- Gordon Cameron at Plugged In1 day ago
SOMA is difficult to talk about because you feel like a bad sport if you give away anything more than the barest premise.
To some, it’ll be enough to say that it’s a new horror adventure from Frictional Games, the makers of 2010’s Amnesia: The Dark Descent , which established Frictional as a major force in atmospheric, creepy, story-driven games.
For everyone else, well, hmm. How to tread lightly? The setting is sci-fi/horror. You view the action through the eyes of a mild-mannered protagonist who ends up at the bottom of the ocean in a mysterious high-tech installation. He’s seeking a device called the Ark, which may or may not be the key to humanity’s salvation. Along the way, he is stalked and menaced by various inhuman entities of, erm, enigmatic origin.
I won’t say more. It’s not that the game’s storyline is so stunningly original as to render spoilers a crime, but to a large extent, the storyline is the gameplay, and SOMA husbands this resource carefully, distributing twists and revelations in a measured way.
- Scott C. Jones at Plugged In3 days ago
Nathan Drake could not possibly be more likeable.
He ’ s funny, but not too funny. Smart, but not threateningly smart. Good-looking, but not George Clooney good-looking. He ’ s a nerd with a grip of steel and a penchant for half-tucked shirts and scarves. And he ’ s good at talking to women — Chloe and Elena, mostly — about the things that he ’ s super nerdy about, like history and archaeology.
Nathan Drake ’ s a guy people can really get behind. He should run for office. I ’ d vote for him. A lot of people would.
With the cultivated, just-right Nathan Drake at their center, the Uncharted games take his just-right spirit even further: the puzzles put up a bit of a fight, but aren ’ t overly difficult; gunplay is engaging, but you don ’ t have to be great (or even very good) at video games to be successful. Part of the success of the series is its knack for finding those right-down-the-middle sweet spots on all fronts. All three core Uncharted games are experiences that somehow make everybody feel good about themselves and video games in general.
- Chris Morris at Plugged In3 days ago
Sending video gamers into an imaginary war? Cool. Pretending that war is, like, real? Not so cool.
The has 2.8 million followers, but earlier this week, someone at Activision changed the feed's name and bio from " Call of Duty " to the newsy-sounding "Current Events Aggregate" and began issuing alerts:
BREAKING NEWS: Unconfirmed reports are coming in of an explosion on the North bank of the Singapore Marina.
That was followed by multiple descriptions of an emerging conflict. Within an hour, the feed tweeted this:
UPDATE: Singapore Authorities have officially announced a state of emergency and declared martial law.
It went on to describe shots being fired at civilians, a convoy of military trucks with people in Hazmat suits, and the establishment of a quarantine zone.
Roughly two hours after the last 'update' about the 'situation,' the feed reverted to Call of Duty and admitted the previous tweets had been a promotion for the upcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops III.
- Ben Silverman at Plugged In12 days ago
It’s been just four years since Activision first mashed together toys and video games with the original Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure . Little did they know that pairing would explode into one of the most lucrative game franchises in the world: Over 250 million Skylanders toys have been sold thus far, generating a jaw-dropping $3 billion.
And where there’s money, there’s competition. Disney overhauled its gaming division to focus entirely on Disney Infinity . Lego is hoping its ironclad brand will yield big returns with the upcoming Lego Dimensions . Skylanders might be the first big toys-to-life game, but it’s hardly the only one in town.
So to stay ahead, they have to develop compelling new ideas. Last year’s Trap Team did just that by turning the tables and letting players ‘capture’ villains inside small crystal toys. It worked. Whisking characters from screen to toy was an effective gimmick that injected some magic into the series.
- Steve Tilley at Plugged In16 days ago
A year into a committed relationship is roughly the time when the romance starts to lose a bit of its spark. You’ve heard most of your partner’s stories, you’ve seen their embarrassing junior high photos, and you’ve become accustomed to their quirks. There just aren’t many surprises left.
That’s a little how I feel about Destiny, the epic sci-fi shooter birthed from the same loins that gave us the original Halo trilogy. As a guy who’s sunk roughly 500 hours into the game since its release last year, I’ve pretty much seen it all. I’ve vanquished alien armies with my arsenal of futuristic weaponry. I’ve massacred thousands of rival Guardians, the protectors of Destiny ’s besieged solar system, in online play. I’ve explored every inch of Venus, Mars, the moon, and the rusted ruins of post-apocalyptic Earth. No raids remain unraided, no strikes are left unstruck.
