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Nintendo’s dino pal is back, though let’s be honest here – he’s never really gone away. This time around, he’s romping through more cuddly, handcrafted worlds. How is Yoshi’s Crafted World? Game Informer’s Imran Khan got to play some of the single-player and co-op, and also checked out the same level, both front and back. Don’t worry, it’ll all make sense.

Don’t expect to be blown away by challenging platforming, Imran says. Instead, this one’s all about having a chill adventure and solving light puzzles. He probably needs a break after getting smacked around in Smash, after all.

Yoshi’s Crafted World is coming to Nintendo Switch on March 29.

Giveaway: Creed II on Blu-ray

It’s the eye of the tiger it’s the thrill of the fight
Risin’ up to the challenge of our rival….

Ok, so now that I have the song stuck in your head 🙂
I truly enjoy my trips to the 80s but I digress…

I don’t know about where you are, but winter is a big time for Netflix and chill in our house, and being in Minnesota we have definitely been inside a lot lately. Well inside keeping warm or outside shoveling!

To help with cabin fever, or just for the thrill of it if you’re lucky enough to be where it’s sunny, (see what I did there?) I have 20 copies of Creed II on Blu-ray to giveaway to our lucky, lucky readers!!

From the studio:
Adonis faces the challenge of his life: an opponent with ties to his family’s past. Together, he and Rocky will question what’s worth fighting for as they confront their shared legacy. 

Click to see more! http://bit.ly/CreedII_MovieWHV

It’s simple really. Now through March 1st, our US readers can enter for a chance to win a copy of Creed II using the form below. Winners will be selected through a random drawing and then notified via their registered email address with 24 hours to confirm. Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

In a bizarre yet bountiful case of mistaken identity, developer Fast Travel games revealed that its VR title Apex Construct has received a big boost in sales…because people keep mistaking it for the popular battle royale Apex Legends. Yikes.

Fast Travel’s communications manager Andreas Juliusson took to the Construct’s subreddit to talk about the situation. Juliussion implies the studio is amused by the mixup but also mentions that Apex Construct has been bombed with negative reviews because of it. Here’s the full statement:

Hi all, Andreas from VR games developer Fast Travel Games here!

Just wanted to share a funny story with you, hope that’s OK:-) As you are most likely aware, the free-to-play, Battle Royale game Apex Legends was released last week. Not only does the name resembles our own VR game Apex Construct, the logos are also strikingly similar (ours came first though!)

Since the launch of Apex Legends on Feb 4, visits to our store page on Steam has increased with over 4000% – and Legends isn’t even available on Steam at all, it’s an EA Origin exclusive! What makes it even weirder is that we sold more units of Apex Construct in China the last seven days than during ALL of 2018 – apparently people are prepared to buy what they think is Apex Legends for $29.99, even thought it’s a free-to-play title… Most likely these units will be refunded, but our books look pretty good at the moment;-)

There is a downside to this of course – we have received a lot of negative user reviews from Chinese buyers who feel they have been scammed, even though we have done nothing wrong! Fortunately the Steam Community team is looking into this right now. Somewhere, there are massive misunderstandings going on.

Anyway, just wanted to share this as it is quite a story for a relatively small studio like us:-) Have a great VR day!

While the whole situation is amusing, the negative reviews for something out of the studio’s control are unfortunate.

[Source: PC Gamer]

Anthem, Bioware’s first live service game, has had its fair share of problems since the VIP demo back in January with players experiencing glitches, unable to load the game, and various other problems. Those issues were mostly solved with the second demo. However, Origins Premier PC players who are getting their hands on the full version of Anthem before everyone else are experiencing new issues.

Several players are reporting a particularly nasty surprise where choosing quickplay will load under-leveled players into the final mission of the game. One streamer, Brandon Larned, recorded a video that supposedly shows a level 3 player entering the mission. We can’t see the players’ levels or comment on whether or not what’s seen here is part of the final mission but given the multiple reports and the genuine surprise in everyone’s voices in this clip, it’s likely this issue is real. You can watch the video below if you don’t mind spoilers:

For more on Anthem, head here to watch Bioware talk about how it planned to handle storytelling in the game.

The 2019 Toy Fair is under way in New York today and per usual, that means some video game-related figures are being revealed. This year, it’s quite a number of them and they’re all on the way from McFarlane Toys.

