Ori and The Blind Forest Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Ori and The Blind Forest RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network Ori and the Will of the Wisps Escapes the Quagmire of Delay https://www.gameskinny.com/qzjkb/ori-and-the-will-of-the-wisps-escapes-the-quagmire-of-delay https://www.gameskinny.com/qzjkb/ori-and-the-will-of-the-wisps-escapes-the-quagmire-of-delay Wed, 29 Jan 2020 14:10:39 -0500 Josh Broadwell

Ori and the Will of the Wisps has officially gone gold, according to Moon Studios. That means it's all set for its promised March 11 release for Xbox One and PC.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps is the follow-up to 2015's successful Ori and the Blind Forest, and it's been in development since 2017. Originally set for a 2019 release, Will of the Wisps was delayed twice along the way, most recently at The Game Awards 2019.

However, going gold means the game's reached its shippable, final form and won't encounter any more production issues along the way, unlike some other games we could mention.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps follows the light spirit Ori on its journey of self-discovery. Along the way, there will, of course, be the massive foes, tight platforming, and gorgeous environments we've come to expect from Moon Studios.

Yes, it's yet another March title ‚ÄĒ but it's one we're more than happy to have vying for our attention in that busy month.

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Ori and the Will of the Wisps as it swings our way.

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Creating a Stronger Narrative in Ori and the Will of the Wisps https://www.gameskinny.com/6p9y6/creating-a-stronger-narrative-in-ori-and-the-will-of-the-wisps https://www.gameskinny.com/6p9y6/creating-a-stronger-narrative-in-ori-and-the-will-of-the-wisps Thu, 23 Jan 2020 17:58:59 -0500 John Schutt

Few games in recent memory have had the kind of emotional gut-punch as Ori and the Blind Forest.

The first seven minutes is a heartwrenching sequence that can leave players in tears. It effectively sets a game filled with memorable, heartstring-pulling moments. It also creates an expectation that players will experience additional heartache later in the story.

Though, that's not what happens. Despite a beautiful art style, fantastic music, and quality Metroidvania design, Ori quickly devolves into a well-constructed but narratively-lacking game.

In just a few months, we'll be treated to a new tale with Ori at its center: Ori and the Will of the Wisps. The sequel looks to double down on the early promise of Blind Forest, with its focus on Ori's need to protect a child of his own.

The question becomes: how can Will of the Wisps avoid the mistakes of the past?

The Failed Setup

For some perspective, here's how Ori and the Blind Forest opens.

The story is straightforward enough. Ori, a young fragment of the Spirit Tree, finds his way into the care of a creature Naru, who adopts him and raises him as her own. Together, they build a life of peace and happiness, until one day, the fruit they relied on to live begins to run short. 

Naru foregoes eating for Ori's sake, assuring him that she's fine and can live with less. Ori begins exploring for food a little farther afield, returning home with a meager but welcome relief from their hunger. Instead of finding Naru awaiting him, starving but happy, he finds that she's passed away from starvation in his absence.

Ori has no idea what to do, or really what it is he's looking at. He nudges Naru again and again, hoping for some response. In despair, he eats the last of the fruit he found and settles down to die beside his mother. 

Just before leaving this life himself, Ori awakens to a sound outside his den, and in short order finds himself on a journey to not only save himself but the world at large.

Where to Start

It might seem counterintuitive, but I think Will of the Wisps needs to start the same way as Blind Forest: with a few tear-jerking moments to set the pace. Part of the reason I kept playing the first game was to see if it ever reached the narrative payoff those first moments set up. 

While I don't think the opening cutscene needs to be seven minutes long, it needs to focus on Ori and his new charges: a single owlet orphaned due in some part by Ori himself.

We need to see not only Ori's lingering guilt at what saving the world did to these newborns but also his determination not to fail them.

It also needs to be clear that the owlet is initially unaware of what orphaned them, and that their trust in Ori is absolute. Such a setup ensures the inevitable showdown between the foster parent and his children, and a possibility for reconciliation.

Ori also needs to appear unsure about his fitness to raise his chosen children in a world where death and suffering await around every corner. Creating that kind of moment is no small feat, but one option is to have Ori alone, clearly contemplating the journey ahead of him, reflecting on the past and what his experiences taught him the first time he had to leave the safety of his home.

How to Improve

Once Ori and the owlet set out, Will of the Wisps should not devolve into a standard Metroidvania experience. Nor, however, should it be a continuous escort quest. Instead, Ori and his charges should find ways to work together to solve problems.

Such a setup should put the owlet in danger that requires Ori's help, but never often enough that the situation loses its emotional punch.

I don't think the first time that happens warrants a cutscene on its own, either. Rather, one should occur the first time Ori is genuinely helpless to save the creature he's sworn to protect. I'm not sure whether I want that owlet to die or not, because such a move can sometimes feel like a cop-out.

Of course, if Ori can get the owlet out of any situation, that has problems of its own. They need to become self-sufficient, and I expect there to be at least one sequence where we control them in some fashion, either to save Ori himself or to find a way to help him. 

If we do get something like that, I think it necessary that the owlet learns of their past, or at least have some moment of reflection about their current situation. Any child who looks different from their parent begins at some point to question their heritage.

We're lucky, then, that the world of the Ori franchise is filled with ancient magic and fantastical creatures. We know Ori and the owlet come across some forgotten ruin telling his mother's story or that of his race's past. He might also find some hidden secret about Ori and his creator, the Spirit Tree.

In any event, there needs to be some conflict between adopted parent and child, and it needs to play out through gameplay. A chase would be the most likely avenue for such a situation, but some sort of non-combat boss fight might also be interesting.

It should be clear by this moment's end that the trust and love between Ori and the owlet is vulnerable to shattering. Were I in charge of the story, reconciliation would be impossible. The gulf created by earlier events should be too high.

Story beats like those above should be a mix of cutscene and gameplay, though I think Will of the Wisps could undoubtedly do with additional cutscenes. One of the strengths of the opening to Blind Forest was its focus on straight storytelling. Players could identify with the characters because their struggles were familiar, without the trappings of a vast fantasy world to burden them.

Will of the Wisps needs to recapture some of that magic. Give us a few three-to-five minute story sections where the difficult platforming and beautiful world take second fiddle to quiet character-building moments.

Another weakness of¬†Blind Forest was how little we got to know Ori himself. He's determined, of course, and driven, capable and caring, but what he wants, what he cares about, his hopes and dreams ‚ÄĒ we lack the core concepts that define him.

Will of the Wisps has a chance to explore these topics in real detail, and additional cutscenes are a great way to accomplish that. Ori himself needs to be more emotive in gameplay, as well. Let him react to the challenges that face him, to the damage he causes, or the creatures he has to kill. Maybe his design changes as the story goes on, growing wearier and beaten down.

Part of me wants the game to end with Ori's death, or at least some sort of personal sacrifice, maybe as penance for what he perceives as transgressions. The ending ought to be hopeful, admittedly, but it should not come without cost.

Nothing ever does.

Seven Minutes

We'll see if Will of the Wisps can build on both the solid gameplay and the narrative punch of its predecessor's introduction. It could yet be that developers are more concerned with a good core loop than they are in building a memorable narrative. Something tells me, though, that there'll be more going on than just a beautiful Metroidvania game.

Whether developers can pull it off is another matter. Ori and the Will of the Wisps is set to release on March 11 for PC and Xbox One. 

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Start the New Year Right with Nintendo's Massive New Year Sale https://www.gameskinny.com/5piib/start-the-new-year-right-with-nintendos-massive-new-year-sale https://www.gameskinny.com/5piib/start-the-new-year-right-with-nintendos-massive-new-year-sale Thu, 09 Jan 2020 13:16:02 -0500 Josh Broadwell

It's a new year, and Nintendo is celebrating with a week-long sale featuring discounts on some of the Nintendo Switch's hottest titles, and even some Nintendo 3DS titles.

The sale is live now and runs until January 16 at 11:59 p.m. PST. Here's some of the discounted goodness on offer, including Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Divinity: Original Sin 2, Stardew Valley, and a whole lot more.

 

Game Sale Price
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
 $41.99
Splatoon 2  $41.99
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Complete Edition
 $41.99
Yoshi's Crafted World
 $41.99
Kirby: Star Allies  $41.99
Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition
 $41.99
Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
 $34.99
Resident Evil 4
 $19.99
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
 $27.99
Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle
 $14.99
Wargroove $15.99
Assassin's Creed: The Rebel Collection
 $29.99
New Super Lucky's Tale  $35.99
Stardew Valley
 $9.99
Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition
 $13.99
Celeste  $9.99
Divinity: Original Sin 2 ‚ÄĒ Definitive Edition
 $39.99
Steamworld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech
 $17.49
Fire Emblem Awakening (3DS)  $23.99
Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D (3DS)
 $11.99

 

There's a whole lot more on offer as well. Check out the full listing here, and stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Nintendo and video game sale news as it breaks.

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Indie World Showcase Reveals Ori, Risk of Rain 2, Eastward, and Much More https://www.gameskinny.com/dzd53/indie-world-showcase-reveals-ori-risk-of-rain-2-eastward-and-much-more https://www.gameskinny.com/dzd53/indie-world-showcase-reveals-ori-risk-of-rain-2-eastward-and-much-more Mon, 19 Aug 2019 10:06:42 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Nintendo aired its fall Nindies showcase today, just in time for the start of Gamescom this week. It's the usual mix of existing titles and brand-new indie offerings, with some big surprises and hits thrown in for good measure.

Let's get started.

Ori and the Blind Forest

The rumors were true. Moon Studios and Microsoft are bringing Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition to Nintendo Switch on September 27. This evocative metroidvania features gorgeous art, atmospheric music, and all the challenge you'd expect from a finely crafted game in the genre.

Risk of Rain 2

Another high-demand title is coming to the Switch as well: Risk of Rain 2. It's the 3D follow up to Hoopoo Games' smash-hit original roguelike Risk of Rain. It's set to launch sometime this summer after an outpouring of requests from fans asking the game to be ported.

Check out our early impressions of the game on PC here. 

Upcoming Releases

Eastward

Chucklefish's latest game is called Eastward. It takes a¬†Stardew Valley approach to building community and relationships ‚ÄĒ but sets it in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. It also places a greater emphasis on combat and resource management.

There's also a central story based on a mysterious young girl living in an underground facility. Eastward is set for a 2020 launch date.

Roki

Roki from Polygon Treehouse is another dark fairytale game, but unlike others that place the player squarely in the protagonist role, the player might just be the monster in Roki. Boasting gorgeous graphics and a mysterious story ‚ÄĒ plus friendly animals ‚ÄĒ¬†Roki will launch sometime in winter.

Youropa

Another new announcement is Youropa, from Frecle a gravity-based puzzle platformer. It's set in a surreal, seemingly post-apocalyptic world that needs rebuilding ‚ÄĒ and you can rebuild it however you want alongside your customizable avatar. Youropa¬†releases sometime this winter.

