The first three Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Story games are releasing on the Switch eShop in both Japan and the U.S. on April 26, Bandai Namco has confirmed.

Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Story Trilogy is landing on a Nintendo system for the first time and includes 1, 2, and 3, but not 4 or the Road to Boruto DLC made for UNS4. You can check out the trailer for the collection before.

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Bandai Namco has also confirmed that the game is running at 540p in handheld mode and 900p docked. The trilogy features the costume DLC, but the trailer specifies that not all DLC is included.

 

Our Take
I like these games’ story modes, but that resolution makes the package seem really undercooked.

Year Three of Rainbow Six Siege kicked off with a bang this week, driving back players to the game in record concurrent numbers thanks in part to a new cooperative component called Outbreak. This wild departure for the Rainbow Six franchise introduces a supernatural threat to the tactical shooter that feels more like a Left 4 Dead expansion than anything tied to the Tom Clancy universe.

A dramatically divergent offering, Outbreak doesn’t do anything to bring back the old-school Rainbow Six fans who long for the carefully planned missions and measured tactical engagements of the past. With its adoption of G.I. Joe-style hero characters and now a full-on zombie-outbreak theme, it’s clear Ubisoft is comfortable evolving the series away from its military-sim roots and moving more toward the comic-book end of the entertainment spectrum. 

This trio of cooperative missions takes place in the small rural town of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. After a mysterious probe crash lands and a virus starts infecting the populace, Team Rainbow is sent in to neutralize the threat. The virus turns humans into a variety of grotesque mutants, each with a unique attack style. Grunts charge and swing their sharp tentacles wildly, while the agile, wall-climbing Breachers detonate to inflict massive damage or take out your fortifications. Most missions culminate with showdowns against dangerous bosses like the towering Smasher or formidable Apex, which can cast waves of enemies your way and momentarily blind operators with a projectile. The visual design of these enemies is impressive – I’m surprised how much attention to detail went into a mode that only lasts a month –  and learning how to prioritize threats as they swarm is key to surviving.

Rather than give players access to the full list of operators, Ubisoft restricts it to 11 characters (two being the new operators introduced in Operation Chimera, Lion and Finka). Fan favorites like Ash, Buck, and the hapless Tachanka are among the options, and some have been tweaked to give them more offensive punch. For instance, defenders who normally have defensive tools like razor wire swap them out for grenades. 

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While the supernatural enemies and truncated operator list may be drastic departures, the mission objectives stay much closer to the Rainbow Six norm, like planting detonation charges to wipe out a nest, escorting a doctor through an infested medical facility to gather critical supplies, and finding the source of the outbreak. All three environments are much more open than the typical Rainbow Six Siege map, giving players the freedom to take their fights outside should the close quarters of a ramshackle house get too hairy. Curiously, the story never culminates to a natural endpoint where the outbreak is neutralized or spreads beyond the confines of the quarantine zone. Perhaps Ubisoft intentionally left Outbreak open-ended, giving it the flexibility to extend the narrative should it resonate with players. 

Missions alternate between attacking and defending sequences. After shooting a path to your objective marker, you have a split second to fortify your position with wall fortifications and barricades before the enemy onslaught begins. Having at least one operator who can bolster your defenses is a wise move considering some of the more formidable infected eventually make their way into these cramped quarters; anything you can do to stymie the initial onslaught before the heavies arrive helps immensely. Given you’re always setting up a defensive perimeter on the fly, Ubisoft wisely sped up the time it takes to set up barricades. Just like the competitive multiplayer, the pulse-pounding action keeps you on your toes and demands communication between teammates to survive, especially on the Pandemic difficulty setting that enables friendly fire and adds a larger number of deadlier enemies to the fray.

Missions take about a half-hour, but the rewards are curiously stunted compared to the competitive multiplayer. Earning only 300 renown for completing your objective feels like a rip-off, and may discourage players from sticking around to play more. The only tangible rewards outside of paltry renown gains are a handful of Ubisoft Club challenges that yield Outbreak-themed charms.  

