Xbox One Platform RSS Feed | Xbox One RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Borderlands 3 DLC, Moxxi's Heist of The Handsome Jackpot, Gets Gameplay Trailer Thu, 05 Dec 2019 14:25:06 -0500 Jason Coles

The first bit of Borderlands 3 DLC is out on December 19, and it's called Moxxi's Heist of The Handsome Jackpot. To celebrate it, Gearbox has released a playthrough of the first 13 minutes of the expansion. Moxxi's Heist is the first of four planned campaign add-ons and is included in the Borderlands 3 season pass. 

The DLC sees our intrepid Vault Hunters getting their Ocean's Eleven on as part of Moxxi's plan to rob a derelict space station casino. Needless to say, stealth probably won't be a big part of this particular heist, so you can expect more explosions and lasers than anything else. 

It's all detailed in this blog post over on the mothership site, which also describes some of the purchases you can make if you haven't already bought Borderlands 3 or season pass. 

If you're wondering what we thought of Borderlands 3, then you should head on over to our review to read our thoughts. We enjoyed it a fair bit, though maybe that should be behind a spoiler warning if you're waiting to read it.

Nevertheless, Borderlands 3 has already seen a few additions thanks to free updates, including a raid of sorts and an even harder difficulty mode. So it could be a great time to get into the game. 

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more news and information on Borderlands 3 as it breaks. 

A Plague Tale 2 Reportedly in Development Thu, 05 Dec 2019 10:01:13 -0500 Jason Coles

A Plague Tale 2 appears to be in development, at least according to a new report from Xbox Squad. This should be exciting news for fans of A Plague Tale: Innocence, including our very own reviewer, who found it to be a worthwhile experience, even if it did have its flaws. 

According to Xbox Squad, A Plague Tale 2 will be officially revealed in 2020, but won't be released until 2022. All of this info also apparently comes directly from a higher-up at developer Focus Home Interactive. 

Considering that release date, it means A Plague Tale 2 will almost definitely be a next-gen title. Just think of all the rats you can have on-screen using the power of an Xbox Scarlett or PS5. 

While reports of this nature can sometimes be a little misleading or incorrect, if something gets enough traction, then the chances are that it's true. Having other industry sites like Eurogamer reporting on this really helps add credence to the report. 

If you're looking to get stuck in A Plague Tale: Innocence now that you know there will be a sequel, it's probably worth sticking around after the credits for what appears to be even more confirmation of a sequel. 

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more news and information on A Plague Tale 2 as it develops. 

Diablo 4 Will Strike Down Boring Builds Via Itemization Wed, 04 Dec 2019 17:18:08 -0500 Ashley Shankle

We've already heard quite a bit about the ways-off Diablo 4, though Blizzard keeps feeding information about the upcoming ARPG title.This time the information drop is on the series' official blog, and it lays out some exciting features for longtime Diablo fans.

Written by Blizzard's David Kim, the post highlights that they are hoping to take the best parts from Diablo 2 and Diablo 3, without directly copying either game, and implement them in Diablo 4.

Though the details are not concrete and are currently being tested, Kim outlines a few particular changes to Diablo 4 from its predecessors.

New and More Equipment Affixes

The first is that equipment will have more affixes across the board, starting from Magic (Blue) equipment, to give players more power and flexibility throughout a playthrough.

If you're an APRG player, you know how important affixes are to both gameplay variety as well as how powerful a character feels. Affixes adding additional effects to skills or providing entirely new ones are a well-known and critical portion to any game within the genre.

New Stats

Second are three stats brand new to the series. These stats will surely have noticeable impact on any playthrough. Presently, they are known as Angelic Power, Demonic Power, and Ancestral Power.

Angelic Power will affect the duration of your buffs and heals, Demonic Power will affect the duration of debuffs and damage over time on enemies, and Ancestral Power will increase the proc chance of on-hit effects.

The hope is to add additional flexibility using these stats as they can easily affect most builds. As it's laid out, Blizzard seems to be working them to be just as, if not more, impactful than standard stats. From Kim's post:

Each of the three Powers will have a list of affixes that are attuned to it, so depending on which stats you care about, you might want to focus on Angelic, Demonic, or Ancestral Power. In the examples above, you would need 50 Demonic Power to get an additional rank in the Devastation skill, 55 Demonic Power for 25% Fire Resistance, or 60 Demonic power for an additional 2 ranks in the Char to Ash skill.

If you wanted to build around Crushing Blow, you’d need to stack at least 55 Ancestral Power instead, while 40 Angelic Power would be required to gain 25% Cold Resistance.

We think these changes will address those two main takeaways pretty well. Legendary powers should no longer completely dwarf the strength of your affixes, and the affixes themselves provide more interesting choices because their strength depends on how much of the relevant Powers you’ve accumulated on the rest of your gear.

You might find an amulet with the perfect stats for your build, but some of its Affixes may require Demonic Power when you’ve previously focused on Ancestral. Maybe your current amulet is the primary source of your Ancestral Power, so equipping a new amulet would mean potentially making sacrifices elsewhere.

Removing Attack from Non-weapons

Further pushing the importance of the new affixes, Blizzard will be refraining from putting Attack on items that aren't weapons. In turn, armor will no longer have Attack on it; and accessories will be free of both stats.

Though some may take this as simplification, this is probably the best route if they're adding a new realm of softer stats to the title.

Kim stresses the benefits of the additional affixes should outweigh the previous benefit of attack and defense across most gear in that the new affixes have such an impact, that the additional Attack and Defense isn't necessary.

Replacing Ancient Legendary Equipment

To aid in endgame equipment flexibility, Blizzard will be removing Ancient Legendaries from Diablo 4 and instead replacing them with consumable items that allow you to place one Legendary affix on an non-Legendary item.

This is being done to remove the necessity of using Ancient Legendaries in endgame, which had admittedly gotten quite stale in Diablo 3. This allows players to actually make use of more equipment at endgame overall, rather than defaulting to wearing all maximum rarity gear because it's just that good.

These changes all sound like interesting shifts from the two previous titles in the series, and even from the rest of the genre. A lack of reliance on Legendary (or even above) equipment sounds too good to be true, and we've got a long time to see how it's going to turn out.

Diablo 4's release date is still unknown but it's been confirmed to not even be "Blizzard soon", which indicates it's likely at least two years away.

How do you feel about these changes proposed in David Kim's blog post? Let us know in the comments below, and keep an eye on GameSkinny for further Diablo 4 news.

Witness The Power of the Fully Operational Battlefront 2 Celebration Edition Wed, 04 Dec 2019 14:42:20 -0500 Joshua Broadwell

Star Wars Battlefront 2 is getting a digital Celebration Edition on December 5. It will release on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

The Celebration Edition will include the Battlefront 2 base game plus all past and future paid content. It will retail for $39.99. This is all ahead of The Rise of Skywalker content coming in Battlefront 2 over the next month.

Hard to see, EA's intentions are. Once upon a time, Star Wars Battlefront 2 was basically dead in the cold of space, hobbled by EA's inscrutable decision to lock important content behind paywalls. After sizeable backlash, EA changed its mind on paid content and made Appearances and Poses the only paid material.

Having said that, there is still a sizeable audience for BF2 more two years after release, with thousands of players still battling it out in a galaxy far, far away. 

Battlefront 2 Celebration Edition Content

The Celebration Edition lumps two years of content in a bargain-priced package. The caveat is that you need PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live Gold to update the game and receive the new content.

Here's everything Battlefront 2 Celebration Edition will include:

  • Base Game
    • Including all past and upcoming free game updates as they release
  • More than 25 Hero Appearances
    • Including six Legendary Appearances, plus one Appearance each for Rey, Finn, and Kylo Ren inspired by Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, coming December 17
  • More than 125 Trooper and Reinforcement Appearances
  • More than 100 Hero and Trooper Emotes and Voice Lines
  • More than 70 Hero and Trooper Victory Poses.

Those who already have the base game can upgrade to the Celebration Edition for $24.99.

Battlefront 2 Rise of Skywalker Content

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker content is also coming to Battlefront 2, bringing Jakku and the film's new jungle planet to the Co-Op Rotation. There will also be four reinforcements from the sequel trilogy era and new Hero Appearances from TRoS.

In January, Jakku and the jungle planet join Capital Resistance, featuring the Resurgent-Class Star Destroyer and the Resistance's MC85 as massive targets to take on. More importantly, BB-8 and BB-9 will be new playable Heroes.


It's safe to say Battlefront 2 has moved a bit beyond the original state we found it in after it launched. Whether the Force stays strong with it or EA turns back to the Dark Side remains to be seen, so stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Star Wars Battlefront 2 news as it develops.

15 Upcoming Horror Video Games to be Excited About in 2020 Tue, 03 Dec 2019 09:00:01 -0500 Ty Arthur


That's it for our most anticipated horror video games of 2020! What did you think of our picks, and did we miss any games coming in the next few months that should have made the list?


Sound off in the comments below and let us know what game you think will reign supreme as the best horror title of 2020!


Looking for more horror games to play right now? Don't forget that quite a few already landed this year. Here are some to get you started:




Unholy is a massive question mark at the moment. The game's visual aesthetic looks amazing (those tentacles coming out of the crib in the trailer are truly chilling). However, I have to wonder if Unholy will end up being similar to Inner Chains, where the art direction took precedence over the gameplay.


Unholy is coming from a new collaboration of developers working on four separate titles. While Unholy could crash and burn, I've got high hopes for a truly horrifying experience, where we play as a mother in search of her abducted child on a dying planet.


Darkest Dungeon 2


After dealing with rampant vampirism in Darkest Dungeon's The Crimson Court DLC and going mad from a terrible green glow with the Lovecraft-themed Color Of Madness expansion, we're finally going to get a true sequel to Darkest Dungeon!


Sadly, Darkest Dungeon 2 has no release window, so we may not get this one for a few years still. But it seems likely Darkest Dungeon 2 will arrive in Early Access at some point in 2020 to get through the same rigorous balance tweaks the first game saw.


Expect Darkest Dungeon 2 to be gruelingly hard, but with some major tweaks to the combat and town systems to reduce the infamous grind found in Darkest Dungeon.


Hopefully, we'll soon get to contract new terrible diseases and die of fright from massive heart attacks while facing terrors unknown!


The Walking Dead: Saints And Sinners


With a third TV series in the works and several spin-off movies due to arrive soon, there's no doubt The Walking Dead has just about been run into the ground. Forget beating a dead horse. Now we're just beating dead zombies.


So why include The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners on this list? Because Saints and Sinners is a VR game, and we need some more solid horror VR games, pronto!