Dungeon Defenders: Awakened

The hit tower defense game Dungeon Defenders is getting a sequel of sorts called Dungeon Defenders: Awakened. It puts up to four players together to build their way to victory and cut through mobs of invading enemies across a plethora of locales and environments.

It's a timed exclusive on the Switch and will launch in February 2020.

The Touryst

Shin-en is bringing another game to the Switch with The Touryst. The Touryst is a blocky sim-and-exploration game that sees the tiny protagonist exploring a strange island with a split personality.

On the surface, the island is the average tourist destination, but underneath is a set of ruins and bizarre puzzles hiding a big mystery. The Touryst will release in November 2019.

Earth Night

The endless runner genre has seen a bit of a lull recently, but that's about to change with Earth Night. Featuring lovely 2D pixel art, over-the-top environments, and dragons ‚ÄĒ lots of dragons ‚ÄĒ¬†Earth Night challenges players with the usual endless runner material: make it through alive, and gather as much as possible. Expect it sometime later this year.

Old Favorites

Skellboy

Skellboy isn't exactly a new release ‚ÄĒ sort of. It's been up for a while on Steam and was first shown off last December.

Part average Zelda-like exploration and action game, part body-swapping simulator, Skellboy lets players exchange body parts to overcome challenges and save the world. Skellboy will finally be available for purchase December 3.

Torchlight II

Torchlight II is also making its way to Nintendo Switch, with its signature manic action and quirky settings. It'll also have an exclusive pet unicorn when it launches on September 3.

Today's Releases

Superhot

Superhot is a shoot-and-slash physics game, letting players take control of time and space to try and survive in a world full of heat signatures and death. It's out today on the Nintendo eShop.

Hotline Miami Collection

Devolver Digital's Hotline Miami Collection has been around on other platforms for a while, and it's making its way to the Switch today. It contains both classic Hotline Miami¬†games on one download ‚ÄĒ and that's a lot of explosive action.

---

The indie scene on the Switch has been vibrant from the beginning. Nintendo is apparently keeping its promise to cultivate good relationships with a variety of developers, even former rivals, with something for almost everyone on the way in the next six months.

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The Tea: A STEAMy Sip of Ori and the Blind Forest https://www.gameskinny.com/6m0o2/the-tea-a-steamy-sip-of-ori-and-the-blind-forest https://www.gameskinny.com/6m0o2/the-tea-a-steamy-sip-of-ori-and-the-blind-forest Thu, 12 Jul 2018 11:40:15 -0400 Jackson Ingram

In just over nine hours of Ori and the Blind Forest, I only died 551 times. The game very helpfully kept track for me and gave me a visual reminder every time I hit pause to catch my breath and/or cry.

To be honest, I didn’t really know what I was getting into with Ori, but it seemed like I had so little to lose back then: it was on sale, it was well-reviewed, and its graphics were gorgeous. Even if I had reservations about playing as anything remotely resembling a furry, I dove in. I thought it looked like a cute little game. I was so young then, so very naive.

I‚Äôd heard the term ‚ÄúMetroidvania‚ÄĚ before. No, I had never played a game like it, but I knew that Samus was kick-ass in Super Smash Bros, and I'd watched the pilot of the Netflix Castlevania anime, so I thought I had a pretty solid background in the hybrid genre. Surely there would be no further prerequisites. I could do this. It was just a platformer, right? Something like Super Mario¬†but for furries. (Oh wait, that's already a thing.)

But was wrong. It was hard. It was SUPER HARD.

To be fair, it had been a while since I‚Äôd played what Waypoint Radio might refer to as a ‚Äúvideo-game-ass video game,‚ÄĚ if this even counted as one. For the past three years, I‚Äôve been pretty busy -- and pretty stressed -- so I pretty much limited my video gaming to weekly jaunts through my heavily-hacked Animal Crossing: New Leaf town (aka, my happy place).

The pace of an Animal Crossing stroll is perhaps somewhat more leisurely than that of a Metroidvania platformer. That, and Animal Crossing has far fewer buttons to remember. Essentially, you¬†hold a tool, you hit ‚ÄúA,‚ÄĚ and it does the thing. In Ori, my left hand was constantly playing its own little game of Twister on the keyboard while my right hand swirled the large glass of wine I inevitably poured myself after dying in the Ginso Tree for what felt like the 300th time.

It was somewhere around the 150 mark that I switched the difficulty down the easy, but apparently, I needed ‚Äúbaby mode‚ÄĚ because it took me another 20 minutes of fatalities to get through it.

A Piping Hot Take on Gameplay

It’s very possible that the wine didn’t help my already rusted reflexes, but in my defense, I was a little stressed, alright? Which is a shame, because the forest itself was breathtaking. When I wasn’t running, hopping, or gliding for my life, I couldn't help but admire the sheer scope of the world I was tasked with saving.

The forest of Nibel was -- and still is -- gorgeous and sprawling, with vast contrasts between areas that somehow manage to be disparate but also part of a cohesive whole. It was a world I enjoyed inhabiting, no matter how hard it tried to kill me at every turn (hence the wine).

I’m pretty sure I spent all nine hours at the edge of my desk chair, checking and re-checking the edges of my screen for whatever ungodly disaster was about to chase me across the map next.

Speaking of which, the map itself is the true adversary in Ori and the Blind Forest. The enemies, all of whom could've been ripped out of an Epic Mickey demo, were fairly predictable, but that’s not so much a complaint as it is a blessing. If I’d have faced anything more complex from those dudes, me and my phosphorescent spirit guide would’ve told this forest to go f- ...save itself.

The repetition gave me the practice I needed to master the game's moves and eventually (read: FINALLY) start sewing them together for some really satisfying platform traversal. It was just around when Ori started feeling like an extension of myself and not like a dumb little fox puppet that I beat the game and deleted it from my desktop forever.

The Story: Quick as a Fox, Subtle as a Tsunami

Clearly, I’m not planning on replaying this one with my newly abundant free time, and despite how visually impressive the sequel promises to be, I’m just not invested enough in Nibel to take another trip through its thorny brambles.

The plot
almost saved it for me, as plot often does in games. I’ve played through a lot of bad sequels just because I’ve felt just a little connected to the games' characters, but here, I just… don’t. I feel nothing. This little fox thing and its inarticulate friends mean nothing to me.

It’s possible that I’m this heartless because when I watched Bambi as a child, my mother very pointedly told me exactly how she felt about the perceived demonization of hunters in children’s media. So when Bambi’s mom died (oh, crap, spoiler alert), my little brain was too full of rural Midwestern deer-culling discourse to develop empathy for woodland creatures caught on the wheels of the circle of life.

Sure, the relationship between Ori and Naru is sweet and (actual spoiler alert) it was sad when Naru seemed to starve to death at the end of happy-times-prologue-berry-season, but a bigger part of me was like, ‚ÄúOh, thank God I don‚Äôt have to play as that giant sloth again.‚ÄĚ (Although, yeah, about that...)

Besides a few twists and turns, the set-up here is pretty straightforward. You’re a fox-thing named Ori that’s supposed to restore the three elements (essentially: water, air, and fire, because screw the earth) and save the forest before an enormous owl kills you in retribution for the indirect part you played in ruining her life.

The owl, Kuro, is probably the most interesting character -- a mother equal parts protective and vindictive -- and definitely has the best character design, but that’s probably because you can’t mess up a giant demon owl. You just can’t. By comparison, the other characters come off a little clumsy. There’s something kind of bulbous about their designs and movements that makes it hard to imagine them outside the flat plane of a side-scroller.

Oh, and guiding you on your journey is a little pixie-thing called ‚ÄúSein‚ÄĚ, who takes you from one spirit grave to the next so you can absorb their sweet platforming powers in a move that doesn‚Äôt at all resemble necromancy.

There’s also some deeply earnest voiceover work from the Spirit Tree, which occasionally chimes in with a made-up gibberish language (and floaty, mystical subtitles) to say something fake-deep and almost embarrassing to read. The whole plot felt like it had me in an emotional chokehold, hitting me over the head again and again with just the hammiest sentimentality, begging me to care about the epic plight of its characters. And each time it did, I cared just a little less.

So long-story-short, it was a little hard for me to feel for Ori beyond the fact that every time I led its fragile fox body into another fatality, I felt a stab of guilt for being unable to complete even the most basic Metroidvanian maneuvers. Also because I‚Äôm pretty sure ‚Äúforest guardians‚ÄĚ are an endangered species. I should really be more responsible.

The Fandom Freak-Out: NIBEL

Luckily, the game undeniably succeeds in one area: the music. Looking back, it was the overwhelming praise for the OST that drew me to Ori in the first place. As the kids would say, I’m a slut for VGM, and composer Gareth Coker delivers the goods. While admittedly, the main theme isn’t my absolute fave (a little overwrought, in my opinion, and a total earworm in the worst way), it’s impressive how the rest of the album outshines what’s supposed to be the headliner. Each track feels carefully constructed, with soaring highs and somber lows that could tell a story on its own. Paired with the visuals, it’s an orchestral treat that brings Ori’s world to life.

Where Ori's narrative laid out its wide-cut arcs with hammy-fists, the orchestration drew out its nuance. I’ve been listening to Materia Collective's NIBEL (see below) basically on a loop at work, and with each playthrough, I’m amazed at how Materia Collective takes an already intricate musical score and not only dives into it from every angle, but makes me want to take the plunge back into the Blind Forest myself.

While there‚Äôs a lot to love here (and a whole spectrum of reasons to love it), my favorite track has to be ‚ÄúThe Waters Cleansed‚ÄĚ by David Russell (a Materia Collective regular, and a core member of the Project Destati trio). While my feelings may be somewhat skewed by the intense relief I felt after clearing the Ginso Tree (very wine-drunk at two in the morning), I can say with certainty that I can imagine no better representation for Ori‚Äôs brand of hopefulness than Russell‚Äôs gorgeously delicate arrangement.

The Final Swallow

Am I glad I played Ori? Absolutely. It was a weird experience to be sure. Sometimes beautiful. Often infuriating. But always unique. It’s like a mosh pit! Not exactly my cup of tea, but something I’m glad to have experienced just once. And never again.

This week‚Äôs ‚ÄúFandom Freak-Out‚ÄĚ goes to Materia Collective‚Äôs NIBEL: Ori and the Blind Forest Remixed. It‚Äôs an impressive 37-track tribute to Coker‚Äôs work, featuring over 50 composers, arrangers, and artists.

