Hunt: Showdown was one of the most promising titles of last year’s E3, and in the year since our first look at the reworked competitive survival horror shooter from Crytek, the studio has slowly been refining the technology driving the game in Steam Early Access. The logistical work has paid off, and the game has mostly very positive user reviews since the last big patch (bringing the total user review rating up to the mostly positive category).

Now that the developer feels more comfortable with the game’s performance, the team is starting to further expand the content for the game. We sat down with Crytek at E3 to hear about its plans.

New Weaponry

Hunters can look forward to wielding several new weapons in the near future. In the early moments of each round, most hunters equip their melee weapons to move silently and avoid detection. Crytek plans to expand the melee options to include a throwable tomahawk ax and throwing knives, both of which are retrievable. 

Two new types of grenades are also being introduced. The Hive Bomb unleashes a torrent of wasps on enemies in the vicinity, and the Sticky Bomb sticks to its target before detonating. 

Crytek also plans to add two new crossbows. The vintage version is a classic two-handed weapon, and can be modified with explosive arrows that pack a serious punch. The hand crossbow is a faster loading one-handed model. 

New Enemy

The water is typically one of the safest places in the Hunt map, which seems counterintuitive given this is the land of gators. Rather than add scaly reptiles to the mix, Crytek is introducing the Water Devil. This worm-like monster will have you watching for unexpected ripples in the water. Once it starts heading your way, you better get moving or expect to be overwhelmed by the swarm of tentacles.

New Time Of Day

The night and day versions of maps give the map a very different feel, but soon you may be subjected to a third option – fog. A popular fan request, adding fog to the map diminishes the sightlines significantly, forcing you to move more cautiously unless you want to accidentally run into a pack of enemies or, even worse, and a more careful party of hunters than your own.

New Map

Crytek wouldn’t tell us much about the new map, except to say that it’s still set in the Louisiana bayou. 

Other changes coming in the next several months include death screens that show you who shot you, spectator mode for after you die but want to watch the rest of the map, and player looting that allows you to take ammo and consumables.

To learn more about Crytek’s list of planned changes for Hunt: Showdown, you can check out the full roadmap on its website.

TT Games has been steadily releasing Lego titles for more than a decade now, bringing notable franchises like Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Marvel and DC comics to life in charming, family friendly games. While the frequency of releases has been reliable, its quality has occasionally slipped. If you were frustrated with the state of Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 at launch, you’re not alone, either. TT Games has been examining how to revitalize its games moving forward, starting with the upcoming Lego DC Super-Villains. I played the E3 demo and chatted with Arthur Parsons, head of design at TT Games, about what the studio is doing to make the best possible game – for both returning players and newcomers. 

There’s a lot to unpack with this game, so I’ll focus on the big things first. Lego DC Super-Villains is the first time that players will get to play through a campaign centered around the best part of most stories: the bad guys. “Everyone loves playing as Vader or Voldemort, or whoever the bad guys are,” Parsons says.” And because of the wealth of source material here, TT Games had a lot to work with. “DC’s villains, I think they out of every IP we’ve ever touched, they’ve got the best roster of villains. By a long way.”

Players have been able to play as the baddies in free play in the DC games, with one exception. “In Lego Batman 1 we had villain levels, but you had to complete the whole hero bit first,” Parsons says. “They were actually the most fun bit of Lego Batman 1, but we’ve not been there since. When it came time to do another DC game, villains was the obvious choice. It effectively feels like a new IP.”

While you’ll interact with bad guys like Lex Luther, Joker, and Harley Quinn, there’s also another major player in town: you. “For the first time ever, the customizer is important to the game,” Parsons says. “Normally it’s an afterthought; it’s just something for free play. This time around, the first thing you do is create your own villain who joins with the Legion of Doom. But the villain that you create is actually important in the story, and you can upgrade them along the way, so they have the ability to absorb energy, so you get new powers and new abilities, and it’s a character who weaves in and out of the story all the way right through the end.”
If you don’t care all that much about your character, you can pick from a variety of presets or have the game come up with a random selection. Lego veterans know the depth that players have with their created characters, and it’s fully on display here. You have a wide array of options at your disposal, from decals, body parts, and weapons, right down to your villain’s backstory. Your character has an absorption ability, so he or she can acquire new powers throughout the campaign. When it’s over, it’s possible to end up with an overpowered jack-of-all-trades style villain, who can deftly handle gold and silver blocks, laser-cutting puzzles, and anything else that gets in the way – similar to how the unlockable Stan Lee character acts in the Lego Marvel titles.

