.]

How Long Does it Take to Beat Gears 5? Thu, 12 Sep 2019 15:23:15 -0400 GS_Staff

The consensus is in: Gears 5 is one hell of a game. Whether you're playing it on Xbox One or PC, you might be wondering how long it takes to beat Gears 5

To answer that question, we asked our reviewer and looked at the website How Long to Beat, which compiles game data from users from around the world. As of this writing, we know that 37 of 52 players have submitted Gears 5 completion data to the site. 

We admit it's not exactly scientific, but the data below will give you an idea of how much time you can expect to spend with the game. 

So how long is it? 

Gears 5 Campaign 

Time: ~11 Hours

The game's campaign is roughly 11 hours long. Our reviewer said that's about right, as it took him around 12 hours to finish things up. 

Gears 5 Campaign + Extras 

Time: ~14 Hours

To complete the main story and what HLtB calls "extras," it takes roughly another three hours, putting your playtime at around 14 hours. Here, extras seem to include things like sidequests and non-story achievements.

Gears 5 Completionist

Time: ~17.5 Hours

For those going for all of the game's achievements, it looks like a completionist run will take around 17.5 hours. Of course, some players will be faster, while others will certainly take longer. It's just a matter of playstyle... 

How Many Acts and Chapters are in Gears 5

Now that you know the game's length, how many Acts and Chapters are in this sequel to Gears 4?  

Here's what we know: There are four acts with a total of 15 chapters

  • Act One has four chapters
  • Act Two has five chapters
  • Act Three has four chapters
  • Act Four has two chapters


In addition to the game's campaign, Horde mode returns with tons of enemies and a cast of characters wielding devastating abilities a la' Champions in Overwatch. That's not to mention other game-lengthening modes such as Escape, Map Builder, and Versus.

Currently, Gears 5 is out on Xbox One and PC. It is available both physically and digitally, and fans can also play it via Game Pass on both of those platforms. It is available for other PC players on Steam.

Gears 5 supports cross-play and cross-save on Xbox One and PC, including Steam. 

Gears 5 Guide: All Relic Weapons Locations Wed, 11 Sep 2019 13:57:26 -0400 Sergey_3847

Gears 5 on Xbox One and PC introduces a whole slew of new and improved weapons called Relic Weapons. They can be found in secret locations scattered all over the game's map. In total, there are 17 Relic Weapons in the game.

They have one identifiable feature to help you find them: the Crimson Omen. If you see this, these weapons are very close. Grabbing them means you can destroy hordes of enemies in a much more effective way.

If you don't want to look out for these unique pickups on your own but still want to be a terminator, then just follow our guide below for all the possible locations of Relic Weapons the open(ish) world of Gears 5.

Enforcer Relic

The Enforcer Relic map location in Gears 5

The relic variant of Enforcer Submachine Gun can be found in Act 2 Chapter 2, right after you open the Northern Passage gate. Go to your left and look out for the Crimson Omen on the cliff wall. Your prize is right under the tree nearby.

This variant deals a lot more damage than the vanilla version, although there is one drawback as the firerate is a little bit slower.

Longshot Relic

When you reach the Train Tunnel at Act 2 Chapter 4, go to east and enter a shack that is painted red. Inside the shack you will see a sniper rifle on the table near the Crimson Omen.

This rifle has Active Reload, which means that you will always have an a free extra bullet.

Retro Lancer Relic

After the shack in Act 2 Chapter 4, go to the Old Cog Wall. From there, go northeast and locate a rocky area with a Crimson Omen clearly seen on top. You don't need to go up, though. Simply search for the relic at the foot of the hill.

This Lancer uses explosive ammo, which hits and damages all nearby enemies.

Dropshot Relic

From the above, move further to the west from the Old Cog Wall and locate the Transmission Signal Source objective. You will see huge ice boulders nearby with the omen inscribed on one of them. The weapon can be found right behind it.

Dropshot is designed to literally freeze your enemies. It fires cryo-blasting rounds that can stop any enemy in its tracks.

Torque Bow Relic

Now go back to the Old Cog Wall and turn south. Reach the Abandoned Mine and look out for the omen atop the hillhouse. The relic bow can be seen right under the trees.

If you like quiet weapons, then this relic bow will suite you just right.

Boltok Relic

In Act 2 Chapter 4, go to your next objective, which is the Condor Crash Site. Just above the marker you will see a wall with the omen and a relic pistol on the ground.

Boltok Relic can be a very accurate weapon because of its ability to fire from the hip.

Boomshot Relic

From the Condor Crash Site, go all the way up north to the North Tower Substation. Locate the buildings to the right of the substation and look out for the omen on the wall of the power generator. The relic weapon is right behind it.

Boomshot is a customized version of the grenade launcher that can shoot three grenades at a time.

Talon Relic

In Act 3 Chapter 2, you will be relocated to the Abandoned Airport. There you will see a row of hangars. Go to the first one and look behind the corner to your right of the entrance. The weapon can be seen by the wall.

Just like Longshot, this weapon has an Active Reload mechanism, which allows it to deal more damage while shooting.

Gnasher Relic

Then, go north from the Water Tower to the edge of the mountain. Just follow the marker indicated on the map above and you should be able to spot the weapon at the foot of the mount.

Gnasher is a highly potent shotgun that can kill enemies with a single shot, although it's not terribly accurate.

Lancer GR Relic

To the south of the Water Tower you will see an overhang supported by massive pillars. You can find the relic under the central pillar.

This customized assault rifle has a mind of its own. Basically, it detects nearby targets when you shoot straight and bursts into the air dealing damage to those nearby targets.

Overkill Relic

Follow the northeast path from the Bridge Control House and locate a huge rock protruding from the earth. The weapon can be seen laying around the rock.

Overkill is a semi-automatic shotgun, which can be easily switched to full auto mode by simply holding the trigger.

Embar Relic

After you reached the Train Turntable objective, move to the far west, and locate the Crashed Condor site. Search for the weapon among the crates that have fallen out of the airplane wreckage.

Embar is a powerful shotgun that shoots with electro-magnetic rounds that deal devastating damage. The only drawback is that it takes quite a while before the weapon is charged and ready to fire.

Lancer Relic

Find the Cargo Shipwreck objective located to the southwest of the Train Bridge. Look out for a relic weapon in the pile of debris south of the shipwreck.

Lancer is a multi-purpose assault rifle, which can be used as a firearm and as a melee weapon. Just press the Melee button to activate a melee atack, or activate its chainsaw for the ultimate execution.

Hammerburst Relic

Locate a building that stands between City Ruins and Harbor Docks. Enter the courtyard through the gate and go to your right. There is a weapon crate with a new relic weapon at the end.

