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  • Gamespot News Feed: Frostpunk: The Last Autumn Review - Winter Is Coming

    In Frostpunk's main campaign, you already know the stakes. A winter of biblical proportions has descended upon Industrial Revolution England, driving its citizens into the frozen unknowns to seek out life-giving generators. In The Last Autumn, you are in charge of making one of those very generators a reality--one that will hopefully save lives in the future. Winter lies in wait on the periphery, so you have to worry about new means of resource gathering, timed objectives, and social challenges rather than staving off the flu. It dresses the familiar gameplay elements of Frostpunk up differently, demanding a new type of strategic thinking that reinvigorates the already satisfying formula at its core.

    With the cold weather encroaching on Liverpool, you lead a handful of workers and engineers on an expedition to a cove on the edge of the country. Near-freezing sprays from the nearby ocean splash against treacherous rocky beaches, with only a small space to build upon peering through the thicket of trees outlining the coast. This limited space is immediately stressful--a massive generator needs to be built, resources around you already seem scarce, and the space you must work with doesn't allow for many placement mistakes. The odds are stacked against you from the start of Last Autumn's campaign, but some new tools provide reprieve in distinct ways.

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    Instead of gathering resources from deposits around you, you can build new harbors on limited coastline spaces to collect what you need. You have to choose which spaces are dedicated to fishing for food and which others can be set up as large ports, allowing ships with stockpiles of wood, coal, or steel to dock and unload. Shipping resources in is only one part of the supply chain, too. With new depots staffed with workers, you can quickly supply your main city with resources nearly as fast as they're unloaded, which vastly improves upon having workers manually carry them from the docks. Each of these structures requires some of your more limited resources, though, making each micro-decision carry more weight than before. When each ingot of steel feels as precious as the last, you'll rarely find yourself overwhelmed as was the case in some previous scenarios, escalating the overall tension as a result.

    Other new structures are intrinsically tied to your new objective of building a central generator, each of which are used to build specific pieces of the giant contraption. You have a total of only 45 game days to achieve this goal, without any preparation time to make provisions for a stable resource supply line and citizen housing. It makes each of the four impending milestones immediately stressful, but it's all initially more confusing than it needs to be. The Last Autumn features the same useful tutorials from the main campaign to make picking up its new mechanics easy, but it doesn't do a good enough job surfacing the menus you can utilise to measure your progress towards the next milestone. It ultimately ruined my first run--I missed my first milestone without realizing that it even existed, making it impossible for me to hit subsequent ones on time before being fired. For all the good The Last Autumn does surfacing nearly every other facet of its new mechanics, it's frustrating that it takes some lost progress to truly understand its overall tempo.

    Once you come to grips with the time limits imposed on you, you can focus more on The Last Autumn's new Motivation meter, which joins the returning Discontent meter from previous scenarios. Each is fairly self-explanatory--the first one measures how much motivation your workers have to get the job done, while the other indicates how unhappy they are with their current living situation. Unlike previous campaigns, though, letting either one get too high or too low doesn't end your game. Instead, Motivation determines just how efficient your workers are at the jobs they're assigned to, while Discontent alters how likely they are to put down tools entirely and walk out on strikes. Keeping Motivation high and Discontent almost non-existent at first is easy, but as the impending winter approaches and the realities of your encroaching deadlines loom, unavoidable, scenario-specific modifiers to both make their upkeep a true challenge.

    Strikes are a new social aspect you'll need to contend with, going hand-in-hand with new metrics measuring the safety of workplaces in place of worrying about their overall temperature (given that winter hasn't yet arrived). Workplaces that are consistently dangerous and staffed with workers working either long or double shifts will quickly drive their occupants to down their tools and picket outside, forcing you to negotiate before returning to work. Worker requests will require you to pass new laws affecting either their work hours or living conditions, often demanding more resources from you or a tolerance for their slower pace of work in order to get them back into their factories and mills. The knock-on effects of these decisions can sometimes feel absent at first but come back around days later to haunt you, making each strike negotiation important to carefully consider. Even simply delaying your decision with handouts of rations often results in more strenuous demands from your workers, turning strikes into worthy headaches that compound the satisfyingly stressful symphony of systems present already.

