Sega and Yakuza developer Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio have announced a sequel to the 2018 Yakuza spin-off game Judgment. Lost Judgment continues the story of private detective Takayuki Yagami, the protagonist of the first game, as he takes on new cases in the action-packed legal thriller. The announcement comes shortly after the original Judgment arrived on new-gen consoles and Stadia after initially debuting exclusively on PlayStation 4. Unlike the original's trajectory, Lost Judgment will debut across both PlayStation and Xbox consoles in a simultaneous worldwide release this September.
In Lost Judgment, players partake in detective sleuthing and action combat across a noir-style story about a detective who takes the law into his own hands when the justice system fails. Yagami is joined by his partner and ex-yakuza Masaharu Kaito as the duo investigates a seemingly uncrackable case. Soon, the case leads to a conspiracy-laden tale that reveals just how broken the law system is. While the Yakuza series recently shifted to turn-based combat with Yakuza: Like a Dragon, Lost Judgment preserves the traditional Ryu Ga Gotoku-style of action combat featured in earlier games. Yagami has access to various fighting stances, including the new Snake style which allows him to deflect attacks and use enemies' energy against them. Players will travel between Yokohama and Kamurocho as they investigate the case.
Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio released Yakuza: Like a Dragon, the eighth mainline entry in the Yakuza series, last year. That game replaced longtime Yakuza protagonist Kazuma Kiryu with the more in-your-face Ichiban Kasuga. Judgment features a noir-style narrative, giving it a decidedly different feel than the traditional, mainline Yakuza series. If you're a fan of the sillier side of things, don't worry, as Lost Judgment seems to have plenty of excuses for goofiness built in as Yagami infiltrates a high school in Yokohama where he meets students and participates in quests involving everything from robotics to dancing.
Lost Judgment comes to PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on September 24. To learn what we thought of the first Judgment game, check out our review here. For our review on the most recent Yakuza game, Like a Dragon, head here.
Some video game franchises seem destined for the mobile gaming scene, their format ideally suited for touchscreen controls or quick on-the-go gaming sessions. Bandai Namco's drum-pounding rhythm game Taiko no Tatsujin is the latest established franchise to make the jump to mobile, and it's a match made in heaven. Bright, colorful, and full of charm, Taiko no Tatsujin Pop Tap Beat will have you smiling from ear to ear as you tap tap tap away to its catchy soundtrack. It's just a shame that fun has such a short shelf life.
Pop Tap Beat follows the standard rhythm genre format: notes travel from one side of the screen to the other (in this case right to left), and you tap the screen when each one reaches a circle to score points. The closer to the circle the note is when you tap, the more in rhythm with the song you are and the more points you score. It's a simple system that's easy to understand and pick up even if this is your first time playing a rhythm game, making for a short learning curve and a longer focus on fun.
The gameplay loop offers incremental increases in challenge with each subsequent difficulty level, offering an experience that's challenging without ever feeling impossible. Notes come in two colors: red, which signals tapping the drum, and blue, which signals tapping around the edge of it. Higher difficulties will split the drum in half, meaning you not only have to pay attention to the color of each note but also keep in mind which side of the screen needs to be tapped. Pop Tap Beat mixes things up further with special notes, alleviating any monotony. These special notes include drum rolls with continuous tapping, golden drums for furious tapping, and balloon notes for a different kind of furious tapping.
Platform: PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
With It Takes Two and Returnal both delivering in big ways, it's been a hell of a year for new intellectual properties thus far. We have another promising one hitting in the near future with Bandai Namco Entertainment's Scarlet Nexus. Slated to release on June 25 for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, Bandai Namco is inviting players to the distant future where a psionic hormone has awakened in people, giving them superhero-like powers.
Bandai Namco today released the opening cinematic that players will see when they first boot up the game. While the sequence begins with still-frame snapshots set to the pounding beats of Japanese rock band The Oral Cigarettes, it quickly transitions to a fully-animated battle that is absolutely stunning. It also shows off some of the unique abilities that the psionic hormone grants to people.
Your eyes into Scarlet Nexus' world can either be Yuito Sumeragi or Kasane Randall. Both characters are wildly different in style and their stories unfold in unique ways, meaning you'll need to complete Starlet Nexus twice to unlock the full storyline. Each character has their own skill tree and approaches. Yuito wields a sword for close-range attacks, whereas Kasane uses a kunai for long-range blasts. Combat for both is fast paced and encourages the player to study their surroundings for items that can help them. An item could be as large as a car, which can be hurled at the alien foes that want to harvest and eat human brains.
