Unravel Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Unravel RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network E3 2017: EA Predictions https://www.gameskinny.com/keib6/e3-2017-ea-predictions https://www.gameskinny.com/keib6/e3-2017-ea-predictions Thu, 08 Jun 2017 10:20:24 -0400 Curtis Dillon

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Those are our predictions for EA's E3 2017 showcase, which kicks-off the entire E3 weekend on Saturday at 11:30 AM.

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The guaranteed locks for EA's showcase are all the annual sports titles, Star Wars Battlefront 2, and Need For Speed: Payback. We're also likely to get some DLC announcements for Mass Effect Andromeda and Battlefield 1.

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Everything else for the show is guesswork, but in making this list, it's become clear EA has a lot of exciting projects in the pipeline right now. Two other projects we left off the list is another Star Wars game from Respawn (the Titanfall developer), and the new IP being worked on by Bioware Edmonton (developer of the original Mass Effect Trilogy). It's unlikely we'll see anything from these two titles because they're still a year or two away, but it's further proof of EA's impressive list of upcoming games!

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What are you excited to see from EA at E3? Let us know in the comments, and keep it tuned to GameSkinny for all your gaming news and E3 predictions!

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Make sure to check out our other E3 predictions: 

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Visceral's Star Wars Game

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Here's the big one. As much as we all love Battlefront and want the second game to be even better than the first, it's another Star Wars game from EA that has everyone's fingers crossed.

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Visceral Games, the EA development team that became famous for the Dead Space franchise, has had a Star Wars game in the works for a while now. After Naughty Dog's Creative Director Amy Hennig left the developer in 2014 following her work on the Uncharted series, she joined Visceral Games to work with Todd Stashwick on a Star Wars IP. Two years later we saw our first glimpse of the game at E3 2016 -- an 8 second clip that showed a man seemingly walking out of the Mos Eisley Cantina, as pictured above.

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Maybe we're still a little too early for this game to be fully revealed, especially with Star Wars Battlefront 2 already on the horizon. But this game could very well see a late 2018 release, and thus the time would be right for a full trailer. EA doesn't need to go all-out and show a 10-minute gameplay clip, but a bombastic trailer to close out the showcase would definitely leave the publisher in a strong position walking out of E3 2017.

"},{"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/n/e/e/need-for-speed-payback-art-crop-1152x549-43995.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/n/e/e/need-for-speed-payback-art-crop-1152x549-43995.jpg","type":"slide","id":"160894","description":"

Need For Speed: Payback

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After several teases in the past week, EA finally announced the latest instalment in the Need For Speed franchise, entitled Payback.

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Following on from 2015's rebooted Need For Speed, Ghost Games looks to continue the precedent of a fleshed-out story mode. Unlike the 2015 title, Payback will have animated cutscenes, and the trailer has reminded gamers of the Fast & Furious franchise.

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Racers will take control of three different characters, and wage a war against a cartel known as The House. The game takes place in the fictional Fortune Valley (which seems to evoke Las Vegas), and offers open-world exploration to gamers, as well as car chases, heist missions, police pursuits, and "jaw-dropping set-pieces". We'd love to see a lot more from Need For Speed: Payback at E3!

"},{"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/i/m/sim-3463f.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/i/m/sim-3463f.jpg","type":"slide","id":"160247","description":"

The Sims 5

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The Sims 4 launched in 2014 to mixed reviews. The first game in the series not to get rave reviews, Sims 4 suffered substantial issues at launch, which kind of killed the hype for the title.

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Since then, developer Maxis has supported the game with three expansion packs, five game packs, ten stuff packs, and additional DLC. That's an impressive list of post-release content for a three year period. There were five years between the third and fourth installments in the series, but I think EA will look to regain some steam and good-will towards the franchise sooner rather than later.

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The Sims 5 isn't a lock for E3 2017 but it's definitely possible. The game could be announced at the showcase with a vague 2018 release date, which could potentially even slip to 2019. I can't imagine the fifth installment being just another Sims game -- I believe EA will want to really innovate and change the formula. 

"},{"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/k/a/skate4-convo-1280w-e1f06.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/k/a/skate4-convo-1280w-e1f06.jpg","type":"slide","id":"160245","description":"

Skate 4

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Despite being called the worst company in America, EA actually does make games for its fans every now and then. One example is Mirror's Edge Catalyst, the sequel to cult hit Mirror's Edge. Although the original game (and its sequel) both sold poorly, at least EA listened to its fans. 

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With that in mind, I think EA would be willing to bring another fan favorite back from the dead and release Skate 4. The previous Skate game released in 2010 and received decent reviews, then returned to prominence in 2014 when YouTube sensation Pewdiepie released a hilarious video of the game and caused it to start selling again. Skate 3 became one of the best selling games of 2014 and EA was forced to reissue the game. On top of this, it was one of the most requested backwards compatible games on Xbox One, leading to it becoming available on the service in 2016.

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With all of this in mind, Skate 4 seems inevitable. EA has likely looked into developing a new game in the series, especially considering there are no other skateboarding games on the market right now -- other than last year's abysmal Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5. The market is ripe and ready for a new Skate game, and E3 2017 seems like the place to do it.

"},{"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/o/m/something-smells-fishy-unravel-69ad0.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/o/m/something-smells-fishy-unravel-69ad0.jpg","type":"slide","id":"160244","description":"

Unravel 2

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Martin Sahlin walked onto stage at E3 2015 and announced a surprise game for EA: Unravel. Sahlin and the game's adorable protagonist, Yarny, stole the hearts of everyone in attendance and watching at home. Unravel came out to a good critical reception, and EA confirmed that it had extended its contract with developer Coldwood Interactive to make a sequel.

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Even though Unravel only released at the beginning of 2016, I think we could see a trailer for Yarny's next adventure -- even if it doesn't release until 2018. Unravel 2 would be welcomed by many, assuming Coldwood Interactive can improve upon the shortcomings of the original. 

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Star Wars Battlefront 2

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Star Wars Battlefront 2 has already been announced and revealed via an amazing trailer from EA. I expect this game to potentially open EA's showcase this year, considering there is likely more Star Wars to follow.

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Carrying on from the previous Battlefront game, EA Dice and Motive Studios are looking to add to, refine, and improve the series. The multiplayer will return in a big way -- with new maps, new heroes and villains (with better animations), much-requested space battles, and the new story mode.

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The story mode in Battlefront 2 was revealed in the trailer a few weeks ago, and it tells the story of Iden Versio, a hero of the Empire. Playing as Iden, you get to see the other side of the conflict, which takes place right after the Death Star blows-up at the end of Return of the Jedi. This set-up is immediately interesting and puts players in a more personal story than we've ever had in a Star Wars game.

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At E3 I would expect to see a huge multiplayer battle at EA's conference, and then perhaps a 10-minute playthrough of the campaign at Sony's showcase. Star Wars: Battlefront 2 will be a major factor for EA at E3, and the big fall game this year. So expect to see more than one demo.

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Fifa/Madden/NBA

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As always, EA will spend a significant portion of its showcase on sports titles.

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Madden
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Madden 18 was revealed a short while ago and the legendary Tom Brady was announced as the cover star. Amazingly, this is the first time the five-time Superbowl winner has ever graced the cover of Madden, despite his team-mate Rob Gronkowski appearing twice. I wouldn't be surprised to see Brady show up at the conference.

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This year's Madden will be the first on EA's impressive Frostbite engine, which will provide the game with a huge visual and gameplay upgrade. In another massive first for the series, we will get a story mode akin to The Journey in last year's FIFA, which we should learn more about at the expo.

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FIFA 18
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Speaking of FIFA and The Journey, we will undoubtedly hear about the next installment in this long-running soccer series at E3, along with season 2 of Alex Hunter's career. As mentioned above, The Journey was a shockingly good mode in last year's FIFA, and another season of it will be welcomed by many.

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Other Sports Games
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We can also look forward to NBA Live, PGA Tour, NHL, and UFC, all of which could see new installments announced at E3.

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Of all these titles, I think the least likely to see a new installment is UFC. There was a 2-year gap between the first two titles, and it's a series that doesn't need yearly iterations. As for PGA Tour however, it's been two years since we've seen a game in that series, and so it could be time -- although the last game was not well received.

"},{"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/original-a3d1f.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/o/r/i/original-a3d1f.jpg","type":"slide","id":"160239","description":"

Let's be honest -- usually Electronic Arts has the most forgettable showcase at E3 every year. That's not to say the company's showcase is bad, it's just that one or more of the publishers tend to blow it out of the water.

