Free Sekiro Update Adds Boss Rush & More on October 29

July 30, 2020 by Samantha Lienhard - Leave a comment

FromSoftware’s challenging action-adventure game Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice has seen a great deal of praise and popularity ever since its launch in March 2019, and Activision reported sales numbers of over five million copies sold. This news also accompanied the exciting announcement of an upcoming free update that will add new Sekiro content.

As detailed by both Activision and the official website, this content update will include three main types of content:

  • New challenges: Reflection of Strength and Gauntlet of Strength
  • New costumes
  • Remnants

Reflection of Strength / Gauntlet of Strength

Interested in fighting a boss again without starting a new game? That’s what these two new features will allow you to do. Reflections of Strength allow you to pick any single boss you’ve already defeated to fight in a rematch, while Gauntlets of Strength are described as “consecutive” rematches – in other words, a boss rush mode.

They can be accessed from any Sculptor’s Idol.

Form Change / New Costumes

Three new “forms” will be added to Sekiro, but they are purely cosmetic, changing the Wolf’s outward appearance like costumes. “Tengu” and “Old Ashina Shinobi” have been revealed as two of the new forms, while the third form hasn’t been announced.

One is unlocked by beating the game, while the other two are unlocked through Gauntlet challenges.

Remnants

Finally, Remnants are recordings you can make of up to 30 seconds of gameplay to be sent along with a written message to other players’ games. Players can then rate the Remnant video, which restores the health of the player who recorded it.

This exciting new update will be available as a free download on October 29. While the official website only lists the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC as target platforms, October 29 is also the release date for Sekiro on Google Stadia, so it is possible the Stadia version will include this new content as well.

Future Plans for Sekiro?

Amidst all the excitement over this new update, it’s also led to a lot of fans speculating over what this means for the future of Sekiro. While FromSoftware’s other modern games have all received DLC expansions–Artorias of the Abyss for Dark Souls, the three Lost Crowns DLC packs for Dark Souls II, Ashes of Ariandel and The Ringed City for Dark Souls III, and The Old Hunters for Bloodborne–there has yet to be any DLC for Sekiro.

Many fans have been hoping to see Sekiro DLC to expand the story, with particular hopes for DLC focused on Tomoe. While this content update is no guarantee of a Sekiro story DLC announcement, it’s raised fans’ hopes once again by showing that new content can still come to the game. Perhaps there will be more Sekiro content added in the future.

Either way, it’s exciting to see new content on the way! Once again, you’ll be able to download this free update for Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice on October 29.

Tags: , , , , ,

Obsidian Announces New First-Person RPG Avowed

July 27, 2020 by Samantha Lienhard - Leave a comment

At Microsoft’s Xbox Games Showcase, RPG developer Obsidian Entertainment showcased a few upcoming titles, including a newly-announced first-person RPG called Avowed for the Xbox Series X and PC.

While Avowed is a new epic fantasy RPG, it takes place in the world of Eora, the setting of the Pillars of Eternity series. Pillars of Eternity is an isometric RPG in the style of older classics such as Baldur’s Gate. Its success led to a sequel, Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire. Both games featured a real-time with pause combat system (also known as “active pause” or “pausable real-time”) like the older isometric RPGs they followed, although Pillars of Eternity II featured a turn-based combat option as well.

Both games saw a relatively good reception, but that didn’t necessarily translate to sales. Design director Josh Sawyer reported that the low sales for Pillars of Eternity II meant they would need to “re-examine the entire format” if they ever made a Pillars of Eternity III. This might be why we’re seeing a new style of RPG set in the same universe.

Few details are known about Avowed at this point. It’s a first-person RPG, most likely with an action combat system. However, no combat is shown in the short teaser trailer. Its nature as a first-person fantasy RPG has drawn several comparisons to Skyrim and the rest of the Elder Scrolls series, but we don’t know yet if Avowed will be open world or not. The official website has been opened, but only shows the trailer and platforms so far.

Avowed will be available for the Xbox Series X and Windows 10 PCs, and it has already been announced for Xbox Game Pass. More details about the game are on the way.

Tags: , , ,

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Release Date, New Details, Gameplay Preview

July 15, 2020 by Samantha Lienhard - Leave a comment

The Ubisoft Forward live stream over the weekend not only included a new gameplay overview trailer for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, but also its release date and an extended gameplay preview after the main showcase. Many more details have been released since then, so let’s late a look at everything that was revealed.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Release Date

Asssassin’s Creed Valhalla will be out on November 17 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Google Stadia. Its PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X release date has not been confirmed, but if you own it on PS4 or Xbox One, you’ll be able to upgrade it to the respective next-gen console for free.

