Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Report: Star Wars Game in Development From Heavy Rain & Detroit Studio

French video game developer Quantic Dream has been quiet since […] The post Report: Star Wars Game in Development From Heavy Rain & Detroit Studio appeared first on ComingSoon.net.
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    The Tragedy of Macbeth Trailer Teases Joel Coen’s Shakespeare Tale

    Apple TV+ has finally released the first trailer for Oscar-winning […] The post The Tragedy of Macbeth Trailer Teases Joel Coen’s Shakespeare Tale appeared first on ComingSoon.net.

    Gran Turismo 7: Pre-order items and 25th Anniversary Edition detailed

    Includes PS5 Game Disc and Voucher for PS4 Game** In-Game Credits – 1,100,000 CR Toyota GR Yaris with country specific Livery  30 Manufacturer / Partner Avatars The Music of Gran Turismo Official Soundtrack Toyota Castrol TOM’S Supra Mazda RX-VISION GT3 Concept (Stealth) Porsche 917K Living Legend Again, this is a limited-edition physical release so be […]

    (For Southeast Asia) Gran Turismo 7: Pre-order items and 25th Anniversary Edition detailed

    Following the release of the Gran Turismo 7 trailer from the PlayStation Showcase last week, we are excited to finally share details of Gran Turismo 7 pre-order items and the 25th Anniversary Edition! Pre-Order Items and 25th Anniversary Edition Pre-order at PS Store and get a pre-order bonus of the following in-game items: • Toyota […]

    Phasmophobia Celebrates One-Year Anniversary With New Single-Player Mode

    When Phasmophobia first hit Steam as an Early Access title last year, we emphasized that it was the perfect Halloween game. More than that, if you’re ever looking to live out any paranormal investigator phantasies alongside a crew of gutless pals, then the ghost-hunting “detective” game is for you. I scare easily and have still put dozens of hours into Phasmophobia, slowly creeping through its haunted domestic and liminal environments. From sudden temperature drops to flickering lights, the atmosphere is always intense, and death waits for you in every vacant classroom or unassuming bathroom. In celebration of its one-year anniversary, Phasmophobia is allowing players to explore (and, hopefully, survive) by themselves in a new single-player mode. Our one year anniversary update is now out! I would just like to thank everyone for their amazing support over the past year. It has been an incredible time! You can read the full patch notes here: https://t.co/CFpUQyo1rK#Phasmophobia — Phasmophobia (@KineticGame) September 18, 2021 The Anniversary Update patch notes can be found on the game’s Steam page and come with noticeable and small-scale tweaks alike. For instance, a journal overhaul means that keeping track of environmental clues and poltergeist tendencies is more accessible than ever before. You can cross off evidence on the ghost evidence page of the journal. At the same time, a complete redesign makes information more understandable so that you can spend more time getting scared than standing in the middle of an abandoned living room with a book out.  The new single-player mode comes attached with an option to play offline; you won’t be connected to any servers. The loop remains the same – grab a bevy of equipment from the van, venture into a spooky locale, jot down any suspicious activities while avoiding a one-way ticket to the afterlife, and submit your final verdict on the type of supernatural entity that you’ve encountered. Cooperative play will still be Phasmophobia’s bread and butter, but if you’re raring to jump in even when your buddies aren’t around to watch your back (madness, I say!), then that option is finally available. For more details on the update, click the link above.  Any Phasmophobia fans here? Have you been dying to play solo? Have you already tried out the Anniversary Update? Let us know what you think in the comments!

