My biggest problem with side-scrolling brawlers has always been their mindlessness. Even when a few upgrade trees or RPG systems are thrown in to make them more intricate, I can’t escape the feeling I’m just mashing the punch button until everyone’s dead. Way of the Passive Fist addresses this issue with more mindful combat that wants you to pay close attention in every fight. But while its combat is novel and fun at first, it doesn’t lift the experience above some glaring issues.

Rather than punching your way through legions of street thugs, Way of the Passive Fist has you hanging back and watching the movements of the many bandits, robots, and monsters you face as you make your way through a thin, post-apocalyptic plot that serves more as context than a real pull. Your main weapon against your enemies are well-timed parries and dodges, which drain your foes’ stamina until they keel over from exhaustion. 

Every enemy has their own multi-hit attack strings to memorize, giving combat a rhythmic feel.  Once I had learned most of the enemy patterns, I was parrying punches, dodging throws, and returning throwing knives to their senders in a matter of seconds, which made me feel like the center of a well-choreographed action movie fight scene. As you parry attacks you build up a combo meter, giving you access to powered-up moves like charged-up punches and grabs. Saving up these attacks for clusters of enemies or hulking brutes adds a fun strategic layer to all the parrying.

Unfortunately, combat grows stale over time. Though later levels introduce a few new enemy types, they’re mostly palette-swapped foes with faster, more difficult attack patterns, which don’t do much to stave off how repetitious combat can be. Although it can make for some cool maneuvers, the rhythm-based combat isn’t as satisfying as you’d expect; instead of feeling like I’d accomplished some feat of dexterity or skill, I was rewarded simply for paying attention and playing long enough to memorize each enemy’s pattern.

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Moving around during combat is also a bit of a chore, which causes a few issues. It isn’t a constant concern since you and your opponents are usually standing still as you defend against their attacks, but a few levels emphasize deft movements. The side-scrolling view isn’t great at relaying whether you can hit an opponent, making for some frustrating situations in which my charged-up punch missed because I wasn’t at the right height (which is especially aggravating during boss fights). Positioning causes problems during levels that have you dodging lasers or bombs; if you’re in the middle of parrying a string of attacks when you see your cue to dodge, you’re probably going to get hit. I also had times when enemies’ attacks would overlap with each other, asking me to parry attacks from two sides at once, which is impossible.

One way to mitigate these problems is with difficulty sliders, which let you tailor various gameplay aspects to your liking. After finishing the story mode, I wanted to test my parry reactions but didn’t want to deal with health management, so I made it much harder to land parries, but made it health pickups more abundant. This is a smart way to let players learn and experiment, and I like that no content is gated based on difficulty.

A few arcade modes encourage you to replay levels to get high scores and bragging rights, but I felt as if I’d seen everything interesting on my first time through. Enemy encounters don’t drastically change between playthroughs, either, and the lack of multiplayer means it lacks the party-friendliness that can liven up subsequent runs.

The rhythm-based combat and malleable difficulty set Way of the Passive Fist apart from most brawlers in an interesting way. But while it starts strong, the combat doesn’t carry it over a host of issues. Without other ways to keep players busy it isn’t worth going back to after the first unsatisfying playthrough. Way of the Passive Fist offers an interesting alternative to the mash-happy games of the genre’s past, but after the novelty wears off, it fails to connect.

Let’s Play Video Games has heard from anonymous sources that CD Projekt Red’s Geralt of Rivia from The Witcher franchise will appear in Bandai Namco’s fighter Soulcalibur VI.

The site heard from its sources a few weeks ago, and its belief was strengthened when CD Projekt Red community lead, Marcin Momot, sent out the teasing tweet below.

LPVG also points out that Bandai Namco and CD Projekt Red have an existing relationship – the former distributes The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt in some territories around the world.

Soul Calibur VI comes out this year, and you can see it in action in these video clips.

[Source: LPVG, Marcin Momot

 

Our Take 
The pieces are certainly in place for this to be true, and the series has a history of guest fighters from other franchises, like Assassin’s Creed’s Ezio in Soulcalibur V, among others.

People who make science-fiction television shows for a living may have played a little Mass Effect in their day. Imagine that! The new trailer for Netflix’s Lost in Space appears to draw inspiration from BioWare’s Mass Effect games, most notably in the design of Will Robinson’s Robot, which looks a lot like Legion, Commander Shepard’s geth teammate. You can see the similarities between Legion and Robot below:

Mass Effect fans will also be reminded of the Nomad, and may even think the Robinson space suits look somewhat familiar. BioWare’s artists knocked it out of the part with Mass Effect, and it really shouldn’t be that shocking to see it be used as inspiration for movies and television shows. If anything, it makes me want to watch the show more. You can see the entire Lost in Space trailer below:

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After the whirlwind last week where the White House announced a meeting with video game leaders, and the Entertainment Software Association subsequently stated that none of its member companies have received invites, the ESA has now announced that they will be meeting with the president this Thursday, first reported by Kotaku.

It was unclear a few days ago when White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced the meeting who exactly the president would be meeting with for his discussion on violent media, but the invites have seemingly made their way to their intended recipients and the ESA has stated that they will be attending.

The stated focus of the meeting is to discuss the effect violent video games have and any possible contributions to mass shootings.

We contacted the ESA for a statement on their announcement.

Video games are enjoyed around the world and numerous authorities and
reputable scientific studies have found no connection between games and
real-life violence. Like all Americans, we are deeply concerned about the level
of gun violence in the United States. Video games are plainly not the issue:
entertainment is distributed and consumed globally, but the US has an exponentially
higher level of gun violence than any other nation. The upcoming meeting at the
White House, which ESA will attend, will provide the opportunity to have a
fact-based conversation about video game ratings, our industry’s commitment to
parents, and the tools we provide to make informed entertainment choices.” –
Entertainment Software Association – March 5, 2018

The ESA is a lobbying group representing and comprised of numerous large publishers in the gaming industry. In the past, the group has supported the Trump administration’s STEM initiative and tax plan, and also condemned the president’s alleged comments about third-world countries.