Hammerburst is another assault rifle with a powerful ability to fire longer bursts with each trigger-pull action.

Markza Relic

Search for a Pump Station north of the Cosmonaut Training Facility and check out the vehicle graveyard to the north of the station. The trunk of the leftmost car holds a new relic weapon.

Markza is a sniper rifle with an option to shoot in fully automatic mode by holding the trigger. However, the accuracy of the weapon drops significantly.

Snub Relic

Go southeast of the Pump Station and follow the marker indicated on the map above. When you reach the edge of the map, search for the weapon at the base of the wall.

Snub is a modified pistol, which can shoot two bullets at a time. The distinctive feature of this firearm is the extreme accuracy of its shots.

Claw Relic

Lastly, find a half-buried building with a tower between the Cosmonaut Training Facility and Pump Station. This one can be seen in the bushes near the building.

Claw is a light machine-gun capable of reaching unbelievably fast rates of fire with the help of the Active Reload feature.


Various versions of Gears 5 are currently out on Xbox One and PC. Aside from being on Game Pass for PC, it is also available on Steam for the platform. For more Gears 5 guides, check out the list below:

JD or Del? Who to Save in Gears 5 Wed, 11 Sep 2019 09:52:23 -0400 Ty Arthur

Gears Of War has always included binary choices, but one particular decision in Gears 5 has a much bigger impact on the continuing story line. Whether to save Del or JD at the end of the campaign isn't an easy option.

Having trouble choosing which character to save? Obviously, there are major spoilers coming up, slow up and stop reading if you don't want to know about the game's ending!

The Real Question: Choosing to Save JD or Del In Gears 5

The ending of Gears 5 has you choose between saving JD and Del

After the lengthy intro, Gears 5 moves away from JD as the main character to let Kait's connection to the Locust take the stage.

However, near the end of the campaign, you have a sudden and devastating choice to make: stop Queen Reyna from killing either JD or Del by slicing off one of her tentacles. Depending on who you choose, one or the other will be dead. 

The actual impact of either character's death is more effectual for the player than a major change to the game's ending. You'll get slightly different dialog depending on which choice you make, a mildly different scene where either JD or Del's tags are picked up, and obviously, a different reaction from Marcus, who isn't happy if you let JD die. 

No matter which cast member you choose, though, you still unlock the Discovered the True Threat to Sera achievement at the end, or, alternatively, All Aboard The Crazy Train if you are playing on Insane difficulty.

What's in Store for Gears 6

The real question lies in how choosing JD or Del will impact the trailers, cut scenes, and character choices in the next Gears Of War. So which Gears 5 ending is canon?

As there's no indication (at this point) as to whether one character death is canon or if Gears 6 will read your save file to determine who you chose to save, we don't know. 

Of course, it's driving the player base nuts, as it seems likely we'll be waiting a minimum of three years to find out the answer if the development time between Gears of War 4 and Gears 5 is any indication.

Like with the previous entry developed by The Coalition, there aren't any plans at this point for story-based expansions to expand the plot, which have been noticeably missing from the franchise since it left Epic.

Who did you choose to save, and do you think The Coalition will force one option as the true choice for Gears 6? Gears 5 is currently out for Xbox One and PC. It is also available on Game Pass. 

Stay tuned for out official review in the coming days. 

How to Get Dave Bautista to Unlock in Gears 5 for the "Batista" Skin Tue, 10 Sep 2019 17:07:00 -0400 Ty Arthur

Update 9/17/19: The "Batista" skin is now available in Gears 5. All you have to do to unlock the skin is go to the character customization menu in the game's multiplayer mode. You will see the skin, which you can get for free

Original story: 

Well ahead of the release of WWE 2K20, it's old news that former pro wrestler Dave Bautista is about to curb stomp into Gears 5 on PC and Xbox One. As a character that players can unlock, The Animal recorded a horde of lines in the game as a replacement for Marcus Fenix, but with a number of jokes and twists to keep any fan or wingman happy.

So here's the question: how do you actually unlock Bautista to use in the open world of Gears 5?

Unfortunately, you can't get him just quite yet. You will have to wait a few days longer for the pseudo DLC, but the unlock will eventually be completely automatic, no download needed.

Here's what Dave himself had to say about joining the battle of COG versus Swarm:

The Bautista character skin will be available to anyone who owns any version of the game, even those playing through the monthly Ultimate Game Pass membership for Xbox and PC, from September 15 to October 28, 2019.

Want to know more about what to expect? Bautista just released an interview with WWE's YouTube channel UpUpDownDown, which can be seen over here.

Of course, this all fuels speculation about the possibility of Bautista, who already plays Drax in Guardians Of The Galaxy, getting a role in an upcoming Gears Of War live-action movie.

The Animal notably isn't the only "celebrity" cameo appearance with a skin in Gears 5, as Spartans from Halo are also available with the game's Ultimate Edition, and this is the first time in franchise history you can play as lovable robot Jack during online matches. Even the Terminator shows up as a skin, as Sarah Conner rounds out the cast. 

Gears 5 has already been out in early access for Game Pass and Ultimate Edition owners, and just launched for all players today, September 10. While some reviews say it's good and a return to form, others have said it's bad, ranking as one of the lower Gears titles. 

While we didn't get a code early enough to provide a review by the game's release date and time, we're currently working on it. So be sure to check back in the coming days for our thoughts on the game, including multiplayer.

Gears 5 Horde Mode Changes Announced, Crossplay Supported Mon, 19 Aug 2019 14:53:39 -0400 Ty Arthur

The Inside Xbox presentation at Gamescom 2019 saw a slew of reveals, from new looks at the much-anticipated found-footage horror crossover Blair Witch to the return of turn-based, post-apocalyptic tactical combat with Wasteland 3 and a release date reveal for Age of Empires 2: Definitive Edition

One of the most hyped moments, however, was easily the look at the fan-favorite Horde mode returning in next month's Gears 5, and we've got plenty of news on what to expect from the re-tooled mode.

Waves of enemies return in a form similar to what you might expect, although this time around, each unique character gets an ultimate ability to utilize when neutralizing the horde, such as cloaking, x-ray vision, or airstrikes in outdoor locations.

A few other tweaks to the formula have been announced, too, like the addition of power taps that offer various rewards for relocating your base instead of staying in one spot for every wave.

Aside from the normal collection of Gears characters, we get two new surprising additions to Horde mode:

  • Jack: the robot companion!
  • Halo Spartans: Kat-B320 and Emile-A239 will be included as part of the Halo: Reach character pack, automatically included with the Gears 5 Ultimate Edition

Cross-play will be possible between the Xbox One and PC for Horde, Versus, and Escape modes, in addition to playing the campaign in Co-Op.

PC players who exceed the recommended specs will also be able to download an additional texture pack for higher detail and Super Ultra-Wide 32:9 resolution support.

