Yarny fans were in for a roller-coaster ride today. Not only did EA and Coldwood Interactive reveal that an Unravel sequel was coming out, but the companies revealed that it was out now. As in, it is a thing you can download and play right this very moment!

 

We couldn’t miss out on the opportunity to check out the game, so we started downloading Unravel Two as soon as EA Play was finished broadcasting. Join Ben Reeves, Leo Vader, and me as we explore the world with Yarny and his (Her? Its?) new pal, a blue Yarny we’re calling Blarny. The duo is tethered together, which leads to some exciting platforming situations, as well as plenty of opportunities for Reeves and me to look like complete jackasses as we try to solve what were, in retrospect, a few very obvious challenges. Again, gas leak.

 

Unravel Two is out today on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

Earlier today at EA Play, DICE announced a new Battle Royale mode for Battlefield V. The mode, which seems to be a trend among big shooters, was added because developers at DICE have been fans of Battlegrounds and Fortnite.

In an interview with Gamespot, DICE creative director Lars Gustavsson explained his reasoning.

“I would be lying [if I said] there weren’t people in the studio that would play [battle royale games] a lot,” Gustavsson said with a laugh. “We enjoy it. It’s good fun, and it brings a new perspective.”

Gustavsson explained that the new mode wasn’t added via corporate mandate or executive meddling and was because they thought battle royale was fun. Battlefield V releases on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on October 19.

[Source: Gamespot]

 

Our Take
Who knows if that was the actual reason, as Battlegrounds’ and Fortnite’s numbers certainly made EA stand up and take notice. As long as the mode is well fun, people will care less about the reasons and more about the end result.

If you subscribe to the computer, tablet, or mobile edition of Game Informer magazine, you can read our issue featuring Anthem. Following today’s cover reveal, our digital issue is now live on web browsers and will be coming to iPad/iPhone later in the day. You can download the apps to view the issue by following this link. All of these digital options are included in a standard subscription.

The issue launches later this week on our third-party subscription apps including Google Play, Kindle, and Nook.

Not a digital subscriber yet? Convert your existing print subscription here or start a new subscription here.

Click the banner below to visit our Anthem coverage hub, and check back throughout the month (mostly after E3) for new stories and information.

The Nintendo fighting game series, Super Smash Bros., has a long history of speculation. With a character filled with classic characters, every one of which having its own fans, rumors spring up around every single character possibly making it in. Between fake rumors and leaks, the series has been rife with a mixture of fake information and accurate leaks, and it’s hard to parse through the history once the game has come out and all the rumors have been forgotten.

Did You Know Gaming takes an exhaustive look at the history of rumors, and accidental information leaks, in a sixteen minute video you can find below.

The video even covers the Smash Bros. game for Switch, which is itself filled with conflicting information. 

You can read our own hopes and dreams about Super Smash Bros. Switch’s roster here. Nintendo has said the new Smash Bros. game will be a focal point for them at their E3 show this year, which will stream live Tuesday, June 12 – 9:00 a.m. PT.

During a livestream preceding the EA Play show today, the Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 team announced that the team-competitive shooter will be receiving free updates again.

Although it wasn’t detailed what those updates will be, any new content likely sounds welcome to fans of the game who haven’t seen any new content since 2016, with most patches simply being multiplayer and balance fixes.

Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 released on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC in February 2016.

A Definite Fixer-Upper

In the realm of incredibly niche sim games, House Flipper certainly feels like a no-brainer. The concept of buying run-down houses, improving them, and then selling for a tidy profit has spawned countless television series, and makes for an enticing gameplay loop. Unfortunately, House Flipper has its own list of vital improvements that need addressing if it hopes to satisfy would-be interior designers.

Players start from humble beginnings in House Flipper, performing simple cleaning jobs for clients to earn cash for their first home purchase. These missions serve double duty as a lengthy tutorial, and the sense of progression is handled nicely; not only do you gradually acquire the different tools you’ll be using to improve homes, you also start unlocking a variety of quirky perks, like consuming less paint or the ability to identify dirt on your mini-map.