Story and Gameplay Details

The Assassin’s Creed Valhalla protagonist is a Viking warrior named Eivor, who can be either male or female. It features RPG mechanics and choices, dual wielding weapons, and an open world to explore that covers both Norway and England. You’ll be leading raids and recruiting new clan members to your settlement, and there will also be an online component that lets you create a Viking raider friends online can use in their raids.

In an extended preview from Ubisoft, we learn a bit more about what the basic gameplay loop for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will be like and see some of the previously-mentioned activities. During a raid on the village of King’s Bury, Eivor finds a Book of Knowledge and learns a new ability called Dive of the Valkyries, which helps the raiders reclaim the village for the Vikings. Next they attack Burgh Castle and show off more of the game’s combat as they fight their way through enemy territory. At the end, they have a choice to make – whether to spare their enemy or not.

The next section of the gameplay preview focuses on exploration as they discover many things in the game’s world: a cat that can be recruited, a “Flyting” insult battle, tattoo drawings to collect to give Eivor new tattoos, and a grim side quest with environmental puzzles that they stumbled across in their travels. Once they return to the story, we get to see the ramifications of the choice they made earlier and another battle to wrap things up. All of this can be seen in the 30-minute Assassin’s Creed Valhalla gameplay demo walkthrough posted by Ubisoft.

It appears as though the natural way they encountered the side quest in that preview is how side quests will be handled in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. That is, you won’t gather up quests from NPCs and then head out to solve them, but instead will come across them as you play and explore. More details about the Assassin’s Creed Valhalla side quests should be revealed as we get closer to the release date.

Assassins and Templars?

While there is a lot of excitement for Valhalla, there is also some consternation from fans who see the series straying further and further away from its traditional story and themes. After all, a Viking warrior isn’t exactly what comes to mind when you hear “assassin.” In fact, the Assassin Brotherhood and Templar Order haven’t even been established yet, although the series’ timeline established as of Assassin’s Creed Origins and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey allows for their predecessors to appear instead: the Hidden Ones and the Order of the Ancients.

According to an interview with Game Informer from April, Eivor’s goals will align with the goals of the Proto-Assassins met in the game, although further details have yet to be revealed.

Meanwhile, the modern-day storyline will continue as well. Another extensive demo preview, this time from the PlayStation Blog, mentions encountering Animus Anomalies. These glitches in the system will switch you to controlling Layla in the present day to continue that storyline as well.

Conclusion

We have a much better idea now of what to expect from the latest entry in the long-running Assassin’s Creed series when Assassin’s Creed Valhalla launches on November 17.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

GreedFall Developer Reveals New Action RPG Steelrising

July 9, 2020 by Samantha Lienhard - Leave a comment

Nacon Connect 2020 featured the official announcement of the next game being developed by Spiders, who most recently released the fantasy action RPG GreedFall last year. Their next game is set in a new universe and is an action RPG for the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and PC called Steelrising.

Steelrising takes place in an alternate history version of the French Revolution, where King Louis XVI commands an army of automatons. You’ll be playing as a robot named Aegis, who has been ordered by Queen Marie Antoinette to stop the king’s robotic army. Although the teaser trailer itself shows little more than concept art for the characters, the developers spoke a little more about the game afterwards.

As part of the Nacon Connect 2020 presentation, Spiders CEO Jehanne Rousseau spoke more about the gameplay and universe. Steelrising will have a “much more action-focused approach” than their previous games, although it is still an action RPG rather than a pure action game. Little has been revealed about the combat itself so far, except that you’ll find items to improve Aegis’s fighting abilities and that there are seven categories of weapons she can equip and use.

The world will include historical sites, such as the Grand Châtelet and the Tour du Temple (also known as the Square du Temple), and feature exploration that climbing, secret paths, and a fluid presentation. In addition to the main story, there will also be side quests for the player to find and complete.

In addition to GreedFall, Spiders previously developed games such as the cyberpunk RPG Mars: War Logs and its sequel The Technomancer, and the fantasy RPG Bound By Flame. GreedFall was their most successful and polished game released to date, so it will be interesting to see how Steelrising changes and improves their gameplay formula.

No release window has been given yet for Steelrising.

Tags: , , ,

What Is Bugsnax?

July 1, 2020 by Samantha Lienhard - Leave a comment

The PlayStation 5 showcase included the reveal of a brand-new game from Young Horses, the developer of 2014’s bizarre game Octodad: Dadliest Catch, a game that tasked you with completing normal household chores and activities while hiding the fact that you are an octopus.