Developed by several team members that made the excellent Tales of Vesperia RPG, Scarlet Nexus is a game we can't wait to get our hands on. We recently had the chance to see a lengthy demo that gave us a taste of the unique "brainpunk" world, as well as the characters (and support cast) in combat. You can read our findings here and also see more of the game in motion.
Nintendo has perhaps the longest, most illustrious track record in the history of the games industry, so if you're hoping to learn the best ways to design and create your own video games, you'd be hard pressed to find a better instructor. While the gaming giant has released titles like Super Mario Maker 2 to give players a chance at designing their own creations, Nintendo hopes to build on that with Game Builder Garage.
Game Builder Garage takes concepts explored in the Super Mario Maker games, which are largely centered on design and experimentation, and brings them to a new level. Now, you not only design games, but learn the basics of visual programming with step-by-step lessons straight from Nintendo.
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Each lesson walks you through the basics in understandable fashion, featuring a cast of characters brimming with personality called the Nodon. By assigning the Nodon specific functions, you can put them in charge of doing things like moving characters, pressing buttons, and adding sound effects. When you're ready to see the progress you've made in the game, you can easily swap between the programming screen and the game screen. You can even build your games using the different control schemes of the Switch system, including buttons, touchscreen, or a USB mouse when in TV mode. As you complete lessons, you can show off your skills with checkpoint tests.
The included lessons teach you how to build seven distinct games, including Tag Showdown a two-player game of tag; On a Roll, a motion-controlled game where you navigate a ball through a maze; and Thrill Racer, a 3D racing title. Once you're comfortable with the creation tools, you can let your imagination run wild in Free Programming, where you can use Nodon to your heart's content to develop your dream creation.
When you're satisfied with what you've made, you can exchange codes with friends to share your title, or download what they made and give it a spin. You can even look at the programming behind their creations to learn new tricks, or use the sharing feature to collaborate on a single project with friends.
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Game Builder Garage sounds like a fascinating toolset for aspiring game designers. When I was a kid, I used to draw out crude design documents for sequels to my favorite games. Had a platform like Super Mario Maker or a toolset like Game Builder Garage existed back then, maybe I would have taken that process to the next level – sure, I had Mario Paint, but that doesn't give you anything close to what either of the modern games offer would-be creators.
Game Builder Garage launches on Switch on June 11 for $30.
Over its 25-year history, the Resident Evil series has continually changed and evolved, like a mad scientist who injects himself with a questionable bio-weapon, mutating into something new every time he shows up. For the most part, those evolutions have been fascinating recombinations of elements as Resident Evil tries different mixes of survival-horror and action gameplay. With Resident Evil 7, Capcom swung for the fences with a first-person perspective, a narrower scope, and more horror-focused gameplay. Resident Evil Village evolves that idea to make something that feels very different from its predecessor, but which is just as engaging.
Though the perspective and mechanical underpinnings are the same, Village branches off in its own direction from RE7, capturing some of the things that were great about that game while resisting the impulse to retread the same ground. While it's still frightening at points, it takes a less horror-driven tack on the same underlying first-person formula. Village continues to evolve Resident Evil while maintaining a keen grasp on some of its core tenets, finding new ways (or reviving old ones) of getting under your skin and ratcheting up the tension.
As has been pretty clear for a while now, Resident Evil Village is Resident Evil 7 through the lens of Resident Evil 4. When the latter was released way back in 2005, it significantly revamped what the franchise had been up to that point, swapping the earlier games' slower, survival-horror focus for a more fast-paced action approach. RE4 was scary because you were being overwhelmed by enemies, backed into corners, and chased by madmen wielding chainsaws. It traded darkened corridors and jump scares for adrenaline-fueled panic.
Biomutant has the potential to become a hidden gem when it's released on May 25. The long-in-development game offers a wacky blend of open-world exploration, multiple forms of traversal, a deep martial arts combat system, and choice-driven storytelling – all led by your furry, gene-spliced hero. If you’re like me, you probably just want the game to come out already and have seen everything needed to convince you of a purchase.
However, if you still have some lingering questions about Biomutant, I had a chance to sit in on a hands-off gameplay demonstration where I learned new details while getting clarification on some previously revealed features. Here’s a rapid-fire list of information that serves as the final primer for Biomutant before we finally dig in later this month.
What’s The Story Premise For Biomutant?
We still don't have any extensive plot details, but developer Experiment 101 says Biomutant's story consists of three narrative pillars:
The story of who you are and how you came to be in this world.
