The Top Game Zone

Games News

THE Top Games Zone

The Top Games Zone

www.thetopzones.co.uk aggregator
www.thetopzones.co.uk - aggregated feeds in category Games
  • Game Informer News Feed: Kerbal Space Program Launching On PS4, Xbox One In July

    Squad has announced that it's bringing its spaceship-building sim Kerbal Space Program over to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One next month. The game allows people to bring the adorable Kerbal creatures into the space age, designing and launching ships of their own creation. And, if things are designed well enough, they'll actually be able to explore other planets.

    The game has been a cult favorite on PC for years, with players sharing their own amazing triumphs and explosive failures. You can get a taste of what both of those scenarios look like in the new trailer below.

    (Please visit the site to view this media)

    Players can choose to play in a freeform sandbox, or opt for science or career modes, in which you research tech to advance and manage the entire space program for your Kerbals. 

  • Gamespot News Feed: Umbrella Corps Review

    As a competitive shooter set in the Resident Evil universe, Umbrella Corps faces an uphill battle. Fans of Resident Evil are most likely thinking about the upcoming, horror-focused Resident Evil 7, and competitive shooter fans have a wealth of proven games with thriving communities to choose from. With so much background noise, Umbrella Corps has to do something special to stand out. And it does offer a few promising concepts, but they sit under a flickering spotlight--Umbrella Corps is a forgettable game dominated by bland action and half-baked mechanics.

    This is a competitive shooter, first and foremost, where teams of three face off in single death elimination matches, or in a series of varying match types, including domination, bounties, and item collection races. Call them what you will, Umbrella Corps' modes are standard concepts that have been around for decades, and players are so fragile that rounds tend to devolve into deathmatch battles regardless of the overarching objective.

    Single player levels tend to be similarly basic--kill zombies and collect their DNA. Shooting them is an option, but why expend round after round when you can instantly kill targets with a melee attack? It's baffling that a single whack from the butt of your gun will kill zombies faster than a stream of bullets, but it does.

    The small selection of maps in the game is directly inspired by the last few numbered Resident Evil games, and apart from the presence of zombies and unlockable character skins, are the strongest ties to the series at large. Despite their familiar appearance, the maps' inner-workings have some fresh appeal. While in Umbrella's labs, you can snake through ducts to get the jump on an unsuspecting enemy, or, in the game's outdoor locations, you can scurry up walls to gain a height advantage. In a game where most people constantly sprint and fire, it feels good to be able to disappear into the environment and wait for prey to cross your path; it's also an easy way to bide your time during single-death matches.

    Umbrella Corps is at its best when it allows you to utilize your surroundings, but this isn't always possible. Most games with a cover system allow you to snap to any structure of a certain size, such as a wall or a crate, but not here--only some objects are eligible, highlighted with a neon outline. Sure, you can hide behind any wall in the face of incoming fire, but only some walls--ordained without discernible rhyme or reason--allow you to enter a proper cover state and fire from safety. Because of this, you quickly learn that relying on cover is a fool's errand. Ultimately, characters move so fast, and kill each other so quickly, that you become accustomed to looking for enemies rather than hunting for cover opportunities.

    Despite being fired upon by two armed combatants, the melee attacker will probably come out on top thanks to Umbrella Corps' technical bugs.
    Despite being fired upon by two armed combatants, the melee attacker will probably come out on top thanks to Umbrella Corps' technical bugs.

    You can kill opponents in three ways in Umbrella Corps: you can shoot them, kill them instantly with a melee attack, or disable their Zombie Jammer and rely on zombies that litter every map to get the job done. Every player has a jamming device on their back, which allows players to move around the map without rousing suspicion from the undead. When it's disabled--triggered by a well-placed shot to a player's back--zombies rush towards their newfound target. This is a great option in theory, but in practice, it's very difficult to execute. Whether you're standing, crouching, or prone--where you slither around like an awkward greased seal--you can cover a lot of ground with minimal effort, which results in a lot of twitchy and chaotic face offs where opponents frantically attack anything that moves.