With that title to their name, a new title from Young Horses will probably be a strange one, and the newly-announced Bugsnax was revealed with a quirky, documentary-style trailer that left viewers with one big question: what is it?

The trailer, while cute and amusing (and featuring a catchy song by the British pop band Kero Kero Bonito), did little to explain the gameplay of Bugsnax. Fortunately, the developers have since revealed some more information about their upcoming game.

Bugsnax is a first-person adventure game in which you travel to Snaktooth Island at the invitation of the explorer Elizabert Megafig, only to find that she’s disappeared and her helpers are scattered across the island. According to the official website, you will need to explore the island to find and reunite these characters, hunt down and capture 100 species of Bugsnax, and use caught Bugsnax to customize characters with different looks.

When listing inspirations for the game, programmer/producer Kevin Geisler named Viva Piñata, Pokémon Snap, Ape Escape, and Dark Cloud. Creative director Kevin Zuhn listed Pikmin 3, The Muppet Show, Adventure Time, and BioShock.

Putting together the inspiration and the provided gameplay details, we can start to imagine how Bugsnax will play. The Ape Escape inspiration, for example, is most likely in reference to how you track down and capture Bugsnax, while the Dark Cloud inspiration refers to the city-building aspect of reuniting the island’s inhabitants. The BioShock inspiration is the trickiest to pin down, although Zuhn later explained in an interview with GameRevolution that it’s how Bugsnax involves setting traps and interacting with the world.

Some fans think Bugsnax is secretly a horror game, using its cheerful, upbeat presentation as a disguise for a darker story. Whether or not that’s true remains to be seen.

There’s still a lot we don’t know about Bugsnax, but it’s much less of a mystery now than when it was first revealed. It’s due out in the fourth quarter of 2020, so we should see plenty more Bugsnax gameplay between now and then. What do you think of Bugsnax so far?

Tags: ,

Crash Bandicoot 4: Game Details and New Footage

June 30, 2020 by Samantha Lienhard - Leave a comment

After the revival of the dormant Crash Bandicoot series with 2017’s Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy and then 2019’s Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled, remakes of the original trilogy and racing spin-off respectively, fans wondered if a brand new entry in the popular 3D platformer series might be on the way at last.

Several teases suggested a new Crash Bandicoot game was in development, and fortunately it turned out to be more than just the auto-runner spin-off Crash Bandicoot Mobile. This June, a full entry in the series was finally announced for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, titled Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time.

While many fans thought the theoretical new Crash Bandicoot game would be developed by Vicarious Visions after their work on the N. Sane Trilogy, this new entry in the series is being developed by Toys for Bob, who worked on the Switch release of the trilogy and more notably developed the Spyro Reignited Trilogy.

What About the Other Games?

Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time is set directly after the events of Crash Bandicoot: Warped, the third game in the original trilogy. The game features Crash and Coco trying to restore order to the multiverse after Dr. Neo Cortex and Uka Uka tear through the boundaries of time and space. According to an interview with Press Start, the other sequels have not been retconned. They still exist “on alternate timelines that may or may not have some reflection in this adventure.”

How these multiple timelines will play into the story is still unknown, but it opens up the door for fan-favorite characters from the later games, such as Crunch Bandicoot and Nina Cortex, to return in Crash Bandicoot 4.

Playable Characters

Speaking of characters, Crash Bandicoot 4 will feature multiple playable characters. In addition to Crash and his sister Coco, Cortex himself will also have playable levels. His gameplay style will be quite different from theirs, as he makes use of a ray gun and scientific gadgets rather than the traditional platforming gameplay of Crash and Coco.

Gameplay

Alongside the traditional Crash Bandicoot gameplay, the newest entry will also feature special powers gained from obtaining the four Quantum Masks, wall running, rail grinding, rope swinging, and more. Some of these new elements can be seen in the latest video of Crash Bandicoot 4 footage from IGN, which highlights a pirate-themed level. The gameplay footage also suggests that time trial challengers, another series staple, will be returning as well.

As is typical for the series, you will access individual levels from a hub area. The game will also feature a special retro mode. According to that same interview with Play Start, the Crash Bandicoot 4 retro mode will give you a limited number of lives like in the original games. The “modern mode,” meanwhile, will instead reward the player with a new type of clear gem for beating a level with fewer deaths.

Price and… Microtransactions?

In less exciting news, the Microsoft Store page for the game lists it as costing $59.99 with in-app purchases. The apparent inclusion of microtransactions has been met with consternation from fans, but with any luck it will be limited to cosmetic items and other non-intrusive uses.

Update: Toys for Bob has clarified that there are no microtransactions in Crash Bandicoot 4.

