The Crew 2 is getting a closed beta at the very end of this month on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

If you’re eager to take Ubisoft’s Crew sequel for a test drive, you can register for the beta here and choose your platform preference to get a chance to try the game when the beta launches on May 31. Once you get into the beta, you will have until June 4 to race around and change planes into boats and whatever else you want to do.

You can find our new preview of the game here. The Crew 2 releases on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on June 29.

After the first teaser and gameplay trailers for Rage 2 earlier this week showed what we can expect from the post-apocalyptic sequel, we now have confirmation of at least one other cool bit of info: It reportedly does not have loot boxes.

Speaking with German publication GameStar, id Software confirmed loot boxes are out, but that the long-tail, games-as-a-service approach is still in. According to translation by USGamer, id Software studio director Tim Willits said id wants “people to play Rage 2 longer,” though he did not elaborate on what, specifically, that would entail.

We will likely find out more about Rage 2 at E3 in a few weeks, the schedule of which you can check out here.

 

Our Take
Bethesda has mostly kept its hand out of the lootbox cookie jar, so can buy the notion Rage 2 wasn’t affected by the recent controversies surrounding loot boxes and their subsequent bans in Belgium and The Netherlands. Either way, nice to know!

With E3 open to the public again this year, Nintendo is applying the principles of other fan shows and requiring registration for its biggest announced game at the Los Angeles event.

In order for fans to play Super Smash Bros. for Switch on the E3 show floor, they have to register with an electronic ticket given a week before the show begins. This ticket allows people to show up at registered times and play the game for their allotted slot, much like ticketing at a packed convention like PAX would work.

In order to get a ticket, you will need to register for E3 by May 31. On June 5, an email will go out to registered attendees to register for their time to play the game, which will be made available in the form of a QR code for you to pull up on your phone or print out on a piece of paper. This is the only game at Nintendo’s booth that requires registration.

This seems like an effort to curtail lines for what will likely be Nintendo’s most popular game at the show and avoid people waiting in line all day to play the game for one match. Nintendo’s E3 showcase will be on Tuesday, June 12 at 9:00 a.m. PT.

[Source: Nintendo]

Chrono Trigger’s surprise Steam release has been plagued with graphical and UI issues since launch, but Square is hoping to continue working on them for at least two more patches, one of which is available now.

The latest patch updates the in-battle UI to make it more navigable for users playing a on keyboard or controller (previously, it was more optimized for a mouse, since it was based on the iOS version). Users can swap between the old and new UI in the options menu.

The graphics for character sprites on the world map have been brought more in line with the original release, and the animated cutscenes have gotten a resolution bump as well. The patch also fixes several bugs, lets players pause during combat, and fixes some of the Korean text. The previous patch added the option to change the graphics from the iOS graphics to the original, but this one will hopefully address to the issues that arouse from that option.

Square also promises another patch is planned for early June. That patch will make more improvements to the UI and control schemes.

To see what the game was originally like on release, check out our episode of New Gameplay Today on the game.

 

Our Take
Someday, this port will be as good as the game Square released over 20 years ago. But not quite yet!

Transformers fans have had lots to enjoy in recent years. In the video game sphere, 2015’s Transformers: Devastation offered an injection of nostalgia mixed with Platinum Games’ eye for high-octane action, and the Forged to Fight mobile game continues to expand with new characters on a regular basis. A new web-based animation series recalls some of the original generation of characters. An ongoing line of Hasbro figures explores a ton of different characters. And a compelling universe of storytelling has unfolded in the IDW comics (wrapping up later this year), in which old characters are given new life through a lengthy continuity and complex themes. 