    With new mechanics to contend with and different ways to approach Frostpunk's strategic formula, the new laws that it introduces make tackling both as morally challenging as ever. Your base set of laws returns from previous scenarios, but the branches that come with siding with either labor or your engineers expand on them extensively. In one of my successful runs I passed laws in the engineering path that allowed me to ship in prisoners for cheaper labor, while constructing oppressive security towers and multiple penitentiaries to keep everyone in line. The authoritarian approach didn't sit well with most citizens, but it made sense to grow my workforce rapidly without needing to worry too much about the needs of my new laborers. Eventually I unlocked an ability to turn regular citizens into criminals without trial, giving me the chance to boost efficiency in workplaces solely staffed by criminals as a result of their supposed disposability.

    None of these decisions are easy to make. Frostpunk has always made each of your decisions feel like choosing between two evils, and The Last Autumn maintains that. When shipping in criminals I was constantly reminded of how terrible some of their crimes were and how they might introduce problems to my other citizens if not policed correctly. But even introducing a growing security force presented issues. Empowered citizens imposed their authority incorrectly at times, which in one case drove one of my citizens to death after consistent harassment that I ignored so that my criminals could be kept in check. Seeing small stories like this emerge from decisions I made hours before was equal parts gut-wrenching and fascinating, encouraging me to explore new laws and regulations to see what effects they might have.

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    Because bad Motivation or Discontent don't end a run and only the stress of missing deadlines to contend with, The Last Autumn allows for more flexibility in your strategy. It lets you stretch the boundaries of what its new laws offer, offering you the chance to drive forward with increasingly morally dubious decisions if all you're focused on is getting the job done. It doesn't come without consequence, though, especially when the cold arrives near the end of the run and introduces further restrictions on resource gathering as well as the familiar temperature monitoring in workplaces and citizen residences. By the end of my own run I was furiously converting citizens into criminals to increase my workforce without new shipments of workers coming in, exponentially increasing the size of my required security force too. The last few days felt like a battle of attrition--I wasn't allowed to let up on longer shifts but also incapable of dealing with the living needs of my population without diverting resources from the work on the generator. Within just a few days nearly half my society had succumbed to illness and died, eventually allowing me to reach my goal but with hardly any of the people responsible for it alive to see the fruits of their labor.

    Outside of small stories that your decisions generate and influence, The Last Autumn does attempt to conclusively confront your choices by its conclusion. With the generator built and your citizens sent to the next site that needs work, you're presented predictions for how effective your generator might be and just how many citizens it could save in the future. Based on how many milestones you missed, how many concessions you had to make to get there, and the number of people you lost along the way, the hard-fought victory might be met with depressingly low odds of success in the long run. It stings to have that presented to you after making sacrifices for what you assumed would be a greater good, forcing you to reevaluate your overall strategy and try again for a better outcome.

    The Last Autumn demands a lot from you, but it's also a deeply engrossing evolution of the formula that Frostpunk is made up of, changing the core rules just enough to make all your previous strategies feel insufficient. Whether it's deciding on which resources to order and how to distribute them or which parts of your workforce to push just hard enough before they reach their breaking point, The Last Autumn maintains the morally challenging and consequence-riddled decision-making of the core game while giving you new laws to experiment with and master. It's a welcome return to an already fantastic strategy game that shouldn’t be glossed over.

  • Gamespot News Feed: Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot Review - Sparking Joy

    Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot begins right where the anime does: introducing us to Goku and his son Gohan just before the Saiyans are set to invade earth, revealing Goku's true Saiyan heritage and setting off a chain of events that threatens the entire universe. It's a story we've seen played out in many Dragon Ball Z games over the years, but unlike recent examples, Kakarot tells its tale by way of a narrative-driven RPG rather than a strictly combat-focused game. It gives life to the world and story of DBZ in a refreshing way, offering us a glimpse into what life is like for Goku and his many companions outside of battles to decide the fate of the universe.

    All of Dragon Ball Z's major story arcs are contained here: the Saiyan invasion, the showdown with Frieza on planet Namek, the Androids, the fight against Cell, and Majin Buu's story. But among all of these massive, earth-shattering sagas and intense fights are numerous smaller stories and character interactions that many games have simply glossed over.

