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  • Game Informer News Feed: Sonic Colors: Ultimate Preview – Another Run At Glory

    Sonic Colors: Ultimate

    Publisher: Sega
    Developer: Blind Squirrel Games
    Rating: Everyone
    Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC

    When it launched in 2010, Sonic Colors was considered one of the best Sonic the Hedgehog games in years. By providing fun, well-designed levels, tighter controls than any 3D Sonic game to that point, and new powers from alien creatures called Wisps, Sonic Colors delivered a solid experience and laid the groundwork for future 3D Sonic titles. However, thanks to its Wii exclusivity, the game has been stranded on the obsolete platform and many players have missed out on the experience. That changes next month, however, as Sega, Sonic Team, and developer Blind Squirrel Games are bringing a remastered version of the title to modern platforms through Sonic Colors: Ultimate.

    With this release, Sega hopes those who missed out on the game the first time around will obtain more context for where the series went in subsequent games. For example, the Wisps have appeared in multiplatform follow ups, including Sonic Generations, Sonic Forces, and Team Sonic Racing. Sonic Colors essentially serves as not only an introduction to these creatures, but an origin story for how they came into Sonic's world. Not only that, but because Sonic Colors influenced the direction of Sonic games going forward, Sega thought it was a great title to remaster for modern systems. 

    Sonic Colors: Ultimate

    As with most remasters, Sonic Colors: Ultimate adds a nice, new coat of paint to the aged graphics. Because the transition was from the Nintendo Wii, which outputs in 480p, the leap forward is substantial. This new version not only improves the lighting and adds additional polygons, but Ultimate also supports 4K resolution and 60 frames-per-second performance. "Back in 2010, this was on screens that were less pixels than your smartphone, so making that step up [...] was a huge undertaking," Sega associate producer Calvin Vu says. "We definitely want to make sure this game looks good, up to the standards of today."

    I had a chance to play Sonic Colors: Ultimate for just over 30 minutes, and while the demo was virtual, meaning the visual quality and controls weren't quite as sharp as they would be locally, I still came away impressed, particularly by how the game does look compared to the original 2010 version. The graphics, environments, and character models don't look nearly as good as those you would find in a recent game like Sonic Forces, but for a 2010 Wii title, Sonic Colors: Ultimate looks stellar in motion.

    Sonic Colors: Ultimate

    Additionally, the development team remixed the audio, including the soundtrack. The sound effects now sound crisper, and the music features new versions of songs you already know if you played the original. Many of these visual or audio upgrades were possible on the far-less-powerful Wii, but thanks to the modern platforms, Sega was able to add them into this remaster. 

    Another thing that wasn't possible on the Wii thanks to technical limitations is character customization. Now, players can unlock new cosmetics for Sonic, including things like new shoes, gloves, boosts, and auras for Sonic. For example, you can now surround Sonic in flames with an ice boost, while he sports cheetah-print gloves and different color shoes – it may not be the prettiest or most iconic look Sonic has ever sported, but it's the look you choose for him. These customizations are earned through Park Tokens, which you find playing the game.

    Sonic Colors: Ultimate

    A large part of Sega and Blind Squirrel's efforts have been centered on making Colors more approachable for new players. To help accomplish this, Ultimate adds in a new Tails Save mechanic, where if Sonic falls, rather than losing a life, if the player has a Tails token, Sonic's two-tailed friend will pull him back up on the ledge. During my hands-on demo, I appreciated this mechanic, as pits come up quick in Sonic games, and it's never fun to lose progress in a level just because you were taking advantage of the game's main selling point: speed.

    The Tails Save mechanic is just one example of the quality-of-life improvements Blind Squirrel and Sega have implemented in this title. From improving the wall-jump controls to allowing for players to completely remap their controllers, Ultimate is hoping to present the clear best version of the game. "There's been tweaks and adjustments here and there just to make it more and more accessible," Sega producer Aaron Roseman says. "That way it's less punishing, less grueling for them and more exciting to play. At the end of the game, our goal was to maintain the fun of the original title while introducing these new features."