Conclusion

Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time will be out on October 2 for the PS4 and Xbox One. Digital pre-orders include the “Totally Tubular” skins for Crash and Coco. We expect to see much more from this game leading up to its release. What do you think of the new Crash Bandicoot game from what you’ve seen so far?

Tags: , ,

Everything We Know About Resident Evil 8

June 28, 2020 by Samantha Lienhard - Leave a comment

One of the exciting surprises at Sony’s PlayStation 5 showcase event was the official announcement of Resident Evil 8, or rather, Resident Evil Village, as the first few letters of “village” have been stylized to look like the Roman numeral VIII.

Few details have been revealed about the next Resident Evil game, but the announcement trailer and official descriptions still give us some tantalizing details.

Here’s everything we know so far about Resident Evil Village.

Release

Resident Evil Village has been announced for the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and PC. A Steam page is already live for it. Although there is no specific Resident Evil Village release date yet, it is planned for 2021.

Characters and Setting

Resident Evil Village is a direct sequel to Resident Evil 7: biohazard and once again stars Ethan Winters, the protagonist of that game. It is set in a mysterious village that includes many varied environments shown in the trailer.

Other confirmed returning characters include Mia, as well as longtime series protagonist Chris Redfield, who most recently appeared in Resident Evil 7’s DLC episode Not a Hero. There has been much speculation that Chris is the villain of Resident Evil Village, but his role and motivations are still unknown.

The IMDB page for Resident Evil Village lists numerous other returning characters, including Alex Wesker and Barry Burton, but since IMDB can be edited, none of this should be taken as official just yet.

The Umbrella Corporation logo appears in the trailer and screenshots, confirming Umbrella is in Resident Evil Village in some form.

Gameplay

Resident Evil Village is using Capcom’s RE Engine, which was also used not only for Resident Evil 7, but also Resident Evil 2 (remake), Devil May Cry 5, and Resident Evil 3 (remake). It will be played from a first-person perspective just like Resident Evil 7, rather than the third-person over-the-shoulder view used for the recent remakes.

The specific gameplay will most likely involve a mix of fighting the wolf-like monsters and other enemies, and solving puzzles. It’s worth noting that the Special Developer Message says they are “upping the ante on action a bit,” among other details.

That might set off alarm bells for some longtime series fans, but they might simply mean it will have more action than Resident Evil 7 did, rather than a return to the all-out action horror seen in Resident Evil 4 and especially Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil 6.

Conclusion

Right now, we have only a handful of concrete details about the next Resident Evil game, but there’s plenty of room for theories, especially since Capcom highlighted one piece of key art as being very important.

So, when will we learn more about Resident Evil Village? According to the official website, new information about Resident Evil Village (or Resident Evil VIII or Resident Evil 8, whatever you want to call it) will be revealed in August. Stay tuned!

Tags: , , , , ,

June 4 PlayStation 5 Showcase Hopes and Predictions

May 30, 2020 by Samantha Lienhard - Leave a comment

PlayStation 5 game announcements are almost here! Sony has announced a special PlayStation 5 showcase for June 4 at 1 PM PDT / 4 PM EDT. While previously PS5 events have focused on the console’s technical specifications, this one is all about games.

According to the announcement, the showcase will run for approximately an hour and show players the first games they’ll be able to play after the PS5’s holiday launch.

So, what games will be shown? Although no one knows, here are a few of our hopes and predictions for the PS5 showcase…

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

It wasn’t that long ago we were watching the reveal of the Viking-era Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, which was later confirmed for the PS5 and Xbox Series X in addition to current-gen consoles. We wouldn’t be at all surprised if a greater look at this game is one of the highlights of the PS5 showcase.

Rainbow Six Siege

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege has been out for the PS4, Xbox One, and PC since 2015, but it’s also intended to be a PS5 and Xbox Series X launch title. While we hope the showcase focuses on new games the most, we probably should expect several cross-gen games to be shown running on the new system.

Elden Ring

We barely know anything about Elden Ring, the upcoming collaboration between fantasy author George R. R. Martin and FromSoftware. The last piece of actual news we had about it was confirmation of its composer. We don’t even know if it will be a PS5 title… but with the next generation of consoles on the horizon, it makes sense that Elden Ring might very well be a cross-gen game. Fans have been expecting Elden Ring news for quite a while now, so this event might be the perfect place for it.

Demon’s Souls Remaster

Speaking of FromSoftware, rumors of a Demon’s Souls remaster have been floating around for a long time, with many fans believing it’s the unannounced project Bluepoint Games has been working on. If it exists, a Demon’s Souls remaster would be a huge game to reveal for PS5, and we hope to see it there.

