Posts by Ben Silverman

  • Review: ‘The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt’ casts a mean spell

    Ben Silverman at Plugged In 10 days ago

    The problem with trying to review The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is that it requires you to stop playing The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt long enough to write a review.

    This is not easy.

    It’s The Lord of the Rings by way of A Game of Thrones , an immense, mature, character-driven fantasy that balances its ridiculously long script with plenty of sword-swinging, spell-flinging action. It requires time, patience, and more than a few reminders to your spouse that when she said she would love you unconditionally, it was letting you play The Witcher 3 every night until the crack of dawn for a month that you had in mind.

    What makes The Witcher 3 most remarkable, however, isn’t its potential to derail your marriage; it's how the game manages to be both intimate and vast at the same time. A massive, open-world game with a great story? Believe it. The Witcher 3 is one of the best role-playing games in years.

    Unfortunately, like most games of this nature, The Witcher 3 can’t quite figure out how to wrap itself up. The third act loses focus, running you around the world in an awkwardly long goodbye.

    What’s Hot: Absolutely massive; engrossing story; stunning graphics and voicework; tight, punchy combat

  • Odell Beckham, Jr. lands the cover of ‘Madden NFL 16’

    Ben Silverman at Plugged In 15 days ago

    As revealed during a live event on ESPN’s Sportscenter Wednesday evening, New York Giants wide receiver extraordinaire Odell Beckham, Jr. beat out New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski to become the face of Madden NFL 16 , due out this summer.

    “This is mindblowing,” Beckham said. “After playing one year of football and then being on the cover? I’m at a loss for words."

    The honor puts an exclamation point on a huge debut season for the agile receiver, highlighted by one of the craziest catches ever. Beckham backed up that one-handed grab with over 1,300 receiving yards and 12 TDs in only 12 games, good enough to score him the league’s Offensive Rookie of the Year award and give him the cred needed to enter the race for the cover.

    To complement the cover reveal, EA also debuted the first trailer for Madden 16 . Whereas last year’s game focused on improving the way gamers play defense, the new effort is all about playmaking on offense. Or at least that’s what the press release says, because the trailer’s a little vague:

  • Wii U sales improve, but are still historically terrible

    Ben Silverman at Plugged In 20 days ago

    On Thursday, the company announced a return to profit for the first time in three years. The sales slide of the 3DS handheld family is slowing, thanks to the excellent New variations. The collectable Amiibo toys have been such a huge hit, Nintendo is having trouble meeting demand. And with plans to expand into smartphones and theme parks, Nintendo is aiming to do big things with its big brands.

    But they also wedged in this little nugget: worldwide sales of the Wii U currently sit at around 9.5 million.

    That’s bad. Really bad. The console was released in November 2012. In two and a half years, the Wii U has yet to break the 10 million mark.

  • Demon lords and Drizz’t Do’Urden square off in new D&D adventure

    Ben Silverman at Plugged In 22 days ago

    A legendary hero is set to star in the next big Dungeons & Dragons storyline.

    Rage of Demons , due out this fall, will let players travel into the Underdark alongside Drizz't Do’Urden, the famous dark elf character created by author R.A. Salvatore. The adventure spans tabletop, console, and computer versions of D&D.

    “ Rage of Demons is a huge storyline involving all expressions of Dungeons & Dragons, and we’re excited to bring players this story in concert with all of our partners,” said Nathan Stewart, Brand Director at D&D maker Wizards of the Coast. “I can’t wait to see everyone interact with one of the world’s most recognizable fantasy characters: Drizzt Do’Urden. Descending into the depths won’t exactly be easy for him, and D&D fans will get their mettle tested just like Drizzt when they come face-to-face with all the demon lords.”

    [Watch the first gameplay trailer of Sword Coast Legends]

    Rage of Demons is the third major storyline to be introduced to the Fifth Edition set, following the successful Tyranny of Dragons and Elemental Evil stories.

  • Star Wars headlines the next ‘Disney Infinity’ game

    Ben Silverman at Plugged In 23 days ago

    It’s a Star Wars world, folks. We’re just playing in it.

    At least that’s Disney Interactive’s plan. On Tuesday, the company unveiled that the galaxy far, far away will be the cornerstone of Disney Infinity 3.0 , due out this fall.

    The new installment of Disney’s toy/game hybrid is aiming to please every generation of Star Wars fan by offering three different Star Wars-themed playsets. Packed in with the game’s Starter Set ($65) is the ‘Twilight of the Republic’ set, which takes place between Episodes I-III and features Jedi shenanigans with  Anakin, Obi-Wan, Darth Maul, and Yoda.

    But since Episodes I-III never actually happened – that was just a midi-chlorian induced nightmare, right? – you can fork over extra for the ‘Rise Against the Empire’ set. According to Disney, that one “ take players on galaxy-spanning missions with Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia Organa, Han Solo, Chewbacca and Darth Vader, piloting X-wing fighters or the  Millennium Falcon  to fight stormtroopers, or exploring and partaking in land-based missions on planets like Tatooine, Hoth, and Endor.” In other words, the good one.