Taken at face value, these new cooperative missions are a welcome curveball for the series. I doubt many players will continually replay Outbreak given the meager rewards, but it’s a fun change of pace nonetheless. If you like the sound of playing through a Left 4 Dead style mini-campaign (hey, at least someone is carrying on that tradition), you have 25 more days to check it out before Ubisoft retires this limited-time engagement. And that’s the most curious decision Ubisoft has made with Outbreak. This isn’t a small development investment like adding the Predator to the pre-existing world in Ghost Recon Wildlands; the amount of work that went into its level and creature designs seems dramatic for an event with such a short shelf life. Making the mode permanent, continually adding new content, and pairing it with terrorist hunt could open the game up to a new audience that prefers cooperative experiences to core competitive multiplayer.  

Publisher
Digerati has announced 1979 Revolution: Black Friday is coming to PlayStation 4
and Xbox One.

This
game centered around true events with fictional characters during an Iranian
uprising in 1978. Players assume the role of Reza Shirazi, a photojournalist
who shapes the events of the story based on choices. It’s akin to Telltale titles
in how players choose their own path, along with some interactivity and
quick-time events.

In
our review of 1979, we said “the poorly designed
action sequences and occasionally technical shoddiness drag the whole
experience down, [but] 1979 Revolution: Black Friday is still a quality
adventure game that tells a gripping story about people struggling to survive
the times and bring about change. Read the full review of here.

Grab your building blueprints and orange sniper rifles because we’re heading into Fortnite’s limited time 20v20v20v20v20 game mode today, and you’re invited to come along for the ride.

The action is sure to be crazy as we dive in, loot up, and attempt to be the last survivor in the battle royale jamboree. We’re playing from 2-4 CST, so drop by for some good times, great conversation, and some epic fails. We might even win a few!

You can click the banner below to watch the stream on Twitch or YouTube today, or just tune in here using the embedded video below.

Activision and Treyarch have announced Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, the fourth Black Ops game since the series’ debut in 2010, and will release on October 12.

The game was announced with a logo today, ending speculation from earlier this week about whether it would be a fourth Black Ops game or an entirely new Call of Duty sub-series from Treyarch. The stream featured a short montage of quick game footage, indicating another near-future shooter, in line with recent Black Ops titles. The bits of footage seemed to also indicate that Zombies mode would make a return.

The stream also confirmed that a community event on May 17 will reveal more about the game, with more likely at E3 later this year. In an email alongside the announcement, Activision confirmed that Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 will be released on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

 

Our Take
The date is a little earlier than Call of Duty traditionally releases, though that might be to avoid too much conflict with Red Dead Redemption II. I’m looking forward to the full reveal in May.

Electronic Arts announced that they will be teaming up with Warner Bros. Interactive to bring six games to Origin Access. Members of the subscription service Origin Access can currently pick up Batman games from the Arkham and Lego series, marking the first time a publisher other than EA has had games available in The Vault. In the coming weeks, more games will be added, including The Witness and a brand-new game called Out of the Park Baseball 19.

Here’s what the lineup looks like:

Available Now

  • Batman: Arkham Asylum
  • Batman: Arkham City
  • Batman: Arkham Origins
  • LEGO Batman
  • LEGO Batman 2
  • LEGO Batman 3

Coming soon

  • The Witness
  • Out of the Park Baseball 19
  • Lost Castle
  • Bulletstorm – Lite
  • Wasteland 2

    Those who aren’t members of EA Origin Access will have a chance to try out the service for a seven-day trial from now until March 26.

    UPDATE: Ubisoft made the announcement official. 

    Given the strong success of The Division, a sequel was inevitable. Even though the game went through some rough patches, developer Massive Entertainment continued to refine the experience while adding new content to keep its fans busy. Today, a leaked press release revealed that Ubisoft plans to show The Division 2 at E3 this year.