The demo is a silly escape from Stryker’s Island, where Lex Luther and Mercy help my created character out of the prison. As we move from one brick-bashing location to the next, I also get to play as Solomon Grundy, Cheetah, Joker, and Harley. There isn’t anything particularly mind-blowing about any of it, but it does highlight some of the refinements that TT Games has made – refinements that are a long time coming. For example, when you encounter a situation that requires a specific character’s ability, control will automatically leap to that villain.

 

“We’ve put a lot of attention on accessibility with this game,” Parsons explains. “We don’t want kids to get roadblocked, we don’t want anyone getting frustrated not knowing what to do.” In one area, I climb to the top of an area with wall jumps. Once I get to the top, Cheetah jumps away from the opening to prevent her from accidentally falling back down. “I know that’s not much of a touch, but all those little things, people just get through the content nice and easy and they don’t get roadblocked,” Parsons says. 

Parsons says that his team went back to the studio’s earlier games as an exercise, and played through them again. It ended up providing them with some great internal feedback, including the realization that it’s quite easy to get stuck on the first levels of their games. “We can’t allow that to happen. I know when I play games, and you get to a point where you get frustrated or there are roadblocks, you put the controller down, and sometimes you won’t come back. That’s just unacceptable. We create all this content, and we spend a lot of time creating it, and we want everyone to be able to get through it.”

Technical issues have been a problem for the Lego games, too, and those have been given special attention. Sometimes, the solution comes from avoiding problem areas altogether. I build a drivable gadget with Joker, and after I place the final brick, the character automatically moves a little bit away from the creation. “You know far too well that some games in the past once you build something, sometimes you get embedded in it or wedged into things,” Parsons says, “Little things like that help stop these little niggly bugs and irritants that are going to come through.”

One such irritant is the platforming. It’s never felt great in the games, and characters have a tendency to fall during lengthy jumping sections. Parsons says it’s being addressed with DC Super-Villains. “People won’t notice, but there will be slight magnetism, so if you’re doing a jump and you kind of drift, we’ll sort of auto drift you back, but you won’t notice it. In terms of refinements from say, Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 to this one, there will be several thousand, but people won’t necessarily notice them because they’re all little tiny bits here, there, and everywhere. It’s that constant evolution. We do try to get better and better at what we do.” 

Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 ended up being a bit of a wake-up call for TT Games. As I mentioned in my review, it was loaded with technical issues that made it difficult to play. “Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 in my mind is a great game, but there were a few bugs and glitches when it came out,” Parsons says. “They’re all fixed in a patch now, but the problem is they shouldn’t be there in the first place.” He says his team is working to do everything they can to make sure this game ships bug-free. “ The way we’ve had to do that is actually lengthen our debug phase. It’s more than double for this than if we were doing a normal dev cycle. The results of this should be that when people get it in their hands it’s slick and it’s clean.”

We won’t know until the game’s October 16 release date if they’re successful, but what I played was rock solid. I appreciate the little quality-of-life touches , such as automatically switching characters during some sections in single player. After years of playing the games, I’ve gotten used to some of the peculiarities. But as Parsons says, his audience is constantly changing. “As kids graduate up and start playing Fortnite, there’s a whole new package of kids that come and are going to play it. Despite all the Lego games we’ve made, this could be someone’s very first Lego game.”

Hopefully, the little touches and improvements will make life much easier and more fun for those new players. Me, I’m just eager to hang with Joker and his friends.

With all the news dropping at E3 this year, you might have missed For Honor’s new Marching Fire expansion. You should fix that! It’s a fairly meaty content drop, not the least of which is a new payload mode, Breach.