    Sonic Colors: Ultimate

    From a gameplay perspective, players can expect a new Wisp: the Jade Ghost. This new power was first introduced in 2019's Team Sonic Racing, and now retroactively joins the story of Sonic Colors through Ultimate. This new Wisp grants Sonic the ability to pass through obstacles, giving him access to areas that were previously inaccessible. Players can also look forward to a new Rival Rush mode, where you race head-to-head against Metal Sonic to earn rewards. 

    Sonic Colors: Ultimate launches on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC on September 7. To see the game in action, check out our episode of New Gameplay Today.

  • Game Informer News Feed: Sonic Colors: Ultimate – New Gameplay Today (4K)

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    Publisher: Sega
    Developer: Blind Squirrel Games
    Rating: Everyone
    Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC

    The Blue Blur seems to be relishing the spotlight these days. From a successful debut on the silver screen to a popular return to the world of 2D platforming, Sega's iconic mascot has been thriving over the last few years, and 2021 seems to be continuing that trend.

    While the Japanese publisher has promised some exciting entries in the series over the next few years, gamers don't have long to wait to revisit a fan-favorite in Sonic Colors: Ultimate. The remaster is set to bring an exciting Sonic adventure from the confines of the Wii to a contemporary age of consoles when Colors: Ultimate launches on September 7 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. By why wait that long to revisit the game?

    On this fresh episode of New Gameplay Today, one of Sonic's biggest fans, the one and only Brian Shea, is here with Alex Stadnik to discuss all the game's updates and his time actually getting to play the remaster. We're taking a look at the Tropical Resort level, the game's customization options, and so much more! On top of that, all of today's hot new gameplay will be shown in glowing 4k.

    Want more Sonic? Be sure to watch our earlier episode of New Gameplay Today, where we give you an exclusive look at one of the game's updated levels. Brian Shea is the gift that keeps on giving and also wrote up a wonderful preview of his time with Sonic Colors: Ultimate that shouldn't be missed if you're excited to dive back into the game.

     If you're a fan of getting an early look at some of 2021's biggest titles (and who isn't really?) head on over to our YouTube page where we're giving you a glimpse of Psychonauts 2, Aliens: Fireteam Elite, and Halo Infinite.

  • Game Informer News Feed: Exclusive New Shin Megami Tensei V Screenshots Show Off The Characters And Demons

    Publisher: Sega
    Developer: Atlus
    Platform: Switch

    In the lead up to Shin Megami Tensei V's launch in November, we've been rolling out exclusive previews on the highly anticipated RPG from Atlus. In past articles, we've taken a look at the protagonist and the characters, but now we're shining a light on the other side of the fence: the demons.

    As we've covered previously, Shin Megami Tensei V casts you in the role of a normal, everyday third-year student in a high school in Tokyo, Japan. However, after an incident at one of the city's train stations causes him to get trapped in a tunnel collapse, he finds himself in a desert full of demons. As the protagonist fears for his life, a mysterious man named Aogami offers his assistance, and the two fuse to become a condemned being known as a Nahobino. Now, with the power to fight and even negotiate with these demons, the protagonist ventures out alongside his friends to try and stop a demonic invasion of Tokyo.

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    In Shin Megami Tensei V, players will encounter a wide range of more than 200 demons. The stable of creatures includes a collection of classics, as well as several new characters from character designer Masayuki Doi. You can see some new art and screenshots of some of the demons from SMT V in the gallery above.

    In addition, Atlus sent us over some new screenshots of the characters you interact with in Shin Megami Tensei V. Whether you're talking the cheerful Ichiro Dazai or the responsible and upright Yuzuru Atsuta, you can see more of the cast of characters in the gallery below.

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    Shin Megami Tensei V launches on Nintendo Switch on November 12. Stay tuned for more exclusive details about the hotly anticipated Atlus RPG later this month. 

