Following up on its tease earlier this week, Hasbro has announced a line of Overwatch-themed action figures, unveiling the first line featuring nine characters who aren’t Roadhog.

The trailer of the line is short and sweet except for not including Roadhog, giving each of the figures in the line a quick once-over. The characters in the line are:

  • Blackwatch Reyes (Reaper)
  • Lucio
  • Mercy and Pharah Dual Pack
  • Reinhardt
  • Shrike Ana and Solider 76 Dual Pack
  • Sombra
  • Tracer
  • Again, not Roadhog

Click here to watch embedded media

The figures retail for $22.99 for single figures, and $49.99 for dual packs (which don’t look like they’re available separately). If you’re Reinhardt main, however, you’ll have to pay $49.99 for the extra-large figure. If you’re a Roadhog main, not being able to buy a figure of your favorite character is free. You can browse and purchase the entire first series here.

Disclosure: GameStop is the parent company of Game Informer.

Click image thumbnails to view larger version

 

                                                                                                            

Publisher: Bandai Namco
Developer: Project Soul
Release: October 19, 2018
Rating: Teen
Platform: PlayStation 4

Bandai Namco has announced who the third of four planned DLC characters will be coming to Soulcalibur VI as part of the game’s season pass.

Amy Sorel, who was first made playable back in Soulcalibur III, will be returning the to the weapons-based fighting series, the company announced at this year’s Evo Japan. Sporting a rapier-wielding style similar to her adopted father Raphael, Amy has a few tricks up her sleeves, including quick mix-up strings, a rose toss, and a slide that can extend combos. You can watch her in action in the Japanese-language trailer below.

Click here to watch embedded media

The announcement seems to give credence to a leak from data-mined info from late last year that could mean Cassandra will be the next DLC character, as that leak showed that both she and Amy were in the game’s config file. Hopefully, that’ll the case.

Trials of the Nine, one of Destiny 2’s most competitive activities and which only took place on weekends, isn’t going to return any time soon, as Bungie still trying to figure out how to make the mode work with the current state of Destiny 2.

On its blog, Bungie announced the mode still isn’t ready to return. “We still don’t have a timeline for when it may return, but we do want to give you an update on our current thinking about Trials,” the developer said.

Bungie feels the mode didn’t reach the highs of the the original Destiny’s Trials of Osiris, the original competitive mode for the series, especially when it come to rallying like-minded players to play at their best. Though the company has pushed many parts of Destiny 2 to be more like Destiny, this won’t be the case for Trials. “Both Destiny and the online PvP scene have evolved since 2015, so we don’t believe that bringing back the 2015 version of Trials of Osiris would accomplish what our goals are today.”

“Until we have a solid prototype for a pinnacle PvP endgame activity, Trials is staying on hiatus indefinitely and will not return over the course of the next few seasons,” Bungie said. “When we have those new plans ready, we’ll be sure to share them with you.”

I was never the biggest proponent of Trials (I’m not good enough at Crucible to really invest in it competitively), but I know there’s a large community of players who’d love to see its return. It feels like Crucible’s Competitive mode offers the chance for players to really test their mettle, and I have to imagine Bungie is looking for a way Trials can feel significantly different from that mode. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Bungie ended up merging Trials’ gauntlet-style progression with Competitive’s current stock of modes as a solution.

It’s a big week all over the world! Overwatch League starts off here in the States, Counter-Strike gets some love in Poland, and fighting games are big in Japan.