The fate of Tree of Life, the planet’s primary life-giver, which has been corrupted by a seeping oil as well as four destructive entities known as the World Eaters.
The Tribe War, the conflict between the game’s six factions.
How Do You Create Your Character?
Crafting your furry critter begins by choosing one of six breeds: Primal, Dumdon, Rex, Hyla, Fip, and Murgel. Each reflects the game’s six tribes and sports inherent traits and advantages. Hyla, for example, is a resilient breed built for absorbing more damage than the other types.
As you can see above, breeds have six stats: Vitality, Strength, Intellect, Charisma, Agility, and Luck. As you tinker with your build, you’ll also see your character physically change shape to provide a visual representation of your choice. Strength-focused builds create a barrel-chested mutant while more agile heroes appear thinner.
Next, you’ll choose a genetic resistance. The four in question are Heat, Cold, Biohazard, and Radioactivity and correspond with biomes of the same type (more on that later). You’ll upgrade your resistances as you progress, but you can get a head start by either dumping your initial points into one resistance or spreading them among the four.
Now it’s time to choose how your appearance. A slider changes fur’s pattern and colors, from the ordinary to the exotic (e.g. bright neon-purple). You can change your fur anytime by visiting a barber named Trim, so don’t fret too much about getting this part right the first time.
What Are Biomutant’s Classes?
Biomutant has 5 classes to choose from. Each comes with a starter skill and a perk. Here’s a simple breakdown of each:
Dead-Eye: More or less considered the “all-around” class. Perfect reload skill allows ranged weapons to be reloaded instantly
Commando: An elite soldier that deals additional ranged damage. Ideal for gun-focused combat
Psi-Freak: Boasts psionic powers like shooting lightning balls and increased energy regen
Saboteur: Stealth focused with a dual-wielding melee skill and increased evasion
Sentinel: Tanks that have increased base armor
How Is The World Divided?
Biomutant’s expansive world consists of 7 biomes, some more hospitable than others. Certain areas are very cold or very hot. Others are radioactive or lack oxygen. These environmental effects will gradually damage players that haven’t built up the appropriate resistances. In addition to what’s above-ground, Biomutant also features an entire underground sewer network that can be explored as well.
How Do You Survive Within Biomes?
You'll need to upgrade your resistance using skill points. The higher your resistance to a certain element, the longer you can endure the corresponding environment. Achieving 100-percent resistance allows you to explore a zone penalty-free. You can also equip protective gear. For example, the demo showed the player piloting a mech suit to survive within the oxygen-free Dead Zone.
Aura is essentially a karma system. Biomutant features choice-driven gameplay and storytelling, and your decisions fall into the light or dark side of the spectrum. Despite how it appears, Experiment 101 stresses there are no “right” or “wrong” choices. Aura is more about your style of approach to situations rather than the morality of it. Your Aura changes throughout the game depending on which direction you lean. Talking to NPCs of similar or opposing Aura’s will yield different interactions and, thus, various results.
So Does That Mean There Are Multiple Endings?
Sure does. Biomutant’s main story campaign features two major endings based on your decisions and how you deal with the four World Eaters. In addition to that, the Tribe War can wrap up in several different ways depending on what group you choose to ally with and how you interact with the other tribes.
How Much Do NPCs Matter?
Very much. In addition to giving out quests, characters can also point players towards hidden dungeons and other secrets. Go out of your way to talk to everyone you see.
What Else Is There To Do In The World?
We still don’t know everything Biomutant’s world has to offer, but you can seek out landmarks such as Lumen Shrines, Old World Vaults, and Old World Storages, among other side excursions. These areas come in sets. For example, there are six Lumen Shrines and finding them all unlocks a secret reward. You can also find notice boards posting additional side activities.
What’s An Automaton?
Automatons are tiny, grasshopper-like robots you collect. They’re used to scout the world to find hidden rewards or even new sidequests.
Are There Puzzles?
Yes. Experiment 101 only showed off a strange rotating lock puzzle, but that’s only one of several different types of puzzles players will encounter.
How Do You Craft Weapons/Gear?
Weapons are assembled from parts and ingredients salvaged while exploring. Guns and melee weapons consist of components ranging from traditional scopes to random junk such as a trumpet horn. Weapons come with a fixed moveset of combo attacks, and you can also assign elemental effects such as fire and ice. Experiment 101 says there are 200 million possible combinations for ranged weapons alone.
Also, you can craft anything at any time within the menu; you don’t have to visit a workbench.