  • Gamespot News Feed: NEO: The World Ends With You Review - Reap What You Sow

    I admire NEO: The World Ends With You for its youthful attitude and wild characterizations through eccentric personalities, extravagant character designs, and cheesy irreverence. To play through NEO TWEWY is to feel young again, inviting me to relive that too-cool-for-school vibe I had all those years ago with its predecessor. But that's also because, while it's a sequel that can be enjoyed on its own, its adherence to the original story of The World Ends With You brought me back to another time, and that might leave you lost if it passed you by.

    Still, NEO TWEWY has its share of attractions, like a standout action-RPG combat system that evolves into an exciting rush of flashy spells filling up the screen. And while you might roll your eyes at the cast of characters' quirks in the beginning, they'll grow on you like good friends who were annoying at first. The same can be said about its soundtrack--songs that are odd upon first listen become bops that get stuck in your head. This is also a story-heavy RPG with intriguing twists and turns. However, in its exploration, riddle-laden objectives, and narrative wheel-spinning, NEO TWEWY drags its feet for a bit too long and too often before reaching its payoff.

    NEO TWEWY revolves around the Reapers' Game, the premise that drove the original game. In a parallel dimension of real-world Japan, called the Underground (or UG), characters trapped in the Reapers' Game have been posthumously invited to play a game of ambiguous rules and objectives for another chance at life. But rules are meant to be broken and parameters are meant to be manipulated, so much so that you eventually disregard its logic and just embrace the cool nonsense used to bend the fate of the characters and the setting of Shibuya itself.

    Continue Reading at GameSpot
  • Game Informer News Feed: Halo Infinite Multiplayer Technical Preview – New Gameplay Today

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    Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
    Developer: 343 Industries
    Release: 2021
    Rating: Teen
    Platform: Xbox One, PC

    Halo Infinite has been in the crosshairs of the gaming community since it was announced at E3 2018. Originally set to release last November alongside the launch of the Xbox Series X and S, growing concerns about the game following an extended look at the campaign caused 343 Industries and Microsoft to reconsider when Infinite was ready for prime time.

    Now, almost exactly a year since gameplay was first shown, we’re finally getting hands-on time with Halo Infinite in a technical multiplayer beta. Join Alex Stadnik, Liana Ruppert, and John Carson as they share their first impressions of the game and give a look at Halo Infinite multiplayer in action. How does it look? What’s new and different compared to previous entries? Does it live up to the grandiose reputation of Microsoft’s first-person juggernaut? We cover those questions and more in this episode of New Gameplay Today.

    This technical flight for Halo Infinite is currently limited to folks who signed up for, and were chosen through, the Halo Waypoint website. Multiplayer is one of two modes found within this test, alongside the Academy, a series of gun-specific challenges which lets the player loose at a firing range to rack up high scores. Currently, the multiplayer matches are 4v4 Slayer matches on the new map called Live Fire. It’s a condensed battleground that keeps the action fast and consistent, while retaining many paths for getting around the map. Matches during this test consist of matchmade human teams warring against AI driven bots. While we’d prefer to go head-to-head against real people and really put these Spartans through their paces, that experience will have to wait for another time.

    Halo Infinite is set to release on an undisclosed date later this year for Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, and PC. How do you think Infinite is shaping up? Which weapons are you looking to know more about in this technical flight?

  • Game Informer News Feed: Apex Legends Season 10: Seer’s Abilities Explained

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    Publisher: Electronic Arts
    Developer: Respawn Entertainment
    Release: (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC), (Switch)
    Rating: Teen
    Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC

    We’ve been talking about Apex Legends Season 10 and its new character, Seer, since earlier this month. We’ve seen a bevy of trailers that delve into his backstory as a cursed child as well as gameplay footage that shows some of his mystical powers in action. But what can Seer actually do; what is his passive, tactical, and ultimate? Respawn’s latest character-focused trailer finally gave us the answers to these questions. Here is Seer’s kit explained:

    Heartseeker (Passive)

    Seer is joining a small selection of recon legends that include Bloodhound, Pathfinder, Crypto, and Valkyrie. What separates the newest character from his contemporaries is how effective he emerges as a tracker. While aiming, Seer can actively see and hear the heartbeats of his enemies within a 75m radius. Like Bloodhound’s scan, opponents can be seen through walls and other structures. So be sure to watch your corners as you traverse compounds; Seer could be waiting around the corner with a pre-aimed Mastiff shotgun.

