Bandai Namco and Arc System Works have released the first trailer for Zamasu, the third DLC character for Dragon Ball FighterZ.

The footage is in line with other FighterZ character trailers, which is to say it’s extremely short. It does show the character’s entrance scene, though, which shows Zamasu and Goku Black fusing together using the Potara Earrings. The special moves show a lot of what was expected, with Zamasu using lots of beams and zoning attacks, including a Blades of Judgment attack.

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Zamasu is the next DLC character planned for release, after Bardock and Brolly who have already been released.

Shining Resonance Refrain is coming to the west on basically every system in early July.

The RPG was released in Japan on the PlayStation 3 in 2014, but never left the country. A PlayStation 4 remaster came out in Japan just a few weeks ago with improvements like a What If mode that remixes the story to show what would happen if the story took different twists and turns. The western release brings this remaster with improved graphics and new content to multiple platforms.

Shining Resonance Refrain is the first Shining RPG to be released in the west in over a decade.

The game will be released in the U.S. on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Switch on July 10.

 

Our Take
I prefer Shining games in SRPG form, but Sega has had a lot of success lately with trying new things, so I’m looking forward to checking this game out.

In the 24 years that Insomniac Games has been around, they’ve maintained a strong presence in the industry with original, beloved titles like Spyro, Ratchet & Clank, and Sunset Overdrive. In the video below, CEO Ted Price lends insight into how the studio’s past led to Spider-Man, as well as how they’re handling what he describes as the biggest game Insomniac has ever made.

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To see our entire month of Spider-Man coverage, click the banner below and bookmark our hub. New stories and features are added every couple of days, so check back to learn more about Insomniac’s Spider-Man game for PS4.

Warning: Spoilers ahead for God of War. Do not read until after you’ve beaten the game!

God of War feels like an impossible game. That’s adjective been used often by fans to describe the series, mostly when it comes to the massive boss fights and camera effects. Kratos often squares off against beasts several times his size, including hydras, gods, and the jaw-dropping fight against the titan Cronos, in which our buff hero is no larger than ant on Cronos’ body. These setpieces are incredible works of technical display, ones that had me wondering how the hell the developers pulled off their scope and intensity. Outside of those moments of awe, though, I never had a deep love for this action/adventure series. Mostly because, well, Kratos sucks. He’s really awful; he’s an impulsive, rage-fueled murderer incapable of seeing anyone as anything more than materials he can use or obstacles on his quest for revenge against the gods of Olympus.

Admittedly, there was something entrancing about Kratos’ repulsiveness when God of War released in 2005. There had been anti-heroes in games, of course, with the likes of Kain, Agent 47, Arthas, James Cash, and others. However, Kratos was an entirely different level of anti-hero, especially as the series went on, with his actions becoming crueler. One instance in God of War III stands out in my mind, where Kratos sacrifices an innocent woman so he can get past a locked gate, forcing her body to be chewed up by a massive wheel as she’s killed in excruciating fashion. It’s a grim death, one excessive and revolting in its utter cruelty and conducted with sociopathic indifference.

Like I said: Kratos sucks. However, there is a narrative justification there. In the end, the original God of War games are about a man who ultimately becomes the thing he hates the most: a petty and cruel god, bringing misery to everyone around him. The whole saga is a fascinating, brutally nihilistic story that requires demolishing its protagonist and challenging players’ notion of what it means to be a hero and a villain. God of War sends players on a massive power trip and then forces them to burn down the whole pantheon.

The new God of War does something very special with that charred foundation, planting seeds in ruined soil that somehow manage to sprout into a profound and beautiful story about what it means to genuinely regret the past, and the trials of seeking redemption. The new game finds Kratos and his son, Atreus, journeying to the highest peak in all of the realms to scatter the ashes of Faye, Kratos’ lover and Atreus’ mother. It’s a long journey made longer by the sort of epic battles and plot twists God of War has always been known for, but the heart in this entry is different.