The manufacturer revealed today that figurines from Doom, Fortnite, Mortal Kombat, Elder Scrolls, Call of Duty, and more were in production and slated for release in 2019 or 2020. Here are the most notable ones:

Call Of Duty
Frank Woods
Richtofen

Doom
Doom Slayer

Fallout
Power Armor
Vault Suit

Fortnite
A.I.M
Brite Bomber
DeluxeGlider Mako
Glider Pack
The Ice King
Jonesy
Quadcrasher
Raven
Ragnarok
Shopping Cart Pack
Wild Card

Elder Scrolls
Alduin

Mortal Kombat 11
Scorpion
Sub-Zero

For more on the world of toys and games, check out Hasbro’s upcoming lineup of Overwatch figurines.

When Fallout 76 released earlier this year, I gave it a fair shot. Like many, I tuned out of the game after playing a few hours. However, I didn’t quit because of bugs or because I thought the gameplay was bad. Instead, I was just tired of Fallout’s take on the end of the world. After several games of unclimbable rocky terrain, bombed out buildings filled with burnt books and skeletons, and sassy writing, I was just exhausted of the setup. Sure, Fallout’s gameplay has shifted many times over the past two decades, but its tone and view of people in general hasn’t.

My thoughts kept drifting back to Fallout this past week while playing Metro Exodus, the third installment in a series of games about people living in Moscow’s subway after a nuclear doomsday covers the city in fatal levels of radiation. The first two games followed the journey of Artyom, a citizen of the underground society who gets caught up in wars between the underground factions that have cropped up over the years, including a “Fourth Riech” and the various remnants of Russia’s government. If you weren’t navigating tunnels filled with Nazis that wanted to slit your throat, you were on the surface, wandering the streets of the city fending off predatory mutants. The third game, Exodus, takes Artyom and a group of loved ones across the open terrain of Russia in a train as they search for a new life, hopefully escaping the darkness of the metro at last.

What I’ve always loved about Metro is its commitment to its fiction, keeping true to the tone of its setting as well as supporting that fiction through novel gameplay mechanics. In the first two games, bullets are not just ammo but also function as currency, letting you trade them for weapons or precious health kits. This means you have to approach every combat encounter carefully. Can you really afford to go gung-ho when every bullet in your arsenal is literally a dollar? You also have to maintain your radiation-blocking gas mask with filters that deteriorate over time, meaning you’re constantly searching them out in the darkest parts of tunnels or trading for them. If your gas mask gets damaged, you have to manually tape over the crack in a darkly humorous display of DIYism. As Metro takes place in dark tunnels, you also have a headlamp you have to charge constantly as you proceed through the first two games.

A lot of this might sound like a chore. However, Metro’s flirtations with realism result in something tense and fascinating. Some of the fondest moments in gaming I’ve had over the past few years have occurred in Metro’s tunnels, where I crawled through ventilation shafts and stepped through corpse-strewed stations with only a few throwing knives, a broken mask, and a pistol with two rounds in it to keep me alive. The tension is palpable, especially when your headlamp starts to flicker and you have to render yourself defenseless to recharge it for a few seconds.

Metro’s approach to presenting its version of the apocalypse through narrative is equally as fascinating as the gameplay. Though Fallout, Rage, and its ilk have conversational NPCs in order to inject personality into a dead world, a lot of them are surprisingly stationary or move and stick to their schedules in slightly robotic fashion (like the inhabitants of Fallout 3’s Rivet City, always either sleeping in their bunks or taking up their post in the market). However, Metro’s embrace of Half-Life’s “Make The Player The Camera” storytelling tenants goes a long way in making me feel a part of that world.

The various stations of Metro are dark and cramped, with families often sleeping in grungy cardboard forts as barrel fires blaze next to them. In spite of that dinginess, hope pervades. Children run around, picking on one another and having fun, while men and women drink and try to find a little bit of light in the dark. As you walk through these stations, you can take in these scenes or you can rush past them, obsessed with the urgency of your quest to save the metro. However, even if you do that, the story goes to great lengths to build camaraderie within its core characters.

Shortly after the opening hours of the Metro 2033, Artyom meets Miller, the commander of the Spartan Order, a squad of elite troops dedicated to protecting the people of the metro. The two don’t hit it off at all. However, as the series goes on, Artyom and Miller form a relationship of begrudging respect, especially after Artyom falls in love with Anna, Miller’s daughter. Likewise, The Spartan Order comes to respect Artyom after seeing his bravery on multiple occasions. The Spartan Order’s cast of characters comes to depend on one another and bask in their collective emotional warmth to stay alive in even the bleakest times. Though there are many aspects of Metro’s narrative and voice-acting (or lack thereof) that are stilted, it gets the most important thing right: the series gives us people stranded in the darkness seeking a way out, people who are believable and worth rooting for. Exodus charts the path to that escape.