    Focus of Attention (Tactical)

    Tactical abilities have never been known to outright kill adversaries, but their moment-to-moment implementation in heady firefights can easily create win conditions when used at opportune times. Seer’s Focus of Attention is particularly devastating. It might not damage health pools, but it can override actions like healing yourself and reviving downed teammates which, arguably, is just as terrifying. Drones emerge from the heart-shaped jewel lodged in Seer’s chest and blasts all other teams in the vicinity, revealing and interrupting them.  

    Exhibit (Ultimate)

    We’ve seen this in action countless times, but now we know exactly what Seer’s ultimate, Exhibit, does. A large holographic bubble is cast - it seems as if this might have the potential to completely blanket an entire point of interest - and all players that move “heavily” through it (e.g., sprinting) are immediately highlighted for Seer and his team. Can you imagine what kind of chaos could be catalyzed in final circles with Exhibit activated? Only time will tell how Seer fits into the current meta and if his presence might become a common occurrence in public as well as ranked matches. 

    Now that we have names and direct explanations for Seer’s kit, what do you think about Apex Legends’ 18th character? 

  • Game Informer News Feed: Everything We Know About Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl

    Publisher: The Pokémon Company
    Developer: Ilca, Game Freak
    Platform: Switch

    We’re deep into the 25th anniversary of Pokémon and have an entirely new adventure from Game Freak on the horizon with Pokémon Legends: Arceus coming in January of next year. But before that even releases, The Pokémon Company is releasing remakes to the popular DS games Pokémon Diamond and Pearl.

    While we’ve played these games in the past, what should we expect from the remakes for Nintendo Switch? Here’s what we know about the Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl so far:

    Which studio is developing these remakes?

    Game Freak is known to work on multiple games at the same time, but in this case, it’s only handing the development of Pokémon Legends: Arceus. In Game Freak’s stead, ILCA is taking the reins in developing these remakes. Never heard of them before? ILCA is best know to Pokémon fans as the creators of Pokémon Home, the current storage and self-trading solution for all of the Pokémon games available on Switch and 3DS. The studio has also worked on Nier: Automata and Replicant, Code Vein, and Dragon Quest XI.

    Where do these games take place?

    Diamond and Pearl introduced the region of Sinnoh, a landmass based on the Japanese prefecture of Hokkaido. Along a trainer’s journey, they will travel all over the island to collect Gym badges in order to take on the challenge of the Pokémon League and face the Elite Four, a highly skilled group of Pokémon trainers. A defining feature of the region is Mt. Coronet, a mountain range which bisects the island from south to north. Your story begins in Twinleaf Town, where you and a rival receive your first Pokémon. From there, you’ll end up in places like the mining city Oreburgh, the series’ original wintery area surrounding Snowpoint City, Sinnoh’s largest town Jubilife City, and the historic Eterna City.

    Which starter Pokémon can I choose from and what should I expect in the Pokédex?

    Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl features Piplup, Chimchar, and Turtwig as choices for starter Pokémon, the same three as the original Diamond and Pearl releases. Trailers and screenshots have shown a handful of Pokémon to battle against and catch, all of which already exist within Sinnoh’s original Pokédex and National Dex. Monsters shown so far include fan favorites Lucario and Garchomp, along with regional newcomers Kricketune, Shinx, and Starly. Of course, the Dialga and Palkia, the legendary dragons of time and space, are in the game as well.