    Kena Bridge Of Spirits Review – One Of The Best Adventures Of The Year

    Click to watch embedded media Publisher: Ember Lab Developer: Ember Lab Release: September 21, 2021 Rating: Everyone 10+ Reviewed on: PlayStation 5 Also on: PlayStation 4, PC From the moment Kena’s staff ignites with magnificent magic, the world around her sizzles with excitement, creating an enchanting atmosphere for one of the best adventure games I’ve played in recent memory. Kena: Bridge of Spirits is Ember Lab’s debut game, but it hits with the sophistication and beauty you’d expect from a studio that’s been doing this for decades. With environmental puzzles around almost every bend and secrets waiting for those who can solve them, Bridge of Spirits has a strong heart for adventuring. That heart constantly pounds as new areas are discovered, each beat pulling you in different directions to unearth hidden treasures and items that will help rejuvenate a fallen society. Kena (pronounced “Kay-nuh”) is an inexperienced Spirit Guide who must locate wayward souls that are reluctant to leave this mortal coil. Before sending them on their way, she needs to learn about their lives, and ultimately what happened to them. By exploring the land, their pasts are unearthed, and you learn of their triumphs and hardships through brief flashbacks that make the story sing in intriguing ways and help flesh out its key players. Many of these revelations play out within beautifully animated story sequences that swell with emotion and are amplified by an outstanding soundtrack featuring traditional Balinese music. I found myself humming along to the excellently composed low-key melodies, some sung by Ayu Larassanti, the same actress that brings Kena’s voice to life. How cool is that? The serenity of the experience extends to the world. Be prepared to enter photo mode numerous times during your playthrough. Bridge of Spirits is as beautiful as games come, and that beauty encourages exploration – you’ll want to see all of this fantasy kingdom. Ember Lab’s artists make every little detail pop, whether within the sprawling forest Kena journeys through or the little creatures she meets along the way. These adorable tiny blobs are called Rot and are one of the game’s most sought-after collectibles. They play a massive role in both the gameplay and story, but more importantly, they wear cute hats (another item to track down). You don’t know what the Rot are or why they are helping Kena, but you keep gathering them (up to 100 in total) and hope they continue to be your allies as the story unfurls. As Kena bounds through the sun-soaked forest, she’ll come across areas of corruption littered with thorns, muck, and gray vines leading up a red, pulsating blob called a Tangled Heart. When Kena enters these locations, enemies materialize from red mist and combat ensues. Throughout the entire game, Kena only uses her staff to take down these foes, but this simple weapon is about as adaptable as they come. Kena’s movements are swift, and the staff’s melee strikes land with a satisfying wallop. She can evasive roll, block, and perform parry’s to stun her adversaries. These battle sequences hum with intensity, are loads of fun, and expand with complexity when Kena learns to use the staff in new ways. Some of the staff’s augmentations unlock through purchase, but the most significant additions are earned by making progress in the story. Along the way, Kena learns how to turn her staff into a bow and channel its powerful energy to create bombs. Tagging an enemy with a carefully placed bomb is good fun, but the bow is the true star of combat. It feels incredible and is designed with pinpoint precision in mind. When Kena leaps into the air and pulls back the bowstring, time slows, allowing for an arrow to hit the exact spot you want – whether it’s a small weak zone on an enemy's chest or a hanging lantern below a galloping behemoth. Landing these shots is an empowering experience, and you are tasked to do it constantly. It's such a satisfying gameplay hook. Click image thumbnails to view larger version                                                                                                               The Rot, those adorable companions I mentioned earlier, also play a significant role in combat. They can heal Kena, stun enemies, and are game-changers against bosses. These conflicts turn the difficulty to 11 and demand near perfection in your timing and strategies. Don’t be surprised if these bosses throw you around like a ragdoll, and you die often. The leap in difficulty is surprising and is one of the areas where the game struggles a bit. The difficulty setting is switchable at any point, but with unsatisfying results – moving from blistering intensity to cakewalk. Bridge of Spirits also leans a little too heavily on the same puzzle mechanics, especially in the late game where almost every vertical movement pushes Kena to throw a bomb and detonate it with an arrow to create a path forward. While I appreciate how clever the puzzles are and how fluid the platforming is, using the same motions gets tiring and saps some of the fun out of the exploration. Click here to watch embedded media Ember Lab was upfront about Kena’s length going into release, saying it could be completed in a weekend. Given how much I adore this experience, I wish it would last longer, but the shorter footprint works well, especially for seeing all the world has to offer. The final act is the only aspect that feels rushed. The story wraps up nicely (in ways I didn’t expect), but a few of the big reveals and conflicts come and go in a flash and aren’t given the same level of care as other moments in the game. Bridge of Spirits stumbles a little in spots, yet confidently sprints into the heart of the adventure, rewarding the player with secrets galore and visuals that are almost always worth admiring. If you love Zelda-like games or are just looking for an experience that will make you smile every step of the way, you can’t go wrong with Kena: Bridge of Spirits. Score: 9 Summary: Ember Lab's debut game is a hit that you don't want to miss. Concept: A rewarding adventure that encourages exploration and hits hard with combat and puzzles Graphics: A beautiful journey that catches your eye with its stylistic characters, lush forest, and jaw-dropping next-gen lighting. Little touches like seeing the Rot find places to relax add a playfulness to the already impressive visuals Sound: Composer Jason Gallaty and the ensemble group Gamelan Çudamani made a score that hums from start to finish. The voice acting and adorable Rot mumbles are also fantastic Playability: Combat and environmental puzzles deliver plenty of thrills, but repetition is a problem in the final act Entertainment: The world is fun to explore, and your time is rewarded with secrets galore and hats for your little Rot followers Replay: Moderate Click to Purchase

    Phasmophobia Celebrates One-Year Anniversary With New Single-Player Mode

    When Phasmophobia first hit Steam as an Early Access title last year, we emphasized that it was the perfect Halloween game. More than that, if you’re ever looking to live out any paranormal investigator phantasies alongside a crew of gutless pals, then the ghost-hunting “detective” game is for you. I scare easily and have still put dozens of hours into Phasmophobia, slowly creeping through its haunted domestic and liminal environments. From sudden temperature drops to flickering lights, the atmosphere is always intense, and death waits for you in every vacant classroom or unassuming bathroom. In celebration of its one-year anniversary, Phasmophobia is allowing players to explore (and, hopefully, survive) by themselves in a new single-player mode. Our one year anniversary update is now out! I would just like to thank everyone for their amazing support over the past year. It has been an incredible time! You can read the full patch notes here: https://t.co/CFpUQyo1rK#Phasmophobia — Phasmophobia (@KineticGame) September 18, 2021 The Anniversary Update patch notes can be found on the game’s Steam page and come with noticeable and small-scale tweaks alike. For instance, a journal overhaul means that keeping track of environmental clues and poltergeist tendencies is more accessible than ever before. You can cross off evidence on the ghost evidence page of the journal. At the same time, a complete redesign makes information more understandable so that you can spend more time getting scared than standing in the middle of an abandoned living room with a book out.  The new single-player mode comes attached with an option to play offline; you won’t be connected to any servers. The loop remains the same – grab a bevy of equipment from the van, venture into a spooky locale, jot down any suspicious activities while avoiding a one-way ticket to the afterlife, and submit your final verdict on the type of supernatural entity that you’ve encountered. Cooperative play will still be Phasmophobia’s bread and butter, but if you’re raring to jump in even when your buddies aren’t around to watch your back (madness, I say!), then that option is finally available. For more details on the update, click the link above.  Any Phasmophobia fans here? Have you been dying to play solo? Have you already tried out the Anniversary Update? Let us know what you think in the comments!