    While you can melee enemies with your gun, you might as well equip the Brainer if you prefer close quarters combat. Your Brainer is an overpowered, hybrid scythe-hammer that kills opponents in one hit, so long as they fall in the weapon's generous kill zone, indicated by a HUD projection. Using it comes with a risk--the Brainer's attack animation is notably long--but it's the fastest way to take out an enemy. Should you and a Brainer-wielding enemy attack each other at the same time, you both stagger for a moment before you can issue a follow-up attack. Typically, this results in a flurry of button presses as you try to attack again as soon as the game allows--but with both competitors mashing away, it becomes a game of luck rather than skill. Relent and try to switch weapons, and you'll probably die. Spend too much time trying to issue a counterattack, and you're likely to get killed by an enemy who's passing by. The Brainer is both the most effective tool in your arsenal, and the most likely to get you killed.

    You can try to adjust your strategy to account for the Brainer's peculiarities, but there's nothing that can be done to combat Umbrella Corps' broken death animations. In some instances, it takes a full second or two for a death to properly register in the game, and in that window of time, the doomed player can attack and kill others before they are disabled. There's probably a joke to made in there about how the dead don't stay dead in the world of Resident Evil, but this is a bug--not a feature--and the final nail in the coffin for a game pitched as a competitive shooter.

    Determined players can earn cosmetic items and new weapons as they earn XP and level up, but a new gun or patch for your helmet doesn't wash away the bad taste of Umbrella Corps' gameplay. Its systems are either unreliable or illogical, and as a result, it feels almost impossible to get a foothold. The first time an enemy kills you when they should have been dead, you may shrug it off. When it happens the dozenth time, you'll probably wonder why you're playing Umbrella Corps at all. There's ultimately no good excuse.

  • Game Informer News Feed: New Artwork Shows Off Characters, Environments, And Two Dynamic Themes

    Square Enix has shared some new artwork for upcoming JRPG I am Setsuna. Included are watercolor portraits of new locations and various characters protagonist Setsuna is said to encounter during her journey.

    I Am Setsuna draws inspiration for its battle systems from Chrono Trigger, as its developers have said since the game was first announced in March. When we first got our hands on it at PAX East. we found the combat to be an interesting blend of the old and the new. You can check out the combat systems yourself in a gameplay trailer released last month. 

    Some PlayStation Network preorder incentives were also announced. Two dynamic themes will be available at the moment of preorder. The first, called Kuro (or black) is a night-time theme, while Shiro (white) shows the same background image but during the day. Both of those can be seen below.  Those who pre-order will also get an exclusive digital track titled Eternal Winter by composer Tomoki Miyoshi that will automatically download on release day. Additionally, those who preorder through Steam will get a bonus exclusive digital track titled The Warmth of Hope

     I Am Setsuna will be arriving to PlayStation 4 and PC on July 19 for $39.99. 

  • Game Informer News Feed: Surviving Your First Day In 7 Days To Die

    The console (PlayStation 4/Xbox One) version of zombie survival crafting game 7 Days to Die is now out, and this pair of trailers for the title gets you ready for the oncoming onslaught.

    The game's live-action launch trailer sets the mood, while the gameplay tutorial walks you through the game's basics and what it takes to survive early on.

    Well, that's the first day down. But beware the seventh day, when the blood moon rises....

    LAUNCH TRAILER

    (Please visit the site to view this media)

    GAMEPLAY TUTORIAL

    (Please visit the site to view this media)

  • Game Informer News Feed: Queen Victoria Leads The Charge For England In Civilization VI Trailer

    Queen Victoria is one of England's most notable rulers, having led the nation through more than 60 years. She's the ruler of England in Civilization VI, too, and you can see what she brings to the table in an all-new look at the game.

    The Queen has a variety of unique units and structures at her disposal, which reflect the era in which she reigned. Naval superiority was important during the Victorian Age, and as such she can build a Royal Navy dockyard and enlist the help of the notorious Sea Dogs. On land, she can send her Redcoats off to battle, and build museums to better serve her nation's growth and research.

    (Please visit the site to view this media)

    Big changes are coming to the series, and you can read about them in our recent interview with the game's lead designer and associate producer. The game is set for a PC release on October 21.