The Flame Toys figure line looks to the IDW comic characters for inspiration

It’s that last universe of IDW comics that has served as inspiration for a new limited line of figures, different from what fans have come to expect in the past. Hong Kong-based Flame Toys recently introduced their Kuro Kara Kuri line of figures, which are built as high-end collectibles modeled after select characters from the comics. The initial figures from the line should be familiar to comic readers, but at least the first two figures may be new to fans of the classic cartoon or toys. “We chose the characters based on their background stories,” a Flame Toys representative shared. “For example, Drift’s name before is Deadlock. When his friend Wing dies, Deadlock becomes Drift, a good guy. As Drift is rich in story, it made us very interested in making it. Moreover, the rich background story also gave us increased design flexibility.”


The Drift figure comes with a stand, but is also poseable standing free

The figures are remarkably articulated, but they don’t transform. That might be a turn-off for some collectors, but other features balance out the absence of that fundamental feature. The figures boast remarkably robust poseability and articulation. Along with the included stand, the Drift figure can be set up for dramatic action shots, with swords in mid-swing and arms outspread. Alternately, the included wire-supported cape can replicate stoic standing poses culled from the comics. And the figure includes fun movement gimmicks, like a sword crossguard that changes the color of its embedded gem when the hilt is extended, and articulated ankles with multiple moving pieces, lending the sense of a real robot in motion as the figure is placed in different positions. Multiple light-up features help the figure shine even in low-light display spaces, and accentuate the immaculate paint and sculpting work. These are collectibles meant to be displayed like a statue, but adjusted regularly with new included face plates, hands, weapons, and poses, like an action figure. There’s over 50 points of articulation on this guy, so there are a lot of options.  


The included cloak features hidden wires that can lend the sense of the blowing wind, just like in a memorable scene from the comic

“Our design emphasizes robot joint mechanism and outlook modernization,” Flame Toys told me via email. “We want customers to play with and enjoy these figures as a way to celebrate the background story of the character. According to our complicated joint design, virtually any pose is possible, easily. For Drift, we have taken the background story as a major reference point for the design.”

Flame Toys has already released the Drift figure in the United States via distributor Bluefin, but the 8-inch die-cast and plastic figure doesn’t come cheap at $299.99. The upcoming Tarn figure features similar light-up features and poseability, and pre-orders for him are running $399.99. And while they haven’t yet been announced for North American release, early pictures have emerged from Asian fan conventions showing off other fan favorite characters like Star Saber and Optimus Prime, so we’ll have to wait and see if they make their way stateside. 


Tarn is a surprisingly nuanced and compelling villain drawn from the IDW comics

Since Days Gone’s reveal at E3 2016, a huge point of discussion for the game has been “the horde.” One of the most interesting aspects of the game from Sony Bend is the team’s ability to have hundreds upon hundreds of freakers rush toward the player as a dynamic, dangerous biomass. Sony Bend is eager to show that the E3 2016 demo is real tech in the game, and there’s no better way to do that than to have the horde brutally kill us over and over again. While visiting the studio for our cover story on Days Gone, we passed the PS4 controller between Jeff Cork, Jeff Marchiafava, and myself in an attempt to extinguish a 300-freaker strong horde.

How did it go? Well, watch the video below (featuring work-in-progress gameplay) and find out…

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Those waiting for Lab Zero’s action-RPG follow-up to Skullgirls will have to wait a while longer, as Indivisible has been delayed to 2019.

The developer went into detail about the reasons for the delay in a blog post. “While we did everything we could to prevent this from happening, the simple reality is that Indivisible ended up being a much larger project than we could have anticipated when the game was conceived way back in 2015,” the developer said. Specifically, the team underestimated the number of art assets they’d need to fully bring the game to life.

505 Games will continue funding most of the game’s development during this extended period, with Lab Zero using some of their earnings from Skullgirls to help out. The game is not being scaled back, which would have been difficult to do anyway, as “the game’s structure and story made it virtually impossible to cut levels or make other kinds of ‘easy’ cuts to reduce the scope of the game,” the developer. In fact, Lab Zero is hiring a new lead level designer and lead writer to help finish the project.

The game is still set to come to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC, Mac, and Linux when it arrives next year.

