Gameplay Tagged Articles RSS Feed | Gameplay RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Underhero Review - I Need a Hero Sat, 29 Sep 2018 11:13:46 -0400 Kimberly Cooper

Underhero is another one of those games that you might've otherwise missed if you were not actively following its progress. More often than not, it takes a lot of perseverance and charm to get this far and Underhero is a quirky, exciting adventure that changes up the hero formula.

The Story

The game is played within a 2D side-scroller view and while it may feel compact, it's accompanied with delightful, unique characters and a solid story of trying to save the world when you weren't exactly cut out for the job in the first place.

You take on the role of an underling-turned-hero (the Underhero) and unknowingly tasked with saving the world. This puts the antagonist-turned-protagonist into quite the pickle because this obviously isn't what he planned to happen. 

The main character is another one of those silent-types, but the fluid animation and comical moments give him plenty of personality without ever really saying a word. You're paired with the former hero's sword that is capable of changing from a blade into a hammer and slingshot at will. 

The dialogue is both quirky and cute which makes listening to all the passive dialogue quite the adventure.  Each world hosts its own color scheme but they all end up coming off as vibrant and colorful instead of dull and dreary.

Going through each area filled me with excitement as I wondered what sort of enemies I would encounter and what kind of attacks they would use against me. Would I need to duck or jump when they attacked? Would I need to use my shield or bribe them with money because they were too strong? The enemy designs fit perfectly into the peculiar world of Underhero, however, at times I felt like there could have been a larger quantity of enemies between areas.

One thing that had me baffled throughout my play-through was how all of the enemies worked for the corporation led by the main boss in the game, Mr. Stitches, but they never seemed to question why one of their own was out attacking them in the field.

The Battle System

I expected to be faced with either turn-based battles or regular ol' hack and slash when going about my journey and was met with something entirely different. People that are familiar with Undertale might see some similarities in Underhero's battle system. Once you come across a monster you initiate a fight where you can talk to your opponent to get the occasional hint or even bribe them with your own hard earned cash so that they'll leave you alone.

If throwing your money away doesn't sound like your cup of tea, have no fear. Battling involves a little more thought in which you have to actually observe your opponent's actions in order to predict which move they'll use next. If predicted correctly, you're able to dodge moves by jumping or ducking.

Time your own attacks perfectly in tune with the music to get extra damage but your attacks are also based on how much stamina you have which fills back up during the battle.

You can buy potions and other items from the shop back at the HQ as well as finding potions out in the field. The game isn't overly difficult by any means but my complaint is the game occasionally experiences lag during battles which can make them go on longer than necessary or cause you to get hit by attacks. 

There's plenty of fun to be had in Underhero with mini-games, boss fights and puzzle elements with a little platforming thrown in. While you're playing, you get to experience a phenomenal soundtrack composed by Stijn van Wakeren that I found myself listening to throughout the odd hours of the day.

Underhero isn't an overly difficult game and if you ever think an enemy is too much to handle you can always just bribe them so that they will leave you alone. You'll go broke, but at least you're able to continue on your adventure.

Despite the presence of a few bugs, this game was designed by a team of only four people and offers roughly 15-25 hours of gameplay that will scratch that indie itch. If you've been needing a break from Dead Cells or Hollow Knight and just want to experience some witty comments and bash around a few monsters without a fear of losing your head, this is the next best thing.

It's available for $14.99 on Steam, Gamejolt, and

A demo for Underhero is still available on Gamejolt and for those who need extra incentive. 

10 Reasons Why Overwatch Is Not as Great as Everyone Thinks Thu, 13 Jul 2017 15:19:46 -0400 StraightEdge434


Overwatch doesn't have to appeal to everyone, and it's normal to not buy into the hype. The game certainly has its fair share of flaws -- but then again, what game doesn't? But since the game primarily focuses on multiplayer, where players fight one another for victory, providing an experience that is equal to everyone, both solo players and co-op players, is absolutely crucial.


And it's not just that. For Overwatch to be the perfect game, many other mechanics and concepts need to either be implemented, taken out, or changed in one way or another.   


Overwatch is Overrated


Quite possibly the only reason why Overwatch is so popular is the simple fact that it was developed by Blizzard -- the same developer that brought us World of Warcraft and Hearthstone


When Overwatch was announced, everyone jumped on the hype train because it was an FPS by Blizzard -- a game genre that the company hadn't really done before. I absolutely guarantee you that if Overwatch was developed by a completely different developer or game studio, its reception would be completely different. But the reason why it was so well received was because it was developed by Blizzard. It's no mystery. Just look at Battleborn if you don't believe me. Battleborn was released ahead of Overwatch, but its playerbase basically disappeared the moment Blizzard's entry in the genre hit shelves. 


Overwatch is ultimately a very boring, repetitive, uninteresting, and dry game, that will very quickly make you lose interest in it after a few days -- unless you play with friends and are very good at it, and manage to find fun. But for the most part, if you are a casual gamer, there will be very little to no redeeming qualities in this overhyped and overrated title. 


An Incredibly Unfair and Flawed Penalty System


So apparently, some smart-guy at Blizzard thought that it would be a good idea to implement a penalty system for all players during matches. What is it? Leave mid-game too many times, and you'll be slapped with a temporary -75% exp penalty. Worse, the game doesn't care what the reason is. Whether you rage quit, lost power, had connection issues, or had to step out in order to take care of something, you'll be treated the same all the time.


Now, where do I begin to explain how utterly stupid and ridiculous this whole system is...


First of all, you shouldn't be punished if you got disconnected from a game due to connection or power issues. How is that your fault, honestly? You're not your own internet service provider, and there is nothing you can really do in such a situation. It's not your fault, it's the game's fault! It's not your fault that the game fails to realize a connection disruption on your end, and decides to count that as a leave. It makes no sense whatsoever. Why should a player who just lost connection to their internet be treated the same way a rage quitter would? Sadly, nothing can really be done because if you are a rage quitter, you can just go ahead and unplug your ethernet cable, or turn off your WiFi signal, thus making the game think you had a connection disruption.   


However, if you are not a rage quitter--life happens! Whether you have an emergency, or need to leave the game to take care of something important--too bad! The game does not care about your emergency, and you personal life. "Oh, you had to step out to take care of a personal issue? That's too bad, because you leaving for something important is just the same as rage quitting and abandoning your team!"


Having such a system in competitive mode makes way more sense, because it's well...competitive, and you should be playing your best, and making sure that your connection is excellent for such a game mode. But when the system effects regular game modes, it becomes absolutely foolish, pointless, and unnecessary.


Just remove the penalty from all game modes besides competitive! I honestly cannot think of a simpler solution to this. The system should certainly be kept in the competitive mode, but not in others. If you leave for whatever possible reason (yes, even rage quitting) in Arcade Mode or Quick Play mode, you shouldn't be punished. Other games don't do it, why should Overwatch


And before you defend this incredibly confusing and flawed system, let me ask you a question. If it's so great, how come other games don't have it? How come video games like Battlefield, Call of Duty, Counter Strike, and many more don't incorporate such a system? I am aware that they have their own systems, but those deal with hackers, cheaters, etc. Nothing about leaving games during progress.  




Its Heroes are Unbalanced


Overwatch has plenty of heroes to choose from, with each one catering to a player's individual style -- be it offensive, defensive, or somewhere in between. However, not every hero is balanced or equally effective in game. Obviously some heroes are going to be stronger or weaker against others, but there are several on the roster that are so OP that it verges on god-like. 


Whether it's Genji (who can deflect every attack or ultimate you throw at him), Solider 76 (whose ultimate is a "free kills" aimbot), or Mei who can freeze you and quickly finish you off with a headshot, players can become annoyed and frustrated when they die quickly to overpowered heroes. And if it keeps happening, some will even leave the match just to get away from the unfairness of it. 


Blizzard needs to pay better attention to its game balance and quit picking "favorite" heroes that outclass all others on the roster. Buff weaker heroes so they're actually usable, then nerf the OP heroes who wreck face in every Overwatch match, regardless of player skill. Listening to feedback from fans and pro players would go a long way in doing this right. 


I don't mean that all heroes should be exactly equal in how they play or what they can do, but it would be nice to have a fighting chance against any hero, rather than dying in less than five seconds because of some overpowered mechanics. Genji's deflect, for example, really shouldn't be able to block off ultimates -- that's just unfair. 


There's No More Hero Stacking


Ever since hero stacking (when there's more than one of the same hero on the same team) was removed from Quick Play, that mode has become a nightmare. I was not able to play the heroes that I was most comfortable with because someone else had picked them, so I was forced to choose someone else that I didn't know how to play, just to fill a role. If my team was missing a tank, I was forced to pick a tank hero to balance the team -- even though I didn't know how to play one. This would lead to deaths, losses, and frustration.


Players shouldn't be forced to adapt to a whole new character just because of one game mechanic -- just let them play their own heroes instead of forcing them to use someone they don't have experience with. I imagine a lot of readers are thinking that you should just practice and learn new heroes, but I disagree. Practicing a lot doesn't necessarily mean that you'll magically become good with a character. Certain gameplay styles may just not mesh well with your set of skills as a player -- which means certain heroes will always confound you.