Gears 5 is officially set to drop September 10 on Xbox One and PC on Steam and the Windows 10 store. Game Pass Ultimate holders will be able to play the game's multiplayer modes four days early.

GameSkinny Weekend Download: Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3, Nintendo's Joy Con Lawsuit, Rebel Galaxy: Outlaw, and More Sat, 27 Jul 2019 11:11:13 -0400 GS_Staff

This week, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 dominates our Switches, while Nintendo faces a lawsuit about Joy-Con drift — and even changes its policies about controller repair and replacement. 

In our culture section, we talk to Travis Baldree about Rebel Galaxy: Outlaw, getting all kinds of good tidbits about the upcoming space-sim/ARPG, including the game's length, story direction, and why the dev team doesn't really want you to grind. 

Rounding things out, we've got the usual collection of guide content for a ton of recent games, including MUA 3, Dragon Quest Builders 2, Madden 20, Yu-Gi-Oh!, GTA Online, and more, notwithstanding the glut of reviews we've got on deck. 

Sit back. Relax. Enjoy. It's the weekend. What else are you gonna do? Play video games? 





Check back next weekend for another roundup of news, reviews, guides, and features. Be sure to check previous weeks for more content: 

5 Biggest Changes to Gears 5 — The Good, The Bad, and The Inverse Omen Tue, 23 Jul 2019 14:40:51 -0400 Jonny Foster

The Coalition has made more than a few changes to how Gears 5 plays — some good, some... not so good, and some downright divisive. Thanks to last weekend’s multiplayer tech test, we’ve gotten tones of new footage, gameplay, and opinions to pore over. 

So here are the 5 biggest changes to Gears 5, specifically to how the multiplayer looks and feels.

Arcade Mode 

The first big addition to Gears 5 is the new Arcade mode. In Arcade mode, you earn skulls for Eliminations — whether that's kills, assists, or executions. In turn, these skulls can be cashed in for new weapons on the battlefield.

It already looks like a lot of fun, and we've barely had a taste of it. Not only is it a faster-paced game mode with more explosions, blood, and bullets that the regular multiplayer offerings, but it has a number of unique feathers in its cap. 

You'd think that the nature of earning weapons could be punishing, what if you save for a power weapon only to die immediately? Thankfully, The Coalition has added a Mulligan system to Arcade mode to prevent this grief, which will refund spent skulls if you die shortly after purchasing a weapon that you don't get to use.

The Coalition has stated Arcade Mode is inspired by Gears 4's Arms Race mode, which served as a great way for players to learn new weapons and kept a loyal playerbase around for longer. 

It's particularly interesting to see JD's character in Arcade, which has to gamble skulls on randomized weapon drops. That's also a great segue into the second big change: the unique character perks.

Class Perks

Okay, this one's cheating a little, because it's technically part of Arcade mode, but it feels like a big enough change that it deserves its own section.

As you can see from the image above, which character you choose to play as will have unique effects on your gameplay

Marcus has greater distance and speed on his cover slide, Kait has improved movement speed, and Fahz won't flinch when aiming down his sights. That last one, in particular, is important, as it can be the difference between landing those sweet headshots with your Longshot or whiffing them entirely. Each class also starts with different weapons and will have different weapons to purchase using Arcade mode's skulls currency. 

Personally, I've never really been one for cosmetics, especially in Gears where most Locust grunts look identical, so this is a great change to see. Giving meaningful differences to which character you play adds a layer of tactical decision making and freedom for the player.  

Now, this only applies to Arcade mode at the moment, so don't worry if you prefer the level playing field of classic Gears multiplayer, but it's possible we could see these apply to Horde and Escape modes too, which would be brilliant.

Weapon Changes

There's a number of visual and mechanical differences to how weapons perform in Gears 5, including hit markers, recoil patterns, and active reloads.

Starting from the top, we can see an example of the predictable recoil pattern for the Lancer in Gears 5 in the image above. Hardcore players can now put the time into learning these recoil patterns and how to properly compensate for them if they want to maximize their damage potential.

This applies to other weapons, too, with The Coalition stating that a good number of weapons in Gears 5 have increased recoil. The exact numbers are still being tweaked, so hopefully, this will land somewhere that rewards skilled play but doesn't spoil the casual experience.

Moving on, we also now have hit markers, which is most impactful — and easily noticeable — on the Gnasher. You can see in the image below that white dots show where the individual Gnasher pellets have hit your target. This makes it easier for players to learn the spread of the weapon, and removes some of the mystery around "That shot hit, why didn't they die?"

Finally, the active reload system has also changed for some weapons, most notably again for the Gnasher. To remove some of the unpredictability of shotty fights, The Coalition has removed bonus damage from the Gnasher's active reload in Gears 5

Instead, timing the active reload correctly simply reloads the weapon faster; timing your active reload in the grey section quickly reloads 3 shots, timing it perfectly in the white refills the full 6 shells, or you can just leave it to reload manually.

All of these changes are likely to split fans. Personally, I'm not a fan of the active reload changes — the active reload system defines Gears combat for me, it's a big part of what makes it so gratifying and engaging. I do understand the concern around maintaining a fairer system, though, so we'll just have to see how these changes pan out in the long run. 

HP Bars & Damage Numbers 

The addition of HP bars and — more importantly — damage numbers to co-operative game modes is possibly my favorite change of them all. 

As a massive fan of Horde mode, this change is perfect not only for understanding the damage that your weapons can output but for knowing how your loadout will affect your build. 

If a card effect gives you 50% bonus damage, it's now far easier to visualize the difference, making it instantly rewarding to the player. Guessing the maths behind stat changes can be a headache, so this will make it much easier to tailor your loadouts optimally.

It's also a godsend for boss waves; previously, you'd just have to plow ammo into bosses, hoping you were close to killing them. Now there's no guessing involved, you can see a boss's HP bar! 

I may be biased here, as a big fan of the looter shooter genre, but this is an incredibly welcome change. It doesn't change the classic versus multiplayer feel at all but gives the co-operative modes a breath of fresh air.

New Inverse Omen

Last but not least, the big one: the Inverse Omen, as The Coalition calls it. The original Omen — referring to the cog-shaped skull icon that appears in the center of the screen to show damage — has been in the Gears series since its inception almost 15 years ago.

But no more. As you can see from the above image, they've replaced the Omen in Gears 5 with an Inverse version that reddens on the outside of the screen to show damage, rather than the center.

The reasoning for this is twofold: firstly, the new Inverse Omen is (meant to be) better for gunfights. In early testing, the original Omen became too obtrusive when trying to win head-on fights, as it got in the way of your aiming reticle.

