Monthly Archives: October 2015

Call of Duty: Black Ops III – The Giant Zombies Bonus Map Trailer

“The Giant” Bonus Map picks up the Zombies story where Origins left off. Re-live the chaos of Treyarch’s classic “Der Riese” Zombies map with Dempsey, Nikolai, Takeo and Richthofen. Set in a World War II-era research facility, complete with the weapon-upgrading Pack-a-Punch Machine, Teleporters, and Hellhounds.

Halo 5: Guardians Multiplayer Online

Join Rob, Mike, and Erick as they try out Halo 5: Guardians multiplayer online including Arena and hopefully some Warzone.

Here’s When Batman: Arkham Knight Returns to PC

The PC version of Batman: Arkham Knight, which was riddled with bugs at launch in June and subsequently removed from sale, will return to Steam on October 28, Warner Bros. has announced.

“At 10 am PDT, Oct. 28th, Batman: Arkham Knight will be re-released for the PC platform,” the publisher said in a statement. “At the same time we’ll also be releasing a patch that brings the PC version fully up-to-date with content that has been released for console (with the exception of console exclusives).”

“This means that next week, all PC players will have access to Photo Mode, Big Head Mode, Batman: Arkham Asylum Batman Skin, and character selection in combat AR challenges.”

People who bought the Arkham Knight DLC pass will get instant access to all add-on content released since launch. This includes numerous AR challenges, race tracks, skins, and more. See the full list here.

“We want to give particular thanks to the members of the PC community who took the time to give us clear, detailed feedback and bug reporting,” Warner Bros. added. “Now, get out there and Be The Batman!”

For more on Arkham Knight, check out GameSpot’s review.

An Epic Tale – SWTOR: Knights of the Fallen Empire

Character driven narrative and a good amount of meatbag bickering make Knights of the Fallen Empire a great Star Wars Epic.

Everything New in Halo 5: Guardians

Halo 5: Guardians is loaded with a ton of new features, most of which are unlike previous games that came before it. To catch you up on all the new stuff, we’ve gathered everything you need to know about the upcoming game, from its story to its various single player and multiplayer modes.

Master Chief and Blue Team

Main Campaign

Two Protagonists

Halo 5: Guardians features two protagonists: Master Chief and Spartan Agent Jameson Locke. Each are aided by their own squads, Blue Team and Fireteam Osiris respectively. As you play through the campaign, you’ll switch perspectives between the two, slowly advancing each group’s narrative.

Taking place shortly after the events of Halo 4, the game’s story begins as a mysterious force, known as the Guardians, threaten the galaxy. In the midst of this, the legendary Master Chief has gone missing, causing his loyalty to be questioned. A special unit lead by Agent Locke is then dispatched to track him down.

Agent Locke

For a full rundown on all the story leading up to Halo 5, check our primer detailing all the essential plot points you need to know.

New Mission Structures

Halo 5 sports more variety in mission structure this time around. While some are far grander in scale, throwing you into vast, open environments and battlefields with higher enemy counts, others are more focused on story and exploration.

Four Player Co-operative Campaign

Since both Master Chief and Agent Locke fight alongside their own team of elite Spartan squad-mates, the entire Halo 5: Guardians campaign can be played cooperatively by up to 4 players. Unlike previous games, Halo 5’s co-op features cannot be played locally and will require an Xbox Live Gold membership to play.

Each playable squad member comes equipped with their own unique loadout and special statistics, such as movement speed, faster booster recharge rate, and health and shield regeneration rates.

New Mechanics

Smart-Link Aiming System

This new aiming system allows players to zoom in with any weapon, much like the iron sights function in many modern FPS. However, weapons that already have scopes, such as the Battle Rifle or traditional sniper rifle, will function just like they did before.

It’s important to note that if you get shot while using Smart-Link aiming or a rifle scope, you’ll be instantly removed from that sight state. This is a vital new mechanic to consider, especially for suppressing enemies with sniper rifles, who may be readying their scope to fire shots at you and your team.