The Overwatch League started back up this week and will be finishing its first run of matches tomorrow. You can catch old favorites like the Shanghai Dragons (favorites because who doesn’t like an underdog?) face off against new teams like the Vancouver Titans. (Stream / Schedule)

When they’re not shutting the stream down due to Dead or Alive-related incidents, Evo Japan brings some of the most competitive fighting game action for Street Fighter Vthe King of Fighters XIVSoulcalibur VITekken 7, and more. (Stream / Schedule)

The Rainbow Six Siege Invitational wraps up this Sunday, but today it’ll be working through the semi-final matches as well as a short documentary on the game’s competitive scene. We should also get our first major look at the fourth season’s roadmap and reveal tomorrow. (Stream / Schedule)

The Counter-Strike: Global Offensive scene starts its march toward crowning a champion in Katowice, Poland, as the “New Challengers” stage pits 16 qualifying teams are pit against each other, Swiss style, to see which 8 proceed to the next stage. (Stream / Schedule)

You can’t stop the League of Legends LCS circuit, and why would you want to? There are more matches going on this weekend, so continue not trying to stop it. (Stream / Schedule)

That’s it for this weekend! Let us know if we missed an event, or if there’s a scene you’d like us to cover, in the comments.

Replay – Shadow Hearts: Covenant

Click here to watch embedded media

In last week’s episode, we played through the opening moments of Shadow Hearts: Covenant, a PlayStation 2 RPG by Nautilus that moves to the beat of its own drum. We were so impressed by the opening that we wanted to see what came next. We dedicated the entire episode to this fascinating gem of yesteryear, and walked away even more in awe of it.

Shadow Hearts: Covenant uses World War I as a backdrop for a strange story that features vampires, gods, and even a strange puppeteer that may not be using puppets. The jury is still out on that last one. Sit back, enjoy the episode, and we’ll be back in seven days (with maybe even more of Shadow Hearts: Covenant).

February is a big month for gaming, with huge titles like Anthem, Jump Force, and Far Cry: New Dawn knocking on our doors. Some Game Informer editors are catching up on their backlogs as they ready for the month’s biggest titles, and others are diving right into new games like the stellar Metro Exodus. Let us know in the comments section below what games you’ll be playing this weekend!

Ben Hanson (@yozetty) – This weekend I’ll be starting my journey in Anthem on PC! Other than that, I’m sure I’ll play some more Apex Legends and also keep playing Kingdom Hearts III on PS4… My apologies to all listeners to The Game Informer Show podcast for sharing my opinions on Kingdom Hearts III so far. I’ll keep at it. Have a good weekend!

Brian Shea (@BrianPShea) – I’m spending this weekend playing more of Wargroove and, of course, getting some final loot boxes in the Overwatch Lunar New Year event. I need that Reaper skin.

Kyle Hilliard (@KyleMHilliard) – This weekend is pretty low key. I plan on playing a lot of Tetris 99 (we’ll have a full review of that soon!), Crackdown 3 (I like that game a lot more than Jeff Cork), and probably some Kingdom Hearts III. I’ve also got big romantic dinner plans for Sunday and I don’t know… maybe I will sneak a movie in there somewhere.

Nathan Anstadt (@NathanAnstadt) – I might be playing a bit of Dragon Ball FighterZ, because I played some this week, and I had forgotten just how much I like that game. Otherwise I’m going to get my platinum trophy in Uncharted: The Lost Legacy and take some time to check out Crackdown 3. Also Final Fantasy Tactics is still there. I should really finish that.

Hunter Wolfe (@Hunter_Wolfe) – Now that I’ve finished my second playthrough of Kingdom Hearts III, I can finally address the placement matches I’ve been neglecting in Overwatch. Does Junkrat still love me as his main? We’ll see! Outside of games, I’ll be doing movie night with my fellow interns Nathan and Jay. I’m going to make them watch Deadpool, which my parents got me for Christmas so I could “bond with the interns.” They also got me Deadpool pajamas, which I will be wearing.

Suriel Vazquez (@SurielVazquez) – Dropping onto King’s Canyon as a Storm and telling Mr. X to “Get Over Here!”

Jay Guisao (@GuisaoJason) – Now that I’ve discovered a love for life’s simplicities, I will be planting and harvesting mounds of vegetation with my girlfriend in Farm Together. When we’re not busy making money and ranking up our land, we’ll be destroying goblins in the Black Desert Online Beta. Of course, I’ll be attempting to collect a ton of SR in Overwatch (if I can chisel out some time for it!). But as for tonight, I’m going to take it easy with my roommates and watch a funny movie or two.