  • Gamespot News Feed: Inside Review

    A world, broken at the hands of technological progress, decays in silence and darkness. Cowed and enslaved people shuffle mindlessly through the streets. Overseers dressed in masks and black clothes stand at the corners, waiting for one of the slaves to fall out of line, watching the soulless masses as they are forced to jump and dance. A featureless boy in the midst of it all walks through this dystopia wearing a red shirt, one of the only touches of color in this oppressive world.

    This is Inside, the second game from Limbo developer Playdead. Like Limbo, the gameplay is simple: you have to walk, jump, and grab objects in order to solve puzzles and overcome obstacles. Ultimately, however, the game is about your journey through a tyrannical, unknowable, and apocalyptic world. Over the course of a few hours, you descend ever deeper into the heart of a malicious and immense construct that threatens to suffocate agency and humanity.

    Limbo followed a character moving through a strange and primitive land. Death came easily to the character, but it rarely felt like murder. Inside, on the other hand, exudes violence, cruelty, and artifice. The game highlights the old and shattered parts of a society that you discover has been dragged into a hell of human experimentation.

    As you progress through Inside, you experience stretches of quiet and calm punctuated by flashes of complete absurdity. The game encourages you to relish these often shocking or brutal twists, which incite feelings of revulsion and confusion. They make you want to know more.

    3087143-inside_shot_11.png

    These moments remain vivid in my memory even a few days after completing the game. A mindless horde of figures followed me off a cliff only to slam into the ground, creating a squelchy pile of flesh. A wispy, feminine creature tenaciously stalked me through underwater regions. I led my character to many deaths that were immediate and gruesome. I loved the game most during its quiet lulls when the oppressive feeling of the world was most apparent, but the in-your-face moments showed a different and darkly comedic side of Inside. I sometimes couldn't help but laugh at the sheer ridiculousness of what it threw at me.

    Solving puzzles can be as simple as moving a box up to the base of a high ledge in order to jump up to the top, or as complex as synchronizing multiple automatons to flip switches, lift objects, and move carts so that you can open a door. Some early puzzles rely more on cautious movement than logic as you attempt to avoid murder or abduction at the hands of masked figures. Later puzzles, on the other hand, require more patience and thought. Some make you open sequences of doors to move objects through a room, while others require delicately timed jumps or switches to complete.

    There comes a time when Inside leans too heavily on its puzzles to keep you engaged. In these moments, I felt that my driving motivation had shifted from exploring the world to simply flipping the right switch. It's a problem that plagued Limbo, and Inside nearly falls into a similar trap in its middle act when it takes you deep underground. You must complete the game's most time-consuming puzzles during its most narrative-light sections, and the suspense that the game worked so hard to build nearly falls apart.

    3087151-inside_shot_03.png

    Fortunately, this issue evaporates as the game enters its final act, when the world and puzzles again form a cohesive bond. Inside is at its best when it doesn't feel like you're doing puzzles at all, but rather avoiding obstacles and finding paths through a dangerous space. As Inside nears its conclusion, the puzzles strengthen the sense of exploration that defines the rest of the game.

    Much of Inside's success in storytelling comes from its visual design. The game is gorgeous, with a simple but evocative art style defined by muted colors and featureless figures. Gone are the indistinct backgrounds of Limbo; Inside's environments are richly detailed and full of motion and secrets. For example, you might find smoke still wisping from a candle in a recently abandoned room, a truck full of automatons departing right as you enter a new screen, viewing platforms used to watch slaves dance, or the massive shadowy shapes of the compound's machinery looming far off in the background.

    Inside's use of sound and music is occasionally breathtaking. You never hear voices, but each setting has its own unique noises. As I moved through a forest, pine trees rustled, rocks clacked against each other, and leaves crunched under my feet. In the compound, a pulsing, rhythmic noise accompanied my journey, a constant and unsettling reminder of the world's heartlessness. Music is used sparingly, but when it swells, even minor events like exiting a building became points fixed in my memory.

    3081827-inside_08.png3081827-inside_08.png

    All of it--the setting, the sound, the beautiful art--builds to the discovery of the secret of this compound, but what I found at the end almost ruined the entire experience. Subtlety was thrown out the window and I was left reeling, unable to process the turn. The oppressive, quiet, slow-moving, and mysterious story that dominated most of the game changed in a flash of complete absurdity. I didn't know whether to laugh or yell in horror as Inside twisted in on itself. When the credits began to crawl, I sat in silence for a few minutes, unable to decide what to make of it.