    Kena Bridge Of Spirits Review – One Of The Best Adventures Of The Year

    Click to watch embedded media Publisher: Ember Lab Developer: Ember Lab Release: September 21, 2021 Rating: Everyone 10+ Reviewed on: PlayStation 5 Also on: PlayStation 4, PC From the moment Kena’s staff ignites with magnificent magic, the world around her sizzles with excitement, creating an enchanting atmosphere for one of the best adventure games I’ve played in recent memory. Kena: Bridge of Spirits is Ember Lab’s debut game, but it hits with the sophistication and beauty you’d expect from a studio that’s been doing this for decades. With environmental puzzles around almost every bend and secrets waiting for those who can solve them, Bridge of Spirits has a strong heart for adventuring. That heart constantly pounds as new areas are discovered, each beat pulling you in different directions to unearth hidden treasures and items that will help rejuvenate a fallen society. Kena (pronounced “Kay-nuh”) is an inexperienced Spirit Guide who must locate wayward souls that are reluctant to leave this mortal coil. Before sending them on their way, she needs to learn about their lives, and ultimately what happened to them. By exploring the land, their pasts are unearthed, and you learn of their triumphs and hardships through brief flashbacks that make the story sing in intriguing ways and help flesh out its key players. Many of these revelations play out within beautifully animated story sequences that swell with emotion and are amplified by an outstanding soundtrack featuring traditional Balinese music. I found myself humming along to the excellently composed low-key melodies, some sung by Ayu Larassanti, the same actress that brings Kena’s voice to life. How cool is that? The serenity of the experience extends to the world. Be prepared to enter photo mode numerous times during your playthrough. Bridge of Spirits is as beautiful as games come, and that beauty encourages exploration – you’ll want to see all of this fantasy kingdom. Ember Lab’s artists make every little detail pop, whether within the sprawling forest Kena journeys through or the little creatures she meets along the way. These adorable tiny blobs are called Rot and are one of the game’s most sought-after collectibles. They play a massive role in both the gameplay and story, but more importantly, they wear cute hats (another item to track down). You don’t know what the Rot are or why they are helping Kena, but you keep gathering them (up to 100 in total) and hope they continue to be your allies as the story unfurls. As Kena bounds through the sun-soaked forest, she’ll come across areas of corruption littered with thorns, muck, and gray vines leading up a red, pulsating blob called a Tangled Heart. When Kena enters these locations, enemies materialize from red mist and combat ensues. Throughout the entire game, Kena only uses her staff to take down these foes, but this simple weapon is about as adaptable as they come. Kena’s movements are swift, and the staff’s melee strikes land with a satisfying wallop. She can evasive roll, block, and perform parry’s to stun her adversaries. These battle sequences hum with intensity, are loads of fun, and expand with complexity when Kena learns to use the staff in new ways. Some of the staff’s augmentations unlock through purchase, but the most significant additions are earned by making progress in the story. Along the way, Kena learns how to turn her staff into a bow and channel its powerful energy to create bombs. Tagging an enemy with a carefully placed bomb is good fun, but the bow is the true star of combat. It feels incredible and is designed with pinpoint precision in mind. When Kena leaps into the air and pulls back the bowstring, time slows, allowing for an arrow to hit the exact spot you want – whether it’s a small weak zone on an enemy's chest or a hanging lantern below a galloping behemoth. Landing these shots is an empowering experience, and you are tasked to do it constantly. It's such a satisfying gameplay hook. Click image thumbnails to view larger version                                                                                                               The Rot, those adorable companions I mentioned earlier, also play a significant role in combat. They can heal Kena, stun enemies, and are game-changers against bosses. These conflicts turn the difficulty to 11 and demand near perfection in your timing and strategies. Don’t be surprised if these bosses throw you around like a ragdoll, and you die often. The leap in difficulty is surprising and is one of the areas where the game struggles a bit. The difficulty setting is switchable at any point, but with unsatisfying results – moving from blistering intensity to cakewalk. Bridge of Spirits also leans a little too heavily on the same puzzle mechanics, especially in the late game where almost every vertical movement pushes Kena to throw a bomb and detonate it with an arrow to create a path forward. While I appreciate how clever the puzzles are and how fluid the platforming is, using the same motions gets tiring and saps some of the fun out of the exploration. Click here to watch embedded media Ember Lab was upfront about Kena’s length going into release, saying it could be completed in a weekend. Given how much I adore this experience, I wish it would last longer, but the shorter footprint works well, especially for seeing all the world has to offer. The final act is the only aspect that feels rushed. The story wraps up nicely (in ways I didn’t expect), but a few of the big reveals and conflicts come and go in a flash and aren’t given the same level of care as other moments in the game. Bridge of Spirits stumbles a little in spots, yet confidently sprints into the heart of the adventure, rewarding the player with secrets galore and visuals that are almost always worth admiring. If you love Zelda-like games or are just looking for an experience that will make you smile every step of the way, you can’t go wrong with Kena: Bridge of Spirits. Score: 9 Summary: Ember Lab's debut game is a hit that you don't want to miss. Concept: A rewarding adventure that encourages exploration and hits hard with combat and puzzles Graphics: A beautiful journey that catches your eye with its stylistic characters, lush forest, and jaw-dropping next-gen lighting. Little touches like seeing the Rot find places to relax add a playfulness to the already impressive visuals Sound: Composer Jason Gallaty and the ensemble group Gamelan Çudamani made a score that hums from start to finish. The voice acting and adorable Rot mumbles are also fantastic Playability: Combat and environmental puzzles deliver plenty of thrills, but repetition is a problem in the final act Entertainment: The world is fun to explore, and your time is rewarded with secrets galore and hats for your little Rot followers Replay: Moderate Click to Purchase