    The game's structure is split into parts: free-roaming/exploration sequences with a semi-open world, battle scenes against foes big and small, and cutscenes where you watch some of the most dramatic story moments of DBZ play out in gorgeous in-engine renditions. There's a good balance between all of these; it rarely feels like you're spending too long watching a cutscene or that you're thrust into constant battle without being able to take a moment to catch your breath. Sometimes the exploration sequences can seem overlong, but a lot of that depends on how much time you want to spend doing side quests and hunting collectibles like power-up orbs, food supplies, and materials for side pursuits like cooking and crafting. It's not essential to spend a lot of time on side pursuits, but it does provide benefits--and while you're flying around the big, vibrant environments, it's easy to be swept up in exploring the DBZ world itself, which is filled with giant fish, rampaging dinosaurs, and futuristic cities.

    One striking thing about DBZ: Kakarot is how it showcases the large cast of the anime. You begin the game as Goku, but as the story progresses, you assume control over several other characters, like Gohan, Piccolo, Vegeta, and Trunks, to name a few. Familiar faces like Krillin, Tien Shinhan, Yamcha, and Android 18 also appear to aid you in combat as assistants. Many of the other supporting DBZ cast members make cameos in side quests and story scenes as well. Building friendships with characters through questing and giving gifts rewards you with a character emblem, and by placing it on a “community board” that represents a group of Goku's companions, you can earn assorted boosts to combat, item-gathering, cooking, and other adventurous pursuits.

    But these rewards are only part of what makes DBZ: Kakarot's adventuring feel satisfying. Dragon Ball Z is a series where character relationships and interactions are important, and that really comes through in the non-combat story bits. You see Piccolo warm up to young Gohan, Chi Chi's tough mother role, the fighters bonding outside of battle, teenage Gohan doing his goofy Great Saiyaman shtick, and much more. Even relatively minor characters like Yajirobe, Launch, and Puar have side quests that showcase funny interactions, silly scenarios, and genuinely sad and touching moments. Seeing so many DBZ characters given their moment to shine is great, and it helps you forget that a lot of the side quests are fairly typical RPG kill-these-enemies or collect-this-item affairs. As someone who thinks some of the “filler” and comedy episodes of DBZ are among the series' best, I really appreciated an increased focus on these stories in DBZ: Kakarot.

    Of course, it wouldn't be Dragon Ball Z without combat. While the 3D, action-driven combat takes some getting used to at first, once you've got a decent handle on the controls, you'll be flying around, shooting off ki blasts and Kamehamehas like a pro. You control a single character who has two basic attacks--up-close melee strikes and ranged ki blasts. If you have companions in the fight, the CPU will control them, and you can command them to make use of special attacks. Besides your basic strikes, you have several powerful special skills, a boost to get up close to the opponent, several defensive techniques to guard, dodge, and catch an attacking opponent off-guard, and even (eventually) the ability to transform into stronger forms. Many of these abilities cost ki, which can be charged mid-battle but leaves you vulnerable when doing so, making ki management very important. A tension gauge fills over time, and when it's full, you can send your warrior into a superpowered state where you can chain special attacks into each other, causing some serious devastation.

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    It's an intriguing combat system, and the 3D aerial movement element is unique, but there's a lack of depth--most normal enemies and even a few bosses can be patterned to make fighting them much easier. On top of that, enemy variety outside of main story battles tends to be lacking, particularly the annoying cannon-fodder foes that will interrupt you during times when you just want to explore. But fighting still has some standout moments during big boss fights when enemies whip out massive, incredibly damaging energy attacks that force a rapid change in strategy. Overcoming some of the nastiest things Dragon Ball Z's iconic villains toss at you with skillful dodging and well-timed attacks is immensely satisfying, and it somewhat makes up for all of the combat time wasted punching the same robots over and over again.

    Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot's modern, semi-open approach to telling the saga of DBZ--despite some minor issues--is a good one. Zooming around the environments and seeing the world up close is a blast, and it's great being able to interact with so many fun DBZ characters and see stories that usually get passed over for game adaptations. And even though combat can be a bit lacking, when the big battles happen, they feel suitably epic and engaging. If you're looking for an enjoyable way to see the life and times of adult Goku through a new perspective, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot will grant your wish.

  • Game Informer News Feed: MLB The Show 20 Gameplay Trailer Slides In

    Click here to watch embedded media

    Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
    Developer: SIE San Diego Studio
    Release:
    Platform: PlayStation 4

    MLB the Show 20's first gameplay trailer has just dropped, giving teases of some of what's to come when the game releases for PS4 on March 17.