[Source: Lab Zero]

 

Our Take
While I’m disappointed I won’t be playing Indivisible until next year, I’m glad Lab Zero is able to take the time to polish and round out the game the way they want. It should lead to a better game in the long run.

Capcom has announced the HD remaster of Okami will launch on Nintendo’s portable console August 9.

While the latest, facelifted version of Okami has already made the rounds on other consoles and PC, the Switch version will feature touch screen controls, which should make the game’s paintbrush mechanic that much easier to use.

 

Our Take
It’ll be interesting to how touch screen controls affect Okami’s pace, but the motion controls in the Wii version didn’t change up the game too much, so they should work well enough.

Sea of Thieves is a troubled but promising open-world multiplayer experience that just seems to keep sailing into stormy seas. After a host of glitches and player complaints, developer Rare recently tried to add in a feature that would let players have private parties for their ships.

The feature didn’t last more than 24 hours before Rare yanked it, citing “emergency maintenance” for the removal of the feature. The developer notes that private crews, and other features, will return at a later date.

For more on Sea of Thieves, check out our review here.

 

Our Take
The number of technical issues and lack of content has marred the promising Sea Of Thieves since its release. Here’s hoping Rare sorts out both problems sooner rather than later.

Driving in games has always been meant to feel freeing,
giving players the opportunity to cast off the bonds of traffic and speed
limits and roads for complete feeling up until the nearest body of water or
wall or extremely off-road terrain. Racing games thus design around these
issues, giving you inaccessible terrain to keep you on the course. Where Ubisoft’s
newest stab at open world racing wants to differentiate itself is how quickly
it allows you to circumvent these designs.

With a push of the button, players can change their vehicle
in The Crew 2, switching between planes, boats, and automobiles with the same
speed as changing weapons in Assassin’s Creed. This does, of course, mean that you’re
taking ramps from the highway and switching to a boat in midair to land in a
river and continue up that way. You can also switch to a plane, fly all the way
to the top of your vertical limit, turn into a car, and aim for the road.

This switching speaks to a playground mentality of The Crew
2 that differentiates it from the first game. Developer Ivory Tower is crafting
a much more playful atmosphere from the underlying mechanics all the way to the
story. Gone is the morose crime family story of the previous game, replacing
avenging the murder of a family member with getting more social media followers
by winning more races and doing more tricks.

This makes The Crew 2 a decidedly lighter narrative and on
the whole more narrative-light. Progress is determined by endearing yourself to
multiple families who obsess over disciplines in plane tricks, car driving, and
boat racing of different stripes. As a rising superstar, the player unlocks new
vehicles and further competitions like street racing and off-roading by
spending the requisite money.

Once the player earns enough followers with each family,
there’s a multi-vehicle race event held by an extreme sports organization.
Players go from racing speedboats, to navigating shipyards on a BMX bike, to racing
through the city in quick succession and changes for each event. These races
are thrilling and fun and I hope are more common than they seem.

This illustrates a line in The Crew 2 where the game can be
separated between its designed races, segments where you’re pushing around competitors
to shave off a second from your total time, and a genuine sense of relaxing and
almost meditative calm from doing literally anything else. Flying over a
peaceful countryside, boating along an idyllic lake, inviting a friend and
watching them do donuts in the desert, The Crew 2 occasionally feels like an
experience to which you can measuring your resting heart rate.

There are still some concerns, however. Though the story of
the first game felt laughable in its seriousness, the lack of narrative hooks
to the sequel feel mildly demotivating at the same time. I’m unsure what the
sweet spot is for story in a game like this, but I don’t feel like Ivory Tower
and Ubisoft have cracked the code yet. While I enjoyed flying around in the
plane, it also changed the least of any of vehicles, and I felt like I was just
doing the same trick events over and over.

Despite that, I am excited to play more of The Crew 2.
There is a spark here that the original game did not possess and I can’t wait
to explore more of it when the game releases on June 29 on PlayStation 4, Xbox
One, and PC.