I can see why hero stacking was taken out of Competitive for better balancing, but I don't understand the decision to remove it from Quick Play. Quick Play should have been given the same treatment as Arcade, since Quick Play is not the same as Competitive. Plus, hero stacking can prove to be fun in public games that aren't competitive. What's the harm in that, seriously? You can switch characters, after all. So if you see an army of Torbjorns and his turrets, pick a hero who counters that.


Clueless Teammates, Terrible Teams


This one ties in with the previous point that I made. One of the main (if not the main) reasons why I would lose so many games in a row was because my team was either completely out of synergy, or had no idea what to do.


One example that I will never forget was when I was playing as Lucio, and my team had to escort the payload to its destination. My teammates were taking damage, so I rushed to them in order to heal them. As soon as I reached them, all of my teammates that were on the payload split up for no reason, with barely any health, and proceeded to die before I could heal them. And since Lucio is not an offensive hero, I died almost immediately after my teammates because I had no one to protect me. This is the prime highlight of my terrible experience with random players.


Sadly, this is too common in Overwatch. Random players have no idea how to cooperate and communicate in order to win. How can they? They don't know one another, and are obviously not in a party. But this isn't the only example.


Another reason for losing so many matches comes from having no team synergy. A lot of times, my team was composed of heroes that had nothing to do with each other, almost like all of us closed our eyes, and proceeded to pick a hero at random. Worse, very rarely would we switch to other heroes, which by that time was too late, since we would lose seconds after. 


I always tried my best to choose the most appropriate hero that would greatly benefit my entire team, and give us some sort of chance to win. But unfortunately, everyone would drag me down by dying, or by not playing their role, which would result in confusion, frustration, and losing. 


An effective solution to combat this issue could be reworking the matchmaking system to such a degree so that it puts solo players with and against other solo players, and parties against other parties. 


If a team is composed of solo players who aren't communicating, don't have a game plan, and simply don't know what to do, against other solo players with the same disadvantages (or perhaps, advantages if you want to look at it this way), this creates an even playing field where everyone is basically equal. In return, solo players won't have to feel bad about themselves, and know that they are playing with/against others who are just like them! As a result, this creates a sense of equality among "solo-ers," sucky players, and beginners. 


But, if two parties go against one another, this too can be applied to them. Since everyone will be talking and communicating, the teams will in fact have a game plan set up, and that as well will create an even playing field, just how it'll be created for solo players. 


It's a definite win-win situation for everyone. Teams will play against other teams, thus creating a somewhat of a competitive environment for them, while solo players won't feel discouraged, and know that they won't get steamrolled by a cooperative group. 


It Sucks to Queue Solo


If you are a casual player who games all by yourself, don't bother getting Overwatch. On average, you will be losing seven or eight out of every 10 matches. How is that fun? 


To do well and win in Overwatch, you must play with friends. Good communication is crucial to winning games. By talking with friends, you'll have a game plan all set up, which will increase your chances of doing well and winning. But if you're playing solo, you can forget all about that! You can't really communicate with your teammates, because people rarely use the game's integrated communications system, and the community is so toxic that communication tends to break down even if you do.


So you have no idea what to do and are then forced to have a game plan all by yourself. And that will almost never work because it's a team-based game.


You might be thinking that the obvious solution is just to play with friends. But there are lots of players out there (like myself) who don't know anyone else who plays Overwatch. Most of my friends either quit or play with such rarity that they basically don't play at all. And some others don't want to plunk down $60 for such a truncated experience.


I could search the internet for randoms to play with, but that's tenuous at best and rarely turns out like you'd hope. 


There really is no way to combat this or cater to solo players, because Overwatch is a team-based game. You need cooperation, and there is no way around it. Maybe if the community were better (or matchmaking took factors like communication and cooperation into account), then it wouldn't be such an issue.


Blizzard Isn't Doing Much About Its Toxic Community


Every game has its fair share of disrespectful and rude players. Just take a look at games like Call of Duty, where underage children scream profanities into their mics when they die and people troll one another for amusement. But the reason why Overwatch is different is because it's the adults that scream profanities, racial slurs, and even threaten each other with violence. Who in their right mind would play with people like that -- seriously?! If you think it's that bad in public matches, just imagine how players will act and behave in competitive games!  


The unfortunate thing is that people will get angry at you over the dumbest things like: 

  • Not selecting a hero of their choice.
  • \n
  • Not playing the objective their way.
  • \n
  • Offering some sort of suggestion when they have it "all figured out without your help."
  • \n

The toxicity even spreads all the way to the forums, where people will down-vote and thumb-down your comment if you don't agree with them, even if you show the slightest behavior of being anti-Overwatch, and many more childish reasons.


Blizzard has introduced a report system, where players can report rude and aggressive teammates. But as it turned out, the report system only made things worse. The only way that I see of professionally and calmly dealing with people like that is to either mute them if possible or play with friends.


However, a more professional and direct approach would be to introduce a punishment and reward system. If you are a good, honorable player who does not behave like a total jerk, you will be rewarded for proper conduct. Whether it'll be a loot box that will guarantee an extremely rare item or a hefty double XP boost that will last for a few hours, the game will realize that you're "the good guy."


But if you are the complete opposite of that, the game might send you messages, asking you politely to knock it off. If you choose to persist and continue to behave like a total jerk, the game might begin to punish you by giving you time outs, temporarily suspending your chat privileges (so others won't have to get insulted by you for silly reasons), XP penalties, etc.


Such a system can be seen as a win-win for all players. Normal players won't have to put up with disrespectful punks, while those with good manners will be rewarded. Perhaps such a system will even encourage the toxic players to start behaving, that is of course, if they wish to get the benefits that proper players are getting.


(Video Credit: MIOSKII)


The Reward System Isn't Actually Rewarding


Every video game has at least some sort of an objective that is waiting to be completed, and promises a reward at the end for doing so. In Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, for example, the objective of multiplayer is to try and reach Prestige Master, complete all of the challenges, and get that Dark Matter camo for all your weapons. Or, let's take Bloodborne and its grueling Chalice Dungeons, where players must progress until they reach the final dungeon, and defeat the final/secret boss, while unlocking useful upgrades and equipment in the process. 


But does Overwatch have anything? What exactly is the goal of playing Overwatch? To become the very best, like no one ever was? What if you don't play competitive game modes or care about ranked standings? Where does that lead you? There really is no goal in Overwatch, nor are there any challenges for players to tackle.


Give players challenges to complete! Make it worth their while! 


By implementing a challenge and reward system, players will have reason to keep playing the game. And more importantly, it could incentivize them to play with other heroes, which will not only improve their skill but help them get more out of the character roster that they paid $60 for.


It would be nice to see different tier rewards for every hero like:

  • Get 100 kills to unlock a unique skin/costume
  • \n
  • Absorb a total of 250,000 points of damage with Reinhardt's shield to unlock a new weapon skin for him
  • \n
  • Get a triple kill in one life to unlock a special emote
  • \n
  • As a healer, heal your team for a total of 1,000 points in one game to unlock a unique play of the game animation
  • \n

Overwatch doesn't have a system like that, so there's little encouragement for players to try their best and attempt picking up new things. Without cool, unique content to unlock, what's there to strive for other than more wins?


Loot Boxes Are Full of...


During my one month of playing this game, not once did I have the desire to open any of the loot boxes -- including any seasonal/event ones. How come? It's simple: the loot box system is full of garbage, and has absolutely nothing that's useful or worth paying real money for. Most of the time, they only drop pointless sprays, worthless player emblems, and more junk to take up inventory space. The sole reason why any of that garbage exists is simply to reduce players' chances of getting very rare character skins and play of the game animations -- because those are the only things that are actually worth it.


If you want to pad out your loot box drops with smaller items, fine. But why not at least make those useful or interesting to look at? If sprays were animated, maybe I'd be a little bit happier to get them from a box. Even better, including buffs or boosts (like a double EXP boost) that players could redeem would be nice. SMITE, the popular third-person MOBA from Hi-Rez Studios, includes these sorts of boosts in its chest system -- which you can then use to give your whole team a buff that will grant them more experience, worshipers, and ranking points for the course of a match.


Without anything helpful or useful in them, loot boxes are a waste of time and money.


It's Not Worth the $60 Price Tag


Is any multiplayer only game actually worth the full price of $60? Just think about what you are getting -- then compare that to other games at the same price point, which have way more content. Shocking, right?


Overwatch is a multiplayer-only game with no story mode, no adventure, and no campaign. So why is it priced exactly the same as many other games that have so much more to offer than it does? Is it purely because it's a AAA title? Or is it because it was developed by Blizzard?


When you plop down the $60 for Overwatch, what you're really buying is its roster of heroes, access to multiplayer servers, and a few game modes. That's pretty much it aside from a few cosmetic goodies. And the unfortunate part is that the game modes aren't really that good -- completing the same objective over and over again every single day simply gets tiresome and very repetitive, which could potentially drain a portion of the fun.


On top of all that, you're expected to swallow microtransactions in spite of the money you already paid for the "full" game! The "loot boxes" that you're supposed to buy into have nothing useful or helpful in them -- and though they're obviously optional, all the hype around the cosmetic items makes them look much more lucrative than they should. 