    Apart from some new legends like John Franco, David Ortiz, and Mariano Rivera, the trailer also shows off some personality with team celebrations and Juan Soto's "Soto Shuffle."

    In terms of gameplay, the trailer appears to reveal real-time hitting and fielding icons related to specific attributes such as Power Left and Fielding, as well as a red ring around balls dropping into the outfield as players try to dive for and catch them. The developer's upcoming livestream schedule has a day devoted just to covering defensive fundamentals, so we imagine this is related to that.

    You'll also see these attributes in the rewards for the dynamic challenges of player career mode Road to the Show, which now looks to also contain perk rewards.

    Other game elements coming in the livestreams, some of which are teased in the video, include (text from Sony):

    • Dynamic On-Field Relationships
    • Changing Team Name, Location & Logos for Franchise Mode
    • Overhauled Rewards Structure for March to October Mode
    • New Showdown Game Mode for Diamond Dynasty
    • Simple and Flexible Leagues With Your Friends

    The series is including other non-PlayStation platforms possibly starting "as early as 2021," and this is just a sample of why the franchise has been so lauded thus far. 

  • Game Informer News Feed: Five Things To Know About Doom Eternal

    Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
    Release: (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Stadia), 2020 (Switch)
    Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, Stadia, PC

    In 2016, id Software revived the Doom franchise in spectacular fashion. The action was fast and frantic in all the right ways. The tone was a humorous mix of hardcore heavy metal and Saturday morning cartoons, which felt right. In short, it was the perfect revival for the series. After playing the opening three hours of Doom Eternal, I walked away with the sense that it could be a perfect sequel. Here are five reasons Doom fans should be excited to return to hell on March 20.

    1) The core loop is still addicting

    Doom (2016) put a creative spin on some of the best concepts from ‘90s shooters. Players were encouraged to get close and personal as they mixed it up in firefights. If you ran low on health, you could perform a close-quarters glory kill to gain a health boost, and if you were running low of ammo, you could rip through an enemy with the chainsaw for an ammo refill. Does any of this make logical sense? No, but after narrowly dodging a room full of fireballs and taking down a small army of demons, it’s hard not to throw up the devil horns in triumph. Eternal adds one smart addition to this combat loop: The Doom Slayer is now equipped with a shoulder-mounted flamethrower, which sets enemies ablaze and earns you some extra armor. Making clever use of both the flamethrower and the glory kills is the only way to survive some of Doom Eternal’s more challenging encounters. But once you master Eternal’s core combat, you feel like an unstoppable force of nature.

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    2) Movement is your best friend

    Doom is all about speed. While some shooters force you to find cover and take your time, Doom encourages you to dance across the battlefield. If you spend too much time in one spot, you'll be doomed to an early grave. Eternal gives fans more traversal options to work with than ever before. For starters, you can now swing across monkey bars and climb up designated walls to reach new areas. The redesigned Super Shotgun also has a grappling hook that can be used to launch yourself toward enemies. However, one of the best new tools for navigating a firefight is the new dash mechanic. Not only can you dash twice in a row, you can dash both on the ground and in the air. Making good use of this maneuver makes you a hard target, and it can mean the difference between life and death.

    3) You’ll want to use more than just the shotgun

    Shotguns are easy to love – just point and shoot and watch your enemies tremble in fear – if they’re not exploding from the blast. The Doom series is full of great shotguns, and Doom Eternal is no exception. However, many of the other weapons in Eternal could give the classic shotgun a run for its money. In fact, many weapons have special use cases that make them the best tool for the job. For example, if you toss a grenade into the mouth of a cacodemon, it instantly enters a stagger state allowing for an instantaneous glory kill takedown. Likewise, the heavy cannon’s sniping mode can be used to instantly remove the rocket launchers off the back of Revenants, which practically neuters them in combat. Basic grenades can be toggled into ice bombs, which freezes enemies in place. I’m also a big fan of the redesigned plasma rifle and its microwave beam upgrade, which allows you to lock onto an enemy and pump them full of superheated energy until they explode like my tummy after Taco Bell.