    But as time passed, those final moments grew on me. I still find the ending somewhat odd, but upon playing through Inside a second time, I found endearing elements that fit with the overall story more effectively than I first thought. The ending is self-aware in a way that is simultaneously overwrought and humorous, poking fun at itself and at Limbo. It's also cathartic, releasing all of the tension that built over the rest of Inside in one scene.

    This is a beautiful, haunting, and memorable game, a worthy follow-up to Limbo. Its puzzles, although rarely difficult, are engaging complements to the story. The real achievement of this game, though, is the way that it crafts its narrative: detailed environments convey the bizarre world that you travel through; introspective moments are filled with minimalist sound design and just the barest touches of music; and the things you must do to complete your journey force you to confront the realities of humanity, freedom, and existence. The puzzles might not bring you back to play it again, but the opportunity to learn more about the world alone is enough motivation to return to Inside's dystopia.

  • Gamespot News Feed: Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness Review

    It's been seven years since the release of the last Star Ocean game, with tri-Ace and Square Enix's lauded science fiction RPG series laying dormant. Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness (or Star Ocean 5) breaks this silence, but after exceeding 30 hours buried in its beautiful yet barren world it's difficult not to feel disappointed. Its story and characters are underdeveloped, its mission design fluctuates between vapid and downright tedious, and despite gratifyingly complex combat and skill upgrade systems, the game is weighed down by a host of frustrating smaller problems.

    Broadly speaking, Integrity and Faithlessness is a story about first contact with alien life. Fidel and his childhood friend Miki choose to involve themselves in their home planet's civil war, and along the way discover a bigger problem. Technologically advanced beings from another world have landed on their planet and are using it for nefarious purposes. Along the way, Fidel gathers a ragtag band of scientists, soldiers, and space pilots as he finds, loses, finds again, loses again, and eventually tries to rescue a mysterious little girl named Relia.

    The first contact story has been done better elsewhere--numerous times over--and the rest of Star Ocean 5's narrative elements fall equally flat. The characters are bland with little to no emotional development, and feel more like a list of tropes than a believable group of friends, making it difficult to care about their trials. Dialogue is about as subtle as a dump truck, and the unfolding plot does a poor job of communicating why these six strangers have decided to band together and risk their lives to save one little girl. There is a lot of melodrama between them with no power behind it. The relationship between Fidel--a late-teens boy--with Relia--who is maybe five years old at most--is particularly distressing, with lines like "Without you there's no chance I can be happy!" coloring awkward tonal shifts. They do not grow together; rather they take confusing emotional leaps, and for this reason it is difficult to invest in their journey.

    It's a little too quiet out here...
    It's a little too quiet out here...

    The world of Star Ocean 5 is big and beautiful, but feels just as empty as its characters. Open fields of detailed emerald grass shimmer under clear blue skies. Sunlight bounces off rocky mountains in the distance. Deserts are a deep, dark blur of brown as the wind whips sand around your party, and technology labs sparkle and shine with walls of glinting metal and glowing light. These areas are vast, and the dungeons you find hidden in corners of the world are mazes of corridors dotted with treasures. But none of it feels alive. Enemy creatures spawn in clumps at generous intervals throughout each area, but if you leave and come back the same enemies will appear in the same spots without fail. It's a predictable and shallow world, which makes it a chore to complete quests that require a lot of backtracking on foot through the same areas.

    Most missions, both in the main story and side quests, include a lot of said backtracking, and the game adds insult to injury by not including a readily available world map. There's a local map you can reference, but you can't look at areas beyond it. If you forget where a certain town or facility is, you're doomed to wander until you find it or remember until you unlock fast travel towards the end of the game. It's easy to get lost. You're also prevented from entering certain areas until you've progressed far enough in the story, gating you on a mostly linear path and preventing you from exploring at will. The world looks vast and beautiful, but this rigidity and emptiness makes traversal unenjoyable.

    Boom, baby.
    Boom, baby.