The gameplay we've seen of Saints and Sinners so far makes interesting use of a backpack mechanic for more immersion, and there seems to be some character customization involved. Of course, the real goods will be in lopping heads off of zombies in the first-person.


The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners is one of the very few 2020 horror games with a firm release date: due to drop on January 23.




Carrion might appear to be the odd game out in this list, but this "reverse horror" platformer gives horror fans what they've always wanted. In Carrion, you can finally play as the amorphous "Thing" and wreak havoc on the scientists and military personnel trying to keep you from escaping!


Between the reverse platforming mechanics and the extremely bloody trailer, Carrion might end up being the surprise 2D horror hit of the year. Just watch out for those flame throwers!


Kingdom Of Night


This entry may not be quite what you're expecting based on our other picks. Kingdom Of Night is an isometric pixel-art action RPG dripping with dark atmosphere. KoN also happens to be filled to the brim with demonic enemies.


Serving as a nice counterpoint to the early access title HellSign, Kingdom of the Night's music, art style, and typography all nail the '80s horror aesthetic.


While you are unlikely to scream in terror at any point, it looks like you will have fun hacking apart werewolves, zombies, and other demonic entities with a machete. 


The Dark Pictures Little Hope


We don't know much about the next entry in the Dark Pictures anthology series that began with Man Of Medan. Though we know that Little Hope is coming soon, that it takes place in the dark woods, and that there may or may not be witches involved, everything else is a mystery.


Considering Man of Medan had 14 different endings and injected new life into the "interactive movie" sub-genre, it seems like a good bet anyone who loved Until Dawn or similar games will be right at home with Little Hope.


Remothered: Broken Porcelain


Remothered: Broken Porcelain contains some very clear nods to cult classic Rule Of Rose, a survival horror game released for the PlayStation 2 in 2006. I suspect Broken Porcelain will have an equally disturbing story and terrifyingly similar imagery.


The follow up to Remothered: Tormented Fathers, Broken Porcelain moves the series to an abandoned hotel in the middle of nowhere.


How a classic style in the vein of Rule of Rose will translate to modern gameplay remains to be seen, however. The revival of old-school horror games has been rather hit or miss in recent years.


The unfortunate Clocktower reboot, Nightcry, was slaughtered by negative reviews, while Remothered: Tormented Fathers also had its share of gameplay issues.


If done right, this could be the Silent Hill 2 of a new generation. 


Dying Light 2 


Although more action than horror, there's plenty of zombie-slaying mayhem in Dying Light 2. Set to release in spring 2020, Dying Light 2 is shaping up to be something to look forward to. The game will feature choice-based gameplay and a more reactive world than the one found in Dying Light.


A recent 25-minute trailer shows off Dying Light 2's stunning visuals and map design. It's clear there will be different ways to approach missions as you try to keep humanity alive just a little while longer.


The Last Of Us Part 2


OK, does The Last of Us Part 2 count as a horror game? TLoU2 has infected zombie-ites using hive intelligence, post-apocalyptic Seraphites getting brutally butchered, and a morbidly dark undertone oozing with dread and terror. 


If you didn't cry in horror during the prologue of the The Last of Us, then you just flat out aren't human. From what we've seen, you might be able to redeem yourself with TLoU2. 


Assuming no more delays impact The Last of Us Part 2, this massively anticipated sequel will release on May 29. It will be exclusively single-player at launch, predominantly focusing on story. Expect some gruesome deaths. And bring along a box of tissues for those tough moral choices. 


System Shock Remake


I suspect I'd be mildly embarrassed if I went back and looked at how many times we've included the System Shock Remake on various "most anticipated games of the coming year" lists. 2016? Check. 2018? Yup, check.


Why have we been eagerly awaiting a full remake of System Shock year after year? Much like Half-Life and Deus Ex, System Shock would great influence other games to come. We directly have it to thank for the Bioshock series.


Unfortunately, like those other classics, it hasn't aged super well. One of the few games to truly deserve a remake, System Shock needs to be played by a new generation. 


Want to see where AI run amok and sci-fi mashing with horror really got its start in the PC gaming realm? I'll just note that the game is currently listed on Steam as arriving in 2020, so, we'll see if it happens this time...


Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines 2


With a hallowed horror classic like Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines, so much could go wrong in a sequel. 


While the lovably buggy nonsense of the original game's can be seen as endearing 15 years later, such a launch for Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines 2 won't go over well today.


To say that Hardsuit Labs has a monumental task ahead of them is an understatement. The development team is tasked with capturing the essence of the original while presenting the more polished gameplay modern gamers expect.


Seeking to avoid a rocky launch, the game's release has been pushed back from its original March 2020 window. 


Can't wait that long? Coteries of New York, an upcoming adventure game from Draw Distance, is set to release in December. Coteries follows a format similar to that of visual novels, so don't expect anything on the scale of Bloodlines 2




Some are still steamed about Agony's botched release. Considering what was first delivered, that's understandable. But I'm glad there are indie developers pushing the boundaries of horror, even if the games aren't perfect.


Paranoid, also from MadMind, leaves Hell behind and delves into an 80's-tinged hellhouse dripping with drug-fueled paranoia. From the aesthetic to the presentation, here's a lot of potential in Paranoid. If done right, loss and addiction can be the most gripping terror horror has to offer. 


Hopefully, we'll find out next year. 




Let's go ahead and get the other scandalous horror game out of the way. We don't want you thinking we're a hentai site or anything.


Succubus is a spin-off of the controversial Agony, which was set directly in the bowels of Hell itself. Agony was the contemporary of the mythos-focused erotic horror game, Lust For Darkness.


The original Agony stirred not only the anti-nudity crowd, but also backers who felt deceived by Agony's marketing. Scenes were cut from the final product, and large parts of the game were censored before an unrated version was released.


Less a sequel and more a spin-off, Succubus puts players in the role of a demonic priestess out for revenge. Shifting perspective from poor, damned martyr sets Succubus up to be more action packed than Agony, but nonetheless hellish.


Lust From Beyond


The erotic horror sub-genre might be more than just an odd blip on the radar.


A sequel to Lust For Darkness is set to take everything from the first game and make it bigger. Lust From Beyond will have a bigger world, more game mechanics, and the addition of a secondary rival sex cult known as the Scarlet Lodge.


The sneak peak beta we were able to play a few months back showed plenty of scares and deadly extradimensional vaginas. It teased both fully interactive sex scenes and significantly more pornographic imagery than the first game.


Based on what we've seen already, I wonder how on earth this game will stay on Steam. If you missed it when it first came out some months back, the prologue is now free to play on Steam.


Be warned, though: because it's an adult-only game, you have to change your content preferences to be able to see the deplorable game page.


Whatever Horror Game Red Barrels is Working on


DECEMBER UPDATE: Red Barrels has now confirmed the title as The Outlast Trials. Set in the Cold War, it looks to be a co-op horror experience revolving around surviving horrific tests.


The development crew behind the Outlast series began posting ads for new programmers back in April 2019. From that, it's clear something is in the works, either as a follow-up to Outlast 2 or an entirely new project. 


With that information, it's entirely possible whatever Red Barrels is working on may not come out by the end of 2020. But we're going to list the project here because we're already excited for the official announcement, which could come by the end of December.


As of this writing, all we have to go on is the image above, which reads, "Where freedom ends." Though it could be a title, the text is most likely a tag line for the project. 


Since both of the studio's previous games began with strong religious connotations before taking hard left turns into sci-fi territory, we have to wonder if a similar theme will continue in the next game. We also have to wonder if weapons will finally make it to a Red Barrels game.


A slew of horror (and horror-adjacent) games are in the works for 2020 and beyond. Covering just about every genre, from visual novels to platformers and even isometric RPGs, some of the most anticipated horror video games potentially coming out in 2020 might not be what you think. 


It's true that some of these might get delayed and release in 2021 or 2022. But the 15 horror games we've collected look like they have the most potential to release in some form over the next year. Many of the games look like they will knock our socks off and keep us sleeping with the lights on!


Let's take a look and see what's in store for horror fanatics over the next 12 months.

Arise: A Simple Story Review: A Tale of Love (and Depth Perception) Lost Mon, 02 Dec 2019 09:00:02 -0500 Mark Delaney

I've always considered myself more of an experiential reviewer. Though I can appreciate a great technical achievement in games and can acknowledge when that aspect doesn't feel so right, I'm able to forgive a lot when the feelings a game evokes are powerful.

Arise: A Simple Story is a great example of such a game. As a 3D platformer, Arise is a nearly constant issue. 

As a story, it's an emotional, beautiful, and smartly metaphorical tale of a life lived in love and loss. Despite the aggravations, it's the game's most heartfelt moments that I'll remember the longest, making Arise a flawed but touching game.

Arise wastes no time in sinking into its own sadness. The very first scene of the game is a funeral for an old man. As his body is burned up, his spirit travels to a purgatorial ether where he revisits his life's greatest triumphs and tribulations. Across ten levels, each about 30 minutes long, players will guide this old man through a metaphorical journey of his life. 

From the earliest days of his childhood, whereby he finds his best friend, to his adolescence and far beyond, you'll play witness to their growing love and watch as their relationship morphs into something new at every milestone.

Each level is given a simple name like "Alone" or "Fruit" and these work in tandem with the game's stunning visuals to imbue the world with some on-the-nose but unforgettable metaphorical worlds. The early days of childhood are painted like a vibrant garden, full of life, while later troubles rock the couple and the world is literally broken in two, needing the man to pull it back together again. 

Lighting and colors are never anything short of breathtaking, and they're enhanced by the game's central mechanic of shifting time and place. Doing so alters the world in different ways for each level, and the game's way of constantly adding new traversal mechanics is engaging and unpredictable. 

The music is deeply affecting, though I've come to expect nothing less from David Garcia, who also scored two all-time emotional journeys for me, Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice and RiME. In Arise, he captures a similar soundscape as that in Tequila Works' 2017 tearjerker, and for good reason. They both swim in the twin rivers of love and grief. 

With so much good to say about Arise, it's just a shame the actual platforming is a nearly constant issue. With wide and distant camera angles in a 3D world, it's automatically a bit awkward trying to move about some tricky terrain, but this problem is exacerbated by the way the man feels to move. He's heavy and quite slow, and when jumping off ledges, he always seems to have available one step fewer than you may estimate.

This leads to lots of fall deaths and missteps that really hurt the flow of the otherwise gorgeous world and story. Restarts are quick, but falling off the same platform repeatedly when the game is at its emotional height is close to infuriating. I had to laugh off a lot of the platforming woes in Arise. 

