What surprises does Nintendo have for us this year? We know the company is making Smash Bros. a major part of its E3 presence, but that can’t be all. Will we see some new Switch game announcements? Interesting ports? Maybe even an N64 Classic Edition? We’ll find out soon enough!

We’re not live-streaming this one ourselves due to some technical difficulties, but you can watch Nintendo’s official stream below!


We recently had the chance to fly to Sweden to check out RAGE 2 at Avalanche studios and get a taste of the fruit the budding relationship between Avalanche and Id Software has borne. To say it plainly: we came away pretty impressed with what we played.

Here’s what we liked most about our brief hands-on with this unexpected sequel.

Rage 2 has a strong identity thanks to its combat
Cast aside the easy Borderlands comparisons. Rage 2’s gunplay stands apart thanks to the strength of Id Software’s classic combat. Shotgun blasts blow enemies across the yard and the powers at your disposal, like dashing or throwing enemies around with telekinetic blasts, make the action rhythmic and exhilarating. A surprisingly detailed dismemberment system as well as combo meter that lets you enter a near invulnerable state after you’ve killed enough enemies quickly also makes every combat encounter memorable in the most grisly way imaginable.

The music is the perfect complement for the wacky action
Andrew WK showed up at Bethesda’s E3 conference for a memorable performance that opened the whole thing. However, let’s not let this overshadow that Rage 2’s soundtrack, or at least what we’ve heard of it while playing the demo, is pretty great, with wailing guitars and thumping beats that drives the intensity of combat.

The environments are desolate and beautiful
A far cry from the dusty wasteland of Mad Max, the interiors and wrecked bases we saw in our demo left  a strong impression, cementing the idea that people had lived in these places at one time. The environments we saw in the demo footage were also varied, showcasing swamps, beautiful forests, and the dark depths of military complexes.

The wingstick is rad
The wingstick returns from the original Rage and is upgreadable, but even without functioning as an explosive boomerang the stick is enjoyable to use. I chuckled quite bit to myself watching as the Krull-like instrument of doom slapped foes in their silly faces repeatedly.

Enemy designs are great
If you’re worried you’re going to be spending the entirety of Rage 2 shooting bandits, don’t be. The various monsters we came across in Rage 2 included disfigured cyborg flesh bots that shot lasers at us and had jumpjets as well as a giant mutant wearing a football helmet. Not only are these encounters wacky but each of them requires you to use different, strategic combinations of your powers to overcome foes.

There’s still some things we’re concerned about when it comes to Rage 2, namely that we haven’t seen or played through any of the open-world segments, and that the writing we witnessed in the demo was subpar. However, at its core Rage 2 has a brilliant combat loop reminiscent of Bulletstorm and the  2016 version of Doom that puts bloody and wacky acrobatics first and is all the more memorable for that reason. We look forward to seeing how Rage 2 shapes up in development and hope that the open-world part of the game matches the promise of its close-quarters combat.

E3 is the best time of year to be a gamer, but it can be very hard to keep up with every announcement, and even harder to form your own opinion about them. I’m hoping to alleviate those problems with a series of brief videos going over the major announcements from each day throughout the week, with the hopes of using mathematical formulas to determine a definitive winner of E3 2018. In tonight’s episode, I summarize the big beats from the Square Enix, Ubisoft, Sony, and PC Gamer conferences.

Leave a comment below if you think I did the math the wrong, I will correct any errors.

Minutes after Sony’s E3 press conference concluded, I was whisked away to a room to check out a new playable demo of Insomniac Games’ Spider-Man. I fully expected to play through the same sequence that was just shown at the presser, but Insomniac surprised me with a 15-minute slice of web-swinging goodness that begins with open-world exploration, and concludes with our first look at a boss fight.

In Game Informer‘s May cover story, I talked briefly about Spider-Man interrupting a bank robbery being conducted by Shocker. Spidey exchanged pleasantries with him, but the screen faded to black before I could see what happened next.

Guess what? Their banter ends in an epic fight that destroys most of the bank. I bet you didn’t see that coming. In this new demo, which is an updated version of open-world section I saw during my cover trip, I played through this conflict and found it to be good fun in a highly repetitive way. The battle becomes harder as it goes, and Shocker’s attacks change a bit, but it turns out he doesn’t have many tricks up his sleeves, and the main strategy is to dodge his energy blasts. This action takes some skill, and requires the player to tap the circle button at the precise moment to dodge the powerful energy beam that Herman propels out of his vibro-shock gloves. After a few jolts tear apart the bank, Shocker tires himself out, creating a short window for Spider-Man to land a few punches, and then attach a couple of web lines to a large chunk of debris, which is then hurled at great speeds at him.

It turns out Herman doesn’t like getting hit in the head by concrete, and grows more irritated as the fight progresses. His anger leads to a second attack: an AOE shockwave that ripples toward Spidey. After unleashing a couple of these attacks, Shocker again takes a breather, which again ends with a rock hitting him in the head.