Kyle Hilliard graciously humors me as I regale him with reason why you shouldn’t sleep on For Honor’s long-tail content, including Marching Fire, which hits on October 16.

The E3 2018 VR Round-Up

VR does not have a huge presence at E3. Facebook and Oculus have a spot on the floor, and there are a few PlayStation VR titles in the PlayStation booth, but otherwise E3 is focused on non-virtual reality experiences. That won’t stop us from writing about them, though!

Déraciné

Déraciné 

Developer: From Software, Sony Japan Studio
Platforms: PlayStation VR
Release: 2018

Dark Souls series director Hidetaka Miyazaki is taking a bit of a break from creating brutal, oppressive worlds that frustrate as much as they fascinate to bring us something a bit lighter. Taking on the role of a magical fairy, your goal in Déraciné is to convince the world around you you’re real. You do this by manipulating the world around in a few ways, including snatching vials and keys from children who swear they just had these objects in their pocket and mixing them into a stew to make them bitter.

You also have a couple of more mystical powers at your disposal: you can “steal” time from certain objects and give them to others. In my demo, I was able to restore a wilted flower by grabbing a batch of grapes and sucking the time out of them, which spoiled them in the process. Your goal is also to more forward in time by using a magical time ring, and your objective is to restore its power every level.

Exploring this old-timey house by warping between interactive locations was intriguing, and I had to look under tables and high up in trees to progress. This may not be the harsh, fast-paced action we’ve come to expect from From Software, but the striking art direction and time-bending storyline could prove to be something unique. – Suriel Vazquez

Echo Combat

Echo Combat

Developer: Ready At Dawn
Platforms: Oculus
Release: TBA

Echo Combat is not a sequel, but it does take place in a universe that has already been established by developer Ready at Dawn. Lone Echo released around this time last year and tells the story of a robot (controlled by the player) on a space station with one human crew member as they try to investigate a mysterious phenomenon. That game was bundled with Echo Arena, which was a sports game that used some of the gameplay mechanics from Lone Echo, but in a competitive setting. Echo Combat is the next step for Ready at Dawn’s “Echo” universe with players shooting each other in zero-g while trying to complete objectives.

The mechanic shared by all of these games is how the player moves through the environment. There is no gravity, so to move you must pull yourself along the walls, or by using jet boosters on your wrists. Being in control of your movement this way helps tremendously with the issue that plagues other VR games where moving along the ground using a control stick is disorienting. Pushing yourself off a wall to float to your objective feels great, and using the jet boosters on your wrist helps to give that extra little nudge you need.

In our match, we were trying to prevent the other team from delivering a slow-moving payload. My favorite moments were when fights would break out and I would grab onto cover with my left hand, extend my left arm to peak out of cover, and fire off my gun with my right hand. It’s some of the most fun I’ve had with a multiplayer VR shooter. Also, Soulja Boy was in my game randomly and I killed him at least twice. – Kyle Hilliard

Firewall: Zero Hour

Firewall: Zero Hour

Firewall: Zero Hour

Developer: First Contact Entertainment
Platforms: PSVR
Release: 2018

A team-based tactical shooter, Firewall: Zero Hour looks to deliver a Rainbow Six: Siege-like experience to virtual-reality players. Players squad up with a team of four and assault an object while an opposing team of four defends it. In the case of my matches, attackers were trying to force their way into a control room.

Players choose from a stable of characters, each with their own abilities. One character has an extra frag grenade, while the other has slightly more health. I opted for a character with improved movement speed. Once you have your character, you choose your loadout and are dropped into the game.

Matches are tense, tactical affairs, as you’re hardly a bullet sponge and you only have one life per match; my time in the first match ended fast after an opponent got the drop on me. Once you die, you can jump from camera to camera to help call out enemy locations to your remaining teammates. Aiming using the PlayStation VR Aim rifle peripheral takes some getting used to, but it’s cool getting to look down the scopes of your weapon in VR.