This has been raised as an issue in the past, but The Coalition has specifically stated that it was exacerbated by the recoil patterns added to Gears 5

On top of this, the new Inverse Omen is a better way of showing the new systems, allowing for health damage, Frozen status, and Stim to all be clearly represented to the player.

As there are now 3 systems that use the Inverse Omen, not just HP damage, it became impossible to show everything with just a small icon in the center of the screen. You can see an example of how the new Frozen Status is displayed, below.

The developers have admitted in livestreams that they knew this change would be somewhat controversial, but it was one they had to make to maintain clarity for their new systems. By switching to the Inverse Omen, though, they were able to add these new gameplay features, so I’m all for it. 

There’s certainly been a lot of friction online about the newer version blocking more of the screen and making it harder to see, but even this has been addressed by the developers.

There have been numerous accounts of people hating the change until they got hands-on with it, before quickly adapting to it and realizing it’s a superior system. So while this change may be the most divisive difference in Gears 5, in time, we’ll probably come to see it as one of the best.

For more on Gears 5, why not read about the new Tour of Duty and Supply Drops, or the recent news surrounding tobacco usage in the Gears franchise?

GameSkinny Weekend Download: Gears 5 Bans Smoking, Nintendo Recharges, and Gamestop Goes Retro to Stay Alive Sat, 20 Jul 2019 08:49:34 -0400 GS_Staff

This week, Nintendo unveiled a new Switch model that's not as exciting as it sounds. Gears 5 removed smoking but left all of the blood and guts the series is known for. And GameStop looks to stay alive by going retro. 

On top of that, we've got exclusive interviews with the developers of The Blackout Club, Teppen, and Redeemer. We have a few reviews, including Super Mario Maker 2 and Etherborn, as well as a handful of guides for some of the latest games, including Teppen, Dragon Quest Builders 2, and Dr. Mario World

Sit back. Relax. Enjoy. It's the weekend. What else are you gonna do? Play video games? 





Check back next weekend for another roundup of news, reviews, guides, and features. Be sure to check previous weeks for more content: 

Gears 5 Won't Depict Tobacco Use After Non-Profit Claims It's Too Dangerous Mon, 15 Jul 2019 14:12:35 -0400 Joshua Broadwell

Following a length showing at this year's E3, The Coalition's upcoming Gears 5 just got its first big broadcast over the weekend. Eagle-eyed viewers might have noticed one thing missing, though, and it's entirely by design: there was no tobacco usage depicted.

According to Variety, the non-profit, anti-smoking organization Truth Initiative reached out to ELeague's President, Rod Ferguson; ELeague is the organization that owns all eSports broadcasting rights for Gears 5.

Truth Initiative asked that The Coalition remove all depictions of smoking in Gears 5. The request was formed based on statistics that show viewers and players tend to be younger than the game's M-rating would suggest they might be, along with causal links that see increases in smoking tied to depictions of it in pop culture — including TV shows and video games.

Ferguson agreed to the request and provided a rather personal reason for his decision:

I’ve seen firsthand the devastating impact of smoking.

It’s always been important for me to not use smoking as a narrative device, which is why we made the conscious choice to avoid highlighting or glorifying smoking in ‘Gears 5’ and throughout the Gears of War Universe moving forward

That firsthand experience was his father's death at age 38, when Rod Ferguson was only 4. Apparently, because of these experiences, Ferguson has tried limiting depictions of tobacco use in all Gears games.

Of course, there's no way to verify these remarks one way or the other.

The move does open up another topic of discussion, though. Truth Initiative claims there are definite links between images showing certain actions and people's behavior, though that contradicts claims stating depictions of violence — and Gears 5 comes with an M rating for gore and violence — have no impact on others.

While it would seem there's some casual picking and choosing when it comes to causality here, that's another topic for another time.

GameSkinny Weekend Download: E3 Previews + Roundups, Bloodstained, Harry Potter, More Sat, 22 Jun 2019 09:00:01 -0400 GS_Staff

This week, we've got a ton of E3 coverage, ranging from hands-on previews of games like Final Fantasy VII Remake, Doom Eternal, and Wolfenstein: Youngblood, to roundups of every conference just in case you missed something. 

We've also got news on Gears 5 and FF7 Remake, as well as tons of guides on Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, and Hell Let Loose

Finally, we've got a handful of reviews for some of the latest games and gear. 

Sit back. Relax. Enjoy. It's the weekend. What else are you gonna' do? Play video games? 


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Gears 5 Drops Gear Packs, Season Pass But Adds Pay-to-Win Feature Fri, 21 Jun 2019 12:21:42 -0400 Joshua Broadwell

Gears 5 developers The Coalition recently announced that the upcoming game will not feature Gear Packs or a Season Pass. The shift is in an effort to make the game's additional paid offerings more transparent.

The news comes via a development blog shortly after Gears 5 received a lengthy overview at E3 — and not long after several countries are moving to take action against loot boxes and their inherent element of gambling.

Rather than paying to get a random set of items, players will be able to either purchase some items they want directly or earn them through normal play. DLC maps will also be free for Matchmaking and Private Play.

The earnable content will feature primarily in a new introduction to Gears 5: Tour of Duty. This replaces the Season Pass, but it ultimately fulfills the same basic function. Gears 5's Tour of Duty will regularly introduce new content all players can earn, instead of splitting player bases between those who bought a pass and those who didn't.

Content can be earned through completing daily challenges and earning medals, and it'll be largely similar to content earned through Season Passes, e.g. character skins and the like. Earnable content will also be transparent in that Gears 5 gives players a clear path to follow to obtain what they want.

Supply Drops are replacing Gear Packs and offer random rewards just for playing, but content purchased using Iron via the in-game store won't be random. Instead, players will pay for what they want.

Tucked away at the end of the developers' blog is an interesting tidbit that seemingly goes against the blog's general grain of appeasing the players. Gears 5 is introducing Boost as a new mechanic as well. Boost offers advanced progression rates for a set period of real-time days, for instance, 24 hours or a 7-day week in the form of:

  • Double Multiplayer XP
  • Double Character XP for Escape & Horde
  • Double speed Supply Drop Progression

However, it's a paid feature. The Coalition says it isn't required to earn content or unlock features. But it's fairly easy to see the increased experience rates have the potential to divide players from a progression perspective. 

Mark Your Calendars: Every Release Date Announced at E3 2019 Fri, 14 Jun 2019 14:32:51 -0400 Mark Delaney

At E3, it's not just about the games we can play. It's just as much about when we can play them. E3 2019 was no different.

With hundreds of games shown off on stage and at the show floor in Los Angeles, it can be dizzying to keep up with every launch window and specific release date announced at E3, so we've done the hard part for you.

Use our recap of every release date announced at E3 2019 to see just when you'll be calling in sick to work over the next several months. 