If Overwatch was around $30-$40, then that price would definitely be justifiable. For the full price of $60, you're simply not getting your money's worth, no matter how you choose to look at it. And for whatever possible reason, it's $40 dollars on PC -- which doesn't make a whole lot of sense, when it's the exact same game as the console version.


It's also worth mentioning here that most other games in the arena shooter genre (and its sister genre, the MOBA) are free-to-play and have you spend money on cosmetic items and hero unlocks rather than paying outright for the base game. (Paladins is a great example here.)


There's no question that Overwatch is a very popular game. Between selling millions of copies all across the world, winning the 2016 Game of the Year award, and having a huge fanbase, there is practically no doubt that Overwatch is one of the most iconic games of this generation. 


But is it actually a good game, and does it actually deserve all the praise even if it is GOTY? Not really...


Overwatch may be a decent game, but nonetheless, it has a number of problems that its core fanbase (and some critics) seem to overlook. When you look critically at its gameplay mechanics, community, and other aspects of Overwatch, this game is far from perfect -- and quite honestly, doesn't really deserve all the unfettered hype it gets.


Why? I'll tell you. Over the course of the next few slides, we're going to take a look at some of the problems with Overwatch, and examine how they prevent it from being a truly good and playable game. 

Sit the Hell Down; Anthem Doesn't Actually Look That Great Tue, 20 Jun 2017 12:17:28 -0400 ActionJ4ck

This year's E3 saw the unveiling of Anthem, a sci-fi action RPG from Dragon Age and Mass Effect developer BioWare. As one might expect for a brand new IP coming from such a well-known developer, fans went nuts. Too nuts, in fact, considering how little information we actually got from the 1 minute teaser trailer and the 7 minute gameplay reveal.

And since I'd hate to see this hype train end up barreling off the tracks Mass Effect: Andromeda style, I think it's best if everyone is just informed now: Anthem doesn't actually look that great.

But before we begin quelling the surge of hype, let's get something out of the way. See the screenshot below.

Yes, the graphics are gorgeous. Now let's move on with our lives.

We don't really have much gameplay to go on...

Despite the 7 minute gameplay reveal showcased at Microsoft's E3 conference, we saw a disconcertingly small amount of actual gameplay. After seeing the two players hop into the Javelin exosuits about a quarter of the way through the demonstration, viewers are treated with a minute of jetpacking, followed by a pair of generic skirmishes in which we find out that the game has guns and...bigger guns. Novel. Oh, and then they flew into a storm, which was relevant for unexplained reasons.

Though it is hard to deny that jetpacks make everything better, it's not enough to show us how, if at all, Anthem is different than a 3rd person Destiny or a sci-fi The Division. Based purely on what was shown, the game doesn't seem to feature much more than the standard multiplayer shoot'n'loot.

What should be there to exemplify what this game can offer -- that its contemporaries don't -- is that awesome BioWare narrative that players have come to know and expect. Speaking of which...

There isn't much of a story yet.

Most of the information regarding Anthem's plot came from the initial teaser trailer shown during EA's conference. The trailer tells us that humanity has been pushed behind walls by monsters and natural disasters, while promising that players must "live with the choices you make or die trying to change them".

Other than that, we have almost nothing -- which seems like a strange choice from the typically narrative-focused BioWare. And although the bit about choices certainly sounds very BioWare-ish, the gameplay reveal from Microsoft's conference showed nothing resembling the dialogue trees, moral dilemmas, or loyalty trackers that the developer is known and loved for. 

Without any explanation of why players are exploring this world or what their motivation is, that narrative immersion we've come to expect from a BioWare game simply isn't there. It's possible that this is an intentional choice by the developer, who may be choosing to abandon the plot-heavy style in favor of a more straightforward multiplayer action game. If that is the case, then that's cause for concern because... 

It may be losing its identity as a BioWare game.

Though BioWare games have definitely veered further and further into action RPG territory in the past few years -- compare Dragon Age: Inquisition and Mass Effect: Andromeda to Dragon Age: Origins and KOTOR -- they nevertheless retained their BioWare identity thanks to the developer's focus on branching narratives and memorable characters.

But if that focus is going to be dropped in favor of your standard multiplayer shootin' and lootin', Anthem will become almost indistinguishable from Destiny 2 or even The Division. And while it's not necessarily a bad thing to be like those games, it won't satisfy the expectations or tastes of players who've come to enjoy BioWare's unique style of storytelling.

If it can't offer any unique mechanics or plot, why would I pick up Anthem when I'm already dedicated to a raid team in Destiny 2 (which will probably be a couple expansions in by the time Anthem hits store shelves in fall 2018)?

That all being said, it really doesn't look like a bad game. Not by a long shot, actually. But if you plan on purchasing Anthem with the expectation that it's going to be the greatest BioWare game ever made, there is a strong chance that you're going to be let down. Instead, go in with the expectation of a sci-fi shooter you can play with your buddies. Maybe you'll be pleasantly surprised. Could Anthem still be good? Sure. Could it be spectacular? Absolutely. Just don't assume it will be when you haven't seen any actual evidence to support that idea.

What did you think of the game's reveal? Does it look like everything you wanted from Mass Effect: Andromeda? Would you rather have another Dragon Age? Let us know in the comments below and remember to check back with GameSkinny for anything and everything Anthem

5 Things We Want From Assassin's Creed: Origins Wed, 10 May 2017 06:06:25 -0400 Marc Hollinshead

Assassin's Creed has taken a year off for the first time in a long while. The last installment of the series, Assassin's Creed Syndicate, brought back some of the magic of the early entries, but there was a realization that the franchise needed time to find its feet again. Ubisoft decided to give the series a well-needed rest for a year and return with a fresher experience, which is rumored to arrive later this year.

The name of that shiny new adventure is Assassin's Creed: Origins. Although the title has only been revealed through leaked information, the series is set to make its return by visiting Ancient Egypt -- the earliest time period ever to be used in Assassin's Creed history. The soft reboot of the series, along with a brand new time period, means that Assassin's Creed could receive the rebirth it so sorely needs.

Will Ubisoft do it right, though? 

Origins has a lot riding on it, and fans are craving a number of revamped series elements. But which do we want the most? Here are five suggestions.

A Greater Emphasis on Stealth

Hiding in plain sight is one of the staples of Assassin's Creed, but the overall focus on stealth has been slowly pushed aside as the series progressed. Wacky gadgets and blowing up ships took precedence over true assassin techniques, so it would be fantastic to bring back the stealth element back to the series.

Origins is going back almost a thousand years before Syndicate, and with that brings the omission of many of the gadgets and inventions that flooded Victorian London. Origins would need to rely heavily on physical abilities, so this would be a great opportunity for new mechanics to be introduced that flesh out the series' stealth gameplay. Blending could even be done differently, introducing new ways for our assassin to camouflage themselves from enemies. 

A Return to Series' Lore

The First Civilization and the pieces of Eden were introduced very early on, but as the series progressed, the ties to this backstory diminished. After the events of Assassin's Creed III, story segments set in the present day were given less and less screen time. They were changed into very short first-person tasks that seemed rather uninspired when it came to gameplay.

Origins has the chance to delve much deeper into the conception of the assassins and templars, as well as the First Civilization. Plot details are of course practically non-existent at this early stage, but Ezio, Edward, and even Altair haven't yet existed in this time period, so there is a veritable ton of alternative story elements that could be explored. 

A Rich and Lavish Egypt to Explore

Ancient Egypt is one of my favorite time periods in human history. Mummification, the hieroglyphs, the pyramids -- it all makes for some brilliant cultural education.

If Ubisoft was to make full use of the opportunity to explore all of this, the results could be staggering in Origins. The game is rumored to emphasize exploration, so this wish looks to be closest to fruition Climbing pyramids and the Sphinx, as well as exploring long-lost Egyptian tombs, is a historian's dream, and something we truly want Origins to sink its teeth into. 

On that note, exploration, if done right, could be an enthralling experience that rewards us when we dig deeper than the surface. So, with that in mind, what we certainly want to have is...

No Busywork

Throughout the series, Assassin's Creed games have regularly had their maps swamped with icons of chests to loot, buildings to renovate, and locations to liberate. Side activities are rife, but many of them have felt pointless and not worthwhile. Quality over quantity is something that definitely needs to be recognized in future installments, especially Origins.

The continuing rumors of the game allude to an extremely large map that potentially spans all the way to Greece. This means that there could be a huge amount of content. What we don't want, though, is for Ubisoft to be tempted to return to old habits and give us countless, forgettable tasks to complete. Bigger and more memorable missions are what we need, and I think I speak for many when I say the world map should be used for those, rather than the overload of icons in the above picture. 

A Change to Combat

Another aspect of the series that has evolved -- but never truly changed -- is the combat. Throughout all titles, it has boiled down to pressing a button enough times to counter enemies to death. We'd like a little more complexity in Origins.

Syndicate was a step in the right direction, but reviews mentioned the major similarities that were still present from past installments. Brand new mechanics could be brought to the next game if Ubisoft explored other avenues. Both the new time period and series fatigue that fans have been experiencing are valid reasons for this.

Rumors have also been circulating that naval combat is returning once again, and the fact that Origins is to be set so far in the past means that this would need an overhaul, too. Canons, mortar fire, and huge artillery simply couldn't be an option if the title aims to be historically accurate. It'll be interesting to see how Ubisoft handles this.