    The 5 Best Jackbox Games To Only Appear Once

    With the confirmation of Jackbox Party Pack 8’s release date, we decided to take a fond look back at some of our favorite games from previous entries. However, we all know such a list would rightfully devolve into a Quiplash/Drawful/Trivia Murder Party lovefest, so we’re focusing on the best games to only appear once. Besides highlighting some fun one-hit wonders, maybe this list will entice the Jackbox team to revisit them in future installments. If any of these entries ever gets a “2” next to them, you know who to thank. Instead of ranking these games from best to least best, we're arranging them in numerical order of the Pack they appeared in. Tee K.O. Jackbox Party Pack 3 Creating crude doodles always garners a laugh but Tee K.O. ups the ante by making players pair their terrible art with equally humorous phrases. Players write slogans and draw pictures that are then shuffled and distributed for everyone to pair together on a t-shirt as they see fit. Two shirt designs are pitted against each other and players vote on the best/funniest. In a way, Tee K.O. blends the artistic creativity (or lack thereof) of Drawful with the fill-in-the-blank comedy of Quiplash; pairing a pre-school caliber portrait of Sonic the Hedgehog with the phrase “Sex Symbol” can have parties in stitches. Best of all, the game lets you order any created design as a real shirt – as in one you can wear in real life – to immortalize your favorite responses. Mad Verse City Jackbox Party Pack 5 Rap battle insults are hilarious because the lyrics are either genuinely witty or so corny that they’re fun to laugh at. Mad Verse City is both by letting players dunk on each other under the guise of robot MCs. Players craft raps via a combination of choosing keywords, with the game generating lines around them, and writing wholly original sentences. Ideally, you want the last word in each to rhyme but being hilarious is more important than being the second coming of Rakim. Hearing an emotionless text-to-speech voice vocalize (and sometimes mispronounce) your absurd freestyle only makes it funnier. Since the game tells you who you’re facing, it’s probably best to play with good sports or friends whose relationships you consider bulletproof. As mean-spirited as it sounds, the game is at its funniest when raps go for the jugular via goofy personal insults. Patently Stupid Jackbox Party Pack 5 Do you have a great idea for an invention? Patently Stupid lets you share your “brilliant” ideas with your friends. Players take turns creating a unique problem that everyone else has to solve. You then draw an invention meant to address these dilemmas, including naming it and giving it a tagline. Your ridiculous concoction is probably funny enough to garner some laughs, but the fact that you have to present and justify your dumb invention to the group Steve Jobs-style can send the game over the edge in the best way. If that’s asking too much, the game can do it for you via a nifty presentation tool. Split The Room Jackbox Party Pack 5 In hindsight, Party Pack 5 is quite a package. Split the Room is an interesting game in that it tasks you with filling the blank of a hypothetical “would you rather” style question to garner the most divisive response possible. Here’s an example: “You’re the President of Pizza and learn that pepperoni will cause _____ to 5% people who eat it. Do you ban pepperoni as a topping forever?” Whatever word you fill that blank with, you want it to “split the room” as evenly as you can. Thus, Split the Room is a much more cerebral game, but that’s what makes it satisfying. It’s also a creative way of learning how your party guests like to think while allowing for plenty of laughs depending on how ludicrous players get with their responses.  Talking Points Jackbox Party Pack 7 Who says PowerPoint presentations can’t be fun? Talking Points divides players into teams of two, with one person in charge of improvising a speech based on slides chosen by their partner. The kick is that the slides are strange, hilariously out-of-context stock photos, but the challenge is to stay on topic while incorporating whatever weird thing pops on screen in a way that makes sense. The audience then votes on how engaging your speech was, with custom-made awards doled out at the end. Talking Points can lead to awkward trainwrecks, but that’s what makes it shine, so does watching someone smoothly think on their feet and deliver a killer presentation. That said, the game isn’t for everyone. Like Patently Stupid, it requires improvising a speech in front of an audience which can be nerve-wracking for some, even if it’s a joke. But when Talking Points lands, it’s a riot. Which Jackbox game is your favorite? Share your picks in the comments!

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    The Tragedy of Macbeth Trailer Teases Joel Coen’s Shakespeare Tale

    Apple TV+ has finally released the first trailer for Oscar-winning […] The post The Tragedy of Macbeth Trailer Teases Joel Coen’s Shakespeare Tale appeared first on ComingSoon.net.