    Star Ocean 5 is at its best when you're in combat. All characters in your party fight at once, though you can only directly control one at a time. You can swap between characters on the fly, which comes in handy during tougher boss battles where you may want to oversee healing efforts yourself. At its biggest, your party has two casters, two swordsmen, a melee brawler and a ranged attacker--as well as Relia, who can't do anything besides heal. Battles are a flurry of motion and light, and are an absolute delight to take part it. Even longer, tougher boss battles are welcome challenges, and your team dancing around the battlefield in real time is a gorgeous display. That is, if you properly develop and assign combat roles and skills prior to the skirmish.

    Combat roles are unlocked by defeating enemies and collecting special points. You spend these points on upgrading roles, which determine the behavior of your characters in battle. For example, you can unlock healing roles that prioritize casting spells and assign them all to one character, putting them in charge of buffing the party and debuffing enemies. Or you can give roles that prioritize the use of special attacks to your casters, which insures they keep out of harm's way while still dealing the highest damage. You can also combine points and special items hidden throughout the world to unlock special, more powerful attacks that are unique to each character. These attacks can be lined up so that characters automatically perform them on the battlefield, or manually executed if you switch to a specific character. This all creates deep levels of customization within your fighting party, and taking the time to unlock, develop, and assign combat roles and skills makes fighting a visual treat and a breeze to navigate. Cooking up assignments and strategies before major boss battles was a highlight of my time with Star Ocean 5.

    Outside of battles, missions suffer from agonizing objectives. Too many large-scale battles come with the caveat of having to protect a certain character from dying while fending off waves of enemies, adding some much-unwelcome tower defense into the mix. Some combat missions involve seemingly never-ending waves of enemies with no direction for defeating them, and so you battle on and on until you realize you have to make an attempt to escape the area. Still others pit you against enemies you can deal no damage too, and force you to burn up your magic and health points until dialogue leading up to the introduction of a macguffin plays itself out. These missions are poorly designed, an egregious abuse of your time and tools, and become wars of attrition very quickly.

    "Bird droppings? Where the heck am I supposed to find those?"

    Side quests also suffer from this tedium. Some involve you conversing with characters in your party to get to know them better. In theory, the more you interact with certain characters, the more likely they are to heal you or assist you in battle, or go into an attacking rage should Fidel be knocked out. I spent a lot of time completing these drab, unentertaining side stories and noticed no difference in how other characters helped Fidel in combat. Maybe I was too busy trying to hear what they were saying over the din of battle, but in truth my efforts didn't feel like they made a difference.

    Speciality skills--including crafting, scavenging, emoting, and having treasure and enemies appear on the minimap--are unlocked by completing side quests. All of these, with the exception of the first two, are unlocked by completing fetch quests marked on quest boards in every major town. These entail bringing certain items collected on your journey back to the board or hunting down and talking to certain NPCs. There's no way to know if or how you collected certain items, as most of them are obtained through drops from random encounters. There is also no indicator where in the world you can find certain things--you have to do the trial and error on your own and it's nearly impossible to track your progress.

    "Ayyyyyyeeeeee!"

    It's also possible that you will never unlock certain specialities because you never complete enough or the right kind of quests; I went through the entire game having unlocked a fraction of these specialities. Crafting is opened up by completing a handful of banal fetch quests for a girl named Welch, and the feature itself isn't worth the trouble when you can pick up or buy the most powerful items anyway as you progress through the story. These side quests are a complete waste of time, and you can make it through the game having not completed any.

    In addition to all this, Star Ocean 5 suffers from some very strange technical issues. Characters constantly talk over each other. Side-conversations begin over talks pertaining to the plot, and if you're talking and run into a random encounter, the conversation will continue beneath the sounds of combat. Too often, while in a boss battle or major conflict, characters would have conversations key to the plot. In these circumstances, unless you've had the foresight to fiddle with the sound settings beforehand, you won't hear any of it. Pivotal conversations were lost to me over the clash of swords and spells, and you can miss important plot points if your subtitles aren't on or you didn't change the audio settings. Oversights like this are unforgivable.