    Sinnoh’s original Pokédex included 151 Pokémon, with the post-game National Dex adding even more, including new evolutions of Pokémon from Red and Blue. With eight generations to pull from, there’s no telling how many Pokémon we might see in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl.

    Why were Diamond and Pearl chosen to be remade?

    Up to this point, all previous generations of Pokémon have been remade on Nintendo’s handheld consoles. Fire Red and Leaf Green reimagined the original games on Game Boy Advance, Heart Gold and Soul Silver made a big impact on DS, and Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire hit 3DS in 2014. Diamond and Pearl have been next in line for a while, and now 7 years after the previous remakes, will finally be in the spotlight again.

    Where does Platinum fit in?

    We don’t know yet. Pokémon Platinum was the third game of the fourth generation and an upgraded version of Diamond and Pearl. It brought along an expanded Pokedex, new story elements, and a new legendary dragon, Giratina, which is featured on the box art. Given the footage shown at the time of the games’ announcement, only Pokémon from Diamond and Pearl have been revealed.

    How different are these remakes from the originals?

    Content-wise, that answer is up in the air. Don’t expect the remakes to stray too far off the path of Diamond and Pearl. According to the games’ eShop listing, “the original story and the scale of the Sinnoh region’s towns and routes have been faithfully reproduced.” Visually, both games are getting a graphical facelift. Walking around the routes and towns in Sinnoh aren’t going to look like Pokémon Sword and Shield, instead sticking with the top-down camera that Diamond and Pearl were presented in. Originally, these games were build using 2D sprites and had environments using some 3D assets. In the remakes, however, ILCA opted to keep a similar art style of the classic games and translated everything to polygonal models. Characters in the field are small and have a chibi look, but when in battle, trainers and Pokémon are full-sized, detailed models complete with contemporary attack animations.

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    When will these remakes be available?

    Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl will launch on Switch November 19 for $59.99 each. Preorders are available at retailers as well as the Nintendo eShop right now.

  • Gamespot News Feed: The Ascent Review – Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy

    If you've ever worked a job where your bosses are the worst people imaginable, and they ask you to fix a problem using broken tools and then blame you for the results like it's your fault, then you have a pretty good idea of what it's like to play The Ascent. That's not just a metaphor, either. It's literally the baked-in plot of the game. It's the far-off future, and in order to escape to Veles (an intergalactic project block for all the galaxy's huddled masses yearning to breathe free), you must sign away your freedom to become an indentured servant, or Indent, to one of the various corporate masters running the place. In the first area of gameplay, you're literally forced to clean Veles' toilets by fixing the sewage system. By the time the credits roll, even after hours of mowing down scumbags, watching your character become a metal monster, and running odd jobs for weirdos and strangers, it’s hard to feel like you’ve worked your way up from those starting sewers.

    The small blessing is that the job involves fewer plungers, and more heavy sci-fi weaponry and cybernetic enhancements. The Ascent is a twin-stick shooter, with a slew of RPG elements thrown in for flavor. You'll find an impressive and unique assortment of pistols, shotguns, assault rifles, and rocket launchers along the way, each of which can attack enemy weaknesses for extra damage, and they all have very different practical feels in-game. Armor has a similarly expansive variety, with the added benefit of changing your character's look to an increasingly mechanical degree. It's not great that most of those armor pieces obscure your custom-made character--what's the point of creating a character whose face you immediately cover up?--but the designs are incredibly cool.

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    You'll also gain special abilities along the way, ranging from a hydraulic-powered melee attack that can vaporize your enemies to deadly drone companions who can fight by your side. My personal favorite is an army of explosive spider bots who run out and autonomously seek enemies to blow up. For the most part, though, you'll be spending most of your time running and gunning through what are essentially expansive, RPG-style, isometric dungeons, where both a well-thought out combination of armor and cyborg magic is just as important as having the right gun for the job. When your mission is done, you can head back to one of the game's bustling shopping districts to spend skill points on various character stats, as well as buy upgrades, new items, and new cybernetic toys to splice into yourself.