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Even when writing these E3 predictions lists, EA was the publisher I was least excited to get to. However, upon putting the list together, I realized how amazing this E3 could be for Electronic Arts.

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Last year, EA released Battlefield 1, UFC 2, Mirror's Edge Catalyst, Titanfall 2, Unravel, and its usual sports titles. This year, the company has published Mass Effect: Andromeda, which did not fare well critically. So EA has been doing pretty well since its last E3 presentation, and its upcoming roster of releases is looking even better. 

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We'll probably see some Mass Effect DLC in this year's showcase, but what else can we expect? Let's find out!

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Gamer Gift Guide: DIY Gaming Inspired Holiday Gifts https://www.gameskinny.com/mx7bj/gamer-gift-guide-diy-gaming-inspired-holiday-gifts https://www.gameskinny.com/mx7bj/gamer-gift-guide-diy-gaming-inspired-holiday-gifts Wed, 23 Nov 2016 23:22:04 -0500 Janette Ceballos

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Pixel Image Necklace
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Rough Price: $8 total

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As long as you have a small pixelated design to hand, you can make one of these little guys from stacking and gluing cardstock copies together. Simpler designs are easier, but don’t let that stop you from going all out.

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These can also work as a keychain.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/c/o/r/cork-f1058.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/c/o/r/cork-f1058.jpg","type":"slide","id":"141957","description":"
Pixel Style Cork Board'
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Rough Price: $15 total

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Useful for keeping track of things, these cork boards cost about $10 to make. You can pretty much make any pixel image outline with these so long as it fits onto your corkboard. You can even coat them with acrylic paint to add another layer of personalization. A great guide, by Mortem3r, for a Zelda health gauge cork board set can be found on her channel.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/y/a/r/yarny-eccd1.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/y/a/r/yarny-eccd1.jpg","type":"slide","id":"141956","description":"
Yarny
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Rough Price: $10-$15 total

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The EA published game, Unravel features this red-colored buddy as its protagonist. Many were endeared to the walking yarn ball, and for good reason. Yarny has a cute and realistic design, easy to recreate.

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The game’s website features a video with detailed instructions on how to make one. Few items are needed, but they include wire, yarn, scissors, and a bit of time. Yarnys are very cute and customizable, with your choice of yarn color and body shape.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/w/a/l/wallet-6a42d.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/w/a/l/wallet-6a42d.jpg","type":"slide","id":"141955","description":"
Duct Tape Wallet
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Rough Price: $3-$5 per tape roll

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Functional and cool to look at, these wallets can also be tailor-made to any video game a person enjoys. While these are cheap to make, only requiring duct tape, scissors, and a ruler, the limit here is how detailed you want to be in your design. More detail means more types of tape will be needed to make those intricate designs.

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You can get the tape from just about any store and the wallet is incredibly easy to make.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/d/i/o/dioramas-41b93.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/d/i/o/dioramas-41b93.jpg","type":"slide","id":"141954","description":"
3D Videogame Paper Diorama
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Rough Price: $15-$20 total

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This one will take a bit of time, but makes for a wonderful and cool decoration to hang on the wall when framed. It’s a picture-perfect gift! And the best part is that you can choose from a variety of video games, and from a pool of possible iconic and memorable scenes, or create your own scenes.

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A simple set of instructions:

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  • Gathering images. A good resource would be VGmaps or any other sprite image collection database.
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  • Print out the images. Any paper will do.
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  • Cut each layer.
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  • Paste it together.
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  • Frame it!
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"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/g/a/m/gamer-guide-2296f.png","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/g/a/m/gamer-guide-2296f.png","type":"slide","id":"141953","description":"

Shopping for the holidays can be a real drag. Sometimes that perfect gift you’ve been eyeing has sold out everywhere. Sometimes the frenzy of the mall gets to be a bit too much. And sometimes you don’t have the dough to buy all those expensive gifts. But you still want to show you care, right?

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Well, hand-crafted gifts are a great way to do just that, especially if you’ve got an artistic side! These crafts are very customizable, and are sure to be a one of a kind treat.

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Need for Speed and Unravel Arrive on EA Access Today https://www.gameskinny.com/1deni/need-for-speed-and-unravel-arrive-on-ea-access-today https://www.gameskinny.com/1deni/need-for-speed-and-unravel-arrive-on-ea-access-today Tue, 12 Jul 2016 04:51:00 -0400 Joe Passantino

EA has announced that Need for Speed and Unravel will be available on EA/Origin Access from today, July 12.

EA Access is available on Xbox One and PC, with the PC version being called Origin Access after EA's own digital distribution service, Origin. The services allows gamers to play their favorite EA games for $4.99 a month. Players can also try games before they're released and have their progress carried over after buying the game.

Members also receive a 10 percent discount on full games, pre-orders, and expansion packs, among other items.

Other games available via the service include Titanfall, Dead Space and Dragon Age: Inquisition. Members can also access several sports titles, including NBA Live 16, FIFA 16, NHL 16 and Madden NFL 16.

Those interested in playing Unravel can check out a GameSkinny review of the game, as well as nine minutes of Unravel gameplay, courtesy of IGN. 

EA/Origin Access members, are you more excited to play Need for Speed or Unravel? Non-members, might these games get you to subscribe? Let us know in the comments below!

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Unravel Review https://www.gameskinny.com/5v2w1/unravel-review https://www.gameskinny.com/5v2w1/unravel-review Tue, 16 Aug 2016 17:11:55 -0400 Chris Bowring

Hoping to pull on their heart strings, Unravel extends a hand to gamers. But despite all the charm Coldwood Interactive have endeavored to inject this indie darling with, it falls flat and feels hollow.

Unravel is a good game. It isn’t bad by any means, but it isn’t great either. You play as the video game equivalent of Woody from Toy Story. An old and beloved toy, who comes to life when out of sight, fondly looking back on memories of his owner’s childhood.

So what is it?

Unravel is a simple sidescroller/ puzzle platformer. Using your lasso like limbs, you explore familiar environments such as sheds, rabbit holes and fields. These environments would feel mundane, if you weren’t playing as a character the size of a bird. And traversal isn’t as easy as merely swinging over a puddle or abseiling down a tree. The game’s protagonist, Yarny, slowly unravels as he moves forward, meaning the player must be strategic in the way they move around the world. To continue your journey you must find spindles of yarn placed thoughtfully throughout the level. However, wrap yourself around too many objects or tie yourself to too many hooks for support, and you’ll find you run out of yarn. The player must then retrace their steps, recollecting the threads of your being in order to tackle that section again more sparingly. 

How does it play?

In some ways, Unravel is reminiscent of Limbo. The little boy from 2010’s Limbo and Yarny both feel like they have weight. They can’t jump unreasonable heights like Mario or Super Meat Boy. Their movement is seemingly held within the confines of reality. They both tell much of their story through the stunning visual nature of their backgrounds and with the creatures of the world interacting with the protagonist. Straying across the sinister arachnid in Limbo was a chilling experience. And for a long time, I doubted that another common critter could leave me so unsettled. However maneuvering through an office at night has never felt as unnerving as it did in Unravel. Cockroaches scuttle along the floor like multi-legged leeches. If you fall into the darkness, you are torn limb from fabricy limb. You must bathe yourself and the path ahead in light to survive.

 

The problem with Unravel

Yet another similarity between Limbo and this title is that the player must often die to realize what they’re doing wrong, to learn a rule within that world, or for a pattern to be navigated. However, where in Limbo after my initial death these patterns became clear, in Unravel, to my annoyance, this was not the case. Two specific sequences come to mind: Running across a field, desperately sprinting from cover to cover, avoiding the reaching talons of birds, and climbing along a power line, as distant lightning strikes semd volts of electricity through the cable.

In both these instances, I struggled again and again to move on. There didn’t seem to be any logical pattern to the timing of the lightning strikes or the timing of the birds swooping down towards me. Sometimes, I’d have ample time to get to the sanctuary of cover. And other times after leaving cover, the moment it was safe to do so, I was grabbed or electrocuted despite not even being half way towards my next haven. After a litany of attempts I still found myself struggling to uncover the pattern.