Instead of embracing the raw, bleak perspective of the last series, this new God of War focuses on Kratos’ attempts escape his past and teach his son how to survive a harsh world. In this way, Atreus doesn’t just exist as someone Kratos loves but also his chance to put good into the world after a lifetime of being a violently malignant force. Let there be no mistake: The fights in God of War are still incredible sequences that you have to play to believe, but what impressed me most were the quiet, conversational sequences that manage to rewrite such an unlikeable protagonist into such a deeply sympathetic character.

Between battles and story events, Kratos and Atreus talk. Well, Atreus talks. Kratos mostly grunts and occasionally chastises his son when he screws up in combat or is impulsive. “Don’t be sorry, be better,” he growls at the boy after his son apologizes for failing to hunt a deer. This is deftly expanded on later, near the end, after Kratos reveals his history of murder and rampage in Greece before coming to Midgar, when he tells his son he must be better. It’s clear, then, that Kratos is not just talking about Atreus needing to improve himself for the sake of survival, but also to not make the same moral mistakes his father has:

Atreus: Is this how it always ends? Sons killing their mothers? Their fathers?

Kratos: No. We will be the gods we choose to be. Not those who have been. Who I was….is not who you’ll be. We must be better.

One of the recurring themes that shows up in the new God of War is the futility and dissatisfaction of vengeance. It’s clear from the get-go that the years have been unkind to the Ghost of Sparta. He carries himself almost like a monk, in solitude, straining to rein in his anger and not fall victim to the same impulses that made him the monster he was in the original trilogy. During nearly all of his interactions in the game, with friend and foe alike, Kratos is considerably more composed than his younger self, issuing threats with a low growl instead of yelling, silencing those who annoy him with a glance. Kratos emerges as a character that feels real, someone trying to make best out of the lessons they’ve learned from the traumas they’ve suffered, both those brought on by others as well as his own actions.

But does that make him redeemed? We are, after all, talking about a god who reduced not just Mount Olympus but Greece into a wasteland, probably killing countless innocent people as a byproduct of his rage. The answer here is “No, probably not,” but that actually makes this incarnation of Kratos even more compelling to me. Redemption and closure are ideas that take root mostly in fiction. Life is messy, and chances are you’ll end up being the villain in someone else’s story through your own actions, whether they’re malicious or unintentional. That unease and regret is just something you likely have to live with. In the end, there is only the way forward and presenting this mass-murdering god as a regretful man trudging forward in spite of everything he’s done and everything that’s been done to him is both uplifting and discomforting.

I was surprised by just how much I wanted Kratos to have a happy ending despite knowing he doesn’t deserve it. But then again, what does “deserve” have to do with anything? Especially in the world of mythology, where many a mortal has been flicked into the underworld for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The new God of War doesn’t let its brutal protagonist off the hook, as there are several scenes dedicated to letting you know just how terrible Kratos’ list of sins are, but it doesn’t damn him either. The new game, in a sagely move, presents its protagonist to you free of judgment and instead opts for striking a balance between moral complexity and emotional earnestness. More than anything, I think the new God of War represents a triumph in the struggle of video game storytelling to present people as they are: often difficult, almost always sympathetic to a degree, and desperately looking for peace and hope in a frightening wilderness.


For more on the new God of War, be sure to check out our review.

Quantic Dream’s upcoming sci-fi game Detroit: Become Human is out next month, and PlayStation Plus subscribers can get a little refresher on the studio as part of May’s PS Plus lineup. Beyond: Two Souls joins Rayman Legends as the two big names heading up the roster.

Here’s the complete list of games coming to the service in May: 

[Source: PlayStation Blog]

Bandai Namco today announced that it would be publishing a new game set in World War I, called 11-11: Memories Retold. The narrative adventure is being developed by Aardman Animation Studios and DigixArt, and it features a striking visual design, as you can see in the game’s first trailer.