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

[{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/f/i/r/firewatch-ebd74.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/f/i/r/firewatch-ebd74.jpg","type":"slide","id":"178321","description":"

Firewatch

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Platform: Xbox One, PS4, PC

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Price: $59.99

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Buy it on: The Firewatch Website

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

\n

---

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

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

Steep

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Platform: Xbox One, PS4, PC

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Price: $59.99

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Buy it on: Amazon

\n

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

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

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Price: $19.88 

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Buy it on: Amazon

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

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

Unravel

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Platform: Xbox One, PS4, PC

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Price: $19.88 

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Buy it on: EA's Website

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

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

Ori and the Blind Forest 

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Platform: Xbox One, PC

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Price: $19.88 

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Buy it on: Amazon

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

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

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

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Platform: Xbox One, PS4, PC

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Price: $49.99

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Buy it on: Amazon

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

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

The Flame in the Flood

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Platform: Xbox One, PS4, PC, Nintendo Switch

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Price: $19.99 (free on Xbox Game Pass)

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Buy it on: Steam

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

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

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

"}]]]>
Steam's 6 Best Metroidvanias https://www.gameskinny.com/h9qz6/steams-6-best-metroidvanias https://www.gameskinny.com/h9qz6/steams-6-best-metroidvanias Thu, 27 Jul 2017 11:29:19 -0400 Zantallion

The Metroidvania genre is a personal favorite of mine, as well as millions of other gamers. Having played games in the Metroid series since I was very young, I unsurprisingly love that style of gameplay, and the continuing popularity of the genre has kept my desire sated. But as with every genre, there are diamonds and a whole lot of rough. So to help make the search easier, this article will be going through some of the best Metroidvania games Steam has to offer right now.

Let's get started. 

Guacamelee

Guacamelee is a very colorful, stylized Metroidvania title that sees you taking the role of Juan Aguacate, a Mexican farmer who becomes a powerful wrestling hero after putting on a special mask. In order to save El Presidente's daughter from Carlos Calaca, an undead dictator, you'll traverse through gorgeous Mexican mythology-inspired landscapes, all the while adding new abilities to Juan's movelist. The art style is gorgeous, and the setting allows for unique visuals and an atmosphere that most other Metroidvanias don't explore.

Get Guacamelee on Steam.

Dead Cells

Are you looking for a Metroidvania with a little more bite to go along with its bark? Then look no further than Dead Cells. Taking a page from the Souls playbook (in the developer's own words), Dead Cells is an insanely punishing take on the Metroidvania concept. The usual ideas that follow the genre are intact. New abilities, weapons, and skills unlock new areas to explore. But there are no checkpoints, no save stations, no churches or anything of the sort. Every single death sends you right back to the very beginning, and you have to progress through the maze all over again. If you're faint of heart, Dead Cells may not be your cup of tea. But if you want a true grit challenge, Dead Cells is the title to get.

Get Dead Cells on Steam.

Axiom Verge

For those looking to whet their retro game appetite, Axiom Verge offers a classic 2D, sprite-based title not unlike the Metroidvanias of the NES and SNES eras. Rather than a bounty hunter or vampire killer, however, you play as a humble scientist who, by unknown means, has found himself on a mysterious alien planet. Using abilities and items you find along the way, you'll have to fight your way through the planet to discover just where you are, and why you're there.

Buy Axiom Verge on Steam

Shantae and the Pirate's Curse

Everyone's favorite purple-haired genie nabs an entry on this list with Shantae and the Pirate's Curse, a gorgeous romp through classically and beautifully sprited landscapes set to some of the best music in the genre. When a demon pirate's spirit threatens to destroy her island home, Shantae and her former archenemy, Risky Boots, set sail to thwart his plans and keep Sequin Land safe from his clutches. Or, in Risky's case, to get her horde of minions back.

Buy Shantae and the Pirate's Curse on Steam

Hollow Knight

Looking for something similar in tone to games like Limbo or Inside? Then Hollow Knight is probably the best choice for you. As a cute but eerie little treasure hunter, you'll descend into the depths of Hallownest, the underground world. There you'll find all kinds of similarly eerie enemies and obstacles, which you'll need a multitude of abilities to overcome. In this quiet world of bugs, mist, and dirt, expect your journey to be just as enjoyable as it is unsettling. Arachnophobes need not apply.

Get Hollow Knight on Steam

Ori and the Blind Forest

You didn't think I'd do an article on best Metroidvanias without mentioning Ori, did you? Ori and the Blind Forest is a masterpiece of a game, with beautiful music, a haunting, silently told story, and the best visuals of all the games on this list. Considering its competition, that should say a lot about Ori. As a mysterious glowing creature named Ori, you must make your way through awe-inspiring landscapes and environments in order to save the titular forest from a gargantuan shadow owl intent on destroying it. The entire story is told without a single word ever said, which makes Ori's mastery that much more apparent.

Get Ori and the Blind Forest on Steam

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And there you have it. Steam's best of the best when it comes to Metroidvanias.

So what did you think? Which is your favorite? Did we miss a key title? Let us know in the comments below!

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Steam Summer Sale 2017: 5 Best Platformers Under $10 https://www.gameskinny.com/x4ete/steam-summer-sale-2017-5-best-platformers-under-10 https://www.gameskinny.com/x4ete/steam-summer-sale-2017-5-best-platformers-under-10 Mon, 26 Jun 2017 13:08:13 -0400 glados131

Few gaming genres are as popular as the platformer. Nowhere is this more evident than on Steam, where a vast library of these games -- many of dubious quality -- are literally just a few clicks away. But for all of the dime-a-dozen Mario clones out there, a few stand above the rest. And with the Steam Summer Sale underway, there's never been a better time to pick them up.

Here are just a few platformers you can get right now for $10 or less.

Super Meat Boy

Standard Price: $14.99
Sale Price: $2.84
Steam Rating: Very Positive

One of the most iconic platformers outside of the plumber himself, Super Meat Boy is the creation of one Edmund McMillen. It should be noted that many platformers are reasonably challenging, but not overly so. This game is another story.

Super Meat Boy is a game you should play if you want your platforming skills pushed to the absolute limit. It demands mastery over the precise and responsive controls if you want to come out on top. Luckily, when death comes, you barely need to wait a second before jumping back into the fray.

Get Super Meat Boy on Steam

Rogue Legacy

Standard Price: $14.99
Sale Price:
$2.99
Steam Rating: Very Positive

A more recent game, Rogue Legacy is both a well-polished platformer and a type of game called a roguelike (well, technically a roguelite, but that's a debate for another time). That means that every time you play, the levels are randomly generated -- and if you die, it's back to the beginning. It's not as hard as it sounds, though, as you gradually unlock upgrades that persist between attempts and make things easier.

One of the most fun aspects of the game is that when you start a new attempt (or a "run"), you choose from a few randomly generated characters with their own classes, and special "traits" that include things like color blindness, dyslexia, and more.

Get Rogue Legacy on Steam

Hollow Knight

Standard Price: $14.99
Sale Price:
$9.89
Steam Rating: Very Positive

Hollow Knight just came out this year, but has already made a huge impression with its engaging, Metroidvania-style gameplay and gorgeous hand-drawn art style. If you're a fan of games like Castlevania and Metroid, which gradually let you explore more and more of their vast worlds as you unlock new abilities, this is one worth checking out.

Get Hollow Knight on Steam

Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition

Standard Price: $19.99
Sale Price:
$9.99
Steam Rating: Overwhelmingly Positive

If Hollow Knight sounded appealing to you, Ori and the Blind Forest should also be a must-have. Another beautiful Metroidvania game, this one has some truly breathtaking moments. It also recently had a sequel announced at this year's E3, so now is a great time to play it if you haven't already.

Get Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition on Steam

Cave Story+

Standard Price: $14.99
Sale Price:
$10.04
Steam Rating: Overwhelmingly Positive

Okay, technically this game is currently a few cents over ten bucks, but we had to make a special exception for a truly special game. Cave Story is, simply put, one of the most legendary indie games of all time, with its addicting gameplay, charming story, and lovable characters. Its enhanced edition, Cave Story+, was released on Steam in 2011 and remains the definitive way to play the game with its updated graphics and extra content. Do yourself a favor and give it a try -- this is one story you don't want to miss.

Get Cave Story+ on Steam

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These are just a few platforming games that are a part of Steam's 2017 summer sale. Let us know what you think of our picks in the comments!

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Nordic Games is releasing a retail version of Ori and the Blinds Forest https://www.gameskinny.com/o2omi/nordic-games-is-releasing-a-retail-version-of-ori-and-the-blinds-forest https://www.gameskinny.com/o2omi/nordic-games-is-releasing-a-retail-version-of-ori-and-the-blinds-forest Tue, 24 May 2016 18:31:45 -0400 JunaeBenne

Four years after its release, Ori and the Blind Forest will see the shelves. Fans have been begging for a physical copy of this game, and it’s finally happening.

Nordic Games partnered up with Microsoft Studies and Moon Studios to bring Ori and the Blind Forest Definitive Edition to retail.

The Definitive Edition is packed with new and additional content, such as new areas, new abilities, more story sequences, multiple difficulty modes, fast travel between areas and much more. Naru’s past is revealed in two new environments. Along with being able to explore a lot faster with your ability to teleport there are new skills to master like Dash and Light Burst.

Thomas Mahler expresses how happy he is to accommodate the fans:‚ÄúWe hope that all of you will be pleased with what we‚Äôve put together for this retail release of Ori and the Blind Forest Definitive Edition.‚ÄĚ

There will be two versions available: Standard and Limited Edition.

The Standard Edition is 19.99 includes:

  • Premium Packaging
  • Quickstart Guide
  • Game DVD
  • A3 Poster

The Limited Edition is 29.99 includes:

  • Steelbox
  • Quickstart Guide
  • Game DVD
  • Audio-CD OST
  • 2 Postcards
  • 2 Double-Sided A3 Posters

The Definitive Edition will available to everyone who owns it on Xbox One in the Microsoft Store and will hit the shelves on June 14.

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Fallout 4 gets Best Game award at the BAFTA Game Awards 2016 https://www.gameskinny.com/1lrtx/fallout-4-gets-best-game-award-at-the-bafta-game-awards-2016 https://www.gameskinny.com/1lrtx/fallout-4-gets-best-game-award-at-the-bafta-game-awards-2016 Thu, 07 Apr 2016 13:04:46 -0400 ESpalding

Bethesda has done it! Fallout 4 was just announced as Best Game at the British Academy Game Awards in London. Tonight's event saw game professionals gather at Tobacco Dock in London for the ceremony, which was held during the first day of this year's EGX Rezzed event. It was hosted by the Irish comedian Dara √ď Briain, a man known to many in the UK for his love of video games.

There were 3 other games who also stood out, all winning 3 awards on the evening: Her Story - an interactive movie video game developed, written and directed by Sam Barlow, Everybody's Gone to the Rapture - an adventure game set in an English village which comes from developers The Chinese Room, and Rocket League - a physics-based soccer game played using futuristic vehicles from Psyonix.

As well as the Academy Awards won tonight, there was also an award for "One to Watch" which is awarded for new talent and innovation within the industry. This year's nominated games were all selected from games which were showcased in August last year at the Dare Protoplay festival in Dundee. The winner of this year's award was SUNDOWN. Developed by Mild Beast Games, SUNDOWN is a top-down stealth shooter which sees players plunged into darkness in a "last man standing" shootout.