    Also, Fidel can bump into and physically move NPCs but will walk straight through his teammates like they're ghosts. It's incredibly jarring and pulls your right out of the experience. There is no autosave and the game's manual save points are infuriatingly few and far between. There are also parts of the story where the game actively blocks you from saving. There was a moment between large battles that I ran into an inn hoping to use the save point, but the game wouldn't let me save. When I failed the second battle, I had restart from before the first one, which also included a lengthy, unskippable cutscene that further wasted my time. Running a gauntlet without reprieve is unnecessary, and doesn't serve to add a challenge--only frustration.

    I feel you, man.I feel you, man.
    I feel you, man.

    In the end, Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness' payoff was not worth the time I put into it. The story feels bloated and empty, with no worthwhile emotional payoff in character development or narrative. Combat and its subsequent upgrade systems are genuinely fun, but the overall experience is held back from being great by issues elsewhere. As a fan of Japanese role-playing games, it's heartbreaking to not be in love with Star Ocean 5, but it holds too tightly onto outdated character tropes and concepts--like the unfair save point system--that make it feel dated and out of touch. If you came to this game seeking the epic sci-fi glory of the series' early years, this is not the Star Ocean you are looking for.

  • Gamespot News Feed: Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens Review

    Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a cultural juggernaut, but it isn't without its detractors. It may be a rollicking adventure, many say, but a lot of it feels like a retread. Characters, locations, and story beats echoed those of the very first Star Wars film, with even the movie's creators acknowledging that there were many (deliberate) similarities between the two.

    Much the same can be said about Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens. As the newest entry in the long-running Lego series, there's more than a touch of the familiar about this game. It's gameplay, puzzles, and basic structure are all well worn, and even some of that trademark goofy Lego humor is starting to feel a little predictable. No surprises doesn't necessarily mean no fun, however. This game isn't a mold-breaker in the same way the superior Lego Dimensions was, but it delivers on its core promise of being an engaging, fun, and charming title that's imminently suitable for families. It's also goofy enough for adult fans of Star Wars to get a few giggles out of.

    Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens follows the plot of the movie closely, allowing you to play through many memorable sections from the film like the desert planet of Jakku, the lush forests of Takodana, the ground (and the skies) of Starkiller Base, and more. You can play as dozens of different characters from this movie and other Star Wars films, but for the bulk of your first run through of the game's story mode, you'll be in charge of key characters from The Force Awakens such as Rey, Finn, Han Solo, Chewbacca, Poe Dameron, and BB-8.

    Befitting a title aimed at young children, character controls are simple, and with unlimited lives and immediate respawns, there's no real penalty for death. As is standard with the Lego games, many characters have unique abilities which are used to solve puzzles or access specific areas. Rey, for example, can use her staff as a lever to activate some switches, while Chewbacca is armed with explosives that can destroy certain structures.

    None of it is too challenging; the game specifically tells you which characters to use to overcome obstacles, and even the more obtuse puzzles usually just involve finding the right object in the world to destroy in order to "build" a new Lego structure. But the fun--as in previous Lego games--is in the way you'll have to swap between multiple characters to achieve objectives, such as using BB-8 to maneuver a winch whilst regularly swapping out to Finn to build the rails for the winch to run on. Lego games are built for co-op enjoyment, and The Force Awakens is no different. The puzzles are just hard enough that younger players will require adult assistance to solve, making it an ideal game for some outstanding kid/grown-up game sessions.

    3026334-lswtfa_marchpreview_3_1458664964.jpeg

    There’s also a new mechanic added to puzzle-solving--the ability to "choose" which Lego structures to build (and the order in which to build them) to solve some puzzles--which adds little to the overall experience. Despite the potential for interesting solutions or a greater variety of outcomes, this new mechanic usually just results in different animations that lead to the same conclusion. It's window dressing and adds rather little to the Lego formula.

    Combat is the weaker half of Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Most enemies in the game can be defeated through simple button-mashing, save for a few bosses that require some loosely timed quick time events to vanquish. There is one new addition to battles here: in some levels, characters can duck behind cover and shoot at enemies (like a Lego version of Gears of War). But the game's concessions to a younger audience make this addition challenge-free. Hitting the left trigger automatically targets an enemy, so there's never any need to actually aim.