House Flipper Review

House Flipper gives you the ability to perform a number of remodeling actions, but the actual gameplay mechanics aren’t very interesting. Cleaning boils down to clicking on boxes and other litter to make it instantly vanish, or holding in the mouse button to wave your broom in the general vicinity of stains. The mechanics for painting, tiling, and mounting appliances are equally simplistic, and don’t leave much room for creativity. You have a little more freedom when it comes to demolishing and building walls and placing furnishings, but you won’t be impressing Chip and Joanna Gaines anytime soon.

After you’ve saved up enough money, you can forgo the set jobs and buy your own fixer-upper on the open market. The houses come in a variety of different sizes, prices, and levels of disrepair. After following the lengthy to-do lists of your previous employers, having the ability to do whatever you please with your new home is exciting. However, it doesn’t take long to realize your renovation options are less expansive than they first appear.

I’m not the biggest remodeling show fan, but thanks to my wife’s obsession with HGTV, I’ve watched enough of them to understand the appeal, and House Flipper simply lacks the flexibility to deliver on the dream. Despite the real-world emphasis on curb appeal when it comes to selling homes, you can’t perform any landscaping or outdoor improvements to your houses aside from applying a new coat of paint. You also can’t add or remove windows, or alter outside walls in any way. The demolition mechanics are limited inside as well; you can’t tear down or move any wall that has plumbing fittings, so your bathroom layouts are bound to stay static – unless you want a toilet in your kitchen. These restrictions put major renovations out of the realm of possibility and make the whole experience feel shallow.

Even if you’re happy with your home’s floorplan, touching up rooms lacks flexibility. Paint is applied one full-length, vertical strip at a time, preventing you from doing any kind of creative treatment aside from big-top circus stripes. Your color options are also underwhelming, and you can’t mix your own custom hues.

While House Flipper technically boasts hundreds of unique objects that you can place in your homes, drilling down into specific categories sometimes offers depressingly few options. You quickly get tired of placing the same doors, desks, and (one!) shower in all of your homes. Putting up shelves often left me at a loss for what to fill them with, and I found myself gravitating to the same few candles and plants to make rooms feel less barren.

While House Flipper’s tools are serviceable, you won’t be able to truly design your dream home, or incorporate your own creative flourishes beyond the ability to add custom paintings (which I had way too much fun with). This limited creativity isn’t a deal-breaker, but it results in generic homes, which makes the renovation process feel repetitive.

Fixing up homes is only half of the house-flipping loop – you also have to sell them. Here too House Flipper offers an abbreviated and less-than-realistic simulation of the housing market. Once you’re satisfied (i.e. can live) with your renovations, your home instantly goes to an auction to see which of a dozen dedicated buyers place the highest bid. These buyers are presented as typical would-be home owners – a business man, an elderly couple, a few families – but will continue buying up your future homes no matter how many they own. Each buyer also has personal tastes that you uncover through the auctions, but their guidance is nebulous and sometimes downright contradictory. During one auction a buyer commented that “the whole house is clean, very nice” – only it was listed in red as a dislike. 

Even when buyers are clear about what they want, delivering can be difficult because the requirements for what registers a room as a specific space aren’t listed in the game. I tried catering to one couple by including a massive family room in one home, complete with a comfy sofa, entertainment stand, television, and bookcase – but apparently because the room didn’t have curtains or a speaker, it didn’t count as a family room.

 

Ultimately, the wants of individual buyers don’t really matter much anyway. When I failed to entice the single businessman with a one-room home because it lacked a separate office (which I totally included!), a different family bought it anyway – even though the home lacked the extra bedroom and playroom they were looking for. Not once did I fail to turn a profit on a sale, which once again undermines the renovation loop – why spend more of your budget on extra furnishings that the buyers don’t really care about, when you’re virtually guaranteed a profit no matter what you do?

After your first few sales, House Flipper falls into a boring and repetitive rut: Buy a house; clean, plaster, and paint; add a few pieces of furniture, then sell and repeat. Aside from the initial price tag for a house, money isn’t an issue – you have no ongoing expenses, and are in no danger of not finding a buyer, so there’s no risk or tension involved in getting a job done or making a sale.