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    4) You can upgrade everything

    A lot of games embrace RPG mechanics, so you can constantly level up your gear. Doom Eternal takes upgrading systems to the extreme. For example, weapons mods still allow you to do some great things with your guns, such as turn the combat shotgun into a full-auto Gatling shotgun. Weapon upgrade perk points boost individual weapon’s damage outputs. Meanwhile, sentinel crystals are scattered across each level; these can be used to permanently upgrade things like your health, armor, and ammo storage. Runes are a separate pickup, which can be used to augment your abilities, granting you the ability to slow time in midair or perform faster glory kills. I used a rune to give myself an ability that automatically slowed time whenever I was about to die, which saved my skin more than once. Finally, praetor suit points further enhance your abilities, revealing special items on the minimap, letting you mantle or switch weapons much faster, and making you immune to explosive barrels. There are so many ways to upgrade your abilities that I was a little overwhelmed at first, but I constantly felt like my skills were improving.

    5) The story is bonkers in a good way

    The story in Doom games was always a bit of a joke, but Doom (2016) embraced the joke, resulting in a humorous narrative that felt both entertaining and epic. After stopping the forces of hell from invading our system in 2016, it seemed like the galaxy could settle down for some relative peace. Naptime is over; hell is back, and the Doom Slayer is ready to make good use of his shotgun. In Eternal, players will gain a larger view of the Doom universe than ever before. They’ll travel through a battered version of Earth and push back the demonic hordes that seem intent on sacrificing our planet to a mysterious new force. There are even hints that the Doom Slayer might explore heaven for the first time in the series, which would explain these angelic-like figures we’ve seen in some of Eternal’s trailers. I’m a little surprised to say this, but I’m excited to see where this story goes.


    For more on Doom Eternal, watch the new multiplayer mode in action or read our impressions from last year’s E3.

  • Gamespot News Feed: Unity Of Command 2 Review - Lifetime Supply

    At first glance, Unity of Command 2 may look intimidating, the familiarity of the pint-sized tanks and military men that populate its World War II battlefields obscured by an impenetrable fog of unintuitive jargon and confounding icons. But once the confusion clears it reveals a surprisingly straightforward wargame whose keen focus on establishing and severing lines of supply delivers remarkable strategic depth.

    This isn't really a strategy game about marching your troops forward to attack the enemy. Unity of Command 2's twist on the genre makes it a game about manoeuvring your units to occupy spaces that maintain clear supply lines to your forces and deny supply to the enemy. In fact, the winning move often involves holding your position. Sometimes you don't even need to engage the enemy at all; you just have to starve them out.

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    Placing you in charge of the Allied forces in 1943, the campaign opens in North Africa before pushing up through Italy and into the heart of Western Europe. Missions arrive in groups known as conferences, one of the first off-putting terms you'll encounter. At the start of a conference, you can spend prestige points on upgrading your field headquarters, extending their range and efficiency during combat, and on purchasing theatre cards that you can play in battle to grant additional abilities. Beat all the missions in a conference and you unlock the next, along with another chance to upgrade and purchase.

    Luck and short-term planning combine here in an interesting way. The cards available to purchase are shuffled randomly, meaning you can't always rely on picking up a favourite and may need to accommodate a curveball or two. And the choices you make are locked in for the duration of the conference, so you've got to manage with what you've got in terms of HQ upgrades and make those cards last over several missions. Knowing you have only three opportunities to use a naval bombardment over the course of a single mission does a lot to focus the mind. Such constraints force you to make bold choices about which targets you absolutely must hit and when precisely is the right time to do so. Get these plays right and you feel like the greatest general the world’s ever seen. Extra cards can be collected during missions as you complete certain objectives, but they arrive more as a relief package--an unexpected boon to your cause rather than a way to undermine the decisions you finalised at the last conference.

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    At the outset of each mission you're able to survey the map and plan your approach. Usually there are a couple of primary objectives that must be fulfilled to complete the scenario, accompanied by a few secondary objectives that, if achieved, offer a bonus reward or even a slight tactical advantage in the next mission. These objectives are designed in such a way to guide you across the map, and the attentive player will glean useful advantages from them. For example, if the objectives ask you to take a certain town by turn 5 and a second town by turn 8, then it's likely that taking the first town will be beneficial to your efforts to take the second. And if you're tasked with taking and holding a location then doing so will undoubtedly accord an ongoing advantage. Clear, concise objectives provide a structure to each mission that makes it easy to digest what's expected of you, and when you should be aiming to have it accomplished.