    3057757-lswtfa_rathtarhunting_2_1462347539.jpg
    Gallery image 1Gallery image 2Gallery image 3Gallery image 4Gallery image 5Gallery image 6Gallery image 7Gallery image 8

    That formula may be well traveled by now, but it's still a pleasant one to experience, even though a lot of your enjoyment will depend on your affinity for the Star Wars universe (and The Force Awakens in particular). "Charm" is a word oft-used to describe the Lego series, and it's still appropriate here. Simple though they might be, I still found delight in many of Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens' levels. It was exciting flying Poe Dameron's X-Wing above the lakes of Takodana and over Starkiller Base's thermal oscillator, dogfighting against waves of TIE fighters amidst chatter from my fellow pilots. I also loved controlling both Rey and the stormtrooper she Force-controlled in the movie to escape her imprisonment from the First Order.

    And while the goofiness in which the Lego games approach their source material has now become somewhat rote, it still elicited several laughs from me. It was funny to hear some ambient chatter from two stormtroopers about one of them achieving a 3 out of 10 ranking in a recent target practice session (a new record, apparently), and I laughed out loud when Kylo Ren, during that pivotal scene in the snowy forest, bemoans not simply walking over and picking up that fallen lightsaber. Trying to use the Force, he says, was just "cooler." And I swear there was a gag directly referencing a "secret" cameo within the film (that is, a cinematic spy who played a stormtrooper in The Force Awakens). It's little asides like this that make the game enjoyable for grown-up gamers despite the simplicity of play.

    3057758-lswtfa_resistancetothe_rescue_1462347540.jpeg3057758-lswtfa_resistancetothe_rescue_1462347540.jpeg

    There are even several extra levels that expand on the events from the film, including a pre-film timeline rescue of Admiral Ackbar from the First Order's clutches and another detailing exactly how Han Solo and Chewie secured those Rathtars in the first place. For Star Wars fans, these are exciting (and apparently canonical) additions, and it's given more authenticity by the inclusion of nearly the entire cast of The Force Awakens, who recorded new lines of dialogue for the game. It's wonderful if you're a Star Wars completionist, but it's also annoying as these new, non-film levels are hard to access. They're locked away until you earn the requisite number of gold bricks within the game, so you're going to need to play a lot of Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens to experience them all.

    Playing a lot of Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens won't be a chore, though, especially if you do have a younger partner to take with you on your galactic journey. These Lego games are confectionaries now, little candies that don't have a huge amount of substance but are enjoyable nonetheless. Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens doesn't really take you to a new galaxy far, far away, but it's still a pleasant journey.

  • Game Informer News Feed: Mars Is Full Of Mystery In This Sci-Fi Action/RPG

    The Technomancer, an action/RPG set on Mars, arrives on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on June 28. The intriguing narrative, branching skill trees, and specialized classes may be of interest to fans of the Mass Effect series.

    The latest from developer Spiders Studio is much different from the fantasy setting of its previous work on Bound By Flame, but has a lot in common with the older Mars: War Logs. Players control Zachariah, a skilled warrior on a war-torn red planet. As a Technomancer, players make use of electricity to take down foes. We learn more about Zachariah's character in the trailer below, including details on his love life and mission to contact earth.

    (Please visit the site to view this media)

    We also get a good look at some of the enemy clans in this trailer, as well as the massive mutant creatures that can be discovered and fought. Mars appears to be a fleshed-out world with tons of secrets to uncover.

    With a robust number of side quests, companions, a crafting system, and the promise of replay value, The Technomancer could be a surprise hit for RPG fans this summer. 

  • Game Informer News Feed: 15 Minutes Of Conquest Mode In Action

    I recently got the chance to play through some of Battlefield 1's multiplayer modes in an event that EA put on at E3. During my time on the The St Quentin Scar, I stormed trenches, donned a mask to survive mustard gas, blew apart tanks with grenades, and charged down the field with a bayonet.

    We were allowed to record footage of our sessions, so here's 15 minutes of Conquest mode in Battlefield 1, with me playing various classes and trying out a number of vehicles:

    (Please visit the site to view this media)

    Be sure to check out editor Matthew Bertz's thoughts on how Battlefield 1 changes up the series formula.