Assassin's Creed: Origins is rumored to have its full reveal at E3 2017. Are you excited for the next title in the series? What do you hope to see in it? Let us know in the comments below! 

Get Ready for the Chaos-Packed Gameplay Trailer in Agents of Mayhem Mon, 03 Apr 2017 08:07:39 -0400 Nam T. Bui

Deep Silver has just released an all-new trailer of Agents of Mayhem -- an open-world third-person action game that succeeds the legacy of the Saints Row series.

The latest trailer showcased chaotic gameplay actions from multiple playable characters -- which marks the first appearance of new protagonists not originally in the first trailer -- such as Yeti and Scheherazade. It also features the vehicle gameplay and the antagonists from L.E.G.I.O.N., as well as announcing the release date of 18th August 2017.

Agents of Mayhem is considered to be the spiritual sequel of Saints Row series, while also in the same universe. Set after the events of Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell. Players will take control the agents of an organization called M.A.Y.H.E.M with the mission to save the world from threats of terrorist group L.E.G.I.O.N. In Agents of Mayhem, players can control a squad of 3 agents chosen from the roster of 12 different playable characters.

Each character possesses different weapons and skills which give them a unique playstyle. Since the game is set in the Saints Row universe, many symbols from the series are mentioned in the game: from the 3rd Street Saints' fleur-de-lis logo, to the iconic Ultor Corporation and the return of Persephone Brimstone (Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell).

Agents of Mayhem is set to have a release on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

Middle-Earth: Shadow of War Escalates Mordor War With New War Gameplay Thu, 09 Mar 2017 05:22:13 -0500 Nam T. Bui

Monolith has just posted the very first gameplay footage of Middle-Earth: Shadow of War, an open-world action RPG based on the world of J. R. R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings.

The 16-minute-long video showcased expanded features from the critically-acclaimed Shadow of Mordor, with an improved Nemesis System and all-new Nemesis Fortresses, as well as siege-like mechanics where you utilize different tactics to conquer strongholds in different regions in Mordor. In order to take control of the castle, players must form their own army by recruiting and controlling allied Orcs as Followers. Along with the Nemesis Fortresses, the game also offers new abilities for Talion and Celebrimbor with the power of New Ring.

In contrast to the prequel which focused on "Assassin Creed"-esque stealth and slash gameplay, Middle-Earth: Shadow of War will emphasize the RPG elements and large-scale battle gameplay. The game takes place between the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, continuing the story of ranger Captain Talion, and the infused elven spirit Celebrimbor. This time, the duo has forged a new Ring of Power that grants the ability of becoming a powerful king without being controlled by Sauron and his Dark Forces.

Middle-Earth: Shadow of War was revealed to the public after a leak from Target several weeks ago. The game is slated to release on 22nd August 2017 on PC (Steam and Windows Store), PS4, and Xbox One.

Northgard Guide: Tips and Tricks For Getting Started with Your First Settlement Sun, 26 Feb 2017 11:12:59 -0500 Jonathan Moore

Northgard is a smooth and mechanically robust real-time strategy game that subverts expectations with fresh and inventive features. There are a lot of moving parts in this RTS from Evoland and Evoland II developer, Shiro Games. There’s no pausing to strategize, either, so you need to hit the ground running if you’re going to rule this Viking continent – whether that be through conquest, trade, or lore. 

To get you started on the right boot, we’ve put together this beginner's guide full of tips, tricks, and strategies for starting your first settlement in Northgard, which will set you up for victory in the mid-to-late game.

Here, we’ll cover:

  • Early Base Construction
  • Land Colonization
  • Villager Management
  • Resource Management

Let’s get started.

Tips for Building Your Base in Northgard’s Early Game

Each map in Northgard is procedurally generated, which means you’ll theoretically never play the same map twice. It also means that you’ll never really know where resources will be or what type of terrain you’ll be faced with when first starting out.

However, you’ll always start with a Town Hall and three villagers.  

As you can’t strategize or create buildings or units when pausing the game (Northgard’s pause feature straight up “stops” gameplay), you’ll want to start building your base right away. First, you’ll want to pay attention to how many buildings your current section of the map can hold at any one time.

As this is the beginning of the game for you, you should currently only have one territory in your kingdom. Click anywhere in your territory and look at the build and villager menu on the right-hand side of the screen. To the left of that, you’ll see a rectangular box with a house symbol at the top and a number to the right of that symbol (which should say 1/5). This is the number of buildings (5) you can build in that specific territory. Keep this number in mind as you construct your base.

But first, you’ll want to build a House so that your Town Hall can keep pumping out villagers at a steady pace. Each house adds 5 to your population.

Next, you’ll want to build a Scout Camp, which will allow you to convert your villagers to scouts. Vitally important to expanding your empire, scouts are the only means by which you’ll be able to explore the map and colonize new territories.

After you build a Scout Camp, you’ll want to immediately build a Woodcutter’s Lodge. Optimally, you’ll want to build the Woodcutter’s Lodge close to a forest within your starting territory (you'll get a 20 percent bonus to production for doing so). However, if you begin within a region that does not have a forest – or only a very small outcropping of trees – it may be worthwhile to wait until your scout has charted the immediate territories surrounding your starting position and found a more suitable location for your lodge.

Once you’ve built your Woodcutter’s Lodge, you’ll have a choice: either build a Training Camp or a Trading Post. A Trading Post helps you gain more krowns, which you'll need to pay your building upkeep and pay for your warriors. On top of that, krowns are also used (among other resources) to construct and upgrade buildings.

However, in the early game, you’ll automatically get +2 krowns every 10 seconds of so from your Town Hall, which means you’ll have a small-but-steady stream of krowns coming in – as a long as you don’t build too many buildings before you build your first Trading Post. That means you can get away with building a Training Camp at this point in the game, as well as convert a few villagers to warriors. The choice is up to you – just keep an eye on your krown consumption.

Winter in Northgard is Something You Want to Prepare For 

At this point in the game, you’re most likely already moving into your first winter season in Northgard. This is when all resource production slows -- meaning you’ll bring in less food and wood.

From here, you’ll want to think about building the following if you haven’t already:

  • A Hunter’s Camp if you’ve found and colonized a territory that has deer
  • A Fisherman’s Hut if you’ve found a lake that has fish
    • (Note: The sea doesn’t necessarily have fish. In fact, I’ve yet to find other fish in the sea …)
  • A Farm if you’ve found a plot of fertile land
  • A Silo, which increases your food storage capacity, if you’re focusing on food production
  • A Sheepfold if you began the game with sheep or have found a territory with sheep (doing so dramatically increases food production).
  • A Mine if you’ve found stone or iron deposits

You can easily get through the early game (especially on lower difficulties) without building a Defense Tower or Healer’s Hut. These structures unnecessarily consume vital early-game resources that could be used for your winter stockpile or quickly expanding your territorial dominance.

You Won’t Survive a Second in Northgard Without Colonizing New Lands

As we mentioned above, the scout is your only way of discovering and colonizing new territories in Northgard’s wilderness. But there are just a few things you need to keep in mind after your scout’s pulled back the fog war. 

You can control your scout.

This may seem obvious, but when you create a scout, he immediately runs off to chart new territories at random. If there’s a sector of the map you’d rather have him investigate, click him and make him go to edge of that region. He’ll automatically start scouting.

Your scout knows how much you can build in a region.

Remember: each region has a structure limit. Once your scout has found new regions, click on the region to see how many structures you can build on it, as well as what resources it contains. It may be that you want to move your Mine or your Woodcutter’s Lodge to this newly discovered location. But before you do...

Check to see how much food it will cost to colonize new territory.

At the beginning of the game, territories cost very small amounts of food to colonize. However, as your add more and more sectors to your empire, the amount of food required to do so steadily increases. Just be sure to not spend your winter reserves on annexing a piece of land you can’t immediately use.

Make sure you won't have to fight for the land.

You can’t colonize new territories if enemies (human or otherwise) already inhabit those lands -- unless you send warriors in first. In other words, you’ll have to clear any area of hostiles before your villagers will help bring that land into the kingdom. 

Managing Villagers in Northgard is Essential to Early-Game Dominance

Making new units in Northgard is unique, if a little strange when compared to traditional strategy game mechanics. To create warriors, scouts, farmers, loremasters, fishermen, hunters, or any other type of unit (sans the Warchief), you’ll have to convert villagers to those units individually. Unlike traditional RTS games, you won’t construct or queue units from each building.

How to put villagers in roles:
  • First, select a villager
    Then, for example, if you want that villager to become a warrior (as in the screenshot above), you’ll go to your Training Camp and hover your cursor over the camp
  • You’ll immediately see a small avatar of a Warrior and a green plus sign
  • Right click the Training Camp and your villager will now convert into a Warrior

To succeed in Northgard, you’ll need to constantly balance the roles of your villagers and workers in each region of your budding empire. Keep a close eye on your resources and don’t be afraid to reassign villagers and workers to new roles when needed. 