While I didn’t have nearly enough time to learn the best strategies of attack, I enjoyed what I played of Firewall: Zero Hour. If First Contact Entertainment can replicate the intensity of Siege over the long term, Firewall could be an awesome multiplayer experience for PSVR owners. – Brian Shea

Defector

Defector

Developer: Twisted Pixel
Platforms: Oculus
Release: TBA

Defector comes from the minds behind funny games like ‘Splosion Man and Lococycle, but Defector plays it straight. You are a secret agent in Defector, and my demo began with sorting out my gear. I placed a communicator in my ear, and put a special contact lens in my eye that activated U.I., and as I would learn later, a special vision that helps me look for objectives. You move through the environment by pushing forward on the control stick, which is not ideal for VR games, but it worked fine. Before getting a gun in my hand, I had to have a conversation with the bad guy and there were numerous dialogue options that lead to different outcomes. Our conversation ended with a woman, who I assumed was his girlfriend, revealing her true identity as my partner, and the pilots of plane we were on (did I mention we were on an airplane?) getting knocked out with some kind of noxious gas.

After conversing with my partner about what to do, we strapped on some parachutes to jump from the plane with the dead pilots to another that was flying in tandem. Usually, in VR, this sequence would fade to black to avoid all potential motion sickness, but that’s not what happened here. I got to experience the full jump, and had to grab onto the other plane as I flew by. After climbing into the plane by grabbing a series of handholds, my partner and I shot a few dudes, and then it was time to take on the nearby jets. We opened the door, and I preceded to shoot jet-planes out the sky with a very, very powerful gun. It was an intense experience, and I was impressed that it let me see all the crazy parts without fading to black. – Kyle Hilliard

Tetris Effect

Tetris Effect

Developer: Monstars, Resonair
Platforms: PlayStation VR
Release: Fall 2018

Suriel Vazquez wrote a big preview of his experience with Tetris Effect right here. Here’s what he wrote about the VR specifically:

Strapping on a headset to play Tetris sounds like something out of a dystopian future, but doing so is worth it for a couple of reasons. For one, it sort of forces you to put on headphones, which should be a given for a Mizuguchi game. Second, the visual flair that occurs when you transition from one song to the next is heightened when the particle effects fly right at your face.

You can also zoom the view of the board in and out, and at its most zoomed in, you actually have to look up and down to see the entire board. It’s weird and again probably won’t make you a better Tetris player, but this is more about the experience of playing Tetris than getting high scores, and it’s a pretty fun novelty.

Prey: Transtar VR

Prey: TranStar VR

Developer: Arkane Studios
Platform: PSVR, PC
Release: 2019

Bethesda announced two Prey-centric VR experiences at its showcase, the multiplayer-focused Typhon Hunter as well as the quasi escape-room TranStar VR. We tried out the latter at the Bethesda booth. 

The demo took place in Morgan Yu’s office aboard the Talos-1 space station. Looking around the environment, you must piece together how to get a machine working by gathering objects and using the recycler and fabricator to build the parts you need. With no threat to worry about, you’re free to walk around the office perusing items. You can only carry two objects at once, which makes transporting materials from the recycler to the fabricator a chore. Eventually, you get a looking glass that exposes all the Typhon energy hovering in the office’s atmosphere. Once you collect data you can use it to activate the device, which causes the several Mimics to appear. 

The puzzle was fine, but the best part of the demo was being able to inhabit one of Arkane’s meticulously created worlds. We’re not sure if this is a one-off escape room or if they have designs to make more, stay tuned. – Matt Bertz

Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot

Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot

Developer: Bethesda
Platforms: PSVR, Vive
Release: 2019

Bethesda continues to conduct VR experiments with its storied franchises, the latest being Wolfenstein. Cyberpilot takes place in an alternate reality 1980s Paris, where the Nazis are still holding strong. You play the role of a hacker who infiltrates the Nazi network and takes control of a fire-breathing Panzerhund, the mechanical war dog that gave BJ fits in the last two games. The developer recommends you play the game sitting down to mimic being in the cockpit of this fearsome war machine. 