These issues are made even more annoying when you realize how often you'll be asked to perform additional feats for the full scope of memories to collect. Going out of your way for these story beats should feel more worthwhile, but they tend to more often feel like a chore.

I kept telling myself I would forgive a whole lot of such issues if the game could course-correct, or at least overpower those problems with its story merits, but the platforming gameplay features some of its most infuriating sequences toward the end. It really holds back Arise from being as great as it could've been.

Despite these unavoidable issues, story-first gamers should push through them because the narrative that's there is really affecting and well told. As you collect memories on each level -- still drawings of different parts of the man and woman's life together, you'll get a great sense of who they are and it's hard not to feel connected to them, to root for them.

  • Stunning art design and a touching soundtrack
  • Its "simple story" is actually moving and memorable
  • Clever use of metaphors and shifting mechanics in each level
  • Constant depth perception issues
  • Frequent platforming missteps

While its platforming problems are inarguable and unavoidable, Arise: A Simple Story remains worth its time investment because of clever symbolism and a clear and moving story by which it is just as impossible not to get swept up. 

Arise calls itself a simple story, but in that simplicity, there is something universally beautiful and I'm glad I am present for it. 

[Note: A copy of the Arise: A Simple Story was provided by the publisher for this review.]

Where the Water Tastes Like Wine Review: An Acquired Taste Sat, 30 Nov 2019 20:54:22 -0500 Mark Delaney

It was a few years ago when Where the Water Tastes Like Wine (henceforth "Wine") launched on PC and struggled to make an impact sales-wise. We know this because one of the game's developers spoke candidly on the subject in what he called a postmortem for the game.

That blog post picked up more steam than he expected and it led to a valuable discussion about indie games, their intentions, and their appeal in a flooded market. 

After almost two years, Wine is reborn for other platforms and playing it for the first time since PAX West 2017, I can see why it struggled. Wine is an acquired taste, but for the right audience, it's a unique and fascinating approach to storytelling in games.

And the Road Leads to Nowhere

One of the best parts about Where the Water Tastes Like Wine is its slant toward the strange and even supernatural, and it's a slant that only gets steeper as it goes on.

After losing a card game to a devil-like character with a wolf for a head, you're cast out into the United States during the Great Depression. Your task is a strange one: travel the country and collect stories to earn your life back. Setting out as a hitchhiking skeleton, you do just that.

Treated as valuable currency, stories are diverse and ever-shifting. It's a point of the game to make frequent stops and encounter plenty of people on your travels. Everyone has a story to tell, and amassing them means easier travels later. The game has 16 central characters, each of them written by different contributors from the indie scene, so they each carry their own tone. 

It's vital to gather stories from a wide number of sources as you travel across the overworld map of the U.S. because these main characters will seek particular kinds of tales. Some want scary stories, while others may want tales of love, or death, or the future, and so on.

Each minor encounter can equip you with more tales to win over the trust of the major characters, and so it's their stories you'll ultimately need to "win."

The term win goes in quotes because Wine isn't really a game concerned with winning -- and nor should it be. It's an experiential -- and experimental -- game that fits right in with the modern adventure genre. For the most part, you'll simply walk and talk. That's not to say it's a game on autopilot. There are choices to make, fatigue and budget constraints to manage, and plenty of ways to succeed or fail. There's always a challenge ahead.

And the Castle Stays the Same

There's a process to engage, and some of the best parts come in your failures, like when you can't trade the right kind of story so you head back out onto the road in search of more experiences. Stories you tell will often grow to legends, and you'll hear them come back around to you, morphed into something larger than life, the way real folktales do.

Above the supernatural element, my absolute favorite part of Where the Water Tastes Like Wine is its eclectic array of stories. With so many writers contributing and so many genres to touch on, every encounter feels special and truly gripping, from bootlegger shootouts to tales of lost love and anything in between. It captures the bleak spirit of Depression-era America in such an authentic way, that it's difficult if not impossible to move through its dusty roads emotionlessly.

This experience is aided by the game's sketchbook-like art and ranging soundtrack, which just evokes a sort of melancholy throughout even the brightest tales. Where the Water Tastes Like Winoften feels like a time machine to a very sad state of affairs.

There's also a subtle gameplay loop in the way you budget your time and money, and in how to choose to move across the massive overworld. Stories are all over, so any direction is sort of the right one, but as the game goes on, you'll be in search of very specific people or genres, and it's an experience no game has ever even come close to trying.

Wait for the Rain

It's several spots removed from being a text adventure, but it's in that family tree, and the developers must by now understand that it's also not a game with mass appeal despite an elaborate soundtrack, a unique premise, and a star-studded cast of voice actors including Melissa Hutchinson, Dave Fennoy, Sissy Jones, and more.

For those reasons, Wine feels like an acquired taste. It's a very sad, very slow burn, which I tend to love.

Its focus on folk music and folklore puts me right in the time and place it's going for, but I don't envision Where the Water Tastes Like Wine as ever being more than niche. Still, for the right kind of player who appreciates story and doesn't mind a game that drags its feet scene by scene, it is unique to anything else you've seen. Maybe that speaks to the inherent risk in such a game, but there's plenty of reward here too.


  • Captures the bleakness of a particular setting magnificently thanks to great art and sound design
  • Varied and numerous stories keep you wanting to push on
  • Great voice acting from a cast of video games' best


  • Can sometimes feel too dreary to play
  • Extremely slow pace for a long time will surely drive some away early

Where the Water Tastes Like Wine reveals its intent in its long title. Everyone you meet is searching for something special in its bleak world, and it's a unique gameplay premise to be asked to find out what that is from so many different characters.

The mythical wine-flavored water seems like a symbol for the American Dream, and more often than not the game chooses to snuff the flames of anyone who lights a candle in celebration of that ideal. For that reason, Wine makes for a niche and often depressing story that many will walk away from before they see much of it. But it remains well worth the effort for anyone who can stomach its sadness.

[Note: A copy of the Where the Water Tastes Like Wine was provided by the publisher for this review.]

11 Upcoming MMORPGs to be Excited About in 2020 Fri, 29 Nov 2019 13:16:42 -0500 Sergey_3847


Blue Protocol

  • Developer: Project Sky Blue
  • \n
  • Platforms: PC
  • \n
  • Release date: TBA
  • \n

Blue Protocol is an action MMORPG that requires players to join forces and save the native and once prosperous world of Ragnus from destruction.


In order to accomplish such a difficult task they will have to travel through space and time together. According to the developers, the game is mainly focused on story development and multiplayer battles.


At the start there will be four classes: Aegis Fighter, Twin Striker, Blaster Archer and Wizard.




What your most anticipated MMORPG games of 2020? Let us know in the comments section below.



  • Developer: Inferna Limited
  • \n
  • Platforms: PC, Mobile
  • \n
  • Release date: TBA
  • \n

A new independent MMORPG will be available at Steam Early Access on December 6, 2019. But full release is scheduled sometime during 2020 with no exact date of yet.


Inferna offers four classes of heroes: magician, warrior, assassin, and semi-demon. Each class has its own fighting style. Players will have to explore the world of Pangaeu and protect one of the given kingdoms from the enemy realm.


There will be a ton of dungeons to raid, and all this exploration will be heavily supported by a variety of story-telling elements.


Gran Saga

  • Developer: NPIXEL
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  • Platforms: PC, Mobile
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  • Release date: TBA
  • \n

Gran Saga is an upcoming MMORPG from the creators of Seven Knights.


Players will explore the world and try to save the kingdom from the curse of the dragon. The developers plan to focus on the epic narration with various phases during the game.


Although this is a mobile game it was created on Unreal Engine 4, and will hopefully look just as good on mobile devices as on PC.


Project BBQ

  • Developer: Neople
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  • Platforms: PC
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  • Release date: TBA
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Project BBQ is an MMORPG using on Unreal Engine 4. The project offers a brand new fantasy world, eight heroes to choose from and a non-target combat system.


The world is divided into dungeons and other adventure zones, which can be accessed from cities and settlements serving as social hubs. Some of the heroes have been ported from Dungeon Fighter Online, while others were created from scratch.


According to game director Yoon Myung Jin, Project BBQ was inspired by many console games and combines elements of Monster Hunter and Devil May Cry.


Moonlight Blade

  • Developer: Aurora Workshop
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  • Platforms: PC
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  • Release date: TBA
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Moonlight Blade is another promising MMORPG with a massive oriental martial arts angle. The game looks similar to Blade & Soul, but for a more casual crowd. According to the developers, it is 18 times bigger than the world of Skyrim.


Here players can choose one of the eight classes. Each of them has their own unique storyline and battle system. Moonlight Blade pays a lot of attention to PvP mode, which focuses on the conflict between factions.


The combat involves the simultaneous use of target and non-target systems, which was created with the help of real martial artists.


Phantasy Star Online 2

  • Developer: Sega
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  • Platforms: PC, PS4, NS, Xbox One
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  • Release date: TBA
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The game that has been available exclusively in Japan is finally getting a worldwide release in 2020.


The gist of PSO2 is really simple. Players will mainly focus on completing quests, raid dungeons and spend a lot of time exploring procedurally generated locations.


There are nine base classes in the game along with a main and sub-class system, allowing for a fair amount of customization on a character per character basis.


The dynamic weather system will influence your ability to kill mobs and defend yourself, which is really interesting. Phantasy Star Online 2 also provides players with the opportunity to build a home and fashion it in any way you like.


Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem

  • Developer: WOLCEN Studio
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  • Platforms: PC
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  • Release date: Jan 2020
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Wolcen is a hack'n'slash type MMORPG based on Cry Engine 3 and procedurally generated locations. This project was fully financed through a Kickstarter campaign.


The world of Wolcen covers four square kilometers, most of which is located underground. In addition, the game will have a really fun Dungeon Challenge mode, which pits players against hordes of monsters in a PvPvE format similar to deathmatch.


The Umbra combat system is based on some of the ideas from Magicka. For example, players will be able to lure monsters into the water and use electric charge to kill them all. Also expect some mini-games and a large number of secret missions throughout.


World of Dragon Nest

  • Developer: Eyedentity Games
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  • Platforms: PC, Mobile
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  • Release date: 08 Jan 2020
  • \n

World of Dragon Nest is a cross-platform MMORPG for PC and mobile devices, which is a sequel to Dragon Nest.


This is a full-fledged open world game with total freedom of movement, unlike the first Dragon Nest, with lots of available professions, such as fishing, farming, crafting, etc.