June 2019
  • The Last Remnant Remastered (Switch): June 10 
  • Collection of Mana (Switch): June 11
  • Contra Anniversary Collection (Switch): June 11
  • Cadence of Hyrule (Switch): June 13
July 2019
  • Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order (Switch): July 19
  • Wolfenstein: Youngblood (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC): July 16
August 2019
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC): August 6
  • Oninaki (Switch): August 22
  • Astral Chain (Switch): August 30
  • Blair Witch (Xbox One, PC): August 30
September 2019
  • Conan Chop Chop (Mobile): September 3
  • Gears of War 5 (Xbox One, PC): September 10
  • Daemon X Machina (Switch): September 13
  • Police Stories (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC): September 19
  • The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (Switch): September 20
  • Contras Rogue Corps (Switch): September 24
  • Code Vein: September 27th
  • Dragon Quest 11 S: Echoes of an Elusive Age (Switch): September 27
  • FIFA 20 (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch): September 27
October 2019
  • Ghost Recon Breakpoint (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) - October 4
  • The Outer Worlds (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) - October 25
November 2019
  • Death Stranding (PlayStation 4): November 8
  • Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC): November 15
  • Doom Eternal (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Stadia): November 22
Note: No New Dates Announced for December 2019 or January 2020
February 2020
  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps (Xbox One, PC): February 11
  • Gods and Monsters (PlayStation 4, Xbox One Switch, PC, Stadia): February 25
March 2020
  • Final Fantasy 7 Remake (PlayStation 4): March 3
  • Watch Dogs: Legion (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC): March 3
  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Switch): March 20
April 2020
  • Cyberpunk 2077 (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC): April 16
May 2020
  • Marvel's Avengers (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Stadia): May 15
Holiday 2020
  • Halo Infinite (Project Scarlett)
2020 (Unspecified)
  • Crossfire X (Xbox One)
  • Dragon Ball Kakarot (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC)
  • Dying Light 2 (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC)
  • Tales of Arise (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC)

As you can expect, this calendar will be further filled in as months go on, but even right now, there's quite a range and number of major releases headed our way. Which games have you marking your calendar?

Be sure to check out our complete 2019 release calendar to see all of the games releasing this year. 

E3 2019 Microsoft Press Conference Recap: Team Xbox Unveils Project Scarlett and a Whole Lot of Game Pass Sun, 09 Jun 2019 20:47:53 -0400 Mark Delaney

Microsoft's E3 2019 press conference just wrapped after nearly two hours of new trailers for games like Gears 5 and Halo Infinite, world premieres for games like Miyazaki and Martin's collaborative Elden Ring, and more than a little bit of info on the next Xbox, which is now officially being referred to as "Project Scarlett," after rumors have long suggested so.

If you missed the whole show or maybe just bits and pieces of it in your excitement we've recapped every moment, every reveal, and every trailer into this handy round-up. Of course, if you'd rather watch it all from start to finish yourself, that's fine too. Check that out below!

If you want to take it bit by bit with us, here's literally everything Microsoft announced at E3 2019.

The Outer Worlds

The Xbox presser kicked off with the next game from one of their new first-party studios, Obsidian Entertainment. While the space RPG The Outer Worlds isn't being published by Microsoft — it was already in development from 2K's Private Division label before the 2018 acquisition it will still be premiering in Xbox Game Pass at launch, the same as so many more games to come in this roundup, as you'll see.

The trailer avoids the game's cynical humor for the most part and depicts a more serious version of the capitalist hellhole the game was made famous for when it debuted last December. You can look forward to playing the game on October 25.

Bleeding Edge

Following quickly from The Outer Worlds, two of Ninja Theory's developers came to the stage to introduce their next game, Bleeding Edge. If you think of a melee-focused Overwatch, you're not far off. The game was in development before Microsoft came calling with big wads of cash, so the June 27 technical alpha may seem like a quick turnaround, but really this has been their project for a few years already.

Bleeding Edge pits two teams of four into maps that seem conducive to many playstyles, which should benefit players no matter which of the many teased heroes from the new trailer above. Like The Outer Worlds, it'll launch directly into Game Pass at an unannounced date.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Before we had even seen Phil Spencer hit the stage, a third Xbox Game Studios project came to the stage. The Ori sequel delivered a new trailer that showed off a ton of new environments and several enemy types that are hopefully bosses otherwise, Ori may be vastly unprepared if these behemoths are to be commonplace.

It launches on February 11, 2020 -- and yes, directly into Game Pass too.

Minecraft Dungeons

One of two new games in the Minecraft universe coming soon (though the only one shown on stage at the presser), Minecraft Dungeons' trailer highlighted brand new gameplay moments, including character loadouts, combat, and four-player co-op, which can be played either locally or online. It didn't get a firm release date but it did get a window of spring 2020.

I bet you can guess whether it's coming to Game Pass day and date with retail. If you're really stuck, here's a spoiler: it is.

Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order

As promised, Jedi: Fallen Order made its second appearance in as many days on a pre-E3 stage. This time, new gameplay segments were shown off in the trailer on Xbox's stage, including more interaction with a familiar character from the film's universe. Remember, the game is officially canon now. Take that, Force Unleashed! 

Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order arrives this year on November 15.

Blair Witch

After the power fantasy of Star Wars concluded, it was time to flip game mechanics on their head with a horror game that leaves you almost completely helpless.

What looked a bit like Outlast 3 at first was soon revealed to be Blair Witch, a first-person horror adventure from Bloober Team, the same studio behind recent horror games Observer and Layers of Fear.

Though it's not a first-party title, Blair Witch will be coming directly to Xbox Game Pass on August 30.

Cyberpunk 2077

After last year's exciting stinger, CD Projekt Red returned to the Xbox stage and they brought John Wick with them. Well, sort of. Revealed at the end of the trailer above, Keanu Reeves is portraying a character in the much-anticipated cyberpunk title.

He took to the stage to reveal the game's release date too. Despite what we heard about the game being too powerful for current generation consoles, Cyberpunk 2077 hits next spring, April 16, 2020, on all the platforms you'd expect.


Yet another Game Pass-at-launch title is this indie, Spiritfarer, which bills itself as a "cozy management game about dying." Well, okay then. Seems like a strange, almost contradictory setup, but I bet that's the point. get comfy with losing your loved ones, folks. This is going to be cathartic.

No release date was given yet, but the trailer does offer some cool gameplay detailing how you can customize your boathouse together with your everpresent cat companion.


"Do you have Battletoads?" Yes, and so will Game Pass at launch. The revived brawler from yesteryear only got a teaser last year and didn't show us any gameplay, so this cartoony melee combat is our very first look at what the hokey series can be in a contemporary setting. It feels like a game that knows it's absurd and that's exactly how you'd want it to be.