The eight-minute demo gave me just enough time to familiarize myself with the Vive controls and serve up some flame-broiled Germans. The control scheme is unique but easy to get the hang of, with the left touchpad controlling speed and the right controlling direction. Holding the trigger releases a steady stream of flames, and you also have a ram ability to charge forward and send the Nazis flying. You can even ram environmental objects like broken down Volkwagens to send them flying into your enemies.

We’re not sure how many other war machines you will take control of in this game, or how long it will be. Bethesda plans to reveal more plans as we move closer to the 2019 release window. – Matt Bertz

Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner – M∀RS

Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner – M∀RS

Developer: Konami
Platforms: PlayStation VR, SteamVR
Release: September 6

The thing that strikes me about the VR for The 2nd Runner is how well it blends the VR experience with the traditional Zone of the Enders gameplay. Blasting salvos out to groups of enemies at a distance and close-quarters melee strikes are quickly performed without disorientation, as is switching between different targets. Although moving through the world and during combat is a mix of some auto-movement and moving up and down through the triangle and X buttons, the game does well in getting you to the heart of the action in your Jehuty with minimal fuss.

Complete the game and you can experience the story sans gameplay in VR, including the extensive anime and VR cutscenes blended together. – Matthew Kato

Gamers have had a glut of interesting cooperative shooters to play in the last few years, with standouts like Destiny, Ghost Recon Wildlands, and The Division keeping squads together through various universes. But one curious absence in the current cooperative landscape is a survival-horror experience that riffs on the tension and teamplay sensibilities of the cult favorite Left 4 Dead franchise. A small team of former Payday developers at 10 Chambers Collective hopes to tap into that neglected theme with GTFO. 

This universe isn’t another me-too zombie game sending waves of brain-eaters at your squad. Instead, players assume the role of prisoners sent into the depths of a mysterious underground complex against their will to retrieve curious items of interest for their warden. Finding the objects is easy enough; making it out alive is the tricky part, as the halls are roamed by deadly monstrosities that look like grotesque evolutions of The Last of Us’ clickers.

Before dropping into the darkened halls for a hands-on session I had a chance to check out the arsenal available to players. Each prisoner can carry two guns, a melee weapon, and a special tool like a motion sensor, area scanner that can tag enemies behind walls, sentry turret,  and a glue gun that can be used to slow the advancing horde of creatures. Picking the right combination of tools can be key to making it back alive.

When we drop into the complex, its halls are eerily quiet. A squad member scans each door before we open it expecting to find a pack of enemies waiting for us, but four doors in we haven’t seen a thing. The tension hanging heavily in the air continues to build with each empty chamber, but eventually the scanner lights up with activity. We move carefully so not to disturb the enemies, and they stand quietly, waiting to spring into action at the command of the scout. These creatures extend visible tendrils into the atmosphere hoping to pick up movement. Once they sense someone is there they let out a shrill cry to spring the other enemies into action. Moving around these tendrils can be dangerous, but we arm our melee weapons and successfully take this small forward group out stealthily to avoid a bigger firefight.

 

Moving further into the complex, we come across a command console near a locked door. These computers look like they are running DOS, and players can even type commands into the prompt. Since we need the key to the door, we query its location into the console and it gives us a new objective marker to pursue. 10 Chambers doesn’t want to hold players’ hands in these circumstances, and instead wants the teams to problem-solve solutions. Players also have to work together to figure out how to open locked supply crates.

Going further into the complex, things finally get hairy. Once alerted, the enemies come fast and furiously, forcing players to stay in constant communication and never stray too far from one other. Friendly fire compounds the issue, as a few wayward bullets can do the creature’s job for them. These frantic battles create great circumstances for heroic moments, like the last person standing trying frantically to survive the wave so they can revive their fallen comrades. Failing to do so would kick you back to the start of the mission, though longer challenges will feature some checkpoints with the caveat that they only save during the duration of that play session. If you shut down for the day, you’ll have to start from scratch next time. 

Unlike Payday, which sent unrelenting waves at you the moment you get noticed, GTFO is a much more rhythmic experience, shifting from quiet moments of stealth and resource gathering to the more deadly enemy onslaughts. Giving players a breather is a welcome evolution, as supplies can be scarce and making sure everyone has at least a few clips and access to a med kit is crucial before engaging the next encounter.