House Flipper seems like a killer idea for a sim game, and while your first few sales deliver some of the before-and-after magic, the game fails to capture the larger remodeling fantasy. Empyrean has been delivering a steady stream of updates and improvements to House Flipper, but it’ll take a lot more elbow grease to get this fixer-upper ready for market.

 

E3 2018 is finally upon us, and like last year, EA was the first major publisher to show off its upcoming lineup to excited gamers. If you missed the show, don’t worry – not only do we have our archived stream and video analysis for you to watch, but we’ve also rounded up all the major announcements and details below. Here’s everything you need to know about Anthem, Battlefield V, and much more!

Livestream Archive:
Watch EA’s E3 Press Conference With Game Informer

Anthem Bonanza!
Read Game Informer’s Full Anthem Cover Story: Flying To A New Frontier
Exclusive Impressions Of Anthem’s Gameplay
123 Rapid-Fire Questions About Anthem
Anthem Trailer Brings The Action
Anthem’s Microtransactions Are Cosmetic-Only
Anthem Does Not Have Romances

New Game Announcements:
Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order Is Respawn’s Upcoming Game
EA Announces Sea Of Solitude
Yarny Meets A Blue Friend For Unravel 2 And It’s Out Now
EA Announces Command & Conquer Rivals For Mobile

Game Previews:
Battlefield V Will Have A Battle Royale Mode And More
Finding The Right Fit For Your Franchise In Madden NFL 19
Madden NFL 19 Opens Up The Playbook At EA Play
Madden NFL 19 Preview: Finding The Right Scheme
FIFA 19 Adds Champions League & Continues The Journey
Star Wars Battlefront II Gets New Content From The Clone Wars

Miscellaneous News:
EA Announces Origin Access Premier

If you’re a BioWare fan, you probably have an attachment to at least one love interest. Maybe it’s the noble Bastila, the charming Dorian, or the chitinous Garrus. However, if you’re wondering which characters you can romance in Anthem, you should put an end to those daydreams early.

In our full cover story on Anthem, lead producer Mike Gamble outlines the team’s approach to this aspect of the game. “There are no romances. There are friendships. Some of the stuff we did with Mass Effect – the Citadel DLC specifically – there was a lot of friendship moments. You and Garrus sitting up, shooting – that kind of stuff, we want to lean into that. The romantic stuff, we’re moving away from that for Anthem.”

Though you are still building relationships and connections with various characters, they don’t have a romantic angle. While that is likely disappointing for some BioWare fans, but Anthem is a different sort of game for the studio, and one advantage of a new IP is the ability to forge new traditions.   

Click the banner below to visit our Anthem coverage hub, and check back throughout the month for new stories and information.

Electronic Arts said that it learned its lesson after the 2017 loot box debacle that plagued Star Wars Battlefront II. Judging from the company’s approach to microtransactions in Anthem, that appears to be true. During our trip to BioWare’s studio for our Anthem cover story, the team made it clear that the game does not have loot boxes or use any pay-to-win tactics. 

Players can still use real money to purchase in-game items, but they are only cosmetic and don’t impact the gameplay. Game director Jon Warner tells us: “We have a couple pillars that we stick to, and generosity to our players is number one on that list. Making sure you feel you got a great value for what you bought, and that you get everything you think you should get for that money. And then, as we continue to service this game and create more stuff for it, allow you the opportunity to buy cosmetic items and vanity items that you’re interested in. But no loot crates. No pay-to-win. Strictly cosmetic.”

“Forever?” we ask.

“Forever,” Warner says.

For a more detailed response, see BioWare general manager Casey Hudson address the question in full in the video below. 

Click the banner below to visit our Anthem coverage hub, and check back throughout the month for new stories and information.

Even after two showings now at E3, there’s still a million questions to ask about BioWare’s ambitious next game Anthem. Well, we hope we’re able to cross 123 of those off of your list with this video interview. While visiting BioWare for our gigantic cover story on the game (which you can read in full right here), Joe Juba sat down with Anthem’s executive producer Mark Darrah to learn more about the technical specs, features, and gameplay of Anthem. To learn even more about the game, you can also check out this special edition of The Game Informer Show podcast where we talk all about what we played.

Click on the banner below to enter our updating hub of exclusive features on Anthem.