There is also a PvP mode for 200 players that allows players to create four different teams with 50 characters in each. But boss raids will also be available, as well as an unchanged non-target combat system.


Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds

  • Developer: LEVEL-5
  • \n
  • Platforms: Mobile
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  • Release date: TBA
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Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds, also known as Second Country: Cross Worlds, is a spin-off of the famous Ni No Kuni series for video games.


One of its main features is the gorgeous anime graphics, as well as the social system called “Kingdom”. It will allow players to create and develop their own guilds, and collaborate or compete with other people online.


In addition, players can collect and train spirits called "Imazen", and then take them on a journey through the Cross Worlds.


Bless Unleashed

  • Developer: Round 8
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  • Platforms: Xbox One
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  • Release date: TBA
  • \n

Bless Unleashed is a free-to-play fantasy MMORPG based on Unreal Engine 4. Although the project was created exclusively for the Xbox One console, there is a chance that it will be ported to other platforms in the future.


Expect some unusual combat mechanics in this game, including advanced dodging and customization. There are several PvP modes with competitive ladder and cooperative PvE missions.


As of now, there are five different classes of heroes in the game. However, this number could grow in time, as developers plan to support the game with regular content updates.


Crimson Desert

  • Developer: Pearl Abyss
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  • Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
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  • Release date: TBA
  • \n

Crimson Desert is an open-world fantasy MMORPG made by Pearl Abyss as their new flagship after the release of Black Desert Online.


The project was created using a new game engine, which may surprise BDO. Crimson Desert accumulates all the best ideas and experiences that have been gained by developers while working on Black Desert Online, which was a huge success on many markets and platforms.


The events of Crimson Desert unfold on a continent divided into three regions that are the basis of conflict between mercenaries and the monarchy. This is not a prequel or a sequel to Black Desert Online, but they do share the same universe.


Players will have access to crafting, large-scale battles, trading and creating their own teams with other people online.


MMORPGs still gather huge crowds of people from all over the world. Obviously, the leading positions are held by free-to-play games mainly due to their popularity in the Asian markets.


But it looks like the new trend is coming in 2020 - a surge of cross-platform MMORPGs that will be available on mobile devices. This means that players can play anywhere they want in case there is a speedy internet connection available.


That is the reason why so many games on this list have a mobile support. Of course, AAA projects will still be available on PC and consoles only. But don't neglect the impact of mobile devices on the development of the MMORPGs in the future.


Take a look at these 11 highly anticipated MMORPG titles for 2020, and see which of these titles you will like the most.

How to Get Roe and Make Caviar in Stardew Valley Thu, 28 Nov 2019 12:43:27 -0500 Ashley Shankle

This week's 1.4 update to Stardew Valley brought a slew of changes, most excitingly the new four corners farm. However, those with established farms looking into the update's new money-making methods are most interested in the new Artisan Good, caviar.

Caviar sells for a base price of 500g, making it a worthy addition to most farmers' cash flow. You have to raise the right fish to get into the caviar market, though. That fish is sturgeon.

How to Catch a Sturgeon

Sturgeon roe is the base for most caviar in real life, and it's the fish you've got to get familiar with in Stardew Valley if you're looking to sell some preserved fish eggs (it sounds terrible that way, I know).

Sturgeon are a semi-elusive fish, but not so much so you're going to be trying to reel one in for hours.

You can catch sturgeon in the mountain lake, which is the body of water right at the entrance to the mines, in both summer and winter.

If you're trying in summer, you'll have a much higher chance of catching a sturgeon on a rainy day. You won't be catching any, no matter the season, after 7 p.m., though.

How to Raise Sturgeon

Catching these fish is just the first step. Next you need to have a fish pond built at your farm.

You will need the following materials for Robin to be able to make a fish pond:

  • 5,000g
  • 200 stone
  • 5 green algae
  • 5 seaweed

Green algae can be caught in both fresh and saltwater, but seaweed can only be caught in saltwater. So head to the beach and try to reel some in, if you don't have any already.

Once the fish pond is built, you can drop your sturgeon in there to produce roe on a regular basis. You can have a maximum of 10 fish per pond, and they will reproduce.

How to Make Roe into Caviar

First craft and place a preserves jar on your farm, or many if you want to produce several caviar at once.

It takes 6000 in-game minutes to cure the sturgeon roe into caviar, which equates to a few days. So you will probably want to get several batches of caviar curing at a time.

This may all sound convoluted, but it's surprisingly easy to get some sturgeon, build the fish pond, and start curing your sturgeon roe and add the spoils of your labor to your revenue stream.


Thank you for reading! Check out some of our other Stardew Valley guides, if you've got the time.

Bee Simulator: The Edu-tainment Kids Deserve Wed, 27 Nov 2019 18:09:58 -0500 Mark Delaney

Hearing the name Bee Simulator, you'd be forgiven for expecting the same absurdities as those found in the similarly titled Goat Simulator from Coffee Stain Studios.

While the latter is a bugs-as-features physics playground, the former, from Poland's Varsav Game Studios, is not nearly so dismissive of itself. It's still a lighthearted game, but it uses that quality in a way much more suited to the game's endgame purpose.

At its heart, Bee Sim is as much a learning experience as it is a video game. It performs both roles well enough that it should be used in schools.

By now, you're probably familiar with the meme about bees dying at an alarming rate. I still recall when I first saw it online. What you hopefully also know is that it's based on a real and growing problem. Bees really are dying at an alarming rate. It's made more problematic due to our inability to pinpoint exactly why it's happening.

Lots of theories have been proposed  pesticides, climate change, viruses and though each has its respective proponents, the most recent science, according to source-heavy podcast Science Vs, says the most likely answer is that it's a combination of all these things.

Knowing that, Bee Simulator impressed me right away. The opening cinematic reminds players just how crucial bees are to our world, and when Bee Sim touches on why bees may be fading away, it alludes to this same three-pronged dilemma.

It doesn't hunker down and pick a side. The game's only agenda is obviously to educate players, not to recruit them.

That told me Bee Simulator is well-versed in the important environmental topic it's focused on, and from then on, I was invested to see what else Bee Sim could teach players.

The game's setup is, in a word, cute. You play a bee whom you can name  I stuck with the suggested autofill of Beescuit. Ahem.

It's Beescuit's job to learn how to pollinate, waggle dance, and race across a park meant to mirror Central Park in New York. What I didn't expect is that the bees would be fully voiced and personable.

This strange approach gives the subject a Pixar-like appeal to it, as though Bee Sim is a game meant to instruct and attract kids first and foremost. In that respect, the game totally nails its mission.

Bees chat, and joke, and you'll take plenty of orders the same way every protagonist does in any game. The difference in Bee Sim is that you're a winged insect for nearly the first time ever in video games.

It feels like the kind of game that hardly exists today, but alongside its rather innocent offering to young gamers who maybe already moved onto Fortnite, it also owns something unique: a teachable moment.

Real-life bee roles are turned into silly mini-games and mechanics that put players literally in the mind of a worker bee. Bee Sim teaches the hierarchical nature of a bee colony.

The game explains what pollinating means and why it's vital to the world's food supply. And it even lets players see how bees may interact or clash with other creatures, some of them their size, others much bigger.

In its four- to five-hour story mode, Bee Sim feels more like something you'd play in school where fun smuggles in the learning. When I'm not writing, I teach at an after-school program at my son's school, and Bee Simulator is the kind of game around which I'd want to build a curriculum. In fact, I'm even considering it for the spring term.  

The gameplay is charmingly goofy, and the developers probably know that, but it's also not self-deprecating. Its pleasant and playful tone is inviting, especially to younger players. While you're having fun, Bee Simulator wants you to think about what's really happening, in the game and in our world alike.

Bee Simulator is a unique game that feels like it came to life almost impossibly. Its scope of edu-tainment would, on one hand, seem dated in an industry that no longer caters games just to kids.

It should be the case that it's now at an insurmountable disadvantage when the competition for timeshare is stuff like Rocket League, Fortnite, and sometimes even Call of Duty (trust me, they tell me).

But Bee Simulator possesses an innate appeal that still speaks to kids thanks to a family-movie-like ethos complete with its serious commitment to instructing positive change and awareness in its players.

Bees are important, and we should care that they're dying off, especially as we seem to be partly to blame. Video games are now the biggest entertainment industry in the world, and I love all sorts of games. But something like Bee Simulator is quite rare today. Even more rarely is this sort of thing done well.

I hope Bee Sim inspires more games like it, more games that use this industry's enormous influence for good. Taking care of our world could use some more positive buzz.

Get to Know Dead by Daylight's New Killer: The Oni Wed, 27 Nov 2019 14:06:53 -0500 Yaneki

The next DLC chapter in Dead by Daylight, Cursed Legacy, has been revealed on the game's public test build on PC. The update brings not only new perks, but a whole new map to struggle through.

The game's 14th chapter, Cursed Legacy will also be adding a new survivor and killer to the ranks of the game's already-impressive lineup. This time around the new killer is Kazan Yamaoka, also known as "The Oni".

With the DLC set to release on December 3, you will want to wrap your head around this newcomer before he takes the stage on release day.

New Killer: The Oni

The Oni is an ancestor of another one of the game's killers, The Spirit, despite his ogre-esque appearance.

It's hard not to get wrapped up in just how large and mean he is, considering it's as much a part of his kit as it is his character.

The Oni's Power: Yamaoka's Wrath
    • Absorb Blood Orbs left by your injured foes. Press and hold the Power button to absorb Blood Orbs in environment and fill your power gauge. When your power gauge is full, press and hold the Active Ability button to initiate Blood Fury.
  • Blood Fury:
    • While Blood Fury is active, The Oni becomes lethal and gains access to additional abilities: Demon Dash and Demon Strike.
    • Press and hold the Power button while Blood Fury is active, to perform a Demon Dash. This ability allows The Oni to cover large distances rapidly.
  • SPECIAL ATTACK: Demon Strike
    • Press and hold the Attack button while Blood Fury is active, to perform a Demon Strike in the direction you are facing. Demon Strike has an extended lunge range and successful hits immediately put healthy Survivors into the dying state.

The Oni's abilities don't sound all that far off from The Hillbilly, another killer known for charging survivors. However, The Oni appears to outclass The Hillbilly in most regards.

The power description fails to tell you several things, such as:

  • He will switch from a katana to a kanobo while using Blood Fury
  • Demon Strike can break pallets
  • The Oni can freely maneuver during Demon Dash, and he is not stunned when colliding with an object (a large improvement over The Hillbilly)
  • Blood Fury will end prematurely if you pick up a Survivor

For a build as far as perks go, I would recommend:

  • Monitor & Abuse
  • Infectious Fright
  • Sloppy Butcher
  • Knockout

Speaking of perks, here are The Oni's personal perks you can unlock for other killers at certain levels.