Shocker’s speed picks up in the final part of the battle. To quell his rage, Spidey must perform a little destruction of his own to the bank. With no debris left to throw, Spider-Man frees the remaining pieces of pillars from the ceiling to smash into Shocker. This action is a little tougher, and requires the player to jam on the Square button to free the projectile in time. There’s some excitement here. If you are too slow, Shocker has a clean shot at you, as you’re left entirely vulnerable with two webs stuck to the pillar.

The fight concludes with a cool cinematic sequence with Spidey twirling through the air and Shocker, well, you’ll have to play the game to find out.

I chose to talk about the final part of the demo first for a reason. Since I already played the open-world section for the cover story, I decided to use my time in the city in a different way. I began by trying to look inside as many buildings as possible. I was surprised to see most of the ground-level buildings feature nicely detailed interiors. Some of them have blurry glass that obscures the objects inside, but you can still see stuff is there. Most of the windows, however, are crystal clear, giving the player the opportunity to stop to view shops filled with goods, restaurants with tables, and more. One window I looked through held a shelf with three action figures on it. Two of these figures were of Spider-Man, one in the classic suit, and the other in what appeared to be the black suit (go ahead and freak out). The third figure was someone in a suit that appeared to have blue skin.

I also did a little people watching. Some city sidewalks were crowded with dozens of city walkers. The density in these sections is impressive. In an area like this, if Spider-Man does anything aggressive, like spin a manhole cover over his head, most of the people hit the ground out of fear. It’s a hilarious thing to see. Since I enjoyed watching them fall to the ground so much, I moved a block over and did the same thing, but this time with a trash can. To my surprise, when I flung it forward, it knocked a man down. At first I thought Insomniac changed its stance on Spider-Man not being able to harm civilians, but then he pulled a gun on me. It turns out he was a mugger that I unearthed just by messing around.

My next city activity was learning the basics of wall crawling. I know a lot of you wanted to know if Spidey can slowly crawl along walls, and he totally can. All you have to do is jump into the wall and he attaches to it. Moving the analog stick makes him crawl, applying R2 will make him take off in a sprint. He will also attach to a wall if you web swing directly into it. After a brief moment of impact, he latches on in that pose you know oh so well.

The last thing I did was scale the Empire State Building all the way to the top. From this vantage point, I saw The Raft supermax prison on the east river. In the same snapshot sat Avengers Tower – which is just a couple of blocks off of the river.

Since this demo doesn’t have everything in it, the Empire State Building could be some kind of destination. At the very outset of my play time, one of the tutorials has Spider-Man ascend to the top of a tower. From this vantage point, the player is asked to press a button to scan the surroundings. Much like Assassin’s Creed, the camera spins around Spidey, highlighting all of the nearby activities along the way. It’s a nice little way of showing what is around you, but I don’t know if you have to do this to make them appear, or if Spidey can just stumble upon them on his own. I’m guessing it’s the latter, but we’ll have to wait until the game ships on September 7 to find out the answers to all of our little questions.

Today the Electronic Software Association met with the press to discuss the state of E3 as well as other sections of the ESA’s operation. During the course of the session, journalists brought up the subject of video games’ impact on real-world violence, and CEO Michael Gallagher took some time to discuss the political landscape of games and violence alongside the ESA’s perspective and relationship with public officials.

Gallagher’s statement follows in the wake of the Trump administration’s attempts to blame recent waves of school shootings on violent media, including video games.

“One thing I think has sunk in to a great degree is the truth, that video game violence has no connection to real-world violence,” Gallagher said. “More and more authorities have said that and if you look at the major media this last cycle, major publications, top of the headlines say that video games have nothing to do with shootings in Orlando last year or anywhere else. ” 

Gallagher pointed to the way the media had changed its tune when it came to using games as a scapegoat for real-world violence, saying that the media had “accepted” that there was no connection between violent tragedies and video games.

Call Of Duty is one of the many popular video game series that have recently come under fire for their violence

“We continue to have episodes where we have to intersect with public officials on state and federal level as well as outside groups on the subject of the alleged connection between video game violence and real violence,” Gallagher said, explaining the ESA’s relationship with Washington and what practical steps the organization is taking to protect the interests of gamers in this heated political environment. “We go in with the assets and the research, with the analysis that says these games are sold all around the world, and yet this crisis of gun violence is uniquely American. And if these games are played everywhere, we should see all these outbreaks in all the other countries, especially those that look like ours, like Canada. We don’t. So it’s got to be something else. That’s a very powerful point. “

He also spoke about the effectiveness of the ESA’s presentation, saying  “We have an ever-growing number of policymakers that reject the notion outright. And then we have a number of champions in the industry that point to it and say it’s a great industry, we don’t have any connection to the crisis of gun violence.”

This is not the first time the ESA has spoken out against recent efforts from politicians and interest groups attempting to blame school shootings on video violence. From Gallagher’s statements, we imagine it won’t be the last either.

Our Take
The ESA’s position is hardly a surprise but it’s good to hear that Gallagher believes that his team is successful in convincing policymakers with clear-headed reason and facts. I hope that the reality of the situation continues to align with his enthusiasm.