A story I struggled to grasp

This confusion extends to the game's narrative as well. During the opening cinematic, an old woman looks fondly at a photograph, then seemingly remembering something, she slowly heads upstairs, dropping a ball of yarn along the way. Cut to Yarny, a toy made entirely of yarn looking at an empty photo album. You take control of Yarny, moving throughout the house. With every photo frame you find, you are transported to the location of the image. You journey through each of these environments, seeing memories of the past, made out of shimmering particles. Eventually, each level ends with Yarny finding a small shape made of yarn. You are then transported back to the old woman’s home and one by one, you place each of the small yarn made symbols onto the cover of the photo album. Understand what’s going on? Good, because neither do I.

Throughout the course of the entire game, I was confused. Who was this old woman who isn’t brought back into the narrative until the closing cinematic? As Yarny, am I stepping into a memory when I look into these photo frames, or am I actually going out and finding these strange shapes, which don’t seem to hold any real narrative purpose? And what is the story of these memories I am continuously stumbling upon? What are they trying to convey? With a lack of dialogue and nothing more than shimmering still-images of people in the distance, I was often left confused. Eventually, upon completing the game and assembling all the missing pictures of the photo album, I was able to piece together a story; a story that if I’d understood sooner, rather than at the end, I may have been moved by.

Final Thoughts

Unravel isn’t a bad game. Mundane environments turned into stunning forests and industrial complexes, a moving soundtrack, and generally fun platforming help Unravel stand out amidst the crowd. However Unravel falls short of greatness, through a confusing narrative and frustrating puzzle sequences. Overall, I give this game a 7/10.

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How is EA Partnering with Indie Developers? https://www.gameskinny.com/3tvc3/how-is-ea-partnering-with-indie-developers https://www.gameskinny.com/3tvc3/how-is-ea-partnering-with-indie-developers Mon, 13 Jun 2016 16:16:47 -0400 Joe Passantino

EA has announced EA Originals, a program dedicated to helping small developers create and publish their games.

The studio claims three major goals in implementing the program: bringing new gaming experiences to the public, helping developers make the most of their products and offering those studios a comfortable level of security. EA plans to accomplish that final purpose by giving game profits directly to the developers.

In a statement, EA Studios Executive Vice President Patrick Söderlund commented on the new initiative:

With EA Originals, we are committed to finding great new games that we know players are going to love, and working with small developers to make sure those games get discovered and into the hands of players.

The first EA Originals game is called Fe. According to Söderlund, the game is "a personal narrative about our relationship with nature, the land, and its beings."

EA conceived the idea for the program as a result of their partnership with developer Coldwood on Unravel. The game received mostly positive reviews, including a rating of 8 on GameSkinny.

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10 Great X-Box One Games for Kids! https://www.gameskinny.com/374na/10-great-x-box-one-games-for-kids https://www.gameskinny.com/374na/10-great-x-box-one-games-for-kids Sun, 24 Apr 2016 05:30:02 -0400 Capt. Eliza Creststeel

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Project Spark
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How about a game app that let's you create your own games or play games created by others?

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Imagine being able to start with a blank video canvas or alter existing environments, add objects, items to play with, and characters. Designed objects and worlds are shareable, and other players can be invited into your creations.

\n

Using a Kinect device, your young game maker can create animation for their characters and even add voices to them. Creative older kids can dive in and begin to craft their own fun or anyone can download and play projects created by others.

\n

The folks at Project Spark also provide a lot of support and videos showing how to use the application and to build the best game possible.

\n

And best of all? There's NO charge.

\n

MSRP: FREE (Download from the X-Box One) 

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_80/v1/gameskinny/2ccec89579006cfa5aa0ed2eaec57557.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_80/v1/gameskinny/2ccec89579006cfa5aa0ed2eaec57557.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"8041","description":"
Disney Infinity 3.0
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by Avalanche Software

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While we're on the topic of games combined with collectible toys, it's hard to avoid the Death Star in the room. Disney's Infinity is now in it's third generation with no signs of stopping. 

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Younger players like the hands-on feel of having, collecting, or even trading figures with friends.

\n

With their recent acquisition of Lucasfilm and Marvel Comics, Disney has added their massive universes to an already massive open world experience.

\n

Players connect the Infinity platform to the X-Box One, then place their characters, which can be used in nearly any combination. Want to have Ironman, Princess Leia and Timon team up? Now, you can make your dream team of heroes and villains.

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Disney Infinity 3.0 Starter Kit - MSRP: $39.99

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Additional characters and sets range from $7.99-$29.99

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_80/v1/gameskinny/9b3139362c48e5373a640fefcdc0c7f4.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_80/v1/gameskinny/9b3139362c48e5373a640fefcdc0c7f4.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"8040","description":"
LEGO® Dimensions
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A recent trend has been the combination of video games with collectible toys. This would include the original Skylanders, the very popular Disney Infinity series, Nintendo's Amiibo (a-me-bo) and Lego Dimensions.

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Additional toys, sold separately, allow new characters and vehicles to be added to games, unlock levels, find secret areas and create new combinations of adventures.

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Lego Dimensions adds another facet. Not only are players collecting characters and playing the game, they're actually building or re-building the vehicles and equipment used in the game.

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Snap together the Batmobile and place it on the portal stand... viola! The Dark Knight's ride appears in the game for characters to tool around in.

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The Starter Set also includes:

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    \n
  • LEGO Toy Pad
  • \n
  • Bricks to build the LEGO Gateway
  • \n
  • 3 LEGO minifigures (Batman, Gandalf, and Wyldstyle)
  • \n
  • LEGO Batmobile vehicle
  • \n
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Lego's other titles have always been favorites for players of all ages with a variety of worlds to play in like Star Wars, DC Comics, Pirates of the Caribbean, Ghostbusters and most recently Jurassic World.

\n

Lego Dimensions Starter Kit - MSRP: $79.99

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Additional characters and mini-sets range from $8-$29

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_80/v1/gameskinny/86a6d4e0277fa8281da0e1fb4b27df0f.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_80/v1/gameskinny/86a6d4e0277fa8281da0e1fb4b27df0f.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"8065","description":"
Child of Light
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Saying this UbiSoft game is a side-scrolling platformer and RPG does nothing to describe the experience of leaping into a lush fairy tale painted with a watercolor palette. Each level plays upon light and shadow, as is the game's theme, and looks like a Grimm story brought to life.

\n

Aurora is a princess taken from her home at a time when darkness threatens to consume everything. She sets out to find the moon, the stars and the sun and return the light to stop the Umbra, the Queen of Darkness.

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With the help of a firefly named Igniculus, Aurora sets out across mythical realm of Lemuria. Watching Child of Light reminds me of turning pages in some kind of animated storybook. The visuals are layered and stylish but kids who've played other classic platform games should acclimate just fine.

\n

MSRP: $14.99 (Download)

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_80/v1/gameskinny/a4f375eeccd273c8a358c9afdc0ade22.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_80/v1/gameskinny/a4f375eeccd273c8a358c9afdc0ade22.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"8064","description":"
Unravel 
\n

Next is a curious and stunningly beautiful platform puzzle-solving game from Coldwood Interactive and Electronic Arts

\n

Yarny is a small fuzzy creature made of yarn. As he moves through the environment, the player can have Yarny use parts of himself to perform tasks, solve puzzles, avoid enemies, and get around obstacles in his path.

\n

Using his strings to build bridges, swing across openings, grab things etc. can deplete Yarny, so players must be careful to keep him going. His mission is gathering memories by earning badges for his successful outings.

\n

The world Yarny moves through is gorgeous to look at and his journey challenges the brain not the trigger finger.

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MSRP: $19.99

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_80/v1/gameskinny/3be40e50e1712deb37c86e71a0209851.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_80/v1/gameskinny/3be40e50e1712deb37c86e71a0209851.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"8047","description":"
Just Dance Disney Party 2
\n

So often parents worry their kids spend too much time on the couch and not enough being physically active. Also, what can kids do to stay active on those rainy or snowy days? 

\n

The Just Dance series uses the X-box One Kinect* as players imitate dance moves acted out on the screen. Imagine the old Dance Dance Revolution game, but without a floor pad. Characters on the screen perform to the music and you score by how well you perform the moves and keep up.

\n

Disney Party 2 uses songs from The Disney Channel's most popular kid series and TV movies like:

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    \n
  • Austin and Ally
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  • The Descendants
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  • Girl Meets World
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  • Girl vs. Monster
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  • K.C. Undercover
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  • Teen Beach 1 and 2
  • \n
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If you have a houseful of dancing fools, there are several Just Dance titles to keep them rocking out new moves.