The Oni's Perks
  • Zanshin Tactics - Unlocks potential in one's aura reading ability. You are mentally aware of key points on the battlefield. The Auras of all pallets and vault locations are revealed to you within a 24 meter range. When a survivor is damaged, this perk becomes inactive for 40/35/30 seconds.

  • Blood Echo - The agony of one is inflicted on others. When hooking a survivor, all other survivors suffer from the Hemorrhage status effect until healed and the Exhaustion status effect for 80/70/60 seconds.

  • Nemesis - You seek retribution on those who have wronged you. A Survivor who blinds or stuns you using a pallet or locker becomes your Obsession. Anytime a new Survivor becomes the Obsession, they are affected by the Oblivious status for 40/50/60 seconds and their aura is shown to you for 4 seconds. The Killer can only be obsessed with one Survivor at a time.

New Survivor - Yui Kimura

According to her backstory, Yui is the leader of a Japanese street racing gang, and a symbol of female empowerment. After winning seven races in a row, she picked up an official sponsor and earned a spot at the All-Japan Moto Championship until she wound up in the Entity's realm during the illegal TK3 races.

Her perks reflect her resourcefulness, strength, and speed. These are all pretty good, and Any Means Necessary is sure to be a real game changer.

Yui Kimura's Perks:
  • Lucky Break - You've had your share of scrapes and bruises, but luck's always on your side. Lucky Break activates any time you are injured. You won't leave trails of blood for a total of 120/150/180 seconds. Lucky Break is permanently deactivated for the remainder of the trail once the total duration has elapsed.

  • Any Means Necessary - You stand up for yourself, using whatever's on hand to gain an advantage. Press and hold the Active Ability button for 3 seconds while standing beside a dropped pallet to reset it to it's upright position. Any Means Necessary has a cooldown of 160/140/120 seconds.

  • Breakout - You kick into high gear when someone's in trouble, inspiring them to overcome any obstacle. When within 6 meters of a carried Survivor, you gain the Haste status effect, moving at 5%/6%/7% speed. The carried Survivor's wiggle speed is increased by 20%.

How to Access the PTB Before Cursed Legacy Comes Out

It's still a few days away, so you can get in on the public test build on Steam without having to throw any money at it. To do this, you:

  • Open your Steam Library
  • Right click on Dead by Daylight
  • Click Properties
  • Click the 'Betas' tab
  • Select 'public-test - External Branch for Public Tests' in the beta opt-in field

Once done, the game will initialize a small download and subsequently grant you access to the PTB.

Give The Oni and Yui a shot yourself before Dead by Daylight gets its Cursed Legacy DLC, and find out whether you want to buy it on or after December 3.


Check out our Dead by Daylight guides here on GameSkinny!

New Updates Coming to GTA Online Wed, 27 Nov 2019 12:47:52 -0500 Ty Arthur

Six years on from its original release, Grand Theft Auto 5 is still receiving new content. Recently, we learned that more updates to GTA 5 Online are in the works. 

Following 31 previous updates, Rockstar North Co-Studio Head Rob Nelson revealed that new DLC is coming down the pipe in the foreseeable future. The news comes from an interview with PCGamer.

There are plans for holiday-themed content in December and beyond. Additional updates and potential new limited-time modes are expected to arrive in the run-up to an official GTA 6 announcement. Though we don't know much if anything about the game, we expect it is likely to hit next-gen consoles.

Nelson specifically had this to say about what's still to come for GTA Online:

We try to keep plans going roughly a year out, but we want to have the flexibility to be responsive to any changes. So we choose not to telegraph that entire timeline to players.

That said, players should feel confident that we have a ton of brand new ideas still to come. It’s been six years and we just hit record player numbers and we are all incredibly grateful to everyone who’s been with us along the way.

Most recently, GTA Online saw the addition of the Ocelot Jugular sports car at Legendary Motorsport, as well as a 16-player King Of The Hill mode split between two teams. 

While Grand Theft Auto 5's online player base continues to see new players, Rockstar is also now focused on content for Red Dead Redemption 2 after the lauded Wild West outlaw simulator finally hit PC.

Red Dead Online has seen plenty of extra content, including new specialist roles, legendary bounties, and the limited-time supernatural-themed Fear Of The Dark update.

For more on GTA 5, GTA Online, and (eventually) GTA 6, stay tuned to GameSkinny. 

Project xCloud Impressions: Microsoft Takes the Streaming Lead Tue, 26 Nov 2019 11:23:01 -0500 Mark Delaney

Project xCloud is here. If you read our early Stadia impressions, you know that game streaming has arrived sort of. While Google's foray into the game industry has been up and down so far, that may partly be because they're rushing to beat Xbox to market.

Microsoft is currently running a Project xCloud streaming preview program for select players who sign up for the trial phase. I was lucky enough to be given the green light as a sort of beta tester. 

That makes me one of very few people with a foot in both the Stadia and xCloud camps so far. So how does xCloud work? In brief, xCloud works very well on mobile, just like Stadia. For the long version of that, keep reading.

Project xCloud promotional still featuring games played on phones and tablets.

What is Project xCloud?

In case you've missed the news of xCloud from the beginning or maybe aren't sure of everything it offers, Project xCloud is Microsoft's game streaming initiative.

Much like Google Stadia's 2018 experiment called Project Stream, where select players were able to play Assassin's Creed Odyssey via the cloud, Project xCloud is Microsoft's big bet that game streaming will matter in the years to come.

Unlike Project Stream, and even unlike Google Stadia at launch, Project xCloud has a lot of games on offer  over 50 right now. What's more, in 2020 the service will become compatible with Xbox Game Pass, which currently has well over 200 games in its library.

This includes major first-party stuff like Sea of Thieves and Forza Horizon 4 to indies and third-party titles like Oxenfree and Madden NFL 20.

Do I Need to Buy xCloud Games? 

The wildest part about xCloud right now is that you don't need to own any of the games to play them. Unlike Xbox Console Streaming  another invite-only initiative Microsoft is running where you stream games directly from your console  with xCloud, these 50+ games are available for free if you can get accepted into the program.

That's because it's all in preview right now, and the tech giant benefits from live player testing. 

Progress carries over, achievements pop, and if you've played before on console, the platform even recognizes that and picks up where you left off. It was awesome to see I didn't need to start my pirate's life over in Sea of Thieves.

What Devices Does xCloud Support? 

The program will roll out to more devices in 2020, but for now you'll need select (see: modern) Android smartphones or tablets to access the app you'll need to play.

According to Microsoft, compatible devices should have specs of at least "Android version 6.0 or greater, as well as Bluetooth version 4.0." Useable Xbox controllers can double as xCloud controllers but require Bluetooth capability. 

Will xCloud come to iPhone or Apple devices? Presumably, yes. Microsoft has previously said the streaming service will come "to other platforms at a later date." Right now, that's all we know, though more news is sure to come.  

Project xCloud Games: What's Available?

Promotional xCloud still featuring a library of more than a dozen games.

As mentioned, there are over 50 games currently in the xCloud library. If you want the full games list, we've got you covered:

  • ARK: Survival Evolved
  • Absolver
  • Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown
  • Battle Chasers: Nightwar
  • Black Desert Online
  • Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
  • Borderlands 2
  • Borderlands: The Handsome Collection
  • Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
  • Conan Exiles
  • Crackdown 3: Campaign
  • Darksiders III
  • Dead Island: Definitive Edition
  • Devil May Cry 5
  • F1 2019
  • Forza Horizon 4
  • Gears 5
  • Gears of War: Ultimate Edition
  • Halo 5: Guardians
  • Halo Wars 2
  • Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice
  • Hello Neighbor
  • Just Cause 4
  • Killer Instinct
  • Madden NFL 20
  • Mark of the Ninja: Remastered
  • Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden
  • Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition
  • Overcooked
  • Puyo Puyo Champions
  • RAD
  • ReCore: Definitive Edition
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition
  • Sniper Elite 4
  • Sea of Thieves
  • State of Decay 2
  • Subnautica
  • Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition
  • Tekken 7
  • TERA
  • The Bard's Tale IV: Director's Cut
  • theHunter: Call of the Wild
  • Vampyr
  • Warhammer: Vermintide 2
  • West of Dead (BETA)
  • World of Final Fantasy Maxima
  • World of Tanks: Mercenaries
  • World of Warships: Legends
  • World War Z
  • WRC 7 FIA World Rally Championship
  • WWE 2K20
  • Yoku's Island Express

Will Project xCloud have exclusives? As of now, Microsoft has said that the service will not have exclusive games or titles. The company told Gamasutra

We are investigating a variety of new capabilities made possible by the cloud. However, we remain committed to an approach with game streaming that is complementary to console and have no plans for cloud-exclusive content at this time.

Does Project xCloud Work?

Sea of Thieves shooting cannon at broadside of ship.

Does Project xCloud actually work? In a word, yes.

With several hours logged in Project xCloud so far, I can confidently say it is living up to the dream. My hands-on time with Stadia was a few weeks of mixed feelings, but other than some slight scan lines when Sea of Thieves or State of Decay 2 got very dark the latter gets deliberately, cripplingly dark for horror effect I can't report a single issue I had with xCloud.

To be fair to Stadia, it too always works perfectly on my smartphone, so there seems to be something about the smaller screen or their Wi-Fi catchers that just works astoundingly well.

Playing several consecutive hours of Sea of Thieves has been a dream come true. It's a tough game to play at home when you've got two kids, including an infant, but with xCloud, I finally feel like I can reach Pirate Legend status because now I can play it anywhere the Wi-Fi is half-decent.

As games like Sea of Thieves and Forza exist in permanently shared, often uber-competitive worlds, they rely on high performance, and I would be lying if I said I felt disadvantaged when racing other drivers and fighting off pirates. It just works.

My games almost always look great, if not better than they do at home, thanks to my new phone with a gorgeous screen. In fact, the xCloud stream is, for me, much more reliable than the Xbox Console Streaming preview, which is usually unplayable unless I'm on my home network with my Xbox.

xCloud loads games faster too. I first noticed that when my two favorite aforementioned Xbox exclusives, both known for long load times, threw me into their games much faster than they do at home. When you can give me faster loads, and hitch-free HD displays, I'm convinced.