Once we find the keycard, the real firefight begins. We head back to the Apex door that has the object of interest behind its walls, and insert the key. This starts a bioscan, where all four players must stand in a highlighted circle to get the door to unlock. Apex doors make you go through multiple bioscans before opening, during which waves of enemies continue to rush toward your position.

Preparing for these battles is crucial; we make sure to cover the floor in front of us with glue to slow their approach and position the sentry so it covers two hallways. Our original plan was sound, but in moving from the second to the third bioscan we forget to move the sentry to a forward position. When the horrors descend on our position, the sentry picks up the movement and starts firing. This proves to be a problem considering we are standing in between the monsters and the turret. Friendly fire – 1, squad – 0. Thus ends our run in the underground; another team of prisoners will have to complete the job. 

GTFO pulls no punches. The missions can be unapologetically hard, demanding constant communication between squad mates if you want to make it to the extraction point. The missions are tiered so players must complete three jobs before they get to one that provides a loot drop. 10 Chamber Collective founder Ulf Andersson says they want to slow the reward drip so each time you get an item it feels more meaningful. Some missions could take upwards of six hours to complete, but the studio also plans to offer more breezy “lunch” missions as well. 

The gameplay felt tight, and the studio is aiming for 4K resolution at 60 frames per second. Given those parameters, you may be surprised to learn it’s running on the Unity engine, a popular mobile platform that is making strides into the PC and console platforms. 

10 Chambers Collective hopes to have a beta out on PC by the end of the year, but won’t release it until they feel it’s ready. I only experienced a brief slice of gameplay, but the emphasis on teamwork and suffocating tension make this one worth watching. 

Sekiro is a major departure from what has been seen in From Software’s Souls series, and mastermind Hidetaka Miyazaki’s next game is not just Bloodborne or Dark Souls set in feudal Japan. There are a number of reasons why this is the case, and you can expect to find something different compared to previous titles using the Souls formula. Lets take a look at 10 things we noticed about Sekiro that separate it from the other Souls games and how these changes could help Shadows Die Twice entice new players and old fans alike. 

The info was assembled from a variety of interviews and hands-off demos from around the industry during E3, including Polygon, Digital Trends, Gamesradar, and PCgamer.

1. A Jump Button:
None of the games in the Souls series feature a jump button, and the only way a player can go airborne is to sprint and leap together. It is unwieldy, imprecise, and frustrating, and the world is not designed with verticality in mind outside of ladders and elevators. The rare “platforming sections” in the Souls games are the weakest parts of the series. Sekiro has a dedicated jump, which is used to traverse the world, dodge enemy attacks, and explore the more varied level design.

2. A Grapple:
Sekiro features a grapple mechanic that is used to pull yourself quickly and closer to enemies for attacks, and to have more freedom to explore the world. The grapple, mixed with the ability to jump, makes the act of traversing feudal Japan in Sekiro different from anything you experience in a Souls game.

3. Stealth Mechanics:
The closest you get to stealth in a Souls game is slowly trudging up behind an enemy and getting a backstab in. Sekiro has dedicated stealth mechanics, such as crouching in tall grass, silent kills from hidden areas or rooftops, and sidling up against walls for cover. Players can slowly take out weaker enemies one-by-one before engaging larger, tougher enemies in combat. 

4. No Stats Or Classes:
In Sekiro you are a set character, and have no stats to manipulate or classes to pick from. The game is designed around being a Shinobi in feudal Japan, and From Software has designed the world and weapons to fit that character. With stealth, traversal and swordplay all major parts of the game, focusing on being a ninja is the only option in Sekiro. From Software has stated there may be some replacement for stats but it won’t be anything like what has been previously seen in their Souls games. 