Welcome to E3 2018! We’re streaming our podcast live from Los Angeles with Ben Hanson, Ben Reeves, Kyle Hilliard, and Imran Khan talking about their five favorite moments from the press conferences from EA, Microsoft, Bethesda, Square-Enix, Ubisoft, and Sony.

You can watch the video above, subscribe and listen to the audio on iTunes or Google Playlisten on SoundCloud, or download the MP3 by clicking here.

Death Stranding made a big, if mysterious, impression when it was shown in 2016, and the game’s new trailer at Sony’s press conference has shed a little more light (we think) on the game.

Meet Sam Porter Bridges

He’s a delivery man (Porter. Get it?). On foot. Shlepping containers (even what looks like a dead/suspended body) across great distances and stunning landscapes, Bridges endures great hardships as he scales mountains, is almost drown, and has to peel off one of his toe nails – the usual occupational hazards.

Surely this is part of your moment-to-moment gameplay. If we know Kojima, we can expect this otherwise mundane-sounding loop to surely contain some resource management gameplay or clever survival elements. At times he has an anti-gravity sled that lightens the load. We sure hope you earn this early on.

At one point it looks like he has a larger vehicle carrying cargo which ends up sliding over a cliff. That sucks.

Invisible Enemies Are Never Any Fun

Sam can sense when powerful invisible, levitating netherworld black shadows are near. Shadows that are brought on by the rain. He knows when they’re near, but they don’t seem to be able to always see him, triggering stealth gameplay. There are also invisible beings that produce animal-like footprints (and which can be avoided by keeping silent), but it’s unclear if these are the same as the levitating shadows.

Bridges’ delivery suit has a mounted projection peripheral that makes the shadow beings somewhat visible (he also brandishes a rifle at a different point in the trailer). Get caught and it produces a voidout, which Sam can come back from, but to the detriment of the world as a whole.

That Baby Sure is Creepy, But Useful

Coming back from a voidout is where the game’s signature fetus perhaps comes into play.

Plugging in his fetus suspended in fluid (like a Kojima-brand Baby Bjorn), Sam tries to get by the shadow beings levitating in the rain. His mounted projection peripheral makes the shadows visible, but maybe it’s the fetus that actually saves him. Despite Sam’s resurrection, I bet there’s a cost to getting sucked into the void, like losing resources or whatever you’re delivering. Maybe this accounts for Sam appearing half-naked from time to time.

Time And Again

The past and the future are not disparate concepts in the game, whether that’s Sam looking wistfully at a photo from long ago or the fact that he can come back from the dead after a voidout. Sam’s sometimes companion (who seems to appear out of thin air!) played by actress Léa Seydoux eats maggots called crypto-bites (we think), which she says “keep the timefall away.” The timefall “fast-forwards” whatever it touches. The rain associated with the shadow beings and voidout is also related to timefall. Do you lose a measure of time during a voidout?

The end of the trailer shows actress Lindsay Wagner, who looks younger than in the photo that Sam pines over earlier in the trailer. Is she a figment of Sam’s imagination, an integral part of the timefall concept, proof that time is entirely fluid in the game, or all of the above?

Death Stranding’s E3 2018 was vintage Kojima – posing intriguing questions, and was more substance than just form. The game is definitely coming along from its mysterious beginnings, and is proving to be more than just a free-form dream.

Nioh 2 Revealed

The original Nioh turned out to be one of the best games to emerge in the wake of the Souls phenomenon. It looks like Team Ninja and Koei Tecmo are going back for round two.

During its E3 presentation, Sony showcased a brief teaser for Nioh 2, focusing on William fighting some demons…badly.  No release window or date was given.

For more on Nioh, check out our review of the original game.

Sony has announced it is working with Dark Souls developer From Software on a PlayStation VR title called Déraciné.

The first teaser trailer has a storybook vibe, as though a mother were reading a story to her child. The colorful handrawn illustrations we see early on are contrasted by the muted color palette and relatively drab environments of the rest of the world, hinting at a bit of dichotomy between a childlike innocence (it seems likely the protagonist will be a child) and the somber tome the game might take.

At the end of the trailer we see a wilted flower return through life through magic, which also hints at some sort of powers the protagonist might have.

No release date or other details about Déraciné were announced.


Insomniac had lots to show from Spider-Man during its presentation on Sony’s E3 stage. The extended gameplay segment revealed tons of familiar villains and showed a gigantic set piece at Raft prison.

The trailer begins with Spider-Man helping Yuri manage something going wrong at the prison, but it all goes to hell quickly. Spider-Man is greeted by Electro, who frees a number of prisoners from their cells.

Spider-Man chases after Electro, but on the way he runs into Rhino, Scorpion, and Vulture, who are all very, very mad at him. Spider-Man (and his greatest enemies) end up on the roof, where they are met by Mister Negative. They all attack Spider-Man, but Mister Negative says, “He said not to kill him.”

Despite his best efforts, Spider-Man takes a beating, and just as all seems lost a light grabs his attention. Spider-Man turns to look at it and says, “Wait.. you?” And that’s it.

Spider-Man is coming to PlayStation 4 on September 7. For a ton more about Spider-Man, click here for all of our coverage from when Spider-Man was on our cover.