    Gran Turismo 7: Pre-order items and 25th Anniversary Edition detailed

    Includes PS5 Game Disc and Voucher for PS4 Game** In-Game Credits – 1,100,000 CR Toyota GR Yaris with country specific Livery  30 Manufacturer / Partner Avatars The Music of Gran Turismo Official Soundtrack Toyota Castrol TOM’S Supra Mazda RX-VISION GT3 Concept (Stealth) Porsche 917K Living Legend Again, this is a limited-edition physical release so be […]

    (For Southeast Asia) Gran Turismo 7: Pre-order items and 25th Anniversary Edition detailed

    Following the release of the Gran Turismo 7 trailer from the PlayStation Showcase last week, we are excited to finally share details of Gran Turismo 7 pre-order items and the 25th Anniversary Edition! Pre-Order Items and 25th Anniversary Edition Pre-order at PS Store and get a pre-order bonus of the following in-game items: • Toyota […]

    Phasmophobia Celebrates One-Year Anniversary With New Single-Player Mode

    When Phasmophobia first hit Steam as an Early Access title last year, we emphasized that it was the perfect Halloween game. More than that, if you’re ever looking to live out any paranormal investigator phantasies alongside a crew of gutless pals, then the ghost-hunting “detective” game is for you. I scare easily and have still put dozens of hours into Phasmophobia, slowly creeping through its haunted domestic and liminal environments. From sudden temperature drops to flickering lights, the atmosphere is always intense, and death waits for you in every vacant classroom or unassuming bathroom. In celebration of its one-year anniversary, Phasmophobia is allowing players to explore (and, hopefully, survive) by themselves in a new single-player mode. Our one year anniversary update is now out! I would just like to thank everyone for their amazing support over the past year. It has been an incredible time! You can read the full patch notes here: https://t.co/CFpUQyo1rK#Phasmophobia — Phasmophobia (@KineticGame) September 18, 2021 The Anniversary Update patch notes can be found on the game’s Steam page and come with noticeable and small-scale tweaks alike. For instance, a journal overhaul means that keeping track of environmental clues and poltergeist tendencies is more accessible than ever before. You can cross off evidence on the ghost evidence page of the journal. At the same time, a complete redesign makes information more understandable so that you can spend more time getting scared than standing in the middle of an abandoned living room with a book out.  The new single-player mode comes attached with an option to play offline; you won’t be connected to any servers. The loop remains the same – grab a bevy of equipment from the van, venture into a spooky locale, jot down any suspicious activities while avoiding a one-way ticket to the afterlife, and submit your final verdict on the type of supernatural entity that you’ve encountered. Cooperative play will still be Phasmophobia’s bread and butter, but if you’re raring to jump in even when your buddies aren’t around to watch your back (madness, I say!), then that option is finally available. For more details on the update, click the link above.  Any Phasmophobia fans here? Have you been dying to play solo? Have you already tried out the Anniversary Update? Let us know what you think in the comments!