Project xCloud doesn't have it all yet, though. Notably, I saw no way to join friends' games, nor could I take screenshots or videos. For what it's worth, I could join voice parties at least. These are functions that will surely come later, so I'm not too concerned yet, but as a frequent screenshotter, the feature is missed for the time being. 

Knowing how well Stadia works on mobile, I see a similar trajectory for Microsoft, only the latter has 15+ years of experience in the industry and a huge fanbase.

Stadia took a major hit with its launch lineup of 22 games, some of the titles years old. Xbox won't have that problem as one of the established Big Three in the market, and with Xbox Game Pass compatibility on the way, there will be no shortage of titles.

I'm curious how Microsoft will decide to approach pricing. The a la carte menu on Stadia has turned many gamers away right off the bat. Is it possible Microsoft sticks to offering just Game Pass titles someday, tying the services together?

More likely, they will run it how they do their current digital store, where XGP and single-purchase games coexist. That way, xCloud never feels like it's missing anything, but it also offers a ton of incentive for current and curious Xbox gamers to jump in and try it.

The dream of next year, playing stuff like Cyberpunk 2077 and Halo Infinite wherever I may be, is coming to fruition — and fast. I'm already starting to feel old when I tell my seven-year-old how good he has it, and how back in my day, handheld games would never look or play like they do now.

Game streaming is rapidly altering the landscape of mobile gaming. Switch did something similar when it arrived in 2017, but Nintendo still struggles to pull in the full scope of third-party games. This future Microsoft and others are carving is also making Switch feel almost obsolete, or at least awkward at times, like a dedicated gaming handheld suddenly feels old-school.

Smartphones have swallowed up nearly every other item that was once in our lives, from calculators to cameras to newspapers. Now they're coming for your Switches and Vitas. With xCloud performing so well so far, I feel like my favorite games are just an app away.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Review — Midi-chlorians in a Metroidvania World Fri, 22 Nov 2019 16:50:04 -0500 Jonny Foster

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order has one of the best openings to a single-player game in recent memory. No individual aspect excels, but it is far greater than the sum of its parts, evoking a wide range of emotions in a single hour and giving the player a simple yet effective taste of the game’s mechanics and storyline.

It doesn’t maintain this pace throughout, unfortunately, but there is a very solid Star Wars title here.

I’ve always been a casual fan of Star Wars but never enjoyed any of the movies or games enough to be a hardcore enthusiast. And yet, the plight of Cal Kestis — Fallen Order’s padawan protagonist — felt so genuine and engaging that I find myself wanting to know more about the deeper lore.

He has an excellent supporting cast in Fallen Order, including returning characters such as a certain freedom fighter we'll leave unnamed. Perhaps the most interesting cast member, however, is Cal’s pint-sized droid companion, BD-1.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Review — Midi-chlorians in a Metroidvania World

The cutscenes all feature impressive animations, portraying genuine emotion on character’s faces, but developer Respawn Entertainment has done an exceptional job of making BD-1’s beeps, boops, and movements appear intelligent and friendly — this is probably the cutest droid companion in the entire Star Wars canon.

It’s sad, then, that the gameplay often inhibited my enjoyment of the storyline. I’ll be the first to admit that Metroidvania-style mechanics have never been my cup of Mandalorian tea and, at first, Fallen Order’s particular integration of them is tolerable.

However, as the game progresses and you reach new planets, having to revisit and replay areas that you’ve already visited becomes a chore. There are multiple occasions where turning around isn’t even possible, forcing you to go the long way around labyrinthine planets to get to your goal.

Tracking back through each level to get back to the ship once your objective is complete? Not fun. Gating the classic Jedi double-jump behind the 10th hour of the game? Not fun, either. 

While it does make logical sense for Cal's journey to become a stronger Jedi, keeping back basic mobility options just makes movement feel needlessly clunky for the first 10 hours. Imagine if Dark Souls decided you should be without a dodge roll for six hours.

Speaking of Dark Souls, there’s an understandable parallel to draw between Fallen Order and the popular punishment-driven franchise. Not only is the combat here complex and time-sensitive, but Fallen Order’s checkpoints function very similarly to bonfires, allowing the player a chance to save and spend their experience points.

Brandishing Cal’s lightsaber feels brilliant, with flurries of plasma and tense encounters that have you thinking on your feet and adapting to new enemy types, from regular Stormtroopers to Purge Troopers and even disgruntled wildlife. You can avoid attacks using a short dodge, a longer roll, or block them entirely, but perfectly timing a block to perform a parry gives you a large opening to counter.

Blocking incoming lasers as they're just about to fry Cal's face off is a rush that never gets old, either, reflecting it straight back at the trooper that fired it for a satisfying kill. 

The combat really comes alive once you’ve unlocked some new lightsaber combos and Force powers, though, which let you tackle encounters from brand-new directions.

Whether the difficulty is also Souls-like will depend on which setting you decide to play on, ranging from Story to Jedi Grandmaster, but it’s nice to have the option to switch these on the fly if you’re finding specific sections too tricky or simple.

This won’t change the difficulty of the game’s puzzles, however, a few of which can be real head-scratchers, but the game’s map is surprisingly good at highlighting paths that you haven’t explored yet or can’t open until you’ve found a new Force power.

It can get a little confusing on the larger planets like Zeffo, though, and there were even a couple of occasions where my map stopped working entirely for a few minutes, much to my chagrin. The performance issues don’t stop there, either, I’m afraid.

One of the planets really struggles to keep up, with constant load pauses in new areas even on a PS4 pro with performance mode turned on. That's purely from a technical perspective, too; we won't even go into the visuals of the poor inhabitants. 

I’ve heard numerous reports that the Xbox One version has particularly poor performance, but PC users have also reported having perfect performance, so your mileage is sure to vary depending on your platform.

The issues with performance will be easily overlooked by many, though, as it’s the cost of having a gorgeous variety of landscapes and environments to explore. It may not have the finest detail of a 2019 title, but Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order still comes out swinging its lightsaber.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Review — The Bottom Line

  • Twisting, evolving narrative that keeps you engaged
  • Diverse, powerful combat puts you in a Jedi’s boots
  • Excellent inclusion of source material, with environments, wildlife, and music that’s instantly familiar to Star Wars fans
  • Performance is hit-and-miss, even with Performance Mode on
  • Backtracking and repetition gets in the way of the excellent combat and story

The big downside of Fallen Order that I couldn’t get over, however, was the pacing; Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order opens with a bang, spends too long asking you to perform the same tasks and retrace your steps, and then ends abruptly. 

The 15 or so hours you'll likely spend with Fallen Order can vary wildly from wonderment to weariness, and from bewilderment to boredom.

I’d strongly advise anyone to play Fallen Order in bite-size chunks; Playing no more than 60-90 minutes at a time and spreading out your sessions will help keep the luster intact, but the fatigue will definitely set in if you try to rush this game in a week or less. 

Despite some technical and pacing issues, the final product is still the best Star Wars game we’ve seen for years. It’s particularly impressive, given the current gaming landscape, where live service titles are more prevalent than ever, and real singleplayer epics are falling by the wayside.

Respawn Entertainment and EA deserve real commendation for what they’ve created in Fallen Order, and I can’t wait to see what’s next in the Star Wars franchise.

[Note: A copy of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order was provided by EA for the purpose of this review.]

Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts Review: Sandboxes Worth Playing In Thu, 21 Nov 2019 13:36:44 -0500 Mark Delaney

The Sniper Ghost Warrior series has an unpredictable history. After a few linear shooter campaigns, the third game in the series was painted in deep Far Cry colors as CI Games sought to reinvent their shooter franchise. 

In my eyes, it was an abject failure, offering the basic outline of a Far Cry game but little of the appeal and far more bugs. That set up an interesting proposition with Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts, which is the series' latest attempt following that misfire, and one which again reinvents itself.

It's safe to say Contracts is far from perfect, like all that have come before it in this quietly long-running franchise. But in the ways that are most important, it's also the best in the series. 

Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts Review: Sandboxes Worth Playing In

Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts feels like a reboot of a series that just tried to reboot itself a few years ago. The crucial difference is this time, the reboot works and it should provide a blueprint moving forward. 

Whereas the last game mishandled its Far Cry inspirations, Contracts feels like it takes several cues from Hitman fitting given the subtitle  though it's not a near-copy like Ghost Warrior 3 was of Far Cry.

Each mission begins by dropping you into a sizeable Siberian sandbox. Rather than give players one vast and open map, missions take place across one large hub each, and this singular design decision makes up for a huge portion of the game's successes. 

As the backbone of fantastic and intricate level designs, each hub space feels like it offers countless secret routes, clever perches, and daring bottlenecks when stealth efforts break down.

In one early scene, I found myself desperate to sneak away from an oncoming guard. I thought how useful it'd be if I could crawl under the shed I was near, even as it initially seemed unlikely to offer salvation.

It turns out I could do that, just like I could instead hide in a locker, sneak away in the tall grass, or time my shot just right to stealthily take out a guard, hide his body in one of those places or elsewhere, and continue along with my quiet mission. Contracts gives players smaller sandboxes but each one feels totally authored and opportunistic as a result. 

Level design also shines when reflected off of the game's mission objectives. Each map offers several main missions as well as many challenges. The main objectives guarantee that you will visit all of the main sectors of a given map, while challenges will have you replaying levels several times over chasing different feats. They feel worth playing again and again because of their intricate layouts, and even if you don't return, the first time through is also supremely satisfying because of the mission variety.

You'll have someone to assassinate, of course, but you'll also have context-specific missions, like sabotaging enemy stockpiles or hacking their computers for necessary intel. Stealthy players will get the most fun out of this design because, despite the game's improved merits as a standard shooter, it's still a stealth and sniping game at heart. 

Your character, Seeker, is handy in close combat and with a wide range of unlockable gadgets and guns, but the sniping is always the star  as it should be. Measuring for bullet drop and wind resistance is something many shooters do these days, but few take the care CI Games' Sniper does. With a smart UI, Contracts ensures players know where each round will go and how much they need to adjust to get that finish line over a bad guy's temple. It's reliable and feels solid, and along with the well-authored levels and lots of toys to play with, it makes up the best Contracts has to offer.

Meanwhile, the worst it has to offer are some more bugs, some poor enemy AI, and an overall lack of character heaviness that makes movement feel unwieldy at times. This is especially true during the game's many opportunities and sometimes demands for first-person platforming.

The general rule is unless your name is Titanfall or Mirror's Edge, your first-person platforming efforts may be in vain. That's true again here. Though the new routes opened up are often worthwhile, it always feels like a hassle and that these sections should've been accessed via some other means. 