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MSRP: $29.99

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*Requires the Kinect scanner

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_80/v1/gameskinny/f4e389099912c1cbcf1c3b8199fe056c.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_80/v1/gameskinny/f4e389099912c1cbcf1c3b8199fe056c.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"8039","description":"
Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2
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PopCap Game's world of Plants vs. Zombies sprouted first as a tower defense game where players tried to protect their Suburbia backyard from invading zombies by raising crazy attack plants to stop them.

\n

Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare expanded the wacky battle by creating a three-dimensional world the player could move about in, lay out their yard, plant new creations and fight off zombie invaders.

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Garden Warfare 2 now ratchets up the battle another notch as players can play either side and even pilot the zombie's Zmechs, walking tank secret weapons.

\n

While the story is a war between the undead and monstrous plants, the cartoonish action and comic sense of humor makes Garden Warfare 2 a blast to play and numerous play modes keep the challenge coming.

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There's over 100 different plants and zombie characters to use in your armies. Team up for 2, 3 or 4 player Co-Op mode or pop online for Player-vs-Player mode with up to 24 competitors.

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MSRP: $59.99 or $69.99 for the Deluxe Edition.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_80/v1/gameskinny/b699adbb99657b4b2f53ab6e94b79e5c.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_80/v1/gameskinny/b699adbb99657b4b2f53ab6e94b79e5c.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"8046","description":"
Rocket League
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So, what would playing a giant game of soccer be like if played by rocket-powered cars? Simple premise. Insanely fun.

\n

Based on the PS3 game Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars that Psyonix originally published independently, this next-gen version ramps up the thrills with customizable cars, "mutator modes" (to alter gravity, ball size, physics), and plenty of DLC (more cars, various paint jobs, trick tires, and new maps).

\n

The critically-acclaimed, award-winning game has been called "highly addictive", "the right mixture of chaos and precision", and "one of the most entertaining multi-player games of the year (2015)." After huge success on PCs and Playstation 4, Psyonix is adding an X-box One version this summer.*

\n

The basic premise makes Rocket League easy to pick up for younger drivers, but the level of detail means that older kids will be far from bored. Learning how to make precise moves and trick jumps or flips with the cars is an acquired skill. In fact, there is a dedicated Youtube channel where players can show off their driving and goal-making skills.

\n

Split-screen action allows for sibling rivalries as well as online play for more intense competition or a single-player Season Mode that uses computer controlled cars for teammates or opponents.

\n

MSRP: $29.99

\n

*X-Box One Version Release Date is July 6th

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_80/v1/gameskinny/00aa078e0535c3220ecc464e8d8262f9.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_80/v1/gameskinny/00aa078e0535c3220ecc464e8d8262f9.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"8038","description":"
Trackmania Turbo
\n

Just released in March, Trackmania Turbo by Ubisoft features high-speed action, mind-bending tracks and vivid environments to engage younger racers while it still challenges veteran drivers.

\n

The insanely wild courses reminded me of the Speed Racer movie as your car defies gravity, flips, jumps and hugs impossible turns at high speed. 

\n

With over 200 unique racetracks (yes, over 200), the experience won't get old fast. Older kids can create with Track Builder for making new thrills and can even post their finished creations online for others to try.

\n

Family members can challenge each other in head-to-head race events or go online for massive Player-vs-Player Racing. Ubisoft's Double Driver Challenge takes Co-Op play to a whole new level as two players must match move for move to control a single car and keep it on the track.

\n

MSRP: $39.99

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_80/v1/gameskinny/93ceec810e91843e941f29141a059be8.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_80/v1/gameskinny/93ceec810e91843e941f29141a059be8.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"8057","description":"
Minecraft
\n

by Mojang and Microsoft

\n

The first selection is one you may already be familiar with, but still a classic. Though nearly 5 years old, the quintessential sandbox builder game Minecraft continues in popularity. It's simplicity, combined with open-world play and layers of complexity keep millions coming back. It's also sprouted a mobile app and most recently a spin-off, Minecraft: Story Mode.

\n

Online Minecraft has become it's own universe with sites and Youtube channels dedicated to the creations players have made, start up seeds, downloadable outfits, custom bricks, as well as favorite things to do or best places to go in the game, etc. 

\n

It's the ability to jump right in as a single-player, co-op or online session that means everyone can experience the game as they want. Take on the challenge of Survival Mode, or tinker in Creative, or just be social on someone's server.

\n

Minecraft MSRP: $19.99 (Disc or Direct Download)

\n

Minecraft: Story Edition MSRP: $29.99 (Season Pass Disc)

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/w/a/l/wallofgames-6398e.png","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/w/a/l/wallofgames-6398e.png","type":"slide","id":"112097","description":"

Staring at a wall of game titles in a store or browsing page after page online can be daunting when trying to find an age-appropriate but fun X-Box One game for younger players.

\n

Though a gamer and a pirate amazon, I'm a parent first. So, I understand the struggle of knowing what's okay for kids to play that's not too intense, too scary or too mature for their game time--especially since many X-Box One popular titles are shoot'em ups, fighting games or horror.

\n

Here's some of the most popular E Rated and E-10 Rated games out there. E Rated meaning a game is suitable for Everyone; no naughty language, over the top violence, or graphically frightening images. The E-10 rating is meant for older kids and normally means there might be a crude joke or two (like fart humor) and the action might be a little more intense.

\n

Some of the titles have been around a little while, but you just may have not seen them. A few are fairly new and might be good upcoming gift ideas.

\n

Prices listed are the everyday prices averaged from several gaming stores, big box stores and online shopping. Some comparisons can find the best deals.

"}]]]>
Unravel Review: Full of Life and Fun https://www.gameskinny.com/h13rx/unravel-review-full-of-life-and-fun https://www.gameskinny.com/h13rx/unravel-review-full-of-life-and-fun Sat, 19 Mar 2016 10:21:32 -0400 Curtis Dillon

Unravel is one of the more difficult games I've ever reviewed. The simple answer as to why is that it frustrated me as much as it charmed me. For example: right now, having finished the game mere minutes ago, I can say it was great and beautiful and yadda-yadda, but one hour ago I was stuck on a section of platforming and I would have told you it was annoying and just OK. And that's the thing about Unravel, much like its yarn protagonist, there's a lot of layers.

You play as Yarny, an adorable red figure (made of yarn obviously), with two white eyes. You start your game inside a home -- after a fantastic-looking cutscene -- and you move your way over to a cabinet with all sorts of everyday junk: books, boxes, and pictures. Each picture is a memory and comes with a title, and these are the levels you play through. Yarny advances through each memory, leaving a trail of yarn behind him that represents the love that binds a lifetime of memories. It's a simple set-up and one that has the potential to be overly mushy, pretentious, or try too hard to pull heartstrings. It's a testament to developer Coldwood that it never feels anything but honest.

The Exterior

From the moment Unravel was revealed, the gaming community fell in love with it. There was a variety of reasons for this. The unique platformer was bundled in amongst all of EA's sports titles, Mirror's Edge, and Mass Effect, and therefore stood out. The presenter (Creative Director Martin Sahlin) was visibly nervous on stage as he introduced the world to the adorable Yarny, thus endearing himself by not being a "suit." And the art style is unique and fresh.

That's the first thing you'll notice about the game, it's absolutely beautiful. The entirety of the game takes place in the foreground but the backgrounds are every bit as important, with much of the story-telling occurring there where it's as painterly and pretty as what's out front.

You'll explore various locales, from your summer backyard, to rain and windswept construction sites. And whether you're falling into a bed of leaves or trudging through snow that threatens to envelop Yarny, it all looks breathtaking. What makes it even better is that Yarny reacts to each situation accordingly. In the later stages of the game when he's knee-deep in snow (does Yarny have knees?!) he has his arms wrapped around himself and is shivering.

Another example of this is at the beginning of an early level, where you navigate between trees in a sunny Autumn forest, Yarny will stand with his arms folded, completely at ease. Whereas in the dark polluted areas where tree's are collapsing and the water is bright green, Yarny looks terrified, with hunched shoulders and winced eyes. These simple animations are incredibly effective at making Yarny a believable, relatable and lovable character.

The art design and Yarny are definitely the strongest weapons in Unravel's arsenal. The game never fails to look fantastic and encourage you to stop and take in the scenery. Unfortunately, you'll also be stopping when you have no desire to.