The somber subject matter may seem at odds with Aardman Studio’s most well-known productions, which include the whimsical Wallace and Gromit, but the studio doesn’t see it that way. “Engaging audiences with compelling stories through animation is at the heart of what we are trying to do at Aardman,” says founder Dave Sproxton. “With this project we want to produce an emotionally rich experience with distinctive visual character to help you understand what war is all about.” 

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The game is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

Sonic Mania Plus was unveiled back in March with a vague “summer” release window. Today, Sega has gotten specific, saying when in July players will be able to pick up the physical release.

The game is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch on July 17. Highlights of the enhanced edition (of an already excellent game) include two new playable characters – Mighty and Ray – as well as an expanded four-player component and a new encore mode. Check out the trailer below for a quick glimpse of Sonic’s new heroes in action.

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Insomniac has confirmed that Spider-Man’s Avengers: Infinity War suit will be available to use in the game, and teased that his very first suit will also be usable.

The Iron Spider suit will be included for those who pre-order the game. The “Homemade” wrestling suit is not specifically called out as being a pre-order. Presumably, it will just be one of the game’s included suits.

Spider-Man is coming to PlayStation 4 on September 7. For more on Spider-Man, which is currently the game featured on our cover, click the banner below.

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Belgium has joined the Netherlands in declaring that randomized loot boxes in video games are gambling and are therefore illegal in the country. The Belgian Gaming Commission looked at Overwatch, FIFA 18, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Star Wars Battlefront II, and determined that only the loot boxes in the latter did not constitute a game of chance because they were taken out at the time of the investigation. Belgium’s Minister of Justice, Koen Geens, is calling for their removal.

Geens requested that the Gaming Commission look into loot boxes after the Star Wars Battlefront II controversy, and he feels that minors in particular could be vulnerable to loot boxes influence as “gambling advertising.”

Geens wants to meet with video game companies to discuss the removal of loot boxes, stating that since these and any other games with them are in violation of the country’s gaming legislation, a prison sentence and fine are possible.

Here in America, legislators in multiple states have proposed legislation involving loot boxes and called upon the ESRB to address the matter systematically.

[Source: Belgian Minister of Justice via Eurogamer] 

 

Our Take 
The dominos are clearly falling regarding loot boxes, and we can’t just dismiss this as the local concerns of other countries. Going forward, it’ll be interesting to see what the dialog between video game companies and politicians is like in countries like the U.S., Canada, and England where many game companies are headquartered and millions of dollars are at stake.

A few years ago, Microsoft and Saber Interactive were working on a game for the Russian market called Halo Online. In August 2016, that game was canceled, but the modding community picked up the pieces to try and salvage something from the work. The resulting game is called ElDewrito and, in the modders’ own words, “attempt[s] to deliver an authentic Halo experience completely free for the PC.”

ElDewrito is essentially the closest thing that players can get to playing online component of Halo 3 on PC, since Bungie and Microsoft never released 3 on that platform. However, 343 Industries released a statement today that sounds rather ominous for the future of the mod:

 While we are humbled and inspired to see the amount of passion poured into this project, the fact remains that it’s built upon Microsoft-owned assets that were never lawfully released or authorized for this purpose. As this project reverberated across the community, our team took a step back to assess the materials and explore possible avenues, while Microsoft, like any company, has a responsibility to protect its IP, code and trademarks. It’s not optional in other words.

On the mod’s site, the community says that “Unfortunately, 343 Industries and Microsoft have noticed it’s success, and have reached out to us regarding potential legal action, and have requested we temporarily halt development.” ElDewrito’s community leaders note that they have not received a cease and desist letter or anything similar. They’ve just been made aware that Microsoft is thinking of taking action.

[Source: ElDewrito]

 

Our Take
Fan development on games is tricky business, and despite ELDewrito’s attempts to present itself as a mod, this definitely sounds like a case of some fans (skillfully) resuscitating a dead game without permission and being taken to task for it. This is not the first case where an idealistic group of talented fans have a project that’s been struck down and, sadly, it will probably not be the last given just how common the issue is.