Revamped Mobility

Player mobility has been overhauled in Halo 5, allowing you to use a thruster pack (which allows omnidirectional movement), vault ledges, slide on the ground while shooting, strike the ground to create a shockwave, and make a rapid dash to take cover or bash an enemy. Slide and charge abilities are executed as a character’s sprint reaches top speed. You can also hover in mid-air for a short amount of time, via Smart-Link aiming while jumping.

Requisition System (REQ System)

The REQ system rewards players for spending time in multiplayer. As you complete matches, you’re given points, which can be used to purchase packs containing REQ cards that come in the form of unlockable weapons, armors, vehicles, ability improvements, points boosts, etc. There are over a thousand different REQ cards available to collect.

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The system is also prominently featured in the new Warzone mode (detailed below), where you can use stations scattered across the map to equip REQ packs in your possession or purchase new ones. Only weapon, vehicle, and ability improvement cards can be used during Warzone mode. Points boosts can be used before Warzone and Arena modes.

Multiplayer

New Mode – Warzone

Halo 5 contains a brand new MOBA-inspired multiplayer mode called Warzone, which is a 24-player battle that combines elements of PvP and PvE. It features two teams of 12-players fighting on a massive map, alongside both friendly and enemy AI. The main goal of this mode is for a team to earn 1,000 victory points, which are earned by killing opposing players, defeating AI minions and bosses, or capturing enemy bases on the map. A team can also win by destroying the opposing side’s core. You can find more details and impressions in the video below. Typical Warzone matches can last up to 30 minutes.


Arena Mode

If the new Warzone mode isn’t your cup of tea, Halo 5 will also include a 4v4 Arena mode that follows the traditional multiplayer structure seen in classic Halo games. Arena mode contains the following game types: Breakout, Strongholds, Slayer, and Capture the Flag.

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  • Breakout – This game type has teams clashing against each other to be the first to win five rounds. Players only have one life per round and weaker shields, making it much easier to die. A round ends when all members of a team have been eliminated.
  • Slayer – Players need only accomplish one thing in this Team Deathmatch game type: kill as many of the opposing team as possible before time runs out. It’s worth noting that variants return here. For example, the fan-favorite SWAT has its own official playlist.
  • Strongholds – This game type requires a team to capture and remain in control of three static zones on a map. The first to reach 100 points wins. it’s important to note that a team can only start scoring points when they’ve controlled at least two zones.
  • Capture the Flag – Series veterans will know this classic game type all too well. In order to win, a team must capture the opposing team’s flag and bring it back to their homebase.

Upcoming Features

New Forge Mode

Halo’s Forge mode, a custom multiplayer map editor, is set to make a return in Halo 5: Guardians as a post-release update in December. It features over 1,600 objects to customize maps with and a laundry list of improvements over previous iterations, such as multi-select/edit, new object types, improved control scheme, and more. You can find a full list of what’s changed here.

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What Was the First Game You Ever Played? – GameSpot Q&A

Welcome back to GameSpot Q&A, a weekly section where we ask our staff and readers a discussion question about video games. Look at this as a forum where you and others can discuss and compare your opinions of this beloved hobby of ours. Let us know what your answer is to this week’s question in the comments below!

This week’s question is:

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What was the first game ever you played and where?

We all have a first game we played. Whether it was one on the Nintendo Entertainment System, an old Apple computer, or the PlayStation, we all had to start somewhere. So what was your first and where did you play it?

Berzerk | Eddie Makuch, News Editor

The first game I ever played was Berzerk for the Atari 2600. It was my dad’s, and he told me it was one of his favorites, so I asked if I could try it. I can still remember sitting on the floor just a foot from our TV, struggling to kill evil robots and trying to avoid getting zapped by the walls. It was a stressful, challenging game. Most of the time I failed. But it was also very rewarding when I was successful.