Full list of winners from the 2016 British Academy Game Awards

Artistic Achievement

Ori and the Blind Forest

Moon Studios

Audio Achievement

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture

The Chinese Room

Best Game

Fallout 4

Bethesda Softworks

British Game

Batman: Arkham Knight

Rocksteady Studios

Debut Game

Her Story

Sam Barlow

Family

Rocket League

Psyonix

Game Design

Bloodborne

FromSoftware

Game Innovation

Her Story

Sam Barlow

Mobile & Handheld

Her Story

Sam Barlow

Multiplayer

Rocket League

Psyonix

Music

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture

The Chinese Room

Original Property

Until Dawn

Supermassive Games

Performer

Merle Dandridge (Everybody's Gone to the Rapture)

The Chinese Room

Persistent Game

Prison Architect

Introversion Software

Sport

Rocket League

Psyonix

Story

Life is Strange

Dontnod Entertainment

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Into the Pixel is celebrating video game art with a concept artwork competition https://www.gameskinny.com/qa7g2/into-the-pixel-is-celebrating-video-game-art-with-a-concept-artwork-competition https://www.gameskinny.com/qa7g2/into-the-pixel-is-celebrating-video-game-art-with-a-concept-artwork-competition Thu, 24 Mar 2016 14:24:47 -0400 Kat De Shields

There are many components that make playing a game a memorable experience -- be it gameplay mechanics, graphics, narrative, characters, or genre. Even before a game is playable, most players are enticed by information about the game, its premise, and the concept art that gives players a glimpse into the universe development studios will create through code. Fortunately, other organizations realize this and want to recognize the video game artists who paint those pictures of a game still in the works.  

Each year, the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences (AIAS) and the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) come together to host the "Into the Pixel" (ITP) video game art exhibit, which celebrates video game artists. Now in its 13th year, the exhibition provides video game artists with a chance to have their work reviewed by industry experts from both the digital and fine arts world. Exposure is the grand prize for ITP winners, as their work is premiered at E3 and other events and venues. Artists may submit in-game or concept artwork. The submission deadline for this year is April 22, 2016. 

According to the ITP website: 

"Each year's collection covers a broad spectrum of genres and platforms, and reflects what the jurists feel represent the best art in the interactive entertainment platform from the past year."

Award winning pieces from the 2015 ITP collection included concept art from notable games like Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, Ori and the Blind Forest, Overwatch, Battleborn, Destiny, and Assassin's Creed Syndicate. To view concept art from the 2015 winners, click here. 

Personally, I would love to see Compulsion Games' We Happy Few or Frogwares' The Sinking City submit to this competition. While a game is in development, it's the concept art that provides players with a flavor of the game before it moves to demo or beta, and, quite frankly, most concept art is stunning.

We Happy Few concept art from the game's website.

The Sinking City draws from H.P. Lovecraft and his work Call of the Cthulu.

Have you seen concept art that knocks your socks off? Share it in the comments below, and tweet the game dev studio to submit to IAP 2016! 

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Best Reviewed Games of 2015 https://www.gameskinny.com/99j17/best-reviewed-games-of-2015 https://www.gameskinny.com/99j17/best-reviewed-games-of-2015 Tue, 29 Dec 2015 06:21:02 -0500 Curtis Dillon

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There you have it, the very best 2015 had to offer! With each passing year the industry becomes more and more diverse, in both representations and game types. That list of 10 games includes 2D platformers, a physics engine, an interactive drama, a gothic action/adventure game whose soul (get it) purpose is to kill your spirit, and 5 RPGs of vastly varying styles, scopes, and mechanics. It's a very diverse list that shows how wonderfully varied the industry has become. There really is something for everyone.

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But as is customary, we must now look ahead to 2016 and become giddy with excitement, or, as is the case with too many people, bemoan and criticise everything.... whatever floats your boat. Regardless of how full your glass is, 2016 looks amazing. Truly. It looks like it has the potential to blow this year out of the water, and that is saying something. So be sure to check back soon for a list of the most anticipated games of 2016!

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What was your favourite game of 2015? Do you think Metal Gear Solid was a worthy winner? What is your most anticipated 2016 game? Let us know in the comments below, and stay tuned to GameSkinny! Happy new year!

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1. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

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Metacritic Score: 95% (User Score: 7.1)
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It's hard to disassociate Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain with the absolute disaster that is the Konami/Kojima break-up. Thankfully the drama that it was is all but over, although I dare say Konami's troubles are not, and we can get back to just focusing on the games. That being said, MGS V presents a challenge to us gamers, do we praise the game and celebrate its creator, therefore lining the pockets of the horrid Konami? Or do we shun the game, therefore snubbing Konami but also ignoring the lifetime accomplishment of one of the best creators ever? It's a conundrum, but given the love for the game and the impressive sales figures, I think it's the former.

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Regardless of all that crap, Metal Gear Solid V really is an incredible game. It might not have the insane story beats of the previous instalments, or the classic boss battles, but it marries gameplay, side stuff, and level design, like few others can. This isn't even really a Metal Gear game, it's a completely different kind of game that shows Hideo Kojima's growth as a game developer and an auteur.

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Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain was a fantastic return for the series but also a fitting send-off to the man who started it all. Regardless of everything that went down with Konami, Kojima can rest easy knowing he put out the very best game of the year and one everyone will be talking about for years to come.

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There have certainly been sandbox action games that have given me a bigger world to roam, or more little icons to chase on my minimap, but none have pushed me to plan, adapt, and improvise the way this one does. Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain doesn’t just respect my intelligence as a player, it expects it of me, putting it in a league that few others occupy.

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                                                                                                      - IGN

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2. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

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Metacritic Score: 93% (User Score: 9.1)
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The Witcher series started life as a PC game. With the second instalment it found its way onto the Xbox 360 as well. The games had a ton of clout amongst those that played them, but that number was too few to make a big splash. For whatever reason then, when The Witcher 3 was revealed, and announced for PlayStation as well as Xbox and PC, all gamers suddenly turned their heads and stared wild-eyed at the insane-looking RPG.

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The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was all the talk when it was first shown off at E3 2013, winning Game of the Show from numerous outlets. Bear in mind, E3 2013 was just a few months after we were told PS4's and Xbox One's were even real, so when The Witcher demo was shown off, the visuals on display blew everyone away.

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Thankfully, the game actually lived up to, and exceeded, all of the lofty expectations we had. It is a gigantic, beautiful RPG, with colourful, believable characters, great story, and consistently enjoyable mechanics. The level of detail, the depth of content, and the overall quality of the package puts every other RPG to shame. The Witcher 3 is quite possibly the best role-playing game ever made. 

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One of the best role-playing games ever crafted, a titan among giants and the standard-setter for all such games going forward. Where the Witcher 2 sputtered to a halt, The Witcher 3 is always in a crescendo, crafting battle scenarios that constantly one-up the last, until you reach the explosive finale and recover in the glow of the game's quiet denouement.

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                                                                                          - GameSpot

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3. Undertale

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Metacritic Score: 93% (User Score: 8.3)
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An unabashed love-letter to Nintendo classic, Earthbound, Undertale is an amazing 8-bit RPG with real emotion, humour, and a memorable story. What starts off as a fairly standard game, which you think you've played before, turns out to be so much more and teaches you to love all over again.

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In a year when we got role-playing games like The Witcher 3, Fallout 4, and Pillars of Eternity, it would be very easy to overlook the somewhat childish looking Undertale, but that would be big mistake. The game plays with your expectations at almost every turn, and so keeps you on your toes throughout, while delivering a really heartfelt, memorable story.

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The gist is that you play as a young man who falls underground and must find his way out, to get away from the monsters that lurk there. Sounds fairly straightforward and familiar, but don't be fooled. There's not a whole lot I can say without spoiling elements of the game that are better left unsaid, so go play it for yourself and experience a very different type of RPG.

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You wouldn't know it with a passing glance, but it's one of the most progressive and innovative RPGs to come in a long time, breaking down tradition for the sake of invention, with great success.

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                                                                                      - GameSpot

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4. Bloodborne

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Metacritic Score: 92% (User Score: 8.6)
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Ahhhh Bloodborne, we had a very love/hate relationship didn't we? I never did finish Bloodborne, I played for around 30 hours and decided to call it quits for the sake of my psyche and my liking of the game. That's to say, Bloodborne is a crushingly-hard game that will punch you in the face until you think you can't get up. But then you do, and you kick its ass and there's few better feelings in all of gaming.

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I say that as someone who gave up, but I most certainly had those moments; be it beating Vicar Amelia, or the god-damn Blood-Starved Beast. My 30 hours with Bloodborne were very memorable and I will certainly return to the haunting streets of Yharnam someday, cause apparently I like abuse.

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In all seriousness though, Bloodborne is the absolute peak of the "Souls" formula, marrying it with more enjoyable mechanics and some of the best graphics/atmosphere you can find anywhere. If Dark Souls decided to procreate with CastleVania: Symphony of the Night, this would be the result, and holy crap is that one beautiful, albeit evil, baby.

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Bloodborne is one of those experiences that totally consumes you when you're involved in it and working to see all that it has to offer. In that sense it's the digital edition of a round-the-world trip to foreign continents, each turning of a corner providing equal helpings of excitement and trepidation. 

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                                                                                           - Telegraph

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5. Tales From The Borderlands

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Metacritic Score: 89% (User Score: 8.2)
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When Telltale Games revealed its partnership with Gearbox and Borderlands it was largely overshadowed by the announcement of a Game of Thrones game on the same day. Fast forward to the end of 2015, both series' are finished and there's only one that people are talking about, and it isn't Game of Thrones.

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I won't waste time or space by stating why Game of Thrones was not good, and it really was not, I'd much rather spend that time gushing over how good Tales From The Borderlands was.

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Playing as both Ryhs and Fiona, gamers got a very different look into the world of Borderlands, and it was amazing from start to finish. Rhys, a scorn Hyperion stooge who sets out to screw over his new boss, and Fiona, a fast-talking con artist who aims to screw over Hyperion, come together in unlikely circumstances and set off on a hilarious, action-packed journey to find the treasures of a Vault. The voice-acting from Troy Baker, Ashley Johnson, Chris Hardwick, Laura Bailey, Erin Yvette, Patrick Warburton, and Nolan North, were all sublime, making the journey that much more fun and immersive.

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Every episode begins with an awesome musical intro that always sets the tone for what is to come, and throughout five episodes the pace never lets up. Without spoiling anything, Episode 5: The Vault of the Traveler, is one of the best episodes Telltale has ever done, and home to one of the very best fight scenes I've seen in years.

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I don't even care about Borderlands, but I cannot recommend this enough, to fans and non-fans alike. This is Telltale Games at its best.

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Tales from the Borderlands concludes with some series-defining moments and choices, solidifying it as one of Telltale’s best, if not the strongest offering the studio has put forth in several years.

\n

                                                                                     - Gaming Trend

\n
"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/7/4/4/7446448f09f6a4dc7012f51d50b5056d.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/7/4/4/tiny_7446448f09f6a4dc7012f51d50b5056d.jpg","type":"slide","id":"97400","description":"

6. Pillars of Eternity

\n
Metacritic Score: 89% (User Score: 8.4)
\n

A game that is very much a callback, and yet evolution of, classic RPGs like Baldur's Gate, Planescape Torment, and Neverwinter Nights, Pillars of Eternity is a fantastic isometric RPG that shows the genre still has a place in today's world.