    Rounding out the preparatory phase, the units at your disposal are pre-assigned as per the scenario, so you're never burdened with choosing whether or not to deploy the US 13th Airborne or the 7th British Armoured Division--they're already there, conveniently positioned on a hex, ready to go. Although units come in only two types--tank and infantry divisions--there's a host of critical attributes that can distinguish one tank division from the next, assuming you can get your head around the collection of arcane icons used to describe them.

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    Units are composed of "steps," an offputting, unfamiliar term that basically measures the health of the unit. All else being equal, a five-step unit will beat a three-step unit. Yet in these variable battlefields, things are rarely equal. Tiny stars and crosses next to a unit indicate whether it's an elite, veteran or regular unit, but these icons are all-too-easily missed, and even after dozens of hours of play I still found myself occasionally not noticing I was sending a regular infantry to their doom against an elite. Other, multi-coloured symbols represent various specialists serving in the division, but there's no tooltip or in-game explanation as to how a specialist can benefit a unit. I had to rely on an external guide, alt-tabbing out to remind myself that the dark blue icon with the chevron indicated a self-propelled anti-tank specialist while the chevron and dot meant it was a towed anti-tank specialist. There's a lot to remember and keep track of, and unfortunately, the tutorials and in-game tooltips aren't up to the job.

    However, once you've taken stock there's the opportunity to make some last-minute adjustments, adding more regular or specialist units to this squad or that, to better suit the strategic gambit you wish to employ. Deploying an engineer specialist to the siege at your primary objective will help whittle away the enemy's fortification bonuses, but maybe you're better off assigning them to the infantry in the east to help ford all those rivers and secure a secondary objective? All these resources are limited, though, and the trade-offs you're forced into always carry weight.

    The importance of every decision you make is heightened by the tight turn limit applied to each mission. Of course, you're free to take all the time in the world on each turn. But Unity of Command 2 is a wargame with a fast turnover, and that's precisely what makes it so accessible. Brief skirmishes are the order of the day rather than long, drawn-out stalemates. Often you'll be asked to tick off secondary goals within three or four turns while 10 or 12 turns is a generous amount of time to secure the primary objectives. Experimentation is encouraged by the short time scale. Roll the dice on one strategy, fail quickly, and then before you know it you're back at the battle planning stage, pondering a more effective approach based on the lessons taught by your unsuccessful sortie.

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    Battles are won through a combination of clear, decisive strikes and a conservative support structure that can swiftly respond to any breach in your line. The way you have to manage logistics through the supply line system turns what could have been a puzzle game about finding the correct solution into a meaty strategy game brimming with flexibility. Victory is all about identifying where you really need to break through the enemy line to secure that vital railroad junction that will cut off supply to every enemy unit in a particular region of the map. Or it's about realising that you can drop those paratroopers behind enemy lines to blow up a bridge that will deny the Germans' ability to keep supplying the frontline. Seeing your plan executed successfully is incredibly satisfying, but at the same time, it's still entertaining to see a plan fall apart as enemy tanks overrun a key chokepoint, suddenly finding yourself scrambling to hold the line and divert supply to your now-stranded troops.

    Unity of Command 2 is an overall excellent wargame. The early going can be tough as it takes time to acclimatise to some idiosyncratic terms and learn to interpret the raft of poorly-explained icons. Persistence--not to mention some handy community-written guides--does pay off, though. Stick with it, and you'll be rewarded with one of the finest strategy games in recent times.

  • Game Informer News Feed: Getting The Last Laugh

    Click here to watch embedded media

    Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive
    Developer: NetherRealm Studios
    Release:
    Rating: Mature
    Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, Stadia, PC

    The Joker is the next new fighter in Mortal Kombat 11's Kombat Pack DLC (early access on January 28 and full release on February 4), and per usual he's got a number of deadly tricks up his sleeve.

    New gameplay footage shows The Joker eviscerating DC-Elseworlds-skinned opponents with deadly surprises such as swinging bodies, gun puppets, and spring-loaded boxing gloves to the groin.

    The trailer also shows off The Joker's offer of Friendship-turned-Fatality, in a nod to the past.