Defender | Chris Watters, Host

One of the first games I can remember playing is Defender on the Apple IIGS. It was installed in a room upstairs in my house that was set off as a stodgy, stuffy guest room, which I was largely discouraged from spending time in. As I whipped back and forth, blasting tiny UFOs out of the sky with my joystick, the dangerous sense of speed clashed with the vibe of the room. Good thing I wasn’t paying attention to anything but the screen.

Defender (1983)

Tiger Electronic Handheld? | Rob Crossley, Editor

I have no idea what it was called, and I would love it if someone got in touch to tell me the name of this: When I was about eight-years-old, in the early nineties, my mother bought me this physical handheld racing game. Essentially it was a hollowed plastic shell shaped a bit like this, and inside it had a wheel on a rotor. Tiny plastic cars were attached to the wheel, while your own car was attached to an up-and-down slider that had to dodge the cars as they spun around. Just imagine moving the needle up and down on a vinyl player, and you’re actually pretty close to what it offered. It didn’t come with day-one DLC.

Ghosts ‘N Goblins | Ty Root, Video Director

1986. I was 6 years old and had just moved to a new city. I met this kid down the street from me who had an NES. I had never seen a home console before. He gives me Ghosts ‘n Goblins. I sat there for 2 hours trying to navigate Sir Arthur through a mountain of torturous bullshit that eventually ended with me throwing the controller on the floor as I yelled profanity at the TV. My friend’s mother watched in horror, and my dad sat there amazed that such horrific language could spew from the mouth of a 6 year old.

Ghosts ‘n Goblins (1986)

Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? | Scott Butterworth, Editor

My dad’s an engineer, so we always had random technology around the house when I was growing up. For example, we had an Apple II really early, and I remember playing Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? when I was, like, maybe three years old. I didn’t really understand the game, but I remember figuring out how to get weapons to fly from one side of the screen and stick to the other, which I found captivating. I think you had to accuse Carmen of being in a particular location, maybe? Regardless, I started young and will always remember Carmen Sandiego’s crude, fascinating animations.

Paperboy | Mary Kish, Video Producer

I was about 4 years old at the babysitter’s waiting for my mom to pick me up. There were a bunch of older kids playing Paperboy on Sega Genesis. They let me have the controller and showed me how to throw the paper. It’s amazing how a game revolving around doing work was so much fun. Also because the older kids included me I felt super cool.

Watch 1080p Darksiders 2 Definitive Edition’s Launch Trailer

Nordic Games has released the launch trailer for the upcoming Darksiders II “Deathinitive” Edition, which arrives in just a few more days on October 27 for Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Watch it below.

As announced previously, the Deathinitive Edition boasts 1080p graphics and includes all DLC released for the game during its initial run (full list below). In addition, the game uses a new rendering engine to improve how the lighting and shadows look. Players can also expect better graphics overall for characters and environments; check out these comparison images for a closer look.

Darksiders II has also had its gameplay systems tweaked somewhat for the new release, as the game’s balancing and loot distribution mechanics have been “reworked and tuned.”

Deathinitive Edition DLC includes: (Maker Armor Set, The Abyssal Forge, The Demon Lord Belial, Death Rides, Angel of Death, Deadly Despair, Shadow of Death, Mortis Pack, Rusanov’s Axe, Van Der Schmash Hammer, Fletcher’s Crow Hammer, Mace Maximus, Argul’s Tomb.

The game will sell for $30.

Leading development on the Deathinitive Edition is Gunfire Games. This studio is staffed almost entirely by people who worked on the Darksiders franchise at creator Vigil Games before its closure.

Looking ahead, Nordic Games–which acquired the Darksiders franchise from THQ when the company went bankrupt–has said it has plans for a third game in the series.

For more on Darksiders II, which was released in 2012, check out GameSpot’s review.

Street Fighter V Beta – Critical Arts Compilation

Here are the critical arts for the characters available in Street Fighter 5’s second beta test: R. Mika, Rashid, Vega, Necalli, and Ken!

GS News Top 5 – Grand Theft Auto Online Updates, Kojima and Konami Saga Continues

Fallout 4 controllers are now a thing, EA reveals the price of Star Wars Battlefront Ultimate Edition, and sweet deals on Xbox One consoles!