Bugs aren't nearly as pervasive as they were in previous entries, but some slowdowns affect gameplay, and even more so during the cutscenes. I also got stuck on geometry more than once, in part because of the freedom the game gives you to explore, but that benefit should not come at the cost of progress resets.

The idiocy of some enemies on lower difficulties can be an annoyance too, though for some players, it may be a welcome feature given how inconsistent their sightlines can seem. It helped me as much as it hurt me, but that unpredictability is a problem. 

Still, if that's the worst I can say about Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts and it is then fans of stealth-shooters should understand this is still very much a game worth playing. You'll get joyfully lost in its labyrinthine levels plotting every assassination. At its core, that's what is most important to this series, and what Contracts does best. 

Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts — The Bottom Line

  • Intricately authored levels make for extremely satisfying exploration
  • Combat mechanics both near and far are the best they've been 
  • Levels worth replaying and unlockables worth chasing
  • Bugs interfere with cutscene flow and even game progress at times
  • Enemy AI is inconsistent

Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts is a bit rough around the edges, but at its center, it is a game genre fans will undoubtedly appreciate. By reimagining the series in this light, CI Games has crafted the best game in the series.

It's bogged down by some issues that can't easily be overlooked, but Contracts ultimately rises above those problems with great level design and deep player agency and exploration that welcomes you back each time.

[Note: A copy of the Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts was provided by CI Games for this review.]

Diablo 4 to Allow Skill Selection via Elective Mode Wed, 20 Nov 2019 14:16:56 -0500 Ashley Shankle

Were you worried Diablo 4 was going to lock skills to certain buttons or keys like Diablo 3 does by default? Well, worry no more, friend: Diablo 4 is confirmed to have Elective Mode, just as its predecessor does.

Diablo 3's Elective Mode disables the game's default binding of skills to set buttons, which allows players to set particular skills to certain buttons. Considering how the default system restricts build customization, Elective Mode is a must-have for ARPG players at large.

It's a bit of a surprise in itself that Blizzard are bringing back Diablo 3's restrictive skill system by default, which is sort of the antithesis of what people play ARPGs for: Flexibility, customization, and the ability to make dozens of enemies explode with the tap of a couple keys or buttons.

Unlike its predecessor, Diablo 4 will be launching with Elective Mode available. Yet one of a whole pile of improvements from the third game's release. Most excitingly, Blizzard promises the return of Diablo 2-style character customization in the fourth game.

Diablo 4 is still a long ways off from release, with no release window set just yet. Though, we do know that Blizzard plans to release the game on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

Keep an eye here on GameSkinny for further updates and news on Diablo 4

GameStop Black Friday 2019 Video Game Deals Wed, 20 Nov 2019 11:42:03 -0500 Joshua Broadwell

As we get closer to the busiest sales weekend of the year, we're starting to see more and more Black Friday ads pop up. 

As with the other Black Friday sales articles on GameSkinny (which you can find at the bottom of this article), we'll break down the sales and deals based on category and price.

We're also only focusing on video games and consoles instead of tech in general.

GameStop Black Friday Deals 2019

GameStop's Black Friday 2019 ad is more like a tentative thing. It's an early ad, with more deals planned to go live sometime next Wednesday before the madness starts. Here's what we know so far. We'll update this list when those deals go live.

Deals go live at staggered times online.

  • November 24-December 2: Early deals, including PS4 and Xbox One console bundles, available online
  • November 27: Black Friday online deals go live on beginning at 8 p.m. PDT / 11 p.m. EDT

Here's the current list of GameStop's video game deals for Black Friday 2019.

Video Game Consoles and Subscriptions

GameStop's got the same PlayStation 4 bundle deal as other major retailers, but the game store shakes things up with an extra, limited-quantity PS4 deal and Xbox One console sales.

PlayStation 4

  • PlayStation 4 Slim (1TB), DualShock Wireless Control, and three free games — $199.99. The games shown are listed below.
    • The Last of Us Remastered (physical copy)
    • God of War (digital)
    • Horizon: Zero Dawn Complete (digital)
  • PS4 Pro (1TB) Glacier White for $299.99 ($100 off) — "very limited quantities"
  • $100 dollars off any PlayStation VR bundle
  • DualShock Wireless controllers for $38.99 each
  • 12-month PlayStation Plus subscription — $44.99

Xbox One

  • Xbox One S (1TB) + Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order bundle — $199.99
  • Limited Edition Xbox One X (1TB) NBA 2K20 bundle — $349.99
  • Xbox One S (1TB) All-Digital Console (White), includes Sea of Thieves, Fortnite, and Minecraft — $149.99
  • Save $10.00 on Xbox Wireless controllers
  • Xbox Live Gold 3-month subscription — $14.99
  • Xbox Game Pass Ultimate 3-month subscription — $26.99

Nintendo Switch

GameStop has absolutely nothing listed for Nintendo Black Friday sales right now. However, since GameStop is listed as a participating retailer in Nintendo's self-announced Black Friday deals, we can assume the same Switch console with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe bundle will be on offer next week.

GameStop Black Friday Game Deals

PlayStation 4 Games

Games for $19.99

  • Days Gone
  • Marvel's Spider-Man
  • MediEvil
  • Concrete Genie

Games for $9.99

  • God of War
  • Horizon: Zero Dawn — Complete Edition
  • The Last of Us Remastered
  • Gran Turismo Sport
  • Little Big Planet 3
  • Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection
  • Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
  • Bloodborne
  • Nioh
Xbox One Games
  • Sea of Thieves — $24.99
  • Forza Horizon 4 — $24.99
  • Gears 5 — $29.99
  • Crackdown 3 — $14.99
Nintendo Switch Games

As mentioned, GameStop hasn't announced any Nintendo deals yet, but Nintendo's Black Friday ad has these games listed for $39.99, with GameStop as a participating retailer:

  • Super Mario Odyssey
  • Super Mario Party
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  • Octopath Traveler
  • Mario Tennis Aces
  • Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
  • Kirby Star Allies
  • Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
  • Splatoon 2


For more, check out GameStop's early Black Friday ad. Once GameStop updates its list of Black Friday deals, we'll update our list to match it, so stay tuned to GameSkinny.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order — Second Sister Boss Guide Wed, 20 Nov 2019 10:52:23 -0500 Sergey_3847

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order's Second Sister can be hard to beat. It turns out you have to defeat this boss several times throughout the game. Each one of the boss fights is similar, though this Inquisitor does have a few tricks up her sleeve to make beating her tough in its own right. 

The first encounter with the Second Sister happens right at the beginning of the game. The second battle with her takes place during your return to the planet Zeffo. However, you never actually defeat her in either of these boss fights. That's how it was intended by the developer.

*Warning: Story spoilers for Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order below*

After that second fight, though, you meet her for the third and final time at the Interrogation Chamber on Fortress Inquisitorius. This last encounter with the Second Sister is the one where you can actually defeat her.

Below you will find some important tips on how to beat this Fallen Order boss.

How to Beat the Second Sister in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

During your second encounter, the Second Sister reveals her identity as Trilla Suduri, an inquisitor under the command of none other than Darth Vader. If you've followed any of the new Star Wars canon under Disney, the Vader part is of little surprise. 

What that means, though, is that this boss is extremely fast and agile. Being trained by Darth Vader himself has that effect on Force-sensitives, it seems.

Not only is she strong in combat, but her moves also make her a force to be reckoned with. Trilla can cover huge areas of the fighting arena in the blink of an eye, so you need to rely on the following two abilities to make this fight easier:

  • Force Slow
  • Force Push

Either of these Force powers will cause the Second Sister to stumble for a moment, which gives you an open attack window. Ideally, this is the pattern you want to adopt when fighting this Inquisitor: 

  • Get close to Trilla
  • Use Force Push/Force Slow
  • Attack as soon as she stops moving

The window of opportunity is short  only a few seconds  but it's enough to deal good chunks of damage to her.

Since Trilla herself uses a double-bladed lightsaber, which is extremely effective, it would be great if you could use one, too. You can get one early on in the game by following this double-bladed lightsaber guide. The double-bladed lightsaber lets you block more.

Beware of Trilla's energy wave after you reduce her life total by 50%. It works like an AoE attack, similar to that of the tomb guardians you face on Zeffo. The only way to evade this attack is dodge or roll. 

If you are low on life and out of stims, then get out of the Interrogation Chamber and use the meditation spot right in front of the entrance. Don't worry, as soon as you're behind the doors, they will close and not let the Second Sister chase you down.

When you're back to full life, you can return to the chamber and finish her off.


That's it on how to beat the Imperial Inquisitor Second Sister in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. Be sure to come back soon for more Fallen Order guides.

We Happy Few: We All Fall Down Review — Bringing the Story to an Explosive End Tue, 19 Nov 2019 06:00:02 -0500 Ty Arthur

Through massive changes in the early access period to the official launch version last year and now onto the final piece of season pass DLC, the evolving We Happy Few saga is finally reaching its end on a very unexpected note.

It's worth knowing going into this review that while many players were upset with various aspects of the game, from the Gearbox publishing shift to bugs in the second and third act, I thoroughly loved We Happy Few, flaws and all.

The game's season pass so far has consisted of short side vignettes fleshing out the world but it hasn't until now, had a whole lot to do with the main story.

What you need to know going into Well All Fall Down is that the title is literal and figurative. Much of the gameplay physically takes place at elevated heights, and Wellington Wells is finally seeing the collapse it has been staving off for so long.

We Happy Few: We All Fall Down Review — A New Beginning For The End

       There's no doubt some will see this as a metaphor for the game itself

If you were expecting more of the same type of gameplay from the three main campaign acts, you will be sorely disappointed. We All Fall Down scraps the crafting, open world, and survival aspects found in We Happy Few.

With more traditional level design and a focused A to B story, you'll get about 3 hours of play with this final expansion. It's possible to spend a bit longer in the game if you try to be stealthy and search the little side nook and crannies to pick up all the upgrade contraptions.

For that amount of time, We All Fall Down isn't ludicrously overpriced like a lot of DLC these days. $7.99 (or less if you got the season pass) is perfectly acceptable for a 3-4 hour curated experience showing off another slice of the game world you haven't seen before.

With the base gameplay loop heavily modified, all of the crafted weapons and clothes you relied on previously are gone. This time, you get a whip and stun gun to utilize. The latter brings some interesting capabilities, since it can shock bobbies or even be used to temporarily disable various electrical equipment like security devices.

During the final chapter to the We Happy Few story, you get to choose how to upgrade along three different skill trees  whip, stun gun, and stealth  although with the short length and more focused gameplay this time around, some skills are obviously more helpful than others. 