Horizon Zero Dawn 2

Back in April, we discussed the rumors and hints of a Horizon Zero Dawn sequel. The developer had tweeted a job opportunity using the #ps5 hashtag, only to take it down and replace it. That lined up with rumors that Horizon Zero Dawn 2 was in development for the PlayStation 5. Horizon Zero Dawn was a major game for the PS4, and if the sequel really is in development, revealing it now would create a lot of excitement for the franchise’s future.

God of War Sequel

Finally, we know there’s going to be another God of War game, and after the overwhelming success of God of War on the PS4, its sequel is one of our most-anticipated games to probably be released for the PS5. (What they’ll do about the numbering is a question for another time.) Ragnarok is on the horizon and the previous game’s ending left everyone with theories about the direction the sequel will take, so we’d love to get a glimpse of the next God of War game during next week’s showcase!

Conclusion

The chance that all of these games are included in the PS5 showcase is pretty slim, but here’s hoping we see at least some of them. Stay tuned for our first look at some PlayStation 5 games on June 4 at 1 PM PDT / 4 PM EDT.

Tags:

Mafia Trilogy: Definitive Edition Release & Upgrades

May 23, 2020 by Samantha Lienhard - Leave a comment

Last week, Hangar 13 announced that the Mafia: Trilogy would be coming to PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Although Mafia III was previously released for modern consoles, this will be the first appearance of Mafia and Mafia II on newer platforms.

The three games are also being handled differently. While Mafia II and Mafia III are simply being remastered, Mafia is being fully remade from the ground up, with an expanded story, modern gameplay features, and more. This means the releases are being handled a little differently, so here’s what you need to know.

All three games are being sold together as part of the Mafia: Trilogy release for $59.99, which is available now digitally and will be out physically on August 28, but they will also be sold separately as well. Mafia: Definitive Edition will be out on August 28 for $39.99, while Mafia II: Definitive Edition and Mafia III: Definitive Edition are available now (digitally) for $29.99 each.

If you own the original Mafia II on Steam and/or the original Mafia III on any platform, you will automatically be upgraded to the Definitive Edition.

Since the digital version of the Mafia: Trilogy bundle is available now as well, purchasers will have immediate access to Mafia II: Definitive Edition and Mafia III: Definitive Edition, with the remade Mafia: Definitive Edition to be unlocked on August 28. Of course, if you order the physical version, you will need to wait until August 28 to play all three.

Although Hangar 13 did not develop the first two Mafia games, they developed Mafia III and later merged with the original developer, 2K Czech. It will be interesting to see how they handle the new content in Mafia: Definitive Edition.

Tags: , ,

18 Minutes of Ghost of Tsushima Gameplay

May 15, 2020 by Samantha Lienhard - Leave a comment

Yesterday, Sony held a special State of Play video presentation focused entirely on Ghost of Tsushima, the upcoming PS4 action-adventure game from Sucker Punch Productions.

This 18-minute gameplay video provides an extensive look at Ghost of Tsushima and its protagonist Jin, including exploration, combat, customization, the Photo Mode, and more. While other gameplay details and footage had been released in the past, this was the first time we really got a solid idea of what Ghost of Tsushima will be like.

Ghost of Tsushima features a mechanic called the “Guiding Wind” as you explore, allowing you to be guided to your intended destination in a way intended to be less obtrusive and more thematically fitting than traditional waypoints. Similarly, the game uses other visual cues to guide you, such as smokestacks that indicate people in need of help and friendly foxes that will guide you to shrines.

(Jin is shown petting the fox in thanks after it leads him to a shrine, but whether or not you can pet the fox at will is unknown. Either way, it’s a cute detail.)

When it comes to combat, you have two primary options. Jin can fight as a samurai, facing his opponents head-on. He can also fight as the “Ghost,” employing stealth, deception, and dirty tricks to give himself the upper hand in combat. You will be able to choose how to approach situations and which combat style to favor.

Customization involves using Charms for special combat effects, developing combat Techniques, and changing the appearance of Jin’s armor. There also is an elaborate Photo Mode that lets you adjust the wind, particle effects, and much more to create your perfect photo or video.

That’s good, because one thing that really stands out from this gameplay footage is that Ghost of Tsushima is a gorgeous game with beautiful landscapes to explore. You’ll also have the option to choose between English and Japanese dialogue, and a special “Samurai Cinema” mode transforms the game with a black-and-white film grain filter to emulate old samurai movies.

Ghost of Tsushima was delayed from its original June release date, but it’s still not far off. You’ll be able to play it on July 17, exclusively for the PlayStation 4.

Tags: ,