No release date was given just yet, so maybe keep calling your local game retailer for now.

The Legend of Wright

One of the cool things Microsoft has done a lot lately is make time on their massive stage for some tiny games. Hand-drawn indie The Legend of Wright is another example of that. The shifting aesthetics of the game are glorious and confusing at once. What's going on in this one?

We can't be sure yet, but we'll find out when it launches in 2020.

ID@Xbox Sizzle Reel

Speaking of indies, the annual ID@Xbox sizzle reel was up next and showed off over a dozen games, all of which will be you guessed it coming to Xbox Game Pass on their respective launch dates.

One of them, Riverbond, is even out today. I know because my wife and I spent all of our morning before the show playing it. It's fun! Check out the trailer for the rest of the games.

20+ Game Pass Titles Added Today

I don't know if you've heard by now, but Microsoft has this service called Game Pass...

Yeah, even more Xbox Game Pass titles were announced, all of which came to the service today. Big hitters like Batman: Arkham Knight and Metro Exodus were supplemented by indies like Hollow Knight and Old Man's Journey. Here's the full list of what's new to Game Pass today:

  • Batman: Arkham Knight
  • Battle Chasers: Nightwar
  • Borderlands: The Handsome Collection
  • Bridge Constructor Portal
  • Everspace
  • Guacamelee! 2
  • Hollow Knight
  • Lightspeed: Double Speer Edition
  • Metal Slug X
  • Metro Exodus
  • Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight
  • Moonlighter
  • Neon Chrome
  • Old Man’s Journey
  • Riptide GP: Renegade
  • Riverbond 
  • Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun
  • Shenmue 1&2
  • Silence – The Whispered World 2
  • Smoke and Sacrifice
  • SteamWorld Dig 2
  • Supermarket Shriek 
  • Thimbleweed Park
  • The Turing Test
  • Wizard of Legend

Xbox Game Pass Comes to PC Today, Included in Game Pass Ultimate

As the company revealed last week, Game Pass is coming to PC. In fact, you can join the open beta today. The PC version will feature its own list of "over 100 games by August" including all Xbox Game Studios titles on day one just like its console counterpart. 

Subscribers to Game Pass Ultimate (Game Pass and Games with Gold combined) now also get Game Pass PC included with their $14.99/month subscription. You can also sign up for your first month of Game Pass Ultimate right now for $1.

MS Flight Sim

Coming directly to Game Pass PC, and seemingly consoles for the first time, is the latest edition of Microsoft Flight Simulator. The ever-popular sim has been a PC staple for years, and the trailer implied it'll be coming to Xbox One as well.

In the time since the trailer was shown, some are saying that's inaccurate, though Microsoft has said no such thing themselves yet.

Age of Empires II Definitive Edition

More surely coming just to PC is Age of Empires II Definitive Edition. You can see the remastered classic in action in this brand new trailer.

I probably don't need to say it again, but lest we forget, it's coming to Xbox Game Pass on day one next year. Who would've guessed it?

Wasteland 3

Another title from a newly acquired studio, Wasteland 3 continues Inxile's tradition of keeping CRPGs alive. This time it's to the cold Rocky Mountains of Colorado, giving an aesthetic makeover to the series.

Tonally, it's probably right where fans want it to be, with a similar humorous cynicism as The Outer Worlds from Obsidian and the previous Wasteland games.

Microsoft Acquires Double Fine Productions

Matt Booty twerked to the stage to reveal yet another Microsoft studio buyout. This time it was Tim Schafer's Double Fine Productions.

The studio famous for games such as Psychonauts and Brutal Legend got to celebrate their new parent company with the first-ever gameplay trailer for the long-awaited Psychonauts 2.

LEGO Star Wars The Skywalker Saga

It was a bit weird when The Force Awakens got a LEGO game but The Last Jedi didn't. Well, now it has, along with every other mainline story in the Star Wars universe. 

The Skywalker Saga depicts all nine films, including the yet to be released Rise of Skywalker in brick and minifig form. It arrives next year, after the final movie in the Abrams run has made a billion dollars.

Dragon Ball Z Kakarot

Once known as Dragon Ball Project Z, the action RPG based on the hugely popular anime series is now Dragon Ball Z Kakarot. 

The combat of Kakarot resembled something closer to the past games in the series rather than last year's 2D fighter, though the label of "action RPG" should mean it's ultimately quite different from anything else in the franchise. It arrives in 2020.

12 Minutes

If I'm allowed to editorialize here (if you're reading this, I am!) 12 Minutes was one of the coolest reveals on stage during the Xbox show. Presented in top-down format, the entire game seems to take place in a small apartment where players control a man stuck in a Groundhog Day-like time loop, only it's one that tends to end much more tragically. 

I won't say anything else on it, as it's so stylish and well done, you should really see it for yourself.

Way to the Woods

Up next was Way to the Woods, an indie about a pair of deer, father and fawn, exploring a world, presumably to return to the woods. It has the air of a game that will be at different times uplifting and tragic, and it has me wondering which note it will end on.


Stay safe, little deer!

Gears 5

The stage presence for Gears 5 was rumored to be heavy before the show, and it turns out that was correct. It got the longest time on screen of any game, featuring multiple trailers. The first, above, depicts the psychological tormet of new protagonist Kait Diaz. 

The game will be coming to Game Pass at launch on September 10, but you can access it four days early with a Game Pass Ultimate subscription or if you buy the game's Ultimate Edition.

The versus technical test will go live on July 19 during which time players can take part in a new arcade mode. Later this summer, beginning in August, players can regroup for an early look at the game's Horde mode. 

Rod Fergusson also hit the stage to unveil a brand new mode called Escape, which has players infiltrate an enemy encampment, plant a bomb, and escape amid the chaos.

Anyone who pre-orders the game or plays within the first week via purchase or Game Pass will also gain access to a character pack featuring a T-2000 robot from Terminator Dark Fate.

Xbox Elite Controller Series 2

Rumors of a new controller were loud for weeks and they were proven right on stage. Microsoft unveiled the Elite Series 2 controller, featuring "over 30" new ways to customize your experience, including new trigger sensitivity settings, new wraparound rubberized grip, and game profile settings that you can set for up to three games so each plays how you like it.

You can see all that and more in the tech-heavy trailer above.

Dying Light 2

Following the news that it's going to be published by Square Enix, Dying Light 2 got a new trailer during Microsoft's show which included a release date and some more pondering on how player choice affects the world.

You can play nice, be the bad guy, or (a gaming favorite) exist somewhere in the gray area when it hits stores next spring.