Unless you are playing on the highest difficulty or just flat out can't get the whip mechanics down, there's really no reason to take the skill for reduced falling damage for instance. Once you've upgraded your whip, you can have it always knock down enemies and force their weapons to drop. Don't expect to ever use any other attack type.

You Are Off Your Joy!

         "Eff that, we're gonna blow this mother to the ground" - Ty Arthur

If you felt like the lady with the whip in the teaser video looked familiar, that's because the game has now come full circle. The first person you meet in We Happy Few  someone who was essentially a main villain from the base game  is now the protagonist in the end of the Wellington Wells story.

Miss Byng's story strongly mirrors Arthur's decision to stop taking Joy before realizing things are even worse off than anyone imagined. Only this time, you're seeing things from the top rather than the bottom.

Considering the lengths Miss Byng went to stay on Joy at the end of the base game, I'm not sure I really buy her sudden decision to go off the drug as the DLC starts, but obviously, the story needs her to be rid of the influence of Joy or it can't go anywhere.

Of course, the big draw of this DLC is for long-time fans to get a glimpse into how and why Wellington Wells reached its current sad state. Along the way, you get a tantalizing look at what sort of people would propagate this sick society, and the rationalizations people make both in defending the status quo and in trying to tear it down.

       Mind the gap, indeed!

That's all sort of window dressing, though, because most of We All Fall Down consists of Indiana Jones-ing your way across chasms and rooftops with the whip.

The rooftop exploration elements are actually pretty decent, and if the developers ever do another content update for the base game, I'd love to see some of this added as another means of exploring the open world segments. 

That being said, We All Fall Down is significantly more linear and combat-focused than you'd expect based off the promo materials. I ended up basically playing it like Mirror's Edge, rushing across rooftops at high speed and ignoring stealth altogether.

Becoming a high-speed bobby-killing machine the exact opposite of the stealth focus the trailer indicated is all but guaranteed due to an unfortunate side effect of how the whip works.

While it seems like it should be a melee weapon, the whip is actually more of a ranged weapon, and crucially, it has no ammo. Miss Byng's stamina does need to be managed, but that doesn't really matter since (almost) every single combat section has an area where you can get the high ground over your enemies.

That means you can destroy them with the whip at your leisure from a safe vantage point where you can't be attacked — in almost every single fight. Even if you are vastly outnumbered because you got the attention of everyone in the area, it's still wildly easy to scum the system and defeat all enemies in no time flat.

        Five homing lasers all at different angles and endless bobbies?
Get ready to reload!

The only exceptions take place in two "boss" type fights where waves of more powerful enemies come at you in a limited space, which seems out of character for the game and breaks the main mechanics in a different way.

If you're looking for a challenge, it only really shows up at the very end when dealing with multiple shocking security lasers while surrounded by angry bobbies and doctors.

Following that puzzle of a fight, the final segment of the DLC feels like a chase sequence lifted straight out of a Call Of Duty single-player campaign (or a Michael Bay flim!), which is not by itself a bad thing. It just feels a little out of place for We Happy Few.

We Happy Few: We All Fall Down Review — The Bottom Line

  • Priced right
  • Brings a very definitive ending to the main story
  • Rooftop segments change up the stealth mechanics
  • Fairly short
  • Gameplay doesn't really feel like We Happy Few anymore
  • Much more linear than you'd expect

We All Fall Down absolutely deserves praise for not being wildly overpriced and for bringing the game a very final, very clear conclusion.

The formerly diabolical Miss Byng serves as a sort of Dark Knight of Wellington Wells, not becoming the hero the people deserve but instead the hero they need. While the short length means some of the character arc wrap-ups are a bit abrupt, this segment of the We Happy Few universe will still hit you in the feels.

Unfortunately, with the developers choosing to so radically depart from the game's primary open-world survival mechanics for the DLC, the end result is quite uneven, and the gameplay itself just isn't that compelling.

[Note: A copy of We Happy Few's We All Fall Down DLC was provided by Compulsion Games for the purpose of this review.]

Need For Speed: Heat Review — Caught in the Slipstream Mon, 18 Nov 2019 14:51:41 -0500 RobotsFightingDinosaurs

It's been a rocky few years for the Need for Speed franchise. Despite solid gameplay and some fairly innovative technology that blended in-game assets and live-action cutscenes, the 2015 reboot of the series released to a lukewarm reception. The follow-up, Need for Speed: Payback made even less of a splash.

To this point, it's clear that the Need for Speed franchise has been overtaken by Forza Horizon in the open-world racer department. Does Need for Speed: Heat finally bring the franchise back into the lead position?

Well, not really, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Need for Speed: Heat Review  Burying the Lede

The release of Need for Speed: Heat is notable in that it wasn't notable at all. Speaking from personal experience, as someone who keeps up with this sort of thing for a living, I only saw one ad for the game ahead of release  and that was two months prior to launch. There was very little of the usual pomp and circumstance that surrounds the release of an EA game, especially an EA game in a beloved franchise like Need for Speed.

When you're a game reviewer, this sets off a few alarm bells. It's made even worse when, for one reason or another, your review copy of the game arrives on release day.

These are all strategies major publishers use to get ahead of reviews, squeezing as many sales out of a rushed product as they can before us wicked reviewers bring its Metacritic score down to an unacceptable 78. Colleagues of mine have also pointed out that the lack of microtransactions, while a great thing for consumers, is indicative that EA doesn't have a ton of confidence in the game.

All this is to say that EA seems, or at least seemed, to think that this game would not be very good. That perception, though, did not turn out to be reality. 

Under the Hood

It's always a bit of a struggle to get used to Need for Speed's arcadey, drift-heavy control style from other racing games. Need for Speed: Heat is no exception. The difference here is that a live tuning option, available with the press of a button, gives players the on-the-fly ability to adjust traction control, the way a drift is initiated, steering sensitivity, and how much downforce the car generates. This small feature is a huge help if you want to take part in a road race downtown, then, without swapping cars, head over to a drift duel at a water treatment plant.

And trust me, you won't want to swap cars, if only because you'll want to spend as much time as you possibly can in Palm City.

An amalgam of Miami, Los Angeles, and pretty much any other beautiful United States city known for being sunny and gorgeous year-round, Need for Speed: Heat's open world is one of the most visually stunning, carefully crafted game maps I've ever seen, even if there are some graphical hiccups when you look at things up close.

Unlike Forza Horizon 4, the placement of everything seems intentional, which is unique in a game with a map this big. There are no huge stretches of empty land or barren highway. Wherever you find yourself on the map, you're treated to a breathtaking vista of some kind, to say nothing of the collectibles, drift challenges, propaganda billboards, and speed challenges you'll pass as well.

The race routes are all unique, and racing is as fun as you would expect, although there appear to be some rubberbanding mechanics that apply to the AI, which makes races frustrating at times. In addition, the lack of any rewind feature combined with the fact that most races take five minutes or more to complete means that you will be in the lead, one turn away from the finish line, and skid right into a wall, forcing you to restart the entire race. 

It also bears mentioning that in my time with the game, it crashed four times, once wiping out the entirety of my progress on a difficult race. This seemed to only happen while I was playing online, but at the same time, it seems clear that there are still some bugs here that need to be squashed.

Palm City Customs

The intention in design Ghost Games extended to Palm City is applied to the cars as well. Though Need for Speed: Heat doesn't feature as many cars as Forza Horizon 4 does, each one comes complete with a suite of fairly drastic visual mods, from splitters to spoilers and everything in between.

The livery editor also bears mentioning, because although it hasn't changed all that much from previous Need for Speed games, it includes a bunch of quality of life options that Forza Horizon still somehow doesn't. From being able to enter custom text without setting each letter as its own distinct shape, to customizing the texture of the designs themselves, there are good options here. 

Oddly, the most stunning customization options come when you select and customize your character. Although there's no character editor per se, you select from a slew of attractive racers to serve as your avatar, Need for Speed: Heat boasts the most fashion-forward character customization options I've ever seen in a video game.

Sure, it's kind of off-putting that EA partnered with real-world brands like Adidas, Givenchy, Life's a Beach, MKI MIYUKI ZOKU, and Marcelo Burlon in order to provide product placement, but for any folks who are passionate about fashion, this is a really, really nice touch. 

Life in Palm City

The gameplay loop of Need for Speed: Heat is familiar, with a few quality of life changes sprinkled in. When you exit a garage, you're be given the option to tackle Palm City either during the day, where you earn money for sanctioned races, or at night, where you gain experience (or rep) by winning illegal street races and outrunning cops.

The premise seems to be that you can play the game your own way, focusing on day races if you don't like the stress of being chased by cops all the time. But since both money and rep are necessary to overcome the game's odd progression cure, that's not the way it works.

And that's kind of a shame. For the first five hours of the game, as soon as more than one cop is on your tail, you're pretty much busted since your car isn't fast enough to outrun them all. This leads to some frustrating early game grind, where you're counting on the random chance that you can finish a few night races without a cop catching you in the act in order to level up, giving you access to the more powerful car parts you need to actually hold your own in a chase. 

Although the story is pretty standard Need for Speed cops-versus-street-racers fare, it does go a few extra steps by trying to grapple with the broken criminal justice system in the United States, unapologetically depicting police officers and sergeants bragging about committing extrajudicial shakedowns and happily threatening citizens.

The radio is full of chatter by officers, each of them itching for a violent conflict. In the opening cutscene of the game, the game's antagonist switches off his body cameras and plans the murder and coverup of an injured street racer. 

Need for Speed: Heat Review — The Checkered Flag

Need for Speed Heat review shows us that driving under the neon lights of palm city is great fun.

  • The day/night system provides good gameplay variety
  • Palm City is absolutely stunning
  • The story, though rote, surprisingly grapples with the state of modern policing
  • You can live out your greatest hypebeast fashion fantasies
  • You'll need to fiddle with the controls at the beginning to keep from skidding everywhere
  • Small soundtrack
  • Can be a slog for the first few hours
  • Still a little buggy

All in all, it's a shame that EA doesn't seem to believe in Need for Speed: Heat. It's an incredible racer in its own right, and while it can't match the epic scope and living, changing world of Forza Horizon 4, maybe it doesn't need to. 

Need for Speed has always been about putting five spoilers on your car, painting it chrome, plastering it with racing brand logos, installing bright purple neon underglow, strapping a gigantic barrel of nitrous to it, and then outrunning as many cops as you can before you crash into the side of a building. 

In that way, Need for Speed: Heat does this admirably.

[Note: EA provided a copy of Need For Speed: Heat for the purpose of this review.]