\n

A huge, sprawling world, rich mythology, detailed graphics, and involving story, Pillars of Eternity is everything an old-school RPG lover could ask for, while being a great starting place for those looking to finally take the plunge. Developed by Obsidian Entertainment (Fallout: New Vegas, South Park: The Stick of Truth) made Pillars of Eternity with the love and influence of all the classics, while putting its stamp on the genre forever. Sadly, it seems the game will never find its way over to consoles, according to Obsidian CEO Feargus Urquhart.

\n
\n

Pillars of Eternity is a masterclass in role-playing game development, recapturing the essence of the genre's past triumphs and repackaging them for a universal audience.

\n

                                                                                          - Digital Spy

\n
"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/4/7/a/47a9ae846f1c62b009efb7adbc3ad1fd.png","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/4/7/a/tiny_47a9ae846f1c62b009efb7adbc3ad1fd.png","type":"slide","id":"97401","description":"

7. Fallout 4

\n
Metacritic Score: 88% (User Score: 6.0)
\n

To say Fallout 4 was a highly anticipated game is, like saying people enjoy Star Wars, a gross understatement. This time last year we didn't even know if Fallout 4 was a thing but here we are, almost two months after the game released and, despite some warranted and unwarranted backlash, it was a resounding success.

\n

Fallout 4 brought back that familiar style of gameplay, zany characters, massive world that begs to be explored, and yes, the glitches. Everything that made the previous games great were abundant in Fallout 4, but Bethesda also added settlement building - making use of all the junk you incur in the wasteland - far better shooting mechanics, vastly upgraded power armour, weapon and armour mods, a lot more verticality to the map, and much better visuals. All in all, Fallout 4 was more Fallout but with fantastic additions to the formula. More please!

\n
\n

Fallout 4 has all the ambiance and history that made its predecessors such wonderful places to get lost for hours at a time, with a much more coherent set of stories within it. That Bethesda has integrated a major building and crafting tool while finally building a great-playing game almost feels like a bonus.

\n

                                                                                               - Polygon

\n
"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/2/1/5/215936a932410bfc5f705455d10f33bd.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/2/1/5/tiny_215936a932410bfc5f705455d10f33bd.jpg","type":"slide","id":"97402","description":"

8. Super Mario Maker

\n
Metacritic Score: 88% (User Score: 8.7)
\n

2015 was not a great year for Nintendo; mediocre games, uncharacteristic delays, and the sad passing of a legend. But 2015 was also the 30th anniversary of the company mascot, Mario. It was with this anniversary in mind that Nintendo gave us its most creative and unexpected game to date, Super Mario Maker.

\n

In Super Mario Maker, you are the creator. Nintendo have given you the reigns to create your very own Mario levels, with a tool-bag that expands over the course of 9 days. You'll start by creating fairly straightforward levels based on what you've known of Mario but after a short while you'll be throwing Goomba's into blocks, putting wings onto Boo's, and generally making life hell for whoever is foolish enough to step into your twisted vision of Super Mario. This is an addictive experience that showcases the zany creations of players worldwide, it's just a pity it comes out on a system that is likely to bite the dust next year.

\n
\n

Brimming with positivity and encouragement, Super Mario Maker's brilliant toy box gives you everything you need to easily create and share some truly fantastic levels.

\n

                                                                                  - GamesRadar

\n
"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/2/d/f/2dfb55c259ad71c41ea0be8386dd973f.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/2/d/f/tiny_2dfb55c259ad71c41ea0be8386dd973f.jpg","type":"slide","id":"97404","description":"

9. Ori and the Blind Forest

\n
Metacritic Score: 88% (User Score: 8.6)
\n

Ori and the Blind Forest was a highly anticipated Xbox One game coming into 2015, but I don't think anyone knew just what they were getting into. Ori looked like a fun, charming platformer that you'd breeze through in an hour, maybe two. However, it turned out to be a heart-breaking game with soul-crushing difficulty.

\n

The first few minutes of Ori and the Blind Forest are truly very sad, and done so in a way that isn't ham-fisted or overtly tugging on those heartstrings. Then the game begins and it's a straightforward 2D platformer. A couple of hours later though you're still playing and the gameplay has gotten significantly deeper to reflect the increasingly complex level design. Simply put, Ori is a very hard game that lures you in with its cuteness.

\n
\n

A terrific blend of story, gameplay, and graphics, Ori and the Blind Forest is an unforgettable debut for indie developer Moon Studios.

\n

                                                                                              - EGM

\n
"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/0/1/4/0145f39a85e42345758fee1c0dc14179.png","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/0/1/4/tiny_0145f39a85e42345758fee1c0dc14179.png","type":"slide","id":"97403","description":"

10. Kerbal Space Program

\n
Metacritic Score: 88% (User Score 8.0)
\n

Who would have thought a silly little game about rocket physics would have been so dang fun? Kerbal Space Program was presumed to be another I Am Bread, Octodad, or Goat Simulator, but where those games wore out their welcome pretty quickly, KSP just became more addictive.

\n

Building a rocket ship out of random parts proves to be a tricky hurdle at the start of the game, but the first time you get it off the ground it makes it worthwhile. Of course, it comes crashing down in a blaze of horror just seconds later, but that fleeting sensation of hope and accomplishment make you start all over again.

\n
\n

A perfect blend of science and slapstick, and a robust and compelling sandbox of possibility. Simply outstanding.

\n

                                                                                           - PC Gamer

\n
"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/5/8/5/5858d6c352940ad1007483f48e10412f.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/5/8/5/tiny_5858d6c352940ad1007483f48e10412f.jpg","type":"slide","id":"97405","description":"

2015 is the year the PS4 and Xbox One really matured. There have been excellent games on both systems this year, far eclipsing everything from 2014.

\n

We got the long-awaited finales to blockbuster series' like Batman and The Witcher, we got impressive debuts with Bloodborne and Life Is Strange, and we got highly anticipated returns in the form of Fallout and Metal gear Solid.

\n

All in all 2015 was a seminal year for gaming.

\n

At this time year of year we're all looking to 2016 and impatiently awaiting the likes of Uncharted 4 and Gears 4, but it's also the time of year to look back on what made 2015 great. And this list compiles the very best of the year in question.

\n

The following 10 games are the highest rated games in 2015, as per Metacritic. The list will not contain remasters, ports, or re-releases, so don't expect to see GTA V on PC, or Shovel Knight on PS4/Xbox One. Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's jump in and reveal the crème de la crème.

"}]]]>
Indie Game of the Year: 2015 Nominations (Part 1) https://www.gameskinny.com/t08zr/indie-game-of-the-year-2015-nominations-part-1 https://www.gameskinny.com/t08zr/indie-game-of-the-year-2015-nominations-part-1 Sat, 05 Dec 2015 17:40:32 -0500 Joe DeClara

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Who's Next?

\n

What did you think of our first five nominees? If you didn't see some of your picks for this year's best indie titles, let us know! We will be taking community nominations into consideration for our list. Send us your nominations, send us your votes, and keep an eye on GameSkinny for the results!

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/0/0/b/00bc60f7bc2e5533127b599475cd8a99.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/0/0/b/tiny_00bc60f7bc2e5533127b599475cd8a99.jpg","type":"slide","id":"94806","description":"

Titan Souls

\n

Sporting an art-style reminiscent of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and a format inspired by Shadow of the Colossus, Titan Souls is a gruelingly difficult game which rarely yields and never forgives.

\n

With nothing more than a bow and a single retrievable arrow, the unassuming David of this game is tasked with seeking out and slaying a dozen gargantuan Goliaths in this vast (yet oddly sparse) gameworld. While lacking in terms of narrative and world building, Titan Souls shines in its precision-based gameplay. Players must locate and target each boss's fatal underbelly (so to speak) while dodging the monster's constant barrage of deadly attacks. Each titan encounter comes with death, and each death must be learned from in order to conquer this pitiless pantheon of pixelated opponents.

\n

An incredible achievement from the three-person team at Acid Nerve, Titan Souls earns itself a nomination for best indie of 2015

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/0/5/2/052cb1518767c62975622013e9a25573.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/0/5/2/tiny_052cb1518767c62975622013e9a25573.jpg","type":"slide","id":"94802","description":"

Ori and the Blind Forest

\n

Indie developer Moon Studios' premiere title aims to enamor and hits its mark. Ori and the Blind Forest is a gorgeous Metroidvania game that borrows from the greatest of the genre while also innovating with new and uniquely clever platforming mechanics.

\n

The forest is one of the most beautifully rendered game worlds of any platformer; with cascading waterfalls, massive ancient trees, ominous swamp lands, and many other locales all designed with beautiful backdrops and immersive foregrounds. This endearing quality is brilliantly juxtaposed with the game's classically hardcore difficulty. Though enemy design is a bit repetitive, the level design and platforming challenges presented will test the mettle of any NES-SNES aficionado. 

\n

Easily one of the greatest 2D platformers of the decade, let alone this year, Ori and the Blind Forest's world is a joy to experience and a compelling challenge to overcome.

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/3/1/8/3181aa76a5a226250371ce15d0c42b41.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/3/1/8/tiny_3181aa76a5a226250371ce15d0c42b41.jpg","type":"slide","id":"94805","description":"

Three Fourths Home

\n

Year after year, our beloved medium extends the boundaries for what definitively is a "game." This year, Bracket Games further pushed the envelope with Three Fourths Home. More of a choose-your-own-adventure novel than a video game, this narrative experience has the player assume the role of Kelly - a twenty-something college girl coming back home to help out with family bills and weather her quarter-life crisis.

\n

While driving home in a storm, the player dictates Kelly's mood, relationships, and overall character by choosing pre-written dialogue blurbs. Three Fourths Home stands out in its bold choices in themes, exploring issues like addiction, disability, student debt, and the bitter cold that is regret.

\n

Though not a game in the most traditional sense, Three Fourths Home delivers a brilliantly written script and seamless dialogue mechanics novel to the medium, and earns itself all four fourths of a nomination for indie of the year.

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/e/3/f/e3f9e899e9f1bcb43a6d4dfeacee708b.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/e/3/f/tiny_e3f9e899e9f1bcb43a6d4dfeacee708b.jpg","type":"slide","id":"94807","description":"

Grow Home

\n

Developed by Ubisoft Reflections, Grow Homeis a 3D platformer that embraces the genre's intrinsic imprecision and creates a simple, yet often awe-inspiring adventure of an E.T.-like critter trying to find his way home.

\n

Your goal is to climb and grow the Star Plant upwards through three hovering islands to reach the mother ship for refueling. However, with power-ups to unlock and wildlife to collect, there's plenty of excuses to explore this vertical game world. 

\n

Upon first taking control of the Botanical Utility Droid (BUD for short), I found him clumsy and awkward to navigate. But after getting a sense of the climbing mechanics and BUD's sensitivity to momentum, guiding him through his efforts to grow the Star Plant back to the mother ship became less tedious and more endearing. Navigating the floating islands by climbing, leaf-bouncing, and flower-gliding is a jovial experience, especially when coupled with the exhilarating risk of falling back to the earth.