Our Take
I am curious who besides ESA representatives will be at the meeting. It sounds like the ESA wants to plead its case, but I don’t know how effective it will be.

Some months ago, Ubisoft announced that dedicated servers will be coming to For Honor, the publisher’s weapon-based fighting game. Last month, dedicated servers launched for PC, but it’s coming to consoles tomorrow March 6.

The change makes it so there’s no host advantage in multiplayer matches. A match with multiple people used to only be as strong as its weakest connection, but now it should theoretically not affect everyone connecting to Ubisoft’s servers. Users on PC have been reporting a marked uptick in the quality and consistency of matches since the patch.

The Age of Wolves expansion launched for For Honor last month to coincide with the PC patch. For Honor is available on Xbox One, PS4, and PC.

Nintendo announced last month that they were planning to expand the Nintendo rewards system by allowing you to use gold points – points specifically gained as a percentage of money spent on games and associated content – to make purchases on the eShop. Today, that system went live.

If you buy a game or DLC for the Switch, you then earn a percentage back for your Nintendo account which amounts to one cent per gold point. So if you wanted a brand new $60 game for free, you’d need about 6000 gold points. Considering points expire after a year, by and large, the gold points will mostly be used for discounts rather than wholly free titles.

The rewards system is heavily geared toward transitioning customers to digital purchases. You get a higher percentage back when using digital (5 percent versus 1 percent for physical) and physical games can only earn points within a year of the game’s release. I imagine that rule has exceptions, however, as the Switch just turned a year old and launch games seem to be eligible. That limit is two years for Europe, but one year for everywhere else.

Also, DLC only counts for Switch. While game purchases on 3DS and Wii U count, DLC does not. It is not clear if mobile game DLC does or not.

[Source: Nintendo]

 

Our Take
This seems like a good deal if you’re buying lots of Nintendo stuff digitally, as some discounts are better than nothing. Still, I miss the old Club Nintendo, as I felt you got more bang for your buck there.

Last year, Nintendo shocked and baffled the world by changing a single category in Mario’s Japanese profile page: occupation. The change went from Plumber to Adventurer, turning everything we knew about Mario on its head. Thankfully, that has now been rectified.

Users on Reddit noticed the change yesterday, realizing that Nintendo had seemingly adjusted the Mario profile page once again this week. After some Google translation and comparing of archived pages that referred to him only as a plumber “a long time ago,” it was revealed that Occupation had been changed back to Plumber, putting Mario back in touch with his pipe-based roots.

Maybe Nintendo knows this is just one of those changes where calling him Adventurer provides no benefit but changing it from Plumber bothers some people because it’s an unnecessary change. Or maybe Bowser’s line in Mario Odyssey calling Mario “plumber boy” finally got to him and he realized that, while he may also be an adventurer, he’ll always be a plumber at heart.

[Source: NintendoLife]

Most horror games are about limited the player with scarce resources or having them evade a ferocious villain stalking them. In Carrion, an upcoming horror game from Phobia Game Studio, the roles are reversed. This time, you’re a fearsome, bloody, monster blob lurking around and killing its prey.

You make your way through an industrial complex going head-to-head with various heavily armed humans, all hoping to end the terror you cause. Unfortunate for them, you have a range of otherworldly abilities at your disposal to send them to early graves. You can view a short trailer below.

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Carrion is expected to release on PC, though no release date has been announced just yet.

Welcome to a very special episode of The Game Informer Show podcast! The magazine just hit our 300th issue, and we’re celebrating by rolling out five unique covers and listing what we consider to be the 300 greatest games of all time. To reveal the new covers and dive in deep on the creation of the list, we streamed this episode of the podcast live from Fulton Brewery in downtown Minneapolis in a room filled with the Game Informer community. Thanks again to everybody that came out for the event, and we hope you enjoy the episode!

You can watch the video below, subscribe and listen to the audio on iTunes or Google Play, or listen to this episode on SoundCloud. Also, be sure to send your questions to podcast@gameinformer.com for a chance to have them answered on the show and win a prize by becoming Email of the Week!

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Our thanks to the talented Super Marcato Bros. for The Game Informer Show’s intro song. You can hear more of their original tunes and awesome video game music podcast at their website.

To jump to a particular point in the discussion, check out the time stamps below…

1:25 – Revealing Game Informer’s 300th issue covers
17:10 – Fulton Brewery’s Tucker Gerrick on the Game Informer collaboration
23:14 – Creating the list of the Top 300 Games Of All Time
1:31:30 – Community questions
1:43:00 – Media Molecule’s Abbie Heppe on Dreams
1:52:05 – Even more community questions

Good Smile Company, a Japanese retailer known for its pop-culture collectibles, is releasing a Nendoroid figure of the Guardian from Breath of the Wild later this year, and it’s available now to pre-order. 

This adorable collectible features a movable head and eyeball, along with removable legs. It also comes with a number of accessories including a translucent “Game Over” screen, which you can view in the image gallery below. Other accessories include an eye beam attack, and an Ancient Bow.

Currently being sold for 5,800 yen (approximately $55), you can pre-order the collectible by heading here. It is expected to ship as of August. Good Smile is also re-releasing its Nendoroid Link (4,500 yen) and Nendoroid Link DX (5.800 yen) which are both up from pre-order as well, and will ship in September.

Take a look at our photo gallery below for more images of the Nendoroid Guardian.