Forza Horizon 4 LEGO Speed Champions

Another one that was heavily rumored was the Forza DLC featuring LEGO. Right again! An all-brick McLaren Senna was this year's token on-stage vehicle and helped introduce players to Forza Horizon 4's second expansion: LEGO Speed Champions.

If you're a fan of both the game and the toys, it seems likely this partnership will extend to physical playsets in the near future just as it has when Forza teamed up with Hot Wheels.

Gears POP!

Returning to the stage after last year's reveal was Gears POP!, a mobile strategy game which brings together an unlikely pair of properties.

Pre-orders go live "soon" and players can pre-register (pre-pre-order?) the game starting today. 

State of Decay 2

We already knew State of Decay 2 was getting a Return to Trumbull Valley DLC. What we didn't know was it had been reworked or just expanded into the Heartland story DLC, which is out today for $9.99 and a 10% discount if you have Game Pass.

The DLC offers two parallel storylines featuring new characters in both cases. It seems likely their stories will converge, but thankfully we haven't been spoiled yet.

Phantasy Star Online 2

Japan's premiere online MMORPG is coming to Xbox as a free to play title next year. A new trailer highlighted a lot of the tropes we've come to expect from the genre like big hair and bigger swords, so even if you're new to the series, it may feel familiar.

Crossfire X

If you're going to go and get Japan's premiere MMO, why not snag China's premiere shooter too? That's what Team Xbox did with Crossfire X, a rebranding of China's most popular FPS. It's coming to Xbox next year and will launch directly into Game Pass.

They didn't reference it in the show, but this is also the game for which Remedy wrote the story content, so fans of their games may want to take a closer look when it arrives in 2020.

Tales of Arise

A new Tales game is coming, and that would've been a huge reveal if it wasn't for the fact that Bandai's site was scraped earlier this weekend and all their news were leaked.

Still, fans got the full trailer on all its glory. Watch it above if you're ready for another adventure.

Borderlands 3

A new stylish as ever trailer was shown for Gearbox's Borderlands 3 and it introduces the four primary character classes on offer in the third go-around.

What's even better is Gearbox confirmed the leaked Fight for Sanctuary DLC is real, out today, and free in Borderlands 2. The DLC is meant to bridge the gap between the last game and this September's so if you're one of the few in it for the story, this one is for you.

Elden Ring

Perhaps no game would've received bigger applause than this one if it weren't for the aforementioned Bandai Namco leak. The Miyazaki-George RR Martin collaboration, Elden Ring, is real.

No release date was mentioned, but the trailer definitely feels like something spun up from precisely these two creators, which makes for an extremely exciting prospect for fans of either and perhaps a literal dream come true for many who admire both men's work.

Project Scarlett Revealed

Phil Spencer then returned to the stage to discuss the future of Xbox. In the near term, your Xbox One will be updated this October to allow you to stream games completely for the first time ever. 

Speaking farther down the line, Spencer also introduced Project Scarlett, the next-gen Xbox project being built by the same team that created fan favorites such as the Xbox One X, the Elite controller, and more. He stressed it will be a games machine first and foremost, obviously still trying to clear away the smears left by Don Mattrick's failed vision. 

Together with AMD, his team has created a custom processor that is four times more powerful than the Xbox One X. Many of the project leaders are seen in the above trailer mentioning things like 8K resolution and near-total removal of loading screens.

The console will launch at the end of 2020. They chose to not yet confirm if there will really be two versions of the console as other rumors have stated, but we image a reveal event next spring may eventually tell us what's true or false in that regard.

Halo Infinite 

Though it's almost a year and a half away from launch, Project Scarlett has already been given its first launch title reveal, and what else would it be? 

Halo Infinite closed out the Microsoft E3 2019 press conference with an extended cinematic trailer featuring our hero, Master Chief, who awakens from near-death and immediately straps in for the fight. He doesn't waste any time, does he? 

That's everything from Microsoft's E3 2019 press conference. What was your favorite announcement?  

Be sure to check out our other E3 2019 coverage below: 

10 Most Anticipated Action Games of 2019 Mon, 19 Nov 2018 16:32:50 -0500 Jordan Baranowski


Tom Clancy’s The Division 2


Developer: Massive Entertainment
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Release Date: March 15, 2019


Looking to build off the successes of the first game and address some of the issues that many players had, Tom Clancy's The Division 2 looks to update its brand of squad-based shooter with its 2019 release. The game takes place about half a year after the original, and will allow players to team up in small groups to take on objectives in an ever-changing world.


The main focus for Massive Entertainment with The Division 2 is on the endgame content. A big gripe with the original was that there was not enough for players to do as they got to the end of the game, so high-level raids and large (free!) DLC support is in the plans for the sequel.


The Division 2 is available for preorder now, and doing so will gain you access to the private beta when it becomes available. The game will release in full on March 15, 2019.


Editor's note 2/12/19: We played The Division 2 PC beta. Here are our thoughts




Are there any other games you're looking forward to in 2019 that aren't on this list? Let us know in the comments below!


Gears 5


Developer: The Coalition
Platforms: PC, Xbox One
Release Date: 2019


Don't let the title fool you - they may have dropped "of War," but Gears 5 is another entry in the Gears of War series. Even more confusingly, it is actually the sixth entry, since Gears of War: Judgment came between the third and fourth games.


Those semantics aside, it seems like we can expect more of the third-person, cover-based shooting that the Gears series has always done so well. Many characters we know and love, including series mainstay Marcus Fenix, will be returning in Gears 5, but it will pick up where Gears of War 4 left off. Players will control Kait Diaz, who is searching for the origin of the Locust and her own family history.


Gears will feature both single player and multiplayer and crossplay between Xbox One and PC players. It is expected to release sometime in 2019.


Bayonetta 3


Developer: Platinum Games
latforms: Switch
Release Date: 2019


The good news is that Bayonetta 3 is in development and should be coming out in 2019. The bad news is this: if you don't own a Nintendo Switch, you're out of luck. The third game of the trilogy is coming exclusively to Nintendo's platform, but it will look to continue the title character's story and bring plenty of blisteringly difficult challenges to players.


The story of Bayonetta is... difficult to explain. Here goes: you play as a sexy witch who has guns for shoes and a magical outfit that is made out of her own hair. She is over-the-top flirtatious, constantly posing during fights and making double entendres. She utilizes her hair as a weapon, crafting it into giant monsters in order to battle creatures of heaven and hell.


It's... complicated.


What it does extremely well is crazy action - think Devil May Cry but sped up a few degrees. The combat system rewards twitch reflexes and massive combos, so there is a lot of level for mastery here. The story is, as we mentioned, totally off the wall - but the game is also well aware of that fact, and never gets to the point of being annoying with its self-awareness. Switch owners will need to keep their eyes open, as Bayonetta 3 is hopefully coming in 2019.