Tales of Zestiria Review

Tales of Zestiria reinforces the notion that the Tales series is the Law and Order: SVU of video games. Both series have long held middle-of-the-road stature in their respective medium and genre. Their audiences count on recurring elements and character archetypes episode after episode, and their creators know that they can keep fans captivated with just a modicum of variety in their storylines, while moments of buzzworthy excellence are hard to come by. Zestiria bucks this trend, however, with its battle system, which is enthralling enough to warrant the attention of any Tales fan.

Zestiria’s story differs from other Tales games due to its otherworldly beginnings. The introduction of protagonist Sorey and his adoptive brother, Mikleo, is reminiscent of the angelic characters presented at the start of Dragon Quest IX. Mikleo is part of the seraphim, a race of angelic monk-like beings who oversee Glenwood, the world setting of Zestiria. Sorey, meanwhile, is an orphaned human raised by seraphim, who has never experienced life beyond the safety and isolation of his idyllic village. A chain of events motivates him to return to the lands inhabited by humans, many areas of which have since been corrupted by an evil presence known as the Malevolence. With Mikleo by his side, Sorey discovers that his sheltered upbringing and strong moral code make him an ideal candidate for the role of world-cleansing savior known reverently as the Shepherd.

It’s an uninspired set-up; it’s hard to imagine that anyone raised by angels and isolated from the sins and temptations of other humans would not be pure of heart. Sorey is a suitable protagonist, a clean slate of a teen hero whose “aw, shucks” modesty isn’t nauseating as long as you remind yourself that one of Zestiria’s target markets is young-adult anime fans. If you need further convincing, just look for the unsophisticated comedy skits and the boy band-inspired gestures of outstretched arms and clenched fists after emerging victorious from battle.

You wouldn’t be blamed for mistaking this as a PS2 game screenshot.

As with almost any Tales ensemble, expect to find predictable contrasting and complementary personalities rather than nuance in team chemistry. A part of me hoped that Sorey and Mikleo’s relationship would echo the brotherly rivalry of Yuri Lowell and Flynn Scifo from Tales of Vesperia. Yet given Sorey’s destiny as a chosen savior, Mikleo is simply at his side in a support role. As a veteran guide to past Shepherds, the white-haired Lailah is a vapid character who is incredibly selective about what advice she gives Sorey, since he needs to discover certain aspects of being a Shepherd on his own. Alisha is one of the more intriguing cast members. The emphasis of pink and white in her character design echoes Lightning from Final Fantasy XIII and her complicated background as a rebellious princess brings to mind Ashe from Final Fantasy XII. Given her mother’s low social status, Alisha’s lack of ruling power has made her take stock of her sense of self and direction. Her involvement with Sorey’s cause gives her purpose in Zestiria’s first 15 hours. As a knight, she holds her own in battle, as does the soldier-turned-assassin Rose. As an experienced killer, Rose sees her role in the party as its sole bloodletter. To be more specific, she chooses to be kill so that Sorey can remain a pure, good-hearted Shepherd.

Zestiria’s exploration and progression unsurprisingly sticks to the traditional JRPG flow. If you’re not in a dungeon, you’re in a town or in the often hostile open spaces. The structure is as cliched as it comes, though it doesn’t necessarily make the time spent exploring a new area predictable. What seems like a half-hour visit to a new town–complete with obligatory conversations with its citizens and the looting of their homes–can unexpectedly extend into a three-hour chapter filled with surprise sub-quests and plot developments. It also helps that many of these settlements have their own form of dungeons. A city might have a hidden sewer unbeknownst to much of the townsfolk, or certain towns will have an expansive mansion filled with enemies. These are a welcome break from the more common dungeons you find isolated in a far off corner of your typical JRPG continent.