The Interior

The gameplay is where Unravel really has me at odds. On one hand, it feels fantastic when you're progressing through a level, using yarn like a lasso to swing over water, and quickly progressing through puzzles. But then there are the times when I got stuck on a puzzle for 20 minutes, and not because the game was hard. There were even times when I hit my couch in frustration.

One of the primary mechanics of Unravel is the amount of string Yarny has. You have to regularly find a spool of yarn, to keep progressing. This mechanic can be fun and add a level of tension to proceedings. However there were a number of occasions when I ran out of yarn mere inches from the next spool, and try as I might, Yarny just couldn't reach. So I'd be forced to go back to the previous puzzle and solve it again in a more cost efficient manner. Some would argue that this encourages smarter puzzle solving but I can't help but wonder why my way of solving the puzzle was any less acceptable. I solved the conundrum, so why force me to go back and solve it again in the "right" way.

There were definitely times when I'd spend 10+ minutes solving a platforming puzzle, only to discover that I didn't have enough yarn to reach the next area. That isn't fun. As for the platforming itself, it's pretty good. It's quite floaty but Yarny feels pretty much exactly like I thought he would. I would say playing Unravel feels like a nice mix between Journey and Limbo, which is certainly not a bad thing. The pacing of the platforming is fairly slow, with puzzles interspersed with some straightforward sections, and that works nicely.

Unravel works best when moving faster. One particular section in the game, titled 'Winter Sun', sees you blast through a snowy level using tree branches to swing between and climb -- charmingly knocking snow off as you do so, rolling acorns downhill to make snowballs, riding downhill in wooden logs, and leaping between icy platforms that are collapsing. This level moves at a far faster pace than the others and that works in Unravel's favor.

Playing Unravel was divisive; I'd love it for a few minutes, then verge on hating it just a few seconds later. Sometimes I'd get stuck in a level, having no idea what I was supposed to do and where I was supposed to attach my yarn to. Or I simply ran out of yarn altogether. All-in-all though, it speaks volumes that I was always happy to come back to Unravel a few hours later, and I never considered not completing it.

Unravelling The Minutia

The final element of Unravel for us to inspect, is that of the plot. As I mentioned way back at the beginning of this review, Unravel could easily have fell into a far too gooey plot, with its hazy art-style, ethereal memories of people, and literal string of love. However Coldwood wisely avoided any use of voice whatsoever, and we see the entire story through the eyes of Yarny, which allows it to be as sickly sentimental as it is. It works because of Yarny.

The game begins with a cutscene of an elderly woman with a red ball of yarn. Then as the first few levels play out, you bear witness to a family vacation, a hiking trip, etc., and it reflects some great family memories in the life of the elderly woman. Then it takes a darker turn and showcases the industrialization of the woods they used to roam. This ultimately works as a way of stressing the negate impact of the deforestation. However, this particular element could have been used to more effect, as it doesn't really impact the game or plot beyond a couple of levels. Without spoiling the latter half of the game, it quickly leaves behind the dark industrial levels and goes back to telling a personal family story, which feels a bit jarring.

The Verdict

Unravel is a beautiful game that works 70% of the time. In that 70%, Unravel is a thoroughly enjoyable platformer that tells a nice story, has something to say about industrialization, and boasts a really lovable protagonist. The other 30% of the time, it's frustrating and unclear what you should be doing. Puzzles can be difficult to overcome because of low lighting, unseen objectives, or simply running out of yarn - which tells you there is a right and wrong way to play.

However that 70% is so very charming, and so very fun, that you can't help but be won over by Yarny and his emotional journey. The game begins with developer Coldwood thanking you for buying the game, and again at the end for playing. And that's the kind of sincerity that elevates Unravel from average platformer that tries too hard, to a really great one that pulls all the right heart-strings.

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Unravel review - A heart-warming adventure to mend broken bonds https://www.gameskinny.com/28r1q/unravel-review-a-heart-warming-adventure-to-mend-broken-bonds https://www.gameskinny.com/28r1q/unravel-review-a-heart-warming-adventure-to-mend-broken-bonds Thu, 03 Mar 2016 15:12:34 -0500 Alec Pearce

Unravel is a true current gen side-scroller that combines interesting gameplay with fantastic visuals, interactive environments, and near perfect sound design.

The story is basic but heart-warming, and the adorable main character, Yarnyis a great protagonist who you develop a fond attachment to during your playtime. Gameplay and level design is typically very good, though it does suffer from overly simplistic puzzles, as well as a number of tedious trial and error moments which spoil the pacing of the game somewhat.

From a graphical and visual viewpoint, the game is stunning, with excellent detail for a side-scrolling platformer. It offers breathtaking vistas, from snow-covered fields, right down to dark, dingy bogs. Unravel also greatly succeeds in its music and sound design ,which both perfectly compliment every moment, whether it be happy and exciting or melancholic and sad.

Mend those bonds

There really isn't much to Unravel's story, but that does not mean it is a let down. It is simple but effective. As Yarny, a lovable character made of red yarn, it is your mission to reconnect your broken and forgotten memories by entering various photographs placed around the house.

As you progress through each level, you relive a lifetime of experiences and learn more about the values of family, love, trust and friendship. The story teaches you that life can be both wonderful and brutal, perhaps personified by the multiple times Yarny soars through areas with ease but then struggles and dies in the harsher environments. 

The game pulls on your heart strings more and more as you get closer to the end, but unfortunately fails to deliver any real conclusion despite all of your efforts. Don't get me wrong -- it still nearly brought me to tears, but I was nevertheless left with a bit of an empty feeling of "is that it?" as I watched the final cutscene play out. This was a shame, considering how touching the game was in many other parts.

Connecting the knots

Each level offers a different look, style, and feel. Some focus more on verticality and has you climbing up trees and swinging between branches, whilst others place you in precarious situations where making a mistake will result in death. An example of this would be sections where you jump to and balance on small floating objects suspended on water. Falling off usually results in drowning.

There are far more examples, and this keeps the game varied enough to remain interesting as you progress. It would have been nice to have more extended rope swinging sections, as these were few and far between but exceedingly liberating when they did actually occur. The free flowing sections, in which you quickly progress through a good portion of a level, are definitely Unravel's biggest strength in terms of gameplay.

The controls are very straightforward and easy to master. You learn how to jump, grab objects, use your lasso, climb, swing, and tie knots to make bridges in the first level. These features are heavily utilized throughout your play through. The core aspect of the game is how Yarny's body unravels as you progress between checkpoints. Some routes and puzzles cannot be completed unless you find extra thread to replenish your body. It was nice to see something innovative like this, which was part of Unravel's marketing and made it stand out.

Most puzzles are easy to solve, too easy in many cases, with some requiring a bit more trial and error. Unfortunately these moments have a negative impact on the game, as I found myself getting frustrated at the clunkyness of the controls when trying to complete these sections. With that said, it was very enjoyable and satisfying when you succeeded in what you were trying to do.

Graphically speaking, Unravel really does look fantastic. Coldwood Interactive did a fantastic job at creating a visually appealing, detailed and interactive world. The light effects are flawless and every level's backdrop are breathtaking and unique in their own way. Although some areas are more memorable than others, each one immerses you in a different emotional experience. You'll be happy, sad, carefree, and scared for Yarny's safety, depending on the environment. It's not only the backgrounds that are excellent either. The small details like flitting butterflies, falling pine cones and various weather conditions all add to the experience and look equally beautiful.

The sweet sound of Scandinavia

In my opinion the sound design of Unravel is it's biggest strength. Since the game is based in Sweden, Coldwood teamed up with two local composers, Henrik Oja and Frida Johansson, who produced the entire soundtrack in the Swedish style. The music perfectly fits each moment, matching the emotion you, and presumably Yarny, are feeling. With the absence of any dialogue, it tells the story of Unravel and does an exceptional job of absorbing you into the memories you are exploring. 

It doesn't end there. The environment sounds are also practically perfect in every way. The rustling of leaves, the snap of a branch, the sound of the wind and waves, to name just a few examples, seem so realistic that you may start to think you're actually outside. Sound is such an important feature in any video game -- and if this review was based on it alone, Unravel would unequivocally earn a 10 out of 10.

The Verdict

8/10

Although it occasionally suffers from some tedious gameplay features and concludes with a somewhat lackluster ending, Unravel is nonetheless a solid side-scrolling platformer that deserves its place on current gen consoles. It combines interesting gameplay, excellent visuals and damn near flawless sound design to make for an enjoyable, heart-warming, and tear-jerking experience.