How to change a worker to a new role (or back to a villager): 

To change back into a villager (which is the only unit that can build new structures): 

  • Left click a worker
  • Find a house and hover over it
  • Right click the house when the avatar and green plus symbol appear
  • Wait for your worker to convert back to a villager

To change the role of a worker (from a hunter to a merchant, for example): 

  • Select your hunter
  • Hover over the Trading Post until the avatar and green plus sign appear
  • Right click and your hunter will be converted to a merchant

Food, Wood, Krowns, and Stone – Dominating Northgard is All About Resource Management

As with any RTS, resource management is a fickle meta game you’re forced to play in order to win. And in Northgard, Shiro Games has added a few tweaks to the typical strategy game formula to spice things up. Let’s take a quick look. 

Gathering Food 

Each of your units consumes -1 food, unless you have certain in-game or clan-specific modifier engaged to moderate this effect. Conversely, each of your villagers produces +4 food, unless you have other modifiers active.

So, for example, when you first begin, you’ll see that you’re getting +8 (+12-4) food roughly every 7-10 seconds of game time. When you add another villager, you’ll see that you’re getting +11 food (or +16-5) every 7-10 seconds of game time. Understanding this consumption ratio can radically inform your early-game resource decisions.

Now, as the game goes on, certain modifiers and food producers (such as Farmers, Healers, Hunters, and Fishermen) invariably change this ratio, but understanding its core mechanics helps you determine how many food producers you must have at any one time.

Here’s a breakdown of how much food each type of producer makes:

  • Villagers: +4
  • Healers: +5
  • Fishermen: +4
  • Hunters: +5
  • Farmers: +5
  • Sheepfold +5 (+3 for each subsequent sheep)

You can also upgrade your buildings using stone and krowns to increase food production as you progress through the game. And remember: Food is an important resource as it helps you colonize new territory. 

Gathering Wood 

Compared to food producers, wood cutters are pretty straight forward. Each lumberjack produces +4 wood about every 10 in-game seconds. You will, however, have to account for -1 wood consumption for firewood in the early game, which increases as time goes on or as winter approaches.

Getting Krowns 

As we’ve mentioned, krowns are an important resource for converting villagers to warriors, upgrading buildings, paying upkeep on buildings, and even constructing some buildings, such as Houses. 

At game’s start, your Town Hall will provide +2 krowns. However, the Town Hall does not produce nearly enough krowns to sustain your needs. Building multiple Trading Posts will be necessary to sustain your empire. Build them as soon as possible – without neglecting your other early-game resources.

Note: Building a Trading Post and Marketplace in the same territory boost krown production in that territory by 30 percent. So, when possible, build each structure together for maximum output. 

Mining Stone 

Mining stone isn’t as important in Northgard’s early game as you might initially believe. You'll primarily need it to upgrade buildings and construct carved stones in the game’s later stages.

However, if you come across a territory with stone, it would be wise to mine at least a portion of it early on as you need 10 stone to upgrade your Town Hall, which will help you construct some of Northgard’s more advanced buildings faster.

You can also buy stone with krowns after erecting a Marketplace.


Well that's it for this Northgard guide. We hope these tips and tricks to building your first settlement help you get started quickly and easily. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Northgard guides and news. 

Does the Amount of Gameplay in Super Mario Run Justify the $10 Price Tag? Tue, 20 Dec 2016 11:00:01 -0500 Janette Ceballos

Super Mario Run has people talking, mostly because it costs $10 to unlock all six worlds after a three-level free demo. Some are saying it is a ridiculous amount to pay for the app, leading to low reviews on the iTunes store. But is the price really too steep for what the game offers?

Let's take a piece-be-piece look at each feature of the app.

Overall Gameplay


As stated before, you run and jump like in any old Mario game. The important thing here is that Mario runs automatically. It’s up to the player to focus on jumping; in what direction, on what enemies, how high, how far. The challenge. There are no power-ups included besides the mushroom, which allows you to be hit without stopping you, and the invincibility star.

The game also includes special blocks that affect how you move at certain points. Some blocks will move you backwards when jumped on, others stop you completely so you can choose a direction. It makes for interesting gameplay since you have to adjust to those blocks and figure out how they can help you.

In the levels, you are able to collect regular yellow coins, time-based red coins, and special pink coins that take a bit of skill to get.

World Tour

There are 24 playable levels that are noticeably shorter than usual, but the game was designed to be played in short bursts, so this choice makes sense. It’s the average story mode where you travel through all six worlds to save the princess. The stages feature underground levels, ghost houses, and mini-boss castles, each adding their own challenge to the game.

Kingdom Builder

As you play the game, you will earn coins that can be used to customize your personal kingdom. You can purchase toad houses, plants, and other similar items. Doing so will give you certain bonuses like extra coins or unlockable characters who can then be used on the World Tour stages. Unlocked characters have their own style of play, including Yoshi’s flutter-jump and Luigi’s long jump, adding replayability to the World Tour stages.

Toad Rally

You can spend tickets earned in the World Tour or bonus stages in the kingdom to play against others in a multiplayer race. One winner is determined at the end of the round based on style jumps, coins collected, and speed. Winners get toads to populate the kingdom and earn special unlockable items. Collecting an invincibility star in this mode unlocks Coin Rush, temporarily dropping many coins you can collect.

For $10, you get the Mario experience at a fraction of the cost of the regular games, and in a mobile form. The game is great for short bursts of play throughout your day since the levels are shorter, there's a unique novelty in being able to play a Nintendo game on a non-Nintendo platform, and the competitive mode works well to challenge players on how to win over that Toad crowd. Whether or not you like this format is another question entirely, but despite that, the app offers enough in buyable items, select bonuses, and multiplayer competitions to justify its price and keep a lot of people interested. If you are a fan of the franchise, the one-time fee is worth the cost for a different take on the classic platformer.

What do you guys think? Is the game worth $10 to you or was there something missing? Be sure to let us know!

The Last Guardian Gets a New Featurette Trailer Sun, 27 Nov 2016 13:38:50 -0500 Jeffrey Rousseau

Recently, PlayStation Japan released a new trailer for The Last Guardian, serving as one last update prior to its release.

The nearly nine-minute trailer is an introduction to the game itself, showcasing how the game's boy-protagonist eventually meets Trico, the winged creature we've all come to know and love.

Throughout the footage, it's shown how boy and creature assist each other in traversing perilous locales and evading treacherous soldiers, as Trico can be seen attacking stone soldiers as they attempt to capture the boy, while the boy is also seen pulling a spear from Trico as the beast comes under attack. 

The Last Guardian serves as the third game created by Team Ico and Fumito Ueda. The title as such shares some design similarities to both Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. These design choices include minimal dialogue, a focus on character design and a strong focus on story driven by character interaction.

Adventure fans can look forward to The Last Guardian in December for the PlayStation 4.


Dragon Age: Origins Versus Dragon Age: Inquisition Wed, 26 Oct 2016 06:00:01 -0400 Sand Snake

With news from Bioware about the possible creation of Dragon Age 4, a continuation of the RPG trilogy series, what better time to compare the new and old. From the moment we were introduced to Thedas in Dragon Age: Origins, we all knew how great this game would be and how much greater it could be become. A feeling that has only grown stronger with the release of the expansion pack. However, that has all changed with the arrival of Dragon Age 2 and Dragon Age: Inquisition

First lets take a look at the first game in the series, Dragon Age Origins. Which is by far and away the best game in the series. Not only for its tactics, strategy and combat, but also because it is a true RPG game. There are hundreds of games out there that claim the title of RPG, but Dragon Age: Origins is one of the few which actually can say it is a real RPG game. Proof of this is shown immediately at the very beginning of the game, where you can choose your gender, your race, your class and whether or not your nobility. But that's not all. You get play through a unique storyline for each of those races. Plus, there will be many moments in the game, where the choices you make at the beginning of the game will affect your future interactions with NPCs.

But I haven't even gotten to the best part yet, which is that a lot of the decisions you make in Dragon Age: Origins will appear in both Dragon Age: Origins Awakening the expansion pack and Dragon Age 2. Not to mention the skills you acquire as you level up can be geared towards, whichever battle style you prefer. Assassin, Battle Mage, Warrior, Duelist, Archer and dozens more. Added to all of that are the thousands of dialogue choices that are presented throughout the game, which is probably my favorite part of the game; choosing what my character says and how they react. I often compare this against other games, and there are none that I know of that can offer such a varied, and solid, amount of dialogue choices than in Dragon Age Origins. Each choice you make in dialogue is followed up by more dialogue options, making your choices extremely adaptable and unique.

All of these options give you the greatest amount of control in the game, thereby making it a true RPG game. Whereas, in games like Dark Souls, Diablo 2 and Baldur's Gate, the RPG factor simply rests upon choosing the type of character and fighting style; and sometimes if you're lucky a few dialogue options. Now while these games are great in their own right, they are not true RPG games.

Which brings me to Dragon Age: Inquisition, the game that has been the greatest disappointment of my life.

My biggest frustration with Dragon Age: Inquisition, is that it's no longer an RPG game anymore. All the options and control you had in Dragon Age: Origins has been hacked and slashed away to leave behind an exceptionally boring game. Thousands of dialogue options, ripped out. Dozens of unique background stories, shredded to tiny gobbets of background information. Unique fighting styles, replaced with generic attacks. Great battle tactics, replaced with a useless strategy interface. And most importantly, the impact of your choices on the world, has been reduced to droppings on the battle map.