    Kena Bridge Of Spirits Review – One Of The Best Adventures Of The Year

    Click to watch embedded media Publisher: Ember Lab Developer: Ember Lab Release: September 21, 2021 Rating: Everyone 10+ Reviewed on: PlayStation 5 Also on: PlayStation 4, PC From the moment Kena’s staff ignites with magnificent magic, the world around her sizzles with excitement, creating an enchanting atmosphere for one of the best adventure games I’ve played in recent memory. Kena: Bridge of Spirits is Ember Lab’s debut game, but it hits with the sophistication and beauty you’d expect from a studio that’s been doing this for decades. With environmental puzzles around almost every bend and secrets waiting for those who can solve them, Bridge of Spirits has a strong heart for adventuring. That heart constantly pounds as new areas are discovered, each beat pulling you in different directions to unearth hidden treasures and items that will help rejuvenate a fallen society. Kena (pronounced “Kay-nuh”) is an inexperienced Spirit Guide who must locate wayward souls that are reluctant to leave this mortal coil. Before sending them on their way, she needs to learn about their lives, and ultimately what happened to them. By exploring the land, their pasts are unearthed, and you learn of their triumphs and hardships through brief flashbacks that make the story sing in intriguing ways and help flesh out its key players. Many of these revelations play out within beautifully animated story sequences that swell with emotion and are amplified by an outstanding soundtrack featuring traditional Balinese music. I found myself humming along to the excellently composed low-key melodies, some sung by Ayu Larassanti, the same actress that brings Kena’s voice to life. How cool is that? The serenity of the experience extends to the world. Be prepared to enter photo mode numerous times during your playthrough. Bridge of Spirits is as beautiful as games come, and that beauty encourages exploration – you’ll want to see all of this fantasy kingdom. Ember Lab’s artists make every little detail pop, whether within the sprawling forest Kena journeys through or the little creatures she meets along the way. These adorable tiny blobs are called Rot and are one of the game’s most sought-after collectibles. They play a massive role in both the gameplay and story, but more importantly, they wear cute hats (another item to track down). You don’t know what the Rot are or why they are helping Kena, but you keep gathering them (up to 100 in total) and hope they continue to be your allies as the story unfurls. As Kena bounds through the sun-soaked forest, she’ll come across areas of corruption littered with thorns, muck, and gray vines leading up a red, pulsating blob called a Tangled Heart. When Kena enters these locations, enemies materialize from red mist and combat ensues. Throughout the entire game, Kena only uses her staff to take down these foes, but this simple weapon is about as adaptable as they come. Kena’s movements are swift, and the staff’s melee strikes land with a satisfying wallop. She can evasive roll, block, and perform parry’s to stun her adversaries. These battle sequences hum with intensity, are loads of fun, and expand with complexity when Kena learns to use the staff in new ways. Some of the staff’s augmentations unlock through purchase, but the most significant additions are earned by making progress in the story. Along the way, Kena learns how to turn her staff into a bow and channel its powerful energy to create bombs. Tagging an enemy with a carefully placed bomb is good fun, but the bow is the true star of combat. It feels incredible and is designed with pinpoint precision in mind. When Kena leaps into the air and pulls back the bowstring, time slows, allowing for an arrow to hit the exact spot you want – whether it’s a small weak zone on an enemy's chest or a hanging lantern below a galloping behemoth. Landing these shots is an empowering experience, and you are tasked to do it constantly. It's such a satisfying gameplay hook. Click image thumbnails to view larger version                                                                                                               The Rot, those adorable companions I mentioned earlier, also play a significant role in combat. They can heal Kena, stun enemies, and are game-changers against bosses. These conflicts turn the difficulty to 11 and demand near perfection in your timing and strategies. Don’t be surprised if these bosses throw you around like a ragdoll, and you die often. The leap in difficulty is surprising and is one of the areas where the game struggles a bit. The difficulty setting is switchable at any point, but with unsatisfying results – moving from blistering intensity to cakewalk. Bridge of Spirits also leans a little too heavily on the same puzzle mechanics, especially in the late game where almost every vertical movement pushes Kena to throw a bomb and detonate it with an arrow to create a path forward. While I appreciate how clever the puzzles are and how fluid the platforming is, using the same motions gets tiring and saps some of the fun out of the exploration. Click here to watch embedded media Ember Lab was upfront about Kena’s length going into release, saying it could be completed in a weekend. Given how much I adore this experience, I wish it would last longer, but the shorter footprint works well, especially for seeing all the world has to offer. The final act is the only aspect that feels rushed. The story wraps up nicely (in ways I didn’t expect), but a few of the big reveals and conflicts come and go in a flash and aren’t given the same level of care as other moments in the game. Bridge of Spirits stumbles a little in spots, yet confidently sprints into the heart of the adventure, rewarding the player with secrets galore and visuals that are