But There Are Workbenches, Right?
Yes, but they’re only used for upgrading your equipment.
Do Weapons Degrade Over Time?
Nope. Weapons and equipment do not degrade or break.
How Do Loadouts Work?
A loadout includes your equipped weapons and armor. Players can create up to five different loadouts. Best of all, you can swap between each on the fly with just a button press.
Is There A Photo Mode?
There is! Experiment 101 just announced that Biomutant has its own photo mode. It looks and functions exactly how you’d expect, but the bizarre creatures and flashy weapon effects should lend to some eye-catching images.
Is There Any Kind of Multiplayer Element?
Negative. Biomutant is an entirely single-player experience.
Will There Be Post-Launch Content?
Other than improving any issues stemming from player feedback, Experiment 101 currently has no plans to add any post-launch content. However, the studio stresses that doesn’t mean it won’t ever add more content. For now, though, its focus is on polishing up the base game.
Are There Microtransactions?
In addition to Biomutant’s five classes, a sixth class, The Mercenary, will be available as a pre-order bonus. This class will also be sold individually (but not until some time after launch). Beyond that, however, Experiment 101 confirms Biomutant will have no microtransactions of any kind.
Will Biomutant Ever Come To PlayStation 5/Xbox Series X?
Biomutant is slated for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Experiment 101 says a native PS5/Xbox Series X version won’t be available "at launch". It hasn't confirmed or denied that a current-gen version will ever happen, however. We'll just have to wait and see.
For more on Biomutant, you can watch us take a tour of its combat and exploration in this episode of New Gameplay Today. We also have a video taking a look at the character creator.
Are you pretty much sold on Biomutant at this point or will you be waiting for reviews before taking the plunge? Let us know in the comments!
The enemy outnumbers us two-to-one and reinforcements are still days away. The raucous Gaul army is at our gates, baying for blood; each enemy soldier is coated in white and blue war paint and a select few operate battering rams that'll plough through our modest wooden defenses in a matter of minutes. The scent of death is in the air and we've got no choice but to stand our ground and fight. "One of you is worth any number of them," bellows our general, shattering the tense silence with an impassioned war cry. "We face adversity, a band of brothers, dedicated to the warrior's code of strength and victory," he continues, rallying the troops. "But we will never know defeat while we stand together! This day we add another triumph to the history of our people! We will be honored as men!"
Whether you go on to achieve victory or succumb to overwhelming odds, moments like this are part of what made Rome: Total War such a beloved strategy game when it launched in 2004--and why its popularity still persists today. It put Total War on the map and laid the groundwork for what has since become a blockbuster series in the strategy genre. With Total War: Rome Remastered, developer Feral Interactive has updated Creative Assembly's seminal title by overhauling the visuals and adding a number of quality of life improvements that make it slightly more appealing for modern sensibilities. Under the hood, however, this is still very much the same game as it was back in 2004, for better or worse.
Total War: Rome Remastered hasn't messed with this engaging setup, although you can now play as the other 15 factions without having to unlock them first--unless you'd prefer to do it the old-fashioned way by defeating each faction during the campaign as one of the Romans. When it comes to upgrades, the most obvious ones are visual, with improved lighting and more detailed terrain making both the battlefields and world map pop with added vibrancy. Environments are still overly sparse, which does make battles fairly lackluster to watch unless elephants are hurling soldiers 30 feet in the air, and the updated units aren't nearly as impressive either, falling some way short of the graphical fidelity we're used to seeing in modern Total War games. As a trade-off, however, Total War: Rome Remastered does feature an experimental "Extreme" setting for unit sizes, allowing you to partake in chaotic battles with an overwhelming number of forces, provided your hardware can handle it. Though loading times are still lengthy no matter which unit size you choose--even if you're running the game off an SSD--which can make the campaign fairly laborious at times.
You might be relieved to learn Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion isn’t really about avoiding your financial responsibility to society. There’s no book-keeping, no audits, no lurking threat of a visit from the IRS. Instead, the act of tax evasion is a mere prelude, an unlikely catalyst for a rollicking and increasingly silly pastiche of the action/adventure genre.
Less concerned with ripping off fellow citizens and more with pilfering tropes from the Legend of Zelda, Turnip Boy is shameless about the source of its obvious inspiration. Within minutes from the start of the game, the village elder has dispatched you on a quest and you’ve retrieved a mystical sword from a sun-dappled forest grove. But it borrows and parodies familiar elements with an affection and exuberance that sweeps you along in a giddy rush for the entirety of its short but sweet duration.