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New EA video provides backstory for upcoming Unravel release https://www.gameskinny.com/cb1qf/new-ea-video-provides-backstory-for-upcoming-unravel-release https://www.gameskinny.com/cb1qf/new-ea-video-provides-backstory-for-upcoming-unravel-release Thu, 21 Jan 2016 03:41:54 -0500 Alec Pearce

In a gameplay video posted on the official EA UK YouTube channel, Creative Director Martin Sahlin talks about Unravel's gameplay, interaction with the environment, and what motivates the adorable main character.

In this upcoming game, the player takes control of Yarny -- a character made entirely of red yarn. Sahlin explains that the character originates from a single ball of yarn that is attached to something at the beginning of the game. The further away Yarny gets, the more it unravels -- hence the game's name. Furthermore, Sahlin talks about Unravel's interactive mechanics and the extent to which you can synergize with the environment to help you solve puzzles, saying there are "tons of possibilities".

"They let you climb on the yarn, you can swing on it, you can hoist things, tether things together to connect them, grab things that are out of reach, or make bridges or ramps or even slingshots that you can use to launch Yarny high into the air".

He goes on to explain what Yarny's main objective is.

"The further away that Yarny gets, the more the yarn unravels and that really is the core challenge of the game, to make that yarn last all the way to the end of the game so you can tie it all back together". 

This is very cryptic indeed, and doesn't tell us much about the actual narrative of the game. But the trailer suggests that you are trying to piece together the memories of the woman seen carrying the balls of thread at the start. The game has been hinted to be quite an emotional ride, which seems to support this theory.

This is pure speculation, however, and we'll have to wait until the sidescroller is released on February 9th to find out for sure.

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EA Access announces trial dates for 3 popular titles https://www.gameskinny.com/lxisg/ea-access-announces-trial-dates-for-3-popular-titles https://www.gameskinny.com/lxisg/ea-access-announces-trial-dates-for-3-popular-titles Fri, 15 Jan 2016 18:02:13 -0500 Chan Moore

Getting access to games before the rest of the community is always a plus, EA Access has delivered on just that for its Xbox users. The developer has released the dates for Early Access to three of its games. And the selection has a little something for everybody.

Unravel

This is a physics-based puzzler where you play the role of Yarny, a small creature made of (you guessed it) yarn. The goal is to use the character's body to create lines that help you solve puzzles by climbing, swinging, crossing, and even hitching rides as you progress through the game. 

Release date: 1/4/16

Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2

This is a game most of us know and love. You have to strategically use various plants that have different weapon classes to defeat an army of zombies who want to destroy green life as we know it. This new iteration boasts a new zombie version of Garden Ops (called Graveyard Ops), 6 new plant and zombie classes, and a new game mode called Herbal Assault Mode.

Release date: 2/18/16

EA Sports UFC 2

In this mixed martial arts fighting game, you can get in the ring and pin, knockout, or make your opponent submit. This new title claims to be more realistic than its predecessor, with some added features. A few of them include "player deformation", a new "Knockout Physics System", and an Ultimate Team mode to give things a more dynamic feeling. The career mode has gotten some changes as well, including the addition of female fighters -- a first for the series.

Release date: 3/10/16

EA Access is available for Xbox One owners, and costs $4.99 per month, or $29.99 per year. As if it couldn't get any better, you will also gain free access to other big name EA titles as well. Click here to see a comprehensive list.

So check out the service if you have an Xbox One and let us know what game your playing right now!

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Watch 9 minutes of 'Unravel' gameplay https://www.gameskinny.com/cgvqx/watch-9-minutes-of-unravel-gameplay https://www.gameskinny.com/cgvqx/watch-9-minutes-of-unravel-gameplay Tue, 24 Nov 2015 08:05:59 -0500 Travis Shuman

In an industry of fancy over-the-top trailers that sugar coat the experience of the game they're revealing, it's a nice breath of fresh to have something a little more straightforward to shed really some light on a game.

EA has done that with their latest upcoming puzzle platformer, Unravel. The beautifully simplistic title follows the adventures of a creature made entirely of yarn as he uses his unique form to make his way through a larger-than-life world in Northern Scandinavia.

Yarny (yes, that's his name) is featured in a new 9-minute gameplay trailer that highlights a light background soundtrack and Yarny showing off some of his skills through various environments. Not only are the life-like graphics incredibly detailed, but the gameplay has everything a good puzzle should have: versatility, difficulty, and variance.

The gameplay trailer, courtesy of IGN, is a great little surprise, seeing as Unravel has yet to unveil a solid release window. Once it does release, fans will be able to download it on PC through Origin and also on PlayStation 4

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Post-E3 Round Table: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of E3 2015 https://www.gameskinny.com/t5qsk/post-e3-round-table-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly-of-e3-2015 https://www.gameskinny.com/t5qsk/post-e3-round-table-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly-of-e3-2015 Mon, 22 Jun 2015 07:59:53 -0400 WesleyG

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Who do you think “won” E3?

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WesleyG: If I had to choose the company that profited the most from E3, I’m going to go with Platinum Games. They have very quietly garnered a reputation for incredible titles like Mad World and Bayonetta (and I’ll throw in Okami and Viewtiful Joe since some many Clover employees are with Platinum) and leveraged that into some blockbuster deals. Not only are they working on Neir 2 for Square Enix, but they’re also working with Nintendo on Star Fox Zero. Don’t forget about the Xbox One exclusive Scalebound that Microsoft showed off last year. They’ve got major titles coming out on every major console. Not bad for a company with roughly 200 employees.

\n

Sheldon: The companies won. They always win. They got people excited and hyped for their games to come out. The only time we, the consumers, win is if the games release and they're actually good. Last year was a pretty solid win for consumers. We got a solid bunch of good AAA games. Not amazing games, but definitely starting to show off what this new generation can give to us. We have a few months to a few years to figure that out for this year, though. so in the meanwhile, enjoy the prequels to all the games that are getting sequels in the next year or so.

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James: I tip my hat to Microsoft this year, they came out swinging and needed to with the PlayStation sweeping up on the console market. The backwards compatibility was a big step in the right direction for the Xbox One, adding it to the solid game reveals. However, Sony really took E3 by the scruff of the neck, doing it for the fans and delivering the games everyone wanted to see. I can be cheesy and say the real winner of E3 was the fans, but from a business standpoint I give it to Sony.

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...Sony really took E3 by the scruff of the neck, doing it for the fans and delivering the games everyone wanted to see.
\n

Marcus: Bethesda definitely won a lot of fans over this year with their Fallout 4 announcement, but I think I need to give it to EA this year. They came out in a big way with games like Rise of the Tomb Raider, Mass Effect, and of course Star Wars Battlefront. Battlefront alone could have duked it out with every other major AAA title announced and still probably come out on top, but EA had many more announcements that excited fans. Speaking of which, that crowd was probably the most energetic and supportive. Specifically, I appreciated the encouraging applause given to the creative director of Unravel who spoke about his game with such passion and nervousness that it was hard not to love him right away. I don't recall any moments from E3 as touching as that one.

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Dustin: This is very easy for me. It is Sony. While this conference is a showing off of your biggest and baddest toys now we forget what it should be. It should be about the games. With Sony announcing its exclusive deals with Call Of Duty out from under Microsoft and with IO Interactive announcing PlayStation exclusive missions and contracts I feel like they are doing the things they should have been doing: WORKING ON GAMES. Plus the announcing of The Last Guardian finally coming out next year has to be Sony winning again. Let's not forget Project Morpheus, either.

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/c/3/7/c3795513b6b2b7c599d6d47a1b16f3c6.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/c/3/7/tiny_c3795513b6b2b7c599d6d47a1b16f3c6.jpg","type":"slide","id":"71530","description":"

What kind of industry trends do you see emerging after E3?

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WesleyG: Like I mentioned earlier, nostalgia was a major part of E3 and it doesn’t look to be slowing down soon. Many are ready to crown Sony as the winners of E3, but they relied so heavily on nostalgia bait to hook the audience. The biggest buzz from that press conference comes from remaking an RPG from 1997 and Kickstarting a franchise that has been dormant since 2001. It isn’t like the other conferences were much better, trotting out game collections and remasters at nearly every conference. I feel that it’s a side effect of these companies having been in the industry long enough to have a backlog of beloved titles to draw from. Basically, we’re probably going to see Sony and Microsoft start doing what Nintendo has been doing for quite a few years now, leveraging their lineage for sure-fire buzz generators.