almost always worth admiring. If you love Zelda-like games or are just looking for an experience that will make you smile every step of the way, you can’t go wrong with Kena: Bridge of Spirits. Score: 9 Summary: Ember Lab's debut game is a hit that you don't want to miss. Concept: A rewarding adventure that encourages exploration and hits hard with combat and puzzles Graphics: A beautiful journey that catches your eye with its stylistic characters, lush forest, and jaw-dropping next-gen lighting. Little touches like seeing the Rot find places to relax add a playfulness to the already impressive visuals Sound: Composer Jason Gallaty and the ensemble group Gamelan Çudamani made a score that hums from start to finish. The voice acting and adorable Rot mumbles are also fantastic Playability: Combat and environmental puzzles deliver plenty of thrills, but repetition is a problem in the final act Entertainment: The world is fun to explore, and your time is rewarded with secrets galore and hats for your little Rot followers Replay: Moderate Click to Purchase

    The 5 Best Jackbox Games To Only Appear Once

    With the confirmation of Jackbox Party Pack 8’s release date, we decided to take a fond look back at some of our favorite games from previous entries. However, we all know such a list would rightfully devolve into a Quiplash/Drawful/Trivia Murder Party lovefest, so we’re focusing on the best games to only appear once. Besides highlighting some fun one-hit wonders, maybe this list will entice the Jackbox team to revisit them in future installments. If any of these entries ever gets a “2” next to them, you know who to thank. Instead of ranking these games from best to least best, we're arranging them in numerical order of the Pack they appeared in. Tee K.O. Jackbox Party Pack 3 Creating crude doodles always garners a laugh but Tee K.O. ups the ante by making players pair their terrible art with equally humorous phrases. Players write slogans and draw pictures that are then shuffled and distributed for everyone to pair together on a t-shirt as they see fit. Two shirt designs are pitted against each other and players vote on the best/funniest. In a way, Tee K.O. blends the artistic creativity (or lack thereof) of Drawful with the fill-in-the-blank comedy of Quiplash; pairing a pre-school caliber portrait of Sonic the Hedgehog with the phrase “Sex Symbol” can have parties in stitches. Best of all, the game lets you order any created design as a real shirt – as in one you can wear in real life – to immortalize your favorite responses. Mad Verse City Jackbox Party Pack 5 Rap battle insults are hilarious because the lyrics are either genuinely witty or so corny that they’re fun to laugh at. Mad Verse City is both by letting players dunk on each other under the guise of robot MCs. Players craft raps via a combination of choosing keywords, with the game generating lines around them, and writing wholly original sentences. Ideally, you want the last word in each to rhyme but being hilarious is more important than being the second coming of Rakim. Hearing an emotionless text-to-speech voice vocalize (and sometimes mispronounce) your absurd freestyle only makes it funnier. Since the game tells you who you’re facing, it’s probably best to play with good sports or friends whose relationships you consider bulletproof. As mean-spirited as it sounds, the game is at its funniest when raps go for the jugular via goofy personal insults. Patently Stupid Jackbox Party Pack 5 Do you have a great idea for an invention? Patently Stupid lets you share your “brilliant” ideas with your friends. Players take turns creating a unique problem that everyone else has to solve. You then draw an invention meant to address these dilemmas, including naming it and giving it a tagline. Your ridiculous concoction is probably funny enough to garner some laughs, but the fact that you have to present and justify your dumb invention to the group Steve Jobs-style can send the game over the edge in the best way. If that’s asking too much, the game can do it for you via a nifty presentation tool. Split The Room Jackbox Party Pack 5 In hindsight, Party Pack 5 is quite a package. Split the Room is an interesting game in that it tasks you with filling the blank of a hypothetical “would you rather” style question to garner the most divisive response possible. Here’s an example: “You’re the President of Pizza and learn that pepperoni will cause _____ to 5% people who eat it. Do you ban pepperoni as a topping forever?” Whatever word you fill that blank with, you want it to “split the room” as evenly as you can. Thus, Split the Room is a much more cerebral game, but that’s what makes it satisfying. It’s also a creative way of learning how your party guests like to think while allowing for plenty of laughs depending on how ludicrous players get with their responses.  Talking Points Jackbox Party Pack 7 Who says PowerPoint presentations can’t be fun? Talking Points divides players into teams of two, with one person in charge of improvising a speech based on slides chosen by their partner. The kick is that the slides are strange, hilariously out-of-context stock photos, but the challenge is to stay on topic while incorporating whatever weird thing pops on screen in a way that makes sense. The audience then votes on how engaging your speech was, with custom-made awards doled out at the end. Talking Points can lead to awkward trainwrecks, but that’s what makes it shine, so does watching someone smoothly think on their feet and deliver a killer presentation. That said, the game isn’t for everyone. Like Patently Stupid, it requires improvising a speech in front of an audience which can be nerve-wracking for some, even if it’s a joke. But when Talking Points lands, it’s a riot. Which Jackbox game is your favorite? Share your picks in the comments!