5. No Other Weapons, Only The ‘Shinobi Prosthetic’:
While Players have access to a number of options and gadgets, the only main weapon at this time is the katana mixed with your prosthetic limb. The focus is on perfecting your skill with the sword and utilizing gadgets to buff your blade or change up your playstyle. The limb offers a number of options, such as a limited block ability, an axe that can break enemy defenses, or firecrackers to stun your opponents. The gadgets can be mixed with your weapon, like using the firecrackers to light the katana on fire. The prosthetic arm used to activate them looks like the closest analogue to trick weapons in Bloodborne.

6. No Armor:
A new departure will be that no extra armor can be found, in line with the theme of being a ninja and cutting out the RPG elements.  From Software has already stated that Sekiro is not a role-playing game and insinuated that the only form of upgrading will be involved with the gadgets. The major reason to explore is to find new options for your prosthetic. 

7. Emphasis On Story:
While Sekiro won’t be the next Mass Effect, it has a greater focus on story compared to the Souls games, starting with the fact that you play as a fixed character. Players don’t customize their identity or choose a class. You only play as a Shinobi, Sekiro, or “The One-Armed Wolf.” Characters have more of a focus, and their relationships evolve over the course of the game. Despite this, Sekiro will probably have telltale elements From Software’s world-building and cryptic storytelling. Miyazaki told Polygon in an interview “It’s not going to be a thickly story-driven affair, but we think it’ll be a nice change of pace from what you’ve seen so far.”

8. Resurrection
The title of the game Shadows Die Twice is not just a cool subtitle; it is intrinsic to a major change from previous games by From Software. You can use death to your advantage and choose when to resurrect your character. An enemy can kill you but you have the ability to wait for them to let their guard down, come back to life, and take advantage with a surprise attack. The ability has consequences and is limited, but changes the death-mechanic that has been the staple of the Souls series.

9. Posture 
The major stat in Sekiro is posture, and much like stamina you have a meter representing it. Your enemies also share that same weakness, and parrying their attacks lowers it, allowing you to take advantage with a powerful and brutal attack. Depending on the opponent, whether it be a larger enemy or a boss, it can either instantly kill them or do a significant amount of damage. You have to focus on dodging attacks with your jump, timing your blocks to cause a parry, and striking when you have the advantage. These acts lower your enemies posture and open them up for a devastating attack. If you focus too much on blocking, or receive damage, it lowers your posture, and the enemy can finish you off as well. A kanji appears that represents what sort of attack is incoming, giving you a chance to know whether it can be blocked, parried, or must be avoided altogether. It doesn’t make it any easier though, as you still have to learn attack animations to know where and when to dodge, or to parry their attack when possible. 

10. No More Bonfires Or Lanterns
So far, Sekiro does not have a traditional lantern or bonfire system like the Souls games. Removing the need for souls or blood echoes as a currency allows From Software to change the way they look at checkpoints and death in their game, such as with the new resurrection system. Whether the game has a more typical checkpoint system or its own version of bonfires is unknown. It will be interesting to see how From Software plays with the idea of progress in a game that does not have as concrete indicators of it as the Souls games.

Something New
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is looking to be something wholly new by From Software, and that is incredibly exciting. The game is shaping up to be From’s vision of a character action game as opposed to a feudal Japanese action/RPG. That focus should allow fans of the Souls to experience something new, and also interest newcomers to the typically impenetrable series.

 

That’s a wrap on E3! While it’s also a good time and includes lots of game reveals, it also always means coming back to Minneapolis in the late Spring/Early Summer heat. That’s all the more reason to stay inside and watch people play video games, though!

The League of Legends Summer Split is upon us! Watch 10 of the best teams in North America face off against each other, and if anyone asks you to go outside, just tell them you’ll be there after the next match is done until they forget about you. (Stream / Schedule)

It’s the last week the Shanghai Dragons have to score in the Overwatch League. Can they beat the San Francisco Shock and end their losing streak? Let’s find out! (Stream / Schedule)

Call of Duty: WWII meanwhile, is in Anaheim for its World League, which I heard is much nicer than Minneapolis this time of year. (Streams / Schedule)

We’ve also got a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive double-header, as ESL has its major in Belo Horizonte, Brazil (Stream and Schedule) while Asia has their own Championships in Shanghai (Stream / Schedule)

Hearthstone is in Jönköping, Sweden for its yearly Dreamhack Grand Prix. Nearly 200 players are competing for their share of a cool $15,000 here, which should help the heat a little more bearable if any of them happen to return to the Midwest after winning. (Stream / Schedule)

Also at Dreamhack this weekend are Super Smash Bros. Melee and Brawlhalla, each with separate singles and doubles brackets. (Streams and Schedule)

The Heroes of the Storm Mid-Season Brawl pits the game’s best teams from around the world against each other, bringing the separate leagues together to see who’s on top. (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.