Speaking of the exploration, Zestiria boldly foregoes the series’ overworld area in favor of portraying the hero (i.e., the party) proportional to his surroundings. Unfortunately, having the camera closer to ground level exposes the sheer blandness of typical Tales environments. The vistas here are muted sheets of patterned fields and flat bodies of water. It makes Zestiria on the PS4 feel like a disappointingly unenhanced port of the PS3 version.

As with most every Tales game, skits abound.2955236-0004.png

The lack of exploration-to-battle camera cutaways marks a meaningful visual change in Tales battles not seen since the series’ evolution beyond the 2D plane over a decade ago. The places you explore also become the battlegrounds. The results, however, are less than perfect. Indoor areas can create crowding in corners and annoying camera angles, but this isn’t a huge issue given that it usually occurs only during skirmishes against lesser enemies. In other words, you don’t necessarily need to be fully aware of your surroundings to survive.

Until recently, the Tales battle systems mostly relied on the execution of directional fighting game-style controls. It’s what drew many fans, including myself, to the series in the first place, thanks to Tales of Destiny on the original PlayStation. Tales of Zestiria signals a minor yet notable shift in Tales combat, in that thoughtful preparation is often more important than skill and dexterity during the fight itself. It’s never been easier to win a non-boss battle by simply spamming two of the most used attack buttons, provided you’ve optimized your party using every combat-related submenu. Tales vets will recognize the suite special abilities in the Artes tab as well as the Strategy section, which always struck me as a crude and dumbed-down version of the Gambit system from Final Fantasy XII.

The centerpiece of all this prep work lies in the party’s equipment, which have elemental affinities of their own. It’s meaningful that a piece of gear in Zestiria has a life beyond its initial form. You can get a lot of use out of a waistcoat or a pair of boots long before they’re worth selling to a shopkeeper. Frequent use of a single sword enhances it over time and it can be fused with a similar type of weapon to create an even greater sword. There’s also an engrossing sense of alchemy to fusing gear. It’s not uncommon to buy weapons that never see combat in their basic form since some of them are meant to enhance more experienced weapons through fusion. Deep customization is almost never a bad thing and I struggle to think of another Tales game that allows the player this high degree of personalization.

Unfortunately, having the camera closer to ground level exposes the sheer blandness of typical Tales environments.

Having multiple seraphim in your party isn’t like having a mere bunch of angelic cheerleaders. Imbued with distinct elemental powers such as fire, water, and earth, each seraph can fuse with Sorey, temporarily boosting his skills in battle. It’s an inventive method of making every party member feel involved in a single encounter. Using elements in combat almost always means there’s a brain-teasing rock-paper-scissors dynamic against enemies and this certainly applies to Zestiria.

Even when seraphim are unpaired, they’re still meaningful contributors in battle. And if their health reaches zero, they can rejoin the fight after a couple dozen seconds spent self-healing. This, in turn, can provide a perpetually rotating roster of revived seraphim, increasing your chances at success in what would’ve otherwise have been a losing fight. If you do fail, it’s most likely because you didn’t place enough emphasis on a specific element to counter a particular boss’s affinity. This forces the player into an uninspired trial-and-error mindset of fighting elements with elements. So if there’s any gratification to be found, it is in emerging victorious from a boss battle after your first attempt. And by powering up Sorey into what is essentially a Super Saiyan form, Zestiria again doubles down on the series’ anime influence and appeal.

Battles are as involving at an other Tales adventure you’ve experienced.

Every good series has its “gateway” games. From Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare to Assassin’s Creed II, such key releases are the most welcoming installments to newcomers. What makes the Tales series unique is that every game in the series has gateway-level accessibility, which is both good and bad. Tales of Zestiria is emblematic of this homogenization, in the interest of pleasing those fans who find comfort in all the recognizable elements that make up a Tales game. The series has lasted as long as it has because every installment has had at least one standout feature. For Zestiria, it’s the chances the studio took with its battle system, even if its unusual design stands out more than its actual depth. You remove this feature, and you have a by-the-numbers Tales game. As far as the Tales series is concerned, there’s no overestimating the value of familiarity, which is why “comfort food” is a term often used to describe it.