After playing Dragon Age Inquisition just once, I can definitely say I will not be picking it up anytime soon. Hell, it's more than likely I won't even bother buying the follow up game if there is one. The game deliberately burns your brain out with useless quests, so that after only playing the game for half an hour your brain goes into meltdown from sheer boredom. 

All the control you had over the character's build and gameplay has been taken away. The only positive that I can see in the game is graphics, dragons, and the crafting system. Everything else is a complete waste of time, dialogue with companions, don't bother unless you want to fall asleep. Quests, you're better off going outside and getting some fresh air -- it will probably be more interesting. Choices, well lets just say you get to choose between dumb and dumber. 

There is only one aspect of the game that has truly stunned and captivated the entire world and that is 'hype'. After all their big talk and explanations, we got to see a world full of nothing, and we got to do nothing in that world.

6 Things Which Make a Game Great Mon, 24 Oct 2016 02:00:01 -0400 Sand Snake


Good gameplay, interesting storylines, quests which offer choices, deep companion characterization, and innovative ideas all play a key role in making you enjoy any game you play. These are my top six aspects of gaming, and that will most likely change as games become more advanced. But what are some of your ideas for what makes a great game? Or what would make a game even better for you?

6. Innovative Ideas

Too many games are getting caught up in imitating other games. Now while that can lead to better quality versions of that particular game, it can also lead to overuse of those mechanics. Most people, while they like a certain kind of game and will usually buy similar games, will usually stop buying them once they realize they are pretty much buying the same games again.


Games need to be freshened up every once in a while, otherwise as gamers grow older many will drop off the radar, because they have seen it all and played it all. If the gaming industry is to increase in growth and expand, they need to hold onto every single gamer and attract more with innovative ideas that keep those older generation excited and hungry for more.


Two games that stand out, and deserve some type of award for having achieved that very goal is Fallout 4 with its Settlement System, where you can build a settlement, and Dying Light for its extremely fun parkour mechanics. These two games have transformed their relatively simple and average gaming experience, into something truly epic, simply by adding two complex innovations. Building settlements and watching people come in to fill them up, although quite time consuming it can be quite fascinating. I can usually spend hours building a settlement, just so I can have a base in the area to get supplies, and have some sort of safe house from the wasteland. Which can be very useful, when playing survival mode.


The Parkour system is the same way, you find yourself stomping, killing, jumping, and running all the time because it is so much fun to watch your character do it. It's even more thrilling when you have Night Hunters chasing after you. Nothing gets your blood pumping like the sound of Night Hunters detecting you in the middle of the night, and being chased through a zombie infested city.

5. Interesting Companions

Companions and great voice actors are another important tool in making a decent game, into an epic game. While some people might undervalue this aspect in comparison to graphics and other areas of gaming, it does play an essential role in drawing people into their world. By having unique and interesting companions with you, makes you look forward to every piece of dialogue or conversation in the game, it makes you want to learn more about them and in doing so learn more about the world around you. Having characters that act like your wing (wo)man just generally makes you want to play the game just that little bit longer, especially if you're able to level them up and watch them gain new abilities. 


But what would really take games to a whole new level of amazing, would be to see games break the restrictions on romance options, get rid of companions that give long tedious explanations about their lives, give companions actual dialogue that relates to each main quest so that you can engage them throughout the game, design companion side quests that will have a genuine impact on the results of the main quest, and be able to befriend anyone you meet on the road, not just companions you have to use because they're part of some main quest or side quest. I think by doing all that, games could become a lot more immersive.


Lastly having voice actors that are good at what they do, by conveying emotion through their voices or bringing the characters words to life can play an important role as well. A good example of this is Ezio in Assassin's Creed Series, his voice is constantly being adapted to show his age and his maturity. Now while you might not be able to notice the subtle difference, the way it gets deeper and gritter in each Ezio game in the series does affect the way you perceive your character.

4. Choices with Consequences

I have recently begun to notice a growing trend of games providing choices that can have immediate or future consequences. This, by far, is the most exciting development in gaming history. Having choices that matter, makes you truly think about, and weigh up, each decision you make. It adds that extra spice to every single action you make, and forces you to question every single decision you make -- in a futile attempt to get some type of foresight into what is about to happen next.


But the absolute greatest thing about having choices is replayability. This allows for a whole new side of the story each time you play, and that makes you far more likely to start the game again. Plus it's nice to see, after hours of game time, the impact you have left upon the world -- whether it be good or evil.

3. Quests that matter

I cannot stress enough how important quests are in making an average game extraordinary. To do that games need to follow four simple pieces of criteria I always find myself using.


1. The side quests have to play a relevant role in supporting the main quest, whether that is subjugating rebel tribes in order for you to ascend to the throne, or simply helping you to build your reputation in the provinces. In either case those side quests have to impact the main quest in someway to give it meaning. Otherwise completing those side quests can become a tedious chore, which most people will only do because their either completionists like me or want to gain some extra experience.


2. All quests have to fit in line with what the character's role is in the game. A bad example of this is Fallout 4's Minutemen quest line, where you become a General, a rank where you would assume all you would have to do is dictate what needs to be done and assign duties. But instead we have repeat quests of you rushing to defend a settlement, rescue hostages, and clear settlements. Which would make sense for the first few settlements, because you're rebuilding, but once you have three fully functioning settlements, you should be able to use to some type of map to have your followers do some work for you. I mean what's the point of being a leader, if a lot of your time is spent doing the same stuff you already do everywhere else in the game?


You see the same problem appear in Dragon Age Inquisition, you're the inquisitor, a person with great power, and yet you are constantly reduced to a mere servant. Collecting and killing a certain amount in nearly every single side quest, except for friend quests. While the map is an excellent addition to the game, which I hope future BioWare games use, why are there only three people to assign tasks to?Surely the Spy, Commander, and Adviser all have hundreds of people under their command, yet we never get to use more than three. Why?


3. Make every side quest unique and interesting. In all honesty I would prefer to have fifteen good long side quests, rather than having hundreds of filler quests, where the only purpose is to waste your time and keep you occupied. Witcher 3 again is an excellent example of side quests that are not only useful for experience but excellent to play. It's the only game where I actively go around searching for side quests, because I don't want to miss out on anything they have in store for me.


4. The last, and most important, rule for all quests is the pacing. I hate it when a ton of quests are dropped on top of me in the first few minutes of the game. Way to make me feel the weight of the entire world resting on my shoulders! It would make so much more sense for those games with only a few good side quests to spread out the quests to places the main questline will eventually take us too. There's no need to be immediately inundated with quests that make us feel like we are being steam rolled.

2. Thrilling Storyline

The best games I have ever played, like the The Last of Us, have this incredible storyline that makes you feel every moment of it. Every heartache, every moment of joy, and every close call to death. There is no other game in my opinion that comes close enough to eclipse The Last Of Us by Naughty Dog. The story truly entrenches you in their world and makes you a part of it. You feel the pain of their loss, you feel their growing affection for other characters. You practically feel everything; the fear, the panic, and the excitement of delving through an apocalyptic world.


If the story is that good, you don't care where the story is leading you, all you can think about is how you want to see more of this world, you want to know what happens next. That's what really makes a game truly immersive and enjoyable to play.

1. Awesome Gameplay

The best games in the world have amazing gameplay that challenges gamers to devise new strategies to defeat their opponents. They also give you dozens of ways to complete a single objective. A great example of this has to be Witcher 3, where you can take out enemies with melee weapons,spells, potions, track down enemies using your senses, and you can even bewitch people and bribe them. It makes playing Witcher 3 so much more exciting knowing that you have so many options to choose from. Not to mention the quests in this game are unique and extremely well crafted, you don't get a ton of repetitive quests asking you to go and kill someone or collect an object. There are only two things that are repeated and they are contracts and quests to find armor pieces, both are optional and both change slightly each time.


But coming back to my original point that gameplay is important, you only have to compare Witcher 3 to Dragon Age Inquisition's immensely boring world to realise how important it is to be able to choose the way you complete your objectives, and the way you fight each battle. Doing the same thing over and over again can get old very quickly.


This slideshow is going to dive into what makes a game great. There are six main aspects which join together to achieve the best games, things like gameplay, interesting storylines, diverse quests with lots of choices, engaging characters, and innovative ideas. But, how do these make games great? Read on to find out!


*Beware this slideshow will contain some spoilers*

Red Dead Redemption 2 Trailer Breakdown: What Does It Tell Us? Thu, 20 Oct 2016 08:59:03 -0400 Adam Morris

Early this morning we got our first look at Rockstar's sequel to 2010's Red Dead Redemption, Red Dead Redemption 2. The trailer showed off brand new gameplay footage running on next gen consoles -- and even though it was short, there's a lot to dig into and unpack. So let's get started.

The trailer begins with a large and utterly gorgeous Wild West landscape, plus era appropriate music. Many different landscapes are shown off, and some even appear to be from previous areas of the original Red Dead, such as Tall Trees and the Great Praries. Familiar wildlife such as small Buffalo is shown, and of course horses are very prevalent throughout.

The areas it looks like you will be traversing are much more vertical and varied than previous games, and tall mountains are shown in a few shots. Towards the end, we hear an unknown character speaking, possibly one of the seven characters in the promo art.