  • Game Informer News Feed: Five Highlights From Our Hands-On Time With Magic: Legends

    Publisher: Perfect World
    Developer: Cryptic Studios
    Release: 2020
    Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

    Cryptic Studios is making a free-to-play action/RPG in the vein of Diablo based on Wizards of the Coast’s massive hit card game Magic: The Gathering. For our recent cover story, we were fortunate enough to get the first details and extensive hands-on time with Magic: Legends. From the strategy behind building decks to engaging in non-stop action via spells and summons, we saw a lot of promise. Here are the biggest highlights of our experience.

    Cool And Satisfying Spells

    This is a game about magic, after all. What would it be if you didn’t have interesting spells? Magic: The Gathering has a glut of impressive spells, but bringing them to life in an action/RPG is a whole different ball game. A card has some gorgeous art and straightforward text to convey function, but that needs to be reimagined for a flashier, action-packed adventure, so a lot of care went into bringing Magic to this new format. You should feel powerful when doling out your spells (and they should look cool, too). Thankfully, Magic: Legends fulfills that fantasy. Cast Fire Vortex and watch enemies get sucked into a merry-go-round of fire. Need to push them back? Use the spell Tidal Wave to envelop enemies in a flood of water, washing them away from your character and leaving a pool of water in its wake that applies a snare to foes for over five seconds. Want to be crafty and confuse foes? Summon an illusory ally to take some of the heat off yourself, or select Telecast to teleport to a new location – disorienting the baddies you leave behind, while also dealing big damage to the ones surrounding your new location. 

    While each class has three permanent abilities, the spells you cast are up to you, depending on which you pick for your 12-card deck. At any time you have a random hand of four spells to cast. These come in three different types: sorcery (instantaneous or short duration effects), creature (summoned pets), and enchantment (long duration, sets a “rule” to build around). As we played, we all quickly chose our preferences, focusing on getting the most out of these spells and using them at opportune moments. Having one spell take out a swarm of enemies never gets old, and being able to upgrade your favorites to see more devastating outcomes makes you feel powerful.     

    Big Summons For Big Damage

    A significant part of this game is summoning when you’re not casting direct-damage spells, and they are your best chance at surviving against the large waves of enemies. Your summons depend on what you put in your deck, but watching them multiply really drives home you’re building your own awesome army of majestic creatures from the MTG universe. Putting buffs on your summons will also cause them to grow to epic proportions, which is a sight to behold on screen. During our hands-on time, we summoned a variety of creatures, such as baloths, griffins, angels, flametongue kavus, and earth elementals. You definitely want these powerful beings on your side, and it was a treat when we had tons of them following us around on-screen, ready to brawl at a moment’s notice. 

    The Joy Of Mixing And Matching Decks

    One area where you have a lot of freedom to customize is in building your deck. Just like in the card game, this requires thought and care, but you can decide how much you want to get into the weeds of it - Cryptic said it’s considering some sort of sample versions for players who don’t like to tinker. For those that do, you want something that suits your playstyle, but also, if you’re playing with others, complements their decks. 

    For instance, we had someone focus on buffs to ensure our summons would stand the test of time and dole out ridiculous damage, and all of us focused on healing, which meant we weren’t going down easily. The cards you can choose from all represent the five colors of magic, and you don’t have to stay tied to just one, regardless of class. The Geomancer class may be all about playing aggressive and in-your-face like most red cards, but that doesn’t mean you couldn’t pair it with some white to give you access to angel summons and healing spells. However, unlike the card game, you can only use two different colors for your decks.

    The developers said they plan to have leaderboards of the top decks so people can see different creative ways to approach the game’s challenges and follow their lead if they wish, just like how people look for decks in the card game. This gives you something to aspire to, as maybe you need to rank up a certain spell to get the most out of that type or deck. Cryptic said it doesn’t want one deck to reign supreme. It won’t be banning cards like MTG does, but the team is working to ensure the game is balanced and there’s no runaway option for success. Building our decks became far and away the aspect we had the most fun with, and it’s cool to have something that’s slower, more thought-intensive to complement the non-stop action once you’re on the battlefield. 