To be honest, this relationship is getting a bit stale. Which makes Destiny: The Taken King kind of like having your partner greet you at the door with two tickets to Paris and a bottle of champagne.
- Chris Morris at Plugged In20 days ago
On September 13, 1985, Nintendo released Super Mario Bros.
A few days earlier, lead designer Shigeru Miyamoto was line dancing. And he might dance again this weekend, when the world celebrates the 30th anniversary of the seminal video game.
"When we finished it, myself and Mr. [Takashi] Tezuka and Mr. Nakano — who has been working on the games with us for a long time; he's a programmer — the three of us went out to a small country music club close to the old headquarters in Kyoto and we all had a little kanpai [a celebratory toast] to celebrate the completion of the game," Miyamoto told Yahoo Games. "So maybe for the 30th anniversary, the three of us should get back together and go back to that same pub and do a little kanpai."
- Gordon Cameron at Plugged In24 days ago
The platformer genre is pretty crowded. To distinguish itself from the pack, a game needs to channel something special: some impressive new mechanics, a captivating narrative, or an amazing art style, perhaps.
Tearaway Unfolded certainly nails that last one, and it does a pretty good job with its story and gameplay, too.
The original Tearaway first saw life on Sony’s portable system, the PlayStation Vita, two years ago. It was received so well that Sony and developer Media Molecule decided to dust it off, apply a new coat of paint, add a few features, and bring it to the PlayStation 4, so those of us without a Vita could get in on the fun.
I’m glad they did. Though it’s not quite as harmonious as the original, the console version stands on its own two adorable, wobbly legs.
- Scott C. Jones at Plugged In24 days ago
The world of video game racing is broken up into two continents: simulation and arcade. Occasionally, games try to bridge the gap ( Forza Horizon , Shift ), but typically gamers prefer to live on one side or the other.
I ’ ve always gravitated more to arcade games. I only need two buttons: gas and brake. I want to drive like hell in a car that ’ s shaped like a speedboat or a rocket ship. And if I get into an accident? Then, by god, may the accident generate a big, plume-y explosion. My racing game mantra: May my explosions be plume-y and may my front bumper never come back to the ground! Praise be!
So I ’ ve historically struggled a bit with the Forza Motorsport games. The poetry and nuance of the engine ’ s mechanics? The beauty of the elegant design of the 2017 Ford Supercar? The historic background of Daytona Speedway and Le Mans and Sonoma? Wonderful, and majestic, and where are my plume-y explosions again?
But Forza 6 turned me into a believer. In part that ’ s because it ’ s a big improvement over 2013 ’ s anemic Forza 5 , but it ’ s also because this is simply a gorgeous, detailed, and surprisingly accessible racing game.
- Chris Morris at Plugged In25 days ago
Rich Uncle Pennybags, meet Nicolò Falcone.
The Italian board game fan hit the mother of all community chests Monday, pocketing $20,580 after winning the 2015 World Monopoly Championship.
Yes, that is a thing.
Held in Macao, China, the tournament lured the best players in the world. Falcone had to beat 26 other players in a seris of matches that ran an exhausting 10 straight hours.
The final battle saw Falcone take on challengers from Japan, the United States, and Norway. Ultimately, Falcone (playing as the race car) faced off against Norway's Bjørn Halvard Knappskog, the previous world champ. Knappskog chose the thimble.
Falcone's ace in the hole was his ownership of the orange property set (New York Ave,, Tennesee Ave, and St. James Place in the U.S. version of the game). Knappskog had the misfortune to land on two of those properties in succession. With their hotel-level rent as high as it was, that proved to be too much of a financial obstacle and eventually led to his bankruptcy.
The 2015 event markd the 13th Monopoly world championship. The first was held in 1973 and was won by Lee Bayrd, who was in attendance to watch this year's competition.
- Daniel Howley at Plugged In29 days ago
Roughly 15 minutes have passed since I touched down near a remote Soviet outpost in the wilds of Afghanistan. In that time, I’ve cultivated herbs, stolen a Russian transport truck, shot a half-dozen soldiers with tranquilizer darts, ridden a horse, fired an antiaircraft gun, and stuffed an unconscious man into a porta-potty. That last part was just for fun.
This is Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain in all its wonderfully over-the-top glory. The Phantom Pain is the latest and, according to series creator Hideo Kojima, the last in the long-running Metal Gear Solid franchise. Kojima has made similar claims following the release of previous Metal Gear games, but considering the epic falling out between the legendary designer and series publisher Konami, he might be right.
And that’s just fine, because out of the many excellent games in the Metal Gear series, The Phantom Pain is perhaps the finest.