    We are very pleased to announce that we are currently working on Tom Clancy’s The Division 2,” the press release says. “The development is led by Massive Entertainment and driven by close collaboration with Ubisoft Annecy, Redstorm, Reflections, Ubisoft Bucharest and Ubisoft Shanghai. The Division 2 will be based on an updated version of the Snowdrop Engine that will help us realize our ambitions for this title. More importantly, we can also invest all the experience we’ve accumulated over the past two years in this sequel to make sure everything is going well.” 

    The press release also revealed plans for extended support for the original game, including Xbox One enhancement to support 4K, two new global events, and more legendary difficulty missions. Ubisoft previously patched the PS4 version to support the increased hardware performance of the PS4 Pro.

    Starting in June, players will be able to earn Crests in The Division that allow them to unlock The Division 2 rewards. 

     

    Our Take 
    Making sequels to shared online worlds is easier said than done, as evidenced by Destiny 2’s rough first year. Walking away from all the content you already created for a universe is a tough call, and it could be one that Bungie wishes it could have back as disappointed fans lament the lack of meaningful things to do. Perhaps Massive Entertainment has a better proposition. We’ll find out soon.

    H1Z1 Now Free To Play

    Survival shooter H1Z1 will be free to play once maintenance is finished today at 10 a.m. Pacific, with a refund available if you recently bought the title on Steam.

    The move to free-to-play goes hand in hand with the title’s announcement of the inauguration of the H1Z1 Pro League featuring 15 Esports teams.

    H1Z1 players who got the game in Early Access are getting an Appreciation Pack complete with: a gasrunner hoodie, bloom survivor T-shirt, splinter camo ARV, 10 victory crates, and 10,000 skulls.

    For more on the game, check out Dan’s review.

    [Source: H1Z1] 

    Another week of
    blogs welcomes us all into March, the month that sounds like it should be
    ushering in spring. But here in Minnesota, we got dumped on with a lot of snow,
    so I guess that means it is time to get cozy with some blogs!

    Community Blogs
    For March 1 – March 7:

    Interview:
    Shape Of The World Creator Stu Maxwell

    Rebekah Lang gets things started (welcome back, Lang!) with an interview. It’s
    super insightful, especially if you have any interest in game development, and
    of course, Shape of the World. I found it especially interesting to read about
    how the color palette was chosen.

    Gerardo’s
    Backlog Update: February 2018 – Keeping Up With My Game Challenge

    GerardoExber is back with another edition of his never-ending quest to tackle
    his backlog of games. One such game he played was Heavy Rain. I
    actually really enjoyed that one, and ended up getting the best ending on my
    first play through, luckily.

    Game-Making
    Challenge: Environmental Storytelling Challenge

    Haley Shipley is here to present us with a writing challenge (and creep me out
    with an image to a game I can’t quite put my finger on). The goal this time is
    to create a game environment that is saturated. Deadline is March 23. Get to
    it!

    How
    World of Warcraft Killed A Genre

    BethesdaWare tempts internet trolls everywhere by writing, “WoW killed the
    MMORPG genre, and it’s likely the genre will never truly recover.” I honestly
    tried the game twice and didn’t like it. But this is an interesting read. Plus,
    the blogger name drops Star Wars Galaxies, which was an interesting game.

    Making
    Good Villains

    What makes a good villain? This is what Writergirl2394 seeks to answer after
    encountering a lame boss in Axiom Verge. It’s a fun read that even talks about
    Spyro baddy Gnasty Gnorc, an orc I had totally forgotten about over the years!

    Community
    Reviews:

    Xenoblade
    Chronicles 2

    We had a slew of reviews this week, beginning with Nathan Anstadt’s review of
    one fantastic role-playing game. He says the entire game is “something
    special.” It may seem like a tough game to tackle, but Nathan says
    to stick with it for the ultimate reward.

    The
    Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass Review

    Blogger GerardoExber puts in a lot of work this week, delivering us a review in
    addition to his blog. He gushes over this Zelda game, and how it tweaks the
    formula a bit here and there. I’m unhappy to admit that this is still on my
    to-play list, if I can even find my copy at this point.

    I hope you enjoy
    the blogs! Please contact me via my Game Informer page or on Twitter at @LouisGarcia12 with
    any blog news or playdate suggestions.