\n

Beside some occasional bugs (like glitching through objects and semi-frequent drops in frame-rate) and some graphical monotony, Grow Home is a delightful platformer with satisfying mechanics and rewarding exploration. It easily makes our list of nominees for best indie of 2015

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/a/6/7/a67d6aab308680df25405d8101dfc3d9.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/a/6/7/tiny_a67d6aab308680df25405d8101dfc3d9.jpg","type":"slide","id":"94804","description":"

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture

\n

From The Chinese Room, a small independent studio based in England, comes a story of how the end of all things begins in a small town.

\n

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture features little to no gameplay mechanics, and instead has the player explore the little village of Shropshire to uncover clues as to what brought about the apocalyptic event. Guided to key locations by a mysterious ball of light, the player watches as ghosts of the town's inhabitants act out the events of their last days.

\n

Slowly uncovering the truth through this excellent cast of deep and likable characters is enough incentive to explore what is easily the PlayStation 4's best looking game world. Lush environments, photo-realistic lighting, and incredible sound design make Everybody's Gone to the Rapture aesthetically and musically awesome. 

\n

This revolutionary level of presentation combined with an intriguing story and a wonderful cast earns this indie a nomination for best of the year.

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/1/0/b/10b45b862830e6099c14460e17eb4a9d.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/1/0/b/tiny_10b45b862830e6099c14460e17eb4a9d.jpg","type":"slide","id":"96115","description":"

For the past ten years, the video game industry has seen a renaissance for independently developed video games. With the new accessibility of digital distribution and technology's rapid progression in this digital revolution, it has never been easier for small teams of developers to go out on their own and create quality gaming experiences.

\n

This independence also grants these developers artistic and creative freedom. While the creators behind big AAA games can oftentimes be restricted and censored by their publishers, independent developers are at liberty to pursue their visions with little to no pressure from commercially driven executives.

\n

With the rise of indie games, the medium has seen a massive influx of promising developers coming out and displaying their talents for all the world to see (and play). Each year sees more games from this rapidly growing ecosystem, and as always, some gems stand out among the rest. As 2015 comes to a close, we thought it pertinent to look at some of these games and decide which of them stands as the "Indie Game of the Year."

\n

Here is a list of our first five nominees!

"}]]]>
The seven most beautiful games of 2015 https://www.gameskinny.com/d7iih/the-seven-most-beautiful-games-of-2015 https://www.gameskinny.com/d7iih/the-seven-most-beautiful-games-of-2015 Thu, 03 Dec 2015 07:30:54 -0500 Rob Thubron

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So, that’s it, the most beautiful games of 2015. I know the year’s not over yet, but we’re unlikely to see any of the games released in the remaining weeks of December challenge those on this list.

\n

As the saying goes, ‚Äúbeauty is in the eye of the beholder,‚ÄĚ so not everyone may agree with my number one, but I‚Äôve personally never played a game that made my jaw drop in awe the way that The Witcher 3 does. So thank you, CD Projekt RED, for showing that truly beautiful art is possible in video games ‚Äď and so is having sex on a stuffed unicorn.

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/a/6/e/a6e1afbfe91054c8ab5395e5f5786b36.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/a/6/e/tiny_a6e1afbfe91054c8ab5395e5f5786b36.jpg","type":"slide","id":"94797","description":"

1. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

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I don‚Äôt mind admitting that there were moments during the Witcher 3 that were so beautiful it almost brought a tear to my eye. Staring at the mountains over the lake at Kaer Morhen, watching the birds on the horizon as the sun comes up over Novigrad docks, standing on the bridge to Kaer Trolde with the snowy peaks of Ard Skellig in the distance ‚Äď all moments that made me understand why some people get emotional when looking at world-famous paintings.

\n

There may have been other games released this year that are more photo-realistic, and there may even have been 2015 titles that do textures better, but the Witcher 3 manages to combine so many top-quality graphical elements that it actually makes you want to be in Geralt‚Äôs world ‚Äď even with all the monsters and murderers.

\n

The lushness of the forests, the quality of the water and fire, the snow on the mountains, the birds, the weather, the sunrises, the creatures, the landscapes ‚Äď I could go on and on. If anyone tells you that video games aren‚Äôt art, show them this. If I could somehow show my 10-year-old self the Witcher 3, I have no doubt that this young version of¬†me would want to hop in a cryo-chamber and stay there until its release.

\n

There have been some breathtakingly gorgeous games in 2015, but in my opinion none can match the Witcher 3. A stunning piece of work and my game of the year.

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/c/5/e/c5e1a4c88f8b59e11b910ad01e0b2007.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/c/5/e/tiny_c5e1a4c88f8b59e11b910ad01e0b2007.jpg","type":"slide","id":"94603","description":"

2. Rise of the Tomb Raider

\n

Last month saw the release of Rise of the Tomb Raider, the sequel to the 2013 reboot of the franchise and a game that manages to capture the magic of those original Lara Croft titles from so many years ago.

\n

Not only is Rise of the Tomb Raider an excellent action-adventure game, but it looks stunning. Mostly taking place in the snowy landscapes of Siberia, the environments really are amazing. Snow and water are never easy to recreate in games, but the designers replicate it here brilliantly.

\n

Sadly, despite the critical and commercial praise it received,¬†Rise of the Tomb Raider never got the attention it deserved upon launch. And why is that, you may ask? Becuase it was released on the same day as Fallout 4! As Comic Book Guy would say: ‚ÄúWORST. DECISION. EVER.‚ÄĚ

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/b/f/b/bfb54288c4573976b76a4339b18d16c9.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/b/f/b/tiny_bfb54288c4573976b76a4339b18d16c9.jpg","type":"slide","id":"94466","description":"

3. Everybody’s gone to the rapture

\n

Everybody‚Äôs gone to the rapture is one of those games that seems to polarize opinion: a lot of people, especially critics, love it, but there are plenty of gamers who hate it and reiterate the old ‚Äúwalking simulators aren‚Äôt games‚ÄĚ argument. But no matter what your thoughts are on The Chinese Room‚Äôs English-set mystery, it‚Äôs impossible to deny that it looks amazing.

\n

If you‚Äôve ever played the similar The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, then you‚Äôll know what to expect: plenty of stunning scenery, lots of time to admire it, and tons of walking. The small, Shropshire-based town the game is set in is brought to life thanks to the gorgeous, highly detailed graphics. Atmosphere is crucial in a game like this, and EGTTR doesn‚Äôt disappoint ‚Äď you can almost feel the sun on your face and smell the English countryside (which doesn‚Äôt always smell great, just btw).¬†

\n

Everybody’s gone to the rapture is so beautiful you’d think you could reach into the screen and touch it. Plus, it’s a damn fine game.

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/f/c/d/fcd5c6ec84dbbd77be761acb655c4f07.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/f/c/d/tiny_fcd5c6ec84dbbd77be761acb655c4f07.jpg","type":"slide","id":"94478","description":"

4. The Order: 1886

\n

Now we get to one of those games whose gameplay doesn’t come close to matching its frankly astounding graphics and fantastic atmosphere. The Order 1886 makes you feel like you’re controlling a live-action movie with its lifelike visuals. Unfortunately, it’s one of those movies where, most of the time, not much is happening.

\n

It’s not that The Order is a terrible game, it just should have been so much better. The huge number of quick-time events and restrictive gameplay can make it feel like a long cutscene. Overall, it just isn’t much fun.

\n

Like a narcissistic Instagram girl, the game knows it‚Äôs beautiful and wants you to realize this. There are plenty of moments where the action takes a backseat so players can marvel at the details and high-quality textures of the game‚Äôs objects. You can almost hear¬†The Order: 1886 screaming ‚ÄúIgnore my many faults! Look at how beautiful I am!‚ÄĚ as it takes yet another selfie.

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/a/a/d/aadc95813a8eea41b38ef322a65a6052.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/a/a/d/tiny_aadc95813a8eea41b38ef322a65a6052.jpg","type":"slide","id":"94476","description":"

5. Ori and the Blind Forest

\n

Not every game that’s considered to be beautiful has to feature almost photo-quality graphics; a good example of this is Ori and the Blind Forest, a 2D platformer that uses vibrant, stunning colors to make it pop off the screen.

\n

The multiple layers of Ori’s levels add an extra element to the visuals, giving the game that sense of depth, rather than it looking like a flat cartoon. During some sections, this layering is used to great effect - especially with the rising water. And trust me when I say: there are some scenes so fantastical, you’ll feel like you're inside a real fairytale.

\n

Ori and the Blind Forest is a brilliant, emotional game that’s made even better with its luscious graphics and a memorable musical score. Try it out, you won't be disappointed.

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/a/8/b/a8b085474e6f6e00868ecacffb9d5f1a.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/a/8/b/tiny_a8b085474e6f6e00868ecacffb9d5f1a.jpg","type":"slide","id":"94798","description":"

6. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

\n

The thing with Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is that it’s such a good game to play, many people are oblivious to how pretty it is. What looks to be Hideo Kojima's swansong for Konami is up there with Fallout 4 and The Witcher 3 as a contender for Game of The Year. Not only does it redefine the concept of what’s possible in an open-world game, but it also looks fantastic.

\n

The two main locations of Afghanistan and Zaire are loving recreated in MGSV and Big Boss‚Äô offshore headquarters, Mother Base, is a thing of beauty ‚Äď made all the prettier thanks to the surrounding crystal blue waters of the Seychelles.

\n

The many cinematic sections look like they’ve been taken straight out of a movie, the character and animal animations are spot-on, and the weather effects are outstanding. Metal Gear Solid V is as attractive as it is fun.

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/0/0/2/002a934797ed070d9cca1302b4a94b39.JPG","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/0/0/2/tiny_002a934797ed070d9cca1302b4a94b39.JPG","type":"slide","id":"94481","description":"

7. Child of Light

\n

Child of Light is a magnificent RPG/2D adventure-platformer hybrid whose visuals are truly lovely. Every little bit of this game looks hand-painted by a master artist for a children’s book. It has the same graphics engine as the recent Rayman titles and its use of light and shade - something that I generally never even notice in games - adds so much atmosphere to Child of Light.

\n

Some of the most visually impressive moments in the game come when you’re interacting with Child of Light’s many gigantic creatures, who can take up the majority of the screen. Each level’s background resembles an interactive art gallery painting, and the characters are fantastically designed without feeling childish. The aesthetics of this game will give you a warm and fuzzy sensation, often inducing feelings of childhood nostalgia (they did in me, anyway).

\n

Child of Light is unlike most games; it’s artistic without being pretentious, child-like without being patronizing, and emotional without being saccharine. A gorgeous, incredible, magical game, and also available at a very low price. I highly recommend it to all RPG fans.

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/4/3/9/4392785076c76a6aba467ba9ae990c0c.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/4/3/9/tiny_4392785076c76a6aba467ba9ae990c0c.jpg","type":"slide","id":"94454","description":"

It’s common knowledge that just because a game has beautiful graphics, it doesn’t mean that it’ll be any good. Some titles look breathtaking but are, for want of a better word, a bit shit. On the other side of the coin, you have games that look like they were made twenty years ago yet are utterly brilliant, such as Minecraft, Spelunky and Super Meat Boy. Of course, there occasionally are those titles that manage to combine looks and gameplay into one perfect game, which make up the majority of this list.