    Continue Reading at GameSpot
  • Gamespot News Feed: Pokemon Unite Review -- A Micro-Aggressive MOBA

    For the Pokemon brand's first foray into a new genre, Pokemon Unite gets a lot of things right. The game certainly feels like a MOBA a la League of Legends or Dota 2, just in a much easier to understand presentation for those who've never played one before. Matches are short, snappy affairs with plenty of action and strategy. Learning each of the five classes is fun and rewarding. Each skirmish within a match ups the ante, increasing tension and excitement until it boils over in the final stretch. It's just a shame that the confusing in-game economy composed of multiple currencies and a loot box-style lottery system can sometimes get in the way of the game's fun.

    For those unaware, Pokemon Unite is a "multiplayer online battle arena game" or "MOBA." Two teams of up to five players choose a Pokemon, then enter an arena where they defeat wild Pokemon in the environment to gather energy and experience. Experience levels up a Pokemon, increasing its stats and powering up its moves, while energy is used to score points and win the game. This is where Pokemon Unite separates itself from traditional MOBAs. Pokemon must take their stored energy to an opposing team's goal and "dunk" it through the hoop to score points equal to how much energy the Pokemon held. The dunking sequence itself is wonderful, with the Pokemon slamming the energy down through the hoop with force and excitement that will put a smile on your face. Dunks aren't the only scoring method though, as special wild Pokemon sometimes appear that give temporary buffs or extra points, but they are rare and sometimes one-time occurrences during a match. When time runs out--10 minutes in a standard match--whoever has the most points wins.

    This goal-scoring approach is different from established MOBA games--League of Legends, for example, requires that a team enter the enemy's base and destroy the Nexus--but it's a fantastic choice in action. Most of the wild Pokemon lining the arena aren't difficult to defeat, so even novice players will be able to gather energy easily. Some goals can only have so many points scored on them before they break, meaning disabled goals force you to progress further into the opponent's side of the arena to find a new one. It's a fun spin on the core objective of a MOBA match, taking something like defeating towers in LoL in order to progress and making it unique. Also, since the goals don't fight back like LoL towers do, new MOBA players won't need to worry about extra threats when trying to score.

    Continue Reading at GameSpot
  • Game Informer News Feed: Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster – New Gameplay Today

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    Publisher: Square Enix
    Platform: PC, iOS, Android

    Few game series have the longevity of Square Enix’s crown jewel Final Fantasy. For 24 years, it has grown and changed with each entry, starting with an ambitious open world adventure on NES. Now, going into its sixteenth numbered title and countless side stories, it’s time to look back at where it all began.

    Announced at E3 this year, the Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster series gives players a chance to experience the first six Final Fantasy games with updated pixel art that keep the look and feel of playing the original versions of these classics, but with some modern sensibilities. Not only are the visuals updated with new character sprites and world map overhauls, but the soundtracks have been enhanced with beautiful remastered tunes.

    As of today, we’re able to get our hands on the first three of these Pixel Remasters: Final Fantasy I, II, and III. Join our tour guide Dan Tack as he gives Alex Stadnik, and John Carson a look at these reworked relics. Our adventure begins in the first Final Fantasy where we witness some of the updated artwork, ogle at the water, and talk about how this maiden voyage differs from the games it precedes. We also take a quick look into Final Fantasy III which showcases updated battle animations and transitions, as well as the CRT filter which players can apply for a more authentic NES-era experience.

    Final Fantasy Pixel Remasters for Final Fantasy I, II, and III are available now for PC, iOS, and Android with IV, V, and VI coming later. These aren’t the only remakes Square Enix has been releasing in the past year. Check out our New Gameplay Today on Final Fantasy VII Remake here, and read our review of Final Fantasy VII Remake Intermission, the expansion released alongside an upgraded version for PlayStation 5.