DOOM Eternal


Developer: id Software
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Switch, Xbox One
Release Date: 2019


2016's DOOM reboot was an extremely pleasant surprise, and id Software is looking to continue that goodwill with a direct sequel, entitled DOOM Eternal. The demons have begun to invade Earth and, of course, only you can stop them.


One of the best aspects of the reboot of DOOM was how well the developers captured the adrenaline-pumping feel of the original games. The are looking to push this even further in the sequel, offering plenty of incentive for the player to be aggressive in their demon-murdering spree. One of the coolest new additions comes in the form of the "Meat Hook," a grappling gun attachment on the shotgun that allows players to grapple into an enemy and unload a powerful shotgun blast as soon as they get close. Get ready for plenty of gore.


DOOM Eternal will also feature a Dark Souls-esque multiplayer option that will let players invade others' games as demons. id Software appears to be hitting the "more of what people liked" button with DOOM Eternal, and it is expected sometime in 2019.


Cyberpunk 2077


Developer: CD Projekt Red
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Release Date: TBA


CD Projekt Red's follow up to one of the greatest games of all time, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, looks to be a similarly ambitious title. Cyberpunk 2077 draws its inspiration from the tabletop RPG Cyberpunk 2020, and it looks to take the powerful story telling and grey morality of The Witcher into a science fiction future.


In Cyberpunk 2077, players take control of a character named V. Unlike The Witcher's Geralt, V is fully customizable: look, gender, skills, and more are all determined by the player and how they want to approach the game. It takes place in a massive open world: a futuristic megacity called Night City, California. 


Cyberpunk 2077 looks massively ambitious and, if done right, could be yet another massive win for CD Projekt Red. There's no guarantee it is coming out in 2019, but we can certainly keep our fingers crossed.


Skull & Bones


Developer: Ubisoft
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Release Date: 2019


Sadly, Skull & Bones is not a stealth-action game featuring George W. Bush as he infiltrates his alma mater’s secret society. Rather, it takes elements from the much beloved Assassin’s Creed pirate-themed entry Black Flag, and will allow players to live out their favorite pirate fantasies - no bottle of rum needed. However, for maximum enjoyment, one would be highly encouraged.


Skull & Bones is a third-person game that features a single player campaign, but its main draw is its multiplayer naval combat. Each player will play as a pirate captain, and can party up with up to five others to sail the high seas and engage in ship-to-ship combat. Ubisoft is promising all sorts of variables to play into the game’s combat, including wind conditions and how rough the ocean is. It will also provide players with a variety of ships to choose from, mimicking the “classes” of squad-based shooters. This promises a variety of strategies and playstyles, and will hopefully keep things fresh as the game ages.


There is no definitive release date yet for Skull & Bones yet, but it is expected in 2019. Keep your eyes on the horizon for more details as they become available.


Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice


Developer: FromSoftware
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Release Date: March 22, 2019


FromSoftware, best known for the Dark Souls series and its spiritual sequel Bloodborne, has a new third person, melee combat title coming out in 2019. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice looks like it isn’t a complete Souls-alike, while still utilizing elements of its character design and combat.


Sekiro takes place in 16th century Japan, and the player takes control of a shinobi who has lost his arm in battle. When the shinobi awakens, he has been given a prosthetic arm (which the player can customize with different tools and upgrades) and leaves to seek revenge - the man who wounded him also kidnapped his master.


Rather than utilizing the mysterious story and character creation of Dark Souls, Sekiro looks to tell a bit more of a coherent story while offering plenty of the chunky, timing-based combat that players expect from FromSoftware. There will be stealth elements involved as well as a unique combat system that allows players to open up enemy defenses before striking with a precise killing blow. Look for it in late March.


Devil May Cry 5


Developer: Capcom
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Release Date: March 8, 2019


Capcom’s stylish, over-the-top action series is returning in March of 2019. Dante and Nero will be returning, slaying demons and looking both cool and cheesy as they do it. A new, playable character named only “V” will also be joining the fray, and a lot of our favorite elements of the series will be on full display.


Of course, the outrageous set pieces are always a highlight of the Devil May Cry series, and Capcom has released footage from the game so far that shows that this element will be back in full force. Dante will be wielding several new weapons, including a pair of gauntlets named after Balrog from the Street Fighter series and a pair of buzzsaws that transform into a motorcycle (!) named Cavaliere. V reportedly has a completely different fighting style than both Dante and Nero, but how exactly it will work has yet to be revealed.


Grab your wraparound sunglasses and shotgun some Mountain Dew. Devil May Cry 5 is coming in March.




Developer: BioWare
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Release Date: February 22, 2019


BioWare’s first title since putting the finishing touches on the Mass Effect series, Anthem is a brand new IP that looks to combine third person shooting and action role-playing elements into a squad-based, open world MMO. If that sounds like it ticks all your boxes, you aren’t alone. BioWare is banking on Anthem being the go to choice for groups of gamers to team up and take down foes.


In Anthem, each player will take on the role of a Freelancer, mercenaries who battle throughout the world in customized exosuits equipped with powerful weapons and abilities. These exosuits, called Javelins, will come equipped with a variety of skill sets and will allow player customization. For taking on high-leveled quests, squads of up to four will need to work together to synchronize abilities and make the most of their Javelins’ powers.


Anthem comes out in late February for PC and consoles.


Kingdom Hearts 3


Developer: Square Enix
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Release Date: January 25, 2019


Kingdom Hearts 2 came out back in 2005. 2005! Think of how young and innocent we all were back then! If you count the spinoffs, reboots, remixes, and games with crazy titles like Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days. It’s tough to wrap your brain around, but 2019’s release will somehow only be the “third” game in the Square/Disney collaboration.


One of the most interesting aspects of the Kingdom Hearts series is getting to experience all the different worlds from Disney movies, and Kingdom Hearts 3 has several new entries to the series. Worlds based on Frozen, Big Hero 6, Toy Story, Tangled, and Monsters, Inc. will all play into the game. Confirmed returning worlds and characters include inspiration from Hercules, Winnie the Pooh, and Pirates of the Caribbean.


Kingdom Hearts has a pretty bonkers story, and it will be interesting where the next true entry in the series brings to the table involving the Heartless, Organization XIII, and the like. Luckily, we don’t have long to wait until its release.


2019 is looking to push the envelope for action games. If you’re a gamer who wants to get there blood flowing, you’ve come to the right place. 


Many of our most anticipated action games of 2019 are sequels to established franchises. Some of these franchises are long dormant, but they should be familiar to any savvy modern gamer. A few of these games are brand new IPs, however, and could offer a breath of fresh air to those who are sick of those well-worn treads.


Whether you want shooting, swords, or Keyblades to get your jollies in, these are some of our most anticipated action titles of 2019.