    Intense Action Rising With Our Mastery

    Magic: Legends is about loot and epic battles. To ensure everyone is getting a challenge that excites them, Cryptic spent a great deal of time developing “The Director.” The Director A.I. measures the intensity of battles and adapts the situation to how you’re performing. This is separate from game difficulty, but in case you’re wondering, the game does have the standard modes. The Director is more about the moment-to-moment action and providing some variety and unpredictability. If you’re really mowing down the competition, it might spawn a miniboss you didn’t experience when you previously played the quest. Or if it ups the amount of enemies attacking you and you start to get overwhelmed, it will tone down the action so you can regroup. Taking on these tougher challenges rewards you with better loot drops. In our ventures, there were points where we were tearing our opponents to shreds, and The Director stepped in, spawning a horde of enemies that filled the screen. But we got the last laugh with more shards to upgrade our cards after the level.

    The Harmony Of Working With Others

    You can certainly play Magic: Legends solo, and we all did our first few missions alone. It’s still fun playing that way and helps in getting acclimated to things, but playing with two other players is really the best way to go. The fights are more thrilling as you see all your different spells and summons come together. It gives you more freedom in how to approach things, as well. Some missions have time limits to get specific things done, so you can get a jump ahead by splitting up. And there’s something to be said about seeing your different decks come together. 

    When we played, we all made our decks by what we each liked best and just went in. What ended up happening is we had a great deal of summons, buffs, and healing. When we got to our main boss of that area, Josu Vess, we were able to really see the power of these combinations, especially because he was weak to summons. Playing with others also just makes the battlefield more chaotic and interesting. Imagine a bunch of spells going off at once, or seeing the combination of all three players’ summons roaming around the battlefield together. It’s as great as it sounds.

    If you want to see some of what we experienced in action, check out the New Gameplay Todays we did on the Geomancer class and Mind Mage class. And keep watching the site for coverage all month long on Magic: Legends.

     

  • Game Informer News Feed: Doom Eternal's Latest Trailer Reveals New Glory Kills, Enemies, And Violence Galore

    Click to watch embedded media

    Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
    Release:
    Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, Stadia, PC

    Final Fantasy VII Remake and Avengers were just delayed today, but it looks like Doom Eternal is locked and loaded for its March 20 release date for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC, and Stadia. In the latest trailer, developer id Software gives you plenty of reasons to be excited. Several new glory kills are on display, as are two new enemy types: the Marauder and Gladiator.

    Doom Eternal features a single-player story that moves away from Mars to show what happens when the demonic invasion hits Earth and other alien worlds that are new to the series. Your friends can try to halt your progress through this blood tale using the new Invasion mode, which allows them to become demons. Players can also try their hands in battlemode, a new 2v1 avenue of play that pits two player-controlled demons against a fully outfitted Doomslayer. All of these options look fun as hell. Start counting the days, people.

    Are you excited for Doom Eternal? Let us know in the comments section below.

  • Game Informer News Feed: The Nemesis Strikes In New Resident Evil 3 Trailer

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    Publisher: Capcom
    Developer: Capcom
    Release: (PlayStation, Dreamcast, GameCube), (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC)
    Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, GameCube, PC, PlayStation, Dreamcast

    Jill Valentine is about to have a very bad day. As she keeps zombie hordes at bay and tries to get out of Raccoon City unscathed, a hulking beast named Nemesis is in pursuit. Much like Resident Evil 2's Mr. X, Nemesis can only be slowed and will continue its hunt after it catches its breath; he can even punch his way through walls. Capcom released a new trailer that shows just how terrifying this threat can be. Thankfully, Jill isn't alone. Carlos, who players will get to control in this remake, is also around to take a Nemesis punch or two to the face.

    Resident Evil 3: Nemesis is slated to release on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on April 3. The game comes packaged with a asymmetrical multiplayer mode called Resident Evil: Resistance, which pits four survivors against a mastermind.

  • Game Informer News Feed: New Gameplay Today – A Look At Magic: Legends' Geomancer

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    Publisher: Perfect World
    Developer: Cryptic Studios
    Release: 2020
    Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

    If you're looking for subtlety, you may not be in the market for a Geomancer. In this exclusive look at the Magic: Legends class, we highlight her face-melting attacks, which put her close to the action. Dan Tack, Leo Vader, and Kim Wallace got to check out the upcoming action-RPG at Cryptic's offices, and they share their thoughts about the Geomancer in today's NGT.

    This particular build includes a spell that creates a whirling vortex of fire – perfect for drawing enemies close together for a devastating follow-up. The Geomancer ended up being Kim's favorite class during her hands-on time with Magic: Legends, and this clip provides plenty of supporting evidence.

    Magic: Legends is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in 2020.