    The Jungle Book Game Will Reportedly Be in New Disney Classic Games Bundle

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    Everything We Know About Metroid Dread

    Click to watch embedded media Publisher: Nintendo Developer: MercurySteam Release: October 8, 2021 Rating: Teen Platform: Switch Metroid might not have the widespread popularity of Zelda or Mario, but our enthusiasm for Nintendo's sci-fi action platformer rivals those blockbusters. Nintendo announced Dread only a few months ago, during the company's E3 2021 Direct presentation. Now we're less than a month from its October 8 release, so here is a quick overview of everything you need to know before playing Metroid Dread. Who is the developer? Metroid Dread is being made at MercurySteam, a studio that Nintendo previously worked with on 2017's Metroid: Samus Returns. Before that, MercurySteam developed Clive Barker's Jericho, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, and Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2. The studio has a solid track record with a few exceptions, so we're hopeful that Metroid Dread will live up to the hype. Is this a direct sequel? Nintendo has billed Dread as a direct sequel to the 2002 title Metroid Fusion, released initially on the Game Boy Advance, making Dread the fifth official entry in the 2D Metroid series. Nintendo also said this title concludes the main storyline focused on Samus' interactions with a parasitic race of creatures called Metroid. Do I need to play the rest of the series before I play Dread? Metroid has never been a story-heavy series, and we're sure Nintendo will bring players up to speed on any crucial details they need to know as they play this game, but you probably don't need to play the earlier Metroid games to enjoy Dread. That said, many of the earlier Metroid games are still enjoyable today (especially Super Metroid), so it's worth going back and checking out those titles if you missed them the first time around. How long has this game been in development? The name Metroid Dread first surfaced not long after the release of Metroid Fusion in 2002. Series producer Yoshio Sakamoto has said that he tried to develop Dread for the Nintendo DS handheld at least twice. After MercurySteam released Metroid: Samus Returns in 2017, Nintendo revived the Dread name and greenlit the project for the Switch. What's the narrative setup? Bounty Hunter Samus Aran is back. In Metroid Fusion, Samus explored a space station swarming with hostile, shape-shifting organisms called X Parasites. After Samus dealt with that potential catastrophe, the Galactic Federation received proof that suggests the X Parasites survived destruction and are now infecting the remote planet of ZDR. In response, the Federation dispatched a team of robots to investigate the world. But when those units vanish soon after arrival, Samus Aran is tapped to get to the bottom of this mystery. Thanks to the events of Metroid Fusion, Samus has immunity against the X Parasites. Unfortunately, X Parasites aren't the only threat on ZDR, and Samus soon encounters a member of the ancient alien race, called Chozo, who attacks Samus and steals her abilities. When Samus awakens from this attack, she discovers she is deep beneath the surface of ZDR and must work her way back out while contending with the team of Federation robots now hunting her. What do we know about Planet ZDR? Not much is know about Planet ZDR. This remote alien world has a purple atmosphere and is home to a large, fang-toothed monster known as the Corpious. The Corpious has no legs and drags itself overland with two muscular arms. The beast can also turn invisible and attacks foes with a long, scorpion-like tail. ZDR's deep underground caverns, an area labeled Artaria, are full of rocky outcroppings and underground waterfalls. Cataris is another zone within planet ZDR, and this area is an industrial station used to transport thermo-powered energy from surrounding magma reserves. The extreme heat in this zone can damage Samus' equipment until she gains a Power Suit. Will Adam Malkovich return? Longtime fans may remember Commander Adam Malkovich, a "celebrated military genius" who served in the Galactic Federation Army. When Samus was younger, she served under Malkovich, as detailed in Metroid: Other M. Samus also reflected on Adam a few times during her adventure in Metroid Fusion and even named a computer A.I. after him. The AI version of Adam returns in Dread, but he won't order Samus around. Instead, this A.I. functions as the game's loremaster, so it is more a means to dish story details to the player. What are the E.M.M.I.s? The Galactic Federation's Extraplanetary Multiform Mobile Identifiers are high-tech operations robots created for "research applications." However, these E.M.M.I.s are also potent tools of destruction. The E.M.M.I.s were designed to be DNA-extracting machines, and they now hound Samus across Planet ZDR, likely because Samus has some Metroid DNA. The E.M.M.I.s are not easily destroyed. In fact, Samus can only dismantle them if she temporarily upgrades her arm cannon at set locations on Planet ZDR. As a result, Samus must sneak past these machines. This is no easy feat because E.M.M.I.s can hear Samus' footsteps and relentlessly chase her down if they catch wind of her presence. When an E.M.M.I. grabs Samus, players have a tiny window to perform a melee counter, which gives Samus a chance to escape. If players fail this counter, the E.M.M.I.s instantly impale her, resulting in a Game Over. The Galactic Federation dispatched seven E.M.M.I.s to Planet ZDR, and each one is a different color. E.M.M.I.s have different abilities. For example, the green E.M.M.I. can crawl through tight passages, yellow can run at high speeds, and blue can freeze and shatter objects. What abilities does Samus gain? Metroid has always been a series focused on exploration. As Samus probes the depths of Planet ZDR, she slowly uncovers new weapons and abilities that give her access to new areas. This loop has always been at the heart of Metroid, and that won't change with Dread. Samus retains access to many of her staple abilities, such as her arm cannon, missiles, grapple hook, and the morph ball that allows her to access out-of-reach areas. In Metroid: Samus Returns, MercurySteam introduced a melee counter that lets Samus parry enemy attacks, exposing them to brutal counterattacks. This technique returns for Dread. However, Samus also has a few new moves, such as a slide that allows her to quickly slip through tiny spaces without transforming into her morph ball. During Samus' adventure, she also gains access to powerful new tech and weapons. A Phantom Cloak ability temporarily renders Samus invisible. However, this power drains a resource called Aeion, which was also introduced in Samus Returns. Unlike the last game, Aeion now slowly replenishes over time. Another Aeion ability called Flash Shift allows Samus to dash across the screen. Not every power requires Aeion. For example, the Spider grapple helps Samus climb walls and ceilings marked with a blue, magnetic surface. This is similar to the Spider Ball from previous Metroid titles; however, it doesn't require that Samus enter her morph ball form. Meanwhile, a weapon upgrade called Storm Missile lets Samus lock on and fire a volley of missiles at multiple targets. Samus can lock onto up to five targets using her free aim, shooting three missiles at each target. Will longtime enemies Kraid and Ridley return? The giant three-eyed reptilian known as Kraid is reported to return, but the alien appears chained to a wall this time. We haven't heard if Ridley will make an appearance, but this is a Metroid game, so our Magic 8-Ball says "Very likely." I like spending money, is there a Special Edition? Nintendo is producing a Metroid Dread Special Edition, which comes in a steel game case, and includes five art cards and a 190-page art book spanning all five entries in the 2D Metroid saga. This package retails for $89.99. When does Metroid Dread launch? You will be able to purchase Metroid Dread for the Nintendo Switch, starting on October 8.

    The Wolverine PS5 Game Should Feature These Marvel Characters

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    Interview: Dulé Hill on Starring in Night of the Animated Dead, Its Portrayal of Race

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    Activision Blizzard Now Under SEC Investigation According To A Wall Street Journal Report

    More than two months after the State of California Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard over violations of the state’s “civil rights and equal pay” laws, the Wall Street Journal reports an investigation is underway through the SEC. This federal agency, known as the Securities and Exchange Commission, is looking into the Call of Duty and World of Warcraft publisher and has ordered subpoenas to high-ranking executives. According to an article released today from The Wall Street Journal’s Kirstin Grind and Sarah E. Needleman, the SEC has “launched a wide-ranging investigation into Activision Blizzard Inc., including how the videogame-publishing giant handled employees’ allegations of sexual misconduct and workplace discrimination.” The subpoenas mentioned above have been issued to CEO Bobby Kotick and other senior executives at the company. What kind of info does the SEC want from the Activision Blizzard execs? From the sounds of Grind and Needleman’s reporting, quite a lot. Much of the desired information lies within meeting documentation and discussions between the executive team. The SEC has supposedly asked for “minutes from Activision board meetings since 2019, personnel files of six former employees, and separation agreements the company has reached this year with staffers.” That’s on top of communications between Kotick and his executive team members “regarding complaints of sexual harassment or discrimination by Activision employees or contractors.” According to the report, Activision spokesperson Helaine Klasky has stated the company is cooperating with the SEC investigation. If anything, this additional set of eyes on the issues within Activision Blizzard centering on pay disputes and sexual harassment accusations, has the power to make some sweeping cultural changes in the company. It’ll take time to see how this part of the saga plays out, but we’ll do our best to keep our readers updated. Please take a moment to check out Liana Ruppert’s reporting on the Activision Blizzard lawsuits that started making waves in July to get the bigger picture of the situation workers are facing at the publisher.