With Turnip Boy’s fiscal failure exposed in the opening scene, the town mayor channels Tom Nook by setting a quest that will allow you to pay off your debt and eventually inherit the family home. His demands are ludicrous from the get-go and seemingly untethered from your ultimate goal. But rather than leaving you annoyed at having to run some pointless errands, each new task only compounds the absurdity in amusing new ways. Really? That’s why you needed a laser pointer? You’ve got to be kidding me.
Returnal is a hard game to pin down. On the one hand, it is very much a pastiche of existing game genres: Play one run and you will see how it very clearly draws elements from roguelikes, Souls-likes, metroidvanias, action-platformers, bullet hell shooters, and horror games. But while it borrows from all those genres, its unique flow ensures that its chaotic shooting galleries and creepy storytelling feel decidedly new. A shifting, but not jarring pace, an unpredictable narrative, tough-as-nails gameplay, and a constant sense of ambient terror--Returnal's many moving parts coalesce into a rare shooter that grabs you with its mechanics and its story and never lets go, seducing you with its challenges and a foreboding sense of dread every step of the way.
When you start Returnal, interstellar scout Selene Vassos crash-lands on an alien planet, Atropos, which is broadcasting a mysterious signal. Stranded, Selene makes some startling discoveries on the planet, including the game's titular trait: When she dies, Selene "returns" to the site of the crash, seemingly unharmed. To explain much more would give away too much: You want to know as little about Returnal and its story as you can going in.
Yes, "return" is in the name, which is a not-subtle-not to Returnal’s run-based structure. It falls into the broader definition of a roguelite--Selene starts each run from the crash site but holds a few key upgrades and one of two in-game currencies from run to run. Everything else, including her weapon, "artifacts" that provide passive upgrades, and consumables like healing items disappear with each death. Selene wanders through the procedurally arranged and populated landscapes of Atropos hoarding gear, upgrading her health and weapon level (called proficiency), and gunning down the planet's strange-looking, tentacle-wiggling creatures, all of which want you dead.
The Nintendo 64's Pokemon Snap has held a special place in my heart for over 20 years, partially because there's nothing else quite like it in the Pokemon franchise. Pokemon Snap has nothing to do with catching or battling with Pokemon, and humans aren't at the heart of its story. Instead, Snap has always been about the joy of discovery and uncovering the secrets of the Pokemon world without interfering with it. Its long-lasting charm has stemmed in part from emulating one of the greatest joys of photography: witnessing and capturing moments it felt like you weren't supposed to see, like a group of Charmander performing a synchronized dance inside a volcano. 20 years later, that same charm and mystique is present in New Pokemon Snap on Nintendo Switch. With even more courses and Pokemon to discover, New Pokemon Snap is a brand-new adventure that's absolutely delightful to embark on, incorporating newer generations of Pokemon and stunning environments that feel truly alive.
Like the first game, New Pokemon Snap opens with you, a budding photographer, joining up with a Pokemon professor to snap some photos for his research. The mystery at the heart of the game is quickly introduced--Professor Mirror is investigating a strange Illumina phenomenon that's causing some Pokemon in the Lental region to glow, and you're here to catch it in action and discover its source. This sets up an overarching story--something that wasn't present in the first game--that slowly unfolds as you explore each island. The story itself isn't particularly deep and feels somewhat half-baked, but having the narrative reasons for continuing to explore each island does help progression feel natural and well-paced. Charming voice-acted cutscenes with Professor Mirror and the research team help draw you in and add to the overall presentation.
What you're really here for, though, are the new courses, which you explore in a pod-like vehicle known as the NEO-ONE. These take you through all sorts of natural Pokemon environments, from thick jungles to vast deserts and underwater caverns. Though some of them are thematically similar to courses that were present in the 1999 game, such as the beach level, New Pokemon Snap also takes you to brand-new environments. These feature a mix of Pokemon from all eight generations existing in their natural habitats. Each environment is full of life, with something happening in nearly every direction you look--it's almost a sensory overload the first time you load up a course. The thrill of discovery is still at the heart of its gameplay--that incredible feeling of spotting your favorite Pokemon out of the blue and snapping about 20 quickfire shots of it that all turn out terrible because you were just so excited and weren't ready for it. Whether you're photographing a Pokemon that burst out in front of you or zooming in to take a shot of one that's hidden in the distance, the sense of wonder and constant anticipation of what you'll see next in New Pokemon Snap is exhilarating.