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Sheldon: The main trend seems to be to get some quality games onto the new consoles. Last year we saw great cross-generation games (Dragon Age: Inquisition, Lord of the Rings, Alien: Isolation), and now we're finally seeing some quality games coming out for purely the new generation. It'll be curious to see how long the last generation sticks around, since their online stores won't be closing up for some time. We might see the last generation become this huge indie market, where developers that can't afford SDK's for the newer consoles buy ones for the older consoles and make games for those systems. As well, there seems to be a great push towards VR without giving consumers any knowledge on knowing how much these gimmicks and gadgets are going to cost. If they end up being too expensive, they might just end up catering a market full of upper-middle class people in the industry that get most of their equipment and games for free anyway. But until any solid information is released, I'm talking bollocks.

\n
...there seems to be a great push towards VR without giving consumers any knowledge on knowing how much these gimmicks and gadgets are going to cost.
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James: The focus will always be about games, you're not going to change that. However, how we play games seems to be rapidly changing, with new weirder and wonderful ways to experience your favorite shooter or role-playing games. A perfect example would be the emergence of VR headsets like Project Morpheus and Oculus Rift. For once something new has presented itself and instead of falling by the wayside like before it has potential to become a game-changer. Technology implemented into gaming is ever present and something I'm very excited about.

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Marcus: I mentioned to a friend that I'm excited for all the new female playable characters announced for games this year. She told me in response that it seems like developers are just trying to appease people. Whether that's true or not, (I'd agree that is the case with Ubisoft who got a lot of heat for not creating a female assassin in Unity), the change is welcome. Character diversity is always a good thing whether it is playing as a woman like in Mirror's Edge 2, the little boy from The Last Guardian, or even a yarn creature as seen in Unravel.

\n

Dustin: The biggest trend I hope to see is the announcement that IO Interactive made. The continued adding of season passes and the constant flow of DLC has clogged the community. Why can we not just have a game that's totally finished? Why two weeks after the release do we get bonus characters and other small things like gun packs or crap like that? I loved the comment from IO Interactive that this is wrong and that they will not have a season pass because they are re-releasing the entire game.

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/0/c/f/0cf3482fe0a75a4670e7b331f1add85a.png","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/0/c/f/tiny_0cf3482fe0a75a4670e7b331f1add85a.png","type":"slide","id":"71529","description":"

Which game are you most hyped for coming out of E3?

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WesleyG: This is always a hard question to answer when we have such a good E3, but there’s two games that really stood out for me. I’ve known about Cuphead for a while, but it’s so beautiful in how it nails that '30s cartoon aesthetic and it just looks better every time I see it. Despite that, I’m going with the game I fell in love with at this E3, Horizon: Zero Dawn. Judging from the gameplay demonstration, it looks to be borrowing mechanics from a lot of other titles to create something totally new. Besides, the concept of being a tribal style hunter going after robotic animals just sounds awesome. This E3 was one that relied heavily on nostalgia, but that didn’t mean it didn’t have a great showing of brand new IPs.

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Sheldon: Personally, I prefer to be pessimistic about all this E3 stuff. If the game ends up being crap, then I get to be smugly satisfied. If I'm wrong, then I get a good game to play. Win/win to me. But I'd have to say that the games that I'm most interested in trying are Just Cause 3 and Dark Souls 3, since Just Cause 2 and Dark Souls have eaten up more hours in the past year than should be legally allowed. I'm interested in Just Cause 3 because it sounds like Just Cause 2 with some awesome additions. Dark Souls 3 I'm more excited about because of how bad Dark Souls 2 was. I'm wondering to see if they can even revive the series with Hidetaka Miyazaki back on the reigns (for those that don't know, Hidetaka Miyazaki was not the director of Dark Souls 2, this being the leading theory into why it's so mediocre at best).

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James: That's like asking who's your favorite child. Being a PlayStation fan, I'd have to go with Uncharted 4: A Thief's End. I've invested myself in the series since the beginning and always find myself coming back to it. With the Uncharted collection coming this October, there will be no better time to play through the series before Drake's final adventure lands next year.

\n
...the thought of hunting robot dinosaurs [in Horizon: Zero Dawn] is pretty cool...
\n

Marcus: I'm really looking forward to Horizon: Zero Dawn. The new heroine seems really interesting and as a person with dreads myself I can really appreciate her hairstyle. Additionally, the thought of hunting robot dinosaurs is pretty cool and where there's hunting, there's a trusty bow and arrow set waiting to be wielded. The bow is my favorite weapon to use in every video game I play. Then there's the fact that it's a new IP; I'm ready to jump into a brand new universe and see what it has to offer. It already looks gorgeous from what we've seen so far, which admittedly isn't much. I will say, that it is enough for me to set aside $60 for whenever it does come out.

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Dustin: I list in my most anticipated games of 2015 Uncharted 4: A Thief's End. So with it being pushed back to next year I did not expect to see much of it this year and boy was I surprised. I cannot wait for this game. The gameplay looks amazing and Sony just continues to impress me with these games. I am a little sad this will be the last Nathan Drake game.

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What was the most awkward moment of the E3 press conferences?

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WesleyG: It had to be when the developer of Unravel Martin Sahlin came onstage during the EA press conference and started shaking like a leaf. His awkwardness was endearing to me though. The EA press conference is infamous for being full of professional PR guys trying to make things look “super cool awesome time”. Suddenly, this Swedish man comes out on stage who’s clearly trying his hardest not to crack under the spotlight of the E3 stage, knowing how important this presentation will be. I found myself rooting for him and his self-made toy Yarny, as did everyone I was watching with. His awkwardness became relatable to anyone who has ever given a speech to their peers and I think it helped make Unravel one of the most talked about games coming out of E3. It also doesn’t hurt that Unravel may have one of the most adorable Twitter accounts ever.

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Sheldon: Probably the most awkward moments came from Square Enix. Between Nier 2's developer walking on stage with a full mask of a moon to Shinji Hashimoto speaking without a translator for a paragraph or two before cutting to the Final Fantasy VII trailer, to the lackluster presentation of the games. I bet when the PC conference started showing off actual gameplay of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Yosuke Matsuda was thinking to himself, "hey, that's a good idea, showing off actual gameplay!" As well, saying the words "Kingdom Hearts" and immediately revealing a mobile game gives nostalgia fans of the series major blue balls. Not showing off Final Fantasy XV in any way, shape, or form just made things worse. Their ending just blew monkey nuts too: announcing a new game studio with no one from that game studio present, and then showing off some concept art that could've been done by half of the accounts on DeviantArt.

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[Martin Sahlin's] awkwardness became relatable to anyone who has ever given a speech to their peers and I think it helped make Unravel one of the most talked about games coming out of E3.
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James: Amazingly this year's E3 was mostly mistake free, which is unfortunate, I'm always up for a chuckle.The only moment I think of was the beginning of Naughty Dog's Uncharted 4: A Thief's End demo. It wasn't the smoothest, but saved itself with some pretty epic gameplay.

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Marcus: The Microsoft Press Conference didn't have the most energetic crowd with most of their announcements receiving no more than a handful of cheers amidst courtesy claps that were prompted by the speaker's silence. However, when Peter Moore took the stage to talk about EA Access the crowd couldn't even pretend to be interested. Moore would hold for applause, but when he received none he continued to try to entice the audience to subscribe to what has so far been an underwhelming service. Luckily, he ended his presentation with a trailer for Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 which seemed to wake the crowd up from their deep slumber.

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Dustin: This is a great question because as I sat and watched the Sony press conference I really thought these designers and CEOs just feel awkward and out of place. I do not remember who it was at the conference that cracked a joke that he thought was absolutely hilarious and not one person laughed. I know this isn't an actual game thing but these guys just try so hard and it feels really forced and awkward.

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/4/8/8/488f9634f57956886333c51d58de4aa3.png","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/4/8/8/tiny_488f9634f57956886333c51d58de4aa3.png","type":"slide","id":"71527","description":"

What do you think was the biggest surprise of E3?

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WesleyG: It’s very hard to not just type “Sony press conference” before switching to YouTube and catching up on Game Grumps. That presser was dead set on finally beating Nintendo in the nostalgia dollar race. Still, the one time at E3 I was legitimately shocked was when Microsoft announced the Xbox One was getting backwards compatibility. I was mostly shocked that Microsoft waited this long to bring that feature to its console since it’s near impossible for the PS4 to be backwards compatible thanks to the PS3’s CELL architecture. I wonder if the Xbox One was backwards compatible at launch, would Sony have gotten the lead it has with the PS4 this generation? Now, it’s time to see if Microsoft’s announcement didn’t come too little too late.