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Every new year brings advancements in game engine technology, graphics card drivers (for PCs) and game optimization, meaning 2015 saw some truly beautiful titles. Not all of them were brilliant to play, and some were downright balls, but there’s no denying that we’re reaching a point where graphics in video games are hitting almost photo-realistic levels.

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So here we have been the seven prettiest, most beautiful games of 2015. Yet more proof that we’ll soon never want to leave our homes, living out our lives as a virtual avatar in a picturesque world while a robot butler feeds us and our chairs double as toilets. Maybe... hopefully.

"}]]]>
Ori and the Blind Forest Re-Review https://www.gameskinny.com/k7qc0/ori-and-the-blind-forest-re-review https://www.gameskinny.com/k7qc0/ori-and-the-blind-forest-re-review Sun, 29 Nov 2015 12:45:57 -0500 Joe DeClara

Ori and the Blind Forest aims to enamor and hits its mark. Its lavish art style and epic set pieces are of a rich and polished quality rare to the indie scene. Meanwhile, its gameplay and progression format take much from the best of classic exploratory 2D platformers, as well as add some compelling new plaftorming mechanics. There can be some really frustrating moments due to an unforgiving save system, and some of the character designs lack variety, but overall, Ori and the Blind Forest is an excellent hardcore platformer which deserves a spot on any Xbox One owner's hard drive.

The Forest 

The game makes quick work of capturing the heart of the player with a charming, yet heartbreaking interactive prologue. Here, we are introduced to the two main characters of this story for which the game is named. Ori, a sprite-like creature born from the leaves of the Spirit Tree, is tasked with a find-the-pieces collectathon in order to restore life to her home, the Blind Forest. Though you play as Ori, the star of this game is the forest. Cascading waterfalls, massive ancient trees, ominous swamp lands, and many other locales all coalesce to create one of the most memorable and detailed worlds of any platformer.

The center of the forest - the Ancient Tree

The challenge lies in traversing this world. Only capable of running and jumping upon starting the game, the player is forced to learn the bare bones of its platforming physics before introducing any other mechanics.  Ori's extended abilities--wall climb, gliding, double jump, triple jump, and some innovative platforming abilities like Bash--are unlocked progressively through the game's six-to-eight hour lifespan. Each new mechanic is introduced through masterfully precise map design, ensuring the player gains a full understanding of how their new powers are used before giving you free rein. Every time I unlocked a new ability, I became compelled to venture back out into the forest, test out my new toys, and revisit areas; remembering that one ability cell sitting just outside my primitive single-jump reach. 

Retrospective exploration is a big part of Ori and the Blind Forest's appeal. Like many of its Metroid-inspired predecessors, Ori and the Blind Forest's world is fully rendered and connected from the beginning, though not immediately accessible. Each new traversal ability opens up a wide array of creative possibilities for approaching and exploring areas previously encountered. Ori's most powerful and versatile ability, Bash, enables her to use enemies or enemy projectiles as launch pads mid-jump, allowing Ori to both manipulate enemy attacks as well as keep herself airborne by chaining multiple bashes and double-jumps. Some of the most exhilarating, challenging, and unique portions of the game are dedicated to this ability.

 Some of Ori's extreme platforming skills.

 

Save the forest...and your game

Unfortunately, with challenging gameplay comes frustrating repetition. There are no autosaves in¬†Ori and the Blind Forest; it is entirely left up to the player to choose when to drop a save point. Referred to as Soul Links, these save points can be spawned at most any point in the game for the¬†price of one energy bar. Getting used to this save system caused some frustration; I often found myself going for extended periods without dropping a Soul Link, dying, and then having to replay large portions of the game (bringing back those Game Boy ‚ÄúAAAH, I forgot to save!‚ÄĚ moments). Though a somewhat dated and unforgiving format, it's certainly fair. It only took me about an hour (and a few really soul-crushing deaths) to get into the habit of dropping save points every so often.

Though in an excellent world with clever platforming puzzles and masterful level design, Ori's combat can leave much to be desired. While Ori handles all of the traversal, his companion Sein auto-locks to any nearby enemies and spams them with flamestrikes upon a single button mash. After a few hours, I was able to easily manipulate most enemy types, rendering them more of an annoyance than a complex challenge. There are a few boss battles as well, though these encounters suffer from the same simplicity, made all-the-more disappointing by their exclusion.

 

Don't be fooled by this game's charm

VERDICT

With the recent renaissance 2D platformers have had these past several years, it takes a lot for new entries in the genre to grab gamers' attention. Ori and the Blind Forest manages to do this by offering some of the most compelling challenges of any contemporary Metroidvania within a gorgeous and endearing gameworld. The save system can make for some frustrating replays, and the boss battles are insignificant at best, but overall, Ori and the Blind Forest's world is a joy to experience and a compelling challenge to overcome.

 

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Gamer Gift Guide: Fool-proof games from 2015 that will make you look good https://www.gameskinny.com/mr8ul/gamer-gift-guide-fool-proof-games-from-2015-that-will-make-you-look-good https://www.gameskinny.com/mr8ul/gamer-gift-guide-fool-proof-games-from-2015-that-will-make-you-look-good Sun, 22 Nov 2015 10:51:17 -0500 Daniel R. Miller

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And those are the games that will make you look good this holiday season. Are there any I missed? Let us know in the comments below and Happy Holidays to you all!

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/b/5/2/b521bce5818a928edac26c433c64dae4.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/b/5/2/tiny_b521bce5818a928edac26c433c64dae4.jpg","type":"slide","id":"92973","description":"

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

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Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PS4

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Rating: 4.5/5 (605 Customer Reviews, 93 metascore)

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Buy: Amazon

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Price: $49.99

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The best may very well have been saved for last. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is the ultimate Witcher experience; a dream come true for series fans and a testament of incredible world building and exploration. To say the game is huge would be an understatement. Wild Hunt comes packed with 150 hours of content plus 16 free pieces of DLC, among a number of other goodies if you buy a physical copy of the game. There's currently an expansion, Hearts of Stone, that adds on at least another 10 hours that you can buy for $10. There is also another one, Blood and Wine coming Q1 2016, that is due to add another 20 hours.

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The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is currently the favorite to land the award for Game of the Year at the Game Awards, and is nominated for a number of other categories. Whether you are buying for yourself or someone else, Wild Hunt deserves a spot in any gamer's library. 

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/3/5/4/354963f72ecfa139eb32b723b815f990.JPG","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/3/5/4/tiny_354963f72ecfa139eb32b723b815f990.JPG","type":"slide","id":"92960","description":"

The Talos Principle: Deluxe Edition

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Platform: PS4

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Rating: 4/5 (8 Customer Reviews, 88 metascore)

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Buy: Amazon

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Price: $49.99

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The Talos Principle snuck in the back door of 2014 as a PC exclusive (which can be found on Steam) but was re-released in a Deluxe Edition exclusively for PlayStation 4 that also included the game's DLC, Road to Gehenna. The Talos Principle is a brain-busting first-person puzzle game with a unique narrative that ponders the notion of existence. The Deluxe Edition is the best value you can get for the game and a real find for that PlayStation gamer than seemingly has every game.

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Super Mario Maker

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Platform: Wii U

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Rating: 4.5/5 (400 Customer Reviews, 88 metascore)

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Buy: Amazon

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Price: $59.99

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Super Mario Maker appeals two types of gamers, those looking to create, and those looking for the most bang for their buck. Long time Nintendo fans finally have a platform to lay down all of the creations they have had in their head for the last 20 years and the with the shear amount of community driven content there is, the game will keep you busy for a long time to come.

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Super Mario Maker is another nominee for the Game of the Year award, and is undoubtedly the best game to come out on Wii U this year.

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/a/1/a/a1a4f4c97c9ce8500c93c28164b6b3e5.JPG","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/a/1/a/tiny_a1a4f4c97c9ce8500c93c28164b6b3e5.JPG","type":"slide","id":"92962","description":"

StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void

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Platforms: PC, Mac

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Rating: 4.5/5 (24 Customer Reviews, 88 metascore)

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Buy: Amazon

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Price: $39.99

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StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void is the last entry in the StarCraft II trilogy and ends the overarching StarCraft narrative that began with the original game back in 1998. Legacy of the Void's campaign focuses on the Protoss race and their leader, Artanis, as they battle to defeat an ancient evil that threatens the existence of life in the universe. It's an epic conclusion that will help to keep StarCraft II relevant to Strategy gamers for years to come.

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Ori and the Blind Forest

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Platforms: Xbox One, PC

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Rating: 4.5/5 (50 Customer Reviews, 88 metascore)

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Buy: Amazon

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Price: $19.99

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Ori and the Blind Forest is meatier than it appears on the surface. What looks like a relaxing adventure is actually a demanding, Metroid-vania platformer that expects its players to be skillful and attentive. It's art style and soundtrack are also top notch, and the game has been nominated for Best Independent Game this year at The Game Awards.

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"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/4/d/3/4d354f01be97cd0ddb721ec375a4acf7.jpeg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/4/d/3/tiny_4d354f01be97cd0ddb721ec375a4acf7.jpeg","type":"slide","id":"92958","description":"

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

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Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

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Rating: 4.5/5 (599 Customer Reviews, 93 metascore)

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Buy: Amazon

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Price: $59.99

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By now, everyone knows about the Konami/Hideo Kojima drama but what's actually important is the game the two sides came together to make a reality. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is the definition of open world stealth and has pushed its genre further than any game released this year. Sure the story may not make a lick of sense most of the time, but if you can find a way to get on its wavelength, you're in for a treat.

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Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is currently one of the favorites to win Game of the Year and is a culmination of quality game design and cinematic prowess that has grown and evolved over time as a series that has always been at the forefront of both.

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Fallout 4

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Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PS4

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Rating: 3/5 (180 Customer Reviews, 85 metascore)

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Buy: Amazon

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Price: $59.99

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Fallout 4 is a post-apocalyptic wanderer's dream world. It's filled with danger to face, dilapidated dungeons to dive into, loads of customization options, and amazing community driven mod content. Fallout 4 is a true evolution of Fallout 3 in nearly every sense of the word, and fans of the series will not be disappointed.

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Fallout 4 is another one of the Game Award's five contenders for Game of the Year, and if history is any indication, Fallout 4 has a pretty good chance at taking the title.

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Divinity: Original Sin: Enhanced Edition

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Platform: PC, Xbox One, PS4

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Rating: 4.5/5 (19 Customer Reviews, 89 Metascore)

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Buy: Amazon

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Price: $59.99

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Divinity: Original Sin started as a Kickstarted PC exclusive that released back in 2014. This year, it made its way to consoles in the form of Divinity: Original Sin: Enhanced Edition that seamlessly translated the keyboard and mouse controls to work with game pads. PC players were automatically upgraded to the Enhanced Edition via a free upgrade.