From your opening moments creating a small park with a handful of dinosaurs while you listen to Jeff Goldblum give appropriately cheeky warnings to deadly dinosaur breakouts and jealous sabotage efforts later, Jurassic World Evolution is true to its franchise roots.

At its best, you’re basking in the glory of your genetically modified titans bringing in tons of cash and visitors, living up the John Hammond dream. At its worst, you’re engaging with a deluge of menus, timers, and minutia that feel like fulfilling annoying chores, all while babysitting cooldowns and constantly clicking away. Jurassic World Evolution serves up a serviceable (and sometimes fun) fantasy for franchise lovers, but falls flat in critical aspects when it comes to consistent enjoyment.

You have five main islands to unlock and explore, beginning with a lovely little tutorial experience that provides some of the best hours of the game. Learning to complete contracts for cash and new building options, create efficient housing for your dinosaurs, and handle research, expeditions, power outages, and dinosaur escapes is all smooth sailing. Later on, you can unlock a sandbox island, Isla Nublar, where you can play around with unlimited resources and get goofy with your herd. Between these two entertaining extremes lies the meat of the game, and that’s where things get frustrating and messy.

Because this is a Jurassic Park game, dinosaurs get out of their pens and wreak havoc. The first few times, I had fun sending helicopters out to tranquilize and move the errant creations back into their enclosures. Issues arise from a management perspective in the islands that follow your initial jaunt. You’re continuously battling a barrage of timers – watching research tick down, waiting for a dinosaur to spawn, setting your ranger teams on missions to replenish food supplies, repair fences, cure disease, and restore power to your accident-prone facilities. These constant cooldowns for your attention feel like a poor mobile game, where you’re inundated with objects requiring an exhausting marathon of click management.

Options also feel limited. While the contract system gives you different goals to unlock new buildings and procure significant resources, the challenges are often bland, simply getting to a new tier of income or creating some dinosaurs. Reputation gains with the three factions unlock a few new options, but they leave you with little room for meaningful decision making – even in the later islands where you must manage devastating weather or budget crunches.

Dinosaurs are the star of the show, whether they are devouring your guests and causing subsequent lawsuits, or gently eating ferns in front of a crowd. Playing with their DNA isn’t a completely freeform experience, but the process has enough differentiation to experiment and have a good time. Priming dinosaurs with curious colors, longevity and disease resistance, or gearing them up for gladiatorial combat (yes, some contracts will task you with getting your dinos into a brawl) keeps you coming back to tweak your stable. Busting out bigger and better creatures as you move from island to island is a satisfying progression loop that keeps goading you forward, like a goat bleating in front of a T-Rex paddock.

Jurassic World Evolution is a mixed experience, at times reveling in its fantasy and becoming bogged down in its own systems in others. If you’re a fan of the franchise it’s a fun dip into the prehistoric pool, but the water isn’t deep enough to satisfy a voracious carnivore.

Who Won E3?

Game Informer viewers were distraught last night by the sudden end of beloved recap series Who’s Winning E3? and once again we apologize for that. It was just too expensive to produce. Tonight we provide some closure by answering the eponymous question: who won E3? Was it the gamers? No. Please enjoy the video above, and thank you for not making fun of me too much for my annoying shouting web series. See you next E3!

Join a handful of Game Informer editors for a rousing round of ultra-fast, one-sentence analysis and judgment for the biggest reveals out of E3’s press conference lineup. Majestic IPs will fall, favorite franchises will topple, and a chuckle or two shall be had, as we offer snap takes on all the big news.

Join us for the round table experience in the video above!