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Sheldon: The biggest surprise was the backwards compatibility for the Xbox One. I don't think most of the games that were announced were too surprising, since most of them had some sort of rumor running around them for a while anyway. But since their release, both Microsoft and Sony had been either quiet or denying that their consoles could do backwards compatibility. Although that now turns Microsoft from being glassholes to being nice liars.

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James: There's plenty to choose from but for me the Final Fantasy VII remake reveal came as a much-welcomed shock. I didn't think the rumors that circulated the day before had anything behind them and with The Last Guardian as another surprise announcement you'd think FFVII would continue to stay down in that mythical chamber of games that don't ever get released. I think Half-Life 3 is down there somewhere.

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Marcus: The biggest surprise of E3 was that Nintendo didn't really surprise us. That's not to say that they didn't make some unexpected announcements. I'd like to meet the person who predicted the next Metroid game would be a multiplayer cyber-soccer simulator. While some of Nintendo's upcoming games caught my interest, nothing other than the new Mario & Luigi RPG and Triforce Heroes really wowed me. It is disappointing that there seems to be a shift of focus away from the Wii U. So you could say that what really surprised me most was to see the beginning of the transition from the Wii U to their next home console just after two years.

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Dustin: I believe the biggest surprise from E3 had to be the backwards compatibility of the Xbox One. This was so surprising that it even caught Sony by surprise. With the way the current Gen is going, this may help Microsoft sway some of us from the PlayStation side. The fact that they are even letting the video game fans vote to which games will be available shows a step in right direction for gaming.

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E3 2015 is officially over and all the hype trains have left the station, many finally having an official destination either later this year or in 2016. This was a year of game announcements that ranged from remakes of old favorites to imaginative new experiences. We saw Minecraft holograms, Nintendo Muppets, and terrifying moon men.

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There was a lot to see and talk about at this year, which is why I called in some help to both analyze and gush over everything that was E3 2015. Allow me to introduce my fellow knights of this E3 Round Table.

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Sheldon Jones is a writer for Gamespresso.com. From writing about video games to working at a Friendly's restaurant, he gets to, on occasion, play a video game or two if the stars align properly and he finds a field of four leaf clovers. Eternal lover of Dark Souls, with Silent Hill and Just Cause 2 on the side.

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James McDonald has been writing now for over four years, learning the ropes over at Call of Duty Community. Now he spends his time as Editor-in-Chief over at LzyGmrs.

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Marcus Garrett is the creator of topshelfgaming.net, a website dedicated to creating a more culturally conscious gaming community. He loves adventure games with a particular affinity for the Legend of Zelda series. When he's not playing video games, he's playing guitar or taking naps. Marcus plans on using Top Shelf Gaming to help bridge the gap between gamer and non-gamer and hopes you'll join him in his efforts.

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The knights have assembled, so let's begin with our first question.

"}]]]>
5 All-New IPs from E3 2015 Everyone Should Know About https://www.gameskinny.com/mopnz/5-all-new-ips-from-e3-2015-everyone-should-know-about https://www.gameskinny.com/mopnz/5-all-new-ips-from-e3-2015-everyone-should-know-about Fri, 19 Jun 2015 09:29:12 -0400 Bryan C. Tan

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Unravel
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Arguably the biggest surprise at EA's E3 press conference, Unravel is a physics-based puzzle platformer from Swedish developer Coldwood. The small team of 14 people has created a story not told through words, but through its tiny main character, Yarny.

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Yarny is made from a single thread of yarn that slowly unravels as he moves through levels based on lush, natural environments from Northern Scandinavia. The thread can be used to swing across a tree gap, attach to a flying kite, and even row a boat.

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Vastly unique from any other EA game, Unravel is about reconnecting the memories of a long lost family, and soon on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, we'll able to tie everything together as the lovable Yarny.

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/3dcff9a5971a48b518cfe6e973a2e3ac.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/3dcff9a5971a48b518cfe6e973a2e3ac.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"6186","description":"
For Honor
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After some development material was leaked last month, Ubisoft's newest IP was finally revealed at their E3 press conference as For Honor, an action game apparently in a genre of its own.

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Developed by Ubisoft Montreal, For Honor pits The Legions (Knights), The Warborn (Vikings), and The Chosen (Samurai) against each other in all-out medieval warfare. Skill, strategy, and team play are mixed together with visceral melee combat for a fast-paced competitive experience.

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Players play as customizable warriors with distinct skills and weapons to capture control points and slaughter enemies using For Honor's innovative control system, the Art of Battle, which allows players to adapt to any fighter with a fast action-reaction technique.

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Ubisoft's undertaking of an all-new genre is certainly refreshing, but only time will tell if their innovation is a success when it releases on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in the near future.

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/e5119572f2e6b4a9ab1692dbcb0de1e1.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/e5119572f2e6b4a9ab1692dbcb0de1e1.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"6188","description":"
ReCore
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Not to be outdone, Microsoft's E3 press conference had its own robot game up its sleeve: ReCore, an action-adventure game where robotic foes control the planet and robot companions are mankind's only hope at survival. 

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Developed by creator Keiji Inafune of Mega-Man and Dead Rising fame alongside the makers of Metroid Prime at Armature Studio, ReCore puts players in the shoes of one of the last remaining humans on the planet, where players progress by forging friendships with and utilizing the unique abilities and powers of a group of charming robot companions. 

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In ReCore, robots are on both sides of good and evil, and us humans can use that to our advantage in the Xbox One exclusive as early as Spring 2016.

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/0da9637d00cc22857f26adeeeb6f7b80.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/0da9637d00cc22857f26adeeeb6f7b80.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"6190","description":"
Horizon: Zero Dawn
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First announced at Sony's E3 press conference, Horizon: Zero Dawn is a brand-new third-person action-RPG set in a post-apocalyptic open world. Robot dinosaurs are back to rule the roost on Earth, while mankind has gone back to its tribal roots.

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As female protagonist Aloy, players can use stealth, melee, or ranged combat to take down the machines. Players may also craft weapons, ammunition, traps, and tools using natural materials and machine parts.

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Beautiful environments present a breathtaking new take on a world where civilization is in ruins. Developer Guerilla Games, creators of Killzone, is on its way to striking gold with its first-ever RPG.

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PlayStation 4 exclusive Horizon: Zero Dawn is scheduled for a 2016 release.

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/f11d0eac486c02fe3aa6ab60877b5d45.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/f11d0eac486c02fe3aa6ab60877b5d45.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"6189","description":"
Cuphead
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Although it was first seen at E3 2014Cuphead had another go at the spotlight at Microsoft's E3 2015 press conference, and it is safe to say it took a lot of it. The popularity of Cuphead has skyrocketed despite its very short appearance in Microsoft's Xbox montage, and understandably so.

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Inspired by cartoons of the 1930s, Cuphead is a classic run and gun action game with a focus on boss battles. Players can acquire new weapons, gain powers, and discover hidden secrets as they traverse the world in single-player or co-op mode. Fast action shoot 'em up stages with blazing fighter planes are also included.

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The two main characters, brothers Cuphead and Mugman, as well as everything else in Cuphead, are hand-drawn and hand-inked using traditional cel animation and watercolor backgrounds by developer Studio MDHR. Add in the original jazz recordings, and we quite literally have a masterpiece on our hands.

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Apart from being a complete nostalgic throwback to fond childhood memories, Cuphead is also an intense and challenging action game that will definitely kick ass when it hits Xbox One and Steam in 2016.

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/8/c/b/8cb1ffeddfdd397040d95e761c53879c.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/8/c/b/tiny_8cb1ffeddfdd397040d95e761c53879c.jpg","type":"slide","id":"71032","description":"

It's the end of the week, and another E3 is finally in the books.

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Big games such as Dishonored 2Gears of War 4, and Final Fantasy VII Remake were announced at E3 2015, making millions of people drool with all the excitement.

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But while these well-established franchises are getting long-anticipated updates, there are those that want something new, fresh, and never-before-seen.

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These five all-new IPs managed to fulfill that desire, as they surprised us all at E3, and may be making us more excited than any sequel, prequel, or spin-off.

"}]]]>