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Divinity: Original Sin is role-playing personified, targeting fans of old school RPG's. The game throws you into world of near limitless customization with combat that forces you to carefully consider your options before executing them.  Divinity: Original Sin demands your time as it is quite a meaty experience, but if you are a fan of the genre, you are doing yourself a disservice by missing out on this game.

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Bloodborne

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Platform: PS4

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Rating: 4.5/5 (1,045 Customer Reviews, 92 Metascore)

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Buy: Amazon

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Price: $29.99

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Bloodborne initially released as a PS4 exclusive back in March of this year to widespread critical acclaim. Inspired by the Souls' series, Bloodborne builds on the successful foundation laid down by its predecessors, and tweaks it in a way that rewards offense and careful aggression. The game's DLC package, The Old Hunters, was later revealed at the Tokyo Game Show and will be packaged with a Game of the Year Edition starting November 27.

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Bloodborne is currently one of five candidates for Game of the Year at the Game Awards this year, so if you are looking for a game that embodies death and insanity while maintaining a high level of quality, you can't go wrong with Bloodborne.

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/a/3/c/a3c2cf23e1b8166a3f027462c9a8cfe8.JPG","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/a/3/c/tiny_a3c2cf23e1b8166a3f027462c9a8cfe8.JPG","type":"slide","id":"92450","description":"

Brand loyalty. It's a big deal and a huge crutch for businesses all over the world. In gaming, we associate series' with past accomplishments which plays on our nostalgia each time a new iteration of our favorite game comes out.  Unfortunately, reality is not the same as nostalgia and just because one company makes one great game in a given series doesn't mean every game they make after that will retain that same level of quality.

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The point of this guide is to point you in the direction of top notch games that anybody for an eye for quality can appreciate.

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IndieCade happening this weekend https://www.gameskinny.com/r45zt/indiecade-happening-this-weekend https://www.gameskinny.com/r45zt/indiecade-happening-this-weekend Fri, 23 Oct 2015 20:17:43 -0400 Jordan_Biazzo

Recently indie games have become an essential part of the gaming industry’s ecosystem, from small games like Axiom Verge to bigger ones like Ori and the Blind Forest. Whether big or small, these games are relevant to modern gamers. And over this weekend, we will really get to appreciate them.

This weekend is IndieCade, a festival where developers show off some of the most innovative, creative, and diverse independently developed games in the world. IndieCade 2015 is taking place in Culver City, CA.


IndieCade will be offering its attendees over 70 games to play. 36 of those 70 games have also been nominated for the IndieCade awards. These nominations were picked from a wide range of indie video games, as well as tabletop and card games.

If you happen to be in the area, make sure to drop by to see and play hundreds of games, meet the developers, and get a glimpse inside the future of interactive entertainment. To check out more info on IndieCade 2015, click here. 

If you can't make it to IndieCade yourself, stay tuned to GameSkinny to catch up on everything you miss!

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The Bundle Bundle: Console bundles for Xbox One available for the holidays https://www.gameskinny.com/hvmkb/the-bundle-bundle-console-bundles-for-xbox-one-available-for-the-holidays https://www.gameskinny.com/hvmkb/the-bundle-bundle-console-bundles-for-xbox-one-available-for-the-holidays Wed, 30 Sep 2015 12:06:34 -0400 Andrea Koenig

It seems like the latest craze for console companies is to offer a special bundle, whether it simply includes a certain game, or a full limited edition makeover to your favorite console. 

Below are the Upcoming Xbox One bundles that will be available before December. If you're both a PS4 and Xbox One gamer, you can check out the same upcoming holiday PS4 bundles right here.

Xbox One Elite Bundle

  • Xbox One Console, 1TB Solid State Hybrid drive
  • Xbox Elite Wireless Controller (plus replaceable parts)
  • Xbox Elite Wireless Controller carrying case
  • 14 Day Xbox Live Gold Trial

Available: Nov 3, 2015 (pre-order now)

Price: $499 (plus tax)

LEGO Movie Bundle
  • Xbox One Console, 500GB hard drive
  • Xbox One Wireless Controller
  • LEGO Movie¬†video game

Available: October 2015 

Price: $349 (plus tax)

Xbox One 1TB Holiday Bundle
  • Xbox One Console, 1TB hard drive
  • Xbox One Wireless Controller
  • Gears of War: Ultimate Edition video game
  • Rare Replay¬†video game
  • Full-game download code for¬†Ori and the Blind Forest

Available: November 2015 

Price: $399 (plus tax)

Rise of the Tomb Raider
  • Xbox One Console, 1TB hard drive
  • Xbox One Wireless Controller
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider¬†full download, Holiday 2015 exclusive
  • Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition full game download
  • Exclusive Tactical Survival Kit Content Pack

Available: Nov 3, 2015

Price: $399 (plus tax)

Limited Edition Halo 5 Guardians Bundle
  • Custom Xbox One Console, 1TB Hard Drive
  • Custom Xbox One Wireless Controller
  • Spartan-themed SteelBook case
  • Halo 5: Guardians Limited Edition¬†full download
  • Guardian model by Metal Earth
  • Exclusive DLC:¬†Warzone¬†REQ¬†Bundle¬†

Available: Oct 20, 2015 

Price: $499 (plus tax)

Bonus Bundle: Limited Edition Forza Motorsport 6
  • Custom Xbox One Console, 1TB
  • Custom Xbox One Wireless Controller
  • Forza Motorsport 6¬†full download
  • Tenth Anniversary Car Pack download code
  • Exclusive:¬†Assassin's Creed Unity¬†(If ordered before Oct 31)
  • Exclusive:¬†Project Spark¬†(If ordered between Sept 30 and Dec 31)

Available: 

Price: $399 (plus tax)

All of the above bundles include HDMI Cable and Power Supply.

Xbox is currently releasing one deal per day this week to offer various deals and bundles to get gamers into the holiday spirit. You can keep an eye on them through the Xbox Wire news blog or the Microsoft Store.

For PlayStation 4 Bundles, click here.

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Microsoft releases information on their new holiday bundle https://www.gameskinny.com/z7ywt/microsoft-releases-information-on-their-new-holiday-bundle https://www.gameskinny.com/z7ywt/microsoft-releases-information-on-their-new-holiday-bundle Tue, 29 Sep 2015 09:31:39 -0400 katlaborde

With the holiday season quickly approaching, developers are readying new holiday bundles. Today, Microsoft announced a new Xbox One holiday bundle. The bundle includes a 1 TB Xbox One, a copy of Gears of War: Ultimate Edition and Rare Replay, and a digital download of Ori and the Blind Forest. 

The bundle will be available for purchase in November and will retail for $399. Of course, the prices will vary across different territories. 

Recently, Microsoft also announced a Xbox One bundle for Rise of the Tomb Raider set to release in November as well.

Gears of War: Ultimate Edition released late August and was considered to be an excellent remake of the original incorporating remade cutscenes and new chapters that were once exclusive to the PC version.

Ori and the Blind Forest is an indie platformer released for Xbox One back in March. The game received critical acclaim for its story, visuals, and fun gameplay.

Lastly, with the inclusion of over 30+ games in Rare Replay alone, gamers who purchase this bundle will been entertained throughout the holidays and beyond. 

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Video Game soundtracks for studying and motivation https://www.gameskinny.com/xjpa3/video-game-soundtracks-for-studying-and-motivation https://www.gameskinny.com/xjpa3/video-game-soundtracks-for-studying-and-motivation Sat, 05 Sep 2015 17:30:01 -0400 Dalton White I

When doing work, studying for exams, and writing proposals or essays, it can be hard to find motivation or inspiration. Video game soundtracks offer music that can help, since they usually don’t have lyrics that can distract you. The five following soundtracks feature songs that can help you focus, give you peace of mind and, most importantly, psych you up to get your work done.

Journey 

Austion Wintory

Journey’s soundtrack is a whirlwind of emotions, some scary and others enchanting, from start to finish. The chilling use of string instruments to their fullest potential is an awe-inspiring experience. My favorite track of the album is "The Road of Trials". It has this source of energy and movement that makes my mind race, and it naturally reminds me of the fun and gorgeous sand-surfing section of Journey.

Ori and the Blind Forest

Gareth Coker

Like Journey, Ori is an indie game that features beautiful visuals and an equally enchanting soundtrack. Ori has its own style of music that mixes vocals with a variety of percussion and stringed instruments. Usually I‚Äôm distracted when a song has a singer or lyrics, but Ori‚Äôs soundtrack has some gorgeous singing that seems to get me focused or inspires me to keep on working. As for a favorite song from the album, it would be a close call - but I would go with ‚ÄúOri, Lost in the Storm‚ÄĚ. There is just something bewitching about it that I can‚Äôt quite put my finger on.

Okami

Masami Ueda, Hiroshi Yamaguchi, Rei Kondoh, Akari Groves

I recently finished playing Okami HD on my PS3. Its dungeons, the characters, the beautifully unique visual technique, and (of course) the music were nothing short of spectacular. The music in Okami was inspired by classical Japanese works, which only adds to the unique style of the game. The plethora of music that make up Okami’s soundtrack covers a large spectrum of emotions, from fear to wonder. One of my favorite tracks is "Kushi’s Ride". It surrounds me with a sense of urgency and power.

Persona 3 and 4

Shouji Meguro and Atsushi Kitajoh (Persona 4)

The Persona series is one of a kind; it combines serious deep messages with wacky characters, amazing battles, and the unique experience of Social Links. And its music is pretty amazing, too! I tried and failed to decide if Persona 3 or 4 had a better soundtrack. Both of them have songs that add a special ambience to simple mundane activities like studying for exams and the more fantastical aspects of Persona like dungeon crawling. My favorite track for Persona 3 has to be ‚ÄúThe Battle for Everyone‚Äôs Souls‚ÄĚ while Persona 4 features an awesome battle theme: "I‚Äôll Face Myself-Battle-" However my current top Persona track would be the theme used in Persona 5‚Äôs trailer - it has this epic beat that just kicks my ass into gear.

Distant Worlds: Music From FINAL FANTASY

Nobuo Uematsu

So this could be seen as cheating, but Nobuo Uematsu himself creates all these arrangements for Distant Worlds. It would be so difficult to select just one of the countless Final Fantasy games to suggest, so I found a compromise. Distant Worlds has the best of the best, the tunes that are the top-tier tracks from a variety of Final Fantasy games. The orchestra versions feel like they are giving the classic songs new life, but keeping to the original formula at the same time. At the moment, I believe there are three volumes, each featuring songs from the original Final Fantasy to its fourteenth installment. I couldn‚Äôt decide which one was my favorite so I checked to see which song I had played most on my iPod. That song was ‚ÄúTerra‚Äôs Theme‚ÄĚ from Final Fantasy VI.¬†It is a fantastic song to just walk to, and it has an invigorating beat to it.

Hopefully now you have some tracks in mind to help you slog through the essays, papers, and presentations of the future.

Did I miss any favorite soundtracks? Are there other video games whose musical scores get your adrenaline pumping? Leave a comment and add to the list!

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