Imran Khan (@imranzomg) – This weekend, I’m going to spend some time trying out Metro Exodus and seeing if I like this one better than the other games. I’ve always respected them, but never really got into any. Maybe this time! I’ve also been enjoying Momodara on Switch, so I expect to play more of that.

ToyArk

The Ghostbusters and Transformers have a lot in common. Both are frequently looked on by skeptical government employees. Both battle unambiguously villainous names like Decepticons or Vigo. Both also often get to where they need to be on wheels, which is exemplified with a new toy from Hasbro.

Discovered by website ToyArk, the Transforms x Ghostbusters crossover is called the Ecto-1 figure. It’s not available yet and was leaked during a store redesign for Hasbro’s Pulse store.

The page isn’t up yet but you can count on ToyArk’s site to post when it’s finally available.

Evo Japan, the Japanese version of the venerated fighting game tournament, is currently ongoing in Fukuoka, Japan. The newer branch of Evo is getting its footing in its second year, but is still a good place to show off what your fighting game can do to a market eager to play more games in the genre. Koei Tecmo clearly realized this when they brought in the upcoming Dead or Alive 6 for an exhibition at the event, but it ended with Evo ending the segment and suspending the stream for what was deemed inappropriate behavior.

The problem started when Koei Tecmo’s presentation began with two women in scantily clad clothing talking about the game alongside Dead or Alive 6 director Yohei Shimbori dressed as Spetsnaz agent Bayman. The two women began spanking each other and showing off their cleavage to the camera by tugging at their outfits. Shimbori posed next to the women as they talked about Dead or Alive in general terms.

A little while later, Shimbori began an exhibition of the game. Using the pro wrestler Bass, he slammed female opponent Nyotengu down on her back, then paused the game and rotated the camera around a sexually suggestive position for 30-40 seconds. At this point, Evo cut the stream for what it declared as inappropriate behavior. 

Evo founder and director Joey Cuellar posted on Twitter immediately after, stating in a now-deleted tweet that “The DOA ad that aired on our stream does not reflect the core values of Evo or the FGC. We ended the stream temporarily to protect the integrity of our brand. We sincerely apologize to our fans.” After facing a backlash from fans questioning Cuellar for, among other things, allowing Mortal Kombat on stream but not this, he deleted the tweet.

It is definitely a step back for the game’s tournament viability, as the series has always had a hard time being taken seriously within the fighting game community. While previous attempts to tune the game better toward competitive players have come and gone, Team Ninja frequently ends up backtracking and returning to Dead or Alive’s sexually suggestive roots, which is the way much of the series’ community would prefer it.

Publisher: Bandai Namco
Developer: Spike Chunsoft
Release: February 15, 2019
Rating: Teen
Reviewed on: Xbox One
Also on:
PlayStation 4, PC

Jump Force is not the first time characters from disparate Shonen Jump manga and anime franchises have faced off against one another in a fighting game, but this release represents the biggest and flashiest mashup brawl they have ever engaged in. The 40 characters have multiple bombastic animations for their noteworthy attacks, and it’s all wrapped up in a goofy story where universes collide. Unfortunately, the combat never becomes totally engaging, and the sloppy presentation drags down the other elements that had potential.

The combat is Jump Force’s strongest element. It is a fighting game, but not in the traditional sense. You don’t need to learn every fighter’s best combos and counters; every character plays similarly, and pulling off their big special attacks is more about keeping an eye on the meters that build up as you take and receive damage. I like how combat is more about finding the best windows to execute your big attacks, and I enjoyed experimenting with finding the best three-character combos to take into the fray, which highlights the fun mashup nature of the game. Playing as Midoriya from My Hero Academia and hitting Goku from Dragon Ball as he charges up a Kamehameha with a Detroit Smash is an exciting thing – which is admittedly difficult to explain to non-fans.