All of the footage appears to be in engine and includes some of the best graphic fidelity of any game released on next-gen consoles thus far. Unfortunately, no character, plot, or mechanic details were included in this teaser. We do, however, see a very brief shot of the seven characters in the promo art riding off into the sunset. Fan theories are sure to ensue. 

With the trailer released, it is safe to safe to say that Rockstar will be quiet for a while, or at least until we receive a new trailer. 

For more on Red Dead Redemption 2 stay on GameSkinny for all your wild west needs.

NYCC Dishonored 2 Demo: First Impressions and Gameplay Footage Tue, 18 Oct 2016 04:48:23 -0400 Joey Marrazzo

During New York Comic Con, I was able to get a hands-on demo with Arkane Studio's Dishonored 2. If you played the first Dishonored, you will feel right at home when you get your hands on the sequel.

The main difference between the first Dishonored and Dishonored 2 is your choice to play as Emily or Corvo. Emily, if you have forgotten, is the daughter of the Empress that was killed in the beginning of Dishonored. She is now the former Empress of Dunwall. 

The video below shows my gameplay from The Clockworth Manor. It is a unique level in the game that has different ways you can play it. The video starts with the Emily version of the gameplay ,and switches to Corvo at the 35 minute mark. 

The game plays and feels great, just like the first one. Visually, it looked amazing. And players don't have to worry about missing parts of the story if they choose one character over the other. Whether you choose Emily or Corvo, the campaign is the same minus a few changes in the dialogue. Corvo has the same abilities from the first game and Emily has her own set of abilities that will help you get through the missions.

It's great to see that the stealth aspect of the game is most certainly there. In fact, you could play the whole game without alerting any of the enemies in it. 

The Clockworth Manor mission is a unique one. During the mission, there are little pieces of each room that can change that will help you make progress. The mansion is a big puzzle that made it a lot of fun to play and will let you complete the mission in different ways. According to co-Creative Director Harvey Smith, this is the only mission that would have the puzzle feel to it. Clockworth Manor will be about a third of the way into the game when it releases. 

Dishonored 2 comes out in under a month on November 11. It will release for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC. If you loved the first Dishonored, you will feel right at home with Dishonored 2.

New Info Surfaces for Arena System, Weapons, Armor, and Spells in Dark Souls 3 Ashes of Ariandel DLC Mon, 17 Oct 2016 09:37:00 -0400 Seth Zulinski

Recently four notable Souls personalities (Peeve Peeverson, RBFrosty, Dreadedcone, and iSkys)  were invited to participate in an early access look at the upcoming Arena in Dark Souls 3's DLC Ashes of Ariandel (releasing on October 25th). And that also meant a preview into the weapons, armor, and spells that will be available.

But if watching the Father of Bloodshades' 20-minute exploration is a bit too long for your tastes, never fear -- the TL;DR is below. 

OBVIOUS WARNING: The content both in the video and below contain minor spoilers about the upcoming Arena system, as well as some arms and armor found in the DLC. 

So far, the released content has covered 3 new weapons, 2 new armor sets, a new shield, and a new spell -- though the stats and some of the Weapon Arts/special moves have been forcibly concealed. 

Weapons, Shields, and Spells

The Onyx Blade
Seen in trailers, this weapon may very well be the longest Greatsword in the game -- giving a little more reach to those horizontal GS swings we're all used to. While the Onyx Blade only reaches +5 (and is therefore unbuffable by outside means such as Resins or spells), it does sport a fairly strong Dark buff all on its own (with a cool buff animation to boot).

The Gladius and Smallshield combination seen in some combat trailers, this fast little number takes a standard Straight Sword moveset perfect for infinite R1 spam and pairs it with a new "blocking leap" attack capable of covering a fair bit of ground while keeping your guard up. With a solid dashing thrust and a possibly-magic enhanced "guard break" action, you can be sure we're going to see plenty of this Sword and Board combo in upcoming PvP.

Even better, it's a paired item like Twinblades -- keeping your offhand free for any additional weapons you may want, but having the shield ready at a click of the 2-Hand button. 

The Follower Javelin

While the standard Spear moveset isn't anything to write home about, the Weapon Art certainly is. The Follower Javelin has a (thus far) unique Weapon Art that will launch the spear as a ranged projectile before returning to its owner's hand. Perfect for long range harassment, roll catches, and Estus stopping, the Follower Javelin packs a lot of punch in very little space. 

The Follower Shield

Intricate frontal design on a relatively large frame suggests this is something of a Medium shield, not quite Havel's but a far cry better at damage absorption than your favorite Buckler. Most interesting is its inclusion of the Weapon Art moveset rather than the traditionally favorable parry -- it seems almost built to be paired with some weapon that has a fun and infinite useable Weapon Art...but what weapon could that be? 

Frozen Weapon

Cast with what looks to be a stave/catalyst, this new Sorcerous weapon buff applies Frostbite to the chosen weapon -- opening up whole new worlds in terms of PvP endurance management and offense styles. Given how prominent "rolling forever" is in the current game, the ability to cripple enemy Endurance recovery is a welcome addition to the current roster of spell-based weapon buffs. 


Two new armor sets saw some screen time during the preview. There's the Follower Set, a fair mashup of leather and scale that looks to be in line with "medium armor" sets, and even sporting the traditional "kind of armor but not" fur topping found on Drang and Faraam-wear currently available. Unfortunately, the hat is ludicrous -- a long metal cone rising upwards that's more suited for joke-cosplay than our beloved Fashion Souls. 

Luckily, the Milwood set picks up much of the slack, offering players another shot at a heavier armor set that doesn't look like an oversized Archdeacon crammed into a tin can. Complete with a horned helm, furs, leathers, and a crest emblazoned on the chest piece, this set looks like the wrath of some ancient Norse god put into clothing -- perfect for your Dark Souls Odin cosplay, if you could find some sort of magic spear...

The Arena

The thing many of us are most anxious for in the upcoming Dark Souls 3 DLC, Ashes of Ariandel -- the Arena system finally returns to (and seemingly improves upon) the old PvP slaughterhouse of Dark Souls. For those of us who are getting a little tired of Invading in only to be met by three full Havel monsters lying in wait spamming "Welcome", the new system allows a bit more numerically fair engagements in Duels, 2v2s, 3v3s, and those iterations of a free for all, King of the Hill style Brawl mode. 

There were also selections for "Cooperative 2v2" and "Cooperative 3v3". While the invited players themselves couldn't quite figure it out, we're all leaning heavily towards this being a PvP bracket meant for players that wish to queue together, and wreak havoc on the Arena as a team rather than as a single Chosen Undead. 

For those of you afraid of the inevitable Estus chug, take heart . In many modes Estus seems to be disabled completely (and Ashen Estus severely limited). Others offer but a single sip of Sunny D, reclaimable only by doing most of the dirty work destroying an enemy phantom. 

While you can certainly let your colors fly with your Covenants equipped, there do not seem to be (at least by these videos) any Covenant rewards handed out for vanquishing your opponents. Sorry, Darkmoon brothers and sisters, it seems we're still going to have to get our severed ears the old fashioned way -- by cutting them from Silver Knights in Anor Londo.

Just as Gwyn intended. 

While there's still tons more weapons and spells to check out when Ashes of Ariandel releases on the 25th, this peek into the upcoming PvP addition of Dark Souls 3's DLC is a grossly incandescent ray of sunshine for the reds, blues, whites, yellows, pinks, and purples that have gotten a little tired of the pit in Anor Londo. 

In an age of eSports and competitive gaming, one of the most legendary game series of modern times has given a cutthroat PvP community an Arena. Will Ashes of Ariandel bring with it a burgeoning Dark Souls competitive scene? Only time will tell. 

Until then, though...charge that Dragonslayer's Swordspear, paint your Warden Twinblades rouge, praise the sun, and pass the ammunition. 

It's about to get bloody. 

8-Minute Dishonored Trailer Shows New Mechanics on an Assassination Mission Thu, 29 Sep 2016 08:44:04 -0400 David Martinez_1224

A new trailer for the upcoming stealth action-adventure game Dishonored 2 has just seen the light of day, and it's got a lot to show off. This trailer reveals more of the sunny nation of Karnaca -- where our new main protagonist, Emily Kaldwin, is on a mission to eliminate a crafty but treacherous inventor.

The trailer is kind of lengthy: eight minutes and twenty one seconds. It shows a lot in that time, and there is never a dull moment. It is also played through on high chaos mode, so there is a lot of killing along the way.

The video begins with a briefing of Emily's current mission: assassinate or maim a chief member of the Duke circle, Kirin Jindosh. Jindosh is a brilliant grand inventor with the mind of a madman. In Emily's words, "He looks at you like your a puzzle to be taken apart."

That's not the worst of it, though. Emily has to break into his fearful mansion and fight through his deadly contraptions if she wants to get to him. The trailer shows us that his mansion is one giant death trap.

The beginning shows us an interesting takedown mechanic called "Domino," where you can link several enemies to one killing move. Emily kills one, and the rest share the same fate. The trailer also shows us some things from the previous game, such as stun grenades, the pistol, and air takedowns. 