  • You can now embed old computer games into tweets

    Ben Silverman at Plugged In 28 days ago

    As it turns out, you also can drop them into tweets. Some of them, at least.

    Chris Kohler over at Wired hipped me to this particularly awesome bit of Web know-how. If you tweet the URL of any of archive’s hundreds of MS-DOS games, it appears fully playable if you then view that tweet in a browser.

    So for instance:

    If you view this tweet on the web, are you playing Zork? https://t.co/JvRcWgbm63

    Or how about something with a little more bite?

    In honor of the new Wolfenstein releasing next week: https://t.co/R6vYUruC0T

    But who cares? Master of Orion!

    Master! Master! https://t.co/WYotx9PuTG

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  • Activision unveils ‘Guitar Hero Live’, due out this year

    Ben Silverman at Plugged In 1 mth ago

    The 2015 battle of the video game bands is booked.

    On Tuesday, Activision pulled back the curtain on the worst-kept secret in gaming: After a five-year hiatus,   Guitar Hero   is staging a comeback. The new effort is called   Guitar Hero Live , and it’s due out this fall.

    The announcement effectively revives the music game rivalry that once dominated consoles, as developer Harmonix   recently revealed   that   Rock Band 4   is also coming before the year is up.

    But while we know only a few tidbits about the new   Rock Band , Activision and new developer FreeStyleGames (they made the   DJ Hero   games) have already given press hands-on time with   Guitar Hero Live . In general, it’s the same sort of game that it’s always been — you bang away on a plastic guitar to notes flying down the screen — but it’s got a few new tricks up its sleeve. Here’s what we know so far:

    Hope you have room in the house for another plastic instrument.

    More jarring than the new guitar is the game’s new look.

  • Teaser trailer reveals ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops III’

    Ben Silverman at Plugged In 1 mth ago

    In news that should shock roughly .5% of the population, Activision has unwrapped the next Call of Duty game.

    Sort of.

    What they’ve actually done is release a teaser trailer of Call of Duty: Black Ops III, but it’s heavy on the tease and light on the trailer. Forget extensive breakdowns of new gear and potential hints at a plot, because this is really, seriously a tease. I’ll stop teasing it:

    Okay, so what was that? It’s hard to say. Intimidating voices mention a guy named Mason (that would be Alex Mason, the star of Black Ops II ) and yammer on about doubt and fear and war and weapons. Swirling lights and binary code coalesce into pistols and exosuits. There are undoubtedly hints scattered throughout (are those coordinates?), but this really is Teaser Town.

    It isn’t until the very end when we get something concrete: a date, April 26, for the game’s formal “world reveal.” Which means this teaser isn’t technically a reveal, even though it totally revealed that the new game is Call of Duty: Black Ops III . Marketing!

    But clearly Call of Duty fatigue has set in. We'll see what Black Ops III developer Treyarch intends to do to keep things fresh. Other than tease us.

  • A ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’ film is in the works

    Ben Silverman at Plugged In 1 mth ago

    Your darkest animatronic nightmares are headed to the silver screen.

    According to   the Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros. has picked up the rights to the wildly popular frightfest   Five Nights at Freddy’s . No writer or director has been attached to it yet, though producers Seth Grahame-Smith and David Katzenberg of KatzSmith Productions are on the prowl.

    The work of independent game maker Scott Cawthon,   Five Nights   drops players into the security booth of Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza, a Chuck E. Cheese knockoff featuring a delightful band of animatronic animals. Delightful during the day, that is. At night, the robots roam the restaurant looking for something to kill. Your job? Survive five nights by using security cameras to keep an eye on the furry evildoers, which, thanks to a shaky electrical grid, is harder than it sounds.

    So what’s the movie about, other than lots of jump scares? No one’s quite sure yet.

    “We’re looking forward to working with Scott to make an insane, terrifying and weirdly adorable movie,” Grahame-Smith told the Reporter.

  • This 'Mortal Kombat X' selfie Fatality is picture perfect

    Ben Silverman at Plugged In 1 mth ago

    Millenials get a lot of grief from grumpier generations who can't stand their Snapchats and emojis and surprisingly responsible fiscal planning. But you have to hand it to the kids: they've certainly got style.

    Take this impressive kill from Cassie Cage, the badass offspring of Mortal Kombat icons Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade. Cassie is a playable character in the upcoming Mortal Kombat X, and just like dear old dad, she's got some serious swag. Not only does she lop off an opponent’s jaw, she has the presence of mind to share it online (Warning: NSFW. It’s really gross. After all, it’s Mortal Kombat ):

     The best part might be the fact that the fake social network is called “Friendships,” a reference to a kindhearted version of a Fatality first introduced in Mortal Kombat II . That may well be the only Friendship we’ll see in Mortal Kombat X , however, if you believe the cryptic tweets of series overlord Ed Boon.

    Mortal Kombat X i s due out April 14 for the Xbox One, PS4 and PC.