Click here to watch embedded media

When you find the rhythm of combat, the experience becomes a spectator sport, for better or worse. The big, flashy combat animations are impressive, but they are also time-consuming and emphasize the back-and-forth nature of each fight in a bland way. It boils down to: “You do your big attack, and I will wait until the animation completes. Then I do mine, and you do yours again until someone’s health reaches zero.” Even with the myriad special attacks you can see by choosing different characters, it all becomes repetitive.

The story conceit for why everyone gets together is silly – maybe even dumb – but that’s fine. It’s an excuse to get characters like Goku and Luffy in a room together to talk about how hungry they are. or to see Trunks and Kenshiro connecting because they are both from apocalyptic settings. But those character moments have no emotion to them. Nearly every cutscene amounts to an assortment of characters standing still and, at most, turning their heads towards one another to speak. On the rare occasion that a cutscene has movement, it is the least amount of movement possible. At one point, when a character was meant to leave the frame, they just slid out of view without taking an actual step. These low standards for presentation make every potentially interesting moment feel cheap and boring.

Click image thumbnails to view larger version

 

                                                                                                            

Getting to those story moments is also needlessly obtuse. When there aren’t story missions available at the mission counter, I just had to walk around the large hub area until I found the next character who had an exclamation point over their head. The hub area is boring, and if you’re playing online, it is overloaded with online players crowding the mission areas and clipping through one another, sometimes even making it difficult to talk to the NPC to accept a mission. It makes it feel like you’re trying to order a drink at a busy bar instead of rushing to save the world from devastation.
    
To make all of it worse, the loading is insufferable. The load times leading into a cutscene or fight can take 30-45 seconds – sometimes longer than the thing you’re waiting to see. The loading also makes the already-obnoxious elements that much worse. Even accessing upgrade menus or stores requires a load. The store to buy fun, referential clothing items and accessories for your customizable character is especially long, and it doesn’t let you preview the clothing you want to buy on your character. One of the biggest incentives for continued play in Jump Force is the opportunity to dress up your avatar in Shonen Jump paraphernalia, so it’s disappointing that the process is so difficult.

Click image thumbnails to view larger version

 

                                                                                                            

For all the harm the middling presentation does to Jump Force, the fighting does have satisfying explosive moments and the online versus mode does work well. There is depth to uncover in the combat, but it never truly sang to me or made me excited to tackle the next fight. Mostly I was just happy to not have to repeat a fight when I won, even if I was performing iconic attacks from some of my favorite anime.

Score: 6

Summary: For all the harm the middling presentation does to Jump Force, the fighting does have satisfying explosive moments and the online versus mode does work well.

Concept: Make a 40-character mashup fighting game using the popular and obscure characters under the Shonen Jump umbrella

Graphics: The realism afforded by the Unreal engine does no favors to any of the characters, all of whom were born from the pages of manga

Sound: The music vacillates between scary orchestration and upbeat pan flute at the drop of a hat. It’s often jarring and confusing

Playability: Executing flashy special attacks is easy, which leads to satisfying moments in combat. Outside of combat, controlling your avatar in the hub area is awkward

Entertainment: Seeing characters from different franchises fight one another is exciting, but the overall presentation drags the whole experience down

Replay: Moderate

Click to Purchase

With a looming release date, it’s only natural that principal photography on the latest Star Wars movie would wrap up sooner or later, but it’s still a little bitter sweet with pictures of the cast crying and hugging as filming wraps up. Director J.J. Abrams posted exactly that as he confirmed today that filming on the movie has wrapped up.

Now begins the process of everything else, like editing and special effects and all those things that come together to make a Star Wars movie. We don’t even know the subtitle of the third film in the newest trilogy yet, so marketing still has a good ten months to ramp up.

Star Wars: Episode IX will release on December 20 of this year. There isn’t much word on what movies will come after Episode IX, but The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson confirmed he is still working on a new trilogy separate from the main episodes.