Above everything else, the most unique thing in this trailer are Jindosh's Clockwork soldiers. These are tall, mechanical beings that are very tough to take down. Emily spends her time escaping them, and when she is cornered in the end, she utilizes stealth, gadgets, and takedowns to defeat them. 

The video shows what you can do to Jindosh, at least in a non-lethal manner. It ends with Emily swearing vengeance on Jindosh's partners as she exits his mansion. Based on the incredible gameplay in this trailer, let's hope that the rest of the game is just as exciting.

3 Exciting Revelations From the First 5 Minutes of Dark Souls III: Ashes of Ariandel Fri, 23 Sep 2016 05:06:27 -0400 Jared Elliott

Praise the sun! In an unexpected, yet highly anticipated turn of events, FromSoftware has unleashed exclusive gameplay footage of the upcoming Dark Souls III DLC, Ashes of Ariandel. As if that wasn't enough for fans to drool over, Dark Souls creator Hidetaka Miyazaki has revealed some new insights into the content and theme of the DLC. To make sense of all of this new information, it's time to break down the three most exciting revelations within the new trailer.

If you haven't yet discovered the secret insights hidden in last month's Ashes of Ariandel trailer, you may want to catch up there first. Also, be advised that this list contains spoilers. You have been warned!

3. Sif, The Great Grey Wolf, Lives On in Ariandel

For those who read my recent Ashes of Ariandel list, you know that a brief hint of Sif's return in last month's trailer sent my heart soaring. Though his return at first seemed unlikely, we are given something in the new trailer which has already sent my hype train down the tracks -- a huge wolf that looks a lot like Sif. Because Sif died at the hands of the player in the original Dark Souls, a true return may be unlikely -- but with Miyazaki, there is always more than meets the eye.


It appears that the wolf is not alone, either. At 3:38 in the trailer, a mysterious, hooded warrior is seen fighting alongside him. This warrior is reminiscent of the legendary Knight Artorias, who was Sif's companion and battle partner before falling to the Abyss in Dark Souls. Before meeting his fate, however, Artorias shielded Sif from the power of the Abyss, saving his life. The bond between these two characters was undoubtedly powerful, but how they could possibly reunite in Ariandel after all this time is a mystery.


Still, the wolf attacks the player similarly to how Sif did in Dark Souls, albeit without a giant sword in his mouth to swing around. Regardless of the wolf's identity -- if it has one -- the fight itself looks to be a thrilling experience. The wolf virtually bulldozes the arena, blasting snow in all directions with a vicious snarl. Meanwhile, its lone companion chases after the player on foot. This is similar in concept to the notorious battle with Ornstein and Smough - one fast enemy to keep players on their toes, and one slow enemy to clobber them when least expect it. If we're lucky, this fight could be just as memorable.

2. Miyazaki Confirms that Ariandel is the Painted World...Sort Of

In a recent interview, Miyazaki confirmed that the new world of Ariandel is the a same, yet somehow different Painted World of Ariamis from the original Dark Souls:

"It is taking place in the Painted World, but it’s taking place in a different Painted World. However, there are some connections between this Painted World and the one from the original Dark Souls. The reason I decided to return to the Painted World is because it matches with the theme I’m trying to describe in the first DLC. Players should be able to understand the reason as they play the DLC."


And indeed, the newly-released footage offers a few hints for fans who may have suspected it all along. The most notable of these is a boss near the end, which bears a strong resemblance to the half-human, half-dragon Crossbreed Priscilla who resides in the Painted World. Both wield scythes and share Priscilla's characteristic pale skin and hair, for example. Yet, admittedly, the Ashes of Ariandel boss lacks Priscilla's tail and is several times smaller than the Crossbreed we meet in Dark Souls. In light of Miyazaki's ambiguous take on the setting, however, fans may be in for a big surprise. 

1. The Inhabitants of Ariandel are Terrifying

In the eerie, blizzard-like world of Ariandel, some of the most aggressive enemies of Dark Souls III lurk in the distant fog. They come in an assortment of flavors -- spearmen, swordsmen, pyromancers, and one particularly scary hulk who wields a battleaxe larger than your character. Each is equipped with armor which is apparently foreign to Lothric, yet remains unclear in its origin.


One piece of armor -- an iron helmet adorned with deer antlers -- appears atop the head of the aforementioned hulk, who is undoubtedly the most intimidating enemy in the trailer. First appearing at 2:10 in the new Ashes of Ariandel footage, this enemy is relentless in its attack and often catches the player off guard. This is no small concern due to the extreme force behind each swing of its heavy battleaxe. Surprisingly, this guy isn't a boss enemy - just a steep challenge to keep you on your toes.

Speaking of bosses, Miyazaki revealed in his interview that there will be exactly two.

"It’s kind of a spoiler, but there will be two boss battles in the DLC. Just like in the base game, there will be big changes during each boss battle. That’s being emphasized more."


Sadly, it appears that both boss fights may have been spoiled in the new trailer -- the Sif and Priscilla look-alikes. Yet, near the end, the player is seen fighting the creepy, Lordvessel-toting monster that we first saw in last month's trailer. Even stranger, the battle takes place in what appears to be the same arena where not-Priscilla is fought. Could this mystery woman really transform into such a beast? We'll have to wait to find out.

TGS 2016: First Metal Gear Survive Gameplay Shown Sat, 17 Sep 2016 09:13:30 -0400 Brawler1993

Are you one of those people who's still unsure how to feel about Konami's upcoming Metal Gear Survive? Well, maybe what you need is to see some actual gameplay, and Konami has provided exactly that.

Earlier today at the Tokyo Game Show, Konami released the first demo footage for the co-op title. Lasting 15 minutes, it shows a squad of four players breaking into a compound and holding it against a swarm of the zombie-like enemies. There's no annoying, scripted chatter between the players to dampen it.

"Using co-op stealth, infiltration, and defense tactics, and special new equipment and weapons, the squad provides a glimpse of both new and familiar survival gameplay elements that form Metal Gear Survive."

The footage also confirms the appearance of the Fulton Cannon from Metal Gear Online, which can be used to take items back to your base or for strategic purposes as demonstrated in the video (it involves a sheep).

The mutliplayer stealth game will be released on Xbox One, PS4 and PC in 2017 and is the first Metal Gear to not involve the series creator, Hideo Kojima.

They Call Me a Space Cowboy - First Gameplay of Mass Effect Andromeda Thu, 08 Sep 2016 10:11:59 -0400 Jeffrey Rousseau

Recently, BioWare released their first gameplay trailer for Mass Effect: Andromeda. The video was shown during the Sony's September PlayStation meeting. The video also served to be a 4K resolution tech demo for the PlayStation Pro.

Mass Effect Andromeda was originally announced in 2015. The game takes place many years after the originally trilogy within the Andromeda Galaxy. The game will star Ryder; an operative on an adventure to find a new habitable planet for humans.

In the video, we see the protagonist exploring what appears to be a quiet space station. We also see use of the new scanning feature that provides details on flora and fauna -- The trailer ends as characters make a revelation regarding the current planet and others within the galaxy.

A new trailer for the title was also announced for November 7.

Fans of action adventure and space games can look forward to Mass Effect: Andromeda in Early 2017.

Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera Omnia Mobile RPG Announced for Japan Sun, 28 Aug 2016 11:14:38 -0400 Patrick Cottingham

Square Enix and Team Ninja have partnered up to unveil their latest entry to the Dissidia franchise, Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera OmniaDissidia Final Fantasy -- a well known spin-off crossover series for the popular Final Fantasy titles -- has primarily focused on the fighting game genre. The most recent entry is an arcade exclusive in Japan...for now. Opera Omnia looks to break out of that mold, returning to the Final Fantasy series roots of turn based RPG combat.

Opera Omnia will feature an expanded cast of characters over previous entries in the series. It will also make use of many elements of the Dissidia fighting games, such as Brave values increasing your damage, the wall rush mechanic, and creating combos using multiple characters. The battle system appears to be identical to the one found in Final Fantasy X, called Conditional Turn-Based Battle (CTB). There has also been mention of a gacha based lottery system, though no particular details have arisen as to what you'd be attempting to win through the gacha.

Scheduled to release sometime before the end of this year, Opera Omnia is currently accepting pre-registration for the the game. The game will be available on iOS and Android, with no word on a western release quite yet. If you are a fan of Final Fantasy or Dissidia keep your eyes on this title.

Life is strange as the undead- Vampyr pre-alpha gameplay Sat, 27 Aug 2016 13:41:48 -0400 Jeffrey Rousseau

Focus Home Interactive recently released a new gameplay trailer for Vampyr .The new video -- showcased at Gamescom -- shows more of the player's interactive options and battle abilities. 

Vampyr is an action RPG currently in development by Dontnod; creators of the well received Life is Strange. Their newest title focuses on the narrative of Dr Jonathan Reid struggling with his curse as a vampire and attempting to hold on to his human values. The story takes place in London which has become home to a number of life threatening illnesses and growing paranoia.

In the video, we see the protagonist select various dialogue choices and explore the city. Given Jonathan's career background, we also witness his thoughts and analysis on various deaths via the diseases within the city. The trailer also features some combat as vampire hunters attempt to attack Jon. In combat, he's able to use sword, firearms, supernatural strength, and dark magic.

RPG and horror adventure fans can look forward to Vampyr releasing in 2017.