I was skeptical when 4A Games revealed that Exodus was going to be more open-worldish. After all, the things I liked about Metro were that it was different from the majority of post-apocalyptic games, rejecting barren sprawl and fetch quests for tight action-packed gameplay and pinpoint narrative focus. I worried that the series might finally be lost to the trend of generator-spewed emergent stories instead of continuing to embrace its own identity. Luckily that was not the case. Yes, Exodus is bigger, but the things that make Metro so lovably unique are still retained and even blown-out.

Exodus bears down on the character-driven storytelling from the previous games, taking a page from Wolfenstein’s book and creating a hub space where you can check in on your characters and listen to them pour forth their anxieties and hopes about the world while you sit back and listen. These moments are basically the glue of the entire Exodus experience, letting you really become invested in who these people are. Will Stepan’s affection for hitchhiker Katya result in something other than friendship? Will Miller get over his resentment of you leading everyone out of Moscow? Small dramas and moments of levity unfold when you’re in the hub, reminding you that there is a reason for you to be doing whatever is you’re doing when you’re out and about in Exodus’ regions.

Speaking of the regions, they’re rad. A big problem with post-apocalyptic games is that they tend to all look the same: barren, rocky environments filled with dilapidated houses.  This is not always true, of course. The Last of Us, another game that separates its levels into seasons, also has rich and varied environments. However, every one of Exodus’ maps feels distinct from one another in a way that’s exciting. It’s not just a matter of the desert locale being a change of pace from the wintery river locale. Every location has its own faction that you have to contend with, like the weirdos who worship a fish god. These folks are pretty harmless in the long run, and how you handle them – through brute force or evasion – will change your relationship with everyone else in the region as well. Every location responds to your actions in a way that feels fluid. If you develop a reputation for sparing people, more enemies will surrender to you during combat. If you’re a monster, that might have consequences, from one of your crew members saying something in disapproval to one of them paying the price for your bloodthirst.

Metro Exodus feels alive in a way that most of its post-apocalyptic siblings don’t, and that’s because it doesn’t settle for giving a player a post-apocalyptic sandbox. Metro instead crafts its own tale about despair and hope while giving players ample flexibility to find entertainment within that space. The world might be dingy and overcast, but its heart beats with the kind of excitement, innovation, and heartfelt storytelling that more games need to have.

For more on Metro Exodus, check out our review for the game as well as some tips to help you survive the journey.

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The latest update for Rainbow Six Siege, Burnt Horizons, is out now, which adds a little Australian flair to the action. Our own Leo Vader got a chance to play the new map and both operators recently, and came back with some pro-level footage. Ladies and gentlemen, this is gaming.

The new operators include Mozzie, who can hack drones and take control of them; and Gridlock, who can shut down roamers by deploying a self-replicating network of spiky traps. Leo is excited for how both characters can potentially change the meta, which he dives into while narrating his 4K gameplay footage.

As for the new map, it has a giant shark.

Burnt Horizons is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

We recently called Rainbow Six Siege “the king of the comeback” in our list of games improved the most by free updates and boy has that game earned the title thanks to consistent updates and constant communication with its community. Year four of Ubisoft’s support looms on the horizon for Siege and the publisher’s put out a video detailing all the changes coming as well as the philosophy behind them.

To learn more about the operator changes, events, and fixes to address toxicity coming to Siege, give this a watch:

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For more on Rainbow Six Siege, check out our video on how Pro Rules breathe new life into the game.

The debate has gone on for years, and yet it never seems like the industry can decide on whether your player character should have an active role in the story they’re a part of, or keep to themselves like the good player avatar they are. As more games trend toward having their main characters speak for themselves but others remain steadfast on keeping players curiously mum, we want to know: is it ever a good idea to have a silent protagonist?

Link is the first silent protagonist who comes to mind, and I can’t help but feel his is the best case you can make. I think if there were ever a game where Link were a fully-voiced character, he’d be kind of annoying. Not “excuuuuse me, princess” annoying, but I think a large part of his character comes from how we imbue him with traits that we like in lieu of having a clear personality to cling to. As a general rule, though, I find myself rolling my eyes whenever characters speak to me like I’m Lassie.

Do you prefer silent protagonists? Do you think there’s a general rule for when a silent player is the best kind of player? Let us know in the comments.